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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:30 pm 
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I thought it would be a neat idea to share... well, ideas from around the globe that we've come across.

For instance, I've been doing some actual research (as opposed to the easy type of research, where I let the research come to me [credit to Eddy Izzard]) on the Iroquois people and their mythology, so I've come across some interesting concepts that I wanted to share:

Eternal Names
The Iroquois people didn't see themselves as a collection of individuals, but rather an unbroken chain of names which were passed down along stations or roles. When someone took on the role of their predecessor, they also took on the name that predecessor used, through a ritual/ceremony which passed the name down (supposedly the new officer could reject the name as part of the ceremony, but I am assuming that happened extremely rarely for cultural reasons).

Wampum
Combination jewelry and tapestry, these wearable woven beads were used as storytelling devices. The patterns of bead colors -- from single-string wampum to wider belts, bracelets, etc. -- had meanings that were a symbolic language all their own, which meant they could work across multiple languages. Wampum also may have played a role in courtship.

Somewhat Matriarchal Society of the Iroquois
As part of the extension of the dualism in the Iroquois belief system (a kind of Yin-Yang dualism), work was divided among the sexes so that women did work involving the field and men did work involving the forest. Field work included (but not limited to) farming, childrearing and housekeeping, and village politics such as land distribution among families; forest work included (but not limited to) hunting and gathering, trading and other inter-tribe politics, warfare, and woodworking (including building houses). As such, families, and by extension tribes, were organized around the eldest living women, which all members of extended family units (referred to as clans in my reading) traced their bloodlines to. Women born to the bloodline stayed within the clan, whereas men left their houses to join their wife's clan, though they were still expected to retain loyalty to their mother's clan.

Jagaoh, the Drum-Dancers
Basically exactly like European folklore of pygmies and fairies, the Jagoah (which have a myriad of spellings, AND several other names from the different tribal languages) were "little people" who were magical and typically invisible. They seemed benevolent, but mischievous and easily angered much like their European counterparts, often to the detriment and even endangerment of humans (e.g. one type of Jagoah liked hurling rocks, up to and including boulders). Offerings were typically left in the "bowls" in nature, like bare patches of earth and rounded indentations in rocks. It was never mentioned, but I assume fairy circles would also play a part, unless those just don't happen in the northeastern Americas. They could also appear to farmers as robins (a good omen) or as owls (a bad omen).

Bleeding Trees
This is actually a from folk tale explaining pine sap, wherein a man becomes the first pine tree. The exact manner of the transformation varies in the telling, but the explanation was that when the tree was later cut, it bled red blood.

Corpse-Eating Horned Serpents
Actually, just one huge serpent from a legend (which was eventually slain, becoming the cliff of Niagara Falls). It was an evil serpent whose corpse-eating was just one of many things it did in its disruption of the natural order, as it ate feasted from burial grounds.

Dehohniot, Hunter of Souls
A chimerical creature which hunted evil souls at the behest of Death's personification. It had the head of a wolf, the body of a panther, wings of a vulture, talons of a hawk, and was colored like the sky so that you couldn't see it as it flew, or perched atop the trees, or crouched along mountaintops. It chased the souls of evil people (who, it seems, were all given a chance to escape their torment) across the sky, and in a confusing turn of events explained meteors as the souls of those who did escape being struck down by Deoniot in its ire. Also, comets were explained as this creature's tail. It also visited the Earth to sniff out the dying. It would visit sick people, mewling like a cat if they were on their deathbed, or barking like a wolf if they would be fine.

Keepers of the Central Fire
A metaphorical title for the Onondaga tribe of the Iroquois confederacy, who were centrally located within the confederacy. The name comes from the idea that the five (later, six) tribes that formed the confederacy were living in one longhouse, which would have one fireplace located at its center.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:29 am 
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At least half of that sounds like fantasy worldbuilding... I love that to bits.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 11:52 am 
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I like this as well. I'm going to have to keep it in mind for when I come across interesting things.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 10:38 pm 
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Been too tired to do much research lately, but I have an interesting tidbit:

Celestial Bears and Lunar Rabbits
A two-parter:
1. Multiple, disconnected cultures around the Northern Hemisphere all independently came up with bear-related mythology for the Ursa Major constellation.
2. Multiple, disconnected cultures all around the world have a moon-rabbit mythos of some kind.

