From: Peter Metcalfe (P.Metcalfe@student.canterbury.ac.nz)
Date: Mon 21 Oct 1996 - 05:15:06 EEST

Joerg Baumgartner:

>>>However, Somash is likely as stuck-up and stiff as is Praxian Yelmalio, if
>>>the reaction of Garusharp at Gio is any measure.

>>You're confusing your own ideas of what is considered conservative
>>moral behaviour with that of a radically different culture.

>Cheap, Peter, and wrong.

Could you drop the Gorlickisms? I've had it up to here with Ian
mischaracterising everything I said as 'a quibble' or 'a complete
over-reaction'. I don't go around labelling things that I disagree
strongly about as 'a complete load of anal horseshit written by a
semi-devolved slug'.

>We have sufficient knowledge on Sun Domer morals, and I was arguing
>from their POV.

What does the Sun Domers have to do with this? We are talking about the
Cult of Somash in *Teshnos*! Why should the Somash of Teshnos ban hazia
smoking merely because the Sun Domers of Prax do so? Merely because
the Muslims see drinking wine or idolatry as impious or does not mean
the Christians have to do likewise! So it is with the Sun Domer and
the Somashite.

>And we do have so much information on Somash and his high priest that
>to assume he takes a dim view on anything improper seems quite ok to me.

One incident of manifest heresy is not 'so much information' IMO.
We could easily conclude that the City that Exiled Aximander for
Atheism and made Socrates drink Hemlock was the bastion of Illiberal
thought using your technique of extrapolation. What I'm saying is
that there are other explainations that can be drawn from Garusharp's
behaviour. Assuming a Conservative Culture from one incident is
boring IMHO.

The people of Gio snuffed out flames in a land that _revers_ fire.
They probably did this for a Harstarfarian rite. Nonetheless it
_is_ deeply blasphemeous to the beliefs of mainstream Teshnos
irrespective of whether it is liberal or conservative. It's like
worshiping an idol in a mosque or reciting black masses in front
of a packed Christain Church. People are going to be deeply upset
regardless of whether they are liberals or not.

>>You're also muddling the waters between the conservatism of the
>>Somash cult in Teshnos and Varthanis's morals in Prax.

>I _am_ making a connection. If there are any Teshnan solar priest converts
>within the Sun County hierarchy, they will have had some influence. The
>lords (Light Sons) are responsible for the morale of the troopers, but the
>priests tend to the farmers' cares, and that's where the hazia is grown.

Most of the Priests see Hazia Growing as bad and have done so since
Varthanis's time. That is the influence of Somash which was proven
to be wrong by the Troll raids that followed. All this was implied
in my original article.

>>The way
>>the cult is run in Teshnos had only a minor influence with how
>>Varthanis decreed that the cult should be run.

>One important question to me is when did Varthanis change the Sun Dome cult
>of unknown name to Monrogh's version?

In KoS, he taught Yelmalio to Sun County when he came over with Duke Dorasar.

>When did the Somashi (and their servants) sift into Sun County? Was Monrogh
>part of this cultural transfer?

The Somash cult came to Sun County on the way back and Monrogh was part
of it. He did not bring any Teshnan Priests with him IMO ('too far to
walk and I don't ride no stinking steed'). He merely preached and showed
them the basic rituals and holy writings.

>Or is the late date for contact with the
>original Sun Dome cult due to their unacceptance of Elmal as a related deity
>(upon earlier contact with Sartarites, even Solar worshipping ones)?

I do think the Sun County people had known Elmal since the Pol Joni
became established in Prax. The lasting change Monrogh brought to
Sun County was not that of a new god but a theocratic state. Prior
to his arrival, Sun County was a nomad fief where barely literate
priests ministered to drunken Counts. I've left the identity of the
Sun God prior to Monrogh's coming unstated as it's not important.
It probably even changed with the whim of the Count ('The Count's
showing a fascination with the EWF ruins. I think the rites to
Yamsur should be celebrated to humour him this year. Put the Elmali
scrolls away...').

>>And Solf can't be transmitted because he is not the Sun. Monrogh
>>had the Vision of the Many Suns, remember?

>Wrong. The unnamed skald and Arkati in Greg's tale on why he "screwed up
>your Glorantha" did have this vision. I doubt very much that Monrogh had
>that vision - in fact, his kind of faith points to a less open POV.

