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Jack Carpenter's First Adventure
A big thank you for checking out Jack and my website. Here on Jack's first foray, The Vytautas' Pursuit's home page, we paint a mystical picture of ancient Europe and how it evolved. With particular focus on the struggle the Ancient Romans experienced in taking those final steps towards conquering the Northeast.
Here we briefly touch on the mystique surrounding early Lithuanian history - or the lack of it and how two thousand years after the Roman entry into the Baltic States, Jack Carpenter was thrust into a maelstrom only to come out of the other side a changed person. Ready to take on the World for all those injustices out there foisted upon innocents needing that helping hand.
We hope you enjoy the next four web pages outlining Jack's exploits thoughout his first adventure and that you will be motivated to take that next step, out of curiosity if nothing else, and read the novel that will fill in many of the blanks and unanswered questions left to your imagination here.
A Lietuva, so remote, so untouched, had been a sleeping giant for millennia just waiting to evolve. None of this happened overnight. Ten thousand years before the first precursor to man, the anthropoids, not even close to the emergence of the first sign of human life. It took another seven thousand years for that, and they came in the form of the classic Indo-European.
The Indo-Europeans would battle with various local tribes until sanity prevailed. Their weaponry was rather less sophisticated than you would expect from even the most ancient empires or kingdoms. Clubs. Axes. Crude swords formed from stone. The end results. The emergence of the early Baltic tribes. The emergence of Lietuva, from out of the murky, foggy, yet intrinsically beautiful land that had been, from time immemorial, a mythical conundrum. Only through the eyes of its predecessor empires and how they had striven to conquer this alluring land could we ever begin to understand how to decrypt its code.
The history of Europe began with its seas. The only way for the early empires and civilisations to explore and expand its European footprint was by ships. The Ancient Greek Colonists, led by Pythaes of Massalia, would sail the calm Aegean from Island to Island four hundred years before the birth of Christ.
These ancient ships needed many oarsmen and at least the same number of supervision. The Greeks were mostly deterred from long-distance exploration. A combination of the overpowering storms of the more distant open seas and the need to use heavier vessels commanding more manpower saw Lietuva remain undiscovered for centuries.
It was in the first century AD, Tacitus, the great Roman historian, had spoken of the tribal presence of the Aestii to which the Greeks had referred from afar. Heavy fighting and assimilation over the previous millennium manifested into a strong tribal presence on the South Baltic shores of Lietuva. Tacitus’ formidable intelligence network remained the only information source of how the tribes came into being.
Legends traced back the foundations of the Lietuvan state to the first century AD, when Palemon, a senior courtier in the service of Emperor Nero, fled the strict boundaries of the Roman Empire, with Tacitus and his legion of men and families, and settled at the confluence of two great rivers in central Lietuva. There the legends kept flowing. They would have Palemon founding the first of the dynasties, becoming what many believe, the inaugural ruler of Lietuva. Over time, this nebulous story had been elaborated upon by pagan chiefs, again and again.
The Aestii worshipped the Mother of the gods whose identity was buried in the historic maelstrom that was Lietuvan legend. Tacitus had gathered much intelligence about the Aestii through his network of advisors in surrounding lands. But his interest was piqued mostly by the priceless mineral, to all intents and purposes a precious gem, known today as amber.
The key to its evolution and longevity of supply were the pine forests, producing the resin crucial to amber’s existence. Over sixty million years ago these giant pines thrived in the then subtropical climate of the amber forest.
The coordinated roles that all children of mother nature played in the production of the large quantities of amber were remarkable. The pine forests were collectively producing an astonishing amount of resin. The key to this dates back millions of years, where the forests were ravaged by storms, lightning, pests and disease-bearing fungi. The production of amber from the trees was nature’s way of healing the savagery of the elements. As it healed, any oversupply of amber would seep from the lofty heights of the forests like water from a breached dam and embed itself into the local sediments, waiting to be compressed again and again. Over the next million years or so, fossilisation would gradually, steadily take place.
There was an endless abundance. A rare fossil resin formed by centuries of natural action. The substance that would bring untold wealth back to the Roman Empire. Tacitus had documented his conclusions about the translucent golden pieces passed from hand to hand, their worth increasing with distance from their source. Yes, this was the medium that would restore Palemon, and indeed himself, to a much more esteemed status back home.
The beauty of this gemstone had no bounds. Its use over the centuries had been manifold. Ornaments for men, women, horses and weapons. For cult symbols. During Pagan worship and tribal rituals, amber was seen as a way to embellish those who would seek immortality with the gods. Tacitus found quickly that the overarching benefit could also be translated into economic terms. Following Tacitus’ extensive research and painstaking information gathering from distant shores, he requested a meeting with Palemon in Rome. The beginning of a halcyon period in Lietuva that would leave its mark for centuries to come.
What remains unexplained to this very day, as if a time warp had created a vortex, Lietuva had gone into hibernation, no recorded history for a thousand years.
It would not be until the penultimate decade of the twentieth century, when the birth of a baby boy, Jack Carpenter, would change the course of Lithuanian history. His destiny to solve a puzzle that had remained unresolved from the time historians had archived what they could about Lietuva, and Lithuanian origins.
A puzzle that, once answered, would see vast wealth and ancient culture returned to its rightful place in the annals of a land that time forgot.