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 Post subject: HoN: Race of Scorpions - A little bit of background
PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:27 am 
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Location: Mendoza, Mendoza, Argentina
While reading this book I was quite caught up with some of the background of the novel, which is very spectacular.
First of all, Cyprus and its incredible beauty: fertile soil, sun, beautiful beaches and sun, the olive groves, the vineyards, the sunsets.. I pictured everything in my mind and then went to take a look at modern pictures:

CYPRUS
Image

ImageImage

The second element that launched me into the web was, of course, James II de Lusignan, the Bastard King. Didn't you all fell a little in love with him, along with Nicholas? I waited till I finished the book to do it, because I didn't want spoilers (that's the problem with historical fiction, you know history can't be changed...)

JAMES II DE LUSIGNAN (ZACCO)

James II (the Bastard) of Cyprus or Jacques II le Bâtard de Lusignan (Nicosia, c. 1438/1439 or c. 1440 – Famagusta, July 10, 1473), was the illegitimate son of John II of Cyprus and Marietta de Patras.
James was a great favourite of his father, and in 1456, at the age of 16, he was appointed to the archbishopric of Nicosia. After murdering Iacopo Urri, the Royal Chamberlain on 1 April 1457,[1] he was deprived of the archbishopric and fled to Rhodes on a ship of the Catalan Juan Tafures. He was pardoned by his father, and the archbishopric was returned to him.
Marriage, death and succession
In Venice, on July 30, 1468, seeking political support, he married a 14-year-old Venetian, Catherine Cornaro, by proxy. She finally travelled to Cyprus and married in person at Famagusta in October or November, 1472. James died a few months later, amidst some suspicion that he might have been poisoned by agents of Venice, possibly by Catherine's uncles. According to his will, Caterina, who was pregnant, became regent. The couple's son James died under suspicious circumstances in 1474 before his first birthday, leaving Catherine as regent of Cyprus. During her reign the island was controlled by Venetian merchants. In 1489 Venice forced her to abdicate, and Cyprus became a colony of the Republic of Venice until it was captured by the Ottomans in 1571.
(Source: Wikipedia)

(So, no word of Primaflora here)

APHRODITE

Paphos, or Kouklia is said to be the birth place of the goddess Aphrodite (or Venus in Roman culture), according to the legend she was born from the foam of the waves at a place where curious rock formations lay. So, this entitles Cyprus to be the home of love, and lust, and laughter, and fertility, and many nice things else.


Image

This is Petra tou Romiou, the supposed place where Aphrodite was transported in a shell to the beach, and the suppossed view from Nicholas villa at his sugar farm in Kouklia.

Aphrodite as imagery for love, of spirit and of flesh, is constantly used in this book, while Nicholas struggles to identify his feelings towards the women in his life, and feels miserably at not being able to feel real love in return, but also is related to the Psyche and Eros myth, which has appeared at The Lymond Chronicles also. I love this legend, so here it is Wikipedia again: (Eros aka Cupid, Aphrodite aka Venus)

There were once a king and queen, rulers of an unnamed city, who had three daughters of conspicuous beauty. The youngest and most beautiful was Psyche, whose admirers, neglecting the proper worship of the love goddess Venus, instead prayed and made offerings to her. It was rumored that she was the second coming of Venus, or the daughter of Venus from an unseemly union between the goddess and a mortal. Venus is offended, and commissions Cupid to work her revenge. Cupid instead scratches himself with his own dart, which makes any living thing fall in love with the first thing it sees. As soon as Cupid scratches himself he falls deeply in love with Psyche and disobeys his mother's order to make Psyche fall in love with something hideous.

Although her two humanly beautiful sisters have married, the idolized Psyche has yet to find love. Her father suspects that they have incurred the wrath of the gods, and consults the oracle of Apollo. The response is unsettling: the king is to expect no human son-in-law, but rather a dragon-like creature who harasses the world with fire and iron and is feared by even Jupiter and the inhabitants of the underworld.

Psyche is arrayed in funeral attire, conveyed by a procession to the peak of a rocky crag, and exposed. Marriage and death are merged into a single rite of passage, a "transition to the unknown". Zephyr the West Wind bears her up to meet her fated match, and deposits her in a lovely meadow (locus amoenus), where she promptly falls asleep.

The transported girl awakes to find herself at the edge of a cultivated grove (lucus). Exploring, she finds a marvelous house with golden columns, a carved ceiling of citrus wood and ivory, silver walls embossed with wild and domesticated animals, and jeweled mosaic floors. A disembodied voice tells her to make herself comfortable, and she is entertained at a feast that serves itself and by singing to an invisible lyre.

