Saturday, 31 March 2018

Ramnu And Eriu

In a Ramunan meeting room, the presiding Lord of the Volcano sits on a dais between carved beasts before tiers of benches. Each successive speaker either walks or glides down to the dais. Ramnuans are vaned gliders - but not winged fliers like the Diomedeans or Ythrians.

If a Seeker makes a satirical poem against Yewwl, then the council will no longer heed her. This custom resembles one in Eriu, ancient Ireland. Poul and Karen Anderson inform us that:

in Eriu, the highest ranking poets were in some ways more powerful than kings;

like druids, poets were highly trained;

skilled in both language and memory, they could make or break reputations;

poetic satires were believed to be physically destructive - and one poet's victim does suffer facial disfigurement later in the Ys sequence;

violence to a poet, druid or scholar was a serious crime;

lesser versifiers were entertainers.

Poul And Karen Anderson, The King Of Ys: Roma Mater (London, 1987), Afterword and Notes, 2, p. 456.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I remember that incident from THE KING OF YS. Not only was a young Irish prince disfigured by a Druid's satire poem, it made him ineligible to ever becoming a king.


Paul Shackley said...

And a satire blights a whole province of Ireland.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I have a vague recollection of that, as well. Albeit I don't recall where it happened in THE KING OF YS.

Back around 1988 or '89, I wrote a LONG letter to Poul Anderson about THE KING OF YS, about nine single spaced pages long. And Anderson was very friendly, patient, and even interested by my letter (judging by the length of his reply).