Cities of Tirenia - Aterni

Aterni, the Windy City

History: Aterni is located high in the Avunine Mountains. It began life as a cluster of villages situated around the source of the Aterno River. Over time, the area became popular among the wealthy as a scenic retreat to build villas and go hunting. In 833 A.S. the High Ordinarch Reimundo di Clementi declared that the Church deserved a city built for its own glory: Auromia, he claimed, was too pagan. He moved the Ordinarchy to his villa at Aterni, and began construction of a new city there. Aterni was completed in 847 A.S.

Government: Aterni is a theocracy governed by the High Ordinarch. He has, in theory,absolute legislative, executive and judicial authority over the city and the surrounding villages. He then appoints different committees or officials to carry out the duties of the government in his name. In practice, the city operates through a complex web of patronage. The High Ordinarch is controlled by the Ordinarchs who voted for them at the college and by his financial patrons; the ordinarchs are in turn controlled by their families and patrons, and so on. In practice, this means that the authority of the church is generally squandered against internal threats. The ultimate patrons of the church are the green dragons, who are responsible for this state of affairs.

Economy: Aterni has a consumer economy. The surrounding villages have a market to buy what they need, but their produce is entirely consumed by the Ordinarchs. Many merchants bring food and luxury goods for the church leaders as well.

Religion: Aterni has the highest concentration of churches anywhere in the world. There are private chapels for the Ordinarchs, as well as the grand Archbasilica di San Simaria. The relics of San Simaria, the first High Ordinarch, are interred here beneath the altar. The subsequent High Ordinarchs are also buried here, their remains having been exhumed and moved from Auromia during the construction of the Archbasilica.

Geography: The city of Aterni consists of the palaces and churches of the Ordinarchy. The original villages that make up Aterni still exist: some have been subsumed into the city, while others take the place of suburbs. Aterni is small enough that it has no sestiere like the other cities in Tirenia.

Culture: Opulence and treachery describes the culture in Aterni. There are daily masses for the celebration of one saint or another, but according to rumours there are also frequently debauched parties, hunting expeditions, feasts and other entertainments. This is a good cover for politicking - over the years, many an Ordinarch has passed away in a terrible accident - or, more honestly, been poisoned.

Esoterica: For a city that is the centre of spiritualism in Tirenia, Aterni is strangely absent any supernatural occurrences. Aterni is home to the treasures of the Church - dozens of saints’ relics, and whatever secrets are hidden in the Church Archives, the greatest library in Tirenia.

Politics: High Ordinarch Temperanza VIII is the current ruler of the Church. He is concerned with re-establishing the Church’s temporal authority, and keeping his personal enemies off his back. He has reasserted the Church’s traditional role as lord over many states in central Tirenia. 

Future Developments: The obese Temperanza VIII is sure to die soon, either to poison or ill health, and the Collee of Ordinarchs will have to select a new leader for the church. With so many conflicting forces in Tirenia, they may not be able to decide on a single leader, and multiple claimants may arise in different parts of Tirenia. Each will seek supporters and will take actions to legitimise themselves: returning to Auromia and attempting to purify the Church, or leading armies to reclaim the Church state.

Image: Detail from the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo Buonarroti, c. 1510.

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