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Jeff

Some thoughts on the history of architecture in Dragon Pass

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On 2/18/2019 at 8:55 PM, Jeff said:
As an interesting point in comparison, here's the size of several ancient world cities (source Colin McEvedy, "Cities of the Ancient World"):
 
Alexandria: 236 hectares (residential districts, not including palace or Pharos)
Antioch: 375 hectares
Athens: 120 hectares
Autun: 200 hectares
Babylon: 500 hectares
Jeusalem: 110 hectares (including the Temple and Herod's Palace)
Londinium:135 hectares
Miletus: 100 hectares
Ninevah: 720 hectares
Palmyra: 130 hectares
Pompeii: 65 hectares
Rhodes: 388 hectares
Rome: 360 hectares (buildable area within the Servian Wall)
Syracuse: 315 hectares.
 
For comparison with Glorantha:
Runegate: 12 hectares
Clearwine Fort: 20 hectares
Boldhome: 350 hectares
Furthest: 130 hectares
Nochet: 600 hectares
Old Pavis: 1905 hectares!

So Gloranthan cities would be significantly less densely populated than Terran cities.

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2 hours ago, Brootse said:

So Gloranthan cities would be significantly less densely populated than Terran cities.

Actually I have them more densely populated than most ancient world cities are estimated to be. But keep in mind, the numbers thrown around for ancient city populations are absurd. The best analysis I've seen suggests that at its peak Rome had a population of about 200,000 and not the one million often thrown around. Alexandria hit about 100,000 at its peak. Londinium was maybe 7,000 (and thus had a population density about a third of Furthest).  

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I've seen about half a million for Imperial Rome a few times - including the immediate areas around the city walls, but I'm not a scholar or anything. That is a very high number though - Paris and London wouldn't come close until the Modern Era.


Also, in terms of desnity - Pavis is clearly a massive outlier due to its (bizarre) origin. More like a city and its own integrated hinterland than just a city. Frankly it's astonishing that they had enough men to man the walls regularly. At least I suppose they didn't have to do maintenance on the walls, given their magical origin.

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3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I've seen about half a million for Imperial Rome a few times - including the immediate areas around the city walls, but I'm not a scholar or anything. That is a very high number though - Paris and London wouldn't come close until the Modern Era.

For a continuously settled place, York might be the better major city than London. The Roman walls fortified a pre-existing Belgae (?) place which the Romans mis-pronounced as Eburacum. York would be a smaller big city while limited to the extent of its city walls. (How long those limits lasted de facto is another question, even though the wall may have remained the legal extent of the city. Looking at the map of Caernarfon about 300 years after its founding as a fortified small city, we find it spilled out of the original fortification, as shown in the City of Carse map discussed elsewhere, but the comparable castle city Conwy doesn't show any such spiling.

When looking at remnants of Roman imperial cities, the three seats of the later electorate bishoprics of the Germanies - Trier, Cologne, and Mainz - plus the former imperial seat of Augsburg were some of the major cities in the Austrasian Frankish territories. Cologne and Augsburg never fell down to small city populations and remained some of the most populous cities well into the modern times, even with the great urbanisation boom of the high Middle Ages that led to upstart new big cities like Nürnberg (aka Nuremberg), Vienna, Munich and Lübeck.

3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Also, in terms of desnity - Pavis is clearly a massive outlier due to its (bizarre) origin. More like a city and its own integrated hinterland than just a city. Frankly it's astonishing that they had enough men to man the walls regularly. At least I suppose they didn't have to do maintenance on the walls, given their magical origin.

Wall maintenance is a Flintnail cult duty, isn't it?

On the whole, the best RW parallel for the city of Old Pavis might be Karakorum. Similar ruling dynasty, too.

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16 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I've seen about half a million for Imperial Rome a few times - including the immediate areas around the city walls, but I'm not a scholar or anything. That is a very high number though - Paris and London wouldn't come close until the Modern Era.


Also, in terms of desnity - Pavis is clearly a massive outlier due to its (bizarre) origin. More like a city and its own integrated hinterland than just a city. Frankly it's astonishing that they had enough men to man the walls regularly. At least I suppose they didn't have to do maintenance on the walls, given their magical origin.

One of the reasons that I rely on McEvedy is that he estimates urban population by measuring the built-up are within a settlement and multiplying it by the best estimates of population density. Outside of the tiny sub-field of ancient population estimates, pretty much every other scholar (including scholars I have tremendous respect for) just forward estimates that were forwarded from other sources. 

