--Bona al la encycla lorica.
The Dark Age of Luminarism
The Dark Age is an immense span of time, thousands of years long, in which scientific and technological work was stifled, practically world-wide, as a result of political changes in Luminarism’s bureaucracy. During this time, the common person saw no improvement in quality of life, no new technologies, no progress. This is not to say that there was no progress; indeed, the mage-priests, though mostly filled with corrupt leechers who could do no science and invent nothing, still had some among them that were productive, though almost exclusively in the field of magical technology. These productive ones were tolerated by the rest, as their inventions - spells - gave the mage-priests ever-greater power over the world, and hence over their followers.
Dicta Legila Priesta
The Dicta Legila Priesta, in 855 AL, was an edict promulgating that henceforth, all technological advances could only be shared with, and could only be used by, mage-priests. It was the first major pact of secrecy that would bind the workers of magic. The rule was primarily applied in two ways: First, all mage-priests that produced an invention or happened upon a discovery would be required to share it with all the other mage-priests, and could not go forth to the masses to proclaim the discovery as their own. Second, anyone not a mage-priest who happened upon an invention could only share it with the mage-priests, and thereafter could speak of it no longer; if they shared it with anyone else, they and anyone who learned of it would be rounded up and punished (often executed). The edict emerged out of the jealousy and insecurity of the mage-priests, who would have no competing force vie with them for dominion over the world. It also all but shut down the inventive spirit in all the Luminarian lands.
Luminarian Shift to Religion
With the gradual winding down of technological progress, the mage-priests shifted toward emphasizing religion. The "light" of Luminarism they co-opted, and changed its meaning to being at one with the beliefs the mage-priests promulgated, instead of the knowledge and understanding that it used to represent. In their jealousy, the mage-priests were unwilling to share their secrets with the masses, and so luminars gradually changed from emphasizing scientific discovery to emphasizing the scripture and lore of Luminarism. and reinforcing the notion that the mage-priests were the gods' lieutenants in this world and that they must be obeyed. Much of the lore of early Luminarism, focused on curiosity and invention, was unsuitable for the mage-priests' purposes, so they conspired to create a new holy text, filled with calculated lies, one emphasizing the divinely ordained role of the mage-priests, and the need for utter obediance to the will of the gods, as uttered by the mage-priests. Having already established magical power, great influence over the militaries of the luminances, and priestly title, the priesthood had little to stand in their way. Copies of their false text spread throughout the world and thereafter generation after generation grew up brainwashed by the false religion.
The old mage-priests eventually died out, to be replaced by mage-priests who had little inkling of the glorious days of early Luminarism. Though the mage-priests founded a hermetical Ordera Verita, or Order of Truths, in 913 AL to preserve the truth of what Luminarism once stood for, they were increasingly marginalized by the newcomers who, having grown up learning falsehood, did not recognize the truth when they saw it. The adherents of the Ordera Verita were all but wiped out in 940 AL, by their fellow mage-priests, leaving behind only traces, whispers of the past.
Decline of Literacy in Luminarium
While at first literacy of High Lorican was taught so that commoners may read their holy text, after a series of attempted reformations and the crushing of various denominations of the religion, the mage-priests were able to convince the luminarates of each of their luminances, that common literacy was an evil that threatened the luminarates' rule. And so from 950 AL to 980 AL all the luminances proclaimed reading, and learning to read, illegal for anyone not of the priesthood or of the rulers' lineage. Within a few generations, none but these latter could read at all, and by then the technologies of the golden era had been mostly lost to the commoners, who lived paltry, meager lives thereafter.
As Luminarism became entirely concerned with the power of the mage-priests, the mage-priests sought to solidify their power and make it impossible for any to contest them. Claiming the mantle of the gods, they made ever more intolerant proclamations. As edicts supposedly derived from the deities, these proclamations from the priesthood formed the basis for a religious law, the Dica Deia, the "Words of the Gods", often shorthanded as Dica. The Dica also drew heavily from the holy texts crafted by the mage-priests of the dark ages. For thousands of years the Dica would hold sway over much of the world, suppressing change and progress and the making of discoveries of magic. During all that time, the Dica would mostly go unchanged, and over the course of millennia, while the rest of the world gradually became more progressive and advanced, the societies under the Dica became ever more fundamentalist and extreme by comparison. In practice, since the masses could not read their holy text, the mage-priests had the authority to interpret their text however they saw fit, and to subtly change words to alter their interpretations to their liking, and none could contest them on it.