Re: Early Seshnela, and Hsunchen Before the God Learners

From: Joerg Baumgartner (
Date: Thu 05 Jun 1997 - 07:33:00 EEST

Warning: This is likely to interest only a minority of the digest readers,
so feel free to skip ahead to the Silver Empire part, where things become
more consensus than controversial.

I can't understand why Peter Metcalfe is so adamant to ignore the great
amount of evidence - published and unpublished - on the Dawn Age southwest
of Genertela with comparatively advanced beast totem people just to fit the
retrofitted ideal of the God Learned Hsunchen.

>It's helpful to remember exactly *when* the Book of Kings was

Only a couple of years before the account of King Palashee from KoS was

>At that point in time, the precise, nay even the
>general specifics of Malkioni religion had not been sorted out.

True. However, it is not like the specifics had been sorted out when the God
Learners - adherents of the Malkioni religion, if I am not greatly mistaken
- - and the Arkati - sort of Malkioni religion, anyway - were described in
CoT, or for God of Glorantha and Genertela Book. Genertela Box makes it
quite evident that Greg didn't change his mind on his unpublished history of
Hrestol and his ancestors and/or religion - it keeps quite a lot of names
explained _only_ in the Book of Kings for the early Malkioni.

Cults of Prax offered the regionally inadequate but historically unrevoked
information that the old Seshnegi practised ancestor worship to an extent
that they worshipped their ancestors as deities. This is certainly true for
Malkion, but it is also true for Pendal, son of Basmol, and for a couple of
other nations living in the forested lands of Dawn Age Seshnela and Ralios.

Peter insists that the Seshnegi fought naked savages in their campaign to
conquer the land. He can give no reason save that in 3rd Age Prax the

Basmoli are such. Peter insists that Greg changed his mind on everything he
has written in his formation period of Glorantha, i.e. all his early and

unpublished novels set in the West. However, almost all of this material
reappears in only slightly revised form in the Genertela Box. I ask Peter to
give me proof that nothing Greg wrote back then stands as background for the
West any more, and also his vast sources on how the West really was in the
Dawn Age.

>A parallel example is Jonat's Saga which Greg says at the back
>of Trollpak (RQIII edition) is wrong in that one type of troll
>would be now described as a Darkness Spirit.

A Dehori, yes. In Trollpak, the concept still is valid.

>Thus attempts to
>prove that the Pendali are a nation of civilized sorcerers are
>fatally flawed methinks.

Attempts to prove that they were naked savage invaders who ruled over an
indigenous earth-cultist population of farmers are doomed, not just flawed.

You might as well say that the Enerali were disorganised herds of horse
Hsunchen rather than a quite sophisticated culture which built Hrelar Amali,
a cultic centre comparable to Mesopotamian or Ancient Indian temple-cities.
In fact, comparable to pre-Dawn Dara Happan cities. The Enerali, Telmori and
Basmoli all had such great cities - the ruins of Basmol and Hrelar Amali

still are visible on the map of Tanisor, the remnants of the Telmori city in
the upper Tanier Valley had been utterly destroyed by Arkat.

The entire idea to make all beast totem civilisations of the West primitive
savages seems to me very much like Dawn Age propaganda turned credo, and
then proven by the God Learners (who were known for just such methods).

>>As I understand Greg's intentions for the Dawn Age and earlier, this usually
>>is not the case. At least I got rebuffed when I suggested a similar theory
>>for the Vingkotling entry into Genertela.

>But there is evidence for the Basmoli migration

There were at least two - one pre-dawn into Prax, and another one from Dawn
Age Seshnela to Basim. Book of Kings doesn't exactly forbid that the Pendali
and the invaders of Prax were of the same people, since it only lists the
lineages of the Pendali kings, which begin with Pendal son of Basmol. It is
quite possible that other sons of Basmol (or even the great ancestor
himself) led other peoples elsewhere.

Praxian (pre-Beast Rider) legends tell how Basmol and his people invaded
Prax and were defeated by Tada. This invasion must have occurred even before
"Death" invaded Prax, in whatever form.

>and there is no evidence for a Vingkotling 'migration'.

Then why the differentiation into summer and winter tribes? What about the
myth about Elem(al)pur, and the invasions into the Oslir Lowland?

