|Common Names||Itties, man-haters, boy-lovers, dogshit-noses|
|Social Classes||Artists, Clothiers, Rulers, Philosophers, Bureaucrats, Traders, Jewelers|
|Major Cities||La Porte Du Paradis, Bijoux-Plus-Rême, Ancellois, Saint-Gervindres, Saint-Agellèmes, Prive-Dusois, Mont Selparchain de Puvière|
By far the culture with the largest population base among the Ailor people, the Ithanian culture is a highly civilized court culture originating from the Ithanian Heartland, yet features large landmasses of Ithanian Emigres (Ithanians living away from the homeland) in every known corner of the world. The Ithanian culture in many ways influenced the court style of nearly all other cultures and continues to be a major trend-setter in the world’s haute culture, that is to say, fashion, cuisine, art, and lifestyle. It polarizes strongly with the Alt and New-Regalian culture, and is often snubbed as excessive by the others, claiming Ithanian is merely a culture in which the people seek to cause shock and offense for the sake of it. Ithanian, as a culture, however has much deeper roots than many would assume at a first glance. It should come as no surprise that Ithanian is the birthplace of most modern and liberal ideals, as freedom is one of the strongest ideals that all Ithanians fight for. Their people have an extreme value and reliance on their personal and communal freedoms. Their excess and decadence an expression of their desire to be able to live as freely as they could. The constant struggle between Ithania’s progressivism and Calemberg’s conservatism is a constant theme at the court of Regalian Empire, and will continue to cause the most flagrant internal struggle among the Ailor people.
The Ithanian culture was first born approximately five decades before the Cataclysm in Ithania. The Nelfin representatives of the Elven Empire, in their isolation, grew distant from the capital of Rie and granted all Ailor suffrage in their provinces. Ailor could own property, vote, and even hold office. Following the Cataclysm, the Nelfin aristocracy were “overthrown” in a peaceful exchange of power known as “Le Mars de l’Orchidée,” where the Ailor majority forced the Nelfin princes to abdicate in favor of the Human rule via diplomacy. Many Nelfin managed to retain unofficial government positions or important advisory roles to the new ruling classes, while elsewhere in the world Ailor societies turned violently against them. Ithanian culture soon developed out of the previous Nelfin culture, which held a high regard for anything with poise, elegance, and frailty. The geography of the area allowed the cultivation of high excesses. Finally, the rejection of war resulted in a simultaneous rejection of masculinity, creating a culture that promoted women and actively suppressed men.
Language and Dialects
Ithanian Language is one of the oldest in the world, being as old as the Cataclysm, and certainly making it one of the very oldest Ailor tongues. Early vocabulary formed some years before Cataclysm when the Ithanian Elves emancipated various segments of the Ailor slave population. These slave populations started imitating the Elven language amongst themselves in a bid to imitate their high culture and become part of their more integrated society. To many foreigners, Ithanian sounds complex, excessive, and with various grammatical constructions that do not exist in any other language, as one would expect having been subtracted from a convoluted Elven standard. There is no language quite like Ithanian anymore. While one could argue that Elven still has many familiar words,the vocabularies have diverged too far and in many ways modern Elven has simplified more while Ithanian remained stagnant. Ithanian shares some vocabulary similarities with Daendroquin, though they are not mutually understandable aside from simple words like ‘water’, ‘sky’, and ‘life’.
