This week's Tale takes place in 63 BC. The setting, the kingdom of Pontus – a once powerful Black Sea empire – now a region of Eastern Turkey. Mithridates VI Eupator paces, knowing his time is up. Like Hannibal, he spent decades at war with Rome – and like Hannibal he would meet his end like a caged lion. A renowned freedom fighter, he was also a genocidal despot. A paranoid megalomaniac, raised to believe a series of comets and other omens marked him out as a messiah. Saviour of the East. King of Kings. In short, Mithridates was a complex guy
Today, we discuss the Poison King of Pontus.
You can read the episode here.
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Music, writing, narration, mixing all yours truly. Sound FX were from several free sites downloaded to laptop in 2019. The Mithridates poem is a section from A.E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad.
I normally save bibliographies for the Patreon, but there is only one source for 95% of this Tale –
The Poison King by Adrienne Mayor.
About the Author: Simone Whitlow is an academic, competitive quizzer, songwriter and musician. Her favourite part of A Shropshire Lad is the bit which starts “Into my heart an air that kills, From yon far country blows.” Hell, we all have ‘happy highways where we went, and cannot come again' right?
Transgender, she uses she/her pronouns.