ATD 946-975

Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.

Page 946

Wikipedia entry for Orpheus, click on Death of Eurydice when you get there.

Young woman, there is money everywhere
Even this spiritual expedition has an accountant. And as the Tibetan seal on the cover shows, even Shambhala has a chamber of commerce.
Also, Pluto, Lord of the Underworld - with all its mineral wealth - is the original plutocrat.

Interdikt line
That horizontal line on the map again.

Veliko Târnovo
North central Bulgaria on north side of Stara Planina range. Just for Bulgarian Pynchon uses at least two transliteration systems; where you see the letter â in this system, another will have u. Present-day transliteration from Bulgarian uses the letter ǔ. The sound resembles the U in "bump"; it's represented by Ъ in the Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet.

Bulgarian: a folk dance. The u represents the "uh" sound.

St. Tryphon's Day
St. Tryphon or Trypho is the protector of fields. Feast day is Feb. 1 in the Orthodox calendar; at the time of the action the western and eastern calendars had drifted 12 or 13 days apart, throwing the Gregorian (western) date toward mid-February.

Page 947

Bulgarian wine made from grapes grown near the Black Sea coast.

Muscatel wine.

May, I think
1912. The date gets pegged a few pages further on.

Central Bulgaria, south slope of Stara Planina range, halfway between Plovdiv and Veliko Târnovo.

Rozovata Dolina
Bulgarian: rose valley. The Dimitrov Dam (completed in 1955, so not yet in existence at this point in AtD) may have filled part of the valley with a reservoir. Mild confusion: The Wikipedia entry gives the Bulgarian name as Rosova dolina.

between the Balkan range and the Sredna Gora
Mountain ranges running east-west across Bulgaria, the Balkan (Stara Planina) to the north. Stara Planina = Old Range, Sredna Gora = Central Mountains.

This is, in fact, Eastern Rumelia [1].

Bulgarian, literally: mugs, wry faces.

Page 948

Extreme southwestern Bulgaria, near the Bulgaria/Greece/Macedonia triple point.

on Macedonian border
Today's maps reflect another century of boundary fights and negotiations. Petrich is not right on the present border, for example.

between Plovdiv and Petrich
Southwest quarter of Bulgaria.

the music stopped two years ago
I.e., in 1910.

Page 949

called out to, by their diminutives
You can make a list of "nicknames" from most any Slavic name. In Russian, for example, Aleksandr is informally called Sasha, Sashenka, etc. The irregulars are boys from the neighborhood and get addressed as such.

crossing R. damascena with R. alba
Species of roses. The species most used in attar-making is Rosa damascena.

R. damascena is named after the Syrian city of Damascus, which, in 1912-13, was still part of the Ottoman Empire. R. alba is the white rose. Cross-breeding these makes the perfect Bulgarian flower, part Ottoman, part Christian; the blending of two worlds.

Page 950

named the baby Ljubica
Serbo-Croatian: violet (the flower). Commemorating Cyprian's toilette at Carnesalve, I suggest; see pages 881 and 891. The name is pronounced LYOO-beet-sah. In light of the musical theme, Ljubica Marić, b. 1909, considered to be one of the most original composers to emerge from Yugoslavia, should be noted.

Also: from the Slavic element "lub" meaning "love" combined with a diminutive suffix, aka "little love"

toroidal black iron antenna . . . one of those Tesla rigs
I.e., made to transmit or receive energy wirelessly.
Sounds like another Wardenclyffe Tower

Page 951

...these are voices of the dead. Edison and Marconi both feel that the syntonic wireless can be developed as a way to communicate with departed spirits.
According to this website, Edison did not rule out this possibility, but what he says does not sound so enthusiastic either. Still this links up with the seance in the Swiss alps. Also interesting: In an article for the North American Review in June, 1878, Edison lists the recording of "the last words of dying persons" among ten possible uses for his newly invented phonograph.

Again, strangely reminescent of Jean Cocteau's 1950 movie "Orphée" (Orpheus, see the numerous entries about him in this wiki), in which the title character becomes obsessed with strange garbled messages beamed to a car radio. Orphée thinks that these broadcasts, coming from "the other side" (the car belongs to no other than the princess of Death herself, played by the wonderful Maria Casarès in the movie), are actually poems by his recently deceased young rival, Cégeste. The messages are coded in the same fashion as the pirate radio broadcasts from The Résistance during WWII.

The Canadian band Rush (see note p. 708, and [2]) has a song on the 1981 album Moving Pictures called YYZ (Why Yz-les-Bains?). (YYZ is actually the airport code for Toronto, Canada).

