The Count of Years Commentary: 6    [ Text ]


The creation of men


The word for 'man' is eîca, which goes back to proto-Eastern *wenka, cognate to Axunašin wenke 'someone' and Obenzayet ungka 'person', but with no clear cognate in Caďinor. (Urestu, V. uestu, is of unknown origin.)

Cuêzi doesn't have the confusion of man = human vs. man = male that we have; a male is a pomas, a woman a moêle.

Āeressār = 'Westland', today's Rhânor.

The origin of Árrasos is unknown, but as noted in the text, it's traditionally related to Āeressār. The V. is Araš; the followers of the Cuzeian religion in Caďinorian times were therefore known as Arašeî. Cuêzi does not have a stress accent, but I write Árrasos to prevent the pronunciation *Arrásos, which would sound worse to a Cuzeian.

Denūra is usually related to dēne 'breast'. The V. is Ženöra.

Soromo and Atāunē are opaque.

Nesnōum and Belgēse are from Elkarîl Ntheshnôngm 'orefinder' and Belggech 'blue sky'.

Though I am skeptical of any of the firsts among the Thinking Kinds, it must be said that whoever originated the story of Árrasos and Denūra possessed an impressive familiarity with three Thinking Kinds, as well as a fairly accurate image of the geography of eastern Ereláe.

The text says little about the "new language" that Árrasos and Denūra spoke; but there was plenty of speculation in ancient times. Many, naturally enough, assumed that it was Cuêzi; but perhaps the majority opinion was that the languages of the human lineages developed during the long dark years after the War of Chaos. In that case, this early language, created by the iliū, might have a special power, might contain the true names of things which would give insight into or power over them. There were attempts to reconnect to this language via magic or dreams, and many mystics claimed to be able to speak it, or reported words or sentences from it-- though they never agreed among themselves about the details.

The forty-nine poetic forms and other artistic manners mentioned by Denūra are not Cuzeian; they are presumed to be of the iliū.

Iáinos's commission

Anacūlato here inserts a rather tiresome explanation that Árrasos and Denūra, though they bicker, do not sin-- men and elcari are still sinless beings, like the iliū.

The Glade of the House of Árrasos

House of Árrasos = Aure Arrasex. I've translated the name of the city throughout, to emphasize the link to Árrasos.

This section is found only in CAA-- no surprise, since it gives patriarchal support to the foundation of the city.

A Glade (lusi) is a natural spot used for worship. The Cuzeians had a strong sense of natural beauty as a pointer to Iáinos; to construct houses for God was viewed as rather presumptuous. It was acceptable to build a wall around the Glade and add paths and gardens. An urban Glade had something of the feel of an urban Japanese garden, perhaps: an oasis of nature artfully cultivated to look as if it weren't cultivated at all.

'Building' a Glade, then, simply means declaring a place holy and marking it in some way, with a ring of stones or an altar.

The bear

The forest is identified with the wilderness of Kalimantan in the southwest of Eretald. In Cuzeian times it separated Cuzei from the Nimoicū, and thus served much as it does in this narrative-- as the beginning of the uncivilized world.

Cuêzi does not distinguish between 'he' and 'it'; but the Cuzeians consider gender to reflect something in the world, and to emphasize this I've referred to the bear (urezos) as 'he, him'.

The city of the elcari


Xacromixrid is from Elkarîl Khakrôpmîqhridd 'city of obsidian walls'.

Nelcinonas is possibly Elkarîl Nelknnôn 'jeweller leader'.

Elcari no longer live in the Gaumê Mountains; they moved to Elkarinor to defend it from the múrtani during the last of the elcar-múrtany wars, c. -3000 Z.E. The ruins of the city are still visible in the mountains of Kešvare.



Tīblixūnas = 'horseland'.

Tiblixūnas is of course Bolon, the original home of the Eastern peoples. The Easterners were not the first to domesticate horses (after the War of Chaos); the nomadic lifestyle, based on the horse, originated among a Western people, the Kagöt. The Easterners learned it from them sometime before -700 Z.E., and it's clear from the Count of Years as well as Axunaic sources that their self-image was as a race of mounted warriors. Well into Cuzeian times the most prestigious portion of the army was the cavalry.

The Almean horse is slightly smaller than ours, has ears that droop rather than point up, and its hooves are tripartite (in effect each foot has one large and two small horny hooves).

The inland sea

The inland sea is Lenan, to the east of Xurno, the homeland of the Lenani peoples.

The text doesn't say which shore they crashed on; but since ktuvoks do live (far) north of the lake, it seems reasonable to say that it was the north shore.

The ktuvok

The Count of Years is usually careful about languages, but it doesn't explain how the humans could speak to the ktuvok. On the theory that the iliū who told the story must have known what they were talking about, the Knowers decided that ktuvoks have a sort of telepathy which allows them to speak to (and try to bewitch) any human.

Ktuvoks (amnigō) are neuter in Cuêzi, so I have referred to the ktuvok throughout as 'it'.

