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    Canonfire :: View topic - The Days of the Week
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    The Days of the Week
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    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:19 pm  
    The Days of the Week

    Starday, Sunday, Moonday, Godsday, Waterday, Earthday, Freeday: the stars, the sun, the moons, the gods, water, earth, and freedom.

    It's pretty obviously a hybrid calendar, isn't it? Two elements, three celestial bodies, and one abstract concept. It couldn't have all originated in the same culture at the same time.

    The common months, on the other hand, are thematically consistent. They all relate to the agricultural cycle (which is interesting in its own right, suggesting it was developed by druids or some Overking who was really big into farming). But the days of the week smack of interference.

    In Eurasian cultures in our world, the days of the week were typically named for the planets that astrologers said were dominant in the first hour of the day. But in cultures where the gods the planets were named for fell out of favor, some of the day names got changed to reflect new gods and new traditions. So in Iceland, Frigg's Day and Saturn's Day became known as Fasting Day and Laundry Day after Christianity took over. In most Latin-derived languages, the day of the sun became the Lord's Day.

    We can deduce, then, that the common calendar of the Flanaess was associated with some faith that newer religions rejected. The most obvious candidate is the Old Faith of the druids. It makes sense, I think, that the druids with their stone circles and sickles and close connection with the Oerth and international hierarchy invented the months, festival weeks, and days of the week, teaching them to the farmers who came to them for spiritual and practical guidance while tilling the soil. Then newer gods, particularly the less tolerant ones like St. Cuthbert and Pholtus, came around and demanded that the people reject the ways of the amoral druids in favor of something more pious and modern, but some of the old traditions remained.

    I imagine that in the heyday of the druids the days of the week were more consistently named for the celestial bodies. There's precedent in the real world for planets being named for elements: that's how it is in the Chinese tradition. So perhaps the original days of the week were Starday, Sunday, Moonday, Airday, Waterday, Earthday, and Fireday. Then the nomadic Oeridian-derived faiths (or even earlier, with nomadic Rao-worshiping Flan herdsmen conquering the agricultural druidic Flan) came along with scriptures insisting that people take a break from farming to fast and worship and contemplate the gods. It might even suggest two conflicting traditions about which day to take a break in, since it's unusual to have both a day of rest and a day of worship unless, like in our own culture, scriptures mention two different days for two different reasons.

    The day I think is most problematic is Moonday. Would cultures on Oerth even have a single word for moon? There are two moons, and while they share a few things in common - they both light the Oerth when the sun isn't in the sky, and they both have eclipses - their appearance and role in timekeeping is as different from one another as the sun is from Luna. Moon is a cognate of month, so in a sense Luna is the only real moon. Celene might have some word that's a cognate of season instead.

    But of course there's more than one star, too, with very different astrological meanings, so the days seem to be named after "spheres" rather than individual bodies, and some druid may have decided that Celene and Luna both belonged to the "lunar sphere" in the same way that all the stars belong to the stellar sphere. It's problematic, though, and I think it's possible that there was an earlier or variant system in which Celene and Luna had their own days - for example, maybe Celeneday was an earlier word for Starday, and Lunaday was an earlier word for Moonday, before some superstitious dread of Celene or the influence of the church of Celestian demanded the stars be honored instead.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:13 pm  

    Another possibility is that the days were originally named for gods -- except godsday, which is set to honor all gods -- but have since come to be called for what those gods do, or did, best represent. Starday - Celestian, Sunday - Pelor (Sol or a primal Sun god), Moonday - Pholtus (Or if this system originates from ancient times - Cegilune), Godsday - All the gods, Waterday - Procan (Primal water god), Earthday - Beory (Oerth), Freeday - Tritherion. If this system is derived from ancient times they could even be gods or primordial titans, many of whom don't even exist anymore, so it only made sense to name them after their representations. It's an unusual mix of deities, but so were the gods who represented the days of the week for the Romans.
    GreySage

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    Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:55 am  

    That's some very interesting speculation, gentlemen. I can only add information from the real word, but here it is.

    The days of the week, as we know them in the USA, and their original namesakes are as follows:

    Sunday - The sun's day;
    Monday - The moon's day;
    Tuesday - Tyr's day;
    Wednesday - Woden's (Oden) day;
    Thursday - Thor's day;
    Friday - Frey(a)'s day;
    Saturday - Saturn's day.

    I have not bothered to research this information in depth, but I am certain enough of its veracity, at least, to throw it out there.

    SirXaris
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    Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:36 am  

    Perhaps "Moonday" was previous, and more formally might still be, called "Moonsday." The "s" having been dropped in the latter Common Tongue or in day to day conversation and use.

    In keeping with the ideal of a Druidic origin, perhaps Godsday and Freeday were previously Airday and Fireday in the Druidic names. But as the Old Faith was displaced by the deity worshipers, a day for the gods was added - perhaps taking the day reserved for the element most insubstantial and found in the direction of the heavens. The replacement of Fireday with Freeday could have been a political or cultural addition. After six days of gathering the fuel and essentials of life, it was the day for enjoying the warmth of the fire and ones labors and so perhaps became Freeday in name as well as practice?
    GreySage

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    Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:36 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Friday - Frey(a)'s day


    Nope. Friday was named after Frige (Odin's wife Frigg), whom the Germanic peoples associated with the Roman goddess (and planet) Venus. But it was named for the planet Venus, not the goddess directly.

