(urth) Thea's Identity

DAVID STOCKHOFF dstockhoff at verizon.net
Fri Apr 12 13:26:40 PDT 2013

I agree that cloning is not used simply because of declining population! That was never a point I tried to make. You'd have to be quite busy in the lab to out-breed the poor. The sultans weren't trying to breed an army when they visited the harem. You breed heirs and servants---family members, captains, people you can trust to hold important posts in your fiefdom. Pega was the maid of Pelagia, because Pelagia could trust her as a "half-sister." This replaces the European system of making the guy who holds your chamberpot a lord, with his duties passing on to his son.

I haven't quite put it all together yet. But here's a thought---if you are holding a noble's daughter, you are holding her DNA and her womb. How much is that worth to a noble? 

Anyway, thanks for reinforcing that the exultants and the Autarch are at war. That's why he has clone armies. And that's why his successors are Servants---because his servants are, unlike the royal servants of Europe but typically for sultans, non-noble. They can be trusted to serve him, and they are likely to be nearby when the time comes, and they will obey when the incomprehensible order is given.

> From: Lee Berman <severiansola at hotmail.com>
>To: "urth at urth.net" <urth at urth.net> 
>Sent: Friday, April 12, 2013 2:52 PM
>Subject: (urth) Thea's Identity
>>David Stockhoff: Didn't know the vats were Face Dancers!
>Yeah, I can't remember if it book 5 or 6 of the Dune series but at 
>some point the Duncan Idaho clone remembers his "birth mother" she
>being essentially a monstrous tube-fed uterus-body stump of a female 
>face dancer. Their race's ultimate secret shame and embarassment.
>>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.
>I think we are given enough circumstantial evidence to figure out the mechanism
>of succession in The Commonwealth. In one appendix, Wolfe specifically lists the
>social classes- Exultants, Armigers, Optimates,"Servants of the Throne", 
>cacogens, the commonality and the religious.
>From Cyriaca we learn that the Autarch and the Exultants are in direct opposition
>to each other (hence the need for the hostage seraglio which includes Thecla). It
>would appear that despite the provincial rulings of fiefdoms, exultants have no
>shot at the throne themselves. All three autarchs we know something about (Severian,
>Appian and Ymar) have been raised up from the "Servants of the Throne" caste. Since
>Severian mentions mop maids (IIRC) and other such in his Autarchial memories, I take
>the elevation of autarchial servants to be the case through all the history of the
>As David suggests above, Father Inire would seem to be involved in the process. In 
>fact, every time the Old Autarch meets with Severian, there seems to be a possible 
>iteration of Father Inire hovering somewhere nearby- the cowled servitor, the uturuncu
>shaman and a few more who are less obvious candidates. Given his longevity, surely
>Inire is the Rasputin/Richelieu-ish power behind the throne and he who does the real 
>autarchial choosing. As Cyriaca suggests, it is the power of the cacogens who allow
>the autarch to stay in power, keeping the power-hungry exultants at bay.
>Interestingly, Cyriaca, the armagette, seems to know more about the power structure of 
>the Commonwealth than Vodalus who has focused all of his rebellion on the person of the 
>Autarch and doesn't seem to recognize the backing power of Inire and the cacogens at 
>all. Why would Cyriaca know so much more than Vodalus? I think the clear answer is that 
>she is getting information from her mysterious, ancient book-loving "uncle" whose 
>knowlege of Urth and Briah's cosmic history is rivalled only by Malrubius. (further
>circumstantial evidence suggest to me this "uncle" is in fact Father Inire, but that
>would be another thread).
>>Gerry Quinn: And that leaves aside the need for managed population decline in the face of 
>>the approaching ice. Most likely there are too many people, rather than too 
>I tend to agree with Gerry that underpopulation is not really the driving force behind 
>cloning on Urth. I think the most instructive answer is found in historical and mythological
>Perhaps it is is safe to say that such behaviors as incest, pedophilia and homosexuality 
>were tolerated in ancient Egyptian and Greek societies more than others because their 
>pharaoahs and kings and other leaders engaged in such behavior. Since some of these ancient
>leaders were elevated to god status over the centuries, it is not surprising to find these
>behaviors in the Egyptian and especially the Greek pantheon of deities. Another odd aspect
>found in these ancient gods was the potential for asexual reproduction, notably by Zeus, who
>budded off Athena and Dionysus. But there are other examples.
>Taking Gene Wolfe's statement that he considers pagan gods to be real, I think we find a
>fictionalized version of the same thing going on in the Sun Series. If Urth is ruled by 
>giant beings who can bud off minature pieces of themselves, small wonder that the people of 
>Urth are conditioned to accept cloning behavior for themselves.                           
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