Cultures in the duniverse

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    The Great Houses which comprise the governing body of the Empire

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Anathema
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Cultures in the duniverse

Postby Anathema » 11 Jul 2008 08:57

Some fans got the idea that Frank Herbert modeled his entire duniverse after Islamic history, wich is bunk if you ask me. The Fremen of course were, but they were just the people that the story largely centered around. On the top of my head:

The Atreides; tracing their lineage to Atreus (where are they now, btw :? )
Harkonnen; a Finnish name. Vladimir is Russian wich makes an odd combination.
Corrino; name simply derived from a place. Shaddam seems to be a variation of Saddam (a common Arabic name) and the title is Padishah emperor, but there are no other obvious references that I remember.
Other House names that I can recall: Moritani, Ginaz,...?

My guess is that these names are merely remnants of the past and that the members of the Landsraad are part of some uper class meta-culture; that they all speak galach and adhere formally to the OC teachings (but in practice are mostly agnostic or even atheist)
Below that are a variet of planet bound cultures; the Fremen included. The Baron said to the emperor about Muad'Dib: "One of the Umma, surely. A Fremen fanatic, a religious adventurer. They crop up regularly on the fringes of civilization." So I conclude that there were a reasonable amount of Zensunni among the poor, planetbound masses wich could explain the large influx of pilgrims after the events in Dune.

What got me thinking about all this in the first place is a part in CoD that mentions that the Ixians have a nickname for Muad'Dibs religion. I can't find it right now, but it was something that sounded like Chinese or Korean to me (Galach is supposed to be Inglo-Slavic, and it's only the lingua franca afterall)

Any thoughts?

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Postby Omphalos » 11 Jul 2008 10:15

Harkonnen; a Finnish name. Vladimir is Russian wich makes an odd combination.


Not odd at all. The two countries boarder each other. Finland even joined the Axis powers during WWII because Russia was an Ally and Russia had designs on Finland (like it always has).

The BT had some language elements that pointed to Arabic culture.

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Postby SandChigger » 11 Jul 2008 11:19

The Ixian thing is in Children of Dune:

Muad'Dib's religion had another name now; it was Shien-san-Shao, an Ixian label which designated the intensity and insanity of those who thought they could bring the universe to paradise at the point of a crysknife. But that too would change as lx had changed. For they were merely the ninth planet of their sun, and had even forgotten the language which had given them their name.

The phrase looks like Chinese, but I haven't bothered to try to decipher what it might be based on. (Because without the original characters, it could be a lot of things; the romanization FH used isn't a standard one. In modern pinyin it would probably be Xian-san-Shao.

I've speculated (somewhere) about the Ixians having a strong Asian component in their background, based on this and (less persuasively) the name Pinky and The Brian give an Ixian character in Grunters and Sadworms (Shayama Sen...which looks Japanese)...assuming they may have done so based on something in FH's notes or that they have reached the same conclusion.

Maybe FH had Japanese electronics makers in mind when thinking about Ix and Richese?
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Postby orald » 11 Jul 2008 11:44

Beides, where do you think all those blond and red-headed Russians came from? Vikings.
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Postby Anathema » 11 Jul 2008 12:14

Omphalos wrote:
Harkonnen; a Finnish name. Vladimir is Russian wich makes an odd combination.


Not odd at all. The two countries boarder each other. Finland even joined the Axis powers during WWII because Russia was an Ally and Russia had designs on Finland (like it always has).

The BT had some language elements that pointed to Arabic culture.


Yeah, I thought it was odd mainly because of the resentment the Finns would have had because of the Winter War. But before that Finland was part of the Russian tsarist empire for centuries, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Russian first names there.

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Postby Phaedrus » 11 Jul 2008 12:44

GALACH: official language of the Imperium. Hybrid Inglo-Slavic with strong traces of cultural-specialization terms adopted during the long chain of human migrations.


Hybrid Inglo-Slavic doesn't sound all that Muslim to me.

Neither does the Orange Catholic Bible.

Fremen culture seems largely influenced by Islam, but the rest of the Imperium is almost more European, to me.
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Postby Spicelon » 11 Jul 2008 14:26

I always thought of the BT Masters as Tibetan Monks or Priests, just smaller.
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Postby Phaedrus » 11 Jul 2008 15:43

Spicelon wrote:I always thought of the BT Masters as Tibetan Monks or Priests, just smaller.


They're sufi, though.

Zensunni, as well.
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Postby waff » 11 Jul 2008 18:43

SandChigger wrote:The Ixian thing is in Children of Dune:

Muad'Dib's religion had another name now; it was Shien-san-Shao, an Ixian label which designated the intensity and insanity of those who thought they could bring the universe to paradise at the point of a crysknife. But that too would change as lx had changed. For they were merely the ninth planet of their sun, and had even forgotten the language which had given them their name.

