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THE XENA SCROLLS ARCHIVE



Xena Scroll Pouch #3
Dispatches from the Xena Restoration Society team that translated the Xena Scrolls
(as edited by Robert Mellette)



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Pouch 3: X.R.S. Correspondence

Date: May 18, 1994
To: XRS
From: Hasson
Re: Historians

What a wonderful headache these Xena Scrolls present. No sooner am I working on this mysterious parchment suspected to be a letter from Homer, when the Dean of the History Department calls me to his office.

It seems that one of my students discovered a fragment of the scrolls which reads:

"The Great Warrior Woman, the Brave Poteidaian Perdicas, The Lady of Poteidaia, and the other brave souls of Troy, all leap from the Mighty Wooden Steed..."

Apparently, the student who translated this took issue with the Homeric version of the Trojan War, using the Xena Scrolls to support her argument. Brave girl--but it does force an issue that I have been avoiding since the discovery--Where does Xena fit into history and the Homeric myths?

After two hours of pressure from the entire Department of History, telling me that it is impossible for Trojans to jump out of the Trojan Horse (they seem to have absolutely no problem with Cassandra being able to see the future--which does NOT appear in what fragments we have pieced together of the Gabriellic account) -- I finally conceded that, yes, it was premature of this, or any other student, to use the Xena Scrolls in an undergraduate Homeric History course.

It hurt me to come to that conclusion, but I did get them to concede that Homer was not writing a Gospel, and that there could be other versions of the Trojan War story just as valid as Homer's. I almost got them to admit that a course called "Homeric History" was as ridiculous as its name--but that was asking a bit much.

Considering how slowly the academic world accepts change, I think that gaining acceptance of The Xena Scrolls is going to be a long, hard-fought battle.

Hasson

******************Message Separator******************

Date: May 18, 1994
To: XRS
From: Costantakos
Re:RE: HISTORIANS

"Gabriellic Account" Araham?

Surely you are not so quick to actually name the original author. The letter states, "I've just had read to me the memories and stories of Gabrielle..."that Gabrielle actually wrote them is taking a grand leap. As scientists, as well as linguists, we must be careful not to see what we WANT to see, but what is actually there.

For example: The stories of Xena and Gabrielle might have been written by the author of the letter (who MIGHT be Homer),had read to me,"read.

And that's just one argument. Another could be that the stories of Xena and Gabrielle were written by a third party.

Of course, Janice, you and Marvin will say I'm being a skeptic. To which I say, thank you for the compliment--for by not locking onto one romantic notion, a skeptic keeps his mind open to all possibilities.

Evan.

******************Message Separator******************

Date: May 19, 1994
To: XRS
From: Marvin
Re: Hollywood

My ex-girlfriend in Berkeley finally got over her codependent thing, got a little self- esteem, is on her own two feet, and decided that she no longer has to torture me behind my back, or do those little things that have made my life even more dysfunctional than usual.

What's that got to do with the Xena Scrolls? Turns out she's been hoarding my mail, and now that she's canceled the contract she had out on my life, she's seen fit to send me a pouch of every single piece of postage with my name on it that has gathered at that address over the past few years. In and among the numerous sweepstakes that I had already won, was a letter from one Rob Tapert of Renaissance Pictures in Hollywood.

It seems that, while preparing to produce a new Hercules TV series, Rob had read my Doctoral Thesis on Idiom Translation. Imagine that. They really do read things in Hollywood.

Well, I just got off the phone with him. What a trip! He's a hell of a nice guy and very well read on the subject at hand. He said that, when Universal Studios asked him and his partner Sam Raimi to do a series of Hercules movies, they started looking for a different angle on the story. That's when they found my thesis, which sparked this whole "Joe Montana-thing."not-enjoy, Homer-on-a-pedestal, kind of thing--but *rather* as a living, breathing, stories-for-the-here-and-now, deal--really appealed to him.

Rob was sorry we had not gotten to talk earlier, as they were already in production. Then he asked what I was up to, and we spent the next two hours talking about Xena. Man-oh- man, does he love Xena! And when he heard there were references to Hercules in the Xena Scrolls, that was it! He's hooked.

