Sunday, 13 November 2016

Sultan After Sultan

Think, in this batter’d Caravanserai
Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
Abode his Hour or two and went his way.
-copied from here.

(We might get through the entire Rubaiyat eventually.)

Nights and days are squares on a chequer-board or doorways.

Poul Anderson shows us the Roman Empire, the Terran Empire, in fact several Terran Emperors, then a time when it is said:

"'...the League, the troubles, the Empire, its fall, the Long Night...every such thing - behind us. In space and time alike.'" (Flandry's Legacy, p. 722)

In space: Old Earth is " the spiral arm behind this one..." (p. 713) In time: Anglic is an ancient language. (p. 715)

How better to show that Sultan after Sultan abides his hour, then goes his way, than by writing a future history series with several installments set in an Imperial period and other installments set centuries or millennia later? Despite the title of this omnibus volume, the name of the Imperialist Flandry is not mentioned in any of the post-Imperial installments. Descendants of one group of his enemies are discovered but their original name is not remembered either.

"Abode his hour or two and went his way."

I want to check some details about Ythri but maybe not at this time of night, having just returned from a friend's seventieth birthday party.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I would have liked to have seen more of the Terran Emperors myself! Besides the Founder, Manuel the Great, we saw Josip III (while still crown prince), then the reluctant usurper, Emperor Hans and his two sons Dietrich and Gerhart. I've regretted how, considering the favorable mentions of him we've seen, that we never saw Emperor Georgios. Then we saw the would be usurpers Hugh McCormac, Edwin Cairncross, and Olaf Magnusson.

Rather oddly, aside from the usurper Magnus Maximus, we never meet any of the Roman Emperors of who lived during Gratillonius' lifetime: Valentinian I, Valens, Gratian, Valentinian II, Theodosius I, Arcadius, Honorius, and Theodosius II.

We do get a very interesting chapter about Cardinal Richelieu in THE BOAT OF A MILLION YEARS. Some readers might be surprised at how favorably PA regarded the Cardinal. And we see Charles I of England in A MIDSUMMER TEMPEST.

Hank Davis, who compiled the Technic Civilization stories for Baen Books, might have named the final volume FLANDRY'S LEGACY that way because Flandry's struggles, toils, and efforts might very well have helped to come into existence the more favorable things we see in the post Imperial stories.