Talk:Calormen

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I commented out some possibly POV sentences[edit]

I have commented out (made invisible) some possibly POV sentences. Here is what I commented out:

  • "in general and Islamic civilization in particular."
  • "and are generally characterized within the Narnian chronicles as being rapacious, avaricious, frivolous, indolent and corrupt."
  • "The generally negative characteristics of Calormen and its people have led to accusations of racialism against Lewis."

The reason why I did this is because I feel that these sentences may too strongly give the impression that Lewis was anti-muslem. While possibly true, this is a bit of a POV.

As an aisde, I appreciate Centauri's contributions and his adding significant information to this entry. Welcome to Wikipedia! Samboy 10:01, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I've just restored the comments you removed, as I don't see any logic in your action. That Calormene civilization is directly derived from Islamic civilization is obvious to anyone who has read the book. That Lewis characterizes Calormene characters in almost universally negative terms is equally obvious. Including these factual observations in the article does not represent a biased reading of the book. Likewise, noting that Lewis has been accused of racialism (not to mention sexism and misogyny) on the basis of his characterizations is not a "POV" - it is a neutral observation, because he has been. In fact this theme has already been explored in more detail in the commentary accompanying the article on the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.--Centauri 01:42, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I've also added a qualifying statement to the closing sentence which makes clear that modern attitudes to race were not prevalent when Lewis was writing. --Centauri 01:55, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Plot/spoiler warning?[edit]

Is it appropriate to include a plot/spoiler warning here? This is an article about one country in the Narnia universe. Calormen is neither a book nor a film, and as far as I can tell, the Wikipedia standard seems to be to include a spoiler warning only in the context of an article devoted to a particular film or literary narrative.--Centauri 00:22, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I checked Hogwarts (a place) and Harry Potter (a character), neither one a film nor a narrative, both had a plot spoiler warning. Since the ending of two C.S. Lewis books are summarized, a plot spoiler is probably a good idea for the kiddies out there. Revmachine21 00:39, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Spelling[edit]

I was contemplating adding a sentence about how the word "Calormen" when used as a proper noun is spelled without an 'e' at the end, and when used as an adjective has an 'e' at the end. Most of the people who've contributed to the article seem to know this, but is this something that should be pointed out to people who are reading the article as a reference? Starfoxy

Sounds like a good idea to me. --Centauri 22:30, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Reference to Arabian Nights and the Epic of Kings[edit]

I have added in the medieval Arabic works that Lewis directly took his inspiration and ideas from, namely the Arabian Nights and the Epic of Kings. MaryAnderson

Pronunciation?[edit]

How does one pronounce Calormene? I visited this article hoping to find the answer. Perhaps there's a recording of Lewis reading some of his works...

The audio books that I listened to as a kid used the pronunciation "CAH-lor-meen" ([ˈkalɔrˌmin]). Mendor 23:04, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
I was listening to the DVD's extras today (the timeline), and the place (not the people) was "cah-LOR-men." Hmm…? --Fbv65edel / ☑t / ☛c || 17:01, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
Something that is of Calormen is prounounced Calor-MEN-e Jebediah Hogman (talk) 19:52, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm very surprised to see anything other than "CALormen" and "CALormeen" here. It would make sense if the pronunciations given at least had a rider saying "in the films" or something. Of course, it shouldn't really say at all, because CSL never told us how it's pronounced. Knole Jonathan (talk) 20:47, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Islam[edit]

The article says, "In the broader allegorical context of the Chronicles, the Calormene Empire and Calormenes in general clearly represent Islam, from the age of Islamic empire. . . "

This interpretation is indefensible. The Horse and his Boy is clearly a retelling of the Exodus story. Shasta is guided down the river in a basket as a child, just like Moses. He escapes across the desert (a stand in for the Sinai desert), past the tombs of the kings (a stand in for the pyramids), meets Aslan on the top of a mountain (just as Moses met with God) and escapes first to Archenland (a stand in for Midian) and then to Narnia (a stand in for the Promised Land). Therefore, 'in the broader allegorical context of the Chronicles' the Calormene Empire is ancient Egypt. While the imagery for the Calormenes is drawn from the Arab world, Persia and India, the polytheistic Calormenes represent the polytheistic Egyptians, not the monotheistic Muslims. Joey1898 23:48, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

-- Precisely, Joey, particularly on the Muslims call. Someone added a lot of conjecture and negative POV to the article besides that phrase, which has now all been removed.