These leather-clad bikers also evoke the angels of death in Cocteau's "Orphée" (see the entry above). As Death's minions, they literally do her dirty work, running over the unsuspecting soon-to-be-deceased.

Also note that the main musical riff in the intro to "YYZ" is a tritone interval, which is the tension and interval between the tonic note (1) and either the sharp fourth (in the lydian mode) or the flat fifth (in the locrian mode). YYZ's key changes several times between the A lydian and B phrygian modes. Thus, there is a plausible nexus to two themes throughout AtD: the dual identity of the tritone in the opening riff of the song; and then the modulation between A lydian and B phrygian, see p. ___ above.

Mihály Vámos
Hungarian name, but vámos is also Spanish = go!

Szia, haver
Hungarian: Hello buddy!

Page 952

Bulgarian: the forbidden. Same meaning as Interdikt.

an attar-factory rep
Attar: a fragrant essential oil or perfume obtained from flowers; attar of roses, a fragrant extract of the petals. And indeed, rose oil is the most important commodity produced in the Rozovata Dolina, with Kazanlak being the trade center for the product.

Philippopolis is now Plovdiv, located 40-50 miles south of the valley. Plovdiv was Philippopolis in 342 B.C., when it was conquered by Philip II of Macedonia and by the 1st century A.D. had undergone 2 more name changes: to Pulpudeva and to Thrimonzium. The name Plovdiv first appeared around 1369.

That brings up an important point. There's all kinds of evidence in AtD that Pynchon has appropriated history as he found it in contemporary sources. And it's a good bet that much of the published history came from Britain. Writers today like to use "local" names, but that wasn't so in earlier times. The 1911 Brittanica, for example, has entry after entry under "Henry" for monarchs who went by Heinrich, Henri, Enrique and so forth. This now-unfashionable conservatism, picked up and repeated in AtD, means we shouldn't expect to see a reference to Sevastopol'; look instead for Sebastopol. Similarly we'd see Budweis instead of České Budějovice if the subject of brewing arose. And Philippopolis follows the pattern.

In a fortification, an armored room or emplacement for artillery. Wikipedia

Page 953

it's only chlorine . . . you get phosgene
Accurate account of the process then used to produce phosgene. Today an activated carbon catalyst replaces the sunlight.

Cyclist, biker, referring here to Mihaly Vamos.

light is..the destructive agent
Thematic,of course, when non-natural light is created....studies back to 'city illumination'. Cf. Telluride chapter.

Fear in lethal form
This is strongly reminiscent of the "Panic fear" (p. 151) unleashed by the Vormance Expedition's digging up of the buried alien - the "incendiary Figure."

millions of candles per square inch
Not easily converted to other units of measurement. Since the International Candle was defined as the light output from a specified wax candle, imagine a source emitting as much light as a million candles. Then imagine the sky covered with such sources, one to a square inch. No, it's unimaginably bright—disorienting, blinding, probably scorching.
Recalls Olbers' paradox: in an infinite universe, we should see a star in every direction (wikipedia; pay attention to the Edgar Allan Poe quotation).

A very small village in Bulgaria's Central Balkan Mountains, near a mountain pass of strategic importance, which connects northern Bulgaria to Upper Thrace (East Rumelia). It was the site of a battle between the Russian army and the Ottoman Turks in 1877.

Sok szerencsét
Hungarian: good luck.

Page 954

Thrace is a region in southeast Europe spreading over southern Bulgaria, northwestern Greece, and European Turkey.

Varna is a major seaport of Bulgaria on the Black Sea Coast. It is the third largest city of the country and a primary tourist destination. One of the oldest cities in Europe and site of the alleged world's oldest gold treasure (5th millennium BC radiocarbon dating).

Page 955

folie à trois
Folie à deux describes delusional behavior displayed by two people; here it's by three. With folie à deux, the crucial point is that the sum is more than the parts: behaviors or actions only occur because of the two people interacting.

Involving delusions, hallucinations, pointless and childish behavior.

birds of prey.

Sliven is a town east of Kazanlâk, nearly the geographic center of the country, Bulgaria.

the Halkata
Bulgarian khalka: ring. The suffix -ta is a definite article. An existing formation in Bulgaria pic.

Ulitsa Rakovsky
Bulgarian: Rakovsky Street. Georgi Rakovsky (1821-67), Bulgarian freedom fighter.

