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THE XENA SCROLLS ARCHIVE



Xena Scroll Pouch #1
Dispatches from the Xena Restoration Society team that translated the Xena Scrolls
(as edited by Robert Mellette)



Main Page |Scroll 1 |Scroll 2 |Scroll 3 |Scroll 4 |Scroll 5 |Scroll 6


Pouch 1: X.R.S. Correspondence 

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: October 15, 1993
To: Costantakos
From: Covington
Re: XENA'S ORIGIN

Professor Costantakos,  

I must take issue with your conclusion that Xena was raised in
Poteidaia. Though the scroll you so aptly call "Sins of the Past"
may never be fully translated, it clearly states:  

"...Her moment of inner surrender had come, so outside the city
of Poteidaia..."here the scroll is torn, but it continues 4.5
centimeters later on the same line, "..The once ignoble profiteer
buried her tools of destruction." 

There is no hard evidence that Poteidaia is her home city. In
your earlier treatise, Xena: Lost Heroine of Greece, you have
attributed the pronoun in the lines: "...so she left Poteidaia,
her home, to find her adventures...""Sins of the Past" scroll
later states, "...not yet the heroine she will become, now just
the mournful daughter of a mournful mother, the Great Woman set
off toward Amphipolis to return to a life that was never to be"
home.  

This begs the question: who is the woman from Poteidaia?
Obviously, she's not Xena, since Xena had had enough adventure in
her life. The Amphipolis chapter of the scroll contains the
snippet: "Poteidaians, known for their gift of the gab, which she
certainly [upheld]...Xena at Amphipolis", but who she is and what
she was doing there, we may never know.  

J. Covington 

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: October 17, 1993
To: XRS
From: Hasson
Re: Xena's Weapons

Dear Colleagues:  

I am working on scroll number 805-01-76911 and am finding several
references to a "mighty staff", evidence of Xena using a staff in
addition to her chakram and sword. I seem to recall references in
76901 (the so-called "Sins of the Past" scroll), ago.  

I would be most appreciative if one of you could help me out. 

Dr. Araham Hasson 
Glyfada School of Anthropology   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: October 18, 1993
To: XRS
From: Costantakos
Re: RE: XENA'S WEAPONS

Most certainly Xena was familiar with how to use a staff. As we
see in the last portion of "Sins of the Past" which reads:  

"So Draco of the Violet Crest made her [Xena] a challenge..." 

Contemporaries that challenges then, like challenges for
centuries to come, meant the one challenged got to choose the
weapon. True, much of this part of the scroll is missing, but we
know that "Xena, her arms strong and sure, took her staff and
vaulted over Draco's army and the noble villagers to land on the
scaffold." 

So with all of the weapons she could have chosen in this fight
for her home village, Xena chooses a staff, which has always been
a mystery to me. Your discovery of a "mighty staff" may very well
shed some light on this issue.  

E. Costantakos 
Oxford School of Antiquities   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: October 21, 1993
To: XRS
From: Covington
Re: RE: XENA'S WEAPONS

So with all of the weapons she could have chosen in this fight
for her home village, Xena chooses a staff, which has always been
a mystery to me.  

Evan,  

Nice to see that you read my mail. I take it you now accept
Amphipolis as Xena's home? Unfortunately, you are as wrong about
Xena's staff as you were about her hometown. You have filled in
partially legible words with erroneous guesses. Most certainly
Xena was familiar with how to use a staff. As we see in the last
portion of "Sins of the Past" which reads:  

"So Draco of the Violet Crest made her [Xena] a challenge..." 

Here you have inserted the words "made" and "a" where all I see
is a tear in the scroll. Could it not read, "Draco of the Violet
Crest accepted her challenge?" This would give Draco the choice
of weapons; and, considering his apparent love for her, he would
certainly choose a less-than-lethal weapon such as a staff.  

Evan, Evan, Evan, if it weren't for the fact that you name these
scrolls so well (which I think is clever), 

Janice.   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: November 20, 1993
To: XRS
From: Costantakos
Re: DRACO

We are all, of course, familiar with the Draco that brought us
"Draconian Laws," brings up the question: Is this the same Draco
mentioned in the Xena Scrolls?  

The very clear and beautifully translated (kudos to Dr. Hasson)
Draco segments of the "Sins of the Past" scroll, clearly show a
Draco willing to kill, even his closest advisors, over the
slightest offense. This would seem to support a "Single Draco
Theory." 

Unless, of course, Janice has some interpretation she's like to
share with us.   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: November 21, 1993 
To: XRS
From: Covington

You know me, Evan. I've got an opinion about *everything*!  

