Song of Troy Chat Transcript

183lines of discussion for
Dec. 1, 2000

Next chat December 28. Go to Song of Troy chat 2.
See Song of Troy message board

21:01 Torrey Philemon enters...

21:02 Torrey Philemon: Song of Troy chat officially starts at 9pm.....I'll be back at 9:10 - I'm reading Zoe's new posts!
21:09 Zoe Xanthippos enters...
21:11 Zoe Xanthippos: Sitting quietly here, waiting
21:14 Torrey Philemon: Hi Zoe, I'm here now. Morgana is on her way.
21:15 Torrey Philemon: Just enjoyed reading your posts. I'm glad you researched about old religions vs. new religions. I wanted to look into that.
21:17 Morgana Flavius enters...
21:17 Torrey Philemon: Welcome Morgana. Zoe, I believe is silently waiting......ZOE CAN YOU HEAR ME?
21:17 Morgana Flavius: Hello ladies!
21:17 Zoe Xanthippos: I think there's a lot more to know/say but that's all I've come up with so far that hangs together
21:17 Zoe Xanthippos: Please excuse.  I was in the kitchen
21:18 Morgana Flavius: I didn't have the chance to read Zoe's last posts...
21:18 Zoe Xanthippos: Hi Morgana, Torrey!
21:18 Torrey Philemon: I didn't check the board until about ten of nine and had a lot of reading to do then because of your posts! Morgana, have you had a chance to read the board this week?
21:18 Torrey Philemon: Ah, she answers my question as I'm asking it......! <-:
21:20 Zoe Xanthippos: I'm sorry, I always seem to do things at the last minute.  Maybe because I keep hoping for the ultimate bit of info to make it all come right in my mind
21:20 Torrey Philemon: Speaking of questions......Zoe asked some questions which I have too. Like - is there another source for the splitting of the army into two camps (I hadn't heard of that before). Or what was the code of honor for wars (not starting a battle until you've officially proclaimed war and given the other a chance to prepare? )
21:20 Torrey Philemon: (Sorry I seem to lack the social grace of small talk and easing into a discussion. I just plunge in! )
21:21 Zoe Xanthippos: After I posted that I ran into a reference to the Heroic Code  whatever that is but didn't have time to go look for it
21:21 Morgana Flavius: I usually do the same Zoe: post at the last minute so I can gather as much info as I can.
21:22 Torrey Philemon: Chat tends to be slow enough that we can always fool around in other windows at the same time, right? What is that.....a kind of "chat adultery" (screwing around elsewhere while supposedly in one place)?
21:22 Zoe Xanthippos: We ought to know each other well enough by now to forgo the formalities!
21:22 Torrey Philemon: Actually folks I didn't  even finish up to book 17 (I'm on 16) - ran out of time myself!
21:22 Morgana Flavius: But this time I really didn't have a chance. This is the first time this week I can log into AS.
21:23 Torrey Philemon: We'll make you take the oath of the quartered horse that you'll post this coming week, Morgana <-:
21:24 Zoe Xanthippos: And the splitting the camp up certainly makes sense as Agamemnon refused to provision this group for years and years.  They would have needed to forage for supplies and also to weaken the possible allies for Troy.  Since Homer starts after 9 years, I just wondered if it was all made up?
21:25 Morgana Flavius: Yes, we're beyond formalities. And I'll be glad to jump right into what we liked or disliked most in the Song of Troy. :-)
21:26 Zoe Xanthippos: Oh, also in the Apollodorus is an obscure reference to the horse bit -   the notes refer to something called Folklore in the Old Testament as a source for the custom of standing on the pieces of a sacrificial victim.
21:26 Torrey Philemon: I just have a request that we keep to the first half of the book for this chat, and do another chat on the book later in the month. Ok?
21:27 Torrey Philemon: Good research, Zoe!
21:27 Zoe Xanthippos: OK, I have not read past Bk. 17
21:29 Morgana Flavius: I agree, Torrey.
21:29 Torrey Philemon:  So we're still at the start of the war, Morgana. Do either of you have a topic you want to bring up?
21:31 Torrey Philemon: As you said, Zoe, it seems to me that the splitting of the camp into two - one that was conquering nearby nations for supplies - makes sense. But I haven't found a source for it either.
