Tan was a Minidun word for
"gold" or "golden," as in shining or sunshine, emphasizing the
life-giving, nourishing properties of sunshine. Tan does not
refer to gold, the metal or anything of value; that duty was & is done
by the word Tale.
TAN ERA TECHNOLOGY AND LIVING STANDARDS:
Use of coal
becomes widespread in
the northeast and other areas. Coal was used to increase the
temperature of furnaces for improved metallurgy. The quality of
steel during this time, like the quality of Japanese steel, was superior to contemporary
widespread, and many houses and buildings had pane glass windows.
and simple microscopes
were being constructed. Bergonians observed the moons of Jupiter
and the rings of Saturn. Reading glasses became available.
were everywhere, producing power for milling grains.
In most cities a number of
associations formed with the mayor's endorsement to build
lines and sewer lines. Copper was
plentiful in Bergonia, and plumbers employed copper
lines to provide running water to the homes of the rich and also to
communal fountains in the rest of the city.
TAN ERA SCIENCE:
In 1160 a geographer- mathematician
named Ginda Selacer correctly calculated the diameter of the earth and
came close to calculating Bergonia's relative position on its surface.
In order to do this he devised a system of longitude and latitude,
based on a system of 512 degrees (8x8x8). Within a hundred years
his students had described fairly accurate model of earth and moon
orbits, as well as a correct theory of the structure of the solar
One of this era's most brilliant
literary works, "Campfires in the Night," is a poetic
musing on the implications of the realization that the Sun is just one
more star in the cosmic darkness that we see as the night sky.
The author, Sescan Turei, a jeweler's daughter who became an actor, a
teacher, and then wife of a powerful trader, and who is remembered
both as a great philosopher and a master of verse.
Miradi attempted the
same process in art as it did in theology, which is to say
simplification and minimalism. Gone was the large complex floral
decor, the gold gilt paint, the inlaid gems and all the other
ostentation typical of the medieval age, when the up-and-coming trader
class was showing off.
Historians arbitrarily mark the beginning of the Tan Era by
the death of Krathnami,
the prophet who founded the Miradi
religion, in 999 AD.
1000 AD Bergonian civilization
had ripened and matured. The cities had grown--Ceiolai had over a million residents,
and the island's total population was probably around 40 million.
The variety of artisans
increased with new technology-- glass makers, lens-makers,
leather-workers, seamstresses and dyers, plumbers and copper workers,
watermill tenders, fabricators of iron nails and tools. Bookmaking
now used a fairly efficient combination of woodcut printing and string and
glue binding, which allowed mass production of illustrations, maps, books
But the peasants and the urban
laboring class (porters, laborers, assistants to artisans in factories,
servants) suffered long hours and grinding poverty.
Most people no longer believed in the
literal truth of the Shufrantei myths
or in the literal truth of Shufrantei purification theology. Many of those who did
had hardened into glass-edged sectarianism. But there
was at the same time a powerful impulse
toward pure, unadorned mysticism and simplified religion, culminating in the
person of the prophet Krathnami
and the Miradi religion.
From 999 to 1200 Miradi teaching spread across Bergonia.
priests and priestesses of all the religions ran to the new faith. Its minimalist dogma made it the one faith that could bring them all
together. Old Shufrantei literally collapsed within a hundred years,
as its priesthood converted en masse to the new faith. Minimalist
simplicity was pursued as artists shook off all the baroque ostentation of
the Medieval period.
Peace reigned until
1216. Tiericoatli was the most powerful nation in Bergonia. Settling custom and new laws favored peaceful resolution of disputes. There
was no more proliferation of private
armies, and tieris generally enjoyed monopolies of power within their
A republican movement
called Tan rose up in the 1100s. Hundreds of years before the development of
parliamentary government in England, and long before Montesque and other French
Enlightenment thinkers wrote about government, Bergonian thinkers devised their
own theory of limited government. The "Tan" scheme of government followed
the maxim: "Assembly, Council, Governor, Court." This
meant that plenary power belonged to a broad-based assembly, which
approved or vetoed the actions of a council that met throughout the
year. A governor and other officers follow orders and exercise
executive prerogatives. The Tan program called for rule by law, a
republican government, abolition of debt slavery, and more rights for the
Starting in 1170 the Tan parties took power in many states.
series of destructive wars between ostensibly "Tan" and
"Anti-Tan" states broke out in 1217, as Tan reforms slowly percolated
the most conservative realms. In effect a social revolution
occurred, as a new class of urbanized traders and professionals emerged,
and as power diffused into what was essentially a republican form of
government. The newly urbane culture esteemed erudition.
priests brokered a comprehensive peace treaty involving all the warring states.
