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jeffjerwin

A pretty good take on Sartarites versus Lunars in my book (Britannia)

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28 minutes ago, Yelm's Light said:

Big Kelly Reilly fan here.  Something about those redheads; must be the Celt in me.

Actually, a lot of it reminded me more of Skyrim than Glorantha.

Go pagans!  Beat Romans!

I never played Skyrim, so there you go. The solstice preview shows runes tattooed on a druid's skull: 

And "we will not defeat these people by fighting their warriors; we will defeat them by fighting their gods..." followed by the line that follows. :)

I'm a Celt myself so this is all very self-indulgent of course.

 

Edited by jeffjerwin

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46 minutes ago, davecake said:

The similarities between Glorantha and Skyrim are not coincidental of course, Ken Rolston being the big link.

Oh yeah! There's a puzzle canal in both (I have played Morrowind), for one...

Edited by jeffjerwin

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Why the hell does that second trailer feature a rendition of Silent Night? What can an 19th century German Christmas carol possibly have to do with the series? 

Edited by Bohemond
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2 hours ago, Bohemond said:

Why the hell does that second trailer feature a rendition of Silent Night? What can an 19th century German Christmas carol possibly have to do with the series? 

And the first one has a Donovan song. I think it's supposed to be meta and humorous.

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5 hours ago, Mark Mohrfield said:

But the Romans ARE pagans!

Technically, "pagan" means rustics. It was applied to the holdouts against Christianity by the victorious Church... from a viewpoint of urban supremacy. The Romans were never pagans in the sense of "hicks with a backwards religion".

 

We should be referring to the Britons (as we do now): as "barbarian savages", of course.

Edited by jeffjerwin

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2 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Technically, "pagan" means rustics. It was applied to the holdouts against Christianity by the victorious Church... from a viewpoint of urban supremacy. The Romans were never pagans in the sense of "hicks with a backwards religion".

But the term is no longer regularly used to mean that.

Quote

We should be referring to the Britons (as we do now): as "barbarian savages", of course.

Being a mere colonial, I would rate even lower, I suppose.

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17 minutes ago, Mark Mohrfield said:

But the term is no longer regularly used to mean that.

True. It's just fairly accurate for the Britons to be called pagani by Romans, of any age. The use of "pagan" to mean generic polytheists is of course a specifically Christian tendency, but reflects the Romano-centric notion that weirdos in the sticks are the kind of people who worship that way. As a polytheist myself I tend to be frustrated with how people use "pagan" as a synonym for "New Ager" or reconstructionist...

(I forgot the sarcasm tag for my other comment and apologize. We are all odd barbarians today.)

Anyway...

I do think the prevailing theme of a civilized power against a conservative, magic-obsessed people from a obscure part of the Empire does sound like Dragon Pass in a nutshell. The impression I get is that a fair bit of the early Hero Wars goes practically unnoticed in the Heartlands.

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3 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

True. It's just fairly accurate for the Britons to be called pagani by Romans, of any age. The use of "pagan" to mean generic polytheists is of course a specifically Christian tendency, but reflects the Romano-centric notion that weirdos in the sticks are the kind of people who worship that way. As a polytheist myself I tend to be frustrated with how people use "pagan" as a synonym for "New Ager" or reconstructionist...

(I forgot the sarcasm tag for my other comment and apologize. We are all odd barbarians today.)

Anyway...

I do think the prevailing theme of a civilized power against a conservative, magic-obsessed people from a obscure part of the Empire does sound like Dragon Pass in a nutshell. The impression I get is that a fair bit of the early Hero Wars goes practically unnoticed in the Heartlands.

A few reactions. One, Dragon Pass and Peloria are far more culturally interlinked than Britain and Rome ever were. Part of that is distance -the distance from Glamour to Furthest is less than the distance from Marseilles to Trier.

Part of that is trade - Dragon Pass is the link between the Pelorian Heartlands and the rich ports of Kethaela. Think of Dragon Pass as Central Asia during the Silk Road.

Part of that is also history. Dragon Pass has ruled Peloria before the Lunar Empire and Peloria has ruled Dragon Pass before the Lunar Empire. These people know each other and their mythologies have long recognised each other.

