Cinder Vel

Equestria and Ancient Greek influence

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Equestria and Ancient Greek influence

Greetings and salutations bronies burdened by curiosity. In this topic I and hopefully other participants will talk about how much the land of Equestria is Greek. It is no secret that, at least early seasons, borrowed heavily from Greek Mythology and Greco-Roman Architecture but I believe there is much more, most likely by accident. Of course there is also strong influence of medieval times and American culture but those are the topics for some other time. So let us begin.


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We start at the begging with tribes settling the land that they will one day call their own. And thus the Greek tribes of Acheans, Aeolians, Ionians and Dorians came to the land that we today know as Greece. Almost like how Earth ponies, Unicorns and Pegasi came and settled in land they named Equestria.
 

  • Most known Dorian tribe without a doubt would be the Spartans. Spartans were highly militaristic and thus best correlate with early Pegasi.
  • Ionians would be the Athens and ionians in general were known for their great contribution to philosophy and art. A fitting description of Unicorns I would believe.  
  • Aeolians the neglected group of Greeks overshadowed by others despite their accomplishments align with Earth ponies.
  • Acheans well I'll be honest there isn't much information about them but they settled in Peloponnese where most Dorians are. So I say they are Bat Ponies.
  • Bonus: On the far north were the Macedon who were often disputed as not being part of the proper Greek world. Fitting for the Crystal Empire.

commander_hurricane_by_emptymask-d5sqat7private_pansy_by_90sigma-d6xnbtd.png

Pictured (left): Commander Hurricane with Corinthian Helmet
Pictured (right): Private Pansy with presumably Boeotian Helmet 


Now that we have settled this new land let’s talk about what Greece and maybe Equestria really are. Greece was not a single country or nation by any standards. It was a land of people connected by similar culture and language. While Equestria has been referenced at least few times as a kingdom more often than not it was also describes by just land.

So if we accept the idea that Equestria is not a nation but land then next comes defining Equestrian cities. We know that Equestrian cities differ from each other from architecture and tribal affiliation to the government system. Cities participate in Equestrian games that are based of Olympic Games which I hope I do not have to explain who started them. And most interesting is that individual cities have their own anthems, or at least Cloudsdale does. So I would suggest that just like in Ancient Greece, Equestrian cities are city-states.  

  • We have democratic city-states such Manehatten and Ponyville that have leaders elected by democratic process.
  • We have the oligarchies such as Canterlot and Maredonia (at least I doubt those regal looking ponies were elected). 
  • And last but definitely not least we have good ol' fashioned Tyranny of Our Town and the short lived Ponyville reign of The Great and Powerful Trixie the First.

 

As for status of population we know for sure that there is nobility, free citizens and slaves. Yes I am going to argue that slavery exists in Equestria and that is what farm animals are. Ancient Greek slaves were not treated as colonial era slaves as they had more freedom. We have also confirmed example of indentured slavery when Rainbow Dash sold Fluttershy which means even pony can be owned. I am actually baffled that Rainbow Dash had right to sell Fluttershy but I'll assume it is because Fluttershy agreed and not because Dash owns her. Another possible status could be the métoikos or metic the foreigners which is what Griffins and Minotaurs could be. 

 

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Objection!

 

But lets now tackle the biggest issue with this topic. The fact that Equestria has absolute rulers in form of Celestia and Luna. And to lesser extend Cadence who rules the Crystal Empire and Twilight who rules one evil looking Castle of Books Magic Friendship! While Greeks were no strangers to the concept of Kings and Queens, there was no example of single ruler of all of Greek lands in Ancient Greek period. There were attempts by various states such as Sparta, Athens and Thebes, one for each tribe. There is one single example that can be compared to Princesses and that would be Philip II of Macedon. For more fitting example I have to cheat and include Hellenistic age and bring forth Alexander the Great who ruled almost all of Greece. This would also mark Canterlot as the Hegemonic City-state. There is big issue regarding Celestia's and Luna's title which stops me from determining if they would fit the Greek equivalent of basilissa which would be the case if they were born into rule. Or if they became leaders of Equestria by overthrowing Discord in which case legally they would be Tyrants. By Tyrant I mean they came to power by force and not cruel dictators.   

But we can go even further and bring the topic that has been debated by this fandom for years. The Divine status of Princesses. Now in majority of examples of deification of mortals in Greece would be done postmortem and well we can agree that Celestia and Luna are alive. First example of living god would be Lysander but more fitting would be once again be Phillip II and Alexander the Great.

 

That concludes my presentation. For the most part I have relied only on the basic Greek information and MLP Show lore. So are there any questions about the lecture and does anyone have anything to add? Please feel free to do so.  :awesomecheer:

   

 

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Stylistically Greek-Roman architecture and styling is a safe fall-back for all manner of artists because it's so deeply rooted in the consumer psyche that we get turned off the moment we see something different. It doesn't really have to be intelligently done, you just do it. Towering columns, regularity, and white buildings are to the western consumer symbols of strength and unyielding presence, they will never change. Greek and Roman architecture and style is in fact considered so 'safe' it's the generic fallback for EVERYTHING. As discussed in this talk:

 

 

Equestria's Greek design isn't to be alluding to some greater academic reference, but because it's safe. Everyone sees it throughout their days and its easily blended.

