Books and Scrolls
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ID: 1598


November 15, 2005, 6:06 pm

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A depiction of a island society and it compares that land’s unusual political ideas with the contemporary politics of the Known World. The book is a collection of letters between a known minister and a king of a few centuries ago. They discuss the state of things there and the known world. It is sometimes a biting discussion/ condemnation that has caused the book to be disavowed in many places.

On the Best State of a Republic and on the New Island of Utopia
Or known is less Elven areas as Utopia.   (More 1516)

A depiction of a island society and it compares that land’s unusual political ideas with the contemporary politics of the Known World. The book is a collection of letters between a known minister and a king of a few centuries ago. They discuss the state of things there and the known world. It is sometimes a biting discussion/ condemnation that has caused the book to be disavowed in many places.

The island was originally part of the mainland of a distant but known continent, but a large channel was dug by the community’s founder Utopos to separate it. The island contains fifty-four towns, each with about 6,000 households. 30 households are grouped together and controlled by a Syphograntus or “Styward” and 10 Stywards are overseen by a Traniborus or “Bencheater”. Each town has a mayor elected from among the ranks of the Bencheaters. Every household has between 10 and 16 adults and people are re-distributed around the households and towns to keep numbers even. If the island suffers from overpopulation colonies are set up on the mainland. The native of the mainland are invited to be part of these Utopian colonies but if they don’t like it they are ejected from the land. In the case of under population the colonists are re-called.

There is no private ownership on Utopia, with goods being stored in warehouses and people requesting what they need. There are also no locks on the doors of the houses. Agriculture is only one job on the island. Every person is taught it and must live in the countryside, farming, for two years at a time, with women doing the same work as men. Parallel to this, essential trades are taught such as weaving and carpentry but there is deliberate simplicity about the trades; so for instance, all people wear the same types of simple clothes and there are no dressmakers making fine apparel. The people only have to work six hours a day, although many willingly work for longer‚ and this helps prevent over production. More does allow scholars in his society to become the ruling officials or priests, people picked during their primary education for their ability to learn.

Slaves are a feature of Utopian life and it is reported that every household has two. The slaves are either made in some obscure process or are criminals of Utopia. These criminals are weighed down with chains made out of gold. The gold is part of the community wealth of the country, and fettering criminals with it or using it for plates and cutlery gives the citizens a healthy dislike of it. It also makes it difficult to steal as it is on plain view. The wealth though is of little importance and is only good for buying commodities from foreign nations or bribing these nations to fight each other. Slaves are periodically released for good behavior.

Other significant innovations of Utopia include: a welfare state with free hospitals, euthanasia encouraged by the state, priests being allowed to marry, divorce permitted, pre-marital sex punished by a lifetime of enforced celibacy and adultery being punished by enslavement. Meals are taken in community dining halls and the job of feeding the population is given to a different household in turn. Although all are fed the same, Raphael explains that the old and the administrators are given the best of the food. Travel on the island is only permitted with an internal passport and anyone found without a passport in placed into slavery. In addition, there are no lawyers and the law is made deliberately simple, as all should understand it and not leave people in any doubt of what is right and wrong.

There are several religions on the island: moon-worshipers, sun-worshipers, planet-worshipers, ancestor-worshipers and monotheists, but each is tolerant of the others. Only atheists are despised in Utopia. They are not banished but encouraged to talk out their erroneous beliefs with the priests until they are convinced of their wrong. Raphael says that through his teachings Christianity was beginning to take hold in Utopia. The toleration of all other religious ideas is enshrined in a universal poem all the Utopians recite.

Women are given a high degree of equality in the society with women able to become priests and trained in military arts but they are still subordinate to men, with women confessing their sins to their husbands once a month. Gambling, hunting, makeup and astrology are all discouraged in Utopia.

(Also based upon a real book)

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Comments ( 4 )
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November 15, 2005, 18:10
So People are probably wondering "WHY?"

Let me tell you some reasons for having this book.
1) It lays down the idea of a "perfect society", this is something that various countries could strive for. It shows the concept of "social change" which means the setting will pull itself out of its psuedo feudal mess someday.

2) Various cults could attempt to emulate this location.
2b) Others could wish to exploit said peoples.
2c) Certain religions will either embrace or reject the book, creating a complicated web of relationships between organizations.

3) Various factions of nobles at court will be on different sides on the subject. Thus another reason for nobles to dislike each other/ take offense/ or start projects. Now imagine if a King or Prince was enamoured by the work.

4) It could be a real place that had been destroyed, or is still there... just hidden from most of society.

It gives you something to work with. Grok it now?
Voted Spark
December 17, 2005, 13:41
I like the idea of it being a book, and that one is not sure whether it exists or not. The unknown is always the most interesting! A fantasy world version of Thomas More's book. Also like how it can be used as a basis for political divisions. One thing I thought was wierd was enforced celibacy - all views and social positions prior to this were decidedly progressive, but the ban on pre-marital sex seemed conservative and out of place. Otherwise, I like the idea, and while I wouldn't use it word for word, I could definately see a lot of its elements being used.
December 17, 2005, 15:07
well it was kind of radical for 1500s
Voted Forganthus
June 15, 2012, 15:52
I like Utopia, especially since it seems like a mixed bag. Some parts sound nice, some sound bad, and some just sound communist. However, pretty much everything in this article is lifted straight out of Wikipedia. It'd be nice to see a section about how to apply it to a DnD game (which Moonhunter put as a comment), or a few ruminations on utopias in general.

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