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The evolution of society and govt.

Ifritus

Dreamer
Hi there fellow scribes,
Another question or two to the collective.

So, following the headscratching I've done over the past week... I've hit a couple snags through knowledge gaps, and lack of a Google fu black belt

1: following the evolution of society and a governing body... how gradual was the decline from Religion over Law?
In the sense of everything was fine so long as you were devout? Then nope, you can be devout but the deplorable actions are not allowed?

In this sense I'd actually appreciate homework as well as opinions? Since I'm rather new to the google searching required for writing research.

I mean was that the case back in the day? Was religious law above the local law?

2: would anyone care to offer their opinion on the best ruling body that would suit an empire with magic, but mid 1800 tech? (Exact period being the implementation of firearm cartridges over percussion cap muzzle loaders)

The scenario being the Gods exist but worship of the Collective as a whole has slowly declined in favour of increasing Tech (thus the God of Wisdom & Judgement is the strongest worshipped at the time of the WIP)

With the added fact that most Magic isn't that flashy?

And how would a Civ change over say 50 years of suddenly having NO magic (well the Priests still have theirs) but the whole idea is than magic users earned the Wrath of the gods (making one manifest in the physical plane to pass judgment) so Former Sorcs are dehumanised quite a bit... how would they react to no longer being able to do magic?

I would appreciate folks thoughts... or even their advice on research to read up on?
 

elemtilas

Inkling
Hi there fellow scribes,
Another question or two to the collective.

So, following the headscratching I've done over the past week... I've hit a couple snags through knowledge gaps, and lack of a Google fu black belt

1: following the evolution of society and a governing body... how gradual was the decline from Religion over Law?
In the sense of everything was fine so long as you were devout? Then nope, you can be devout but the deplorable actions are not allowed?

I'm not really sure what your question is, or what it means...

What do you mean by "decline from religion over law?"

As far as being devout but also doing deplorable actions, I think it doesn't really take a whole of time spent watching the news to understand that being religious is no sure defense against behaving deplorably. Believers can be bad, non-believers can too.

In this sense I'd actually appreciate homework as well as opinions? Since I'm rather new to the google searching required for writing research.

I could be snarky here, regarding asking folks to do your homework... But in all seriousness, I would strongly encourage you to regain your Google-fu by looking up books on the legal system of the later Roman / Byzantine empire. Some interesting perspectives on the origins of Law in modern civil law societies, as well as the origins of Ecclesiastic Law in the evolving Church.

I mean was that the case back in the day? Was religious law above the local law?

Well, religious custom has always been a component of governance. What we now think of as secular laws evolved out of earlier sacred laws. Take the ten commandments. I'm of the opinion that any law you care to name, ultimately, derives from or specifies a very narrow aspect of one those commandments. For example, we now have laws against intellectual property theft. Well, thousands of years ago, God said "you shall not steal". The same principle applied then to sheep and tents as it does now to copyrighted material and computer hardware.

2: would anyone care to offer their opinion on the best ruling body that would suit an empire with magic, but mid 1800 tech? (Exact period being the implementation of firearm cartridges over percussion cap muzzle loaders)

You're describing some aspects of The World pretty well. Magic is a thing (well, a force of nature, really) and some technologies could be placed in mid-19th century or so.

I think the answer to your question can be found by looking at the nature of magic in your world, the nature of the empire in question and its basic constitution & form of government:

How pervasive is magic? Are we talking all-pervasive like in the Wizarding World, where they actually have to have a Ministry of Magic? Or rather rarer like on Discworld where Unseen University runs its own affairs and the non-magical government and society pretty much just hope the wizards don't blow a hold through the universe?

In The World, there is for example the Empire of Auntimoany. In many respects much like Georgian or Victorian England. There are practitioners of magic of various kinds, from the theoreticians in their towers of ivory soap, to the more practical artificers who marry together bits of magic and ordinary technology to actually get things done. There is no ruling body that relates to magic specifically, though practitioners of magic of course may hold office.

The only specific place where such folks are to be found as a matter of course is in the Deanery of Arbitrators. This is one of the Seven Houses of Parliament and comprises eighteen highly learned folks, almost always one or two of these will be a head of some magical school or society, like the Great Wandles College or the Society for the Further Mystification of all Runes and Esoteric Wisdom.

Often times, one of the lesser Magisters (perhaps the Chancellor of the Posts and Highways or the Lord Keeper of the Seals and Signs) will be a wizard and hold a chancellorship in a great college or philosophical school.

Unless there's a specific need for magic to be regulated by government, I don't see why wizards would necessarily have to play a permanent role in government.

The scenario being the Gods exist but worship of the Collective as a whole has slowly declined in favour of increasing Tech (thus the God of Wisdom & Judgement is the strongest worshipped at the time of the WIP)

With the added fact that most Magic isn't that flashy?