Thereafter, Miradi and Tan ideals unified all Bergonia.
Historians sometimes call this the "boring era," because
there were virtually no wars, revolts, upheavals or changes-- nothing for
them to write about. It was
a wonderfully stable period. Bergonians of modern times have often
hearkened back to this period as the golden age.
of the Miradi Religion
Krathnami, the great prophet who
founded the new faith of Miradi, died.
under the Elms: Krathnami's chief disciple, named Nshere (short, wiry,
animated, relentless) debated Shufrantei priests in a shady park outside
the big city of Varsca, debunking the importance of ritual and the reality
of polytheism. He won most of them as converts.
This sparked a great wave of conversions among the faithful
of all religions to Miradi's new way. Priests and priestesses, in
couples, often husband and wife, went all across Bergonia visiting
monasteries and temples to spread the new ideas. This religion
spread first among the priests of the various denominations and
sects. Laity everywhere witnessed their priests converting to a new
religion. This made the new religion compelling to them.
Nchere organized a new priestly order and used the word
"Miradi" to describe it. He ordained 32 abbots and over 1500 priests &
priestesses that year into the new order. Eight of the 32 abbots
Nchere summoned all Miradi priests and priestesses to a convention in
Chambolet. The convention was a great success, and the participants
agreed to convene again
every four years thereafter. This became the
Iritlema festival, held in a huge field on one side
the Miradi Temple Complex in Chambolet. The visiting priests,
priestesses and devotees pitch tents. In order to give some
cohesion to the mass and the space, the hosts set out eight huge flagpoles
around the field, arranged in a circle around a central obelisk. A
different flag flew from each pole, identifying the different directions,
making it possible for the thousands of priests and priestesses to find
their way around the sea of tents. In time, as differences slowly
emerged among the priesthood, like-minded
priests & priestesses gathered around one particular flag, and the
flags became emblematic of the evolving Miradi sects. (See Miradi
for descriptions of each of the Eight Flags)
Nchere became ill. His people gathered around him and asked about
the future of the leadership of the Miradi. He said, "only the
faith can lead the faithful, only the sought can lead the
seekers." When he died a few weeks later the leadership
devolved to the 32 abbots, most of whom had gone forth from Chambolet to
spread Miradi across the land.
the Miradi Believers
Vonnuget in one of his novels wrote that every successful religion
involves blood sacrifice and martyrdom. Alexandre Monnier and other
Bergonian neo-Freudians in the mid 1900s believed that most religions
manifested the sado-masochism innate to humans, as do many authority
relationships, and that religious sado-masochism they will sooner or later
involves blood. If any of this is true, then here is the pivotal
instance of Miradi blood.
The city of Chambolet was inside the borders of the state of Varsca. The
tieri of Varsca had a dispute with the Miradi priesthood in Chambolet
about taxing the pilgrims who were coming there in growing numbers.. Cichon
Tlaron, the tieri of neighboring Ceiolai, sent a letter
urging him not to tax the pilgrims excessively.
Ceiolai's interest in protecting the growing Miradi community became
apparent, the tieri of Varsca chose to defy him. He did so entirely
out of pride. He personally led an army to Chambolet. They drove the Miradi priests
and priestesses from their temple complex and wrecked the place. The
tieri's men torched the Miradi library. They smashed the urn
containing Krathnami's ashes. They killed hundreds of the priests and
priestesses. They drove the pilgrims away. The priests &
priestesses who survived fled across the border into
Ceiolai's tieri, immediately
mobilized his army and marched on the city of Varsca itself. After
his victory Cichon occupied Chambolet and gave the place back to the
Miradi. A man produced a shard of a clay urn. The priests passed it
around and reached the consensus that it came from the urn that had held
Krathnami's ashes. They placed it on a pillar and venerated
it. The ashes and bones of the 458 priests, priestesses and others killed were
placed in a tomb.