    And the Romans only called the planet Venus because the Greeks had called it Aphrodite, not because they independently thought the planet or day were particularly Venusian - the earlier Roman week was an eight-day cycle named for the first eight letters of the Roman alphabet, and it wasn't until the third century or so that they finally adopted the Greek seven-day week.

    There isn't any precedent that I'm aware of for naming days of the week after gods directly, since the intersection between gods and time isn't obvious. Since the cycle of the wandering celestial bodies is an important part of timekeeping, though, the intersection of planets and time is very obvious. The gods who got their names into days weren't necessarily the most important gods in that culture (although many of them were); the Germans didn't even know who Saturn was, but they didn't have a ready equivalent for him in their own pantheon, so they just kept the Latin name.


    Last edited by rasgon on Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:49 am; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

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    Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:38 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    I have not bothered to research this information in depth . . .


    Xaris, you are absolutely correct. (Except for Rasgon's correction, an "easy" mistake. Odin's "wife" did not have two names, rather, Odin had two wives.) Wink

    Five of our months are also named for gods. (Let us not forget that both Julius and Augustus Caesar were deified by the Roman Senate)

    January = Janus
    March = Mars
    June = Juno
    July = Julius Caesar
    August = Augustus Caesar

    All five of them . . . Roman gods.

    So, five of our months and all seven days of our week are named for pagan gods -- albeit, from the Christian point of view. Wink

    As for "Godsday," we have done something similar in our culture (in the U.S.). It's just my opinion, but I "see" only three U.S. Presidents as having distinguished themselves enough to have their birthdays made into national holidays, but the U.S. people have ignored this fact and have opted for "Presidents Day," choosing to include Presidents who are less worthy of the honor.

    Thus, the all-encompassing "Godsday." Evil Grin
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    GreySage

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    Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:28 am  

    Yeah, there's more of a precedent for months being named after gods directly, since there were various festival days and so on in which the gods were honored. April might (or might not) have been named after Aphrodite. May was named for Maia (a Roman fertility goddess).

    As for Godsday, it's simply a day of worship. You can't set aside every single day of the week as a day of worship, since people have to spend time doing laundry and sowing crops and bringing those crops to market. So it's not like people were worshiping Mars on Tuesday, Mercury on Wednesday, Jupiter on Thursday, and Venus on Friday - these were just astronomical phenomena that they thought had influence over those days. In Christianity, some scriptures tell us that Saturday was set aside as a "day of rest," but that Christ was resurrected on Sunday, which inspired them to shift the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, but gave rise to our modern two-day weekend in order to accommodate both.

    Freeday and Godsday seem to overlap as the exact same concept. Traditionally, the day of rest is the day of worship, which leads me to think it must be a case of two different scriptual days overwriting the 'pagan' names of the Old Faith. Since a two days of shirking off work might be difficult for farmers to manage, I think it's possible that most people in the Flanaess only observe one or the other; perhaps chaotic faiths like Trithereon's prefer Freeday, while lawful faiths like St. Cuthbert's prefer Godsday.

    If the days are planets, I'd link them as follows:
    Starday: Celeneday (Celene) - alternately, named for the sphere of fixed stars
    Sunday: Sunday (Liga)
    Moonday: Lunaday (Luna) - alternately named for both moons
    Godsday: Airday (Edill)
    Waterday: Waterday (Conatha)
    Earthday: Earthday (Ginsel)
    Freeday: Fireday (Gnibile)

    If the planets are gods, I'd link them this way:

    Luna. Called the Great Moon and the Mistress, silvery Luna is associated most of all with the goddess Ehlonna. She represents fertility, growth, and romance. Luna has a dark side, too, and is associated with the Queen of Air and Darkness of the Unseelie Court and Cegilune, patron of hags and bride of Incabulos,.Luna has a more powerful effect on the tides than her Handmaiden, and she is associated with womens' fertility. While Luna is often associated with sylvan things, the dwarves believe her to be literarly forged from mithril by their god Moradin (or, sometimes, Fortubo). Wee Jas and Istus are also sometimes associated with Luna, and Xan Yae is considered the patron of Luna's shadows. Xan Yae is, like the moon, the Perfect Mistress.

    Celene. The Lesser Moon or Handmaiden is considered to be the more ethereal and spiritual of the two, associated with strange or prophetic dreams (as opposed to the commonplace dreams governed by Luna). She is associated most of all with Sehanine Moonbow of the elven pantheon (and to a lesser extent her consort Corellon), but she is also linked with occult things of the Deepoerth - the demoness Lolth, the kuo-toa goddess Blibdoolpoolp, the mind flayer god Ilsensine and the elder god known as the Watcher in Darkness. Among humans, she represents messengers and alchemists. She is universally seen as the more magical of the two moons, and despite her servitude of the Great Moon she is usually seen as the older of the two sisters. In the Baklunish pantheon Geshtai is associated with Celene, especially in her role as the diviner of hidden wells. Aquamarine Celene is seen to govern long sea journeys, where even her minor tides are still of vital importance, and is thus associated with Osprem. Celene governs the more secret activities performed by midnight, and therefore is sometimes associated with gods like Olidammara, Rudd, Kurrell, Pyremius, and Syrul. The dwarves believe Celene is a precious stone or ore, sometimes called moonstone or moonmetal. They speak of it in awed and fearful tones. Sometimes it is thought to be jade.

    Liga, the sun, is of course associated with Pelor (and, to a lesser extent, Pholtus). Among the Suel, Lydia.

    Edill, which is similar to Jupiter. The closest Oeridian god to Jupiter/Zeus is Velnius. The closest Suel god is Phaulkon.

