The Theocratic Republic of San Genaro
Theocratic Republic of San Genaro
The TRSG is a semi-loose conglomeration of semi-independent city-states centered in the Golden Penninsula, though boundaries and borders extend much further north to encompass the entire Cornucopia (which in turn includes Vinum Rus, Terra Equus and Aurum Rus). The biggest and richest cities are on the coast where they trade all the way to the far east and beyond. They include the cities of Corpus Padre, Los Anna Mabelli, San Antone and Fidelis Libere. The biggest and richest by far, however is San Genaro located between the Spine of God which runs the length of the Golden Peninsula and the sea.
The exception to this rule is the great northern inland city of Tarantino, which has grown rich and prosperous in supplying the rich southern cities with grain, horses and food in general. It is this city to which the characters’ own home town of San Bernardo dell’Aqua pays tribute and sends their soldiers. There are other independent larger cities in the north, but Tarantino is chief among them.
Referred to as semi-loose and semi-independent begs some questions. I hope to have the answers.
‘Semi-loose’ because that can shift due to a myriad of political, religious or economic reasons. Currently all the major cities in the Republic agree to be governed in certain areas by the High Pontiffs. There have been times when few have been so inclined (see ‘Wars of Religion’ and ‘The Buggered Boys Wars’). In return for their compliance, all other cities agree to assist in defense from foreign invasion and (more importantly) to regulate trade and not undercut each other.
‘Semi-independent’ because each city is free to run themselves, set personal taxes, police their streets, raise and maintain an army… however they see fit. They are also free to leave the Republic as they see fit, with or without reason. Of course doing so removes all protection except what they can provide for themselves.
As stated, each independent city has the right to organize their own defense as they see fit. Most cities have large numbers of traveling mercenaries who fight for one side then the other as is the wont of those types. Most also have some sort of standing army as well.
Note that in the above section it mentioned that belonging to the Republic ensured mutual protection from foreign invasion. Internecine warfare is almost constant for a multitude of reasons, usually economic as no one city wants any other to appear to have the upper hand. There are constant raids, skirmishes, outright battles and even prolonged sieges, though the latter usually involves smaller client towns of the larger cities as the home cities are generally too large and too easily provisioned from the sea.
Mercenaries are everywhere and nowadays you see many of the Breetlanders and the Walshmen with their 6 foot bows of yew that can shoot a 3 foot arrow through the best plate mail. They are expensive though, but most cities won’t go to war without them. Pikemen and halbardiers still make their money and the new arquebus troopers and pistol toting cavalry, some say, are changing the way these battles are fought.
The Genarans (as TRSG populace call themselves when dealing with foreigners, with fellow Genarans, it’s strictly by city), have learned that warfare among the cities is actually good for many reasons. Most important, it keeps the mercenaries busy and they only kill each other. In times of peace they often resort to banditry and all other sorts of mischief. There have even been instances of a charismatic leader forming an army on his own and marauding through the countryside. The most famous of these privateers was Enrico Buscaglia who ravaged the Vinum Rus for two years before the Genarans could no longer stomach the thought of a third year’s wine profits being lost in this fashion. When he was finally apprehended, he was convicted of unlawful and purposeful destruction of profits and hanged. Second, the wars act as a police action and keep most cities on a level playing field. Alliances are made and broken constantly and you always keep your ‘friends’ in sight.
The High Pontiffs will occasionally call for a crusade against a neighboring country, usually for economic reasons, despite what the ‘official’ reason is. The last such Crusade was only about 20 years ago as Pontiff Benedictus III vowed to finally ‘convert’ the inhabitants of the Vale of Pagans within TRSG itself. He was the last Pontiff to be killed in battle. It is said that every now and then travelers in the area see a bugbear wearing a mitre.
Truism and the Allfather
Truism is mildly monotheistic and can be more accurately described as primatheistic. By this, it means, most Truists don’t really have a problem with other gods as long as the Allfather comes first. Having said that, if you worship someone or something altogether, well it’s your soul to do with what you wish, just don’t rub our faces in it. You will find churches and temples of other deities in towns across TRSG, but most are incognito or very, very low key.
The basic tenets of Truism are that the world and everything in it was created for humans to enjoy. Humans are the rightful owners of the planet and everything else comes in second (rank them as you see fit).They are mildly arrogant about it but prone to be simply condescending without being belligerent.
Truists love food, drink and (usually) the opposite sex. This does not mean that they indulge to excess; in fact it is that attitude that led to the Wars of Religion.
Several hundred years ago there arose the Innocence Heresy among the church. A certain High Pontiff by the name of Notso Innocent XIIth wrote a treatise explaining that since the Allfather put everything on earth for humans to enjoy, then it is our holy duty to amass as much of it as possible. In essence, to have wealth and to enjoy a hedonistic outlook towards sex was to be holy. And to be holy, what did it really matter how you became that way as long as you realized that all wealth and pleasure was from God.
This opened the door to massive excess as the concept spread. Innocent himself was known to keep several young male acolytes in his chamber and claimed he had ‘never felt holier’ than worshiping with them. It was for this reason that the more vulgar and crude foot soldier joked about the Buggered Boys Wars.
This was too much for the more conservative and truly pious worshipers and soon lines were drawn, and for once politics and economics were not a factor, and both sides went to war. Eventually Innocent and his army were routed (many joked they were too tired form being so ‘holy’) and he and his teaching was declared anathema and heresy of the highest order. He refused to recant and in a twisted attempt at humor, was sentenced to die by being buggered with red hot pokers. He died very old, but one presumes, very holy.
After that TRSG entered quite a conservative period in history as everyone was fearful of being labeled an ‘ninnocent’ and suffering the same fate. Eventually, as the old generation died off, a return to normalcy was slowly but carefully executed. To this day however, there are still those Truists who insist that they are not greedy but holy. This causes a certain consternation among the church.
Gladiatorial combat was originally witnessed to celebrate holy days (Fiscal New Year, Ledger Day, The 7 Days of Taxation).
Through time it became such a much-witnessed and ceremonial event that it slowly transformed into a sort of religious ceremony in and of itself. Currently gladiators are considered novice priests and undergo formal training (until they lose in the arena that is.) Those who never learn to control ‘the gift’ are assigned to parishes to assist proper vested celebrants when their term of service in the arena is completed.
Not all priests start this way of course, but all are required to swing a weapon.
All Generans are by nature corrupt. The saying goes ‘an honest Generan isn’t’. The reason there are three High Pontiffs is specifically due to the fact that the populace figured it would be too hard for a single faction to own all three at the same time. Note that this was not done to insure fairness, but to increase the chance that your own faction can own a piece of the pie.
The government essentially referees the fights, bickering and outright wars between the independent cities. The saying goes:
‘You can do what you want if-
You clear it with a pontiff.’
Local government usually takes the form of parish priests in villages, monsignors in small towns and parishes in larger towns and bishops and arch-bishops beyond that. Each simultaneously serves as judge in his jurisdiction. Appeals are allowed to a higher court, right up to the pontiffs themselves, but you better have a lot of money.