Battle of Corrin and a 10 000 year old feud

    Can't find the appropriate forum for your topic? Post it here!

Moderators: Omphalos, Freakzilla, ᴶᵛᵀᴬ

User avatar
DuckAtreides
Posts: 12
Joined: 28 Jun 2020 06:36

Battle of Corrin and a 10 000 year old feud

Postby DuckAtreides » 20 Aug 2020 06:39

I've just finished a re-read of the first trilogy, and am as usual, finding it hard to swallow the Atreides-Harkonnen feud, which started at the Battle of Corrin, where a Harkonnen was banished for cowardice by an Atreides - 10 000 years more or less before the time Paul Atreides is born to Leto and Jessica.

It doesn't seem real. For comparison, 10 000 years ago, the Northern European ancestor was hunting the plains and slopes of Doggerland, now the North Sea.10 000 years ago, more or less, agriculture started in the island of New Guinea. In terms of human lives, it's a huge expanse of time. In terms of feuds, it's an immense length of time.

The only feud that I can think of that has lasted anything like that length of time, has been the one between the Christian Church and the Jewish religion and people, a two thousand year long feud.

Did Frank Herbert every give in any interviews or discussions or anything of that sort, an explanation for this extended-length feud besides the fact that an Atreides banished a Harkonnen for cowardice at the Battle of Corrin?

georgiedenbro
Posts: 886
Joined: 11 Jun 2014 13:56
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: Battle of Corrin and a 10 000 year old feud

Postby georgiedenbro » 20 Aug 2020 09:58

...which first trilogy?

But yes, even with a far-future setting 10,000 years seems an outrageously long time for a particular family feud. That's getting into 1984's "Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia" territory.
"um-m-m-ah-h-h-hm-m-m-m!"

User avatar
Cpt. Aramsham
Posts: 150
Joined: 06 Oct 2012 11:11

Re: Battle of Corrin and a 10 000 year old feud

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 23 Aug 2020 05:39

I agree, it's not plausible.

I have two ways to mentally resolve the problem.

The first is to just handwave the 10,000-year timespan between the Butlerian Jihad and Paul as writerly exaggeration, mentally compressing it into something more reasonable (say one or two thousand years). In other words, those ten thousand fictional years in the story are "like" a thousand years of more realistic history. This also makes more sense with things like the language development.

The other is to speculate that the story is bullshit in-universe. The feud doesn't go back that far, it's a legend that was made up much later, probably by some writer as a slur on the Harkonnens, to curry favor with the Atreides.

Or, in one little piece of mental fan-fiction, I imagine that the Harkonnens arose as a family of prominent commoners, who sought to buy a noble title. This would involve (as it often did in historical precedent) fabricating some illustrious/aristocratic lineage to justify the grant. Them having somehow earned the enmity of an Atreides, he was able to arrange it so that the family tree constructed by Imperial genealogists linked them to the (utterly fictional) coward Abulurd, originally created as a dramatic foil in some famous play or epic poem about the legendary battle of Corrin. By the time of Dune, the true origin is forgotten, and only the fictional version remembered, but this still fits well with the Atreides attitude towards the Harkonnens as upstarts.

User avatar
WolfgangMercury
Posts: 44
Joined: 23 Jul 2016 21:33

Re: Battle of Corrin and a 10 000 year old feud

Postby WolfgangMercury » 24 Aug 2020 13:59

Inventing a false and dramatic history to justify one's own rule has been very common throughout history, especially with usurpers. The Persian ruler Darius made up a false mythic ancestor to connect himself to, Achaemenes, and thus created the idea of the Achaemenid dynasty to hide the fact that he was a usurper. Perhaps a much more recent Harkonnen ruler did the same thing at some point?

It is really strange to think about how long cultural institutions seem to last in the Dune universe. We know that the original novel takes place in 10 191 AG, and covers a period of two years. Messiah takes place 12 years later, then we add 9 years for Children. Finally, we have the two huge blocks of 3500 years and 1500 years with God Emperor and Heretics. Chapterhouse Dune only takes place about a decade after, guessing from the age of the Teg Ghola. So Chapterhouse Dune takes place around 15 224 AG, give or take a few years.

If we compare the Duniverse at the end of Chapterhouse with the one at the beginning of Dune, we actually see many of the same institutions, like the Bene Gesserit, the Spacing Guild, and the Bene Tleilax seem to have lasted 5033 years, which is just a ridiculous number. We're living in the year 2020 AD, so that span of time in our world would go from the present day to the late Uruk period in Sumer, at which time the famous walls were most likely being built, and the beginnings of a unified civilization in the Nile Valley. At this point, the Sumerians would have had cuneiform writing for the last few centuries, while the Egyptians would have just learned it from them. Given how imposing the cultural memory of Paul and Leto II is even in the last Dune book, that would be like if Narmer and Gilgamesh were the predominant political figures in our social consciousness, and organizations they founded were still active with the same mission statements. Even the Catholic Church has only lasted 2000 years, and it's power is beginning to decline.

There's several potential explanations for this: the most basic is that years are counted differently in the Duniverse. Perhaps the standard interstellar year is only a few months?

Second, perhaps the huge years inflations are a result of cultural siginifance, similar to some societies where extra years will be added to a person's age to indicate seniority.

