Thursday, 5 May 2016

Divine Politics

Hannon Baltisi, Lir Captain in Ys, assesses three Gods.

(i) Christ denies other Gods. This is bad.
(ii) Mithras puts Himself above other Gods. This is not as bad.
(iii) Lir preserves the status quo. This is good.

Hannon is conservative, opposing monotheism and any intermediate position.

(i) Although it is unfortunate that a Christian priest is "'...mewling...'" in Ys:

"' true man or woman 'ull pay any heed.'" (Gallicenae, p. 134)

(ii) Mithras "' no bad God like yon Christ. He stands for uprightness, manliness, and He'll let other Gods abide.'" (ibid.) (Hannon sounds like an ancestor of Scottish Presbyterians.) However, Mithras as the Bullslayer and the Comrade of the Sun, sets Himself above all others and lays His own law on His worshipers. This causes friction when a Mithraist becomes the avatar of Taranis.

(iii) As long as Ysans sacrifice, obey and do not anger Lir, Ys will survive. He needs neither prayers nor tears. He already has enough salt water.

King Gratillonius, now called "Grallon" in Ys, wants to found a Mithraeum. The Council of Suffetes do not let him buy land and dig a cave because the earth is Belisama's and Mithraism is men only. The second proposal is that he convert an unused warehouse by the harbor. Hannon instead proposes an unused windowless basement below water level in the seaward Raven tower:

it is a veritable cave;
the raven is sacred to Mithras;
the Mithraeum, like Ys, will be hostage to Lir.

Is this placing Mithras under Lir or Mithras accepting a temple from Lir while acknowledging that Lir is a patron of Ys, respect between Gods? - and between their factions. Lir Captain and the Speaker for Taranis ask Queen Lanarvilis to persuade the other Queens to persuade Grallon. Politics indeed, but on behalf of the Gods - and their factions.

To the Andersons and their readers, this is a fictional exercise whereas, to the characters, all of these Gods are real Beings.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

To ME, I thought these debates and bargainings, whatever one might think of the ideas and beliefs motivating the characters involved, were REALISTIC. The political maneuverings we see in Ys are not different in kind from the politics we see in other nations and cultures.

And I suspect Hannon Baltisi had more than one motive in the offer he made to Gratillonius. That windowless basement below sea level in the Raven Tower sure looked like a subtle way of putting Mithras BELOW Lir.