Saturday, 13 October 2012
Conan And Marius
Conan is the central character of a novel whereas Marius is discussed by characters in a novel and a short story. Marius, good at soldiering and at nothing else, made the mistake of going into politics and causing chaos whereas Conan, disliking states, preferring barbarism to civilisation, had the good sense to stay with what he was good at. I understand that later in this multi-authored series Conan does become a king but I imagine that this involves one-man rule of a small kingdom with popular assent, a very different proposition from electoral office and power politics in the growing, soon to be imperial, Roman state.
Marius, a general, rallied Romans and annihilated barbarian invaders. Conan, a barbarian, inspired rebels who annihilated imperial invaders. Conan also performed the cinematic feat of swinging on a rope to attack his enemies from behind. Only in Poul Anderson's works is it possible to read both an assessment of the historical Marius' military and political careers and an addition to the fictitious Conan's military exploits.