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And we cannot but think here of Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita. And Witoudo is the first king but Bruteno the "crywo cyrwaito" or first high priest. And both became gods. Are all such twin led first settlings of folk often as the outcome of a ver sacrum to be so thought of? Take your pick. Mark that Helios is not the sun here but for Mithras. Further east however we find Mul. They are said to be two of the three angels who show up Dioscuri-like before Abraham's tent under the oaks of Mamre, and therefore are likely to be those two who then go on to punish Sodom for its woeful lack of hospitality.
Origen Contra Celsum Book 6, ch. That the sun and the moon are the mights who wield sun and water I take as given, but the link between the heavenly body and the element is maybe more of a profound and subtle thing than the bare words might lead us to believe. Now the old ordeals arose from a worship of fire and water, as holy elements, as clean things which will not ever harm the good and truthful or truefast, but will always overwhelm the bad and sinful.
December 2008: Book Reviews
Northern, Roman and Greek mythologies are all not much help here in outfolding these things as these hardly touch upon them. The belief underlying them is older and deeper than the shards of our old Western mythology left to us, more unashamedly Eastern in its beginnings and brought westward from the East by our forefathers long ago.
Something from the Golden Eld hopelessly brought forward into an evermore broken world that could no longer bear it. And this is why their names are to be found on the old treaty. Mary Boyce has much to say on this in her A History of Zoroastrianism [ here ]. In India although Mitra was more or less forgotten, Varuna never lost his links to water, but these are all too often overlooked by Western writers.
Among the Parsees Mitra as Mithras was never forgotten, nor his deep links to fire, thus Mihr Yasht And it is worthwhile here to mark the gods who might then be thought to be in the old stead of Mitra and Varuna in the later oath of the Iceland-folk. But I can't see this as being an obvious way to make offerings to the sun at all. But this is no more than another way of saying what we find later in Ypotys Vernon handwrit fol. In short, much the same as the Christians' ideas about the "holy ghost" or "holy spirit".
But our Northern forefathers have not copied the Christians in any of this, although a knowledge of Christian belief might have helped to bring to the fore something that was maybe less strongly thought of before. Anklesaria :. We can thus understand how whereas Indra is the lord of the slain heroes once thought of as Maruts? And, although a bit too far reaching to be taken too literally, th'ilk work bk.
A large Salmalali silk-cotton tree grows in this Dwipa, and gives it its name. Back to Tuesday, Wednesday MS Harley fol. Iamblichus, from whom I have taken this and all besides, a little from a great store, says that the secret meaning to be interpreted is that Monimos is Hermes and Azizos Ares, the assessors of Helios, who are the channel for many blessings to the region of our earth.
Wright] Hermes is Mercurius, Ares is Mars. From the name Azizos "the strong one" by the way, the Jews may well have gotten the name of the fallen angel Azza that we have already met. But to understand what is going on we need to know two things. Thus Pliny Natural History , Book 2, ch. Macrobius Saturnalia Book 3 chpt. Davies :. Chaldaei quoque stellam Herculis uocant, quam reliqui omnes Martis appellant. The star, too, which is known to all other peoples as the Star of Mars is called by the Chaldeans the star of Hercules. Furthermore, Octavius Hersennius, in his book entitled On the Rites of the Salii of Tibur, explains that the Salii were instituted for the service of Hercules and, after the taking of auspices, perform rites in his honour on certain fixed days.
Martem solem esse quis dubitet? In summa pronuntiandum est effectum solis, de quo fervor animorum, de quo calor sanguinis excitatur, Martem vocari. And there is the further consideration that the Accitani, a people of Spain, worship with the greatest respect a statue of Mars which is adorned with rays calling it Neton. Now a natural explanation unquestionably requires that the gods from whom springs the heat of heaven should differ in their names rather than in their real essence.
The spear on the other hand, is only the common man's weapon, thus in Old English the male side of a family tree could be spoken of as the "spere-healf" "spear-half", in the same way as the female side was the "spinelhealf" "spindle-half". There is much to say here about holy weapons and oaths upon swords and weapons which were made by our forebears, as the later times made oaths on saint's bones or the bible, but this must abide a later post.
But a wonderful link between these two is being made here nevertheless for those with the eyes to see it. But a third thing needs to be said here about the so-called "caduceus" for the light it might well throw on the god who bears it. If you look in Edward B. Tylor quotes L. Morgan League of the Iroquois lf. It consisted of an upright shaft, about four feet in length, and an inch in diameter, with a small wheel set upon the lower part, to give it momentum. In a notch at the top of the shaft was set a string, attached to a bow about three feet in length.
The lower point rested upon a block of dry wood, near which are placed small pieces of punk. When ready to use, the string is first coiled around the shaft, by turning it with the hand. The bow is then pulled downwards, thus uncoiling the string, and revolving the shaft towards the left. By the momentum given to the wheel, the string is again coiled up in a reverse manner, and the bow again drawn up. The bow is again pulled downwards, and the revolution of the shaft reversed, uncoiling the string, and recoiling it as before.
This alternate revolution of the shaft is continued, until sparks are emitted from the point where it rests upon the piece of dry wood below. Sparks are produced in a few moments by the intensity of the friction, and ignite the punk, which speedily furnishes a fire. And a little later [ lf. And at the end of his chapitle on Wuotan in vol. Vii, lf. That an axe is a token of the thunder weapon we shall see anon, but here it is enough to acknowledge that it might be. Logos and Nous Even if you don't have any kings, there is still a need to acknowledge the ruling divine principle of the universe, by whatever name you call it.
In the beginning he was by himself; he transformed the whole of substance through air into water, and just as in animal generation the seed has a moist vehicle, so in cosmic moisture God, who is the seminal reason of the universe, remains behind in the moisture as such an agent, adapting matter to himself with a view to the next stage of creation. Thereupon he created first of all the four elements, fire, water, air, earth.
Hermes], who has the relation of logos to the intellect of his father, announces the will of Jupiter to secondary natures. Book 5, chap. For Mercury is Logos, who being interpreter and fabricator of the things that have been made simultaneously, and that are being produced, and that will exist, stands honoured among them, This too exalting title is conferred upon it in order to indicate that it is the source of things in the sense of being their underlie: it is an approximate name chosen for a general conception; there is no intention of suggesting a complete parallel with motherhood to those not satisfied with a surface impression but needing a precisely true presentment; by a remote symbolism, the nearest they could find, they indicate that Matter is sterile, not female to full effect, female in receptivity only, not in pregnancy: this they accomplish by exhibiting Matter as approached by what is neither female nor effectively male, but castrated of that impregnating power which belongs only to the unchangeably masculine.
Hominum etiam quatuor aetates, quatuor vitia, quatuorque virtutes. Hic numerus quadratus ipsi Cyllenio deputatur, quod quadratus deus solus hebeatur. The number four is assigned to the Cyllenian himself, for he alone is regarded as the fourfold god. Quippe intra unum, secundum, triademque ipsumque bis binum tenet, quis collationibus symphoniae peraguntur. Within itself it contains the one, the dual, the triad, and is itself the square of two, within which proportions the musical harmonies are produced.
