Tarsa
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Government: states united under a common senate made of city-state leaders.
Settlements: Well developed walled cities with sanitation and other public services
Religion: A clash between highly regimented gods and interceding deities.
Exports: Aquavices, poetry, mathematicians, ore, pottery, bronze artworks.
Imports: Wine, dates, figs, intoxicants, luxury goods, books.
Economy: Agricultural, Aquacultural, slavery.
Environment: Temperate rocky coasts and islands with rolling grassland and gravelly deposits.
Primary Language: Tarsan
Population: Mostly humankind, with elements of morikai, gremel and aurks. Slaves of all other races are relatively common.

Commonly refered to as 'The Tarsan League' and 'The Mother of Superstitions', Tarsa is a republic of coastal city-states that spread along the North coast the Trade Seas. It's a relatively orderly society of superstitious but well-educated peoples flying the banner of a Gorgon. The individual city states often quarrel about adminstrative and legal matters in peace time, uniting militarily under the most respected of leaders in times of war.

The people of Tarsa have a love affair with geometry and mathematical order. They are famous for their square-within-a-square houses (four major rooms surrounding a interior courtyard) and for their huge, pilastered temples which often contain large statues dedicated to their gods. Stylized cornices, beams, and frontons are common to Tarsan houses, which are often made in a half-wood half-mortar style. Throughout Tarsa one can expect to find bronze and marble statues painted to and furniture are particularly common in both abodes and public places, complimenting the great marble and granite structures of the theatres and markets. Walls and facades are frequently decorated with bright frescoes (often of frolicking people, as well as birds and animals) and sometimes even covered in mosiacs.

Tradition

The Tarsans attribute great importance to the comfort of their ancestors. This careful attention to the spirits of the dead and to their opinions is a practice commonly refered to as 'necrolatry'. Careful attention to the family ancestors through spiritual mediums and religious worship is a sign of prestige and power. Those that can afford the luxury to entomb their dead in houses resembling those of the living do so, and those who can't tend to place their dead in collective mausoleums.

Religion

Tarsan religion is based heavily on the idea of predestination- That the destiny of man is completely determined by the whims of the many deities they worship. Many natural phenomenon, such a lightning, the state of sacrificial livers, and the flight patterns of local birds are said to be an expression of this divine will. Clerics called Augers or Haruspex are trained to interpret these messages from beyond, and they occupy a very respected position within Tarsan society.

Tarsan faith has it that postponement of these guaranteed fates is sometimes possible through prayer and sacrifice, but the end is still inevitable. According to one of nine holy Tarsan tomes that exist within the Library of Fate, the world allocates a life cycle of seven times twelve years to each man. Anyone who lives beyond these years loses the ability to understand the signs of the gods. As a result, races which live beyond the ascribed period are considered to be less in tune with the gods and unworthy of Tarsan knowledge. The Tarsans also believe that the existence of their their own people is limited by a dimension of 'ten ages', though there's confusion as to what exactly an age constitutes. At various times, Tarsan scholars have blamed all sorts of historical calamities on the 'Coming of the Tenth Age', but Tarsa endures.

Though very little of the Nine Tomes escapes beyond the boundaries of Tarsa in pure form due to the care of the Tarsan authorities, scholars who have visited the 'mother of superstition' report that the Tarsan people adhere vigilantly to the tenants of the Library of Fate in all matters. These tomes contain not only rites and divinatory practices, but also the rules and stipulations concerning civil, political and military life. Everything from how house-lots are to be divided to the naming of children and the construction of city ramparts are codified within the tomes.

While not everybody in Tarsa adheres to Nine Tomes, even disbelievers recognize that they are works of important Tarsan tradition. Even if one doesn't believe in the doctrinal elements of the Nine Tomes, they also contain mathematical and astronomical information and recommendations for responding to natural and arcane phenomena. These Codices contain detailed tables on the matter of sacrifice, libation and divine rites, as well as a great deal of information on immaculate architectural and governing practices.

Politics

The Tarsan government is essentially a theocracy. House leaders, officers of the state, and Tarsan royals of the city-states meet annually to discuss military and political affairs. Apart from this, the Tarsan League's constituents operate as a loose alliance of city-states. These 'independent' houses are under no obligation to provide aid to one another, and are known to have difficulty uniting against smaller or less urgent threats. Externally, Tarsa forms the top of what called the 'Golden Triangle' of the trade seas.

Tarsan beliefs about age have resulted in the ostracization of long-lived humanoids from Tarsan politics or business affairs, leading to an unhappy underclass of non-human slaves and laborers. This situation as a whole has damaged Tarsa's relationship with possible political allies such as the dwarves of Alekhand, and continues to cause tension between Tarsa and Qar-Hadath, where racial mixing amongst nomads and city-folk is considered of benefit to the public's general health and durability.

Economy

The Tarsans are avid seafarers and accomplished miners of iron, copper, lead and silver. Their society can be divided into a few basic segments, with wealthy politicians, business owners and slaves forming a pyramid. Those found to be in violation of Tarsan law are often sent to work the mines, quarries and fields. This free labor has created an abundance of political and cultural power at the highest levels of society, fueling the minds and tool-hands of some of the finest artists in the world. The noble generally crave libations and exotic foods from afar, paying high prices for slaves, textiles, jewelry and foreign food and drink obtained elsewhere on the Trade Seas.

The Nine Tomes

Tarsa is often called the mother of superstition. Despite or perhaps even in support of scientific and cultural advances of the last age, Tarsan culture, religion and architecture relies on the Nine Tomes.

The Books of Fate contain a few particularly important tomes: the Book of Death, on the division of time and the life-span of individuals and peoples; the Book of Ethereal, on the world beyond the grave and the rituals for salvation; and finally, the Book of Signs, which gives rules for interpreting the world and understanding portents. This includes propitiatory and expiatory acts needed to obviate disaster and to placate the gods. The Book of Spaces outlines the nature of physical things and is of crucial importance as much in divination from an animal's liver as in laying the foundation of a temple.

Education

So complex and all-embracing a doctrine naturally requires long and laborious study. For this, the Tarsans have special training institutes, among which that at the Tarsin capital of Truskinea enjoyed the highest repute. These institutes are more than seminaries. To judge by their range of studies, they are a kind of university with several faculties. Their curriculum includes not only religious laws and theology, but also the encyclopedic knowledge required by the Tarsan priesthood, which range across an extreme gulf of subjects from biology to engineering.

Particularly important to Tarsans is the Aquivice, a cleric who advises the city-states on all their water-bearing engineering projects. They are expert diviners who know how to find subterranean water and how to bore wells, how to dig water channels, supply drinking water in the towns, and install irrigation and drainage systems in the fields. In addition, they are known to create artificial reservoirs and collaborate with other priests who specialize in constructing subterranean corridors and tunnels.

In Tarsa, as in many other countries of the world, theological and secular knowledge are not separated. Whatever man sets himself to do on earth must be in consonance with the cosmos, and also the wishes of those who inhabit it. It is also interesting to note that Tarsa's mathematical ideas are oddly fragmented, requiring much interdisciplinary training — Numbers, magnitudes and ratios are all considered to be separate value systems with deeply hermetic relationships to the universe which they describe.

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