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Oldest and Youngest Potential Pantheons

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  • Oldest and Youngest Potential Pantheons

    What do you think the oldest and youngest pantheons active in the World would probably be?

    For the oldest, I mean the oldest historical pantheon we have enough information about in reality for it to be feasibly written up.

    For the youngest, the Cortes Divinas are the youngest I currently plan to include. I imagine the Loa and similar pantheons resulting from post-colonial mixing of religions would also be among the youngest, though there would be specific deities on some of the others who were also that young. I'm not really comfortable using modern harmful cults like Scientology and intend to simply not overthink whether those religions fall under the guise of "all myths are true."
    Last edited by Wannabe Demon Lord; 02-22-2020, 02:58 AM.

  • #2
    If you're going by "Stuff we have records for", then when Demigod hits I'll definitely be including the Anunna. And they're one of the earliest recorded religions we have, AFAIK.

    If I include the Teros, they may be up there.

    The Netjer, IIRC, are pretty old... And if a player asks me to play a God from Watcher and Sacerdos's Hittite Pantheon, they're in, but I don't think either are QUITE as old as the Anunna.


    Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Wannabe Demon Lord View Post
      What do you think the oldest and youngest pantheons active in the World would probably be?

      For the oldest, I mean the oldest historical pantheon we have enough information about in reality for it to be feasibly written up.

      For the youngest, the Cortes Divinas are the youngest I currently plan to include. I imagine the Loa and similar pantheons resulting from post-colonial mixing of religions would also be among the youngest, though there would be specific deities on some of the others who were also that young. I'm not really comfortable using modern harmful cults like Scientology and intend to simply not overthink whether those religions fall under the guise of "all myths are true."
      Hm, this is fun, but of course difficult. I'll try to give an overview on the major Pantheons we have in the game already, excluding those where a focus on oral culture makes it difficult to assess the true age of a tradition.

      So, the Anunna are obviously the ones with the records going the furthest back, closely followed by the Netjeru, both Pantheons clocking in at around 3000 BCE at the latest. The Ilhim join in at some point around 2500 BCE, just young enough to be looked down upon by the former two. The Shiunesh don't really manifest as a Hittite Pantheon until some time around 1700 BCE or so, but they contain antecedents that go back a few hundred years more. That might also be the time frame in which the Preclassic Maya form, laying the foundations for the K'uh as we know them. Deities ancestral to the Inca Apu might go similarly far back, but since they lacked writing, we can't be sure. The same really goes for most non-Mesoamerican Native American Pantheons like the Manidoog of the Anishinaabeg; they obviously have considerable time depth, but we can't say how much.

      Then, some time around 1500 BCE, the earliest, Mycenean manifestations of the Theoi appear and Zarathustra is born. This is also when the Vedic Aryans begin to move into the Indian sub-continent, bringing the antecedents of the Deva as we know them. The Chinese Shang Dynasty begins ca. 1600 BCE, too, but how much religious heritage they share with later China is difficult to assess; by 1000 BCE, the Zhou take over, with firmer ties to modern Chinese culture. By ca. 850 BCE, the Iliad is recorded and the Theoi take the shape we know them in today. Around 500 BCE, the Buddha is born, and by 200 BCE, the Hindu epics and Puranas begin to be written, presenting the Deva as we know them.

      Moving on into the Common Era, Tacitus writes his Germania in 98 CE, giving the oldest account of the Germanic deities, some of which might be related to the Aesir we know. Germanic religious tradition doesn't begin to really resemble anything we would recognise until the Migration Period at the earliest, so around 500 CE (the actual Viking Period not beginning until almost 800 CE). The 6th Century is also when Procopius in his De Bello Gothico gives the first account of a Slavic deity, the "Creator of Thunder" who may be Perun. By 400 CE, Ireland has begun Christianisation, so the Tuatha Dé Danann would logically go somewhere before that, if not so many of them were actually created during the later Christian literary tradition. This is also the point at which the traditions of the Anunna and Netjeru have definitely faded.

      Somewhere around 200 or 300 CE, the Kingdom of Yamatai arises, ancestral to Japan and perhaps its religion, though the earliest genuinely Japanese texts are from the 7th Century. The 4th Century is also when Daoism and Buddhism become firmly established in China. By 1000 CE, the Aesir and Bogovi have been known and forgotten again already, swept away by Christianisation. Around this time, Ile-Ife arises as the first great city-state of the Yoruba, though again, it is impossible to know if it already worshipped the Orisha as we know them. This is also the time when the Nahua begin to move into Central Mexico, bringing deities like Tezcatlipoca to the already complex religious situation there and beginning the composition of the Pantheon we know as the Teteo. That's where I would draw my line; most Native American, African, and Pacific Pantheons are not clearly datable until European contact, but that says nothing of their true age. And anything younger, like the Cortes, the Loa, etc., I leave to people with more expertise. I hope this helps you, though.

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      • #4
        Well one thing to consider is some religions aren't as old as some of the stories about long long ago. If you go by the Stories of Buddhist, Veddic, Native American cultures they explains situations that took place before there cultures were around. Jataka stories for instance take place so far in the past that its essentially another World.

        But my bet would be a Pantheon of the Dreamtime, the Australians have songs that seem to originate possibly 50k years ago... that is nutz and blows Summeria and Egypt out of the Water.

        As for newest Pantheon, I would totally have a Pantheon that could have been founded yesterday, that type of thing is what I've done in my games.


        It is a time for great deeds!

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        • #5
          That is, as always, extremely useful, Sacerdos. To be honest, having an idea for when most of the big-name pantheons started relative to one another is something I had no idea I needed but will probably be extremely handy.

          With the Aboriginal deities, they're probably exceedingly ancient but it seems impossible to say how old exactly and whether the deities we know of today even resemble the oldest ones, as Sacerdos pointed out about most oral traditions. The Khoi, San, and Mbuti pantheons, should resources that would allow proper write-ups for them ever come to light, are very likely in a similar boat. I'd imagine the Anunna love to lay claim to the title of the oldest active pantheon, even if it's impossible to confirm whether or not that's true. I suspect that they might be quite antagonistic towards the Dreamtime pantheons for challenging the title, given that from what I know about the Anunna, they are absolutely that petty.

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          • #6
            The Gods of the Aboriginal people may be very old indeed, but given how they (very understanably) don't really like sharing their stories with outsiders, I imagine we won't see an official write-up.

            Shame, but I can respect when the answer is "No we're not gonna tell you our legends, piss off". In these cases then I would just run it in Scion as "Well they exist, but they keep to themselves and we as a table are going to conveniently not interact with them"


            Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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            • #7
              There's also a difference between how long the Pantheon claims to have been around and how long ago their worship began. From what I understand, Scion is using a sort of retroactive continuity where the founding of Pantheons are concerned: your proto-Pantheon starts out as a collection of Scions from other Pantheons, rising through the tiers from Hero to Demigod to God, and then collectively do whatever it is that's done to establish themselves as a Pantheon. When that happens, the history of the World is revised so that their genesis stories are now true and they've always been the Gods of that Pantheon.

              So with that in mind, the “oldest Pantheon” gets measured from how long ago belief in that Pantheon first appeared, not how far back their own myths say they've been around.

              I'm pretty sure that Scion: God will be getting into these issues in much greater detail.


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