Ian Andreas Miller. 8 January 2001.
The name of the priest of Elysion has been debated among Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn fans for years. Many fans say it should be "Elios." Other fans say that it should be "Helios." Some fans write the name as "Eriosu." This article explains why "Helios" is the most appropriate spelling for the character when his name is written with the letters of the alphabet that the English language uses.
1. Fact: Is One Way to Approximate "Helios"
We should consider how the Japanese write the priest's name. Naoko Takeuchi, the creator of Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn, wrote the name of the priest in Japanese as Eriosu1. Other Japanese sources show the same katakana characters2.
According to the Eijiro Japanese-English Dictionary on the Web, the katakana characters Eriosu can approximate the name Helios. The dictionary also shows that the katakana characters Heriosu can also approximate the name. Since the katakana characters Eriosu can approximate the name, it does not matter that the katakana characters do not indicate an h sound.
There is more than one way to write Helios' name in Japanese. The chart below shows some of the different ways3 the Japanese write the name:
The chart shows that, when the Japanese write the name, they do not always indicate the initial h sound.
2. Elysion and Its Inhabitants
One should notice that all of the other characters who come from Elysion (4 Eryushion5) or are closely associated with the place have names from classical Graeco-Roman mythology: Pegasus6 ( Pegasasu7) in the anime and in the manga, Endymion8 ( Endimion9) in the anime and in the manga, and the Maenads10 ( Mendo11) in the manga. The name Elysion is part of the Greek name for the Elysian Fields: Elysion pedion12. The only name from classical mythology that comes close to Eriosu is Helios. "Helios" fits with the other mythological names.
3. Other Japanese Sources: and Helios
There are several Japanese Web sites that use the katakana characters Eriosu to represent "Helios."
One Japanese Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn Web site states that Eriosu represents the French pronunciation of the name Helios. The French do not pronounce the H in that name, so the French pronunciation of the name sounds more like "Eh-lee-ohs."
Another Japanese Web site mentions the spy satellite program called Helios. The name of the satellite has been written in Japanese as Eriosu.
4. Greek Dialects and Different Spellings
Speakers of different dialects of ancient Greek wrote the sun god's name differently. The chart below lists some Greek dialects and variants of the name13:
If an English-speaking scholar came across, for instance, Eelios14 in the Greek text of the Odyssey, would he or she have to call the sun god "Eelios" in his or her translation? No, because the two most common English spellings of the name are "Helios" and "Helius." Most people who are not scholars would not know that "Eelios" is really the god Helios. So, either the "Helios" spelling or "Helius" speling would be used.
5. The Moon, Earth, and Sun
We know that Usagi and her various forms carry the Silver Crystal. The name contains the term "silver," which is the metal associated with the moon. In her previous life, she was the princess of the Silver Millennium. The characters also mention the name of the goddess of the moon, Selene.15 So, Usagi and her forms are associated with the Silver Crystal, the Silver Millennium Selene, and the Moon.
In Act 40 of the manga, the priest of Elysion gives an informative speech:
From here, you [id est, Mamoru] went to the surface and protected this planet. Deep in this shrine, I offered my prayers to protect this planet. We never met each other, but our souls were always one. Our wishes were always one. And with the destined meeting of you two, again, we had the same wish. In your separate places, you couldn't be together. Then, too, the two of you [id est, Mamoru and Usagi] shared the same mission, the same power, the same soul.
You protected this planet Earth. The Silver Millennium from without, and the Golden Kingdom from within. And now that mission is carried in the two crystals of your kingdoms. The Phantom Silver Crystal is the holy stone of the Princess of the Silver Millennium. The Golden Crystal is the holy stone of the Prince of the Golden Kingdom. They send out your power.
(The translation above derives from Alex Glover16's translation)
There is no doubt that Mamoru represents Earth. However, Ms. Takeuchi clearly intended the Golden Crystal and the Golden Kingdom to be counterparts of the Silver Millennium and the Silver Crystal. Since gold is the metal associated with the sun rather than Earth, the Golden Crystal and the Golden Kingdom pertain more to Mamoru's solar influences (even though they affect his Earth associations, too). Usagi is a Cancer, and that astrological sign goes with the moon and silver. Mamoru is a Leo, and that astrological sign goes with the sun and gold. Furthermore, in act 42, Queen Nehellenia tells us that Mamoru is the prince of the Earth who is protected by the sun. (Of course, that does not mean that Mamoru is the soldier who represents just the sun.) The priest of Elysion is directly connected with Mamoru and the Golden Crystal in the manga. (The seal of the crystal needs to be broken in order for Mamoru, the priest, Earth, and Elysion to be saved.) In the anime, the priest is the guardian of the Golden Crystal.
