Monday, 29 October 2012

Good King Grallon II

(First see earlier post, "Good King Grallon.")

 At last, another wife addresses Gratillonius directly as "'...dear Grallon...' " (Poul and Karen Anderson, Roma Mater (London, 1989), p. 355).

Here, she is no longer mispronouncing "Gratillonius" but simply using the new Ysan form of the name, the one that, with its alternative "Gradlon," will be recorded in the legend from which the Andersons have created the fictitious character, Gaius Valerius Gratillonius.

Rereading but now scanning ahead, I notice one other reference in this opening volume of the tetralogy. Back to the King's favorite wife, Dahilis:

"His right name eluded her. It was lengthy, Latin, unmusical. Her tongue remembered how Ysans sometimes rendered it. 'Grallon. Oh, Grallon.' " p. 414.

It was she herself who, at least in our hearing, had stumbled on "Gratillonius," first saying "Grallon," then correcting herself (p. 317). Thus, very carefully, through five stages and over hundreds of pages, the authors have transformed the Latin name of their Romano-British character into the name of the legendary Ysan king.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Yes, I agree the Andersons were very skilled in how Gaius Valerius Gratillonius' name came to be "Ysanized" as "Grallon" or "Gradlon." And while Gratillonius himself accepted this, he was still gratified, I think, when other Romans used the true, Latin form.

I'm reminded of another "lengthy, Latin, unmusical" Roman name: Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, the author of THE CONSOLATION OF PHILOSOPHY. Hard to be more lengthy, Latin, and "unmusical" than that! One of Gratillonius' other wives took a serious interest in Greco/Roman culture (Bodilis?)


Paul Shackley said...


Sean M. Brooks said...

Thought so! Thanks, Paul.