Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Two Questions on Narnian Philology (One of them on Charnian such, really)

1) Was the first Tisroc Tash and was he not an Archenlander? 2) Could Jadis' Great-Grand-Father really read people's minds, or did he just imagine so?

1) Was the first Tisroc Tash and was perhaps he himself not an Archenlander?

As readers of the Narnia chronicles will know, Tisrocs in Calormen claim to descend from Tash who is portrayed as a "god" (a false and rather obviously evil heathen god). As readers of the Narnia chronicles will have noticed, though Tisroc and Tarkaan and Tarkheena are obviously not any English titles, nevertheless, Shasta and Aravis grew up in Calormen and have no linguistic difficulties when getting to Narnia and Archenland, while over there the Pevensies a few years earlier had had no linguistic difficulties in Narnia - which gets a satisfactory explanation in the fact that the Narnian world's "secondary Adam and Eve" so to speak are an English couple, Frank and Helen.

Now, this poses a little problem for whatever other linguistic material is there.

Telmarine names have a Spanish flavour. Now, the Telmarines, though descending from English pirates (Spanish is not the court language at Miraz' court, Caspian X has no linguistic difficulties in speaking to the returned Pevensies), may have descended from such as had had contact with Spanish and some nostalgia for Spanish sounding things - enforced perhaps by some similar sound patterns in Polynesian indigenous women's original language. Though very English names, like Rynelf and Rhoop occur as well. And someone among the pirates must have brought along Latin as a learned language. Doctor Cornelius taught it.

Next question is Calormen.

Outside story, one can notice some similarities here and there to scattered European language references. "Lady Zardeenah" has some reminiscence of sardines. Azim Balda is playing around with a Portuguese sound pattern around French "assez" (very, pretty, rather, sufficiently) and German "bald" (not bald headed, but quickly, soon) - very fitting for a city where Calormene post offices are centred. However, this will not do inside the story (or, if, requires quite a few intermediates). What is the explanation in the story for gods like Zardeenah, Tash, people like Ahoshta, Rabadash, Aravis, Alimash, Kidrash, Ilsombreh, Ardeeb, Lasaraleen, places like Zalindreh, Tashbaan (except first syllable clearly refers to Tash), Azim Balda (remember : in story, not in author's associations!), Tehishbaan, and titles like Tarkaan, Tarkheena (notice that we have a consonant change and not just a vowel change), and Tisroc?

Here we get to the wiki on Calormen, as given on Narnia.Wikia.com :

The Calormene empire was founded in the early days of the Age of Conquest, after certain exiled outlaws from Archenland fled across the southern desert and arrived in a then un-inhabited land. They founded the Calormen empire in this new land in the year 204, which started off in the northern band of the country. This was led by a cult leader from Archenland who was called the Tisroc, who claimed himself to be a descendent of the god Tash.

Many disagreed with the new authority's politics, so they migrated south of the small nation, and formed their own nations. Over the years, the Calormenes expanded their empire greatly, conquering many southern countries, whose inhabitants had separated from the early Calormene settlers, most notably the province of the city Zalindreh. In 300, they even colonized the land of Telmar in the west, ... The colonial remnant was plundered into anarchy, until they were forced to assimilate with the 12 Pirates that came from Earth's "South Sea" in 460. After Telmar became a kingdom, it allied itself with Calormen, and the two nations conquered the Conglomeration of Nations between the two countries, and made them satellite states of the Calormen Empire.

Can Calormenes have adopted English first from Telmarines in Telmar and later it went on to Calormen?

Or would Calormenes as coming from Archenland, which was colonised from Telmar, have been English speakers from the first?

Now, this poses a question where the remnants (presumable such in this scenario) of a "Calormene language" came from. My solution is that the first Tisroc was himself called Tash (a cult leader making his followers believe he was god, much like Odin did in Uppsala and Nimrod presumably in Assyria), and that, like Pevensies and first Telmarines, and like Jadis, he was not born in the Narnian world. "Calormene language" would be his native language. Or his construct (like Enochian is also a cult language construct).

One more pointer in this direction:

Calormenes were known to be dark-skinned, with the men mostly bearded. Flowing robes, turbans and wooden shoes with an upturned point at the toe were common items of clothing, and the preferred weapon was the Calormene scimitar. ... It is unknown from where the human race of Calormenes originated, although it is suspected they may have been outlaws sent into the Great Desert from Narnia and Archenland as punishment. Instead of dying, though, they appeared to have successfully crossed the desert, creating their own civilisation at the River Calormen, which eventually became the country of Calormen. Their migration through the Great Desert, with the sun beating down on them, may have also attributed to their dark complexion.