Lydus writing of Janus Quadrifrons, the Janus with four-anseens which, as we have seen, well belongs here 4. I can't hold off putting this here from W. A guide post; so called, according to Pegge, because it shows the right way, but does not go therein. But we might have been thinking a fourfold-head would fit a fourfold god better, and happen they did once exist, but a threefold-head shows us that our god was at times matched to Hecate see above and given "three-legged" crosses where three ways meet.
Lincoln Key to the Sacred Pattern C. Thus they, too, may be preserving the memory of significant sites. More three anseen tokens [ here ]. On Yggdrasill see here. Commentarius ex Cicerone in Somnium Scipionis Bk. Johannes Lydus On the Months, March 51 awend. Mischa Hooker :. And the mysteries in honour of Dionysus were conducted in secret, because of the fact that the sun's shared association with the nature of the universe is hidden from everyone.
For Plato says in his Timaeus , "to earth, the spherical form. Sir Richard Jebb. He was an architect and his fortifications contributed decisively to the defense of Vienna in against the Turks, and thus saved Western Europe. Above: helmschau left and wappen right of the thrutcher Siegmund Grimm - , grimm meaning in German the same as grim does in English "wild; harsh". Ptolemy, son of Lagus, says that two serpents went in front of the army, uttering a voice, and Alexander ordered the guides to follow them, trusting in the divine portent.
He says too that they showed the way to the oracle and back again. Callisthenes, for instance, says that Alexander was ambitious of the glory of visiting the oracle, because he knew that Perseus and Hercules had before performed the journey thither. An east Frankish kindred. But an odd token for one whose name means "raven-stone".
Mark the wings on the helmschau. Canidia has "Delphos Three foot-Stool" which gives us the English name for this token: the "three-foot".
Above: a black-figure ware pot showing Achilles fighting Hector, Achilles having the token of the "three-foot" on his shield for other forebisenings see here and here. The main temple on Calaurea is holy to Poseidon, but Poseidon and Apollo are said to have wrixled temples with each other, so that, Apollo got Poseidon's Delphi whilst Poseidon got Apollo's Calaurea:. We minn here Adam of Bremen's words:. Si pestis et famis imminet, Thorydolo lybatur, If sickness or famine threaten they sacrifice to the idol Thor; There is nothing unlikely or made-up about this, as some have mooted id est Philip Shaw Uses of Wodan And we might understand that this could become in time a tale where these two gods do no more than fare forth together as two fellow wayfarers.
From the Eddas and Sagas
For the Egyptians make a twofold representation of the daemon Hermes, placing a young by the side of an elderly man, intending to signify by this, that he who rightly inspects [sacred concerns] ought to be both intelligent and strong, one of these being imperfect in affording utility without the other.
On this account, also, a sphinx is established by us in the vestibules of our temples, as a sacred symbol of the conjunction of these two goods; the beast in this figure signifying strength, but the man wisdom. For strength when destitute of the ruling aid of wisdom, is borne along with stupid astonishment, mingling and confounding all things; and intellect is useless for the purposes of action, when it is deprived of the subserviency of hands.
Similarly to these, to indicate intelligence, and memory, and power, and art, a man is sculptured in the temples. And so mote it ever be. And even stronger in Plutarch's Greek Questions 24 we will read awend F. And as in the innermost recess of a wondrous cave.
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The Odyssey with an English awending by A. Murray, PH. Cambridge, MA. In that treaty the knights and the Pope's legate forbid the Prussians a number of their old ways, among which is this:. Hos, inquam, promiserunt se nunquam de cetero habituros. The ninth is Folkvang, where Freyja decrees Who shall have seats in the hall; The half of the dead each day does she choose, And half does Othin have.
Deal 3, lf. One day a pygmy appears before him, and says that he will come to his wedding if Herla will come to his wedding a year later. Upon leaving the wedding festivities Herla is given a bloodhound and is told not to dismount until it leaps from the hands of its bearer. Upon leaving the cave they encounter a man who turns out to be a Saxon, he explains that Herla is a legend and it has been many centuries since his reign. The shock of this discovery forces many of his men to dismount and they are turned to dust, so they must wander until the bloodhound leaps from the arms of its bearer.
As Map puts it:. Hec huius Herlethingi uisa est ultimo familia in marchia Walliarum et Herefordie anno primo regni Henrici secundi, circa meridiem, eo modo quo nos erramus cum bigis et summariis, cum clitellis et panariolis, auibus et canibus, concurrentibus uiris et mulieribus. Qui tunc primi uiderunt tibiis et clamoribus totam in eos uiciniam concitauerunt, et ut illius est mos uigilantissime gentis statim omnibus armis instructa multa manus aduenit, et quia uerbum ab eis extorquere non potuerunt uerbis, telis adigere responsa parabant.
Illi autem eleuati sursum in aera subito disparuerunt. Ab illa die nusquam uis a est illa milicia, Hawke did do a good job with the mystery and intrigue. I was kept guessing for a while and the twists and turns in the story were handled well. This was a tale that was low on magic. That is not an issue for me at all. The problem was that when a bit of magic did creep into the story I was really not a fan of it!
It is hard to criticise too much as we never learned enough about it for me to get a real feel for how it all worked.
We get a vague idea but that is it. Also did not help that it was so tied to religion. That was never going to encourage me to view it in a favourable light lol. Hopefully the topic gets further explored in the sequels. The other big flaw of this story was how bland and forgettable a lot of the secondary characters were.
I had trouble remembering who they were and telling them apart even going into the second half of the story. That is so unusual for me and was likely one of the reasons I found myself a little bored at times. It has been years since I struggled so hard to remember secondary characters and it even added a bit of unintended confusion at times for me.
I blame Hawke's writing for that as I feel like the characters should have been made more memorable! In terms of tone this book was a hard one to define. The plot had depth and complexity as well as some fairly serious and grim stuff like war, death, and discrimination aplenty but the story also still managed to retain a slightly YA feel to it. I think it may have given that impression because Hawke avoided profanity, did not glorify the violence, and gave us two fairly young and often times very naive lead characters to follow.
All in all I felt like this was a story with a ton of great things going for it but that it never quite managed to reach its potential and actually deliver a top story. It likely did not help that I had crazy high expectations going into City of Lies. The blurb sounded so fun and the comparisons it garnered were all good ones so I felt like it promised to be the top fantasy debut of Those high expectations only made the disappointment all the harder with this turned out to be quite average. Also bodes poorly for the rest of the fantasy debuts from my perspective as the blurbs for them all sound a bit crappy and none had the appeal of this one for me.
Hopefully will not be a total dud year for fantasy debut books! Rating: 3 stars. I may or may not read the sequel. Depends how I feel about this one once I've had a bit of time to reflect upon it. Audio Note: I feel like both Rosa Coduri and Dan Morgan were passable narrators but that neither were particularly talented voice actors. Both went for the same accents. If Coduri had a flaw it was that she made all of the characters sound pretty young.
That was fine for Kalina, Taim, and Jovan but less so for the older characters in the tale! View all 15 comments. He's also a master of poisons and chemicals. When the Chancellor falls to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect Tain and save the city-state of Silasta. City of Lies by Sam Hawke is now easily one of my favorite reads of - and one of the best debut novels I've read all year long. Believe me when I saw that you need this fantasy novel in your life.
