Robert Silverberg's Majipoor: History

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Overview

The human history of Majipoor begins about fourteen thousand years ago, when humans first landed on the planet and settled on Alhanroel. At that time the planet was inhabited by a race called the Piurivar as well as a wide variety of animals of varying size and intelligence. Ancient ruins of unknown origin scattered the central plain of Alhanroel, but it is not conclusively known whether the Piurivar or some previous off-worlders built them. With the humans came other races who found the planet a good place to settle down. Humans took a liking to the great peak (30 miles high) they called Castle Mount and installed weather control devices to make it habitable from top to bottom.

Many of the old technological marvels of the days of colonization survive (an infrastructure of transportation and communication, the weather control, and so on) from the days of colonization, but in general, life is more medieval than modern on Majipoor, and manual or animal labor often accomplishes tasks performed with machines in a spacefaring society. Majipoor, though outside the lanes of interstellar commerce, does get occasional visitors from other planets, and there is a spaceport on the continent of Alhanroel.

Very little information is presented in Silverberg's writing to give us a clue about human or alien society beyond Majipoor. It seems sensible to presume that some sort of interstellar government or structure existed at the time of colonization, and that the rarity of outside visitors corresponds to a breakdown in those structures.


Narrative

The legendary Lord Stiamot (about 8000 years before Valentine's era) led the off-world settlers in rounding up the Piurivar and confining them to a reservation called Piurifayne in the central part of Zimroel. This conflict (chronicled partly in The Time of the Burning) is the only generally known significant break in peace of Majipoor's recorded history. Lord Stiamot is also responsible in great part for the shape of the government of Majipoor.

 


Chronology

About the dates

On Majipoor, dates are usually specified by the year in the reign of the Coronal, which may be fine during any given person's lifetime, but is very awkward for historians and readers. For consistency, I'm choosing a absolute point: the year of colonization by humans. Since the details of the colonization have never been elaborated, we are free to vaguely call some year Zero, when in fact colonization certainly took place over an extended period. If we wanted to be exact, we would probably choose the date of the first human landing on Majipoor as the starting point, but in the absence of details, AC will do. All the dates in the following chart are conjecture and interpolation based on events and references in the sources.

In addition to the Year Zero, I'm choosing a few other places to work from. For example, the events in Lord Valentine's Castle are said to take place about 14,000 years after the colonization. For convenience, I'm saying that the opening scene in that book happens in the year 14000 AC, then working backward and forward from there for other events described in relative terms in the books. Similarly, I'm saying that Sorcerers of Majipoor starts in the year 13000 AC, since it is said to be around a thousand years before Valentine. And so on.

If anyone has a better suggestion, I'm willing to listen.

About the sources

See the Sources page for details and abbreviations.

Silverberg is generally vague about the precise dates of things, and I can't blame him for that—he's an author, not a historian, and it's up to us fanatics to work out the puzzle of history.

The Chart

This chart is based in great degree upon my memories of stories I have not read in many years, so may contain mistakes. As I revisit the works, I'll fill in details. Visitor comments are much welcome—please cite the references on which dates are based.

Year Source Event
? - 0   Piurivar are the dominant inhabitants of Majipoor.
0   Humans land on Majipoor and start the process of colonization.
100 AC? tatg Ghayrogs start arriving on Majipoor. The city of Narabal is a rough frontier town.
6000 AC totb Lord Stiamot confines the Piurivar to the Piurifayne reservation.
10000 AC tboc Aithin Furvain is kidnapped by Kasiniboin.
  itfyotv During a time of great expansion, voyagers explore Majipoor's farthest reaches, even the Great Sea.
  ce The Pontifex Arioc, upon the death of the Lady of the Isle of Sleep, decides he will replace her.
13000 AC som Lord Korsibar, son of Coronal Confalume, breaks with tradition and siezes the Starburst Crown, setting in motion a civil war as Lord Prestimion, rightful successor, tries to regain his place.
13001 AC dosd Dekkeret enocounters a member of the Barjazid family, who has a device allowing him to enter the thoughts of others.
13002 AC lp Coronal Prestimion deals with the aftermath of the civil war that interrupted his tidy succession.
13022 AC kod After 20 years on the throne, Prestimion retires to the Labyrinth, and the common-born Dekkeret succeeds him. The King of Dreams is initiated as one of the powers of the realm.
  spats Lord Thraym is Coronal.
  cap Lord Kinniken is Coronal.
13980 AC vav Brothers Voriax and Valentine encounter a witch who predicts that both will become Coronal.
    Voriax becomes Coronal.
    After Coronal Voriax is killed in an accident, Valentine succeeds him.
14000 AC lvc Coronal Lord Valentine is secretly deposed and stripped of his memories. He joins a company of jugglers on Zimroel.
14002 AC mc Valentine sends Hissune into the records of the past.
  vp During a time of great stress on Majipoor, Valentine reaches a peaceful settlement with the Piurivar, instating their leader as one of the powers of the world.
  vp Hissune succeeds Valentine as Coronal.
  ss After a brutal murder at the archeological site of Velalisier, Valentine Pontifex emerges from the Labyrinth to help solve the crime.
14500 AC mom Prince Harpirias visits the Khyntor Marches and discovers humans living a primitive existence in the cold land.
     

Some notes on Coronals and Pontifices...

Struin - Guadeloom - Calintane - Siminove

Thraym - Vildivar

Scaul - Spurifon

Valentine - Hissune

Stiamot - Damlong

Sigmar - Melikand

Kanabo - Sirrath

Prankipin

Hunzimar

Meyk

Dizimaule

Dekkeret

Prestimion

Arioc

Spurifon

Pinitor

 


Majipoor | Sources | History | Government | Technology
Inhabitants | Geography & Geology | Flora & Fauna