(urth) Mountain 'Autarch' (was: Re: Urth Digest, Vol 73, Issue 45)

Jane Delawney jane_delawney at sky.com
Thu Sep 23 14:46:57 PDT 2010

On 23/09/10 21:07, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes wrote:
> Ummmm.
> Typhon is the _last_ Monarch.
True, that's made quite explicit in BOTNS
> That there were more than one is
> evidenced by the chain of mountains carved into the likenesses of
> Monarchs

On the contrary I believe it is stated quite clearly in UOTNS that Mount 
Typhon is the first to be carved in this way.  Severian-the-Conciliator 
is struck by the unmodified mountain peaks when he revisits the Cursed 
Town as Typhon's prisoner and he is able to tell the Chiliarch that from 
the observed state of the works, Typhon has little longer to live 
(presumably he remembers the positions of the (stopped) digging machines 
and the exact state of the carving from his earlier/later visit).

There's no suggestion that any of the other peaks are similarly carved 
at this stage, indeed I think it is stated clearly that they are not. 
Typhon was the first to have the massive ego I suppose! Later, some 
Autarchs adopted the 'tradition' and had their own likenesses carved 
into other mountains; at Severian's (original) time they've been carved 
that way for so long that the bare peaks seem strange to him.

Shame we're not told who some of the others might have been!

Typhon didn't build the Empire though; that's very clear. He was a 
(monstrous) product of its last days and its decadence - to the extent 
that having despatched various ships including the generation ship the 
Whorl, he found himself marooned on Urth and unable to leave.

I do wonder (as one who has not read the Long Sun / Short Sun books) 
whether Typhon sent out the Whorl as some kind of last hurrah, a message 
from the vast ego of the last Monarch of Urth to the galaxy that his 
predecessors once dominated.


More information about the Urth mailing list