 

That said, Greeco-Roman style in Equestria is only relegated to 1/3 of its nation, I could hardly describe Canterlot or Manehatten as being Greek. But Democracy or Republican values isn't restricted to Greece or Rome either and claiming some sort of strict academic parallels to Greece or Rome is sort of broken if you're trying to run the comparison on this. Republican-styled government has existed world-wide independent of or even predating Rome and Greece with Republics in classical India, North America, Slav-land, and Asia.

 

The factors for a Republican or Democratic government regionally or nationally arises in cases where large groups of people or everyone owns an equal portion of the wealth or resources in a society which makes them particularly commonplace in some or most tribal societies (with consensus democracy). And while we have no indication that Manehatten actually is Democratically ran beyond the point it's a generic NYC-wanna-be it's not because it's Greek, but because there's a large portion of the society owning equal resources that hasn't and likely won't conform to such a broad clique to promote despotism as is in the case of autocratic government.

 

And I don't see how propaganda and ideology supports Greek notions, since everyone has their own bit...

 

 

... Which actually leads on to my next point:

 

Rulers don't rule alone.

 

Diarchies aren't necessarily common, so they can't be claimed for either the Greeks of Romans. In fact the only major Diarchial period I know of was during Sassanid Persia but that's because two sisters seized the regency of the underage Shahanashah and ruled together equally as the Empire's chief stateswomen until the Shah came of age.

 

But innumerable lesser-ranked nobles in a kingdom such as Equestria aren't uncommon, nor explicitly Greek or Roman. In any large multi-racial or multi-regional Empire it's common for the head of state to have ruling under him or her large numbers of minor nobility. This is just simple feudalism. The UK had its nobility who once upon a time had regional noble ruling classes who presided over their corners of England. And even more obvious is the Holy Roman Empire which ruled over Germany and Northern Italy between 962 to 1806; and in its dysfunction laid claim to a vast quantity of major kings, minor dukes, and a number of Bisphorics.

 

Like-wise, the later German Empire in the mid-late 19th century had some of much the same model albeit much more centralized. All the same the Second Reich was forced to recognize independent Kings of Bavaria and Prussia and pretending one or the other was more influential or powerful was a no-go in the Kaiser's court. Even still, towards the end of the First World War the King of Bavaria tried to negotiate his own separate peace to the war.

 

Elsewhere, the British Empire operated on the same method and was more widely spread. While the crown and title to the Indian Subcontinent (British Raj) became invested in Queen Victoria and her heirs up until Pakistani, Indian, and Bagladeshian independence to administrate it required individuals to serve as representatives in the Queen's stead.

 

Even in the United States federal authority doesn't directly effect state government, but this is also a powerful cultural notion dating back to colonial times and an act of preserving and expanding then 17th-century local legislatures, even though the US could probably functions about as well if every state was under federal rule. But no one would like that.

 

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  • Aeolians the neglected group of Greeks overshadowed by others despite their accomplishments align with Earth ponies.

 

 

 

Congratulations: you just discovered class structure. You'll be receiving Karl Marx's Class War Classics in the mail shortly.

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I'm very interested in this topic. I love talking about this.

7 minutes ago, Cinder Vel said:

So if we accept the idea that Equestria is not a nation but land then next comes defining Equestrian cities. We know that Equestrian cities differ from each other from architecture and tribal affiliation to the government system. Cities participate in Equestrian games that are based of Olympic Games which I hope I do not have to explain who started them. And most interesting is that individual cities have their own anthems, or at least Cloudsdale does. So I would suggest that just like in Ancient Greece, Equestrian cities are city-states.  

  • We have democratic city-states such Manehatten and Ponyville that have leaders elected by democratic process.
  • We have the oligarchies such as Canterlot and Maredonia (at least I doubt those regal looking ponies were elected). 
  • And last but definitely not least we have good ol' fashioned Tyranny of Our Town and the short lived Ponyville reign of The Great and Powerful Trixie the First.

Makes sense as headcanon, but I feel like you're begging this point. How do you know that Manehattan and Ponyville are city-states based on canon? Ponyville does have a mayor but the cartoon hasn't touched on the electoral process and the fact that it has a mayor doesn't exclude the possibility that it's under estate legislation, along with whatever other towns exist in it's neighboring areas. in fact, this is what happens in most of the real world. We also don't know if that is the case for Manehattan and for other cities in Equestria. We don't know if the princesses have any administrative power over their cities and we don't know if Canterlot has a mayor, just like Ponyville, responsible for municipal administration of the city. I think that what you're saying matches more with the past.

 

Is Maredonia even a think and I don't know of it?

44 minutes ago, Cinder Vel said:

As for status of population we know for sure that there is nobility, free citizens and slaves. Yes I am going to argue that slavery exists in Equestria and that is what farm animals are. Ancient Greek slaves were not treated as colonial era slaves as they had more freedom. We have also confirmed example of indentured slavery when Rainbow Dash sold Fluttershy which means even pony can be owned. I am actually baffled that Rainbow Dash had right to sell Fluttershy but I'll assume it is because Fluttershy agreed and not because Dash owns her. Another possible status could be the métoikos or metic the foreigners which is what Griffins and Minotaurs could be. 

