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From: Ron Hale-Evans <rwhe@apocalypse.org>
Subject: (urth) Severian as Marcus Aurelius
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 14:32:41 

I'm new to the list, so please forgive me if this has already been discussed.

We know that Wolfe is interested in writing about the classical period from
the Soldier books, and that though a Christian, he shows an admiration for
the virtue of certain ancient pagans, so it seems quite plausible to me
that the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, better known as Marcus
Aurelius, could form part of the basis for Sev's character. Not only is
Antoninus a philosopher-emperor, just as Sev is a philosopher-autarch, but
the _tone_ of the New Sun books and the tone of the _Meditations_ are very
similar to my ear, and the books appeal to me for some of the same reasons,
one being that both Sev and Antoninus are men who strive through their
philosophy _to be good_.

Sev was a torturer before (and while?) becoming Conciliator and Autarch,
yet we are faced with the paradox that he is somehow good. It is claimed,
by some historians at least, that Antoninus as Emperor ordered a number of
early Christians to be tortured and killed, yet he seems to the reader to
have been a good man as well. Could these paradoxes be somehow intertwined
in the Wolfean authorial mind?


Ron H-E

Ron Hale-Evans: rwhe@apocalypse.org  ... <http://www.apocalypse.org/~rwhe/>
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