A good many of the details of Calormene life are borrowed from E. Nesbit's description of ancient Babylon (much of the Narnia series is written as an 'homage' to Nesbit's children's books). Babylon was, of course, not Islamic, and the presence of polytheism, idolatry, and god-kings should tip us off that we are not looking at a Muslim or even Muslim-like world. That the style is Arabian-Nightsish is undeniable, but it's possible to have an Arabian Nights style while having a quite different content.



-- While I will admit that the people of Calormen do not bear any religious similarity to Islamic theology in either "The Horse and His Boy" or their brief appearence in "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader", it seems to me that the Calormenes of "The Last Battle" do have some sort of relationship to Islam, particularly in the whole "Tashlan" issue: Shift the Ape alleging that the warlike god of the Arabic stand-ins of the Narnian Chronicles is one and the same with the Christ-like god of the European stand-ins, much as like it is stated in the real world that the Judeo-Christian God is the same as the Islamic Allah. For the Narnian universe, Lewis makes it clear that this notion is utterly false, and I know that when I was reading "Battle", I thought that he was making a comment on the real world issue. I don't think that the possibility of Lewis inserting commentary into his fiction is entirely impossible: after all, he had stated, in previous books ("Mere Christianity" I believe), that Islam is a "Christian heresy"; why wouldn't he insert this belief into a children's introduction to Christianity if he had already inserted it into an adult's introduction to Christianity? 67.72.98.86 01:17, 7 December 2006 (UTC)


-- Someone had misrepresented Lewis' characterization of Islam in the article: "indeed, Lewis praises certain Islamic attitudes in the theological work "Mere Christianity."" So I excised it since it could not be supported with any reference from Mere Christianity and since Lewis in fact did the opposite in the book. Lewis taught that “Islam is only the greatest of the Christian heresies” (“Christian Apologetics,” in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics [ed. W. Hooper; The Collected Works of C. S. Lewis; New York: Inspirational, 1996], 369). Lewis believed “Islam to be a simplification” of Christianity ( cf. Kathryn Lindskoog, The C. S. Lewis Hoax [Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1988], 166; in Appendix 2, in the first of 3 Lewis letters to Sheldon Vanauken, dated 14/12/50). And Lewis said “it is the simple religions that are the made up ones” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity [rev. ed.; New York: Touchstone, 1952], 144). In Lewis’ view, one of the heretically destructive simplifications committed by Islam is denial of the Trinity in favour of radical unitarian monotheism, which undercuts the foundation for the essentially loving eternal nature within the pluriform Trinitarian Godhead (cf., e.g., Mere Christianity, 153). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Olorin3k (talkcontribs) 22:16, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

All the stereotypes are there - turbans and curved swords, elaborate language, love of bargaining, slave trading. And there's the traditional enmity between Narnians (Christians) and Calormenes - Muslims were historically considered the nemesis of choice for Christianity (still are, in certain circles). And their money is the "crescent," for God's sake - how much more obvious does it get?
Yes, I know people say the religion is polytheistic and based on Philistines and Canaanites... Only to quite a few people, especially Protestant fundamentalists - which Lewis was, theologically, though it was a lot more common back then and therefore not its own movement - it makes no difference. *What* a non-Christian believes is not important. It matters only that their beliefs are not Christianity, and therefore they are all in the service of Satan, whether they know it or not and whatever they might call him. (Some take it even further and say that any Christian church whose beliefs do not match fundamentalism's - Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, liberal Protestant, Mormon - are also in the service of Satan). I think it's pretty clear that the Calormenes were meant to be the stereotypical "bad guys", enemies of God and worshippers of the devil - "Tash", in the Narnian universe - and Lewis drew heavily from Muslims to inspire him (others also, but like I said, it makes no difference to people like him). 213.181.226.21 (talk) 19:21, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
Whatever else Lewis was, he was not a fundamentalist, in the only meaningful sense of that word, i.e. someone who believes in Biblical inerrancy: see his "Reflections on the Psalms". He was an inclusivist, in the sense of someone who believes that "there is only one right answer and all the others are wrong, but some wrong answers are very much nearer the truth than others". In a letter to an American lady, he says that, though he is not a Catholic he feels much closer to her since her conversion to Catholicism, and "I would extend this even beyond the boundaries of Christianity. Think how much more one has in common with a real Jew or Muslim than with a wretched, liberal, Occidentalizing specimen of the same."
Certainly Calormen has something in common with Islam; but that means the bogey Islam of medieval Christian literature and the Italian epics, Mahound, Termagant etc, rather than real historic Islam. The link with the Canaanites and Carthaginians is not obvious until you read Chesterton's The Everlasting Man, which was one of Lewis's main influences. If we want a formula, it is something like "the imagined Oriental enemy, existing at any given period". Bogey-Islam is just one instantiation of this. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 08:33, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Merging Calormen and Calormene[edit]

