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Factbook of Mktvartvelo
« on: October 17, 2021, 10:03:51 AM »
Unitary State of Mktvartvelo
("მქართველოს უნიტარული სახელმწიფო)"




Name: Mktvartvelo
Official name: Unitary State of Mktvartvelo
Motto: "Forward, with Strength and Unity"
Anthem: ეჰეე ჰეეე ("Ehee, ehee!")
Population: 118,051,595 (2021 census)
Demonym: Mtkvarteli / Mktvartvelian
Capital city: Ktsatskuri
Largest city: Azavrelia
Languages: Utkhrami (sometimes referred as Mtkvartvelian) as official language; Csletian as recognized language
Religion: Order of Simartlea (majority), with government support; others include Christianity, Islam, etc.
GDP per capita: $21,019
Currency: Tetri



Political system: Elective Monarchy
Head of State: Brzdmtsveli
Head of Government: Prime Minister
Legislative: Parliament of Mktvartvelo (bicameral: National Assembly and Council of State)
Formation: 1704
  • Mtskhetistsikhe Confederation, 3rd century
  • Kingdom of Sashuavelo, 1259
  • Gapantuli Era, 15th-17th centuries
  • Unitary State of Mktvartvelo, 1704
  • Kingdom of Mktvartvelo, 1892
  • Unitary State of Mktvartvelo, 1926



« Last Edit: November 29, 2021, 09:03:15 PM by paralipomena »
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Re: Factbook of Mktvartvelo
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2021, 12:13:55 PM »

History of Mktvartvelo



The formation of the Unitary State of Mktvartvelo

During the ancient era, Mktvartvelo was home to several tribes, as well as several western Coft Aranye colonies established on the Safraen Gulf. The Pertiveli tribe gained domination of most of central and western Mktvartvelo following the establishment of the Mtskhetistsikhe Confederation, which was more an alliance of tribes than an unified state, in the third century. Every tribe, who were mostly a loose network of territorial clans, elected a Matskharebeli (a military title, derived from "horse bearers" in Proto-Utkhrami language), and between an assembly or council of Matksharebeli, a new military leader was chosen. Sometimes, a tribe elected a Matskharebeli from another title (for example, a successful military commander from another tribe who was married into one of the clans of that tribe), which may result in the same person elected by several tribes, increasing his option to become leader of the confederation. The assembly as Matsksharebeli served as well as the military leadership of the confederation, but both the armed forces and the government of the confederation was far from being an unified political body, at least by modern standards. By the seventh century, however, the Mtskhetistsikhe Confederation, became defunct due to internal division and wars with nearby states.

By the 13th century, the country was divided in several states, including the Kingdom of Sashuavelo, which controlled most of eastern and central Mktvartvelo. By the late 15th century, a large part of the territory fell to the rapid invasion of Abydos, while settlers established in the coast. Following several large war campaigns, foreign domination ended in the 17th century. Following a long civil war, the Unitary State of Mktvartvelo, under the form of an elective absolute monarchy, was finally established in 1704.

Under the Unitary State of Mktvartvelo, it was established the figure of the Brzdmtsveli (literally "Sovreign Guardian" or "Sovereign Lord", but sometimes simply translated as King or Emperor), who was elected by the leading clans to serve for life. It was effectively an absolute monarch, who served until his or her death or abdication. He was sometimes also known for the title of "Brdzmepetmepeba" ("King of Kings", sometimes also translated as "Emperor"). Although the Brzdmtsveli was the head of state, his/her power was contrained by the military leadership, which at the time was loosely organized, due to the influence and power of the local governors (who could be described as more clan-based warlords than government officials). The influence of the clans was reinforced by the establishment of the High Council in 1751, which included senior members of the leading clans. After the death of Ramaz Maisuradze, the High Council was granted the power to nominate and elect the new Brzdmtsveli. The High Council increased its influence over government policy in the late 18th century, although it was officially only a consultive body, and the appointment of ministers and government policy was decided by the Brzdmtsveli himself, with no legislative control.

Although the ruler was the ultimate executive authority, he delegated power to provincial governors, who were usually senior members of the leading clans in those provinces, even if they were legally appointed by the ruler himself. Governors often saw the ruler as a peer whom they entrusted with ultimate authority and as a benefactor of their own power. The governors could be described as clan-based warlords, rather than political officials, and when they felt that the Brzdmtsveli was not ensuring their interests, disruptive behavior or coup conspirations were relatively common. Alternatively, the Brzdmtsveli tried to gain the favour and support of the governors with a network of alliances and arranged marriages with the clans which the governors belonged.

Despite the electoral nature of the process, dynastic succession was nonetheless a reality at times, and although hereditary rule was rare as a whole, successors were often linked to the previous ruler through blood or clan affiliation. More often than not, the relatives of the Brzmtsveli were elected with the ultimate inention that they serve as convenient figureheads presiding over an oligarchy of military and clan leaders. There was also an unwritten rule, mostly respected until the present, that the Brzdmtsveli must be from one of the clans which were related to the ancient clans from Mktvartvelian mythology, as well as in possession of a government position or nobility title, which reduced the amount of candidates. Sometimes, however, a clan gained dominance as monarchs during decades, in de facto clan-based dynasties (although the monarch was not necessarily successed by a close relative). That was the case of the Mstiani clan, to which all Brzdmstveli belonged -with the exception of 1761-1769- from 1739 to 1786, or the Gabedi clan, who were repeatedly elected as heads of state from 1829 to 1881.



State reforms and crisis

In 1841, it was established a Council of Ministers, establishing the office of the Prime Minister (head of government) for first time. The Prime Minister was directly appointed by the Brzdmtsveli, who could dismiss him at any time. During the reign of Malkhaz Kapanadze (1846-1881), the High Council was abolished and replaced by the Council of State, which increased the Brzdmtsveli's influence over the composition of the council. He also introduced important many military and administrative reforms, including many of which, particularly on judiciary, local government, and state administration still survives today. In 1878, he also established the General Assembly, the first permanent parliament in the country, although under a highly restrictive suffrage, which barely 20,000 electors in all the country.

Brzdmtsveli Malkhaz Kapanadze died, and he was controversially replaced by her widow, Hagit Na'ava Mashiah, a Vanorian noblewoman, who had become Malkhaz's second wife in 1869. Mashiah, took the title of Tamara I, and continued most of her husband policies, introducing new reforms such as a military and banking system reforms, decriminalization of religious proselytism, and the final abolishment of serfdom. Her succession had actually being planned by Kapanadze himself, as he had hoped that his marriage with a foreign noble will result in the start of a new clan, which would establish a new dinasty under a hereditary monarchy. Her election as Brzdmtsveli was possible as consequence of Malkhaz Kapanadze' supporters that he had appointed into the Council of State, and who would be the basis for Tamara's government.

However, she was deposed in a coup d’etat in 1886, as her rule was increasingly opposed by the military leadership and the clergy, which feared secular reforms, after rumours that she planned to expand freedom of religion and decriminalize conversion to foreign religions. Okropyr Beridze was appointed Chairman of the Provisional Government by the military leadership and two months later, his cousin Ramaz Beridze was announced Brzdmtsveli by the Council of State. Under his reign, the General Assembly was permanently suspended, and the country renamed as Kingdom of Mktvartvelo.



National War

Under Brzdmtsveli Ramaz Beridze, opponents of the regime were murdered and the press suffered strict censorship. The deposed monarch was sent to secret prison where she died in 1891, allegedly of natural causes. Under his rule, he favoured the eastern and southern clans, and persecupted particularly the Gabedi clan, whom Brzdmtsveli Malkhaz Kapanadze had belonged, despite that leading members of the Gabedi clan had player an important role in the coup d'etat against Tamara. During his reign, tensions with Abydos increased, following the persecution of religious minorities, and with Vanora as well, once it was officially confirmed Tamara's death in 1892.

Political and social opposition considerably increased in the following years, resulting in the Gvalvitsebi Revolt, which resulted in the establishment of the Council of Zeribelumi, in western Mktvartvelo, and the start of a civil war, known as National War (1897-1906). In 1899, he was forced to flee the capital city, establishing in the city of Tsikham, in southeastern Mktvartvelo. In 1901, the republican armies, led by Nikusha Bolkvadze, started a siege of the capital city, although they were forced to withdrawn in early 1902. Following the murder of Bokvadze, he was replaced by Zaur Gelashvili, which increased the division in the revolutionary forces. Gelashvili, whose government was based in Kalumi, renamed the council as “Revolutionary Council”, taking the title of president. Although his government has been described as socialist for some its radical policies, such as the nationalization of all agrarian lands, he was rather socially conservative in many issues, and tried to gain the favour of the clergy. The revolutionary government, however, weakened as consequence of internal political divisions. In 1905, Gelashvili was replaced by Anzor Qazaishvili, but the revolutionary forces would be finally defeated in 1906.

Under the Treaty of Mtsanevelo, in which Anzor Qazaishvili, accepted to surrender in exchange for an amnesty and the inclusion of the western clans into the national government, peace was restored in Mktvartvelo. General Guram Ananidze, who acted as acting Brzdmtsveli since 1904, decided to step down in 1907, and the Council of State gathered and elected Levan Mikataudze, from the Dasatsqise clan, as Brzdmtsveli.




Reforms and modernization

In 1911, the Charter of Khisjvari was promulgated, which granted some constitutional rights (including the legalization of conversion to foreign cults and a ban on torture), as well as the establishment of the National Assembly, and a new of rules for the election of the Brzdmtsveli and the Council of State, which membership was reformed.

After the death of Levan Mikataudze in 1926, he was replaced by Goga Shengelia, from the Mekvseli clan. He introduced some important administrative reforms, including the passing of the Basic Law of Mktvartvelo in 1934, which reformed the membership of the Council of State. He also introduced an important judiciary and education reforms, limited the power of the religious courts, expanded the electoral law, and restored the official name of the country to Unitary State of Mktvartvelo. During his reign and his successor’s, the country also experienced an economic modernization and industrialization efforts, helped by the reform of the taxation code and the reform of the financial legislation.

However, his successor Lasha Michelidze resisted liberal reforms and secularization, demanded by constitutionalist representatives, unions, and businessmen, fearing possible political turmoil and increasingly foreign influence in the country. During the next decades, the country experienced a period of relatively stable industrialization and economic growth, although remaining in relative isolation from abroad. Under Tsisana Lomidze (who ruled from 1944 to 1967), the Treaty of Nordheim was negotiated, establishing a settlement for the issue of the northeastern colony, and it was implemented an opening of the economy to attract foreign investment. These policies were mostly continued during Brzdmtsveli Vepkhia Daushvili, who had a more active foreign policy, including the negotiation of several trade agreements with several foreign governments, which contribute to increase exports and imports considerably.




