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From: raster@highfiber.com (Charles Dye)
Subject: (urth) Digest Urth, or brains thereof
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 15:57:05 

adam louis stephanides <astephan@students.uiuc.edu> explicates:

>raster argued that, as long as Severian was still alive or if he'd been
>lost at sea, nobody could be a legitimate Autarch.  It's not clear to me
>whether this is because a legitimate Autarch must eat his predecessor's
>brains ...

Such an ugly phrase, that.  Can't we come up with some polite euphemism?
"Breakfast for your head" ... no, wait, I like "eating brains" better.
Never mind.  Yes, that was my point:  you need a body for succession to

> ... or simply that a legitimate Autarch must be chosen by his
>predecessor.  If the former, it would seem that the Autarchy runs a
>grave risk of being permanently lost, either through the Autarch being
>captured by the enemy, or killed in battle or by assassination with
>the designated successor unable to arrive in time.  

But note that ol' Appian has been captured by the enemy!  It's made
pretty clear that Severian is the "designated successor," but I'm not
certain that there always is one.  Alls ya needs is a corpse, a knife,
and the drug -- all provided by Appian -- and instructions, which
presumably Inire would have provided had A been unable to.  The next-
in-line may be a randomly chosen bystander, if you don't have a
designated successor handy.

(You'll notice that after Appian's injury and capture, Inire can be
seen skulking about.  Severian thinks he's trying to carry out a
rescue.  Fat chance -- Appian's as good as dead.  I believe Inire is
there to ensure the continued dynasty.)

That said, yes, the regime does have some problems.  It also has a
few advantages.  Fr'instance, it's easy to decide whether or not an
individual claiming the Autarchy is the real McCoy.  He knows the

m.driussi@genie.com writes:

>Actually I believe raster's primary concern re: authentic autarchs is
>the same as my own--the brain eating bit.  It seems to define
>"autarch" as distinct from "monarch," "suzerain," "dictator of the
>proletariate," etc.; it also seems to figure into the equation of
>"how one person can represent many" in a concrete way rather than
>just the lip-service paid by representative democracy.  The autarch
>=is= legion--it isn't just a metaphor.

And also provides a slick justification for the royal plural.

>So yes, yes, very rickety.  I imagine Inire stepping out of the
>shadows to help along a situation that requires a deus ex
>machina to deliver a brain-eater--that is, Inire won't allow the
>system to fail; the autarch breaks his neck, a scullary maid becomes

Or a honey steward, of course.

mary whalen -- well, okay, prion -- notes:

>Has anyone noticed that the Autarch Appian's name is a homophone for
>apian (bee-like)?  Any connection with the Honey Steward?

Bingo!  Name pun -- Wolfe loves 'em.  Also, of course, another Claudian


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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