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Jon Hunter

Elmal Yelmalio thing

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8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Glorantha does have phalangites. Among the Orlanthi, the phalangites are the Sun Dome Templars, otherwise combat in the phalanx isn't suited to their magics.

Yelmalions are Orlanthi? Well, they were... thus all the tension between Yelmalio worshippers and Orlanthi.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

The Orlanthi may have different shock formations than a phalanx, e.g. the hogshead formation used in Germanic warfare to break an enemy shieldwall (the typical close-order formation that almost provides the advantages of a phalanx, except for forward momentum), or flying and leaping feats.

Um, shield-walls can move (forward), until they lock shields. A phalanx is a shield-wall; historically the term for a shield-wall phalanx of spears was a battle hedge.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Vanntar is located in a rather broad valley in the hills of Dragon Pass, so: hillfolk.

Pedantism. Not hillfolk in culture or manner of warfare.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

I was referring to the non-urban Yelmalions in rural Tarsh around Goldedge, who are hardly different from their Far Place cousins. You have temple lands, which include rural area and the urban part of the temple, and you have normal tribal lands around them. People living on temple lands may be organized along the same rules as shown in Sun County. People from the surrounding clans are clansmen first and Yelmalions second, meaning no file training except maybe during temple duty.

Unfortunately I cannot perceive your previously unstated assumptions. Yelmalion militia will fight in files (see the description of Far Place Yelmalions in WF#15).

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

A disorganized phalanx is a group of dead wannabe-soldiers waiting for the transition, unless their opposition is even more inept.

You need to read up on phalanx warfare.

A disorganized phalanx is useless, but a phalanx can be organized with minimal training.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Doing all that in close order - less than an arm's length from the man before you, only a few inch to the men left and right of you - with a long pole and possibly a slung shield, too, will require about as much training as those high precision marching band displays I occasionally see on youtube. Your average high-school marching band is the equivalent of militia.

You are confusing a phalangite phalanx with a hoplite phalanx, which uses a much shorter one-handed spear and a different shield. Far less precision, which is why it could be adopted as a formation by barely trained citizens.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Sure those weren't rather shield walls or less organized formations like the Germanic hog's head?

A basic phalanx is a shield-wall with spears.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

If I look at Daxdarius' hoplites, I see citizen soldiers turning into professionals, much like the Greek. These orderly regiments make up maybe 50% of the troops, with weird cultic groups using magical formations that don't make any sense in a mundane setting, fighting alongside beast brothers or spirits, changing shape, using exotic means of transportation or locomotion... and lots of tribal groups without even a semblance of uniform equipment or formation.

Not like the Greek, which weren't professional, unless they were mercenaries (who mostly served abroad where the pay was better) or Spartans but part-time citizen-soldiers. The Greek city-state phalanxes were basically formed of militia.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Look, there is trade going into and out of Vanntar, and most of that will be across that stretch of comparatively clear land a quarter of a mile wide and full of tracks trying to avoid the mudholes that is a B road, and which is still better than going cross country. It may be possible to use light canoes for water transport, letting a single boater handle two mule loads.

There is hardly any transit trade through Vanntar as there is no equivalent Holyhead at the end of that road, only a seasonally usable ford across the Stream which leads to the Royal Highway.

You believe there is hardly any transit trade, but that isn't a fact.

Edited by M Helsdon

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3 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Yelmalions are Orlanthi?

Culturally, they are Orlanthi or Theyalan, or Hill Barbarian (even lowland Saird qualifies as such). Much like the Caladralanders, the Rightarm Islanders and the Esvulari are in Kethaela, or the Jajalarings and Sylilans in southern Peloria.

Palangio's original templars probably weren't Theyalan at all. The Tharkantus cultists who fought against and for the EWF most decidedly were of the broader Orlanthi (or perhaps better Ernaldan) culture.

3 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Well, they were... thus all the tension between Yelmalio worshippers and Orlanthi.

Yes, the Orlanthi are well known to be all harmonious, united, and peaceful among themselves - NOT.

I have no idea whether that special choreography/liturgy between Light Sons and Wind Lords is common to all Yelmalions or whether this was introduced or heavily emphasized by Monrogh as a mark of their dissociation with their Orlanth-worshipping neighbors.

3 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Um, shield-walls can move (forward), until they lock shields. A phalanx is a shield-wall; historically the term for a shield-wall phalanx of spears was a battle hedge.

Maybe my expectation of "phalanx" is too high - I am thinking of Marathon, the Sarissa-armed Macedon infantry of Alexander, or the Swiss Pikemen when I hear "phalanx warfare", with the Roman legions a special case with rather different armament. All of these are renowned for being able to maneuver in formation.

 

Another parallel is the difference in quality and maneuverability between the Prussian-trained professional musket units in the Independence War of the USA vs. the musket-equipped militia bolstering their numbers. "Phalanx until tested" is an optimistic use of the word.

 

3 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Not hillfolk in culture or manner of warfare.

They surely aren't Pelorian in culture, although they are aping Dara Happan culture. The Dara Happans will distance themselves from the Sun Domers much like the Hellenic world distanced themselves from the upstart Romans playing at adopting their civilization.

