Bronze Warrior -Author's Note/ Prologue & Pseudonyms

The Bronze Warrior

Author's Note

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

- William Wordsworth

 

The Author’s motto:

 LITERATUM UTILITAS IN DEFENS VERITAS
The Use of Literature in Defense of Truth

 

The Warrior’s Song -

“I shall not be vanquished!

The words I use in my battle will

Live forever and people will hear

My voice until the victory of Truth.”

 

©ALP Gouthier

 

            When I finished writing my first book Pindorama and toiled through its translation into Portuguese, I thought of next putting together a less laborious volume based on a collection of poetry, which I had previously written. But as I thought about verses often being difficult to comprehend without the historical background, I decided it was best to write a short story to accompany each of these poems, and at last organised my material in chronological order. It was then that I perceived that I had written an auto-biography.

            Yet uncertain whether this was an advisable endeavour, I moved along largely because so much work had already been produced. And yet, after I finished the first draft, I perceived how often I spoke in riddles, mostly only making allusions to actual events. I then had to go through the whole book again filling in information, which by the end was still scant and haphazard, leaving so much unsaid. But at the moment I cannot do any better.   

As I think that autobiographies of unknown people are usually rather insignificant, I decided to give to my prose a touch of lyricism. By this ruse, I allowed some of the people I wrote about to hide behind legendary personae, alive mostly in Greek Mythology. And suddenly my characters created wings and started to express their inner thoughts, whereas before they had been markedly reticent. Thus freed, these some of my characters acquired parallel lives and danced through the pages, along with the stories of their real lives.

            I have recently come across a book entitled Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston, who was born in California, in 1940. Being a first generation Chinese American, this author was brought up in China Town, by Chinese parents, mostly segregated from her fellow Americans. And she writes about the experiences of Chinese immigrants living in the United States.

            In her book ‘The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts’ she blends autobiography with old Chinese Folktale. Her major character or the Woman Warrior is Hua Mulan, is a legendary woman warrior from the Chinese Han Dynasty (420–589). The myth relates that Hua Mulan, who was known for practicing martial arts, takes the place of her aged father in the army.  At the time, one male from each family was obliged to serve in the defence of China, and her only brother was still too young to fulfil this task. After twelve years of fighting, the army returns home and Hua Mulan is sad to find out that her father has died in her absence.

            In a way, my Bronze Warrior is also partly biographical, as related to an ongoing family saga and partly lyrical and poetic. In my tales, I often used real names when by these people authorised, but in other cases I thought it best just to use similar appellations, or outright pseudonyms. But for the sake of genealogy, I always included a maternal surname, when I knew it, before the father’s surname, and at times the marriage surnames by the end of this, as it is the custom in some parts of the world.

I finally declare that everyone mentioned in this book really lived, including the ones to whom I have given mythological qualities or faults, and also about whom I have only written in lyrical terms. I also found it wise to substitute some names, with similar ones, usually keeping the same initials, when I felt these people would not like to see their names in print, as in the case of my immediate family.

Additionally, in the case of families when the first male son of each generation is given the same name, I chose to slightly modify each name, with variations on the same theme, so as to avoid confusion. Thus, I along with my father Antonio, my grandfather became Antunes, my brother Antenor, my nephew Agenor and so on.

Even though the background of this book is real, I know that sometimes the stories I relate may sound rather colourful or strange. Some of them were strange to me too. We, that is my immediate family, have lived lives that alternated from periods of heavenly peace ― usually within our own circle, to hellish dismay ― usually brought about by people the outside our family. And we have experienced emotions from happiness and full contentment, to their opposites of horror, fear and misery, always as a result of torment external to our midst. I do not know if the same could be said of most families, but I doubt it.

It will become clear then why I needed to come to live in a country like England, where the sequence of most days is fairly predictable. In this northern island, long-term plans come to fruition without much ado, usually like clockwork. And I think it is heavenly. In Brazil plans are ignored, commitments not kept, dreams are ridiculed and dreamers stoned. Much still has to change for people to be able to live in that beautiful country without fear.

            As a writer, I have signed my work using the three initials of my maiden name, in addition to my marriage surname. In the narrative, however, I refer to myself as Anastasia Persephone. This persona was a creation of mine at a time when I feared exposing myself for reasons that will become obvious.  I chose the designation Anastasia because it is similar to my own name, and Persephone because I was married to a Greek. In Greek mythology, Persephone was a human who married the king of Hell. How very apt for an ex-husband!

            My first purpose as a writer is to relate the story of my family, because we have been so maligned that we deserve a chance to defend ourselves. And the second purpose is the commercial aspect. It would be hypocrisy to pretend otherwise! I think that each one of us should try to find ways to make ourselves economically independent so as not to be a burden to society.

            So, the basic information in this book is factual and not imaginary. I do not wish to modify the truth, as credibility is of the utmost importance to me. I have more than once been told that the truth is relative, but the biographical information I present here is veracious. I have only fictionalised on very few occasions by making characters’ express their thoughts, which were not actually directly transmitted to me.

 I must also explain that the title ‘Bronze Warrior’ is not an allusion to a self-proclaimed capacity for survival, but instead it is the name I gave to the bronze bust portrayed on the cover, which had been decorated with a crown of empty bullet shells. I will relate later in this book the story of how this statue and this photo came about.

Finally I inform that the beautiful cover of this book was the work of my very artistic friend Arthur Menezes, who kindly offered to me. Arthur is also the author of the cover of my first book Pindorama & Ancient Human Trails.  

 

History is dictated by those who hold the pen.

Unknown author

 

Prologue

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names.

As names have power, words have power.

Words can light fires in the minds of men.

Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”
― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

 

“No word is an endless message.”

By an unknown Japanese author.

 

“Words are infinite messages.”

ALP Gouthier

 

Approximate period of time covered:1945-2016.

Location: Belo Horizonte, London, and elsewhere.

 

Both of the opposing quotes above on the subject of messages are true, though they express opposite thoughts. What is different between them is the point of view. The first was written by someone who meant to commit Hara-kiri, or the ceremonial Japanese suicide. There was for him, therefore, no time or will to use words.

The second statement was composed by myself when I dared to write about my own life and of those who lived by me. My exacerbated fear of exposure is explained by the fact that during my lifetime my family and myself attracted much unwelcome attention in the city were we lived. We had our characters utterly disparaged, first locally and later even by the national press. Therefore, my purpose in writing is to challenge fallacies and not to create further mendacity. So I here present my motto as a writer:

 

“LITERATUM UTILITAS IN DEFENS VERITAS”

“The Use of Literature in Defence of Truth”

 

Not wishing to stoke the furnace of discord in some parts world, I was very careful when writing about contentious subjects involving people who are unfriendly to my family and my own. It was for this purpose that I allowed myself a degree of lyrical license in my interpretation of their thoughts and their motives.

 I take up the mission of defending some of my family, and myself, against moral injury by relating our version of the events which raised so much interest in our hometown.  These stories were usually distorted and augmented in the telling, or just purposely twisted to suit the will of those who told them. And then again, other horrendous accusations were actually outright lies created to satisfy resentment, or other malign purposes.

Now I have to present myself, knowing that as I write, you, my readers, might read my words when I am still alive, or only much later, when I have become just a spectre of the past.

I was born in the city of Belo Horizonte, situated in the mountains of Minas Gerais, in the heart of Brazil. As the first-born child of prosperous parents, who adored and protected me throughout their lives, I had everything I could have desired. I was given a very good and extensive education and travelled around the world whenever I wished, always enjoying the best that life could offer.

I was almost twenty years old when I went to university in America and was, at the time, full of plans to go back to Brazil to work with my father in his diverse business interests. But as time went by, many things changed, both at home and within myself, causing me not to want not to return. Every year though, without fail, throughout my life, I have gone back home for at least two months to be with my family, very especially with my mother.

