Re: Urbanized Sartar

From: Joerg Baumgartner (
Date: Tue 11 Nov 1997 - 23:42:00 EET

Joerg here.

For some reason my home account seems to have been removed from this list,
so my replies come from my work account via my home account. Thus the delays...

I replied to "Mr" Tines
>>Well, it didn't start out like that, but Orlanthi have always had an urge
>>to cluster to cities even despite clan or tribal differences.

I failed to mention the fact that the Heortlings were less eagerly
urbanized than their - generally regarded as more primitive - cousins of
Maniria, who formed the fabled city-states of Slontos. What might have
furthered their development may have been the coastal location. Both
fishing (lots of people fed from the uninhabited sea nearby) and maritime
trading encourage cities more easily than mere agricultural centres.

>>The First and Second Age Orlanthi chieftains (princes) were a splendid
>>combination of barbarian warlords and shrewd merchant princes, ruling
>>with their sizeable hird of warriors from their fortress cities, which
provide them
>>and their warriors with almost all the speciality craft skills needed.

Jeff Richard expanded:
>Part of the confusion of the issue surrounds the word "city". In the
>First Age and Second Ages, the Orlanthi "cities" were, by and large,
>similar to the archaic Greek "civitas" - basically a fortified community
>gathering site where there would be holy sites, public gathering sites,
>maybe the king's hall, etc. Most folk would have lived outside of the

My preferred model is closer to the continental Celts. They had _large_
enclosed areas - usually on an already well defensible site - in their
"oppidum" type cities, surrounded by earthen ramparts, and since the 3rd
century BC also with the famed Gallic Walls of drystone reinforced by
wooden frames inside the wall - these beasts posed a real problem to
Caesar's siege engineers. I'll try to get some documentation on the
Manching and Heuneburg oppida onto my webpage, soonish.

As seems to have been the case with other large enclosed plots of land,
part of the land was given to farming or pasture. Still, this meant that
a lot of farmers were settled inside the cities, and as an integral part
of them. (Yes, this mitigates the urbanisation effect somewhat.)

Most folk would have lived outside of the walls - of the central
"citadel" of the "city"- but within the protection of the ramparts.

>Remember, one of King Heort's techniques for triumphing over the
>darkness was to build forts for his peoples. An example from the Dawn
>would be Stravulstead east of the Kordros Island in what is now Tarsh,
>which was a town and temple enclosed by cyclopean walls, or Berensted on
>the Black Eel, which was a hillfort village and temple center.

>From the Dawn - which means that these centres had about 350 years togrow
(in a time of overall peace and growth) into good-sized cities worth
as prizes for a Dara Happan general Palangio the Iron Vrok. Palangio,
like Caesar in our world, just went for the cities when he conquered the
Orlanthi lands.

>I believe that trade is what transforms some of these fortified "temples
>and public meeting sites" into "cities".

I agree fully.

One thing that always struck me as strange is that there is an apparent
tendency to regard the Dawn Age Heortling settlers to Dorastor (or where
else could they have come from?) as a different civilisation from the
Heortling people along the great Oslir River valley.

>>Third Age Orlanthi suffered from Alakoring's curse of disunity, aka cult
>>of Orlanth Rex, which propagates small tribes with lots of tribal "kings"
>>who are little more than glorified chieftains. Often they overcame this
>>problem, as in Sylila, Tarsh, or Heortland, only to become a target for
>>other large nations. As soon as Sartar reached this stage, look who

>Actually, I think that the Third Age dilemma is more complicated than
>this. One problem is that the traditional large-scale political
>institution that unified the Heortlings - the actual Kingdom of the
>Heortlings - "became the EWF" and never returned.

The difference is that this "kingdom" was more of a common priesthood
than a common king. The Heortling princes of the First and early Second
Age were pretty independent from their tribal kings, who in turn had
little inclination to exercise exemplary obedience to their high king.
Especially during the troll domination, I doubt there was one single
entity called the Kingdom of the Heortlings. I suppose the tribal kings
regarded one of their number as the High King of the Heortlings -
possibly the Hendriki king, in recognition for his tribe's unwillingness
to yield to Palangio - but that his power over the other kings was little
better than that of the Irish kings in Tara over the other kings of

>In the Second Age, the Ring of the Heortlings was taught draconic wisdom
>by the Hunting and Waltzing Bands and formed the EWF.