You're stretching. Especially using this example with Fluttershy. That was a good example of the cartoon being stupid rather than portraying a trait of their culture. Especially if you're later going to say that Twilight is a "ruler" but can't do anything about her friend being sold to another pony because Rainbow is a dumbass. This whole thing in that episode is so asinine... Maybe I'm wrong, because I just don't like this idea that one can be forced to follow an agreement by third parties without any say in it. Also, ponies didn't like what Sombra was doing to the crystal ponies. It comes too close.

46 minutes ago, Cinder Vel said:

The fact that Equestria has absolute rulers in form of Celestia and Luna.

We don't know that. Like I said, Celestia may be more like the figure of the Emperor in Japan, during the Kamakura Period (I think); more like a spiritual leader than someone capable of any sort of executive or legislative power over the land. To be fair, I can't really say even that of Celestia. The same goes for Luna. Also, they didn't become the rulers of Equestria by overthrowing Discord. They already have their royal regalia at the time. The cartoon doesn't say how they became the rulers of Equestria.

1 hour ago, Cinder Vel said:

But we can go even further and bring the topic that has been debated by this fandom for years. The Divine status of Princesses. Now in majority of examples of deification of mortals in Greece would be done postmortem and well we can agree that Celestia and Luna are alive. First example of living god would be Lysander but more fitting would be once again be Phillip II and Alexander the Great.

Why do people say this about Celestia? Shouldn't Cadance and Twilight receive this treatment too? Not to mention Flurry Heart, King Sombra and Queen Chrysalis? Lysander had festivals and offerings to his name. Phillip II I I had to research and like Lysander, it's the same kind of stretch, until I see that ponies are asking Celestia for intervention or something like making special offerings. Celestia is the most mundane thing in this cartoon. She bows her head to the nobility, is utterly incapable of defending herself and is completely unnecessary, as far as the cartoon has shown us. Phillip II and Lysander, and many kings in the victorian period at least had a lot of political leverage and even fought along their soldiers in wars. i don't think these comparisons fly.

 

The problem with this kind of conversation is that MLP is very pauper and short-sighted with this sort of thing and clearly isn't building a cohesive world. Just shedding a few bits and pieces of "cool stuff" that don't really connect. It had a victorian feel of sorts, but that got drowned in modern stuff, and the same goes to all the references to greek mythology. It's just things that give an impression of depth. But that is just my opinion.

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The other thing that arises with this own topic is that Greeco-Roman anything is so ubiquitous in the Western world it's obligatory. Anything aspiring to be western in the broad sense adapts the Mediterranean into itself. So this whole thread isn't so much an enlightened revelation on the OP's part but OP finally catching up to what's pretty much already known on an aesthetic level.

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Ok just to let everyone know that this was just a silly conclusion I thought I could share. I am not listing my suggestions as absolute truth. My post was so bare boned it can't be even be headcannon. I am not saying that Equestria Is Ancient Greece, I am saying there are some parallels that we can connect and that most of them are there by accident and not by writer intention.

@AaronMk
I was wondering HOW MUCH of Greek influence is there. I did not say it is literal bloody fantasy equivalent of Ancient Greece. I did not even say that show creators did it intentionally because some if not most of things are just random accidents that can be interpreted in dozen ways and I have picked one out of thousand.

Heck half of the points you are refuting I didn't even bring up. I didn't bring up Democracy because it started in Greece I was trying to offer an explanation about why would ONE society have at same time Democracy and Oligarchy. I could have also say that Equestria is Parliment Monarchy. I do not recall even mentioning word propaganda at all. I didn't even bother pointing out that dierarchy was thing in Ancient Greece and as far as I know only Sparta had it.

ANd what does me pointing out that Aetolians are least known greek tribe by general populace related at all about class structure? Aeolian city states had their own citizens of every class. Heck the class system in Greek city state varied from city to city and there was no single class structures shared by all Greeks.  


 

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The other thing that arises with this own topic is that Greeco-Roman anything is so ubiquitous in the Western world it's obligatory. Anything aspiring to be western in the broad sense adapts the Mediterranean into itself. So this whole thread isn't so much an enlightened revelation on the OP's part but OP finally catching up to what's pretty much already known on an aesthetic level.

Yes shockingly the bloody Western civilization was founded from the Roman Empire which was heavily influenced by the Greeks. Architecture, philosophy, law and so much more come from Romans, of course I know that. Heck the founding father when they formed America took great deal of inspiration from ancient times. There are entire tomes about this, entire studies.   

@Metemponychosis

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Makes sense as headcanon, but I feel like you're begging this point. How do you know that Manehattan and Ponyville are city-states based on canon? Ponyville does have a mayor but the cartoon hasn't touched on the electoral process and the fact that it has a mayor doesn't exclude the possibility that it's under estate legislation, along with whatever other towns exist in it's neighboring areas. in fact, this is what happens in most of the real world. We also don't know if that is the case for Manehattan and for other cities in Equestria. We don't know if the princesses have any administrative power over their cities and we don't know if Canterlot has a mayor, just like Ponyville, responsible for municipal administration of the city. I think that what you're saying matches more with the past.

 

Is Maredonia even a think and I don't know of it?

