(urth) A rose by any other name...

James Wynn thewynns at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 1 12:52:08 PDT 2005

>Just to diverge from this interesting discussion onto
>a tangent...

Where would I be without tangents?

>The name Severian (or Severus, or Severin) crops up
>from time to time in other works. 

Weeeeeell, *Severin* is not necessarily *Severian*.

1) There are saints named of Severian, of course. One martyred in North
Africa and one who died in 320 by having his flesh torn off by rakes.
There are a lot of Severus’ and Severius’ but that’s not quite right
(although it is possible Wolfe had a source that called one or some of
them “Severian”). Everyone in the Commonwealth is named after saints.
In the case of the flayed Severian, *I* could develop an argument that
links Severian to the flayed god of Mesoamerican mythology, but I can’t
imagine many people going along with it.

2) There is Severian, the Bishop of Gabala in Syria, who was active in
Chrysostom exiled.

3) There was a dynasty of Roman emperors starting with Septimus Severus
in the early 3rd century that are called collectively the Severan or Severian
emperors. Their rulership was not particularly singular from roman or
Christian church standards. The most famous is Caracalla.

However, there ARE a couple links from the Severian dynasty to
Wolfe/New Sun: 
a) Septimus, claimed (falsely) to be a son of Marcus Aurelius. There are
of course shadows of Marcus Aurelius in the New Sun. 
b) This second one requires some understanding that Wolfe believes
there is evidence of direct contact over the centuries between Mesoamerica
and ancient Asia/the Mediteranean. There was a Roman type sculpture
found in a pre-Hispanic Columbian temple dated
from the *Severan*
period. It was found in the 1930s and rediscovered in the mid-sixties.
It would not be surprising to me if Wolfe were aware of it.
Here’s a link with a picture: http://www.econ.ohio-state.edu/jhm/arch/calix.htm

Still #3 seems awfully tenuous to me, and as many will tell you, that's saying

4) Finally, there is the Gnostic 2nd sect, that Irenaeus mentioned in his
book “Against the Heresies”:

#4 seems the strongest to me, but that’s just me. Granted that none of them
blow any dresses up, but that's not the only Gnostic tag in the New Sun story.

~ James Wynn

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