 

3 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Unfortunately I cannot perceive your previously unstated assumptions.

Latest mention in this thread here: 

 

3 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Yelmalion militia will fight in files (see the description of Far Place Yelmalions in WF#15).

Could you please point me to the reference?

Doing a word search of that pdf yielded two instances of "file" or "files", one describing the military formation of the Sun Dome Templars in Sun Dome County on p.35, the other as "rank and file" on p.64 describing the situation before the Battle of Night and Day.

Reading the article on p.41, it almost reads like Tarkalor recruited Far Place Elmali to populate Vanntar. Given the language spoken in Vanntar (Heortling, not Tarshite, if I recall a previous debate against me correctly), I sort of doubt that was the case. The Dinacoli were part of the Jonstown confederation at that time, but the Aldachuri were either independent or part of Tarsh. Only Tarkalor's (at the time of this conflict yet unborn) son Terasarin brought them into the fold of Sartar.

3 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

You need to read up on phalanx warfare.

What reading do you suggest? Ideally something readily available e.g. in the Gutenberg archives or in university libraries.

 

3 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

A disorganized phalanx is useless, but a phalanx can be organized with minimal training.

On parade ground, maybe. On a battlefield? Phalanx training would IMO require muscle memory overcoming the basic instinct to run awa from threatening warriors, and that requires a lot more than just parading for half an hour on Godsdays.

3 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

You are confusing a phalangite phalanx with a hoplite phalanx, which uses a much shorter one-handed spear and a different shield. Far less precision, which is why it could be adopted as a formation by barely trained citizens.

Different values of "barely trained" at play, here. The peasant rubble fielded in medieval battles or skirmishes might be classified as completely untrained, then.

3 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

A basic phalanx is a shield-wall with spears.

One-handed spears like the ones e.g. used against Shaka Zulu's assegai-armed "legions"?

3 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Not like the Greek, which weren't professional, unless they were mercenaries (who mostly served abroad where the pay was better) or Spartans but part-time citizen-soldiers. The Greek city-state phalanxes were basically formed of militia.

Hoplites shipped overseas to defend colonial interests (e.g. on Sicily) went for both civic duty and for the plunder. Some of those who survived disastrous defeats may have become mercenaries out of necessity, others possibly out of desperation about their talent-less leaders.

I am aware of occasional peltast phalanxes (for a certain meaning of Peltast), but other than that, I have only seen the term Phalanx associated with Hoplites or non-Greek equivalents thereof in Hellenic context prior to the Macedon Sarissa phalanx (more lightly armored, rural recruited, ... all the points you want to make about Yelmalian militia except the professionalism), or its rebirth in the Middle Ages as highly mobile Swiss pike-and-halberd formations, quickly adapted and a major component of the Spanish armies e.g. in the 80 years war in the Netherlands (the last 30 of which were shared with the 30 years war in the Germanies).

I wouldn't calll the English dismounted knight formation at Agincourt a Phalanx. They were a spear hedge behind field fortifications (stakes in the ground etc.). Highly effective in holding the line, not trained to move and attack as a cohesive body - completly outclassed by the Athenian hoplite nobility at Marathon.

The few US style wargames I have tested would classify most spear militia as "irregulars" rather than as serious spear formations.

 

3 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

You believe there is hardly any transit trade, but that isn't a fact.

Just an opinion, right. The copious exports of Duck Point or the Lismelder Valley might be channeled that way rather than along the Royal Highway, and the occasional amphora of clearwine might, too. I am unaware of any trade goods coming out of Beast Valley except cattle herded by the Centaurs and Minotaurs in exchange for wine or similar luxuries - usually carried in by boat on the River - and maybe occasional hides or other stuff that might be hunted. Most of this trade would happen at or near Duck Point or New Crystal City. In the rare case that you would want to move trade goods that came to Duck Point from Esrolia or Tarsh to Whitewall, you would use the royal road 99 times out of 100. Using Sun Dome County for toll evasion would be a singularly stupid idea - a place full of Truth rune cultists with a healthy paranoia that smuggled goods might embolden their Ergeshi slave population.

This region was my shared backyard when I played a family game using Hero Wars, coordinating world building and similar ideas with other campaigns located in the region (I had a Balmyr game, Alex Ferguson played a Kultain campaign, numerous other folk brought in their campaigns, Jeff Richard gave input from his Volsaxi campaign, a fairly good time was had by all). The Balmyr and Sambarri control over much of the trade and the unfortunate location of Halfort smack-dab in the middle of Kultain and Locaem lands in DP:LoT was quite the hot issue back then, one we tried to solve cooperatively. Sharing campaign resources like clan names, clan leaders' names, clan events etc. really was a handy resource for the various campaigns. Not quite on the level of detail provided in The Coming Storm, but nothing to scoff at.

And I did take a closer look at the neighborhood when I wrote up possible routes for my "Norinevra's Homecoming" scenario, which has so far only been printed in German and which needs more work than I anticipated, especially on the Nochet part.

All of which is meant to say that I did take a quite close look at how to move through this very region way before I objected here.

