Lunars in Sartar; Somash in Prax

Date: Thu 17 Oct 1996 - 16:35:35 EEST

Saravan writes, casually:

> It took the Carolingians a good thirty years to subdue those dang Saxons
> and convert them from Paganism, through more or less the same means.

As a fellow Dark Age historian, professional courtesy requires that I ask
Saravan whether he *really* thinks the Lunars are pursuing a policy of
forcible conversion to the Lunar way, with the death penalty prescribed for
any Sartarite speaking a stave of Orlanthi "poetry" or not attending Lunar
worship services on Lunar holy days. If not, the means are hardly "more or
less the same", are they?

Charlemagne's assault on the pagan Saxons was twofold: vigorous persecution
of any trace of pagan practices (death penalty for old women reading the
tea-leaves), coupled with vigorous persecution of any lapse from Christian
practices (death penalty for failing to observe the Lenten fast). I do
*not* think the Lunar policy in occupied Sartar is comparable: they offer
inducements to convert, rather than slaughtering everyone who doesn't, and
show their normal tolerance of indigenous religions and cults which are
compatible with (and able to be assimilated by) the Lunar Way. YGMV, of
course, but let's not go OTT.

> Might the Lunars allow Orlanth worship by subservient clans whose
> troublesome members have already been purged?

Whyever not? Outlaw the troublemakers, but don't provoke the rest of the
populace into uprising. I'm sure there are exiled Wind Lords wandering the
highlands of Sartar preaching armed insurrection, but I'm also sure there
are Rainmakers and Storm Voices and Thanes in almost every clan steading,
continuing "worship as normal" and urging their followers to wait until the
Secret Wind starts to blow...

> I can see that the Pavis situation is different, in that the clan and
> tribal ties don't need to be broken there.

Another difference is that Orlanth is not the ruling deity of Pavis: the
cult of Pavis fulfils this role, and that's what the Lunars are trying to
assimilate ("marry to the Goddess"). As you say, it would be easy to ban
Orlanth worship in the city, and the occupiers have declined to do this.
Moreover, potential troublemakers (like Krogar Wolfhelm) are allowed to go
freely about their business, so long as they refrain from challenging Lunar
rule -- in this respect, a tamed "wild" Orlanthi (a quiescent Wind Lord) is
more useful to the Empire than a tame Orlanthi (like Faltikus the Good).

Look at the leniency of Fazzur's policy after Starbrow's rebellion (cf.
"Wyrms Footprints" or "King of Sartar"), then try telling me that the
Lunars would kill any Orlanthi leader they can catch....

Ian writes:

> You can't possibly write up the cult of Somash without having a big
> influence on the eventual write-up of Teshnos.

But you don't need to write up "the cult of Somash" to postulate that some
Sun Domer priests might try importing the religious use of intoxicants and
funny foreign robes to xenophobic, intolerant Sun County.

Kiwi Peter isn't saying the Teshnan Somash priests "cross-dress" -- he's
saying that wearing a style of garment favoured by the Somash priests of
Teshnos is considered by arch-traditionalists of Sun County to constitute
"disguising yourself as a woman". Remember, these are the people who think
dying your beard blond would violate the same cultic rule!

And we know intoxicants are found in Teshnos (cf. Solf), a land famous for
its lethargy. Maybe hazia is the *local* drug of choice in Sun County for
flying to the Sun in an ecstatic trance; we know that opium is found in the
East, and might well be used there in rituals.

Methinks Ian doth protest too much. There's a lot of common ground between
his and Peter's views of Sun County, and I'd hate to see this small dispute
exaggerated or inflamed unnecessarily.



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