    Gnibile, which is similar to Saturn. Nerull would probably be the best analogy. Among the Suel, Saturn corresponds to Lendor, but in Spelljammer Gnibile is haunted by negative energies and undead, so Beltar would probably be a better choice.

    Conatha is most like Neptune, and should probably correspond to Procan and Osprem.

    Ginsel is a world of merchants, so Zilchus. Among the Baklunish, Mouqol, and Xerbo for the Suloise.

    Borka is a world of orcs and goblins, so Erythnul, Maglubiyet, or Gruumsh might be appropriate. Maybe Pyremius for the Suel.

    Then there are two more planets that I think are probably not visible from Oerth (though divination spells might identify their location to inquisitive astronomers). These are:

    Greela, which struck me as a combination between Uranus and Mercury symbolically. I associate it with Boccob.

    The Spectre, a mysterious void world similar in some ways to Pluto. I associate it with Vecna, but it works as an omen of various Lovecraftian horrors and elder evils as well.

    Then, finally, there are the Sisters, which are not a true planet but are considered a "wandering star." A gateway to strange realms and times and the likely origin of the Barrier Peaks spacecraft, I wonder if they might be, mythologically, the lost sisters or wives of Celestian and Fharlanghn.


    Last edited by rasgon on Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:15 am; edited 4 times in total
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    Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:49 am  

    Do we necessarily have to equate the day of rest to the day of worship with respect to Greyhawk religions?

    Perhaps Godsday is a very active, and productive day - just doing the work related to one's patron deity. Godsday for a farmer whose patron is Berei would certainly have its moments of undiluted worship, but would it not also include activities directly related to agricultural productivity? The same for smiths who take Ulaa as a patron, etc.? Wouldn't a Godsday often be the most auspicious time to begin a task related to a particular patron deity?

    Are there any descriptions that Godsday (except those part of a festival week) is a day when work ceases for the commoner?
    GreySage

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    Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:02 am  

    It depends on the deity, certainly, but while I can easily imagine a day of worship that doesn't involve resting, it's hard for me to imagine a day of rest that doesn't have a religious component.
    GreySage

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    Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:27 pm  

    I appreciate your desire to associate the "days" with celestial bodies, but for me, "Starday" has to be associated with Celestian.

    Celene is just "another moon," though different from Luna. I don't see it associated with stars.

    Perhaps I'm allowing real world knowledge to interfere with my choice. But that's just me. Cool
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    GreySage

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    Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:42 pm  

    In my scenario, it wasn't originally called Starday. I think it's weird to name a day after the stars because the stars are so many and varied that this doesn't add any information or meaning in the way that the name of an individual celestial body would. Like, the planet Jupiter has a bunch of symbolic and astrological associations, but "the stars" in general mean so many different things that all meaning cancels itself out; you just end up with noise.

    See "The Seven Magical Planets" by Tom Moldvay in Dragon #38 for a comprehensive look at the mystical associations of the seven planets (including the sun and moon) known to the ancients. I'd like to see something like that for Greyhawk.

    But at some point there was some sort of "reformation" in which the darker associations of the moons - perhaps there was a plague of lycanthropy - and perhaps an increase in the power of Celestian's church in the Great Kingdom led the names to be changed.

    So no, I don't think Celene was ever associated with the stars. I think the stars were chosen to cover up an older association with Celene.

    I really don't have a perfect explanation yet, but "they named the day after Celestian" isn't satisfying to me either. There are reasons why the names of Roman and Germanic gods got applied to the days; it's the same reason that the ancient Chinese and Indian cultures named their days of the week after celestial bodies. I don't have a reason why they would be named for the gods of Oerth that makes sense to me, unless those gods were associated with the celestial bodies as well.
    GreySage

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    Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:23 pm  

    Okay, I'm working my way through the Moldvay article in Dragon #38. I won't give a "complete" opinion until I'm finished, but I already see some things I disagree with. For instance, "battlefield necromancy:"

    For this magic he combines the propitiation of Mars, the God of War, and Saturn, the God of Agriculture. Really? I would think that Mars and Pluto, God of the Underworld, would be a better combination for "battlefield necromancy."

    Also, he gives Mars, the God of War, the Archetypal Plane of Fire. Why wouldn't Vulcan, the God of Fire not receive the Archetypal Plane of Fire?

    And Saturn, the God of Agriculture receives the Archetypal Plane of Darkness? How does he make anything grow? Again, Pluto, God of the Underworld (a.k.a. Dead) for the Archetypal Plane of Darkness.

    Weird. But, as I said, I haven't finished the article. These are just a few of the problems I see -- from my point of view. I'm sure that others "see" it differently. Cool
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    GreySage

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    Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:45 pm  

    It's an article about the planets. Pluto and Vulcan aren't planets (Pluto is the name of a celestial body today, but it wasn't discovered until 1930 and isn't part of traditional magical systems).

    Moldvay is right about the traditional symbolic associations of the various planets. The things you know about Roman deities don't necessarily apply to the mystical baggage that's accrued on the planets in post-pagan times.

    Again, it's not an article about Roman deities. The planet Mars is associated with fire; whether or not the Roman deity Mars was associated with fire is beside the point. The same is true with the planet Saturn (which, remember, was associated with the Greek god Cronus, devourer of his children, before the Romans ever named it) and death. Moldvay was postulating a connection between the planets and the planes of existence (so, for example, portals to the Plane of Fire might open up when Mars is in the sky), not saying the Roman gods live in the Inner Planes.
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    Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:11 am  

    Perhaps a change of course, perhaps not.