I'm currently a little doubtful as to the explanations given for these, but here they are:
Paraphrasing a casually racist book from 1908: The general pattern of the dipper constellations (a cave, with footprints and/or hunters following a trail), coupled with the manner in which it cyclically "dies" and "comes back to life" over the seasons (especially in more northern latitudes where it never completely leaves the sky) mimics the seasonal disappearance and "rebirth" of bears. Also maybe several old cultural mythos around the world may have believed that bears really did die in the winter and were reborn in the summer, but I know for a fact that Medieval Europeans thought things like rats just spontaneously generated from grain silos, so that part is believable.

Paraphrasing Wikipedia: apparently the moon-rabbit thing is just a universal instance of pareidolia across the human race, where multiple cultures saw a long-eared rabbit in the shapes of the craters. Obviously the Chinese mythos are the most well-known, but several native peoples across the Americas also have myths related to rabbits and the moon.

Also, in a curious case of similar patterns emerging from noise, in the Iroquois legend of the celestial bear, the bear is named something like Nyah-Gwaheh (spelling varies because reasons), which isn't too far off from the Yao-Guai of Fallout fame, which comes from the Chinese word for ghost/monster.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:53 pm 
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Before posting my Indian factoid of the day, it occurred to me that the only commenters I've had thus far aren't from the Americas, so I think it would be respectful to take a moment to talk about American Indian culture specifically.

I want to start by saying that I don't want to or intend to sound patronizing; I just do not have any idea how much the plight of the indigenous peoples of the Americas is taught in Europe, or how much of it is ingrained into the culture. Over here in the U.S., it's kind of a dirty secret that gets glossed over while we're congratulating ourselves for being a melting pot for other cultures.

In short, the history of the colonization of the Americas, from the perspective of the indigenous peoples, is brutal and depressing (though not always the direct fault of the Europeans, as diseases like chickenpox ravaged many indigenous populations because they did not have immunity). Nowadays, what little of their culture has seeped into the popular culture is mostly biased and incomplete. Besides problems of influence of early (16th and 17th century) missionary work, most of the over 250 federally recognized tribes across the Contiguous United States* are lumped together by the larger Caucasian culture in insensitive ways. Most media that even vaguely touches on Indians gather disparate elements of many disconnected tribes that have no business being next to each other (in ways that would be like saying Finnish, Spanish, German, and Russian people are all similar enough to group them together).

Because of how Indians were treated in America's past, and because of how little respect is payed their culture nowadays, it's worth doing proper research yourself if any of what I'm posting interests you. It's also worth noting that, much like how black people usually prefer the term "black" over "people of color," American Indians usually prefer the term "Indian" over "Native American," for much the same reason: overinclusion. "Native American" can (and often is) used to refer to indigenous people of the entire Americas, from the Eskimos of the Arctic, to the Aztec of Latin America, and even more disconnected tribes of Southern America.

*there are over 500 federally recognized tribes, but almost half of them are in Alaska

Anyway, factoid:

Standing Stones
The Oneida, one of the five original tribes of the Iroquois, are named "the people of the standing stone" because of a myth regarding said stones. Whenever they would periodically relocate their towns, or found new ones, supposedly they would be followed by these stones, and within a few days of settling an area, would find a large stone which nobody could have possibly carried with them suspiciously nearby, where one had not been before.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:36 pm 
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The World-Turtle
As apparently several other cultures around the world believed, the Iroquois world-creation myth (and many other tribes across the nation, it seems) included the earth being on the back of a turtle, though this one was originally normal-sized as it swam through the primordial ocean. When the mother-goddess-figure fell through the sky and needed something to stand on, earth was brought up from the ocean floor to put on the turtle's back, where it quickly grew, and the turtle grew underneath it, until it was as big as the earth is today.

Why Dolls Have No Faces
In a fascinating children's fable about not being too prideful, children were told why their traditional corn-husk dolls were never given faces. It is told that their Creator deity, as a favor to the Spirit of Corn, made the first corn husk doll, a living thing with a face that brought joy to children of many villages as it traveled. With all the attention that was showered on it, though, it started believing itself to be the most beautiful thing in existence. The Creator sent it a message that, if it continued as it was, it would be punished. Things went as you expect these stories to go, and one day when the doll was admiring itself in its reflection on the water, an owl (or other bird) swooped down and stole the reflection, removing its face (and, in some instances of the story, also making it have no reflection at all).


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:39 pm 
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Hey, Luna, just out of curiosity, what source(s) are you using for this?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:09 am 
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Hey, Luna, just out of curiosity, what source(s) are you using for this?

Actually, I'm glad you asked. I started by following some Wikipedia links and kind of expanded outward down a few rabbit holes, mostly scouring the tribe's official websites.

