Notas Tertius Part 2: Being even further unauthorised notes, musings
and rabbit hole explorations on the Terra Ignota series. Covering the
matter of The Will to Battle: Terra Ignota Book III by Ada Palmer
Page numbers are from Tor Hardback edition 2017. All notes and speculation are those of myself. Notes are written progressively and in some cases questions raised are answered later in the text. Allusions made by characters are speculative and might not reflect the intent of the author.
Events take a turn for the worst for Mycroft.
Chapter the Sixth
Lex Prohibit – The Law Forbids
April 14 Day 7
“The whole thing is an elaborate fake!” – I’ve discussed Hume’s take on miracles before and his presence in the text in the form of his absence from the text. That Bridger can perform miracles and that JEDD is a god are vital parts of the plot of Terra Ignota but these points are channeled to us via Mycroft who passionately believes them but who may be less than reliable. The first two books gave us cause to doubt him ethically but we are shown he is trusted by important people and now has a high office (the eight Anonymous).
“zealots” – we rarely get Biblical or middle-eastern references. This one is in passing but given that the historical Zealots were (according to Josephus) rebels against the Roman Empire it is an interesting usage given the Roman pretensions of some key characters.
“post queen” – i.e. after which. JEDD flipping between languages again.
“resembling Asclepius” – the Greek hero who himself was later resurrected by Zeus to become a god. Like Achilles he was trained in his youth by Chiron the centaur. Bridger was wearing wined boots at the time and hence also resembled Hermes, the symbols of Hermes and Asclepius are often confused (see earlier notes).
“Maimonides” – One of the most influential figures in medieval Jewish philosophy. One of several notable thinkers who attempted to unify Aristotle’s work with his own theology and is important to Medieval scholasticism in Christianty and to Islamic philosophy.
“Anselm, Abelard, Duns Scotus” – other notable scholastic thinkers.
“Your own Creator” – JEDD distinguishes the conventional god in terms of creating the universe. As JEDD is also the creator of a universe he regards himself as the peer to god. God only in the sense of a creator of a universe is the idea of a demiurge – a creator who is not the same as the ultimate supreme being. If JEDD’s claim of divinity is correct, then neither he nor ‘his peer’ are God in the more absolute sense of the ultimate being. His position would be heretical in conventional Catholicism and it is notable that religious people treat his views with respect.
“ I deich…” – JEDD swapping between languages again.
“the Great Answer” – for Mycroft, this is whether there is life after death. This provokes a discussion between Mycroft, his imagined reader and his imagined Thomas Hobbes.
“Pascal’s truth’ – Balise Pascal (1623 -1662) mathematician and philosopher. Pascal was a mathematical prodigy and also a proponent of the harsh and pessimistic strand of Catholicism called Jansensim. They saw themselves as attempting to bring church doctrine back to the teachings of St Augustine whereas their critics saw them as quasi-Calvinist attempting to deny free will and assert that only some souls are predestined for salvation. Pascal’s Lettres Provincales was a well regard (and apparently very witty – I haven’t read it) defence of Jansenism. The movement was eventually surprised by the Church.
“Aquinas and Maimonides” – see earlier notes
“the nature of death or the afterlife” – JEDD has no new information on either. Notably Achilles does but the issue of his existence is not the major topic of debate the JEDD’s resurrection is.
“There is a circle where the bullet entered” – JEDD’s body carries evidence of his death, another Jesus parallel.
“9A” – the ninth anonymous who has been leaving notes within all three books. Mycroft is currently the eighth anonymous.
“alien” – the Utopians refer to JEDD as alien which is more complimentary in their science-fictional culture than the word would be otherwise. It also seems to concede JEDD’s claim that he is a god visiting from a different creation.
“Delian” – Mycroft calls the Utopians ‘Delian’. The term has multiple associations including the Delian League (an alliance of Greek City states) but also refers to things from the Greek island of Delos. The god Apollo was supposedly born on Delos. Mycroft suggests both meanings on the next page. The Utopians have formed Apollo’s army.
P117 – see previous note
Chapter the Seventh – Grace
April 14 Day 7
Two main events in this chapter: the change of location for Ganymede and the kidnap of Mycroft.
P120-P124 some troy references and references back to TLTL & 7S.
“Las Huelgas” – possibly https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbey_of_Santa_Mar%C3%ADa_la_Real_de_Las_Huelgas in Burgos, Spain. The site has long been associated with Spanish royalty.
“Epicuro” – another name for JEDD. Whether is is a reference to the Greek philosopher Epicurus I don’t know. However, Epicurus s credited with summarising the problem of evil and was cited by David Hume on the matter:
“Epicurus’s old questions are yet unanswered. Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? whence then is evil?” Natural Religion 1779
“Dog” – Madame, in particular, likes to call Mycroft a dog.
“red trefoil” – i.e. the current Mitsubishi logo of three red trapeziums. The name Mitsubishi is derived from the Japanese words for three and lozenge
“pedigree bloodhound” Dominic is a dog as well but a more refined one than Mycroft.
“[Bridger died]” – Mycroft could not complete this sentence, presumably because he was overcome with emotion.
Mycroft is bound and wounded in his side. The imagery with Jesus is clear but I’m not clear if Dominic intended that. It would seem odd for him given his faith to cast Mycroft in a role of saviour.
Chapter the Eighth – Enemy Sanctum
April 15 Day 8
We meet Sniper and Tully Mardi again.
Mycroft tells us of two Greek words for enemy, which he gives in Greek characters. The fist one looks like polemos πόλεμος but with the accent on the e rather than the o, so I haven’t translated it right. And the other is echthros εχθρος. I assume the distinction Mycroft makes is a useful one. Mycroft also cites the Latin hostis versus inimicus.
“Young Reader” – Mycroft brings in an earlier version of his imaginary reader