Dating Tekumel/EPT
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:45 pm 

Of parallel interest, perhaps...

As is well known, Prof. Barker had created various items for Tekumel prior to the publication of EPT but, in general, those were ascribed to a nebulous timeframe rather than any specifics given.

Correlating local dates/RL ones, however, would appear to be possible since this yields a positive match for one key correspondence (with Lin Carter, as alluded to in ) and does appear to be confirmed by at least one original EPT player, although since play started with those RL groups there has been (understandably?) a bit of slippage one way or another in timeframe matching.

However, prior to 1975, as noted on ... sage/25658 ;
EPT (TSR publication) is 2354AS -> 1975AD baselined
Lin Carter's letter is dated 12/Shapru 2329 which yields 13th April 1950 and given that Barker's letter notes that the first copy of their clubzine (Sinisterra) is included (dated April 1950) that's a good enough match.

Working on that theory, the famous Kerunan Province Land Grant to the "Shipali" family (Bill Shipley, IRL) as depicted on the cover of Dragon #4 - higher resolution here - is dated 22/Trantor 2332AS which would equate to 23rd December 1953 if the correlation still held. (Nice Christmas present, no?).
Given that Bill Shipley was a compatriot and fellow linguist at University of California, Berkeley (links on wiki') that seems to be viable both in terms of timeframe and personal interests.

Next, the box cover to EPT. You know the one... ;)
Date for that is Fesru/27 2328AS per which correlates to June 28th 1949 which, if correct, is earlier than that letter to Lin, but other correspondence is missing and that's still in the timeframe for when Barker first put pen to paper.
Even if the Bey Su map is a retcon (unsure, given that's arguably somewhat better than his 1950 'zine artwork), the choice of date is interesting.
In favor of being there-or-thereabouts is the relatively primitive Engsvanyali script compared with the Kerunan Province Land Grant. The stated-"archaic" use of "Bey Siy" appearing to be "fixed" on paper and thus more difficult to change/workaround so easily is also perhaps of interest (albeit Dragon #4 /still/ has Bey Sy transcribed deliberately over the later Bey Su) vs. the ease with which Ts Solyani (1950) evolved to Tsolyani. Purdimal, from whence the "artist" came, is also "known" in Barker's world creation at the time of his correspondence with Carter ("....and it would revolt my pen and paralyze my fingers to reveal to you some of the wickednesses I have seen in the catacombs of Jakalla or in the squat and slimy vaults of Purdimal...", etc., etc. Badarian at his best *g* ...and another "lift" from RL there, of course).

A few other "old items" at and I'm sure the correlation might not hold in some cases (one obvious exception at least), be retconned, etc., but interesting to think that the EPT box might've had a /very/ precise (c) date on it for the past 34 years, just not "visible to all"...

(So much for the usual thesis/antithesis/synthesis loop, eh?)

Anyhow; food for thought - not that that helps at 4.45am...

d. :)

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Post Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:00 pm 


EPT original (PDF reissue) ... _id=188022


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Post Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:43 am 

Wow...what an impossibly good idea.  A manuscript scanned and distributed so it can never be lost.  Others should follow suit.

"But I have watched the dragons come, fire-eyed, across the world."

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