(urth) Thea's Identity
dstockhoff at verizon.net
Fri Apr 12 08:13:33 PDT 2013
> From: Sergei SOLOVIEV <soloviev at irit.fr>
>To: The Urth Mailing List <urth at lists.urth.net>
>Sent: Friday, April 12, 2013 10:07 AM
>Subject: Re: (urth) Thea's Identity
>But in Ottoman empire the harems (seraglios) had reproductive purpose as a central one.
>Moreover, since it was difficult to apply the principle of "primogeniture" with the great
>number of babies, when the time to designate a heir arrived, it was desperate for women
>to fight for their sons to be chosen (by intrigue etc.) because usually all other male descendants
>after the heir was chosen risked elimination. It is quite different with autarchs because
>the successor is defined differently.
>Exactly---an excellent summary, much better than mine. This is why the autarchs' seraglio cannot function exactly as did the sultans'. So we have two interpretive choices:
>(1) The seraglio is only for holding hostages. It may also be a leftover from an era when it did have a reproductive/imperial function. The current Autarch's inability to impregnate ironically highlights this and may symbolize Urthly infertility as well, but doesn't by itself make a harem irrelevant to the succession, because it's already been irrelevant for a chiliad.
>(2) It is a fully functional harem, but in parallel to the usual operation. That is, there's no sex---especially since Severian's predecessor on the throne came back unmanned from Yesod---but lots of intrigue, because everything else is in play---except, presumably, the succession itself. This is perhaps why the concubines like to pass as khaibits---because otherwise they ain't gettin' any action.
>As for that succession---as far as I can recall there is no evidence anyone knows about the central gimmick of the Autarchy except the Autarch himself and Father Inire, and I suppose Vodalus and whatsername. So the entire seraglio may be under the impression that their kids have a shot at the throne. Keeps 'em focused. And if they think they have a shot, then they have a shot. (I grant that under this logic, you'd think the Autarch would disband the harem system to protect his throne. But he didn't. Why?)
>Finally, I think the key phrase in your description is "the great number of babies."Think about it.
>Finally finally, there is the male question. Males were killed at a new heir's ascension, females discarded or sent somewhere, or killed at birth. Does Urth have a surplus of female clones? It would seem so.
>If one is to propose routine use of cloning at any level, especially within the House Absolute, one must account for it impact on all this.
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