In THE DEADLIEST LIE, Miriam recalls her trips to the Great Harbor with her twin brother Binyamin:
In the early morning when we were kids, Binyamin and I would rush a mule cart and climb over its tailgate to hitch a ride toward the Great Harbor. Binyamin would go first vaulting into the cart with a somersault, but I’d occasionally lose my perch and tumble onto my buttocks in the middle of the fiery pavement, sometimes on a pillow of spilled grain but just as often on a pile of fresh horse dung. Binyamin would toss handfuls of fodder at me from the scuttle the driver keeps for his mule and further embarrass me with his guffaws until the tide of clip-clopping traffic and the parade of peddlers hauling their handcarts eclipsed him.
Once we’d reach the harbor, I’d admire the curving shoreline, inhale the breath of the sea, and lick its brine off my lips. I’d listen to the ships groan and creak in synchrony with the tide and time my breathing to coincide with its rhythm. I’d follow the gulls, some gliding on the wind high above their shadow, others riding the iron-colored swells or swooping below the surface to return with a silvery fish. And I’d watch the wind darken the water and kick up whitecaps.
Binyamin would watch the warships split the sea as they glided into the harbor. Smaller, lighter, and swifter than the sluggish hulks the Ptolemies built and the clumsy war galleys Mark Antony commanded, these biremes, each with their two levels of oars on each side, their large square sail, and their pointed prow, maneuver with an agility that would fascinate Binyamin for hours.
The Mediterranean ports were active from March to November, but then as now, the best time of year was from near the end of May through mid-September. Seize those idyllic days of summer once again with Miriam in THE DEADLIEST LIE. Just click here.