Ithanians have both simple yet complicated naming customs. While a simple first and surname are the common trend, women receive additional naming principles. There is no common naming style based on birthplace like for the Anglians, nor is there a common suffix system for the names. While these principles were present in the first century after Cataclysm, they quickly fell out of style when the Ithanian population boomed and they started becoming impractical. A few examples of names below:
- Male, Jean
- Male. Francois
- Male, Hiber
- Male, Alaîs
- Male, Alucard
- Male, Guy
- Female, Attenaîs
- Female. Julienne
- Female, Madileine
- Female, Ella
- Female, Noulaise
- Female, Christine
Female naming is supplanted by a so called “Nom de Lune”, or a name of the moon. The moon plays an important role in Ithanian culture and in many ways, in some superstitious manner that has seeped into tradition. The Nom de Lune is determined by the month of birth, followed by the stance of the moon that particular night. If the child was born during the day, the first following moon stance would be used to determine the name, though it would be important not to allow the child to be touched by sunlight until the moon would rise. The months are dictated as followed:
- January, Javienne
- February, Vrière
- March, Marsalle
- April, Vrillais
- May, Ailaise
- June, Huinousse
- July, Huiviesse
- August, Aoûte
- September, Ellaivre
- October, Tomaise
- November, Obraive
- December, Grande
The stance of the moon dictates the second part as such:
- New Moon, Looxois
- Waxing Crescent, Croissant
- First Quarter, Terrois
- Waxing Gibbous, Solaire
- Full Moon, Pouvoire
- Waning Gibbous, Illuminée
- Third Quarter, Regalois
- Waning Crescent, Troissant
If the previous system would be followed for Francaise du Gibbon born in March under a Waxing Crescent, her name in full would be Francaise Marsalle Croissant du Gibbon. Another example would be Madileine de Perxitrous born in November under a Waning Gibbous, which would be Madileine Obraive Illuminée de Perxitrous. Additionally, all women would receive a maiden name that is the feminization of their grandfather’s (on their mother’s side) first name, while a so called “Nom de Noblesse” is also added behind the maiden name for Ithanian women born in nobility. The Nom de Noblesse is often an animal name that represents the family crest, but items in the family crest can also be used. So, for an Ithanian woman called Attenaîse de Mont-Villeirs, who is noble, born in June under the Waning Cresent, whose grandfather is called Francois, her name would be Attenaise Francaise Lyon Huinousse Troissant de Mont-Villeirs. Men have no additional naming principles and have just a first and last name.
Ithanian Law is unique in that the Ithanian Realm does not have Legal symmetry with the Regalian Empire at large. Ithania is subject to a lawbook called Lois-Penal, a set of rules specifically valid for all the land within the boundaries of the Ithanian realm and foreign citizens who are marked as primary citizens of Ithania. These laws are respected by the Regalian Judiciary, meaning an Ithanian Judge is always present in Regalia to perform Ithanian Lawsuits on Ithanians. Regalians are capable of suing Ithanians in Ithanian Court, though the reverse is not true, since none of the laws are recognized in Regalia due to their female-centric nature. Aside from the legal and taxation factors of the Regalian State, Regalia is barely seen in the daily lives of Ithanians in native Ithania, being but a distant thing they are all part of. In many ways, Ithanians have the same independent mindset from the Regalian Empire that the Daendroque City States have, though have a far more passive and compliant one.
Lifestyle and Customs
Ithanian Culture knows the so called Princois Decelles, or Principles of Divine Divinity. These Principles identify the cornerstone of Ithanian society, and why they engage in certain actions and expressions. They are as followed.
- Princois d’Elvellen: The Elvellen Principle exists to express that the Ithanians consider the Elves (Altalar only) a remarkably advanced and high culture people worthy of emulating and integrating into their own society. Their finesse and poise is something worth rivalling and exceeding, but also incorporating.
- Princois Libresse: The Liberty Principle exists to express that Ithanians believe the freedom of expression is the highest right that should be respected and exercised, and that their freedom of decadent expression is the hallmark of their culture.
- Princois Femesse: The Female Principle exists to express that females are always superior to men, and codifies the need for men to be subjugated under female rule to restrict and save them from their own violent and aggressive inclinations.
- Princois Duresse: The Peaceful Principle exists to express that warfare has no positive outcome ever, and should be avoided at all costs. Furthermore, to send but a single soldier to war is considered a betrayal to the principle of freedom that Ithanians fight so strongly over. This has caused some issue in recent months as the Grand Sovereign has been forced to raise an army to defend her land from Kathar and other hostile forces south of Ithania.
- Princois Ancois: The Ancestor Principle exists to express that praisal of one’s ancestors is a great virtue, and that ancestors deserve to be included even after death. This sometimes leads to ludicrous cultural activities like having a servant carry around a wig-wearing and make-up wearing statue of an ancestor at all times. Or dining near a shrine edicifice of an ancestor.
- Princois Notoise: The Notice Principle exists to express that Ithanians must express themselves more fervently than everyone else and even each other, to make use fully of the freedoms that fate and moral and cultural superiority have granted them. It is particularly this Principle that causes ithanians to engage in extreme decadence and expressionism, desperate attempts just to be noticed more than others by increasingly lavish displays to outdo all others.
