Arkat and the Theyalans

From: Joerg Baumgartner (
Date: Wed 18 Feb 1998 - 14:39:08 EET

I said:
>>From a few hints in Genertela Book about
>>Helby and Galin and friendly support by people who possess Greg's
>>unpublished "Jonat's Saga" I tried to construct a variation of the
>>Stygian church which worshipped the forces of Light.

>The phrase that 'Stygian church which worshipped ... Light' is the
>major reason why I prefer to describe the churches as henotheist

No, I _meant_ Stygian (Greek for "relating to the dark") above. Remember
that, whether Arkat is illuminated or something else, he had this knack
of combining seeming opposites.

Darkness and Light aren't exactly opposites in Glorantha, anyway. As
Steve Martin once put it to me (hmm, I forgot where water came, but I'll
try anyway):

Fire burns Darkness eats Earth nags Storm beats Water quenches Fire

>>>Arkat when he ruled over Ralios

I didn't regard Arkat's occupation of Ralios 410-425 as him ruling it,
whereas Peter from the term "Malkioni fanatic" seems to have meant this
period rather than the time of the Stygian Empire. Hence some

>>>had an uz-centred
>>>religion which is a tad incompatible with the
>>>Lightbringing Orlanth religion.

>>Funny, then, that the Kingdom of Night under the Only Old One fully
>>embraced the Lightbringers' message, and _spread the creed_!

>And Arkat is not the Only Old One. When he cleansed Ralios, He was a
>fanatic and had no grounds for distinguishing between the good aspects
>of Theyalan Culture and the bad.

Jeff has stepped in here,and gave some explanation. I'd like to add that
Arkat defeated the Nysaloran cities also by cutting them from their
support by inciting rural rebellions. Now the rurals (if we accept that
the rural people of Safelster had some Theyalan traits - if not, there
would have been no Theyalan cultural aspects to distinguish between)
were sharing much of the culture of the cities.

>>That's a non-sequitur. Nysalor comes over 200 years after the first
>>exposure to Lightbringer ideas, and after a good part of the Theyalans
>>breaks off the council.

>And some Theyalans including the Dorastans were still
>in contact with the Dari Alliance. The Heortlings OTOH
>are seperated by the Mislari Mountains.

I suppose the Dari mercenaries would have taken some part in these
conflicts. It cannot have remained unknown that the Council fought major
wars against a rebellious south (as Jeff put it, a revival of the Unity

>Nysaloran influences would have been spread
>through the secrets of Lightbringing and so I repeat
>Arkat the Knight would have seen Theyalan influences
>as Gbajite and would have no reason to suspect (until
>Harmast) that one could distinguish between
>Lightbringing and Illumination.

It's not like the Seshnegi were totally ignorant of the Lightbringers'
message - after all, Slontos had been turned to the Lightbringer way
before the Seshnegi took root there. The Lightbringers cannot have been
utterly demonised in Seshnela IMO. And since Arkat learned from them (in
an accelerated course, I grant), he needn't have remained entirely
ignorant. It would be out of his character to remain ignorant of nuances
in the neighbouring circles, that's something the elves of Brithos
(another Theyalan influence, I believe, since the Theyalan Awakeners
were among the missionaries ranging the farthest west - Theyalan meaning
"from the Dawn Council", not "Orlanthi" or even "Heortling").

>>Arkat built upon the
>>foundations laid by the Theyalan missionaries that long ago.

>Rubbish. Arkat was a Malkioni fanatic at the time. Why would he
>willingly co-opt suspect pagan elements into the New Ralios?

You seem to forget that Arkat had been a Child of the Forest at least.
His attitude towards different believes would not have to be
narrowminded, even when he acted as an exemplary member of his current
creed. He never forgot his knowledge and previous experiences, which
made him so formidable on his heroquests.

>>While it is dangerous to compare Arkat to Mohammed, I think there is a
>>certain parallel here to Mohammed's treatment of the Jewish Arabs of
>>Medina during his ascension (he forced them out of Medina) and after
>>successors had been established - a time when Christian and Jewish
>>continued to play a part in the affairs of Arabia.

>The parallel does not hold for Mohammad treated the
>Medina Jews badly because they had been collaborating
>with the enemy!

And what are the people - especially the urbans of the Dari Alliance -
doing? They are allied to The Enemy (in capitals).

>>revelations accepted the Jewish and Christian creeds as kindred
>>though inferior in their perception of the truth as revealed to

>To address the parallel, Arkat could have tolerated
>lightbringing influences _after_ the Empire was established.
>But he had no special reason to transplant Theyalan Secrets
>there as he had his own mysteries.

