October 2003


In This Edition

Featured Novels

Featured Reference Books

Featured Characters

Featured Staff



by Anne of Austria

"Tragedy is more important than love. Out of all human events, it is tragedy alone that brings people out of their own petty desires and into awareness of other humans' suffering. Tragedy occurs in human lives so that we will learn to reach out and comfort others"
CS Lewis

Many of us shy away from tragedy - afterall it's sad, depressing and disturbing. But what is tragedy? In literary terms, death, despair & unhappy endings are part of it, but not everything that is sad is tragic.

In the society of 5th century BCE Athenians, the tragedies of the great poets Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides were designed to teach people how to know themselves, and to avoid foolishness in their lives - something comedy could never allow you to do.

The greeks gave us the tragic hero - the guy with so much to lose. They also gave us that mixture of choice and fate which are the root of true literary tragedy. It's not enough for bad things to happen, the hero must have played some part in his own downfall, and realise that he made a mistake.

Shakespearian tragedies are unrelentingly popular - and they demonstrate another key to a good heart wrenching tragedy. It's not enough for just one person, the one who made the bad choice to suffer - the tragedy has to touch others as well. In King Lear it is Cordelia who is hanged, in Romeo and Juliet the title characters make all the choices, but Tibalt and Mercutio also die.

But tragedy is not always literary - terrible things happen and we think of them as tragic. Our featured novels this edition tell us the tales of two royal tragedies in the Romanov and Marie Antoniette stories - a familiy and a queen who died too young, and were swept up in a chain of events that weren't entirely of their own making. Survivor! Pan Historia ends every episode with a death.

Our featured reference books are filled with the tragedy of war, the dangers of the sea and the fascination the world has with royalty - particularly when there is some kind of tragedy attached.

We hope you enjoy this tragic edition of the Pan Historian!

We invite you to visit The Pan Historian Newsroom to keep up to date with plans of the next edition.

Featured Character Coordinator: Dr. Taniko Kishimoto
Featured Novel & Reference Book Coordinator: Amashelle
Editor: Myrrhine