The author's writing style immediately hooked me - right from the first line actually. What kept me coming back for more though was the author's stunning world-building and her brilliant character development, plus there's a fascinating magic system to back everything up. This book is over pages and I was so enamored by her style that I managed to speed through it in what amounted to three or four reading binges. I didn't want to put my Kindle down for a second, but unfortunately work got in the way.
If I'd had my way, I would have attempted to devour it in only one sitting! Like I said before, this novel has some of the best world-building I've had the opportunity to experience this year. The city-state of Silasta is practically a character on its own. It's so vividly presented I felt like I could have walked the streets with Jovan, Kalina, and Tain at my side.
The description of the setting with everything from daily operations, class, political and societal views, and religion and the lies everything is built upon, naturally is so tightly threaded into the core of the story that it felt like a living and breathing entity. Even though we really only get to see the city-state of Silasta with a taste of other locales, the story never managed to feel restricted in anyway since we have such a great sense of Silasta it becomes more than just a place in the mind of the reader.
This debut also features some truly remarkable characters with Jovan, Kalina, and Tain. Like with the world they inhabit, I truly felt like over the course of more than pages I got a great sense of who they were as people as they progressed and developed. I loved getting to know both of them, but I found myself drawn to the chronically ill Kalina in particular - as great as Jovan is Kalina really steals all of her scenes as she goes toe to toe with her equally skilled brother.
As much as I enjoy a fantasy featuring assassins, I have to say it was brilliant seeing the reverse here with leading characters who have been tasked with preventing assassination via poisoning. You will want to devour this fantasy all at once because you can't put it down. If you like V. Schwab, I have a feeling you'll be just as impressed by Sam Hawke's storytelling, character developing, and world-building abilities.
I'm certainly looking forward to seeing where the Poison Wars series goes from here. It's going to be brilliant, I can feel it! Thanks, NetGalley! Oct 22, Kaitlin rated it really liked it. Honestly, if I had known more about this book when it first came out it would have been one I picked up far faster. I loved the concept of this one from the blurb, and Robin Hobb is one of the people who endorsed it, but I was still pleasantly surprised when I read it to find it was far more than I expected.
It also gave me quite a few Realm-of-the-Elderlings Vibes and that is always a good thing. This story is a behind-the-scenes look into the lives of Proofers. Proofing is an art and a delicat Honestly, if I had known more about this book when it first came out it would have been one I picked up far faster. Proofing is an art and a delicate operation where you are poison-testers and you have to ensure the safety of the Chancellor. We follow two young people: Kalina and Jovan, who work for the Chancellor but are also his friends.
They are both PoV characters and they are also siblings. Kalina is a strong-hearted character who is determined throughout to prove that even though her body is often weak and she struggles to keep the family legacy of poison-testing going, she is still worth a lot and she is loyal to a fault. Her determination was unparalleled by any but her brother in the story, and I found her passion and charisma and clever ideas to be a refreshing take on a female lead. Jovan is a very conscientious and careful character, He knows there is an awful lot of responsibility that falls to him when he takes on the family occupation, and yet he is still calm and considered throughout.
I liked his story a lot and found him easy to connect with as a reader. I definitely feel like his outlook was one I could sympathise with and I cared what happened to him and Kalina. Taine and Adhena spelling may not be right here as I audio-booked this are two other characters who we see pop up later in the story, and they are pretty great characters too. There's a lot of important decisions made in the book by these two so I felt like they were very worth a mention.
We get to follow the mystery of 'who-did-it' through Jove and Kalina's eyes. They are each narrated by different narrators on the audiobook, and they are both as fleshed out as one another. I have seen others comment that the voices were not distinct enough for each character, but this is where I think the two audiobook narrators did a great job of fixing this and making them feel unique. I feel like I really enjoyed getting to know both of them even though Jovan feels more like the main character at first.
By the end of the book which is mostly a plot-driven story I felt like both were great. The magic in this book is very minimal. It's a lot more of a mystery, siege and example of character motivations. There really is very little 'magical' about this until the end, but there are still a lot of elements you often find in fantasy that are much better done than I am used to seeing in Debut fantasy. Overall this is a story which does not rely on magic, but still entertains.
This gave me a lot of good moments and for a debut it really impressed me too. I certainly plan to pick up the sequel next year, and I really do recommend this if you are a Hobb fan or just want something involving poison and treachery because it's got all of that and more. A fascinating read and one I thoroughly recommend. May 29, Nick T. Borrelli rated it really liked it. I always appreciating receiving review copies before the actual publication date and I do not ever take that for granted. I also have to admit to being somewhat ignorant with regard to this title until very recently. The buzz is really beginning to grow for this book and for Sam Hawke to have landed with Tor so early in her career is just a testament to the talents that Tor feels she already possesses as an author.
Couple that with the fact that she and Robin Hobb are personal friends and I absolutely couldn't wait to read this, seeing as Ms. Hobb is definitely on my top three authors of all time list. With all of that in mind, I quickly jumped into the story of Jovan and his sister Kalina. Well, if that isn't an attention-grabber of a first line I don't know what is!
The story unfolds in the city of Silasta, also know as " The Bright City". Silasta is by all accounts a cultured and wealthy city of the privileged but also rife with corruption and greedy capitalistic abuses. The downtrodden who live in the surrounding areas of Silasta have been attempting an overthrow of the city for some time, fomenting riots and other public displays of defiance. However, the Chancellor of the city is an incredibly powerful man who has been able to stave off every coup attempt and has managed to marginalize the less-fortunate masses living outside of the city and keep them relatively under control.
That is until the day that two highly influential members of the hierarchy are poisoned and the Chancellor is faced with the very real possibility that there is an undetected assassin afoot within the walls of Silasta itself. They are both what are known as "proofers". Essentially the job of a proofer is to guard against their leaders being poisoned either through their food of by various other means. The way they are trained for this incredibly important job is to be gradually poisoned at a very early age and then throughout their lives so that they can develop a sort of immunity to poisons while also being able to detect hundreds of different forms and essences of those poisons before they ever reach the lips of the people who they are charged to guard.
Jovan is thrust into the role of guarding the privileged heir of the Chancellor Tain when his sister Kalina's health is too frail to carry out her duties. When the two leaders of Silasta are poisoned one of whom happens to be Jovan and Kalina's uncle, the still fairly inexperienced Jovan must learn quickly because the fate of Silasta and its stranglehold on the populace is very much in danger.
As word slowly leaks out of their deaths, the rebellion gains more confidence, seeing it as an opportunity and a chink in the armor of the otherwise impregnable city. As a result Jovan, Kalina, and the heir Tain rush to solve the murders before any more occur and the ensuing instability causes an overthrow of Silasta and its noble ruling class. It is in the process of attempting to solve the poisoning murders that the three begin to peel back the layers of the truth at the heart of the city of Silasta and start to question what they have always been taught about their upbringing and world.
For Silasta is not the Utopian society it has always been portrayed as for these three friends, and when they are faced with the reality of the deceit and intolerance that is a matter of course in the city, their entire perspective is devastatingly altered. How will that effect their future and the future of the city that they have always called home?
