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When and how were the Skanthi incorporated into Talastar?


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So, first some quick background: 

The nine original Talastari clans (including the Hagolings and the Lanisti, as told in The Missionaries) survived the Great Darkness (in a poor state) in Varknathendar.

Meanwhile, the Skanthi was a clan among the surviving Penentelli of Penentelada (Guide p. 710, among others), the most north-western (and it seems, the wildest - they were reduced to hunter-gatherers at the Dawn) of the surviving Vingkotling tribes. 

Later, though (as in current day) the Skanthi are listed among the Talastari tribes (Guide p. 341 and other places). So at some point, they must have been adopted (willingly or not) into the Talastari. Do we know when (and ideally, how) this happened? The two hypotheses I can come up with is a) that they were adopted reasonably quickly, like in the 100s or 200s, perhaps because their westward migration to the current Skanthiland had lead them to end up closer to the Talastari center of power than the Penentelli one (and anyway, both peoples had been Theyalanized at this point), or b) that it was something they were forced into when Lokamayadon conquered and conscripted the Penentelli (in the Second Theyalan War, 371 - 376) - moving entire peoples around in the org chart is fairly common for victors, after all. 

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(Map from the Guide, migrations added by me.)

Edited by Akhôrahil
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2 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

(As an additional question, does anyone have even a wild theory why the male part of the siamese twin-bodied chaos monster in Dorastor is named "Skanth"? It must surely not be a coincidence?)

Perhaps the original twin founders of the Skanthi were caught by Dorastran magicians and perverted to dominate the Skanthi? 

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13 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Later, though (as in current day) the Skanthi are listed among the Talastari tribes (Guide p. 341 and other places). So at some point, they must have been adopted (willingly or not) into the Talastari. Do we know when (and ideally, how) this happened? The two hypotheses I can come up with is a) that they were adopted reasonably quickly, like in the 100s or 200s, perhaps because their westward migration to the current Skanthiland had lead them to end up closer to the Talastari center of power than the Penentelli one (and anyway, both peoples had been Theyalanized at this point), or b) that it was something they were forced into when Lokamayadon conquered and conscripted the Penentelli (in the Second Theyalan War, 371 - 376) - moving entire peoples around in the org chart is fairly common for victors, after all. 

It's probably useful to consider that the Dawn is 1600 years ago.  In between, there have been Lightbringer missionaries, the founding of Dorastor, Lokamayadon's elimination of the Vingkotling tribes, the Gabji Wars, the EWF incursions, and the Dragonkill before you even get to the past 500 years.  And in that period you get several phases of Lunar expansion plus horse nomads.

If you think about the period between say 1000 and 500 BC in Greece, you really aren't going to recognize any clans/tribes that existed in the former period.  So, I'd say that the Dawn Age Skanthi, aside from a name, have very little to do with the Skanthi of 1600.  These are likely clans that have reformed post-Sheng (i.e. ~1450-1550).  The renewed Talastari kingdom likely absorbs these Skanthi clans during that period.

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24 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

If you think about the period between say 1000 and 500 BC in Greece, you really aren't going to recognize any clans/tribes that existed in the former period.  So, I'd say that the Dawn Age Skanthi, aside from a name, have very little to do with the Skanthi of 1600.  These are likely clans that have reformed post-Sheng (i.e. ~1450-1550).  The renewed Talastari kingdom likely absorbs these Skanthi clans during that period.

While I agree about the possibility, I'm not so sure about this. If you look at the maps in The Glorantha Sourcebook, Skanthiland seems remarkably untouched by most of the big events (the Lokamaydon conquest seems to be the biggest deal, although there's a lot of dragon-fighting going on during the EWF as well - Drang was slain close by), perhaps because the terrain is so awful and the land so poor that most empires can't be bothered conquering them properly. It's even noted in tHotHP how the Skanthi clan "remains there on maps for a long time". So it really could be a matter of a remarkably long continuity.   

Edited by Akhôrahil
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1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

While I agree about the possibility, I'm not so sure about this. If you look at the maps in The Glorantha Sourcebook, Skanthiland seems remarkably untouched by most of the big events (the Lokamaydon conquest seems to be the biggest deal, although there's a lot of dragon-fighting going on during the EWF as well - Drang was slain close by), perhaps because the terrain is so awful and the land so poor that most empires can't be bothered conquering them properly. It's even noted in tHotHP how the Skanthi clan "remains there on maps for a long time". So it really could be a matter of a remarkably long continuity.   

