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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Autarchs are commoners
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 98 23:11:00 GMT


Perhaps you want to argue that hereditary autarchy imparts "nobility"
in the first generation.  But the aristocracy of Urth is the exultant
class, and exultants are forbidden to be autarchs--this is a clear
rule I don't think anybody has tried to deny.  So in the simple
binary system of nobles vs. commoners, autarchs by definition must be
"commoners"--a range from armigers to optimates to commonality to
servants of the throne.

Yes, the quote in IV does suggest that "most" (which is what, a range
from 55% to 75%, or whatever percentage level where "most" gives way
to "nearly all") of the minds at Severian's disposal (which does not
reach all the way back to Ymar with any clarity of personality) are
not certainly hereditary autarchs.  (There is a part somewhere in
there where Severian recalls the fatal mistakes of many autarchs
before him: one last visit to a lover, one last charge on the
battlefield, etc.  For those who care, these fragments could perhaps
be gathered up and laid out to add to the "depth of Autarchial Mind"
beyond and before Appian.)  Hereditary autarchy is mentioned very
briefly and not really sketched out beyond that--we really have
no clue as to how successfully the potential was realized, at the
individual level or on average.  We only know that the potential was
there and it was realized to some degree.

Then again, your assertion that of "all the personalities Severian
now contains, only some of them are Autarchs" is quite astounding and
I look forward to your fleshing this out!  Thecla as the rule rather
than the exception?!

Re: commoners talk about Valeria.  Right, they talk because she is a
woman (and this is something of a red herring, since we =know= from
the quote in IV that there are female autarchs--the point being that
there hasn't been one in living memory, but emphatically =not= that
women are forbidden) and she doesn't know the words of power (=this=
is the point I keep trying to make: they know next to nothing about
brain-eating, Yesod and all that, yet they know that she doesn't know
the words of power which autarchs should know, and this is cause for
them to talk--presumably to wonder what on Urth is going on, is she a
sham or just more mentally incompetant than most?).

Depending upon how much strength one wants to invest in the
"opium of the masses: the population believes that the Autarch will
somehow bring the New Sun" deal, this question of Valeria's validity
ranges from 0 "Whitewater ho-hum" to 10 "Watergate apocalypse!"  That
is, as usual, it depends upon the given application.


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

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