Another reaction is wealth, literacy, and social structure. Dragon Pass is not an illiterate and uncivilised backwater. It has two large cities, many smaller cities, and cults of literacy and trade. It is mostly tribal but those tribes are mostly tied to cities - a type of social organisation that was common in the ancient world (if anyone is particularly interested, I recall a chapter on the subject this in The Babylonian World, edited by Gwendolyn Leick.

Rome's conquest of Britains conjures up extremely strong associations in British culture (admittedly less so in America, and very little in France and Germany) - concepts that come with baggage that is often misleading for Glorantha. If it works for you, great. But I tend to avoid it as strongly as I do associating the medieval world with the Gloranthan West. If anything, I imagine the Lunar Provinces and Dragon Pass as being somewhat analogous to Macedon, Thessaly, and the Ionian cities under the Persian Empire. But that analogy has lots of problems as well (but at least it avoids the modern image of British actors and actresses wearing face paint and yelping around Stonehenge in the mist). 

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Another major difference is that the Lunars are as god-crazy as the Heortlings. The run-of-the-mill Pelorian may be a lot more relaxed in his cult activities, but the Lunar cultists are fairly excited about it. The Dara Happans are there for taking revenge and for the (return of the) plunder that they missed out when the Invincible Golden Horde failed to live up to its name (with "up to its name" being sort of redundant in that statement).

What makes the Lunar Empire so interesting are the many often contradictory goals of its players. The Romans are way too monolithic at the time of the conquest of Britannia.

That said, I look forward to getting the imagery.

Edited by Joerg

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40 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Another major difference is that the Lunars are as god-crazy as the Heortlings. The run-of-the-mill Pelorian may be a lot more relaxed in his cult activities, but the Lunar cultists are fairly excited about it. The Dara Happans are there for taking revenge and for the (return of the) plunder that they missed out when the Invincible Golden Horde failed to live up to its name (with "up to its name" being sort of redundant in that statement).

What makes the Lunar Empire so interesting are the many often contradictory goals of its players. The Romans are way too monolithic at the time of the conquest of Britannia.

That said, I look forward to getting the imagery.

I have to seriously disagree with this.  Just swiftly looking at the listings for deities in Roman Britain given in Guy de la Bedoyere's 'Gods With Thunderbolts', there were deities from Italy, Greece, Germany, Iran, Syria, Palestine, Phrygia, Phoenecia, Egypt, and, unsurprisingly, Britain.  The Romans are in now way monolithic, and the tradition that they were cynical with respect to the divinities is not bourn out by the evidence.  Particularly for the variant 'Emperor Cults' and the 'Spirits of the Unit Standard', I use them as the model for the amazing intermingling of religions that you find within the Lunar Empire.

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Yeah. That's middle Imperial Rome.

Under the Julian emperors, there was an influx of eastern mystery cults like Isis, Ishtar, Mithras, and Christ, but mostly the state religion prevailed among the citizens. The conquered non-citizens...

The Roman legions still were mainly Romans. There were no great expectations that the units did more than disciplinary sacrifice to the standard or the divine emperor. The degradation of the legions with the introduction of the Limitanei was still in the future. Most foreigners still served in the auxiliae.

 

Now compare e.g. the Siege of Whitewall, where dozens of regiments did little else than participate in magical rituals, powering them by their prayer, and paying an immense soul-toll just for helping erect the magical ramps of the Seven of Vistur, dying in their hundreds, if not thousands. Where attacks were sent against the fortification just that enough of the Lunar soldiers died to serve some mystical magical purpose in creating some other (likely also futile) effect.

The Romans were no strangers to such tactics - employed by their enemies. They had a proven method to deal with it - just doing their job cutting them down. They even managed to turn the barbarians into disciplined forces. But that, too, lay in the future when they conquered Britannia.

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Thank you all for this discussion.

Errr... what about the gap in initiation rates? It seems as if the Sartari at least initiated virtually everyone, where (to my, perhaps out of date) knowledge the average Imperial citizen was not privy to the inner secrets of their cults. Has that shifted?

Would a(n average) Dara Happan think of the events outside Tarsh as "the ongoing disorders/rebellion in the south" or actually know more? (I.e., how does Imperial propaganda operate?)

My gut feeling up to this point is that the ongoing tendency for stasis among the DH gives me the sense that a non-officer-level, non-academic member of the Heartland cities is going to spend very little time thinking about what happens down there; in a sense, it is almost the function of the Orlanthi to rebel.