Page 956

Pronounced like CRUTCH-mah. Bulgarian: tavern.

Byal Sredets
The Sredets or Sredetz lines of cigarettes are still produced. Byal just means "white"; Byal Sredets was (speculatively) a sub-brand.

After not too much searching, no cigar(-ettes) but Byala and Sredets are towns near Varna, and silly speculation: to a non-Bulgarian English speaker, Byal Sredets, kind of looks like it could sound like "buy all cigarettes," if you pronounce Sredets as sir-e-dets.

Byala and Sredets are not in major tobacco-growing regions of Bulgaria. If we have to try parsing the brand name (and we do), Sredets may refer to the Sredna Gora growing region.

Sredets is the old Bulgarian name of Sofia, and now a municipality within the city.

Byal is also evocative of beyul, Baikal and bi-locale.

Please see Binarisms Discussion for more on Byal as white on the Black Sea, and other dualities in AtD.

Zdrave . . . kakvo ima?
Bulgarian: Good health . . . what's the matter?

Heretical sect in Balkans with doctrinal links to Cathars and Albigensians. Bogomilismarose out of a combination of pre-Christian Bulgarian gnosticism and a peasant reaction against oppression from the institutional church and state. Essentially anarchist in outlook, it holds that there is a duality in the creation of the world. Social structures derive from Satan, an Angel (of Death ) and eldest child of God, who was sent to Earth. Only things that spring from the human soul are truly good. Therefore, the established church, state and all social heirarchies are undermined. Bogomils refused to pay taxes, to work, or to fight for the state. Anarchism with a theological bent, Bogomilism was popular in Bulgaria and the Balkans from 950 to about 1396.

Much of what is known about the Bogomils comes from the antithetical polemic with the "interesting" name Against the Heretics written not by St. Cosmas, or Randolph St. Cosmo, but Presbyter Cosmas, also refered to in some places as St. Cosmo (Kozma), a 10th century Bulgarian church official.

Of further note, Bogomil propaganda followed "the mountain chains of central Europe, starting from the Balkans and continuing along the Carpathian Mountains, the Alps and the Pyrenees..." and so might be called, The Light Over the Ranges."

Sources differ on the meaning: (1) Bulgarian Catholics; (2) members of a heretical sect with dualist (Manichean) doctrines influenced by beliefs of the Bogomils. Also known as Paulicianism. Read more...

Hebrus River . . . Maritza
The Maritza or Maritsa flows west to east, draining Bulgaria between the Stara Planina (Balkan range) and the Rhodopes, then turns south and west to the Aegean Sea. The port at its mouth, in Greece, is called Evros, a name derived from Hebrus.

Page 957

cf. page 437 and the index at M.

Pythagorean akousmata
"Avoid beans." See explanation in the "A" alphabetical page.

In V. TRP mentions The White Goddess by Robert Graves. The Pythagorean mystics, Graves writes, derived their bean aversion from the Pelasgians of Samos (Greece) which puts them in close connection with the Orphic and Druidic.

The flower of the bean is white like a spirit. Beans grow spirally "up its prop" symbolizing resurrection or reincarnation. Ghosts contrived to be reborn as humans by entering into beans and being eaten by women (Pliny mentions this). Eating beans somehow ran the risk of frustrating a dead parent's wish for progeny or rebirth. Beans were also thrown behind one's back to ward of ghosts.

By contrast, Platonists excused their aversion on the grounds that beans caused flatulence. "Life was breath, and to break wind after eating beans was a proof that one had eaten a living soul -- in Greek and Latin the same words, pneuma and anima," words that also meant gust of wind, breath, soul, spirit. Can wind have a spiritual significance in AtD?

Does this give a twist to the meaning of Chicago as "The Windy City" at the beginning of the book -- Chicago as the "City of the Dead," especially as the cattle drives are pictured as being a gradual reduction of choice and freedom that ends in the Cartesian grid of the city and finally the killing-floor of the slaughterhouse?

Graves goes on to say that the bean belonged to the "White Goddess" who he identified with the Roman goddess Cranaë, the 'harsh or stony one,' a Greek surname of the Goddess Artemis. Artemis owned a hill-temple near Delphi in which the office of priest was always held by a boy for a five year term, and a cypress-grove, the Cranaeum, just outside Corinth. Cranaë is etymologically related to the Gaelic 'cairn' -- a pile of stones erected on a mountain-top. Can Cyprian be related to the cypress grove and to Artemis, the barren goddess?