With a friendly government, the Miradi
on a great new complex, with temples, a new library, dormitories for pilgrims
and the priesthood, and school
buildings, all grouped around a central form. To the south was an expanded field for Iritlema. All the buildings were of a red
brick and had slate roofs. It was all designed to accommodate the increasing numbers of pilgrims, as the
Miradi faith continued to spread. The numbers created a
demand for artisan shops, markets, inns and restaurants. Chambolet
grew into a holy city.
1100 the big majority of Shufrantei and Hiestat priests & priestesses
had voluntarily converted to the simpler, more psychological, less
theological faith. In this process the people easily adopted the new
faith. The ease of this mass conversion had as much to do with the
Shufranteization of Miradi as it did with the Miradization of
Shufrantei. The big majority was quite willing to finally jettison
all of Shufrantei's arcane theology about ritual purification and the
complex polytheistic metaphysics. In other words, like Enlightenment
secularists jettisoning Christian orthodoxy. But nearly all the
converted priests & priestesses continued performing rites of
purification every six days, the annual feasts and the mythological
dramas. They continued doing the superficial stuff because the
people expected them to do so, and because as empty as the theology had
become everyone still loved the mythological characters. This meant
that Miradi accepted by default the Shufrantei calendar, the major
Shufrantei feasts-- especially the Festival of Light--
Miradi subsumed and replaced Shufrantei, but at the cost of adopting for
its own many of the Shufrantei masks.
Revolutionary Career of Churoflia
While the Miradi
religion started to grow, a revolution jolted another part of Bergonia.
Churoflia was the son
of a powerful iregemi lord in the small state of Parterina, located in the
Lake Country called Letlari, in the Nacateca-speaking part of Bergonia. The
tieri killed Chuoflia's father, causing Churoflia and the rest of his
father's followers to flee into the rugged hills. At first he was
nothing more than a daring bandit, but in time he built up a peasant
army and took over Parterina and the neighboring state of Purasai.
initiated the "Reign of the Four Sparrows," and imposed a
drastic revolution at the point of a sword. He unleashed the
peasants on the iregemi. He created a "new class' to replace the
old iregemi-based nobility, consisting of men he recruited from the
scribes, the artisans, the traders and the educated peasants. He
created a special class of magistrates called "Woodpeckers"
to root out class enemies and opponents of the regime. He maintained a network of spies
to root out and persecute anyone connected with the old regime.
The peasants loved him and prospered under him.
1032 he attacked the very large state of Pusuraino to the north.
After a series of wars he completely triumphed over Pusuraino and tripled the size of his realm. He was
assassinated in 1050. His relatively conservative
son succeeded him, and allowed the New Class to settle into the same
comfortable patterns of oppression and wealth as before Churoflia's
a real Lenin, even more so a Mao. He was the first person in
Bergonian history to so explicitly act on class antagonisms, and the first
person to so devastatingly destroy the class of rulers. He became a
hero to peasants and the urban poor everywhere. Yet in his wake
emerged a ruling class of traders.
a link to a more detailed life of Churoflia.
Ideas from One Man:
1110 to 1119, a teacher named Itlin Furishece
("fur-i'-sheh-keh") taught law and history at the University of
Red and Black located in the western coastal city of Cationi.
He published five slender books collectively called "Debates
on the Efficacious Organization of Society."
These books gave a fictional account of five debates on how
best to organize government and society.
Furishece invented a character who presided over all five debates,
Miradi priest named Theulocesi. In real life priests often presided
at public debates and poetry contests. Furishece spun the character
of Theulocesi as a composite of several scholarly priests he knew who taught at
the University of Red and Black, friends of his who shared his concern
about good government. These priests doubtlessly helped Furishece conduct the actual
seminars on which he based his fictional debate.
