(urth) Ship Citadel

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Sat May 6 11:40:03 PDT 2006

Bsharp wrote:

>Well, interesting.  Roy's reference to Urth XXXV was illuminating actually
>in that an officer tells Severian he is being taken, "To the old port.  One
>of the hulks there has been fitted up to hold prisoners". So perhaps the
>Citadel is constructed of more than one old ship.  But spaceship it is, as
>evidence by these other passages:
>Shadow III: Description of the Matachin Tower- "(for the examination room
>was the propulsive chamber of the original structure)".
>Shadow XI: Description of Severian's new room after elevation-  "because I
>was the most junior of the journeymen, the least desirable in the tower, a
>portless cubbyhole".
>Urth XXXVII: Description of the port in Severian's cell (Roche's future
>bedchamber)- "its broad, smooth flanges, of a shaped I had never
>had clearly been intended to hold the void at bay"

The above passages prove only that the Matachin Tower was a spaceship. More
than once in the Urth cycle Severian dreams/imagines the old spaceships
blasting off into space. Somewhere he speculates that, ancient as the
Citadel may be, the tunnels beneath it antedate it. There is no doubt about
it; most of the "towers" in the Citadel are individual spaceships.

But if you want more direct proof:

"The Citadel itself was visible now as a whole, and for all its vastness
seemed a glittering flock fluttering upon the hill, its thousand metal
towers ready to leap into the air at a word." CITADEL, chapter XXXVII

And in the next chapter he went looking for Valeria from above.

"I asked the castellan for a map. After much searching he produced one,
large and old, cracked in many places. It showed the curtain wall whole, but
the names of the towers were not the names I knew - or that the castellan
knew, for that matter - and there were towers on that map that are not in
the Citadel, and towers in the Citadel that were not on that map.
"    I ordered a flier then, and for half a day soared among the towers. No
doubt I saw the place I sought many times, but if so I did not recognize

The map obviously dated to a time when the Citadel was still being used as a


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