From this I'm also getting the sense that the Windstop (note, I think the similarity to Sunstop in nomenclature, though it's far smaller) is what happens when Dara Happan magicians get put in charge of pacification programs in the Empire - they restore things to Divine Order, damn the consequences. At some point the notion of substituting Tarumath or Douburdan (this is hypothetical on my part) must have either been abandoned or failed, leaving only Molanni, the still spot in the heart of Orlanth...

----

The impression I get of Celtic Britain from studying it extensively is that it did have an interconnected priesthood, which while not providing political cohesion, encouraged mythic and artistic patterns. I also get the sense that the same facts prevailed in pre-Roman Greece, but as in Britain, localization of divinities and stubbornly maintained contradictions all played a role in the spiritual autonomy of the poleis. I see the tribes of Sartar and the Hendriki in the same way. However the Roman way was the intepretatio Graeca, that is, the enclosing of religious difference into the roman pantheon - it was the Jewish resistance to this simple fact of Imperial life that led to so much trouble. The Britons show no sign of caring, of course, though Celtic gods have a very wide range of identifications, so that in a sense the Roman god has been subsumed into the Celtic rather than the other way around; Sulis Minerva is far more Sulis than Minerva...

That said, Caesar and other authors make clear that they are offended and opposed to the forms of human sacrifice and cultic organization that the Britons had. The official policy of extirpating the Druids and their sanctuaries (as a source of competing authority) does resemble the whole policy of cutting off Orlanth's priesthood from the people. I suppose that to the Lunar Heartlanders this is also a moral issue, since Orlanth is Rebellus Terminus... was it not the Nysalorean Bright Empire that first made this connection? The prototypes in Orlanthi culture differentiated between Elmal and the Bad Emperor (who appears to be Light/Fire in general?) so far as I can tell, though the moral and remarkable corrective power of the Lightbringers/Lifebringers Quest is deeply strengthened by making it a "sun-returning" myth.

There is probably some balance, as well, in the corrective of the "smallness" of the (Lunar) Empire, though its still immense in Bronze Age terms. The Babylonian empire is a close parallel..., as might be  "A Sense of Scale" notes that it's about 430 miles from Glamour to Furthest; however... it's a further 180 miles from Furthest to Whitewall. Rounding to 1000 km/650 miles we find the distance is akin to that between Babylon and Jerusalem, or between Rome and Byzantium, Rome and Jutland (a similar geography), or between Byzantium and Persia; my best analogy, however, would be Qin China. In the Chinese Empire, the barbarian frontier is of course not a major matter to non-governing people living their lives in Shandong.There are differences and ignorances as vast as between the Qin and the Xiongnu as between Rome and Britain, and between Glamour and Whitewall.

Though we discuss the Lunar elite as indeed theistic and dominated by pre-Lunar religion, the tendency of Dara Happa and the Empire to exemplify Law and Enlightenment speaks to a similar type of superiority as between Romanitas and the barbarians.

Qin-Dynasty-Map.jpg

imperio_lunar.jpg

Edited by jeffjerwin

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

Yeah. That's middle Imperial Rome.

Under the Julian emperors, there was an influx of eastern mystery cults like Isis, Ishtar, Mithras, and Christ, but mostly the state religion prevailed among the citizens. The conquered non-citizens...

The Roman legions still were mainly Romans. There were no great expectations that the units did more than disciplinary sacrifice to the standard or the divine emperor. The degradation of the legions with the introduction of the Limitanei was still in the future. Most foreigners still served in the auxiliae.

 

Now compare e.g. the Siege of Whitewall, where dozens of regiments did little else than participate in magical rituals, powering them by their prayer, and paying an immense soul-toll just for helping erect the magical ramps of the Seven of Vistur, dying in their hundreds, if not thousands. Where attacks were sent against the fortification just that enough of the Lunar soldiers died to serve some mystical magical purpose in creating some other (likely also futile) effect.

The Romans were no strangers to such tactics - employed by their enemies. They had a proven method to deal with it - just doing their job cutting them down. They even managed to turn the barbarians into disciplined forces. But that, too, lay in the future when they conquered Britannia.

Auxillia accompanied the Legions from the first invasion, in roughly equal numbers, and their deities came with them.  Similarly there is strong evidence for colonial settlers from across much of the Empire.  The temple flagon with the dedication 'Londinii, ad fanum Isidis' tells us there was a temple to Isis of Egypt in Londinium in the first century, not the middle Empire. Iranian Mithras was present in Verulamium (St Albans) in the later second century, Syrian Cybele and Ba'al at Corvoran around 165, and an amulet to YHWH indicates possible presence from as early as 43.

