Some Idioms and Proverbs
When the sun rises in the west: Used to declare that something is impossible to do.
The cat’s among the pigeons: Something has gone bad, or something that will lead to conflict has been revealed.
As if from the Seventh Scripture: Something happens that one does not expect (in the Seventh Scripture, there are several miraculous events)
Painting the wolf red: Saying something that everybody already knows (i.e, you don’t have to paint a wolf red, people already know it’s dangerous)
There are many aspects to Amannian culture. Here we outline a few basic ideas
Hospitality is a large part of Amannian culture. Among nobles and artisans, the “guest rule” states that any guest (of similar or higher social standing of course) must be permitted one day of rest at your home if needed. This includes food, water and shelter, as well as pleasant company. Violence is strictly forbidden. After this first day, the host may ask the guest to leave. Even against an enemy, breaking hospitality is considered a particularly base act – treachery and spite of the highest order. A serious break of hospitality has certainly been grounds for war between nobles in the past. Commoners are rarely extended hospitality by the upper classes, and don’t take the guest rule that seriously (although it is still generally respected).
Marriage is the most sacred of acts in Amanne. It is banned between relatives closer than first cousins. Among nobility, most marriages are arranged, many of them for political purposes. Artisans typically attempt to marry into a noble house, and this happens regularly in the less powerful houses. Marriage for love is idealized, but if two lovers go outside the bounds set for them, it is condemned as immoral lust. If a bastard is born of a noble father and commoner mother, the noble can take the child (if it is a boy) into his house and attach the label “Pyke” to his middle name until the child marries into the house (which is usually the motivation for “uplifting” a bastard – to gain a political ally). For example Jon Ellis Westerton would be Jon Pyke-Ellis Westerton until marriage.
As far as pastimes go, nobles enjoy games of chess, conquest(a Oltec strategy game) and the arts for entertainment. Especially under Claudius II, hunting has become very popular as a hobby. Feasts and parties are also common. Nobles are almost never alone, with maids and servants always at their feet. Even still, many nobles enjoy solitary hobbies such as painting or reading. Some who have been taught by the Masters enjoy science. However, a noble who is too engrossed in his books is often looked upon with suspicion of witchcraft. Thus social events tend to be necessary to maintain good relations.
Social Statuses, ranking ascending:
Also see Peerage
- Outcasts (forced to live outside landed areas)
- Peasants, lowlives (vermin town and outskirt slums)
- Serfs (a peasant with some property)
- Apprentices, novice artisans, sellswords, hedge knights, squires
- Sworn swords, house servants, lesser merchants, order acolytes, scholarly apprentice, artisan
- House retainer, landed knight, merchant, scholar, order priest, templar soldier
- Member of a minor house, greater landed knight, greater merchant, templar officer
- Member of a major house, lord, member of the royal court, royal guard officer, paladin (templar commander), Order high priest
- Member of the royal family, high-ranking nobility, Council of the Silver Light member
Manner of dress is a universal indicator of status and rank within both society and microcosms such as guilds or orders. Most clothing is made of either wool or linen, the former mostly for warmth. Silks, cotton and furs are more expensive, the first two being imported exclusively. The cheapest items are made from hemp or jute. Dyes are manifold in hue, intensity and quality.
Both sexes wear an undertunic (a women’s undertunic is called a shift) made of linen or silk. Men wear breeches or “britches”, baggy underwear that goes till right above the knees. Both sexes wear stocking when needed for warmth. The basic item of clothing is the tunic, a long shirt. The tunic of a peasant is high-cut, well above the knee, and the tunic of the noble or craftsman is cut lower. Men wear either over-stockings or trousers with the tunic, as well as a thin belt at the waist. Wide, colorful belts are stylish in the Marshlands. Tunics are either solid-colored, embroidered on the edges.
Typical of southern nobility is the “long-tunic”. This tunic has long cuts down its side, and reaches to the shins. Fine patterning is common. Typical among scholars, monks, diplomats and some nobility (riverlands and mistlands in particular) is the robe. These are highly variable in style and material. The robe of the monk and scholar is heavy and long, and is usually worn with a diagonal sash.
Overwear is common as well. Vests, cloaks, overshirts, work pants (heavy canvas trousers worn over stockings), and coats are common. Cloaks are secured with a brooch, which is oftentimes jeweled. Vests and overshirts are worn with trousers, and are typical of craftsmen. A surcoat is an extra-heavy long-tunic with long sleeves. These are typical of northern nobility and knights. The tabbard is a surcoat with no arms, and is commonly worn by knights over armor. Typical of southern nobility is a short cloak thrown over one shoulder. The moqolese kaftan (formal surcoat) has caught on in the marshlands as well.
Women wear an undertunic as well, longer than that of men. Stockings are worn in the winter. Clothing is highly dependent on social standing. Peasant women wear long womens’ tunics or pull up their dresses (not the shift) for farm work. The dresses are often cleverly folded to form pouches. A wimple is worn on the head, typically closer bound than that of noblewomen. However it is not unheard of for farm women to wear trousers or remove the wimple if need be.
Noblewomen do not perform farm-work (at least not very much), and therefore wear dresses exclusively. A gown is defined as a dress that is form-fitted via lacing at the back. These are typical of young, unmaried women. The neckline of womens’ clothes is significantly different than that of men. A square cut is replaced with a circular or v-shaped cut, and is highly embroidered. Contrasted are the traditional dress and the gown. Wimples are worn by nobles in the north and sometimes the coastlands, or by more conservative women. Otherwise, elaborate hairstyles are worn. Sometimes a thin wimple-like scarf is worn as well.
Cloaks are also worn when needed, and many have silk linings. Besides this, items of male clothing such as tunics, vests or shirts were considered cross-dressing. The only exception were trousers, which could be worn while riding horses. In the south, women typically ride behind with legs to the side, to avoid this problem.
Mens’ hairstyles are highly variable on the region. The northern tradition has it that those of highborn blood wear the hair as long as possible – this fashion has long gone out of style save for the Dragonmen. Instead hair is clipped at a decent length down the man’s back. In the north, a boy’s first haircut is a momentous occasion, and is usually performed by a close friend of the family, and uncle, etc. It is considered by many an affront for a lowborn to wear his hair long – shoulder length is considered acceptable. Short hair is rarely a sign of nobility – indeed it is a sign of servitude. A northern noble having his hair cropped is almost akin to being mocked as an effeminate; and exiles and criminals are therefore shaved bald. Monks of the Silver Axe are the only members of northern society with short hair; with of course the exception of those with an excuse – be it a particular craft (sailors, miners, etc.) or simple inability. This focus on the masculinity of lengthy hair finds its way into the ideals of the male form in the north as is to be expected.