Earth history/myth references in Dune

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Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby DuneFishUK » 01 Sep 2009 17:09

The hacks are getting stick in other threads for giving their Titans etc historical names, but in Dune, when the Baron is talking with Fenring he references Prometheus. In a thought, but it is 'spoken' in the inner voice, and it is capitalised.
"None. My CHOAM Company directorship will bear the closest scrutiny." And he
thought: Let him bring a false accusation against me and have it exposed. I
shall stand there, Promethean, saying: "Behold me, I am wronged. " Then let him
bring any other accusation against me, even a true one. The Great Houses will
not believe a second attack from an accuser once proved wrong.


How much did the educated classes know about Earth myth and history?

Obviously details and eras will be forgotten over time, but is Greek myth and Shakespeare just a passing second/third-millennium fad?

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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby Freakzilla » 01 Sep 2009 22:54

Pro·me·the·an (prə-mē'thē-ən)
adj.
1. Greek Mythology Relating to or suggestive of Prometheus.
2. Boldly creative; defiantly original.
n. One who is boldy creative or defiantly original in behavior or actions.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby lotek » 02 Sep 2009 02:24

but is it always capitlized?
knowing the attention to detail that Frank brought to his every work if he didn't do it then it was a typo mistake...
adjectives in english are not capitalized are they(unless it's your nationality)

Then again the Baron thinks quite a lot of himself so that capital "P" could just be there to emphasize this.
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby Lundse » 02 Sep 2009 03:08

Sorry, but I think this is reading too much into it.

One could construct the argument that since Star Wars uses the word laser, which is an acronym for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation", the humans in that universe must be our descendants. (Since they are using our specific word, when hundreds of others would be equally precise).
And we know from the opening scrawl this is incorrect...

Anyway, what I was trying to say with that example is that we cannot infer things about the universe from the language used to describe it. Consider what the word for "Promethean" would be in Galach - and whether that word has any connection to our old myths.
That said, whenever the author goes out of his way to describe a word (such as in the terminology), we can probably assume that there is a point to it (unless the author is a complete hack, of course, then it might just be "cool"). However, use of words such as "Atreides" were chosen to make readers think of Greek myths and tragedy. Further complicating matters, we actually have Agamemnon pop up in other memory - so the "Atreides" example obviously takes on two roles: a cue to readers about the style of the story, and a link to certain parts of our deep past.

ANYWAY...
My point is simply that purely linguistic cues cannot be used as an argument onto itself - the choice of word always says more about the language of the author and his intention at the time, than it does the fictional universe.

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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby lotek » 02 Sep 2009 03:18

fair enough, but I still think that a word like Promethean carries much more meaning than a simple acronym :)
but then i'm not sure i get your point on this,

DuneFishUK wrote:How much did the educated classes know about Earth myth and history?

Obviously details and eras will be forgotten over time, but is Greek myth and Shakespeare just a passing second/third-millennium fad?


Lundse wrote:Anyway, what I was trying to say with that example is that we cannot infer things about the universe from the language used to describe it. Consider what the word for "Promethean" would be in Galach - and whether that word has any connection to our old myths.


So do you think they're is a link or not?
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby Lundse » 02 Sep 2009 04:42

lotek wrote:So do you think they're is a link or not?


Tough to say. We know there is a link to semi-historical figures such as Agamemnon, but I don't think we can infer from that, that religious/mythological content from that era has survived (ie. that the Baron knows about Prometheus as such).
However, in this specific case, I think it is quite possible. But that is because we know judaism, religions with ties to islam, etc. are remembered - why not the story of Prometheus or at least a word which references him? What I am saying is that the word/knowledge about Prometheus might have a direct translation in Galach, or be a loan-word in that language...

