SOURCING ARCHIVE DATA…
ARCHIVE DATA FOUND: AMAZON CULTURE
WARNING: Data is fragmented and may be incomplete
The Amazon homeworld Themyscira takes its name from an ancient Amazonian word meaning “we all are one.”
Amazons are the dominant life form of Themyscira, rising to prominence through control of resources, agriculture, and population. The discovery and near-universal utilisation of Geomantic fertility control gave Amazons a competitive edge over all other Themysciran species.
Amazons achieved spaceflight many centuries ago. They now have a broad knowledge of the greater galaxy, and have established contact with many other intelligent life forms.
Amazon culture is collectivist, and togetherness is fundamental to all Amazons. Young people learn to value collective decision making and action, keeping interactions civil and harmonious. Where disagreements do occur, giving offence is taboo, and taking offence is rare.
In military organisations that require hierarchical control, formalised conflict control is used, such as non-lethal sword duels, or games of chance.
All Amazons are familiar with the basic etiquette of sword duels, as they are accepted practice in settling social disagreements.
Amazons seek perfection in whatever they do, whether physical prowess, artistic endeavour, or scientific discovery.
Persons and Pronouns
Amazons refer to each other as women or woman in the singular. All people are women and all women are people. She or they are the accepted pronouns and are considered interchangeable although there sometimes is a preference among us.
Amazons are non-monogamous, and polyamorous family structures are common.
Amazons are able to control their fertility through Geomancy, a faith-based ideological meditation technique. It has been observed that Amazons who do not believe in the efficacy of Geomantic faith-based physic are unable to either up or down regulate their fertility.
Geomancy is the planet-wide religion, which balances population according to resources through permission based family planning. The Geomantic Council instituted this system after previous population control issues.
Geomancy is faith in the spiritual significance of the magnetic fields, or the 'Oort', that permeate the land and the sea. Some Geomancers believe these magnetic waves have quasi-benevolent sentience, but beliefs vary widely.
The Oort is not all-powerful, but hold deep significance to Amazons. Annual celebrations are held marking Oort effects on weather, seasons, and people.
It has been observed that the ‘frequency’ and ‘directionality’ of the waves can be controlled and channelled through Geomantic ritual to produce real results, including healing, and mental affliction.
Amazonian Culture — 5 Things
1. The telling of stories is considered a valuable communal activity and the status of good storytellers is high. Quieting down to listen to someone, even if it’s just a small anecdote, is considered polite.
2. Complimenting the beauty of an Amazon’s vambraces is a common way to begin a light conversation. They are created and maintained by their owners from the age of majority and are a sign that they are mature and part of adult society. Some of them are inscribed with words or drawings that are meaningful to the wearers, and crafting decorative vambraces is something one often does for oneself. Designs and sigils with meaning are considered emblems of identity and family and people who are closely related sometimes wear similarly decorated vambraces. The gifting of vambraces is also a meaningful and sometimes romantic exchange.
3. Communal dining in large eating halls is common, and mealtimes are egalitarian affairs where the co-mingling of disparate power groups or hierarchies happens. It’s one of the ways in which society ensures the flow of information, and brainstorms ideas and solutions. Meals sometimes include a speech or a story and it is said that stories that are taken in with food and drink are doubly nourishing.
4. Birth, Marriage and Death are celebrated through ceremonies guided by Geomancers. There are many different customs among the populace, and Geomancers each have their own practices as well. There is usually a compromise between a Geomancer and the people as to how they would like to honour the occasion, but food, storytelling and singing seem to be a part of most of them.
5. Dianesque celebrations are held once a year to commemorate the origin myth of the Amazons. It is customary to make and exchange meaningful gifts and poetry among loved ones. It is said that on Diana Day the star hearts’ flame in all people is revived through dance and laughter. Children especially love Diana Day because there is a tradition of dressing up as Evil Borderland Monsters and going from door to door in the neighbourhood collecting pacifying gifts of candy from each household. Naturally some adults still enjoy dressing flamboyantly for the occaission, some as Diana herself, others as one of the Three Graces (the original three people that sprang from the first fissure) — Strength (Thalia), Mirth (Euphrosyne), and Elegance (Aglaea).
Origin Myth — The Cult of Diana — Creation of The World
Themyscaira is a planet that is mostly uninhabitable, except for a small area on the planet called The World, where a combination of chemical and physical properties by chance opened up an area that was suitable for life to develop. In the way that the planet Jupiter has an enormous ‘spot’ Themyscaira’s ‘spot’ happens to be where life can thrive.