The phrase looks like Chinese, but I haven't bothered to try to decipher what it might be based on. (Because without the original characters, it could be a lot of things; the romanization FH used isn't a standard one. In modern pinyin it would probably be Xian-san-Shao.

I've speculated (somewhere) about the Ixians having a strong Asian component in their background, based on this and (less persuasively) the name Pinky and The Brian give an Ixian character in Grunters and Sadworms (Shayama Sen...which looks Japanese)...assuming they may have done so based on something in FH's notes or that they have reached the same conclusion.

Maybe FH had Japanese electronics makers in mind when thinking about Ix and Richese?


It's tempting to think of Ix and Richese as Japan and, say, Taiwan or Korean--the one a center of electronics and the other known for "knock-offs"!

The BT seem to have Islamic and Asian elements, and their xenophobia does remind me of some of those cultures that resist Westernization (Tibet, etc.).

It's hard not to see the cultures of Dune as allegories of twentieth-century cultures on earth. Certainly Frank was very fascinated with Arabic culture and others, so he did speculate how they would evolve if they branched out to other planets. But he merged and blended cultures so much that it's hard to say one = another. The Atreides eat "chopstick fare" and use Western utensils; they also so Spanish-style bullfighting yet are descended from Greeks, they say. So elements are hybridized so that Frank can use different elements from various cultures where he likes.

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Postby orald » 12 Jul 2008 09:44

Well, the Atreides bullfighting could have Minoan(sp?) origins. :P
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Postby SandChigger » 12 Jul 2008 19:15

Yeah, there's a whole lotta Minoan bull flippin' going on these days, to form a bridge between the past and the future. ;)
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Postby waff » 12 Jul 2008 21:37

SandChigger wrote:Yeah, there's a whole lotta Minoan bull flippin' going on these days, to form a bridge between the past and the future. ;)


http://www.marin.cc.ca.us/~jim/photos/bullstuff/bulldance.html

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Postby HoosierDaddy » 12 Jul 2008 22:11

One of the great things FH did IMO was to extrapolate religious evolution.

If one accepts that Christianity was in essence a merger of Judaism and Buddhism ideals, then the next step would be the merger of Islam and Buddhism (i.e. Zensunni), throwing in a little Sufi mysticism for good measure.

:smoke:

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Postby SandChigger » 13 Jul 2008 19:14

waff wrote:
SandChigger wrote:Yeah, there's a whole lotta Minoan bull flippin' going on these days, to form a bridge between the past and the future. ;)


http://www.marin.cc.ca.us/~jim/photos/bullstuff/bulldance.html

:lol:

Cool link, but it doesn't really disprove my point unless they claim or acknowledge some inspiration from the ancient Minoans. ;)
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

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I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Postby Anathema » 16 Jul 2008 05:44

My Greek history is a bit rusty, but doesn't the Minoan civilization predate the (supposed) events of the Trojan war by several centuries? And the culture itself was limited to Crete.

'sides, other than the name there were no discernable Greek touches in the Atreides descriptions that I remember. You've got to give credit to their genealogy research though :lol:

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Postby moreh_yeladim » 02 Oct 2008 12:21

waff wrote:
SandChigger wrote:The Ixian thing is in Children of Dune:

Muad'Dib's religion had another name now; it was Shien-san-Shao, an Ixian label which designated the intensity and insanity of those who thought they could bring the universe to paradise at the point of a crysknife. But that too would change as lx had changed. For they were merely the ninth planet of their sun, and had even forgotten the language which had given them their name.

The phrase looks like Chinese, but I haven't bothered to try to decipher what it might be based on. (Because without the original characters, it could be a lot of things; the romanization FH used isn't a standard one. In modern pinyin it would probably be Xian-san-Shao.

I've speculated (somewhere) about the Ixians having a strong Asian component in their background, based on this and (less persuasively) the name Pinky and The Brian give an Ixian character in Grunters and Sadworms (Shayama Sen...which looks Japanese)...assuming they may have done so based on something in FH's notes or that they have reached the same conclusion.

Maybe FH had Japanese electronics makers in mind when thinking about Ix and Richese?


It's tempting to think of Ix and Richese as Japan and, say, Taiwan or Korean--the one a center of electronics and the other known for "knock-offs"!

The BT seem to have Islamic and Asian elements, and their xenophobia does remind me of some of those cultures that resist Westernization (Tibet, etc.).

It's hard not to see the cultures of Dune as allegories of twentieth-century cultures on earth. Certainly Frank was very fascinated with Arabic culture and others, so he did speculate how they would evolve if they branched out to other planets. But he merged and blended cultures so much that it's hard to say one = another. The Atreides eat "chopstick fare" and use Western utensils; they also so Spanish-style bullfighting yet are descended from Greeks, they say. So elements are hybridized so that Frank can use different elements from various cultures where he likes.