The name "Theulocesi" in fact meant nothing more than
"stew cook." Out
of the many vegetables one puts into a pot comes a tasty meal, and
that is how Furishece perceived the syncretic method of process of
In all five debates one character
dominated and prevailed. Furichece gave him a name that translates into
English as "Not Yet Come."
Radical ideas flowed off the lips of Not-Yet-Come.
The fifth debate suggested a system called Tatlesi Arecoti Nure, which
meant roughly "Unitary Method of Consultation," or "Common
Consultation Procedure." A
more figurative and more accurate translation has is "the procedure
of consulting everyone." This debate discussed how
concentrating power in the hands of a few men guaranteed tyranny, and how
diffusing power prevented abusive power. The more people involved in
government, the more diffused was governmental power. The debate
discussed how different classes and groups in society (e.g. the guilds,
the banda lodges) should have representation in government councils.
But the most important debate was the third one which discusses
of power. Without any references to religious precepts, it distilled
all social relations down to matters of relative power, which the characters
define as one person's ability to make another person do something. It
discussed the nature of that compulsion, and the types of fear and desire
on the part of the person without power-- the fears and desires that motivate
him to obey. Power is then the ability to motivate,
coupled with the willingness
of the subject to obey.
It established the parent-child
relation as the fundamental model for the power relationship, and distinguished "good power" that nourishes from "bad
power" that exploits.
The book became a runaway
success. Literati, Miradi, priests,
nobles, traders and bureaucrats all over western
(Nacateca) Bergonia made copies from copies.
When the book was translated into the Minidun dialects, it spread
throughout the east.
Furishece's debates, the character Not-Yet-Come advocated the organization
of groups he called selone (pronounced as if Italian), which in Nacateca
once referred to a "band," and now meant something like
"club" or "association" or
Furishece (and all his subsequent followers) imagined the selones
functioning in many different ways-- neighborhood associations, fraternal
or service organizations, and even as the government. But regardless of
function, all selones had these characteristics: (a) voluntary membership
motivated by self-sacrifice and loyalty,
(b) democratic, which is to say governed by an assembly of members and a
council elected by members, (c) supported by member donations, dues or
labor, (d) a clear purpose of service to the greater good and to the
mutual benefit of the membership.
Of course the students and others interested in his ideas wanted to try
them out, and they actively organized selones.
very first selone appeared, not surprisingly, in Cationi, and consisted of those
who taught and studied at the University of Red and Black.
Furishece participated, but he disclaimed any thought of leadership
and remained in the background. His
health was frail and all too soon in 1130 he passed away.
By that time selones had sprung up all over.
The first selones were jumbled, flexible creations, with
changing rules, and sometimes dividing or collapsing in chaos.
Several selones often formed in a single city, and competed
with each other. In other cities several
selones combined into a confederation. Elsewhere a single selone
grew to impossible size.
here for a
more detailed account of the selone.
importance of good personal conduct:
functioning of the selone depended upon the members behaving in a civil manner.
Collective functioning can ill-afford pride or stubbornness. Individual
behavior ideally should conform to a norm which stressed politeness, conscious
regard for order, the use of polite forms of address and speech, control
of temper, performance
of duty, and contributing money and labor to the whole.
selone supporters emphasized the importance of how they conducted
debates in their assemblies and other bodies.
They believed that the quality of the collective (or individual) decisions depended
directly upon the style and manner of the deliberations.
There are many things that "occlude" good decision-making, such as bias,
anger, partisanship, and reliance on rumor. None of these can ever
produce salutary results.
Thus participants in any council or debate had to maintain deferential civility.
Shufrantei philosophers had centuries ago conceived of
things like the collective unconsciousness, a social mind, and
"social intention." The selone members took all this a
step further with a radical concept: a
consciously collective mind, where individuals became so attuned to
each other that they could decide as one with a shared consciousness. This meant that men and women had to
(a) share information with each other, (b) deliberate together, (c) listen
and pay attention to each other, (d) ask each other questions, (e) work on
the common vocabulary, (f) refrain from
quick opinions, and (g) keep pride, temper and other emotion in check.
evoked the ancient concept of seiudun
("say-oo'-dun," Min.), the system of etiquette governing polite conversation and
diplomatic discourse that evolved from the warrior disciplines.
