D&D 5E [Radiant Citadel] A chart of parallel Earth cultures and motifs across the D&D Multiverse


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Ket: also indigenous peoples of Siberia The Inexplicable Origins of the Ket People of Siberia

EDIT: And Ull is spelled with two "l"
Thanks for finding the typo

I’m aware of the Ket. I did graduate work in Native American Studies, and have read linguistics papers about the Yeniseian relationship with languages in the Americas. And, I do not think that, in this case, the designer (Gygax) was aware of or referencing the Ket. For three reasons:

1) The Arab (and Turkic) inspiration for the Baklunish peoples is clearly established.
2) There is no indication whatsoever of an Indigenous Siberian culture for Greyhawk’s Ket.
3) The wordshape /Ket/ is so short and simple it could’ve been inspired by any number of other sources, or coined as a fantastic name. For example “qat” or “khat”: qat - Wiktionary
 
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Ket: also indigenous peoples of Siberia The Inexplicable Origins of the Ket People of Siberia

EDIT: And Ull is spelled with two "l"
Here are my revised Baklunish entries with more background:
  • Ket (a blended Baklunish + Suel-Oeridian nation). The name "Ket" is perhaps inspired by the common Middle Eastern stimulant known in English as "qat" or "khat", from the Arabic al-qāt. The shift of /a/ to /e/ would be similar to the shift seen in "Akbar" to "Ekbir." Definition of KHAT
  • Ull. The name is likely from the the city of Al-'Ula near Medina, in Saudia Arabia, which is better known as the the capital of the ancient kingdom of the Lihyanites, the biblical Dedanites: Al-'Ula - Wikipedia
  • Zeif (said to be 'pure' Baklunish). There are three main examples of real-world "Zeif": 1) The Ottoman Turkish spelling "zaif" of the Arabic word "dhaʿīf", meaning "sick, feeble." 2) The Yiddish surname "Zeif." 3) A village near Hebron, Palestine spelled Zeif or Zif.
 

Update: I added the last cultural section to the OP...Ancient Roman.

Did I forget any Roman motifs? Specifically: does anyone have an official source for Old Oeridian language being like Latin, or am I just making that up? The Old Oeridian glossary at the Greyhawk Wiki doesn't look very Latin, but I seem to recall that some designers have used Latin for Old Oeridian. (Living Greyhawk?)

I believe I now have a section for all the Earthly ethnonational analogues which are found in the D&D Multiverse.

~Ancient Roman:
  • In Oerth:
    • The Old Oeridian language has some similarities with Latin.
    • The ancient Oeridian peoples are ~similar to the Latin / Southern European peoples, in that their blending with the Suloise peoples (~Germanic / Northern European) comprise the ~European population of the Flanaess: "The inner mixture of Oeridians with Suloise tends toward a typical European-mix looking population." --Gary Gygax, DRAGON #52, p.24
    • The command words on each piece of the Rod of Seven Parts are "Ruat," "Coelum," "Fiat," "Justitia," "Ecce," "Lex," and "Rex," which collectively make up a Latin phrase that translates into "Though chaos reign, let justice be done. Behold! Law is king."
  • In Mystara:
    • The Thyatian Empire is partly Ancient Roman based, and partly based on the medieval Greek empire of Byzantium. TSR's in-house Mystara Reference Guide says: "The Thyatians are a pragmatic and self-centered people, with the conquering instincts of Earth's ancient Romans (with their tastes in entertainment, too)."
      • Module DDA1: Arena of Thyatis contains an appendix on Thyatian Names, which provides tables of name elements, most of which are ~Latin.
      • DDA2: Legions of Thyatis is also Roman-themed.
  • In Krynn:
  • James Wyatt's Imperium Romanum and Shield of Faith settings. Some facets of James' settings appeared in DRAGON magazine during the 3e era.
  • DRAGON magazine:
    • Roman pantheon: "The Imperial Gods" by Eric Oppen, #133(p26), AD&D1e
 