And here end my quotes from:

WikiNarnia : Calormen

Unless some of the river gods or dryads and naiads the sons and daughters of Frank and Helen married were of darker complexion than Frank and Helen, or unless one of them at least was a gipsy, this can't really be. Losing genes for skin colour does not equal gaining them. Whites have lost such genes, and are not likely to get them back by mutations. Of course, genetics maybe doesn't work that way in the Narnian universe. But they could have got it from a new arrival, who would be Tash-the-first-Tisroc. If he had other background.

The dark complexion might even come from Telmar - since the pirates had married (or rape-married) the islanders' women, some of the early Telmarines would have had darker complexion than others - if these had gone south to Calormen?

But would that explain the Calormene language? Only if, a) it was that of islanders' before the pirates and b) it was attached to Calormen after they had received some additions from Telmar.

However, Tash as a new arrival might explain some too. Note, the in this case human Tash would not be identic (though perhaps lending leanness and facial features) to Tash the demon who arrived to the Last Battle. But Tash the demon can have been a demon who already arrived and possessed Tash the man, the first Tisroc.

If such a man, for some reason, had come from our world to Narnia, then he might explain both Calormene cult language and Calormene darker race. There are precedents "in our world" (the real one, in which this is a story) for such things : Nimrod as Gilgamesh or Enmerkar or both and as Osiris, Odin in Uppsala. We might soon be up to a new version of this perverted theme.

This much on the first question.

2) Could Jadis' Great-Grand-Father really read people's minds, or did he just imagine so?*

WikiNarnia : Jadis' great-grandfather

"This was the old banqueting hall where my great-grandfather bade seven hundred nobles to a feast and killed them all before they had drunk their fill."

―Jadis, describing her ancestor (Chapter 5 of The Magician's Nephew, cited in article)

He once bade seven hundred nobles to a feast, but killed them all before they had even drunk their fill of wine. He did this simply because they had all had "rebellious thoughts". ... From how he was described by Jadis, her great-grandfather obviously had the power to look into people's minds and read their thoughts. It is not known for certain if Jadis had the same trait as he, but considering the magic that ran through their family's bloodline it is definitely possible. Plus, there were some scenes when she spoke to Digory Kirke and his Uncle Andrew, and seemed like she was able to see into them.

It is uncertain how much C. S. Lewis agreed with St Thomas Aquinas on the topic at hand. If he did, he would hardly have considered either the great grand-father or Jadis herself as capable of actually accurately reading what a man thought or intended in his reason.

Even demons cannot do that.

Demons can pretend to do it:

  • a) by instilling a thought themselves and then when they think it is accepted refer to it;
  • b) by reading physical signs of emotions, which give some probable clues to thoughts.

Note, probable. Not certain ones. Thus, any profession which pretends to read people's thoughts (apart from their normal and clear verbal expressions) is a bogus one.

This includes psychiatry and Freudian psychology.

Such pretences are, and CSL considered Freudian psychology used it that way, likely to be abused in ways of tyranny.

It is likely that we here deal with a warning.

Some of these nobles could very well have been loyal and therefore innocent (in relation to the greatgrandfather, if not to all their people) and his burning them would have been the price he paid for trusting some magica which made him believe he could read thoughts, and where demons used their skills in probabilities and emotion scanning.

CSL might here have been warning us, that psychology and psychiatry might one day be abused for similar securitarian abuses. Or perhaps even magic, if that should be giving better results. It was already and is still (through hospitalisation for mental illness) punishing people for their thoughts. So, take a look at what CSL is parodying. The point is very much the same as in Isaac Asimov's Minority Report, which recently went to be a film. (I take that point as obvious from summaries of film action).

Obviously, like the Tisroc dynasty descending from Tash is a reference to perhaps Yngling dynasty descending from Odin and Frey, so also this illdeed of Jadis' great-grandfather is a reference to the last Yngling who ruled in Uppsala. CSL knew his Nordic stuff.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
Vigil of St John the Baptist

* Perhaps an apt day to speak about this type of false prophecy on the vigil of a feast day of a true prophet. Obviously God can read men's hearts and can and on occasion did communicate what he knew to men, to real prophets, to the human mind of Christ and to priests like the curate of Ars or Padre Pio. But these hardly committed arson.

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