In no order as I'm just looking these up as I'm remembering them off the top of my head:

The racist book I mentioned, written in 1908, available in its entirety for free, written by some lady who seemed to work a lot with the tribes but compiled and edited after her deathbed. Seems to be fairly reputable in terms of stories told, as I've already found multiple corroborating accounts of some of the stories, even though I've read less than 100 of its pages.

A site dedicated to preserving American Indian languages and culture has been also been helpful for summarizing the myths and culture as well as providing links to other sites, often with a telling of some story associated with the legend in question.

Woven Notes, an old, seemingly abandoned blog billed as "the official blog of the Oneida Indian Nation", which I thought I had scoured but now seems that some silly javascript or something had hidden half the entries from me as I had been investigating on mobile. A lot of it is non-useful modern-day happenings with the tribe -- stuff like their work in creating jobs or involvement in state fairs, etc. -- but keep a look out for Wednesday Legend posts.

Onondaga Nation website, with a useful "culture" tab.

The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) website, one of the first places I visited.

Native Tech website, a website which seems to have the intent to preserve the anthropological knowledge of what Indian tribes practiced technology-wise, pre-colonization. Not terribly well organized, but useful for discovering certain things like what kind of metalworking American Indians had before contact with Europeans.

Keep in mind a lot of these websites are relatively old, both in the sense that they don't seem to have been updated in a while or have been possibly abandoned, and in the sense that they aren't http secure like most newer sites are. I may be forgetting a few sites, but that will mostly be because I'm following a lot of links to read the stories and not staying on most sites for very long. That Native-Languages site is legitimately useful, though. As much as I've grown to dislike their stance on video games, I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention Extra Creditz's videos on Hiawatha & the Great Law of Peace for doing a good job introducing me to and summarizing the story of the founding of the Iroquois Confederacy.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:59 pm 
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I started looking into the Iroquois / Haudenosaunee peoples again, and while there's nothing big I've discovered yet, I wanted to share a little tidbit.

First, the source for this information is an academic paper about putting an exact date to the formation of the league of tribes that would become the Haudenosaunee. The paper itself is called A Sign in the Sky: Dating the League of the Haudenosaunee, and it's basically only available behind a university paywall; however, I found out about it through a kind soul on reddit who shared a google drive link of same document, so that's how I've been reading it.

Now, the small tidbit is that there was an instance in the early 1500s, where this French crew were mooned by some natives, so the captain took some men and opened fire on the local village for such an offense.

Obviously, that's a horrifying escalation to think about, but all the same I love the idea that the idea of taunting someone with your bare ass is so universally human that the Native Americans did it to the invading Europeans to taunt them.

Then again, perhaps I shouldn't be surprised since the oldest recorded joke we have dates from the early Mesopotamian civilizations, which is something about a wife farting while sitting on her husband's lap. There's also the story about that Chinese philosopher dude in the same vein.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:15 am 
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In Canada we call the native peoples "Indians" or "First Nations". "NAtive Americans" would technically apply, but it would manage to simultaneously imply that they were from every part of 2 continents and also the United States exclusively. In my province the government never signed treaties with the First Nation people on the grounds that they were not yet a part of Canada when Canada decreed such things must be done. Since that's not a great legal basis for much of anything, we're eventually going to have to recognize that the First Nations still own vast swaths of the province.
Unrelated, but amusing- I was quite surprised to find out from an Indian coworker that people in India aren't generally aware that Native Americans are called Indians because Columbus thought they were actually Indians. A puzzling situation with a ridiculous answer? I thought that would have been perfect "Did you know" material.

...
Paraphrasing a casually racist book from 1908: The general pattern of the dipper constellations (a cave, with footprints and/or hunters following a trail), coupled with the manner in which it cyclically "dies" and "comes back to life" over the seasons (especially in more northern latitudes where it never completely leaves the sky) mimics the seasonal disappearance and "rebirth" of bears. Also maybe several old cultural mythos around the world may have believed that bears really did die in the winter and were reborn in the summer, but I know for a fact that Medieval Europeans thought things like rats just spontaneously generated from grain silos, so that part is believable.

...

Now I want to see a fantasy world where bears reside in/ originate from the after life.

The World-Turtle
As apparently several other cultures around the world believed, the Iroquois world-creation myth (and many other tribes across the nation, it seems) included the earth being on the back of a turtle, though this one was originally normal-sized as it swam through the primordial ocean. When the mother-goddess-figure fell through the sky and needed something to stand on, earth was brought up from the ocean floor to put on the turtle's back, where it quickly grew, and the turtle grew underneath it, until it was as big as the earth is today.

