The History and People of Sortsberg

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The History and People of Sortsberg

Post by spanick » Wed 29 Nov 2017, 19:31

History of Sortsberg
Before beginning, I want to make a few notes because thus far, everything has been scattered and inconsistent. Some of this history will be copied and pasted from previous posts and some stuff will be new but this document is intended to be canon of the history and culture of Sortsberg and the Gotski.

For consistency’s sake, I’ll be referring to Ekljeski Jęsük (Church Language) in this history simply as Old Gothic (OG). I will likewise be referring to Tözski Jezük (Common Language) simply as Modern Gothic (MG). These terms are meant only to ease in writing and reading this document.

Likewise, I will be referring to the Gotski as the Goths for simplicity’s sake unless I am purposefully distinguishing them from other gothic tribes, in which case they will be called the Gotski. This is also the term which would be used to describe this group in-world by English speakers. However, I will continue to refer to the country as Svartsberg in order to avoid confusion with the real world country of Montenegro, even though in-world Montenegro would still be the exonym used by English speakers.

Early History
The origins of the Gotski are not exactly known. It has widely been accepted that they were among the group of Ostrogoths which moved into Illyria in the mid 5th Century, however some recent archaeological evidence suggests the Gotski may have already been in the area as early as 400 AD, predating the arrival of the Ostrogoths by nearly half a century. This has caused some to hypothesize that the Gotski left their homeland shortly after the invasion of the Huns after which they traveled to and settled in Illyria to serve as foederati for the Western Empire.

Regardless of their origins, their tribal name is lost to history and they were referred to as either Ostrogoths or Goths. What is known is that during the reign of Theodoric the Great, they would not join in the move to Moesia or the conquering of Italy.

Early Middle Ages
For a couple centuries, they governed themselves according to their own code of law. The earliest extant copy of which is written in Latin document Lex Ostrogothorum. This code had many similarities to other Germanic codes of law.

It legally defined a three-tiered, hierarchical society of nobles (OG: aþlos), freemen (OG: karelos), and serfs (OG: þevos) which was ruled over by an elected king (OG: Konęgs). It established a weregild (OG: bluoþasgeld) of 200 shillings (OG: skelęgos) for the death of a freeman and, unusually, a serf. This amount was doubled for nobles and 100 shillings was added in the case of the death of a woman. Bishops and priests were reckoned as nobles and freemen, respectively.

The Ostrogothic Law was also somewhat unique in its extension of the death sentence to premeditated murder along with rape, incent, and treason. Other heinous crimes were punished by outlawry (OG: abduomenes).
During this time, the Goths were frequently fighting against groups of invading Slavs and were slowing losing ground until finally being conquered and incorporated into the medieval Principality of Serbia in the 8th Century.

Serbian Rule
By the 9th Century, with the mission of Ss. Cyril and Methodius to the Slavs, the Arian Goths were converted to Byzantine Rite, Nicean Christianity. While the Goths remained the dominant ethic group in their area, they now lived closely with significant minorities of Serbs, Bosniaks, and Albanians. Because the Serbs now ruled the area and the liturgical language was Old Church Slavonic, the Goths were largely bilingual but chaffed significantly under Serbian rule.

After the fall of the Serbian Empire in the 14th Century, the local Serbian noble family ruled the area with de facto independence.

Saint Vereks
In the late 15th Century a gothic hieromonk, St. Vereks happened upon several ancient Gospel manuscripts written in Wulfila's Gothic. Vereks was an avid student of language, having mastered Greek, OCS, and Latin and studied Aramaic, and quickly recognized the importance of these manuscripts. This would inspire St. Vereks to begin his own translation of the Bible into Old Gothic. In his lifetime, he completed the New Testament, the Psalms, and several liturgical books. The remainder of the Bible was completed by subsequent monks who were his students. It is St. Vereks' language that comes down to us as Ekljeski Jęsük (Old Gothic).