But in itself, usage of a term does not mean the author intended us to think that a character has knowledge pertaining to our, current, use of it. They speak English in Star Wars - yet we are told there is no link to our universe!
Dune is another matter, because we know it is "our" universe, and that some knowledge from our time survives. But that does not mean that "frigate" in Galach is a term they connect to 18th century shipping - the Galach term might reference later battles or transport methods. Some with "jihad" - the Butlerian Jihad might not have any connotations of islamic culture, but simply use the word to "a religious crusade; fanatical crusade" (from the terminology).

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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby lotek » 02 Sep 2009 05:11

Lundse wrote:
lotek wrote:So do you think they're is a link or not?
Dune is another matter, because we know it is "our" universe, and that some knowledge from our time survives. But that does not mean that "frigate" in Galach is a term they connect to 18th century shipping - the Galach term might reference later battles or transport methods. Some with "jihad" - the Butlerian Jihad might not have any connotations of islamic culture, but simply use the word to "a religious crusade; fanatical crusade" (from the terminology).


well even during our own times you could say that about the word frigate too
A frigate (pronounced /ˈfrɪɡɨt/) is a warship. The term has been used for warships of many sizes and roles over the past few centuries.

But ship classes dubbed "frigates" have also more closely resembled corvettes, destroyers, cruisers and even battleships.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frigate

And we have also overlooked the Other Memory factor, Odrade remembers Van Gogh for example, so unless Dune is set in a parallel universe, which I don't think it is btw, then you could infer from that fact that all other instances of words coming from the old Earth follow the same pattern.
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby Lundse » 02 Sep 2009 05:22

lotek wrote:well even during our own times you could say that about the word frigate too
A frigate (pronounced /ˈfrɪɡɨt/) is a warship. The term has been used for warships of many sizes and roles over the past few centuries.

But ship classes dubbed "frigates" have also more closely resembled corvettes, destroyers, cruisers and even battleships.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frigate


Agreed. But I didn't have any better examples. I am just saying that whatever our connotations to, and knowledge about, the term frigate are, they are not necessarily the same in the Dune universe/Galach. For instance, we could image the Galach word which the Duke is actually using (and FH wrote down as "frigate" as stemming from a class of ships from Caladans semirecent history. The connotations for Galach-speakers would be to Caladan, Atreides and maybe particulars of that era.

lotek wrote:And we have also overlooked the Other Memory factor, Odrade remembers Van Gogh for example, so unless Dune is set in a parallel universe, which I don't think it is btw, then you could infer from that fact that all other instances of words coming from the old Earth follow the same pattern.


I didn't overlook it. And you are right that people with OM would have another understanding, of course. Obviously, certain things reference specific terms in our language (Paul mentions Ghengis Khan, if I recall correctly). But my point stands; we have no reason to assume the "jihad" in "Butlerian Jihad" in any way has connotations of islamic extremism or (because of recent events) terrorism.

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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby lotek » 02 Sep 2009 05:44

thing is a "jihad" is a holy war but not a bloody one as we have come to know it because of the extremist nutcases...
I found this definition which sums up what i'm trying to say
Jihad did have two variant meanings through the centuries, one more radical, one less so. The first holds that Muslims who interpret their faith differently are infidels and therefore legitimate targets of jihad. (This is why Algerians, Egyptians and Afghans have found themselves, like Americans and Israelis, so often the victims of jihadist aggression.) The second meaning, associated with mystics, rejects the legal definition of jihad as armed conflict and tells Muslims to withdraw from the worldly concerns to achieve spiritual depth.

http://www.danielpipes.org/990/what-is-jihad


In Dune I think we find that duality in the Fremen Jihad and maybe one of the reasons of Paul leaving for the desert, because he knows the violent inclination of humans, and his prescience told him the horrors to come...
But maybe I digress a tad here?
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby SandChigger » 03 Sep 2009 07:16

lotek wrote:And we have also overlooked the Other Memory factor, Odrade remembers Van Gogh for example, so unless Dune is set in a parallel universe, which I don't think it is btw, then you could infer from that fact that all other instances of words coming from the old Earth follow the same pattern.

