Jim Butcher's "Codex Alera" nitpick

In the Codex Alera universe, the Alerans have been in the world of Carna for thousands of years – time out of mind, anyway. And as far as anyone knows they have always had a First Lord (who has so much to do in controlling the continental furies that any interregnum definitely would be remembered as an age of disaster), and always of the same dynasty (the family with the strongest hereditary furycrafting power of all the Citizen families), and the numerical naming convention never varies. The current First Lord is Gaius Sextus and his late son was Gaius Septimus. But the Aleran state is obviously much, much more than seven generations old. :confused:

I always thought the names Gaius Sextus and Septimus were no different than Henry VI & VII.

I always figured that it was loosely based on Rome and that you’d have dynasties that would occasionally die out or be supplanted by other stronger families.

Given that for most of the series Sextus is an old fart on death’s door, Septimus is years dead and apparently without an heir, and no one knows


exists and the other noble houses are jockeying to take over when the old guy dies I would have thought it was obvious that dynasties in that world can be supplanted. And no doubt have been many times.

There are several references throughout the series to different dynasties. It’s not ever overtly gone into like an infodump, but several different races and characters make mention of the older rulers and past ruling houses. There’s also specified tactics and political machinations to be gone into when one is trying to overthrow a ruler, which implies that it has been done often enough to have a bit of ritual or consistency to make it more “legit” in the minds of the people.

Another thing to keep in mind is that furycrafters can live significantly longer than non-furycrafters, so the coorelation between time passing and generations passing isn’t the same as it would be for human standard.

What I got a kick out of imagining was how far in the future EARTH is at the time of Codex Alera, assuming that the time passes in tandem in both worlds.

I noted to the mods that they might want to spoiler tag this–I loved the series and the “Octavious” thing was a huge surprise for me.

Hi there folks. Think I can clear up some of the confusion—by way of Jim.


Oh, no no no. We would have had to average political lifespans of a couple of centuries for Tavi to be the 8th First Lord. And that clearly wasn’t the case.

It doesn’t really have an effect on the story at all, so I never really dug into it on the page. But Alera was ruled by the House of Gaius for a long time–and that House was a big complicated chart, not a simple, direct family tree. When power, for whatever reason, passed from a given “branch” of the House of Gaius, the new First Lord would take on the name of Gaius Primus. Then they would go sequentially, father-to-son (though occasionally, it went from father to adopted-son, when a nephew or younger cousin was available while a son was not).

Once that branch of the tree lost power (they never were real prolific, when it came to making heirs), the cycle would start again.

Gaius Sextus was actually the fourth First Lord of that name. Most of the dynasties never made it past Quintus. One made it to Gaius Dodecandorus, which was a lumpy mouthful, even to the First Lord.

But the key issue is that Gaius Sextus, while merely the fourth First Lord to bear the name, was also the LAST of the House of Gaius. There /were/ no more branches to the family tree to fall back on–which is what made Septimus’ death so freaking tragic.

But again, that knowledge was something that was a given part of the landscape–people really didn’t chat it up, and I didn’t feel like writing a huge history lesson just to explain a fairly innocuous bit of Aleran history. In retrospect, I might have been able to do a minor reveal on that part of the story by having Tavi teach Kitai about it (with her mocking Alera, Alerans, and Tavi throughout the entire thing).

But that’s a lesson I’ll carry on into the future. Assuming I get my druthers, this won’t be the last big old honking fantasy I write. :slight_smile:



The events of the Codex took place sometime between 1500 AD-present, Earth time. For those who aren’t aware, the Aleran culture was created with the disappearance of a Roman Legion, transplanted from Earth to Carna. Carna, in Jim’s words, is like a dumping ground for the Bermuda Triangle. But bigger.

At any rate, I’m of the inclination that it occurred closer to present day than 1500 AD.


Because that allows for easier crossover to present-day Earth, with Harry Dresden in it?

No, no, a thousand times no!
I really like both series, but it’s time to let Tavi and the rest live in peace and it would be very cheesy to have a crossover.

Nah, not for a crossover. THAT certainly wouldn’t happen. They are two different universes entirely. My calculations are based off of the fact that Jim has pegged the political system of Alera as being between 1200 and 1600 years old, as well as other factors:

1) the lost legion that was the main building block of the series, the Legion IX Hispana, disappeared in 117 AD,

  1. it would have taken time after arriving on Carna for the original Gaius Primus to assert himself over the rest of the population as First Lord.

Also, Jim has said that he may eventually revisit Alera, maybe a thousand years in the future—maybe a sort of a steampunk Alera.

Thanks for the info, Myyrdneopia.

Oh - and welcome to The Dope. We hope you stick around.

Oh, I will. This thread came up on my google alerts, so thought I’d chime in. :slight_smile: