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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?


PS:  Thucydides is also good background for the second book.


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