    Maybe the naming of the first three days is based upon the type of light they give, not the particular celestial body (why its not moonsday and starsday). This might be a primeval acknowledgement of the separate qualities of each type of light by the Old Faith

    Sunlight is warm, helps things grow as well as brings drought, etc.

    Moonlight, though a reflection, is its own thing. It produces lunacy and lycanthropy, being changes to sanity and physical form in the same way moonlight gives a different appearance to things than sunlight. (Basing this on Luna and Celene not being light emitting, but reflecting, consistent with the Greyspace descriptions.) Perhaps the little bit of light reflected off the more distant planets circling Oerths is moonlight as well. While the light of more distant planets has no effect on the lycanthropy/lunacy cycle of Oerth, maybe it does have an effect on their closer neighbors beyond the Grinder. What does govern the lycanthropy cycle on Ginsel?

    Starlight could be viewed by astrologers as illuminating the future and the will of deities. It does not illuminate the present very well, but the stars are the sole beacons to tomorrow. The actual mechanics of how the deities place, remove, or change the appearance of stars is not the concern of mortals - mortals only get to see the light emitted.

    Just one idea for the naming of the first three days that could be assigned to the Old Faith, rather than to bickering deities.
    GreySage

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    Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:57 am  

    I appreciate that Mr. Moldvay is attempting to put matters into gaming terminology, in order to help DMs make such associations in their games. But I don't agree with his past associations, as you do:

    rasgon wrote:
    Moldvay is right about the traditional symbolic associations of the various planets. The things you know about Roman deities don't necessarily apply to the mystical baggage that's accrued . . .


    In the article, Mr. Moldvay makes this claim:

    "Possible roots can be traced to Hebrew cabalism, and the Orphic mysteries of classical Greece."

    Not so. Jewish writings -- including the Bible -- make it clear that the Jews, a.k.a. Hebrews, were the only peoples to put people to death for nothing more than practicing magic.

    And please, before anyone disagrees, do not give me examples of "mob rule," even if the mob was lead by a priest. In Israel, it was national law. The king, himself, enforced it, not the priestly class, even though their laws did derive from their faith -- just as ours supposedly do.

    So there is no "traditional symbolic association" derived from any 'Hebrew traditions.'

    Mr. Moldvay is correct in his Greek analysis, but his research is a little "off" in attempting to associate it with the Hebrews. He is supplying us with nothing more than a simple tool for making such associations in our personal games. But some of his historical references are a little wrong.

    Not trying to start anything here, or lead this discussion into a completely different subject. I'm just saying that I don't accept the article as an "authority," so to speak.

    But it is a nice help in formulating your own ideas for how the system could work within the World of Greyhawk. Cool
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    Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:50 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar, I'm not sure I see the connection you're making here - perhaps Moldvay is referring to medieval cabalism instead of Jewish law as practiced during the era of the kingdom of Israel? Or saying that those who constructed, or elaborated on, the various planetary associations drew on Hebrew mystics as a source?
    GreySage

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    Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:04 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    So there is no "traditional symbolic association" derived from any 'Hebrew traditions.'


    I'd suggest that you do some research into Kabbalistic mysticism before making assumptions like that. I'd start with the Sepher Yetzirah, a document from the medieval period or earlier which does indeed discuss the alleged mystical connections between the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the seven planets, the days of the week, the seven heavens, and various sensory organs.

    Sepher Yetzirah wrote:
    3. These seven double letters He formed, designed, created, and combined into the Stars of the Universe, the days of the week, the orifices of perception in man; and from them he made seven heavens, and seven planets, all from nothingness, and, moreover, he has preferred and blessed the sacred Heptad.

    4. From two letters, or forms He composed two dwellings; from three, six; from four, twenty-four; from five, one hundred and twenty; from six, seven hundred and twenty; from seven, five thousand and forty; and from thence their numbers increase in a manner beyond counting; and are incomprehensible. These seven are Planets of the Universe, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars; the seven days are the days of creation; and these an the seven gateways of a man, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and a mouth, through which he perceives by his senses.


    The Sepher Yetzirah is the earliest and foundational text for Kabbalistic interpretations of Torah, but of course Jewish writers elaborated on the ideas there for centuries.

    Moldvay gives his primary source as Henry Cornelius Agrippa, who was certainly aware of some Kabbalistic traditions such as the Sephiroth, so I think it's fair to say that there are possible roots to some of what he discussed in that article to be found in Kabbalah.

    That said, most of what you read in Dragon #38 is derived from non-Jewish traditions. Agrippa wasn't Jewish, and he didn't have access to many Jewish writings. Paging through the article, I'll note that the angel names are Jewish (the Shinanim, Ishim, and Bene Elohim are mentioned in the Zohar, for example, a later Kabbalistic text, and of course familiar names like Michael and Gabriel are from the Bible). There isn't much else that I would connect to Kabbalah as Jewish sources know it. Agrippa was from a tradition of 'Christian Kabbalah' that varied pretty radically from what the rabbis practiced.
    GreySage

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    Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:50 pm  

    A-Baneful-Backfire wrote:
    Perhaps the little bit of light reflected off the more distant planets circling Oerths is moonlight as well. While the light of more distant planets has no effect on the lycanthropy/lunacy cycle of Oerth, maybe it does have an effect on their closer neighbors beyond the Grinder. What does govern the lycanthropy cycle on Ginsel?