I think this is a good idea. Jeffr 16:52, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Good call; it can be undone later if need be, but for now I've gone ahead and changed all the links to Calormene to Calormen, and turned it into a redirect. We don't have separate articles for adjectival forms of nations, to my knowledge. -- nae'blis (talk) 19:13, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Brainwashing?[edit]

"The Calormenes all have a desire for the current Tisroc to be immortal, which may indicate brainwashing at a young point in life."

The fact that Calormenes always seem to say "may he live for ever," to me does not say they are particularly brainwashed, but is instead more of a cultural idiosyncrasy, and an enforced mark of respect, much like referring to the British Queen as "Her Royal Highness," and is done even if there is no real respect for the tisroc
Agreed. It's likely been borrowed from "inshallah" (god willing), a term that's appended to the end of sentences concerning future events by many Arabs, eg "I'll see you tomorrow, inshallah". --Centauri 23:32, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
In the Book of Daniel, the courtiers of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius--including Daniel [Dan 6:21]--address the King with the words "O King, live forever!" It was a polite form of address; I don't think C.S. Lewis thought that the prophet Daniel had been brainwashed. -- Narsil 09:02, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Merge Tarkaan article to Calormen[edit]

I would like to suggest that we merge the Tarkaan article into the calormen article. There is a paragraph of information there and it seems to me that that is about all of the information there is on the subject. It would make a nice section here instead of a permanent stub there. Please post any comments for or against the merge LloydSommerer 22:32, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I think that the article should be merged. Ari (talk) 05:20, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Info from Narnian timeline?[edit]

Some of the material on this page comes from the "Narnian timeline", not from the Chronicles themselves. (Specifically, the claim that Calormen was settled by Archenlander outlaws descended from King Frank, and not, e.g., by a separate group from Earth, as Telmar was.) As I understand it, this timeline is of doubtful provenance (part of the "Hooper controversy").

I feel that if we're going to include material not from the Chronicles themselves, we ought at the least to note its questionable source. Me, I'd be happier going just by the books... what say others? -- Narsil 09:10, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I've responded to you on Talk:Narnian timeline. Lewis himself supplied the timeline for a commentary book on Narnia. It's considered canon, I believe. --Fbv65edel / ☑t / ☛c || 03:56, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
I took it upon myself to rewrite that paragraph somewhat--I kept the statement about Calormen being settled by Archenlander exiles, but I noted its source (the Timeline, not the Chronicles themselves). Hope that's acceptable! -- Narsil 01:45, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
Looks fine, though didn't it establish in Horse and His Boy that this was true as well, and supported in the timeline? Hmm, don't feel like searching for a reference right now… --Fbv65edel / ☑t / ☛c || 02:41, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
I sure don't remember anything like that from TH&HB, but I don't quite have the books memorized... -- Narsil 20:20, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

However inaccurate the timeline is, after reading the chronicles, I too feel (by memorising) that they don't say anything about Calormen being settled by separate people from the real world. Besides, if we remove the Archenlander outlaws part, only the part about the Middleeastern portel will be left for information on the settling of Calormen, and that will conferm the accusations of racism and may cause that part of the article to become dubious. Ari (talk) 10:11, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

Commentary[edit]

I removed the entire Commentary section since it clearly contravened the Wikipedia's foundational policy on original research. It is still availible in the page history if people want to restore it (or parts of it) or merge parts into the rest of the article. Eluchil404 09:00, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

In-universe perspective[edit]

Please note Wikipedia's Manual of Style on writing about fiction (WP:WAF). Wikipedia's articles should be written from the perspective of the real world and critical discussion of the material, not merely its in-universe fictional story.

