“Here there be dragons.”Robert Redford ~ in Out of Africa ~ referencing cartographers’ expression for the edge of the known world
I’ve been reading Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus for nearly 8 years now. The world created by Lark and Rucka can be seen as a possible out come to and allegory for the oligarchy we experience to an exponentially increasing degree in today’s reality. It is ruled by the fusion of the super-wealthy and mega-corporations. Land and sea are divided among a small group of omni powerful ‘families’ who duel for supremacy on the backs of the vast majority of world population. Lazari are the enhanced~human spearheads of family power.
Each of these figureheads has her or his own attributes and personality. The Lazarus of the post~Russian state is called The Zmey. In the interest of avoiding a spoiler, I will not reveal more here. Go read the book, or play the rpg ~ both are more than worth your time.
In any case, I find myself researching the word Zmey and all its iterative implications.
Lazarus ~ Zmey (змей) dragon
Russia ~ zmeya (змея) – snake ~ zmey (змей) – serpent ~ vozdushnyy zmey (воздушный змей) – kite
Bulgaria ~ zmei (змей) – snake
Ukraine ~ zmyy (змий) – snake
Croatia ~ zmaj – dragon
Macedonia ~ zmej (змеј) – dragon
Romania ~ zmeu – kite
The more modern Russian term is drakon (Дракон) but like ~ it appears ~ Lazarus’s creators, I prefer the more informal and historic ‘zmey’. It seems to cross back and forth regionally between ‘kite’ and ‘snake’.
What is a dragon, if not a kite~snake?
WARNING ~ A small spoiler regarding the nature of Lazarus’s Zmey is about to land:
Initially it is easy to draw parallel between Lark and Rucka’s monster of the cold north and Grendel of Beowulfian fame. As the story proceeds I begin to see Zmey more as the greater spirit fog of the post~Russian intelligence state than the great Medved (медведь) of myth and pagan Russia. The progression makes sense as медведь falls deeper into hibernation and just as in Beowulf, mother and dragon awaken to carry torches and scorch the earth beneath them.
“Why is it the most deadly carnivores are always the most beautiful?”Téa
The Zmey is not beautiful in Lazarus, but the word certainly is. I don’t know the answer, but I agree. Analysis for another time.
Thanks for being here, see you next week.