And yes, Pavis is definitely an outlier, but it is included because it is useful to keep in mind that the Big Rubble is bigger even than metropolises like Nochet. Of course, relatively little of the Big Rubble is built-up ruins - the majority of the Rubble is either open land (Huntland, Big Grazing) or wooded (the Garden).

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I've been talking to an archaeologist who takes burial site counts to estimate the population of a settlement, but I guess that in the case of Rome or even Cologne this method comes to its limits. And with urn burials, few remains can be clearly sexed, which means that the remains of burial goods are used to sex the individual. This has on occasion led to "male burial sites" with hardly any females interred, and no indication of the whereabouts of a femal burial site, offering an error of almost 100% for the estimate.

Calculating the consumption of food is a method I have seen for Rome, but that comes with very broad estimates to begin with, which can (consciously or unconsciously) be tailored to match expectations from other sources. Still, such feasibility calculations based on imperial decrees and harbor records might be a way to calculate the upper limit of sustainable population. Water consumption doesn't help in the case of Rome, though, their aqueducts imported way more than the immediate needs of the population.

In our fantasy city of Nochet, water consumption is a concern for the Sarli district, however, as it mainly relies on cisterns rather than aqueducts. The Lyksos estuary shouldn't be too brackish given the amount of the Skyfall water pushing through it, though. Transportation of food is another major concern, especially for Nochet which has virtually no agricultural land immediately outside the walls, but instead the sprawling Necropolis called the Antones Estates.

 

 

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On 2/18/2019 at 5:43 PM, Brootse said:

Really interesting thread! Btw, how did time exist before the Sunrise?

It didn't (at least if we trust the Monomyth).

(Only in Glorantha can you give this kind of answer!)

Edited by Akhôrahil

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On 2/25/2019 at 9:26 PM, Akhôrahil said:

It didn't (at least if we trust the Monomyth).

It did if you are Dara Happan. They had a bunch of monks, I think, who spent the whole of God Time burning candles, and counting how many candles were finished. It allowed them to work out how many years passed for them. Personally, I think that time must have dragged so badly for them, unless they were really into candles.

Edited by soltakss

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2 hours ago, soltakss said:

It did if you are Dara Happan. They had a bunch of monks, I think, who spent the whole of God Time burning candles, and counting how many candles were finished. It allowed them to work out how many years passed for them. Personally, I think that time must have dragged so badly for them, unless they were really into candles.

I haven't heard that one before, where is it from?

The God Time clearly had "sequentiality", ie. events occuring in a chain. However, it seems that different sequential chains intersected at points and in ways that would be impossible in our conventional view of time, and that sometimes the sequences in these chains seemed to switch places. In other words, linear Time as we know it didn't exist - but stuff still happened.

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In the later Second Age, Dragon Pass was again the center of an urbane empire, best known as the EWF. The EWF ruled much of the continent and could command masons and builders from far and wide, particularly from Dara Happa, but also from dwarf allies and subjects. Population levels recovered and many of the old cities were rebuilt, sometimes to realign with mystic experiments of the ruling EWF.

Quote

One interesting point is that any ruins from the EWF have been destroyed for at least 500 years if not longer. Which means that they might resemble the Mycenaean and Minoan palaces as presented in Assassins Creed Odyssey (in terms of how intact they are)

Jeff - love this thread.

I'm curious, besides Dara Happan and Dwarf influences, did draconic influences also work their way into the architecture of the EWF?

I know this is more of a modern take, but I'm thinking particularly of the of ideas behind the Art Nouveau movement of being inspired by natural forms (especially curved and sinuous) and structures and transferring that into the aesthetics of architectural form. 

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Here is a discussion Kalin and I had about art history that might shed a bit more light

The Dawn

At the Dawn there were basically two cultural centers - Dragon Pass (the Theyalans) and Peloria.

Dragon Pass

The Theyalans had a tradition of "realistic" art thanks to the Architect and the Artist (both of whom were active in the Holy Country). Moreover, they had access to dwarf crafters. Dragonewts and elves. Whatever this "Theyalan style" was it got spread all over the place, but also was probably really diverse. Individual artists did things in individual ways.

