Posted on by Bunny McVane
Okay, I’m sure this topic has come up before, and I’m just not able to find it. I googled this word and found that someone else had basically posted the same question on another website. Does someone have a dictionary that lists a definition for the word archatron? It is used in Cities of the Plain on page 282 of my hardback edition: “She leaned and kissed him and stepped away and then the archatron came forward with his sword and raised it in his two hands above him and clove the traveler’s head from his body.”
I know that the issue of trouble finding words in standard dictionaries in McCarthy’s works has come up before and some of you may be getting to roll your eyes. However, this post is not meant as some oblique criticism for the use of this word. I am just wondering where I can find it. I looked it up in the OED online and there was no match. I also looked up archon and archatron is not listed as an alternate spelling of that word. If it is just a variant spelling of archon then is it meant in the Gnostic sense? Really though, I just want to know where I can find this word.
The suffix -atron was multi-tasked in general parlance meaning robot-like, said jocularly or derisively of one whose skills are robot-like. Back in the 1950s, it was applied to several toy robots made in the fashion of Robby the Robot of FORBIDDEN PLANET. It would not suprise me to learn that McCarthy joined this suffix with archon in his own coinage, but I just don’t know.
Thank you, Richard; I appreciate the response. Did not know that about -atron.
I know this thread is really old, but maybe someone will find this useful:
A friend of mine who studies classics has informed me that “-tron” is a suffix in ancient Greek to denote means or instrument. So perhaps “archatron” is the agent of an archon? One who carries out the archon’s will?
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