--Bona al la encycla lorica.
History of Luminarism
Spread of Luminarism
Luminarism became the world's most successful religion, spreading at some point to most of Origina (excepting the Expanses), parts of Tyria, and all of Detariya and Ethaya - some 60% of the world's lands. In the process it would destroy most of the ancient world's pagan religions. Part of the reason why Luminarism was able to spread so far is due to the tenets of the religion itself; part of it is due to the power of the united luminances, which would be drawn into alliances in religious wars (called Illuminations) against the pagan powers. In its era of expansion, Luminarism's core dominion was the most populated of all the regions of the world, and so Luminarian empires had the manpower to ensure victory.
In modern times much of what had once been Luminarian have become a tempered, moderate form of Luminarian, as a result of a series of revolutions over the course of millennia of history. The rebelling political powers, in trying to sever ties to the Luminarian core empires, often declared a different state religion or at least revoked the strict religious laws of Luminarism (because such laws would call for the punishment of rebels against the Luminarian empires). Many adopted various new pagan religions, and each would accrue their own believers; and over time the mixing of this amalgam of different religions in Detariya and Ethaya would result in the emergence of a moderate form of Luminarism in those territories.
The missionaries of Luminarism preached in High Lorican, and where the missionaries spread their religion, so went the language. The priests used High Lorican in the prayers they led (even if the rest of the populace couldn't understand it). Hence High Lorican was understood by the peoples as a lofty, special language, a language of the gods and a language full of power.
Many place names are named based on High Lorican, especially the larger regions which would need to be understood by people across vast distances of land. With its ubiquity, the language became the go-to for naming places. Ocean names are all named "Mara ~", High Lorican for sea. Many cities are named "Sita ~", High Lorican for site or city. And the endings for many other city and place names - including all the continents - are "~um", "~a", "~ia", "~ra", and "~ta", all common in High Lorican.
The priests worked their spells in High Lorican as well, and the sight of priests tapping this apparently divine language to work wonders certainly helped to convince them of the language's uniqueness. Because of the priests' use of High Lorican in working their spells, spellshapers could eventually be found almost throughout the world who would work their spells in that language. Spellcasting in High Lorican always ends with "-ae", which is the signal for the spell to fire; and accordingly this was adopted by spellshapers worldwide, including the royalty of Saphrona and the guilds of Ethaya. The same spell conventions would be used by the spellshapers of Altariya University.
History of Luminarism
Golden Age of Luminarism
Luminarism was founded with a panoply of gods, foremost among them being Tel Lumin, "that of knowing", the deity of illuminating light and the god of knowledge. Luminarism was thus the religion of learning, scientific inquiry, and discovery. The religion quickly few a large following as the discoveries of Luminarism became well-known, including the discovery by the Ordera Geometrica (Geometric Order) that faera could be harnessed for magical power, in 102 AL. This discovery, and the inventions that followed, unleashed a new era in human civilization, as people learned to tap into the power of magic.
Named the Enlightenment, the cultural paradigm shift resulting from Luminarism was to change the world and propel the priests of this religion to power and influence. With the newly discovered power of magic under their exclusive control, the priests of Luminarism became the first mage-priests. The mage-priests delved deeper and deeper into the sem-invisible world of magic, using their knowledge to shine light on that which could not be seen with the naked eye. The mage-priests also raised a second god of their pantheon, Tel Loiryn, "that of dreaming", the muse of visionaries and god of invention, and wedded the two deities, in 480 AL.
The early mage-priests of Luminarism were avid supporters of spreading knowledge. They held luminars, seminars in which the populace were welcome to attend and could learn about the latest discoveries of the mage-priests. As a result, each successive generation saw more scientific and inquisitive spirit than the one before, and the ranks of the scientific-minded mage-priests swelled over the first few centuries. The technologies devised by the mage-priests became public knowledge, and fueled the scientific revolution.
Within a few centuries of its founding, aided by the power of its magic and the usefulness of its philosophy, Luminarism became a force to be reckoned with. After its official adoption by the empires of eastern Origina, the mage-priests of Luminarism were able to lead Illuminations (crusades) against the pagans of other lands. Over the course of several hundred years, Luminarism came to spread throughout much of the known world, excepting only the continent of Tyria to the south, where their presence was weakest. Under the guidance of the mage-priests, and inspired by their zeal to discover new knowledge, the peoples of the world endeavored to make all sorts of novel discoveries about magic, and civilization entered an age of remarkably rapid magical-technological progress.