 

I am not claiming it to be true, I was suggesting. I even bolded the maybe part to indicate that what I was saying was speculation. Comics have touched though the election between Mayor Mare and Filthy Rich. There are far to many maybes I am not denying that though considering the way at least Ponivillians acted in first season I assumed that they did obey princesses.
And well if I recall correctly the representatives or what ever from Maredonia appeared in Princess Twilight Sparkle - Part 1. The ponies that Twilight waves to. Later the representatives appear in Equestrian Games.  
 

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You're stretching. Especially using this example with Fluttershy. That was a good example of the cartoon being stupid rather than portraying a trait of their culture. Especially if you're later going to say that Twilight is a "ruler" but can't do anything about her friend being sold to another pony because Rainbow is a dumbass. This whole thing in that episode is so asinine... Maybe I'm wrong, because I just don't like this idea that one can be forced to follow an agreement by third parties without any say in it. Also, ponies didn't like what Sombra was doing to the crystal ponies. It comes too close.

Yes I am stretching it, especially with domestic animals. And yes Fluttershy thing is stupid but it happened, blame the writers for having stupid idea to force a point. 

 

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We don't know that. Like I said, Celestia may be more like the figure of the Emperor in Japan, during the Kamakura Period (I think); more like a spiritual leader than someone capable of any sort of executive or legislative power over the land. To be fair, I can't really say even that of Celestia. The same goes for Luna. Also, they didn't become the rulers of Equestria by overthrowing Discord. They already have their royal regalia at the time. The cartoon doesn't say how they became the rulers of Equestria.

Well I was under the impression that well they ruled the Equestria, at least Canterlot seemed to be in quite panic when Celestia and Luna were gone. Also representatives had a very high opinon of Twilight's judgment in Princess Spike episode. I thought that was general consensus. And actually I think the book Journal of Two Sisters says how two sisters came to power but I did not read the book and show does not seem to care. 

 

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Why do people say this about Celestia? Shouldn't Cadance and Twilight receive this treatment too? Not to mention Flurry Heart, King Sombra and Queen Chrysalis? Lysander had festivals and offerings to his name. Phillip II I I had to research and like Lysander, it's the same kind of stretch, until I see that ponies are asking Celestia for intervention or something like making special offerings. Celestia is the most mundane thing in this cartoon. She bows her head to the nobility, is utterly incapable of defending herself and is completely unnecessary, as far as the cartoon has shown us. Phillip II and Lysander, and many kings in the victorian period at least had a lot of political leverage and even fought along their soldiers in wars. i don't think these comparisons fly.

They say it mostly because ponies tend to use Celestia's name like we use Gods as part of expressions and because two sisters have ability to move celestial bodies, a god like feats. I actually do not like this interpretation but I have decided to consider it because it exists in fandom. I think though that Celestia and Luna do have a power but show does not focuses on them so I can't prove it besides pointing at the groweling ponies used to do. Most of those faults come though because of wasted use of Celestia as Exposition device. 

 

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The problem with this kind of conversation is that MLP is very pauper and short-sighted with this sort of thing and clearly isn't building a cohesive world. Just shedding a few bits and pieces of "cool stuff" that don't really connect. It had a victorian feel of sorts, but that got drowned in modern stuff, and the same goes to all the references to greek mythology. It's just things that give an impression of depth. But that is just my opinion.

It was just silly fun, I am not a crazed pony analyst who claims that my headcanon I thought up one day is pinnacle of truth. It isn't even a proper headcanon as I could have easily filled giant gaping holes with anything I wanted. I just wanted to see how much the greek show it is. I said in the first damn paragraph that Equestria is also generic medieval society and American society. I can also add few others like even Meso-America because of Daring Do.   

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Look I just wanted to have some silly fun and I have grasped some straws. I didn't mean to overthink it to absurd levels, I just thought it would be fun to interest people into ancient history. Share some random interesting trivia. 

Also if you are going to dismantle my words at least read them and don't make out of me a strawman.

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1 hour ago, Cinder Vel said:

I am not listing my suggestions as absolute truth.

I am not claiming it to be true, I was suggesting. I even bolded the maybe part to indicate that what I was saying was speculation.

Chill. These are the thoughts that erupted in my head because of what you said. Like you, I want to know what my thoughts do to you. Especially because I always assume that I can be wrong and I like knowing what others think about this stuff. You can speculate all you want and share all you want, but I, too, can say that you're seeing too much.

1 hour ago, Cinder Vel said:

Comics have touched though the election between Mayor Mare and Filthy Rich. There are far to many maybes I am not denying that though considering the way at least Ponivillians acted in first season I assumed that they did obey princesses.
And well if I recall correctly the representatives or what ever from Maredonia appeared in Princess Twilight Sparkle - Part 1. The ponies that Twilight waves to. Later the representatives appear in Equestrian Games.  

I ignored the comics because I tend to think that they are secondary canon and I don't think you directly mentioned them. I can't remember that the ponies directly obeyed the princesses. I can safely say that they have some level of reverence (for lack of a better word... They feel more like celebrities to me) for the princesses, but I don't think I've ever seem the princesses order anyone around with the exception of when ponies are being idiots in Princess Twilight Sparkle. That is leadership, not necessarily a sign of hierarchic supremacy.

