Sunday, November 19, 2017

Jupiter worship in Sherlockian England.

Sometimes all it takes is one quote, singled out for a hard look.

"By Jove!" John Watson cries in A Study in Scarlet, "if he really wants someone to share the rooms and the expense, I am the very man for him."

So it was that the entire Canon of Holmes began with in invocation of the god Jupiter, the sky-god, He of thunderbolts and eagles. And Jove blesses John H. Watson with Sherlock Holmes.

Inspector Gregson invokes Jupiter when Lestrade appears. Holmes calls upon Jupiter in the punishment of James Windibank, and again when Jupiter blesses Peterson with the blue carbuncle. Clerks, colonels, and clients call to the heavenly father of the ancient Greeks, but none more that Mr. Sherlock Holmes himself.

Jupiter not only blessed John Watson with a room-mate, He brought in one of his own followers to fill that job. Page through all the times Sherlock Holmes swears something by Jove, and you'll not only be surprised by the amount, but the sheer fact of how much Sherlock seems to be surprised or impressed by things enough to call in Jupiter.

Sometimes, it's as minor as a "Wow, it's nine o'clock aleady?" moment. Sometimes, it's as big as "Yikes! Here's comes the baddie!" But it's a definite part of Holmes's custom.

One of the best years of Holmes's career is the legendary 1895, which is also the year he comes home one day with a bloody harpoon, having supposedly gored a pig to help his case. But a proper sacrifice to Jupiter would have been an ox, so who's to say he wasn't fibbing a little bit on that account, just to seem a little less . . . well, sacrifice-y. Just a coincidence that 1895 was such a good year?

Jupiter's residence has always been said to be in the upper elevations, and where was it that Sherlock Holmes headed after his greatest battle? To the highest mountains, to pay his respects to Olympus?

Well, you never know.

Over the decades, Sherlock Holmes has been corralled into many a religion via a Sherlockian adherent of said faith. And sure, "By Jove!" could have just been a favorite exclamation of his, as well as the other folk in the Canon who uttered it. Not like they were all in some Jupiter cult or anything . . . .

There's just a lot of Jove-ing going on in the Canon of Holmes. By Jove.

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