Interestingly that would indicate that the turtle doesn't support the whole world, since there was ocean and seafloor beneath it. As I understand it the Indian version has the turtle just kind of floating in the aether.

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CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:31 pm 
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TPmanW wrote:
In Canada we call the native peoples "Indians" or "First Nations". "NAtive Americans" would technically apply, but it would manage to simultaneously imply that they were from every part of 2 continents and also the United States exclusively.

So, to my (very limited) understanding, a majority of the indigenous population of the Americas prefer the term "Indian" over "Native Americans," though in the sense that it's the lesser of two evils since neither name is what they would prefer to call themselves. In part, this is because the net is cast too wide -- it would be like calling someone Afro-Eurasian -- too many different cultures are put under the same umbrella when using either term. In part, it's also the fact that the invading white Europeans gave them the name "Indian," then a few centuries later decided on their behalf to change that term without really consulting anyone about it.

This video by CGP Grey has the most current information I've come across regarding nomenclature.

(My own take: it wouldn't be as big a deal vs. other broad people-names such as "European" or "African" or "Asian," if it weren't for the relatively recent destruction of {among other things} their rights which continue into this day; not that I'm saying it should be right to refer to people by names which they find insulting, but I'm trying to say that if history had gone differently and the Americas had stayed almost entirely under the control of the indigenous people inhabiting it, then lumping them together such as we do with Europeans or Africans or Asians wouldn't be seen as the insult to injury which it is.)

Quote:
Unrelated, but amusing- I was quite surprised to find out from an Indian coworker that people in India aren't generally aware that Native Americans are called Indians because Columbus thought they were actually Indians. A puzzling situation with a ridiculous answer? I thought that would have been perfect "Did you know" material.

Take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt because I can't back it up with a source, but that might also be because that part of the Columbus mythology is, well, just that: mythology. Columbus (and his crew) wasn't so stupid as to not recognize undiscovered land -- and when trade with India was already an extremely common business, I have my doubts he would mistake the peoples or the languages of the Caribbean for India -- but as his story got mythologized over the centuries, the origin of the term "Indian" to refer to natives of the Americas got attached to Columbus, just the same way that the "discovery" of the Americas got attached to him though there are several notable contact points before Columbus crossed the Atlantic.

Quote:
Interestingly that would indicate that the turtle doesn't support the whole world, since there was ocean and seafloor beneath it. As I understand it the Indian version has the turtle just kind of floating in the aether.

It seems as though a strange majority of native cultures of at least North America, but I think South America as well, call the continent "Turtle Island." I'm not familiar enough with the mythologies to say how space factors into it, but a conceptual knowledge of the sea seems to play a part, as the titular turtle floats in the oceans which surround the continent.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:55 pm 
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Quote:
Unrelated, but amusing- I was quite surprised to find out from an Indian coworker that people in India aren't generally aware that Native Americans are called Indians because Columbus thought they were actually Indians. A puzzling situation with a ridiculous answer? I thought that would have been perfect "Did you know" material.

Take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt because I can't back it up with a source, but that might also be because that part of the Columbus mythology is, well, just that: mythology. Columbus (and his crew) wasn't so stupid as to not recognize undiscovered land -- and when trade with India was already an extremely common business, I have my doubts he would mistake the peoples or the languages of the Caribbean for India -- but as his story got mythologized over the centuries, the origin of the term "Indian" to refer to natives of the Americas got attached to Columbus, just the same way that the "discovery" of the Americas got attached to him though there are several notable contact points before Columbus crossed the Atlantic.

I've been looking into it and I'm not sure there's consensus one when/if Columbus clued in about the America thing. Certainly not on the 1st voyage. And Columbus' contemporaries would have understood the term "India" the way you might understand "the Orient". They probably realized that they weren't in India proper, but for at least the first couple of voyages they thought they'd found some lesser kingdoms in the general region. Even after cluing in that the lands he found weren't any he'd heard of he may still have believed they weren't far from the places he was originally looking for.
https://www.quora.com/If-Columbus-thoug ... aving-them
https://www.quora.com/When-and-how-did- ... y-in-India

The "discovery" bit always bothers me. Multiple people can discover things. Sure, only one can be first, but that's not what discovery means. I discover new things every day and most of those are things millions of other people already knew. It's not impressive, but it still qualifies as discovery.