Amongst St. Vereks' students, a school of thought developed that the Goths should conduct liturgy in their own language. The local Bishops agreed. They also began to demand their own, separate hierarchy. This this bishops would not agree to. Eventually, this would lead to the Gotski turning to Rome and establishing their own Eastern Catholic Church known as the Gothic-Greek Catholic Church (OG: Gotska-Grieka Kaþolika Eklješa). It was little known at the time, but the idea was not as novel as it seemed. Decades later, it was demonstrated from the private writings of St. Vereks that his views on the Papacy were changing. This was apparently planted in the minds of his students, in particular St. Volfel, who would become the first Eastern Catholic bishop of the Goths on 18 September 1526.

Kingdom of Sortsberg
Shortly after the establishment of the Gothic-Greek Catholic Church, Sortsberg was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and became a Viayet. While humiliating for the Goths, who grew to hate the Turks, they were eventually granted more self-rule than other regions of the Empire. Regardless, Sortsberg joined in the Great Turkish War, after which they were successful in shaking off Turkish over-lordship.

Using the principles of the Lex Ostrogothorum, the nobles met in the first parliament (Ričmost) and established the Kingdom of Sortsberg (Rič Sortsbergs), electing Vladzimer fram Loske as the first King of Sortsberg.

Border wars with the Ottomans were common. At the conclusion of the Balkan Wars, definite borders were arranged between Sortsberg and its neighbors: Serbia, Albania, and Austria-Hungary.

During the First World War, Sortsberg joined on the side of the Allies. By 1916, the country had been occupied and the King and other government officials fled to France. This would mark the end of the Kingdom of Sortsberg. The bishops (who were also members of the governemnt and the Archbishop (nominally co-regent) did not flee. At the conclusion of the war, Sortsberg was annexed into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. This was a cause of frequent, but short lived, insurrections and significant ethnic tension.

Second World War
During the Second World War, the Germans invaded Yugoslavia and created a Gothic puppet state. The Gothic people were mostly ambivalent towards their Nazi occupiers. They were quite glad to be rid of the rule of Yugoslavia but were very wary of the Nazis. The archbishop in particular was very anti-Nazi. However many Gothic nobles were fervent collaborators. All things being equal, the Goths faired rather well during the war. Hitler and Himmler were quite interested in this group of Germanic speaking peoples in the Balkans and the Ahnenerba presence was quite strong.
That being said, the puppet government was complicit in the massacre and ethnic cleansing of Slavic and Romani minorities in Sortsberg. As the end of the war approached and the Yugoslav Partisans began to liberate the country, the Sortsberg resistance finally gained enough momentum to liberate itself. After the war, Sortsberg gained its independence from Yugoslavia becoming the Republic of Sortsberg (MG: Republik Sortsbergs) in 1946.

Republic of Sortsberg
Tensions ran high between Sortsberg and Yugoslavia during the Cold War. The ethnic Goths generally became anti-communist in part due to their disdain for their Slavic neighbors, which colored their relationship with the USSR. Sortsberg had managed to resist communist control and eventually joined NATO in 1956, putting it on the front lines of the great ideological divide of the 20th century.

Membership in NATO initially protected it from the War but by 1995, Sortsberg was at war with Serbia and Serb rebels. In 1999, the war ended for Sortsberg. Many of the ethnic Serbs had left after the war to Serbia. Sortsberg received about 25,000 ethnic Gutisk refugees, mostly from southern Serbia.

The ten most populous cities in Sortsberg are listed below preceded by their real-world Montenegrin names for reference:

Montenegrin/Modern Gotski
Herceg Novi/Nüborgs
Bijelo Polje/Hötafeod
Last edited by spanick on Thu 30 Nov 2017, 18:03, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The History and People of Sortsberg

Post by spanick » Wed 29 Nov 2017, 19:32

Kingdom of Sortsberg
The kingdom itself became a dual, elective monarchy. One monarch, who is elected for life from among the nobles by the parliament the second is the Archeparch of the Gothic-Greek Catholic Church. The parliament itself is composed of 118 members whose votes are weighted and thus there are a total of 261 votes. The vote breakdown is as follows:
7 bishops with 6 votes each for a total of 42
33 nobles with various votes each for a total of 102
23 counties with 1 vote each for a total of 23
10 chartered cities with 1 vote each for a total of 10
12 large guilds with 2 votes each for a total of 24
60 small guilds with 1 vote each for a total of 60

Both monarchs have veto power which can only be overturned with an absolute majority of the parliament. The monarchs also sit as the high judges of the kingdom and the nobles and bishops vote as a jury (each with only one vote in this case). The rest of the parliament cannot sit in judgement of others. In this way, there is a de facto upper house.