But was Maredonia mentioned? The name? I can't remember. I remember the ponies you mean, but I can't remember that they were named as such.

Yes, the comics did show that Ponyville chooses it's "leadership" in a democratic process. But because the franchise as a whole is just pretending to be interested in politics, it's very shallow. What we see in those issues (or single issue, can't remember) is a form of direct election.

By the way, I'm pretty sure that the comics also show that there is a sort of government regulation over city adequation to regulations in the form of a representative of something.

1 hour ago, Cinder Vel said:

Well I was under the impression that well they ruled the Equestria, at least Canterlot seemed to be in quite panic when Celestia and Luna were gone. Also representatives had a very high opinon of Twilight's judgment in Princess Spike episode. I thought that was general consensus. And actually I think the book Journal of Two Sisters says how two sisters came to power but I did not read the book and show does not seem to care. 

 

1 hour ago, Cinder Vel said:

They say it mostly because ponies tend to use Celestia's name like we use Gods as part of expressions and because two sisters have ability to move celestial bodies, a god like feats. I actually do not like this interpretation but I have decided to consider it because it exists in fandom. I think though that Celestia and Luna do have a power but show does not focuses on them so I can't prove it besides pointing at the groweling ponies used to do. Most of those faults come though because of wasted use of Celestia as Exposition device. 

The fandom also says that Celestia is evil, fat, thinks of nothing but eating cake, is a troll, makes Luna's life a hell... The fandom says a lot of bulshit.

The intro in the first episode says that they do, but that is never actually shown in the cartoon (or comics). Anyone having a high opinion of Twilight's judgement or ponies being in panic because they vanished doesn't say anything about their role in the government or society. This is partly why I say that Celestia is more like the japanese emperor. If he vanished, I'm pretty sure that people would freak, but that wouldn't break the government machine. Or Queen Elizabeth II nowadays. In the practical sense, she means nothing to the government.

The journal says that both Luna and Celestia arrived in Equestria, or something like that, and ponies simply decided that they should be the princesses. In the book, Celestia mentions that she thinks of herself more like a defender (which she sucks at, anyway) than a ruler. But I think that this was AKR going out of her way to say that Celestia is humble.... Or something. The book is awful anyway.

I remember Rarity swearing on Celestia's name, but this doesn't really mean much in my opinion. I don't really know. Their ability to move celestial bodies also doesn't mean much. Disconsidering the book, the cartoon mention that "unicorns" used to move the sun and the moon and that is it. It never mention any sort of special requirement. For Twilight to move the sun, all that was needed was Celestia transferring her magic to Twilight. Discord moves it nonchalantly. So it means nothing. In the book, it's said that unicorns lost their magic when they moved the sun and the moon and that the two gave it back to them. In another book "Princess Celestia and the Summer of Royal Waves", Celestia thanks the sun for letting her move it. So, I don't really know... She doesn't strike me as particularly god-like or politically powerful.

To be fair, Celestia was built, in the beginning of the cartoon, as something important. So the notion of Celestia as an absolute ruler, regal and fair (queen in everything but title), isn't entirely out of nowhere, but I think this was washed away as the cartoon progressed.

Celestia is the only thing in the cartoon that really annoys me. They don't seem to know what to do with her.

1 hour ago, Cinder Vel said:

It was just silly fun, I am not a crazed pony analyst who claims that my headcanon I thought up one day is pinnacle of truth. It isn't even a proper headcanon as I could have easily filled giant gaping holes with anything I wanted. I just wanted to see how much the greek show it is. I said in the first damn paragraph that Equestria is also generic medieval society and American society. I can also add few others like even Meso-America because of Daring Do. 

I just want to say again that my intention wasn't to say that you're wrong, and your ideas suck, or anything remotely like that. The idea is just to exchange thoughts on the subject. Also, Daring Do isn't about meso-america. She's Indiana Jones. It's about how the entertainment media (mostly US) sees "meso-america". But that is a point about movie and book tropes, anyway... I understand what you mean.

But why do you say medieval? Equestria always struck me more as renaissance. Depending on your school of thought, they overlap, even on very academic definitions, but for the sake of fictional aesthetic, they tend to be very different.

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Something that I forgot that is important to the conversation about Celestia.

Lauren Faust's intention was to portray Celestia as a combination of a powerful queen and of an Olympian deity (I prefer Nordic, Egyptian, Assyrian and protohystoric, but I have a particular love for sun-deities anyway...). The problem, in my head, is that to do that, you either show that there are all sorts of creatures like her that can pose a threat to her or you have her in an unassailable position of power. Both of them can be done in with the right storytelling techniques. Unfortunately, the production staff seems to lack either the intention or the talent to do either. So Celestia becomes a weird combination of what should be and writer abuse for the sake of the plot.

Like I said... Celestia is really the only thing that really annoys me in the cartoon (I can live with the Starlight Glimmers and Flurry Hearts and idiotic plots). Even if the intention is put another character in the position of solving the conflicts and she keeps getting in the way because of her position, a few minutes of thinking and planing can solve this. The problem is that MLP always was just a children's cartoon that got a lot of attention because it did that very well. Then it became aware of it's fame...