A further note, on p. 17, Chick Counterfly recounts the schemes he and his father worked in order to keep beans in the pot. They are bean-eating worldly men vs. the other-worldly non-eaters of T.W.I.T. and the Bogomils.


In the Greek Orthodox Church, head of a religious community. (And, silly aside, legumen, in Latin, means bean).

Cf page 219: Tetractys.

This passage could almost have been drawn from the Wikipedia entry.

Krâstova Gora
Bulgarian: name of a mountain or range. Krâstova Gora means "Mountain (or Forest) of the Cross" and is in the Rhodopes. The monk Grigorii, known as “the Rhodopean Paisii”, has named in his sermons the Central Rhodopes as the “Mountain of the Cross” or “Forest of the Cross”. The Russian Paisi is mentioned on page 904.

Is this sentence the orphan of some narrative that's been cut? Disclosure of the baby's sex is on p. 949 and has neither a mountain nor a church in it.

Agreed. Reading the dialogue here, and the very contradictory dialogue on p. 949, it does seem like this is an actual continuity error. Must be a tough job to edit one of these manuscripts.

Lobby or portico of a church.

Page 958

sympathetic spirits who had dug spaces beneath their own precarious dwellings to harbor her for a night or two at a time
Compare the annotations on stranniki and podpol'niki (page 663).

body mass
Cyprian became aware of his body as "mass and velocity and cold gravity" on page 837.

Bernadette o' Lourdes
young woman who is reputed to have seen visions of the Mother of the Divine at Lourdes in France. See Wikipedia.

Page 959

Oh, there won't be any war
Cyprian's self-discovered religiousness seems to make him overly optimistic -- blind -- to historical reality.

In English, schema.

In English, Nux or Nyx. cf Brides of Night below.

Talking, for women, is a form of breathing
Compare p. 501: "a hundred women . . . all silent." Tying Noellyn/Yashmeen to Cyprian?

What is it that is born of light?
Cyprian trying to make sense of his epiphany on p.953. Phosgene. Nicene Creed, "light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made"

Page 960

Contemplative hermits in Orthodox Church; see Wikipedia entry. From the concise Brittanica: Hesychasm in Eastern Christianity, type of monastic life in which practitioners seek divine quietness (Greek hesychia) through the contemplation of God in uninterrupted prayer. Such prayer, involving the entire human being—soul, mind, and body—is often called “pure,” or “intellectual,” prayer or the Jesus prayer. St. John Climacus, one of the greatest writers of the Hesychast tradition, wrote, “Let the remembrance of Jesus be present with each breath, and then you will know the value of the hesychia.” In the late 13th century, St. Nicephorus the Hesychast produced an even more precise “method of prayer,” advising novices to fix their eyes during prayer on the “middle of the body,” in order to achieve a more total attention, and to “attach the prayer to their breathing.” This practice was violently attacked in the first half of the 14th century by Barlaam the Calabrian, who called the Hesychasts omphalopsychoi, or people having their souls in their navels.

The Hesychast usually experiences the contemplation of God as light, the Uncreated Light of the theology of St Gregory Palamas. The Uncreated Light that the Hesychast experiences is identified with the Holy Spirit. Experiences of the Uncreated Light are allied to the 'acquisition of the Holy Spirit'. Orthodox Tradition warns against seeking ecstasy as an end in itself. Hesychasm is a traditional complex of ascetical practices embedded in the doctrine and practice of the Orthodox Church and intended to purify the member of the Orthodox Church and to make him ready for an encounter with God that comes to him when and if God wants, through God's Grace (note earlier mention of an "anti-Grace"). Very different from attainment of Nirvana.

Transfiguration of Christ
See Transfiguration.

There came a cloud and overshadowed them
Luke 9.34.

see above. "Hesychasts condemned as "having their souls in their navel".

The Kabbala calls this Spirit, Shekkinah, which, according to Harold Bloom, refers to the "feminine element in Yahweh." Shekkinah is God's maternal nature, Mother God, who broods over the Earth searching for and gathering the world's orphans and outcasts under her wings.
The author of Genesis tells us this Spirit hovered over the earth before creation. That which dwells, that which abides.

shiny black accoutrements
See the delicious annotation to page 678.

Suggestive of "sex toys" of varied sorts.

Cosmas of Jerusalem
See the concise Wikipedia article.

Page 961

Habitation by a soul of a different (or new) body; non-Orthodox concept related to reincarnation.

