Agema Publications

A forum for the disscussion of the Play by Mail games from Agema Publications


The Role of Relegion

Share

J Flower
King
King

Number of posts : 703
Age : 46
Location : Paderborn, Germany
Reputation : 10
Registration date : 2012-02-16

The Role of Relegion

Post by J Flower on Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:58 am

I don't want to get into a heated personal debate, or offend anyones personal relegious beleifs with this post. I realise this subject can be a passionate one.

However, much has been debated about honour on the forum, mainly I feel from the perspective of the Nobility & keeping them happy. In the 1700s the Church played a very central role not just in Christian society but in other Societies as well. Do we as players reflect this enough in our game play. In many games the Pope seems to have a minor walk on role. Historically he still had a great deal of influence. Are we too concentrated on the Nobility & forget that The role that Relegion played in the world we are attempting to recreate.

Guest
Guest

Re: The Role of Relegion

Post by Guest on Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:49 am

This is a very good question.

In the 5th edition rules, there are 2 pages on religion and ethics which I think also appeared in the 4th edition. In this section, the GM makes some very interesting points which seem to have been ignored by many players. I won’t quote it all, but extract the main points …


Religion & Ethics

Most people were on the face of it very wary of getting involved in Wars of Religion following the 30 Years War which devastated much of Germany. This wariness did not prevent conflict and religion still played a vital role in how people made decisions. Indeed, there is barely a letter written by an officer or ruler which has survived to the present day which does not in passing mention Providence, the Almighty, or God in some respect.

Taking diplomatic and even military action to protect oppressed minorities of your faith in other rulers’ lands was a common act. Charles XII of Sweden threatened to fight the Hapsburg Austrians to free the Protestants of Silesia from Catholic domination. (Various other conflicts are also mentioned.)

On the positive side, the prominence of religion gave men of the time a different outlook on the acts of men. High standards were expected in all but the most bitter conflicts. Officers would be permitted to go home on parole, and would not fight until released to do so by their parole being lifted by agreement. They could even stay with their unit in the field, but avoided doing any duties so as to conform with the terms of parole! Why? Due to a code of honour, and because the Divine Presence would know if you did wrong. Those who did, no doubt repented at length as old age approached. Whole armies could be granted Honours of War to avoid bloodshed, the word of the general being good enough to secure this. When the Duke of Marlborough had numerous villages in Bavaria torched to get the Electoral Prince of that land to march and give battle, the Duke was loudly condemned at home and elsewhere. In France mothers warned their children that ‘Marlbrouk’ would come and get them if they don’t behave. Minorities could be protected from persecution by the interests of their powerful co-religionists in other States. The Protestants in France were an obvious exception, but several attempts had been made to help them in earlier decades. France proved too powerful to have her will bent towards tolerance by diplomatic means. After all the Galician Church considered Protestants condemned to Eternal Damnation, so forcibly converting their children was in their eyes a saving grace, preventing them going the way of their parents after death.

There was no deliberate and massive genocide as seen in the 20th century at the hands of atheist regimes, thankfully, so perhaps despite the strife it was to some extent an Age of Reason. Where butchery took place it was usually the result of an event such as storming a town, when men – having seen many of their friends killed in assaulting the defences – would go on an orgy of destruction. Still, this was well known and the Honours of War system tried to provide a solution to prevent such inevitable brutality.

You should take into account religion when playing the game, as praise from a religious arch enemy can be damning indeed, perhaps even costing you Honour!


I think these extracts from the rules demonstrate that there is a link between religion and honour, that people of the time had a strong sense of honour which was founded on their religious belief. This does not sit easily with some players who have no sense of religion in their own lives and who live by a value system based on utility or pragmatism. If you repudiate the notion of God or organised religion, adopting the view that you are free to chose your own values and codes of behaviour, then whether you like it or not you are rejecting the historical norms of 1700 and putting yourself at a disadvantage when trying to understand how these people made decisions and how they were expected to behave.

A player who tries to play historically and respect the philosophies and religion of 1700 would expect to be criticised if he broke his word, to lose support and be frowned upon by his nobles. He would lose moral authority. To behave dishonourably would at best be seen as cheating, tarnishing the honour of those who follow you. Far better to play fair and accept the judgement of Providence even if this means you lose, for no man can fight the will of God.

