(urth) Thea's Identity

Lee Berman severiansola at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 22 05:12:32 PDT 2013

>David Stockhoff: I was prepared to disagree that the exultants are from 
>beyond Urth but then recalled the term "autochthon." I always took that as 
>a fancy word for "native" but it could just as well mean "urthling," implying the 
>exultants had returned from the colonies (where people historically grow 
>taller thanks to better food: see Vikings, USA, Australia, Boers, etc.) 
>after a chiliad of tinkering.

Thanks for inspiring me to look it up. Yeah, "autochthon" does refer to 
indigenous people and culture, but interestingly the first definition I found was:

>Autochthon (ancient Greece), in mythology, people born straight from the earth, with
>no human parents.

This recalls the myth of Ducalion and Pyrrha who repopulated the earth after the Greek
version of the Flood by casting stones over their shoulders which grew into men and women.
This myth is specifically referenced in Dr. Talos' play so perhaps the "autochthons" have
somewhat more significance to the story than I had previously thought. 

I did always get the sense that the exultants were part of Urth's "corruption" that Severian's 
flood was meant to sweep away. Regarding extra-terrestrial origin, we do know that Vodalus, 
(representing the interests of exultants?) is allied with the forces of extra-terrestrial
Abaia. Father Inire (like Palpitine?) is playing both sides against each other, I think.

Interesting that you mention "Vikings" because in my experience, there is a surprisingly
large population of nordic-descended people in Chile and Argentina. Perhaps the insertion
of tall exultants in the Commonwealth is meant to allegorize the difference between them and
the shorter, swarthier native population of earthian southern S. America. Conversely, it makes
me wonder how Gene Wolfe felt among the native population of Korea. 		 	   		  

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