The first thing I did after I finished the latest Vol. 9 of Historie [ヒストリエ] by Hitoshi Iwaaki [岩明均] was to look up Iwaaki-sensei’s year of birth, so that I can calculate how many earthly years may be left for him to finish this incomparable epic, of which Vol.9 is still setting the stage.
Historie is the story of Eumenes of Cardia from boyhood to manhood. The real Eumenes in history is remembered as the clever, talented, wily and resourceful royal secretary of Alexander the Great, who later discarded the pen and took up the sword as a military commander (and one of the commanders active in the dividing the spoils of Alexander’s empire after his sudden death at that). If the chips had fallen the right way, it would not be inconceivable for us today to learn of the Eumenes as the successor to Alexander. However, Eumenes had two things working against him. First, he was a foreigner – a Greek in the court of Macedonia, which meant he was an outsider and out of the game of forging useful alliances through marriage like his Macedonian peers. Secondly, he began his career as a secretary, which in the macho culture of Macedonia was seen as a negative. In addition, the major irony is that although Eumenes was the most ardent loyalist to the royal house of Macedonia from start to finish, he was declared an outlaw in the bizarre Game-of-Thrones environment after Alexander’s death. As the historian James Romm summarized in Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the Bloody Fight for His Empire:
“Such was the strange position Eumenes found himself in amid the turmoil of the civil war. He alone of all the leaders in that war had gained a major battlefield victory. Yet he had ended up without a country, cause, or commander to fight for. His cavalry was good enough to win against any challenger – but just what he could win was beyond’s anyone’s surmise.”