The only people with Other Memory are the Bene Gesserit and there is no evidence that there was widespread (public) knowledge of their ability to access it or that they shared the information they gleaned from it. ;)

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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby lotek » 03 Sep 2009 07:48

well yeah but we know of at least one wild Reverend Mother, so it could be possible it happened other times too.
But then I do not believe that would be the reason, since we're talking of surviving words or expressions coming from pre space Earth I think those words with a function will always survive.
The "frigate" example was a good one as the term has evolved through time, but the basis for its existence is constant, that is describing a class of ships.

So OM was just a reference to show that there is at least one way of transmission we're sure of.(to compare you have the Voice example, a carefully guarded secret as BG only use it as last resort in public, but still the Baron knows about it and has Jessica gagged after the Harkonnenn attack, so maybe there could have been hints of the existence of OM and some harmless information could have filtered too)

And even in our times we have words that survive from distant antiquity that some people will use and know their meaning but not their origin.

SO the Baron could call himself "promethean" without knowing who Prométhée was IMO
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby SandChigger » 03 Sep 2009 08:21

lotek wrote:well yeah but we know of at least one wild Reverend Mother...

You refer to Rebecca? Don't forget the Fremen sayyadinas, from Rossak on. ;)

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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby Freakzilla » 03 Sep 2009 08:30

lotek wrote:thing is a "jihad" is a holy war but not a bloody one as we have come to know it because of the extremist nutcases...
I found this definition which sums up what i'm trying to say
Jihad did have two variant meanings through the centuries, one more radical, one less so. The first holds that Muslims who interpret their faith differently are infidels and therefore legitimate targets of jihad. (This is why Algerians, Egyptians and Afghans have found themselves, like Americans and Israelis, so often the victims of jihadist aggression.) The second meaning, associated with mystics, rejects the legal definition of jihad as armed conflict and tells Muslims to withdraw from the worldly concerns to achieve spiritual depth.

http://www.danielpipes.org/990/what-is-jihad


In Dune I think we find that duality in the Fremen Jihad and maybe one of the reasons of Paul leaving for the desert, because he knows the violent inclination of humans, and his prescience told him the horrors to come...
But maybe I digress a tad here?


He walked into the desert for three reasons, his own Jihad (which I assumed was over by that time) not being one of them, it was the only way out of the BT/BG/SP trap:

1. He didn't have to abdicate.
2. He didn't have to renounce his religion.
3. In doing so he adhered to Fremen law.
Bonus: He got to play the role of The Preacher

At least that's what I got out of it. :?
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby lotek » 03 Sep 2009 10:26

DuneFishUK wrote:The hacks are getting stick in other threads for giving their Titans etc historical names, but in Dune, when the Baron is talking with Fenring he references Prometheus. In a thought, but it is 'spoken' in the inner voice, and it is capitalised.



I overlooked that sentence(I remember asking the question of htf if the titanically comic Agamemnon chose his name to look cool how come it turns out he really descends from him... Only the person who writes the story could possess such info, and attributing that knowledge to one of your characters is :crazy: )
The hacks didn't do their research and crap to their supposed map of things or whatever they call it, the coincidence was way too great and that's that!

But the Baron's reference to Prometheus can be made without knowing who Prometheus was, as long as the word has a meaning in the Duniverse it's fine.
FH didn't need to cheat to make his story stand straight, he just used his brain ;)

Freak: is there a thread on Paul's reasons to walk into the desert, Dune Messiah was not my favourite and i have to admit unsufficiant knowledge for a proper discussion on that subject
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby Freakzilla » 03 Sep 2009 11:43

lotek wrote:Freak: is there a thread on Paul's reasons to walk into the desert, Dune Messiah was not my favourite and i have to admit unsufficiant knowledge for a proper discussion on that subject


I don't think there is, the chapter he does it in the reading group would be a good place: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=114&p=665#p665
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby lotek » 03 Sep 2009 12:09