This is the story of Amazons and of how Diana created The World.
In the beginning there was nothing on the planet but dust, evil and poison. A falling star came down from the heavens and lighted the surface of the planet, its burning heart melting the rock. Within the radius of the fall, the star’s heat changed the rock into mud and water, forming sea and land. Around the remains of the heart of the star the mud gathered, and became form and shape and being. Diana was the name of this first Amazon, her flesh and bone made of the dust of the earth and her burning heart from that falling star. When Diana’s eyes opened she saw that the World was empty. But the mud around her was plentiful, and her bright star-gaze showered the earth with plants. They reached toward her eyes’ starlight as they though it were a sun, and they flourished. The plants nourished the creatures that formed from her fallen eyelashes and hair, growing and evolving into the multitude of life forms in our biome. Along the edges of The World where the seas end and the rock-deserts begin there lived evil creatures who were the original life forms of the planet. These creatures preyed relentlessly on the life that Diana had birthed into The World. Diana crafted a bow from the first, oldest tree and proceeded to shoot down every evil creature on the borders of The World, clearing them away to protect her creatures and plants from their menaces. Although her efforts were mighty, causing their menaces to subside almost completely, there remained a handful that escaped into The World, intermingling with Dianesque life, becoming eventually the dreadful predatory animals and poisonous beings that haunt us here. As the Diana’s star-heart aged and cooled, the starstuff of her heart began to crack and fissure, falling away into three separate pieces, which became smaller people. Those were the second Amazons, each containing a third of the original star. Those Amazons also fissured, becoming nine, and so on until the world was full of people. (Triplets and twins are common in Amazonian births.) To this day, each and every one of her people are suffused with the cunning, intelligence, wisdom, power and strength of the First Huntress, whose star burns within all of us.
Amazonian myth and legend and language have a curious similarity to Earth’s Ancient Greek myth, legend and language. It is very possible that of the many, many Amazonian colony spaceships sent out to habitable planets over the decades, some Crews may have influenced the local populace’s civilization and culture upon arrival. It is unknown what happened to these other Colony ships in decades past. (Earth was probably visited by another, older Colony ship. ) The Colony Ship Opportunity’s journey would have been to the nearest habitable, hospitable planet in its trajectory away from Themyscaira. Amazonians’ surnames are usually a rock or a mineral, the culture valueing strength and endurance. Sample Names: Leda Malachite (famous poet), Sybil Dolomite, Megara Granite.
Culture, Politics and Ideology
Amazons hold childbirth, childhood and children to be sacred. Historically incursions of other animal species malevolent to Amazons’ survival have bred a heroism and self-sacrifice in their personalities; on the flip side of this there is a keen sense of the sacrosanctity of childhood, because of the need for sacrifice for group survival. The ways this manifests include: a lifelong relationship between mothers and daughters, strong bonds between sisters whether natal or acquired, a strong tradition of mentoring and an emotional bond between a midwife and birthing parents.
The fine balance of the ecosystem of The World meant that a benevolent authoritarianism was the most successful form of government, both before and after the Great Unification. Amazons value cohesion, agreement, and group decision-making, therefore, and are hesitant to let dissenters be left out of any big decisions that they have to make. Voting, duels and debate are the cornerstones of how such authoritarianism releases tensions between competing viewpoints. Amazons have a deep understanding that dissent can be costly for everyone, they are masterful negotiators and seek consensus whenever they can. Amazons are however gracious and self-effacing in defeat as well as expansive and humble in victory, again, with the mindset that harmony is more desirable and ultimately valuable than pride.
Historically the conservative mindset has been that sacrifice and civic duty (donating volunteer labour for public works, serving in the military) is the only way to survive and thrive. In more recent history, however, a liberal mindset has gained credence and traction. The liberals are often science-optimists, keen to be more daring and bold in their approach to expanding borders and powers with an eye on the utopias that are possible. Conservatives are proud of the harmony and plenty that careful authoritarianism has made reality, and dismiss these ideas as risky and outlandish.
In recent generations, after the perfection of interstellar travel, the One Parliament has funded dozens of colony ships to be built and sent into the Aether, in the hope that other planets and star systems will prove habitable and families can once again achieve ‘free birth.’ Free Birth (both as a noun, and as a call to action) has been the banner under which the liberals have united, painting a picture of a Utopian future where state sanctioned family planning will no longer be needed. Nobody can remember a time when it wasn’t needed, and conservatives are not convinced that it is even a desirable ideal, in any circumstance.