Political crisis and further reforms

However, in the 1970s, the country experienced a period of stagnation. In 1971, Vephkia Daushvili abdicated, and Otar Zakhariadze (who had been Prime Minister three times, 1952-1957, 1961-1962, and 1966-1969) became the new Brzdmtsveli. Otar, however, would die in 1976 at the age of 69, and the Council of State would prove unable to agree in a candidate to replace him for more than 14 months. This period is commonly known nowadays as the "Parliamentary Dictatorship", given the National Assembly increased its power, as a majority were able to appoint a Prime Minister who acted as de facto acting monarch. Otar Zakhariadze's former supporters and political allies were able to block the appointment of a successor as head of state, and pushed to the establishment of a hereditary monarchy, which was increasingly debated in both chambers of the parliament and the public opinion.

In late 1977, a failed coup d'etat was defeated. The conspirators allegedly aimed that Giuli Koberidze, who was both Otar Zakhariadze's cousin and son-in-law, to be appointed as Brzdmtsveli, although he later denied any knowledge about the conspiracy. The constitutional crisis was finally ended in early 1978, with the election of Endzela Shengelaia, from the Ertviani clan, as new Brzdmtsveli.




The last decades

A period of calm was established under Brzdmtsveli Endzela Shengelaia, who, besides the election of the Prime Minister and the appointment of representatives to the Council of State, was not particularly involved in partisan or domestic affairs. During her reign, many reforms very introduced, such as several reforms on the electoral law and civil law, as well in taxation and in education and healthcare, and she would rarely use her executive and veto powers. Particularly since the 1990s, Mktvartvelo would experience a more constant economic growth and technological modernization, although regional and individual inequality slightly increased. She would continue as Brzdmtsveli until her abdication for health reasons, in 2002.

She would be replaced by Tamaz Japharidze, from the Pridoni clan, who ruled until 2021.



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Re: Factbook of Mktvartvelo
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2021, 06:52:25 PM »

Politics of Mtkvartvelo



Head of state: the Brzdmtsveli

The Brzdmtsveli (meaning "Sovereign Guardian", but often simply translated as "King") is the head of state of the Unitary State of Mtkvartvelo. They were originally elected for life by an aristocratic council. Before taking the oath, the new head ofstate was presented to an assembly formed by the incumbent ministers, religious authorities, state magistrates, and representatives from the clans with the words: "This is your sovereign, accept him", which was  reduced to "Your Sovereign" since the late 19th century.

The Brzdmtsveli's prerogatives were not defined with precision until the 20th century. He ruled for life and was granted the powers of an absolute monarch. The restrictions on his power were not exactly as consequence of legal regulations, but the influence and power of the governors and the most senior members of the most important clans. In the 18th century, following a political crsiis after the death of Brzdmtsveli Ramaz Maisuradze, some regulations were established, and the head of state was not allowed to possess an property in a foreign land, or leave the country without the formal authorization of the parliament. A High Council, formed by representatives of the clans, was mostly an advisory council which not direct influence on government policy, but it was granted the power to nominate and confirm a new Brzdmtsveli after the death (or resignation) of the head of state. The High Council was later renamed as Council of State, with a change in its composition.

The Brzdmtsveli is both the head of state and the commander-in-chief of the United Armed Forces. It is the most powerful position in the country, and has a prominent role in both domestic policy and foreign relations. He has also the power to appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister. However, since the 20th century constitutional reforms, there are some limitations to his powers as head of state and, as while he retains his power to veto any legislation, this can be overriden by a supermajority in the parliament. However, he can not dismiss a Prime Minister who was appointed through a vote of no confidence, unless the state of emergency or martial law are passed (which requires parliamentary approval). He has not, however, the power to dismiss the Prime Minister three months before the next nationwide election - without the exception of a few legal clauses and circumstances.

The Brzdmtsveli is elected by the Council of State, the Upper House of the Parliament, and serves for life (or retirement). There are not clear mechanism in which a Brzdmtsveli could be impeached or dismissed, however, as he is granted immunity for prosecution, unless we would be declared incapacitated for health reasons.


Head of government: Prime Minister

The Prime Minister heads the Council of Ministers (the national government), which determines and conduct the policy of the nation. He is directly appointed by the Brzdmtsveli (the head of state).
The Prime Minister, however, has not the power to dissolve the National Assembly or call for new elections. He has the power, however, to issue a "motion of confidence", placing a bill before the National Assembly, and either the parliament rejects the bill and overthrows the government, or the bill is passed automatically. This is rarely issued, but it is often used in cases which a bill is too controversial or are increasing rumours that the Prime Minister has lost the support of a majority of the parliament.

The Prime Minister has also the power to appoint ministers to the Council of Ministers, which he personally leads. While the head state has the power to veto the appointment of a minister, he has not the power to dismiss a Prime Minister once the minister has been legally appointed. The Brzdmtsveli, however, has still the power to veto the state budget, which is considered to be a sign that the Prime Minister has lost the confidence of the head of the state, and typically prompts the resignation of the government. The Prime Minister, as head of government, has also the power to introduce bills to the parliament.


Parliament

The Parliament of Mktvartvelo is bicameral, composed of the National Assembly (Lower House) and the Council of State.

The National Assembly

The National Assembly is currently composed by 599 members, who are elected to represent constituencies by the FPTP system for a five-year term. The National Assembly passes laws and supervises the work of the government, between other functions.

There are three types of legislation in Mktvartvelo: Basic Laws, state acts, and resolutions. Basic laws have the status of constitutional legislation (requiring the approval of at least half of the total members of the National Assembly and 2/3 of the Council of State), state acts require the approval of a simple majority, while resolutions are non-biding motions that manifest the opinion of a majority of the parliament on certain issue (either calling the government to act on that issue or condemning certain behavior or circumstance).

Only the Prime Minister and the President of the National Assembly can introduce legislation into the National Assembly. Other members of the National Assembly can introduce (non-biding) resolutions, but they are not allowed to formally propose basic laws or state acts.

The National Assembly can not dismiss the Prime Minister. It can, however, propose a motion of no confidence, which requires to be passed by 2/3 of the members of the National Assembly in its first vote, and by a simple majority in a joint session of the National Assembly and the Council of State. The motions of no confidence requires the existance of an alternative candidate, and it is the only case in which the parliament can directly elect a Prime Minister (unless the office Brzdmtsveli is temporarily vacant). They require that at least 150 members of the parliament sign a declaration before starting the process. The head of state is barred from dismissing the Prime Minister and appoint a new one while a motion of no confidence is pending. The signatories are not able to submit another motion during their term.

The President of the National Assembly is elected by an absolute majority of the National Assembly members. He can only be removed -excepting the case he has been suspended by a court for violation of the law- by at least 2/3 of the members of the National Assembly. He is sometimes unofficially called "Shadow Prime Minister" for his influence on negotiations and his power to introduce bills. The President of the National Assembly, however, does not participate in parliamentary debates. As there is not officially a "leader of the opposition", the President of the National Assembly may act as such, in cases he is not in good terms with the Prime Minister or government policy.

There are no official or recognized parliamentary groups, and the members of the National Assembly are sat in the parliament in fixed seats according the constituency where they were elected. Every member of the National Assembly has the same right and time to intervene in parliamentary sessions. There are not formal time limits for debates, and every member of the National Assembly has the right to intervene at least once per debate. The President of the National Assembly has, however, the power to limit the intervention of a member of the parliament to one intervention (or no further interventions) if he feels his interventions are not relevant or a simply attempt to obstruct or slow down the passing of legislation. While there are not formal limits of the time a member of the parliament may address the chamber, the President of the National Assembly is allowed to restrict any intervention to a minimum of three minutes.


The Council of State

The Council of State is the Upper House of the Parliament. The Council of State can not enact legislation but it has veto power on most legislation passed by the National Assembly. Members of the Council State can only propose resolutions (officially called "state resolutions") which may suggest government action or express opposition to government policy in certain issues, similar to National Assembly's resolutions.

The Council of State is composed by: directly and indirectly elected members, who served for a six-year term; and permanent members, who are directly appointed by the head of state.

The elected members are divided in:
  • 66 members who are elected directly through individual constituencies and, unlike National Assembly elections, in a two-round system.
  • 15 members who are elected indirectly by the National Assembly.

The 15 members elected indirectly by the National Assembly must be endorsed by both the Prime Minister and the President of the National Assembly. Usually, they are nominated following consultations and negotiations with the most senior members of the National Assembly. The Brzdmtsveli can veto a member of those 15 candidates indirectly elected by the National Assembly before they are officially elected (however, he has not right to veto on directly elected candidates).

Every Brzdmtsveli has the right to appoint another twenty members to the Council of State to serve for life (until death or resignation). They are known as "permanent deputies". Therefore, there is not a fixed number of members of the Council of State, as those twenty members appointed by the head of state, are added to the existing members before the start of his rule. If any permanent deputy appointed by him dies or resigns, he has the right to appoint a replacement. He, however, can not replace those permanent members appointed by the previous Brzdmtsveli who died or resigned.



Elections

Local, provincial and state elections are usually held the week before New Year (in Mktvartvelian caledar) at the end of Spring. The terms for the National Assembly and the 66 directly elected deputies to the Council of State are staggered so that approximately one-fifth of the seats are up for election every year. This makes the National Assembly and the Council of State de facto permanent bodies which change their composition every year. There are also by-election in case a representative or deputy resigns or die in the first four years of his term (if the seats is vacant during the last year of the term, the head state appoints a substitute, unless in the final three months of the term in which case the seat must be left vacant).

The staggering of the elections was originally established in order to reduce the influence of political parties and other organized groups. While political parties can be registered as political organizations (which gave them the same status that historical organizations, business and professional organizations, unions, and other social organizations) since the 1959 legal reform, there are not officially and legally recognized parliamentary groups in the parliament, and campaigning is severely restricted to 10 days before the election.

Elected representatives are also not allowed to personally campaign or endorse another candidate (although particularly the latter is often circumvented through interviews or comments to the media).



Political rights

Suffrage in Mktvartvelo

Unlike elections in most countries, every adult citizen is not automatically granted the right to vote in elections.

The right to suffrage is restricted to those who:
  • Every citizen who is 21 or older and completed the compulsory military service (alternatives to the military service, such as non-duty civil public service work -such as serving instead in hospitals, social organizations, etc- are not included).
  • Members of the armed forces.
  • Married citizens who are at least 21 years old.
  • Priestesses, magistrates, policemen and other state employees who are 21 or older (except priestesses, who have the right to vote as soon as they are ordained).
  • Non-married citizens who are at least 30 years old, and have an annual income of $10,000.

Therefore, unemployed or homeless people do not have the right to vote unless they are married, and single people may not acquire that right until they are 30 years old. Divorced or widowed citizens do not lose their right to vote if they have a children (even if they have an income lower than $10,000).

Political and social activists have protested such restrictions on grounds of social discrimination. However, the Supreme Court has rejected such appeals, based on the difference established between "basic rights" and "political rights" in the Charter  of Khisjvari which has status of constitutional law.

Duty to work

Unemployed people who have lacked an income for more than 18 months have to pay a fine (equivalent to 100 days of salary of their last job) once a year. If they decline or can not afford to pay it, they may be punished by compulsory public works. Parents with a child under 10 years old and members of the clergy are excempt of this fine.

