Vol. 1 | Chapter Three: The Capital Ablaze (vi)

At present, the palace had become a hunting ground for armor-clad predators…


Notes under the cut:

Important section-irrelevant note: It’s probably a bit late to be making this change, but I’m making a switch from “Kharlan” to “Qaran”. (In fact, previously posted parts have already made the change — let me know if you catch any lingering Kharlans.) To be honest, I’m still really not confident about whether or not this is “correct”, but I strongly suspect now that he’s named after a Shahnameh character whose name seems to be also spelled “Karen,” “Qaren,” or “Karan” (see also: Qarinvand dynasty). I would have left it alone, but his name REALLY bothers me, and has been bugging me for the longest time in fact, because “kh” is actually a voiced h sort of sound in the rest of this universe (Badakhshan, Kai Khosrow, Khuzestan [which hasn’t shown up yet], etc…) and not a hard k.

So even if I’m completely off the mark with “Qaran”, I’d rather dump the Kharlan spelling. Especially since Kharlan is also part of a major place name in a popular video game franchise. I mean, I wasn’t that troubled by it back when I started this in 2012, and originally meant to just stick with the popular translation of his name unless I figured out something definitive, but the more I type it, the more irritated I get about how wrong it is (because in my head I end up reading it as something closer to “Harlan” every time). XD

So… sorry… but consider this a heads up. I’ll repeat this note in two weeks (when he next shows up) in case you forget/don’t notice.

– – –

Actual section notes:

And so the chapter ends! Next chapter starts with a heavy focus on Guiscard and the Lusitanian side, so if you miss our heroes… sorry, but you’ll have to wait a few more scenes before you see what they’re up to.

1. “magpat”: Although most of the sources I flipped through indicate that the original term was magu-pati (i.e. the etymological origin of magus/magi), the Japanese transcription is closer to magpat (magopat, magbad). From what I understand, magpat seems to have been the Arsacid term specific to a ritual priest (one associated with fire temples), whereas variations on the modern term mobad, used in a more general sense, first appear in the later Sassanid period. Since Arslan’s worldbuilding draws from various periods, it’s hard to say which one of these is most correct in context, so I stuck with the one that sounds the closest.

2. The symbol being described on the flags is the patriarchal cross. I am not sure about the color symbolism (red is pretty standard, but the black example that immediately comes to mind is the Islamic Black Standard… other than that, I’m only aware of Taoism/[ancient] Chinese culture associating black with the heavens).

eta: After some more research, the white/silver-on-black color scheme is possibly based on the flag of the Knights Hospitaller. (The Knights Templar also supposedly had a flag using a red/white/black color scheme, though it’s not the most famous flag associated with them. But the color symbolism of the Templars is supposedly white = “friends of Christians”, black = “merciless to enemies of Christianity”. There’s some more discussion of Templar flags here.) The red background in general still seems more common though.

3. “the two would become one flesh”: Seems to be quoting a Bible verse, though I don’t know if there’s an official Japanese translation of that line.


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