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    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    Religion and Churches (branching from Magical impact on land usage)

    Different topic here, so I decided to continue in a new thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    There is a period in late antiquity, lets say after Alexander, when religion seemed to become syncretic, and the Greeks tried to identify which Egyptian (or wherever) god was the Nile version of which Olympian.
    Interesting take here, Kenneth.
    I wouldn't exactly term Alexander as 'late antiquity', but that's a different debate.
    However, religious syncretism arose after cultural contact, often after large-scale conquests, the pantheons in question were unique at least to begin with. In the Roman Empire, a number of cults became popular and spread throughout the empire by appealing to a particular clientèle. For instance, the worship of Mithras appealed to soldiers and spread throughout the legions, while the cult of Isis, the Egyptian love goddess, became popular with the 'decadent' upper class.
    In BR, Cuiraécen might become popular with Rjurik warriors after the Anuirean conquests, while Haelyn might appeal to Rjurik rulers intent on increasing and cementing their power base. This means I see syncretism as certainly possible due to one church/religion spreading its influence, but still dislike it as existing from the beginning.

    As a side note, it seems to me that the Romans had a concept of gods having a regional influence, i.e. they acknowledged that a particular god, a Celtic tribal god for example, held influence in the region where he was worshipped, and therefore deemed it wise to venerate or placate this god, when they were in that region.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    Many of the other cultures they encountered were other Indo-European cultures, with many of the same myths and gods, just with different names and some different cultural elements.

    In Birthright, like the indo-Europeans, you have a group of related cultural groups, who may have one common origin, and a shared religion.
    Hmm, while there may be similarities and common origins, when Roman or Greek writers described other cultures, they usually depicted them as so alien, that I don't think a contemporary observer would make the connection that these cultures shared a common heritage. Some descriptions might also be influenced by trying to explain an unknown phenomenon in the context of the writer's own knowledge and beliefs or by what the writer expects to find.
    For example when Vasco da Gama arrived in India, he expected to find Christians, in accordance with medieval legends. His board book describes a visit to a Hindu temple as visiting a Catholic church, if a strange one.

    With regard to BR, we are not given very much information on the early history of the human tribes before the flight, so the relations between them are essentially what you want them to be. A loose connection or common heritage is certainly a solution.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Well we do know from the Atlas that they already worshiped the same pantheon pre-flight, although each tribe venerated one god above the rest. This certainly seems like they have always had a broad approach to the whole pantheon.

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    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    Especially among the temples, I don't think the distinctions between two temples are as clear on the ground as they are for realm play. I think there is a sense that the temples of Haelyn are still united, but that there is no clear leader. Rather there are several leading figures, each with their own network of supporters and confederates.
    I really like this approach. I always had a few problems explaining so many splinter branches in a comparatively small area, and have thought several times on deleting a smaller branch like the IHH in the interest of increasing, let's say the OIT, but this idea really helps. It's sort of like what would happen if the conclave couldn't decide on a new pope for, well, several hundred years.

    The time of the schism, when there were two popes, might also provide some insight, as well as earlier events, like the Catholic/Orthodox split or the rise and fall of Arianism. Gotta read up on religious history...

    For BR, it might be useful to chart out the emergence and development of the different temples a bit more, developing some kind of ecclesiastical history of Cerilia. There are bits and pieces here and there in different sourcebooks, but not very much I believe. Any ideas?

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    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    Well we do know from the Atlas that they already worshiped the same pantheon pre-flight, although each tribe venerated one god above the rest. This certainly seems like they have always had a broad approach to the whole pantheon.
    Ah yes, I forgot this, I was under the impression, that each had a single tribal god, but this was only my take.

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    Well we do know from the Atlas that they already worshiped the same pantheon pre-flight, although each tribe venerated one god above the rest. This certainly seems like they have always had a broad approach to the whole pantheon.
    I always wondered however whether that simply meant that they had gods with common portfolio's and aspects, or whether they worshipped the same actual gods.

    I liked your idea of 'same god different emphasis', so to the Rjurik Anduiras/Haelyn might be god of war / the defender of the clan, Ruornil/Vorynn might be the seeker of truth / seer, Avani might be the mother goddes etc for example as opposed to the Anuirean-centric view normally held of the gods.

    There is always the possibility that the names of the gods are the same but the gods otherwise different - I recall comments that some Africans preached to by missionaries during the various empires simply tacked the names of christian saints over their tribal gods but otherwise continued their worship unchanged.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I used to subscribe to the idea that the temples had a firm ideological commitment. There are several significant discussions of this, especially in the BoP. What is unclear is how long these particular positions have been held and how deeply they are held. Because the alternate theory is that temples are really just the organizations of their regent and will reflect the regent's ideology. Since temples are ideological institutions, its reasonable to suspect that there will be ideological stability across regents, as an organization built on the teachings of Fitzalan (to pick one example) won't select a regent who rejects Fitzalan very easily.

