Monday, August 19, 2013


Some more thoughts.  I suppose they have a tendency to ramble a bit, but I felt the need to get them out.  I also find that rambling is a dreaded side-effect of attempting to explain the unexplainable. So, anyway, apologies for any annoyance.

In my last post I spoke of the new world Alexander created--a Hephaestion-shaped world, my world.  I've often spoken of the profound effect these two mentors have had on my life.  However, I realized I may have failed to give equal attention to my third mentor--who is somewhat related to Hephaestion and Alexander and equally as epic.

With this new world Alexander created came the possibility of the perfect person--someone who combines all that was great in Alexander with the very best of Hephaestion.  Enter Jared Leto.  I have known of his work since the very beginning of his career and have always been a fan, but it is only within the last year, especially the last six months, that I realized how profoundly his work touches me.

As I said, I believe in Jared lies all that made Alexander great with all that Hephaestion was.  The motto Jared adopted for himself and his family is "Provehito in Altum" which loosely translated means "launch forward into the deep".  Jared can constantly be found up in the air over a new deep.  According to sources, this is something Alexander did from the time he could form full thoughts and intentions.  It was this very drive that led him to push to the very edges of the known world and beyond being held back only by the fears of his short-sighted army.

Alexander possessed a great thirst for knowledge begun under Leonidas and Aristotle and continued throughout his lifetime.  As he crossed Asia conquering new lands, he conquered new information.  His retinue included all sorts of artists, philosophers, and scientists.  Artistic competitions held equal footing with games.  It is said Alexander himself even directed the treating of some of his men's illnesses and wounds.  Jared, as well, always seems to be learning something new, always seeking a new experience, always reaching for the next horizon, always fighting for a new dream.

Yes, Alexander had flaws.  As amazing as he was, he could be spoiled, petulant, arrogant and out of control.  Jare is no stranger to trouble having been very open about his turbulent childhood and adolescence.  But as Alexander did not allow these parts to define his whole, Jared overcame his troubles to create a new world for himself--a world focused on knowledge, art, and beauty--all the best gifts of Apollo.

Little is known of Hephaestion,  He rarely surfaces in the ancient sources, and when he does, the information is often contradictory or clearly slanted.  I have detailed in previous posts who I believe Hephaestion to be.  Much as Mary Renault said, I believe him to be the most under-rated man in history.  It is a Hephaestion-shaped world for it is a world created by Alexander and its is Hephaestion who tempered Alexander.  It is Hephaestion who ensured that all that was good in Alexander would control the flaws, at least the majority of the time.

As mentioned above, Jared has admitted to doing some horrible things in his early days.  Both he and his brother lived for some time in a world predominated by chaos, violence, and ugliness.  However, something within Jared finally allowed him to look beyond that to the beauty that was in his world and reevaluate his path.  I would like to think that the beauty in his soul finally defeated the demons hiding the potential of life.  He chose to build a new world for himself that focused on creativity.  In creativity, he found art.  In art, he found beauty.  In beauty, he found himself.

Hephaestion seems to be a man who combined a love of knowledge and art with the physical life of a soldier.  He fought for the better part of a decade yet he possessed the ability to organize millions of disparate people into a vast empire and the diplomatic skills to somewhat unite them behind a common set of ideas.  He lived a life on campaign with rough and tumble men, yet he corresponded with philosophers.  He may not have been Alexanders' most militarily-distinguished general, yet he held his own on the battlefield as attested by both his scars and Alexander's trust.

Hephaestion was  man noted for his physical beauty, one of the few things the ancient sources do mention about him.  As striking as Alexander was said to have been, it was acknowledged that Hephaestion was even more so.  Jared has long been known for his as well.  Much to his frustration, I suspect, the often mindless focus on that physical beauty distracts attention from all that is deeper.  For just as Hephaestion's beauty did not define him, neither does Jared's.  Hephaestion remains a man who defies labeling.  Partially because little is verifiably known, but more so I think, because of his complexity.  Labeling brings one certain aspect into specific relief--assigns a certain category--boxes into a preconceived notion.  Jared defies labeling and will challenge anyone who attempts to give him one.  One of his most common encouragements to those around him is to constantly and consistently challenge that very compulsion to label.  The human desire to do so comes from its deep need to understand what is around it for understanding brings control.  For Jared, the journey is the goal, the treasure.  The very point is to not understand or control for that is what brings growth.

Provehito in Altum

Friday, August 16, 2013

Apologies ahead of time as this may ramble a bit, but it's something that has been rolling around in my head for awhile but haven't been able to put adequately into words.  I think I still haven't, but here goes.  And I more than realize that this may be a Hephaestion that only exists in my mind, but it is MY Hephaestion.............

I live in a different universe than the rest of humanity, one guided by twin suns--one named Alexander and one named Hephaestion.  One sun inspires ambition, energy, a need to always conquer, to always learn.  The other calms, tempers, brings balance, brings beauty.

In the life and career of Alexander the Great are the secrets of life.  In him is greatness. In him is immortality.  In Hephaestion is everything that makes all in Alexander worthwhile.  Alexander set fire to the history obliterating everything that came before, creating in its place a world that was not and never would be the same.  But it was a Hephaestion-shaped world.  For, no offense to Alexander who was no mere mortal, everything that made Alexander Alexander was Hephaestion.  He supported Alexander's ambitions and dreams.  He sacrificed everything, including his own life, for those dreams.  While there is little doubt Alexander would have out-excelled all mankind, he would not have gone so far and the journey would not have been as worthy without Hephaestion.

Hephaestion was the greatest of men--a soldier but also a strong servant of Apollo.  He showed that a man could be strong, athletic, physically beautiful, and possessed of great endurance but also intellectual, regal, philosophical, and a lover of beauty.  He balanced two seemingly disparate halves with a transcendent grace.  It is this balance he gave to Alexander and to the world they created.

Alexander was brave, almost to the point of lunacy at times, intellectual, quick-witted, playful, and fiercely loyal; however, he could also be petulant, spoiled, enraged, and occasionally cruel.  Yet one word from Hephaestion could calm all that--often the only thing that could calm all that.  Hephaestion was the axis around which Alexander spun.

My world is more often than not filled with chaos--a chaos in my own head that I can not escape.  Like Alexander, I have grand ambitions.  I have always had a deep and abiding love for history and archaeology which I wish to share with the world.  I want to spread knowledge throughout the world and make it a better place before I leave it.  I believe in Alexander and Hephaestion's desire to create a world that shared culture and knowledge, that broke down barriers.  But I have been cursed with an illness which injects chaos and madness into my world leaving it unbalanced.  So much as Alexander, Hephaestion is the axis around which my world spins.  He brings peace, he brings he brings balance, he tempers the storms.  He pushes me to continue in both his and Alexander's foosteps, even if I often am reduced to crawling, in the dream of one day meeting them in Elysium and hearing Hephaestion say "I am proud of you, my beloved friend.  You have achieved more than Alexander and I could have hoped."

Alexander's world did not function without Hephaestion.  Mine does not function without the pair of them.

(I realize that very little is actually known of Hephaestion.  I have faith, but if I get to the afterlife and find out that Hephaestion was really a douche, I will so incredibly beyond pissed!)