21:31 Zoe Xanthippos: Kalchas.  I can't find anything about his defecting to the Greeks other than what McCullough has given us.  Everything else just says he was 1st at Troy and then with Agamemnon.  Since he was the one responsible for Iphigenia's demise, one wonders about him and how trustworthy he was - and I gather he plays a part later also
21:31 Morgana Flavius: I am still thinking about one of Torrey's early questions: why Paris had to go to a foreign king to "clean" himself from that unwanted murder...
21:32 Torrey Philemon: The Greek Mythology link site has a lengthy page on him. I was reading it   as I was looking into  sources of the omen he read at Troy. All sources seem to say the same thing about both the omen and interpretation - the war lasting 10 years etc.
21:33 Zoe Xanthippos: The purification by another king part was in the Oresteia also.  Religious belief
21:36 Torrey Philemon: What are our sources for religious beliefs at that time? (By the way Kalchas is also spelled Calchas and one useful url is 
21:38 Zoe Xanthippos: Thank you, Torrey.  I was using Kalchas.  That told me some of what I wanted to know
21:39 Torrey Philemon: Morgana, you referred earlier to sharing what we like and don't like about the book. Want to start?
21:40 Zoe Xanthippos: One has to depend heavily on the mythology.  I have a good book though, Walter Burkett's Greek Religion and also Prolegomena by Jane Ellen Harrison (the last was originally written in the 1800s
21:41 Morgana Flavius: I think it was a silly thing that McCullough used the Greek spelling of the charcters... Most of them are much widely known by their Latin names...
21:42 Zoe Xanthippos: I agree, Morgana.  I got all hung up on wondering who Kentaurs were until I realized it was Centaurs
21:43 Torrey Philemon: Ah, so there's a K and C difference..... (Klytemnestra too)
21:44 Zoe Xanthippos: I like the effort she makes to put the supernatural aspects of the myths into some explainable action rather than just magical phenomena
21:45 Torrey Philemon: From the standpoint of a writer, my guess is that she preferred to fully immerse herself in the Greek view of that time, including the experience of names.....
21:46 Morgana Flavius: I saw no point into the Greek name usage. And I didn't like that in the book, for one thing.
21:46 Torrey Philemon: Yes, Zoe, and how she tried to explain why some characters did as they did, like Achilles hiding out among the women. That never quite seemed to be in character - but his vow to Thetis made sense.
21:48 Torrey Philemon: I really liked how she alternated between different character's points of view, and did quite a good job of revealing their character in the process. Like Helen's superficiality and self-centeredness and Odysseus' (amoral) shrewdness.
21:49 Morgana Flavius: Yes, that is one of McCullough's qualities: she really knows how to make something unbelievable look quite plausible.
21:50 Zoe Xanthippos: Torrey, you just don't like Odysseus!  *g*
21:50 Zoe Xanthippos: He's no more amoral than the rest of them
21:50 Zoe Xanthippos enters...
21:51 Morgana Flavius: I think Helen can be seen as a superficial person or as a woman who really dared to live according to her feelings.
21:51 Zoe Xanthippos: Where'd I go?  I think her method is useful as we get a picture of various sides of this story - particularly because the one main source - Homer - doesn't cover the early period
21:53 Torrey Philemon: Actually Morgana I do like Odysseus.....but I don't like him as McCullough portrayed him! I guess I just go for "sensitive men" (but I do like intelligent ones!)
21:54 Torrey Philemon: It's hard to tell what facets of her story are carefully researched and which are made up. She blends them together so integrally.....
21:54 Zoe Xanthippos: What do you think of the version of Helen's story that puts her in Egypt during the war and not in Troy physically but as her spirit or something?
21:55 Torrey Philemon: That's an interesting legend. I've been wanting to look into it. There's a book out on the subject, I think......maybe several.
21:56 Zoe Xanthippos: Helen in Egypt  by Hilda Doolittle
21:56 Morgana Flavius: I think that Homer left room for several (and often contradictory) interpretations of the characters.
21:57 Torrey Philemon: Actually I don't think so many people would have focused on Helen as the "cause of the war" if she weren't ever present at all. But there is a mystery religion focused on her in Rhodes. I researched this once because my closest friend is named Helen Rhodes.......!!