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Not to interrupt this highly-detailed debate, but there were a few things I caught on to:

1. Hill-folk in the Gloranthan/Kerofinelan sense: does this mean groups that largely practice barley or wheat agriculture without irrigation ditches as opposed to lowland rice and maize agriculture with irrigation networks? Or is there some other definition I'm not aware of? If this term is of such consternation, but doesn't have a good definition, it would perhaps be better to avoid it.

2. The whole issue of phalanx warfare and hoplites in the real world is possibly different from Glorantha, but here's a few things I know:
- A hoplite is not defined by his weapon, really, but by his large, body-covering shield, the hoplon (hence the name). It is the large shield that makes possible the mutual protection and which makes up for the unwieldiness of tightly massed marching (which would otherwise be easy pickings for slingers, javelineers and archers).

- That being said, the spear is central because a phalanx is really at the core of things just a pushing contest. The actual winner is the group that manages to push the enemy off the field and make them lose cohesion. Loss is indicated of the formation breaking and people running off (hence the Spartan indignation against people dropping their shield, ie. indicating retreat).

- It's not a very complex tactic all things said and done, apart from a few quirks like the left flank usually being weaker due to most people being right handed, which would sometimes result in phalanxes circling each other as they were each strong against each other's weak side (a bit like boxers). One of the reasons why it comes off as deadly in history is probably because leaders were expected to be at the front, where most deaths occurred, and so you get a disproportionate number of "named characters" dying, as it were.

- Greek hoplites themselves were not professional soldiers, but citizens amassed for war, and - by the term's strict definition - militia. Some cities maintained elite professional units, but standard hoplite warfare was for the most part conducted by part-timers.

- The hoplite's spear, (the "dory") was a little over two meters, and used as a one-handed spear for thrusting. Usually underhanded, but also overhanded for offensive strikes. This is the kind of spear you'd find at Marathon, if I've understood correctly. Marathon was also largely fought by - as mentioned above - citizen-soldier hoplites (ie. militia).

- The Macedonian Sarissa was a much later introduction (maybe 4-500 years younger), a spear in 4-6 meter length,  which required a great deal more drilling to deal with. I can't say much more than that, but's a very different beast. Notably this meant that the Sarissa hoplites weren't actually hoplites at all all, since they had to use a smaller shield (the pelta) suspended by a shoulder-strap in order to devote both hands for the long spear, so no body-covering hoplon for them. Importantly, the Sarissa phalanx was mostly useful against *other* phalanxes, of the ordinary, shorter type, mostly due to the extended reach. Less so against mounted archers or javelineers.

- I've seen a lot of conflicting stuff about how Dark Age North Sea groups (Anglo-Saxons, Norse, etc.) fought, and it's a bit difficult to split the myths and embellishment from reality, but insofar as the most common weapon of the Germanic peoples was the spear, and they utilized large, round shields, it seems pretty reasonable for me to go along with that a shieldwall is essentially a dark age phalanx. Certainly not a sarissa, several-layers-deep, tightly-drilled phalanx, but in the sense of a bunch of tightly placed guys protecting each other with their shields and pushing with one-handed, underarm spears against a similar formation.

- That being said, both ancient Greeks and Dark Age Germanic peoples had varying formations for different tasks. They were practical, creative, pragmatic people.

EDIT: Not sure if any of this is helpful.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Not to interrupt this highly-detailed debate, but there were a few things I caught on to:

1. Hill-folk in the Gloranthan/Kerofinelan sense: does this mean groups that largely practice barley or wheat agriculture without irrigation ditches as opposed to lowland rice and maize agriculture with irrigation networks? Or is there some other definition I'm not aware of? If this term is of such consternation, but doesn't have a good definition, it would perhaps be better to avoid it.

I intended it as part of the non-civilized, tribal culture prevalent in the foothills of central and western Genertela, and spreading out into river lowlands like Esrolia or Saird. A majority of these are Storm worshipping Orlanthi, but there are numerous other such groups. Theyalans is a collective term for those hill barbarians (another such term) around the lands of the Unity Council. 

One unifying aspect is their mode of personal initiation to a single deity or two while performing communal sacrifices to a big pantheon, unlike the Pelorian culture. The Yelmalians definitely fulfill this criterion.

 

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21 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

I'm not particularly interested in a is Glorantha Bronze Age or not debate, when it comes to military matters, because it's the sort of absolutist pedantism that contributes nothing to the world or its discussion -- but I would note that in the Bronze Age Near East, soldiers were mostly recruited from the rural populations around a urban center, because most of the urban centers simply weren't that big.

I thought that most Templars were recruited from the people of the various Sun Counties. So, you have a farm that is managed by a retired Templar, he has a wife and children, the boys either grow up to be Templars or Farmers. I wouldn't expect children to be brought up in the Sun Dome Temple or its barracks.

So, I think I'm agreeing with you, but it's sometimes hard to follow ...

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11 minutes ago, soltakss said:

I thought that most Templars were recruited from the people of the various Sun Counties. So, you have a farm that is managed by a retired Templar, he has a wife and children, the boys either grow up to be Templars or Farmers. I wouldn't expect children to be brought up in the Sun Dome Temple or its barracks.