    That's an interesting question. If they're lycanthropes from Oerth, they may still be governed by Celene or Luna regardless of where they go. Maybe all lycanthropes in Greyspace is governed by Celene or Luna. I think the curse of lycanthropy might be specifically tied to the moons and moon goddesses, rather than the concept of reflected light, but I'm open to other possibilities.

    My preference would be to give some of the planets moons of their own, particularly the gas giants. Some planets may not have native lycanthropes.

    One really banal explanation for the names of the days of the week might be that Star, Sun, Moon, God, Water, Earth, and Freedom are glyphs in one of the ancient alphabets and numbering systems, so they're really just an old way of counting. In that case, they might not have any greater meaning at all.
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    Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:05 pm  
    Celestial/Terrestrial days of the week.

    Just my thoughts, briefly on the topic ...

    I never stopped and put in all the thought to this that you guys are.
    I just figured that the days were named for the elements that surrounded the people who first used those names. There's, essentially, two groupings.
    • Stuff in the Sky (Celestial) Stars, sun, and moon
    • Stuff on the Oerth (Terrestrial) Water and earth
    So, in between there are obviously Gods in both the heavens, and on Oerth, so, they go right smack in between, and there's got to be some kind of placement for a day to just relax, and it's best to have it on the same day so that everyone knows there's not gonna be much commerce on that day.
    I never s'posed that there was much more to it.

    Individual religions have their own holidays strewn about the calendar, and they celebrate them on their own. Resting is a universal need regardless of religion. If one wants to jog to the beach, fly a kite, or whatever, it's free. There's nothing religious about it ... unless some particular religion celebrates it. But, for the masses of commoners, it's just a day of relaxation to watch a ball game, or take in a movie.
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    GreySage

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    Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:06 pm  
    Re: Celestial/Terrestrial days of the week.

    Icarus wrote:
    Resting is a universal need regardless of religion. If one wants to jog to the beach, fly a kite, or whatever, it's free. There's nothing religious about it ... unless some particular religion celebrates it. But, for the masses of commoners, it's just a day of relaxation to watch a ball game, or take in a movie.


    Obviously comparing Greyhawk stuff to real-world stuff can only take us so far. I've been criticized before for being too doctrinaire about insisting that Oerth's cultures should take paths similar to real-world cultures.

    That said, it's far from obvious in the real world that people have any inherent right to a whole day off work every week. Lots of people don't get one today - the concept of a two-day weekend is a creation of the labor unions, and for millions it doesn't really exist. In pre-Christian Roman times, the closest thing was a "market day" every eight days, but that was spent working - bringing produce to market rather than tilling the fields. Resting is a universal need, but a full day of rest (let alone two)? Not everyone agrees. Where there is a day of rest, it always (as far as I can tell) originated as a religious holiday of some sort. A lot of people aren't going to get off working without an excuse like "I'm religiously prohibited from working on that day" because the world doesn't stop and their managers need to fill shifts.

    So I'm not really sold on the idea of a sabbath with purely secular origins. Without the power of a religious taboo, it's very difficult to justify a day off for the vast majority of workers. There are still cows that need milking, people who want to eat and drink and sleep at taverns, people who want to buy from shops, cities that need to be protected from thieves and monsters. Not to mention that a fairly large percentage of humans in the Flanaess are some variety of serf or slave. Priests, scholars, students, nobles, and skilled tradesmen might be able to get away with it, but they risk being out-competed by those who continue working anyway, keeping their shops open, studying, and keeping their temples open for the people to receive blessings and healing. In a world where the gods are fiercely competitive, would a temple really risk closing up shop so the priests can fly kites and watch the ball game on "secular fun day" if other temples might stay open?

    One thing that struck me, though, perusing Wikipedia, is the Buddhist tradition of Uposatha, a day of contemplation and cleansing tied with the phases of the moon. What if it was Freeday that was originally linked to Luna, and "Moonday" was linked to Celene? Then Starday could be "Airday" or "Skyday," rounding out the elemental-linked days of the week. That strikes me as a more plausible transition than connecting Celene with Starday. I suppose Godsday could be Fireday, then, the day of burnt sacrifices.

    Edit: Actually, glancing at the Greyhawk calendar, the major phases of Luna are all on Godsday, which makes sense if you assume that Godsday is kind of the equivalent of Uposatha. I have no idea why Freeday would be "free." Maybe it isn't - maybe it's just a name that originated as a corruption of "fireday," and doesn't really have anything to do with freedom. Maybe some priests of Trithereon went on about the torch or lamp of liberty, though, and maybe some guilds insisted on giving the day off to worshipers of Trithereon. If fire is associated with a planet, it'd likely be the red planet Gnibile, which is ruled by undead and might have some kind of funeral pyre connotations, a day to burn the dead for fear that they might rise. And set their souls free.

    I think I'd associate Godsday with Luna, then, Moonday with Celene (which hits its waxing phase on Moonday four times a year), Freeday with fire (the similarity in names is obvious), and Starday with air (air=sky=stars). That works for me.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:29 pm  

    Well ... everyone has a little bit different justification of the way things work in their heads. If it works for you, hey, run with it, man! Happy

    I tend to think that even though people think of the weekend as a "Freeday" kind of thing, there are certainly millions of people who do work, even in modern America. The waiters, the policemen on patrol, auto-factory workers, steel mill workers, farmers milking cows, sales clerks, grocers, firefighters, coal miners, big rig drivers, etc. They're all out there, every weekend, despite it being the weekend.