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TwiceBorn2

Adventurer
Thanks for finding the typo

I’m aware of the Ket. I did graduate work in Native American Studies, and have read linguistics papers about the Yeniseian relationship with languages in the Americas. And, I do not think that, in this case, the designer (Gygax) was aware of or referencing the Ket. For three reasons:

1) The Arab (and Turkic) inspiration for the Baklunish peoples is clearly established.
2) There is no indication whatsoever of an Indigenous Siberian culture for Greyhawk’s Ket.
3) The wordshape /Ket/ is so short and simple it could’ve been inspired by any number of other sources, or coined as a fantastic name. For example “qat” or “khat”: qat - Wiktionary
You are definitely better read on the subject of world cultures than I, so I will gladly defer to your analysis. That said, while I have no privileged insights into Gygax's naming of Ket, he also seems to have been very well read and intentional in his naming conventions. I don't think it's a stretch to think that if Gygax had been inspired by the Uyghurs, Chukchi and/or Koryaks, that he might also have known about the Ket of Siberia.

I agree that Siberian-influenced herders in "Greyhawk Ket" seems odd for the very reasons you have given... but not much stranger than the appearance of Russo-Slavic inspired peoples in the Hold of Stonefist (a.k.a. Stonehold) on a sub-continent that--Rhennee and Attloi notwithstanding--seems to have little to no traces of Slav-like cultures. Yes, the name "Vlekstaad" (capital of the Hold) sounds vaguely Slavic, as does the name of the Hold's "founder"--Vlek Col Vlekzed... but Vlekzed was himself exiled from the Rovers of the Barrens (Arapahi, i.e., "indigenous North Americans?"). His once-Rover followers have since intermarried with the Germanic/Norse Suloise barbarians of the Thillonrian Peninsula (and assorted riffraff from the Bandit Kingdoms), thereby producing a... quasi-Slavic culture and linguistic conventions? That's messy alright. But this is a fantasy setting, so sure, why not?

Perhaps Ket had once been home to indigenous ("Flan"?) herders that have long since been pushed by waves of pre-Cataclysm Oeridian migrants and subsequent waves of Baklunish conquerors into the Yatils... if not to outright extinction? I also find this entry in the Merriam-Webster dictionary for "ket" interesting:

Definition of ket

(Entry 1 of 4)
1dialectal, British
a: CARRION
b: FILTH, RUBBISH
2dialectal, British : a good-for-nothing person

Source: www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ket#:~:text=Definition%20of%20ket,a%20good%2Dfor%2Dnothing%20person

I can definitely imagine the Suloise-Oeridian Knights of the Watch stationed in Bissel (akin to Knights Templars guarding the gateway between eastern "European" and western Baklunish "Arabic/Turkic" cultures) corrupting the original name of Ket, whatever it may have been in the tongue of its indigenous peoples or subsequent Baklunish settlers--perhaps "gat" or "khat" as you suggest--into something with more condescending and outright racist connotations. As I see it, the names associated with territories on the Darlene map and in various campaign books/folios are the names by which the dominant humans of the Flanaess--the Oeridians (Suloise-Oeridians in the Sheldomar Valley)--refer to those regions.

Again, I'm not challenging your interpretation and analysis. Just ruminating aloud on other possibilities. I used to find Gygax's vague descriptions of nations, cultures and peoples frustrating, but now I consider the wide scope for personal interpretation one of Greyhawk's many assets as a setting.
 
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TwiceBorn2

Adventurer
Update: I added the last cultural section to the OP...Ancient Roman.

Did I forget any Roman motifs? Specifically: does anyone have an official source for Old Oeridian language being like Latin, or am I just making that up? The Old Oeridian glossary at the Greyhawk Wiki doesn't look very Latin, but I seem to recall that some designers have used Latin for Old Oeridian. (Living Greyhawk?)

I believe I now have a section for all the Earthly ethnonational analogues which are found in the D&D Multiverse.

