|Common Names||Dining Men, Champagne-Poppers|
|Social Classes||Winemakers, Cheesemakers, Traders, Farmers, Knights, Nobles, Laborers, Seamstresses|
|Major Cities||Mayonne, Mont-Cerv-Lueur, Douverne, Proumoure-sur-Alliene, Rouban|
In the north of the Regalian Ithanian heartland of Vixhall, the Burdigala sit as a leisurely agricultural society primarily concerned with wine and cheese-making. Descended from Ithanian immigrants decades ago, generation upon generation of being surrounded by Heartland Ceardians and Wirtem have transformed the Culture into something unique. The Burdigalas have simple sensibilities, but an almost unparalleled artistry for the agrarian work they put their minds to. Though, often remaining irrelevant to the political affairs of the Regalian Archipelago, none can deny that their Châteaus and the produce they create are a quiet mainstay of Ailor Culture. It should come as no surprise, then, that it’s a common saying on the Archipelago that the one thing a Burdigalan takes seriously is his cheese.
The Burdigala as they exist today are one of the most recent Cultures to emerge into Aloria. Their population was once a collective of farmers and vineyard workers operating in Vixhall, however, the arrival of more Ithanian migrants pushed them north. In a community symbol of solidarity, the future Burdigala went north into territory that was loosely populated around 200 AC. A plague had swept through the area a decade ago, and many had fled, leaving the region open for new colonists. As a result, within a few years that the migrants had set themselves up, a proper metamorphosis for their society took place. Some claim it stemmed from interactions with the generally more demure Heartlanders and intense Wirtem to their north, while others state scattered regional cloisters and their simple way of living off the land was the cause. What is certain is that by 230 AC, the Burdigala as they are known today were born, with their wines and cheeses flooding onto the local markets and their leaders presenting some of their finest produce to the Regalian Chancellor as they asked him for proper control of the territory. They gained it as several barons were declared and, from that point on, the Burdigala have lived in their Duchy quietly without much competition or influence to the outside world. They survived the turmult of Drachenwald Crisis just over their border due to their distance from the event, and in the recent years of chaos in the Archipelago, their leaders have stuck together passionately, united by Culture and often marriage. Today they remain united and tucked away in their heavenly fields upon fields of grapes, and animal pastures, a treasure rarely experienced by the outside world.
Language and Dialects
The Burdigalans speak their native tongue of Burdi, which is related to the D’Ithanie of their cultural cousins. However, Burdi is easily distinguishable from D’Ithanie in a few key ways. True to the pastoral roots of its speakers, Burdi is inherently less ostentatious or as grammatically complex as d’Ithanie proper. It is spoken more measuredly, leisurely, and simply. Rather than using a complex grammatical construction to express an idea as an Ithanian might, a Burdigalan is far more likely to use an easily-understood compound word instead, resulting in most true-born Ithanians considering Burdi nothing more than a provincial and uneducated dialect. To this, a Burdigalan would probably respond that D’Ithanie is far more artsy and excessive than a usable language has any right to be. Notably, due to their location and easygoing nature, Burdigalans have been far more accepting of Heartland Ceardian and Wirtem influence on their grammar and vocabulary. While far from a mixture as Leutz-Vixe is, it is common to find some originally Ithanian words supplanted by simpler Regalian or Ceardian alternatives.
Burdigalan naming customs are simpler than those of their Ithanian cousins, forgoing customs such as the “Nom de Lune”, and using the same first-name last-name formula for both males and females. Given names are often less extravagant variants of Ithanian names, or Ithanian-like stylings of names that are originally Ceardian or Regalian. Burdigalan surnames are often patronymics, either the given name of some male ancestor or some variant of it, such as “Collignon”. The second most common form is a locational name taken from the homeland of some ancestor - especially if that ancestor came from somewhere other than Ithania - such as “d’Ardenaud”. A few examples of Burdigalan names are:
Burdigalan law is supremely straightforward and simplistic on most things, only slightly notable in that it is usually fair and equitable. Standard Regalian Law prevails, and Burdigalans meet its practice with characteristic ease and directness. For most, however, Burdigalan law is synonymous with one thing; the complexity, exactness, and near artistry in how it regulates the production and classification of wines and cheeses. The codes on how, when, where, and sometimes even why a wine or cheese can be produced, and what it can be called when it is produced, are notoriously expansive and difficult to navigate for all but the most seasoned veteran. Upholding these laws often seems an almost sacred duty in Burdigala Culture and breaking them is next to heresy. As one might expect in this dangerous environment, new wineries and dairies are anything but common.
Lifestyle and Customs
The Burdigalan family is famously large and close-knit, largely due to the fact that Burdigalans tend to be an extremely affectionate people. Extended family units are common, regardless of wealth or social status, as multiple generations live in the same home. This is not only done for practical reasons - such as the increased labor force a larger family provides - but also for the simple fact that many Burdigalans cannot bear to be too far apart from their family. The image of the Burdigalan patriarch sitting on his porch, sipping on a glass of wine as he overlooks his land, his many relatives surrounding him, is an ideal that the entire culture aspires to be.
