Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 13:24:29 -0800 From: "Brett M. Grace"
Subject: (urth) Soldier of What? Howdy all. I was drawn to a reference to Soldier of Arete in somebody's blog today. He mentioned off-handedly that "[arete]... means 'a sharp-crested ridge in rugged mountains'", the word deriving from the Latin for fishspine. Having a smattering of Greek, and being ignorant of the perfectly cromulent English word, I took it to mean exclusively "manliness, excellence, virtue" -- it's similar in usage to Latin's virtus if that makes it clear. I'm forced to plead, "it looked Greek to me." I had always thought that putting 'arete' in the title was a kind of signpost stating "this is not an accessible book." Doubly so if its English doppleganger has quite a different meaning. Unless... it's an allusion to the rocky geography of the Pelopennesus and Attica, where much of the action takes place. Er, I think. My recollection of the book grows dim. I had been bothered by the lack of symmetry between "Mist" and "Arete" which this interpretation eases. Thoughts anyone? BMG PS: Thucydides is also good background for the second book. --