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Nevermet

Middle Sea Empire, Hrestol, & Castes

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Hi

 

Just double checking, I had a few questions about the Middle Sea Empire

  1. Were they Hrestoli, generally speaking?  If so, they had some understanding of Joy, correct?
     
  2. I assume they had castes, correct?  I can't seem to find it now, but I remember reading somewhere they loosened castes to allow for meritocratic rise through the imperial bureaucracy.  I'm assuming that would be (from their POV) an "innovation" on Hrestolism?
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2 hours ago, Nevermet said:
  1. Were they Hrestoli, generally speaking?  If so, they had some understanding of Joy, correct?
     
  2. I assume they had castes, correct?  I can't seem to find it now, but I remember reading somewhere they loosened castes to allow for meritocratic rise through the imperial bureaucracy.  I'm assuming that would be (from their POV) an "innovation" on Hrestolism?

Bear in mind that tmuch of the definitive statements on this matter are now post-canonical.  

No, the Middle Sea Empire was not Hrestoli.  They were generally more orthodox such that the Rokari view themselves as reformation rather than an new teaching.  There were Hrestoli in the Middle Sea Empire (Yomili is himself described as the Mouth of Hrestol which may or may not be perjorative MSE p28) and Rodard of Neleswal (GTG p342) but I think they were tolerated (especially if they were competent) rather than seen as part of the mainstream.

The Middle Sea Empire had castes.  They were not as rigid as the Rokari in doing so.  The strongest practice of caste would have been among the nobility who wouldn't have admitted anybody into their ranks unless they had the pedigree.  On the other hand, if you were a commoner and showed the required aptitude, you could find yourself placed within another caste with various legal fictions (such as adoption) to ease the transition.  The Imperial Bureaucracy may have had an eye for merit and so social promotion was possible but I still think the higher ranks whold have been reserved for the noble caste.

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On pain of becoming a "centre of pestilence," as a post-Hrestol civilization they were historically acquainted with JOY and caste mobility. He's in the Book as the culmination of the last line of the secret keepers. Where they went with that is a little more complicated . . . there's that great line in MSE where I think you are, "the neat organization was often subverted by individual ambition, by families infiltrating departments and instituting their families and allies into favored positions rather than relying upon the hrestolic ideals of meritocracy."

IMG the MGF comes from watching the revolution of caste as the empire lurched across history. The Seshneg-Jrustelan condominium rehearses the talar-zzabur dynamic in various phases while the independent military enterprise tends to consolidate around the ancient horalite titles like "dux" that linger from the Dawn Age. The engrion (MOA) status that dominated Brithos after the dawn is either extinct or ubiquitous, open to all in an age when hereditary succession is not always assured. 

In such a magically sophisticated society I would expect the foundational minutia to be treated casually, as more or less instructive, diverting or useful mythology with stronger resonance in some places (Hrestol in Seshnela and in a different interpretation Frontem; other founders elsewhere) much as a well educated Macedonian might smile at the notion of a historical Zeus, but YGWV and some prefer to focus on the intervening fundamentalist reforms. There's room for all of it.

The weaponization of JOY among the Stygians and others is poorly documented, which is just as well. By the time it gets to the God Learners it's a long way from its origin. Maybe some felt this and worked to reincrudate the concept. 

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10 hours ago, Nevermet said:

Just double checking, I had a few questions about the Middle Sea Empire

  1. Were they Hrestoli, generally speaking?  If so, they had some understanding of Joy, correct?
     
  2. I assume they had castes, correct?  I can't seem to find it now, but I remember reading somewhere they loosened castes to allow for meritocratic rise through the imperial bureaucracy.  I'm assuming that would be (from their POV) an "innovation" on Hrestolism?

The Castle Coast is probably the most useful remnant of the MSE and seems to maintain much of its society and structure, in that it includes a version of Hrestolism (including Joy), and a meritocracy in that able individuals can rise in class/caste, though the old powerful noble houses stay powerful.

One problem is that there are many versions of Hrestolism, and they differ in their interpretation and implementation of social and religious matters. The other complication is that the attitudes of the MSE developed and changed over time.

The MSE version of Hrestolism is distinct from both the earlier versions and very different from the New Hrestolism of Loskalm. The freedoms created by Hrestol were the basis of the freedoms that permitted the God Learners the philosophical insights  to exploit the natural magical world, but it also permitted the MSE to exploit and use gods, so that Tolat was important for their armies and Wachaza for their navies. Even before the formation of the MSE Hrestolism was divided regarding the use of gods.

The MSE also mostly divided its imperial bureaucracy into a civil structure, and a military one, and after its fall, the military rankings became the basis of the surviving aristocracy in many places, much as the Roman office of Dux, War Leader, became the social rank of Duke.

Edited by M Helsdon
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