(urth) Babbie

James Wynn crushtv at gmail.com
Thu Mar 19 11:30:24 PDT 2009

> David Stockhoff: I see from the Wiki for Aristaeus that you are way ahead 
> of me: "When he was grown, he sailed from Libya to Boeotia, where he was 
> inducted into further mysteries in the cave of Chiron  the centaur. In 
> Boeotia, he was married to Autonoe  and became the father of the ill-fated 
> Actaeon, who inherited the family passion for hunting, to his ruin, and of 
> Macris, who nursed the child Dionysus."
> So Horn is Actaeon, who was turned to a stag by Artemis/Diana and whose 
> own hounds tore him apart. I assume Aristaeus is Silk-like because he set 
> an island town straight (executed murderers, brought cool winds) and 
> introduced a proper Zeus cult. Pretty broad, of course: a gunslinger who 
> kills the thugs terrorizing a town would also be Aristaeus, if he gets the 
> townspeople to go to church more afterward. But I guess that's the point.
> Can you point me to a source that is more suggestive?

I was not aware of the connection between Horn and Actaeon. I wrote my essay 
on Aristaeus before I'd read tBotSS. That's really interesting.
The essay is here: http://www.urth.org/whorlmap/aristaeus.htm
The version that Wolfe used to plot the novel is Robert Graves's from "The 
Greek Myths". I presume you've read my essay on this already, but if you 
haven't, I map Grave's rendition to Wolfe's novel from beginning to end.  I 
realize the perils in declaring any decent novel to be an "allegory" but I 
found it uncanny the way Wolfe managed to link every element in Graves' 
narrative to his own story.  Incidentally, in this overlay Tussah is Apollo, 
Quetzal is Dionysus, and Pas is Zeus. The Myrtle nymphs? Look up myrtle in 
the index and check out the references--they are illuminating.

Another less important Aristaeus reference is Herodotus's "History of the 
Persian War" (also useful when reading 'Soldier of the Mist'). Herodotus 
relates how Aristaeus appeared in Italy several centuries after his 
disappearance (he was supposed to be murdered, then the body disappeared). 
He told the people that he had been serving as Apollo's raven.
Speaking of 'Soldier of the Mist', the poet Pindar (Latro's friend) wrote 
some paens to Aristaeus.

"The Greek Myths" is an excellent resource. Regarding Graves's theories in 
'The White Goddess', Wolfe has ascribed them as crazy, and I'd be surprised 
if he thought otherwise. But he has recommended TGM and of course the 
connection between Severian and Claudius in "I, Claudius" is 
well-documented. Grave's commentary (in the numbered annotations) is 
certainly less than trustworthy, but he often does a very nice job of 
connecting-the-dots even if he often fails to properly distinguish the 
picture when he's done. It seems to me that Wolfe seems to appreciate his 
connecting ability at least.


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