The answers to the riddles: a spider; a hole; a shadow; death. The first two of these are actual, ancient elcarin riddles; the second two are Cuzeian in origin. All are a bit macabre, and were obviously chosen to fit the nature of the teller.

Anacūlato adds, somewhat unnecessarily, that this story proves that one should never trust a ktuvok.

The city of the iliū


The river Mēiro is given the folk etymology meyu yero 'glad water'; this of course is the root of the name of the surrounding land, Meīruas.

Sīcondas = 'sea foam'; Teratāi is derived from terate 'miraculous',

Meīruas can be identified with the southernmost land of the Qaraus, north of the iliu habitat north of Feináe. Both the Fei and the Qaraus listened to the iliū and developed monotheistic religions, though the Fei later converted to Jippirasti (after they were conquered by the Tžuro).

In In the Land of Babblers, Beretos meets an iliu from the southern habitat whose name is Fei: Fon-atcê-siumé, which is said to mean 'the healer from the sea at morning'.

Anacūlato expands the moral at the end:

Iáinos was very wise, knowing that sometimes it is better to go around an obstacle than to confront it with force, that shared hardship brings the good together, and that we only appreciate what we have fought for.

The lineages of men

The names and identities of the twelve lineages:

Rāuto is possibly from rāvas 'justice'; Ciotīro is a type of flower. The Rāutigō do not correspond to any present-day race.

Zîtecipato 'great liver', that is, full of noble emotions; Teratali was named after the iliu queen Teratāi. Meīrigō and Meīruas come from the mythical river Meīro. We can identify the Meīrigō with the Qaraus, or the Qaraus plus the Fei, who also learned monotheism from the iliū.

Masāntio is traditionally derived from mai 'not' + sāni 'expect' + adjectival -t-; thus 'unexpected'. Têllênōue = 'lovely rain'. Norunayas is explained as nōre 'headman' + nayas 'over(lord)ship'. Luōre = 'beauty'. Nimo and Loviteras are back-formations from the names of the Nimoicū and Lovitrui. The latter is opaque, but Nimoicu is probably cognate to namo-eîca 'lord-man'.

Great Riders = Zîtēi Enalādi. Zîtēi is cognate to Axunašin Ezičimi; if this is not coincidence, this may have been the proto-Easterners' own name for themselves.

Āectonas and Elīlea are taken from Caďinor, where we find them as the names of the chief god and goddess of the First Pantheon, Aecton and Aelilea. Someone must have asked a (southern) Caďinorian who the first Caďinorians were. Either the informant misunderstood the question and supplied the first gods instead, or the Caďinorians promoted their progenitors into gods. Curiously, Caďinorian tradition doesn't furnish the names of the first humans.

Cazinorō is of course a borrowing from Caďinor caďin (cognate to Kahinisa and thus also the source of Cayenas, the Cuêzi name for the Svetla river). The -oro is a Cuêzi adjectival ending. The language name Caďinor is very likely a back-borrowing from Cazinoro; before extensive contact with the Cuzeians, the Caďinorians had little need to name their own language.

Sācetrâcas = 'pinecutter'; Crummâlligō = 'blond-haired people', from crummâ 'straw'. These may be identified with the Axunašin and all southern Ereláean peoples.

Arevimanio = 'tree-power'; Mavoripomi = 'black men', named for their dark skin; Apēripomi = 'sunset men'. These can be taken as the Westerners of the Rau jungle and the western horselords, the Somoyi-Meťelyi and Kagöt; our best anthropological evidence is that all these peoples are indeed related.

Megmexos is from Meť. Megemekh (Keb. Megemeh'), 'first' with an honorific, and Miniūne is Meť. Miniune (Keb. Minyne), 'maiden' with the honorific. These are in fact the first people according to Meťaiun mythology. The Metailō are the people of Metayu, from Meť. Meťaigho, whose original meaning is unknown, though Me- is again the honorific.

Cēradānar, the Cuêzi name for Eretald, means 'center plain'. V. Eretald means 'southern plain'; the Caďinorians considered that they lived in the south of their world (the west being occupied by the Cuzeians, the north by the Metailō, and the east by the Munkhâshi).

Xavieyayas = 'boarhunter' and Xavigō = 'boar people'; from their location we must identify these with the Monkhayu. The Cuzeians evidently did not recognize that these were simply a branch of the Metailō.

Ōinoyayas = 'lonely hunter'; Ōibotōuyi = 'away-rovers'. This lineage simply stands in for all of the inhabitants of the Northern Hemisphere.

Nūmidelo = 'god-given'; Lalêisigō = 'youngest people'. These are the Eynleyni, the human group who made up the base population of Munkhâsh.

The sodeyi given by the Count of Years should not be taken as sure information on the earliest races of men; except for the Rāutigō, they are obviously projections of contemporary ethnic groups back in time. They are the groups, then, that the Cuzeians saw around them, and divided humanity into. It makes for a fairly complete inventory of the races of eastern Ereláe.

It may at first seem modest that the Cuzeians traced their descent not to the first but to the third of Árrasos and Denūra's sons. However, the first two sodeyi are mythical or nearly so; the Cuzeians were thus the senior lineage in their part of the world.

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