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Sorry, sorry I was tired and it was not your post at all that made become so defensive, it was AaronMk's. Heh that will teach me not to post things in 3 AM. Please pay no attention to my... outburst. Ahem ok so... 

 

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But was Maredonia mentioned? The name? I can't remember. I remember the ponies you mean, but I can't remember that they were named as such.

Well it would appear that wiki list's it as "Maretonia" and I checked the transcripts and it is mentioned in Twilight's Kingdom Part 1 (announced By Flash Sentry) and in The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows (By Cadance). So I goofed.
 

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By the way, I'm pretty sure that the comics also show that there is a sort of government regulation over city adequation to regulations in the form of a representative of something.

Well if Ponyville is a city state that is part of Canterlots hegemony than it would have reduced autonomy and would have to adhere to someone else will. Or it is not a city state but part of Canterlot/Someone else (was Mayor Mare part of any gathering of Equestrian officials?). Or is just a random village inhabited by nudist ponies.
 

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Also, Daring Do isn't about meso-america. She's Indiana Jones. It's about how the entertainment media (mostly US) sees "meso-america". But that is a point about movie and book tropes, anyway... I understand what you mean.

Well was aiming how that region where Daring Do operates is called Tenochtitlan Basin (they were not even trying...) at least according to wiki. Though Wiki for this refuses to give any sources which irks me. Also Ahuizotl is from Aztec mythology. 

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But why do you say medieval? Equestria always struck me more as renaissance. Depending on your school of thought, they overlap, even on very academic definitions, but for the sake of fictional aesthetic, they tend to be very different.

True it is more Renaissance, guess I said it because there be dragons and princess. Then again I see Equestria as so anachronistic it has features from stone age to early Industrial revolution. I mostly blame newer sessions for increased modernization and it kinda slightly annoys me. 

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Ok so with those minor points out of the way I am coming to the Celestia issue. I actually didn't ever gave much thought about actual extend of control or if it existed at all. I mean like you said, intro implied and Twilight was worrying about new duties as a princess but we have never seen actual acts of power and duty could be just spiritual or anything else besides actual rule. I guess I just chalked it up to "Writer's do not want to bore little girls with politics" but that Princess ruled and there was no need to spell it out. This is kinda why I want Celestia episode because we do not knowing anything about her expect that she exists, not as a character, but as device to drop exposition and even that feature was lost. So right now she just sits on throne and looks pretty. We can't confirm that she even eats cakes and she barely interacts with any pony to any meaningful extend as a person. I mean first time she casually talked to her own sister was Slice of Life. Still I must say of all things I said I least expected to be confronted on what I considered biggest problem to my whole theory. 

All that just begs the question who or what governs Equestria. Is there any form of larger government at all or is Equestria some sort of idealistic anarchy? I would say that you shooting down Celestia and Luna as being leaders of Equestria kinda helps me because then Equestria would lack centralized rule of two ponies which is great for my suggestions. If it is governed by summits where representatives from various regions in that case I can just point out that Greeks were no strangers to having gatherings of various representatives such Amphityonic League where all Greeks were represented but the League itself had very little actual executive power. But well nothing in show to really suggest this except that one time when they all gathered to make Equestrian statue in Princess Spike episode and that could be Equestrian UN for all I know. 

Still too many implies and no material at all for anything because show does not care and even if it did show something in one episode, in the next episode it could retcon it no problem. Like how old Ponyville and Appleloooosa are. And yeah comics are usually very loose "canon" until show disproves comics.

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7 hours ago, Cinder Vel said:

Well it would appear that wiki list's it as "Maretonia" and I checked the transcripts and it is mentioned in Twilight's Kingdom Part 1 (announced By Flash Sentry) and in The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows (By Cadance). So I goofed.

I didn't remember that. Maretonia or Maredonia. So, I guess I goofed too. 

7 hours ago, Cinder Vel said:

Well if Ponyville is a city state that is part of Canterlots hegemony than it would have reduced autonomy and would have to adhere to someone else will. Or it is not a city state but part of Canterlot/Someone else (was Mayor Mare part of any gathering of Equestrian officials?). Or is just a random village inhabited by nudist ponies.

The problem is that, in the practical sense, there isn't a difference from the kind of hierarchy that you're invoking with the greek hegemony and the typical political structure that we see between estate (or federal, depending on the particular country) government and municipal administration today. Well, of course there is a difference, but the practical result is very similar. It wasn't something particular to greek city-states. One can say that the formation of modern countries after the Bronze Age is the result of that, in a loose way.

The reason a city-state would have a reduced autonomy in the greek city-states is because their hegemon would be taking resources from them in exchange of military protection (or the pure promise that they, themselves, wouldn't destroy them). And that isn't too distant from the tiered government system that most countries have today. The point of a federal government would be to receive taxes and, in exchange, return resources in the form of regulations and various forms of assistance when things go south. Today, towns and states take part in the government or higher instances via representation, the difference is obvious, but not apparent.

What I'm saying, is that, unless the cartoon (or comics) delve deeper in the politics between towns and the two systems are practically indistinguishable. Looking from the outside. So, Ponyville could be a town under Canterlot's jurisdiction, a town with jurisdiction over villages around it, or it could be an independent city-state that is under Canterlot. The problem is that is that I find it hard to believe that a town would need protection in current Equestria. Maybe in the past, like I said in another post, during the time of the tribes, I'd find it easier to accept the idea of the city-states.

