AuroAnthropology

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AuroAnthropology is the social-humanist study of the history of light and light sources in culture, in contrast to the long theological tradition of the Brothers of the Lantern. Modern AuroAnthropology is a fairly young science, as clear and objective study into light and related matters was until relatively recently the subject of strong taboo, if not outright persecution. Consider the obscure approach which a scribe of the Fylesgate Annals seems to think necessary in referring to the invention of Andelphracian Lights: (Please forgive the translation from ternary script)

Hail Andelphracia! Hail!
Seventh mayor, seven times chosen,
Ripped a secret from heaven
Any other would surely be smote to ash
Or struck by lightning as an unrighteous thief
Also, she commissioned a rather-charming clock tower
Presided over festivals seven times
Resolved the farm dispute fairly to either side
Until you build a clock
Be wary in following the example of your betters.

Even in our contemporary times, the pursuit of AuroAnthropology has been at best considered fairly controversial. Consider this recent clipping from our own Folktown Records, edition 312:

"Why does the Sun Shine?" - Gibbous Saunders, age 11.

Garth Haversham (Managing Editor) replies: "Dear readers, while it is the policy and mission of this publication to provide clear answers to questions, in this case myself and my staff have had to make a tough call--Master Saunders, ask your mother."

In very recent years, however, thanks to the pioneering work of many scholars toiling in obscurity, a few courageous city 'docs', and the higher profile activities of the Unquisition, many questions about the history of portable and celestial light have begun to be addressed.

Citations: Brothers of the Lantern, Unquisition.

--Joe Bowers 16:41, 2 Sep 2004 (EDT)


I'd just like to emphacise, having studied the Fylesgate Annals for some time, just how strained that translation of the ternary script is: in several places it could easily be interpreted as meaning the opposite with a few very straightforward arguments. Nontheless, I recognize the extreme difficulty in providing translations of ternary script in core script. Perhaps when the Encyclopaedia comes around to defining Ternary Script, we can include some examples of the original. I'd also like to thank Mr. Bowers for including an entry on the oft' neglected field of AuroAnthropology so early on in the creation of the Encyclopaedia. --Sean B. Palmer 13:34, 3 Sep 2004 (EDT)

My apologies again for the weak translation- for example, in the sixth (translated) line above, my reading of a 45 degree westward bend in the second-order script as 'rather-charming' could also be read "terrifying", or simply "yellow". Alternative translations by other scholars would be welcome in this space, editors permitting. --Joe Bowers 13:58, 3 Sep 2004 (EDT)

I can already hear husbands all across Ghyll saying "why, my dear, you're looking 'rather-charming' in the Bowersian sense today". --Sean B. Palmer 14:07, 3 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Joe, that's a darn fine translation you got goin' there. But you forgot the format-dependant nature of Blivingdel's Interpretation of Ternary Script. Way I read it, it comes out more like:

Hail, Andelphracia!
Hail, The 7 Mayors seven times!
They tore a secret down from the sky.
Any, who were selected, would be safe.
Which other one would be smote over to ashes
or struck by lightning as an unrightous thief?
The <untranslatable> one rather <untranslatable> master clock.
Andelphracia presided over Festivals seven times during the farm debate.
Each side then repaired, until Andelphracia carefully improved the master clock.

That 3rd line from the last didn't make no sense, but I see how you could get "yellow" or "rather-charming" or "terrifying" for that glyph. You can clearly see the ascending length structure of the lines in my translation. Afraid my Ternary Script is a bit rusty, but I think this reading captures the style of a scribe of the Fylesgate Annals just a bit better. --Qwentyth Pyre 15:36, 3 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Given that it was her seventh year of mayoresshood (cf. "the creation in the seventh year of the mayoresshood of Andelphracia of her namesakeful lights" in Andelphracian Lights), that reading is even more unlikely. Current Fylesgate Annals research suggests no verifiable references to non-Andelphracia mayors of Fylesgate--we can be fairly sure that the Annals are almost all only about her activities as Fylesgate mayoress--but as with any investigation into Ternary Script literature, I don't think your reading can be completely discounted. In any case, I here provide my own translation:

Feeling the ascending length structure to be merely an oddly popular myth of Ternary Script style, I've composed this in the rhyming iambic pentameter couplets I feel more befitting for such a magnificent piece of Ghyll heritage:

[...]
 Cheer now good charm to Andelphracia:
Her seventh year, and pray we seven more!
 The firmament to her bequeathed its lore,
Although to else it would have causèd grief
 Or struck by lightning as unrighteous thief.
She the clock tower moved great men to build,
 Presided over sevèral a guild,
Led us to reclaim land a Fool derides:
 Resolved the Farm Dispute fair on both sides.
Caution then to whom fall short of her grace:
 Know well thy lowly station and thy place.

Though there is quite some diversity in the syntax and semantics of our collective translations, I think that the underlying feel and direction has been now adequately captured by us three. --Sean B. Palmer 17:26, 3 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Thanks to you both for your help! For those of you who may not have access to your own copy of the Annals, I attach the untranslated document (some primary and secondary structure has been omitted for clarity, except when chording with the lower-order structures was necessary). Note the three separate compass strokes (!), that caused me and Mr. Pyre such confusion over the chord "The Mighty/Time/Mechanism". (That, to Mr. Palmer's delight, I read initially as "Time/Charming"). See Fylesgate Annals Folio 82 (Andelphracia). --Joe Bowers 19:58, 4 Sep 2004

I know that my position on Phracia and the Phracians is generally considered risible, paranoid or sometimes even offensive- but sooner or later even the most obtuse will surely be constrained to face facts. We're supposed to be scholars, damn it all. Now- when the gloves finally come off, there's one question I'd dearly love to see settled: just WHY are there no records of mayors other than (sic) Andel-Phracia? Now that's a question worth its obith in fefferberry seeds.... --Ginestre 16:43, 5 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Paranoid especially since even the existence of the "Phracians" is based on a highly tenuous etymological reading of Andelphracia's name in Ternary Script. Current studies indicate it more likely that her name is derived from a compound of several chordic elements for simple qualities (specifically, possibily qualities related to her birth: the elements for "lakeside", "rain", and "dawn-chorus" can be discerned), which have over time coalesced and mutated into a fixed form. The time phase for this having taken place is unknown since the Duadic Scripts that would be most likely to lead to further insight on the matter are still largely undeciphered, but we do have some passing references in other sundry records that were recently discovered in the Odlucian Library. (Please excuse me if by "Phracians" you mean those of us that study Andelphracia; a term that has been used occasionally. It's just that your hyphenation of her name suggests otherwise).

We are led to believe from the Fylesgate Annals that Fylesgate was a small town with a very prestigious and famous mayoress, but your question is a good one and I'm unable to shed any further light on it: why should a town kept by one of the most famous of Ghyll's historical figures have barely a mention in other documents before or after her, and why are we unable to place it with any much more accuracy than to the Evesque Valley? Perhaps as our skills at interpreting Ternary and Duadic Script evolves, we'll learn some answers, but given the amount of time that's passed since those grand days, it's likely that there'll be a few mysteries that'll continue to tantalise us for a long time to come. Archaeological excavations in the Evesque Valley by the Cranee lot et al. may also help us to understand--you never know, there might even be more records turned up in the process. --Sean B. Palmer 17:05, 5 Sep 2004 (EDT)

If by "tenuous etymological reading" you intend (as if I didn't know) to cast aspersions on my extensive studies of variant q in Ternary, so be it. My shoulders are broad, and the fear of being a lone voice in the wilderness has never held me back from asking awkward questions; what is more -and you must grant me that this is some small measure of comfort - time told in my favour over the Loolier poem. So, my question stands: IF (my capitalisation) the name Andelphracia refers to only one person, and female, why are there no records of others? You yourself accept the rather vague nature references implicit in "her" name, and posit coalescence over time, and solidification. Don't be offended now, but these are not qualities generally associated with stories, legends or myths about one single historical person. Accretion, yes- but not coalescence and solidification.