I have tried to remedy this a little, by using material from the Chronicles of Narnia article to look at the disputed question of racism, which is one of the most important critical questions about the Calormenes.

But it would be useful to review the material deleted above be Eleuchi404 in this edit [1], particularly on C.S. Lewis's objectives and inspirations for the Calormenes, to see how much of it can be sourced, to change this article so that it is at least top and tailed from a real-world position. (It is important that the lead paragraph also should be written from a real-world perspective, and summarise some of the critical discussion, not just in-story material). Jheald 11:25, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

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NPOV[edit]

The section below the NPOV stinks of trying to excuse racism from the books, as well as original research. 219.89.16.145 (talk) 06:57, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

It seems reasonably well sourced to me. What parts do you think are OR and which parts are NPOV? LloydSommerer (talk) 01:25, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Accusations of "racism" seem grossly exaggerated to me. At worst, Lewis presents a mildly critical portrayal of the Calormenes and their traditions, while also praising certain aspects of their culture. He does not advocate their extermination, destruction nor indeed that any punitive measure of any kind be taken against them - simply that it and the other nations of his fantasy world co-exist and keep themselves to themselves, geopolitically speaking. Calormen is ultimately destroyed by Aslan's apocalypse, but so are all the other realms.

Telmar, ostensibly a kingdom of white Europeans, is presented as belligerent, expansionist, culturally philistine land - if anything, Lewis depicts it more negatively than he does Calormen and its people. This seems to be of less than no interest to those who have spent decades accusing Lewis of racism on the basis of "The Horse and His Boy", however. 86.20.255.1 (talk) 19:26, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Never the less, the accusation of racism has been made by other authors of children's literature. It then seems to me that the article goes on to point out the many counterpoints to that accusation that have been offered. I just don't see it as lacking a NPOV if both the accusation and the arguments against the accusation are presented. You could argue that the accusation is not Notable, but you should first look through the archives of the talk page for the main Chronicles of Narnia page where that discussion has taken place. LloydSommerer (talk) 21:10, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

I would argue that some sort of discussion is needed on this topic as I came here after viewing a video entitle top 10 children's books you didn't realize were racist, and it listed C.S. Lewis works with the Calormen as number 1. So it seems its a notable subject of inquiry. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCdBmddPa1Q --Wowaconia (talk) 21:01, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

I think that the reference to the colour of the European skin is cultural racism, so I have removed it from the above comment, if nobody minds. Ari (talk) 10:25, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
I've restored it; please don't edit comments that are not your own. -- Elphion (talk) 14:07, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
The video that one of the commenters posted is not watchable by the visually impaired. As far as I can here, there are only pictures and music and the sound of the pages of books being turned and no audio commentary. I am requesting you to send a video with audio commentary for the sake of those of us with vision impairement. Ari (talk) 10:32, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

Philip Hensher[edit]

Is the article cited in the sources really by him? Its link offers no conclusive proof (and no connection with the Indy, the stated source on wiki), and his novels refer with affectionate detail to Reepicheep (cf his 'The Fit'); plus the sledgehammer, self-confessedly, blokishly Philistine style seems completely off to me. Unless this is some other viciously Lewisophobe P Hensher of whose existence I'm totally unaware, the attribution seems to range from unlikely to impossible. I'd guess the real author was a professional Indy hack (someone along the lines of Rod Liddle or Giles Coren?). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.154.169.192 (talk) 17:36, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

This seems to be the original, but I don't know anything about it. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/dont-let-your-children-go-to-narnia-1189015.html LloydSommerer (talk) 12:37, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Cultural racism[edit]

What is that whole section of stuff about "well Lewis doesn't say the negative aspects of Calormene culture come from their skin color, in fact to say so would be racist therefore it's not racist"? That is some original research over there. Cultural racism is very much a form of racism, reflecting colonialist/orientalist attitude that was used to justify a lot of bigotry for a very long time. Can we refrain from making puerile arguments like that and just stick to the facts? It reads like an essay somebody wrote for a cultural criticism class in undergrad after deciding they knew better than their texts! Staying stuff about why pointing out cultural stereotypes is racist diminishes the thrust of this whole article, because the content is so badly informed and juvenile. We don't need to be arguing points like that in here! Lewis reflected the racism of his time but mitigated it with the occasional charitable moment. To point that out isn't what's racist.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 182.64.35.46 (talk) 09:46, 19 July 2015 (UTC)