Names in the Soldier books

In the Soldier books, Wolfe refers to many historical / mythical persons, places and things by names not familiar to the modern ear. They're a mix of literal translations, allusions, and unfamiliar ancient names.

This is an attempt to provide a key to some of them. (Several of the below are already glossed in the book itself, but they're included here for completeness's sake.)

Used in Soldier of the Mist:

  • Advent = Eleusis (centre of the Demeter cult)
  • Aram = Syria?
  • Bearland = Arcadia (interior of Peloponnese)
  • Boat = Lemnos?
  • Circling Isles = Cyclades
  • Clay = Plataea (conclusive land battle of the Persian Wars, 479 BCE)
  • Cowland = Boeotia (area ruled by Thebes)
  • Crimson Country = Phoenicia
  • Crimson Men = Phoenicians/Canaanites
  • Descender = Zeus (king of the gods)
  • Destroyer = Apollo
  • Dog's Tail = Kynosoura (landmark of the battle of Salamis)
  • Dolphins = Delphi (home of one of Apollo's oracles)
  • Earth Shaker = Poseidon (god of the sea)
  • Euxine = the Black Sea
  • Fennel Field = Marathon (defeat of first Persian invasion force, 490 BCE)
  • Fingers = Dactyls (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dactyls)
  • First Sea = Sea of Marmara (links Aegean to Black Sea)
  • God in the Tree = Dionysus
  • Goodcattle Island = Euboea (large island near Athens)
  • Grain Goddess = Ceres
  • Great Mother = Gaea / Demeter / Cybele (Wolfe treats these as different names for the same underlying goddess)
  • Gulf = Gulf of Corinth (almost cuts Peloponnese off from mainland)
  • Hellas = Greece
  • Helle's Sea = the Hellespont / Dardanelles (links Aegean to Sea of Marmara)
  • Hellenes = Greeks
  • Hill = Thebes (Athens's chief rival for dominance of northern Greece)
  • Horseland = Thessaly
  • Hot Gates / Gates to the Hot Springs = Thermopylae (defeat of Spartans under Leonidas in rearguard action, 480 BCE)
  • Hundred-Eyed = Argos (neutral city of the Peloponnese)
  • Huntress = Artemis (goddess of hunting)
  • Island Sea = Caspian Sea?
  • Ister = Danube
  • Khsharyarsha = Xerxes, the Great King
  • Kid = Dionysus (god of wine)
  • King from Nysa = Dionysus (god of wine)
  • King of Nysa = Silenus (drunken satyr, teacher of Dionysus)
  • Kore = Persephone (Demeter's daughter, queen of the dead)
  • Lady of Cymbals = Phrygian name for Cybele
  • Long Coast = Attica (peninsula on which Athens stands)
  • Maiden = Persephone (Demeter's daughter, queen of the dead)
  • Navel of the world = Oracle of Delphi
  • Nysa = Ethiopia (mythical home of Dionysus)
  • Parsa = Persia
  • Peace = Salamis (important naval battle of Persian Wars, 480 BCE)
  • People from Parsa = Persians
  • Redface Island = the Peloponnese (the southern projection of Greece, not actually quite an island)
  • Riverland = Egypt
  • Rope = Sparta (most important city of the Peloponnese)
  • Rope Makers = Spartans
    • Wolfe as "translator" explains in the introduction that Latro's names for Sparta and the Spartans reflects a common mistake made by uneducated speakers of the time, and has to do with the the Greek word for rope or chord, σπαρτον, or "sparton."
  • Sacred Way = the route from Athens to Eleusis
  • Shining God = Apollo (god of the sun)
  • Silent Country = Laconia (area ruled by Sparta)
  • Teleia = Hera
  • Thought = Athens (most important city of northern Greece)
  • Tieup = Piraeus (the port of Athens)
  • Tower Hill = Corinth (wealthy city that controlled the isthmus between northern Greece and the Peloponnese)
  • Victory = Nike
  • Water = Aegean Sea
  • War God = Ares
  • Wolf-Killer = Apollo

Introduced in Soldier of Arete:

  • All = Pan
  • Cynthia = Artemis
  • Goat man = Pan
  • Ilion = Troy
  • Isle of Roses = Rhodes
  • Kemet = Egypt
  • Swollenfoot = Oedipus (ancient king of Thebes)