[i]f self-similarity proves to be a built-in property of the universe
In mathematics, a self-similar object is exactly or approximately similar to a part of itself (i.e. the whole has the same shape as one or more of the parts). Many objects in the natural world, such as coastlines, rivers and ferns, are statistically self-similar: parts of them show the same statistical properties at many scales. Fractals are a mathematical example of self-similarity. Wikipedia entry

Brides of Night
A name (used by whom?) of the order Cyprian seeks to join. This 'order' seems to be a creation of Pynchon's, an important metaphorical one. In Hesychasmism, massive humility is stressed, as is the linked notion that God is light and can never be known (not even after the Beatific Vision). So, a Bride of Night is a humble 'nun' who is married to the darkness of the Unknown God.

A thought: The Brides of Night (in white robes?) is a religious parody of those "Riders of Night" in white robes who appear from time to time in the novel, viz., the Ku Klux Klan. And whereas Cyprian fleeing the world finds asylum with the Brides of Night; Chick Counterfly fleeing the riders of the night finds asylum with the Chums of Chance.

Cf: p.959 regarding the Orthodox schema of initiation and nyx. This is the Via Negativa or Apophathic theology which seeks to describe God by negation, by what cannot be said or ascribed to God. Hesychast Gregory Palamas followed this path as did many Eastern Christian fathers. Before them it can be found in Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hesiod and Plotinus. Indeed the theogony of Nyx given on p.959 is almost directly from Hesiod, where chaos is likened to anarchos. The via negativa is a mainstay of Christian mysticism (The Cloud of Unknowing, Dark Night of the Soul, Meister Eckart); Vedanta (Upanishads) "neti, neti"; Buddhism -- anatta, nirvana; Taoism -- the uncarved block, "the way that can be spoken is not the true way," empty but inexhaustible; and Islam -- Shurarwardi, who speaks of the pure immaterial light, the luminous darkness.

Page 962

don't look back . . . or he'll take you below . . . down to America
Orpheus and Eurydice again. And Lot and his wife, from Book 2.

And Cyprian was taken behind a great echoless door
Cyprian's final transcendence of desire—which at one point we might have taken as a renunciation of desire—prompts a review of how desire itself has been presented in AtD. See text and annotations:

  • Harald the Ruthless learns about desire and the forsaking of desire, p. 127
  • Scarsdale Vibe experiences a kind of desire for Kit, p. 158
  • Contemplating Yashmeen's neck, Cyprian experiences desire "of rather a specialized sort," p. 499
  • "Unreflective desire" rules Cyprian's days on the Lagoon, p. 708
  • Aspects of desire, or rather his responses to it, define Auberon Halfcourt's "two creatures resident within the same life," 759
  • Cyprian first experiences a "release from desire," p. 839
  • Cyprian displays an "appetite for sexual abasement" with "a religious surrender of the self"; Yashmeen sees salvation in his surrender, pp. 876-77
  • Cyprian's transcendence of desire will be Yashmeen's reprieve from "political forms" and "utopian dreams," p. 942

Page 963

Plain of Thrace . . . Rhodopes . . . Pirin range
From the convent/castle around Sliven in the Stara Planina or Sredna Gora, south across the Maritsa valley, southwest across the Rhodope mountain range, southwest through the higher Pirins. Close to the present Bulgarian-Greek-Macedonian borders, on a generally southwestward track to the southwest corner of Bulgaria.

To move through it would be to struggle against time...
Time and Light are linked by Relativity Theory. According to the equations, as an object approaches the speed of light, time dilates. The speed of light cannot be exceeded; time speeds up to accomodate any such attempt. (Doesn't time slow down? I.e., from the point of view of an observer not on the speeding object, doesn't a clock on the object run slow?) This has nothing directly to do with the brightness of the light, however; light of whatever intensity travels at the same speed.

In mid-October . . . invaded Macedonia
1912, First Balkan War. The text does not mention Montenegro, which was active as well. Insofar as war aims played any role, everybody aimed to get Turkey out of the Balkans, but there was little unity beyond that.
The First Balkan War (1912-1913) was fought between the members of the Balkan League—Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro—and the Ottoman Empire. The league was formed under Russian auspices in the spring of 1912 to take Macedonia away from Turkey. Montenegro opened hostilities with Turkey on October 8, 1912 and the other members of the league delcared war on October 18. The Ottoman's army collapsed and disintegrated in first two months' fighting. The war officially ended with the signing in London on May 30, 1913 a peace treaty in which the Ottoman Empire lost almost all of its European territory including all of Macedonia and Albania—Macedonia was divided between Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece; Albania was declared independent.

