Honeyed Head Of Archonides
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Basic Information

The best friend of Cleomenes of Sparta was a fellow named Archonides. The two were allies and co-conspirators. In a vow of loyalty and friendship, Cleomenes declared that if he ever came to power, he would keep the the head of his ol' pal Archonides right by his side, and always ask his buddy's counsel on every important decision.

Sadly, power corrupts, and friendships sometimes fall by the wayside when one is climbing the rungs of power. Almost immediately upon being crowned Cleomenes I in 519 BC, the new King of Sparta had his ol' buddy Archonides sentenced to death. True to (some ironic Twilight-Zone-y version of) his word, Cleomenes I had Archonides beheaded, and his head preserved in honey. This mellification held deterioration and rot at bay for years. The new King never went anywhere without his old "friend", and would always ask the head it's advice before making any decision. By some accounts, he was mad enough to believe it answered him.

Sources

Bibliography
1. Non-Fiction Book: The World History of Beekeeping and Honey Hunting by Eva Crane
2. Non-Fiction Book: How To Mellify A Corpse by Vicki León

Game and Story Use

  • Could be a treasure in a game set in Ancient Greece.
  • In a game scenario, there's no need to assume Cleomenes was crazy… or at least not entirely crazy… or at least not without some sort of supernatural reasons for doing what he did.
    • It could have been magic. Perhaps the Honeyed Head of Archonides is similar to the Brazen Head that would show up in occult writings two thousand years later.
      • It's even possible that the more-famous Brazen Head is the head of Archonides, and was named erroneously by later observers because the honey and passage of time had discolored the flesh and hair.
    • It could well be that the ghost of Archonides that advised Cleomenes I.
      • I'd imagine his betrayed and beheaded old friend wouldn't have much positive to say to his new King, but that could give you some sort of interesting riff off of Hamlet or Cassandra. Uneasy rests the head, indeed.
      • Traditionally spirits in this position are subject to binding and/or compelling magics to force them to assist … such things tend to turn out badly when the spirits discover loopholes…
    • See mellification and human mummy confection for a few ideas on other properties a honey-preserved head might have.
    • See head-hunting, shrunken head and zombie heads for other head-specific ideas.
  • A honey-encrusted partially crystallized skull or head with magic powers would make a fun McGuffin to chase (or try keep out of the sticky fingers of the bad guys).
  • This all rather implies that Cleomenes has some form of necromancy.
    • "Classical" and historically-accurate greco-roman necromancy was just the ability to talk to the dead or interpret portents and omens brought by the spirits of the deceased… but "This! Is! Sparta!" so making him some sort of Battle Wizard has appeal and potential.
    • Given his treatment of ol' Archonides, I would suggest the fighting style of Cleomenes I, martial-sorcerer, may be The Bushwhacker or The Mezzer.
  • Cleomenes I died in prison under suspicious circumstances. Perhaps Archonides finally got his revenge?
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