21:58 Zoe Xanthippos: This version of Helen though does not evoke any sympathy from me.  She just seems like a spoiled child, as I said, and the picture of a stereotypical 'beautiful woman'
21:59 Morgana Flavius: Marion Bradley, in her "Firebrand" portrays Helen as a good wife to Paris. They had several children while she stayed in Troy. And when the war was over, she preferred to go back to Menelaus (even without loving him) than to be given as a slave to someone else.
21:59 Torrey Philemon: Perhaps that's part of why the characters have captured the imagination throughout the centuries....... the characters are interesting psychologically. I for one always wonder - was Helen a dodohead who fell in love and ran off with Paris or was she indeed kidnapped as some sources say? Could she perhaps have NOT WANTED to go with Paris?
21:59 Torrey Philemon: (Have you read Helen in Egypt, Zoe?)
21:59 Zoe Xanthippos: I'd like to look that up, I hadn't come on the religion
22:01 Morgana Flavius: Helen is really a dubious character. From what Homer tells us about her, any interpretation could be valid. McCullough chose the one of a woman who knows she's incredibly pretty and does not look for any other satisfactions in life besides her sexual and personal gratification
22:02 Torrey Philemon: Iread Firebrand when it first came out, Morgana, and don't remember it much....but now that you mention Helen in it, I do recall her character in Bradley. I don't think it was as superficial as McCullough portrays her.
22:02 Torrey Philemon: Neither Helen nor Paris have any awareness of the consequences of their actions......
22:04 Zoe Xanthippos: Apollodorus' notes say she had 3 sons by Paris, Bunomus, Corythus, and Idaeus.  Another note says the Lacedaemonians worshipped 2 of her sons, Nicostratus and Aethiolas  Contradictory
22:04 Zoe Xanthippos: No, I don't haver the Egypt book just came on it today someplace
22:05 Torrey Philemon: McCullough portrays her as not missing her children because they were plain!
22:05 Morgana Flavius: Just like Aeneas... Bradley shows him as a hero (more or less like Homer did). But McCullough portrays him as a ridiculous minor chieftain. Virgil must be rolling in his tomb! LOL!
22:07 Zoe Xanthippos: And I've read Firebrand but years ago, I'd like to have another go at it after reading Song
22:08 Zoe Xanthippos: I agree, both Helen and Paris are terribly self centered.  And Paris is still running of to the mountains for a part of every year with Oenone (sp?)  Priam says he's pretty useless here
22:09 Morgana Flavius: Another funny thing in McCullough's version is the homosexual relation between Odysseus and Diomedes. I wonder where she got that from. Unlike her Roman series, my Song of Troy book does not mention her sources... She probably made that up. What you think, ladies?
22:10 Zoe Xanthippos: Speaking of Aeneas - is the Judgement of Paris against Juno the reason she hates Trojans and Aeneas so much?  Holding a grudge?
22:11 Morgana Flavius: Yes, Torrey. I've seen more one source saying that Hera and Athena fought for the Greeks, while Venus fought for the Trojans because of that famous Judgement. BTW, why McCullough does not mention that? Bradley did and it sounded very plausible...
22:12 Zoe Xanthippos: They were there for 10 long years and it was not an unacceptable thing for two men who respected each other to have sex.  I wonder now if it was almost encouraged as a way of tightening bonds between soldiers and solidifying the troops for when they went into battle,
22:12 Torrey Philemon: I didn't conclude that O & D were homosexual, Morgana - just closely bonded in friendship. But then again I never necessarily assume that same-sex closeness means sex...... but perhaps later in S of T it's more explicit. I wasn't familiar with any Odysseus/Diomedes stories previously.
22:14 Morgana Flavius: Oh, sorry Torrey! I think I jumped way ahead of the chapter you are. And maybe I will spoil the surprise you'll have about O & D according to McCullough! ;-)
22:14 Torrey Philemon: Like you, I find it strange too that McCullough omitted the Judgment of Paris. But perhaps she didn't want to focus on the gods.......She's more human-centered. She had Achilles' friend try to substitute the deer for Iphigenia rather than have Artemis appear and leave the deer, as legend says.
22:14 Torrey Philemon:  Even at the beginning of the book she has O&D make a pact of friendship, and hang around didn't spoil anything!
22:15 Morgana Flavius: And yes, it was not unacceptable that a man had a sexual relation with another man and even Homer gave us fair hints that this was the case between Achilles and Patrocles. But Odysseus and Diomedes? Never heard of that one...