9 hours ago, Cinder Vel said:

Ok so with those minor points out of the way I am coming to the Celestia issue. I actually didn't ever gave much thought about actual extend of control or if it existed at all. I mean like you said, intro implied and Twilight was worrying about new duties as a princess but we have never seen actual acts of power and duty could be just spiritual or anything else besides actual rule. I guess I just chalked it up to "Writer's do not want to bore little girls with politics" but that Princess ruled and there was no need to spell it out. This is kinda why I want Celestia episode because we do not knowing anything about her expect that she exists, not as a character, but as device to drop exposition and even that feature was lost. So right now she just sits on throne and looks pretty. We can't confirm that she even eats cakes and she barely interacts with any pony to any meaningful extend as a person. I mean first time she casually talked to her own sister was Slice of Life. Still I must say of all things I said I least expected to be confronted on what I considered biggest problem to my whole theory. 

All that just begs the question who or what governs Equestria. Is there any form of larger government at all or is Equestria some sort of idealistic anarchy? I would say that you shooting down Celestia and Luna as being leaders of Equestria kinda helps me because then Equestria would lack centralized rule of two ponies which is great for my suggestions. If it is governed by summits where representatives from various regions in that case I can just point out that Greeks were no strangers to having gatherings of various representatives such Amphityonic League where all Greeks were represented but the League itself had very little actual executive power. But well nothing in show to really suggest this except that one time when they all gathered to make Equestrian statue in Princess Spike episode and that could be Equestrian UN for all I know. 

Still too many implies and no material at all for anything because show does not care and even if it did show something in one episode, in the next episode it could retcon it no problem. Like how old Ponyville and Appleloooosa are. And yeah comics are usually very loose "canon" until show disproves comics.

I can't remember exactly why, but in "The Good, The Bad and The Pony" arc in the comics, they slightly brush on the politics of what a princess does and what she's supposed to do. I remember it was a convoluted bulshit that was one of the reasons I stopped reading the comics because it made no sense and in the end what Twilight didn't want to do is what ends up saving the day when there is a paper signed by Celestia and Luna that says that the obvious solution is the good one. In one of the FF issues, the one with Spike and Luna, the princess is on Manehattan investigating something that happened in the night because it's her jurisdiction, but she's utterly ineffective and the comic is just making fun of the fact that they do stuff that others have to fix later. Both imply that the princesses do serve a purpose, but i don't think that it's clear which. And I don't think that the producers have a clear idea either and this is why I think that canon is overrated in fanfiction... Fans often care about these things more than the IP holders. Which is why I like this conversation.

The problem is that we don't have enough information about how Equestria's government works, if there even is one unified government. The comics and the intro for the first episode seem to imply that there is and that happens in Canterlot, with Celestia and Luna as very influential political figures.  Ergo, an absolutist diarchy. But I don't have a clue how Cadance and Twilight fit into that, and the writing in the show and cartoon ruin any legitimacy they may have as decent rulers.

Another thing that I think about the princesses, based on canon, is that they aren't really rulers, but rather protectors. Which they also fail as because the writing tends to be asinine. Luna's job as guardian of dreams give this idea a good leverage, but Celestia's incapacity to act as such doesn't. Though Cadance and Twilight certainly fill this role, they too suffer from the same problem as Celestia sometimes.

My points about Celestia and Luna don't really help your position because my position is "we don't know either way". If Equestria was ruled by a council of representatives, or by individual, local, rulers that could listen or not to that council (or the princesses), I think it would've been very hard for Celestia to get up one day and decide that she wanted to free Discord. This is the problem with the cartoon: it doesn't know what Celestia and the princesses are. It doesn't know who or what rules Equestria, or if it knows, it deviates from that too much because of "author fiat". Something that only works because the author says it does.

Now, before I say what I think is the most appropriate interpretation, i want to say that I don't think that being a horrible fighter makes Celestia a bad character, or that being a useless buffoon, or anything. My problem with Celestia is that I think she lacks ANY character. So, I won't be sad if the cartoon says that turns out Celestia is a useless moron, a figurehead with no political power whatsoever, or maybe she is Equestria's sun goddess, capable of turning the whole thing to ashes if she wanted, or any variation of those. Of course, I have my preferences, but that's not what this is about.

This whole thing makes me think that MLP wants Equestria to be the absolutist diarchy with "extra" princesses under the big ones' wings. I think that MLP wants the audience to see Celestia and Luna as the undisputed rulers, but they keep out of local business (as any government should until there is trouble that warrants intervention). Maybe next FF issue where Celestia and Luna have a disagreement (what a shock...) will shed some light on how these things work. But I won't hold my breath... The whole problem, really is the fact that Twilight is a princess and that Cadance exists. I think it's obvious that Ponyville, the Crystal Empire, Manehattan, Cloudsdale, etc... Are part of an entity that is Equestria. If it was just Celestia and Luna, then the whole ambiguity wouldn't exist. The only reason you think that Equestria may be formed by independent city-states is because we have two more princesses that don't seem to be subordinate to Celestia and Luna. But I don't have a clue what is Twilight's position as a princess. Some canon says that she could put down her hoof and tell others what to do, and other canon says that ponies don't need to give a damn about what she says.