    I think that there would be a lot of things that wouldn't close. As you point out, most places of worship don't close on weekends. The Priest doesn't close up shop. The mall is always open, as would be the Grand Bazaar. One can always go out for dinner, as one can always find a bowl of soup in the common room at the inn or tavern. I don't think that it would be everything closed like on Christmas Eve or something. Mercantilism would still continue, for all of the reasons that you point out above.

    After considering it a bit, I think that one should consider that while this is a fantasy game, it was written by authors with a fairly modern mindset. So, while there is a "secular fun day", it's not something that stops normal trade and practice. While there may indeed be some businesses that do not keep Freeday hours (I can imagine the signs that say "Closed for Freeday"), there are certainly others that haven't any proclivity for observing that day of rest, and there's always managers needing to fill up a schedule, and hard-working folks who are willing to take up the days of work left slack by those who are not.

    Oh, and interesting points that you made about "elemental-linked days of the week", but, I don't really think that the common man would really be into the Planar-thing so much. For example, in the Gord the Rogue novels, when asked to "enumerate the Inner Planes - there are twelve", it was a rather daunting task, and in fact he couldn't "answer one in twenty" of the questions being fired at him. Now, I'm not trying to quote canon, I'm just saying that I think that is a fair enough example of how I think that a commoner would react to something like days of the week correspond to things that they really don't know much about.
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    GreySage

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    Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:10 pm  

    Icarus wrote:
    After considering it a bit, I think that one should consider that while this is a fantasy game, it was written by authors with a fairly modern mindset. So, while there is a "secular fun day", it's not something that stops normal trade and practice. While there may indeed be some businesses that do not keep Freeday hours (I can imagine the signs that say "Closed for Freeday"), there are certainly others that haven't any proclivity for observing that day of rest, and there's always managers needing to fill up a schedule, and hard-working folks who are willing to take up the days of work left slack by those who are not.


    The question is, why would anyone decide that Freeday was a day for taking off work? As I said above, in the real world days of rest have religious origins, even if they become secular later on. Do you think that's the case for Freeday? If not, what was it about that day that made them decide it was a good excuse for a vacation (as opposed to Godsday, which would be more obvious)? The random caprice of an Overking? Did someone just roll a seven-sided die and convince everyone to go along with it?

    Because it's not obvious to everyone that there needs to be a day to relax, and it definitely isn't obvious that it should be on the same day for everyone of every faith. In the real world, the day of rest is Friday, Saturday, or Sunday depending on whether you're a Muslim, a Jew, or a Christian; how did the faiths of the Flanaess agree on a single day? Did they agree, or do many groups not think of Freeday as particularly restful?

    Quote:
    Oh, and interesting points that you made about "elemental-linked days of the week", but, I don't really think that the common man would really be into the Planar-thing so much.


    The "common man" doesn't design calendars. Calendars are designed by people with positions of influence: priests, druids, astrologers, imperial bureaucrats, philosopher-kings. It doesn't matter to the "common man" what the days are called - they tend to just go along with what their culture teaches rather than inventing idiosyncratic calendars of their own.

    The weekly calendar in the real world has elemental associations (as Mystic Scholar and I discussed above), though the "common man" doesn't know about them. Our seven-day week was devised, probably, by Mesopotamian astrologers many thousands of years ago. As the centuries went on, the planet Marduk's day became the planet Zeus's day, which became Jupiter's day, Thor's day, and now Thursday. Ishtar's day became Aphrodite's day, which became Venus's day, Frigg's day, and Friday. Ninurta's day became Saturday, Nabu's day became Wednesday, and Nergal's day became Tuesday.

    In the traditional Chinese week, Tuesday is associated with the planet Mars and the element of fire. Wednesday is associated with the planet Mercury and the element of water. Thursday is associated with the planet Jupiter and the element of wood. Friday is associated with the planet Venus and the element of metal, and Saturday is associated with the element of earth.

    The "common man," though, doesn't care about the origins of the day names, or what they symbolically mean. Still, the meanings and origins exist, and this thread is about unriddling the meanings and origins of the days of Oerth.
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:42 am  

    Rasgon ... I understand your point. Really, I do. I just don't agree with it.

    It's a world full of elves, dragons, and magic. If I can believe in those things, I think that I can believe in a secular day of rest. I think that it's not so much to try to explain a way things ought to be different, but to explain why things are the way they are.

    I know you're a canon-guy most of the time. That's one of the reasons that many of us here at Canonfire love reading your posts. I also know that sometimes, you enjoy an intellectual debate, and will play Devil's Advocate for the sake of conversation. So, I have a challenge for you: work on a reason that Freeday is the way it is. I would love to hear your thoughts on how it could've possibly happened that Freeday is a generally accepted secular day of rest. And just as interesting, those religions, organizations, or other exceptions to the generally accepted norm.

    Not a command or dictate, or anything. but, I'd love to read your take on why this particular canon exists.
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    GreySage

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    Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:12 am  

    Icarus wrote:
    It's a world full of elves, dragons, and magic. If I can believe in those things, I think that I can believe in a secular day of rest.


    I loathe the "if there are unicorns, there can be whatever other random thing I want with no explanation" argument. I'm not aware of any fantasy author or game designer, except possibly Jeff Grubb (maybe Piers Anthony at his most decadent), who would seriously argue that "eh, it's fantasy" is a good reason to betray the implicit contract with the reader that, in exchange for suspension of disbelief about the presence of magic and meddlesome gods and so on, the rest of the setting will play according to the rules (whatever those rules are). Even elves and dragons should have explanations that make sense within the context of the fantasy.

