Iovism

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Iovism
IovismSymbol.png
TheologyRadical Dualism,
Reincarnation,
World to come
StructureMonasticism
Adriah (Orthodoxy)Livj Ile
RegionWorldwide
FounderThe Prophet Iovi
Origin2nd millennium BCE
Modern day Azerin
SeparationsOrthodoxy, Reform, Ignizian Reform, Aorelian Mysticism

Iovism is a dualistic religion, centered around the prophet Iovi—from which the name of Iovism is originated—and the gods Hosha and Muhe. Iovism is founded on the 2nd millennium BCE in modern day Azerin. Iovism has also influenced a number of other religions in and outside of Ekuosia, most notably Pashaism and Zarasaism.

Iovism believes that the world is created by the two gods, that are Hosha and Muhe. Hosha is seen as the god of fortune, and Muhe is the opposite. However, neither of the gods represent good nor evil, and both are seen as necessary to the balance of the universe.

History

Early History

Iovism is traditionally dated to 1200 BC in or near the Stalo region in modern Azerin. The Prophet Iovi, the religion’s founder, is hypothesised to have been born and raised in the nearby settlement of Madrana as a speaker of Neo-Halarian. The veracity of Iovi as a real historical figure is sometimes disputed, as some have argued that Iovi is a conflation of multiple people, only loosely based on a historical figure, or even based on pagan legends.

Iovi was originally an adherent of a branch of Ekuosian paganism, a syncretic faith which contained elements from the native Halarian Religion (believed to be related to other non-Iovic Baredinan religions such as Algazi paganism, Quurozarq, and Tanhunga) as well as the faith of the Letsic elite which began to settle in the region from the 22nd century. Many of the Iovist creation and historical narrative is believed to originate in these pagan traditions, “adapted” for a dualistic theology either by Iovi or his followers. (Later Iovic religions mostly eschewed Iovist myths as being pagan corruptions).

Despite the traditional history of Iovism being founded approximately 1190 BC (the year 1 in the Iovist calendar), modern archaeological findings suggests evidence of dualism and Iovic theology as early as 1300 BC. Furthermore, it is widely accepted that most of the Iovist holy scripture was written between 1000 and 400 BC (hundreds of years after Iovi’s death), and many of the older scriptures contain inconsistencies and contradictions with modern Iovist theology. This lends credence to the idea that Iovism evolved over a period of nearly 800 years before being standardized in a recognizable modern form.

Other religious groups and traditions also arose during this period, either in tandem or in resistance to the standardization of iovism, para-iovic or basal iovic traditions (iovi!Mandaeans, !Gnostics etc), that reached decent numbers of adherents and influence in the region of modern day Azerin and Barradiwa in the classical and medieval periods, affecting the beliefs and practices of Iovists in the area in the centuries to come (some are probably still around in modern day?)

The first states to adopt Iovism were Halaria (approximately 800 BC) and Ekuostia (approximately 600 BC). Halaria became the centre of the Iovist faith, and much of early Iovist theology and philosophy was developed in the cities of Madrana and Stalo. Gradually, a schism between the two cities emerged, which led to the interpretations of Iovi’s message, and even separate liturgical languages (Madranite Neo-Halarian and the Staloan dialect of Imperial Mestani, respectively).

The Classical Iovist period (500 to 200 BC), centred around modern-day eastern Azerin and western Barradiwa, produced many thinkers and scholars who founded the tradition of Ekuosian philosophy. Eastern philosophers stressed the role of Iovism in enlightening pagans, in that period most of western Ekuosia, as the true faith, revealed by the gods.

Select Iovist communities as far west as Galadros existed as early as 300 BC, and by 150 BC much of Letsatia had converted to Iovism, though it continued to lack recognition. In [100ish?] BC, the Iovist Letsatian noble Cišózou united the many Letsatian republics and city-states under the Letsatian Empire, which grew to encompass large swathes of western Ekuosia. Though the Letsatian emperors officially adhered to the Orthodox faith, in practice the form of Iovism in the empire grew to be distinct from that of Stalo in both liturgy and organization. This distinctly Letsatian form of Iovism retrospectively came to be known as Komy Reformism, though it continued to recognise the supreme authority of the Patriarch in Stalo, and in return Stalo remind tolerant of the separate Letsatian practices.

