A Story of Pangaia

Apollo by the Mediterranean
Pangaian New York Under Snow

What follows is a brief Pangaian tale of the 20th and early 21st centuries originally written by Frith in 2012:

“At the dawn of the Twenty-First Century there was a crisis in the West, as America was embarrassed by an insurgency in Iraq, and Europe by an economic emergency at home. The crisis was similar to the countless crises of the Twentieth Century, and shared the disorder of their modernist method of thought. A method of thought with a healthier record is found by returning to Homer and the epic. The ‘celestial machinery’ of the epic works more firmly.

The embarrassment of the planners of the two campaigns- the invasion of Iraq and the founding of the Euro- came from an antihistoric or Revolutionary mindset, a mark of Romantic political thinking, which is written into many constitutions. Had the analysis been from a panhistoric mindset, their planning would have been grounded in realist thinking, and deepened by a perspective from the beginning of history. Homer lies near the beginning of history, and just think what a trenchant analysis the planners might have had, if they had asked the author of the Iliad.

Homer’s viewpoint was heroic or epic, the basic mindset of humanity which has sustained mankind from Babylon to the Renaissance, and in 1940 proved the saviour of history. Eschewing the abstract nouns of Romanticism, it analyses matters from a human and divine perspective, where heroes are exalted, but by ‘celestial machinery’ realistically ranked under the longlived gods. Celestial machinery is a literary term for the epic technique of narrating history through the eyes and actions of immortal forces. When it is expanded, as will be shown, to the scope of all history, it is comprehensive of all faiths and ages, offers an analysis that is clear, human and moral, and is backed by panhistory: the science of history’s dynamics. That this is good for effective planning is shown if celestial machinery be applied to the analysis of the two current crises.

The debacle in the Middle East, for instance, stemmed from the zeal Americans had for democracy, especially as opposed to British imperialism. Homer would have represented democracy by the Goddess of Democracy, Athene, and American zeal by having her spending more time in Washington than London. Athene, however, in 2003, in attempting to impose democracy on Iraq, might have been shown as bewitched by a strange strain of hubris.

Mars at the Last Battle of Olympus, 410 AD

She ignored the other gods when they expressed doubts, and launched a Gulf-borne invasion of Iraq. She dismissed as imperialist the objections of Mars, the God of War, who wanted a larger force of post-invasion troops, to control the regions they hoped to conquer. And with romantic faith she impelled a leanly-manned, technology-driven invasion, only to suffer the want of manpower —when she incurred a conqueror’s duties, which her antihistoric blinkers had let her ignore. Had she stepped back and with panhistoric pragmatism planned for the responsibilities of an imperialist, less carnage would have come from her disordered modernist mindset.

Apollo meanwhile, the God of Chivalry, who in the British Raj had been a model imperialist, was in London derided and demoted. Singled out as a relic from the past by the Goddess’s antihistoric governments, even though he was committed to assist Mars in the Iraq invasion and to organise a forthcoming Jubilee, he was starved of funds, lampooned by ministers and ousted from his Chelsea barracks. Apollo, however, used the freedom of nonentity to lead his Chelsea troop east. A chasm in Kafiristan there was, where he hoped, by forcing open a Hell-gate, to free knights and graces, and gather evidence from a century before. He wanted to incriminate a long-standing foe of his, a master-bewitcher of well-meaning goddesses, a seeming angel whom he suspected of murder.

Meanwhile in Europe in 2002, in a crisis like that of Athene in Washington, Juno in Brussels, Goddess of Social Justice, piously inspired by her socialist guru, rushed into her own Revolutionary adventure. Ignoring the objections of Vulcan and Mercury, gods of financial experience, she imposed on seventeen states a pan-European currency. Within ten years the collapse of the economies of the westernmost and Mediterranean countries meant that, like Athene, she was embarrassed by the duties of an imperial position, for which her constitution had no provision. Just as had happened in Ancient Greek times, when Vulcan played a trick on her, she had to sit struggling to keep decorum, while trapped in an imperial chair.

Now Apollo was God of Science as well as Chivalry, ands had laboured with his brothers, Mercury and Vulcan, to build the Skyway of the World Wide Web. This was a foundation of chivalry that lay on the sky-road between spirit-castles in geostationary orbit, and renewed the glamour and competitive values of knighthood. It encouraged the conservation of the old sites of chivalry, and publicised global tournaments and court dances, as these in turn promoted panhistoric thinking and fostered a revival of the heroic style. It mined the past to restore courts lost. It encouraged mortals to train in ancient skills. Apollo was thus drawing the world back to chivalry away from the modernist elite, and was glad- and prudent- to do it unnoticed. For modernist culture is gloatingly oppressive, destructive from a sense of religious obligation, and seems to be sustained by a titanic power beyond that of the gods.

It was then for this that Apollo planned to lead a troop from Chelsea to Kafiristan, where the chasm lay on the tectonic fault-line between China, India, Russia and the Middle East, in search of incriminating evidence of a murder. But what was this murder, when was it wrought, who was this bewitcher of goddesses, and is there a power beyond that of the gods?

In the early 1900s, Juno had been a dutiful consort to Zeus, the God of Monarchy on whose empire the sun never set, and Athene dutiful to her elder brother. Apollo was at the height of his power, and she, though drawn to the teaching of Maraqel, an angelic-seeming prophet of the end of old authority, kept respectively silent, as Apollo, chief prince of the greatest of empires, was leading knights and graces to a world renaissance, while she in Britain struggled for a voice. It was an old hierarchy, like that of the human family, where respect for place was deemed the nursemaid of wisdom.

But in 1911 catastrophe struck, when Apollo was at his height, at the Delhi Durbar, as he staged a feast of world chivalry. With Athene at home, he and his father Zeus were attending the climax of the Indian tour of the new British King and Emperor, George V. It was held on the ancient field of Kurukshetra, the pivot-site of Indian history, and the gods of India augmented with princes the court-knights and graces of the British King. Then came the cataclysm.

In the West Athene, inspired by Maraqel, overthrew Apollo’s chivalry in the House of Lords, and subdued the British Constitution to the will of the People. In the East at a feast in Kafiristan, the gods high table was beset by fumes, guests engulfed by a Hell-breathing chasm, and the peaks were split open in the Sarez Earthquake. Gates to the past shattered, leaving men in ignorance. Hell swallowed deities, leaving men faithless. Fiends and giants fanned over Eurasia. Six of the world’s seven empires were felled by antihistoric revolutionaries, who then battled to exterminate each other, in the tragic wreckage of the gold and the jade of the German, Austrian, Russian, Ottoman, Persian and Chinese Empires, as from the black hole there boiled up destruction, then massacre, then oppression. To keep the World Tree upright for chivalry one empire stood alone.

Such was the cataclysm that began the eight decades of the Twentieth Century Dark Ages, which were ended when Maraqel retired to his study, and became the sage of the Pamirs. Apollo intended to restore the knights and graces of the world renaissance the Earthquake had suspended, grim though it would be to ride into the Underworld and sleuth for the lair of the Spectre haunting the West.

Across the reed-tufted snow-field you can get to the castle and be given fresh raiment and a place by the hall fire. But entry to that region can only be won on the establishment of the knights of a new age, and a hard journey by the sulphur-burning Hell-lakes and the frozen wastes of Eurasia awaits any knights recruiting for the fight or masquers for the feast.”

Knight in Winter