>To wit:

> 'Ancient Seshnegi documents demonstrate clearly that
> the language spoken by the Hsunchen Basmoli invaders
> of the second century is essentially identical to the
> language spoken by the relic tribes surviving today
> in Ralios and Prax.

Given that the Ralian Basmoli were the survivors of the Seshnegi Pendali, no
great surprise there. I like the "Hsunchen Basmoli invaders of the second
century" bit - <sarcasm> it makes it evident that Seshnela had been the
Malkioni homeland since creation, doesn't it? </sarcasm>

Didn't it ever cross your mind that this text might be a weeny little bit
biased, Peter? Or do you take GRoY as the absolute truth as well?

> The noted Jrusteli scholar Dakon Ven Dalorin

A colleague of the scholar who demonstrated the extinction of green elves in
Enkloso, if not the same person?

> demonstrated in 998 that the Basmoli living
> in Tarien (who may now be extinct) also spoke this same
> language.'
Which is stretching credibility a bit, given that the Tarian lion people are
of agimori race.

>(Yes, the chronological points are interesting).


> 'In Pamaltela, the Basmoli only know that their god
> marched northwards with a horde of followers, and still
> await a triumphant return'

> Gods of Glorantha p44.

Nice one. So Basmol the Pamaltelan lion god left his native people in
Pamaltela, went to Seshnela where he spawned the Pendali nation, and left
off with a horde of followers to invade Prax? I doubt that to some extent.

What do the Agimori of Prax know about that? After all they came to Prax on
the easter route around the Spike.

>>The Pendali are an indigenous culture whose founder - a son of Basmol -
>>married the daughter of Seshna Likita, and their children founded the
>>Basmoli kingdoms.

>Non sequitur. King Froalar also married Seshna Likita and founded
>the Serpent Kings Dynasty but nobody would suggest that the Malkioni
>are indigenous to Seshnela.

Except the source you quoted above.

>Furthermore Lords of Terror (p86) mentions
>that an ancient Seshnelan dynasty (extinct before the Dawn) worshipped
>Sidana. Since Sidana is a patron of incest which is not AFAIK a
>Basmoli practice, it seems to me that the Basmoli supplanted the
>Sidanings when they invaded.

I'm no biologist, but isn't it a fact that the leading lion of a pride will
mate with his own daughters? Or, if he happens to replace the leading lion
of his mother's pride, that he will mate with his mother as with all other

Add to this fact that incest was a mark of ruling dynasties of early high
cultures - preserving the divine blood, it was rationalized. Sibling
marriages were common in some Egyptian dynasties.

>>>We know the Pralori similarly 'oppressed' the people of Wenelia at the

>>You mean the Mraloti hsunchen there?

>The Wenelians were Haralding Orlanthi (or at least King Vathmai was).

Lalmor of the Vathmai seems to have been a Theyalan king who set off with
his tribe to Slontos and spread the Lightbringers' cults there. He may or
may not have been a Haranding.

The RuneQuest Companion doesn't state in any way that the Pralori oppressed
the Entruli any more than vice versa:


: Parties from Kethaela set off westward into the lands of the Entruli
: and the Pralori with mixed success. These peoples were famed for their
: hatred and warfare.

>>>Why should the Basmoli be wearing armour? The True Basmoli needs
>>>aught but his skin IMHO.

>>The Pendali did wear armour. QED.

>This from the Book of Kings again?

Yes. Face it, the Pendali were no "true Basmoli" in the sense you want them
to be. Disbelieve it, if you want. Do you claim that no information is
better than outdated information, Peter?

To clarify the geography of early Seshnela: look at the map of 2nd Age
Seshnela on p.14 of the Sog City Conference Guide. The Malkioni people had
settled two coastal colonies, Neleoswal and Frowal. The territory of Frowal
stretched from Kanthor's forest to the river springing around the Temple
area, and about that far south. Neleoswal ruled only the land west of the
river in that 2nd Age duchy.

(BTW: I misremembered. The lands of Frowal were given to the refugees from
Brithos freely, not in exchange for any service, by the king of Avalalsland.)