~Ancient Roman:
  • In Oerth:
    • The Old Oeridian language has some similarities with Latin.
    • The ancient Oeridian peoples are ~similar to the Latin / Southern European peoples, in that their blending with the Suloise peoples (~Germanic / Northern European) comprise the ~European population of the Flanaess: "The inner mixture of Oeridians with Suloise tends toward a typical European-mix looking population." --Gary Gygax, DRAGON #52, p.24
    • The command words on each piece of the Rod of Seven Parts are "Ruat," "Coelum," "Fiat," "Justitia," "Ecce," "Lex," and "Rex," which collectively make up a Latin phrase that translates into "Though chaos reign, let justice be done. Behold! Law is king."
I agree wholeheartedly with this.

Interestingly, I have seen some longtime Greyhawk DMs over at Canonfire interpret the Oeridians as Germanic(!). It never ceases to amaze me how widely interpretations of the same source material can vary (though they may evidently have overlooked Gygax's own commentary in Dragon). But to each their own!

And while we're here, I just want to reiterate my appreciation for what you're doing!
 

I don't think it's a stretch to think that if Gygax had been inspired by the Uyghurs, Chukchi and/or Koryaks, that he might also have known about the Ket of Siberia.
Ah, he might have known of it, but for the reasons stated, it doesn't pass my muster for the purposes of this chart. Also, I don't know if Chakji and Guryik were created by Eric Mona for the LGG (riffing off of the Tiger Nomads), or if he got that from Gygaxian writings. But either way, /ket/ doesn't pass the muster, for my purposes.
Yes, the name "Vlekstaad" (capital of the Hold) sounds vaguely Slavic, as does the name of the Hold's "founder"--Vlek Col Vlekzed...
Ah thanks, I was actually looking for ~Slavic references for Stonefist, because I was just going off of memory. I'd thought I'd read some DRAGON mag article in the 90s about using Slavic flavor for Stonefist Barbarians, but I wasn't sure if I was remembering right. I'll aim to include these in the Hold of Stonefist entry.
but Vlekzed was himself exiled from the Rovers of the Barrens (Arapahi, i.e., "indigenous North Americans?"). His once-Rover followers have since intermarried with the Germanic/Norse Suloise barbarians of the Thillonrian Peninsula (and assorted riffraff from the Bandit Kingdoms), thereby producing a... quasi-Slavic culture and linguistic conventions? That's messy alright. But this is a fantasy setting, so sure, why not?

I've done cultural analyses of other worlds too (such as Tolkien's Middle-earth and Star Wars), and it's really both an art and a science. To see where the real-world cultural framework holds, and where it dissolves into free creation. Often there are various frameworks that simultaneously overlap with each other.

For example, basically, the term "Baklunish" served as the stand-in for "Arabs." As a graspable term for the "Arab" nations of Oerth. And this framework holds pretty well at the level of the "present-day" of Oerth.

But then Gygax (and/or other GH designers) also says that the Tiger Nomads and Wolf Nomads are Baklunish. The real-world Turkic peoples aren't Arab. Yet those Nomads are said to be mixed with indigenous Flan. I think that equation just provides a vague justification for why the Tiger and Wolf Nomads are culturally and physiognomically distinct from the "Arabs". And their Baklunish connection keeps a sort of "Islamic" vibe for them, since the RW Uyghurs and (and many of the) Kipchaks were Muslims. I don't think much more can be read into it.

Same for the example you gave. Of Flan + Suloise = ~Slavic

Now if someone were to try to design the languages and proto-languages of Oerth based on those canonical statements, yeah, it'd require a lot of artistry, but it could be done. It wouldn't turn out to be just hamhandedly like "Classical Arabic magically turns into Uyghur Turkic!" Rather, the aesthetic flavor of those two real-world languages applies at various nodes in the framework, so that by the time of the WOG Gazetteer, those flavors are there. But their historical lineages are welded together through fantastic creation.