So, I think I'm agreeing with you, but it's sometimes hard to follow ...

Keep in mind that the actual hard labor in Vanntar is done by former Kitori slaves. This opens up the County to have a larger standing army than normal.

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11 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Keep in mind that the actual hard labor in Vanntar is done by former Kitori slaves. This opens up the County to have a larger standing army than normal.

Well, that might be a double-edged sword, a la Sparta and the helots. Not that I expect the Yelmalions to be as ruthlessly abusive as the Spartiate class, but if you've got a strong class divide that you use to prop up a well-equipped, well-drilled military elite, that also potentially means your milita support will be more impoverished and poorly trained than otherwise - and potentially even hostile and rebellious to its overlords.

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8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Culturally, they are Orlanthi or Theyalan, or Hill Barbarian (even lowland Saird qualifies as such). Much like the Caladralanders, the Rightarm Islanders and the Esvulari are in Kethaela, or the Jajalarings and Sylilans in southern Peloria.

You are using your definitions at maximum extent. Such a broad brush conveys a washed out color.

For Hill Barbarians, most of the Orlanthi of Saird, Tarsh, and Sartar are, in historical terms, heavily urbanized. They are only barbarians in the eyes of their enemies. In general terms, the Orlanthi demonstrate distinct jumps in social organization and complexity, having the stages: clan, tribe, city confederation, state (ruled by a high king/prince). Whilst you can find examples of each type in the 'Barbarian Belt' most in Dragon Pass are at the highly organized/urban stage.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Maybe my expectation of "phalanx" is too high - I am thinking of Marathon, the Sarissa-armed Macedon infantry of Alexander, or the Swiss Pikemen when I hear "phalanx warfare", with the Roman legions a special case with rather different armament. All of these are renowned for being able to maneuver in formation.

I'm sorry, but again that's combing three very different styles of fighting into one. Greek phalanxes were notorious for only having limited articulation: the Spartans and Thebans were among the best but it was severely limited. The Macedonian phalanx was better (but declined during the period of the Successors) because the phalangites had intensive training.

The Greek phalanxes at Marathon demonstrated not a capability to manoeuver, but its lack. Their line was stretched to be longer than the Persian line, and when the two met and the Persian flanks collapsed inevitably the Greek flanks converged inwards where the Persians were being more successful. No complex manoeuver: just a very limited battlefield where the Persians could not employ their archers and cavalry, and their infantry were not equipped for close-in shock combat. The Greeks were very lucky that the Persians chose an unsuitable beachhead and didn't have time to reach better ground.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

They surely aren't Pelorian in culture, although they are aping Dara Happan culture. The Dara Happans will distance themselves from the Sun Domers much like the Hellenic world distanced themselves from the upstart Romans playing at adopting their civilization.

In many ways the Sun Dome culture is a fusion of Dara Happan and Storm, but - their style of fighting is very different (yes, they both fight in phalanxes) but their weapons and shields are as different as the Macedonian and the Greek (until late on the Greeks created phalangites).

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Could you please point me to the reference?

There are about 1000 members of the Yelmalio cult amongst the Aldachuri, most of them belonging to the Vantaros tribe. Some 40% of all adult men of the Vantaros belong to the cult of Yelmalio, concentrated in three clans. The Yelmalio cult is the largest disciplined military force in the Far Place and is under the direct military command of the cult’s Light Captain. As a result, even though the Yelmalions are outnumbered nearly seven to one by Orlanth cultists, they have managed to obtain ascendancy through their military heft (and with plenty of support from their Lunar allies).

The important thing to take note of is disciplined, which denotes an organized formation, and given the contact with the Golden Spearman cult to the north can only be a battle hedge or basic phalanx.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

On parade ground, maybe. On a battlefield? Phalanx training would IMO require muscle memory overcoming the basic instinct to run awa from threatening warriors, and that requires a lot more than just parading for half an hour on Godsdays.

If you read up on citizen-soldier phalanxes, you'll find that the majority of men forming the phalanx had very minimal training; most city-states put more emphasis on general physical conditioning than the development of military skills.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Different values of "barely trained" at play, here. The peasant rubble fielded in medieval battles or skirmishes might be classified as completely untrained, then.

Pretty much.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

One-handed spears like the ones e.g. used against Shaka Zulu's assegai-armed "legions"?

Not entirely dissimilar to the ones the Zulus used. The Greek spear was about 2-3m long.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Hoplites shipped overseas to defend colonial interests (e.g. on Sicily) went for both civic duty and for the plunder. Some of those who survived disastrous defeats may have become mercenaries out of necessity, others possibly out of desperation about their talent-less leaders.

Mercenaries made a great deal more money. The Sicilian debacle demonstrates the lack of professionalism of the Athenian citizen-soldiers and their amateur generals.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

I am aware of occasional peltast phalanxes (for a certain meaning of Peltast), but other than that, I have only seen the term Phalanx associated with Hoplites or non-Greek equivalents thereof in Hellenic context prior to the Macedon Sarissa phalanx (more lightly armored, rural recruited, ... all the points you want to make about Yelmalian militia except the professionalism), or its rebirth in the Middle Ages as highly mobile Swiss pike-and-halberd formations, quickly adapted and a major component of the Spanish armies e.g. in the 80 years war in the Netherlands (the last 30 of which were shared with the 30 years war in the Germanies).

Any good history book on warfare should make it clear that phalanx (which in the original Greek simply means battle formation) is a very basic formation. One is even depicted in Sumerian art.

It is also worth noting that the equipment of a hoplite wasn't a Greek invention: the helmets display Urartuan influence, whilst their round shield may display some Neo-Assyrian influence (there's evidence of Greeks serving as mercenaries in the Neo-Assyrian army).

For a basic (very basic) overview, see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx#History

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Just an opinion, right.

You've used an enormous wordage simply because I referred to a trade route, not ever claimed as a major route.

For a brief overview of phalangite and hoplite:

 

A Comparison of Hoplite and Phalangite

Phalangites often wear lighter armor than hoplites, with only the officers and front rank wearing bronze cuirasses. Their shields are a little smaller than standard hoplite shields, lacking the wide rim. However, given the weight of the sarissa, the overall load of their equipment is comparable to that of a hoplite.

The hoplite holds the spear in one hand, whilst the phalangite must use both hands. In battle the sarissa is held near the butt-end and the phalangite puts their full strength into a two-armed thrust. The hoplite uses a shorter spear, held near the middle, and can only thrust with one arm.

Their posture differs: a hoplite in the front rank takes a frontal or three-quarter stance, striking from behind or above their shield; a phalangite, holding his sarissa in both hands must stand side-on. This affects their minimum spacing. A hoplite in close order requires a space approximately a meter wide to fight effectively (with a width of 60 cm the absolute minimum); a phalangite about half a meter; this is reflected by the diameter of their shields. A machairaphoroi, thrusting with a sword, requires a spacing of 90 cm, and at least 1.2 meters if throwing a spear and slashing with a sword.

In the front ranks, the hoplite can hold the spear over- or underarm (but usually the former), but the phalangite in the front ranks wields the pike at roughly waist height, in part due to the shield slung on one arm, and because of the length and weight of the sarissa. This means that unlike hoplites, phalangites cannot interlock their shields, and their file spacing must accommodate the sarissae extending from the ranks behind them.

When a sarissa-phalanx engages a spear-phalanx, the hoplites are at a disadvantage. They cannot reach their opponents until they have avoided at least five spearheads.

If an enemy can get through to the first rank of the sarissa-phalanx, its length means the sarissa cannot be used in close-in combat. The phalangite must either rely on a comrade in a rank behind them to hold off the foe, or defend themselves by dropping the pike and drawing a sword.

 

For an illustration of the different spears (non-canonical):

Spears4.png

Edited by M Helsdon

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34 minutes ago, soltakss said:

I thought that most Templars were recruited from the people of the various Sun Counties. So, you have a farm that is managed by a retired Templar, he has a wife and children, the boys either grow up to be Templars or Farmers. I wouldn't expect children to be brought up in the Sun Dome Temple or its barracks.

Concur. Most, but not all Sun Dome temples in the Lunar provinces provide mercenary regiments to the Provincial Army; based on the location of some, they may combine their available troops to field a regiment which is probably provided in lieu of tax, tithes and tribute. I believe that Harald has said that the temple in Imther musters a regiment for the king (in lieu of tax?) who prefers to sent them to the Provincial Army instead of warriors of his own tribe.

The farmers will serve in the militia, and some will probably either join the Temple professionals by choice or be selected. The period of service in a Templar regiment appears to be about 20 years, and I would suspect that after that time, the retired Templar either gets a land grant, or is retained to be a trainer.

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13 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Well, that might be a double-edged sword, a la Sparta and the helots. Not that I expect the Yelmalions to be as ruthlessly abusive as the Spartiate class, but if you've got a strong class divide that you use to prop up a well-equipped, well-drilled military elite, that also potentially means your milita support will be more impoverished and poorly trained than otherwise - and potentially even hostile and rebellious to its overlords.

Vanntar appears to be a special case - and it is also very new. It's organization seems more like Sparta than other more established Sun Dome Temples, in that it has around two thousand initiates, who are formed into two regiments, one of which is available for hire, whilst the other ensures the helots don't run away or revolt. Other Temples seem to have a larger population base, and probably no large numbers of helots.

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Actually the word Phalanx means 'finger bones', by extension taken to describe spears pointing forward side by side.

The use as a battle formation is by a further extension in turn.

Hill Barbarian is a subjective term. To Dara Happans the highly civilized other peoples of Peloria are probably seen as barbarians, hill or otherwise.

To the Kralorelans the term surely implies Everybody Else.  

In the RW the Greeks (correctly) called the Romans barbarians.

Sairdites are pure Hill Barbarians, the level of urbanisation being irrelevant.

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1 hour ago, Ali the Helering said:

Actually the word Phalanx means 'finger bones', by extension taken to describe spears pointing forward side by side.

The use as a battle formation is by a further extension in turn.

Hill Barbarian is a subjective term. To Dara Happans the highly civilized other peoples of Peloria are probably seen as barbarians, hill or otherwise.