22:17 Torrey Philemon: I just looked up Diomedes on Greek mythology link.... ....
22:18 Morgana Flavius: But then again... I didn't know about the myth of Tethis other (murdered) sons, besides Achilles and Torrey enlightened me on that version.
22:18 Torrey Philemon: There are constant references there to him "with Odysseus". Apparently they worked as a team a lot during the war.....
22:21 Torrey Philemon: Hmm. This is news. "When after the war Diomedes 2 went back to Argos, his wife Aegialia plotted against him [see below]. So he took sanctuary at the altar of Hera"....and fleeing with his companions by night he passed into Italy" where he later met Aeneas again..
22:22 Morgana Flavius: The most interesting part of Diomedes' story in the Homeric Trojan war account is that he was the only mortal man who was able to wound an immortal. And that immortal was no one less than Aphrodite! That part McCullough skipped too (according to Torrey, because she was more human-centered). But Bradley told that part too, and actually, Aphrodite was Helen, who ran outside the walls to prevent Menelaus to hurt some Trojans (Aeneas? I can't remember), and Diomedes was able to hurt her with a spear or an arrow, can't remember either.
22:24 Zoe Xanthippos: That is interesting Morgana I'll have to read more on him
22:24 Torrey Philemon: Was that in the Iliad, Morgana? Diomedes wounding Aphrodite? Interesting (come to think of it I vaguely remember....didn't she run to Zeus to complain about her wounds?)
22:25 Morgana Flavius: Yes, it is in the Iliad.
22:26 Morgana Flavius: Exactly, Torrey. She ran to Zeus after that.
22:28 Torrey Philemon: Zoe, I think mentioned that some of the heroes of the war weren't really heroes. Like Menelaus and Paris, who were weaker characters. But the weaker men were those who put women first.......(though heroic Achilles did let a woman become very important)
22:28 Morgana Flavius: Bradley does not lose her human focus when she tells that story. As I said, she makes it all like a staged scene, where Helen pretends she is Aphrodite (she was beautiful enough to attempt it!). After it, the episode became the myth of Aphrodite being wounded in battle...
22:29 Torrey Philemon: By the way, another Trojan War novel is Daughter of Troy by Sarah Franklin. Told from the point of view of Briseis. Very well done in some ways but the political story is secondary to the focus on sex. Briseis is more interested in men's sexual prowess than anything else it seems.....
22:29 Zoe Xanthippos: That is believable, Morgana, much more so that a mortal wounding a goddess
22:30 Zoe Xanthippos: I've seen that one Torrey and ordered it but it seems to have disappeared into cyberspace
22:31 Zoe Xanthippos: Two more I ran into yesterday are The Great Legend  by Rex Stout but I lost the notes on what they were about due to a browser crash
22:31 Zoe Xanthippos: the other one is The Autobiography of Cassandra:  Princess and Prophetess of Troy
22:33 Zoe Xanthippos: by Ursula Molinaro, not yet published
22:33 Morgana Flavius: Ah, that would be an interesting one, Zoe: Cassandra's biography.
22:33 Torrey Philemon: Ooh the Autobiography of Cassandra. I've got to look that up!
22:34 Zoe Xanthippos: it was either on B&N or Amazon
22:36 Zoe Xanthippos: I have also looked up Antenor and found only more of what is done up in the book - do either of you know more?  He was very correct in his judgements of Priam's actions
22:37 Morgana Flavius: Antenor was new to me... I don't recall him in any other book about the Iliad I've read...
22:37 Torrey Philemon: The cassandra book is listed as a special order at No reviews however. And it's only 100 pages.
22:38 Torrey Philemon: I think he was mentioned in the Iliad but not in a significant way.
22:40 Morgana Flavius: Another interesting thing about Cassandra: according to Bradley's notes at the end of her book, there is archeological evidence, in the Greek island of Zakynthos, that Cassandra survied the Clytaemnestra vendetta. That there are descendents of her burried in that island.
22:40 Torrey Philemon: Here's a question. I was intrigued by "Helen's" description of her lack of freedom in Troy, how women were more restricted there than in Greece. Was that true? It makes sense (excuse the dumb question - is Troy modern day Turkey?)......she wasn't even supposed to leave the house.