. . . by the twenty-second, fighting between Bulgarians and Turks was heavy around Kumanovo
Kumanovo is located in northern Macedonia near present-day border with Serbia, about 15 miles northeast of Skopje, the capital of the country. The Battle of Kumanovo (October 23-24, 1912) was a major battle of the First Balkan War. After the outbreak of hostilities, three Serbian Armies, from left to right the 3rd, 1st and 2nd, advanced southwards towards Skopje. They defeated the Ottoman's 7th and 6th corps at Kumanovo in two day's fighting. The Ottoman's armies retreated 50 miles southwards all the way to Prilep, and the Serbians entered Skopje on October 26 without a fight.

Now called Edirne. It is situated at the westernmost part of Turkey, at the present-day Turkish-Greek frontier near the Turkey/Greece/Bulgaria triple point.

Mehana is Serbian and Bulgarian for the Turkish word meyhane.

from Philippopolis . . . Adrianople
From Plovdiv southeastward down the Maritsa to Adrianople (now called Edirne).

Ivanoff's Second Army
General Nikola Ivanov's Second Army of Bulgaria advanced from Philippopolis southeastwards to Adrianople along the Maritsa river.

Page 964

west through Strumica and Valandovo . . . the Vardar
Strumica is in the southeast of present-day Macedonia; Valandovo is about 8 miles to the southwest. The Vardar, passing by near Valandovo, is the major river of Macedonia, flowing north to south more or less.

the Tikveš wine country
A plain in the center of present-day Macedonia. Wikipedia

Now Bitola in southwest Macedonia.

becoming a popular, perhaps someday a national, delusion.
That is, if these Turkish provinces can become nations, these horrors can be cleansed to become the national foundation myth. Nations based on ethnic division was in fact the basis for the peace settlements ending World War I.

between Veles and Prilep
In central Macedonia. Veles Prilep

Page 965

by way of Kičevo and Prilep
Kičevo is in western present-day Macedonia, Prilep more in the middle. Two Serbian columns?

Babuna Pass
North of Prilep.

Russian Madsen guns and . . . Montenegrin Rexers
They refer to Danish Madsen light machine guns.

Wikipedia entry

"Once they get their line and length," she said
A very good cricket joke by Yashmeen. Effective bowling requires the ball to be directed on the "line" of the stumps defended by the batsman, and not wide on either side. The ball must hit the pitch (the ground) in front of the batsman "on a good length", ie not too short or too full, because such deliveries can be hit more easily. Reef is either very sharp, or played cricket in Colorado.

Page 966

I Zingari
Cf page 690: I.Z.
I Zingari (from the Italian for "the gypsies") is an English amateur cricket club which was formed on 4 July 1845, by a very aristocratic parentage. Also known as IZ, I Zingari is a wandering (or nomadic) club, having no home ground. Its club colours are black, red and gold, symbolizing the motto "out of darkness, through fire, into light"[3]. The colors, therefore, are the anarchist Red and Black, plus gold. "Out of darkness, through fire, into light" could be the motto of every seeker in AtD, and certainly applies to Yasmeen at the present moment.

cordite smoke
I thought cordite was smokeless?

Page 967

Not a place but a people, Greek-speaking nomadic shepherds across the Southern Balkans well beyond the present-day borders of Greece.

Bukovo Pass
??? Here's a map with the pass and Ohrid.

down into Ohrid
Extreme southwest of present-day Macedonia, by Lake Ohrid, a bordering lake shared between Macedonia and Albania.

Liman von Sanders
Otto Liman von Sanders (1855-1929), German advisor to Turkish military. In overall command of Turkish victories at the Dardanelles in 1915. Remember the earlier discussion about English and Russian fears of German influences in the Ottoman Empire, especially re the Berlin/ Baghdad railway.

But now the Serbs knew they could beat them
A fatal conclusion, contributing to the recklessness of Serbian nationalism, and intransigence in the face of Ausrtrian demands in the wake of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914. Serbia suffered terrible reverses in World War I.

Page 968

Sveti Naum
Macedonian: St. Naum. Large monastery on the lakefront south of Ohrid.

the defeat at Monastir
The Serbian army decisively defeated the Ottoman army at the Battle of Bitola (Monastir) November 16-19, 1912.

Now Ioánnina, in the Epirus province of present-day Greece, about 60 miles east of the Corfu island.
Ioannina, about 270 miles northwest of Athens, is located in the western Greece 25 miles from the Albanian border.