Will the heir to the Chencellorship Tain be open to the truth or will he reject it in an effort to guarantee and solidify his power and eventual ascension as the future Chancellor of Silasta? I love when I have absolutely zero expectations before I read a book. That's by no means a knock, I just mean that I had read no reviews of this book nor had I seen any marketing material other than the cover and back-cover synopsis. It really makes reading a book like this a freeing experience and you can just let the story unfold and wash over you with no preconceived notions as to what you are about to read.
There are so many things that I liked about this book.
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The first one was the constant switching of viewpoint perspective with each chapter, alternating between both Jovan and Kalina. At first I didn't think I was going to like it and I was a bit confused. However, as the book went on I felt that it enhanced the story for me. I enjoyed seeing the events taking place through the eyes of two different people in very different situations.
Once I got used to the fact that each chapter would be told through alternating perspectives, I loved it. Another thing that I liked about the book was the exceptional world-building. The city of Silasta is fascinating and the backstory of the disgruntled lower-class trying to overthrow their oppressive leaders was a deftly-handled one. It's a timeless plot theme really and we as readers can easily relate to a story like this because we've seen it in the real history of our world on many occasions.
Lastly, I'd like to touch on the characters, most specifically the brother and sister duo of Jovan and Kalina. It is here where Sam Hawke really shows her prowess as a writer. The complex relationship between the two while also balancing that with the obvious love that they have for each other carries the story and lifts it from simply a good tale to a great one. I highly recommend CITY OF LIES and the good news is that this is just the first book in hopefully a long series where we can enjoy this world and these characters for years and years to come.
Jun 14, Sharade rated it it was amazing Shelves: epic-fantasy , fantasy , advanced-copy , favorites. As the kids say, I have all the feels. Review to come. It's awesome. Have you ever encountered books that push all the right buttons, play all the right notes, tick all the boxes — in short, fit so well your tastes that it feels like it was written for you? City of Lies is that kind of book for me As the kids say, I have all the feels.
City of Lies is that kind of book for me. The story is told from the alterning points of view of Jovan and his sister Kalina. Both are at the service of the Chancellor and his heir, Tain, as it is tradition in their family. These three characters are, without a doubt, why I adored City of Lies. A few months ago, I wrote in a blog post about how nice protagonists are my favourites and how I wish to see more of them in fantasy. Tain, Jovan and Kalina are exactly the type of characters I crave.
They are profoundly decent and their moral compass is on point, even when dealt with circumstances that are, to say the least, challenging. They are interesting as individuals: Jovan has a form of OCD that can be crippling but has to overcome it in order to fulfil his duty to Tain and protect him from harm; Kalina suffers from an invisible, chronic disease and can't shake her feeling of inadequacy; Tain has to shoulder responsibilities he's not ready for. But their dynamic is also a very strong aspect of the story. Their relationships are layers of love and friendship, guilt and resentment.
I can't tell you how refreshing it feels to have complexity with characters that are not jerks. The plot alternates between action scenes and intrigue. There is an army besieging the city-state before the quarter of the book, and I expected the pacing to suffer from it. That wasn't the case. The tensions which arose during the siege and the twists and betrayals following the poisoning of the Chancellor kept my interest very much alive. The worldbuilding is meticulously thought of.
I loved how rich and real the setting felt; there is a cohesiveness to it, from the way families are structured to the political make-up of the city. There is also a forgotten lore that is slowly unearthed throughout the book. If you're a fan, like me, of the "lost magic" trope, you'll find it in a certain form here. Since one of the main characters has an encyclopaedic knowledge of poisons, it is also a prevalent element in the setting.
City of Lies explores themes that I found very appealing; the "otherisation" and xenophobia in times of trouble, social inequality, religion and traditions Everything in this book, from characters to plot, from ideas to worldbuilding, made for a fantastic read. I really, really hope there will be sequels.
This review was first published in The Fantasy Inn. Jul 19, FanFiAddict rated it it was amazing. Receiving this eARC in no way influences my thoughts or opinions on the novel. I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me… With a hook like that, how is one not at least interested in learning more? As you may probably well know, I am a sucker for beautiful book covers and this one caught my eye when it was revealed last year. I waited…and waited…and waited for eARCs to hit, and finally got the opportunity when my TBR was filled to overflowing.
But the good news is: I have finally been able to finish it and can say it is one of my favorite reads of the year. Jovan and Kalina must do what it takes to uncover the mystery surrounding the deaths of the Chancellor and their uncle, while also keeping their hope for the future alive. But who can they really trust when it all comes down to it?
I have to commend Hawke because, in my honest opinion, this did not feel like a debut whatsoever. Jovan and Kalina just jumped off of the pages and begged for my immediate attention from the get-go. The world-building is sensational, and the world that lives just on the underside of the streets of the city is slowly peeled back like the layers of onion just add to the overall reading experience. I also thoroughly enjoyed how balanced the POVs were between Jovan and Kalina, and how the author included a unique poison and description at the beginning of each chapter.
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I am a sucker for tidbits like these all started with Michael R. City of Lies is a novel chock-full of mystery, lies, deceit, loss, and triumph, and I cannot recommend it enough. Jul 01, Liz Barnsley rated it it was amazing. City of Lies was an incredible piece of storytelling and by far one of my favourite early reads of the year so far. The political landscape is cleverly woven into the story allowing for machinations aplenty and you should always expect the unexpected. The setting is descriptively perfect and it is beautifully written throughout. She does have some competition from Hadrea though….
The action is all consuming, the quieter moments are thought provoking on many levels, the ending was perfect I NEED the next book what Sam Hawke has done here is pure magic on the page. Highly recommended. With bells on. Apr 11, Cass rated it it was amazing. Thoroughly thrilling! The world is full and detailed: Silasta feels like a real city, with shades of Rome, London, or Tenochtitlan, yet entirely itself.
Jovan and Kalina are compelling protagonists, each with glorious strengths and touching vulnerabilities. I greatly enjoyed this and look forward to continuing the series! Copy received from NetGalley for review. Jun 21, Scarlett Readz and Runz I had hoped for that ending : The peace has been broken. There's a traitor among the trusted. Has the city's chancellor known about this all along? City of Lies by Sam Hawke bares a hint in the title about 'lies' that gives away some clue to the rise of the powerful who built wealth upon and separated themselves from other classes of citizens in the foundation of a huge and mighty city built upon lies.
A very clever and character-driven story that's wonderfully imagined with secrets, loopholes, friendships, family ties, backstabbers, mystery, and a creative ancient history. Kalina is the heir next in line to her uncle's wealth and position as 'proofer' or poison taste tester at the chancellor's house, at which she isn't very good at.
Jovan is to be the new guard for the rising chancellor, his best friend Tain. Both of them have some trepidations about their upcoming opportunities and both of them seek answers in what happened. Jovan fulfills his role as protector with honor and Kalina is investigating and following clues about her uncle's whereabouts before his death that might lead to some answers. Uncovering a shadowed world beyond their own, Kalina must weed out the truth from fiction and decide who and what she can trust.
