Monday, 24 February 2014

Marius Again

Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006).

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.

7 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Let me try to encourage readers to drop their own comments here with one by me! Of course you "know" me (Smiles), and I live in the USA, the state of Massachusetts. And I think the very first Poul Anderson book I read was the first edition of AGENT OF THE TERRAN EMPIRE in either 1968 or 1969. Very young as I was, there was some quality of sheer story telling found in that book which so deeply appealed to me, something most other writers did not have (aside from JRR Tolkien), that I very soon became a fan of Poul Anderson.

Which is NOT to say I did not appreciate other authors, such as the pre STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND works of Robert A. Heinlein. And I greatly appreciated (and stil do) the works of writers such as Cordwainer Smith or Avram Davidson. Also, I used to be a fan of Isaac Asimov's works before I came to regard them largely with revulsion by 1975. But it was the works of Poul Anderson that I really came to love and collect with zeal!

A love which finally led me to begin writing letters personally to Anderson in 1978, eventually to a total of 24 letters. Anderson was always very kind and patient in his responses to my sometimes far too long and argumentative letters. Even doing me the honor of saying he found them interesting.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Thank you, Sean. Now we need someone else to follow Sean's lead...

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Thanks! And I hope Nicholas sees this and drop a few remarks of his own.

Can you recall which of Poul Anderson's books or stories was the very first you read? And when?

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
Possibly GUARDIANS OF TIME when it was newly published by Gollancz. I certainly read that very early.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

So, you first came across Anderson's work around 1961? That would fit with the Gollancz edition of the first four Time Patrol stories collected and pub. as GUARDIANS OF TIME in 1960.

Considering how MANY notes you've written about the Time Patrol stories, I can tell they made a very DEEP impression on you!

Sean

ndrosen said...

Hi, Sean and Paul,

I tried to reply yesterday, but the Intertubes ate my posting. I believe that my first Poul Anderson was Satan's World, which I think my mother bought for me at the supermarket. I was probably eleven or twelve at the time (1976-77). I didn't like the opening paragraphs very much , but I remember my interest being piqued because there was a reference to someone named Nicholas van Rijn (which I thought of as being pronounced "van Rizhn"); my name, of course, is Nicholas Rosen.

I did appreciate the book as I read more, although I didn't agree with the author's politics. I was a young leftist, but then, Anderson was also relatively Left in his younger days; we live and learn. I went on to read more Anderson books, bought, or found in libraries, and here I am.

Regards,
Nicholas

Paul Shackley said...

Nicholas, Thank you. Imagine being the sort of person who went right through life and into old age without ever changing an opinion! They exist.

Sean, The Time Patrol is still making a deep impression and seems to be endless in its layers of meaning and significance.

Paul.