But, returning in time, after four years of undergraduate university in Boston, I went to live in London, where I later married and had two children. But suddenly, when my daughter and son were six and nine respectively, unforeseen circumstances caused me to go back to Belo Horizonte with my children, and there we resided for about ten years.

The events of those years, right after the death of our parents, were very traumatic for my immediate family ― that is my brother, sister and me. We had to unite to organise the distribution of our father´s estate, in accordance with our lawful obligations, to consanguineous relations with whom we had no contact. Unfortunately, some of these people were not satisfied, as they had personal grudges against my father. And their anger was vented on the three children of his marriage.

After this troubled part of my life I moved to Rio de Janeiro at the very end of the twentieth century. Fortunately, by then, my children were already big enough to go back to England to live with their father and continue their education there. I had been so concerned for them while they were in Brazil, given all the nefarious goings-on that were often reported in the national media at the time, such as assaults and kidnappings.

I never felt at home in Rio, or perhaps I really did not try to. I am probably too different from the Cariocas, being a Mineira, who has lived for so long abroad. I must admit that I was not at the time much given to socialising, as the recent ordeal in Belo Horizonte had been too harrowing. I had even had my life threatened, first in one, then in the other of those two cities of my country of birth. But as Nietzsche said:

 

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

 

            In the aftermath of those deplorable episodes I was horrified by the easy use of verbs such as shoot, kill or kidnap. These concepts of violence had been too distant from the reality of my life until then, only witnessed at second hand in the cinema or on television. Even though Brazil may be a country where the news is at times terrifying, I had lived a peaceful existence protected by devoted parents and ample means.

More than ever, I became aware of how different my life was to those who threatened me. And I wondered why they behaved in such manner. Was it because they had lived in an environment bereft of respect for people, and they thought my life had been the same? Well it was not.

            So having taken the necessary steps to protect myself and to safeguard my peace of mind, one day I went back to the place where I had been happy for so long, to England. Here another saying comes to mind, in Portuguese, and in my own translation:

 

“Há males que vem para o bem.”

“Some ills turn into fortune.”

 

            Now I ask myself ― have I always been fond of solitude as I do now, or did it become a habit after the isolation necessary for survival through the hard times? I do enjoy the company of some people, with whom I do not have to play a role, and can relax. But I am also overly fond of silence!

For sure, there were periods in my life when I enjoyed the social whirl, mostly outside Brazil, when I had the time for it ― after university and before the birth of my children. Nightlife and intensive travelling are best enjoyed when we are free of such commitments.

            In general, I must admit, I have very methodically organised my life to fulfil my aspirations and meet what I see as my obligations, because it is not in my nature to act impulsively or take unnecessary risks. And now that some years have passed after the unpleasant events described, I still prefer to have a very private life, which gives me a wonderful feeling of tranquillity. And I hereby quote myself:

“Privacy is a great jewel to be obtained

through the invisibility of distance

 and the silence of time.”

 

ALP Gouthier 2014-15

Pseudonyms

“My pseudonym is not meant to hide my identity, but is my identity”

From an unknown author.

 

 "Chance is the pseudonym of God when he did not want to sign."
-  Theophile Gautier

 

“What's in a name? that which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet.”
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

 

As my immediate family and I never enjoyed seeing our names in print, I thought it best to create pseudonyms for each of us. I also decided that it was prudent to use care when writing about people with whom I have developed a belligerent relationship, so their occasional appearances in my story have also been favoured with aliases. As they say, one must not speak of the devil so as not to attract him. So, I never utter the name of those I do not wish to see.

Having decided to use assumed names, I chose them mostly from Greek Mythology. And my choice of denomination for each person is based on the similarities, from my point of view, between these mythological personages and each of these people in real life.

In an attempt to explain the beginning of the world in accordance with Greek Mythology I list the primordial deities, who were the first gods and goddesses born from Chaos or Chronos, the personification of time. While Gaia, the Earth, gave birth to the Titans who became members of the second order of beings, who preceded the numerous Olympian characters.

