(urth) Thea's Identity

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Fri Apr 12 15:04:51 PDT 2013

So the House Absolute would correspond to 666 Saltimbanque in that (1) 
it is sustained through cloning (2) it represents a dying ruling lineage 
(3) it will never come back. Inire would correspond to (can't remember 
her name---the matriarch[?] of the house).

It uses cloning and the seraglio to preserve itself as well as to keep 
the gene (hah!) pool from getting too small, much as we might rescue a 
nearly extinct species of big mammal. And you're right that we should 
carefully account for where the Servants come from, because they are the 
source of the next Autarch. If all clones are servants, the best 
servants are clones. The selfish gene doesn't entirely leave the 
picture, and in fact given the vast time scale stays well in the center.

Thanks Thomas. I like it.

But is there a passage indicating the servants are derived from royals?

Do we need to re-examine Severian's face on the coin? Was his coin 
different from Appian's (if that's his name) mostly because of scars?

On 4/12/2013 4:50 PM, Thomas Bitterman wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 4:26 PM, DAVID STOCKHOFF 
> <dstockhoff at verizon.net <mailto:dstockhoff at verizon.net>> wrote:
>     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.
> Maybe all the servants in the House (save Inire) are related to the 
> Autarch and each other through some sort of semi-cloning technology.
> Bonus points: the entire autarchial line is half-clones of Inire.  It 
> calls back (forward) to Wolfe's ideas about hybridization as expressed 
> in the Long Sun (something about crossing lines of corn).
>     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.
> The servants have no acknowledged titles, but are royal through blood.
>     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?
> And useful to the Autarch to prevent the problems attendant on inbreeding.
>     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.
> And they keep the succession in the (genetic) family.
>         ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>         *From:* Lee Berman <severiansola at hotmail.com
>         <mailto:severiansola at hotmail.com>>
>         *To:* "urth at urth.net <mailto:urth at urth.net>" <urth at urth.net
>         <mailto: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
>         Autarchy.
>         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
>         >few.
>         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
>         allusion.
>         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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> -- 
> There may well be microbial life forms on Mars, yes. We may be 
> polluting a pristine alien environment. But I say that, if they're 
> there, /let them fight for it/. Let them go to war with the mighty 
> water bears of Earth. I don't care any more. Space stations are crap. 
> I want a castle on Mars.
>  - Warren Ellis
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