Due to the normalizing influence of Heartland Ceardians, Wirtem, and the distance from Ithania proper, Burdigalans reject the strictly matriarchal structure of Ithanian society. Instead, there is a nominal sense of gender equality, but a practical difference in roles. Inheritance follows a male-preference order, with the majority of land and property owners being male. It is common, however, for many aspects of managing a household to be given over to the woman, who is expected to deal with the internal business and monetary matters. This leaves the man to focus on the production of his land and the sale of his products abroad. There are few formalized restrictions, however, for the simple fact that most Burdigalans would find a reversal of roles humorous more than shocking.
The Burdigala are a religiously devout people and, like many other Unionists, celebrate many of the various Hero Days and other celebrations as outlined in the Unionist Calendar. However, unique to their region are several celebrations morphed and simplified from mainline Ithanian Culture. One is the idea of elaborate feasts, which the Burdigala have morphed into celebrations at the end of each month known as Le Temps de Repo-Nourriture (The Time of Rest and Food). These affairs are essentially gigantic dinner parties held by many major landholders in the Duchy, though there is a loose schedule of rotation so that hosting duties do not overwhelm a particular group of people. At these parties, the common folk enjoy an afternoon and evening of talk, simple games, drink, and food, culminating in prizes, or honors largely focused around simple or silly things like who wore the best hat, who brought the best cheese, and so forth. In the winter months, the lower classes retreat to towns and cities for these festivities while most members of the upper class proceed to the house of whatever local noble is hosting Le Temps that month. In addition to Le Temps, there is L'Aube, the Dawning, a massive festival of rejoicing as spring begins and winter ends, as due to the Burdigalan’s intense focus on wine and cheese, springtime is the happiest point of the year for them. While in most respects it is the same as the New Growth Festival, which it replaces, the Burdigala also celebrate the spring by working hard in their fields. Even the nobility don ceremonial working clothing and do a bit of work themselves in a symbolic representation that they are not so above those around them and all are tied to the land.
Literature and Folklore
Burdigalan literature is simple and meant to be casually enjoyed. While impugned as simplistic or pointless by both their Ithanian cousins and more militaristic Cultures, it forms an important touchstone in their cultural milieu and the understanding of it. In its prose, the Burdigala Culture tends to produce humorous wordplay and witty dialogues, generally centered around some folk hero or a common everyman who bests the arrogant, domineering, or foolish characters from other cultures. Pastoral poetry is also common, immortalizing life on the hills and plains of the countryside and making them common cultural icons. The most famous pieces of pastoral poetry are all contained in “Les Mots-de-Terre,” a popular collection of those works.
While it might not be expected of such a pastoral people, and indeed many Burdigalans will claim that philosophy is far too heavy a pursuit for them. When pushed, even the simplest Burdigalan peasant will be able to expound a rather complex but positive philosophical worldview, which he will likely defend until he is out of breath. The Burdigala Culture breeds the mandate that agriculturalism is the ideal form of existence, as it was also the first form of existence. The simple practices of an idyllic people are elevated, in their minds, to universal significance. General optimism, enjoyment of life, and well-earned leisure time are mandates, things to be followed not only because they are pleasant, but because they make life better for every individual. The Château is more than just a place to make cheese and wine, it is a glowing center of civilization. And as the nobles own and run most of the Châteaus, they play a major role in the sustainment of Burdigalan life. Additionally, their society exults the relations in communities, as affection for one another, especially in the family, is a necessity for happy and healthy people. Burdigalans tend to insist that if only others would come and experience their vineyards and rolling hills, and would begin to live like they do, all the world could be made eternally happy and peaceful. However, they acknowledge that such a thing is impossible and further deviate from their Ithanian forebearers by instead proclaiming the value of defensive military action.
While the Burdigala are a fairly recent society only developed within the past several decades, they have still managed to carve out a unique set of minor beliefs largely derived from others around them. One of these is the Brunie, a small and very hairy creature with green eyes who emerges at night to perform small tasks for dedicated and honest farmers. They are said to occupy places unseen and can never be found in daylight. Additionally, there are the animal fables of the land. Made up of a set group of animals, Renne the Fox, Violet the Cow, Carl the Rooster, Clarence the Cat, and “the Mouton Masses” (Sheep Mass), they are a series of tales discussing the tricks of Renne against all the local farm animals. They are largely children’s stories, but serve a useful function in teaching children about the animals they grow up around, while also informing them of the tactics of foxes and other similar predators.
The art of the Burdigala is one heavily focused on the agricultural life, shunning most other subject matters as a whole. Commonly seen in paintings and metalworking, scenes of rolling fields, animals, and hard-at-work farmers or workers dominate Burdigala tastes as a further expression of their devotion to peaceful, plentiful lives. When there is portraiture done, it is often of people in action or in the fields. Even nobles will be depicted in working clothes (though of a very high quality), and often doing more managerial work, or tasting some of their produced goods. However, for all of these reasons this artwork is generally seen as bland and pointless, lacking significance. Though one cannot deny that many Burdigalan painters are experts at the art of the landscape.