So, best interpretation, IMO, is this: Equestria is a unified nation, with a government body around the princesses that keep to themselves, letting their delegates do their job, until they need to act, overseeing local administrations from the top (with a clear picture of the whole) to make sure things are going as planned in the best interest of it's citizens. They just suck at that because MLP doesn't have a clue how to do it. I think that Canterlot is the administrative capital of the nation. It is, literally, the throne on the top of the world. If that place isn't some reference to Olympus and to Minas Tirith, I don't know what it is (going back to the original concept of Celestia). I think that the problem is that someone at Hasbro or DHX looked at Celestia and decided that they hated her. So she isn't the boss. The cartoon doesn't show a "boss". It just shows that the "common pony" gets things done.

Does it support the idea that Equestria is formed with independent cities, or even regions? Maybe. It's not like the cartoon has given any evidence that what princesses say is law or is just a suggestion. The cartoon doesn't show any meeting of local leaders, just hints at meetings with leaders from other nations and pretends it knows what it's talking about. I'd like to see a clearer picture, as it's simple to do and would give a huge amount of worldbuilding with the rest of what we see.

I'll keep my idea of what I'd like to see to myself because this is gone too big already, but suppose that you're right. Would this whole conversation change you idea of how princesses exist in this league of cities you saw? How do you see the whole government structure organized?

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Honestly this conversation has just shown me that I actually know less than I thought I knew and I already though there was not much to know. I mean the problem comes that there is what Writers think probably is inconsistent among themselves or they just don't care. Then this clashes with end product so we have implications versus presentation. And then we add to this the fanon and various interpretations numerous fans have so we have clashing ideas and things we accept as show canon despite never being that (like dare I say the nature of Earth Pony magic). So yeah that is quite a bump on the road for any "sticking to canon" idea. But hey headcanonig is better, that is why I love MLP slightly more than any other fandom and that is because of insanely large fanfiction community

 

Anyway at this point I think the most likely thing is that Equestria is simply Britain. At least we do know that they do have summits in Princess Spike. I still like more idea of Canterlot being center of the world and Celestia being an actual ruler that keeps Equestria in a loose union.

11 minutes ago, Metemponychosis said:

I forgot to add: How would you SHOW your idea in the cartoon, or comics?

   
Hmmm honestly I do not know how would I show it without it being pointless exposition that would be irrelevant to the stories told. I guess easier would be to do it with an episode that focuses on Mayor Mare or Celestia and their duties. We would either see how Ponyville functions or at least see Equestria functioning from Celestia's point of view. Or maybe actually dare to define the position of Twilight within Equestria? Think for any serious depiction I would need a larger political conflict that would not be fitting for cartoon. I mean besides Twilight currently all other characters are simple civilians that do not care about politics (an alien concept for modern human on internet). Or maybe I am thinking too big and should just focus on Ponyville and it's structure, which could be maybe simple dispute AJ and farmers have with the craftmakers and trader ponies.
And to be honest I probably would want to retcon farm animals being sapient because the implications are unpleasant. I mean it is one to have slaves but milking sapient creatures on a farm...

No idea about comics as I never had the pleasure of reading them.  

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16 minutes ago, Cinder Vel said:

Hmmm honestly I do not know how would I show it without it being pointless exposition that would be irrelevant to the stories told. I guess easier would be to do it with an episode that focuses on Mayor Mare or Celestia and their duties. We would either see how Ponyville functions or at least see Equestria functioning from Celestia's point of view. Or maybe actually dare to define the position of Twilight within Equestria? Think for any serious depiction I would need a larger political conflict that would not be fitting for cartoon. I mean besides Twilight currently all other characters are simple civilians that do not care about politics (an alien concept for modern human on internet). Or maybe I am thinking too big and should just focus on Ponyville and it's structure, which could be maybe simple dispute AJ and farmers have with the craftmakers and trader ponies.
And to be honest I probably would want to retcon farm animals being sapient because the implications are unpleasant. I mean it is one to have slaves but milking sapient creatures on a farm...

I actually think it's easy. MLP is a simple cartoon. It doesn't need a huge political setup. Just someone doing something wrong and someone (our princess, or the mayor) doing something about it. Especially in a cartoon about moral ideals and lessons, this would be easy. I think someone with some creativity would do wonders for this subject. It's easier for the princess, especially if she is "the ruler" and laws bend to her will, if she deems it necessary to intervene. Of course, the normal function wouldn't be subject for a story, but through something going wrong, you can show how they're supposed to be when all is normal.

Yeah... The animals feel weird. But I'd be fine with cows going "Hey... We ponies can keep us safe and fed in exchange for livelihood. Cool!" It would be a typical symbiotic relationship. The good thing about fiction is that things that wouldn't work in reality can work. Like a godlike queen that cares for her subjects, expecting nothing but friendship and cooperation from them. Maybe she'd understand that union and harmony leads to prosperity and security. You know... "For the common good." But that is just my opinion, and maybe this idea is what made Celestia "wrong" in someone's head.

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