To the Kralorelans the term surely implies Everybody Else.  

In the RW the Greeks (correctly) called the Romans barbarians.

Sairdites are pure Hill Barbarians, the level of urbanisation being irrelevant.

The finger bone usage of phalanges is a parallel, I believe, not a predecessor of its use in the sense of "battle formation". The earliest root usages I could find is that the term phalanx is a cognate of English "plank", from a PIE root that essentially means, beam, pole, or stick. This sense applies itself both to finger bones and spears, of course, as well as carrying poles (for bindles and the like). Anyway, this is straying a tad too far away.

On another note, while I understand the flavorful, "rule of cool" desire to use the term "barbarian" (it's practically a gaming/fantasy staple, and heavily worked into Gloranthan Orlanthi's real-world public image), in terms of actually applying such a term to populations of people, it is - without exception - a heavily politicized and derogatory term. Less so, perhaps, very very early on when it simply meant "non-Greek speaker", but by the time it'd entered Latin usage, and by extension European popular imagination, it's become essentially a term meaning "culturally inferior". 

I guess what I'm saying is that unless there's some good, uncontroversial definition of barbarian that can be agreed upon within Glorantha, it's probably best to avoid it in serious debate, and leave it for the fluff articles (where DHs surely will use the term liberally against their Orlanthi neighbors) and promotional material. It's barely a step from calling Hsunchen or Doraddi "savages", imho.

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

The finger bone usage of phalanges is a parallel, I believe, not a predecessor of its use in the sense of "battle formation". The earliest root usages I could find is that the term phalanx is a cognate of English "plank", from a PIE root that essentially means, beam, pole, or stick. This sense applies itself both to finger bones and spears, of course, as well as carrying poles (for bindles and the like). Anyway, this is straying a tad too far away.

On another note, while I understand the flavorful, "rule of cool" desire to use the term "barbarian" (it's practically a gaming/fantasy staple, and heavily worked into Gloranthan Orlanthi's real-world public image), in terms of actually applying such a term to populations of people, it is - without exception - a heavily politicized and derogatory term. Less so, perhaps, very very early on when it simply meant "non-Greek speaker", but by the time it'd entered Latin usage, and by extension European popular imagination, it's become essentially a term meaning "culturally inferior". 

I guess what I'm saying is that unless there's some good, uncontroversial definition of barbarian that can be agreed upon within Glorantha, it's probably best to avoid it in serious debate, and leave it for the fluff articles (where DHs surely will use the term liberally against their Orlanthi neighbors) and promotional material. It's barely a step from calling Hsunchen or Doraddi "savages", imho.

The PIE root is debatable, as is much concerning a reconstructed language. The imagery of the parallel fingers and out-thrust spears is, however, clear.

As for barbarians, my ancestors were barbarians (being non-Greek) who practiced barbarism (being Borders reivers) and there is no shame to that. It is historical fact.

As a definition of a non-city based tribal society, the word will serve our purposes without importing any prejudicial (and therefore false) meaning.

As for fantasy stereotypes, I am afraid that we are as stuck with them as we are RW stereotypes. We have dragons, we have magic, we have monsters with vile natures, woodland dryads and subterranean dwarves.  Stereotypes are a convenience, and even Greg uses them.

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Well, by that reductionist (and for our current purposes: quite absurd) definition, the Dara Happans are in fact barbarians too, being non-Greek. :P

Now, I won't press the matter further since it's not a huge deal, but suffice to say, my main issue is whether a term is useful or not. In this debate, from what I can tell, the term has been more a source of confusion and cross-talk than a solid analytical tool with which to clarify things, which is ideally how fixed terminology should work.

It is, in essence, a flavor term which is descriptive and cool, but that is about it, really.

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4 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Well, by that reductionist (and for our current purposes: quite absurd) definition, the Dara Happans are in fact barbarians too, being non-Greek. :P

Now, I won't press the matter further since it's not a huge deal, but suffice to say, my main issue is whether a term is useful or not. In this debate, from what I can tell, the term has been more a source of confusion and cross-talk than a solid analytical tool with which to clarify things, which is ideally how fixed terminology should work.

It is, in essence, a flavor term which is descriptive and cool, but that is about it, really.

Must agree to disagree. Perhaps YRWWV!😇

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14 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Well, by that reductionist (and for our current purposes: quite absurd) definition, the Dara Happans are in fact barbarians too, being non-Greek. :P

Of course the Gloranthan equivalent of Barbarian is Jabberer, a Malkioni term which obviously shares the origin with barbarian.

So quite probably the Dara Happans are barbarians, being non-Malkioni. (Although they may have picked it up as a calque or loanword from the Carmanians to use with others)

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Some points:

Phalanx and other shieldwall combats weren't about shield pushing. There's a reason they carried spears.

Medieval armies didn't have "untrained rabble".

And the greek hoplites were militia. Even the Spartans. The only exception were the mercenaries.

Edited by Brootse

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Something interesting that I'm not sure is intentional or not:

Yelmalio's major mythic cycle is about how he lost his Fire and was left only with his Light, but endured despite that. Yelmalio is Light without Fire. He is beaten and broken, but never truly dies and his Light remains all throughout the Darkness. Elmal provides Fire and Light throughout the Darkness. Though he is torn, beaten, broken, even killed, he is reborn each dawn.

