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Works and Days

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 4 months ago

Ilium and the sequel Olympos is a story concerning five intelligent species:

 

  • Old-Style (pre-Hiatus) Humans - We're Old-Style Humans - a species of human that evolved more or less naturally.
  • Post-Humans - Post-singularity, genetically-modified human beings.
  • New-Style (post-Hiatus) Humans - Almost Old-Style Humans, but they have minor genetic modifications introduced by the post-humans.
  • Hero Humans - Humans of unknown origin on an alternate Earth, taking part in a recreation of the Trojan War. Often modified via nanotechnology, but obviously (at least to Mahnmut and Orphu) not standard Old-Style humans.
  • Moravecs - Intelligent robots with some organic parts.

 

These species bear some relationship to the five Ages of Men, as described by Hesiod in Works and Days. The two ages which are the most easily identifiable are The Golden Age and The Silver Age.

 

  • The Golden Age - During the Golden Age mortals lived a utopian lifestyle. In the words of Hesiod: "First of all the deathless gods who dwell on Olympus made a golden race of mortal men who lived in the time of Cronos when he was reigning in heaven. And they lived like gods without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief: miserable age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never failing they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all evils." The Golden Age is similar to the lives of the post-humans in Ilium, where they lived almost as gods without want for anything.

 

  • The Silver Age - During the Silver Age mortals remained children for one hundred years. In the words of Hesiod: "A child was brought up at his good mother's side an hundred years, an utter simpleton, playing childishly in his own home. But when they were full grown and were come to the full measure of their prime, they lived only a little time in sorrow because of their foolishness, for they could not keep from sinning and from wronging one another." The Silver Age is similar to the new humans in Ilium, where they live exactly one hundred years (Five Twenties), with little knowledge associated with civilization, and fax up to the Firmary upon reaching the age of one hundred.

 

Mapping the other three of Hesoid's Ages is a little more iffy, but a first pass would be:

 

  • The Bronze Age - These were a people of a "second order". In the words of Hesiod: "Zeus the Father made a third generation of mortal men, a brazen race, sprung from ash-trees (4); and it was in no way equal to the silver age, but was terrible and strong. They loved the lamentable works of Ares and deeds of violence; they ate no bread, but were hard of heart like adamant, fearful men. Great was their strength and unconquerable the arms which grew from their shoulders on their strong limbs. Their armour was of bronze, and their houses of bronze, and of bronze were their implements: there was no black iron." The term "a brazen race" could be interpreted as a race made of bronze, or with the strength of bronze - at a minimum, some non-organic form of life. In Ilium this could be the Moravecs.

 

  • The Heroic Age - In the words of Hesiod: "Zeus the son of Cronos made yet another, the fourth, upon the fruitful earth, which was nobler and more righteous, a god-like race of hero-men who are called demi-gods, the race before our own, throughout the boundless earth. Grim war and dread battle destroyed a part of them, some in the land of Cadmus at seven-gated Thebe when they fought for the flocks of Oedipus, and some, when it had brought them in ships over the great sea gulf to Troy for rich-haired Helen's sake: there death's end enshrouded a part of them." It's fairly straitforward to propose that this is the race of humans that populate the Plains of Ilium in Simmon's book. In Ilium, Zeus says the following to Hockenberry:

 

"Poseidon and Ares and others have been after me for centuries to eliminate humankind like the virus it is," says Zeus, rumbling more to himself than to me, I think. "We all have concerns — this Age of Man Heroic you see at Ilium would concern any race of gods..."

 

  • The Iron Age - The Iron Age is traditionally viewed as our present time, and the characters in Ilium closest to us are Savi and the 9,113 other humans trapped in the Final Fax. While Savi is able to access the functions available to the New-Style Humans (like allnet), it is revealed in "The Ninth of Av" that the pre-Hiatus humans were sterile. She also claims that all pre-Hiatus humans were Jews, while all of the post-Hiatus humans were not.

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