His own mysteries, learned from the Brithos elves, who learned from the
Theyalan Awakeners... The Lightbringers cannot have been anathema to

>>I don't really think that Arkat left all the Safelstran lowlands
>>to Malkioni lords.

>He left them to his 'sons'

Someone had to oversee them. There is no mention who his sons were in
detail, is there? They could have included non-Malkioni followers as
well, no? Sir Palomides at Arthur's court if you take the high chivalric
version, or the mix of Saxon and pagan knights proposed in Pendragon...

>(possibly a cult explaining why Gerlant is said to
>be a Son of Arkat)

Nifty explanation. Could have been prominent members of his personal
elite warband.

>which is mentioned in Lords of Terror.

A volume I need to study in detail some time, it seems (I mostly read it
recapitulating Cults of Terror, without in depth studies).

>>On his time among the Kethaelans Arkat installed
>>friendly local leaders (Only Old One, King of the Hendriki) to act as
>>his gouvernors.

>But then by that time Arkat was no longer a Malkioni.

No, by that time he had become a troll (or was about to).

>Maklamann is remaining loyal to Arkat even after Arkat betrays the
>Malkioni and the Orlanthi. Thus I don't think he can be left in
>Ralios as a suitable satrap. He is unusual in doing so which is
>why he is renowned hero.

And do you think that Maklamann was the only noble Ralian who took the
side of Arkat? Don't you think that enemies (= neighbours) of the
Telmori would gladly ally even with demonized troops to get even? More
than half of Jomes Wulf's troops in his campaign in 1607 (or 08) were
Sartarites, IMO including otherwise fervently anti-Lunar Culbrea.

>>>But I strongly doubt that Orlanth have had a
>>>greater influence than Humath. My criterion
>>>for assuming that a tribe or peoples had been
>>>Theyalanized is the adoption of Orlanth as the
>>>men's god.

>>Which would exclude the Rightarm Islanders, the Esrolites, the
>>Caladrans, the Kitori, the Boar Riders of Stinking Forest and possibly
>>even the Dorastans from Theyalan culture. A bit narrowminded, compared
>>to the definition of "Orlanthi" in the Genertela Players Book.

>And they are not Orlanthi but related peoples. There the criterion
>is one who speaks a related language to Stormspeech.

And (3rd Age) Safelstran (at least) is related to Stormspeech, i.e. is
related to the Theyalan language.

>I am talking
>about foreign cultures becoming Orlanthi.

Well, I am talking about foreign cultures adopting the worshipping
techniques the Theyalans aka members of the Dawn Council spread - to
humans, aldryami, trolls, and in some strange form even to the dwarfs of
Greatway, Gemborg and Dragon Pass. IMO all Genertelan elves had learned

about the Unity Council (and Battle) through the Awakeners, and also
about the cooperation between races which occurred around the Dawn in
the Councilic lands, and the Lightbringers' Quest - all of these are a
related topic.

Foreign cultures (foreign to the Vingkotling ethnic group of Heortling
culture, in itself a conglomerate of original Vingkotling peoples and
"husband" peoples) becoming Orlanthi include the Talastari, Brolians,
Vustrians, Tawari, Sankenites (?), Wenelians and Slontoli, so why not
the Enerali.

>>Well, the Dinacoli tribe in (3rd Age) Sartar doesn't exactly worship
>>Orlanth as their mens' god, but Yelmalio (at least last time I asked
>>Greg). Are they something else than Orlanthi?

>Orlanthi all, Joerg.

That covers the Enerali for me as well. YGMV.

>>IMO the middle 1st Age Enerali "knew the Greeting" as well, and shared
>>most of the other broader culture of the Theyalans.

>You are wrong IMO as they had their own greetings
>and retained their own culture.

Heck, the Stravuli have a different greetings from the Orgorvaltes. But
they all have the Greeting, rites to address and (hopefully) welcome
strangers approaching them or their lands. The Greeting is the basis for
peaceful interaction between different cultures. The Caladrans know how
to respond to the Greeting, and even the Praxians learned it for a

Or, to give the ball back to you, you are wrong IMO. As Jeff helped
explain, you can both retain your own culture and be included in the
Theyalan circles. The Theyalan missionaries did not displace local
creeds, but expanded them. Hence Galanin next to Orlanth, Humath, Ehilm,
and whatnot.

Joerg Baumgartner (via Hotmail)

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