Thursday, 28 April 2016

A Queen's House

The King of Ys is married to the Nine Witch Queens/Gallicenae although he lives either in the palace within the city or in the King's House in the Sacred Wood at the end of Processional Way outside the city and each of the Queens has her own house in the city. The oldest Queen, Quinipilis, lives in a rectangular house of sandstone blocks and a red-tiled roof. It opens directly onto a wealthy residential street and has only a small garden of flowers at the back. Most neighbouring houses are larger with two or three floors. They are decorated with colourful scenes, spirals, keys or geometrical shapes. Ys fulfils its reputation as a city of wonders.

The street is narrow but paved and clean. Rubbish is removed unlike in later medieval cities. Sewage goes not into the sea, which would anger Lir, but into tanks of earth where it becomes manure. Thus, where we would say, "Do not pollute" and "Recycle," the Ysans say, "Do not offend the sea god." Foot traffic is:

menials in vivid liveries en route to the markets;
tool-carrying artisans;
children too young for school;
the elderly;
leisured youths.

Draught animals are used only on the major routes. Households have pet birds, cats or ferrets. Elsewhere in the city, gulls fly around the brightly coloured wooden upper stories of towers where the lower levels are of stone. Quinipilis' rich neighbours run businesses if male or their households if female. The city is peaceful, safe, well-governed and not in want although less prosperous than before. Its income is maritime from fishers, merchants and a few raiders. Internal exchange is mainly by barter. Imported raw materials make goods that are sold elsewhere as are salt, preserved fish, whale oil, tusks etc. "'...Ys endures."" (Roma Mater, p. 142)

But it won't.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Quinipilis' house is smaller than those of her neighbors? That might have been partly because it probably was one of the nine houses traditionally used by the queens. So, as centuries passed new and larger structures would be built around it.

And after reading your comments about "...Rome endures," the bit about "...Ys endures" was OMINOUS!