I always thought of the Bene Tleilax as quite heavily Japanese. FH was very good at extrapolating cultural trends, and at this point it looks like the Japanese *better* start using axlotl tanks if they want to survive.

It appears, however, that the Bene Tleilax themselves changed in their own history, oscillating between the Zen (Zen == Japanese Buddhism, yes?) and Sunni Islamic elements of their own philosophies. The ones in HoD and CHD seem very, very Islamic - even with a Jewish custom here and there (particularly the ritual bathing after contact with powindah) - but the ones seen in DM, ChOD and GEoD seem obsessed with the self-contradictory koans of Zen philosophy.

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Postby SandChigger » 02 Oct 2008 17:29

moreh_yeladim wrote:I always thought of the Bene Tleilax as quite heavily Japanese. FH was very good at extrapolating cultural trends, and at this point it looks like the Japanese *better* start using axlotl tanks if they want to survive.

Never got that myself.

And it's still a bit early to start sounding the ethnic death knell, I should think.
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 02 Oct 2008 23:25

SandChigger wrote:
moreh_yeladim wrote:I always thought of the Bene Tleilax as quite heavily Japanese. FH was very good at extrapolating cultural trends, and at this point it looks like the Japanese *better* start using axlotl tanks if they want to survive.

Never got that myself.

And it's still a bit early to start sounding the ethnic death knell, I should think.


What's this problem the Japanese are going to have??? :?
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Postby SandChigger » 03 Oct 2008 00:02

Falling birth rates, aging and shrinking population.

They're in the same boat with us, watching the oncoming brown tsunami. ;)
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Postby Freakzilla » 03 Oct 2008 10:01

That's why I'm thinking of becoming black. The government benifits alone make it worth it.

<~~~ I already have a fro.

My wife is already part black, her family is from Sicily.
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 03 Oct 2008 11:43

I have black ancestors! Mine are just several hundreds of generations back. :wink: :wink:
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Postby Lisan Al-Gaib » 03 Oct 2008 11:54

Freakzilla wrote:That's why I'm thinking of becoming black. The government benifits alone make it worth it.

<~~~ I already have a fro.

My wife is already part black, her family is from Sicily.


Sorry, but what Italian Sicilians have to do your black people? I know they have curling hair and a skin color more dark than white people, but thats not necessary direct related to black origins (I can be wrong).

I have more black in my genes then both of you. :P

I have: german, french, Brazilian natives, afro, spanish and portuguese.

That is the Brazilian misture! :D
And I'm not a ugly guy 8)
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 03 Oct 2008 12:04

Lisan Al-Gaib wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:That's why I'm thinking of becoming black. The government benifits alone make it worth it.

<~~~ I already have a fro.

My wife is already part black, her family is from Sicily.


Sorry, but what Italian Sicilians have to do your black people? I know they have curling hair and a skin color more dark than white people, but thats not necessary direct related to black origins (I can be wrong).

I have more black in my genes then both of you. :P

I have: german, french, Brazilian natives, afro, spanish and portuguese.

That is the Brazilian misture! :D
And I'm not a ugly guy 8)


That's why Brazilians are commonly thought of as some of the best looking people on the planet - mixes look great, and it's hard to find a nicer/more diverse mix than Brazil.
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Postby Lisan Al-Gaib » 03 Oct 2008 12:20

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Lisan Al-Gaib wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:That's why I'm thinking of becoming black. The government benifits alone make it worth it.

<~~~ I already have a fro.

My wife is already part black, her family is from Sicily.


Sorry, but what Italian Sicilians have to do your black people? I know they have curling hair and a skin color more dark than white people, but thats not necessary direct related to black origins (I can be wrong).

I have more black in my genes then both of you. :P

I have: german, french, Brazilian natives, afro, spanish and portuguese.

That is the Brazilian misture! :D
And I'm not a ugly guy 8)


That's why Brazilians are commonly thought of as some of the best looking people on the planet - mixes look great, and it's hard to find a nicer/more diverse mix than Brazil.


But we have many ugly people:

Don't scream

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Postby Freakzilla » 03 Oct 2008 12:32

Lisan Al-Gaib wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:That's why I'm thinking of becoming black. The government benifits alone make it worth it.

<~~~ I already have a fro.

My wife is already part black, her family is from Sicily.


Sorry, but what Italian Sicilians have to do your black people? I know they have curling hair and a skin color more dark than white people, but thats not necessary direct related to black origins (I can be wrong).


It's a result of the Mores (Africans) invading Sicily. They changed the gene pool.
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