Of course this doesn’t mean that player’s can’t be sneaky and fight hard to win, but it does require players to maintain credibility with their own supporters and with other players. If players, or groups of players, continually change sides, break treaties, fail to honour promises, then they will be seen as untrustworthy which ultimately will make it far harder for them to achieve support for their own plans from those nations they have wronged.

A high honour score does not in itself signify that you are playing with honour, but it is impossible to maintain a high honour score if you are determined to play dishonourably. Sooner or later the temporary factors which supported your honour score will diminish in their effect. Equally a low honour score can occur for many reasons, but it would be highly unusual for such a score to remain low if you play within the moral norms of 1700 and respect the role of religion in daily life.

The praise of co-religionists may help honour and so the Pope does have a great deal of influence. Perhaps someone who has played the Pope in a game is more able to demonstrate how easy or difficult it is to wield that influence. I’m not sure whether other religions have a Head who can also be a separate player, so it is hard to comment.

J Flower
King
King

Number of posts : 703
Age : 46
Location : Paderborn, Germany
Reputation : 10
Registration date : 2012-02-16

Re: The Role of Relegion

Post by J Flower on Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:08 am

Do many of us simply view the Church as another part of the tax system rather than an influentual part of the system of government? Like you Loius I have read the part of the rule book you refer to , however there seems little or no mention of heads of hte various relegions ever being sought out for opinions or guidance by players. Every now and again the Inqusition is brought into play but maybe more as a political tool to put down trouble makers than any other role.

Crusades are also called as well as Jihads, but are they ways to cement alliances rather thna acheive a relegious goal?

Guest
Guest

Re: The Role of Relegion

Post by Guest on Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:19 am

This is a slightly different question and I may have misunderstood what you were originally asking.

You may be right that players tend to view the Church less as a religious institution and more as either a tax raising mechanism or a means of applying political pressure. This is probably because of an Anglo-Saxon view about religious disputes rather than what happened in history. The English seem to be taught from an early age that religion causes trouble so is best avoided, that the church is more about politics than religion and that if you have a personal difficulty with a clergyman all you have to do is leave and set up your own form of worship! This is not the view of people in 1700. Yes, the church was more political then than today, but it was a lot less political than it was in the 1500s. There was a weariness of religious war by 1700, few major theological disputes and so a surprising amount of toleration. It wasn't until the mid 1700s when the Enlightenment attacked the power of the church that things really flared up again.

As to the role of heads of religion, someone else would be best placed to comment.
avatar
MarkTurner26
Marquess
Marquess

Number of posts : 256
Age : 31
Location : Orpington
Reputation : 4
Registration date : 2012-11-03

Re: The Role of Relegion

Post by MarkTurner26 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:21 am

I have to say, I do make RP overtures to my Imams, it tends to depend on the player if you play as France or the Spanish both of which I have never played yet that the Pope would be highly valuable to you or indeed your cardinals, maybe one day I will get the chance to find out,

J Flower
King
King

Number of posts : 703
Age : 46
Location : Paderborn, Germany
Reputation : 10
Registration date : 2012-02-16

Re: The Role of Relegion

Post by J Flower on Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:19 am

thankyou Louis I think you have gotten the gist of both by original & secondary questions, The point I am trying to make is that even some of the Prince-Bishops are more interested in being Princes than the Bishop side of there character. It maybe because most join as a wargame rather than as theological students.

Mark your point is also very valid, I get the impression that the Muslim positions have a much higher quote of using relegious means to strengthen there posiitons, whereas many of the Christian positions seem to roll there eyes at relegion, The Imans & mosques seem more important than the Cathedrals & Bishops.

Maybe the Catholic/Protestant split is better understood than the Sunni/Sheit one, by drawing on relegion maybe conquered provinces would be seen as more difficult to subdue if relegious unrest were whipped up.
avatar
MarkTurner26
Marquess
Marquess

Number of posts : 256
Age : 31
Location : Orpington
Reputation : 4
Registration date : 2012-11-03

Re: The Role of Relegion

Post by MarkTurner26 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:55 am

I think from personal experience religion has more meaning to the lower classes you rule and some fundamental lords, I have found in my experience when I ran Hungary in game 2 you do need to be very careful in how you operate and use religion in terms of gameplay.

