Sunday, 20 November 2016

Palatial Privacy, Lack Of

The King and Queen of Babylon:

"They were dining in one of the smaller chambers in the King's private rooms - or as private as anything could be, in this ant farm of a palace."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Eight, p. 145.

In this timeline, the Queen is a time traveler.

Cyrus the Great/Keith Denison:

"'Sometimes I've thought that was the hardest thing to take about this situation, never having a minute to myself. The best I can do is throw everybody out of the room I'm in; but they stick around just beyond the door, under the windows, guarding, listening. I hope their dear loyal souls fry.'
"'Privacy hasn't been invented yet either,' Everard reminded him. 'And VIPs like you never did have much, in all history.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Time Patrol (New York, 1991), p. 50.

In this timeline, Cyrus is a time traveler.

Even though Babylonian royalty lack privacy, they enjoy their meal and surroundings. Reclining on couches, cushioned in Moroccan-like leather, they eat, with bronze and gold forks, from a low table with ivory lion's paw feet and an ebony top inlaid with lapis, ivory and semiprecious stones:

roast chicken;
beef and lentils with apricots;
skewered grilled lamb;
spiced steamed vegetables.

The meal is accompanied by gentle music, vivid tapestries, kerosene lamps, cedarwood and incense. All five senses are addressed.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Very Andersonian, how Anderson's Cyrus the Great/Keith Denison and Stirling's King Kashtiliash had to endure a lack of privacy. And Manse's comment about how VIPs thru out history never did have much privacy anyway makes me wonder if your own Queen and PM have a similar situation. That is, they ALWAYS have guards, officials, and domestic staff either directly with them or just outside the doors.

The lack of privacy might be easier for Elizabeth II and Kashtiliash to endure because they literally grew up having little privacy.


Paul Shackley said...

Royalty, particularly the Tudors, is a frequent subject of British films and TV series which are nowadays made as accurately as possible. One showed Elizabeth I's bed chamber packed for her protracted death. There was a recent series about young Queen Victoria and currently another about the young Elizabeth II.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

That is not surprising! I have read of how the births and deaths of royalty were CRAMMED with witnesses, because these were not simply PERSONAL events but also matters of state. And official witnesses were actually necessary.

I can see why cinematic depictions of the Tudors would interest many in the UK. They were both colorful in their own right and the most autocratic of British monarchs, esp. Henry VIII.