Elena Priestley art (from historical romance to parallel realities)
This was my reply to "Friendship and Debates", being a Nietzschean obsessive..
You almost wonder if Howard used Rome as a shorthand for "civilization". As something of a classical scholar, Western civilization has developed much more profoundly than anything in the ancient world. Rome tended to keep the native cults and beliefs or adapt them into Roman shrines (as in Sulis-Minerva at Bath). My own idea is that our civilization is Apollonian while ancient civilization was a balance of Apollo and Dionysus. That's obvious in ancient Greece with the female Oracles at Delphi, the festivals of the vine etc. The Greek city-states were constantly at war. Apollo (order) sort of inevitably means central diktats. Rome had to rely on legions to maintain their civilization, it was never a political order, almost the complete opposite to our drone-like rulers issuing idiot texts
The next few posts are on "parallel reality" versus faith. Defence of faith is an outward-going of the psyche that is almost like a blind urge - a Dionysian force of will. To moderns that may seem irrational, but it is one with the "sacred" animal spirit. This image is from a French comic but seems quite apropos of the romantic spirit of the knight in Outremer (next chap)
Slight change of tone. While waiting on artist Elena who's on sabbatical in India thought I'd post an extract of "Nazarene"
NC Wyeth's parable of the barren fig tree has Christ in the costume of a wanderer. I read somewhere this is probably more accurate than the Renaissance-style robe. The Nazarene is the "natural man" that became the medieval Christian ideal. The Italians, quoting CC Beck (original "crusty curmudgeon"),
in Bernini's day..all the angels had to be sexless, ethereal creatures.. In the Old Testament those angels were terrible creatures. They came down armed with fiery swords and everything else
The effeminate Christ figure is sort of a Renaissance invention. More likely, the instinctive urge replaced any rational male order of Rome, the rational male order that has dominated societies since the end of the Elizabethan era.
Howard's historical tales are of that medieval mentality, pre-rational, the wandering pilgrim with sword in hand.
More Tales of Faith. I got into Melissa Scott's The Armor of Light which is Elizabethan sword & sorcery with a very Weird Tales feel. At the end of the book, she has a line that the end of belief lets loose sorcery into the world. That could be interpreted as saying the world we are in is a type of sorcery.
PS in case of confusion, Elena is sketching the proposed "space-station of faith", based very loosely on Silent Running
I'm risking this update just out in DT. It's not Howard, but it is mind, body, society AND cosmos - the armillary sphere (to right of QEI portrait). He mentions Dr Dee, who appears in The Armor of Light, the old medieval world just about to be "upstaged". QEI represents all that, I'd say (The Faerie Queen, Edmund Spenser)
this link might be useful as it was left off(my web-builder is off for the weekend)
Coming up is more Howard as it occurred to me Howard mentions Byron - as a boxer - but not Nietzsche (as a philosopher). Byron was adventurous and daring almost to folly. He perished at Missolonghi defending the Greeks against the Turks.
Tales of Faith 13 mentions Iphigenia, who was sacrificed to Artemis. Now, that was 1,000 years before classical Greece. Artemis is the huntress, the dark figure of action and blood. 1,000 years later, the Athenian Dionysia staged annual plays. The difference is between action - Artemis - and intellect.
That's what I'll be pursuing. The mystique as opposed to intellect