Often times the best magic isn't the flashiest. Flashiness, in a magic user, is a sure sign of either insecurity (Student Wizard showing off!) or incompetence (Incompetent Wizard never paid attention to his lecturer in Studies on the Nature & Cost of Magic and wound up turning his body inside-out and smearing the whole mess along Lesser Lard Barrel Street simply because he didn't properly prepare himself to shift a parked waggon with a wave of his hand & a shove of his mind.)

And how would a Civ change over say 50 years of suddenly having NO magic (well the Priests still have theirs) but the whole idea is than magic users earned the Wrath of the gods (making one manifest in the physical plane to pass judgment) so Former Sorcs are dehumanised quite a bit... how would they react to no longer being able to do magic?

I would appreciate folks thoughts... or even their advice on research to read up on?

I would hazard the guess that defrocked wizards might turn out to be quite a pesky lot, mean and turning devious, after the loss of their powers. Ordinary folks would probably forget all about it after fifteen or twenty years. The new generations coming up would have no experience of wizards at all and would probably just roll their eyes are those quirky old bastards in the tattered robes going on about magic...
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
There is no clear evolutionary path, which is both bad and good. It's good because you can find precedent for most any arrangement you care to imagine, and bad because you will have to *find* it. And the reading can be pretty dreary (pace, legal historians).

To take the society I know, in the Middle Ages secular law and canon law were separate. They were issued separately, administered separately, adjudicated separately. Not that there weren't plenty of times kings tried to rule bishops and bishops tried to rule nobles, but those were just good old power struggles. Pretty much any medieval textbook with a chapter on law will tell you that, with references.

The ruling body for an empire is an emperor at the center, with some sort of assembly with whatever powers you care to give to it. It could be little more than the emperor with a council of his great lords, or it could be as elaborate as the Imperial Diet and the Seven Electors of the late medieval Holy Roman Empire (which was hideously complex). You could read a dozen historians on the topic.

Or you could just start making stuff up. I recommend the latter.

The sudden disappearance of magic is an intriguing notion. What does an out-of-word sorcerer *do*? Augh, there goes grandpa again, about the time he conjured a whirlwind. *groan*
 

pmmg

Vala
1: following the evolution of society and a governing body... how gradual was the decline from Religion over Law?
In the sense of everything was fine so long as you were devout? Then nope, you can be devout but the deplorable actions are not allowed?

I think something is missing from this question. I suppose I would ask, following the evolution of which governing body?

I think you are trying to say that it appears that western culture has shifted from societies governed with a heavy religious influence to those that are more secular, and how did that come about. To which, I might argue that such things are perpetually in flux, and what seems to be some progression today, might not seem so tomorrow. Who really knows? Laws have to be based on something, and a common understanding of rights and wrongs, such as a religion would present, would seem just as useful as anything else.

In the world you cite though, you are saying there are actual Gods, and they are known almost first hand by the use of magic by their faithful. That would seem a pretty strong argument that the religion should remain prevalent in the society, and so I don't think they would gradually drift away.

You ask a further question about technology. Well, I do fall along the lines of there are no true rules as to what would happen anywhere, particularly in fiction, but a consideration I might have is how magic might stunt the development of technology. FOr example, why invent airplanes, if people can already fly with magic or teleport? or why invent air conditioning if I can already cast a cold spell, or a light bulb if I can already use magic to make things glow?

If magic exists, then necessity, which is the mother of invention, might not.
 

Ifritus

Dreamer
I'm not really sure what your question is, or what it means...
What do you mean by "decline from religion over law?"

As far as being devout but also doing deplorable actions, I think it doesn't really take a whole of time spent watching the news to understand that being religious is no sure defense against behaving deplorably. Believers can be bad, non-believers can too.
I could be snarky here, regarding asking folks to do your homework... But in all seriousness, I would strongly encourage you to regain your Google-fu by looking up books on the legal system of the later Roman / Byzantine empire. Some interesting perspectives on the origins of Law in modern civil law societies, as well as the origins of Ecclesiastic Law in the evolving Church.

I knew I worded that wrong... I wasn't trying to get you guys to do my research for me, though I suppose it does read like it? but what you suggested was what I was after: A starting point.... will definitly check out those systems.