- Princois Vilois: The Villification Principle exists to express that Ithanians should expend every financial means possible to themselves (bar from preventing them from committing to the Princois Notoise) to diminish or destroy outside factors that could remove or limit their freedom of expression.
- Princois Calembaise: The Calemberg Principle exists to state simply one thing: Calemberg and all it stands for and all its people are the arch nemesis of Ithania. The Typhonus family above all, is equivalent to the Archdemon to the Ithanians.
The most contentious opposition other cultures have towards Ithanian is how the Ithanian culture proposes Families and Romantic Relationships should be formed. From the premise, it appears like Ithanians enforce a strongly female dominated relationship where polyandry is encouraged. The male in the relationship is considered barbaric, subject to wild urges they cannot control and a lesser cultural finesse. In every way, the male is delegated to a role of procreation and satisfaction for the women. How this policy came into being is not entirely known, nor do historians have an understanding how men subjected themselves to this kind of rule without revolting at least once, as many of them are degraded into non-consensual same-sex relations within the same household. The reality is that revolts against this sort of domination by the female gender did happen, but they succeeded in a way that one would perhaps not have expected.
Traditionally, a woman in Ithanian culture may choose any man to be her Consort (exceptions are made for foreigners, and this practice is only legal in the land of Ithania). While all Consorts enter the tradition of marriage, Ithanians do not marry before the Unionist Sanchella (though some in Regalia do), and usually women who marry, have two or three men per marriage concluded in the same ceremony. Women maintain a favorite, the so called Consort Favorit, and use a variety of attempted court scheming to play the men off against each other. While this once worked and certainly still does in some cases, women have recently discovered that their attempts no longer work like they used to. Through the centuries, there have been numerous attempts from men to eject themselves from the Ithanian cultural norms, largely inspired by the patriarchy-dominated cultures in Regalia after Ithania’s subjugation to the global Empire. In doing so however, instead of throwing off the shackles of domination by the female gender, the men discovered that their upbringing and lot in life had afforded them that no other men in other cultures possessed, the concept of the Esprit d’Homme. This Espirit d’Homme became a prevalent concept in the first half of the 3rd century AC, and has been with the Ithanian men ever since, setting them truly apart from men in other cultures. In many ways, the Espirit d’Homme is one of the many hidden jewels of the Ithanian culture that is often just overlooked, or ignored while critics and outsiders target the more extravagant and decadent expressions of the culture.
Ithanian gender divisions are extreme and absolute. There is no violation or deviation possible (though there may have been some circumstances where the regulations were bent a bit). Women rule and fulfill all the various bureaucratic positions. Men are the military, craftsmen, and physical laborers. There never has been and likely never will be a deviation. Varran are used exclusively as slaves for the lower end jobs and positions that are considered too dirty or low for Humans to perform. The inclusion of Varran as first rank citizens in the Regalian Empire has had no effect on the slavery of Varran in Ithania. In fact, the Grand Sovereign of Ithania negotiated a deal that any Varran in Ithania remains a slave worthy creature and does not have first citizen rights in the Suzerain state of the Ithanian Realm.
Espirit d’Homme is in essence a sense of community or brotherhood that is unrivaled among all other races and cultures. After decades of (from the women’s perspective) benevolent oppression and forced emasculation, the Ithanian men found a sense of liberation from being used as playthings in their loyalty towards each other and their unique brotherhood that allowed them to develop an almost same-sex intimacy with one another and normalize it, while honing their combat skills and concentration at the same time. To other cultures, these behaviors are considered obscene: to (not sexually) share the same bed at night, to embrace deeply, and to care deeply for one another in a way that men would otherwise only women in other cultures. It should be important to note that these levels of intimacy aren’t actually homosexual in their nature. The men involved are more often than not simply heterosexual, though the extreme levels of comfort they find themselves in with their own gender is unique among any culture, and often generalized to be homosexual.
