The Count of Years Commentary: 8    [ Text ]

Coming to know Iáinos


The Metailo duchies are, of course, based on Meťaiun names:
Metayu is from Meťaigho, of unknown meaning except for the honorific
Davūr and Ocayami are from Davur and Okiami, of unknown meaning
Nūōr is from Newor 'middlish'
Tevarē is from Teivarei 'west-place'
Agimbār is from Agibna, the name of the sea-goddess, better known by its V. equivalent Ažimbea; the goddess herself was adopted by the Caďinorians as Agireis, V. Ažirei

Cayenas is the Cuêzi name for the Svetla; it's cognate to Kaino and Caďinas in two Central languages. It's believed to mean '(people of) the river fork', and seems to have first applied to the confluence at Osuripoli, later Enocur.

According to Cuzeian political thought, you could only be a king (narrûos) if you ruled an entire lineage (sodeyas). (If you ruled more than one lineage, you could be a zîtenarrûos 'great-king, emperor'.) The Count of Years consistently refers to lesser rulers, Cuzeian or Metailo, as yuviciū 'dukes' (literally, those bearing a yuva, the plumed crest signifying leadership in battle). English (and Verdurian) usage would translate yuviciu and Meťaiun melah' as 'king', but I've used 'duke' to retain the distinction which the Cuzeians considered essential.

Meťaiun monarchies were elective, and only meaningful in wartime-- one reason, undoubtedly, why they were unable to mount any effective response to the Cuzeian/Central invasion. They are described as goduelāū 'leagues', a word which expresses some criticism: to ally 'with others' (go duelūta) falls short of real unity (gōnicorāu, from go onico 'with everyone').

The Cuzeians were struck by the Metailo habit of killing unsatisfactory kings, and seem to have projected it back to the failed rebels in the War of Corruption.

Tevarē did not actually exist at the time of the Cuzeian invasion; it was founded by Metailo nobles fleeing the destruction of their kingdoms. This wasn't realized by the early Cuzeian chroniclers, who simply projected its existence backward in time.

Readers of the Historical Atlas will wonder if the Cuzeians knew nothing of the elcar-múrtany wars, or Munkhâsh, to say nothing of the affairs of other human lineages. Munkhâsh will appear later; for other events, either the Cuzeians didn't know about them or didn't consider them part of their story. (The Old Testament similarly has nothing to say about things we'd be very curious about, such as the rise of Egypt or where the Indo-Europeans came from.)

Iáinos's lament

The words 'for now' in Iáinos's ruminations only appear in the more pietistic CLE, and relate to an ancient controversy: should the Cuzeians attempt to spread knowledge of Iáinos to other peoples? In practice, they only proselytized people under their direct rule. At this stage in history, religions correlated to ethnic groups, and there was no idea of missionary work. The prospect of worshippers of Iáinos living as a minority under the rule of pagans and polytheists was moreover distasteful.

Theoretically, however, Iáinos was the god of all men, and the wayward Metailō and Cazinorō should really be reclaimed. In the Golden Age (e.g. as seen in In the Land of Babblers), this policy seemed only to be used by the pietist party to upbraid the privatists; in the Silver Age some effort was made to convert Caďinorians, and indeed, while Cuzei's power was still respectable, some Caďinorians did convert.

Anacūlato corrected the second-to-last line to "Whoever thinks he knows everything about divinity cannot be taught." After all, he must have thought, we do know something about divinity. I rather prefer the paradox in the original.

The messengers

Lerīmanio 'powerful in seeing'; Tīblicolê 'horse-lover'.

'Prince': Lerīmanio was a medāuas, a title given to sons of kings or dukes. There is no suggestion that he outranks any dukes; quite the reverse.

Lēviūde = 'new dawn'.

The reaction of the closer lineages to the divine messenger is a satirical abstraction of the typical attitudes of those peoples to their own and other people's gods. The more remote lineages express other theoretical possibilities, such as atheism and pure fear or hatred of the spiritual. The text should not be taken as evidence that the 'real' Crummâlligō had no gods; the Wede:i, Axunašin, and Skourenes were all polytheists.

The Metailo religion, still practiced in Kebri, believes in local gods (Meť. kaumi, Keb. kem), identified with places of numinous power such as lakes, the sea, and mountaintops. Some of this feeling, and even the worship of particular gods, was communicated to the later invading Caďinorians, who were always ready to adopt new gods if they seemed powerful.

Was Lerīmanio real? One school of criticism believes not. Certainly the Cuzeians were in contact with the iliū, the reasoning goes, but this was probably an ongoing process, not the pilgrimage of a single prince. In fact it can be doubted that the Cuzeians had contact with the iliū when they still lived in Bolon-- the logistics alone would be daunting; much more likely that they contacted the iliū when they were already living in Eretald.