As Monrogh was a vassal of Tarkalor according to KoS and had the
Peculiar Vision, it is reasonable to suppose that the 'unnamed skald'
is actually Monrogh himself. And you still have not answered the
question of why someone who is interested in the Sun should bring
back Solf.

I had solved the apparent disparity between liberal Monrogh and
conservative Sun County in my original article. Monrogh had the
Vision of the Many Suns so he taught Somash to the people of Sun
County to make their lives better. However they renounced their
ties with the nomad folk as a result of the adoption of Somash (they
prayed to him and found that he hated nomads) and so they became
easy prey for the Uz of Pavis - mainly because Somash has no myth
of fighting against trolls and the nomad allies that normally
protected them against trollish incursions had been alienated.

Monrogh too had problems with the Kitori Trolls in Dragon Pass.
However because he had the Vision of the Many Suns, he changed his
faith from Somash to Yelmalio who did have myths of fighting against
trolls. Now Monrogh hears about the problems with Sun County and so
sends Varthanis armed with his new faith to protect them. Varthanis
did *not* have the Vision of the Many Suns and so was so shocked by
the practices of the Somashi (Hazia, Leaders in Dresses) that he
restricted them (ie kicked them out of the temple etc). But his
successes against the Uz convinced the majority of Sun County that his
faith was proper.

So the people of Sun County can draw the following conclusions from
their experiences:

        Somash, Hazia and Leaders in Dresses leads to Raids by Trolls
        and so Somash and his practices are *bad*.

        Yelmalio and the teachings of Varthanis allow us to defeat
        the Trolls and so Yelamlio and his practices are *good*.

Somash is hastily dumped and most of the Somash Priests who refuse
to convert have to eke out an honest living. The Somash Priesthood
is finally stamped out for good after Solanthus's coup (as they are
they are sent to the towers).

No doubt, someone will trot out the Spirit of Reprisal as evidence
for Monrogh's conservative character. This spirit reflects Sun
County prejudices more than it illuminates the character of Monrogh
IMO. In the Sun Dome temple of Draon Pass, the Spirit of Reprisal
is a lot less strict IMO.

>Peter's description of Solf public houses in Teshnos is quite nice, but
>still doesn't convince me that the Somash folk will not regard the Solf
>rites as unhealthy, and ban them among _their_ worshippers.

I think the picture is a bit more complicated than this. Although
the Big Three are associated with Castes, people can worship those
gods irrespective of whatever caste (save the Night) they are in.

The Morning (Solf) Caste do generally worship Somash on public
occasions as well as Solf worship in the aforementioned temples.

They are prohibited from learning certain sciences (as in Vedic
Sciences) which inhibits their progression in the Cults of Somash
and Zitro-Argon. For example, a Morning Caste Soldier who worships
Somash cannot learn those cult secrets which would enable him to
allow him to wear armour.

The Noon Caste (Somash) are prohibited by the rules of their caste
from engaging in Solfic Rites. Most of them worship Somash as they
are allowed to learn the Somash Sciences (the Secrets of Zitro-Argon
are reserved for the Evening Caste). The Noon Caste are not nobles
but are scribes, healers, warriors and other functionaries.

The Nobles - Evening Caste (Zitro-Argon) are allowed to engage
whatever cult practices or learn any cult science they see fit
as their exalted spiritual status ensures that they can come to
no harm. On the other hand, they are prohibited from various
forms of interaction with the Lower Castes for fear of befouling
themselves (ie not sleep with a lower caste, not eat with a Morning
or Night Caste, not see a Night Caste etc). I think the Major
Priestly Offices of all the Cults in Teshnos are drawn from the
ranks of the Noble Caste.

Thus there are Solfic Temples that are set aside for the use of the
Evening Caste which are pits of High Class Decadence. Garusharp,
the Highest Priest of Somash may visit one of these Temples without
besmirching his position or any hint of social condemnation.

This is a much more interesting social structure than the dour
Sun County model which would be overused if we extrapolated it
to Teshnos IMHO.

>>>Since Yelmalio has no history as plow god to speak of, who takes that role
>>>in Sun County? Could this be where Solf crept in?

>>Whatever happened to Barntar, Son of Yelmalio and Ernalda?

>You mean the guy who killed Daga with Heler's rain? Doesn't sound like Mr.
>Cloudclear's or "you let it rain, we irrigate" offspring.

He's primarily an Ernaldan Cult diety and inherited such oddities
from his mother's side of the family. As for the rice irrigation,
you use a shovel, not a plow.

- --Peter Metcalfe


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