Interestingly enough, Jupiter himself only becomes popular during the middle Empire!

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4 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

Iranian Mithras was present in Verulamium (St Albans) in the later second century, Syrian Cybele and Ba'al at Corvoran around 165, and an amulet to YHWH indicates possible presence from as early as 43.

Cybele (as imported into Gaul by the Romans) is an interesting one. She has been argued - by Pamela Berger in The Goddess Obscured - to have been a major figure in the development of the Virgin cult in Christian Gaul. Her one of her largest sanctuaries in the West was in Lyons.

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Sorry, posted the above too early!

To continue - for the Romans, especially in border provinces, Religion and the Military were closely interlinked.  Quoting de la Bedoyere, "the vast bulk of all religious dedications and imagery from Roman Britain are associated with soldiers" (p137)  The assumption that they did not undertake their own rites before battle is rash.  That they are dismissive of barbarian excess is a matter of cultural snobbery, not an indication of secularity.

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5 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Cybele (as imported into Gaul by the Romans) is an interesting one. She has been argued - by Pamela Berger in The Goddess Obscured - to have been a major figure in the development of the Virgin cult in Christian Gaul. Her one of her largest sanctuaries in the West was in Lyons.

Also interesting is that inscriptions in Britain differentiate between Syrian Cybele and Phrygian Cybele.  The latter, although the 'original' cult, appears to have arrived later - during the middle Empire.

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32 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

Sorry, posted the above too early!

To continue - for the Romans, especially in border provinces, Religion and the Military were closely interlinked.  Quoting de la Bedoyere, "the vast bulk of all religious dedications and imagery from Roman Britain are associated with soldiers" (p137)  The assumption that they did not undertake their own rites before battle is rash.  That they are dismissive of barbarian excess is a matter of cultural snobbery, not an indication of secularity.

Yeah, you would want to prepare a good way into your afterlife before you go in harm's way. But I repeat - you get a mostly rational approach to religion in the legions, some sort of afterlife insurance rather than getting pumped up to fanaticism. While you want a strong esprit de corps, you do not want individual braveries in a phalanx (which the Roman formation essentially still was), but stolid support for your neighbors.

Basically, you get crazed Lunar fanatics next to dour Pelandan or Dara Happan phalangists in the Lunar army, but even the Roman auxilia was trained not to rush in out of fervor. While there would have been the usual demonizing pep-talk/hate-speech prior to the battle, there is no "blood for the gods/demons" element here.

Again, you are describing the situation some 80 to 150 years into the occupation. Hadrian or later. Different emperors, different situation.

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20 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Yeah, you would want to prepare a good way into your afterlife before you go in harm's way. But I repeat - you get a mostly rational approach to religion in the legions, some sort of afterlife insurance rather than getting pumped up to fanaticism. While you want a strong esprit de corps, you do not want individual braveries in a phalanx (which the Roman formation essentially still was), but stolid support for your neighbors.

Basically, you get crazed Lunar fanatics next to dour Pelandan or Dara Happan phalangists in the Lunar army, but even the Roman auxilia was trained not to rush in out of fervor. While there would have been the usual demonizing pep-talk/hate-speech prior to the battle, there is no "blood for the gods/demons" element here.

Again, you are describing the situation some 80 to 150 years into the occupation. Hadrian or later. Different emperors, different situation.

Not too sure where you are getting your dating from.  43 (potential) and first century dates are anything from 0 to 56 years after the invasion.  Well short of 80 to 150.

Even the later ones I mentioned are before the normally accepted dates for the 'Middle Roman Empire'.

Pre-Imperial Rome was even more extravagant than many barbarians, on occasion, with Decius Mus in 340 BCE devoting his soul, and the souls of the enemy army, to the infernal deities in return for victory.  Not exactly the 'pep-talk' of a dour leader, but rather the profligate act of 'souls for the chthonic deities'.  Another battle-field ritual was the Evocatio, by which you attempted to induce the patron god of the enemy to switch sides!  The Boarium was a ritual dedicating the souls of the inhabitants of a besieged town to the infernal deities.

These do, indeed, appear to be of the 'blood for the gods/demons' approach.

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