Skip to main content

Orbis Tertius

Index: Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan, Ficciones, OC,Obras completas. Buenos Aires: Emecé, 1974. 434.

imaginary planet in Borges story

Fishburn and Hughes: "In Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius' the name given to a proposed encyclopaedia to be written in one of the languages of Tlön, relating to an imaginary planet, or to what our planet will become under the influence of Tlön. The Latin name stands in marked contrast with the Nordic 'Tlön' and the Arabic 'Uqbar'. Explanation of it in terms of what we call the 'third world' seems unacceptably out of context; a more satisfying theory would be that it refers to a view in later Gnosticism that an orbis tertius existed as an intermediary between the spiritual orbis primus and the inferior, or casual, orbis alter. The attempt to resolve the duality of orbis primus and orbis alter is reflected towards the end of the story of 'Tlön', where it is said that the penetration of our world with 'objects' from Tlön would eventually result in an 'Orbis Tertius'. Another explanation may be found in the Copernican heliocentric system, according to which Mercury and Venus are the first and second planets orbiting round the sun and Earth the third." (144)