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CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:06 pm 
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TPmanW wrote:
I've been looking into it and I'm not sure there's consensus one when/if Columbus clued in about the America thing. Certainly not on the 1st voyage. And Columbus' contemporaries would have understood the term "India" the way you might understand "the Orient". They probably realized that they weren't in India proper, but for at least the first couple of voyages they thought they'd found some lesser kingdoms in the general region. Even after cluing in that the lands he found weren't any he'd heard of he may still have believed they weren't far from the places he was originally looking for.
https://www.quora.com/If-Columbus-thoug ... aving-them
https://www.quora.com/When-and-how-did- ... y-in-India

The "discovery" bit always bothers me. Multiple people can discover things. Sure, only one can be first, but that's not what discovery means. I discover new things every day and most of those are things millions of other people already knew. It's not impressive, but it still qualifies as discovery.

That's cool; my history is spotty and, being from the U.S., phenomenally biased, and questioning what we think we knew about history has been a common theme cropping up for me recently.

The problem with the word "discovery" being a point of contention probably has to do with the U.S. education regarding its own founding. At least when I was still in school, we were basically taught nothing about the native population, and it was as if he found a completely uninhabited land. The use of "discover" here ends up being a way to credit him alone and not as a shorthand for "Columbus was responsible for finally introducing the Old World with the New World."


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:24 pm 
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YEah, "discover" is one of those words that implies a lot more than it means. Does English even have a word for "discover first"? An equivalent to "invent"? I don't think so, and it strikes me as very strange.

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Cato wrote:
CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

TPrizesW
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 9:09 pm 
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I remembered this thread existed! I posted my other things in the wrong thread before, but it's too late now!

Anyway, I learned recently that a koi fish that recently passed away was something like 250 years old (it was born before the U.S. was founded, in the mid-late 1700s), and that they found out by counting rings on two of its scales (like you would count tree rings) -- to my understanding, this had been done years ago, while the fish was still alive, but I could be wrong.

I believe I've come across the train of thought before, as well, that we really don't have any solid idea how long fish are expected to live for, because basically any wild fish will be eaten long before it will die of old age. Some are theorized to be effectively immortal, since they don't seem to lose their vigor as they age, and many "lesser" life-forms such as salamanders have cellular biologies that can repair the natural damages to tissues much, much more effectively than humans or other mammals.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:59 pm 
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Unlike mammals, fish aren't generally designed to self-destruct. Senescence just isn't a thing for them.

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Cato wrote:
CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:34 pm 
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I did some research into Roman religion today and discovered that a Roman high-fantasy world might not look that different from a lot of Japanese fantasy (specifically the kind with all the yokai and a spirit-world and such).

  • Tradition (including honoring the dead) was seen as the core of Roman society, and upholding the rites to whatever gods (especially including the local gods of those they conquered) was more important than imposing one cult or religion. Mystery cults, which operated in secret and only allowed initiates to view their practices, were seen as disruptive and evil for fostering secrecy instead of open community, rather than because of the gods they worshipped.
  • There was a huge focus on appeasing the gods, mainly through sacrifice. The Roman term "do ut des" (I give so that you might give) was the central concept in Roman religious practices, forming a sort of contract between the devotee and the god(s) invoked.
  • Most prominent among the Romans were the "public gods" -- gods like Jupiter that represented national interests -- that were celebrated and appeased on organised festival days, paid for by the state.
  • Of equal importance were the "household gods" that were often unique to the family and to which rites were performed on important days such as birthdays, the "dies lustricus" (day of purification) -- the day a newborn finally received its name after passing through the vulnerable tenday in which it was likely to die.
  • A familiar concept in Roman spiritualism was the "genius" (pl. genii, roughly "guardian spirit"), equated later to the Christian soul, which accompanied a person from their birth through their death. It represented a sort of life force and the source of conscience, and were often depicted as winged angels.
  • Among important offices in Roman religion was the augur, who acted as interlocutor for the gods' will.

So, especially with the concept of a paterfamilias, I can easily see a Roman high fantasy world being filled with god-like beings (in Magic terms, created beings like Angels and Demons) existing in a spiritual realm and being invoked all the time through these rituals, from the all-powerful ones appeased on big festivals, to the tiny household gods (like Calcifer from Howl's Moving Castle), and that each clan or family would have a major "deity" which they could trace their lineage back to somehow, such as a clan of Azra having a patron Demon who gave them their powers (or more likely many such clans from various demons which all look distinct from each other, like specific bloodlines of tieflings).