Seiudun came to dominate courtly interlocutions in the times of early
Seiudun was the application of good form in restraining individual
passion, and thus became the foundation of formal diplomacy and
negotiation for all Bergonian states & societies. There were
short little books listing the axiom and rules of seiudun, and the child
of every noble was made to read and memorize one of them. As
examples, the rules prescribed who can pour tea at a gathering, the proper
ways of address, the polite ways of saying no, the proper way to look at
another person. As men of commerce
came to dominate medieval society, seiudun fell into disuse.
Men of money, by their nature, speak directly and aggressively,
with cheapened respect, since they use only money and other fetish forms
in their contests, whereas men of arms
understood the need to avoid incendiary words and used words to show
Happily, Seiudun rejuvenated in the age of the selones,
and again writers wrote manuals describing the good forms of speech and
evolving concern with good personal conduct grew out of the Miradi
religion's focus on one's mental interior.
lack of a concept of individual liberty.
writings of the time ranted against oppression of the "people" by bad rulers,
and against oppression
of one class by another, and urged
"liberty" from oppressive rule. But they never explicitly
concept of "rights" belonging to the individual.
Conservative European and American writers have
for the last 200 years
criticized Tanic philosophy as at best achieving only the kernel of the idea of liberty, and not the full appreciation of
the desirability of individuals doing whatever the hell they wished to do.
In fact, writings supporting the selone movement
explicitly attacked aspects of Western-style individual liberty:
Bergonian political historian wrote in 1889, "Why
would anyone want to act just for his own sake?
This is the question a seloneni (member of a selone) would
ask. Why should the seloneni indulge any individual desire?
No individual can attain a good life by himself, but only in
concert with his family, his fellows, his community, his hometown."
To the seloneni radical individualism stands convicted as a matter
of common sense. At the very least radical individualism would have
impressed the seloneni as in rather bad taste.
The writings stressed the
joy that people would find in working with each other, fraternally, as
equals, for the common good.
In utter contradiction to the later notions of Western democratic
liberalism that stressed individual liberty as the path to happiness, the selone movement stressed that
a group of people could find happiness when they achieved harmony in their
interrelationships, when they lived as equal brothers in their community,
and when they worked together with common regard for each other's
abilities and needs.
was not a case of oppressed individuals rising up against tyrants.
This was instead a case of oppressed communities
and classes rising up against tyrants, seeking equality, with self-consciousness
awareness of their role as citizens of their communities and members of
The villages and towns, the clan lodges and
fraternal associations, the guilds and occupational associations, all
wanted freedom from a tyrannical tieri or any other form of state
oppression, and it was rather incidental that individuals would, as a
derivative principle, enjoy personal liberty.
But the individual under the Tan ideal was
also laden with duties, which he was free to undertake, and free to reject
by quitting the group.
The selone expected members to perform generous acts,
either individually or collectively for the benefit of their
family, their fellows and their community.
Selone members gave so many hours a week to the selone, and they were
obliged to its collective authority. They owed the duty of mutual
aid to their brethren and the selone's dependents. Many selone
members were obliged to do so many acts of personal charity, such as
fixing a poor person's house, representing a widow during a visit from the
taxman, taking care of a sick widow's children while she convalesces.
The goal was not to be free of state power, not its
elimination, but the equal sharing of power. Part of this was due to
an assumption prevailing at the time that government, rules and
regulations were all rather inevitable and necessary-- in other words they
thought without much question that no one could make government go away,
and in fact that good, effective government was desirable and possible,
but that government could also become a consensual affair between the classes,
thereby embodying moral egalitarianism, and thus more often producing
good, effective government.
egalitarianism underlying Tan resulted in an ethos that, if applied
correctly, would make all questions about individual liberty
irrelevant. That ethos flowed out of this logic: All men stand
as equals and deserve equal treatment. Men who are equals are
brothers, and respect each other as a matter of course.