Peloria

Meanwhile in Peloria, you start with court art that is intended to appeal to the Sons of the Sun. Lots of gold, horses, sun disks, etc. And it should contrast with Theyalan art by not being realistic or naturalistic.
So very formal, very precise and almost abstracted at times.
When Dara Happa is formed, the new empire takes some of the ideas of the Theyalans and starts making sculptures of important gods and rulers. Who are the same thing. 

And they look at the Gods Wall for style. Because of course there are Pre-Dawn relics. Just like in Dragon Pass - we have relics from ancient times. Broken statues of unknown gods.
You also start getting more and more concentrated wealth in the later First Age. Temples can really go nuts commissioning artists.
And with the World Council, the Theyalans and the Pelorians can hire each other. So from Ralios to the Redlands, Peloria, Dragon Pass, and Maniria all have some common influences.
Regional differences, but also common influences.
So a rich Yelm temple might hire artists, only for them to later work for a Heortling king or Orlanth temple. So a cross-pollination of symbols and styles.
That means is that we don't go back to the First Age to get differences in artistic styles in the Third Age. The First Age is a shared language.
 

Second Age

So everything collapses at the end of the First Age. War and poverty. A collapse, which in turn leads to reduction in complexity in artwork. A Dark Age from about 450 to 600  or so.
In Dragon Pass, you end up with a vibrant civilisation around 700. But they don't have the dwarfs around to help them. And a lot more trollish influences.
So imagine something less "realistic" and powerfully primitive. Basic shapes, essentially. But done with lots of wealth.

This is people working off copies of copies, without the skills to do it.

Dragon Pass

Now then around 800 things change. The Dragon Pass kingdom gets REALLY wealthy. And obsessed with esoteric symbolism. And is in contact with the Middle Sea Empire. And things get sensuous and baroque. This is the formation of what we call the Esrolian style. Think the baroque art of medieval India. 

Whereas the MSE is more Hellenistic baroque. Very idealised baroque work..

Peloria

Meanwhile, in Peloria thanks to the Carmanians you get a much more austere idealised form.
We are of course talking about the richer temples and rulers. Smaller temples are left behind. So the Theyalans (or at least Esrolians) still maintain some of that stiffer, older look to it. And villages still do stuff like they always did.

But Carmania establishes a much less baroque style in Peloria. This is one of the big splits. Which, in turn, echoes the divide that existed before the First Age too.
Where the EWF is going for Indian baroque, the Carmanian and Dara Happans are going for something more austere and idealised. More stylized and austere styles in the north, more "naturalistic" and descriptive art in the south. To put it roughly, the Pelorians evoke ideas, the Theyalans depict things.

EWF

The MSE is providing influence in Esrolia - you get rich temples hiring crafters from the MSE for technique skill. But they are super cosmopolitan. (With infinitely more nuance than that of course). And might throw in weird references from Kralorela or Fonrit or Seshnela or whatever.
So in Esrolia, you basically establish super-baroque. Great technique, lush symbolism, but very naturalistic and sensuous.
In Dragon Pass and South Peloria, it is as baroque, but less sensuous and more abstract and symbolic. Here the influence of the dragons is the greatest. 
And in Peloria, it is more austere, idealised, and formal. Also they have the Gods Wall to go back on.
With Dragon Pass in the middle, being a mixture of both, yet also adding its own draconic twist just to make things unique:

  • In Esrolia, she is depicted as this lush and sensual dancing woman, surrounded by a dazzling array of flowers, grains, husband protectors, worshipers, lesser goddesses. She overwhelms with splendor to the point where your senses can't even take it all in.
  • In Peloria, she is very formal and strict. She looks much like the other goddesses, just more so. Or maybe she is naked and the others are clothed.
  • In Dragon Pass, she is looser than Peloria, dancing like she is in Esrolian artwork. There are still goddesses, husbands and flowers around her, but there is also other stuff. Strange runes, which almost look like hers, but aren't. The snakes around her look...odd, and not quite right. And some of the flowers do not look entirely real.

In Peloria she is very formalised.  But in Dragon Pass – it is something which anyone from around them, let alone a previous or later Age would just stare at and go "What even is going on here?"

Now during the time that the EWF rules Dara Happa, this style gets imposed there as well. But it doesn't catch on. Too weird and uncultured and not properly structured 

The Closing
Then the seas Close. Esrolia is cut off from the MSE, and its art loses some of its technical brilliance, and gets even more baroque and less understandable.
Meanwhile in Peloria, the Carmanians react against the most obviously EWF stuff, but they are conquering and expanding, so they are hiring artists trained by the EWF but being told Be More Formal!