Darkening of the Light
The tragic fall of Luminarism was a lengthy process that had its roots in the early priesthood of Luminarism. Though it did not have any specific beginning or end, it ultimately resulted in the "darkening of the light" that was early-age Luminarism, and the spread of very long shadows that stretched across the land, blanketing the world in intellectual darkness and plunging the world into a dark age.
The Corruption of the Mage-Priests
As the religion of Luminarism grew, so did the bureaucracy of their mage-priests. While the original few centuries of mage-priests were by and large inquisitive and innovative, in the centuries thereafter the ranks of mage-priests became co-opted by those who were less curious and politically more conniving, for as the power and influence of the mage-priests grew, so did the tendency for those seeking power to enter their system, thereby slowly but inexorably corrupting it. These incompetent latter-generation mage-priests did not make fabulous discoveries of their own, but under the pressure of a system that extolled the virtues of discovery, they proclaimed false discoveries.
The Circle of Inquirers
As is in the nature of scientific inquiry, these false discoveries did not remain accepted for long. When several such false discoveries came to light as a result of tests by other mage-priests, these false mage-priests became defensive, and accused the latter of intentionally trying to ruin them, and attacked them for being jealous of the former's accomplishments. This caused the priesthood to lose face in front of the masses, resulting in a crisis of confidence. Many among the priesthood proclaimed that this crisis would result in the unraveling of the priesthood and that their golden era would therefore come swiftly to an end; those who challenged that claim were attacked, implied to be agents of the destruction of the priesthood.
As a result of this political maneuvering within the bureaucracy, and the stated urgent need to restore the masses' faith, it was declared that none may publicly challenge the proclaimed discoveries of any mage-priest. Instead, such accusations could be brought forth to a panel of only five members, called the Circa Incuira, or the Circle of Inquirers, whose task it was to determine whether or not these allegations were factual, by performing tests of their own to verify the truth. In the meanwhile, the accuser could not let anyone else know of these allegations. Established in 621 AL, the Circle was made small so that few would have access to the potentially disruptive information and to lessen the chances of such accusations leaking out. And when the Circle found the accused guilty of fabricating a discovery, it was promulgated that the accused would be punished in secret, by removing them from their role in the priesthood and to lock them away in a dungeon to rot away. In this way, it was reasoned, the priesthood would not be doubted by the populace.
Luminarian Silencing of Accusations
As a result of the corrupting policies of the mage-priesthood, public accusations of fabricating discoveries dried up, and soon all that was ever heard and said of the mage-priests was their great curiosity and inventiveness, and nothing was said of how some among them were corrupt. And so in the shadows of the religion of illumination, corruption grew.
Starting in 625 AL, those who made accusations of false discoveries were taken before the Circa Judicara, or Circle of Judicators, to be judged for breaking the ongoing gag order, and generally stripped of their titles and publicly flogged, so as to discourage any others from making public accusations. This was ostensibly done in the name of preserving the image of the priesthood. Those who brought these claims to the Circa Incuira would have their way for another hundred years, but for much of that time at least one member on the Circa Incuira was a corrupt mage-priest, who worked to silence the accusers: they would leak out the names of the accusers to the accused, and thereafter the accusers oftentimes found themselves blackmailed, kidnapped, or killed. Before long, the mage-priests began to notice this pattern, and soon very few people approached the Circa Incuira with accusations.
Eventually, in 727 AL the Circa Incuira proclaimed that any who would bring false accusations would themselves be punished, and publicly, should the accused be proclaimed innocent. The five members of the Circa Incuira all became bribed to simply always proclaim the accused innocent, bribed by those corrupt mage-priests who wanted to ensure that none dare challenge them. They succeeded. After a string of high-publicity punishments of the accusers for experiments that some mage-priests could verify independently, it was blatantly obvious to the mage-priests that the Circa Incuira was totally corrupt, yet there were so many corrupt mage-priests voting to keep them in office that they remained in power. Almost no accusations of false discoveries would be brought before the Circa Incuira starting 734 AL.