Elmal's "origin" in Orlanthi myth is that he leaves the Fire Tribe when Chalanna Arroy heals him of his blindness; not physical blindness, but a spiritual blindness caused by his brightness, which caused him not to see the injustices of the Fire Tribe or himself. Elmal was blinded by his own Light, and Chalanna Arroy had to fix that. After that, Elmal leaves to find his own path, and he hears good things about Orlanth. He visits to confirm it, and he sees the good that Orlanth and the Storm Tribe are capable of.

In "Elmal Guards the Stead," the forces of Chaos try to destroy the Storm Tribe in Orlanth's absence, but Elmal guards them in his stead. Elmal defeats the Eater of Skin, the Author of Sores, and the Maker of Bad Growth, and even though he is rent apart by them, he is restored each dawn and remains steadfast. The enemy realizes it cannot defeat Elmal by destroying his body, and instead the Teller of Lies turns to deception.

First, it appears as a woman that Elmal had once loved and appeals to that love... and to Elmal's pride. Elmal sees through the ruse immediately, but is still affected by it enough that he sheds a tear that sets grass aflame. In the end, though, he banishes the Teller of Lies by retorting that Orlanth did not steal Elmal's pride, but awakened it.

Second, it appears as a shaman, who claims that Orlanth is as good as dead and that Elmal is the only one who can lead the Storm Tribe as king. Many people believe this, and clamor to make Elmal their king. Again, Elmal is not unaffected; he smiles at their willingness to offer him the crown, but his smile is so bright that it blinds them. Elmal then sees that this is a ruse and rebuffs the Teller of Lies once more, and says that he would not have chosen to be loyal to Orlanth if he believed him defeated so easily.

I'm not sure I can put this in words that tie it together, but there seems to be something here. If Yelmalio and Elmal really are just aspects of the same god, then is Yelmalio... I don't know enough about how to talk about Gloranthan metaphysics to even begin to unpack it, I'm sorry.

Let me try something smaller. It's said that the remaining Elmali in Sartar claim that the Yelmalians have been deceived by the Teller of Lies. Could an Elmali also make the claim that the Yelmalians have been blinded by their own Light, the way Elmal once was?

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59 minutes ago, Leingod said:

Let me try something smaller. It's said that the remaining Elmali in Sartar claim that the Yelmalians have been deceived by the Teller of Lies. Could an Elmali also make the claim that the Yelmalians have been blinded by their own Light, the way Elmal once was?

Palangio the Iron Vrok, the great Yelmalian hero, was the warlord and enforcer of Nysalor...

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On 9/4/2018 at 4:09 PM, jeffjerwin said:

Palangio the Iron Vrok, the great Yelmalian hero, was the warlord and enforcer of Nysalor...

And one of the greatest Yelmalian heroes of the 1618 era is Harvar Ironfist, a Lunar ally, and enemy of the rebelling Sartarites.

Quote

Harvar worshipped Yelmalio, and moved to support his friends in the Princeros and Tovtaros tribes. Harvar has invited many devilish Lunar cults into his lands.

More reasons why I really can’t understand the move to completely sideline the cult of Elmal and erase the substantial and meaningful differences between the cults of Yelmalio and the Heortlings worship of Elmal.

We’re told the Elmali believe that Yelmalio’s cult is a product of the Teller of Lies. We’re told the cult of Elmal still has access to the Fire rune. However diminished the cult of Elmal is in Sartar, his worship is in no way reducible to a “mask of Yelmalio”.

I really, really hope the draft of Gods of Glorantha changes substantially in its treatment of Elmal. It currently completely undermines the many sources currently in print (Book of Heortling Myth, King of Sartar, Sartar: KoH, GtG, and even the Glorantha Sourcebook) when it comes to Elmal vs Yelmalio.

Edited by daskindt

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On 9/4/2018 at 4:09 PM, jeffjerwin said:

Palangio the Iron Vrok, the great Yelmalian hero, was the warlord and enforcer of Nysalor...

Huh. Didn't "Elmal Guards the Stead" claim that Gbaji is actually the resurrected Teller of Lies?

9 minutes ago, daskindt said:

And one of the greatest Yelmalian heroes of the 1618 era is Harvar Ironfist, a Lunar ally, and enemy of the rebelling Sartarites.

More reasons why I really can’t understand the move to completely sideline the cult of Elmal and erase the substantial and meaningful differences between the cults of Yelmalio and the Heortlings worship of Elmal.

We’re told the Elmali believe that Yelmalio’s cult is a product of the Teller of Lies. We’re told the cult of Elmal still has access to the Fire rune. However diminished the cult of Elmal is in Sartar, his worship is in no way reducible to a “mask of Yelmalio”.

I really, really hope the draft of Gods of Glorantha changes substantially in its treatment of Elmal. It currently completely undermines the many sources currently in print (Book of Heortling Myth, King of Sartar, Sartar: KoH, GtG, and even the Glorantha Sourcebook) when it comes to Elmal vs Yelmalio.