So, now I present my immediate family, and some people to me closely related:

Anastasia Persephone da Cattapreta Luciânia Mavroleon Gouthier – is your author A.L.P. Gouthier’s, as well as the main character and narrator.              

Persephone in mythology is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter who was abducted by Hades, god of the underworld. Each time Persephone returned to earth marked the start of spring. In this biography, Anastasia Persephone is the mother of Xena, the warrior princess, and Perseus, a demi-god.

It was the rule of the Fates that anyone who consumed food or drink while in the underworld was doomed to spend eternity there. As Hades gave Persephone pomegranate seeds to eat, she was condemned to spend several months of each year in the underworld. During these months, Persephone sat on the throne of the netherworld beside her husband Hades.

            The Fates were the incarnations of destiny who controlled the threads of lifestyles of every mortal from birth to death.

 

Antonio Zeus de Rezende Pereira Luciânia – is Anastasia Persephone’s father.

In Greek Mythology Zeus was the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods. His weapon was the thunderbolt, which he hurled at those who displeased him, especially liars, and he used his shield to create storms and tempests. As the ruler of the State he was the source of kingly power, upholder of institutions and protector of his community, especially of the poorest and the less fortunate. He was married, but often tested his wife’s patience as he was infamous for his many affairs.

 

Clara Demeter Dayrell da Cattapreta Luciânia – is Anastasia Persephone’s mother.

Demeter in the myth is the goddess of the harvest who made the crops grow each year. When her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades to be his wife, Demeter laid a curse on the earth that caused plants to wither. Zeus, alarmed, sought Persephone's return. It was therefore decreed that Persephone would only spend part of each year in the underworld, and during these months Demeter withdrew her gifts from the world, causing the Earth to cool, thus creating winter. And Persephone’s return each year brought forth spring.        Mother Demeter was also known for founding the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were initiations held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone. These relate not only to the return to life every spring, but also to the reincarnation of the human soul in a next life.

 

Antenor da Cattapreta Pereira Luciânia - is Anastasia Persephone’s brother.

 In Greek Mythology Antenor was the counsellor of King Troy, who before the start of the Trojan War tried to avoid a conflict in favour of a peaceful resolution.

In my story, he always wished to depart to where he could live in peace but never achieved his dream, unlike his sister Persephone. His aspirations were eventually realised by his son Agenor.

 

Clarissa Demetria da Cattapreta Luciânia Tiburtia - is Anastasia Persephone’s younger sister, who professed to be the very opposite of Anastasia.

            Her name bears a double reference to her mother’s name, Demeter, with whom she shared many traits, but not all. They were both connected to the earth, from which they could grow the most beautiful flowers. She also never departed from the land of Zeus and was married to Tiburtius.

 

Joseph Alexander Eros Martinez della Rosa – Jo ― was Anastasia Persephone’s great love of youth. He took her from the Snows of Boston to the Island of Peace. The memory of his love made it impossible for her to find peace anywhere else in the whole universe, other than in the island of his dreams. So, she always returned to his land, the famed Island of Peace.     

            According to Hesiod, c. 700 BC, Eros was the fourth god to come into existence, after Chaos, Gaia, and Tartarus ― the Abyss. In the myth, as Eros falls in love with Psyche, the human soul, his fragile peace is ruined by Psyche's mortal dreams and plans. Thus wounded, Eros departs and Psyche ― his Persephone, forever wanders through the Earth looking for him.

 

Elias Edward Hades Inglessis Mavroleon -  was Anastasia Persephone’s first husband, and is the father of Anastasia’s children, Xena Olympia and Michael Perseus.

The mythological Hades is the King of the Underworld and ruler of the dead. At his command, mighty thunders flash and lightning rolls.

As words have power, the Greeks were not keen on uttering his name. So, they also called him Plouton, deriving from the word for wealth.

Though an Olympian, Hades usually preferred to reside in the Underworld where his favourite weapon was a pitchfork with which he created earthquakes. And on his travels through the land of living he mostly chose to wear his helmet of invisibility, which allowed him to see all though himself remaining unseen.

