Saturday, 16 April 2016

Marius, Homer And War

It is good to meet an old friend in a new text:

"Marius' mules, he thought. That's what Roman soldiers called themselves. After Gaius Marius reformed the Republic's army about 100 BC, abolishing the cumbersome baggage trains and giving every legionnaire a bone-crushing load. Some things in war never change."
-Jerry Pournelle and SM Stirling, The Prince (New York, 2002), p. 771.

I do not need to remind Poul Anderson fans of the significance of Marius in his works.

"Some things in war never change." Yes, especially if the speaker is a character in a book by certain authors!

"'It is war,' she said: the universal answer to almost everything on Poloda."
-Edgar Rice Burroughs, Beyond The Farthest Star (New York, 1964), p. 33.

When CS Lewis heard his first bullet in World War I, he thought:

"'This is war. This is what Homer wrote about.'"
-CS Lewis, Surprised By Joy (London, 1964), p. 158.

(For the blind Homer and his guide, see image.)

Homer not only wrote about war but also initiated European literature and is acknowledged in Anderson's Time Patrol series:

"Far and far away, a sail passed by. It could have been driving the ship of Odysseus."
-Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), p. 326.

I am finding that I prefer books that incorporate war as against those that are about nothing but war. Meanwhile, I am pleased to have brought together in a single post:

Jerry Pournelle
SM Stirling
Poul Anderson
Edgar Rice Burroughs
CS Lewis

And I must now visit the realm of Morpheus.

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