Culture of the Amarr Empire

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All this data is potentially out of date, and should be taken with a truckload of salt

Template:Fiction Perhaps the most notable cultural characteristic of the Amarr (and certainly the one most cited by their detractors) is their apparent unwillingness to be influenced by other cultures. As with most generalizations, this one is not entirely correct, yet not entirely wrong either: The empire's cultural output is tremendous, but as is the case with its population and several other aspects of its national makeup, the emphasis is more on quantity and uniformity than on thematic originality or stylistic invention.

Due no doubt to its ubiquity, religious iconography has represented a starting point in most of the Amarr's major artistic movements through the ages. Sculptures are by far most common form of art, usually depicting scriptural figures varying in size and importance from the most minor (children, slaves) to the grandest (saints, angels). Despite the natural variance in terms of styles and materials across inhabited Amarr worlds, art historians have nonetheless found the general similarity of designs and motifs among planetary cultures to be remarkable. In addition to sculpture, the Amarr cultural oeuvre is largely taken up with painting and theater. Their painting tends to utilize both traditional oil paints, as well as more modern light paints and hypertexturized materials, but again the modernity ends there: In terms of both stye and content, the scriptural influence is front and center.

The general consensus among cultural scholars is that the empire's strong preference for strictly scriptural visual arts and its disinclination toward original literature are phenomena stemming directly from the top — that it has been ingrained into the populace for hundreds of years by their emperors that art and beauty lie in visual depictions of the truths that have already been recorded in words. Indeed, it appears the general feeling is that any attempt to do so would be not only useless but rather unseemly — perhaps even sacrilegious.

Naturally, as would happen anywhere, this has given rise to rarified artistic movements that make it their mission to be as subversive in this regard as possible. Mostly hailing from peripheral worlds, these movements tend to crop up every few years, each making a defiant stand against their art establishment's deeply rooted conformism, and each ultimately falling prey to the deadening effects the Amarr's cultural inertia. The government need bot even intervene; most of these movements are quietly and slowly quelled by the crushing weight of millennia-old tradition.

Ever since early settler days on Athra (the planet now known as Amarr Prime), religion has been of paramount importance to the Amarr. After the closure of the EVE Gate, faith provided the moral certitude which enabled them to expand and blossom into a full-blown empire.

Amarr Religion is exacting and dogmatic, placing a great deal of emphasis on the service of the individual to the the greater good (almost without exception expressed as "God" or "the empire"). Its tenets are laid down in a set of books known collectively as the Scriptures. An almost unfathomably large collection of holy texts, the Scriptures are Amarr's attempt to set in stone everything pertinent to the great mechanisms of religion and empire — they are not only a fundamental social contract but also a repository for historical codes of behavior, technological breakthroughs, and formative myths, among other things. The collective writings have been maintained and updated throughout the centuries by imperial theologians and include texts that hark back to very origins of Amarr society. The most defining characteristic of the doctrine, and one that emerges time and time again, is the affirmation of Amarr as the chosen people of God, the race destined to rule the universe in his name.

Long ago, the Scriptures say, a great disaster befell a corrupt and sinful mankind. Through these dark times only the Amarr maintained faith, and they alone were spared the worst of the hardships. God then bade the Amarr go forth and conquer the world in his name, until all of creation was worshiping at his altar. This mission drives the Amarr in every respect. Those descended from the original inhabitants of Amarr Island (called True Amarr) are held aloft by the rest of Amarr society, viewed as sacred paragons of piety. Other bloodlines are forever tainted by the sins of their ancestors; no matter how pious, no matter how fervent and faithful, they shall never match the unstained purity of the True Amarr soul. Discrimination, while not always overt, is a fact of life in the empire and accepted as natural. The impure can always strive toward the True Amarr ideal, but they will forever fall short.

This belief leads to great stratification in Amarr society, with the True Amarr presiding above and the conquered considered to be lesser citizens. At the very top stand the holders and the clergy. Below the nobles come the commoners, men and woman who do not possess the divine right to rule but are still considered free in the of the law. While free, however, they will rarely ascend past the rigidly defined ceiling of whatever caste they were born into. They must accept their place in the world and realize there is little opportunity for advancement. While the lowborn occasionally manage to become wealthy merchants, or win esteem as war heroes, they most resign themselves to never being viewed with true respect or admiration by those born into privilege.

Finally come the slaves. Slavery in the empire covers a broad range of professions. While many slaves are unskilled laborers in fields and mining colonies, a significant number are trained by their masters to fill roles that even commoners are rarely able to attain. The most intelligent and talented slaves receive higher educations and work as scientists, academics, accountants, even military specialist. Others fill low-ranking clerical roles in both the civil service and the church. Regardless of occupation, however, one thing unites every slave: They are never allowed to forget that they are slaves, beholden to their masters' whims, liable to be bought and sold at any time.


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