Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Council Of Suffetes

Poul and Karen Anderson, Roma Mater (London, 1989).

In Ys, the Council of Suffetes meets in a chamber in the basilica. The chamber is ornamented in stone:

granite;
marble;
serpentine;
onyx -

- and has good acoustics. Tiered, padded benches on two sides of a central passage face a daised throne at the far end. Behind the throne are ten-foot statues of the Triad:

Taranis, male;
Belisama, female;
Lir, a kraken staring from a mosaic slab.

The robed King enters, wearing the Key and carrying the Hammer. Standing before the Throne and raising the Hammer, he says:

"'In the name of Taranis, peace. May His protection be on us.'" (p. 190)

The Nine Queens/priestesses sit on the left at the front. Their leader for the day rises, spreads her arms with palms down and says:

"'In the name of Belisama, peace. May Her blessing be on us.'" (p. 191)

On the right, Lir Captain, in a green and white robe, rises and says:

"'In the name of Lir, peace. May His wrath not be on us.'" (p. 191) -

- and strikes the floor with his trident.

Thus, the Triad personify protection, blessing, wrath and peace.

Apart from the Nine, the Council comprises thirty three men from the thirteen Suffete clans. Entry to the clans is by birth or by marriage for women and adoption for children. Also present is the Speaker for Taranis who, at least when Gratillonius becomes King, also represents the Great House of Timbermen. The Sea Lord, the Lord of Works and the Lord of Gold are ex officio members. There are also guild delegates. The Council meets at equinox and solstice and the King can order a special assembly. At his first meeting, Gratillonius must speak in Latin while others use Latin or Ysan with interpretation as necessary by Queen Bodilis.

There will probably be further posts about the Council and Ys.

5 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Hmmm, I don't remember the Great House of Timbermen. Who or what was that?

    And, as happens too often with Poul Anderson's books, the cover illustration is defective. The city of Ys was below sea level and had to be protected by a sea wall. The illustration shows Ys ABOVE sea level. Annoying!

    Sean

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sean,
    I think that this is the only mention of Timbermen.
    Paul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kaor, Paul!

      I did wonder if the House of Timbermen had anything to do with the lumber industry, but surely that's too prosaic!

      Sean

      Delete
  3. Sean,
    I took it to mean that.
    Paul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kaor, Paul!

      The "House of Timbermen" may be a remaining shadow of of an idea the Andersons had in mind for writing about. But one they chose not to further develop and then forgot to remove from the text.

      Sean

      Delete