Lunar occupation of Orlanthi

Date: Wed, 02 Jul 97 15:29:09 +0100

 Lunar occupation of Orlanthi

David Cake says...
> A better approach, rather than theorising about broad religious
>themes and values, is to look at the historical evidence. As has been
>repeated many many times, Tarsh etc. are proof by example that Lunars and
>Orlanthi can get along. The Orlanthi of Tarsh are not horribly oppressed

Certainly there is peace and prosperity in the Lunar provinces, there are NO bands of rabid anti Lunar Orlanthi, or heavy handed Lunar oppression, but this does not necessarily mean that the Orlanthi religion is happily 'married' (i.e. assimilated) to the Lunar pantheon. Just because things are peaceful and there is co-operation between conqueror and conquered, that does not mean there is much empathy. It is possible that the Orlanthi get on because they must, they have no choice. Even in long conquered areas of the provinces, where Lunar peace, prosperity and civilisation will have convinced the Orlanthi that the Empire is not evil incarnate, it is still possible for there to be irreconcilable differences between the two religions which results in gradual conversion to Lunar gods rather than an assimilation of Orlanth into the Lunar Pantheon.

I imagine that the Lunar attitude to opponents religions in general is fairly ambivalent. As long as the rule of the Empire is accepted you can believe what you want. I think this is supported by the the Lunar methods of conquest. They do not say that their opponents beliefs are wrong, and the worship of the Red Moon is the one true way, and try to destroy their enemies beliefs and gods. Rather they examine their foes beliefs and use them to their advantage, undermining opposition from within. Thus the religions of conquered territories are assimilated into the Lunar way, as in the religions of the heartlands, Dara-Happa, Caramania etc. I think this method of religious assimilation is roughly analogous to the Roman conquest of Greece, say.

There is a problem with applying this position to Orlanth. At the fall of Whitewall the Lunars declare that the last Orlanthi city has fallen, and Orlanth is defeated and dead. This does not seem just a little over enthusiastic response by those involved in the conquest, the Emperor himself announces celebrations over the whole of the Empire. As far as I know the this not typical after a Lunar conquest. Why treat Orlanth differently? If Orlanth had be assimilated into the Lunar way in the provinces, how do those good Lunar 'almost citizens' react to hearing their god is dead? Perhaps one reason (amongst many) for this celebration might be because the Lunars have had trouble with 'marrying' Orlanth into their pantheon? Perhaps orthodox Orlanthi see Orlanth as king of the gods, who does not accept any higher authority. For me, the biggest thing the Lunars care about is their authority. If mythically Orlanth does not accept the authority of the Red Moon, this weakens the authority of the Red Emperor over Orlanthi. The Lunars are an 'enlightened' lot, but their authority is non negotiable.

So I think the Lunarisation of the provinces is different from the heartlands. The peace and prosperity of the Empire will encourage people to gradually desert Orlanthi ways and accept Lunar ones. I think that an assimilation of Orlanth into the Lunar pantheon can only be partially successful, and cannot be achieved to the same degree as the religions of the heartlands. So once the Lunars convince the Orlanthi that their ways are not bad and evil, the advantages of the Lunar life would encourage religious conversion, rather than some awkward assimilation of gods, in my view. I think this conversion method of conquest is roughly analogous to the early Muslim conquests of Christian lands, or of the Crusading conquests. If Lunar strength breaks down, if peace and hence prosperity is shattered, then the advantages of the Lunar way are lost and perhaps in the Orlanthi in the Lunar provinces might then remember their ancient pride and freedoms. Of course the strength of this unrest will vary across the provinces according to the degree of cultural assimilation.

I think the process of conversion is not very advanced in many regions. Tarsh was not completely pacified until very recently (1580's ?) at the battle of Grizzly peak. At this early stage of 'digesting' a conquest, the Lunars will probably not care too much about winning the hearts and love of the masses. Rather they will try to maintain strong grip by ensuring the conversion of relatively few powerful people (who of course gain yet more power by their conversion), a logical extension of their methods of conquest. Thus whilst their grip is very strong, it is not stable, and in times of extremity rebellion by the masses is a real danger.

Also my argument about the hero wars was not clearly stated. I regard the hero wars to be a titanic, all encompassing conflict. There is some resonance for me if the hero wars in central Genertala is represented by fundamental enmity between Orlanthi and Lunar ways breaking out into a huge conflict. I fully admit that this is a teleogical (and so rather personal) rather than causal argument!

As I have said, my ideas on this are at an early stage, so are not very entrenched, for me :) .

Stephen Lucek.

End of The Glorantha Digest V5 #5

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