    So what I'm asking for, here, is simply a reason for why the days of the week are how they are.

    I'm not telling you that Freeday can't have a secular origin. I'm pointing out that sabbaths in the real world don't, so if this one does on Oerth there should be a reason for it. I even suggested some possible reasons; you could pick one or come up with your own. Or maybe, as I suggested in my initial post, Freeday originally had a religious origin. Why not?

    The purpose of this thread is just to think about the internal logic in the setting. It's not really a thread for insisting that fantasy settings don't need logic. If nothing else, that kind of takes the fun out of speculating.

    Quote:
    So, I have a challenge for you: work on a reason that Freeday is the way it is.


    Well, that's kind of frustrating, since that's what I've been doing for this entire thread. I suggested some reasons involving planetary associations, funeral traditions, the church of Trithereon, mad populist Overkings, and random die rolls (I suppose I could add the whimsy of Lord Mayor Zagig Yragerne to the list). So I'm not really sure what more you're asking from me, here. Do you have any constructive suggestions?


    Last edited by rasgon on Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:41 am; edited 3 times in total
    GreySage

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    Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:17 am  

    Double posts are so annoying.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:14 am  

    I can explain Freeday. It all started with the International Brotherhood of Dwarven Metal Workers Strike of CY 376...

    Seriously, as a secular holiday I'd put it down to one of the Overkings thinking something along the lines of "Maybe people need a day of rest since they spend all day worshiping on Godsday, and that isn't really restful. All that bloody kneeling and standing up, kneeling and standing up..." and then just changing it in the calendar. I'd also point out that one way of looking at things like this (I do) is that most of these standards are for the most part specific to the Great Kingdom or its successor and splinter states, so they may not even have Freeday off in the Sheldomar, and certainly not in the Baklunish Lands, unless maybe that's where it all started.

    And don't forget, in Soviet Iuz, there is no Freeday. Wink
    GreySage

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    Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:44 am  

    Both Rasgon's and Smillian's explanations could also be born out by economics.

    Let us remember, the Calender as we know it is of Western origin. And though the East still has its own calender, they use "ours" for the simple reason that everyone must do business with the West.

    And, before 'we" argue, I'm saying that's how it began, though some might argue that that is changing.

    So it was simpler for them to adopt our calender.

    The Great Kingdom would fill that niche nicely. Since the Great Kingdom "rested" on Freeday, it simplified "business" throughout the Flanaess to follow their lead. Originating Freeday in the Great Kingdom also allows for a religious beginning, since it possibly originated as a religious sabbath in the Great Kingdom.

    I'm writing this response "quickly" however and will give further thought to my own supposition. Wink
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    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:52 pm  

    Mystic Scholar ...
    I had to read your post two or three times before
    i finally decided that I could get the right gist of it. I was trying to figure out whether you were referring to our own "real world" calendar when you were saying "nEast" and "West". I figured you probably were referring to Europe, and not North America, as well.
    It's probably just me being pedantic, but in a world where the European-flavored culture is in the East, it gets confusing sometimes!! Confused Ah well.

    Rasgon - thanks for "loathing" what I have to say.
    ...Okay ... I figured I would smile a little here, and offer a warm friendly chuckle. ... Here's one. Laughing You can have it, I made it just for you. ... Razz I hate to admit it, but, I just deleted a whole long rant. you know I'm a bit reactionary and have been know to "blast off" a couple of times. But, I am quitting smoking, and I am a much more reasonable person to live with ... or so my girlfriend tells me.
    At any rate, I guess I was just taking the intent of your posts a little differently. I read them as wanting to ascribe something to Freeday that they weren't. ... I am not fond of people who use the "unicorns and dragons" theory, either. But, I hadn't even realized that I was saying it in a way that could be read like that 'til you pointed it out.
    The thing of it is that the biggest point of what I said before is that I said *I*. My intent was saying that *I* don't find it a point of my imagination that I need to know where the names of the days of the week come from. My implication was that you could think of whatever you wanted. As many people are so fond of pointing out ... that's the great thing about the game, it's always open for a DM to do just that. Although, I have to admit that I read it as seeming though you were trying to come up with consensus on origins of the days of the week in support of your theories, and that you were pushing for the reasons to be validated by others as being non-secular in origin.
    Clearly, I didn't take the right intent in your posts. But, that happens from time to time, and it's no big deal.

    Tell you what ... let's not belabor the point of misread posts, nor rude comments about who loathes what ... you asked me for my constructive thoughts. Though I don't particularly like the idea of the origins of the days of the week, I am going to go back through the thread, read it all over again, and come up with what I think is the most likely to have happened. :) It's bound to be either over the top, or more likely, completely dull and mundane.
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:59 pm  

    Freeday originated as a symbolic reenactment of the Oeridians rising up and achieving their freedom (and subsequently rampage across Oerik). It is a day to cast off shackles imposed on you. Domestic business is attended to as usual, and there is no religious proscription against work, merely a societal one. Freeday is a day of the week, and not a annual holiday, to make it significant and meaningful.

    Most people, of course, don't know this, except as a general cultural proscription against slavery (one of the ways Greyhawk seems to significantly deviate from Earth history & culture).

    It was widely adopted because, frankly, Oeridians were everywhere, and the non-Oeridian underclass thought it was a great idea.