Though my chart seems rather "formed", I try very hard to honor the subtleties and imaginal/fantastic blendings which are evident in the published sources.
Perhaps Ket had once been home to indigenous ("Flan"?) herders that have long since been pushed by waves of pre-Cataclysm Oeridian migrants and subsequent waves of Baklunish conquerors into the Yatils... if not to outright extinction? I also find this entry in the Merriam-Webster dictionary for "ket" interesting:

Definition of ket

(Entry 1 of 4)
1dialectal, British
a: CARRION
b: FILTH, RUBBISH
2dialectal, British : a good-for-nothing person

Source://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ket#:~:text=Definition%20of%20ket,a%20good%2Dfor%2Dnothing%20person

I can definitely imagine the Suloise-Oeridian Knights of the Watch stationed in Bissel (akin to Knights Templars guarding the gateway between eastern "European" and western Baklunish "Arabic/Turkic" cultures) corrupting the original name of Ket, whatever it may have been in the tongue of its indigenous peoples or subsequent Baklunish settlers--perhaps "gat" or "khat" as you suggest--into something with more condescending and outright racist connotations. As I see it, the names associated with territories on the Darlene map and in various campaign books/folios are the names by which the dominant humans of the Flanaess--the Oeridians (Suloise-Oeridians in the Sheldomar Valley)--refer to those regions.

Well, those are not bad ideas, but then you're shifting into design work. For the purposes of this chart, I mostly stick very closely to the published sources. The furthest I go out on a limb, and start to shift toward more tenuous creative suggestions, are the subethnicities of the Traladarans in Mystara, just because I have a special interest there.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I've done cultural analyses of other worlds too (such as Tolkien's Middle-earth and Star Wars), and it's really both an art and a science. To see where the real-world cultural framework holds, and where it dissolves into free creation. Often there are various frameworks that simultaneously overlap with each other.
Yup.

For example, basically, the term "Baklunish" served as the stand-in for "Arabs." As a graspable term for the "Arab" nations of Oerth. And this framework holds pretty well at the level of the "present-day" of Oerth.

But then Gygax (and/or other GH designers) also says that the Tiger Nomads and Wolf Nomads are Baklunish. The real-world Turkic peoples aren't Arab. Yet those Nomads are said to be mixed with indigenous Flan. I think that equation just provides a vague justification for why the Tiger and Wolf Nomads are culturally and physiognomically distinct from the "Arabs". And their Baklunish connection keeps a sort of "Islamic" vibe for them, since the RW Uyghurs and (and many of the) Kipchaks were Muslims. I don't think much more can be read into it.
Probably, the Greyhawk term "Bakl-un" derives from reallife Baikal in Siberia.

On the planet Oerth where Greyhawk is, Baklun corresponds to Siberia.

Thus the Tiger Tribe and Wolf Tribe can be understood as Indigenous North Americans, who do relate to certain Siberian ethnicities.


Same for the example you gave. Of Flan + Suloise = ~Slavic
The winter "Barbarians" correspond to the Norse communities in North America.

Maybe Suel itself might be more like Slavic areas. However, Suel is a villainous culture associating with N*zi-style racism (such as Scarlet Brotherhood). I hope, no reallife culture is made to equate with it, because Suel is highly offensive.
 


Clay golems are from Jewish folklore, but Medieval Poland, not Ancient Israel.

Magical phylacteries at various points can be viewed as Jewish tephillin or general Egyptian and other ancient world phylacteries/magical amulets. This includes lich phylacteries, but also phylacteries of faithfulness and so on.

Horn of blasting is evocative of the trumpets at the Battle of Jericho.

Snake Staff is similar to Moses and the Egyptian magicians turning their staves into snakes.

Many D&D cleric spells are Torah inspired. Part water and Moses at the Red Sea. Sticks to snakes and Moses and the Egyptian magicians. Flame strike and Elijah's contest against the worshippers of Baal. Create food and water and mana from heaven as the Israelites cross the desert.
Thanks! I added them to the OP. Also renamed the section to more clearly include medieval Jewish culture:

~Ancient Hebrew / Israelite + Ancient Canaanite + Medieval & Modern Jewish Culture:
  • Also relevant:
    • Clay golems are from medieval Yiddish folklore, as is the term golem.
    • Magical phylacteries at various points have been portrayed as ~Jewish tephillin. This includes lich phylacteries, but also other D&D magic items such as phylacteries of faithfulness. The association of Jewish culture with the phylacteries of evil liches has recently been called to account, and the term is likely to be retired in future D&D products. For more on this, see: Dungeons & Dragons Has an Antisemitism Problem - Hey Alma ; Do Vecna’s New Stats Mean D&D is Killing the Phylactery?
    • Horn of blasting is evocative of the trumpets at the Battle of Jericho.
    • Torah inspired D&D spells:
      • Sticks to snakes: Moses and the Egyptian magicians.
      • Part water: Moses at the Red Sea.
      • Create food and water: mana from heaven as the Israelites cross the desert.
      • Flame strike: Elijah's contest against the worshippers of Baal.
 

Thanks for finding the typo

I’m aware of the Ket. I did graduate work in Native American Studies, and have read linguistics papers about the Yeniseian relationship with languages in the Americas. And, I do not think that, in this case, the designer (Gygax) was aware of or referencing the Ket. For three reasons:

1) The Arab (and Turkic) inspiration for the Baklunish peoples is clearly established.
2) There is no indication whatsoever of an Indigenous Siberian culture for Greyhawk’s Ket.
3) The wordshape /Ket/ is so short and simple it could’ve been inspired by any number of other sources, or coined as a fantastic name. For example “qat” or “khat”: qat - Wiktionary
You can also look at Kets most infamous son, Rary, who looks and dresses very Arabic.
 

cbwjm

Legend
For Krynn (but also for some of the other worlds) there’s always a caveat that motifs are especially blended. I’m not actually saying the Nordmen are outright Norsemen. They’re Norsemen in a jungle clime with Aztec names. Whose coastal folk are Black. And whose Horse Barbarian cousins are Turko-Mongolic khans. And whose culture is sifted through the Krynnish aesthetic and mythology (no Odin and Aesir!).

A cultural entry means different things depending on which world it’s from. For Mystara, it often means a close parallel. For Oerth, a more blended parallel. For Krynn, even more blended, to the extent that it’s only one of several “source motifs” for that culture, covering only a single aspect.

When I post the Norse-Germanic section, you’ll see that spectrum too:
-Mystara’s Northern Reaches. Very close parallel to earthly Norse.
-Oerth’s Snow & Ice Barbarians are more fantastic.
-As are Toril’s Uthgardt Barbarians.
-And even moreso, Krynn’s Nordmen.
-If there are any Norse/Viking motifs in Eberron, I imagine they are even more effervescent.

The listing of Krynnish Nordmen under ~Norse-Germanic doesn’t mean they are as parallel as the other worlds’ Norsemen analogues.

Same applies to all the sections on the chart.
Not sure of this has come up, but the 2e dragonlance book lists, I think, 4 barbarian cultures with the sea barbarians being black. Can't find out exactly where they call home, perhaps the coastal regions of Nordmaar are one of many regions where they berth their ships when not raiding.
 

Not sure of this has come up, but the 2e dragonlance book lists, I think, 4 barbarian cultures with the sea barbarians being black. Can't find out exactly where they call home, perhaps the coastal regions of Nordmaar are one of many regions where they berth their ships when not raiding.
Could you find a reference for the Sea Barbarians?
 

cbwjm

Legend
Could you find a reference for the Sea Barbarians?
Sure, in the 2e book Tales of the Lance: World Book of Ansalon, pg 55-56. I just had another read, the sea barbarians are listed as descendants of mariners from Istar. I've copied the relevant sections below for the sea barbarians. Lifestyle looks like it has some info on where they maintain some more permanent settlements. I always thought of them as the archetype for the mariner warrior class, probably helped along by the art used in the book.

Appearance
Sea barbarians have richer skin tones than other barbarians. Their skin ranges from light brown to glowing black. They wear their tightly curled black hair closely cropped to their heads. Their eyes flash with emotion—joy one moment and wrath the next—much like the volatile sea. Sea barbarians enjoy flamboyant and gaudy garb of sailcloth, homespun, or burlap. Life among the roaring billows and pitching waves makes these folk boisterous and courageous. Even so, they are the most civilized of the barbaric races.