My only hesitation in accepting the Single Draco Theory is two
fold. First, we don't have a clear time line of events; and, more
subtly, Xena's Draco seems less cold-hearted than the Draco of
"accepted" antiquity. The Scrolls read, "Hector, his [ego] hurt
more than his body, was not satisfied with the simple trashing
given to him by The Great Warlord. Knowing that he could not kill
him face-to-face, Hector charged Draco's back." 

Is it Draconian to defend yourself?  

And his second "victim" was also a case of defense:  

"Defeated, humiliated, and humbled under the boots of the Warrior
Woman, Draco still kept his word--even to the point of defending
the Warrior Princess against his own men.""'That which Draco
speaks, indeed [promises?], is as the act itself, and shall be
made as real as the [Earth??? (while the word isn't clear, it is
clearly NOT sky!)] which rests on Atlas' shoulders; even if my
sword, my blood, or the blood of my family or compatriots must be
spilled to make it so.'"  

Which is classic Draconian philosophy--impartial, but harsh. So,
I'm torn, but am leaning toward a variation of the single Draco.
Perhaps this is an ancestor, or even a teacher of the Draco we've
known and feared for so many generations.  

Janice   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: November 22, 1993 
To: XRS 
From: Costantakos 

So, Janice, your opinion then is that you're not sure... ?  

And what would Marvin's Idiom Translation people do with the "my
blood" speech?  

Evan.   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: November 22, 1993
To: XRS
From: Mad Marvin
Re: Idiom Translation

"'That which Draco speaks, indeed [promises?], is as the act
itself, and shall be made as real as the [Earth??? (while the
word isn't clear, it is clearly NOT sky!)] which rests on Atlas'
shoulders; even if my sword, my blood, or the blood of my family
or compatriots must be spilled to make it so.'"  

In Idiom Translation, this would be "A deal's a deal". The poetry
of this speech, but if you're trying to turn a 10 year old onto
the classics, you might like having an IT annotated copy handy.

Mad Marvin 
Dallas, TX in memorial   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: December 15, 1993
To: XRS - Folks
From: Mad Marvin
Re: "Chariots of War"

First--Evanski--Kewl title! and great translation--for a
Classicist!  Next, Xena is kicking some major buttocks in this
scroll, but she's also doing the sensitive thing--which you don't
always see in the ancients.  

I mean, the poetry!  

"Her pain, not from the warrior's shaft lodged in her side, but
from the comfort of a bed, a family, and a kind and caring man.
That which would make us all feel at home, to the Mighty Xena,
was but a reminder of the things she might never have." Could
those Greeks line up some words, or what?  

Next thing--The Chariots:  

The scrolls talk of the "Chariots and mighty steeds of Ares, used
in war throughout the lands, now guided by the hand of Sphaerus,
son of the feared and terrible Cycnus, who would soon pass on the
reins." 

I have this image. Could it be that, when chariots were phased
out of Greek cavalry, that some guys refused to get into the
saddle? Maybe they'd take their chariots and some war-like guys,
and those kind of women that like their men in leather, and go
off to form raiding parties? That makes sense, doesn't it? I
mean, I'm just a linguist, so help me out here.  

And so those, "Chariots and Steeds of Ares" would be the baddest
of the old chariot drivers, so when Xena takes them on, she's
actually riding against the best and baddest of the best, right?  

By the way, did anyone else notice the line toward the end, "The
woman from Poteidaia, not skilled at horses, nevertheless rode
ahead to draw the evil Cycnus into Xena's trap."woman again! Must
have been something to see--I'm there, you know?  

Mad Marvin 
With my laptop somewhere in Utah.   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: January 3, 1994
To: XRS
From: Covington
Re: HECTOR

Can we at least all agree that the Hector in "Sins of the Past"
is NOT the same Hector of Troy?   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: January 4, 1994
To: XRS
From: Costantakos
Re: RE: HECTOR

Can we at least all agree that the Hector in "Sins of the Past"
is NOT the same Hector of Troy?  

Janice, how can you even ask that question? To compare Hector of
Troy--"Hector the mighty warrior with his shining helmet" -- to
this ... thug! Marvin's Idiom Translation sums him up best:

"Hector, a bald-headed bully with a nasal condition, lead Draco's
men..." 

Clearly, Janice, the name is nothing but a coincidence.  

Evan.   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: January 8, 1994
To: XRS
From: Mad Marvin
Re: RE: HECTOR

Evan, chill.  