Citizenship and immigration

Citizens are legally defined as the children of a Mktvartvelian mother. The children of a Mktvartvelian father and a foreign mother, therefore, has no right to citizenship. Naturalization may be allowed under special or exceptional circumstances by the government, but this procedure is not subject to general rules, and the government has the right to accept it or not, in accordance of the person contribution to Mktvartvelian society. However, naturalization in Mktvartvelo is relatively rare.

The Unitary State of Mktvartvelo has a very restrictive migration policy. Mktvartvelian citizens are required a special government authorization for stays abroad longer than 90 days. Citizens who have established abroad without authorization for a longer period may face an economic fine, house arrest, or compulsory public works, depending the circumstances.


Religious freedom

Most of the restrictions on foreign religions which once existed, such as the prohibition on converstion to a foreign cult, has been repealed or lifted, as consequence of the legal reforms in late 19th-century and early 20th century.

However, although conversion to another religion is legal, there are some restriction on "aggressive or public proselytism", defined as the act of religious conversion in public space or through media. The legislation expressly bans the speech or distribution of materials aimed to the religious conversion of a person. Punishments may include fines, temporary or house arrests, a ban on state employment, or even, in the case of foreign residents, extradition from the country. The law establishes more severe punishment in the case where, directly or indirectly, minors may be involved. The legislation, however, does not forbid speech or activities who are done as the exercise of a religion cult, as it could be a lithurgy or a religious parade (although they may be subject to conventional legislation on the use of public space).

Cases under this legislation are not longer judged by religious courts since the 1918 Judiciary Act, being under the authority of civil courts instead. Nowadays, the legislation is rarely enforced, as the legislation can be circumvented through several means, as the right to education or cultural activities, such as private conferences or debates on religous issues or about a religion is not illegal, although law enforcement may interfere with the propagation of any religious propaganda on the public sphere, particularly if it involves an interruption, directly or indirectly, of an ongoing religious rite.





Administrative divisions

The administration of the Unitary State of Mktvartvelo is divided into local councils, provinces, and prefectures.

Local councils, the most basic form of local government, are elected by direct suffrage -under the same electoral law than nationwide elections- which are elected for a four-year term. Unless national elections, local elections are held once in four years. The local council is a both executive and legislative body. The local councils are headed by a mayor. The mayor, however, is not elected, but rather an appointed government position. They are appointed by the Brzdmtsveli, usually under the advice or proposal of the Prime Minister or the Ministry of Administrative Policy. Local councils have a very limited self-government, although they have the right to decide, in case they were bordering two or more provinces, to which one they do belong.

Between the towns and the central administration, provinces are the most basic form of territorial administration. Each province has a provincial assembly, which representatives are elected indirectly by the local council members, according to a voting system in relation to the population of each town. Provincial assemblies have a limited form of self-government, allowing them to allocate the budget oncertain areas, such as social policy, education, or healthcare, although they are not allowed to contradict government policy on ethnic, language, or religious grounds. Each province is headed by a governor, although the central government has the right to veto the nomination of a governor or dismiss him.

Provinces are finally gathered in a prefect or region, which is headed by a prefect who is directly appointed by the government. The prefect mostly deal with law enforcement, as well as, coordinating provinces and local government under special circumstances.



Judiciary

Mtkvartvelo's Supreme Court is the highest court in the Unitary State of Mtkvartvelo. It has the ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all courts in the country (including religious courts), and it is considered the ultimate court on constitutional rights as well. Along the Supreme Court, there are five High Courts, which are used for some important cases, as well as local courts which are based at a provincial level.

Mktvartvelo has no written constitution. However, there are certain laws and statutes, such as the Charter of Khisjvari and the basic laws passed by the parliament which have a constitutional status.



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Re: Factbook of Mktvartvelo
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2021, 09:42:12 PM »

Society in Mktvartvelo




Introduction

In ancient times, Mktvartvelo's society was divided in tribes, clans, and families. However, following the invasions of the 15th and 16th centuries, and the end of the Mtskhetistsikhe Confederation, the importance of the tribes considerably decreased until almost completely faded away, beside some purely symbolic value (with probably the exception of southeastern Mktvartvelo, where a few communities have rejected modernization and have retained their traditional lifestyle). On the contrary, the social, political and economic influence of the clans have continued until modern days.

Even if their social importance reduced as consequence of the industrialization and geographical mobility, as well as the increasing social importance of the nuclear family, clans still play an important role in Mktvartvelo’s society, particularly in the upper classes, in religious and inheritance legislation, and politically in the election of the head of state.

Unlike many other Mundus countries, kinship is derived through the female line. Historically, for most dominant ethnic groups in the country, each person is identified with their mother's lineage, and which has involved the inheritance of property and titles. Therefore, and individual is considered to belong to the same descent group as their mother. At the same time, surnames in Mktvartvelo are transmitted from mother to son/daughter instead than from father to son/daughter.


Clans and families

Clans are understood as a group of people who are linked to each other as kin through the same ancestry and live in the same territory. In contrast, the term "mutseli", often translated as “tribe”, refers to a community of the same ancestry which has not been established territorially in a given area which is considered its traditional home region. There are fewer tribes, around twenty recognized ones, and their social importance is much limited, as there are usually greated class and social status differences between the members of a tribe (which can include, in some cases, a dozen of clans) that the members of a clan. “Tribes” played an important role in ancient times, due to their role in military organization, but their influence declined in modern times, having nowadays mostly a symbolic value of status and shared history. Some clans, however, are not nowadays assigned or associated to a particular tribe, because the clan may have appeared or be established in recent times or simply direct connection became too loose.

Although both clans and family surnames are derived from the mother, they are not usually the same. It is estimated that there are more than one thousands clans in Mktvartvelo. Therefore, any clan likely contain several or many descent groups or family groups, so any clan may be descended from one or several or many unrelated female ancestors. Officially, clan names are not included in a person’s name, but they have a considerably importance socially, for both social and personal status.

Historically, there was not even a sole name to refer to the family. Traditionally, parents, siblings, first cousin, children, sibling's children, and grandchildren form a group that is sometimes described as "akhlojakhi" or "near family", in order to distinguish it from more distant relatives of the same family, which are called "shorojakhi" or "far family". The clan, on the other hand (known as "sazogadevo", derived from "common union" in Old Utkhrami language) is characterized by relations of diffuse and enduring solidarity from members with a distant but common ancestry.

However, as consequence of the industrialization and the strengthening of the nuclear family, these distinctions within the family has lost the importance they had once. Nowadays, terms like "shorojakhi" are rarely used, while the family nowadays is referred as either "akhlojakhi" or "saqi'atskhovrebo", the latter derived for the word for "household". The ideal form of household would be that established by a man upon marriage, consisting of himself, his wife, and their children, constrasting the large households of the past.

Although the social value of the clan has survived, the clans have ceased to be hierarchical structures, turning more into loose networks of families with a common but diffuse ancestry. Only senior male and female representatives of a lineage and clan know its history well. Particularly senior female representatives, know its history quite well and recite clan histories during funerals. Clans, in most cases, have no longer a official head senior member (once known as "tavirveli"), even if there are certain members in a clan that may have a higher status, as consequence of his relations or wealth. Obviously, this process has not being homogeneous, and the importance of the clans remains high in the rural areas and between the upper class, while it is importance and role has decreased in urban poor families and the middle class.


Marriage

In ancient times, the oldest male member of a family was the head of the household, managing the family estate. Lineage was traced through the mother, and the children belonged to the mother’s family. Although the head of the household had a legal guardianship, the inheritance and property rights of the household went directly to the daughters. Therefore, when the male descendant of a clan marries with a female descendant of a clan, their descendants will belong to the mother’s clan, not the father’s clan, even if the male head of the household would personally manage the household’s wealth in the present.

This relates to some traditional beliefs in Mktvartvelian society, which not necessarily held as consequence of scientific and technical development, they are still socially respected. For example, in Mktvartvelian mythology, it was believed that a child is formed from the blood of the mother which she is able to transmit to her male and female children. A man can possess this blood but cannot pass it to his children. It is the physical continuity of the mother’s line of ancestresses which is the basis of identification with an succession in her group. If a husband fails to give his wife a child, his marriage is terminated. If he makes her pregnant but she dies in childbirth, the children are typically under the custody of the mother’s relatives, not the surviving father.

Marriage between members of the same clan is considered forbidden, although it is not legally forbidden anymore. While a surname may be found in many clans, it is still considered taboo to marry with someone with the same surname, even if there are not known genetic lineage. Even if that taboo on marriage may be sometimes ignored, clan membership is still important socially. Nowadays, although fathers and mothers can legally decide the choosing and order of the surname of their children, the traditional rule is widely respected.

Most marriages in Mktvartvelo, around 90% of them, particularly between members of the Order of Simartlea, are arranged marriages. The process is usually started by the most senior female member of the family, known as a sponsor, and through a matchmaker who checks the ideonity of possible suitors, in case there were any, and contact sponsors from other clans in order to find a good partner for the son/daughter. In most arranged marriages, although personal earnings, profession and status of the candidate are highly considered, the social and economic status of the candidate’s family and clan are often more important, even if that doesn’t always translate into wealth. The individuals are expected to be of the same religion and the men older than the women, ideally with no more than a 6-year difference. Physical appearance and height is also taken in consideration. The matchmaking process is usually done through complete secrecy.

At the family level, inheritance and property rights is traditionally determined through a system of inheritance known as "Sagvareulo" (meaning "ancestral house), in which the inheritance of property is traced through females. Traditonally, the elder male was considered the head, known as "tavari", and the entire assets of the family were traditonally controlled by him as if he was the sole owner, who takes decision and control the wealth, although he had no right to pass it to members of other clan (or the clan he belonged). The properties were not handed to his sons but to the daughters or her wife's sisters. After the 1926 reform, in the case there were no female descendants the inheritance would go then to the male member, instead to the inheritance going to other female members of the family, as it was established historically. However, with the passing of the National Code in 1939, and the strengthening of the nuclear family in Mktartvelian society, this system of inheritance has become optional, only in the case of both members of the marriage agree in a pre-nuptial agreement. In many cases, nowadays many Mktvartvelian families distribute equally their inheritance between their daughters and sons, although the Sagvareulo system still has a wide influence in inheritance in the corporate world and other instances.


Gender


The most senior man of the household is considered the head of the family. However, as kinship is derived from the female line, that places men in a particular and ambiguous position in Mktvartvelian society. After all, a men's offspring will not belong to the clan he was born in, but rather that the mother's clan. Therefore, men, particularly married men with children, found themselves in a difuse role, as they technically belong to two clans at the same time, or rather they are personally connected to their own clan and his wife and his children's clan. While this may result in a conflict of interests, in some cases, particularly when political influence is involved, it also strenghtens the institution of the clans as a whole, a personal connection between clans established through marriages and, sometimes, a chain of favours between the families that form a clan.