 

Xena Olympia Luciânia Mavroleon del Tyrol – is the daughter of Anastasia Persephone and Edward Hades Mavroleon.

Olympia was the site of the first Olympic games in 776 BC. It is located on the western edge of the Greek Peloponnese and became the centre of worship of Zeus.  And Olympia is also the name of Antonio Zeus’s mother - Olympia de Rezende.

Whereas Xena, the myth, is a Warrior Princess. In her legendary journeys Xena redeems herself for any villainous activities she might have committed in the past, and thus becomes a hero trying to help people in need. Her weapon of choice was the ‘chakram’, a throwing armament which she masterfully deflected to multiple targets in one throw.

In her struggles through life, Xena Olympia allied herself with the warriors of the South-Tyrol, where one day she meets and marries Vladan of Tyrol.

 

Michael Perseus de Luciânia Mavroleon – is the son of Anastasia Persephone and Edward Hades Mavroleon.

According to the myth, Perseus grew up to become a strong young man who bravely set forth on his adventures. In an unknown country, he entered the cave belonging to the Medusa, who was a creature whose terrifying gaze petrified anyone who looked into her eyes. Perseus tricked the Medusa and cut off her head, which he put into a magic bag.

Back on his path, Perseus came upon a beautiful woman chained to a rock. He asked her the reason for this and she explained, “I have been punished because my mother boasted that I was more beautiful than the sea nymphs.“ Perseus cut Andromeda's chains and they lived happily together for many years. Their descendants became great kings.

Returning home from his travels, Perseus heard that the world had mistreated his mother Persephone, and he was furious and set forth to avenge her. Thus, Perseus stormed the land and each time he said, "Let those who are my friends shield their eyes!" He would raise the Medusa's head from the magic bag, turning his enemies to stone.

 

Albert Ovid Freyr Gondin Gouthier ― is Anastasia Persephone’s second husband, and her first ― though platonic, boyfriend. Albert Ovid’s major traits are gentleness and kindness. In the distant past, he had looked into Persephone’s eyes and deeply fallen in love with her. So, in his heart, he waited a life time for her to come back into his life.

Freyr is one of the most important gods of the Norse religion. His name derives from the Proto-Norse word meaning sunshine and fair weather. In the Icelandic books of Edda Freyr, he rides a ship which always graced with auspicious breezes. Through the battle of life, he used a magic sword with which to bestow peace on mortals.

While Albert Ovid Freyr is a descendent of the ancient Goths. These were an East Germanic people who dominated a vast area of central Europe, which at its peak extended from the Danube to the Ural Mountains, and from the Black to the Baltic Sea.

"Freyr" (1901) by Johannes Gehrts.

            Next, I list guest appearances in specific chapters, for whom I also found preferred to give pseudonyms.

 

Character in chapters 12, False Accusation, and Chapter 19, Fraternal Emotions:

 

Tiburcio - Myths and legends have different interpretations in accordance with the point of view. Tiburcio Vasquez, in the nineteenth century California was accused of thieving, but at the same time, he was seen by others in a more positive light. We shall never know for sure, as it is the case with many folklores.                                                    

Characters in chapter 20, entitled Devilish Dance:

 

            Polemos first makes an appearance in chapter 17 – Enforced Return and later in chapter 20 - Devilish Dance. In Greek Mythology he was the personification of strife, and in Aristophanes's play ‘Acharnians’ it was reported that Polemos was banned from parties by disruptive behaviour. With Tumult, as his henchman, he brought war into the house of Zeus by burying peace.

 

 The Yare Dancers, or the Dancing Devils of Yare (Los Diablos Danzantes del Yare).

This is also the name of a festivity celebrated in San Francisco de Yare, Miranda state, Venezuela. By wearing fearful masks, the towns people hope to embody the powers represented by the masks.

