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City Building


Jeff

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Glorantha has many famed cities that predate the Dawn - Alkoth, Raibanth, Yuthuppa, Nochet, etc. But founding your own city is also a path to godhood as shown by such demigods as Froalar, Pavis, the Red Emperor, Belintar, Hon-eel, and of course Sartar. Of all of these, Sartar the Citybuilder was the most prolific - like Alexander or Seleucus, Sartar founded multiple cities (five in total), and his heirs founded two more.

We have accounts for how Sartar and Dorastor founded their cities. They consulted the gods, laid out the sacred boundaries and identified where the main temples would be. Sartar and his heirs were knowledgeable in city planning - their cities were built around a plan, with clearly defined districts, roads, and markets (the so-called "Jrusteli method"). Imagine this is like Alexander or Seleucus consulting scholars learned in the methods of Hippodamus when they laid out their cities.

In fact, accounts of the founding of Hellenistic cities are filled with ideas that might inspire Gloranthan ideas. For example, when Seleucus founded Seleucia: 

"Seleucus asked the Babylonian priests which day would be best to found the city. The priest calculated the day, but, wanting the founding to fail, told Seleucus a different date. The plot failed however, because when the correct day came, Seleucus' soldiers spontaneously started building the city. When questioned, the priests admitted their deed."

I could imagine a similar story being told of Furthest's founding!

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What does this tell us about the many EWF era ruined cities (many of those having been around a lot longer) and their founders? Do the founders stick around even when a city is (mostly) abandoned?

Is there a city god of. say. Lylket or Orin Jisteel waiting to be awakened?

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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The ancients also generally engaged in "foundation rituals" which involved the sacrifice of material goods and animals or even people to specific deities whose favor was sought as the future building or city's patron.  These might go so far as the person/priest leading the ritual sacrificing a part of their body, such as a portion of a finger, a whole finger, an eye, an ear, toe, or even a hand in cases of extreme piety. 

As Jeff stated, there were always auguries cast before the work was begun, and these could take many forms.  In China this was done according to Feng Shui, elements of which are 6000 years old.  The Romans and Greeks preferred to watch birds, with the species and their behavior being the indicators, as birds interacted with the heavens and were their messengers.  Hindus like to set their temples near water with lotus flowers and plenty of water birds.  Astrology was also a very popular and widespread method for determining good times to build.

These rituals are still observed in a vestigial form with groundbreaking ceremonies today.

When founding a city there were numerous considerations, and the ancients were likely very aware of the logistical constraints regarding where a city would be possible.  Obviously a reliable water supply was a primary concern, followed by access to food, but those alone would only justify a village.  Cities were sometimes purpose built to militarily occupy a place that was important, such as a trade route, an invasion route, or a pilgrimage route.  In Glorantha I cannot think of a better example of this than Wintertop, which is all three.

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On 3/13/2022 at 7:01 PM, Darius West said:

The ancients also generally engaged in "foundation rituals" which involved the sacrifice of material goods and animals or even people to specific deities whose favor was sought as the future building or city's patron.  These might go so far as the person/priest leading the ritual sacrificing a part of their body, such as a portion of a finger, a whole finger, an eye, an ear, toe, or even a hand in cases of extreme piety. 

What I find fascinating is the element of genuine value in such rituals. 

A number of medicines in use today are based on folk remedies, like aspirin is a modified version of a chemical found in willow tree bark. Chewing on willow bark provides genuine pain relief.

The ancients also had other remarkable skills, for example the people who built the pyramids knew their trade.

Even people who sited a seasonal camp would have examined important factors - the defensibility of the site, access to water and food.

Obviously in Glorantha its all a bit easier - you ask a greater being to employ superhuman intelligence to figure it all out for you. Or do you?

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On 3/19/2022 at 8:05 AM, EricW said:

What I find fascinating is the element of genuine value in such rituals. 

A number of medicines in use today are based on folk remedies, like aspirin is a modified version of a chemical found in willow tree bark. Chewing on willow bark provides genuine pain relief.

The ancients also had other remarkable skills, for example the people who built the pyramids knew their trade.

Even people who sited a seasonal camp would have examined important factors - the defensibility of the site, access to water and food.

Obviously in Glorantha its all a bit easier - you ask a greater being to employ superhuman intelligence to figure it all out for you. Or do you?

Some great feats of engineering, like the Tunnel of Eupalinos, comes to mind.

 

As for foundation myths, you can't go wrong with the eagle landing on a cactus to denote the spot of Tenochtitlan. Good stuff.

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7 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Some great feats of engineering, like the Tunnel of Eupalinos, comes to mind.

 

As for foundation myths, you can't go wrong with the eagle landing on a cactus to denote the spot of Tenochtitlan. Good stuff.

The eagle landing on the cactus is just the civic engineer trying to silence the ignorant 😉 

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To what degree are Gloranthan cities found by some big guy as religious centres, and to what degree do they grow organically from trade and local division of work?

Could it be that the latter often predates the recorded founding, and that city founding primarily happens on spots where there already is a proto-city, a bustling town?

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You will have both. Powerful magic can create a spring so you can have water for your city, but it is still easier to choose a ford in a river, so you have both trade and protection, besides water. Even Pavis picked the emplacement of ruined Robcradle, because it probably was the best in the river. The real challenge is to make it last, with the tendency for global catastrophes. 

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