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The Official Thyatian Religionby Giulio N. Caroletti
The Thyatian official religion is cantered around the worship of the Trias (Ixion, Valerias and Tarastia). It deals with the Immortals in a very pragmatic way, sort of 'contractual way'. The exact formula by which they call it is the 'do ut des' (give in order to receive). Their rites are nearly all in form of contracts, with whom they offer sacrifices or prayers to the Immortals in order to have benefits in exchange. Most of the traditional religion, though, is just tradition: a wide range of rites of prehistoric origin, that seem to descend form the shamanistic beliefs of pre-Davanian migrations, are still present in it, and have never been abandoned, even when considered out-of-date by the clerics themselves. Many of these traditional rites are not performed by the specific clerics, but are political duties.
The Thyatian official religion is cantered upon a common activity that involves the majority of the citizens. It is not important whether the citizens' personal opinions differ or not from the official religion: Thyatians have a great tolerance of all cults, except the ones that can pose a major treat to the stability of the nation (see 'Dark Worship in Thyatis'), but they are also very attached to their traditions, among whom is the religion. This can explain, along with the fact that many of the 'official' religious rituals are very formal activities, why some of them are conducted or controlled directly by the State.
the TRIAS: Solarios, Valerias, Tarastia
Even outside the official ceremonies, these are in fact the three Immortals most widely worshiped and recognised in Thyatis, along with Vanya. Solarios, the Sun and War Prince, known as Ixion in other countries, is the patron of the Thyatian nation. Especially in the last years, his cult, that was seriously dwindling due to the decadence of the Empire, has grown much stronger: embodying the symbol of Light against Night, of Life against Entropy, many Thyatians have begun to listen again to his teachings. Solarios' dogma in Thyatis is anyway much lighter than in other countries; the stern lawfulness of the Immortal has less importance than his aspects of protector of the military, of civilisation (an aspect that the Thyatian culture, proud of their civilising ideals) and of diplomats (being his lawfulness and the concept of keeping one's word). Clerics of Solarios have also changed their original ways following to the losing of followers of the overly serious priesthood of Khoronus. Valerias, patroness of romance, although revered by lovers all over the Empire, has a much wider influence than the one with whom she is associated to in other countries: she is the Girdler of Weapons, the patroness of many women fighters, and of artists. Tarastia is another Immortal widely worshipped in the Army, but she is officially the one called upon by judges before a process, and in court a witness must swear by her name before he is questioned. [there must be a simpler way to say it in English, but I can't come up to anything, now -G.]. She is another Immortal worshipped by women fighters and adventurers.
There is only a common Church for the three Immortals: the Sacred Order of Thyatis, that is distinctly divided in three groups, one for each Immortal. All the ceremonies, even the ones attended upon by the Emperor or by other politicians, must be attended by three high ranking clerics, members of the three groups. The groups are the Sun Fighters (Ixion), the Wearers (Valerias) and the Justicars (Tarastia). [for Valerias and Ixion's priests, better names may be found- G.]
The Rex Sacrorum ("King of all Holy") is the supreme chief of the Sacred Order of Thyatis. He is a high level cleric that by tradition must leave all his political titles when attaining this status. Thyatian legends say that once in a long forgotten past a Rex Sacrorum tried to rebel against an Emperor (the exact name of the Emperor always changes accordingly to the sage that tells this story, but the Rex Sacrorum is always of Hattian origin...) trying to use his religious power to seize the throne, and since the Rex Sacrorum was banned from any political position. He conducts personally the most important ceremonies of the land, among them the Crowning.
Flamines (sing. Flamen):
The Flamines are the three chiefs of the sub-orders of the Sacred Order. The Flamen Solaris is the High Priest of Solarios (Ixion); the Flaminia Valeriana is the High Priestess of Valerias, and the Flamen Tarastianus is the High Priest/Priestess of Tarastia. It can be guessed that Ixion is always served by a male flamen, Valerias by a female, while Tarastia allows both genders, but more often it is a Priestess who leads her order.
Pontifices (sing. Pontifex):
The Pontifices are 12 priests, chosen among all the clerics, divinators and sages of the land. 6 are designed by the Sacred Order, while 6 are elected for life by the population of the Mainland. Among them is also present the Emperor, the 13th Pontifex, that bears the symbolic title of Pontifex Maximus ("Greatest Pontifex"). They can be of all faiths. They have the duty of taking care of the religious situation in Thyatis, suggesting to the Senate new religious measures and controlling religious activities in the land. They have no real power, and all their acts must be approved by the Senate, but they are in fact seldom contradicted. With the title, they obtain a seat at the Senate, but they lose it if they resign from the position. They also take care of the Ceremony of Evocatio (see later)
There are 24 peoples that are involved in divination ceremonies: 6 are hereditary members of the Aristocracy; 6 are elected each four years by the citizens of the Mainland Thyatis; these twelve members, if not clerics or divinators, play only a representative role; the other 12 are carefully chosen members of the Sacred Order of Thyatis, and generally retain their position until the Church decides to dispose differently of them. The 24 members are then divided in two groups of twelve: the first one, called Council of Augures, makes the preparatory rituals before very important ceremonies (like the Crowning of a New Emperor), and makes all common divination ceremonies. The second group, called Council of Haruspices, have two duties: 1) they act as collectors of strange events, that are scrupulously recorded and archived in the House of Haruspices, they study them and assign adventurers or scholars missions relatively to them; 2) they give the Annual Prophecy basing on the events of the past years and on the Ceremony of Prophecy (see below).
Other original Thyatian Immortals
Other Immortals of Thyatian origin, venerated by the people at least since the beginning of the first millennium, are Khoronus, whose cult has gradually declined over the centuries due to its politics of non-involvement specially in military situations, Vanya, who is a very popular Immortal still, and Aesculapius (known in other countries as Chardastes). Thyatis also have a small church that worship some of the Greater Titans.
two important ceremonies
The Ritual of "Evocatio"
This important ritual is celebrated each time the first temple to a foreign deity is built within the mainland Thyatian territory. It is an adoption by the Thyatians of another foreign Immortal between their own, and has been done a lot of times in the last centuries, a testimony of the Thyatians open mind on religious matters and their love for exotic cultures. The Immortals "adopted" with this ceremony until now are: Halav, Diulanna, Odin, Thor, Korotiku, Asterius. It is noticeable that Koryis, although venerated in Ochalea, has NEVER managed to obtain an "Evocatio" in Thyatis!
The Ceremony of Prophecy
This important ceremony is conducted by the Haruspices, and leads to the formulation of the "Annual Prophecy". Before this ceremony, the Haruspices examine all the strange events that occurred in the country and the main events of the Old World, then they read carefully through their annual reports collected in the House of Haruspices (see above), and in the end they pray to the Immortals for guidance. After that, they sacrifice a black goat and a black bull publicly in the temple of Solarios. Depending on how the sacrifices went (if there were problems, it's obviously a bad thing; other negative events include the passing of birds from right to left before the sacrifice, the appearance of a black dog before the temple etc.), and on the previous studies, the Haruspices consults the "Sybillini", a mystical book of prophecies that is believed written in 2 AC, and formulate the Annual Prophecy, normally in form of a piece of poetry. Often, the Haruspices themselves are not sure on what the Prophecy exactly means.
[coming soon: Dark Worship in Thyatis]
all this information have been gathered for you by
Iulius Sergius Scaevola
Captain of the XXth Cohort
Port Lucinius, Thyatis