Common examples of masks in Anastasia’s nightmares are:

                          

 The Tonius Yare masks are the most frequently worn. But, does a fierce appearance hides a dreadful soul?  Not necessarily. The whole purpose of wearing a devilish mask is to conceal all thoughts and traits.

 

      Solitarius Yare masks are endowed with startling blue or with piercing green eyes, are worn by the loners, or those who do not adhere blindly to group thinking. These may be used by both man and women.

 

            The She-Yare masks, are choices specifically for the women, who apparently grin to hide their real selves, or their dark thoughts.

      

 

   

            Finally, there come “The Three Marys”, that form the background unison chorus. They are represented by the three-headed eagle of the apocalypse. This image is a part of the second book of Esdras, or the hidden book, which points to the forthcoming of wars that could lead to the end of the world.

 

Character in in chapter 21, entitled The Second Front:

 

            In the Greek Mythology, the Hydra of Lerna is a serpentine water monster, who dwelt at the entrance of the underworld.  Every time she had her head chopped off she would regrow multiple heads.

            In this chapter, the main character Anastasia Persephone becomes a Hydra.

 

Characters in chapter 33, entitled Mendacity:

Apate Pithos is a woman who gets involved in a convoluted plot aimed at extracting fortune from Persephone. After years of scheming, she fails to see any material profit from these plans.

As Apate in mythology is the embodiment of deceit, and Pithos is the Greek name of a large storage container, Apate Pithos represents a body of trickery and pretence.                    

  

Eduard Dolos was Apate’s lover who first hatched the devilish plans aimed against Persephone.

In Greek mythology Dolos was the spirit of guile, who was an apprentice of the Titan Prometheus. He became a known for his skill when he made a statue of Veritas in clay, in order to trick people into thinking that it was stone statue. His Roman equivalent is Mendacius.

 

Python Daimone Advocat was Apate’s second ally in this wicked design. In mythology Python was the earth-dragon of Delphi, and the name Python may derive from the verb ‘pytho’, meaning to rot.

 

         She-Daimone Advocat is Apate’s second ally in her attempt against Persephone. She belongs to the class of Daimores who hover above the earth in search of malevolent opportunities.

 

 

 

The Daimones Advocats are presented between the inhabitants of Heavens and those of Earth.

 

 

The Daimones, according to Hesiod's myth, are spirits of nature, similar to ghosts, who are only felt, their unseen presence presumed, and they are often depicted with considerable moral ambiguity.                                                             

The characterisation of the Daimones as dangerous was developed by Plato, whose Symposium teaches that love may be a daemon in the shape of hate. In the charge brought against Socrates, in 399 BC, Plato surmised that Socrates had introduced daemonic beings into his writings, created by his own self-consciousness. Finally, the Pythagorean Commentaries state: “The whole air is full of souls”, representing the view that ‘Daemones’ are internalised by each person wishing to cause ill in order to serve as motivation and inspiration to those possessed of such spirits.

The famous and paradoxical saying of Heraclitus:

 “Character is for Man his daemon".  Could I rephrase it thus:

            “The absence of character is mankind’s demon”?

            The use of malign ‘daemones’ against other human beings is achieved by the intentional profanation and moral misrepresentation of the victim’s character.

            “But what the point of this is?”, Anastasia exclaims. Is it just to torment me? I have already had my reputation destroyed. But that will not change my life now. “Or is it on the elusive hope of material gain?” That will also remain unfulfilled.

ALP Gouthier, 2016.

 

"The word is mightier than the sword."

Ahiqar, Assirian sage of 500 BC 

 

Motto / Lema

There is the day of the hunt

and the day of the hunter /

Existe o dia da caça e

o dia da caçadora.     

 

My motto as a writer: 
       Meu lema como escritora:
 LITERATUM UTILITAS IN DEFENS VERITAS
The Use of Literature in Defense of Truth
O Uso da Literatura em Defesa da Verdade

A View of Benares from the Ganges, Photo by ALP 1973 Vista de Benares do Rio Ganges, Foto de ALP 1973

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