The Pendali had five kingdoms: Orphalsland (survived as a duchy), Rolfasland
(became a duchy as well), Avalalsland (Duchy of Ailor plus Jorestl's
Forest), Kaanilland (roughly the duchy of Nolos) and Jorilland (all the
lands north of Nolos and east of the river at Laurmal). Jorilland lost part
of its lands first, but survived the longest, even after the Seshnegi had
usurped their alliance with the Mostali, and its survivors fled into the
lands west of the Tarinwood shown as Basmoli lands, where they established
the city of Basmol. (They were sun worshippers using bows and chariots
during the later part of their resistance, until the Seshnegi summoned Umath
to defeat them.)

Of the five Pendali kingdoms, two were assimilated by the Seshnegi, and
three were abandoned by the Pendali after series of defeats.

>>What you call "True Basmoli" was what the exile people became after being
>>pushed out of Tanisor as well.

>And somehow degenerated into carbon copies of their lifestyle
>before they started to learn sorcery?

Underwent the same crushing defeat as their Praxian kin had ages earlier?

>Surely this would have started ringing alarm bells?

I doubt that the similarities in cults, custom and myth were as great as
they became when the God Learners started to push all beast totems into
their Hsunchen systematics.

>[Silver Empire]

>I don't think there was a civil war - the Serpent Kings died out

The last of them had only a daughter to succeed him. She ruled for a couple
of years with her consort, then joined her ancestors in the Temple when her
consort died. After her Seshnela was ruled by her daughter, who sacrificed
her husbands, and was killed for it by the populace when it became known.

>and then the True Hrestol Way took over in a violent coup d'etat.
>Perhaps the Serpent Kings were killed in the Second Century
>Basmoli invasions?

Why do you reject the information from the Book of Kings (which details the
fall of the Serpent King dynasty) in favour for wild speculations?

The Serpent King dynasty failed to produce rulers willing to forgo the bliss
of their temple divinity long after the Pendali had been incorporated into
the Kingdom of Seshneg (without much cultural upheaval except Hrestol's new
caste of knights in addition to the Brithini four-caste system, very much
like Nick's Old Seshnelan Chivalry outlines Seshnelan Hrestolism in the
HTWW1 cult collection - I note that Nick knows the Book of Kings as well...).

>We know that the Dangam confederacy expanded
>eastwards from the Genertela book so he could have pushed the
>(Tanisorian?) Basmoli into the Seshnelan lands.

Book of Kings gives year numbers: Since 83 ST the Pendali kingdom of
Kaanilland had been ruled by Lamras, fourth king within history. Lamras
formed a band of special warriors who cooperated with their totem beasts,
and at the same time propagated Sun worship in his kingdom. After gathering
strength he attacked Caulsket, a former Pendali city now part of the
Seshnegi kingdom, in 97 ST, and almost succeeded. Without the cover of his
forests he was defeated by the Seshnegi chivalry.

The Seshnegi invaded Kaanilland in 105 and took the capital, but beyond that
in the woods they were defeated both by judicious use of the lion companions
against the mounted forces, and by the Pendali sun priesthood who thwarted
the Seshnegi wizards. (The text says Yelm. It seems the western "barbarians"
had a relation to their non-ancestor gods as variable the wizards or the
Praxians, not like the set ways of the Pelorians or Vingkotlings.) Another
invasion in 107, using mercenaries adept in guerilla tactics themselves,
crushed the main force of the Pendali, and finally king Lamras offered to
give up the land if he and his people would be granted free passage. The
Seshnegi took up the offer. They learned later that the leaving Pendali had
cursed the land...

The Pendali of Kaanilland settled shortly in Tanisor, but were driven out by
the natives and finally settled in the Mislari Mountains (Basim...).

>>The Dari confederation had conquered Tanisor around 265, and held even parts
>>of Seshnela until his assassination in 307. In 350 it was resurrected.

>>This suggests that the great unified Silver Empire lasted (in Ralios, at
>>least) for about 60 years. Sounds very much like the conquests of one
>>powerful king, only to be lost by his son when he tried for Brithos.

>I presume from the loss of Safelster and Tanisor that the Silver Empire's
>forte was primarily naval. This would explain why it managed to hold
>onto Akem and plant colonies in Jrustela despite the loss of Tanisor
>to Dari.

A possibility (although already the grandson of Bertalor took to the sea).
The date given for the rise of the True Hrestoli (c.200 ST) suggests an
interregnum caused by the Dangans. The Dari confederation conquered Tanisor,
not Seshnela, after all.


End of Glorantha Digest V4 #468

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