In Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire there are two little pieces I tthink will be very useful for Ars Magica.

The first is this: some ancient Romans apparently had cloaks made of the beards of shellfish.  Ars has always lacked an Aquam founder, although one pre-Hermetic maga who was a water specialist was described in Sanctuary of Ice

Second: Gibbon insists Mongols are monotheists.  This means that, in Ars, they have Wrathful Dominion backing their invasion.  Of course, that makes God kind of a jerk…but he did back the crusaders and jihadists, didn’t He?


9 replies on “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire : odd little note I’ll be using for Ars Magica

  1. I picked up a three volume set of _A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages_ by Lea for $3 tonight. 😀

    I’m wondering what sort of gems I’ll find inside.



  2. An entire cloak made out of byssus? Wow. I realize it was more common then (today it’s rare to make something larger than a handkerchief with it) but given how fine the material is that’s still a tremendous amount of work.


    1. Thanks for the modern term!

      Yes, according to Procopius, five of these cloaks were given to the satraps of Armenia by the Emporer of the Romans.

      So, let’s be clear here: finer than silk and -golden- in colour? And it comes from a marine bivalave a meter across? And it’s ridiculously valuable? This is obviously a vis source, or trade item for the heaps of undersea covenants we hear about?


      1. You can find sea silk/cloth/wool project kits at the larger Sheep & Wool fairs, they’re pricy but it is a very cool looking material. Sometimes I think they’re offered just to make the silk kits look cheap.

        The communities in Sardinia that harvested byssus also harvested murex for the production of purple dye, another extreme luxury and interesting consideration for vis. I’m not sure if either of these shellfish were found in France’s southern coast but you still may be able to tie some of this in to the Provencal Tribunal when you get to that book.


        1. Murex was found off southern France – exact species etc can’t remember and there were two different dyes made from the various species IIRC.


  3. Mongols as aligned to the Divine makes sense to me… Khan Tengri as a primal Divine deity or representation with a host of “angelic” servants and “saints”, why not?


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