Generally, however, as men grow older, they usually retain a stronger personal connection with his family, particularly close family, than the clan he formally belongs, as he may be involved in the network of personal relations and connection established through his children's clan, and his more direct position regarding his own household, which may include sometimes some of his wife's direct relatives, particularly in rural areas.

In negotiations between clans, with the exception of political negotiations, as well as to prepare and establish an arranged marriage, women play and important and sometimes leading role, even if the most senior man of the family may have the ultimate power on the final decision.


Religious legislation

Most of the population are followers of the Order of Simartlea, the native religion in Mktvartvelo. Following civil reforms in 19th century, as well as introduction of criminal and commercial codes in early 20th century, religious legislation is mostly restricted to private matters, such as marriage affairs, divorce, alimony and guardianship of children, property rights, or inheritance. Some aspect of the religious law are controversial, such as the economic fees for adultery, or that the guardianship of children is usually restricted to the mother or her relatives, and very rarely to the father (in accordance to clan and inheritance traditions). However, since the passing of the Family Act in 1951, religious courts are only optional, requiring the consent of both sides.

The tribunal of a religious court is usually formed by three religious magistrates, and a president which is required to have formation as a civil judge besides being an expert on religious law. Instead of a prosecutor, a state attourney specialized in religious law also must be present in court, as well as the legal teams of the both sides. Religious courts typically play a role of mediator between two sides, rather than persecuting religions crimes by the state initiative.




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Re: Factbook of Mktvartvelo
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2021, 01:26:15 PM »
Religion: The Order of Simartlea




The Order of Simartlea, sometimes known as the "Simartlean Cult" or simply "The Order", is the dominant religion in Mktvartvelo. It was the state religion in the country until the 20th century, and foreign religions were not allowed in Mtkvartvelo until the late 19th century. The Order of Simartlea has as a polytheist framework, although as a religion it focuses more on rituals and practical aspects rather than in doctrine or theology. Unlike other religions, the Order of Simartlea lacks a holy book, although there are several literature books or chronicles that have official status.

The most important sources for the Order's rituals and traditions are:
  • Literature produced by the Order's temples and clergy, including doctrinal literature and collections of hymns and prayers
  • Historical chronicles accepted as authentic by the Order's authorities
  • Knowledge and practice transmitted orally from generation to generation from the clergy in the context of particular temples or shrines
  • Folklore such as folk tales, folk songs, and special traditions and rituals linked to special celebrations or dates


Organization

The nomenclature of the Order of Simartlea officially refers to the members of the clergy and the administrative organization of the temples and other religious institutions as the "Holy Order of the Simartlean Wisdom" as a whole, commonly simply called as "The Order". In Simartlean religion, every temple is destined to the worship of a deity, lacking a hierarchy of temples, although traditionally those where Okro and Dalotsvili Dedopali are worshiped were believed to have a higher status. The temples are administered by a magistrate with the title of "Katsi" (wise man or scholar) who is in charge of the daily affairs, and who had an education as religious scholars (in case the temple is too large or important, a council of magistrates may lead it instead). However, the ritual ceremonies are performed by female clergy,  who traditionally lived in the temple or a nearby sanctuary. The priestesses have vows of celibacy and in ancient times they were not allowed to leave the temple. The priestesses are often assisted by younger assistants and underage apprentrices.

The magistrates were rather powerful in the past, as they served as religious scholars and judges. In ancient times, the religious magistrates were eunuchs. However, this was abolished in the 12th century. Since them, the magistrates must be married. Nowadays, the magistrates have a minor role compared to priestesses. In 1971, women were accepted as magistrates for first time.

Since the 18th century, the Brzdmtsveli (Mktvartvelo's head of state) is the official and ceremonial head of the Simartlean Order, as "Guardian and Protector of the Order". However, the spiritual leadership of the Order is under the Sinatdedopali (literally "Queen of Light" or "Enligthened Queen", but which is often translated as "Supreme Priestess"), who is commonly considered as the true head of the Order. The Sinatdedopali is elected from the Simartlean priestesses as despite her title includes the word for "queen", she is not a relative of the head of state or a government official.

The residence of the Sinatdedopali is the Shrine of Dalotsvili Shadrevani, which includes a temple consacrated to Dalotsvili Dedopali. Besides her responsibility as official head of the Order, she is also the main priestess in the shrine, along her two Mghvdelmtavari ("High Priestess"), two priestess who permanently serve as her assistant on both religious and administrative duties. Very often, the Sinatdedopali served as mghvdelmtavari of the previous Sinatdedopali, although it is not an official requisite.

The Sinatdedopali also heads the Supreme Committe of the Order, which is considered the executive council of the Order, mostly dealing with administrative and organizational issues. The Supreme Committee of the Order is formed by the Sinatdedopali herself, her two Mghvdelmtavari -although is customary that one or both of them may remain in the Shrine of Dalotsvili Shadrevani, which unlike the headquarters of the Supreme Committee is not located in the capital city, and other priestesses and magistrates.

Besides the Supreme Committee of the Order, there is the General Assembly of the Order, which is formed by priestesses, magistrates, and laymen representatives, a consultative body without executive power, which meets once or twice per year, to address or suggest problems or conflicts regarding the Simartlean community.


Cosmology

In Simartlean mythology, the world is divided into three spheres: the first is the Upper World, the home of the gods; the second is the Middle World, the world we know, and finally the Underworld. Originally, only the Upper World existed, although it is uncertain how and when it was created. According to Simartlean mythology, the Upper World is inhabited by a number of gods, as old as time and who emerged from the void as primary divine beings. One of them, Okron, created the Tree of Life, from which the Middle World emerged -as well all plants and animals were created-, while Damaluli created the Tree of Wisdom, from which emerged the Underworld. From the fruits of the Tree of Wisdom were born some supernatural and immortal beings called the Nakhevradi (often mistranslated as "angels", "demons", or "semi-gods"). The Nakhevradi, unlike the gods, who can be male or female, are believed to have no gender and be asexual. They originally served as messengers between the Upper and Middle worlds.

In the Simartlean myths, the Underworld in the sense of the realm of the dead is fused with the realm beneath the surface of the earth from which the plants and the crops grow up. The earth is on the one hand the resting place of the dead who are embedded in her bosom, on the other the giver of fertility. That is one of the reasons why the soil, the stones, and the mud are both associated with Velia -goddess of the harvest- and Chabnelebuli -god of the death-, despite seeming opposite deities.


Simartlean myths

According to the legend, one day Atter convinced the Nakhevradi to support him to become the sole and only supreme god of the Upper World, in exchange, they could do as they please and stop serving them. Okron, with the assistance of the other gods and Gmiratsi- a mythical hero who ate a golden fruit from the Tree of Life-, defeated Damaluli, who was imprisoned inside the Tree of Wisdom. The rest of the Nakhevradi -with the exception of Ertgul, who remained loyal to Okron- were sent to the Underworld. Since them, they are eternally in charge of protecting the Tree of Wisdom, and they are only allowed to leave the Underworld if Okron -who became supreme king of the Upper World since then-, allows them to do so. Since them, Ertgul remained as the messenger of the gods and the Supreme Guardian of the Middle World.

Ertgul is assisted as Guardian of the Middle World by four Guardians, who were worn from golden fruits who fell from the Tree of Life, and are named after the cardinal points. They are assisted by four Nakhevradi who were born after the divine war started by Damaluli, and are allowed to leave the Underworld and establish in the Middle World. Those Nakhevradi, however, unlike the four Guardians, are not allowed to participate in human affairs, they rather serve as advisors (in ancient Werden literature, however, they relation between the Guardians and their assistant was often presented as some kind of marriage). In one ancient myth, the Tsmindami Valley -in southeastern Mktvartvelo- was considered to be the center of the universe, therefore the conflicts between the four Guardians were often explained as the case of serious crisis, such as bad harvests, famine, or war.

Another important myth in Simartlean religion is the Pirveli Katsebi, sometimes wrongly referred as the creation myth. According to the legend, Shavrinveli was the daughter of Mamtsvari and Msubuki, and who was assigned by Okron as a protector of Dalotsvili Dedopali. Shavrinveli, when relieved of her duties, often lived high in the mountains. She also traveled to help those who suffered from sicknesses since she was very skillful in medicine and had a sympathetic heart. One day, an evil spirit escaped from the Underworld and turned into a monster or dragon. The creature suddenly appeared in front of Shavrinveli, who scared and tried to escape by transforming into a crane to fly away. Kvarveli, a horseman from Tsmindami Valley, passed by and saw the semi-goddess in danger, a killed the monster with his own arrows. When Shavrinveli stopped flying to see the very person that saved her, she instantly fell in love with her benefactor. They had forty children, but despite their love for each other, Shavrinveli had to continue with her divine duties while Kvarveli yearned for his native home. From their children were born the twenty ancient tribes which formed the Mktvartvelian nobility. It is an unwritten but respected tradition that the Brzdmstveli must be a descendant from a clan derived from those twenty tribes.





Deities in Simartlean religion

NameDescription
OkronMeaning "Golden Father", who restored order in both the Upper World and the Middle World. He is the god of the sky and the head of the Upper World
Dalotsvili DedopaliMeaning "Blessed Lady/Queen", she is the "mother goddess", the goddess of motherhood and fertility - not of agrarian fertility but the fertility of man and the animals. She helps the females to bring forth their childbirth and protect the young. She is connected with the Tree of Life and fertility plays a conspicuous role in her cult. The Shrine of the Dedopali Tsotskhali, consacrated to this goddess, is considered one of the most important temples in the Simartlean cult, and believers -particularly women and parents- are expected to do a pilgrimage to the shrine at least once during their lifetime.
DamaluliMeaning "Hidden Guardian", is the creator of the Tree of Wisdom, who inhabites in the Underworld after he failed to defeat the other gods in the Upper World. It is a divinity that awakens fear and appeasement rather than devotion
VeliaMeaning "Blossomed", is the goddess of harvests. She is the consort of Okron, and she is widely associated to agriculture, harvest, grains, and nourishment.
BortsvimaghaliaMeaning "Mountain Goddess", is the goddess of wild nature, which has not been touched by the hands of man. It is also known as "Mistress of Nature and the Master of the Animals". She roams about in the mountains and shadowy woods and the wet meadows, she hunts and dances together with female spirits. She has the potency of the female body and the power to subdue wild animals. She is also associated with music and dance.
MzemepeMeaning "Sun King", he is the sun god, oldest son of Okron and Velia. He protects the border between the Upper World and the Middle World.
KarianiMeaning "Wind King", he is the king of wind, second son of Okron and Velia. His armor and weapons are made of silver, his sacred metal.
Deda KarianaMeaning "Mother Wind", is the goddes of rain a female counterpart of Kariani. She is a wise, elderly woman who lives in a cave on top of a huge mountain that rises from the Middle World to the Upper World. She rides the winds and creates storms and whirlwinds. Doves are associated with this goddess
JarebupaliMeaning "Lord of Armies", is the god of war, third son of Okron and Velia. He also forged the Upper Sword ("Zeda khmali") which was used by Okron to secure his victory over Damaluli. Horses are widely associated with him, and it is tradition to sacrifice white stallions during his festivities.
ChabnelebuliMeaning "Lord of Darkness", is the god of death, diseases and wicked things, and the head of the Underworld realm. He is also Damaluli's twin. Despite his ominous association, he did not participate in Damaluli's incited rebellion, remaining in the Underworld during the war between deities. Dogs were traditionally sacrificed to placate this god.
MamtsvariMeaning "Moon Father", god of the night. He is associated with the owl
MsubukiMeaning "Sun mother", is the goddess of light, consort of Mzemepe. She is widely associated with doves, and she has also the epithet of "Dove Goddess". The dove symbolizes her connection with both the sky and the Upper World, as she is believed to the oldest daughter of Okron and Velia.
TsetskhaliMeaning "Fire Mother", goddess of the fire. She is considered the daughter of Dalotsvili Dedopali.
ChanchkeriMeaning "Water Father", god of the water and the seas
GvelikaliMeaning "Lady Snake", she is the goddess of the Underworld, who constantly moves between the Underworld and the Middle Word, and consort of Chabnelebuli. She is also known as "Lady of the Underworld", and the snake is her attribute, being the snake a representative of the dead -a holy animal in Simertlean cult-, a form in which the dead or his soul appears, or as a "soul animal", as the animal is often called. Gvelikali is represented as a naked woman, with snakes ascending from her legs -sometimes covering her waist and breasts-, holding in one hand a bottle or a jar, and in the other hand a sword - symbols of both healing and death. Considered a deity of the Underworld, conjuring, and necromancy. In ancient times, her cult was highly related with divination practices.
ShavrinveliMeaning "Flying Guardian", she is the daughter of Mamtsvari and Msuburi. Her main duty is to protect Dalotsvili Dedopali. She is believed to be able to turn into a bird, particularly into cranes and ravens, which are also her animal attributes. Sometimes, she is also depicted as a half-human and half-bird goddess. She is the patron of many cities in Mktvartvelo, and she is a widely popular deity given she is considered an ancestor of Mktvartvelo's ancient tribes. She is also sometimes known as "Lady of Hearing" or "Lady of Favor", as she is believed to be called upon to listen to prayers and to grant requests.


