Atlantaic Culture was a major human culture of Oreni which flourished in southern Andolien and eastern Salkanien from around SA 1000 to SA 3000. It was the second of two human cultures to come into contact with the Nestë in the second millenium of the second age (the other being the Lepontids). The Atlantaic culture was early divided into three main groups or tribes: Daronidë, Kadimidë and Sakermidë, eached named after their chieftains. These chieftains were the sons of Atalantos, the first chief of the Atlantaic people. What follows is a general overview of the main aspects of this culture.
The religion of the human kingdoms of Dernedd, Ceddi and Carnol was originally a form of animism and ancestor worship. There are some reports of veneration of the Wolf amongst the ancient Sakermidë who entered the Yunirien Basin in SA 1490. This is most evident in the name of the tribe itself - saker being the ancient Daronidic term for 'wolf'. It is apparent that the Wolf was a totemic figure amongst the Sakermidë and perhaps held to be the mythic ancestor of the tribe. This figure is prominent in the naming practices of this tribe: the goddess Sakentis was frequently invoked in times of need; Sakermenos, Sakros, and Sakermos were common names, at least amongst the nobility. Other gods of the Sakermidë were Akrantis and Brigantos, the war-deities. Another widespread belief, in Dernedd at least, was the worship of the moon. However, Daronidic worship of the moon must be sharply contrasted with Nestean Alarie-worship, for in Daronidic practice the moon was always seen as a entity which moved of its own accord, having it's own will - there was no one GOD in Atlantaic thought.
Beyond anecdotal and written evidence of the ancient religion, there is some material evidence as well. In Dun Naron three temples were erected to unknown pagan deities - their entire contents and inscriptional remains were destroyed during the reign of Marikantos. Afterwards, they were used as Orenyaic temples, before being burned during the purges in the 3rd millennium. Elsewhere, architectural evidence is rather slim, we have uncertain examples in the East March of Ceddi. These consist of altar stones set up on hill tops with un-deciphered inscriptions. Sometimes, they are accompanied at lower elevation by boulders arranged in a circular pattern. Beside the architectural evidence, animal figurines were once common throughout the Atlantaic world, usually stone but sometimes carved from wood.
Finally, Atalantos himself was usually revered in one form or another. The most common was as a spirit-guardian to young men about to undergo the rituals of betrothal. The young man's spirit was thought to interact with that of first chief to become both an able father and a wise and noble husband. Frequently, young men had to endure a week in the wilderness before being admitted into his bride's family for the wedding. This practice was gradually replaced, as the human tribes became more urbanized. Eventually, the practice was altered such that, in place of a wilderness trek, a man entered a special location called the kastikos, where he would lie in solitude for at least a day. During this period, no light nor food or water was admitted to the young man. Kastikos was a term meaning 'place of the ancestor' (kastis 'ancestor'), however, it is unclear if each family had its own kastikos or if each community had a special shrine for the purpose.
Religious History (~ SA 1400 - 1600)
After the royal family of Dernedd started to educate themselves in Orenyaic philosophy, they began to oppose many of the ancient pagan practices. In Dernedd, the kings Marikantos and Koron were instrumental in the dismantling of the old religion, which, however, surived another 300 years in some places. Polufast, the son of Koron went to study at Caer Aldun and returned determined to spread the philosophies of Nossanë, Eril, Rankalos and others. In SA 1560, he obtained a royal charter to found a Orenyaic school in Dun Naron - in a former temple. This had sat for almost a hundred years as an unoccupied building, after its confiscation by the kingdom under Marikantos. There, Polufast taught the concepts of free-will, emanation of beauty, Ildiva and Ilieina to anyone interested. While only those with the blood of both human and Nestë could hope to achieve the status of Orenya, these concepts proved to be important in the religious life of the kingdoms as time went by.
Sikonos, the Lord of Carnol, allowed the practice of the kastikos ritual to continue amongst his people. This was due to the fact that most of Carnol was inhabited by Sakermidë who adhered rigidly to their totemic ways. The land was split into clan-lands by the various chieftains of the Sakermidë. Each clan had a specific totemic animal who was housed in a large kastikos in the center of the village. In this case, the Carnolide kastikos was a pillar made of carved stone with a wide base, where offerings could be made. This was different from the kastikos of the betrothal rites as it could clearly not be sealed for fasting and confinement purposes. Since Sakermidë families were roughly matrilineal (in that a man married into his wife's clan), Sikonos had a personal interest in permitting paganism in his lands: his wife was of the powerful Karolidë clan. Carnol had two temples, one to Sakentis and another to a god named Zexên who had some connection to water or rain.
The pagan underpinning of Carnolide religion, may have been a large factor in that land's subjugation of Radnor under Sikonos and his sons. Because Radnorians were Nestëan monotheists (albeit of human descent), they were the subject of ridicule in the heavily Sakermidë village lands of the western part of the country. In the city of Carnol itself, the urban population was associated to a large extent with Dun Naron and tended to harbor pro-Orenyaic (and hence monotheistic) ideas. However, this population was outnumbered by the rural Sakermidë and had less power in a monarchy dependent on support from clan-chieftains who were all pagan. Thus, when the chieftain of the Karolidë clan sited his royal charter granted by the King Koron of Dernedd as evidence that the Radnorians were inhabiting his lands, Sikonos had almost no choice but to agree to action. Propagandists at that time made much of the backwardness of Radnor, including its monotheistic tendencies. That the capital of the kingdom, Dun Naron was itself a bastion of Orenyaic practice, was hardly thought worth mentioning.
Settlement and Architecture
Originally, Atlantaic people were nomadic, hence subsisting by hunting and gathering and having no established villages. Stories from the Sakerimide allow one to reconstruct a bit of nomadic life.