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 Post subject: Symposium
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:23 am 
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Pull up a chair, have a drink!

Welcome to Helena's famous drinking party.

This thread is for any comments or suggestions about the realm of Helena.

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 Post subject: Re: Symposium
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:35 pm 
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Ok, point me to the krater! And how's the ratio of water to wine? :mrgreen:

Inspired by recent activities on this sub-forum, I am currenly -- finally! -- in the process of putting the fnishing touches on my 15.000 word document on Xanarium, and one of the features I have already included in the city is a "colony" of Fauth, with a special legal status, along the lines of similar colonies of Venice in Constantinople and other cities. This town-within-the-city has been established less than a century ago.

Here's my question: Is it ok by you that one of the reasons for the Xanarians to give Fauth this special legal status was to back up Fauth as a trading nation and thereby damage Helena, who after all is a nation of apostates from the Imperial Church? Some kind of cold economical war?

Hm. Maybe Helena is in turn supporting smugglers landing their goods in the Seat of the Empire, to economically damage the Seat?

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 Post subject: Re: Symposium
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:16 am 
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Man the dromones!

No that sounds good. Helena is ostensibly neutral, but trade is the key to its wealth. Trade wars sound interesting anyway.

Let me make sure I understand though, the colony of Fauth are inside the Seat right?

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 Post subject: Re: Symposium
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:32 am 
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Valthalion wrote:
Let me make sure I understand though, the colony of Fauth are inside the Seat right?

It is a quarter within the capital city of Xanarium, leased to Fauth. Fauthian merchants do not pay any tolls there and are self-governing, adhering to Fauthian and not Imperial law. The Venetians and Genoese had something like that in many towns of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, Constantinople (one of my main inspirations for Xanarium) among them.

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 Post subject: Re: Symposium
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:02 am 
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Religion.

I'll be starting a Religion thread soon but I'd thought I'd throw out some ideas for comment.

Polytheism

The Helenans worship a Pantheon of gods not a series of opposed monotheisms. One prays to the god of the sea when sailing, god of thunder in storms, god of sex in seduction. Grettir wrote some stellar stuff on this here
Syncretism

After the overthrow of the Xanarian's and reverting to the old religions and expelling of church hierarchy, generally the Helenas regard the three became one god as merely another in their pantheon, one who had for time imprisoned the others.

Thelassion

The head of the Greek pantheon family is Thelassion the God of the sea. He recieved primacy when he defeated the Tez Hamunoi gods as they invaded the Helenic Isles. He has a loose alliance with his brothers the god of the underworld and the god of the sky. In their realms each of these other gods has primacy, however its the sea god who according to mythology who is the head of the family.

The basis for this is the extreme nature of the tides on Weyrth and its a bit different from classical mythology. I also imagine that he has twelve minor gods called the Tides.

The history behind this is that when the TezHamunoi invasion fleet where coming the the Helenic Isles I'd like the battle to be a bit of a Spanish Armada (where the English pushed the Spanish north up the English channel, so the Spanish had to sail completely around the British Isles to get home and when they were basically off the coast of Ireland they were hit with an absolutely enormous storm, which destroyed the fleet and any survivors were butchered by the locals (well they were invading I suppose) Not many ships returned and when they did the crew were starving. (not having taken much food for the little sail and big fight. )

So what I am seeing is an enormous invasion fleet destroyed by a succesful sea battle and then a big storm, so in mythology Thelassion becomes the primary god.

Any thoughts about this before I develop further?

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 Post subject: Re: Symposium
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:01 pm 
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I like the importance of the twelve Tides / “Okeanides” , I like that “Poseidon” has supremacy, not "Zeus", and I like how you have the Helenes regard the Three-Gods-Become-One. In fact, together with the Zeus-Poseidon-Hades trinity, the god of the heavens not having supremacy, and the importance of heaven for the Christian faiths that inspired the Imperial religion, this gives me an idea:

Maybe the modern Helenes say that once, in the distant past, pseudo-Zeus had somehow ousted/imprisoned his two brothers (like you suggested) and told the humans that he was in fact all three – the Three-Gods-Become-One, but with pseudo-Zeus’ primarily celestial aspect. Now, the other two have freed themselves or have been freed, and told their people the truth, or maybe their release from imprisonment was a result of the Helenes’ realisation of the truth – whatever.

What do you think?

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 Post subject: Re: Symposium
PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:43 am 
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I suppose my primary concern with both the supremacy of the sea-god and the idea that the heaven god being lessened is I think that I must come up with a plausible moon mythology. Six moons dominating the skies that's go to be a huge influence.

I haven't really come up with anything plausible yet, but the birth of new moons especially must feature in a huge way in the the overall system

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 Post subject: Re: Symposium
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:01 am 
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I am thinking of a polygamy mythology. The "Zeus" god (or maybe Poseidon) has 6 wives, each new moon is a wife and each time a new one comes along there is a subsequent shift in the household dynamic.

