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From: Ron Crown <crownrw@slu.edu>
Subject: (whorl) gammadion
Date: Fri, 30 May 1997 10:07:54 

[Posted from WHORL, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

Since things seem to be rather quiet right now, perhaps this is an
opportune moment for my first post.  I've been lurking almost from day
one on WHORL but haven't had much time to contribute and am also
somewhat daunted by the detailed knowledge of the text displayed by so
many of you!  I've only read BotLS once and Nabokov's dictum that "you
can never read a book; you can only reread it" (or something like that)
applies to Wolfe with a vengeance!

As a reference librarian, I can offer one tidbit of information re the
gammadion question:  from _Christian Symbols Ancient and Modern:  A
Handbook for Students_ by Heather Child and Dorothy Colles, p. 40--"The
voided cross or gammadia [note alternate spelling] is composed of four
Greek gammas, emblematic of Christ as the Corner-stone of the Church; it
is frequently seen on vestments in the Greek Orthodox Church."

There's a picture of a gammadion(a) on the next page which looks the
same as the Gammadion (1) on the Compendium of Crosses website that
someone referred to way back when (for recent subscribers the URL is
www.amulet.co.uk/symbols/crosses).  The Greek Orthodox connection is
interesting for one thing since Byzantine history obviously influenced
tBotNS; the four gammas arranged in the form of a plus (+) sign also has
the advantage (over the swastika form of the gammadion; see Gammadion
(2) on the Compendium website) of corresponding to the "sign of

Ron Crown (who has made sure that everything of Wolfe's in print AND
Lexicon Urthus are in the Saint Louis University library)
Reference Librarian
Saint Louis University

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