22:41 Torrey Philemon: How can there by archaeological evidence that she survived? What could archaeology prove in regard to the life of one woman thousands of years ago?
22:42 Morgana Flavius: There are inscriptions in tombs... saying that "So and so" was the son of the son of the son of the son of Cassandra of Troy.
22:42 Zoe Xanthippos: Perhaps the difference was that in Troy Helen was a foreign wife and in Amyklai she was The Queen.  Also, the Old Religion part, with women still clinging to their former rights/roles
22:43 Morgana Flavius: According to Schliemann, Troy was located in what is modern Turkey, yes.
22:44 Zoe Xanthippos: That's intriguing, Morgana, maybe she had the son before she died - how long did it take Agamemnon to get back from Troy? 
22:44 Morgana Flavius: But Cassandra was taken to Greece by Agamemnon, and she could have escaped to this island...
22:45 Zoe Xanthippos: There's a lot of "time warp" in all this stuff, people are young and old at the same time, depending on who you're reading.  It makes it confusing
22:45 Torrey Philemon: (Another Troy novel....about the women of Troy.....written for adolescents. Inside the Walls of Troy. I got it recently but haven't read it. It's short.
22:46 Morgana Flavius: You have a point, Zoe. It took Agamemnon a long time to come back to Greece. She could have had children by him... but what's intriguing is that the tombstones mention Cassandra (a woman) and not Agamemnon or any other man who could have fathered her children, as the "head" of the family...
22:46 Torrey Philemon: One legend had Helen leave all men and live a celibate spiritual life with a group of women on Rhodes.....hence the mystery religion that developed around her there.
22:47 Zoe Xanthippos: Another version of everything that I keep running into is Euripides' plays - they all seem to have something to do with the Troy cycle.  *going to read all that too, will go blind soon*
22:48 Zoe Xanthippos: from what i read today, the mothers had the descendancy rights in early times and the fathers didn't matter or count
22:48 Zoe Xanthippos: Plus if she was a spoil of the war, anyone could have had at her
22:49 Zoe Xanthippos: After the war I thought Helen and Menelaus got blown off course and spent years in Egypt
22:50 Zoe Xanthippos: I am getting ahead of what little I know here...
22:51 Morgana Flavius: Yes, Zoe, there are other ancient authors (poets, playwrithers) who wrote about Menelaus and Helen in Egypt after Troy.
22:54 Torrey Philemon: There seem to be a lot of "
22:54 Torrey Philemon: a lot of "what happened to Helen" stories....
22:55 Torrey Philemon: By the way, my Helen's Lament poem which I wrote for Ancient Sites 2 years ago is here.....
22:57 Zoe Xanthippos: I wonder that there are so many conflicting stories of Helne.  Maybe she was only a vehicle in Homer's story for the war and never really was at all, a 'love interest' part for his listeners or something
22:59 Torrey Philemon: Probably one book that could help answer that question Zoe is Helen : Myth, Legend, and the Culture of Misogyny ...... that's another on my shelf that I hope to read!
23:00 Torrey Philemon: I think that myths and legends about Helen are like stories about Eve - the male tendency to blame the woman for being the temptress and therefore to blame for the choices they make.....
23:01 Zoe Xanthippos: I like your poem, Torrey!  It reinforces my theory on her beauty being a great attractor of all men and that she was used to it.  Though her remorse doesn't fit with McCullough's portrait of her, surely, she would have felt some
23:01 Torrey Philemon: And one could also mention Cleopatra in that context!
23:01 Morgana Flavius: I think Helen was either a true or legendary person, and that she was not created by Homer. He turned to existing sources when he wrote the Iliad.
23:02 Zoe Xanthippos: That book sounds interesting, hell, all books sound interesting, I'm going to have to build an addition!
23:03 Zoe Xanthippos: Yes, the Eve prototype fits.  As in "any beautiful woman must be a bad woman"
23:03 Morgana Flavius: LOL Zoe!
23:03 Torrey Philemon: (Well Zoe you'll have to start selling the old books on Ebay like I am so you can buy and house the new ones!)
23:03 Morgana Flavius: Agree with the "Eve Theory".
23:04 Torrey Philemon: Have either of you seen the Helen of Troy movie from the 50s. It's really not bad. Definitely worth seeing.
