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Western and Brithini Agriculture


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Elsewhere on the internet @scott-martin mentioned Syranthir Forefront's influence on the lands he invaded during his March of the 10,000 (or whatever this Anabasis variant is called).

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this teaches me why the texts stress that Syranthir's achievement was really bringing the western plow to an area where natural yields were previously good but relatively unimproved.

Talking about the Western improvements on Pelanda, I am actually a bit astonished that Syranthir made that much of a difference. Not so much in the Barbarian Belt area conquered by the Carmanians, which remained apart from Pelandan craft influences across cultural borders much of the time, even though there were bull folk both in the lowlands (introduced by Bisos and Kereus). I would have expected cultural exchange between the various bull folk along the Janube and into Oroninela.

I wonder whether the heavy western plow was a Danmalastan/Brithos influence, or rather an Enjoralini achievement due to their mastery over bulls while at the same time adopting Western craft.

Brithini farming methods are really rather under-described. If not for the cold climate, I would have assumed an olive-tree cultivation for the Westerners rather than a grain economy, and possibly that was what they had before Valind's glacier encroached their lands, and why their colony in Jrustela was so successful as they finally returned to lands where the agriculture methods from scripture encountered the climatic conditions that would support them.
 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Love it. This touches on the whole complex of castrating a sacred bull to create an ox but until I get a chance to really review "all the questions about Prax" that piece of it remains nebulous and probably taboo in berserker circles.

We know Dronar and/or Dromal comes to the table at the very start of the caste system with "the holy plow" already in hand but nothing about who or what originally drew it. Maybe it dug a shallower furrow in the yielding body of Britha and couldn't be easily transplanted until being modified Since Time -- explaining how Syranthir managed to cross Charg on his belly when Talor couldn't.

It kind of starts me wondering in earnest whether Malkion didn't start out with (or acquire) multiple peasant sons bearing multiple plow designs, with their stories conflated except for trace variations in the nomenclature. But that's a slippery slope. 

Either way, to me the success of the Western-style peasant in Carmania over Pelandan survivals probably hinges on the importation of higher-yield farming magic crowding out the old goddess religion.

I don't even know where the Barntar plow comes from. He's definitely a friend of the ox. Maybe the animals drawing the shaker priestess were his originally.

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Castrating a sacred bull, now that is a feat probably more dangerous than having a plow team of bulls rather than oxen. Is this a variant of a tauromachy or tauroctony? I tried to find a real-world myth where a (grown-up) bull gets castrated, but the usual result is the killing of the bull rather than castrating it. Not that castrating an adult bull would make it more docile.

The usual way to create an oxen is to castrate a bull calf, which also results in different development while growing up.

The myth would attack children of the bull god rather than the bull god himself. It might be a rivalry of the bull descendants of the primary bull which leads them to castrate their inferior brothers, rather than human interaction. The bull shahs of Carmania are well known for their unpleasant traits, and this might be rooted in such a mythic heritage.

I'm undecided whether Barntar would be that well known in hill barbarian Fronela, or whether they would rather have their own primeval bull taming hero/deity.

The Plowman usually is the son of the earth and a kinsman of the bull or oxen, although the latter probably not on Brithos. Neither does the Taming of the Bull feel appropriate for the farmer caste Brithini. This sounds more like a hand-me-down bestial servant from either the warrior or the wizard, although the castration of the bull calf may very well be Dromal's/Dronar's contribution.

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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On the bull front, you might be onto deep insight with that primal scene. A brother may readily ally with foreigners, possibly sharing the secret in exchange for protection or revenge. What this entails for modern "storm" bull barbarians' relationship to their ox-making cousins is wide open but somehow I don't see the concept flying high on the chaparral.

Maybe Dromal, Dronar or some now-nameless caste-father of farmers contributed the secret in the north and the circumstances around this can easily fuel old grudges like the Tarjinian Bull. At last they had a beast who could really pull a furrow. The technology spreads. This may be the true weapon Syranthir wielded among the old bull people of proto-Carmania, so taboo that the locals would rather focus on the plow it makes possible. Either way, timing here is probably important if we need to restrict this agricultural capacity from warlords of Talor's era.

(As far as I am currently aware no bull god survives into Idovanic Carmania or the lunar era but I would be happy to be proven wrong. While applying "the rites of the bull" to younger brothers would be a good atrocity for the Carmangs to inflict on subject Pelorian nations and beyond, Third Age contexts have probably changed.)

Barntar could sometimes be a fosterling in the household of Orlanth, a more tractable bull-son from vanished Envorela who was separated from his own family and took the bull/ox decision with him -- as you say, kinsman of the ox.

But on the plow front, people have occasionally pondered that troublesome lod-plow from the Lodrilites whom the early children of Malkion subjugated and turned into "laddies." This is its own tricky field.
 

Edited by scott-martin
slight felicities throughout
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2 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

And Charg, when it re-emerges...

And don't forget Brolia!  E.g. per the Guide, the city of Jornan where the Homecoming of Bisos occurred in the Grey Age; or Vornops, also called “Old Red”, which is best known for its redbrick temple to Esus and her son Bisos (also called Ernalda and Urox).

Plus Worian where it is noted that the highlands of Worian are a stronghold of the bull folk, worshipers of Bisos and Esus.

And the Darsen Hills where throngs of pilgrims travel each year to the Miringite Cave where Natha, Naveria, Oria, Bisos, Poralistor, and the other gods and
goddesses came to the Surface World after being freed from the Fourth and Fifth Hells.