First of all, Janice didn't say that this Hector was the SAME
Hector killed by Achilles. She's just asking. Second, while I
agree that these two Hector's aren't the same, isn't it possible
that the Xena Scrolls author is parodying Homer? Perhaps disin'
him. Or paying some kind of tribute?  

Open your mind, Evan!   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: January 20, 1994
To: XRS
From: Convington
Re: January 17, 1994 in Los Angeles

What was I doing when the earthquake hit at 4:31 in the morning?
Sleeping like a regular person? No, I was translating this
passage from Scroll Number 805-01-76918:  

"Purple was the sky, as the Warrior Woman, weary without sleep,
stared toward the East where their answers would soon rise.
Poteidaia moved to Amphipolis, to question her feelings for
[Petracles]. 'You judge him by his past,' said the once
gentlewoman to the once Warrior Princess, 'what if I were to fix
my judgments so on you and your [past].  

"Just then Atlas Shrugged, and the earth did shake with such a
thunder that all who felt it move did feel their mortality rattle
in their bones." 

Irony, thy name is Xena! And whoever authored these scrolls has
lived through a real quake. As you'll see in my translation, the
descriptions are too real to be fiction.  

Once again, thanks for the phone calls. I'm fine, my apartment is
cracked, but not broken. One old wine bottle that I used for a
candlestick holder--back in college, I think--broke. Other than
that, just a big mess!  

Janice--shaken, but not stirred.  

P.S.--I'm starting to really like naming these scrolls. The
numbers get so tiresome. I'm thinking about calling this one,
"Three For Godhood, The Hard Way."  

******************Message Separator******************  
Date:  January 22, 1994
To: XRS
From:  Mad Marvin
Re:  January 17, 1994 in Los Angeles

Janice,  

Glad to hear you're okay, but I think your had your brain shook
loose! "Three For Godhood, The Hardway"??? What's that supposed
to mean? I read your translation today, and I *still* don't get
it. To me, it reads more like, "A Fistful of Dinars." 

Mad Marvin 
I can't tell where I am, as it's dark outside.   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: February 5, 1994 
To: XRS 
From: Mad
Marvin Re: DREAMWORKER (Scroll # 805-01-76905) 

Okay, let me get you there. Let me get you where you need to be
to share the experience:  

It's night. I'm hanging out with my Indian friend in the desert
-- we're in Nevada or Utah, New Mexico--that kind of place. We're
sittin' on the hood of my friend's '75 Chevy Impala watching the
stars and trying to spot satellites and shooters--and I'm
thinking about scroll #76905. So far from a translation that I
don't even have a title for it, right? But, that's my assignment.
Hasson tells me he was never able to make sense of it, but he
thought I might -- 'cause why?--I don't know.  

So anyway, there we are, me and my friend in the desert-not a
soul around, and she says to me, "it's like a dream", been able
to translate (how the h*ll do you type Greek on these things?) --
but we all know what I'm talkin' about, right? Nobody could
figure it--but suddenly I've got it, it's about dreams.  

See--how many words do we have for dreams? Dream, Nightmare, Wet
Dream, Day Dream Believer, R.E.M.,word that I can't type on this
damn machine, it means "Guided
Dream."cool-as-hell-priests-gone-bad were into guided imagery,
the dream god Morpheus, all of that...  

So there I am, with my lady in the middle of nowhere, and I pop
the laptop--load the scanned files and get to work. The Ancients,
the new world mountains, my lady, the Chevy, are you there? The
stars and the glow of the computer screen are all you can see for
miles. Are you with me?  

Then add to that, this kicking Xena story:  

"Elkton The Blind Mystic, too old and wise to rejoice in the
coming of his a foreseen Warrior Woman, took Xena into the meager
comfort of his humble shanty home. There he summoned up all that
was old and good of his ancient Mystic Ways... He warned the
Mighty Warrior that Morpheus, the evil god of evil dreams and
misguided ambitions, would fight to keep her from her Poteidaian
friend. 'He will use the most powerful weapon that ever was, and
ever will be,' cries the Blind Old Mystic, 'He will use your own
doubts and fears.'" Is that the truth, or what? Our own minds...
Our own doubts... Our own fears... How many centuries later will
another handicapped old man say, "The only thing we have to fear,
is fear itself." 

So my old lady, out in the desert, she was kind of bummed that
I was spending more time with Xena than her, until I started
translating out loud.  

"Blood-innocence was Morpheus' desire. To spoil the beauty that
is in all of us. The more the beauty--the more the innocence --
the more his desire to see it fall."There's a smudge here, then
"[She] had not felt the passing of a life by her own hand.  She
had not looked into the eyes of a victim as Celesta snuffed out
the flame of life. She had not [experienced?] the life and death
struggles of the Warrior Queen." 

