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From: "Jeremy W. Crampton" <gegjwc@panther.Gsu.EDU>
Subject: (urth) Names in Soldier Series Again
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2000 20:48:14 

The following authoritative list of names from the Soldier series was
posted by alga a while back (I also discussed other names, including
people's names, in my fanzine The Book of Gold in 1988-89). If you examine
the translations carefully, you can see some of the strategies Wolfe took.
The premise is that "Latro" an early Latin farmer-mercenary can understand
spoken Greek but not read it (he writes in proto-Latin which Wolfe has
himself translated into English). 
The first strategy is to more or less literally translate names from Greek
to Latin so that "Boeotia" becomes "Cowland." There is some additional
leeway here because of Wolfe's own translation (not remarked upon much in
reviews). So for example, my favorite is "Clay" from Plataea ('broad" or
flat, L. platus "plate"). Wolfe has imaginative fun with some of these so
perhaps "literally" is not the right word--quirkily? For example Eurykles
= "well reported" but who is doing the reporting (or boasting)?
Anyway, the second strategy is to translate based on some characteristic
of the place or person. What this shows is that Latro (or the fictional
"Wolfe" who translated these scrolls) can use some additional background
knowledge of the geography and culture. Take "Tieup" for example, which is
the name given for Piraeus, the port near Athens. Someone spoke of this in
enough detail within the last 12 hours (length of Latro's memory) or he
remembers passing through it and seeing the boats tied up. Or, the
fictional Wolfe is adding in information, depending on what level you want
to work at:
1. Spoken word (Athenian Greek)
2. Translations by "Latro" into proto-Latin (written down)
3. Translations by "Gene Wolfe" who obtains scrolls, into English
4. Real Gene Wolfe creating above three
5. Translations into French, Italian, Greek (etc.) for foreign editions of
the Soldier series by third party translators, perhaps in conjunction with
Wolfe (foreign readers can operate at this level)
You can see that Wolfe is really problematising the question of
translation! I think it would be especially lovely if there was a Greek
edition of these books.
Here are my votes for translations most in need of tracing through:
Advent--Eleusis (Advent is the coming of Christ, Eleusis is where
Demeter/Persephone's return [rebirth] from Hades was celebrated; is Wolfe
making a connection to pre-Christian worship?). Latro must go here (?) to
be healed; he offended her in her temple at Clay during the fight.
Thought--Athens (explained by Wolfe as a corruption of a-thanatos, or
not-dead, immortal, ie "thought", two and two is always four even if the
man dies. But Orwell might dispute this.)
"House of the Sun"--Temple of Apollo (Apollo gives the prophecy around
which the books revolve). An epithet of Apollo was lukeios or wolf-killer.
So Apollo is both "Sun" and wolf-slayer, two aspects of life-giving. Wolfe
makes him a Good Guy in the series.
"The wolf's tooth"--? I speculated in BoG 1 that this was a symbol of
amnesia, but we don't know much about it. More likely, perhaps it's just a
reference to his real name Lucius Cassius (lukeios). He bears the mark of
the wolf(e), ie his name.
Other names not listed by alga:
Circling Isles--The Cyclades
Copais--an ancient lake in Attica, now dried up
Euxine--the Black Sea
Alga gives Redface Island as Achaia (actually spelled Achaea) but I prefer
to equate it with the whole Peloponnesus island.
From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (urth) SOLDIER-Place Names
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 09:21:02 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other
Crimson Men--Phoenicians
Fennel FieldMarathon
Goodcattle IslandEuboea  
Hot GatesThermopylae 
Hundred EyedArgos
Long CoastAttica 
Redface IslandAchaia
Silent CountryLaconia 
Tower HillCorinth

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

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