The City States

Myths and Reality

Considering the youth of the City States civilization, the number of myths and legends that permeate their culture is staggering. In a scant few hundred years, an elaborate mosaic of heroes, monsters and deities have established themselves in the minds of the population, to the point where few everyday discussions do not include some form of reference to persons and places that may or may not have existed. Unparalleled art has been sculpted, painted and created to depict entirely or almost entirely fictional characters and scenes, while poetry, epics and theaters around the Cities retell the stories at an almost daily basis. The natural question one could feel inclined to ask is simple.


Are the people of the Cities so much more inclined to myths? Do they suffer from a mysterious mass affliction that sees the most scientifically ground-breaking human civilization turn to fables? Considering the origin of their civilization, the scientific minds that mold so many aspects of its society and especially their founder, who had meticulously planned each detail of their existence, one would expect a level-headed society that put reason before fantasy and history before myths; and yet at first glance, the City States present a collection of tales that seemingly dwarfs those of the Kingdoms and rivals the likes of the Nords. The answer to the question is not straightforward and the reasons can only be theorized in their multitude.

It would, for instance, readily claimed that the question is without merit, as the phenomenon under discussion is non-existent. The City States do not in any quantifiable measure have “more” myths than the Hundred Kingdoms or the Nords. In fact, quite the opposite is true: the amassed collection of mythologies stemming from the various cultures of the Kingdoms far outweigh that of the City States, while the far older traditions of the Nords would drawn in their plethora the tales of City bards. The illusion of the opposite stems from cultural differences or their lack thereof. Unlike the Hundred Kingdoms, the culture of the City States is more cohesive, its structure far more similar in its core than it is different. By and large, the people of different Cities are divided by dialects, rather than entirely different languages, and their histories have more in common than they have different. This allowed for an accumulation of mythologies, of sorts, under a façade of unity – and indeed, in time, such a unity did begin to take shape, as the language allowed for the tales to be readily exchanged, the themes to be repeated and refitted until an almost united mythology was forged; while in the case of the Kingdoms there is an assortment of different mythologies that in order to spread, had to be reshaped beyond recognition or live on in an echo chamber of the same group that birthed them. At the same time, unlike the Nords who rely on their oral traditions, the love for theater and the widespread use of the written word, allowed for an almost scientific approach to any mythos, as tales were meticulously recorded, repeated and perfected, being elevated from simple fables to educational and philosophical tales, which aim to explore human nature and, thus, resonating with the same strength throughout the generations. Should one take a closer look at these tales, however, the difference in details and in delivery of the same myth from City to City will reveal the truth behind this false single, united mythology.

This theory can be challenged by another view. While not dismissing any of its arguments, one could note that all the aforementioned factors which compounded to the phenomenon should, in fact, be viewed as tools rather than natural or accidental occurrences. Recognizing the immense challenge of detaching his people from millennia of their respective cultural histories, both of the overwhelming cultural influence of Hazlia’s theocracy but also from the different tribal groups within the Dominion, Platon must have realized that a cohesive culture would be paramount to the success of his vision, lest divisions of the past resurface without the presence of an all-powerful patron deity to limit them. And yet, as such a deity was exactly what Platon sought to avoid to recreate, something had to take its place, in order for the population of the different Cities to feel connected but distinct – much like their deities. Perhaps among the many lessons he learned from his own god’s history, Platon understood that an elaborate but united mythology allowed for different people to feel connected and part of a whole, despite their differences, while at the same time no single aspect of that mythos would dominate the spiritual landscape. This Under this light, his insistence to educate the population, his goal to promote theater to the point where they were incorporated to the very image of a good citizen, becomes less of an enlightened path and more of a planned route. Of course, none can say with certainty if such explanations are true or not. If any of the City Gods or the Scholae are privy to the inner workings of their founder’s mind, their lips remain hermetically sealed on such matters. In the end, the answer could be simple; like many if not most myths of their cultural counterparts on the continent, there is actual truth behind the fantasy. Events that were exaggerated as the time passed and people that were elevated based on a single moment of glory. After all, there is no shortage of such tales on Eä.

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