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January 13, 2015

Here's Chester again, at last presenting a rough map of the Other World!

M: It's a little crude, but I haven't tried drawing a proper picture since 2004.

C: And even that had to come at my insistance, I might add! Anyway, this is the countryside described in Herodotus, right?

M; Yes, with the Araxes and Hypanis rivers.

M: Here's more of Herodotus' world. We're moving more-or-less east-northeast through central Asia

M: In Map 3 you can see that the ocean along the bottom is called the Maeotis. "The Trench" is not the upcoming Tartarus, but a fortification dug by slaves. Those are details in Herodotus I couldn't fit in to our already wordy web-pages.

C: Maybe someday I'll read Herodotus myself. Don't laugh! I read Moby Dick!

M: In Map 4 we're reaching the edge of the known world. Note the western edge of the Rhipaean Mountains.

M: Maps 5 and 6 cross into the world of Aristeas' lost book, The Arimaspea. It might have been as well known as The Odyssey or The Iliad had it survived.

C: Maybe we're lucky it didn't! Everyone would have used it by now, and it would be cliche as elves and dwarves!

M: The final map fits across the last two, swinging us farther north. The Cronian Sea is the equivalent of the Arctic Sea, remember.

Chester: Kind of crude, but there is a large part of our Sakria!

M: Now, Chester, we've been through a few of life's upheavals during the past several years, but it doesn't mean the Project has been far from my mind. For instance, I wanted to create, finally, an appropriate name for the world itself. Early on I came up with the jawbreaking name Parakhthon, from "para" (beyond) and "chthon" (earth).

C: Well . . . It's certainly distinctive.

M: Later I picked out the name "Icelos" from the Dictionary of Mythology, Folklore, and Symbols by Gertrude Jobes -- which had nothing to do with anything. Eventually I decided to back-engineer something like proto-Indo-European. I looked for words that referred to "earth" or "world". Finally I decided there might be an even more basic level to explore. I looked for words and names that meant "the material world" in general, "matter", "physical universe," and "chaos", since many mythologies say the world sprang out of chaos. The Dictionary came into play again.

C: Well, don't keep us in suspense! What did you find?

M: NU, also known as NUN, NUU, NUNU = "Self-creating Egyptian deity. Chaos. The primeval deep." The name is close to that of Nana, aka Anna-Nin, Sumerian Earth goddess, which is in turn related to Ningal (Assyrian/Babylonian Moon goddess), Ninsun (Babylonian Mother goddess), and Anahita (Persian Mother goddess).

I left names for "earth" behind (which are also names of earth goddesses, like Gaea), found words for chaos/promordial matter, and, strangely, came back to earth goddesses. Trying to tweek and combine syllables, avoiding silly things like "Na-Nu" and "Ninny", I eventually decided on AANUU. Kind of raw and primitive-sounding in itself, I think.

C: Aanuu, huh? It'll take a little getting used to. But it's better than Parakhthon.

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