On the other hand, if we - just for one brave moment - dared to question received wisdom, and posited that Andelphracia should be read Andel-Phracia, not one but many.... how many other oddities would suddenly seem no longer quite so strange.... --Ginestre 18:10, 5 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Ginestre might have a point there. It sure would shed some light (heh) on my Blivingdel's Interpretation-style ascending length structure translation. Why, "The 7 Mayors seven times" might even refer to up to 49 different "Phracian" Mayors, of whom this "Andel" may be the most famous. Yes, indeed. Ginestre, if you could ever prove this line of mayors leading either from or to a single individual named "Andel," why, your reputation as a first rate researcher would be made. Alas, all you have right now is an absence of proof, which is hardly a proof of absence, if you get my meaning. However, since I'm sure my translation is closer to the original Fylesgate Annals style, I think you may be on to something. Good luck searching for substantiation. --Qwentyth Pyre 23:33, 5 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Just a note on process- while this is a particularly sticky passage, admittedly translated by an old Folktowner more at home with good old fashioned "Steam-Engineer's" script than Third-Formal orientation, likely some of us will be introducing ancient or foreign texts for which our translations will be authoritative. Perhaps we should agree on one of the following:

1) Surely all of us are intimately familiar with core script, regardless of time or place of origin. Perhaps we should agree that translations from core scripts are authoritative, while Duadic/Ternary/Quartic/Nth-order texts are subject to multiple varying interpretations (always allowing that no scribe or caligrapher would ever inscribe meaning into a higher order that contradicts a lower order of the same document.)

2) On the other hand, perhaps it will be enough for scholars simply to note "My translation could be in error" or some such (as I did above), to indicate that their interpretations are open to debate, and all other translations should be assumed to be authoritative.

If it's of interest, perhaps the Encyclopedants would like to weigh in on this issue? --Joe Bowers 00:30, 6 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Qwentyth, you have long been known as one unafraid to speak your mind, openly, fearless and regardless; thank you for your support. I know that others would speak too, if they but dared. But let me leave the present aside, before I waytrack myself beyond measure...

May I ask a direct opinion on a small matter of translation? Your independent opinion would help me clarify certain aspects of my own thought. I have not as you know now spent time on the Annals for many years since, preferring more active service in the pursuit of knowledge, but I couldn't help but notice line 7 in a new light this morning as it seems to confer support to investigations I am currently undertaking. The key question is how to interpret the second trestach - "farm dispute" in your rendering, together with the prepositional desinence you follow tradition in rendering as "during". Let me quote your own translation of the line in question:

Andelphracia presided over Festivals seven times during the farm debate.

The basic semantic points are not at issue: the trestach deliberately places (farm, homestead, place of cultivation) in relation to the gerund (come against), which is usually used to denote the resolution of some degree of lack of agreement and to the authority suffix applied to Anfelphracia. You have combined the gerund and the authority suffix, and so rendered "presided over". By the bye, this lack of agreement is often, but by no means always, oral. But -and here is my point - would you see any difficulty in rendering "farm dispute" as "dispute at the physical farm" rather than "dispute about the farm question"? If we accept that we are talking about a real place, rather than an abstract concept, then the prepositional desinence can be taken as merely following an older usage as pure embellishment. The line could then be rendered literally as

Andelphracia in authority - was in opposition to - both sides - during the homesteader's fight
or, more colloquially
Andel-Phracia lorded it over the fight at the homestead

Or -as the Loolier adage has it, when two are quarreling, sneak in and pinch the pigs. Ha!

Is this stretching things too far, in your opinion?

--Ginestre 03:49, 6 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Nope. Sounds fine by me. --Qwentyth Pyre 04:34, 6 Sep 2004 (EDT)

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