Friday, 20 May 2016

Stilicho And Molitor

"STILICHO, FLAVIUS: A Roman general, half Vandal by birth, who became effectively the dictator of the West Roman Empire."
-Poul and Karen Anderson, Dahut (New York, 1989), Dramatis Personae, p. 492.

(The capitalized name means that Stilico is historical.)

MOLITOR, HANS FRIEDRICK: A Terran Admiral, Germanian by birth, who became Terran Emperor.

(The capitalized name shows that Molitor is future historical.)

"'Stilicho may not be easy to reach,' Gratillonius said...'The way he moves around, holding the Empire together.'
"Apuleius nodded. 'Like the captain on a foundering ship, who dashes about as timbers and cordage come apart in the storm,' he answered sadly." (Dahut, Chapter XI, section 1, p. 238)

"'...barely six years on the throne have I had. The first three, fighting to stay there. I need another twenty or thirty for carpentering this jerry-built, dry-rotted Empire into a thing that might last a few more generations, before I can lay down my tools.' Hans chuckled coarsely."
-Poul Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry (New York, 2012), p. 379.

I did not expect such a good match between the quotations when I started to look for them. Hans' jerry-built Empire is what eventually came after the world's great age beginning anew of the Polesotechnic League period (here).

And here is another similarity between Stilicho and Molitor:

"'[Stilicho] is a soldier himself, a practical man, experienced in starcraft; and, I hear, being half a barbarian, he nourishes a wistful admiration for everything civilized...'" (Dahut, p. 238)

"A blunt pragmatist, uncultured and unashamed of it, shrewd rather than intelligent..." (Sir Dominic Flandry, p. 380)


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Again, very interesting, these quotes from DAHUT and A KNIGHT OF GHOSTS AND SHADOWS comparing Flavius Stilicho with Hans Molitor.

I agree Stilicho was a very able man, but I had to eventually disagree with the Andersons favorable view of him in THE KING OF YS after reading Arther Ferrill'S THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE: THE MILITARY EXPLANATION. In two letters to Poul Anderson I discussed both the Emperor Honorius and Stilicho. Far too briefly, Ferrill argues Honorius Augustus has been seriously underrated and maligned by most historians and Stilicho made very serious mistakes. Some being: his frequent and naturally infuriating interference in the affairs of the Eastern Empire, alienating the Eastern court from the West; neglecting to return the Rhine garrisons to their posts after crushing Radagaisus, neglecting to move vigorously against both the usurper Constantine and the Germans who invaded Gaul after AD 406, etc. True, most of this happened after the events we see in DAHUT, but still!


Paul Shackley said...

Thank you for historical input.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Thanks! At the time was writing to Poul Anderson about THE KING OF YS and the Emperor Honorius I was going thru a "Roman" phase, reading quite a few books on Roman history. Such as J.B. Bury's classic HISTORY OF THE LATER ROMAN EMPIRE FROM THE DEATH OF THEODOSIUS I TO THE DEATH OF JUSTINIAN I.

It's also my view that, usurper tho he was, Hans Molitor was a more able leader than Stilicho. Because Hans had a shrewder and more realistic understanding of his times than Stilicho had of his.