44 BC - Polycrates saw his opportunity to avenge his homeland. Julius Caesar, the leader of the Romans had visited the conquered territory of Greece. The Romans came to Greece many years before. In the wake of their invasion, they desacrated the Parthenon, a temple to Athena, as a revenge for the Greeks who inflicted massive casualties against the invading Roman force. At Athens, a group of former soldiers lead by Polycrates, conspired to assassinate the Roman dictator. Polycrates said "we shall expel these Romans who had desacrated our homeland. The gods have told me of a powerful empire in the east. We shall turn them into allies against our enemies. In this day we shall send Julius Caesar, scourge of Athena, to the depths Hades and his successors will see the destruction of their empire."
Legends told us that Polycrates, is the child of Zeus to a mortal woman named Helen. Zeus had said to her to take care of the child because "his descendants will rise up from the east and defeat the western invaders in their own land."
With his courage, Polycrates took a crossbow, aimed it to the head of Caesar and fired it. In an instant, the most powerful person in the empire lay dead before his soldiers. Polycrates and his group escaped from Athens to Egypt and into Persia where they were welcomed by the Persian court. But Polycrates will not stay long. Romans are closing in Persia's borders and is very vulnerable to invasion. Persia is not the powerful eastern empire as told by the gods. They will have to go further east, to the far east.
42 BC - Accompanied by his colleagues and oracles, Polycrates travels to Babylon, were the oracles performed their rituals and "asked guidance from the gods." After hours of trance, the oracles wrote their "encounter" with the gods in a piece of papyrus.
"Apollo, the messenger of the gods, had shown to us a land ruled peasant kings. They were a prosperous empire. People from surrounding lands paid tribute and its citizens enjoyed the rule of the peasant-king, who looked after the welfare of his people. Apollo said to us 'go east to that land, for the Romans will conquer Persia and all of the known world will fall to their rule. The empire in the east will grow stronger and more powerful and one day they will clash each other. They will be your allies, they will help you liberate Athens and the rest of the land of the gods. It would be an ardous journey but the gods will lend their hands. Build a massive ship that can cross the ocean and carry you, your family and your men to the east..."
40 BC - The ship was constructed and Polycrates traveled through the Euphrates river and into the Persian Gulf. Thus, began their Odyssey.
Meanwhile, Octavian rose to power and proclaimed himself the "Emperor of Rome and the Mediterranean Sea". To solidify his rule, he expanded his empire eastward until he met the Persians.
---Up next: Polycrates' Odyssey and the Invasion of Persia by the Romans