As Kalina and Jovan come up with more plans, their city falls under attack. With most of their army gone at the time, they abandon their trail and aid in the protection of the city walls and it's inhabitants hands on. As it turns out, Kalina is one heck of a team player and leader who doesn't mind rolling up her sleeves and work the defense. It's dangerous and hair raising at times. When their ways separate to do their duties, they find themselves each at crossroads to make a decision that could lead to more tragedy or be the ultimate sacrifice in an attempt to save the city.
When a traitor is discovered it is almost too late to turn things around. For some of them, it is! Very entertaining and enjoyable, clean and brilliant. The narration of this novel is switched back and forth between Kalina and Jovan and each chapter begins with a description of a toxic plant or poison and its effects when digested. Very interesting and a great way to break up the chapters. Initially, I hadn't thought about what the 'lies' in this book pertain to, but I really like where the author took it. Not only is the reader lead to follow the investigation of the dead chancellor and their uncle, but there's a sub-story about how it all came to be which really tackles the root of it all and builds up for a sequel.
This book is one to try if you are new to fantasy. It is simply wonderful of a journey with amazing characters and plot. It's hard to believe this is Hawke's debut novel. It is certainly a book I recommend to any and all book lovers. View all 4 comments. City of Lies is an excellent debut and start to the Poison Wars series. The story follows a brother and sister, Jovan and Kalina, as their world turns upside down by the assassinations of the uncle and the Chancellor, who he was trained to protect.
They are trained to thwart assassination by poison by recognizing it by taste, smell, texture, or any other method available to them. Of course, to train Jovan of this, his uncle started poisoning him at the age of 7. Fun training, right?? A life of being poisoned by your uncle so you can learn first hand about poisons. She was supposed to be the heir, to be trained to replace their uncle in the role of proofer to the Chancellor, but because of health issues, she was set aside and Jovan became favored ahead of her.
While Jovan and his sister get along great, this does add some stress in their relationship for her, even if she may not want it to. The worldbuilding was interesting. I particularly found the expectations of how families are organized intriguing. Its a culture the puts more emphasis in the family you are born to than who you chose to have a child with.
Biological fathers are essentially just sperm donors. It means you are always stuck with them! Overall, I think this is a great debut, and really solid start to an epic series. I wanted to see her succeed, to find a way to contribute despite her physical limitations. And I have to say, she shows tremendous drive and strength of character. Her biggest obstacles are her health, but also the limitations others try to enforce on her because of it.
Her finding ways to assert herself, realize she has the right to be an individual and contribute how and when she can makes her role exciting, just a different way. Large crown 8vo, cloth, 7s. Translated by E. Illustrated by 6 Heliogravures by Dujardin , and 21 full-page and many smaller illustrations.
Translated by M. Demy 8vo, cloth, 12s. Many histories have preceded this one; many others will come after. Such is the charm of the subject that volunteers will never be lacking to undertake this journey, so hard, so delightful too. As years go on, the journey lengthens: wider grows the field, further advance the seekers, and from the top of unexplored headlands, through morning mists, they descry the outlines of countries till then unknown.
They must be followed to realms beyond the grave, to the silent domains of the dead, across barren moors and frozen fens, among chill rushes and briars that never blossom, till those Edens of poetry are reached, the echoes of which, by a gift of fairies or of muses, still vibrate to the melody of voices long since hushed. More has been done during the last fifty years to shed light on the origins than in all the rest of modern times. Deciphering, annotating, printing, have gone on at an extraordinary pace and without interruption; the empire of letters has thus been enlarged, according to the chances of the explorers' discoveries, by gardens and deserts, cloudy immensities, and boundless forests; its limits have receded into space: at least so it seems to us.
We laugh at the simplicity of honest Robertson, who in the last century wondered at the superabundance of historical documents accessible in his time: the day is not far distant when we shall be laughed at in the same way for our own simplicity. The field of literary history widens in another manner yet, and one that affects us more nearly.
The years glide on so rapidly that the traveller who started to explore the lands of former times, absorbed by his task, oblivious of days and months, is surprised on his return at beholding how the domain of the past has widened. To the past belongs Tennyson, the laureate; to the past belongs Browning, and that ruddy smiling face, manly and kind, which the traveller to realms beyond intended to describe from nature on his coming back among living men, has faded away, and the grey slab of Westminster covers it.
A thing of the past, too, the master who first in France taught the way, daring in his researches, straightforward in his judgments, unmindful of consequences, mindful of Truth alone; whose life was a model no less than his work. The work subsists, but who shall tell what the life has been, and what there was beneficent in that patriarchal voice with its clear, soft, and dignified tones?
The life of Taine is a work which his other works have not sufficiently made known. The task is an immense one; its charm can scarcely be expressed. No one can understand, who has not been there himself, the delight found in those far-off retreats, sanctuaries beyond the reach of worldly troubles. In the case of English literature the delight is the greater from the fact that those silent realms are not the realms of death absolute; daylight is perceived in the distance; the continuity of life is felt. The dead of Westminster have left behind them a posterity, youthful in its turn, and life-giving.
Their descendants move around us; under our eyes the inheritors of what has been prepare what shall be. In this lies one of the great attractions of this literature and of the French one too. Like the French it has remote origins; it is ample, beautiful, measureless; no one will go the round of it; it is impossible to write its complete history. An attempt has been made in this line for French literature; the work undertaken two centuries ago by Benedictines, continued by members of the Institute, is still in progress; it consists at this day of thirty volumes in quarto, and only the year has been reached.
And with all that immense past and those far-distant origins, those two literatures have a splendid present betokening a splendid future. Both are alive to-day and vigorous; ready to baffle the predictions of miscreants, they show no sign of decay. They are ever ready for transformations, not for death. Side by side or face to face, in peace or war, both literatures like both peoples have been in touch for centuries, and in spite of hates and jealousies they have more than once vivified each other.
These actions and reactions began long ago, in Norman times and even before; when Taillefer sang Roland, and when Alcuin taught Charlemagne. The duty of the traveller visiting already visited countries is to not limit himself to general descriptions, but to make with particular care the kind of observations for which circumstances have fitted him best. If he has the eye of the painter, he will trace and colour with unfailing accuracy hues and outlines; if he has the mind of the scientist, he will study the formation of the ground and classify the flora and fauna. The work in such a case will not be, properly speaking, a "History of English Literature," but rather a "Literary History of the English People.
Not only will the part allotted to the nation itself be greater in such a book than habitually happens, but several manifestations of its genius, generally passed over in silence, will have to be studied. The ages during which the national thought expressed itself in languages which were not the national one, will not be allowed to remain blank, as if, for complete periods, the inhabitants of the island had ceased to think at all. The growing into shape of the people's genius will have to be studied with particular attention.
The Chapter House of Westminster will be entered, and there will be seen how the nation, such as it was then represented, became conscious, even under the Plantagenets, of its existence, rights and power. Philosophers and reformers must be questioned concerning the theories which they spread: and not without some purely literary advantage. Bacon, Hobbes, and Locke are the ancestors of many poets who have never read their works, but who have breathed an air impregnated with their thought.
Dreamers will be followed, singers, tale-tellers, and preachers, wherever it pleases them to lead us: to the Walhalla of the north, to the green dales of Erin, to the Saxon church of Bradford-on-Avon, to Blackheath, to the "Tabard" and the "Mermaid," to the "Globe," to "Will's" coffee house, among ruined fortresses, to cloud-reaching steeples, or along the furrow sown to good intent by Piers the honest Plowman.
