(urth) Oldest altar

Mr Thalassocrat thalassocrat08 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 16 14:32:42 PDT 2010

On Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 5:00 AM, Roy C. Lackey <rclackey at stic.net> wrote:

> Andrew wrote:
> > As to how the Whorl-dwellers were "converted", it's worth recalling Auk's
> > meeting with Tartaros in the tunnels (Calde Ch.6). It happens at the
> "oldest
> > altar", of which Tartaros says: "When the first people came here, Auk,
> they
> > were shown how we desired to be worshipped. Soon, they were made to
> forget.
> > They did, but because they had seen what they had seeen, a part of them
> > remembered, and when they found our altars on the inner surface, they
> > sacrificed as we had taught them. First of all, here."
> That quote doesn't make sense. I wonder if it's tied to what Lemur said
> about entrenched memories of Typhon and his family being too deep to
> eliminate, so the Nine were renamed. Let's parse the Tartaros quote.
> At first glance, the first sentence seems straightforward enough, but then
> you have to wonder what the first people were doing down in the tunnels.
> The
> area with the altar and a Window was wider than the tunnels that led to it,
> but it's unclear just how large the area was. The chamber was not too far
> from the Pit. So was it some sort of orientation center for new arrivals
> who
> had just been brought up to the ship in landers?
That's my guess.

> Even if that is so, why were they then made to forget what they had been
> taught?

I read it as "made to forget in general": their memories were wiped to a
large extent.

> Is this where Lemur's comments come in? Maybe I better give that
> quote again: "The surgeons found, however, that their patients' memories of
> their ruler, his family, and some of his officials were too deeply
> entrenched to be eliminated altogether. To obscure the record, they renamed
> them. Their ruler, the man who called himself the monarch, became Pas, the
> shrew he had married Echidna, and so on."
The memories of Typhon et al went too deep for this wipe to eradicate them,
and so they were used to construct the Whorl pantheon.

> Now to the third sentence of the Tartaros quote. After being made to forget
> how to worship properly, complete with sacrifices, when the first people
> saw
> the altars set up in the cities that had been built for them, they went
> back
> to worshipping as they had been taught, complete with sacrifices. What had
> changed?
Well, the worship they had been taught in the "orientation area", which had
been attached to their deep memories of Typhon et al & so survived the wipe.

> I really have no vested interest one way or the other in the notion that
> Typhon and his family had been worshipped on Urth, so if anyone has a
> better
> explanation for Tartaros' statement, I'd like to see it. And that is not a
> challenge.
> BTW, while it is true that there is no evidence in the Urth Cycle that
> Typhon and his family had been worshipped  back on Urth, neither is there
> any evidence that Catholicism or some approximation thereof had been
> practiced in Typhon's time.
> Here from memory is my list of the little we know about religion on Urth in
Typhon's day (probably incomplete, possibly incorrect):

- The peasants Sev and young Gunnie encounter immediately upon their return
from Yesod sacrifice to "sky powers" in high places.
- The term "Increate" is used, which I think implies at least a top-dog
creator God, if not actual monotheism, possibly just amongst the educated
- The saint-name naming convention is in place already, which is meaningful
here to the extent that the names given in the text aren't just a
translation artifect.
- If the St Catherine story comes down to BOTNS time from Typhon's time,
then there is some reason to suppose that the names may actually be "our"
saints' names. It seems to be the same as "our" St Catherine's story,
complete with "our" Emperor Maxentius.

I don't think there's enough info to draw firm conclusions. Every reference
to "our" religions on the Whorl could be an artifiact of the Whorl
cultrual-construction team. Taking Whorlish religions as "parodies of the
Urth state religion" doesn't tell us much. For example, Catholic ritual etc
elements in the Vironese worship can be seen as elements inserted by the
Whorl team to mess up a polytheistic original; or as part of a "state
religion" messed up by a polytheistic religion created by the team.
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