Friday, 16 September 2016

Babylon And Ardaig

Criteria of appropriateness in matters like architectural, artistic and decorative design must vary enormously between human cultures and historical periods and even more so if we try to imagine non-human intelligences.

In ancient Babylon:

winding palace passages are hung with bright rugs;

walls have scenes of palm trees, griffins and other fabulous beasts and winged hawk-headed men;

dyed mats cover the terra-cotta floor;

we are told that this should look gaudy but doesn't and instead "...lightened the massiveness of the adobe architecture."
-SM Stirling, Against The Tide Of Years (New York, 1999), Chapter Twelve, p. 191.

In Ardaig on the extrasolar planet of Merseia:

"The proportions of long, flagged floor, high walls, narrow windows arched at both top and bottom, sawtoothed vaulting overhead, were wrong by every Terran canon and nonetheless had a rightness of their own."
-Poul Anderson, Young Flandry (New York, 2010), p. 141.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I'm reminded of how Merseia had two co-capitals: Ardaig and Tridaig. Comparing the similarities and differences between the two might be interesting, as examples showing historical and cultural changes on Merseia. And contrasting them with the Imperial capital and Naval centrum on Terra, Archopolis and Admiralty Center, was another thought I had.