Myrmidan Society

Myrmidos is a city state and a member of the Athosian league. Like all nations of the Athosian league, it has inherited something of its protector’s nature. In Myrmidos’ case, it was Far Athos’ martial aspect they gleaned.

Myrmidos is a warrior society where, from birth, all are trained in the ways of war – to fight and to die for Myrmidos. Every aspect of their society is dominated by martial pursuits, and they have little time for artistry or music. This is true even for marriage, where a woman will not consider a potential suitor unless he can best her in hand to hand combat.

Myrmidos is a society where everything must be earned, and where titles are given by virtue of merit, rather than by birthright or lineage. For Myrmidians, a noble name carries no entitlement, but instead only creates expectation. The son of a King of Myrmidos has no right to the throne, but must work hard to not dishonour his father’s memory. The Gorgon throne is occupied by Queen Hypolyta who earned her position after years of distinguished service. The eight commanders of the Myrmidian army sequester themselves in conclave and choose from amongst themselves a leader who will serve as monarch for life. This vote must always be unanimous, but it is seldom a lengthy process as it might be in other nations – there is little time for politics in Myrmidos, only competence.

Men and women are equal in Myrmidian society and all must give military service to the nation. For women, childbirth is considered a service to the nation, and mothers are exempted from military service whilst they raise children. Women who die in childbirth are buried with full military honours in the same way as those who die in battle. Since childbirth is a service to the nation, it is also mandatory. Men or women of childbearing age who cannot produce children attract some degree of dishonour, and unions which do not produce children are dissolved by law. Women who choose to return to fight after raising children receive advancement and honour commensurate to their effort rearing the next generation of fighters. Myrmidos is not a society where personal property is accumulated and held, and prized possessions are often only those things which are trophies from battle, or which can be used to make war. Men and women do not gain rights to each other’s property upon marriage, nor do they gain rights to each other’s titles. Since rights must be earned, Commander Xanthus, the husband of Queen Hypolyta, is not King.

Myrmidos has a three-part government structure:

  1. The Sovereign: The King or Queen of Myrmidos
  2. The Council of Eight: The Eight leaders of the Myrmidian army
  3. The Assembly of the Blooded: A council open to all Myrmidian citizens who may not serve in the military through reasons of being wounded in battle, or who, after a lengthy military service may no longer serve due to reasons of age.

Formally, only the Sovereign and Council of Eight hold power to make decisions. However, the Assembly of the Blooded often provides sound advice and wisdom which is taken on by the decisions of the Sovereign and Council.

Not all people who live in Myrmidos are citizens. Much to the dismay of the other members of the Athosian league, there exists a servant class in Myrmidos of Helots. These Helots perform many of the functions in society which are not fulfilled by the martial ruling class who dedicate their lives to mastering the ways of war. Helots in recent centuries have been treated far better than they had been in the passed since the passing of the Lakonian Accords during the 14th League Council. These accords ensured that in no place in the Athosian League would humans suffer inhuman and degrading treatment, but stopped short of banning all forms of slavery. Helots are heavily taxed, and fully half of what they make is tithed to the state. Myrmidan men are known to sleep with Helot women, but for a Helot man to sleep with a Myrmidan woman is a crime punishable by death.

Citizens of other nations sometimes live within Myrmidos. In particular, Pythian seers are sought after, as are engineers from Troas. The Orichalk Guard of Troas and the Pythian Silent Sentinels are both regiments who are trained in Myrmidos. Members of these regiments are only permitted to leave Myrmidos after they have proven themselves capable of beating a Myrmidan in ritual combat. Upon succeeding at this task, they are offered a choice – to stay and fight as a Myrmidan, or to leave to return to their own lands forever a friend of Myrmidos. The most prestigious Myrmidan regiment is the company of the golden fleece. The commander of the company of the golden fleece is considered first amongst equals in the council of eight.

Myrmidan Battle Tactics

Myrmidans fight in a phalanx with a long spear and a rounded bronze shield. Myrmidans tend to wear armour which is light and effective, and they eschew the heavy battle armour worn by the Etruscan legionnaires. Myrmidans are accomplished long-distance runners, and this combined with the lightness of their armour enables Myrmidans to travel quickly across country by foot. A Myrmidan army is often able to redeploy very quickly to its advantage, and it is seldom the case where Myrmidans will choose to fight on ground which is not in their favour. Myrmidans do not, however, routinely utilise cavalry, and nor do they engage their enemies at range, for this is viewed to be a dishonourable task. Helots are, however, often employed as ranged skirmish units to screen the advance of more valuable Myrmidan hoplites.

Myrmidans have little in the way of wizards, and nor do they particularly have time for the gods. It is not that they do not have respect for the gods – but it is rather that they are far more interested in keeping the gods pleased so they will leave them alone, rather than to entreat them for favour. The only exception to this is the god Ares who is the only god whose worship has a dedicated priesthood in Myrmidos. Priests of Ares tend to be Myrmidans who through their training or in battle have caught the eye of Ares. These priests are called into the wilderness to undertake challenges, and return changed. Priests of Ares have little time for formal services and they have no temples save the training arena, but they undertake for themselves that it is understood that training and tournaments are sacred duties of all Myrmidans. Every four years, the Aresian priesthood puts on an Olimpikos where competitors from across the Athosian league come to demonstrate their prowess at physical tasks.

Myrmidos has little in the way of a navy, and instead it focusses its attentions on the fighting overland. Prior to the Etruscans’ conquest of Gallia, Myrmidos fought a great deal with the celts there. Myrmidos had little desire for an empire, but it was instrumental in the creation of Massylia. The Myrmidan throne has strong friendships with some Gallian Kings whose ancestors fought with honour.