Wednesday, 4 July 2018

A Hunnish World View

Uldin the Hun reflects:

"Abide, he told himself. Honor the Powers and the ancestors, stand by your Shanyu and do his will as you expect your household to do yours, steer your affairs wisely. Then who knows what might come your way?
"And the vortex took him."
-Poul Anderson, The Dancer From Atlantis, CHAPTER TWO, p. 16.

The "vortex" takes Uldin into the past. This single-sentence paragraph announcing the vortex is an ironic answer to the question that ends the preceding paragraph. Similarly, on p. 14, Oleg smiles " everything which lay in his tomorrows..." and the vortex takes him; on p. 20, Erissa asks "'...God Duncan...'" when he will call her back to him and the vortex takes her.

Uldin acknowledges:

the Powers;
the ancestors;
his ruler;

Natural forces transcend human understanding and control.
Language and other inherited skills enable us to transcend animality.
The rule of men preceded the rule of law.
However, a household, and a realm, can be ruled wisely, not just by individual self-will.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Uldin's reflections reminded me both of Stirling's comments on how nomadic tribes were able to concentrate more of their people for military purposes than settled nations and the nomads reputation for DISCIPLINE. That is, one advantage many steppe nomads had was their absolute obedience to their chieftains, esp. in times of war. Given how often the leaders of settled regions were at odds with each other, that gave an enormous advantage to nomadic invaders.