None of the colony ships sent away from Themyscaira have ever returned, fuelling fire on both sides of the ideological divide. Not least, the complete failure of Amazonian colonisation of their one Moon has been cited as indelible proof that all the scientific progress cannot erase the need for self-control and resource management.
Naturally the liberals don’t see the Moon Colony Project as failures but great leaps forward in understanding the hows and whys of building new colonies.
Geomancy is the study and practice of the use of a planet’s magnetic fields to affect the physiology of the body as well as of materials. This school of philosophical and phenomenological theory has ancient roots in the (mostly) forgotten history of Themyscaira. As far as anyone remembers, Geomancy and its practitioners have always existed and always will. The various heuristics and habits of Geomancy are inextricably woven into the culture of the race.
There are many different methods of accessing the atunement of the planet’s vibrations. Each geomancer will have learned something different from their tutors, and there are almost as many different theoretical schools as there are geomancers. For instance there are geomancers who use a 4-element theory of atunement, focusing on an understanding of a planet’s energy as categorised into fire, earth, water and air. Another known school of geomancy focuses on the power of symbolic numerology, finding that a planet’s energy is best focused and directed through coincidences and links between numeric representations of all phenomenon. Still others calculate the relations between geographical landmarks as focuses of power.
In any case they are all effective and powerful, but all methods will necessitate a geomancer being in close proximity to the target.
Pregnancy and childbirth is of political importance on Themyscaira. The area of knowledge and skill has been controlled by the Iatrophysics Guild for as long as anyone can remember. The monopoly of the guild stems from two reasons. The first is the need for population control on the home planet. Resources are very finite on Themyscaira, and the Guild protects the whole species by sustaining genetic diversity while controlling family sizes. This they do through a system of cataloguing genetic library from which genetic material donated over the years can be re-combinated for new generations of Amazons. Their political control rests also on the fact that Amazons’ birthing process requires external assistance, and birthing alone is completely impossible. It is theorised that in pre-history groups of Amazons would assist each other, with knowledge passed between people without intervention. However the specific knowledge of how to consistently ensure a high degree of safety in birth and success in conception are now in the sole control of the Guild.
Historians are the guardians of Amazonian history and culture. Theirs is an ancient and respected profession, valued for their use of both history and story to enrich and sway the fabric of self-understanding among the people. This is not to say that Historians do not value facts, simply that, as the guardian and librarian of facts they view their duty to both remind and inspire. Historians will, for example, tell the story of the Enlightenment from different angles and biases depending on who is listening and the reason for any gathering. Amazons enjoy a good story and almost everyone understands that the power of storytelling has a tenuous relationship with actual historical facts. Pedantic scruples are of course funny but not taken particularly seriously by lay people.
Throughout history there have been some incredibly colourful Historians or, much more commonly, Historian-Leader dyads or triads, that have risen to political power through the power of storytelling. Stories of their sometimes virtuous, sometimes ethically suspect of spin-doctoring and narrative control of the populace are abound.
There is a tradition of storytelling during meals. Historians will often stand up after the completion of the first course to give a didactic talk about whatever strikes their fancy on the day, but it commonly involves the retelling of important events in history with a view to the present circumstances. It is said that the story flavours the meal that follows it. A common proverb is that “Truth spices, Insight sweetens, but Inspiration is the very spirit of the wine.”
Amazonian’s science and engineering schools have historically been the maverick, rebellious force in Themyscairan history. Whilst Innovators and Iatrophysics and other Guilds based on Geomancy have deep political roots and the power that comes with it, scientists have flourished in recent history, the last 4 - 5 hundred years, depending on which historian you ask, but all agree that the Enlightenment was of huge importance in scientific enquiry. Whereas Geomancy is based on faith, science is based on observable phenomenon and falsifiable data.
The story of the Enlightenment is, that once upon a time, there lived a great rebel thinker and all-round polymath genius named Aristotalea. Through the sheer force of her charisma she convinced the great Geomantic Councils and Guilds of her time to found the New School (still named the New School) which was meant to promote the education of otherwise disenfranchised people through free and at-cost education. This was at a time when society was much more stratified, and the wealth gap had resulted in a stagnation in the Geomantic circles’ innovation and creativity. The New School became so much more than its humble beginnings. As an outsider to the established philosophical schools, it attracted the most creative minds of the age and continues to command the prestige of being the greatest university on the planet. At the time, Aristotalea used her pioneering molecular research into the material Orichalcum to create a political cadre of militaristic rulers. This she did by providing a number generals with weapon-tech based on Orichalcum that would ensure victory over every other government on the planet. Thus the unification under The One Government was solidified and Themyscaira has not seen any Parliament other than the One Parliament. Society has become less stratified, life more stable and egalitarian since then. The production, control and innovations in Orichalcum weapon-tech is still closely guarded by the Guild of Scientists and the ties between the Army and Engineering power factions is still very strong.