    Slaveholders in the Hold of the Sea Princes referred to Freeday as Bralmsday. It never really caught on with the slave class, though.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:04 am  

    Nellisir wrote:
    Most people, of course, don't know this, except as a general cultural proscription against slavery (one of the ways Greyhawk seems to significantly deviate from Earth history & culture).
    I don't see this deviation, as I believe slavery is commonplace in the decidedly Oeridian Great Kingdom.
    GreySage

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    Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:56 am  

    DMPrata wrote:
    Nellisir wrote:
    Most people, of course, don't know this, except as a general cultural proscription against slavery (one of the ways Greyhawk seems to significantly deviate from Earth history & culture).
    I don't see this deviation, as I believe slavery is commonplace in the decidedly Oeridian Great Kingdom.


    I think that that serfdom to the point of practical slavery is accepted in the Great Kingdom, but literal slavery isn't acceptable even there. Only in the lands controled by the Scarlet brotherhood, the Horned Society, Iuz, the humanoid realms of the Pomarj and the Bone March, and some Baklunish nations (especially Ket and Ull) where it is a condition of punishment for crime(s) is legal slavery an accepted part of the laws and culture.

    After beginning with 'Only', I am surprised at how many nations of the Flanaess I just mentioned. Shocked

    Now, I'll add that the Theocracy of the Pale likely induces slavery upon individuals convicted of certain crimes, some of the Bandit Kingdoms may do so too, and the Chakyik (Tiger Nomads) have probably kept/developed a culture of slavery for defeated opponents, respected or not.

    That doesn't leave a lot of nations to respect a leisurely aspect of Freeday. I think it more likely that this perception comes from Gygax's vision of the Free City itself - Greyhawk.

    SirXaris
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    Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:15 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Only in the lands controled by the Scarlet brotherhood, the Horned Society, Iuz, the humanoid realms of the Pomarj and the Bone March, and some Baklunish nations (especially Ket and Ull) where it is a condition of punishment for crime(s) is legal slavery an accepted part of the laws and culture.

    That seems to leave the Suel as bastions of freedom and anti-slavery. How odd.

    In any case, that was an off-the-cuff writing. Feel free to strike the anti-slavery part. Clearly the value of freedom is reserved for those who are smart enough to not get themselves enslaved, and those who are, deserve to be.
    GreySage

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    Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:24 am  

    Ivid the Undying confirms that slavery is legal in the Great Kingdom (and distinct from serfdom), for what it's worth. It's hard to imagine that a society whose chief religions include Hextor and a devil would have a problem with the practice. Although at least some of the Great Kingdom's slaves are undead.

    From the description of Castle Triumph:
    Quote:
    The absurdly-named castle, Triumph, is of very recent construction. There are stone quarries nearby, and Ivid commanded slave laborers, criminals, and serfs to toil night and day to build it.


    From the description of Atirr:
    Quote:
    The laws are harsh, with particularly severe penalties for thievery or any form of sabotage in the naval dockyards. The war galleys have slave rowers, many of whom are guilty of trivial offenses in the penal code of the city.


    From the description of Bellport:
    Quote:
    About 600 miners work at each of the vital electrum mines. The miners are slaves, criminals, and captured demihumans, brutally treated by the orcs who carefully guard the mines.


    From the description of Edge Field:
    Quote:
    Hastern has avoided paying too much of this wealth to Grenell by the simple expedient of paying tithes instead. These take the form of wood, slaves, and gold from the Adri, taken in the raids his powerful soldiers mount from the city and a string of outlying militia camps, of which the orc camp Gerrkadenk is the most important.


    Quote:
    Hastern is chaotic and, as such, given to occasional outbreaks of random and terrifying violence. He has learned the wisdom of maintaining a captive dungeon of helpless slaves beneath his mansion rather than taking out such rages on his troops and advisers.


    From the description of Prince Stychan of Dustbridge:
    Quote:
    He is a connoisseur of tortures, possessing an unequaled collection of suitable instruments, and his tastes run to the bizarre: one of his masquerades included a cast of slaves and captives who had their tongues extracted to prevent them speaking and were then encased in the skins of great cats. The wretched victims were stitched inside the suits, their hands held within the paws by tarred bandages so that they were unable to get out of them. The application of hot peppered oils shortly before the final stitching ensured that the poor wretches went berserk with pain. And the appearance of a snarling and shrieking assembly of lions and tigers (as it appeared) proved a suitably dramatic conclusion to one of Strychan's evening gatherings.


    From the description of the Sea Barons:
    Quote:
    In any event, many serfs have their life eased by the fact that the Barons and their liegemen often have slaves in their households, save in Oakenisle. These slaves are humans taken from Hepmonaland for the most part. Thus, Barons do not make excessive demands in the way of service from their serfs.


    Leastisle:
    Quote:
    About a third of the island's folk are indigenous, many of them used as slaves by the invaders, who have become little more than pirates now.


    The armies of the See of Medegia:
    Quote:
    The very dregs of armies were employed: the remnants of the Glorioles Army, orcish forces, and even penal legions of convict and slave militias and levies.


    Castle Wyverntor in the Darmen Lands:
    Quote:
    A handful of dwarves and gnomes, some slaves, supervise the mining work.


    South Province:
    Quote:
    Along Relmor Bay, South Province is engaged in a sporadic piratical war with Nyrond. The fleets of Prymp and Shargallen raid southern Nyrond, seeking slaves, plunder, and food.


    And there are a lot more references to slavery in Ivid, but you get the idea.
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