(urth) Lake of Birds

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Mon May 21 06:11:43 PDT 2012

On 5/20/2012 7:53 PM, Bruno de Albuquerque Furtado wrote:
> Personally, I tend to agree with Dave Lebling, in that the Cumaean is
> the Sibyl of Cumae. Gerry's claim that, if the old witch was alive in
> ancient Rome, she wouldn't really need her "friend" in Formalhaut, is
> very compelling. It is not required, though, that the Cumaean be
> continuously alive since antiquity, in order for her to be the Sibyl.
> If the Botanic Gardens function as a gateway in space-time, the witch
> could simply pass from antiquity to the very far future without
> needing to be alive all this time. Therefore she might have "missed"
> the Apu-Punchau period, and not be able to raise him. It is also
> possible that, since Severian was probably the "real" inspiration
> behind the Incan god Inti, he might have become Apu-Punchau in a
> mythological age much earlier than the beginning of the Incan empire,
> and therefore maybe even before ancient Rome.
> As of Severian's relation with the Cumaean, I'm inclined to believe
> that it goes deeper than the obvious. First, because she is clearly
> one of the witches from the Witches' Tower, and therefore belonged to
> what seems to be the guild closest to the torturers in the citadel, if
> that indeed is a guild at all, which I doubt. Second, because although
> Severian is obviously a Christ figure, he is also a Sun God, what with
> his being a sun, taking power from a sun, and all that. He may be
> particularly identifiable as Apollo, for his good looks,
> sexual appetite, healing powers, and love of tales. I also seem to
> remember something about the torturers apprentices having sex with the
> witches, though I don't recall where it was written. But not Severian.
> He did have a strange encounter with the witches, while still an
> apprentice, but it was not sexual. All that resonates beautifully with
> the legend about the Cumean Sibyl, in which Apollo gives her longevity
> in exchange for sex, but withholds youth when the prophetess refuses
> to sleep with him, eventually making it necessary for her to live in a
> jar, on account of her withered body. Didn't the Mandragora say that
> it was the Autarch who created it?

Severian as Apollo! That's very good.

The Mandragora as Sibyl? Even better!

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