Third Age

And then comes a long period of war that culminates in the Dragonkill War. Which divides the world into Kethaela and Peloria.

Kethaela and Sartar
Kethaela starts with that late Second Age Esrolian style. Sensuous and baroque. Though regressed a bit and gets worse and worse at it. Since you don't have the actual artisans present anymore.
Until Belintar shows up. And Belintar oversees a rich artistic renaissance. And he's of course a thorough God Learner, with baroque references on top of baroque references. So the style remains mostly the same, but revitalized. Not "realistic" but symbolic and mythological.
And he draws on the Esrolians, the Heortlings, the Caladralanders, the God Forgotites, the trolls, and the dwarfs to create a visual melting point. And the Kethaelans get their technical skills back. The way the ornamentation and detailing is made is changed as a result of communication from the dwarfs of Gemborg. Intricate decoration.
At some point, the style is a reference to a reference to itself. So whereas the Second Age stuff was naturalistic verging on weird abstractions (like in the eyes and so on), under Belintar, temple architecture was naturalistic but not formalised. Belintar tries to recreate that very spread out and universal First Age Style.
And of course this just goes nuts with the Opening. Because the Holy Country is now stupid rich. 

Now when Sartar gets settled, they bring this artistic tradition with them. Sartar and his heirs hire artists from the Holy Country. But Orlanth is the focus. It is not as baroque. It is more martial, more masculine. And generally technically cruder, except for the dwarf-made stuff from Sartar's time. Which is technically superb - even better than in the Holy Country.
It is more masculine, more martial, more violent. And even more individualistic. Artists are very much encouraged to put their own spin on things. The overall style is there, of course, you can't really escape it.

Peloria

But, in Peloria, things are different. The EWF style are gone. And we have a long dark age.
The Carmanians embrace a formal brutalism style. Them and their gods triumphing atop piles of dead. Think Assyrian palace style. Scenes of war and scenes of authority.

The Lunar-Dara Happan revolt comes out of that tradition but tries to turn it upside down. With a naked goddess being the equal of a stern but benevolent Yelm. Standing on top of a pile of dead Carmanians and Pentans.
But also we start getting new esotericism. It could be that the Red Goddess was not even initially depicted as a deity.
But just as a woman. Deliberately smaller than the gods and rulers. Naked and human, but superior to the immortal gods. And she is not depicted in a formal manner. Idealised yes, but relaxed and in dance.
The Yelm cult takes its cues from here as well. Yelm gets less formalised, although continues to be idealised. Maybe even more idealised.
As the Lunar Empire gets richer, the art gets better, and becomes what we now call the Old Lunar style.
We get a century and a half of this Old Lunar style. And then in 1375 the Pentans come. And for nearly a century, the Pentans reduce Peloria to grasslands. People are eating mud and each other.
The Lunar Empire consists of the besieged center of Glamour, some barbaric kingdoms in the south, and the Western Reaches aka Old Carmania.
Lunar art becomes cruder, poorer, and more emphatic. There is now no difference between Lunar and Dara Happan. There is simply Lunar-Pentan-Slave. Empathic in subject and very removed from the concerns of the world. Because in the real world Sheng Seleris rules. Minor victories or stalemates against Sheng Seleris are monumental triumphs!

In a surprise, the Red Emperor defeats Sheng Seleris and confines him to a Lunar hell. The Pentans collapse. And now the Lunar Empire is able to resettle the New Grasslands of Peloria. This is where Lunar art comes from. Restore and Rebuild. New towns need to be built. Old cities need to be rebuilt.
All quickly, all at the same time, and from the Oronin River to the Arcos. From the White Sea to the gates of Alkoth. Every town gets laid out more or less the same, with a temple complex to the Red Goddess, Yelm, Dendara, Lodril, and whoever else. All by the same architects and artists.