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:06 pm 
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So it may turn out that Roman high fantasy might look even more like Japanese yokai fantasy, because of a thing called "lares" (sing "lar"). They were "guardian deities associated" with specific locations, such as a house, a neighborhood, etc. They often had shrines, especially for public lares such as roadways or neighborhoods, which the common people could place offering for. They were sometimes considered "innumerable", even, since there was basically a minor god for every physical place, like for crossroads.

Also looking into the funeral rites a bit, I discovered that the dead were not allowed to be buried within the "sacred boundary" — "pomerium" (contraction of "post moerium" (lit. "beyond the wall"), the legal and religious boundary of a city) — and cemeteries and tombs were located outside this sacred boundary. Services and offerings were regularly offered to keep the shades of the dead appeased. I need to look more into funeral rites, but I'm definitely getting a vibe of "beyond this point lies the spirit world."

So far I've just been getting all this off of Wikipedia, by the way, but it cites a lot of original Latin sources like Pliny, and Ancient Rome is a well-studied topic anyway, so I trust it to be vastly more accurate than the pages for Native American // American Indian culture and mythology.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:46 am 
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Roman mythology is a blast, especially the part not ripped wholesale from the Greek. Like the Manes, who were specifically not good nor evil but where literally called "good"... and a book I read as a child speculated that it was an appeasing name. You know, like when a character sees a scary large wolf and repeats in what they hope is a soothing voice "Good dog... gooooood dog..." I loved that image :D

PS: I have no other qualification other than being Italian born and raised (also, "raised by wolves" couldn't have been much of an insult in ancient Rome :D) but I suspect genii also became guardian angels. You know, winged angels supposed to watch over you and lead you down the Good Path? And there might also be a tie between the lares and Catholicism's ridiculous amount of saints. Like, there's dozens of different Mary cults, each devoted to a single holy aspect or some kind of local terrain, like a valley, a mountain, a river...

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:26 am 
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Roman mythology is a blast, especially the part not ripped wholesale from the Greek. Like the Manes, who were specifically not good nor evil but where literally called "good"... and a book I read as a child speculated that it was an appeasing name. You know, like when a character sees a scary large wolf and repeats in what they hope is a soothing voice "Good dog... gooooood dog..." I loved that image :D

PS: I have no other qualification other than being Italian born and raised (also, "raised by wolves" couldn't have been much of an insult in ancient Rome :D) but I suspect genii also became guardian angels. You know, winged angels supposed to watch over you and lead you down the Good Path? And there might also be a tie between the lares and Catholicism's ridiculous amount of saints. Like, there's dozens of different Mary cults, each devoted to a single holy aspect or some kind of local terrain, like a valley, a mountain, a river...

I'm not entirely sure about the tie between lares and cults, though I'd be spitballing, too. I do know (recently learned, actually), that many ancient gods were worshipped under different epithets by different "cults" (often different city-states had different names and aspects for what they would identify as the same god). For instance, in Athens, Aphrodite Pandemos was worshipped mostly as the Aphrodite we all know from popular culture, but in Sparta they worshipped Aprhodite Areia, and she was an armored war goddess.

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Meanwhile, I did a little bit more reading yesterday and found out about "evocatio" (summoning) a deity away from their stewardship with offerings of a greater following or more lavish temples/sacrifices (likely an extension of the "do ut des" concept). It an important tactic in Roman warfare, it seems, as it displaced a protector deity from opposing towns they would siege. It was also done as a way of securing forgiveness for looting sacred shrines in conquered cities.

Oh, and also the Romans had censors that, among other things like actually taking a census, went around making sure public morals were kept (mostly among the elite, of course, making sure things like sumptuary laws were followed). They didn't appear to be legal powers, but still had near-absolute power and could punish people by giving them a censorial mark ("nota censoria") which recorded their misdeeds. One page calls it a public record of those who were found guilty of immoral behavior (which gives me a Dark Souls-like vibe of "book of sinners"), whereas another just calls it a public mark against a person's character when they haven't actually broken the law. The highest form of punishment the Roman censors could dish out was a form of excommunication which stripped a person of their voting rights by removing them from their "tribe" (a Roman delineation of voting groups which also tied in closely with family groups).

Small extra note: some such "immoral behavior" were things like keeping certain professions such as theatre, or public officials accepting bribes, and also included private-life stuff such as being cruel to your slaves, or a man being the submissive non-penetrating partner in a relationship (homosexuality seemed to not be much of a factor as long as you weren't taking a "feminine" role).


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