Although fearful and without sexual experience, she allows herself to be guided to a bedroom, where in the darkness a being she cannot see makes her his wife. She gradually learns to look forward to his visits, though he always departs before sunrise and forbids her to look upon him, and soon she becomes pregnant.

Violation of trust
Psyche's family longs for news of her, and after much cajoling, Cupid, still unknown to his bride, permits Zephyr to carry her sisters up for a visit. When they see the splendor in which Psyche lives, they become envious, and undermine her happiness by prodding her to uncover her husband's true identity, since surely as foretold by the oracle she was lying with the vile winged serpent, who would devour her and her child.

One night after Cupid falls asleep, Psyche carries out the plan her sisters devised: she brings out a dagger and a lamp she had hidden in the room, in order to see and kill the monster. But when the light instead reveals the most beautiful creature she has ever seen, she is so startled that she wounds herself on one of the arrows in Cupid's cast-aside quiver. Struck with a feverish passion, she spills hot oil from the lamp and wakes him. He flees, and though she tries to pursue, he flies away and leaves her on the bank of a river.
There she is discovered by the wilderness god Pan, who recognizes the signs of passion upon her. She acknowledges his divinity (numen), then begins to wander the earth looking for her lost love.

Wanderings and trials
In the course of her wanderings, Psyche comes upon a temple of Ceres, and inside finds a disorder of grain offerings, garlands, and agricultural implements. Recognizing that the proper cultivation of the gods should not be neglected, she puts everything in good order, prompting a theophany of Ceres herself. Although Psyche prays for her aid, and Ceres acknowledges that she deserves it, the goddess is prohibited from helping her against a fellow goddess. A similar incident occurs at a temple of Juno. Psyche realizes that she must serve Venus herself.

Venus revels in having the girl under her power, and turns Psyche over to her two handmaids, Worry and Sadness, to be whipped and tortured. Venus tears her clothes and bashes her head into the ground, and mocks her for conceiving a child in a sham marriage. (Venus commends four dangeorous tasks

Reunion and immortal love
Meanwhile, Cupid's wound has healed into a scar, and he escapes his mother's house by flying out a window. When he finds Psyche, he draws the sleep from her face and replaces it in the box, then pricks her with an arrow that does no harm. He lifts her into the air, and takes her to present the box to Venus.

He then takes his case to Jupiter, who gives his consent in return for Cupid's future help whenever a choice maiden catches his eye. Jupiter has Mercury convene an assembly of the gods in the theater of heaven, where he makes a public statement of approval, warns Venus to back off, and gives Psyche ambrosia, the drink of immortality,[15] so the couple can be united in marriage as equals. Their union, he says, will redeem Cupid from his history of provoking adultery and sordid liaisons.Jupiter's word is solemnized with a wedding banquet.

With its happy marriage and resolution of conflicts, the tale ends in the manner of classic comedy[17] or Greek romances such as Daphnis and Chloe. The child born to the couple will be Voluptas (Greek Hedone ‘Ηδονή), "Pleasure."



Image
Psyché aux enfers (1865) by Eugène Ernest Hillemacher: Charon rows Psyche past a dead man in the water and the old weavers on shore (oh Charon, dreadful boatman... remember from Checkmate?)

Since this is my first new topic, I hope it is all right, and didn't break any rule. Anyway, moderators please feel free to correct it, contents or language mistakes!

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 Post subject: Re: HoN: Race of Scorpions - A little bit of background
PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:49 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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It looks great, Lormza. Bravissima!
I didn't read too much on James because I didn't want to be spoiled by what happens in later books. I'm like that. I had never heard about James and since he has now become a character in a book, interwoven with Niccolo, etc, I don't want to know when/how he dies. It may affect my sensibility to how Niccolò's life may be affected.

I loved Race of Scorpions. They are all good, I'll say. I about 1/4 of the way in To Lie with Lions.

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 Post subject: Re: HoN: Race of Scorpions - A little bit of background
PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:43 pm 
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Thank you ND! I know what you mean about spoilers... It happened to me with David Comnenos of Trebizond in Spring of Ram... Got curious before time and got awfully spoiled. But I haven't thought about Zacco reappering in later books... That's good news! I mean, it doesn't hurt to know that at least one character is safe from death for a while!

Enviado desde mi BLU DASH X mediante Tapatalk

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