Egalitarianism produces a brotherhood (the Selone), and brothers and
sisters treat each other decently and do not oppress each other.
Tyranny is, if nothing else, a very impolite and inconsiderate way to
treat your brother.
Shalerei, in a Primer to
Revolution (1875) wrote about the Tan:
belief about restraining authority with laws and representation grew out
of what today's liberal would call naive religious morality.
Bergonian religion has always exhorted its followers to love one another
and to act innocently, scrupulously and morally. Tan simply held
the leaders and tyrants to the same standard of morality as any other
men. In other words, the main objection that Tan had to the tyrant
torturing and killing his subject was, quite simply, that it was sinful
and immoral to do so. Any man or woman the victim of sinful
behavior could properly and should assertively object to it."
our time, right-wing Christians make many exceptions to the unequivocal
"Thou shalt not kill," including aggressive war, capital
punishment, denial of health care, and preventable starvation and
disease. The Tan would tolerate no exceptions; if killing is wrong
then it is always wrong, except of course--as Shalerei implies above-- in
self-defense or defense of others. The victim of sin could defend
himself, and this became the morality of dissent, revolution, law, and
republicanism. Their ethos was, boiled down to its radical essence:
should act correctly in every circumstance; in every circumstance
everyone refrain from harming other people by any means, and instead
love them, without regard for any other person's
Itlin Furishece's Debates on the Efficacious Organization of Society.
In this era
philosophers and thinkers often published their essays in pamphlets,
printed by a wood block process, usually not more than thirty pages
sandwiched together between two pieces of cardboard tied
together with ribbon. One such author was Maron Checitrec, a radical teacher in the east
coast state of Putilon who became the most influential.
admired the Selone movement and embraced their ideals, but thought the
idea of collectives impractical for an entire society. He even
warned that any attempt to extend the selone idea to an entire society
would backfire and produce a new sort of tyranny. In order to
prevent the abuse of authority by society's rulers, Checitrec argued that
political power should be diffused and balanced of power among offices and
institution. He conceded that selones should exist within such a
state, along with many other forms of community, and under its
argued for the creation of a structured institutional state with multiple
organs of power, instead of a tieri.
A few states in Bergonian
history had been ruled by assemblies of warriors, lords or freemen, who
either elected the tieri or constrained his power. Many states
throughout Bergonian history had been ruled by councils (called Conjut in
Minidun), either in conjunction with tieri or by themselves.
Checitrec proposed that the state should be ruled by both an assembly and
a council, along with executive officers beholden to both.
presented these ideas in writing in 1102, and went from selone to selone
to participate in debates, and his ideas spread all across Bergonia.
had already become a legend, known to everyone in Bergonia. Everyone in the
upper and middle classes (even the liberal-minded) condemned Churoflia as
a power-mad crazy man, and celebrated his demise. But the peasants,
the laborers and porters and
the urban poor classes worshipped him. He was the man
who had really liberated the peasants from oppression by the Iregemi. Maron Checitrec shocked
many of his middle-class & literati contemporaries by proclaiming Churoflia
He did this in a pamphlet in which he argued for elimination of the
Iregemi and liberation of the peasants. This garnered for him a
great deal of notoriety.
took another man of Putilon, Tiruc Nasom, to put theory into
published a simple platform and organized a party called the Tan. He
meant it as an umbrella for the combined interests of different oppressed
classes, including guilds in the cities and peasant associations in the
country, as well as the selone collectives. But rather quickly the Issues such as the
composition of municipal councils, control of waters and mills, and the
navigable waters. In
this way the selone movement transformed into a larger movement. This
paralleled how the Democratic Front developed in
time Tan parties organized everywhere, with city branches and branches
among the peasants. They generally all embraced
Tan-Tosun, the "Tan Program." which indeed paralleled
the Democratc Front's Eight Principles.
The end to slavery based on anything other than criminal
convictions. This meant the end to the onerous and despised institution of
Many city manufacturers could depend upon their allies in
government to provide them with cheap labor.