Freakzilla wrote:
lotek wrote:Freak: is there a thread on Paul's reasons to walk into the desert, Dune Messiah was not my favourite and i have to admit unsufficiant knowledge for a proper discussion on that subject


I don't think there is, the chapter he does it in the reading group would be a good place: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=114&p=665#p665

ok thanks
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby DuneFishUK » 03 Sep 2009 14:29

In Dune the Emperor has doesn't seem to know anything about OM, surely he would have been briefed on the possibility at some point if anything was known or guessed.
Dune wrote:"You don't understand. Majesty," the old woman said. "Not telepathy. She's
in my mind. She's like the ones before me, the ones who gave me their memories.
She stands in my mind! She cannot be there, but she is!"
"What others?" the Emperor demanded. "What's this nonsense?"
The old woman straightened, lowered her pointing hand. "I've said too much,

It's unlikely BG would disseminate/publish large amounts of historical data unless it served their purposes - bits and bats would inevitably get out, but they wouldn't risk disclosing their sources by being too open about it.

---

The Ghengis Khan passage from DM, that Lundse mentioned.

Dune Messiah; Ch. 8 wrote:"How much history do you know?" Paul mused aloud, studying the shadowy
figure beside him.
"M'Lord, I can name every world our people touched in their migrations. I
know the reaches of Imperial . . ."
"The Golden Age of Earth, have you ever studied that?"
"Earth? Golden Age?" Stilgar was irritated and puzzled. Why would Paul wish
to discuss myths from the dawn of time? Stilgar's mind still felt crammed with
Zabulon data --
[...]
"M'Lord!"
"Stilgar," Paul said, "you urgently need a sense of balance which can come
only from an understanding of long-term effects. What little information we have
about the old times, the pittance of data which the Butlerians left us, Korba
has brought it for you. Start with the Genghis Khan."
"Ghengis . . . Khan? Was he of the Sardaukar, m'Lord?"
"Oh, long before that. He killed . . . perhaps four million."
"He must've had formidable weaponry to kill that many, Sire. Lasbeams,
perhaps, or . . ."
"He didn't kill them himself, Stil. He killed the way I kill, by sending out
his legions. There's another emperor I want you to note in passing -- a Hitler.
He killed more than six million. Pretty good for those days."
"Killed . . . by his legions?" Stilgar asked.
"Yes."
"Not very impressive statistics, m'Lord."

Does this suggest that books were transferred onto electronic formats prior to the Butlerian Jihad, and the files (or the computers needed to read the files) were lost?

The wording also suggests that these are known historical facts - not from Paul's OM. So data does survive from our times. I don't think it's a huge leap that the Baron knew what he was talking about. He was educated.

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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby Lundse » 04 Sep 2009 04:06

DuneFishUK wrote:So data does survive from our times. I don't think it's a huge leap that the Baron knew what he was talking about. He was educated.


I agree. It is more likely that the Baron did indeed use (internally) a word which calls to mind our current myths about Prometheus. My point was not aimed at the specific instance, but a warning not to confuse the language (and inherent knowledg) of the author and his readers, with the language and knowledge of the character.

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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby lotek » 04 Sep 2009 04:16

Lundse wrote:
DuneFishUK wrote:So data does survive from our times. I don't think it's a huge leap that the Baron knew what he was talking about. He was educated.


I agree. It is more likely that the Baron did indeed use (internally) a word which calls to mind our current myths about Prometheus. My point was not aimed at the specific instance, but a warning not to confuse the language (and inherent knowledg) of the author and his readers, with the language and knowledge of the character.


which is something we know FH was attentive to(not like the Hack Twins and their Agamemnon rigmarole)

TO me the Baron would know what that word meant, but would he know of the reference I can't tell.
It always seemed logical that there would be some survivance of the Golden Age of Earth in the Imperium, just consider that its feudal structure is already a remnant of our own past.
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby E. LeGuille » 16 Sep 2009 18:21

It would be sad if YouTube videos were archived for the imperium. Maybe they will mention that in Throne of Dune? Oh wait... hold on.. I remember now, this is a secret chapter you guys haven't seen yet cause you are all KJA haters!