The work, the first part of which is now published, is meant to be divided into three volumes; but as "surface as small as possible must be offered to the shafts of Fortune," each volume will make a complete whole in itself, the first telling the literary story of the English up to the Renaissance, the second up to the accession of King Pope, the last up to our own day. The present version has been prepared with the help of M. I beg them to accept the expression of my heartfelt gratitude. No attempt has been made to say everything and be complete.test5.expandit.io/voyaging-under-power.php
A History of Old English Literature - A History of Old English Literature - Wiley Online Library
Many notes will however allow the curious to go themselves to the sources, to verify, to see with their own eyes, and, if they find cause absit omen! In those notes most of the space has been filled by references to originals; little has been left for works containing criticisms and appreciations: the want of room is the only reason, not the want of reverence and sympathy for predecessors.
To be easily understood one must be clear, and, to be clear, qualifications and attenuations must be reduced to a minimum. The reader will surely understand that many more "perhapses" and "abouts" were in the mind of the author than will be found in print; he will make, in his benevolence, due allowance for the roughness of that instrument, speech, applied to events, ideas, theories, things of beauty, as difficult to measure with rule as "the myst on Malverne hulles. All men are men, and have human qualities more or less developed in their minds; nothing more is implied in those passages but that one quality was more developed in one particular race of men and that in another.
When a book is just finished, there is always for the author a most doleful hour, when, retracing his steps, he thinks of what he has attempted, the difficulties of the task, the unlikeliness that he has overcome them. Misprints taking wrong numbers by the hand, black and thorny creatures, dance their wild dance round him. He had started singing on his journey; now he looks for excuses to justify his having ever begun it.
Usually, it must be confessed, he finds some, prints them or not, and recovers his spirits. I have published other works; I think I did not print the excuses I found to explain the whys and the wherefores; they were the same in all cases: roadway stragglers, Piers Plowman, Count Cominges, Tudor novelists, were in a large measure left-off subjects. No books had been dedicated to them; the attempt, therefore, could not be considered as an undue intrusion. But in the present case, what can be said, what excuse can be found, when so many have written, and so well too? The author of this book once had a drive in London; when it was finished, he offered the cabman his fare.
Cabman glanced at it; it did not look much in his large, hollow hand; he said: "I want sixpence more. It is the proper fare; I know the distance very well; give me a reason. I might perhaps allege a variety of reasons, but the true one is the same as the cabman's.
I did this because I could not help it; I loved it so. The people that now occupies England was formed, like the French people, by the fusion of several superimposed races. In both countries the same races met and mingled at about the same period, but in different proportions and under dissimilar social conditions. Hence the striking resemblances and sharply defined contrasts that exist in the genius of the two nations. Hence also the contradictory sentiments which mutually animated them from century to century, those combinations and recurrences of esteem that rose to admiration, and jealousy that swelled to hate.
Hence, again, the unparalleled degree of interest they offer, one for the other. The two people are so dissimilar that in borrowing from each other they run no risk of losing their national characteristics and becoming another's image; and yet, so much alike are they, it is impossible that what they borrowed should remain barren and unproductive. These loans act like leaven: the products of English thought during the Augustan age of British literature were mixed with French leaven, and the products of French thought during the Victor Hugo period were penetrated with English yeast.
Ancient writers have left us little information concerning the remotest period and the oldest inhabitants of the [Pg 4] British archipelago; works which would be invaluable to us exist only in meagre fragments. Important gaps have fortunately been filled, owing to modern Science and to her manifold researches. She has inherited the wand of the departed wizards, and has touched with her talisman the gate of sepulchres; the tombs have opened and the dead have spoken.
What countries did thy war-ship visit? And in answer the dead man, asleep for centuries among the rocks of the Isle of Skye, showed golden coins of the caliphs in his skeleton hand. These coins are not a figure of speech; they are real, and may be seen at the Edinburgh Museum. The wand has touched old undeciphered manuscripts, and broken the charm that kept them dumb. From them rose songs, music, love-ditties, and war-cries: phrases so full of life that the living hearts of to-day have been stirred by them; words with so much colour in them that the landscape familiar to the eyes of the Celts and Germans has reappeared before us.
Much remains undiscovered, and the dead hold secrets they may yet reveal. In the unexplored tombs of the Nile valley will be found one day, among the papyri stripped from Ptolemaic mummies, the account of a journey made to the British Isles about b. To the primitive population, the least known of all, that reared the stones of Carnac in France, and in England the gigantic circles of Stonehenge and Avebury, succeeded in [Pg 5] both countries, many centuries before Christ, the Celtic race.
They occupied, in the third century before our era, the greater part of Central Europe, of the France of to-day, of Spain, and of the British Isles. They were neighbours of the Greeks and Latins; the centre of their possessions was in Bavaria. From there, and not from Gaul, set out the expeditions by which Rome was taken, Delphi plundered, and a Phrygian province rebaptized Galatia. Celtic cemeteries abound throughout that region; the most remarkable of them was discovered, not in France, but at Hallstadt, near Salzburg, in Austria.
The language of the Celts was much nearer the Latin tongue than the Germanic idioms; it comprised several dialects, and amongst them the Gaulish, long spoken in Gaul, the Gaelic, the Welsh, and the Irish, still used in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. The most important of the Celtic tribes, settled in the main island beyond the Channel, gave itself the name of Britons. Hence the name of Britain borne by the country, and indirectly that also of Great Britain, now the official appellation of England. The Britons appear to have emigrated from Gaul and established themselves among the other Celtic tribes already settled in the island, about the third century before Christ.
During several hundred years, from the time of Pytheas to that of the Roman conquerors, the Mediterranean world remained ignorant of what took place among insular [Pg 6] Britons, and we are scarcely better informed than they were. The centre of human civilisation had been moved from country to country round the great inland sea, having now reached Rome, without anything being known save that north of Gaul existed a vast country, surrounded by water, rich in tin mines, covered by forests, prairies, and morasses, from which dense mists arose.
Three centuries elapse; the Romans are settled in Gaul. Actuated by that sense of kinship so deeply rooted in the Celts, the effects of which are still to be seen from one shore of the Atlantic to the other, the Britons had joined forces with their compatriots of the Continent against the Roman. He questioned the traders; they told him little, being, as they said, acquainted only with the coasts, and that slightly. His expedition was a real voyage of discovery; and he was careful, during his two sojourns in the island, to examine as many people as possible, and note all he could observe concerning the customs of the natives.
The picture he draws of the former inhabitants of England strikes us to-day as very strange. All Britons stain themselves dark blue with woad, which gives them a terrible aspect in battle. They wear their hair long, and shave all their body except their hair and moustaches. Did we forget the original is in Latin, we might think [Pg 7] the passage was extracted from the travels of Captain Cook; and this is so true that, in the account of his first journey around the world, the great navigator, on arriving at the island of Savu, notices the similitude himself. With the exception of a few details, the Celtic tribes of future England were similar to those of future France.