Liberation of the peasantry from
oppression, which implied destruction altogether of the Iregemi as a
Elimination of all state killing, including the death penalty and
war-- this reflected Miradi values concerning the taking of
life, but was very son vitiated by the subsequent outbreaks or
revolutionary violence. The very idea offended people of
authoritarian value, men who typically welded the axes and who enjoyed
positions where they could dispense punishments.
Elimination of oppressive taxes, an idea that meant very little
since it meant so many different things to
different people, but it largely reflected the views of the traders
and bankers in the cities, and thus reflect emerging pre-bourgeoisie
State support for the poor: widows, orphans and sick people who get no help from
families or clans, with mandatory contributions from the rich. The
preferred method was not by using police powers, but by publishing the
names who did contribute and then publicly humiliating those who didn't,
but more radical Tan leaders wanted confiscatory taxes, which of course
put them at odds with the traders..
Local rule for every city and town,
with a representative assembly.
The Age of Tanic Revolution:
A revolt in
the eastern state of Putilon (now Bunamota)
resulted in the first Tan regime in 1170, a new form of government, a republican form,
with no tieri, a
first for Bergonia. The new regime immediately suppressed the
won the loyalty of the great body of peasants.
by 1180 several other states
had set up Tanic governments after convulsive revolutions.
All over Bergonia peasants rose up against their masters. In
individual cases peasants just raided their master's manor house,
threatened him or ran him and his family off. In more significant
cases, whole regional populations of peasants took up arms and refused to
turn over any of their crop.
radical and moderate Tan partisans.
There grew two arms to
the movement, one consisting of urban
"middle" classes and the other including peasants chaffing under the oppression of
the urban based
feared the power of the peasant uprisings
(see Churoflia to show why), and co-opt the
peasant with reforms, slogans and recruitment into new armies. On the
other hand, the peasants were quite ready for a complete revolution.
very small city-state in southwest Bergonia, perhaps a population of only
50,000 or so, the state called Pao-Nai,
became the most radical of all Tan states. The entire Tan platform
was enacted in Paonai's capital city. In the countryside the peasants turned on
the Iregemi, just as they had under Churoflia's rule. In fact,
Churoflia became a great hero to the people of Pao-Nai. Whenever a
conservative regime exiled a Tan intellectual, he headed for Pao-Nai.
Several conservative states sent armies to extinguish this beacon of radicalism,
but masses of volunteers, most from other states, came and managed to stem all the
hostile advances. Conservatives all over Bergonia, especially all
the Iregemi and all the petty dictators vilified Pao-Nai and feared what
Pao-Nai stood for.
adopted the color yellow, reflecting the sun-disks of Miradi. The
conservatives general flew red flags, a reflection, it was said, of the
became an affectation of traders and other nobles in early Tanic times (as
in Imperial China). They let their nails grow to preposterous lengths,
painted them and wore nail guards. They also tried to impress each
other with expensive rings. Whenever Tan rebels rose up and
captured such rich men, they cut off their nails and stole their
rings and nail guards. Over their simple tunics-- for most rebels
were simple men-- the Tan leaders wore necklaces from which they hung the
nails and rings they had taken, silently boasting of the prisoners they
had taken-- a new form of vanity
Revolutionary Tanic Wars
War broke out in the southeast and the west between Tan states and
anti-Tan states. In time the conflict spread all throughout
Bergonia, the first wave of what would be several outbreaks of
violence. The next nine years saw four violent outbreaks of open
Ceiolai joined the ranks of the radical Tan states, thus
shifting the balance of power. An uneasy peace results.
bribes from the Anti-Tan alliance, the Tan leaders of Pusuraino
betrayed their Tan ally, Ceiolai.
This was an important event psychologically, for it showed how Tan regimes
could themselves abandon their idealism and grow entrenched and
second war broke out, with two equally powerful blocs of states
warring against each other on six different fronts. This war was far
worse than the first one, with thousands of lives lost. The war
ended with gains here and losses there, but little change in the ultimate
balance of power.
Two blocs of nations went to war again, in a third wave of
fighting, but this time the allegiances
were all muddled. By now Tanic reforms had spread even to the
anti-Tan states, and nations that had fought each other in the last
outbreaks were now allies. The Tan/Anti-Tan labels meant little now.