I believe you are right when it comes to players coming in as wargamers I did, but then found there is so much more to the game and found I needed to stabilise things a lot more before I even thought about war.

This is opinion but rulers of old tended to use religion when it suited them rather than being devoutly christian, the lower in the social class you went the more it was important to you. But the higher in class you were the more Epicurean you were. Just a thought I know it was the case in Ancient Rome where the lower classes were very superstitious and the patrician classes used religion when it suited them.

Guest
Guest

Re: The Role of Relegion

Post by Guest on Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:51 pm

I don't think the situation in Ancient Rome makes a particularly appropriate comparison. One of the features of pagan religions is that they deliberately separate personal ethics and dogma. What began as an anthromorphic meandering became humanised as the Olympians. This may have been positive when men tried to emulate the actions of Mars in war, but rather negative in some other cases. The Olympians were merely the embodiment of human actions, worship a means of building up man to achieve his aims rather than to give honour to a 'god' which was not widely understood in the Judeo-Christian sense. By the time of Plato and the end of the city state, the Olympian religion had failed and schools of philosophy took over. There was still public worship of the Greek gods, but it was meaningless ritual. The Romans merely renamed Greek gods and used them in the same way, so their attitude to religion was insincere from the start!

The best book I've read on this fascinating topic, is Gilbert Murray's Five Stages of Greek Religion which shows the historical evolution of these early beliefs up to the time of St.Paul.


I also think you are being a little unkind to Christian rulers. From the collapse of Rome to the Middle Ages it was the Church and religious orders/monasteries which acted as the guardian of civilisation, owning land, developing new techniques of production and industry, as well as preserving knowledge in books. Without the church there would have been no civil service to carry out the King's policies and a much reduced economy to pay for them. It was the role of the church not just to keep order in society, but also to oppose the king when he was acting against God's law. (Incidentally, that was one great difference from pagan religions: pagan gods were not legislators, but capricious symbols!) Even extreme examples of kings from the Middle Ages who committed brutal and violent acts against their subjects expressed a devout belief in God and did public penance for their offences. From a modern perspective this might seem as being a religion of convenience, but that view is not supported by the evidence. By the time of the Italian Renaissance there were those who advocated insincerity and no doubt some who adopted this philosophy. But it would be wrong to suggest that from this point the ruling class was devoid of religious belief or treated religion merely as an instrument of political repression.
avatar
MarkTurner26
Marquess
Marquess

Number of posts : 256
Age : 31
Location : Orpington
Reputation : 4
Registration date : 2012-11-03

Re: The Role of Relegion

Post by MarkTurner26 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:38 pm

In honesty I was using the Romans as a comparison, whilst I am not saying that the rulers were devoid of christian belief. I personally believe it was more a marriage of convenience. Again this is personal belief and personal opinion, I also believe we would be naive to think otherwise.

Guest
Guest

Re: The Role of Relegion

Post by Guest on Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:37 pm

Mark, by definition the pagan rulers of Rome were devoid of Christian belief! Indeed I doubt you are suggesting that those rulers somehow chose to reject a religion which was not in existence during their lifetimes? You are of course welcome to your personal opinion, but do try to back up that opinion with historical facts or learned references.

Is it really naive to hold that throughout history many rulers held strongly religious views and acted with religious principles? It is more likely that in today's world we find it easier to criticise the beliefs of others and that is why the role of religion in the game is often misunderstood or ignored?
avatar
MarkTurner26
Marquess
Marquess

Number of posts : 256
Age : 31
Location : Orpington
Reputation : 4
Registration date : 2012-11-03

Re: The Role of Relegion

Post by MarkTurner26 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:13 pm

I have to admit that I dont have much primary source evidence to back my theory up, and it is just conjecture on my part which is fair enough.

(lol Sorry very opinionated man)

Sponsored content

Re: The Role of Relegion

Post by Sponsored content


    Current date/time is Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:47 am