Reading the description in the Genertela Box, I rather got the impression
that right in the core of the Heortling lands there ruled anarchy as soon
as the trol l overlords had been defeated. With the help of the Sun Dome

Templars the troll dominance had finally - after more than 120 years -
been shaken off. Various princes found themselves in convenient control
of the ressources which had gone to the trolls before, those living
further in the north some time earlier. How many of these princes would
have refrained from nipping off a chunk of land of their more oppressed
colleagues in the south? Conquer a bit, grant it to your sun-worshipping
allies, and have them bear the brunt of any eventual retaliation by
trolls or fellow Heortlings. (This method was revived by Tarkalor...)

Into this destabilized region come the bearers of the new knowledge about
Auld Wyrmish, released by the God Learner institute in Nochet. Their

early successes bring religious upheaval into the region as well.
Overall, the situation reminds me strongly of the German conflicts in the
early years of the Reformation...

Unlike that real world parallel, the Hunting and Waltzing Bands did
manage to reunite the region under one religion - that of Orlanth
Dragonfriend. Adherents to the old traditions are silenced. A new
hierarchy, formed through draconic understanding rather than nobility,
takes over (although by this time most of the successful princes would
have taken their places high up in that hierarchy).

>A pyramid scheme, the EWF gave a tremendous amount of power to a
>small handful of people. Many priests were amongst the first people to learn
>the draconic way and thus were prominent in the EWF.

The priesthood had already before been ahead in the contest for actual
power with the kings. Lokamayadon seems to have become a king as well,
but his more important role was that of the chief priest. Harmast didn't
change the principle, but took over the power built up by Lokamayadon,
except the personalized worship. Memory of high priests being the
receptible of wide-spanned worship cannot have disappeared that quickly,
though, because this was exactly what Jeff implies with the term pyramid

IMO the kings or princes were subject to the decisions of the priesthood
in many areas. They sought to compensate this among others with
mercantile and architectural activities as soon as the burden of the
troll tributes had been taken from their coffers.

>However, most of the Heortling peoples were not
>privy to the higher mysteries of the draconic path and continued to follow
>their old ways - albeit as supporters of the EWF. The old tribes became
>increasingly fossilized and irrelevant and were eventually discarded by the
>increasingly arrogant EWF.

At about the same time as the EWF reformed its leadership structure into
the "Third Council", as described in the history of Balazar. I wonder
where this left the princes and tribal kings...

>Alakoring taught new rites of kingship that gave the king power over the
>priests and "took his war to Aggar, and to Holay" but was slain before he
>could reestablish the Ring of the Heortlings.

I doubt that this was his purpose. Alakoring came from a land which had
seen two major unification crusades turning out ugly - first Arkat's
Stygian Empire, then the God Learners.

>Instead, the Foreigner King
>Verenmars managed to assemble a Ring of Peoples against the EWF and founded
>the Kingdom of Saird.

I always wondered about this "kingdom of Saird". Quite clearly it lies
north of the "kingdom of Saird" Argrath took over with his marriage of
the Queen of Holay - check the maps in TFS. Vanch seems to have been a
major part of this fledgeling kingdom, and perhaps northern Sylila. Who
were the inhabitants? Hardly mainstream Heortlings, IMO.

>With the destruction of Dragon Pass at the
>Dragonkill, the regalia of the Heortlings has been scattered, lost,
>destroyed or forgotten. Thus the plight of the Third Age Orlanthi.

I don't think that the absence of a High King was that decisive. The
developments in middle-3rd Age Heortland show that the presence of a High
King, with regalia and all , doesn't necessarily provide unity.
Alakoring's code of kingship rested on personal leadership, and the
Orlanth Rex thanes are the king's companions rather than officials. The
entire basement formed by clerks from the priesthood is absent in
Alakoring's scheme, and forbids greater expansion beyond simple tribal
borders. The northern Heortlings with their more hierarchical sun worship
fare a bit better in keeping their nations together than the southern,
storm-worshipping Heortlings, which also shows in the apparently larger
tribes encountered by Hwarin Dalthippa in the 2nd Wane.


End of The Glorantha Digest V5 #218

To unsubscribe from the Glorantha Digest, send an "unsubscribe"
command to Glorantha is a
Trademark of Chaosium Inc. With the exception of previously
copyrighted material, unless specified otherwise all text in this
digest is copyright by the author or authors, with rights granted to
copy for personal use, to excerpt in reviews and replies, and to
archive unchanged for electronic retrieval.

WWW at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 21:43:29 EEST