A similar process happened to the Iovist groups in Akulanen (mainly Shohai) and Soltenna (primarily Zaizung and modern-day Fordas) that were subject to influences and syncretism from Ngerupic cultures and religions and thus developed further theologies and practices distinct both from the Letsatian practices and the Staloan orthodoxy, but, at least in Shohai, the authority of the the Adriah in Stalo kept being recognized.

Under Letsatian rule, Iovism spread to Low Letsatia, Hemesh, Terminia, Akulanen and Soltenna. After the fall of the empire in the 6th century AD, Iovism continued to dominate in former Letsatian territories, cementing Iovism as Ekuosia’s dominant religion throughout the first millennium. The fractured polities of Ekuosia between the 6th and 12th centuries meant that the catholic Iovist clergy was one the foremost powers across the continent until its disruption by the expansion of Pashaist Terminia into northwest Ekuosia during the early 13th century.

Reformation

While the Terminians remained officially tolerant of the faith, allowing Iovist communities autonomy under the direction of Pashaist custodians, there were also significant barriers affecting the free practice of Iovism. Pashaists discouraged veneration of Muhe, so believers were only permitted to show minor acts of faith towards the god, with any serious worship forced underground which led to further gradual theological drift away from the Staloan religious authorities (also some tax stuff or sth? A couple further restrictions somewhere). On the other hand, however, the Terminian Empire allowed the Iovist communities in its constituents the liberty of deciding upon the organization of their clerical structure electing or appointing their own clergy, and did not impinge on their theological and practical rulings to an extent; as long and they did not explicitly worship Muhe and a couple other caveats (idk ask vis). Shielded in this sense by the political and military might of the Terminian Empire the authority of the Adriah became much less relevant for the Iovists inside its borders, with regional theological and ritual differences proliferating unimpeded during the following centuries.

The clergy in Halaria, which by the late 13th century was threatened by Terminia’s expansion, feared that any attempt to regulate the faith of Iovists in the Terminian Empire would spark an invasion of the Iovist homeland. As a result, the Orthodox Patriarch began to use the separate liturgical practices, influenced by the basal iovic faiths of the region, of western Iovists to justify turning a blind eye to their drift under the Terminians.

Although Terminia was partially successful in spreading Pashaism to some formerly Iovist regions of western Ekuosia, by and large Pashaism remained resented as the religion of the conquering elite in the region. From the rule of Glorpi XI in the early 15th century, ailed by poor health and lacking in sanity, the Iovist communities, that comprised a majority of the populace in several constituents of the Empire, begun to drift away from the grasp of the Terminian Empire as it declined in power and influence. As they asserted their political independence from the Terminians, the Staloan clergy begun trying to reassert its religious authority on the region, but the drift in both theology and rites had been too significant; western Ekuosian Iovism stopped recognizing the authority of the Adriah and split into several regionalized churches, collectively referred to as Reform Iovism but which are effectively several denominations (Komy Reform, Ignizian, Aorelian, etc.) (whatever actually happened in Soltenna goes here and is probably up for discussion). This was not a peaceful process, with the most severe conflict occurring in the Ignizian regions (probably, ask ava). The Shohai iovists, on the other hand, remained in communion with the Adriah in Stalo, despite all their differences.

Prayer

The most common and “general” prayers tend to invoke Hosha and Muhe as a single whole, though there are certain incantations or hymns that refer mainly or exclusively to one. Spontaneous, personal prayer is more likely to invoke an individual deity based on the immediate situation. As the god of order Hosha is invoked far more frequently than Muhe, as people tend to wish for more order in their lives. On the other hand, however, the Terminian Empire allowed the Iovist communities in its constituents the liberty of electing or appointing their own clergy, deciding upon the organization of their clerical structure and did not impinge on their theological and practical rulings to an extent; as long and they did not explicitly worship Muhe and a few other caveats.

Diet

There is no actual scripture-based food restrictions but generally there is a taboo on eating meat from birds and land animals that emerged due to the belief in reincarnation. Fish are considered less taboo due to the fact they are considered more distant from humans.

The taboo doesn’t apply universally in all Iovist communities, particularly ones that converted to Iovism later, and many semi-religious or irreligious people won’t obey the rules at all, or use them more as a rough guideline.