I completely agree.  When it comes to Empires, the logic of conquest seems to be that one needs to measure the lives lost in taking and the resources required to hold a piece of land are measured against the actual productivity, strategic importance of the land.  If the land is rich, it is worth taking.  If the land has a crucial choke point, it is worth taking.  If the price of not occupying the land is continual invasion, it might be worth taking, or perhaps fortifying (see Hadrian's Wall and the Great Wall of China).  Skanthiland is far easier to win with beads and trinkets than force of arms, and their hard life makes them tolerable light infantry and skirmisher mercenaries, and in that role they ae far more valuable than for anything else their awful territory will provide.

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32 minutes ago, Darius West said:

I completely agree.  When it comes to Empires, the logic of conquest seems to be that one needs to measure the lives lost in taking and the resources required to hold a piece of land are measured against the actual productivity, strategic importance of the land.  If the land is rich, it is worth taking.  If the land has a crucial choke point, it is worth taking.  If the price of not occupying the land is continual invasion, it might be worth taking, or perhaps fortifying (see Hadrian's Wall and the Great Wall of China).  Skanthiland is far easier to win with beads and trinkets than force of arms, and their hard life makes them tolerable light infantry and skirmisher mercenaries, and in that role they ae far more valuable than for anything else their awful territory will provide.

That's how I picture things. The lowlanders get subjected to an amount of raiding and banditry, and there are probably the occasional punitive expeditions in return, but no-one has any interest in a full-scale war, and I'm sure there are plenty local feuds to keep them busy among themselves much of the time. Trying to occupy the place would be a logistical nightmare with no pay-off. There are a couple of Sun Dome temples nearby that can take care of mid-range problems.

In 1625, everything changes in the Talastar-to-Aggar area though - there's a partial Lunar collapse, rebellions and raids escalate dramatically, and only local forces remain to oppose it. The Lunar Empire puts absolutely no military priority to this backwater with the dual Pentan and Dragon Pass crises. The Aggar highlands rise successfully in 1625, and king Oddi of the Bilini plots his massive future raid on the Lunars for 1629-30.

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I would look towards the EWF for the common cause between the Skanthi and the Talastarings. This is the area where Isgangdrang subdued the Old Day Traditionalists, and this is the area where Alakoring found willing supporters in his fight against the EWF. A common anti-EWF cause would have been helpful in overcoming the bad vibes that the Bright Empire had brought.

In the Paulis Longvale narrative in Cults of Terror, the Skanthi were hosts to the exiled Talastarings, which doesn't sound like they were in any way subects of Bolthor Hairybreeks.

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21 minutes ago, Joerg said:

In the Paulis Longvale narrative in Cults of Terror, the Skanthi were hosts to the exiled Talastarings, which doesn't sound like they were in any way subects of Bolthor Hairybreeks.

In my reading (the Guide isn't completely clear here, but I think CoT and D:LoD makes it the reasonable interpretation), Bolthor was king of the Bilini tribe (and not the kingdom of Talastar - Opand of Voraneel would have been the last king of an even theoretically unified Talastar), and hence not an overlord of the Skanthi (a separate tribe within the Talastari).

(The Bilini is a dominant super-tribe within the Talastari though, so the king of the Bilini is without a doubt the strongest ruler among the Talastari.)

Edited by Akhôrahil
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On 3/29/2021 at 10:54 PM, Akhôrahil said:

That's how I picture things. The lowlanders get subjected to an amount of raiding and banditry, and there are probably the occasional punitive expeditions in return, but no-one has any interest in a full-scale war, and I'm sure there are plenty local feuds to keep them busy among themselves much of the time. Trying to occupy the place would be a logistical nightmare with no pay-off. There are a couple of Sun Dome temples nearby that can take care of mid-range problems.

 

You don't need empires to directly impact peripheral groups. It's enough for the empires or hordes to devastate the lowlands and send enough refugees away to disrupt (and displace) the peripheral peoples.

 

I have no particular opinion, I think both possibilities seem legit. No idea.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just realized something else re: raids and retaliations. Lakrene (the obvious raiding target) is vaguely, tenuously independent, but this surely means that they're highly reluctant to try to call in central Lunar support against raids, as there is every risk that these forces would undermine independence (after all, if you can't defend yourself...). So an amount of raiding and banditry from the Talastari is likely seen as a lesser problem than having some Lunar army stomp around. A Sun Dome temple plus local forces plus maybe mercenaries goes a long way to keep the raiding reasonable.

Even provincial governors might be reluctant to look weak this way. 

Edited by Akhôrahil
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