Monday, 24 February 2014
In Roman history and in Poul Anderson's historical novel The Golden Slave, the Roman general Marius halted a barbarian invasion of Italy. Marius is mentioned in Anderson's Psychotechnic History and in Poul and Karen Anderson's King of Ys Tetralogy and also, I am fairly sure, in other works by Poul Anderson. I have discussed Marius more than once here.
Here he is again - or rather his absence is here, in another timeline. Because the Romans lost the Second Punic War, the Punic Wars are called the Roman Wars and there was no army of the Roman Republic led by Marius to oppose that barbarian invasion:
"'About a hundred years after the Roman Wars, some Germanic tribes overran Italy.' (That would be the Cimbri, with their allies the Teutones and Ambrones, whom Marius had stopped in Everard's world.)" (pp. 201-202)
Because the two histories diverged so long ago, the only language in common between Everard and a citizen of Ynys ar Afallon is ancient Greek. Everard once had a job in Alexandrine times and Deirdre Mac Morn is a Classical scholar who performs Greek drama. ("Mac" means "son" so a patronymic has become a surname, as in our timeline.) The disappearance of Rome from history becomes clear when Everard says:
"'I speak Latin too.'
"'Latin?' She frowned in thought. 'Oh, the Roman speech, was it not? I am afraid you will find no one who knows much about it.'" (p. 188)
(I keep trying to halt the forward momentum of this blog so that I can apply some attention to alternative activities. I have again reached a round number of posts near the end of a month so this might be a breathing space. Meanwhile, I would like to hear from blog readers. If anyone out there can find time to "comment" by saying who they are, where they are and how they came to be interested in Poul Anderson, that would be appreciated.)
Addendum, 24 Feb '14: As I thought, Marius is mentioned during a political and historical discussion in Poul Anderson's futuristic sf novel, Shield (New York, 1970), p. 86.