Would there be some mythical/heroquesting basis for an Elmali to argue that rather than Elmal being a "mask" of Yelmalio, Yelmalio is actually Elmal before his healing, whose Light made him blind to truth? Elmal at his brightest, but also at his most proud and misguided?

Edited by Leingod
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5 hours ago, Leingod said:

Huh. Didn't "Elmal Guards the Stead" claim that Gbaji is actually the resurrected Teller of Lies?

Would there be some mythical/heroquesting basis for an Elmali to argue that rather than Elmal being a "mask" of Yelmalio, Yelmalio is actually Elmal before his healing, whose Light made him blind to truth? Elmal at his brightest, but also at his most proud and misguided?

It seems like the Heortling myths of Elmal already account for the Son of the Sun elements of Yelmalio. The Orlanthi already know that Elmal used to be part of the Sky Tribe. He was healed of his overbearing pride and became a much nicer guy from the perspective of the Orlanthi. That’s all part of the myths already.

So I don’t get why the Heortling Orlanthi would find Monrogh’s revelation that Elmal is but a mask of Yelmalio at all interesting, useful, or relevant. Sure. Maybe Elmal and Yelmalio are the same god. But the Orlanthi got the better version already. Elmal is the wiser and nobler version of Yelmalio after he grows up. So why would the Orlanthi find the new Yelmalio cult at all appealing? The Yelmalio cult that rejects Orlanth?

I get why the Elmali that were already rebelling against Orlanth in Sartar would find Yelmalio compelling. They got to refigure their myths and embrace the haughty and arrogant Yelmalio and reject the myths about the Loyal Thane. They got to stick it to Orlanth, make their own decisions, rule their own clans, and borrow some magic from Yelm.

This was useful to Tarkalor. He was able to turn these previous enemies of Sartar into a military force to defeat the Kitori, but then he shipped them out of Sartar and gave them Sun County. It worked because they were leaving proper Orlanthi society where they were previously expected to show respect and deference to Orlanth. They had embraced a foreign god and mythology and although they were useful militarily, they were a toxic poison culturally.

The idea that the remaining Elmali believe that Monrogh’s revelation is a product of the Teller of Lies seems way more plausible. Yelmalio’s cult has not been a friend to the Orlanthi. It was used to drive a wedge in the Orlanthi tribes by the Lunars and weakened the Orlanthi kingdoms. Now that the poison has been largely removed and focused in Sun County and Tarsh, the Heortling Orlanthi have every reason to continue to honor the myths of Elmal that have served them since before the Dawn.

Edited by daskindt

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BTW, do we know why the Elmali were rebelling vs. Orlanth followers in Sartar (pre-Monrogh/Yelmalio) in the first place? In a cultic sense this sounds like a strange situation, perhaps suggesting a primary political dimension. Were the rebels mostly certain clans/tribes led by the Elmali (frex. the Runegate clans or the Dinacoli) that were rebelling? 

If so, that could easily make it a have a more political/clan/tribal dimension, where it was about their ambitions first (as opposed by more traditionally Orlanthi led clans/tribes). Their Elmali affiliation tags along and maybe even eventually becomes the main issue. This allows them to find widescale support from among the Elmali in general, not restricted to the clans/tribes that were initially rebellious. This of course makes the situation that much worse as troubles spread. 

What could have been the driving force of the rebellion? Do we have any canon knowledge or old ideas/speculation concerning this or has the attention been solely on what followed? In one sense, it does sound like some Gbaji/Chaos stuff happening in Sartar...

Edited by Grievous

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22 minutes ago, Grievous said:

BTW, do we know why the Elmali were rebelling vs. Orlanth followers in Sartar (pre-Monrogh/Yelmalio) in the first place?

I can’t really tell. The various accounts of the rebellion and Monrogh’s quest all vary so much in the details that it’s difficult to make sense of it.

Some accounts make it sound like Monrogh’s vision came early, close to the 1550 date, and that the revelation itself was the primary fuel for the rebellion.

Other accounts make it sound like the rebellion was going pre-Monrogh and his vision gave a way out of the conflict. One of the earlier accounts suggests that Monrogh was seeking a resolution to the conflict and Elmal directed him to Yelmalio. Basically told him that he wasn’t worshipping Elmal at all and needed to go his own way. Here’s what I found from Storm Tribe:

Quote

Orlanthi tribesmen have worshipped Elmal since the Dawn. Over the centuries, the Elmali have come in contact with many other solar cults. Some worshippers or temples have adopted foreign rites and practices, and each time they did so it led to disaster. In the time of King Tarkalor of Sartar, some temples again held to foreign customs. Trouble arose that threatened to turn to kinstrife.


Orlanth pointed out that Elmal’s brothers were again trying to make his light their own. Elmal inspired one of his worshippers who had gone wrong how to find what he wanted. Thus it was that the lord Monro discovered that he actually worshipped Yelmalio, not Elmal. He went away with the other dissenters and ended the conflict in the land. Since then, the Elmali have remained true to their original traditions.

This is clearly not the version of the story being used for the RuneQuest Glorantha materials, but I think it makes the most sense from the Heortling Orlanthi perspective.

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