Cutting Comments and Hrestoli

From: Peter Metcalfe (
Date: Mon 05 Jun 1995 - 06:51:54 EEST

Peter Michaels:

Touches on a sore spot for many americans...

>Since the subject of circumcision was brought up, does anyone think this
>practice is followed anywhere in Glorantha? What about other forms of
>genital mutilation, such as subincision, castration, or dismemberment?

>What about (to include women) defloration, incision, excision,
>clitoridectomy, or infibulation?

Male Circumcision was practiced among the Dara Happans among the Dara Happans in Khordavu's time, but I imagine the custom has died off with the influx of 'greek' customs like prancing around naked in a gymnasium. Clitoridectomies certainly would have been abolished by the Lunars.

Eunuchs are known of in Esrolia and Carmania. The Pentans geld their male slaves and I daresay the Kralori also have eunuchs too. Some nobles of the west may have eunuchs (to make excellent male sophranos) but I think this is a Ralian or Nolos practice (it was practiced in the European continent before being condemned by Pope Pius (I forget the number) in 1854?

I have a feeling that the Hsunchen practice circumcision. In light of anecdotes I read of aboriginal ceremonies about the practice (they use bull roarers and say that is the sound of the Great Serpent is coming to eat you - Classic Trial by Terror thing) I think the males practice circumcision (to keep the great serpent/dragon under control so they don't change forms too often (I dunno about the women, perhaps that's a woman's secret :). Now for the Telmori, in light of the philosophy that Nysalor taught, they decided to disband the practice so they could change forms more readily and thus become more effective fighters. Talor's curse shows up the flaw in their thinking (ie they become vunerable to some potent curses involving transformation). The Telmori could get rid of the curse, I suppose, by returning to circumcision and the female corresponding secret (like the Pure Ones) or by abandoning their ancient beliefs.

Pamaltela is tricky. For the Doraddi, it would hinge on what Hon Hoolbiktu did. I presume the custom really varries from lineage to lineage and some lineages have prohibtions about intercourse with other lineages based on their technique (or lack thereof) of genital multilation. I really dunno for the Fonritans, the Masloi and the Veldang.

Soren Petersen:

>First off, I noticed in Gods of Glorantha that a Hrestoli Wizard have
>almost Runelord-level requirements (Attack and Parry 90%+ etc.). On the
>other hand, a Lord must qualify for Adept status in wizardry!?

No, to become a wizard, you must have proven to your superiors that you have filfulled the status of being a knight and are ready to progress to the next spiritual stage. Similarly to become a Lord, you must be a wizard. The Knights, Lords and Wizards spend their time theoretically improving their skills in the new caste and mastering it so they can progress.

In reality, this is Fubar, as to become a knight in the first place, one has to be competent in Plant/Animal lore and Crafting, which for the average Hrestoli peasant means that he gets to be a fighter on the wrong side of thirty(!). And one wonders how the Kingdom of Loskalm managed to produce wizards and lords in regular quantities under the ban given that it was peaceful.

In practice, the short-cut routes to the higher castes are among the cushy numbers such as acolythist and/or squire (IMHO, I think the Hrestoli believe that looking the master's horse qualifies as Animal Lore and polishing his armour qualifies as a craft). For the Knight's caste, similar shortcuts do exist. Wizard wannabes join the Cardinal's bodyguard and after serving some absurdly short length of time (say two to three years) are inducted into the Wizard Caste on the basis that he has served two years in a top notch military unit (in reality, they are more versed in the pen than the sword) so he _must_ be a worthy knight.

>However, I'm somewhat in the dark about Arlaten's reaction to this
>event. How does a Rokari Wizard and a Hrestoli Knight relate to each
>other? Would they be at each other's throats in a second, or would they
>appreciate the presence of another Western (ie. Civilized) person in
>this land of Godless Heathens Who Deserve To Be Cut Down Mercilessly?

I think Arlaten will be pleased to have a fellow western knight, but I think that he would expect the Hrestoli to maintain devotion to his current caste and not manifest interest in wizardry like a good knight is supposed to do - an area of future disagreements.

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