However, there is no real evidence for this alternate story, and it singularly fails to explain the difference between the Cuzeians and the other Easterners-- seemingly all polytheists, with a syncretistic attitude toward the beliefs of the people they conquered. As well, the Cuzeians never simply mingled with the iliū (an unlikely model for religious change, especially so for the iliū). It's reasonable that someone spearheaded the original contact; the portrait of Lerīmanio is no doubt idealized, but something like his story must have occurred.

Naturally, Lerīmanio appears elsewhere in the Book of Eīledan: much of The Wisdom of Knowers (on Glade practice) and many of the Unending Songs are attributed to him, while The Way of Knowing (on holiness) and The Book of Instructions (on morality) appeal frequently to his authority.

Lerīmanio and the Metailō

Zemu, from Meť. jaumi 'old'.

Comex is from Meť. Komugh 'god-place' (the ending seems to have been interpreted as a genitive; the Caď. is Comus, giving V. Como). The holiness of the lake was accepted by the Caďinorians, who considered it the birthplace of their own gods.

A lest (Cuêzi lestas) is about two kilometers.

The encounter with Zemu's gods is typical of Cuzeian accounts; the Cuzeians were not so much outraged (as the Hebrew prophets were) that men could worship silent blocks of wood or stone, as amused. Of course, the Metailō may have been perfectly satisfied with their relationship to their gods. A modern terrestrial atheist may think that to be religious one must constantly squash down doubt. But believers rarely find that their god is silent; especially in the pre-scientific era, life is full of events that can only be explained by recourse to the spiritual world.

Meeting with the elcari

Cisrên, from Elkarîl Kichrêng 'strong in fighting'.

The name of the Luōre river (V. Nof) is of unknown meaning.

On Glades, see The Glade of the House of Árrasos. The two lutā mentioned so far, the one consecrated by Árrasos, the other by Lerīmanio, provide a holy foundation for the chief Cuzeian cities, Aure Árrasex and Eleisa.

The monster in the swamp

The swamp is north of the later Cuzeian kingdom of Sūās, and was therefore named the guiscue Lācatosūelo; V. Nasuael is a half-calque (nan + suelo)

Other Cuzeian sources tell us that there used to be ktuvoks in the Nasuael swamp and in the Rau delta, but that they were eliminated from both places during the last iliu-ktuvok war. Certainly none lived there in historical times.

This ktuvok may therefore be an invention; on the other hand, if he's far out of place, so is Lerīmanio.

Ktuvoks are described as having a sort of mesmeric power over humans. Tiblicolê cannot be blamed for giving in to it, but of course Lerīmanio is honored for resisting.

The easiest route from the site of Eleisa to Atêllār is along the Isrēica (the Eärdur) to the sea, then along the seacoast. But Lerīmanio would have no way of knowing this.

The instruction of the iliū

Lācatur = 'northland'.

Rāviciu = 'having justice'; Ridinari 'laughing moon'.

Cuêzaye, the Cuêzi name for Cuzei, was explained by the ancients as related to cūidas 'core, pit, nut'. In fact it's cognate to Karazi and Curiya, and is of uncertain meaning; it's certainly not from cūidas, which derives from proto-Eastern *kuwids. (The Old Verdurian was Cözaye; the modern V. Cuzei comes through Benécian Cûzêy and reflects the importance of the Benécians in maintaining Arašei traditions.)

Knower = evissas, those who know (vissê) Iáinos. A pagan priest was a numiīcuras 'god-messsenger'.

It's not hard to see the importance of the pen to authors who knew only three literate cultures-- themselves, the elcari, and the iliū. The silver object imitates the shape of a reed pen, and indeed the Cuêzi word for 'pen' is the same as 'reed' (risi).

Lerīmanio's epigram on ceremonies (briduni) reflects the idealism of Cuzeian philosophy; the prophets and most Knowers are scornful of ritual-- "repetitions which have forgotten their purpose, the dead husk of worship", as one called it. Of course other Knowers advocated or required rituals; but the prevailing attitude at least put them on the defensive, and forced them to justify the spiritual relevance of the "repetitions".

Were all the Masāntigō "delighted" to hear the new teaching? There is no record of opposition, but religious change doesn't usually run so smoothly. Later on, during the Conquest, we will hear about serious opposition to the Knowers. Some scholars have suggested that this descended from incomplete assimilation of Lerīmanio's teaching; but I don't think we need to assume this. The Protestants are not the descendants of the Albigensians; each age can easily create its own dissent.

Timeline: Calculating from dates given later, Lerīmanio returned from Atêllār in Z.E. -436.

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