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History of the Neathar pantheon

by Giampaolo Agosta

The basic hypothesis is that the Neathar pantheons closely matches the common features of the RW Indo-European religions, described according to the trifunctional model by Dumezil. In this model, there are three main divine "functions", corresponding to the three social classes (warriors, priests/magicians/rulers, producers of wealth).

Table 1 here shows a grouping of portfolios along these lines (there are simplifications with respect to the RW, of course).

Table 1: The Three Functions

1. Knowledge, Rulership
      (a) Kingship, Wisdom, Wizardry (and Trickery)
      (b) Law, Order, Justice, Kin/Race

2. Fighters, War
      (a) Strategy, Battles, Lightning
      (b) Combat, Duelling, Thunder

3. Protection, Service
      (a) Healing, Growth, Birth, Protection
      (b) Wealth, Crafts, Trade

In RW, figures like Odin, Tyr, Zeus, Varuna and Mithra fall in the first function (and, BTW, Odin would be in 1a while Tyr would cover function 1b). Thor and Indra would cover the second function, and Frey, Njordr and the Dioskouroi would fall in the third.

I've divided each function in two subfunctions.

The main, better known people of True Neathar origin are: the Ranax of Robrenn, the Eusdrians, the Heldanners, the Thyatians/Espa and the Traladarans/Milenians. However, the Traladaran pantheon is too recent, and gives little insight on the Neathar religion, so I'm not considering it now. Tables 2 and 3 show the main Immortals in those pantheons, by function.

Table 2: Pantheons: Eusdrian, Antalian and Robrenn

Function Eusdrian Antalian Robrenn
1a Viuden, Eirys Odin Leug

Tiuz Forsetta Breig
2a Fredar, Fredara Odin Taranos
2b Donar Thor, Skuld Tuatis, Arduinna
3a Eirys, Fredar, Fredara Frey, Freyja Belnos, Cernuinn, Breig
3b Kagyar Volund Belsamas, Belnos

We can try to remove external influences (e.g., the elven Immortals in Eusdria), to obtain what would have been the Antalian and Dunharian pantheon): Odin for the first function (notice the lack of 1b, it is IMO quite relevant), Thor (with Odin) for the second, and Frey and Freyja for the third. Note that all but Odin where not in the Skandaharian pantheon, since they did not exist at the time!

Table 3: Pantheons: Espa and Thyatian

Function Espa Thyatian
1a Ixion Ixion, Odin (and maybe Khoronus)
1b Inquisitor, Judge Tarastia
2a Inquisitor, General Vanya, (Halav, Korotiku)
2b General, Milan Thor, (Diulanna)
3a Valerias, Milan Valerias, (Koryis)
3b Ambassador, Ixion Asterius, (Kagyar, Protius)

If we consider that many Thyatian Immortals are due to recent influences (those in parentheses), we may use the Espa pantheon to get an idea of the "native" Thyatian pantheon -- probably Ixion, Tarastia, Vanya, Thor, Valerias and perhaps Asterius or Protius. However, Vanya and Tarastia are certainly "recent" additions, probably both where added to the pantheon after the proto-Thyatians were moved to Davania. Also, Ixion is not a native Neathar Immortal -- he's not in the Dunharian nor Antalian pantheons. These Immortals replaced others, IMO, who either died or moved elsewhere.

Tarastia: this Immortal fill a 1b slot, and the best candidate here as an Immortal who left is certainly Verthandi. It can be supposed that Verthandi was the actual 1b Immortal in the Skandaharian pantheon, and when he left Khoronus was not strong enough to take over all of his portfolio -- he limited himself to the "Time" aspect, and his place was taken by others.

Vanya: note that in many Antalian pantheons, Odin covers both the 1a and 2a roles. I think he originally covered 2a in proto-Thyatian pantheons as well. Then Vanya took over, as she was very active -- she still seems intent on a campaign against the Norse pantheon, actually).

Ixion: Ixion has a Milenian name, and Milenians could certainly have inherited his worship from Traldar, who got it from the Nithians, who in turn where half-Oltec. I think Milenians then transmitted Ixion's cult to the Thyatians. Ixion already had powerful allies in the pantheon (Valerias, perhaps Asterius), so it wasn't too difficult for him to take over, in time, 1a function from Odin (also, Odin was probably more interested in other nations). I think Asterius was worshipped in Taymora, and the Neathar in modern Thyatis where contacted by Taymoran priest-merchants of Asterius. Then, Asterius took over part of the 3b portfolio, and helped pave the way for Ixion. Valerias, on the other hand, might have been a very ancient member of the pantheon -- she isn't a patron of the Oltecs or Tanagoro, and she's an ancient Hierarch. She also has a good reason for not appearing in the modern Antalian/Dunharian pantheons -- Odin probably tossed her out when she helped Ixion's takeover in Thyatis.

Thor, Frey, Freyja: these Antalian Immortals where probably allied with Odin, who brought them in the Antalian pantheon to strengthen his position when he saw that Verthandi's heir, Khoronus, was not yet strong enough to defend his portfolio. Probably, in the old pantheon, only Valerias, Odin and Verthandi were present, each covering one entire function. It was Odin's idea to create subfunctions for less powerful Immortals to hold, thus strengthening his overall control over the pantheon. Since Odin also covers part of the second function, Valerias only appears as a third function Immortal, and Verthandi was certainly a first function Immortal, I'd say that the original pantheon had Odin covering the role of war-leader. He then took over Verthandi's function, by adding to his portfolio the areas of knowledge, rulership and wisdom (this might be described in some myth, like the RW Odin's acquisition of wisdom and knowledge by self-hanging and by trading one eye in exchange for wisdom).

Protius: I think this one is another relatively recent addition: Protius is not very interested in land-dwellers, so it is likely that he only recently (but still before 1AC) took interest in the Thyatians and/or the Antalians. I'd say he appeared in the times immediately after the fall of Taymora, perhaps in the Nithian pantheon, and then in the Antalian and Traldar pantheons. The Thyatians received him from their contacts with Nithians and Milenians.

Conclusion: I think the original Neathar pantheon included: 1) Verthandi, patron of time, law, rulership, perhaps also magic (especially divination) 2) Odin, patron of war, strategy and lightning 3) Valerias (Frigga?), patroness of fertility and defender of the common people (she has this kind of portfolio as well in Thyatis!)