Persecution of Accusers
The mage-priests who remained true to the original cause, unable to seek recourse via the Circa Incuira, turned instead to the masses, teaching them to be inquisitive and doubtful and showing them the lies of the false mage-priests. Of course, the men under the control of the Circa Judicara hunted down many of those people. To facilitate the hunt for the accusers, the priesthood branded them heretics in 766 AL, making the holding and spreading of unorthodox beliefs a crime. As many of the mage-viziers of the Luminarian empires were corrupt mage-priests, they convinced their luminarates (kings of the luminances, the empires of Luminarism) to hunt down these heretics, that they may not spread their "lies".
By 800 AL, only a single luminance did not persecute heretics, and all the heretical mage-priests congregated in its capital city. When that capital city was sacked in 824 AL by the other luminances upon the urging of the priesthood, in a war of "internal" Illumination, all the heretics were rounded up and executed, and all the true mage-priests knew that there was nowhere left to hide from the corrupt mage-priests.
Consequences of the Darkening
With the suppression of discovery verification and the resulting retardation of technological advancement, and subsequently the overt prosecution of those who honestly searched for the truth, fewer and fewer people joining the ranks were truly interested in scientific inquiry. Instead the ranks of the mage-priests over the years became more and more filled with the false mage-priests, who told of false discoveries and ordered troops to hunt down any who would say otherwise. As the mage-priests ceased to make new advances in science and technology, they became jealous of those who did; they proclaimed others' discoveries as their own, then killed them. The pattern of behavior was not lost upon would-be inventors, and invention practically ceased by 825 AL.
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.
Late Age Luminarism
The Sacking of Luminaria
While the mage-priests of Luminarism ensured that they were the only ones capable of using magic in all their territory, thereby preventing technological advancement, the same could not be said of the nomadic tribes of the Expanse. They improved their weaponry and their horse husbandry, and struck at luminances throughout Origina, both to the northeast and to the south, as well as retreating to the northwest when the luminarates sent their slower armies in pursuit. Over the course of several hundred years, roughly 1600-2000 AL, the several nomadic tribes attacked more or less unhindered by the mage-priests, who were too few to use their spells to mount an effective resistance. Great stretches of land were pillaged, countless villages destroyed, eroding the power and political support of the mage-priests who were seen as losing the mandate of the deities. The raids culminated in a daring nomadic attack through the great desert, straight into the heart of Luminarian power, in a surprise attack on the religion’s holy city of Luminaria. The mage-priests were caught unawares; a third of all mage-priests in the world were killed that day, including its leadership, and the luminance of Luminarium, of which Luminaria was its capital, collapsed.
The Tricentennial War
With the priesthood in disarray, mage-priests the world over took it upon themselves to establish local power bases, becoming a series of local feudal societies in various shifting alliances. The three remaining luminarates teamed up with them against each other as their luminances fought over the territory of the collapsed luminance and in particular, over their holy city; each luminance represented its own major ethnic group and each had a substantial claim to the territory as a result of various stories contained within their holy text. But between the three major luminances and dozens of new, minor ones and their shifting alliances, none was able to gain the upper hand for another three centuries, roughly 2000 AL - 2300 AL, in what became the Tricentennial War. And all the while the nomadic tribes continued their sporadic attacks. The domain of Luminarism lost a tremendous amount of territory, especially in the northern and southwestern fringes, to the nomadic tribes in the vicinity of each; eventually, the northern domain would become the empire of Saphrona in the modern day and the southeastern domain would become the states of Iutarru, and both would be purged of Luminarian rule.
The Tricentennial War saw major advancements in magical technologies as the mage-priests each sought to gain an advantage on everyone else. The Tricentennial War came to an end with the razing (once again) of the city of Luminaria, in 2300 AL, with the first city-spell - a spell that used enough mana, and had enough reach, to affect an entire city at once. Luminaria had at that stage in the war become home to half of all the mage-priests, working together to design new offensive spells in a common alliance against one of the luminances; with the city’s destruction, most of the mage-priests were wiped out, leaving that side with no mages. Over the course of three hundred years of fighting, mages and magical support had become essential to winning battles. The city-destroying spell, though not immediately recreate-able, nevertheless shifted the balance of power sufficiently that the luminarate responsible had enough power to usurp the rest.