Pogradeci, on the road to Korça
Now Pogradec, Albania, across the lake from Ohrid, and Korcë, 20 miles south of Pogradeci, southeastern Albania near present-day Greek border.

Page 969

Now Ersekë, southeastern Albania near the Greek border, 20 miles south of Korca.

Gramoz Range . . . Pindus
Grámmos on present-day maps. The Pindus range runs mainly north-south in northwestern Greece; the Grámmos range marks the boundary of Greece and Albania (and also the boundary between two Greek provinces, one of them named Macedonia).

Or šarplaninac. Named for the Šar Planina mountain range. It's a largeish working breed. Compare the Wikipedia article with the description of Kseniya's temperament.

The name (here in Macedonian form; elsewhere Xenia) means "guest, stranger."

Page 970

Albanian: hello! Literally: "may you have a long life"

1874 French rifle.

një rosë vdekuri
Albanian: "What we call a rose"...Allusion to Juliet's line from Romeo & Juliet: "that what we call a rose/ by any other name would smell as sweet"

Albanian: brother

Kanun of Lekë Dukagjin
The most important of the hereditary codes of conduct that shape the inter-generational behavior of the rural Albanians that make up the overwhelming majority of the Kosovar population. The Kanun of Lek Dukagin probably emerged in the 15th Century but was not even written down until the 19th Century. The foundation of the Kanun is the concept of personal honor and at the center of its laws is the blood feud, a complicated system of vendettas aimed at obtaining satisfaction vis a vis punishment. There are four major offenses to personal honor under the Kanun:

  1. calling a man a liar in front of other men;
  2. insulting his wife;
  3. taking his weapons; and
  4. violating his hospitality.

These offenses are not paid for in property or by fines but by the spilling of blood or by a magnanimous pardon.

From Balkan Primer (X) - Blood Feuds, Kanuns, and American Policy

Page 971

Rakia is a hard liquor similar to brandy.

Albanian: Cheers!

Principal southern dialect of Albanian, basis of the literary language.

Përmet on present-day maps, 20 miles southwest of Erseke.

Argyrokastron on old maps, Gjirokastër on new ones, 20 miles soutwest of Permeti near the south end of Albania; about 15 miles from the Adriatic coast.

Vijosë on present-day maps. The Vijose river flows through Permeti northwestwards to the Adriatic Sea.

Page 972

There was a cease-fire in effect now among all parties except for Greece, still trying to take Yanina
In less than two months since the First Balkan War started on October 8, 1912 the Ottoman's army was totally defeated losing Salonica, Albania, Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace to its opponents and Adrianople was under siege since November 17. An armistice was signed between Bulgaria (Serbia and Montenegro) and Turkey on December 3. Greece continued the war alone, aiming to capture Ioannina. In the Battle of Bizani, February 20-21, 1913 Greece defeated the last Ottoman army ever to enter Macedonia and Epirus and took Ioannina.

Muzina Pass
In Southern Albania it is 572 meters high.It connects Sarande [below] with the Drinos Valley. Wikipedia, German edition.

Corfu harbor ca. 1890

Agli Saranta
Present-day maps identify this Albanian Riviera town as Sarandë, located between high mountains and the Ionian Sea facing Greek island of Corfu.

Western Greek island off the Greek/Albanian coast. Corfu,a 40-mile long island, is separated from Albania by straits varying in breadth from 2 to 25 miles. The principal town of the island, located in the east-central side of island facing Greece mainland, is also named Corfu. Mt Pantokrator, a 3000-ft mountain in north-eastern Corfu, is the highest on the island—at its summit the whole island as well as Albania can be seen. Corfu island's turbulent history is full of battles and conquests; for example, between 1386 to 1797 it was under Venetian protection, in 1800s under French and the British from 1815, and it unified with Greece only as late as 1864. The 1981 James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only was filmed in Corfu.

South of Mouzaki, Greece. Famous for Byzantine icon screens.

Mouzaki and Pantokratoras are villages in Zante island, the last large Ionian Island down the Greek coast 80 miles south from Corfu island. The fishing boat traveling from Sarande to Corfu will not detour to Zante island first.

Pantokratoras here refers to Mt Pantokrator (see Corfu above), a mountain in the northeast part of Corfu island, any boat traveling from Albanian town to the town of Corfu has to pass it.

St. Spiridion
St. Spiridion

Eleven: a cricket team.

