(urth) Ship Volant

Son of Witz sonofwitz at butcherbaker.org
Wed Feb 18 13:28:42 PST 2009

Roy, thanks for justifying it with the text. great stuff.
I agree about the significance this ship has linking Severian, the Autarch, and Ymar.  I feel certain the face on that particular coin is the current Autarch (Appian) because of the androgeny. First he thinks it's a woman's face, which is more or less his first thought when he meets Appian in the House Azure.

Man, I wish I had all day to draw on this stuff right now.  so rarely get the time to work on it.


>-----Original Message-----
>From: Roy C. Lackey [mailto:rclackey at stic.net]
>Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 12:40 PM
>To: 'The Urth Mailing List'
>Subject: Re: (urth) Ship Volant
>Son of Witz wrote:
>> Thanks. This is all really helpful.
>> Since I always pictured a masted ship, and Tzadkiel's reinforces that
>concept, I suppose I'll go with a Ship under full sail, at an upward
>That is almost certain to be correct. See the description of the tender that
>brought Severian and Burgundofara back to Urth:
>"I recall thinking, as I leaned over the railing and watched dots of red and
>gold turn to woodlots, and brown smudges to fields of tangled stalks, how
>strange we should have looked had there been anyone to watch us, a trim
>pinnace-just such a vessel as might have lain alongside some wharf in
>Nessus-floating silently down out of the sky." (URTH, chap. XXVIII, 196)
>And when the tender rose:
>"We turned-as I believe no one could have helped turning-and watched the
>tender rise, righting herself as soon as her keel was free of the soil,
>bobbing in a gentle swell none but she could feel and lifting like a kite.
>We had come to Urth through clouds, as I have said; but the tender found an
>opening in them (I cannot but think it was so we might watch her) and rose
>through it, higher and higher, until hull and masts were no more than a
>pinprick of golden light. At length we saw her blossom to a shining speck,
>like the steel that falls from a file; then we knew that her crew had freed
>her sails, all of silver metal and each bigger than many an isle, and
>sheeted them home, and that we would not see her again." (ibid. 196-197)
>> It's interesting to see the different responses. I guess I shouldn't be
>surprised to hear that some folks picture a rocket ship.
>> Makes it clear to me that while I might try to satisfy the text, it would
>be very hard to arrive at some consensus image.<<
>It is not likely that the image on the coin (the same as on the mausoleum)
>was of a conventional rocket ship. There were no working spacecraft of that
>type on Urth. It would be almost impossible to represent the seven-sided
>Ship of Tzadkiel on a coin. Remember that both Severian and the Old Autarch
>had been shuttled between Urth and the Ship by a tender like the one
>described above, and the Old Autarch's face was on the obverse side of the
>coin. The flying ship was the symbol he and Severian (and possibly Ymar) had
>in common.
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