Another large advantage of this Espirit d’Homme is the fact that at all levels, Knightly Ithanians are better fighters than all other men of other cultures. Some Combat Theorists have spent their whole life studying this mindset bred by the Ithanian lifestyle of the men, and have concluded that where an Ithanian man is raised in the Ithanian culture for the first two decades at least, and has followed an education of the School of Viridian, School of Bloodcast or School of Sphileur, they perform better in combat than their contemporaries from other races or cultures. The prevailing theory is that Ithanian men find greater comfort in being around other men, and have spent years fine-tuning their ego and capacity for distraction by outside factors from other men (who more often than not, will be their opponents since women rarely engage in military pursuits). Essentially, the Ithanian man has already spent his entire life competing with other men, and also spent a lifetime honing a form of brotherhood in need of protection that allowed them to achieve a higher level of combat concentration, but also desperation in the need to perform.
These aren't the only factors of the Espirit d’Homme however. Through the centuries, men were encouraged to learn combat schools to defend their women for the sake of keeping the women out of combat. This is often a greatly misunderstood concept about Ithanians: While their culture is inherently pacifist and they do not believe in the concept of warfare or warriors, nearly their entire male population is militarily capable. It is thus almost comical that the realm with the largest military capable population that could create a huge army, simply doesn’t. Indeed, women in Ithanian encourage men to engage in sparring sessions and wrestling to both bond but also relieve aggression and tension within the male consorts, because they believe that martial combat should purely serve for their personal protection and entertainment. This thus summarizes the Espirit d’Homme, unrivaled self control, brotherly loyalty, iron restraint, and combat prowess which could ironically outcompete Alt-Regalian military raising, fostered by female oppression. As much as the Espirit is useful for Ithanians, it should be mentioned that the Espirit d’Homme is entirely ineffective when an Ithanian male faces a woman in battle. As opposed to their controlled and restrained combat against men, they suffer a lack of coordination and calmness against women, being instead beset by a kind of aggressive dejection which often results in them becoming careless in battle.
On a passing note, it should be mentioned also that Ithanian men view same-sex males with a sense of melancholy. The concept of same-sex relations is not only just normalized to Ithanians to the point of seeing it just as normal as opposite-sex relations, in a way they become envious of men who are capable of harboring romantic or sexual feelings for other men. To Ithanian men, to share a life with a brother in arms or a warrior is seen as a better life than to be subject to the control of women, even though this would lead to a degradation of the Espirit d’Homme, the female oppression being a crucial element in its creation. Ithanian men are as such positively predisposed to any same-sex individuals they know, and it should also come to no surprise that Ithanian men are also some of the current Emperor Cedromar I’s most fervent supporters.
OOC Note: Espirit d’Homme is a concept that can be cited in-character to measure an Ithanian man as more combat competent at the same level than any other race or culture (enough to allow them to win when competing against the same level, but not proceed to the next combat level). This is however only applicable to Ithanian Men who were raised in Ithania and lived there for at least 20 years, while also having been a male consort in a polyandrous marriage, and having engaged in (and being capable of) male (non-sexual) intimacy.
Ithania is practically completely Unionist. While the Faith of Estel was once dominant, and while heresy faiths exist elsewhere in the Empire, Ithania has remained surprisingly Unionist and converted virtually instantly in a period of Regalian domination. This conversion had two reasons. Primarily, they converted because the Unionist faith is central to the idea of the Ithanian liberties, or more specifically, the Ithanian liberties at the expense of the other races. Unionism as a faith allows for Ailor to abuse or degrade other races, thus expanding the individual liberties of the faithful at the expense of the non faithful who are cast away as not even people or worthy of basic rights. This allowed Ithanians to exercise their decadent art on the non-Humans, but also permitted them to be free of guilt while doing so as the faith of Unionism took the moral burden. Secondarily, Regalia’s dominance forced Unionism on the passive Ithanians who had no military means. As such, alongside the practical benefits of Unionism, Ithanians adopted Unionism to keep themselves stable and alive. Throughout the years following the integration of Ithania into the Regalian Empire, prosperity quickly allowed for the necessity angle to be lost, making way for a devout culture among the Ithanians. Towards the later years, Ithania has been home to the Priscelle Unionist split. Formally, the Priscelle Sect is not recognized as a religious schism. It simply came into being in Ithania without the urging of the locals, nor did any dramatic event occur that would give rise to its prominence.