Whilst Themyscaira is a planet short in some resources, it has never been short of life and biology. The biomes of Amazonian homelands are more lush and verdant, various and beautiful, than all of the richest Earth forests and reefs combined. Advanced Amazonian technology is based on the manipulation of biological material including: 1. Biologically based DNA calculators and computing devices. 2. The creation of Artificial Intelligence based on neuron cell engineering. 2. The use of plant ‘plastics’ and other fibrous materials generated by biological growth processes (think spider silk, or chitin) as manufacturing industry building blocks for anything from kettles to spaceships. 3. Biological energy storing ‘batteries’ made of ion-generating cell clusters that fuel all manner of devices and vehicles. The spaceships created by Amazonian technology are based on the ‘growing’ of a ‘body’ that cleverly adjusts the internal atmospheres of the ship to be breathable.
AI is a relatively recent, but great stride forward in the progress of science and engineering. Perfecting itself gradually over decades, the best Intelligences have become almost indistinguishable from people. Because of the culture and ideology of the Amazons, all AIs are designed — required — to be self-limiting. Their physical machinery as well as their code has always been subject to a kind of ‘death’ or breakdown, over time. In theory AIs could ‘live’ forever of course, but this has been deemed too dangerous to the balance of The World to be allowed. But it is accepted theory that the longer an AI remains active, the greater the chance of error and dysfunction.
The AI of the ship Opportunity is a HYPPOLTA — the most sophisticated of all of the Intelligences that have been created thus far. She is almost indistinguishable from a person in her interactions and understanding. She enables Amazons to travel the longest distances through space by managing their cryosleep throughout the journey. She was designed to be the longest lived of all of the AIs — with the attendant risks of such longevity deemed on balance to be justified given the hope of outer system colonisation.
Less sophisticated intelligences are used on the ship as robot servants. These intelligences are used as ‘librarians’ of sorts, to store and sort data, and to do research which would normally take up a lot of time and drudgery. They are a lot less long lived that the HYPPOLTA and they are programmed to ‘awaken’ at set intervals during the interstellar journey, to replace
Planting while waiting for the summer war, My flowers bloom, then a hundred flowers die. Bursts of fragrance pierce the skies, The entire city coated in golden armour.
— Untitled poem by Leda Malachite
In the time before the Great ForceField protected them, Amazons would all be required to serve in the military for a portion of their lives, because the Borderlands beasts would be a constant threat, breeding much faster and stronger than the animals nearer the centre of The World.
Before that time still, before the founding of the One Parliament of The World, Amazons also fought each other for the right to live in better, safer parts of The World, far away from the Borderlands. And the people in the Borderlands were envious of the Inner Lands’ wealth and relative safety. To be good at fighting was for these reasons incredibly honoured and respected since time immemorial.
All this to say that Amazons are a people that values martial prowess. In the time of the warring states people would be crowned Queens when they proved to be champions of tournaments of martial skill, or when they were successful in ridding the world of a particularly notorious borderlands beast.
To this day, all warriors are known as Queens after they pass the Military Examination to become a part of the National Standing Army. The Standing Army is the pride of all. This calling attracts only the truest and most dedicated Amazons into their ranks, because the training is intense and consuming. Interestingly, many of the most historic and famous Battlesisterhoods are forged in the fires of Military Examination failure. Time and time again historians have noted that triads of sisters resolving to re-take the examination in the following year disproportionately go on to become even greater and more glorious in their careers, both political and military, than those who passed on their first try. Before the time of the Great ForceField, the Standing Army was a cornerstone of Amazonian civilization. They protected the citizens from the incursion of fantastically violent and poisonous animals that live on the Borderlands of The World.
Naturally now that the ForceField protects the citizens, the Standing Army does much more than fight and train. In recent times they have become more ubiquitous in their role in Amazon society, their rigorous training having prepared them to exceed expectations in whatever they turn their hand to. They commonly spend their careers showing leadership in Parliament, for example, or leading educational establishments as Deans, living up to their titles as Queens.
The outward physicality of Amazonian bodies has no relation to their martial prowess.