Personality
Sea barbarians differ greatly from their barbarian brothers. On the outside, these loud, friendly people brim with good cheer. Underneath, though, sea barbarians harbor a haughty pride that keeps them distant from other races. Even so, sea barbarians deal fairly with those they meet and, given time, develop friendships that can weather any storm.

History
The sea barbarians have an entirely different history. They arose as mariners of once-mighty Istar. The Cataclysm destroyed the heart-city of their shipping business and dispersed the mariners throughout the world. Since the Zero Hour, mariners have led a somewhat nomadic existence. They never settle permanently: the urge to travel fills their blood.

Lifestyle
The sea barbarians live differently. Although they spend most of their time at sea, they do dock occasionally. Descendants of city dwellers, these barbarians maintain port cities where they can rest and sell their cargos. The city of Sea Reach on the island of Saifhum is one such bedroom town for sea barbarians. They forbid foreign traffic into Sea Reach, wishing to keep the foul folk of Ansalon at arm's reach.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Sure, in the 2e book Tales of the Lance: World Book of Ansalon, pg 55-56. I just had another read, the sea barbarians are listed as descendants of mariners from Istar. I've copied the relevant sections below for the sea barbarians. Lifestyle looks like it has some info on where they maintain some more permanent settlements. I always thought of them as the archetype for the mariner warrior class, probably helped along by the art used in the book.

Appearance
Sea barbarians have richer skin tones than other barbarians. Their skin ranges from light brown to glowing black. They wear their tightly curled black hair closely cropped to their heads. Their eyes flash with emotion—joy one moment and wrath the next—much like the volatile sea. Sea barbarians enjoy flamboyant and gaudy garb of sailcloth, homespun, or burlap. Life among the roaring billows and pitching waves makes these folk boisterous and courageous. Even so, they are the most civilized of the barbaric races.

Personality
Sea barbarians differ greatly from their barbarian brothers. On the outside, these loud, friendly people brim with good cheer. Underneath, though, sea barbarians harbor a haughty pride that keeps them distant from other races. Even so, sea barbarians deal fairly with those they meet and, given time, develop friendships that can weather any storm.

History
The sea barbarians have an entirely different history. They arose as mariners of once-mighty Istar. The Cataclysm destroyed the heart-city of their shipping business and dispersed the mariners throughout the world. Since the Zero Hour, mariners have led a somewhat nomadic existence. They never settle permanently: the urge to travel fills their blood.

Lifestyle
The sea barbarians live differently. Although they spend most of their time at sea, they do dock occasionally. Descendants of city dwellers, these barbarians maintain port cities where they can rest and sell their cargos. The city of Sea Reach on the island of Saifhum is one such bedroom town for sea barbarians. They forbid foreign traffic into Sea Reach, wishing to keep the foul folk of Ansalon at arm's reach.

Istar (≈ Babylonian goddess Ishtar) is mainly Iraq Mesopotamia. However, Istar (≈ related Canaanite goddess Ashtarte) is Lebanon fertile crescent.

In this sense, the Istar "mariners" are prominently the coastal Phoenicians, today Lebanon. The Phoenicians have sailor port towns all around the Mediterranean, even as far as Spain, and Carthage in Africa is a famous example, today Tunisia.
 

Sure, in the 2e book Tales of the Lance: World Book of Ansalon, pg 55-56. I just had another read, the sea barbarians are listed as descendants of mariners from Istar. I've copied the relevant sections below for the sea barbarians. Lifestyle looks like it has some info on where they maintain some more permanent settlements. I always thought of them as the archetype for the mariner warrior class, probably helped along by the art used in the book.

Appearance
Sea barbarians have richer skin tones than other barbarians. Their skin ranges from light brown to glowing black. They wear their tightly curled black hair closely cropped to their heads. Their eyes flash with emotion—joy one moment and wrath the next—much like the volatile sea. Sea barbarians enjoy flamboyant and gaudy garb of sailcloth, homespun, or burlap. Life among the roaring billows and pitching waves makes these folk boisterous and courageous. Even so, they are the most civilized of the barbaric races.

