Monday, 29 October 2012

That Guy Marius Again

In Roma Mater (London, 1989) by Poul and Karen Anderson, each of the Nine Witch-Queens of Ys has her own house where she is served by free servants, not by slaves. (There are no slaves in Ys although Ysan ships might engage in piracy and slave-trading elsewhere.) Each Queen inherits a house and redecorates it to her taste.

A post on this blog could list the Queens and descriptions of their houses but for the present we concentrate on Lanarvilis, visited by the King in Chapter XXII. Her house is the "...most luxuriously appointed..." with Oriental drapes, Egyptian portraits, Grecian figurines and Roman busts (p. 374).

The busts are of those "...whose workmanship had shored up, enlarged, repaired their state." (pp. 374-375) The names listed are Marius, Caesar, Augustus and Hadrianus. We have met them all before:

Marius defeated barbarian invaders of Italy in Poul Anderson's The Golden Slave and his name is the title of the opening story of a future history;
Caesar made Ys a foederate of Rome;
Augustus sent his engineers to build its sea defences;
Gratillonius, now King of Ys, was on Hadrian's Wall when Maximus summoned him to be dispatched on his mission to Ys.

Thus, a simple list of four names summarises that much history.

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