Library of Erudita
The surviving mage-priests and nobles would not lightly forget how instrumental advances in magical technology had been in winning the war, and established a grand library in Erudita in 2306 AL. The library would then go on to give rise to many notable mage-priests with influential inventions to their name. The establishment of the library attracted inquiring minds from the world over, and inventions blossomed like they had not for almost two thousand years. Like Luminaria had before it, Erudita became the center of the world, and the wellspring of progress. Whereas early Luminarism was the golden age, this was the silver age.
War of the Seventeen
The sects of the Concord, standing united, waged a war against the priests of Luminarism, using their own primitive form of magic against the much more advanced magic of the priests, who though they nominally persecuted everyone who used magic, used plenty of it themselves. This hypocrisy became ever more evident to the soldiers in the war as the Order of Concord, pooling their numbers, was able to force the mage-priests into a series of pitted battles where they were forced to use their magic where all could see them. As a result, even as the mage-priests won practically all their battles, each battle resulted in more and more people throughout Ethaya becoming disillusioned with Luminarism, soldiers telling any civilian who'd care to listen, about the magic spells unleashed by the priests of anti-magic. So so though the mage-priests won their battles, they lost the war, and religion in Ethaya became replaced with a moderate, magic-accepting denomination of Luminarism, which still exists in its weakened form in Ethaya to this day.
While this war is called the War of the Seventeen, it started with seventeen sects united in a Concord against the priests and ended with twenty-nine sects; three sects had been utterly destroyed by the mage-priests and their devout, but another fifteen had joined, having seen the usefulness of being united against a common foe.
Rise of Antimagic
The mage-priests' defeat at the hands of the guilds prompted a resurgence of the anti-intellectuals, who claimed that the empire's willingness to use magic - a thing of the gods and not for humans - had brought this setback upon them. The empire was overthrown, and in its place arose several luminances who had different beliefs about the role of magic in society. Two of the luminances favored some use of magic, and the other luminances turned against them, waging a war where one side used magic overtly and the other used it covertly; where one side used it to do good in public view, and the other used it to do evil in public view. The anti-magic luminances however had the advantage of numbers, and won this First Antimagic War.
With their victory, the mage-priests stopped being mage-priests and reverted to being just plain priests. In fact, as a result of the propaganda in use over the course of the war, including many instances of using magic to catastrophic ends (by the anti-magic side) that gave magic a bad rap, pretty much everyone in Origina had become disillusioned with magic, and magic for any use whatsoever was outlawed. The suppression of magic was therefore done without any magical support, but relying solely on the power of brainwashing via Luminarism and the priests' control of the government. And so it would be, with this altered form of the Dica outlawing any magic in Luminarian lands for the next thousand years.
War of Originian Revelation
The War of Originian Revelation is the war started by the mages of Altariya University in their quest to spread their revelatory teachings to Origina, following the conclusion of the Fourth Detariyan War. Altair, unwilling to jeopardize their mission by sending Altariyan mages of Detariyan or Ethayan ethnicities, would allow only those of Originian ethnicities to travel to Origina as part of the Diaspora to spread revelation throughout the world. As Origina was so far away, relatively few of the Altariyan mages qualified. Nor would Altair allow his mages to start a war of aggression against any foreign powers for fear of creating an intercontinental coalition against the nascent University - a fear very much on their minds after two decades of war against the guilds.
Those who went of course found themselves being heavily prosecuted. The Originian states had of course heard of the rise of Altariya University, and guards throughout the continent were told to keep a lookout for spellshapers. Many of the Altariyan missionaries were captured and tortured or executed, and the rest were soon fleeing for their lives, whilst simultaneously trying to teach their technology to cadres of students, as well as procure the moieta needed for their spells (and in particular, for the weirds for their own pupils to use). Early skirmishes against the mundane militaries of the luminances led almost invariably to the mages' defeat or escape. Eventually - several years later - the mages would have the numbers to take on the mundane troops and push them back, spreading throughout all the luminances until only the capital city of Luminaria was left as the anti-intellectuals’ and priests' final bastion. The siege of Luminaria concluded with Altariyan victory and the proclamation of Altariyan dominion and the abolishment of the priests of Luminarism, and so the dominion of Luminarism came to an end.