At the beginning of act 40 of the manga, before Usagi has her dream about the smaller versions of herself and Mamoru, she thinks to herself about her experiences of sleeping alone with Mamoru. She tells us that when she is in bed with him, she notices the scent "of the sun and nature." She also describes the aura as "the light of the sun." Later, Usagi tells Mamoru that he always filled her with strength. That strength was the very strength of the Golden Crystal. So, the scent that she describes as "of the sun and nature" originates from Mamoru's crystal. The priest is directly linked with a crystal that emits that scent. The priest's connection with Mamoru (who is a Leo) and Golden Crystal (gold goes with the sun) connects him with the sun. (Earth and Elysion are connected with the sun and the Golden Crystal because of the existence of the Golden Kingdom inside the planet.)
Mamoru's solar associations and Earth associations are not contradictory. There is no reason to think that a hero cannot possess two different sets of associations. At least one character possesses more than one set of associations: Sailor Pluto. She is the sailor soldier of the planet Pluto. Her surname on Earth in the twentieth century, Mei, derives from one of the Japanese names of her planet. Her first maneuver is Dead Scream, which is a reference to Pluto, the lord of the dead. She is also the guardian of the underworld because her mythological counterpart, Pluto, was the lord of the underworld. On the other hand, she inherited her powers to manipulate time from her father, Chronos. While Mamoru has solar associations and Earth associations, Sailor Pluto has underworld associations and time associations. (Sailor Pluto's situation shows us that a character's alternate associations do not have to pertain to a particular celestial body. Nobody claims that Sailor Pluto's powers to manipulate time come from a planet named Chronos.)
6. Phi and "Elios"
Phi maintained the defunct Feather Dream, a Web site that is dedicated to the priest of Elysion. She defends the spelling "Elios" and provides several arguments against the spelling "Helios." I have reproduced some of her arguments here and I have commented on them.
In her The Name Game section, she wrote:
At this time we must remember that Elysion is at the center of the earth -- why would a person associated with the god of light be living in that type of place? In mythology, Elysian/Elysium was associated as the resting place of the (good) dead, and in the BSSM manga, it is the land of prayer and dreams. All this would be against the translation of Helios.
Someone could ask why a unicorn-like winged horse named Pegasus is associated with Ms. Takeuchi's Elysion. He or she could also ask why two women who are named after the Maenads are living in such a place. Pegasus and the Maenads from classical mythology were not particularly connected with the Elysian Fields. They were not particularly connected with dreams, either. Pegasus was not particularly connected with prayer. Incidentally, Helios' white, winged horses (similar to Pegasus) rested in the Islands of the Blessed17. Hesiod's Elysium (Elysian Fields) were in those islands18. Moreover, Helios was later identified with Apollo19 (much like how Artemis was later identified with Luna20). Phi says that Pegasus was the favorite mount of Apollo. If that is true, then one should point out that the priest of Elysion, in the manga, says that his favorite horse is Pegasus. Ms. Takeuchi's Elysion is naturally a bright and shining place (a veritable paradise like its mythological counterpart), and it is or was the place of the Golden Kingdom (which pertains more to Mamoru's solar associations than her Earth associations). That is certainly an appropriate place for a person who takes his name from a solar deity!
Phi also wrote:
Also, Pegasus was the favorite mount of Apollo (I explained this in the myth section), who is mistaken for Helios far too many times.
It's true that later on, Apollo and Helios did 'merge' into one 'being'.
That would actually be more evidence for the name Helios. Even writers in antiquity equated Helios and Apollo. The Greek dramatist Aeschylus does it at least once21. This shouldn't be surprising because "Helios" simply means "sun" in ancient Greek. So, if Apollo was said to be "Helios," the Greeks would have thought that Apollo was the Sun. If Pegasus was the favorite mount of Apollo, then that would be analogous to how Pegasus in Ms. Takeuchi's manga is the priest's favorite horse.
