Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Heroes

"...stone figures, representing heroes of an Empire dead so long its very existence was legend, stared down at them."
-Jerry Pournelle, King David's Spaceship (London, 1984), p. 198.

The Old Empire ended three hundred and sixteen years previously, long enough ago to generate some legends. We know from a list given in the following volume that those "heroes" are a mixed bunch:

Caesar
Ivan the Terrible (the first Tsar)
Napoleon
Churchill
Stalin
Washington
Jefferson
Trotsky

Even the fact that the First Empire was preceded by a CoDominium of the United States and the Soviet Union does not account for the inclusion of both Stalin and Trotsky on the same list.

Poul Anderson's Terran Empire, basing itself primarily on the Roman Empire, does not require such ideological obfuscation of past history. Its heroes might be:

Aeneas
Romulus
Caesar
Augustus
Virgil
Argos   

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I too thought of Pournelle's CoDominium, which preceded the Old Empire, as explaining how some of these "heroes" came to be represented in these stone images. It would be natural for some of these heroes/villains to be confusedly remembered on Makassar after the First Empire fell.

    I do agree that Manuel Argos, Founder of Poul Anderson's Terran Empire, was inspired by Rome, but I argued there was more to Manuel's Empire than that. For one thing, it was far more stabler than Augustus' Empire, because descendants of Manuel I ruled Terra for over 440 years under the Argolid and Wang dynasties. Also, as Chunderban Desai pointed out, non human influences also played a role.

    Sean

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