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Old 03-13-2013, 09:58 AM   #11
jason taylor
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
Oathtaking: A Sword Worlder rite-of-passage in which an individual is accepted as an adult "citizen".

Sword Worlder's are uncomfortable with institutional loyalties and with unchosen loyalties outside the family. A replacement for this is patronage webs, real or fictive depending on the local culture. They have little civic instinct but much for the complexities of patronage. This is one reason for the political instability and for the rarity of democratic systems of government in the Sword Worlds. This also is one reason for the observed "militarism" in the Sword Worlds(aside from the historical one of being colonized by soldiers). The needs of a large civilization make institutional mechanization necessary. The most reliable format for this in Sword Worlder eyes is the military, depending as it does on oaths usually taken to a person. Because of this, mercantile and civil governmental structures often borrow the forms and rituals of a military. When there is no specific entity to swear to, rather then make contract with a fictive personage that exists only as a legal fiction, Sword Worlders will make a mythic figure to swear oath to. Examples of this will be the founder of a corporation, but also popular are Aesirist deities and heroes, Christian saints, heroes from sagas or other such. In places where there is ideological controversy there might be more then one mythic figure to act as Oathholder.

In the Oathtaking, held somewhere between 13-18, but commonly at age 16 the new Oathbound swears to the Thane, Jarl, Hertug, or in a democratic state like Tizon, or Hrunting the mythic patron. After this he or she has the rights of a "citizen" including marriage, bringing petition and suit, ownership of property, and such like as well as obligations such as military service(in men) or military-auxiliary service(in traditional women) such as medical assistance, and in some places the duty to sit in judgement in a Lawthing(jury). Rights and obligations vary from place to place.

After the Oathtaking there is a celebration. This usually includes both a public one for the thrope and a private one for the family. Customs of the celebration vary from place to place.
This was inspired a little by Barryar which seems to have interesting resemblances to the Sword Worlds, and partly by the curious combination of militarism and anarchy in the sword worlds. While the two are in fact often found together in real life, it seems an odd combination of extremes. To explain why military or paramilitary organizational systems are favored even in civilian life seemed an interesting exercise. It also was an attempt to make another difference between the Sword Worlds political instincts and the Imperial. The idea of mythical patrons just came to me, and seemed both an interesting idea and a very Swordie way to handle the difficulties of civilization.
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison
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