by John H. Kim
This article attempts to summarize the origins and cultural background
of the ten main Hârnic religions, focussing on the relations of
their histories and places of origin. From a study of the official
church histories, the religions of Hârn appear to be a syncretic
mix of an Emelrene set (Save-K'norr, Peoni, and Larani) and an
Azeri set (Agrik, Morgath, and Halea), with the other four gods
borrowed from more distant sources.
Below I summarize the official information from the Hârn
Based on this information, we can draw some conclusions about the relations and development of the Hârnic pantheon. The first conclusion is to note that there are appears to be a divide between Western and Eastern in the gods. Save-K'norr, Peoni, and Larani are based in Western countries -- and on Hârn the churches consider themselves close allies (almost unique among the ten Hârnic churches). Agrik, Morgath, and Halea are viewed negatively by the above churches of Hârn, and are based countries of the Azeri people in the East. These six also represent the primary worship among mainstream Hârn.
Save-K'norr, Peoni, and Larani are closely related faiths. Their churches evidently consider themselves allies, almost unique among the Hârnic churches which seem generally hostile to each other. These three form a triad which seems dominant among the mainstream of civilized Hârn. Their ethnic roots are Emelrene, a branch of the Jarind people. The Save-K'norran church was evidently founded first among the Azeryani highlands, but for many centuries has had its seat in Emelrene. Laranianism has its current seat in Trierzon, but was founded in Emelrene.
The worship of Agrik, Morgath, and Halea are more conflicted faiths, but also have a common ethnic origin. Their ethnic identity is with the Azeri people. The church of Agrik is over two thousand years old, and is an open and militant faith which seems central to the cultural identity of the Azeryani empire. The church of Morgath was founded about one thousand years ago as a secret cult within the Azeryani empire, but only slowly grew to open power. The church of Halea was founded four centuries ago in Karejia, which are islands now independent of the empire but colonized by Azeri merchants.
The four remaining gods are each borrowed from independent ethnic sources. Siem is clearly a god of the Sindarin and Khuzan. Ilvir is a native Hârnic god, adopted by the Jarin who colonized the island. Naveh is a cult of the far East, only worshipped in private outside there. Sarajin is clearly an ethnic faith of the Ivinian northerners.
Based on this understanding of the relations between the worship of different gods, we should try to look at wider religious traditions rather than as individual gods. We can split this into Emelrene, Azeri, and Hârnic religions.
I would postulate that there was a full pantheon of gods worshipped by the early Azeri people, of whom Agrik was the chief. A real-world parallel for this worship may be Mithraism. Mitra was originally a god of Aryan tribes who conquered India and Iran around 1500 B.C. Over time, the worship of Mithra was adopted as a part of Zoroastrianism and became a popular cult within the Roman empire (called Mithraism). Agrik was the powerful and charismatic head of an ancient pantheon. While the rest of pantheon may have gone through various shifts, the worship of Agrik as its head remained central. Like Mithraism in our world, Agrikanism is a militant faith widely adopted among armies.
Morgathianism was founded within the Azeryani empire, and was little more than a minor cult for centuries after its founding due to its extremely negative outlook. However, at some point it came to be a major influence as evidenced by the Balshan Jihad on Hârn and subsequent reforms. I view Morgathianism as an essentially rebellious faith, fed by dissatisfaction with the ruling Agrikan church in the empire. While Agrikanism remained the primary faith of the empire, Morgath took up the role of the alternative.
Haleanism arose among the Karejian islands colonized by the Azeri. Among the islands, an independent-minded seafaring culture of merchants arose -- which the militant Agrikan church was clearly ill-suited for. I would theorize that Halea was a prior figure in the Azeri pantheon. However, worship of her instead of Agrik was a later development. The rise of the Halean church corresponds with the move by the Karejian islands to independence.
The other religious movement is based around Emelrene, which saw the founding the Peonian and Laranian churches, and has the long-established seat of the Save-K'norrian church. The Emelrene were a branch of the Jarind people who settled in Northwestern Lythia. As described in the Peonian religion article, these early people had various earth and fertility cults which predated Peoni. Presumably there were other varied tribal gods.
My theory is that the fertility and other cults of the early Emelrene tribes were strongly influenced by the introduction of the sophisticated Save-K'norran faith. Save-K'norr appears to have been founded among the Azeryani highlands, but was driven eastward and founded its seat in Emelrene. Under the cultural influence of this faith and the inspiration of the four prophets, the fertility cults unified and identified Peoni as their common object of worship. Four centuries later, within the culture of these two faiths, the worship of Larani was founded.
I view this as a gradual series of religious revolutions through which the original tribal beliefs were melded and re-invented into a more unified religion. Since priests of Save-K'norr, Peoni, and Larani all see each other as allied, it makes more sense to view these as a single Triad faith rather than separate religions.
There is no good real-world parallel for this religion. In terms of Europe, it would be as if a parallel to Christianity arose slowly over a much longer period among the Celtic tribes rather than in Greek culture. An alternate parallel can be seen in the Eastern religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confuscianism. Each fairly freely co-existed and slowly transformed previous beliefs rather than being imposed.
Like historical England, Hârn was settled by many waves of tribes from the continent over a period of centuries. The Old Hârnic tongue is defined as a Pharic language, but Hârnic is heavily influenced by Jarinese. The Pharic people of mainland Lythia include the northern Ivinians who worship Sarajin, but also the southern Trierzi who host the seat of the Laranian church. I would theorize that the original Pharic religion melded into the worship of Sarajin in the north, while it disappeared among the southern Pharic tribes, who instead adopted the religion of their Emelrene and Azeri neighbors.
On the basis of the previous theories, we can see Hârn's religion as being a syncretic mix of different gods, dominated by the Emelrene triad of Save-K'norr, Peoni, and Larani. Lacking a strong ethnic religion of their own, the Pharic invaders of Hârn adopted a syncretic mix of gods from other ethnic groups.