And although directly supervised by the Red Emperor, Great Sister, or Hon-eel, it is initially done fast and on the cheap. And some a lot better than others.
So we now have within the empire basically four styles. Three are old and can be found in 1. Glamour and the Tripolis, in the 2. Western Reaches, and in 3. Jillaro. But 4. is the most widespread and common. The New Lunar style or the Lunar Heartland style.
Towns are built quick. And cheap. Art is initially easy to reproduce. Very stylised and formalised. But over the next century and a half, the empire gets richer and richer and richer. So this New Lunar style gets built upon, embellished, upgraded. More elaborate and more technically skilled. But it is still based off that original post-Sheng style. But now rich Lunar priests demand that the artist display technical virtuosity and work in all sorts of Lunar motifs and esoteric references.
During Sheng's occupation, the shift towards more empathic and non-real world related themes in art also brings in another thing. The artwork starts to depict Yelm, Lodril, Dayzatar, and all the others as idealized and perfect. These almost calming presences in the world, a source of stability amongst the chaos and horror of Sheng’s rule.

Yelm is no longer that stiff, formal, restricted thing on the Gods Wall. He is still that yes, but to the masses he is also the benevolent sun god. And the Red Goddess' divine father. 

As the occupation ends, as more art gets made and the more and more money gets pumped into it, this transforms.
The New Gods, the seven mothers, Etyries , Hon-eel, etc. are depicted in a sensual, loose and free style. They are beautiful and relatable.
The Celestial Gods meanwhile are beautiful, yet perfect. They are not sensual, they are not mere mortal things. They are the perfect geometry of the world, the cosmic order.
A depiction of Hon-eel or Jar-eel or Etyries shows you an idealized reflection of you, the mortal viewer.
They were born, they suffered, they transcended. Like the Goddess herself.
The depiction of Yelm shows you something else though. something still beautiful, but in a different way.
It is the beauty of perfect harmony. The beauty of the cosmic order of the Golden Age.

So let's move this forward a tiny bit more. By the 7th Wane, the Lunar Empire is ruled by Yelm illuminates of the Red Goddess cult.
For generations. They are self-referential by now.
In the sense that their art needs to communicate with them and not so much other audiences.
So in our magnificent great temple in Glamour, with gold and gems and glass, abstract depictions of Yelm and statues of Apollo, we have this crude little gold sun disk on a horse from the Dawn.


:

Edited by Jeff
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6 hours ago, Jeff said:

Here is a discussion Kalin and I had about art history that might shed a bit more light

This deserves to be written up as an article in Wyrms Footnotes, illustrated, of course, with examples of the art of each period/culture.

It might be argued as being overly esoteric, but it would certainly add depth to descriptions of ruins and tombs PCs are 'exploring', and any artifacts they find.... and require certain Lhankor Mhy skills.

Edited by M Helsdon
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13 hours ago, Jeff said:

EWF

The MSE is providing influence in Esrolia - you get rich temples hiring crafters from the MSE for technique skill. But they are super cosmopolitan. (With infinitely more nuance than that of course). And might throw in weird references from Kralorela or Fonrit or Seshnela or whatever.
So in Esrolia, you basically establish super-baroque. Great technique, lush symbolism, but very naturalistic and sensuous.
In Dragon Pass and South Peloria, it is as baroque, but less sensuous and more abstract and symbolic. Here the influence of the dragons is the greatest. 
And in Peloria, it is more austere, idealised, and formal. Also they have the Gods Wall to go back on.
With Dragon Pass in the middle, being a mixture of both, yet also adding its own draconic twist just to make things unique:

  • In Esrolia, she is depicted as this lush and sensual dancing woman, surrounded by a dazzling array of flowers, grains, husband protectors, worshipers, lesser goddesses. She overwhelms with splendor to the point where your senses can't even take it all in.
  • In Peloria, she is very formal and strict. She looks much like the other goddesses, just more so. Or maybe she is naked and the others are clothed.
  • In Dragon Pass, she is looser than Peloria, dancing like she is in Esrolian artwork. There are still goddesses, husbands and flowers around her, but there is also other stuff. Strange runes, which almost look like hers, but aren't. The snakes around her look...odd, and not quite right. And some of the flowers do not look entirely real.

In Peloria she is very formalised.  But in Dragon Pass – it is something which anyone from around them, let alone a previous or later Age would just stare at and go "What even is going on here?"

Would Pavis have brought some of the Dragon Pass EWF architectural sensibilities with him (baroque, but less sensuous and more abstract and symbolic) when collaborating with the Dwarfs in building his city? Or, would it be more along the lines of the more technically superb/intricate decoration of the Dwarfs?

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