Art and Culture and a Fantasy World

Submitted by Jeff on Tue, 08/05/2012 – 16:07

I’m posting this as a discussion piece, and a lot of this is in shorthand that makes sense to the writing and artistic group, and possibly is total nonsense outside of that discussion. But I figured I’d let other people into the discussion even if it is total nonsense.

As part of putting together the Guide to Glorantha, we’ve been thinking a lot about the look of the fantasy setting and how the various cultures have influenced each other. Reduced to bare bones, there are essentially three major cultures in central and western Genertela: Orlanthi, Pelorian, and Western. Each culture has several “core areas” which have spread out and created satellite centers. These centers interact with other centers, producing artists and crafters, and consuming artists and crafters from elsewhere.

This quickly done crude map depicts that. Dark Purple is the core Orlanthi cultural centers, Light Purple is the satellite centers. Bright Yellow is the core Dara Happan cultural centers, Light Yellow the satellites of Pelanda and Rinliddi. Light Blue is the core Loskalm/Sog City center, Dark Blue its Janube River cultural satellites. Dark Brown is Safelster, which is a weird combination of Orlanthi and Western and Something Else. Light Brown is Seshnela, which is a Western Core but with a lot of ancient Safelstran influences. Red is Lunar, which is Peloria but also something new.

You can see that in a lot of places the colors line up against each other – presumably resulting in a mixture of cultures. And black arrows show primary lines of strong cultural influence and the direction it goes.

It was a quick map and in the upper Janube River it is wrong, as there should be some red dots for Arrolia and some light purple dots as well, but heck we made this for discussion purposes.

Here’s another way of looking at it:

This map actually provides more info, although I think it is harder to read. You can see that Tanisor is an area of a lot of mixture, as is Saird, Carmania, and the Upper Janube.

So if we wanted to have a terrestial comparison for various artistic styles, here’s a quick cheat sheet:

Pelorian: Mesopotamian, Syrian, and Iranian, with a few bits of Classical Greek thrown in (especially from Carmania). The last bit got widely disseminated by the Lunars after rebuilding their empire after Sheng Seleris. Cultural centers: Dara Happa, First Blessed, Oronin Valley, and Darani.

Orlanthi: Bronze Age and Archaic Age Greek, Amaravati School, Hittite, Hallstatt Celt, and La Tene Celt. Stir them all together in a nice heroic pot. Cultural Centers: Esrolia, Heortland-Sartar, Vesmonstran, Jonatela, East Ralios, Talastar-Brolia, South Peloria.

Safelster: Hodgepodge collection of Orlanthi and Western influences with a LOT of Hellenistic and Roman Greek wigginess.

Western: Classical Greek (especially the Severe style), Greco-Indian, and Gandharan. Seshnela has more of the Greco-Indian and Gandharan styles because of the heavy Theyalan and Safelstran influences. Cultural Centers: Seshnela, Loskalm, and Sog City.

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