By Harold Lamb
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Well, if you are content to learn about girls from books! ” Suddenly Ptolemy laughed. ” What the Persians thought about Olympias was not easy to discover. They hid their thoughts and uttered only complimentary speeches. Yet the Magians among them kept their eyes turned away from the lovely queen of the Macedonians as if the sight of her might do them injury. Ptolemy noticed this, hopefully. His mother, Arsinoe, had the superior education of a Greek prostitute, and she had warned him that Olympias was a dominant woman intent on ruling, yet not intelligent enough to do so wisely.
The boys at Mieza found the temple and the gardens filled with strange apparata. Piles of variegated rocks, collection boxes of shellfish, stuffed birds, insects, occupied all the corners, along with furnaces, basins of living fish, books of butterflies and pressed leaves as if specimens of all living and growing things had been gathered in. They began the study of medicine by examining the blood stream in animals and drawing sand charts of human anatomy. Moreover the Stagyrite himself had little to say to them; a staff of assistants worked with them through the endless experimentation that began with the first daylight after Alexander had finished his sacrifice to Zeus.
How was their king called? ” Those lands, what were they, and how far did they stretch toward the place of the sun’s rising? And this the ambassadors could not tell him. Not one of them had journeyed the breadth of the Great King’s lands. They only knew that twenty-three nations inhabited those lands. One of them had heard it said that if a rider were to journey along the post roads without stopping, from west to east, he might come to the far end of the empire in a hundred days. ” Alexander had forgotten about welcoming these ambassadors and ushering them to quarters.