Throne of Dune wrote:Alia looked deep into Duncan's eyes. "You have no reason to be concerned for me." She said.
"I have read about a man, a great man who lead millions of people to a liberation before the
time of Serena Butler." She passed Duncan a small pad. Inside were the contents of two silvery
discs that shined the colors of the ancient rainbows. "What should I do with these?" He asked.
Turning her hand to her hips, she quipped at him "My Other Memories tell me to use a...
See-Dae Raum...I think we have one in the basement." She said, sitting down in her big
purple chair.

It Duncan a few moments to figure out how the device worked. "Gods damn this fouled Windows "7" program." He spatted in anger, cursing it every milimoment he waited. Finally, he logged in to his username, and found the old videos depicting the march of the great man before mentioned. The movie showed before him and told him of the history of the Andersonian Age, and how they prospered over the next several years, building great feats. "This great, K. Anderson. It is too sad that his own daughter would one day invent Artificial Intelligence, and begin the world's decline towards the Rise of the Machines."
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby SandChigger » 17 Sep 2009 00:07

Yawn.

Your "great man" doesn't have a daughter. Or a son, except by marriage/adoption. (Or is that another distortion by Irulan? :roll: )

I'm sorry, maybe it's the late hour (nearly 1:00 AM) or maybe I'm just suddenly in a bad mood, but that didn't strike me as the slightest bit amusing or interesting. Maybe you could drool over him elsewhere?
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby E. LeGuille » 17 Sep 2009 00:23

:roll:
Imagine as if someone not "like me" had written it.
That's how I meant it.

Maybe if I added some sarcasm tags?

And yes, this is all Irulan's fault as to why we don't know about his daughter.
It's in one of the POD lost chapters... that's coming out pretty soon after Thrones or whatever.
And this is how I see the words when I read his book.
Swiss Cheesy.
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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby Omphalos » 17 Sep 2009 12:39

Star Wars used blasters.

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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby Schu » 17 Sep 2009 13:29

E. LeGuille wrote:It would be sad if YouTube videos were archived for the imperium. Maybe they will mention that in Throne of Dune? Oh wait... hold on.. I remember now, this is a secret chapter you guys haven't seen yet cause you are all KJA haters!

Throne of Dune wrote:Alia looked deep into Duncan's eyes. "You have no reason to be concerned for me." She said.
"I have read about a man, a great man who lead millions of people to a liberation before the
time of Serena Butler." She passed Duncan a small pad. Inside were the contents of two silvery
discs that shined the colors of the ancient rainbows. "What should I do with these?" He asked.
Turning her hand to her hips, she quipped at him "My Other Memories tell me to use a...
See-Dae Raum...I think we have one in the basement." She said, sitting down in her big
purple chair.

It Duncan a few moments to figure out how the device worked. "Gods damn this fouled Windows "7" program." He spatted in anger, cursing it every milimoment he waited. Finally, he logged in to his username, and found the old videos depicting the march of the great man before mentioned. The movie showed before him and told him of the history of the Andersonian Age, and how they prospered over the next several years, building great feats. "This great, K. Anderson. It is too sad that his own daughter would one day invent Artificial Intelligence, and begin the world's decline towards the Rise of the Machines."


Dear christ this is bad writing, even if it was meant as satire or whatever you're claiming. Spatted? lead millions of people to a liberation? Shined the colors of the ancient rainbows? logged in to his username? building great feats?

Spatted??


I am not at all sure that KJA didn't write this...

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Re: Earth history/myth references in Dune

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 17 Sep 2009 13:30

Maybe that was the point, to imitate KJA's prose. :wink:
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