Finally, my personal favourite explanation is that space travel over vast interstellar, and possibly intergalactic differences, slows down the spreading of human culture. This would allow for cultural transitions to occur at a significantly slower rate.

Also, is the Battle of Corrin ever mentioned in canonical Dune or the Dune Encyclopedia? I don't remember reading about it in any of the six books. Is it in the Appendix of Dune?
"We've lost that clear, single-note of living. If it cannot be bottled, beaten, pointed or hoarded, we give it no value."

Emperor Muad'dib, Dune Messiah

User avatar
Cpt. Aramsham
Posts: 150
Joined: 06 Oct 2012 11:11

Re: Battle of Corrin and a 10 000 year old feud

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 25 Aug 2020 02:39

WolfgangMercury wrote:We know that the original novel takes place in 10 191 AG, and covers a period of two years.


Pet peeve: This date format is never used by Frank Herbert. You have BG for "Before Guild," but they don't say AG. Instead, dates are given as "10,191 Std." (Standard). The "AG" format comes from the Dune Encyclopedia.

WolfgangMercury wrote:There's several potential explanations for this: the most basic is that years are counted differently in the Duniverse. Perhaps the standard interstellar year is only a few months?


That would imply that by our reckoning Paul is not yet three years old at the beginning of the book.

Also, is the Battle of Corrin ever mentioned in canonical Dune or the Dune Encyclopedia? I don't remember reading about it in any of the six books. Is it in the Appendix of Dune?


Yes, it's mentioned by Jessica to Yueh as the background for the feud, and also in Appendix IV under "Vladimir Harkonnen."

georgiedenbro
Posts: 886
Joined: 11 Jun 2014 13:56
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: Battle of Corrin and a 10 000 year old feud

Postby georgiedenbro » 26 Aug 2020 09:48

Take it as a fact that institutions can last that long in the Dune setting. The question to ask is not "does this make sense" but rather "how does this make sense." If we don't see major institutions right now lasting 5,000 years (although I bet in China and India some have, so this is Western bias speaking) then rather than supposing Frank made a mistake, let's suppose instead that we are making a mistake. And by we I mean the human race. The natural selection going on for 10,000 more years would presumably make leaner and leaner the institutions that survive, and I have to expect that between improvements in both technology and political science that by then they would know far better than we do how to build something to last. Right now people can barely see ahead of a four year election cycle. Neither can we, nor do we want to look 500 or 1,000 years into the future to do planning. If there's no money in in *right now* people won't do it. Obviously by the BJ things are different and some organizations have gotten serious and aren't as flimsy or nearsighted as those we know now.

That's my conclusion, anyhow.
"um-m-m-ah-h-h-hm-m-m-m!"

User avatar
Freakzilla
Lead Singer and Driver of the Winnebego
Posts: 18322
Joined: 05 Feb 2008 01:27
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Contact:

Re: Battle of Corrin and a 10 000 year old feud

Postby Freakzilla » 27 Aug 2020 07:47

WolfgangMercury wrote:Finally, my personal favourite explanation is that space travel over vast interstellar, and possibly intergalactic differences, slows down the spreading of human culture. This would allow for cultural transitions to occur at a significantly slower rate.


Agreed. FH makes sure we know that the empire is in a stagnant state, that's the reason for all of this. Rigid class structure and separation from other societies except for the noble elite. It's not hard at all for me to imagine a feud lasting that long under those conditions. Forgetting the vendetta? Don't worry, an assassin will be along every so often to remind you.

"I have ofttimes met your treachery and this all men know."
~Duke Leto
Image
Paul of Dune was so bad it gave me a seizure that dislocated both of my shoulders and prolapsed my anus.
~Pink Snowman

User avatar
Freakzilla
Lead Singer and Driver of the Winnebego
Posts: 18322
Joined: 05 Feb 2008 01:27
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Contact:

Re: Battle of Corrin and a 10 000 year old feud

Postby Freakzilla » 27 Aug 2020 07:48

"There'll be much bloodshed soon," she said. "The Harkonnens won't rest
until they're dead or my Duke destroyed. The Baron cannot forget that Leto is a
cousin of the royal blood--no matter what the distance--while the Harkonnen
titles came out of the CHOAM pocketbook. But the poison in him, deep in his
mind, is the knowledge that an Atreides had a Harkonnen banished for cowardice
after, the Battle of Corrin."

...

VLADIMIR HARKONNEN (10,110-10,193)
Commonly referred to as Baron Harkonnen, his title is officially Siridar
(planetary governor) Baron. Vladimir Harkonnen is the direct-line male
descendant of the Bashar Abulurd Harkonnen who was banished for cowardice after
the Battle of Corrin. The return of House Harkonnen to power generally is
ascribed to adroit manipulation of the whale fur market and later consolidation
with melange wealth from Arrakis. The Siridar-Baron died on Arrakis during the
Revolt. Title passed briefly to the na-Baron, Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen.

...

CORRIN, BATTLE OF: the space battle from which the Imperial House Corrino took
its name. The battle fought near Sigma Draconis in the year 88 B.G. settled the
ascendancy of the ruling House from Salusa Secundus.
Image
Paul of Dune was so bad it gave me a seizure that dislocated both of my shoulders and prolapsed my anus.
~Pink Snowman