Thursday, 18 October 2012

Mithradates

Poul Anderson wrote of the characters in his Hrolf Kraki's Saga (New York, 1973):

"To us, their behavior seems insanely egoistic..." (p. xx).

In ancient times, the rich and powerful were able to behave in ways that we would regard as childish. In Anderson's The Golden Slave (New York, 1980), Mithradates rages when a woman whom he wants as a concubine absconds. I thought that his behaviour was infantile and Anderson confirmed this through the character Eodan:

"...the Cimbrian knew where he had seen such a look before - in small children, about to scream from uncontrollable rage." (p. 247)

Mithradates demonstrates his "Greatness" by mastering his rage sufficiently to dismiss the men who have been caught up in the drama of the unwilling concubine instead of taking any further action against them.

These men are Eodan and Flavius. Since Eodan is the original of Odin, could his opponent Flavius who smiles mockingly and moves like a cat be the original of Loki? Maybe, but Flavius' full name is Gnaeus Valerius Flavius and I do not find it possible to derive "Loki" from it.

2 comments:

  1. I spotted Eodan and Tjorr as Odin and Thor, as well as seeing Phryne and Hwicca combining as Fricka, but didn't think of a connection between Flavius and Loki. Did Anderson intend it?

    Hmm. Flavius to Lavi, to Loki? It's not clear, and a bit of a stretch, but it could possibly be.

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  2. Hi,
    When I wrote this note, I clearly thought that Flavius' character resembled Loki's but, no, the names don't connect!

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