Thursday, 1 June 2017

Kinds Of Time

In our period, events are reported in the media and recorded with dated documentation. In earlier periods, events were reported by word of mouth and recorded in an oral tradition that soon made them legendary or even mythical. After SM Stirling's Change, reporting and recording revert from documented to oral.

But is it possible that a further change could then ensure not only that events are recorded in ways that mythologize them but also that the events themselves tend to conform to mythical archetypes such that, e.g., some sons of tribal Chiefs turn out to have all the qualities of a "hero" or that, when such a hero sets out on a Quest for a Sword, he and his companions happen to number exactly Nine?

This is asking us to accept rather a lot but is also quite intriguing as the characters deduce that they are living within and enacting myths and we wonder what has brought this about - apart from the imagination of the author, of course.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Yes, myths, legends, oral traditions all played roles in human history. But I would argue that once literacy was invented true history, narratives attempting to record events accurately, would be invented. The historical books of the OT comes to mind, and the somewhat later Herodotus, for the Greeks. And the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Babylonians also left annals, official inscriptions, king lists, etc.

Somewhat more "recently," a good example of honest writing of history is St. Gregory of Tours HISTORY OF THE FRANKS. Another being St. Bede the Venerable HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH CHURCH AND PEOPLE.

And of course the 19th century saw the rise of scientific history writing, as exemplified in J.B. Bury's Greek and Roman histories.