He asked what the XRS would think if he included Xena as a character in the Hercules series. I can't speak for the rest of us, but I think it's a great idea. After all, raising awareness of Xena is part of our purpose, and what can do that better than a TV show? Why wait around for NOVA to do a documentary that no one will see, when Hollywood can do for Xena what they've done for Hercules and the Argonauts? It may help the grant money flow as well...

Anyway, I gave him Araham's number, and invited him out for a visit anytime.

Mad Marvin
Goin' Hollywood!

******************Message Separator******************

Date: May 19, 1994
To: XRS
From: Mad Marvin
Re:RE: HISTORIANS

Evan,

I've got no problem with your holding us to a higher standard of facts before we draw conclusions. But here is another fact to consider:

The "Letter to Dad" is full of colophons, more than I've seen in any other ancient script. If the person dictating the letter is blind (as Homer was rumored to be),give the scribes the opportunity to jot down more than the usual jokes, comments, and warnings to fellow scribes in the margins?

Compare that to the scrolls. I haven't seen any colophons in the Xena Scrolls. Not one! So, Mr. Skeptic, what do we learn from that? I'd say, the chances of the scrolls and the letter being written by the same person are very slim. But more than that, since the scrolls have no smart-aleck comments from uppity scribes, I think they might be more than just an exemplar. The Xena Scrolls could be the first draft, the original, the signed first addition, the Master--possibly even the one and only?

Mad Marvin
With an expiring Visa in Glyfada

******************Message Separator******************

Date: May 20, 1994
To: XRS
From: Costantakos
Re:RE: HOLLYWOOD

Why wait around for NOVA to do a documentary that no one will see, when Hollywood can do for Xena what they've done for Hercules and the Argonauts? It may help the grant money flow as well...

ARE YOU INSANE!?!

Evan.

******************Message Separator******************

Date: May 20, 1994
To: XRS
From: Costantakos
Re:Scroll #805-01-76922

Araham,

You were correct in your notes, this is an Autolycus story, though this time he is not against his arch-nemesis King Sisyphus -- but is teamed with Xena against Malthus, a wealthy Warlord. What is interesting is that this Autolycus story has the same lightheartedness that we find in other, later, Autolycus tales. And, as we are use to, the King of Thieves is extremely clever--though somehow not as clever as the stories' Hero. Compare, for example, the established story of Autolycus stealing Sisyphus' cows and the King outwitting him by carving "Stolen by Autolycus" into the cattle's hooves -- with:

"Xena, not trusting the King of Thieves to [listen to her proposal], bound the crafty hands of Autolycus. To which the Master Thief pleaded, `cover, please, Great Warrior Princess, these bound hands, that those who look on me may not see the King of Thieves in bondage.' And so the hands were no sooner covered in a cloth, than they were free from the ropes by the skill and cunning of the true King of Thieves. Poteidaia did see his hands free, but..."her sword" (a tear here) "when the Mighty King of Thieves came crashing down."

What Xena did to outwit Autolycus, we may never know--but it had to be terribly clever.

As I have just finished the "Titans" scroll (#805-01-76904 -- I'll be E-mailing it tomorrow after one final proofread), right away.

Evan

******************Message Separator******************

Date: May 21, 1994
To: XRS
From: Covington
Re:RE: HOLLYWOOD

Why wait around for NOVA to do a documentary that no one will see, when Hollywood can do for Xena what they've done for Hercules and the Argonauts? It may help the grant money flow as well...

ARE YOU INSANE!?!

Lighten up, Evan. I think it's a great idea. Hollywood--My hometown, thank you very much--is responsible for my interest in the myths in the first place. "Jason and the Argonauts,"theme song-they were my introduction to the myths. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today if it weren't for those campy little flicks.

I've got my popcorn and soda ready for--"Xena: The Series!"

Janice.

******************Message Separator******************

Date: May 21, 1994
To: XRS
From: Hasson
Re: RE: COLOPHONS

Marvin is not the only one to have noticed the lack of scribes' comments in this text and other such anomalies. I am hourly inundated by archeologists, historians, linguists, Biblical scholars and laymen who have somehow gleaned information from our lab (or made up what they think to be true).The problem has become so great that our coalition of investors have asked for an independent analysis of the entire text. I have no doubt that it will confirm what we already know--The stories of Xena are as valid a mythology as any of the Iliad or Odyssey.

