Friday, 2 December 2016

Virgins With Sacks Of Gold

King Isketerol swears:

"'By Arucuttag of the Sea, by the Lady of Tartessos, by the Sun Lord whose likeness I wear, by the Grain Goddess by whose bounty we live, I swear this.'"
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Eighteen, p. 375.

These "Four of Tartessos" sound like the Three of Ys - with an extra Goddess.

What does Isketerol swear?

"'That a naked virgin with a sack of gold in each hand shall be able to walk from the sea to the mountains unmolested, by the time my kingship descends to my son.'" (ibid.)

We have met this virgin before. See here. The difference is that Poul Anderson's texts refer to a past Golden Age whereas Isketerol promises a golden future. He is just to his own people but on the wrong side in a war. And I do mean the wrong side, not just the other side. An alliance with Walker and an attack on Nantucket are simply wrong.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree in wishing King Isketerol was not the ally of William Walker. But I don't see what else he could have done. After all, with Walker's assistance and knowlege, Isketerol made himself King of Tartessos. To say nothing of becoming his blood brother.

I think Isketerol's biggest mistake was not trying harder to stay at peace with Nantucket, at least long enough for the New Learning to spread more widely among his people and take root. On the other hand, it's pretty plain Nantucket WOULD go to war with Tartessos, because the only way to really get to grips with Walker was by reaching Great Achaea thru Gibraltar. Still, it was a mistake to attack Nantucket.