Personality
Sea barbarians differ greatly from their barbarian brothers. On the outside, these loud, friendly people brim with good cheer. Underneath, though, sea barbarians harbor a haughty pride that keeps them distant from other races. Even so, sea barbarians deal fairly with those they meet and, given time, develop friendships that can weather any storm.

History
The sea barbarians have an entirely different history. They arose as mariners of once-mighty Istar. The Cataclysm destroyed the heart-city of their shipping business and dispersed the mariners throughout the world. Since the Zero Hour, mariners have led a somewhat nomadic existence. They never settle permanently: the urge to travel fills their blood.

Lifestyle
The sea barbarians live differently. Although they spend most of their time at sea, they do dock occasionally. Descendants of city dwellers, these barbarians maintain port cities where they can rest and sell their cargos. The city of Sea Reach on the island of Saifhum is one such bedroom town for sea barbarians. They forbid foreign traffic into Sea Reach, wishing to keep the foul folk of Ansalon at arm's reach.
This is great! I'll add the Sea Barbarians to my chart.

As far as I can tell, the Sea Barbarians are distinct from the Black Nordmen fisherfolk (home of Theros Ironfeld) and the Black Ergothians (home of Maquesta Kar-Thon). A distinct nation of Krynn.

It's a bit confusing at first, since the iconic pirate Maquesta Kar-Thon was apparenty not a "Sea Barbarian", but an Ergothian. I don't know if Maquesta was intended by some of the designers to be a "Sea Barbarian", but from the info I've seen so far, she's an independent pirate of Ergothian origin. Whereas the Sea Barbarians are a particular marine-based culture which has existed since the Cataclysm; which of course means that most Sea Barbarians are born into that culture.

Being geographically dispersed, the city of Sea Reach may be the closest thing we know of a "capital" for the Sea Barbarians.
 

cbwjm

Legend
Istar (≈ Babylonian goddess Ishtar) is mainly Iraq Mesopotamia. However, Istar (≈ related Canaanite goddess Ashtarte) is Lebanon fertile crescent.

In this sense, the Istar "mariners" are prominently the coastal Phoenicians, today Lebanon. The Phoenicians have sailor port towns all around the Mediterranean, even as far as Spain, and Carthage in Africa is a famous example, today Tunisia.
I'm not sure it's best to use the name of the city in the game as a basis to link it to a culture in the real world. More than likely it was just a cool sounding name than any relation to the ancient goddess.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I'm not sure it's best to use the name of the city in the game as a basis to link it to a culture in the real world. More than likely it was just a cool sounding name than any relation to the ancient goddess.
The physical characteristics match SE Asia. Both linguistically and phenotypically, and with a famous maritime culture (!), at least the sailors appear to be Phoenician-esque.

That said, the inland area of Istar proper, far from the coast, is nonmaritime, and apparently Babylon-esque.

The Dragon Magazine Annual, where the full map of the planet Oerth, features a Greek style warship in the sea decorations. So the Phoenician counterpart to the Greek sailors are there in the setting too.

Meanwhile Tharquish = Rome, relating to both Greek versus Phoenicians, and Rome versus Carthage.
 

The physical characteristics match SE Asia. Both linguistically and phenotypically, and with a famous maritime culture (!), at least the sailors appear to be Phoenician-esque.

That said, the inland area of Istar proper, far from the coast, is nonmaritime, and apparently Babylon-esque.
Yeah it’s really not. Istar is the Papal States, complete with faux Latin tongue. Any Babylonian elements are put in because of the whole Great Apostasy angle (see my earlier post)

Any maritime angle fits Italy - the masters of the Mediterranean during the medieval era.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Yeah it’s really not. Istar is the Papal States, complete with faux Latin tongue. Any Babylonian elements are put in because of the whole Great Apostasy angle (see my earlier post)

Any maritime angle fits Italy - the masters of the Mediterranean during the medieval era.
Tharquish is Rome.

The link between Babylon = "beast" = Pope is a different (unfortunate) archetype.
 

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