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. 


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 Europe.  

Sheet glass production was widespread, and many houses and buildings had pane glass windows.

Telescopes and simple microscopes were being constructed.  Bergonians observed the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn.  Reading glasses became available.

Water mills were everywhere, producing power for milling grains.

In most cities a number of associations formed with the mayor's endorsement to build water 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.


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 system.

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.




Bergonian History

999-1496 AD:

The Tan Era


Historians arbitrarily mark the beginning of the Tan Era by the death of Krathnami, the prophet who founded the Miradi religion, in 999 AD.

By 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 and pamphlets.   

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.  The 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 realms.  

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 peasantry.

Starting in 1170 the Tan parties took power in many states.  A series of destructive wars between ostensibly "Tan" and "Anti-Tan" states broke out in 1217, as Tan reforms slowly percolated to even 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. 

In 1325 Miradi 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.

The Detailed Version:

Rise of the Miradi Religion

999 AD:   Krathnami, the great prophet who founded the new faith of Miradi, died. 

1014 AD:  Debate 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.

1015:   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 were women.

1024:   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)

1030:  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.

Massacre of the Miradi Believers

Kurt 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. 

1035:  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.  

When 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 territory.  

Cichon, 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 commenced work 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.

The Miradi Triumph

By 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--

So Miradi subsumed and replaced Shufrantei, but at the cost of adopting for its own many of the Shufrantei masks.  

 The 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.   

He 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.

In 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 revolution

Churoflia was 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.

Here's a link to a more detailed life of Churoflia.

Revolutionary Ideas from One Man:

From 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, a 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 debating. 

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 the nature 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.

The Selone Movement:

In 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 "collective."  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.  The 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. 

Check here for a more detailed account of the selone.

The importance of good personal conduct:

The 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.  

The 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. 

They 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 Shufrantei. 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 respect.  Happily, Seiudun rejuvenated in the age of the selones, and again writers wrote manuals describing the good forms of speech and behavior.  

This evolving concern with good personal conduct grew out of the Miradi religion's focus on one's mental interior.    

The lack of a concept of individual liberty.

The 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 expressed the 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: A 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. 

This 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 their classes.  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.

The 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. 

Manre Shalerei, in a Primer to Revolution (1875) wrote about the Tan:  

"...their 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." 

In 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:

"everyone 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 behavior."     --from Itlin Furishece's Debates on the Efficacious Organization of Society.

The Tan Movement:

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.

Checitrec 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 protection.   

He 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.  

He presented these ideas in writing in 1102, and went from selone to selone to participate in debates, and his ideas spread all across Bergonia.  

Churoflia 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 a hero.  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.  

It took another man of Putilon, Tiruc Nasom, to put theory into practice.  He 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 modern times.

In time Tan parties organized everywhere, with city branches and branches among the peasants.  They generally all embraced the 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 debt slavery. Many city manufacturers could depend upon their allies in government to provide them with cheap labor.

·      Liberation of the peasantry from Iregemi oppression, which implied destruction altogether of the Iregemi as a class.

·      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 values.

·      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 Iregemis and 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.  A rift grew between 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 Iregemi.  Usually the urban based moderates 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. 

One 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.

Tan adopted the color yellow, reflecting the sun-disks of Miradi.  The conservatives general flew red flags, a reflection, it was said, of the red robes 

Long Fingernails-- 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

The Century of Revolutionary Tanic Wars

1216:  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 warfare.

1225:  Ceiolai joined the ranks of the radical Tan states, thus drastically shifting the balance of power.  An uneasy peace results. 

1236-1242:  Accepting 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 conservative.  A 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.

1270:  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.

1300:  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.  

1325:  The "Peace of the Priests" ended all the so-called Tanic Wars.  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.  

The treaties not only fixed borders; they guaranteed freedom for everyone to travel all highways and roads.  This was an important constraint upon 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).

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 on criminal convictions.  Debt slavery was no more.

The 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 important reforms. 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.

The Miradi-Tanic ideal of eliminating 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 penalty. 

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 of athletic 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 supporting 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 executive council, 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 independent auditing.


....and then came Columbus.


See Detailed Map of Bergonia, 700-1500 AD


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