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From: Ron Hale-Evans <rwhe@apocalypse.org>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: Severian as Marcus Aurelius
Date: Wed, 03 Nov 1999 11:25:01 

At 11:51 PM 10/27/99, you wrote:
>Ron Hale-Evans <rwhe@apocalypse.org> writes:
>>I'm new to the list, so please forgive me if this has already been
>>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.
>I think you may have more luck mapping Marcus Aurelius to Patera Silk.

Could be; I have only read the first two Long Sun books, and that some time
ago. (One reason is they seem to me to lack the richness of tone that I
find in both TBotNS and Marcus Aurelius.) But see below.

>Severian is Claudius -- the Graves version.  

Both Claudius and Severian backed into the throne, and both are lame. But I
think Claudius is presented as something of a bumbling fool (though of
course he often plays the fool as well), and this is hard to say of
Severian. And Sev and Marcus Aurelius both lead armies into battle,
something Claudius could never do. 

Another tidbit: The concept of self-sufficiency was a primary one for the
Stoics. What is that word in Greek? "Autarkęs." (That's an 'e' with a
circumflex accent for those with 7-bit mailers.) See
<http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/stoicism/>. Malrubius's lecture to
Severian on autarchy and self-rule sounds similar to Stoic passages on the
same topic.

>(Could the grave robbers
>in Chapter I of _Shadow_ be some sort of horrible unspoken punning
>homage to Robert Graves?)

Gallows humour occurs throughout TBotNS, so if Sev is to any degree a
Claudius figure, I would not put it past Wolfe.

Disclaimer: I am mainly familiar with _I, Claudius_ through television, not
the book.

>For fun, compare Master Ultan with Graves's description of Sulpicius
>at the end of Chapter V of _I, Claudius._  Ultan informs us that his
>Library has a reading room reserved for the Autarch Sulpicius...

Will do.

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