20 September 2004 - 10:07 AM
Blue Duke Story
For me, as for Findlaech, the Oldcastles have always been part of the landscape, so I don't really have a good 'the first time I met the Blue Duke' story. I do have a fair-to-middling 'the first real conversation I had with the Blue Duke' story, though.
It was after an Atlantian University session in Rencester, in 1995. Somehow, and I am still not sure how, the individual I was then dating and I wound up going to dinner with the denizens of Low Ravenspur, the Moustache and the Countess. The party was large enough that we were split between two tables. Gyrth and I wound up at the same table.
At the time, I was working on my master's degree in mediaeval studies, and taking a lot of language classes. Latin was among them, of course. Sometime during the salad, this information was revealed to His Grace -- probably not by me, as I was struggling with the course that semester and somewhat awed by the presence of the great man anyway. I was, at the time, a bottom-feeder in the Atlantian food chain, and really, my best goal for the meal was to get through it without spilling anything on myself or saying anything too stupid.
But Latin. His Grace has some affinity for that language. He wanted to know what the programme requirements at my university were, what I was reading at the moment, what I thought of it, what other languages I knew, was taking, or would take. What about Greek?
The university did indeed offer Greek, but, as I explained, the Greek offerings were geared more to the students in the Patristics and Byzantine programmes. And, I said, as a western European specialist, the odds that I would need Greek were fairly slim.
Ah, no, he told me. 'You need to take Greek, because without Greek, you will never be able to appreciate Pindar properly.'
I had to acknowledge that was true. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I am still not in a position to appreciate Pindar properly. But it's on the to-do list.