Horace's saying concerning the Gaulish ancestors applies equally well to Britons: never "feared they funerals. According to Celtic belief, the dead lived again under the light of heaven; they did not descend, as they did with the Latins, to the land of shades. No Briton, Gaul, or Irish could have understood [Pg 8] the melancholy words of Achilles: "Seek not, glorious Ulysses, to comfort me for death; rather would I till the ground for wages on some poor man's small estate than reign over all the dead.
It made the best of life, and even of death. These beliefs were carefully fostered by the druids, priests and philosophers, whose part has been the same in Gaul, Ireland, and Britain. Their teaching was a cause of surprise and admiration to the Latins. Death, if what you say is true, is but the middle of a long life. Happy the error of those that live under Arcturus; the worst of fears is to them unknown—the fear of death! The inhabitants of Britain possessed, again in common with those of Gaul, a singular aptitude to understand and learn quickly.
A short time after the Roman Conquest it becomes hard to distinguish Celtic from Roman workmanship among the objects discovered in tombs. They were simple enough at first; now they understand and foresee, and baffle his military stratagems. To this intelligence and curiosity is due, with all its advantages and drawbacks, the faculty of assimilation [Pg 9] possessed by this race, and manifested to the same extent by no other in Europe.
The Latin authors also admired another characteristic gift in the men of this race: a readiness of speech, an eloquence, a promptness of repartee that distinguished them from their Germanic neighbours. The people of Gaul, said Cato, have two passions: to fight well and talk cleverly argute loqui. That the Celtic tribes on both sides of the Channel closely resembled each other in manners, tastes, language, and turn of mind cannot be doubted.
The similitude of their literary genius is equally certain, for Cato's saying relates to continental Celts and can be checked by means of Irish poems and tales. Welsh stories of a later date afford us evidence fully as conclusive. If we change the epoch, the result will be the same; the main elements of the Celtic genius have undergone [Pg 10] no modification; Armoricans, Britons, Welsh, Irish, and Scotch, are all inexhaustible tale-tellers, skilful in dialogue, prompt at repartee, and never to be taken unawares.
Gerald de Barry, the Welshman, gives us a description of his countrymen in the twelfth century, which seems a paraphrase of what Cato had said of the Gaulish Celts fourteen hundred years before. Ireland has preserved for us the most ancient monuments of Celtic thought. In Ireland, however, Celtic literature had a longer period of development. The country was not affected by the Roman Conquest; the barbarian invasions did not bring about the total ruin they caused in England and on the Continent.
The clerks of Ireland in the seventh and eighth centuries committed to writing the ancient epic tales of their land. Notwithstanding the advent of Christianity, the pagan origins constantly reappear in these narratives, and we are thus taken back to the epoch when [Pg 11] they were primarily composed, and even to the time when the events related are supposed to have occurred. Important works have, in our day, thrown a light on this literature  ; but all is not yet accomplished, and it has been computed that the entire publication of the ancient Irish manuscripts would fill about a thousand octavo volumes.
They are in prose, interspersed with verse. Long before being written, they existed in the shape of well-established texts, repeated word for word by men whose avocation it was to know and remember, and who spent their lives in exercising their memory. The corporation of the File , or seers, was divided into ten classes, from the Oblar , who knew only seven stories, to the Ollam , who knew three hundred and fifty. We find in these legends as many scenes of slaughter and ferocious deeds as in the oldest Germanic poems: Provincia ferox , said Tacitus of Britain.
The time is still distant when woman shall become a deity; the murder of a man is compensated by twenty-one head of cattle, and the murder of a woman by three head only. Then he leaned himself against the high stone in the plain, and, by means [Pg 13] of his belt, he fastened his body to the high stone. Neither sitting nor lying would he die; but he would die standing. Then his enemies gathered round him. They remained about him, not daring to approach; he seemed to be still alive.
At the same time, things of beauty have their place in these tales. There are birds and flowers; women are described with loving admiration; their cheeks are purple "as the fox-glove," their locks wave in the light. Above all, such a dramatic gift is displayed as to stand unparalleled in any European literature at its dawn. Compositions have come down to us that are all cut out into dialogues, so that the narrative becomes a drama. The story of "Mac Datho's Pig" is as powerfully dramatic and savage as the most cruel Germanic or Scandinavian songs; but it is at the same time infinitely more varied in tone and artistic in shape.
Pictures of everyday life, familiar fireside discussions abound, together with the scenes of blood loved by all nations in the season of their early manhood. This king owned a dog, Ailbe by name, who defended the whole province and filled Erin with his fame. On the appointed day, the warriors of the two countries come to fetch the dog of renown, and a grand banquet is served them by Mac Datho, the principal dish of which is a rare kind of pig—"three hundred cows had fed him for seven years.
But ere the shares are distributed, more than one rap on the nose will have been given and received. Then each one rises in turn and claims the honour of carving: I did this. The warrior Cet had just told his awful exploits when Conall of Ulster rises against him and says:. Not a single day or night has passed in which I slew not an enemy.
In the "Murder of the Sons of Usnech,"  woman plays the principal part. The mainspring of the story is love, and by it the heroes are led to death, a thing not to be found elsewhere in the European literature of the period. Still, those same heroes are not slight, fragile dreamers; if we set aside their love, and only consider their ferocity, they are worthy of the Walhalla of Woden. By the following example we may see how the insular Celts could love and die. The child of Fedelmid's wife utters a cry in its mother's womb.
They question Cathba the chief druid, who answers: "That which has clamoured within thee is a fair-haired daughter, with fair locks, a majestic glance, blue eyes, and cheeks purple as the fox-glove"; and he foretells the woes she will cause among men. This girl is Derdriu; she is brought up secretly and apart, in order to evade the prediction. One day, "she beheld a raven drink blood on the snow. Their songs are delightfully sweet. They love each other. Pursued by their enemies the three brothers and Derdriu emigrate to Scotland, and take refuge with the king of Albion.
He went at once and awoke the king. The sons of Usnech perish in an ambush. Conchobar seizes on Derdriu, but she continues to love the dead. When the musicians and jugglers tried to cheer her grief by their play, she told I sleep not half the night on my couch.
My spirit travels around the multitudes. But I eat not, neither do I smile. She remains silent. An inexhaustible fertility of invention was displayed by the Celtic makers. They created the cycle of Conchobar, and afterwards that of Ossian, to which Macpherson's "adaptations" gave such world-wide renown that in our own [Pg 17] century they directed Lamartine's early steps towards the realms of poetry.
Later still they created the cycle of Arthur, most brilliant and varied of all, a perennial source of poetry, from whence the great French poet of the twelfth century sought his inspiration, and whence only yesterday the poet laureate of England found his. They collect in Wales the marvellous tales of the "Mabinogion"  ; in them we find enchanters and fairies, women with golden hair, silken raiment, and tender hearts.
They hunt, and a white boar starts out of the bushes; following him they arrive at a castle there, "where never had they seen trace of a building before. On the ground towards the middle there was a fountain surrounded by marble, and on the rim of the fountain, resting on a marble slab, was a golden cup, fastened by golden chains tending upwards, the ends of which he could not see. He was enraptured by the glitter of the gold, and the workmanship of the cup. He drew near and grasped it. At the same instant his hands clove to the cup, and his feet to the marble slab on which it rested.