Each delegate to the parliament must cast all his votes the same way (no vote splitting). Nobles are seated for life and their seats are hereditary. Bishops are chosen from amongst the priests by the other bishops are also seated for life. The counties are represented by royal appointees for life, the position is not inherited. The cities are represented by their mayors who are elected from amongst the citizens of that city. The guilds may choose their delegates however they like. Their status as voting guilds is dependent on a royal charter which can be revoked. In practice, they are not revoked often but it has been known to happen.

The kings can issue and revoke royal charters on their own prerogative and they have a handful of other privileges. Regular legislation is voted on by the parliament, which in particular retains the right to vote on new taxes, finances, and budget.

Republic of Sortsberg
The republic is a parliamentary, unicameral, constitutional republic.

The parliament (MG: Lödsmot) consists of 78 voting members and seven non-voting members. The seven non-voting members are the bishops of the Gothic-Greek Catholic Church, which is written into the Constitution as the State Church. This is a holdover from the parliament of the Kingdom of Svartsberg, on which the current parliament was modeled. In fact, the original draft for the constitution also included a large number of seats for the nobles just as the Ričmot had. However, this was widely unpopular because many noble families collaborated with the Nazis and was ultimately not approved. Regardless, a large number of politicians come from the noble families.

Each Minister of Parliament (MG: Abahts) is elected for a four year term and may serve up to five terms. The whole of the parliament is elected at once using a closed-list proportional system. The Prezident President (MG: Prezident) is elected by the people separately using single transferrable vote. The President serves for a term of six years and may serve up to two terms. One of his duties is to nominate a candidate for Prime Minister (MG: Premjer) to be approved by parliament.

The current President is Petros fram Nüborgs (KP) and the current Prime Minister is Vladzimer Herdz (HDP). The most recent election for parliament was in 2014. Elections for the Eighteenth Parliament will be held 30 June 2018. The current seated parties are as follows (ranked from most seats to least):

Hhrestljeko Demokratsko Parti (HDP) “Christian Democratic Party” – 38 seats
Koservatorsko Parti (KP) “Conservative Party” – 12 seats
Demokratsko Socialistsko Parti (DSP) “Democratic Socialist Party” – 9 seats
Socialistsko Löds Parti (SLP) “Socialist People’s Party” – 6 seats
Liberal-Demokratsko Parti (LDP) “Liberal-Democratic Party” – 5 seats
Srbskis Anasos (SA) “Serbian Unity” – 3 seats
Anasos fož Sortsberg (AfS) “Unity for Sortsberg” – 3 seats
Bošnjaksko Parti (BP) “Bosnian Party” – 1 seat
Hrvatsko Gabed (HG) “Croatian League” – 1 seat

The ideologies of the parties in parliament:
HDP – Christian Democracy; Liberal Conservatism
KP – Sortsberg Nationalism; Euroscepticism; Conservatism
DSP – Social Democracy; Pro-Europeanism
SLP – Left Wing Populism; Social Democracy
LDP – Classical Liberalism
SA – Serbian Unionism; Conservatism
AfS – Sortsberg Nationalism; Centrism; Populism
BP – Bosniak minority interests; Social Conservatism
HG – Croatian minority interests; Social Conservatism

The HDP and the KP have historically worked closely together and are currently in a coalition giving them an impressive 50 seats (64% majority) in parliament. The DSP and SLP are the main opposition coalition. The LDP and the AfS often form an independent coalition and are together seen as swing votes. The remaining parties are all independent although they do sometimes join other coalitions.

Parliament meets in the capital city of Losk, which is the historic capital of the Kingdom of Sortsberg and meets in the historic Meeting House (MG: Mothus). The President resides in the former residence of the King which is now called the Presidential Palace (MG: Prezidentspalac). Losk is also the site of the National Court of the Republic (MG: Nacjonal Vetodhus Republikos) which is the highest court in the country. There are seven judges (MG: stuvan) who are nominated by the President and approved by parliament.
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