The Forbidden Tales

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The Forbidden Tales
Terusar.jpg
A painting supposedly of Terusar, c. 1400
AuthorTerusar of Myski
Original titleVaskonnihommdastenhastir
CountryNorjihan
LanguageMiddle Norjihani
Genre
  • History
  • Invective (Vasknnim)
Set inNorjihan, Ittohar, Holy Xhovian Empire

The Forbidden Tales (Middle Norjihani: Vaskonnihommdastenhastir ; Modern Norjihani: Vasknnindastenatir) is an invective history written by Terusar of Myski, mayor of the city of Myski and for a time for a close confidant of Govegz Rona. Written originally in a northern dialect of Middle Norjihani, with particularly invective sections written in Old Istani, the book claims to be a 'true account' of the court of Govegz Rona from around 1305 when he became King of All Norjihanis until Govegz's death in 1354, with a later text regarding the beginnings of the reign of Govegz's son, Mahiraz, added later in which he bemoans that the perceived problems of Govegz's reign have continued. The work was banned by Mahiraz when it was released anonymously in 1360, although Terusar escaped persecution as it was not revealed he was the author until his death a few years later. It survived in a series of manuscripts found in Gennist temples, and following the collapse of the House of Rona could be openly published. It serves as one of the main sources for historians of the period and as a corrective for official sources in the period.

Contents

Corpus

The "Forbidden Tales" is made up of 11 Nittesir (Which can be translated as "Books" or "Collections"), referring to the the format of the books as a collection of anecdotes or tales, although these are clearly made to fit together and form a full narrative; at the same time, due to this psuedo-collective manner of composition, sometimes contradictory stories are found; cases of contradiction are used throughout as a rhetorical technique, but of course this can limit the usefulness of the text as a historical source. Nittesir 1-10 cover the reign of Govegz Rone as King of All Norjihanis, with Nittesir 11 being the later addition regarding Mahiraz. There is also a large introductory prologue, in which Terusar gives an abridged history of the Norjihanis from the mythical king Maradrin down to the selection of Djerev Seqki as High Chief of Norjihan, and then a brief recounting of the the early life of Govegz Rona.

Chronology

The entire work covers the following:

  • Introduction: Mythical history from c. 0 AD down until 1302 and Govegz's return from exile
  • Book 1: A selection of stories regarding Govegz's coup and the Szezk genocide
  • Books 2-3: Stories from Govegz's early reign, 1305-1320
  • Book 4-6: A series of moral tales involving Govegz from across his reign, especially of a sexual nature
  • Books 7-8 The 'central' portion of Govegz's reign, 1320-1348
  • Books 9-10 The end of Govegz's reign, including a focus on his 'madness', up until his death in 1354
  • Book 11 The addition regarding the early reign of Mahiraz I, attempts to play down his early conquests, and a series of court scandals, up until 1360

Style

Govegz's life is collected into 10 Nittesir in order to reflect the Norjihani calendar, in which a cycle is composed of 10 years.

Sources

Most of the account, especially from Book 3 onwards, is the eyewitness testimony of Terusar himself or close associates as a result of his political career, beginning as the Mayor of Myski, and his links to the court and the Tanhungara (the religious heirarchy of the Tanhunga religion). Otherwise, the contents include various copies of letters, decrees, and extracts from other historians and chroniclers, many of which have been lost since. This creates a 'patchwork' effect, but these accounts were in places edited to fit the wider narrative (see above).

Much of the book's introduction is taken from the near-contemporary "History of the Deeds of the Great Norjihanis", written by the Psuedo-Anlar (a writer formerly believed to be Grand Tanhungdi Servant Anlar IV), which has led to speculation that either the introduction was added later, or that the Psuedo-Anlar is in fact Terusar, although stylistic differences between the two suggests otherwise. It is also known that Terusar has access to the official archives of the Tanhungara in Listosord. For the rest of his introduction and the first book, it is known he followed Matter Vome, a Norjihani philosopher, historian and Servant of Vomes up until his death in 1307.