Two states that had previously hated each other, Letlari and Ceiolai,
formed an alliance they boisterously called the "Bar of
Iron." They and their allies humiliated their enemies
(including Pusuraino) and imposed a peace on central Bergonia that
essentially ended the war of thirty years. Letlari and Ceiolai
effectively divided all Bergonia into two spheres of influence, but they
very quickly became rivals in the post-war period.
1307: Letlari and Ceiolai, to no one's surprise, went to war against each other,
precipitating a fourth wave of fighting that spread all over Bergonia.
The "Peace of the
Priests" ended all the so-called Tanic Wars.
local power, and was a great blow to the
rural Iregemi, who had often controlled swaths of open highway and charged
taxes and excluded travelers they did not like. The "open
roads" guarantees represented a final triumph for the urban trader
class, for now their caravans could progress across Bergonia
unimpeded. The guarantees also benefited Miradi pilgrims, who
themselves had sometimes suffered from greedy Iregemi. There were
still tollgates, and anyone traveling far had best start out with a full
purse, but since the tolls were used to maintain the roads, they were
regarded as a necessary nuisance (like all taxes).
Miradi priests were
appalled to see how low things had gone. The wars mocked all the good
intentions of both Miradi and Tan. So they actively brokered a
peace. They invited all the nations to send envoys to
Chambolet. There the representatives promptly agreed to a universal
cease fire, and then spent a year negotiating a final peace.
treaties not only fixed borders; they guaranteed
freedom for everyone to travel all highways and roads. This was an
important constraint upon
1325-1496 -- The
"Era of Repose"
After 1325, there was virtually no war. Nearly all the regimes in
all the states now adhered to Tan norms. All forms of slavery had been wiped out, except for limited slavery based
convictions. Debt slavery was no more.
Iregemi still existed, and the peasants still had to turn over a share
of their crop to them, but the Tan laws protected the peasants in important
ways. The Tan laws freed the peasant from the
iregemi's whip, and deprived the Iregemi of the power to sit in
judgment of peasants or fine them. The Iregemi no longer could
demand labor from the peasants, and the Iregemi had to provide certain
services to the peasants in return for the 25% of the crop they
took. Any Iregemi who tried to take more than 25% was in trouble.
The peasants usually sold their 75% (minus what they ate) to the
semi-state grain monopoly at fixed prices. These were
Moreover memories of the peasant uprisings at the
beginning of the Tan era were sufficient to remind the Iregemi the price
of mistreating their peasants.
Miradi-Tanic ideal of
all killing had been mocked into irrelevancy by a century of war.
But now that peace had come, people started again talking about an end to
all killing, and many states adopted laws eliminating the death penalty
for all crimes except the most atrocious cases of murder. The Bergonians were apparently
the only pre-modern civilization to reject the death
Moreover, it became a common belief that war was utterly
immoral. On several cases leaders of adjoining states agreed to turn
their major disputes over to arbitrators, or juries, or agreed to settle
minor disputes by a series
contests, rather than by fighting. In one case, the leaders of
Varsca and Ceiolai brought forth their best Stecaia players (Stecaia
was the most popular strategy board game at the time) and staked their
dispute on the outcome of their match.
Every state had set up
a system of
widows, orphans and disabled people, in effect a rather modern sort of welfare
state. Every city and town built ashelei, institutions that
combined the functions of hospital, nursing home, hospice, and infant
nursery. Even injured and abandoned animals received care.
Ever city and town had a library, and all libraries participated in
networks and partnerships. States and cities paid for these
things out of the grain
Every state now had a
Tan- type government, consisting of
an assembly, an
and an independent system of courts and tribunes. The assemblies
were not parliaments, elected by all the franchised voters, but rather
assemblies of representatives of the various interests. Each town
and region sent representatives, as did guilds, peasant associations, the
soldiers and veterans, trader groups and the emerging banks. Every
city & town had its own council and elected
officers. During the 1400s various reforms were proposed to
improve the operation of Tan government-- open meetings, referendum,
election by lot, documenting tax collections & expenditures, and
....and then came Columbus.