The Simartlean pantheon

The divinities of the Simartlean pantheon have not a hierarchy in the traditional sense. While some divinities have a higher status in general, such as Okron, Dalotsvili Dedopali, Gvelikali, and both Okron and  Chabnelebuli have a particular importance for being the head of the realms of the Upper World and the Underworld, respectively, the importance of the divinities very often relates in the festivities associated with those divinities -which often is derived from regional or local traditions-, the closer or more important temples where a person lives, and the profession or occupation of a believer, as some divinities or rites are particularly related to one or several occupations.

In Simartlean myths, however, there is still a certain hierarchy or status regarding how the gods related to each other, particulary where there is an attribute filial relation between them, as it is the case of Okron and Velia and their sons, although this does not often translated to the rites and festivities associated to a particular divinities or temple. At the same time, this does not always apply to every divinity, as those divinities associated with the Underworld, such as Chabnelebuli and Gvelikali, who may be considered equals to Okron, despite the latter being often identified and revered as  the "Father God".



Priesthood

In ancient times, priestesses were ordained at the age between six and ten. Nowadays, the candidates to priestesses start their training at the age of twelve, when they move to a religious residence. Proper training in religious rites only starts at 14 years od, and usually when they are 16 years old, they are elegible to become apprentices, and are transferred to a temple or shrine. This, however, requires a process of selection, which is usually done by the assistant priestess of the temple, which may include personal interviews, and visit to the student religious residence.

The religious residences are, for the most part, owned and managed by the Order of Simartlea. The study programme is obviously focused on religious education, including subjects such as theology, religious history and symbology, Simartlean cosmology, religious law, the study of rites and prayers, meditation, music, dance, human and animal biology, traditional medicine and, more controversially, the dissection of animals, however they also include nowadays some basic and common subjects such as history, maths, science, language, etc...to assure that the students have a proper formation in case they leave the school or simply do not end ordained as priestesses. While the study programme and learning methodology in religious residences are reviewed and supervised by the state authorities, it is the Directorate of National Education -an independent body formed by both state and private representatives- rather than the Ministry of Education which is in charge of this supervision and control. The religious residences ("sakhlitsminde", or "holy houses") serve as both school and residences, only accept female students and they are mostly secluded, and for the most cases all their staff is female. Every religious residence is typically related to one or several temples and shrines, which the students may visit often to continue the formation and study the Simertlean rites and customs more closely.

Most of the requirements to be accepted to religious residence and start the training to become a priestess, even if controversial, have remained unchanged: she shall be born in Mktvartvelo from a Mktvartvelian mother, be free of any kind of physical blemish or impediment; to have both living and married mother and father at the moment they join the residence; both parents can not be members of other religion or cult. In ancient times, being a member of the clergy was mostly a privilege of the upper classes. It was a tradition for aristocratic families that they second daughter was ordained as priestess. However, this was changed after the 18th century reform, in which the daughters from middle classes were allowed to join the clergy. Nowadays, besides an annual stipend from their families, some students may receive a scholarship from the state.

It is required that, in order to join a religious residence, both parents sign an official declaration that they consent to their daughter starting the process to become a priestess. Relatives can not visit a student, although correspondence or telephone calls to relatives are usually allowed. In some cases, students may be allowed to leave the residence for more than one day, for special cases such as the funeral of a relative, to attend a religious festivity, or a pilgrimage. They must, however, be granted written authorization from the school board before being allowed to do so. In most cases, leaving the school residence without authorization results in the expulsion of the student and the ban of being ordained priestess. Once a religious apprentice is ordained priestess, she changes her surname -usually derived from an aspect or localtion related to the Simartlean religion-, and they are not longer considered to be members of their family or clan.

The fact that a priestess was not supposed to belong to her former family or a clan, put her in an unique position in Mktvartvelian society. This symbolic status, a legal entity for their own, served to place her outside any other legal or ritual category. They were, and still are, therefore, above the family, the clan, and the tribe -unless other subjects of the state, including the head of state-, to serve as mediators between the deities and the society, and therefore also the state, and symbolize the collectivity as a whole in their own status. From the moment they are ordained as priestesses, they have no kin. Until very recently, priestesses did not pay any tax, and were not subjected to inheritance customs and legislation. Instead, they have the right to make a will - something that most Mktvartvelian were not able to until the early 20th century, as inheritance and property were legally clan-based, not an individual right. Priestesses usually donate their will after her death to a (former) relative, a younger priestess, a friend in the clergy, or to charity. If they fail to complete the process, however, their wealth goes directly to the Order or the temple where they are established (the latter obviously in the case of active priestesses).

In ancient times, priestesses were considered "holy mediators" between the deities and the men, and were expected to be treated to reverence, and had a particularly unique legal protection. They could not be touched by other people, and -even surperficially- physicially hurting or verbally offending a priestess could result in a death sentence for the offender. Even when they were sentenced to death for crimes such as witchcraft, sexual intercourse, or secular serious crimes such as murder, treason, etc, they could not be killed by another hand. They were allowed to choose the method of her death, being drinking a poison, being buried alive, or -particularly in the cases of priestesses related to the Mountain Goddess- to jump to their death from a special cliff. Although this legal protection disappeared following the 19th-century reforms and in the criminal code reform in the early 20th century, they have still a particular social status in Mktvartvelian society.

Priestesses have a vow of celibacy and a vow of chastity. Until the 18th-century, breaking these vows would result in facing the death penalty. This contrasted with civil legislation, where, in most Mktvartvelo's history, adultery was not a serious crime and adulterers typically faced an economic compensation to their spouse and the spouse's clan or simply a divorce. Lika Boladze, in 1804, was the last priestess to face death penalty. Nowadays, if a priestess is found to break those vows, she can not longer serves a priestess, leaves the clergy, and may even face an expulsion from the community.

Priestesses can retire whenever she decides to do so, however, and they can marry once she leaves the clergy. However, it is relatively rare that they have children, as most priestesses do not retire until they are not longer fertile. In the case that a former priestess had children, however, they are consider to belong to a new clan, rather than members of the clan in which the priestess may have born. In some cases, some important widowed husbands may be interested to marry a former priestess, in order to advance their political career. However, most former priestesses remain single, as women older than 35 rarely marry or remarry in Mktvartvelian society. Most of former priestesses continue to be involved with the Order of Simertlea after their retirement, serving as religious magistrates, teachers at a religious residence, or professors at a religious college. In some cases, they remain as independent scholars or simply retire. All priestesses who have served at least 25 years have a right to a monthly payment by the state.

Contrary to the popular belief, priestesses do not live secluded and participate actively in the life of the community. For those priestesses who are permanently associated to a temple or shrine, they live in a community nearby, being involved in another daily occupations besides the observance of rituals and preparation for her services. Priestesses have not a vow of poverty, so they can own and invest in real estate and other business activities. As many believers may donate food and funds to the temples, along as lacking any family obligations, priestesses often do not have much spending, and therefore they are able to save more money that many married women.

However, there is no membership to the priesthood as a whole. If a priestess moves to another temple, something that is not rare nowadays, they must proceed a period of training, particularly if the temple is consacrated to a different god or goddess, which may last from one year to four year, depending the background of the priestess and the status of the temple.

Being a priestess is considered both a privilege, for the particular status that they occupy in Mktvartvelian society, independently of the economic and social background they were born in, and a sacrifice in itself, for the renounce to their family, clan and their vow of celibacy and chastity. There has been calls, particularly in recent decades, to change these requirements, as they are seem for some as outdated or unnecessary. However, such calls have been either ignored or rejected. Those defending the requirement of those vows argue that they make the priestesses capable of devoting all of their religious energy to the consacration of the deities without also having to fulfil a role in, or risk being polluted by, the private sphere of an individual family.

However, the fact that most priestess are highly likely to remain childless, spiritually put them in a difficult position as, according to Simertlean theology, childess rarely enter the Underworld and the souls are condemned to wander on earth after their death, which would make their sacrifice for the community even bigger. This may partly one of the rites of initiation to be ordained a priestess, which is often considered controversial and misunderstood, particulary outside Mktvartvelo, the "chamarsebiti". The ritual requires that the new priestess, once she is ordained priestess in her temple, to drink a potion known as "kalisishkhli" which includes the water, bread, milk, oil, and a special unguent in which is mixed a few drops of blood from the other priestess in the temple. Unlike another similar ritual drink, savsasmeli (which is made with animal blood instead), the kalisishkhli is served and drank hot. The ritual probably symbolizes that the corporal form of a priestess also includes blood of every former priestess who served in the temple from ancient times, and therefore the essence of a priestess continue living on earth, despite them likely dying childess. Some anthropologists and writers have found in this tradition an explanation why murdering a priestess is found equivalent to parricide, as it would likely imply to spill the blood of your ancestors (in case a member of the family or clan served in the past in her temple).

It is a tradition for priestesses to visit the "Fountain of the Spirits", in Dakargulo, which is along a temple dedicated to the snake goddess, after being ordained a priestess.