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When I tried to look up myths where the primeval bull would be castrated, I stumbled across the fact that any bovine used as a draught animal would be called oxen (not just in English, but also in German), regardless of the functionality or even gender of its genitals. In this light, Rimbert's derogatory comment about the Meroving kings plowing a field with a pair of oxen doesn't mean that these beasts would have been castrated, but most likely they would have been fully functional bulls as part of a fertility rite.

On ‎14‎.‎05‎.‎2017 at 2:23 AM, scott-martin said:

On the bull front, you might be onto deep insight with that primal scene. A brother may readily ally with foreigners, possibly sharing the secret in exchange for protection or revenge. What this entails for modern "storm" bull barbarians' relationship to their ox-making cousins is wide open but somehow I don't see the concept flying high on the chaparral.

I wasn't thinking about Genert's Garden here, but rather about the sons of (Kef)Tawar for instance. If you look at the sons of Vadrus, the sons of the great bull could be similar in their infighting.

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Maybe Dromal, Dronar or some now-nameless caste-father of farmers contributed the secret in the north and the circumstances around this can easily fuel old grudges like the Tarjinian Bull. At last they had a beast who could really pull a furrow. The technology spreads. This may be the true weapon Syranthir wielded among the old bull people of proto-Carmania, so taboo that the locals would rather focus on the plow it makes possible. Either way, timing here is probably important if we need to restrict this agricultural capacity from warlords of Talor's era.

We don't know much about the Enjorali except for the fact that they were riding their bulls. The presence of (proto-) urban centers in Fronela doesn't mean that they did till their fields using plows. The Akemite Malkioni did bring agriculture, and probably did use plows of some kind.

Which plow to use and with what success will depend on the soil you are tilling. Given the bad ice age and the subsequent
retreat of the Glacier, you can expect good loess soil in parts of the Pelorian bowl, which will take quite well to the lighter plows, whereas the riverine bottoms will require a stronger plow and stronger draught beasts or better harnesses. But as the product of Storm (both as the agent scraping up the frozen soils of the far north and as the carrier of the fine soil into the grasses of the southern Pelorian grasslands during the receding Ice Age) and Earth (both as the donor in the north and as the catcher in the grasslands), this soil is unlikely to benefit the Dara Happans, but will be the main factor for fertility in Saird. The Barntar plow will be sufficient to till this soil.

The Pelorian bowl has mostly riverine valleys with heavy soils, with fertile mud stolen by the rivers from the upland loess deposited during the Sea Season floodings. More on this below.

We don't learn much about Seshnegi agriculture, except that pairs of oxen or water buffaloes are used for plowing. Major veggy foods are wheat, rice and beans, plus whatever other vegetables are grown. Major other plants include flax (for linen), cotton, tea (originally from Jrustela), wine, fruits, and Kafi leaf (a tobacco-like soft drug).

If we are to trust the mythical maps of Glorantha, Jrustela and its vegetation are some of the few dry remainders of Danmalastan. While Somelz, the ancient square dwarf land covering the southeast corner of the Lozenge, may have been effectively denuded of most if not all native vegetation, the lands east and north of Curustus Mountain (old Thakarn) may have retained some Old Danmalastan (pre-Ice Age, pre-Somalz) vegetation. despite Mostali presence nearby.

 

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(As far as I am currently aware no bull god survives into Idovanic Carmania or the lunar era but I would be happy to be proven wrong. While applying "the rites of the bull" to younger brothers would be a good atrocity for the Carmangs to inflict on subject Pelorian nations and beyond, Third Age contexts have probably changed.)

If you look at the dynastic names of the bull shahs, Bisos is very present. Bisos is one of the two war gods mentioned for Carmania, the other being (wasp-headed) Humakt (as known from the Lives of Sedenya).

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Barntar could sometimes be a fosterling in the household of Orlanth, a more tractable bull-son from vanished Envorela who was separated from his own family and took the bull/ox decision with him -- as you say, kinsman of the ox.

For the Heortlings, Barntar is the firstborn son of Orlanth and Ernalda, and the nephew of the Bull through Orlanth (and kin to the sons of the Storm Bull through Ernalda and Eiritha, too).

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But on the plow front, people have occasionally pondered that troublesome lod-plow from the Lodrilites whom the early children of Malkion subjugated and turned into "laddies." This is its own tricky field. 

The lod plow was the tool to plow the heavier riverine lowland soils. I am not exactly certain when the Lodilites started using an ox-drawn plow. If we look at Murharzarm's Perfect Empire, we find gazzam as the main domestic beasts responsible to provide muscle power. They don't appear to have found space on Anaxial's Ark, though, and Anaxial's empire along the Oslir may have had to look for other beasts. On the other side, we find Buserian (the sacrificer of cattle, compare Busenari, mother of cattle) as one of the sons of Yelm, indicating the presence of cattle already back in Murharzarm's realm. Another of those Godtime "anachronisms", if one takes the God Learner mythic maps and sequences too serious, as those clearly state that mammals show up only after Yelm's Death. Yeah.

Dara Happa proper has rice-growing agriculture, practicing irrigation. Plowing the wet river mud should be less arduous than plowing the heavy soil on dry ground. They also have dry farming in these regions, and probably the slight slopes and hills surrounding the river valley bottoms, with unknown quantities of irrigation from higher reservoirs.

Lodrilite upland farming (and plowing) should be specialized for volcanic soils, really, and not that nasty irrigation or mud-wading business they have been tasked with since the taming of Oslira.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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