Cities

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Glorantha has many famed cities that predate the Dawn – Alkoth, Raibanth, Yuthuppa, Nochet, etc. But founding your own city is also a path to godhood as shown by such demigods as Froalar, Pavis, the Red Emperor, Belintar, Hon-eel, and of course Sartar. Of all of these, Sartar the Citybuilder was the most prolific – like Alexander or Seleucus, Sartar founded multiple cities (five in total), and his heirs founded two more.We have accounts for how Sartar and Dorastor founded their cities. They consulted the gods, laid out the sacred boundaries and identified where the main temples would be. Sartar and his heirs were knowledgeable in city planning – their cities were built around a plan, with clearly defined districts, roads, and markets (the so-called “Jrusteli method”). Imagine this is like Alexander or Seleucus consulting scholars learned in the methods of Hippodamus when they laid out their cities.In fact, accounts of the founding of Hellenistic cities are filled with ideas that might inspire Gloranthan ideas. For example, when Seleucus founded Seleucia:”Seleucus asked the Babylonian priests which day would be best to found the city. The priest calculated the day, but, wanting the founding to fail, told Seleucus a different date. The plot failed however, because when the correct day came, Seleucus’ soldiers spontaneously started building the city. When questioned, the priests admitted their deed.”I could imagine a similar story being told of Furthest’s founding!

If we recognize Sartar as probably the most prolific city founder (and not as in the Fifth Wane “restoring” ruined old cities), then I suspect he is the template for building new cities in the Third Age.Of course he stands on the techniques of Belintar and of the Middle Sea Empire, but that’s like consulting the writings of Hippodamus to build Alexandria.

Sartar’s cities are a big part of why he is a god. The Sartar dynasty are noted for:

  • Building cities (and the other accoutrements of civilization – temples, libraries, markets, etc.)
  • Building roads and facilitating trade
  • The ability to protect their people and allies against outsiders through negotiation or warfare

Ironically, the only Third Age demigod that I think compares to Sartar in this regard is Hon-eel, who led the Fifth Wane efforts to restore Peoria’s civilization, settled Oraya, and likely founded Furthest.

The library project was very important to the Sartar Dynasty, and it is worth mentioning that all ruling members of that dynasty – including Kallyr and Argrath – were literate. In fact, Temertain’s connection to Lhankor Mhy probably worked in his favour propaganda-wise!Yes, the Fifth Wane Lunar Restoration approach is part of the reason their cities are all very same-y and boring at the same time. Although I think Furthest is an exception.

And so when we think of cities like Boldhome, Jonstown, Swenstown, Wilmskirk, Furthest, Queen’s Post, Alone, New Pavis, etc., these were planned cities, laid out based on a design, and their foundation connected with their cult and identity. This is likely quite different from ancient cities like Nochet, Raibanth, etc. Their patron deities might be manifestations of much greater entities, such as Ernalda or Yelm, rather than a mortal who becomes a god.


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