Temples of the Order of Simartlea



Shrine of Dalotsvili Shadrevani

The Shrine of Dalotsvili Shadrevani is consacrated to Dalotsvili Dedopali. It is also the residance of the Sinatdedopali or Supreme Priestess, head of the Simartlean Order. It is located about 80 kms from Mktvartvelo's capital city.


Shrine of the One Thousand Double Axes

The shrine is considered the third most important temple consacrated to the Mother Goddess. It was built in 1709, following a military victory against a nearby state. According to the legend, the temple was built on the place where Matskharebeli Tengiz Kasrashvili erected the statue of a woman seated with a child in her lap as if she were suckling him. Any woman who, afflicted by a disease in her body, rubbed the corresponding part of the body of the statue, was said to recover her former state. In a likewise manner, if her breast milk diminished and she rubbed the statue breasts, then it increased. If her menstruation decreased and she became afraid of this, she rubbed the statue under its knees. If his son was ill, she rubbed it under its knees. And so on. The statue was described in many Mktvartvelian literary works. However, the statue was destroyed in the 14th century, when the town was occupied by foreign forces. The temple is well-known for the large number of double axes engraved and painted through the walls and columns of the temple, therefore the names. Many believers still claim that the offering to the goddess in the temple are likely to have similar healing properties than the ones once attributed to the ancient statue.


Temple of the Snake Goddess

It is the main temple consecrated to Gvelikali, goddess of the Underworld, and which main attribute is famously the snake animal. It is said that, in ancient times, apprentices to priestesses in this temple and other associated to Gvelikali were bitten by a snake and, after some pause, they were immediately administered an antidote, as part of their training as priestesses. If she die or suffered some kind of permanent injuried, it was believed that Gvelikali had rejected her. It is unclear, however, if this practice has continued until current times, due to the secrecy that involves the training of the clergy in the Simartlean religion.

In Mktvartvelian tradition, the snake is also believed to be the protector and guardian of the house. Indeed, in Mktvartvelian mythology, every household has assigned a spirit that observes the house. In daily prayers, believers often address the spirit asking for protection and leave some offerings in certain dates. It is believed that the spirit of the house may appear in the guise of a snake. If the snake appears, it is believed that it shall be greeted with silent delight or with a few words of welcome quietly spoken. It is considered a bad omen if the snake is hurt, frighten, or slay. In some regions, the snake may be even offered milk and treated as domestic pets. Besides, being domestic spirits, they are also believed to be spirits of deceased ancestors who after their death take care of the house.


The Temple of Tsitelikade

The Temple of Tsitelikade, consacrated to Bortsvimaghalia, the Mountain Goddess, is widely associated with the Khishsuli festivity, one of the most famous of the Simartlean religion. This festivity, held on early spring in the hills around the temple and next to the nearby Moqabish forest. The festivities are attended by thousands from the nearby provinces. The festivities became quite famous for the dances performed by the religious apprentices who belong to the temple. Through whirling and repetitive movements, the apprentices dance in twisting and fast choreographies performed to try to reach religious ecstasy. This ceremony is typically performed in the foot of northern hill around where the main outdoor altar of the temple in the located. In the 19th century, this tradition received both the attention of foreign travellers and the condemnation of moralist writers as they found them of an orgiastic and at time indecent character, ill suited to be performed by teenage virgins, as the apprentices are supposed to be, in front of men and women of all ages. Sometimes, the dancers have their face covered with the blood of a rabbit, an animal associated with the goddess. This ceremony, although not intended as an entertainment, has become a tourist attraction in Mktvartvelo. The Khishsuli festivity symbolizes the start of the hunting season.

The temple is also associated with the datsqabuli festival, held a few days before the summer. The festival was once known for the practice of flagellation at the altar to boys by the assistant priestesses using tree branches. It was conceived as a trial of endurance and a rite to the transition to adulthood, conferring strength and good luck to the teenagers. However, the ritual became highly controversial for it is rather bloody and violent nature, particularly after legislation on protection of childhood was passed in the early 20th century, and this tradition was consequently abandoned, sometime afterwards. Nowadays, Datsqabuli is mostly associated with cheerful parades of girls and boys holding and waving tree branches.


The Temple of the Ethernal Fire Maradiuli Tsetskhli

The Maradiuli Tsetskhli temple (often translated as "The Temple of the Eternal Fire" is consacrated to Tsetskhali, goddess of fire. Compared to most Simartlean temples, the temple is rather small and austere, with no cult statue and barely no decoration. It is situated in a hill along the town of Galavani, nearby the Dampatsikhe ruins. Unlike most temples, the temple is not associated to public worship or local festivities. Instead, the main duty of the priestesses and their assistants of the temple is to taking turns to ceaselessly take care of the hearth fire in the temple. The fire itself, which is generally considered one of the sacred elements in Simaltrean religion, is regarded as a representation of Tsetskhali. The fire of the temple is also seen as a purificatory medium, in the same way that fire is used in many Simartlean rites.

The temple is considered one of the oldest in Mktvartvelo. The priestesses of the temple often volunteer for funerary rites in the town.


Temple of Tskhenosani

The temple of Tskhenosani, located in Qavisparumi is consacrated to Jarebupali, the god war. While religious rites are not considered as important for warfare as they were in ancient times, the temple is still often visited by members of the armed forces. The temple is widely associated with the Dzhays kavira festivity. The festivity, which is widely male-oriented, involves a large number of sporting activities, including ritual dances, boxing, wrestling, weightlifting and, more famously, cheese-fighting. Priestesses bring cheese in front of the altar of the god, young girls press the cheeses, give them to the people, and then young men fight with them. The winner has sometimes the honour to put a wreath of flowers on the main priestess' head. Once every three years, a white horse may be sacrificed and its meat distributed to soldiers.


The Shrine of the Dove Goddess

The Shrine of the Dove Goddess is the main temple consacrated to Msubuki, of great importance for the most important festivities related to this goddess.



« Last Edit: October 19, 2021, 08:26:41 PM by paralipomena »
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Re: Factbook of Mktvartvelo
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2021, 09:53:25 PM »

Religion: The Order of Simartlea
Rites, customs, and traditions




In Simartlean religion, which lacks a holy book in the traditional sense and theological doctrine, which is derived through a series of compiled myths, oral stories and legends as well as rituals, rites are extremely important, and religion is mostly lived, through rituals and social events. Although private and domestic cults exist in Simartlean religion, most of the Simartlean religious life is lived as a social activity. In particular festivities, the city is expected to come together as a worshipping community.

Most festivities can be described as periods of intense worship of a deity, tied to a specific geographical place and date within the year. Very often, they follow the seasons of the year and the agricultural cycle. They are eminently social events, often preserving or purporting to preserve ancient practices. For their participants, their effect -besides the purely lithurgical purposes- is often focused to pass on social memory, reinforcing their identity or improving solidarity between diverse groups. In certain festivities, priestesses may be assisted by non-clergy people. For example, elite girls often spend time serving as attendants in temples, particularly for goddesses such as Velia, Dalotsvili Dedopali, and Bortsvimaghalia.

The focus and importance of a festivity, however, can vary considerably. Simartlean festivals can be held and oriented: a) on a fixed day in a specific month; b) may happen every few years, in 3-year, 4-year, or even 6-year cycles; c) they may draw people from a city, a region, or even the whole country; d) may look back to the past, commemorating an action or ancient events, or even preparing for a present event (such as a coming harvest), or as a protection for the coming future.



Simartlean dress code

In ancient times, priestesses always wore their sacral dress, which was formed by a long skirt and the white open bodice decorated with broad bands, and an embroidered silk veil which covered the back and the torso. Nowadays, priestesses only wear their sacral dresses -which have evolved in many varities with regional differences- during ritual or certain festivities, with a simpler dress code for their daily life.


Diet

Besides avoiding sacred animals, such as snakes, ravens, and doves, there is not a particularly diet associated with Simartlean religion. However, priestesses can only eat meat from animals who had being killed through a ritualized animal sacrifice. As a consequence, priestesses -excluding during some festivities and special rituals- have a mostly meat-free diet, although fish and certain dairy products are allowed.


The double axe


The double axe is one of the most iconic symbols associated with Simartlean religion, particularly with Dalotsvili Dedopali, the Mother Goddess. It was originally the sacrificial axe, the axe with which the sacrificial animal was slain in religious rites in ancient time. Nowadays, however, the double axe has a more symbolican than instrumental value. The double axe has become a symbol of the goddess herself, and it is often considered a holy symbol. This veneration is particularly evident in the Shrine of the One Thousand Double Axes, which is often considered the third most important site consagrated to Dalotsvili Dedopali.


The elements of life

Water and fire are considered the main sacred elements in the Simartlean religion. The reason is probably they contain the very stuff of human life. It is customary that adults returning from a funeral sprinkle themselves with water and step over fire. Water and fire, along other vital elements such as blood, oil, and bread are also included as ingredients in some ritual drinks as savasmeli and kalisiskhli.


Crowning

Crowning (the rite of placing a wreath on a deity or a person) is widely practiced in many Simartlean rites, but particularly those related to Velia. This is particularly important during the Mosavlis aghebamdrerti festivity, which is held every year before the harvest season in the temples consacrated to this goddess. Following a parade, women bring fruit, and a few young women typically enter the temple and put a wreath on the deity and one the priestess and her assistants. After some offerings and the lighten of a fire, all the assistants proceed to use similar flowery wreath to "crown themselves", and then the religious apprentice start offering food to the crowd.


Singing and dance

Singing is involved in many rites and festivities, particularly but not only in those which include animal sacrifices. One constrasting festivity is the Galiashe festival, consacrated to Deda Kariana and held in the Mkhiadgili province, in which hundred of caged doves, symbol of this goddess, are liberated in front of the altar of the temple. During this festival, it is also held the ritual of the mourning of Kalbataki, which is a mostly women-only ritual, in which women parade and sing funerary songs. The ritual honours a Mktvartvelian priestess who was martyrized by foreign troops in the 13th century.

Dance is also widely performed in some rituals, particularly those related to the goddess Bortsvimaghalia.


Funerary rites

In the Simartlean religion, death is a journey during which the deceased left the world of the living or Middle World and arrives in to the Underworld, the world of the dead. The two worlds are separate and the Underworld is only accessible to the deceased, except in particularly exceptional circumstances. The need to create an increasingly stronger delineation between the living and the dead can be found in many Simartlean rituals, as it is believed that the deceased have a polluting influence to those who encountered them and, therefore, it is required to follow clossely and carefully the funerary rites to properly cut the nude of the living, which requires the cremation of the body of the deceased.

After its separation from the dead body, the "suleba" (which is usually translated as both "soul" and "conscience") of a deceased person migrates to another world, which according to Simartlean myths, is located below the earth, known as the Underworld, and begins an afterlife (the physicial location of the Underworld is, of course, nowadays considered a symbolic truth, but it was believed literally in ancient times). In order to reach the realm of the dead the souls have to cross an underground river, which can only be accessed through the Afsnobi, a mythical cave. The river leads to the Shavitsqali lake, in the Underworld, which is found next to the Tree of Wisdom.