Literature and Folklore
Ithanian literature knows two expressions: Feminist poetry and feminist theory. Practically every Ithanian writer is female, and every written piece of literature is some form of metaphorical or literal expression of female superiority, inclinations, activities, or how they should be more free elsewhere in the world to be as they are. Curiously, there is a lot of exchange of literature between Etosil and Ithania, where notable Etosian feminist writers are considered the most reputable literary geniuses across Ithania. Notably Beyon-Cecily and her written pieces “You inspire me to be better, now burn all my love letters” and “Watch it while he twerketh upon it” are cult icons in Ithania and beyond.
Ithanian Art is extremely similar to Imperial Art in that they represent glorification of the bodily figure, though thinly shrouded in thin silks with complex folds. Usually, the folds produced by the contours of the body are the higher artistic expression than the whole statue itself. As such, a sculptor will often create strange unrealistic facial proportions, but extremely realistic clothing folds, and be considered a master sculptor. Additionally, Ithanian art is exclusively aimed at women, men are purely not depicted because the male physique is considered obscene and ugly in its harsh shapes. Sculptures are additionally (in contrast to Leutz-Vixe dark stone colors) purely made out of the whitest of marble. In many ways, whiteness is glorified in Ithania, as a tanned skin is seen as something exclusive to the laboring class who have to toil in the sun.
Ithanian Fashion is dominated by silk. It is estimated that Ithania consumes 80% of the world’s Silk production, whereas the Regalian Archipelago uses less than 8%. Ithanian Fashion is dominated by the idea that clothing must elegantly flow in the wind, and dress the female shapes and accentuate them, yet also hide male shapes because muscular definition and male square-ness is considered obscene and ugly. Additionally, all their clothing tend to have bright colors, as well as friendly and light colors ranging into pastels. Sashes are frequent, while long flowing or curling hair is usually the norm for both men and women (though men often tie it up in either a man-bun or ponytail).
Ithanian Cuisine has a strong identity where wine and cheese play a strong role. While each Hivre in Ithania has its own wine and its own cheese variety, there are many common trends between the regions that unify in the so called Haute Cuisine, or High Art Cooking. In many ways, Ithanian Cooking is an almost daily full-day consuming business, where especially the lower class members of Ithanian society work all day long to provide the abundant ingredients and rich flavors that are used in long cooking procedures. Ithanian chefs in particular are the best paid chefs in the world, and often have recipe books that they guard as feverishly as any holy scripture. In terms of gastronomy, Ithanian cuisine is considered the most excellent in the world. Practically every other culture and race has adopted one form of Ithanian cooking technique, making it also the most wide-spread. Ithanian Cuisine (aside from using cheese and wine in nearly every dish as garnish or addition) makes use of all kinds of vegetables, spices, fruits, fish and meats, and eggs, though strictly avoids raw grain products that are commonly found in the Anglian Cuisine, as these are considered crude and barbaric in Ithanian cuisine.
Ithanians don’t know a lot of sports, though Ithanian Dancing is often considered a form of sports for the men. Wrestling, Dressolini Fencing, Leutz-Vixe Fencing and sometimes even Northern Wrestling (for the Ithanian women who have a particular taste for bloodsport) are popular. Ithanian Sports and Leisure are generally dominated by the need not to strain one’s self too much to the point where one breaks a sweat, but to engage enough to raise the heart rate. Leisure for both men and women is otherwise very separated. Feminine leisure is often limited to tea parties, soirees, and cards games while men engage in friendly competition, wrestling, reading, and studying away from the female engagements (aside from servants).
Ithania and Ithanian symbolism is usually dominated by birds and other sky-related objects such as the moon. This is because Ithanians consider themselves above everything else as divine in the sky.
- Ithania covers both 40% of the Regalian Empire’s population, but also almost 50% of the State Budget in taxation. Ithania has the highest taxation form, and pays for tens of thousands of Regalian soldiers to protect their national borders.
- Ithania suffers frequent revolts from the invisible and unspoken lower classes, though these are harshly crushed by the Regalian troops who wish to appease the female rulers of the Hivres for the large amounts of taxes they bring into the Regalian Empire. It is said that exploitation of the lower classes is far worse in Ithania than in Regalia.