Monday, 22 October 2012

The Wealth Of The Past

I am grateful to correspondent Sean M Brooks for suggesting that I reread Poul and Karen Andersons' Ys tetralogy shortly after rereading Poul Anderson's The Golden Slave. It is good to spend more time in Anderson's pasts before returning to his futures.

The connections between Anderson's various historical novels are clearer when they are reread successively. The tetralogy is rich in information not only about the by that time Christianised Roman Empire but also about other parts of Europe like the still Pagan Hivernia (Ireland) - the characters include a young man who will later be called St Patrick - and the mythical Ys.

So far, I have focused on what we are told about Irish gods and about the hero's deity, Mithras, the latter an early alternative to Christ. However, other details worthy of attention while rereading are:

the antecedents and history of Ys;
Ysan domestic life and politics;
the nature of the city's gods, the Three, and the role of its Witch-Queens, the Nine;
the various Challengers to Gratillonius' Kingship of Ys and what happens to them;
the network of resistance to Roman rule and Grallon's (Gratillonius') fruitful contact with it;
the aftermath, with Ys destroyed, Rome withdrawing, Christ triumphant, the beginning of the Dark Ages and the seeds of the Middle Ages (Gratillonius lived at the end of an age as we do now).

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