So we drank wine and translated into the night. My Native
American lady-friend met my Ancient Greek lady-friend, and we
shared stories of dreams and gods.  

Mad Marvin 
In an Airplane over ... some part of Europe.   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: February 7, 1994
To: XRS
From: Costantakos
Re: RE: DREAMWORKER (Scroll # 805-01-76905)

Marvin-- 

I can see now why Dr. Hasson brought you on this project. I would
never in a million years come up with "guided dreams." 

Also I think "Dreamworker" is a b*tch*n' title, dude.  

Evan.   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: March 1, 1994
To: XRS
From: Hasson
Re: RE: DREAMWORKER (Scroll # 805-01-76905)

Marvin-- 

I received your entire translation in the mail today. Of course
it's brilliant, but transcribing it from the papertowel roll
you've typed it on is costing us time and money. I do wish you'd
use the computer more, it would be a great help to us all.  

Hasson.   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: February 7, 1994
To: XRS
From: Covington
Re: RE: DREAMWORKER (Scroll # 805-01-76905)

I'm right there with you, Marvin! You got me there. I especially
like the passage regarding self-defense:  

"'To learn the Arts of War is not to learn the Arts of Survival,
' mused the Mistress of both. 'Hermes' winged heels will do one
better than Ares' angry sword, if the sword is too heavy to lift.
A Dionysian frenzy might repel an attacker as well as my
Warrior's Cry. Use your Poteidaian powers of verse and wit to
overcome your enemies, [and give your friends a break by not]
wielding their swords.'"  

Sage advice from a Warrior Princess, and not some thing we're
used to seeing in any pre-historic myths. It's a refreshing
change from the "My sword's stronger than your sword" babble. I
also like your Idiom Translation. It shows Xena's dry sense of
humor which gets lost in a literal one.  

And Xena had a war cry. I wonder what it was like. Must have sent
chills down the spine.  

Janice.   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: March 3, 1994
To: XRS
From: Mad Marvin
Re: Paper Towels

Sorry, Araham, but it takes so d*mned long for the scroll JPG
files to refresh themselves on the screen, and I was way into the
Jack Kerouac thing at the time--so it turned out faster for me to
type the translation, and just use the computer for displaying
the scroll.  

And if you think about it, there's some kind of poetry in typing
the ancient scrolls onto a modern one.  

I took a look at the partial scroll you E-mailed to me
(805-01-76923), does look to be a story about Xena's Pop, and
there do seem to be references to her childhood, and something
else about Ares, but the rest is impossible to make out. I'm
working on an idea though. Can we find out what pages of the
scroll were on top and bottom of this one? Let me know.  

Mad Marvin 
Still in the States   

******************Message Separator******************  
Date: March 7, 1994
To: XRS
From: Hasson
Re: E-Mail Record

As I've discussed with each of the XRS members over the phone,
there is a chance that our E-mail will be published for
posterity. To that end, I've begun to archive the transmissions.
I'm afraid I've only been able to recover back to October. So I
will take a brief moment to outline what is going on. Regular XRS
members may skip over this if they wish.  

I am based out of Glyfada, Greece. It is my job--with a
tremendous amount of help from graduate students and volunteers,
bless them! -- to put together the pieces of the scroll. The
scrolls themselves are in fantastic shape, considering their age,
but many sections are torn and there are several scattered pieces
that have to be placed like an ancient puzzle. Unlike the Dead
Sea Scrolls, all of the Xena Scrolls are on papyrus, with the
exception of a copper key--like a table of contents. The Dead Sea
Scrolls also have a copper key, but were written centuries after
Xena's. Obviously this was a standard practice for some time
throughout the Mediterranean.

Once the scrolls have been assembled as best we can do, they are
scanned using various methods of digitizing. (Actually, most of
that is beyond me. I'm a tweezers and magnifying glass man). 

These digital files are then E-mailed to an XRS member that has
been assigned the task of a detailed translation. On some
occasions, like now, an XRS member will make a trip out to
examine the original scrolls. Marvin is currently doing just
that, experimenting with art restoration methods to extract
missing pieces of the scrolls from the layers above or below the
tears. He's hoping all those centuries of one page laying on top
of the other will have caused the ink to make an impression on
its neighboring page. I wish him luck.

Regarding the authorship of the Scrolls: We have not been able to
determine who wrote the Xena Scrolls, but so far, it is clear
that they have one author. Our complete publication will get into
details about what has lead us to this conclusion, but the major
point is the handwriting. It's all the same--at least as far as
we've gotten to date.  

Hasson.   



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