A little on a couple of the apparently minor, but really quite significant, female characters who hover at the edge of the story: a princess and a goddess who are more than just names being dropped…
- Anne of France, Madame de Beaujeu, causes Claude to have something of a panic-attack and hide behind the rules of the cloister in an attempt to block her visit. She is strikingly beautiful (she reminds me of the classic French actress Geneviève Page!), highly intelligent, and very soon (on the death of her father Louis XI) will be the most powerful woman in France. I suspect Claude, who has only recently had to face with his sexuality, fears involuntary loss of physical control. (I can't help but think she'd have been very good for him if she's decided to make him her confessor… ;-D) There's an interesting little historical drama about her and her political role as her father's health declined, and her rivalry with her younger sister Jeanne, and Jeanne's husband, the future Louis XII:
- Ananké is a Greek primordial goddess, not simply an abstract noun carved on the wall. Claude has read Plato, and through his passion for the revival of Neo-Platonism and Hermeticism will be reading what has survived of the Orphic myths. (Ficino, who must be one of his scholarly contacts as translator of the Corpus Hermeticum, advocated singing the Orphic hymns as part of active philosophical work/spiritual magic.) There's a good online article on her here. The serpent she forms with Chronos, that splits the Cosmic Egg and thus creates the universe, can also be associated with the tail-biting Ouroboros, which figures also in alchemy.
Current Location: The North Tower
Current Mood: geeky