I think the answer to your question can be found by looking at the nature of magic in your world, the nature of the empire in question and its basic constitution & form of government:

How pervasive is magic? Are we talking all-pervasive like in the Wizarding World, where they actually have to have a Ministry of Magic? Or rather rarer like on Discworld where Unseen University runs its own affairs and the non-magical government and society pretty much just hope the wizards don't blow a hold through the universe?

well magic is considered to be Chaotic (in the triangle of Chaos, Order & Balance)
and I would assume that since the Season of Loss (the half century where the Gods took magic away) people would have started to forget about magic in general, since the only "flashy" users are the warriors who enhance their bodies, or the ones with the talent to manipulate a form of Energy, or Matter (both separate talents).... the rest of the magic is mostly subtle and interal (mind communication/reading surface thoughts) in fact the entire Spirtual Discipline has absolutly no flashiness at all (cough except Once)

so for how prevalent it is....the ruling body set up a school for the proper training of people to use their magic safely... with the added protection of a "magic police"
after 50 years, im sure people who were still alive might be reluctant to renew their abilities since it probably still comes with scorn and hate (unless 50 years is enough time for people to start to forget and forgive?)
but the time period of the WIP is actually 100 or so years After the resurgence of magic.... so there is some leeway there for magic to come back into play... with a few restraints on them.

Unless there's a specific need for magic to be regulated by government, I don't see why wizards would necessarily have to play a permanent role in government.

Often times the best magic isn't the flashiest. Flashiness, in a magic user, is a sure sign of either insecurity (Student Wizard showing off!) or incompetence (Incompetent Wizard never paid attention to his lecturer in Studies on the Nature & Cost of Magic and wound up turning his body inside-out and smearing the whole mess along Lesser Lard Barrel Street simply because he didn't properly prepare himself to shift a parked waggon with a wave of his hand & a shove of his mind.

I would hazard the guess that defrocked wizards might turn out to be quite a pesky lot, mean and turning devious, after the loss of their powers. Ordinary folks would probably forget all about it after fifteen or twenty years. The new generations coming up would have no experience of wizards at all and would probably just roll their eyes are those quirky old bastards in the tattered robes going on about magic...

well immediately afer the Event... Known ex magic users were forbidden to hold any positions of true power. (except the priests) so would the resurgence of magic change this or make it even more of a reason to enfore the rule?
the Event is basically that... a guy trying to show off, and prove he is better than the Gods (bad idea) since he is the reason for the Season of Loss... and gets the MC cursed to undeath for conspiring with him (at the end he did try to stop his master) but still.
thats food for thought... will have to think on how they would react to no longer having magic...I think especially those who overused it, and have more permanent consequences as a constant reminder of what they used to be able to do and what it cost them now that they cant.
 
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Ifritus

Dreamer
I think something is missing from this question. I suppose I would ask, following the evolution of which governing body?

I think you are trying to say that it appears that western culture has shifted from societies governed with a heavy religious influence to those that are more secular, and how did that come about. To which, I might argue that such things are perpetually in flux, and what seems to be some progression today, might not seem so tomorrow. Who really knows? Laws have to be based on something, and a common understanding of rights and wrongs, such as a religion would present, would seem just as useful as anything else.

In the world you cite though, you are saying there are actual Gods, and they are known almost first hand by the use of magic by their faithful. That would seem a pretty strong argument that the religion should remain prevalent in the society, and so I don't think they would gradually drift away.
You ask a further question about technology. Well, I do fall along the lines of there are no true rules as to what would happen anywhere, particularly in fiction, but a consideration I might have is how magic might stunt the development of technology. FOr example, why invent airplanes, if people can already fly with magic or teleport? or why invent air conditioning if I can already cast a cold spell, or a light bulb if I can already use magic to make things glow?

If magic exists, then necessity, which is the mother of invention, might not.

you hit it on the head with the wording of the question :) thats exactly what im hoping to research! and again even the Priests magic isnt all that flashy either... I'd say its more Potent than a normal Sorcs (it actually follows similar rules with a few changes... it is after all Divine Magic)

once i tweak out what exaclty my magic can do... I hope to sort out exactly what sort of "magi-tech" if any could be created within the limits of the system.

two that i Know already exist are a relatively common "Everflame" lamp (the fire never goes out).... but then we are in the mid to late 1850-1900s we have electricity?
the opposite of that are "Eternafrost" boxes (a fancy name for a box of unmelting ice)

something I might need to look into then, is to why people would stop their worship? I doubt technology would do that alone?
Oh, this was actually part of a discussion on another of my posts... The idea being that, because of the decline in magic users following the Event... the amount of people who gained Divine magic (or direct benefits) from their worship is decreased... since its actually a Secret that the now rather small "elite" priesthoods of the gods were all once Sorcerers... since you had to have the ability to do magic to be granted Divine Magic....

since before the event... Id say 80% of people had what I suppose we can call the spark... which is the ability to use magic... or at least the capacity to learn, but maybe not be very powerful or potent. so if they were devout, and loyal to the teachings of their chosen god... they would be able to use their gods power (sorcerous potential has no impact on their capability with divine magic)

so after the event... the priesthoods changed slightly... stating that because of our blatant misuse of power (one guy ruins it for everyone ahain) the Gods have decided to only grant their Magic to the Upper priesthoods... cutting the common man from his Direct benefit. (where in reality the priesthoods made this up to make sure they stayed in power)

are there any holes to poke into that theory... or maybe something I'm overlooking
 
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