Or Levkás, Leucas or Lefkada, the next sizable Ionian Island down the Greek coast from Corfu. Corinth and Lefkás were allies in the Peloponnesian War. Lefkás later was the capital of the Acarnanian League (3d cent. B.C.). The island was captured (1697) from the Ottoman Turks by Venice, which held it until 1797. There are ruins of Cyclopean walls and a temple to Apollo Leukates. Sappho is said, probably falsely, to have committed suicide by plunging into the sea from a cliff of the island. Lefkás is also known as Santa Maura. Columbia Encyclopedia.


Page 973

hot-pepper salamis
are often paired with fragrant bunches of oregano. The hot pepper is present in salamis as well. They are big and red or as in the typical soppressata version, have a squashed shape due to their ageing under weights.

the Compassionate
Yashmeen, Auberon and "the Compassionate" have come together before. On page 749 she wrote to him of her dream:

We ascended, or rather, we were taken aloft, as if in mechanical rapture, to a great skyborne town and a small band of serious young people, dedicated to resisting death and tyranny, whom I understood at once to be the Compassionate.

Speculation: The Chums of Chance = The Compassionate = "The Kindly Ones" = the Erinyes (Furies)?

the Esplanade
The Esplanade is famed as "the largest square in the Balkans". Beginning in 1576 for 12 years, the houses huddled around the gate of a fortress was being demolished to allow the defenders a better view over the area leaving a great space which the French later planted with trees and today forms the Espalnde Square.

A small hackney carriage. [French, after the Hôtel de Saint Fiacre in Paris.]

Now Durrës, Albania, nearest coastal city to the capital, Tiranë. It will be more than 100 miles north of Corfu.

casus belli
An occasion or cause for war.

a colorless anise-flavored Greek liqueur. Wikipedia

Page 974

Diminutive form of Vladimir. Not Colonel Prokladka.

a transaction in jade
Bought/got jade low, sold high.
You have to wonder if Aubrey didn't make his profit on a stolen gem, such as an idol's eye.

one of those turns
. . . And aren't there a lot of them through here.

Page 975

Latitude 39.6139 Longitude 19.9197 Altitude (feet) 3 Lat (DMS) 39° 36' 50N Long (DMS) 19° 55' 11E Altitude (meters) 0
A suburb of Corfu by the Garitsa Bay with a handsome, tree-lined coastal road with neo-Classical buildings on one side and the Garitsa Bay on the other; and a narrow tree-filled park where local taverns and grillrooms set out their tables under the trees.

Leadville Fan-Tan
A card game, played no doubt in the gambling halls of Leadville, Colorado. Wikipedia entry.

Bastard plural of lepton (Greek = a low-denomination coin). Plural in Greek is lepta. Wikipedia

The coin reference is straightforward enough, but given TRP's concerns with the blending or interaction of physical and metaphysical nature it's worthwhile to do a bit of spelunking into the world of high-energy physics. One entry point is the Wikipedia article on the Lepton particle, and recent news reports about the Higgs Boson ("The God Particle").

Should be "tsigareli". Traditional dish made with various wild herbs and onion (tomato and garlic optional) braised in olive oil and water. sample recipe

Originally Italian; dish similar to cornmeal mush. Wikipedia

Stuffed grape leaves (similar to dolmathes). recipe and pic

Possibly an alternative spelling of stifado (Greek = beef and onion stew)? Apparently it is an Italian spelling, as stoufado appears on this page (which is written in Italian) in the sentence starting with "La cucina greca" (Greek cuisine).

Red fortified wine made in the Achaia region of Greece. Wikipedia

The cat bears the name of King Yrjö's wife (GR 119).

Rembetika: the songs of the Greek underground, sung by the so-called rebetes (Greek: ρεμπέτης). Rebetes were unconventional people who lived outside the social order. They first appeared after the Greek War of Independence of 1821.

a traditional Greek dance

Annotation Index

Part One:
The Light Over the Ranges

1-25, 26-56, 57-80, 81-96, 97-118

Part Two:
Iceland Spar

119-148, 149-170, 171-198, 199-218, 219-242, 243-272, 273-295, 296-317, 318-335, 336-357, 358-373, 374-396, 397-428

Part Three:

429-459, 460-488, 489-524, 525-556, 557-587, 588-614, 615-643, 644-677, 678-694

Part Four:
Against the Day

695-723, 724-747, 748-767, 768-791, 792-820, 821-848, 849-863, 864-891, 892-918, 919-945, 946-975, 976-999, 1000-1017, 1018-1039, 1040-1062

Part Five:
Rue du Départ


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