Someone may point out that Apollo was not always said to be a god of the sun. That may be true, but he or she should also consider that Artemis, Apollo's sister, was not always said to be a god of the moon. Ms. Takeuchi named one of the cats from the moon Artemis because of Artemis' later connection with the moon. So, it is not illogical or unreasonable to think that Ms. Takeuchi had the Apollo and Helios connection in mind when she created the priest.
"Later on" is relative to the times of the epic poets Hesiod and Homer, who lived several hundred years before Aeschylus. Aeschylus lived in the Classical period, which is what we think of when we hear "classical ancient Greece."
7. What Does "Elios" Mean?
Even if there was a very good argument for "Elios" (when it does not have anything to do with the sun), what on Earth is "Elios" supposed to signify? Can anyone explain that word? Phi's site is that she doesn't come up with possible explanations for it. It seems as if the spelling "Elios" was created simply to fit Eriosu, and little or no thought was put into explaining what the "Elios" could mean. If we cannot explain "Elios," but we can explain "Helios," we should use Occam's razor to reject "Elios."
8. "Helios" and the "Elios" Variation
The "Elios" spelling can be thought of as a variation of "Helios." (One could say that "Elios" is supposed to be a transliteration of the modern Greek pronunciation of the name.) However, the common French spelling "Hélios" (which is the form of the name that Eriosu often approximates) and the common English spellings "Helios" and "Helius" all contain the "H." English words (and terms made up of English words) are prominent in the various versions of Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn. In fact, the English titles of the two versions of the manga are Pretty Soldier Sailormoon and Pretty Guardian Sailormoon. Most of the sailor soldiers' special maneuvers use words that are usually used in English. The French spelling "Hélios" resembles the English spelling "Helios" more than "Elios" does such that it better fits the spellings of English words, which are so prominent. When Eriosu approximates "Helios" (without the acute accent), then it is identical to the English spelling "Helios." (The pronunciation of the priest's name is not the same as the English pronunciation of the name of the solar deity, but the spellings of the names are have much in common.) Even the most common way to approximate the name "Helios" in Japanese, , indicates an "H" sound. It is true that the "H" sound is indicated by Heriosu, but we can tell that it is trying to approximate the sound that we usually render in the Roman alphabet as "H." Even if Heriosu and Eriosu do not have the same sounds, they can approximate the same combination of letters. Since Ms. Takeuchi used Japanese and English so prominently in her manga, "Helios" (or "Hélios") would be more natural than "Elios" because the English form "Helios" contains an "H" and the Japanese form Heriosu approximates an "H."
"Helios" is an ancient Greek (pre-modern-Greek) name, and Hlios is a very common Roman-letter transliteration of the commonly-used spelling of the name in Greek letters that was used by the ancient (pre-modern) Greeks: . (There are older variant spellings of the name that were used by the ancient Greeks, but none of them are as common as the one that is commonly transliterated as Hlios.) One source refers to Helios (more accurately Hlios) as the "original, classical Greek" form of the name, but the writer obviously means that Helios/Hlios is the transliteration of the original, classical Greek form. The spellings "Helios" and "Hélios" are more orthographically closer to the very common transliteration Hlios than "Elios" is. So we can see that the pronunciations of the English "Helios," the French "Hélios," and the classical pronunciation of Hlios are not the same, but all of those Roman-letter spellings contain "H"s. Those spellings would be more natural than "Elios" because of the similarities in orthography.
9. Conclusion: "Helios" Is More Appropriate
The katakana-character combination Eriosu can represent the name Helios in the Japanese script. The "'There is no 'h' sound in the name of the priest of Elysion, therefore his name cannot be 'Helios'" argument is specious, at best. Ms. Takeuchi's priest of Elysion has solar associations. His name fits a mythological-name motif. He also exhibits a gold motif. The "Helios" spelling, not the "Elios" spelling, is a usual transliteration of the classical Greek form of the sun god's name. Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn most often uses Japanese, English, and French words. The most common Japanese, English, and French forms of the name of the Greek solar deity indicate either the "H" sound or the letter "H." "Helios" nicely fits in with those forms. Consequently, the "Helios" spelling is more parsimonious than the "Elios" spelling.
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