The funeral in the Simartlean religion is, above all, a rite of passage which is marked by rituals of separation from the world of the living and rituals of integration within the Underworld. As for the dead, it is important to ensure that they will be able to access the afterlife properly and begin new existence in the underworld. For this to happen, proper disposal of the body (funerary ritual and cremation) before 48 hours have passed since the death of the person is considered a prerequisite. That is the reason why in ancient times burying or hidding a corpse, even in the case where the person had died of natural cases or one was not personally responsible for the death of the person, resulted in death penalty. Nowadays, Mktvartvelian criminal code still established a longer sentenced for criminals who are deemed responsible to hide or bury a corpse. In modern times, a body may be cremated after those 48 hours -particularly in cases where an autopsy may be needed-, it is considered possible to extend that period without a punishment for the soul. However, such extension requires a ritual performed by a priestess, and the presence of the body for the ritual is always required. The time between death and cremation is an intermediate period, which -in most cases- can not last more than 48 hours. While a body can not be cremated before 24 hours before the estimated death have passed (a day is the estimated time for a soul to cross the Afsnobi river and reach the Underworld), a corpse which was not cremated after 48 hours is considered unable to enter the Underworld, and that soul is considered cursed, condemned for eternity to wander on the earth - usually in the form of an evil or dark spirit.

The transition of the dying person between one state and another produces intense fear and anguish mong the living, who perceived their contact with the death as an exposure to pollution, as well as a contact with the spirits of the Underworld, calling for purification. This increases when improperly disposed corpses are involved. Another fear is that, in the case of deaths viewed as untimely or unjustified (because of the young age of the decesaed or the cause of death), the dead may be reluctant to accept their new status becuase of a decision to rejoin the world of the living in order to obtain a personal aim, often revenge. Such choice would increase a hostile and resentful nature of the soul and turn it into a restless soul or evil spirit, who interfere in the world of the living and will never be able to join the Underworld, to which they belong.

Generally, the Underworld is envisaged as an unpleasant and gloomy place, where even the most prominent dead leads a miserable existence, at least compared to world of the living. In the Simartlean religion, there is no such thing as heaven, in the Christian sense, a place where souls can reach according to their deeds or faith. In Simartlean theology, everyone is destined to descend to the Underworld, with the only exception of those souls who are trapped in the Middle World - which are clearly considered a worse fate. While the Underworld is not exactly considered the pleasant eternal home of the righteous dead, the souls who inhabit in this realm are considered to experience a rather calm existence, compared to the souls who are forced to wander on earth after their dead. Still, some mortals could aspire to a better afterlife than the rest, provided that they were sufficiently close to the gods and devoutly followed the sacred rites.

However, human beings do not completely leave the Middle World, as two basic aspect of their existence is passed to the next generation: that's the blood (for mother's) and the "katsesli" or "father's spirit" (for men). In Samartlean religion in particular and Mktvartvelian tradition in general, the blood is considered a feminine element. The blood of the mother is believed to be passed to her sons and daughters (the father's blood is believed to be a merely passive element, of female nature and origin, which was inherited from his mother, and it is not passed to his children).

The "Katsesli" is the spiritual-ancestry of the father which is believed to be passed on to his children. These spirits are considered inherited deities who govern, guide and protect the male descendants of the [myth]. It is believed that these spiritual properties do not die with the father. Instead, it is passed down to the man's children. The father's spirit represents the being of the child until the child comes of age, and it is believed to be the father's characteristics and spiritual traits which can be inherited. Thus, it is the cooperation of the father's spirit and the mother's blood which is believed to form the child and mold it into the human being. It is related to the traditional belief that the body is the female element while the soul is the male element of a human being.

Simertlean understanding of the human being is, therefore, purely dualistic, with a corporal element which belongs to the Middle World, and the soul, which leaves to the Underworld. It is generally believed that those who die without being able to have offspring are not allowed to enter to the Underworld, and therefore their souls are forced to wander through the Middle World, as their corporal element perished after the death, although this is belief is not shared everywhere in Mktvartvelo.

"Savsasmeli" (meaning "original potion) is a drink which is widely used in many Simartlean rites, but particularly in funerary rites. The drink is a mixture of water, crumbs, milk, animal blood, and oil. Although the drink is usually used while at cold or mild temperature, it is required that the it is boiled when it is prepared. It is believed that the savsasmeli is related to the three basic elements of life (water, fire, and oil), mixed with bread (which symbolizes harvest) and blood (which is a symbol of nature). The blood shall be from a female animal which is not too impure (typically blood from a lamb, sheep, or goat is used). The savsasmeli is typically used in funerary rites, in particular before cremation where the priestess pours and spreads this liquid on the forehead of the decesaed person. However, in some rites, it is also drank, particularly in relation with deities related to death or the Underworld, such as Gvelikali and Chabnelebuli.

A variant of the savsasmeli is the "kalisiskhli", which is used in the rite of initiation to be ordained a priestess, which replaces animal blood with an unguent prepared with fermented cabbage juice and drops of blood.


Pollution

Simartlean religion is also very particularly concerned with spiritual pollution and its avoidance. There are festivities merely focused on purification, and rituals for individuals which were involved in sins or suffering from illness and even from naturally occurring states such as birth, death, sex, etc.


Animal sacrifices

Mktvartvelians believe that gods have to be fed, like humans. The most common forms of offering are libation (the pouring of liquid on the altar) and food offering, but animal sacrifice is also widely used for certain situations or festivities. The sacrifice, however, is not a merely instrumental or transational technique, and a sacrifice without prayer is thought to be useless and not a proper interaction with the gods. While most believers have personal altars in their homes, where they perform prayers and certain religious practices such as libations or offering of food or religious symbols, sacrifices are considered a holy tecnique and they can only be performed by the clergy, who are thought to be mediators between the realm of the divities and the realm of the men.

Sacrifices take places in an open space, very often next to or nearby of the temple, and in front of the community concerned. In the context of public festivities or special purifications, it is often celebrated near a raised altar within the cult space.

Most animal sacrifice rituals are punctuated by some sort of speech or song. The most typical form of lithurgical prayer or song is typically formed by three verses of eleven syllables following by a last verse of five syllables. The first three are often uttered or sang by the priestess who leads the prayer, while the last verse is repeated or even said or sang in unison by the other priestesses or apprentices, or even the public (in case the latter are familiarized with the prayer or song). Sometimes, the first verses are in Old Utkhrami -which is considered the lithurgical language- while they last verse may be in modern Utkhrami. For some kind of festivities, particularly those related to animal sacrifices, there are priestesses specialized in certain form of singing in a specific dialect.

Animal sacrifice is heavily ritualized, with an implicit script for how offerings are made, by whom and in what sequence. A particular contrast is made between ordinary sacrifice and burned sacrifice made to lower deities or minor rites. The former is understood as meal shared between gods and men, which brings them together while defining their differences and the hierarchy between them, while the latter is meant to be a gift either to celebrate or appease a deity. In most cases, the preferred animals for sacrifices are often sheep, lambs, oxen, cows, goats, while horses are attested in the southeastern but not elsewhere. Pigs (considered a female animal) are mostly related to fertility rituals. In wind and night deities, birds are widely used (with the exception of doves and raves, considered pure animals), although they are relatively rare outside the northwestern region. Dogs are not used for ordinary sacrifice, but they can be killed in purification rituals. Pigs are generally used in cases of expiation or funerary rituals. Other animals are used for special rites, like the horse which are mostly related to Jarebupali, the dog for rituals related to the death and dark spirits, or the lambs in the cult of Velia.

The methods of the sacrifices may vary considerably depending the god consacrated, the season, or even the temple where the sacrifice is performed. In some festivities and purification rituals, the victim burned whole. At feasts, participants engage in "god-drinking", which combines libation offerings with a ritualized drinking in which the spirit of the goddess was consumed. In the case of the Dove goddess, for example, bird offerings are made into pits.

With only a few exceptions, the male gods receive castrated male animals while the goddesses receive female victims. The age of the victim varies depending the hiearchy of the divinity and the status of those making the sacrifice. It is considered that adult victims are more suitable for public worship, although for religious apprentices without formal experience in a public sacrifice younger victims may be more suitable. The gods associated with light and fertility usually receive white victims, while those connected to night and death usually receive dark victims. In certain sacrifices, such as those to Dalotsvili Dedopali, the Mother Goddess, pregnant animals are offered.

Regarding the tecnique of a sacrifice, there are typically six types of sacrifice:
  • Ordinary sacrifice in which an animal is killed an parts of it are offered to the god, either on an altar or a sacrificial table.
  • Sacrifice in which the animal, having been killed, is placed in a ritual pit and burned, often serving a purification end
  • Symbolic god-drinking (usually using wine), a special form of drinking ritual in which the liquid used for both drinking and libation is apparently perceived as charged with the divinity.
  • Replacement-sacrifice ("shemtsveli mskhverpali"), in which an animal is killed as a substitute of a person or deity.
  • Attraction offerings in which offering of food (bread or pastry, not meat), together with libations were made along a ritual, with the intention of attracting deities.

Types 3 and 5 are often associated to wind, night, or minor deities, where birds are often killed.

In relation to the process of the sacrifice itself, particularly regarding ordinary sacrifices, there are six stages:
  • Consecration of the animal
  • Killing of the animal.
  • Cutting up
  • Cooking.
  • Deposit of meat before deity
  • Consumption

Stages #1 and #2 can only be performed by priestesses and their assistants, and Stage #3 would vary regarding the ritual and lithurgical context. The central of the animal sacrifice, however, was the cutting of the animal's throat and the shedding of its blood, which is mostly doned by a trained assistant priestess under the direction of the priestess who presides the sacrifice. Killing without shedding blood is rare in the Simertlean religion. The moment is described as one of excitement accompanied by human murmurs. While bloody, animal sacrifices are not perceived as something macabre or morbid, it is rather both performed and observed with devotion and expectation -or least, sympathy and/or respect), and children are often present during the ritual. For certain rites, the last three stages are simply replaced with burning the animal into a pit or altar.

The blood itself -except in the case of impure animals, such as dogs-, is usually also part of the offering. While in most cases blood is mostly offered to the god by being splashed on the altar or poured into the ground, or into a ritual container, in some cases it is intended for human consumption, although mixed with other ingredients.

After the killing, the carcass is divided up. An important distinction is between parts of the animal which are always roasted in the altar or ritual pit (such as the heart, liver, and other organs, sometimes including the head of the animal), and parts that are cooked in a pot. Meat offered to the god is usually placed along bread which was deposited in front of the altar, or in the ground in front of a statue of the deity. In some rituals the meat is placed on foliage. In the southwestern region, for certain festivities, however, animal may be slaughtered and left into the river.







