Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Phoenicia's Religions

In this post, I'll be going over the religious climate of Phoenicia.  Phoenicia is gripped strongly by an air of personal and individual freedom.  Although there will always be those that will try to take away the freedom of the people -- both Foreign and Domestic, the Phoenicians have held these forces at bay.  As a result, the entire city has a law protecting the freedom of worship.

As a bizarre result, the city harbors many, many religions.  However, the dominate religions can be classified as Monotheistic, Polytheistic, and Atheistic.  The religions are discussed below.



Hellenism is the worship of the Dodekatheon or the Twelve Olympians.  Supreme in the Dodekatheon is Zeus, with Hera as his queen, and so forth.  However, Hellenist priests are slowly merging with the Hindus.  Zeus is seen as an aspect of Indra, and vice versa.  Phoenician Hellenism has also adopted the Hindu trimurti.  Saturn or Chronos is an aspect of Brahma, likewise Shiva is seen to be an aspect of Ares.  Finally, there is Vishnu, whom the Hellenists have identified with Apollo (which isn't true, Vishnu isn't associated with the Sun like Agni is).

Hellenism is extremely popular among the middle and lower classes found in the Northern Lower City.  Especially the magic cults associated with Hecate -- who is identified with Khali.  Still, Hellenistic schools of science and natural philosophy say that the Gods are false and that the School of the Scholars which venerates the Force of Good is the only one to follow.

Domains:  The Domains of the Dodekatheon are found in the Dungeons and Dragons book Deities and Demigods.


Also called Vedism, Hinduism is the worship of many Gods, and it is one of the hallmarks of Vedic culture.  Centered in the Upper Southern City, the Hindus worship a multiplicity of Gods and believe in reincarnation.  The main gods are the Hindu Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva with a multiplicity of many gods (including Agni, Khali, Indra, and others).  Hinduism promises salvation through good works (Kharma) and teaches Reincarnation.

Brahma is seen as the Creator.  The god Brahma created all things in Hindu religion -- being the god that brought order out of Chaos.   Brahma is often protrayed as having four bearded faces and four arms, studying the Vedas, and riding on a white goose.  His wife is Sarasvati.

Domains: Brahma is a greater God and has lost prominence over the years among Hindus.  His domains are Air, Law, Good, Glory, and Knowledge.  His subdomains are: Agathion, Cloud, Archon, Honor, and Thought.

Siva is a God of duality. He is is a major Hindu deity, and the Destroyer or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine.[2] In the Shaiva tradition of Hinduism, Shiva is seen as the Supreme God. In the Smarta tradition, he is regarded as one of the five primary forms of God.[3] Followers of Hinduism who focus their worship upon Shiva are called Shaivites or Shaivas (Sanskrit Śaiva).[4] Shaivism, along with Vaiṣṇava traditions that focus on Vishnu and Śākta traditions that focus on the goddess Shakti, is one of the most influential denominations in Hinduism.[3]

Shiva is usually worshipped in the abstract form of Shiva linga. In images, he is represented as a handsome[5] young man[6] immersed in deep meditation or dancing the Tandava upon Apasmara, the demon of ignorance in his manifestation of Nataraja, the lord of the dance. It is said that he looks like an eternal youth because of his authority over death, rebirth and immortality. He is also the father of Ganesha and Murugan.

Domains: Shiva's Domains are Chaos, Destruction, Good, Knowledge, and Liberation.  His subdomains are Azata, Catastrophe, Agathion, Memory, Thought, and Revolution.

Vishnu is the Supreme God in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God.[1]
The Vishnu Sahasranama[2] declares Vishnu as Paramatma (supreme soul) and Parameshwara (supreme God). It describes Vishnu as the All-Pervading essence of all beings, the master of—and beyond—the past, present and future, one who supports, sustains and governs the Universe and originates and develops all elements within. Vishnu governs the aspect of preservation and sustenance of the universe, so he is called 'Preserver of the universe'. Of the three members of the Trimurti, the Bhagavata Purana, which espouses the Vaishnavite viewpoint, explains that the greatest benefit can be had from Vishnu.[10]

Domains: Vishnu's domains include Glory, Good, Healing, Knowledge, and War (based upon Rama, Krishna, and Kalki).  Subdomains include Heroism, Archon, Restoration, Memory, and Tactics.

There are other gods, of course, but they are too numerous to include in this blog post.


Jainism is very small, but highly influential in the city state of Phoenicia.  Jains are centered in the Southern Lower City, and are a minority.  Still, their ideas and thoughts have impacted Phoenician culture.  Jains are strict pacifists, so many do not find the adventure that heroic player characters do.  Some are also extreme aesthetics.  The Jains came with the Spice trade, seeking religious freedom.  Their impact on Pheonician culture is small but significant.  Jains could be said to worship the Atman, but Jainism is an atheist philosophy.

Domains: Jainism grants Good, Knowledge, and Healing as domains but has no subdomains. 



ISdN - Zoroaster 5 by ~laether-mad on deviantART

A monotheistic religion, an analog to Zoroastrianism exists in Phoenicia that is called Dravidism.  But for our purposes -- since a duck is a duck, why call it a horse?  Zoroastrianism is an ethical monotheism that was taught by Dravid in the East, and had come to Phoenicia by the Sword and the Book.  In ancient Persia, Zarathustra was the main prophet, changing a nation of polytheists into monotheists.  In the world of Terre, Dravid did the same thing and Dravid taught many of the same concepts: History is lineal, and at the end people will be judged against the Laws which God gave.  Also, the faith includes a concept of premortal life, mortality, and an immortal afterlife.  Zoroastrianism is found in all districts of the city and is the city's predominate religion.  Aside from Islam, which does not have an analog or exists unto itself in Terre, Zoroastrianism has a strong impact on Medieval Persian Culture, and is included for flavor reasons.

Domains: The God of Zoroastrianism, in Phoenicia, has some parallels to Brahma. However, as concepts are taught through the ages, the concept of the Zoroastrian God grants clerics the following domains:  Community, Good, Law, and Healing.  No subdomains are included in Zoroastrianism.

The Spirit

The Spirit is a faith that predominates the Upper North Quarter of the city of Phoenicia and is especially popular among Psions, Psychic Warriors, and Soulknives.  Clerics of the Spirit call the thing they worship "the Father."  Concepts of the Spirit is surprisingly similar to the Atman of Jainism, the only difference is that the Spirit is worshipped in this religion.

In fact, the religion is the Unreligion.  Clerics have priesthood but are not organized into a religion.  Tenants of the Spirit will not tell someone what to believe or how to believe.  There are no set ordinances, no apostles, no high priesthood.  People are allowed to live and believe what they want to believe so long as they worship the Spirit and believe in a Savior to save them from their failings.  People who join the faith are expected to have a spiritual experience to show their personal relationship with the Spirit.  The faith includes everyone from the depraved and the politically insane, to the brave and the cowardly, to the heroic and the stoic.  Believers believe they are gods, that they have a personal relationship with the Spirit, and strive to live and enjoy life: whether they be evil or good.

Domains:  This unreligion grants all domains, the Cleric of the Spirit need only to choose two domains.

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