Maybe, polygamy is a feature of Helenic society suppressed by the empire and now making a resurface.

Any thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Symposium
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:39 pm 
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Valthalion wrote:
I suppose my primary concern with both the supremacy of the sea-god and the idea that the heaven god being lessened is I think that I must come up with a plausible moon mythology. Six moons dominating the skies that's go to be a huge influence.

Yes, you’re right; I’ve not thought about this. But then Zeus was the Greek god of the sky and there were still manyheavenly bodies that didn’t have a strong connection to him; sun, moon nd stars were not connected any closer to him than for instance wild animals.

I am no expert of ancient mythology, but from what I recall, Zeus could most of all be called a god of the air, the atmosphere, and of atmospheric phenomena like storms and lightning (thus also the eagle, a bird, as his sacred animal), but not so much a deity of trans-atmospheric phenomena like the heavenly bodies. I remember distinctly that the Greeks regarded him, among other things, as the god of heavenly light, that is the light filtering down from the sky, but – rather schizophrenically – not as the god of the light from beyond the sky, i.e. the god of the sun; that would of course have been Apollon and Helios.

But you’ve found a solution yourself:
Valthalion wrote:
The "Zeus" god (or maybe Poseidon) has 6 wives, each new moon is a wife and each time a new one comes along there is a subsequent shift in the household dynamic.

Liking this take!

Or maybe the moons are former wives, banished into the heavens by the “Poseidon”? And the Tides the (wayward?) children of from these dalliances?

Valthalion wrote:
Maybe, polygamy is a feature of Helenic society suppressed by the empire and now making a resurface.

Even though it does not mesh with the idea of the moons being past wives/lovers I still like the dramatic potential of your idea. A shift from monogamy towards polygamy is a huge one that will bring about a lot of tension. Even if women do not resent it most men wil, as marrying multiple wives will normally only be economically possibe for the wealthy few and not the poorer masses.

But then this might well be too much at odds with the proto-democratic egalitarian spirit you aim for. It would depend on just about how large a portion of the male populace of Helena holds full citizenship, though. Maybe it’s a very small portion anyway.

I think you’ve got a decision on your hands that will bear major consequences for the flavour of Helena and that needs careful consideration.

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 Post subject: Re: Symposium
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:48 am 
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First of all Grettir I'd just like to say that I really enjoy interacting with you in these discussions.

Lunar Musings
If I take a moment and think about the moons, imagining myself to be a poet lying on my back staring at the night sky, wondering, musing even. What impressions am I going to have? Well, Our moon, on earth waxes and wanes on a cycle, closely connected in time to the menstrual cycle. It's rotation time is the same as its orbit time, so it appears to only have one face So, basically it moves through the sky and changes shape from crescent to orb and that's it.

On Weyrth there are 6 moons. They are different sizes, colours, they are on different orbits, its unlikely that the face stays the same all the time on each of them. They will also wax and wane, all in the same direction (where the sun is) It would look like a collossal majestic dance, all to the tune of the conductor (the one reference point, the sun) How am I going to explain this dance in the sky in a system of mythology. If I take the man-like gods of classical greece as a starting point.

Beautiful dancing women makes the most sense to me, and current wives/concubines (to use an old fashioned term) makes sense of the faces turned to the sun. (The sun isn't visible at night but it would be obvious that all the lit faces turned in the same direction (although they are spinning as well) New moons rising works with this as well.

It could be worshippers dancing around the altar. It might even be children.

Stars are really going to be minor, most of the time there will be at least several moons in the sky, indeed if it goes pitch black (the moons all on the other side of the world) and you can see the stars, its probably going to freak people out (and cause huge tides to boot) So astrology is going to be lunology instead I think. (gosh think of the eclipses, although they'll be much more common so perhaps not as foreboding)

Mythology
Problem is that I'd like the sea-god to be preeminent, In the classical system Poseidon is an antagonist a lot of the time. I'm thinking Odyssey and Atlantis (Plato) Ships go out to sea and never return.

On Weyrth frankly sitting in the fishing village, talking to the widows and wives waiting by the quey, Poseidon is pretty capricious and those tides, frankly, might seem mischievious, but they are really bastards.

But it's the Helenic relationship with the sea god that is important. They are favoured by him, so they can navigate, explore, trade (and win naval battles)

Grettir wrote:

I think you’ve got a decision on your hands that will bear major consequences for the flavour of Helena and that needs careful consideration.


It is interesting, to look at the vision that Jake had, work back to the assumptions (like city states, Xanarian conquest, moons rising) and try to connect the dots in not only a plausible but also dramatic way. Leaving the society a combination of reality and foreigness (fantasy, alienness, strangeness, I struggle for the word). Reality helps anchor the mind and strangeness makes it interesting. I suppose maintaining the suspension of disbelief and entertaining at the same time.

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