From: Peter Metcalfe (
Date: Sun 01 Feb 1998 - 06:32:38 EET

Nils Weinander:

>>I do not believe the Palace
>>of Excellent Reward to be in Vithela for the Tortured Dead plague
>>Kralorela and not the East Isles.

>The Palace of Excellent Reward is where you go _after_
>Vithela, once the emperor arrives and takes the waiting
>souls with him.

Nope. The people go to the Palace of Excellent Reward to
await the passing on according to Gods of Glorantha's 'What
the Dragon Lord Whispers'.

>>Nils, similar conservatism can be found in the roman script
>>based on the Cadmean Letters. We can still see the Ox Head
>>in the A if we flip it upside down! Are you going to claim
>>that the West has been unchanged on this basis?
>I claim _continuity_, not complete stasis.

But Continuity does not imply Stasis which is what I keep
pointing out. The Byzantine Empire is culturally continous
with the Roman Republic despite being:

1) located somewhere else
2) being Christians instead of Pagans
3) speaking Greek (although they call it Rhomaic!) and not Latin
4) having armoured knights as their mainstay of their army
   instead of the legion.
5) being a autocracy instead of a republic.

Despite all these changes, they were still anal-retentive about
things Rhoman and the Emperors got really pissed off when some
ignorant latin (like the Pope) addressed him as King of the Greeks
or something similar. One can find similar attitudes in China
and I expect Kralorela to be the same.

>>You haven't disproved my point. The claim is true for each
>>and every one of those other cultures that I listed for they
>>all claim (with some justice) to have Golden Age traditions
>>that are lost to the rest of the world.

>_They_ claim, as opposed to _Genertela book_ claims.

And what did 'with some justice' imply? The idea that some or
most of their claims were factually correct perhaps?

>I'm not trying to disprove your point since it doesn't
>adress the same thing I was. Or is there a secret
>code that makes some source quotes sacrosanct and
>others dismissable?

I suppose it goes something like:
        My source quotations address the issues.
        Your source quotations miss the point.
        His source quotations are completely irrelevant and untrue.

Vesa Lehtinen:

Me>>This would mean that Kralorela is very fragmented politically
>>as there are at least nine exarchs.

>IMO Kralorela is not as homogenic place as it
>would like to be. Language may be standard but (again
>IMO) the provinces have different customs et al. Regional
>governors are sure to have extensive powers to handle
>local affairs.

I agree, but I'm talking about the central government. Reducing
Godunya to the level of Chief Priest of Kralorela means that
there is no organisation that can supervise the exarchs. Whereas
I think there is.

>And where there is power, there is abuse of
>that power. What do you think governor of Sha Ming tried
>to do ? Use the taxes for his own purposes, probably.
>You wanted court intrigue. How about inter-governor
>intrigue ?

Sha Ming (and Boshan in general) have never liked Kralorela
and the problem goes far beyond the governer. I think
Boshan is the equivalent of Vietnam (who fought a thousand
year war to oust the chinese).

Stephen Martin:

Me>>>It may be but we know Kralorela cannot be that place for it has
>>>been conquered by Orlanth, Kajaboom, the God Learners and by
>>>Sheng Seleris.

>Nils>Then please tell us in what way they changed Kralorelan
>>_culture_ in a major way. Foreign conquerors don't
>>necessarily mean broken tradition.

>Also, some of Peter's objections are irrelevant, because they are untrue
>- -- it is never said that Orlanth or Kajaboom _conquered_ Kralorela, it
>merely says they _invaded_ Kralorela. No, it does not even say that --
>it says they are mentioned in the Kralori Catalogue of Foes as being
>enemies of Kralorela in the Gods Age.

No it doesn't. If you had bothered to look things up, you would
have found that the quote is from the Jonston Compendium which mentions
nothing about a Catalog of Foes but describes the invaders as 'major' or
'minor issues'. If the Seshnegi who ruled Kralorela for nearly 400 years
are a 'major issue' then (although this is not stated but I follow common
sense), it follows that even the 'minor issues' must have been catalysmic
events. You are thinking of the description for the Huan To in the
Gloranthan Beastiary where the Catalog of Foes is mentioned. So before
you accuse me of raising irrelevant and untrue objections in the future,
take care to get your facts straight before sprouting off.

And on the unwelcome tone in the above (I'm no longer in a forgiving
mood for it's the second time today):


Besides Stephen has never bothered to refute my point about the
Path of Immanent Mastery having far greater prominence now because
that blows his (completely ridiculous IMO) claims of Kralori cultural
stasis out of the water. Could his reason for claiming that I raise
untrue statements be little more than a petty desire to fling mud
because I've been showing that he doesn't know much about Kralorela
as he likes to think he does.

</Stephen Martin_argumentation_style>

And if Stephen wishes to pursue this style of argument, I will
quite happily email him buckets of abuse offline.

>If the Kralori have a written document
>which has been added to over time, since the end of the Golden Age, this
>implies a lot more cultural continuity than Peter wants to allow.

Of course Stephen quite conveniently forgets that Shang-Hsa _burnt_
_all_ _the_ _books_ and thus these golden age documents must have been
_reconstructions_ from the memory of a few biased scribes. This was a
real problem with the Confucian writings which were ordered to be burnt
by the First Emperor (to be fair, he kept a copy in the Imperial Library
but that burnt down in the Civil War that followed. Oops). A large part
of the writings are legalistic doctrines that have been added in and
the origins of Chinese textual criticism started when scholars were
trying to figure out what had been added in.

>I agree
>with Nils that it would be more interesting to have one Gloranthan
>culture which actually _is_ culturally 90% or more the same as it was in
>the Golden Age. And yellow elves don't count.

Cultural Continuity or Cultural Stasis? Make up your mind! Even
if we accept the Martinesque assertion that all the books have been
perfectly preserved (which I find highly implausible), then there
remains the following issues:

1) The meaning of words change over time. There is a mouse sitting
right next to me but my cat doesn't seem to be interested in it.
Valare Addi deduces that the Pelorian word 'Nenan' used to mean
dart because the Wendarians had no bows or arrows. The donation
of Constantine was revealed as a forgery because the forger used
words which had demonstrably different meanings in Constantine's
time. The Kralori scholars will be spending a lot of time arguing
over which interpretation is correct and (culturally divisive!)
schools of thought will spring up.

2) If we accept that the Kralori are so anal-retentive about getting
it right from following the books, what about the people who don't
read? What customs do they follow? AFAIK they will follow what
their father or mother tells them. And guess what? This will change
perceptibly over time. Only those in the lettered classes will
seek to practice golden age customs.

Of course Stephen Martin is quite welcome to ignore all this in favour
of a timeless Kralorela. But I will to insist that such a stasis means
that Kralorela becomes a two-dimensional caricature and not a vibrant
human culture.

- --Peter Metcalfe


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