Look for their report within the next few weeks.

Hasson.

******************Message Separator******************

Date: May 21, 1994
To: XRS
From: Hasson
Re: RE: HOLLYWOOD

I have spoken to Mr. Tapert and he is indeed a very pleasant and well-read man, which I think is fortunate for us. What's the American phrase? "Bottomsup,"put Xena on television there's nothing we can do to stop them. The character is over three thousand years old, all legal copyrights have expired. We are fortunate that Mr. Tapert is so interested in presenting the stories as close to how they appear in the scrolls as possible. I think we should welcome this approach and support it as much as we can, otherwise we may be faced with "Xena Meets Godzilla."

Mr. Tapert will be taking some time out of a Mediterranean fishing trip to visit us in a few days.

Hasson.

******************Message Separator******************

Letter#: 48 Ep#: 76904 Subject: Titans -

Date: May 22, 1994
To: XRS
From: Covington
Re: Titans

I am awed by the scope and magnitude of this epic story. From the release of the three Titans, to the gritty, down-to-earth character of Hesiod, this scroll reads like a Shakespearean Tragedy.

"Hyperion, the Titan of the Sun, mistook his size for greatness." What schoolyard bully, or their victims, has not experienced this tragic flaw?

Hesiod, "the roughest of roughians, the killer-thief who can [smell] opportunity and exploit it whether with brain or brawn," continues to mention "the Old Xena."

This makes me think the Titan story comes early in the scrolls--but also begs the question: where are the stories of the Old Xena? Are we missing another set of scrolls, or does the story begin with her transformation and reveals the past only in exposition? The use and re-use of Greek heroes makes me think that Xena was included in earlier myths, and that these scrolls are, at the earliest, "chapter 2" of the series.

Oh, and Evan, your translation is wonderful.

Janice

******************Message Separator******************

Date: May 24, 1994
To: XRS
From: Mpappas
Re: RE: COLOPHONS

Hello everyone,

I think I've met most of you before, but this is my first post. Professor Marvin and Dr. Hasson said it would be okay for me to present these findings.

It started when Professor Marvin was telling me about the colophons question, and since I completed the dedication page and am now back in the main lab, I've been kind of a fifth wheel--at least until Dr. Hasson can give me another assignment.

Anyway, I decided to concentrate on the margins of the scrolls that have not yet been pieced together. I found some faint scribbles and decided to check them out with the ultraviolet system.

Well, this is what I found:

"The woe of hearts long dead
Pounds soundly in my head.
For a Warrior Princess lives
In the world of broken..."

And then it just stops, even though there is plenty of room for more. I find this really significant because it is the first time we've seen poetry in the Scrolls.

The other colophon reads:

"Salt pork/jerky, whet stone, new water bag, paper (for me), sugar for Argo so maybe she won't hate me so much, and new boots for Xena."

Obviously, this is a shopping list. I found both of these colophons on a scroll that is about a Princess Diana who, "seemed in all outward shows the twin of" (missing section) "though with none of the inward countenance of the Mighty Xena."

Melinda

******************Message Separator******************

Date: May 25, 1994
To: XRS

From: Covington

Re: ...And New Boots for Xena

Melinda,

What an incredible, fantastic, unbelievable discovery! "And new boots for Xena," casually mentioned in a shopping list that is jotted down in the margin of a story ABOUT Xena! Do you realize what this implies? How many fictitious characters require their author to buy them boots?

If we are to believe that this is a shopping list and not some kind of strange scribe's comments, or author's story notes to herself, then that means Xena was more than just a mythic character! She was real!

Janice.

******************Message Separator******************

Date: May 26, 1994

To: XRS

From: Belinski

Re: URGENT

Marvin has been lost in a cave-in!

He arrived this morning for one last visit on his way back to the States and was exploring a deeper part of cave 805-01 when suddenly the walls gave way. We are not sure of his condition, and are digging as fast as we can to find him, but hopes are not high.

Araham is trying to get in touch with his next of kin, but hasn't a clue who to contact. If you have any information in that regard please inform Araham, or have the parties call me on the dig site satellite phone.

And say a prayer for Marvin.

Boris.




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