(urth) The end of Soldier of Arete

Michael Straight mfstraight at gmail.com
Thu Nov 30 09:02:02 PST 2006

On 11/30/06, thalassocrat at nym.hush.com <thalassocrat at nym.hush.com> wrote:

> The end of Arete is Wolfe at his toughest, IMO. For this part of
> it, my conclusion is that Latro did a deal with Pausanias; the ship
> cargo in return for Pausanias holding back when Latro makes his
> play. Towards the end, he writes: "I still do not know what can be
> done, but I know that for gold these Hellenes will connive at
> anything."  Then a little later, Pausanias sends pasicrates off to
> Corinth, telling him not to come back without gold.

Hmm. That's kind of a stretch.  Hard to believe, given Pausanias's
pride.  And would he really let Latro go, given that he believes that
with Latro at his side he has Nike there as well?  On the other hand,
he really wants that gold, and this is a way to break the truce
without being blamed.  And given the high regard he has for Latro's
opinions about the gods, he might feel that helping Latro was the way
to get the gods on his side.

The other problem is that this has to be a secret deal or Pausanias is
guilty of breaking the peace of the games.  But Pindaros implies that
everyone can see that Pausanias ended up gaining more than he lost.

I'd like to believe it if only because it means Pasicrates's fate
isn't quite as bleak as it appears.  The gods punishment on him was
pretty relentless from the moment he tried to have Latro whipped.

> Artemis, presumably for similar reasons, wants Pausanias destroyed.
> In typical Greek fashion, the weapon of destruction is to be
> hubris, specifically a victory in the chariot race.

> In the end, things work out a little differently: Pausanias in fact
> loses the chariot race, but nevertheless "wins" in a sufficiently
> hubris-inducing way. (And Themistocles will suffer the same fate.)

I suppose this makes sense.  We see how Themistocles is being damned
by the Spartans' praise (this is their intention).  I guess we're
supposed to assume something similar will happen to Pausanias?

> I think there was a deal worked out between the representatives of
> Gaea and Artemis, in Ch38. Infuriatingly, Latro doesn't say what
> happened at this meeting, finishing with Elata murmuring, "Now we
> can begin."

Especially since Latro promised Elata he would write down in his
journal what happened there.  This is one of the few places I think
Wolfe cheated, leaving out something he wanted left unsaid but that
Latro ought to have written.

> So I don't know what Gaea gets in exchange for Pausanias' downfall -
>  maybe a victory for her grand-daughters, the Amazons?

Maybe, unlike Artemis, she thinks Pausanias's downfall will actually
be bad for Sparta in the long run.

> >But that's the opposite of what
> >Artemis wanted and if that was her on Latro's ship, it must be
> >because
> >he's in big trouble with her.
> But Artemis did get what she wanted - a "victory" for Pausanias,
> "accounted twice a hero among the strategem loving Greeks."

Yeah, that makes sense.  I'd forgotten about the meeting where some
kind of deal was struck between Artemis and Gaea.  But again, how can
Pausanias be "twice a hero" if his profit from Latro's escape is that
Latro secretly gives him the treasure (under the cover of Pasicrates
going to Tower Hill to get some gold)?


More information about the Urth mailing list