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Re: Factbook of Mktvartvelo
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2021, 10:02:56 AM »

Religion in Mktvartvelo (3)



The legal status of foreign religions

The official and majority religion in the Unitary State of Mktvartvelo since the 18th-century is the Order of Simartlea. While legal and political reforms in the early 20th-century introduced legislation aimed to introduce certain separation between church and state, the Charter of Khisjvari, recognized the Order of Simartlea as "the national religion in Simartlea", and the Brzdmtsveli (Mktvartvelo's head of state), between other titles, is the ceremonial "Protector of the Order of Simartlea".

Excluding the ban on "aggressive or public proselytism" in public space, most restrictions on religious freedom has been repealed through the late 19th-century and early 20th-century administrative and legal reforms, and the power of the religious courts have considerably reduced. Nowadays, registered religions only need to communicate the local authorities for the building or establishment of new religious temples or churches. Until 1951, they needed the explicit authorization of the government for new places of cult. Some local governments, however, have a general policy of not allowing temples for other religion in their city downtown or certain protected areas, which has led recently in several court cases. Religious parades and other events on public space are often required government authorization, but they are usually allowed as far their content is purely liturgical and/o ceremonial, or they do not interfere with other religious celebration, with a few exceptions.

Regarding education, religious schools are allowed, as far as they fulfill the education requirements established by the Ministry of Education. However, the use of tuition fees is strictly prohibited, and, unlike some of the main schools and religious residence established by the Order of Simartlea, they do not receive a subsidy from the state, and they must rely on private donations in most cases (foreign donations from foreign institutions or organizations, however, is not allowed).

Most of the population, particularly Mktvartvelian citizens, are followers of the Order of Simartlea. Minority religions include Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Teidō, between others.




[TBC]


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Re: Factbook of Mktvartvelo
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2021, 12:46:22 PM »

Culture of Mktvartvelo



The Savgvareuldro Kalendari

The Mktvartvelian Calendar (known as "Sagvareuldro Kalendari", or "Ancestral Calendar") is the official calendar in Mktvartvelo since 1711. The official has twelve months of 30 days, as well as five or six extra days at the end of the year known as Gardamavali coincidental with the Aghmarti festivities, one of the most important religious celebrations in the Order of Simartlea, the largest religion in Mktvartvelo.

The calendar was established to honour the construction of the mythical temple of Pirveli Kvatsminda, consacrated to the goddess Dalotsvili Dedopali, which was believed to be built, according to the legend, nine centuries before the establishment of the Mtskhetistsikhe Confederation. By then, however, the temple had already being destroyed, and over then was built the Shrine of Dalotsvili Shadrevani in the early fourth century, which is considered the most important temple in Simartlean religion.

The current year in the Sagvareuldro Kalendari is 2677.

Months of the Year
  • Akhaltslisa Enkenistve (March)
  • Igrika (March-April)
  • Vardobistve (April-May)
  • Tibatve (May-June)
  • Mkatatve (June-July)
  • Khilivalisi (July-August)
  • Mosavalisi (August-September)
  • Ghvinobistve (September-October)
  • Nislivari (October-November)
  • Qinvalisi (November-December)
  • Apnisi (December-January)
  • Surtsqunisi (January-February)



Festivities and Holidays

Datsvatesli is a festivity, which famously includes the symbolical burning of scarecrows and fruits, related to the worshipping of the goddess Dattra and the start of the harvest season. The festivity is particularly important in Albrektberg, former capital city of the Kingdom of Jugland, as the city has the largest temple dedicated to that goddess (Early February).

Saqurebsi (sometimes translated as "Mothers' Day") is a religious festivity dedicated to the souls of the women of your family -the deceased mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmonthers, etc.- who still watch over their descendants from the Underworld. It is a festivity associated with healing, bonfires, and dancing around them (late February).

Khishsuli is a festivity consacrated to Bortsvimaghalia, which is one of the most famous festivities in Simartlean religion due to the rituals in the Temple of Tsitelikade (Mid March).

Suptasashvilosnavari is a religious festivity held around consecrated to fertility and fecundity. It is traditional to paint stones with several colours and give them as a present to beloved ones, who in turn will bury them as a promise to Dalotsvili Dedopali, the Mother Goddess (March 19-21).

Sikvdilis shabatkvira (also known as "The Festival of the Death") is a religious festivity aimed to remember Atter rebellion against the other gods of the Upperworld. It is particularly important in Azavrelia, where there is a large temple dedicated to Chabnelebuli. It is traditional that believers burn charcoal and cover their faces with its ashes. Although it is a serious and gloomy religious festivity, in recent decades it has given space to more joyous and ironic celebrations in popular culture (late April).

Gmiratsidghis is a religious holiday consacrated to Gmiratsi, a mythical hero (May 4th).

Datsqabuli is another festivity related to the goddess Bortsvimaghalia (early June).

Zapkhuli Pirveli is the festivity held the night before Okronis dghesastsauli, consacrated to the veneration of the power of the Sun. It is tradition to sacrifice a lamb at midnight in the temples consacrated to the god Mzemepe (June 20th).

Okronis dghesastsauli is a 12-day festival held around Summer solstice, the most important festivity for the followers of the Order of Simartlea. It conmemorates the victory of God Okron over his rival Damaluli and the defeat of the forces of the Underworld, bringing light and warm back to the Middle World. Besides attending the religious rites and sacrifices, Okronis dghesastsauli is a time for dancing, feasting and family meetings.

Khandzrisghame is a religious festivity consacrated to the divinities related to the Fire. Wood and leaves are typically burned nearby related temples (late July).

Ertgulis garizhrazhi is religious festivity consacrated to Ertguli, Supreme Guardian of the Middle World (August).

Dzhays kavira is a festivity consacrated to Jarebupali, the god war. It is particularly important for members of the armed forces (late August).

Santlisgza is a festivity held on Autumn Equinox. It is traditional that people light candels in temples and cemeteries for those who have not surviving relatives and therefore their souls are wandering in the Underworld.

Ganatalghabis is a religious festivity related to the end of the Harvest Season. It is not celebrated nationwide, however, although it can be very important in certain regions. It is particularly related to the Wind divinities (late September).

Shavikvira (also known as "Black Week" or "Dark Nights") is a religious festivity consacrated to the remembrance to the dead and one's own ancestors. It is traditional to held feast and family meetings at the end of the Svartten. It is believed that is the only time in the year that souls from the Underworld can visit the Middle World (late September-early October).

Gamarjvebisdghe ("Victory Day") is an official and secular holiday held in the anniversary of the victory of the Mktvartvelian armies over Abydos in the Battle of Siskhlianibanumi, in the 17th century. (October 27th).

Erovnuli dghe is a official holiday, the National Day of the Unitary State of Mktvartvelo (November 3rd).

Shuazamtari, also known as "Midwinter", is a religious celebration held after the Winter solstice (late December).



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Re: Factbook of Mktvartvelo
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2021, 04:23:00 PM »

A view of Mktvartvelo



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Re: Factbook of Mktvartvelo
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2021, 04:38:33 PM »

Armed Forces of the Unitary State of Mktvartvelo



GROUND FORCES
135,000 Soldiers
57,600 Reservists

420 x Kingsnake Main Battle Tank
360 x Canebreak Light Tank
120 x Anaconda Scout Tank
560 x Cantil Infantry Fighting Vehicle
400 x Boomslang Infantry Fighting Vehicle
360 x Cobra Armoured Personnel Carrier
160 x Adder Armoured Personnel Carrier
160 x Copperhead Recon Vehicle
600 x Bushmaster Mobility Vehicle
400 x Cottonmouth Armoured Mobility Vehicle
150 x Asp Self Propelled Howitzer
90 x Habu Towed Howitzer
70 x Boa Towed Howitzer
90 x Jarraracussu Rocket Artillery
200 x Keelback Air Defence Artillery Tanks





NAVY
38,000 Sailors
16,000 Reservists

8 x Leobwyn Class Submarine

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8 x Mannwald Class Destroyer

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8 x Bjerkesen Class Frigate

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4 x Hallbing Class Corvette
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2 x Hemarr Class Landing Ship

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10 x Tronmark Class Fast Patrol Ship

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AIR FORCE
76,000 Airmen
44,000 Reservists

70 x F-21 Fenrir Multi-Role Fighter
70 x F-15 Fafrur Multi-Role Fighter
40 x F-17 Faun Air Defence Fighter
40 x A-111 Ababil Strike Fighter
20 x C-16 Chol Transport Plane
20 x C-20 Cetan Transport Plane
10 x E-7 Erinedi AEWACS Plane
8 x K-3 Kiski Tanker
30 x H-3 Harpy Helicopter
30 x H-6 Hudhud Helicopter
40 x T-15 Tengu Advanced Trainer/Light Ground Attack
40 x T-12 Turul Basic Trainer
8 x U-3 Ushioni UAV






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Re: Factbook of Mktvartvelo
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2021, 07:03:47 PM »
Economy of Mktvartvelo



The economy of Mktvartvelo is an upper-middle income mixed economy. The state of Mktvartvelo can be described as a welfare state, and government policy since the 1950s has emphasized full employment and industrial development. It has a public and efficient health system, and has a very a very low infant-mortality rate, and a rate of doctors per capita of 40.1 per 10,000 inhabitants. The literacy rate is estimated at 99%. However, it has an increasing and considerable regional inequality, particulary between rural and urban regions, as well as a more moderate but rising economic inequality.

Before the 20th century, Mtkvartvelo was a relatively backward and underdeveloped country, heavily reliant on agriculture and with rural overpopulation. After the National War, particularly in the 1920s and 1930s, Mktvartvelo started a proces of industrialization and economic modernization. During that time, manufacturing became a pillar of its economy emphasising tractors, heavy trucks, oil processing, metal-cutting lathes, synthetic fibres, and some decades later, TV sets, semi-conductors and microships. By the 1970s, more than half of the industrial personnel worked for enterprises with over 500 employees.

However, the 1970s were characterised by significant financial distress, resulting in a sharp increase in prices and the devaluation of the national currency, as well as a decline in trade with other countries. The economy started to slowly stabilize in the 1980s, with a steady and dynamic growth in the late 1990s and 2000s. This growth was mainly a result of the performance of the industrial and energy sectors.

Although the importance of the agriculture has declined compared to the past, it is an important secotr. Potatoes, flax, hemp, sugarbeets, rye, oats, and wheat are the chief agricultural products. Dairy and beef cattle, pigs, and chickens, between other animals, are raised. The main branches of industry produce tractors and trucks, earth movers for use in construction and mining, metal-cutting machine tools, agricultural equipment, motorcycles, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, and consumer goods. The energy sector consists mainly of petroleum and natural gas.

Official unemployment rate has been consistently lower than 1% since the late 1980s. However, it is complicated to determine if the official unemployment rate is accurate as, as consequence of the government "duty to work" policies, many people are likely trying to avoid labour registration, because of fines as compulsory public works for "unactive" and unemployed workers. As consequence, unemployed people who have lacked an income for more than 18 months have to pay a fine (equivalent to 100 days of salary of their last job) once a year. If they decline or can not afford to pay it, they may be punished by compulsory public works. Parents with a child under 10 years old and members of the clergy are excempt of this fine.




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