    There is also a strong tendency to stake out opposing positions from those of your enemies.

    Suppose the OIT argues that priests must know Old Andu, and read religious texts in Old Andu so that nothing is lost in translation. The OIT might have libraries of original documents, where other temples have copies, and translations into Anuirean. Its quite possible that rivals will de-emphasize the importance of source criticism, and will be more open to interpretation, translation, and proliferation of copies of works, rather than a strict adherance to original works in the original language with traditional interpretations. Even so, there will always be scholars in every temple organization who thing it worthwile to know the old tounges, who might pilgrimage to ancient sites, seek out original texts, and prefer traditional readings of those texts. The difference will be the exclusivity of this approach.

    I suspect that as the empire gave way to local power, the same thing happened the temples. Key "Bishops" emerged as rival leaders of the faith of Hayen. They naturally differed and built patronage relationships with supporters. In fact these organizations, or factions, no doubt existed before the collapse of empire to settle internal matters. United to the outside, but divided over which priorities to attend to.

    Should we evangelize and attract more commited members? No. The congregation is too divided, we already have too many voices. We should discipline the congregation and restore true commitment. No. A third way, let us woo Lacaen Braeme and his followers from our rivals. He is passed over for favors and offices, disaffected, and his opinions ignored. Let us befriend him. No. Rather let us join the duke in his war, our knights are respected, and our victories will earn us honor and friends. The war will be profitable and such demonstration of our power will attract new supporters.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    I recall comments that some Africans preached to by missionaries during the various empires simply tacked the names of christian saints over their tribal gods but otherwise continued their worship unchanged.
    You can look closer to home for that. St Briget, a patron of Ireland was originally Brigid a celtic healing and fertility godess.
    http://www.aco.ca/celtic/stbrigid.html

    Other figures, like Cailte were crossovers, Cailte is claimed to have killed the sea god Lir, but also shown St Patrick around Ireland.

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    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    I used to subscribe to the idea that the temples had a firm ideological commitment. There are several significant discussions of this, especially in the BoP. What is unclear is how long these particular positions have been held and how deeply they are held. Because the alternate theory is that temples are really just the organizations of their regent and will reflect the regent's ideology. Since temples are ideological institutions, its reasonable to suspect that there will be ideological stability across regents, as an organization built on the teachings of Fitzalan (to pick one example) won't select a regent who rejects Fitzalan very easily.

    There is also a strong tendency to stake out opposing positions from those of your enemies.
    <snip>
    I suspect that as the empire gave way to local power, the same thing happened the temples. Key "Bishops" emerged as rival leaders of the faith of Hayen. They naturally differed and built patronage relationships with supporters. In fact these organizations, or factions, no doubt existed before the collapse of empire to settle internal matters. United to the outside, but divided over which priorities to attend to.
    I'd go for a mixture of ideological division and just being a regent's organization. How these positions developed and exist now and how they are perceived to be by the Anuireans can only decided on a case-by-case basis.

    For instance, I picture both Haelyn's Aegis and the Militant Order of Cuiraécen as at first simply being military orders akin to the Knights Templar or the Teutonic Knights, charged with protecting the borders of the Empire. They had their own organization, but were considered part of the Orthodox Imperial Temple. Since the fall of the Empire, they became more independent, but are still formally supervised by the OIT. IMC, every new Grand Master of the Militant Order still travels to Diemed to be formally acknowledged. This should have some repercussions on play - a regent of one of these orders can do as he please, but it would be difficult for him to justify openly going against the OIT.
    The split between OIT and the Western Imperial Temple is mainly political in my view. At some point in the past, the Avan dynasty received the right to appoint their own 'bishops' in their realm, perhaps at first subject to approval by the OIT. This decision is still rued by the OIT to this day. Technically however, the WIT is still part of the OIT, and both are essentially regarded as the same church by most Anuireans, even though idealogical (and political) differences grew. The people of Avanil however, are firmly convinced that Rhobher Nicholair would be a far better leader for the church than Lavalan Briesen. The situation between WIT and OIT might be similar to the relations between the Catholic and the Orthodox churches prior to 1054, when each side declared the other as heretic.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    We might also consider how much independence each national church had in the middle ages. Each could assemble in a national synod, had its own primate, and could and did adopt polcies different from the Papacy. If we further imagine that the organization is not based on one total leader (no pope) because perhaps the Emperor had that official function and the "bishops" ran the church like the dukes ran the empire, and that without the person of the Emperor, both are divided and disunited.

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    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    I seem to remember being taught that the Irish Catholic church and the English Catholic Church used to spiritually "battle" for the hearts and minds of the British back in the early Middle Ages. One was controlled directly from Rome and the other more so from England (or maybe it was Rome and Ireland). If that is correct, perhaps that could be used as a start.

    And what about all the monastic orders in the Real World. They had to be recognised by the Pope but what controls were placed on them after that? Who was in charge of the Benedictines, Franciscans, Cistercian?

    Sorontar

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