This page lists characters who were employed as sailors on the Aphrodite in the Hellenic Traders series. Information on the ship's officers (Menedemos, Sostratos, and Diokles) should be included in each character's respective page.
Sailors will be listed alphabetically, with abbreviations indicating which novel(s) they appeared in. Those abbreviations are as follows:
Attinos son of Thonis was a sailor in the Egyptian navy serving aboard Blepyros's ship. With Ptolemaios's blessing, Menedemos asked Blepyros to assign six of his rowers to the Aphrodite. Attinos was one of the men reassigned. Unlike the others, he was a native Egyptian, not a Hellene. He spoke good Greek, though he littered it with obscenities.
When the Aphrodite returned to Rhodes following the Egyptian defeat at Salamis, Attinos and Sostratos agreed that the Egyptian sailor was unlikely to be able to book passage back to Alexandria any time soon. Sostratos suggested that Attinos look for work with Himilkon and urged the Egyptian to use him as a reference. Himilkon hired Attinos (who spoke some Aramaic--much less fluently than he spoke Greek, but no less profanely).
Attinos later joined Himilkon at the gymnasion, where most of the men of Rhodes were attempting to learn martial arts in preparation for an invasion by Demetrios. One day, while Sostratos was also exercising at the gymnasion, a Hellene insulted Attinos's penis. Attinos responded with mockery of his own. The Hellene then assaulted Attinos, and Attinos decisively won the ensuing brawl. He and Himilkon then left the gymnasion, with Himilkon wondering whether he should raise Attinos's pay and assign him as night watchman at his warehouse.
The Hellene threatened to take Attinos to law. Sostratos discouraged him from doing so, pointing out that he, not the Egyptian, had instigated both the verbal and the physical altercations. The Hellene was angry that Sostratos would take the side of a barbarian over a compatriot. Sostratos replied that an Egyptian who was practicing martial arts in order to defend Rhodes in its hour of need was his compatriot.
Kerdon was a sailor in the Egyptian navy serving aboard Blepyros's ship. With Ptolemaios's blessing, Menedemos asked Blepyros to assign six of his rowers to the Aphrodite. Three men volunteered, and the captain assigned three others to join the Rhodian crew as well. Kerdon was one of the latter group. He was unhappy to be reassigned but dared not cross Blepyros.
Leskhaios sailed to Egypt aboard the Aphrodite. Shortly after the akatos left its home port, Leskhaios developed blisters on the palms of his hands. This was not an uncommon injury early in a sea voyage, and Diokles suggested the sailor rub oil on his palms. Menedemos asked Diokles whether Leskhaios should be reassigned to the sail till his palms had healed. Diokles opined that Leskhaios was not in much pain but was malingering.
When the Aphrodite reached the southern shore of the Inner Sea, Leskhaios was the first sailor to spot land, thus earning a small bonus. Menedemos and Sostratos were disappointed that they would have to pay him.
Menedemos assigned Leskhaios to join Sostratos's expedition up the Nile to Memphis. This was disappointing to Sostratos, who found Leskhaios unpleasantly argumentative. On arriving in Memphis, Sostratos had Leskhaios carry an amphora of Damonax's oil into the kitchen of the nomarch's palace in order to make his sales pitch to Alexandros's cooks. Leskhaios later joined his comrades on an excursion to see the Pyramids. Their guide, Pakebkis, included beer on the saddles of the camels which Sostratos had hired to carry the tourists, and encouraged the tourists to drink up in order to remain hydrated. The always contrarian Leskhaios initially refused to drink beer, which he considered beneath his dignity, till the heat of the day convinced him that dehydration was an even less attractive option.
When Sostratos and the sailors returned to Alexandria and immediately began preparations to get under way as part of Ptolemaios's naval relief force bound for Cyprus, Leskhaios was one of seven sailors who decided to jump ship. He cited the lack of year-round income that sailors faced, an unhappy family life, and the apparent ease of making money for Hellenes in Egypt as reasons to stay behind, and obtained a job offer assisting a baker at a dockside inn. Sostratos reminded Leskhaios that Lysistratos regularly gave sailors who'd fallen on hard times in the winter months food or silver, a point which Leskhaios did concede. Sostratos also privately reflected that such an argumentative man and a lazy worker as Leskhaios was likely to find his opportunities limited anywhere. None of this dissuaded Leskhaios from jumping ship, and Sostratos calculated how much pay the departing sailor was due. Sostratos was quite scrupulous in his estimate. He checked it against Menedemos's and Diokles's recollections, and erred on the side of generosity by giving the sailor the highest of the three estimates. Leskhaios nevertheless insinuated that he was being shortchanged, but did not make an issue of it.
Nikagoras was a veteran Rhodian sailor who had worked aboard the Aphrodite for several years by the time the ship sailed to Alexandria. In that time, he had impressed Menedemos as a sensible seaman. When the Aphrodite was conscripted into the Egyptian navy before the Battle of Salamis, she had to keep her oars manned all day and night. Thus, it was periodically necessary for a sailor to relieve Diokles of his duties as keleustes so he could sleep. Diokles selected Nikagoras for this task. Nikagoras did a good job and was paid a bonus for service above his pay grade.
Since Nikagoras is said to have sailed aboard the Aphrodite for several years it seems very likely that he was included among unnamed sailors in earlier books in the series. However, as of this writing, his only definitive appearance has been in Salamis.
Okumenes was a sailor in the Egyptian navy serving aboard Blepyros's ship. With Ptolemaios's blessing, Menedemos asked Blepyros to assign six of his rowers to the Aphrodite. Okumenes was one of these. Though he had served on a huge war galley prior to his reassignment, Okumenes was so comfortable rowing on a fast, light ship that--combined with his Cretan origins--Sostratos found himself wondering whether Okumenes had ever served aboard a pirate ship.
Rhinias was a sailor who passed out when the Aphrodite required a long sustained burst of speed to escape capture by one of Demetrios's war galleys. Diokles immediately took over his oar, while Sostratos in turn took over the duties of keleustes. After dark he regained consciousness and sought to resume his station immediately, but Sostratos and Diokles insisted he rest until the next day.
Thersandros was one of five sailors who accompanied Sostratos up the Nile to Memphis to sell Damonax's olive oil. On the journey up the Nile, he spoke disdainfully of Egyptian religious customs, for which Sostratos sharply rebuked him. In a private conversation with the tokharkos, Thersandros suggested that, as the Greek-speaking Macedonians had conquered Egypt, Hellenes were under no obligation to respect Egyptian culture. Sostratos replied that Ptolemaios's soldiers would not be any help if an Egyptian in a tavern decided to murder Thersandros for his blasphemy.
Despite his disdain for Egyptian culture, Thersandros took advantage of the opportunity to visit the Pyramids when Sostratos paid for an excursion out of Memphis. Later, he carried an amphora of oil to Zoilos's house so Sostratos could make his sales pitch to the merchant.
Trityllos was one of five sailors who accompanied Sostratos up the Nile to Memphis to sell Damonax's olive oil. While in Memphis, he joined his comrades and Sostratos on an excursion to see the Pyramids. They traveled on camelback. Trityllos was a bit intimidated by the animals' size and feared that the rocking motion of their gait amplified by their great height would make him queasy.