Despite advocating for a simple livelihood, many Burdigalans enjoy a rich and beautiful fashion life, as their position near many major trade routes, with their own highly sought-after produce, allows them access to a wide variety of materials to create their fashions. Despite this, much of their clothing will still appear simple to the untrained eye, but those with the knowledge can note the fine flourishes or highly comfortable materials used to make a Burdigalan outfit. Women have access to an array of styles of dress, often with a houppelande (a form of robe) sitting over a cotehardie, a simple but form-fitting dress tied at the back. Noblewomen most commonly wear cotehardies of a “scandalous” manner, with one side of the dress sliced open to reveal almost the full length of her right leg. As a result though, and as a general rule, women in this Culture wear thin, though still concealing, hoses of a fine material that totally cover their legs. Ironically enough, noblemen also wear such a piece of clothing, and often lack pants, instead donning doublets and houppelandes to cover their upper bodies. As for the male common classes, simpler or rough versions of these same style choices exist, but a great many more wear normal pants and simple shirts due to their long days hard at work in the sun. As for headgear, there is a crossover between both sexes through the use of the chaperon and the bourrelet, together being a form of round thick headgear often all of a single color which vaguely appears as if it is a piece of cloth wrapping rather than a hat. While men often wear such a piece of headgear on its own, noblewomen tend to add veils over theirs, while also making use of horned or pointed headdresses. In addition, commoner women often wear simple wimples, much in the style of the Heartland Ceardians, though often with the normal cloth material pinned to a structuring cap positioned within the arrangement. Jewelry for both sexes is limited, though women tend to wear necklaces that go around the neck and have a long hanging portion positioned at the middle point, while men commonly don rings or small pinned broches.
Though indistinct in many aspects of commoner construction (taking after normal ideas found in Dragenthal or Anglia), Burdigala Culture has perfected the form of the Château, hundreds of which dot their countryside. While literally translating to “castle” from both Ithanian and Burdigalic, the structure is not a military one. Instead, it is more comparable to an ornate manor that also doubles as a production center. Resting at the core of a large property, Châteaus commonly feature a pair of rounded towers with a high-pointed roof made in dark tiling resting before or within a rectangular structure with multiple windows and fine roof crenelations. This architecture also possesses some stark contrasts, like the often pale to solid white brickwork being matched to dark blue or gray tiling for every roof on the property. Within these structures, a central hall for parties makes up the center of the building while a dozen or so other rooms make up living quarters for the owners, their guests, and other facilities like a kitchen. Out on the wider property, elaborate gardens help to separate the agricultural work being done in the fields and the fields themselves from the Château grounds. Additionally, in either attached or outlying buildings, the production and storage of wine and cheese takes place.
The Burdigalan people are experts at the creation of fine and varied wines and cheeses which, while being eaten alone in social functions, also make their way into the food that the region creates. Beef braised or make with various regional wines is common, with Boeuf Burdigon being one of the major examples, while Poul au Vin, chicken braised with wine, is a close second to such beef-based dishes. As for the role of cheese in foods, a common savory pastry is Fromboule, a ball of light-dough pastry with cheese. Other substances like mushrooms or herbs can be added to increase the savory nature of the dish.
The Burdigala have a deep respect and love for the concept of knighthood. As a result of this, they also subscribe to knightly games and sports like tourneys and hunts, which are the major forms of recreation for their society. These events are almost mystical affairs and to outsiders often appear like a child’s storybook of knighthood coming to life. There are flowers thrown to lovers, great clashes of lance and shield, recitations of poetry between rounds, and friendly rivalries for the prizes and honors so abound in such affairs. All of this provides a spectacle to the masses who watch the festivities in their summer best (as almost all such events take place in that season). Outside knights are often not permitted entry into these events, not without a sponsor from one of the regional nobles. What makes the event different from Ithanian events though is that Burdigalan beliefs on the sexes tend to be fairly more equal than other Ithanian groups. As a result, while brotherly love is still respected at these events, it is far more common for local knights to pine for women openly at these affairs. Not to say that they actually desire romantic relationships with such an individual, but instead it is all merely part of the spectacle and romantic aspect to the event, often attended by many young couples to witness the marvelous festivities.
Given their heavy affiliation with wine, it should come as no surprise that the Burdigala are often represented by a grape vine ring, with several varieties of colorful grape pictures at different points representing the various types which the Burdigala cultivate. Standing in the middle of this ring, or at least being represented by a head in profile, is often a rooster, a common key animal on the farms that the Burdigala occupy. Additionally, in their animal folklore, Carl the Rooster is the one animal that manages to escape Renne the Fox and save the day, thus adding further significance to the animal. Occasionally, he stands on a wheel of cheese, or a wedge of cheese is paired with a bundle of grapes to also represent the Burdigala Culture.
- The Burdigala invented mayonnaise, which is named after the city where it was pioneered (which is also their largest urban center), Mayonne.
- Burdigalan fashion has started to seep into surrounding territories, as the Ithanian groups around them are largely lost without the fashion direction of the Ithanian Sovereign and her court, which once played a major role in their lives.