23:04 Morgana Flavius: Haven't heard about it, Torrey.
23:05 Zoe Xanthippos: Cleopatra was a lot smarter than poor old Helen and wasn't particularly beautiful either, just knew how to grandly manipulate people, especially men.  Helen seems more passive, more as being manipulated due to her roving eye than a manipulator.  She had the power because of her great beauty, just didn't know how to wield it
23:06 Zoe Xanthippos: Nope, might need those 'old books'!!
23:06 Torrey Philemon: Page about the movie....
23:07 Torrey Philemon: Right, Zoe. They were totally different characters. But both were blamed as the cause of war.....
23:07 Morgana Flavius: Ladies, it's past 1 a.m. here. I must go.
23:08 Torrey Philemon: Ah gee, maybe in a few years we can all meet in a chat room and watch   watch Helen of Troy online and talk about it. Just need a few years for technology to get to that point! We could even eat popcorn while we watch  and we wouldn't have to pay theater prices.
23:09 Zoe Xanthippos: I thought you were on our time Morgana
23:09 Morgana Flavius: I will read the posts this weekend and hope to be able to post my reactions.
23:09 Torrey Philemon: Ah Morgana, you're on a 2-hour time difference again.........Hope you'll post more on Troy in the next 2 weeks. Isn't your birthday coming up? (Do remind us when!)
23:09 Torrey Philemon: (You know Zoe is was a shock to me to look at a map and discover that all of South America is EAST of North America. Morgana's two time zones ahead of us!)
23:10 Zoe Xanthippos: How does a 2 hour time difference come about?  The way you said that, Torrey, it changes?
23:10 Morgana Flavius: No, 2 hours ahead of EST when you switch back from daily saving time.
23:10 Zoe Xanthippos: I knew it was east but not that much  - I need to get out a map don't I?
23:10 Torrey Philemon: From east to west, Morgana's half the way to England.....The sun rises over her two hours before us!
23:11 Zoe Xanthippos: And when is your birthday Morgana?  I want to remind you of your approaching old age when the time comes *G*
23:11 Torrey Philemon: When we're on daylight time, you're only one hour ahead of us, right?
23:11 Morgana Flavius: There is no time changes here. It is near the Equator and days and nights are the same all over the year.
23:11 Zoe Xanthippos: ignorance running rampant here
23:12 Morgana Flavius: Right Torrey. When you're on daylight time I'm only one hour ahead. And my b-day is this December 8!
23:12 Torrey Philemon: I didn't know myself, Zoe, until Morgana enlightened me!
23:13 Zoe Xanthippos: Anyway, goodnight, Morgana, I enjoyed it as always!
23:13 Morgana Flavius: LOL, Zoe!
23:13 Torrey Philemon: Ah, I'll be in Florida then but I'll wish you happy birthday before I leave. I won't have an Internet connection for a week......Happy birthday in advance!
23:14 Zoe Xanthippos: Birthday duly recorded here.  Watch for a message!
23:14 Morgana Flavius: Good night. And yes, it was special as always, to be here with you two!
23:14 Torrey Philemon: (I'll be "home" in Palm Beach county counting ballots....<-:  )
23:15 Morgana Flavius: Thank you both! Bye now!
23:15 Torrey Philemon: I hope you have a chance to celebrate, Morgana!
23:15 Morgana Flavius exits...
23:15 Zoe Xanthippos: Surely they'll have done with that by then, Torrey.  It's getting ridiculous
23:16 Zoe Xanthippos: Is there any more to say tonight on Troy?
23:16 Torrey Philemon: By the way have you seen the Helen of Troy film? I'd love to hear your reactions. You might have to hunt around to find it. also carries it I think....I bought it from them 2 years ago.
23:17 Zoe Xanthippos: The serious part of my brain may be dying
23:17 Zoe Xanthippos: I haven't seen anything - remember me?  the person who's saving up all the recommended movies for my sickness in my great old age?!
23:25 Torrey Philemon: Whoops Zoe - I closed your last telegram and can't telegram you back since you're invisible on the people panel! Ah, there you are. Gonna sign out in a moment......
23:26 Zoe Xanthippos: We must be done.  I think I'll exit now.  Let's arrange the next chat soon, though Christmas does pose some scheduling problems for everyone I would think.
23:26 Zoe Xanthippos exits...

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