(urth) Lictor

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Sun Feb 18 08:14:49 PST 2018

Exactly. I would only add "or even confirming" to "intentional and 

For example, we already suspected Appian was the Old Autarch, but where 
we might otherwise be puzzled by his apparently ironic occupation as 
honey steward and count it as a "con" rather than a "pro," the myth that 
a sacrificed bull's life passes into bees makes it a clear "pro" when we 
consider the symbolism of bull sacrifice.

Bull sacrifice is not mentioned either. It's too obvious. But once it is 
interpolated, lots of things click, and the Mithraic cult coherently 
combines all these symbolically structured relationships.

The larger point is not that Wolfe is a slave to Greek superstitions, 
but that he never contradicts them. So where Chekhov would never put a 
rifle on the wall without it being fired, Wolfe would never put a honey 
steward in the House Absolute except as a link to "the gods" whose 
"soul" moves between sacrificial victims. To do so would wreck Wolfe's 
carefully constructed symbolic machinery.

On 2/18/2018 10:40 AM, Marc Aramini wrote:
> This is the issue with allusions in Wolfe - sometimes the extratextual 
> ones are essentially external confirmation of our suspicions, but they 
> are usually chosen around a unifying theme. Given the prominence of 
> Sun rebirth death sacrifice etc etc etc in new sun any conceivable 
> connection to a cult of Mithras in incidental details is intentional 
> and reinforcing at best and aptly coincidental at worst- still worth 
> mentioning. It is when theme does not arrant it tht we travel the 
> slippery slope of, for example, navigator as jfk.
> On Sunday, February 18, 2018, David Stockhoff <dstockhoff at verizon.net 
> <mailto:dstockhoff at verizon.net>> wrote:
>     Severian's position in Thrax bears only the slightest suggestive
>     resemblance to that of a Roman lictor. There is no "as such" here.
>     Wolfe does not mention God or Borges either.
>     On 2/18/2018 12:50 AM, Gerry Leb wrote:
>         In Thrax, based on the letter from The Guild, Severian is
>         appointed Lictor. As such, he is the chief law enforcement
>         officer of Thrax, responsible for the prison, the barbican,
>         the personal security of the Archon, and also, in the final
>         scene of his holding of the office, he is detailed to perform
>         the murder of a subject, Cyriaca. He refuses to kill her, and
>         flees. In the book, as far as I can recall, there are no
>         references to Severian in any context that could possibly be
>         connected to the earthly faith of Mithraism.
>     ---
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