He lost his voice, and was unable to utter a word. No wonder if the descendants of these indefatigable inventors are men with rich literatures, not meagre literatures of which it is possible to write a history without [Pg 18] omitting anything, but deep and inexhaustible ones. The ends of their golden chains are not to be seen. And if a copious mixture of Celtic blood flows, though in different proportions, in the veins of the French and of the English, it will be no wonder if they happen some day to produce the greater number of the plays that are acted, and of the novels that are read, all over the civilised world.
The real conquest took place under the emperors, beginning from the reign of Claudius, and for three centuries and a half Britain was occupied and ruled by the Romans. They built a network of roads, of which the remains still subsist; they marked the distances by milestones, sixty of which have been found, and one, at Chesterholm, is still standing; they raised, from one sea to the other, against the people of Scotland, two great walls; one of them in stone, flanked by towers, and protected by moats and earth-works.
Beneath the shade of the druidical oaks, the Roman glazier blew his light variegated flasks; the mosaic maker seated [Pg 19] Orpheus on his panther, with his fingers on the Thracian lyre. Altars were built to the Roman deities; later to the God of Bethlehem, and one at least of the churches of that period still subsists, St. Martin of Canterbury. However far he went, the Roman carried Rome with him; he required his statues, his coloured pavements, his frescoes, his baths, all the comforts and delights of the Latin cities.
Theatres, temples, towers, palaces rose in many of the towns of Great Britain, and some years ago a bathing room was discovered at Bath  a hundred and eleven feet long. Several centuries later Gerald de Barry passing through Caerleon noticed with admiration "many remains of former grandeur, immense palaces Claudius, Vespasian, Titus, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius came there, either to win the title of "the Britannic" or to enjoy the charms of peace. Severus died at York in , and Caracalla there began his reign.
Constantius Chlorus came to live in this town, and died [Pg 20] there; and the prince destined to sanction the Romans' change of religion, Constantine the Great, was proclaimed emperor in the same city. Celtic Britain, the England that was to be, had become Roman and Christian, a country of land tillers who more or less spoke Latin. But the time of transformation was drawing nigh, and an enemy was already visible, against whom neither Hadrian's wall nor Antoninus' ramparts could prevail; for he came not from the Scottish mountains, but, as he himself said in his war-songs, "by the way of the whales.
From Thor to Odin: a guide to the Norse gods
After relating the campaigns of his father-in-law, Agricola, whose fleet had sailed around Britain and touched at the Orkneys, the attention of Tacitus had been drawn to Germany, a wild mysterious land. He had described it to his countrymen; he had enumerated its principal tribes, and among many others he had mentioned one which he calls Angli. He gives the name, and says no more, little suspecting the part these men were to play in history.
The first act that was to make them famous throughout the world was to overthrow the political order, and to sweep away the civilisation, which the conquests of Agricola had established amongst the Britons. He visited the coasts of Spain, Gaul, Britain, and returned by the Shetlands. The passages of his journal preserved for us by the ancients are given on pp. Bertrand, "La Gaule avant les Gaulois," Paris, , 8vo 2nd ed.
Sermo haud multum diversus: in deposcendis periculis eadem audacia The south was occupied by Gauls who had come from the Continent at a recent period. In Cato's time third-second centuries b. The ingenuity of the Celts manifested itself also in their laws: "From an intellectual point of view, the laws of the Welsh are their greatest title to glory. The eminent German jurist, F. Walter, points out that, in this respect, the Welsh are far in advance of the other nations of the Middle Ages.
They give proof of a singular precision and subtlety of mind, and a great aptitude for philosophic speculation. See also Joyce, "Old Celtic Romances," ; on the excellence of the memory of Irish narrators, even at the present day, see Joyce's Introduction. Physical paternity has not the same importance as with us"; people are not averse to having children from their passing guest. These dramas, mostly unpublished, are exceedingly numerous. They are prose narratives, of divers origin, written in Welsh.
They "appear to have been written at the end of the twelfth century"; the MS. Bruce, London, , 4to 3rd ed. Routledge, "History of St. Martin's Church, Canterbury. The great room at Bath was discovered in ; the piscina is in a perfect state of preservation; the excavations are still going on What others would have immigrated there of their own free will? For the inhabitants, however, this land of clouds and morasses is their home; they love it, and they remain there. The great historian's book shows how little of impenetrable Germany was known to the Romans.
In this mysterious land, between the forests that sheltered them from the Romans and the grey sea washing with long waves the flat shores, tribes had settled and multiplied [Pg 22] which, contrary to the surmise of Tacitus, had perhaps left the mild climate of Asia for this barren country; and though they had at last made it their home, many of them whose names alone figure in the Roman's book had not adopted it for ever; their migrations were about to begin again. The same region which Tacitus describes as bordering on the place "where nature ends," held thus in his day tribes that would later have for their capitals, towns founded long before by Celts: London, Vienna, Paris, and Milan.
Many hundred years before settling there, these men had already found themselves in contact with the Celts, and, at the time the latter were powerful in Europe, terrible wars had arisen between the two races. But all the north-east, from the Elbe to the Vistula, continued impenetrable; the Germanic tribes remained there intact, they united with no others, and alone might have told if the sun's chariot was really to be seen rising from the ocean, and splashing the sky with salt sea foam.
From this region were about to start the wild host destined to conquer the isle of Britain, to change its name and rebaptize it in blood. Twice, during the first ten centuries of our era, the Teutonic race hurled upon the civilised world its savage hordes of warriors, streams of molten lava. The first invasion was vehement, especially in the fifth century, and was principally composed of Germanic tribes, Angles, [Pg 23] Franks, Saxons, Burgundians, Vandals; the second exercised its greatest ravages in the ninth century, at the time of Charlemagne's successors, and proceeded mostly from the Scandinavian tribes, called Danish or Norman by contemporary chroniclers.
From the third century after Christ, fermentation begins among the former of these two groups. No longer are the Germanic tribes content with fighting for their land, retreating step by step before the Latin invader; alarming symptoms of retaliation manifest themselves, like the rumblings that herald the great cataclysms of nature. The Roman, in the meanwhile, wrapped in his glory, continued to rule the world and mould it to his image; he skilfully enervated the conquered nations, instructed them in the arts, inoculated them with his vices, and weakened in them the spring of their formerly strong will.
They called civilisation, humanitas , Tacitus said of the Britons, what was actually "servitude. What was overheard of it acted as a stimulus to pleasure, added point to the rhetorician's speeches, excitement to the circus games, and a halo to the beauty of red-haired courtesans. The Romans had reached that point in tottering empires, at which the threat of calamities no longer arouses dormant energy, but only whets and renews the appetite for enjoyment.
Meanwhile, far away towards the north, the Germanic tribes, continually at strife with their neighbours, and warring against each other, without riches or culture, ignorant and savage, preserved their strength and kept their ferocity. They hated peace, despised the arts, and had no literature but drinking and war-songs. The little that is known of their customs and character points to fiery souls that may rise to great rapturous joys but have an underlayer of gloom, a gloom sombre as the impenetrable forest, sad as the grey sea.