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KarakNornClansman's avatar

Three Virtues

Location  Imperium of Man
Three Virtues

To behold sclerosis plaguing an an entire civilization, look skyward and gaze into the grim darkness of the far future. Gaze into the dark cosmos beyond the march of aeons, and behold the destiny of our species, namely that fortified prison and inescapable death trap of man which the Emperor and His all-conquering Legions once built unwittingly in shining days of yore. By the fortyfirst millennium, the God-Emperor is a rotting corpse since ten thousand years back, and so is His dominion.

The decrepit star realm known as the Imperium of Man has long since ceased to remove obstacles to its internal flows of people and goods. Travelling within this atavistic colossus on feet of clay is characterized at every turn by a myriad of internal toll barriers and tight restrictions on movement. The act of moving from one district to another on an Imperial world, voidholm or hive city will more often than not require multiple permits, seals of blessing and expensive bribes, aside from standard quarantine measures, mandatory confession and purification rituals. This state of affairs is coincidentally a strong reason as to why hardly any private motoring exists within the Imperium of Man: Human history shows that to possess your own family vehicle is a great material liberty, and why would the Adeptus Terra ever wish to grant His kowtowing subjects any ounce of dangerous freedom? No, better keep the rabble locked to their birthplaces, than allow them to mill about in disorder and deviancy.

Naturally, the wall of red tape to control movement and its companion phenomenon of corruption grows taller still once a traveller seeks to leave her planet or voidholm and travel across the starspangled void to other locales within the galaxy-spanning domains of the Terran Imperator. Yet the principles of endless bureaucratic hinders, the dreary ennui of waiting and the blood-curdling dread at the sight and sounds of glaring Enforcers and Securitate personnel remain much the same experience everywhere, whether an Imperial subject wish to travel offworld or to the neighbouring hive district.

At every turn, suspicious officials will question his motives and monitor the subject's movement in the form of documented data. At every turn, power mauls and plasteel boots will threaten to knock the frustrated and impatient Imperial subject to the floor in case he ever flares up in anger or cease his humiliating displays of reverence. At every turn, the Imperium of Man and its loyal Governors will strive to limit and direct their subjects, even as urbane hints for bribes to grease the gears of administration will be dropped again and again by knowing men of the world in positions of petty power.

As with everything Imperial, the absolute grand majority of internal travel restrictions are both needless and act contrary to the long-term interests of Imperial development, yet these strangling inner barriers provide revenue and fruitful activity for billion-headed hordes of Administratum clerks, and moreover internal checkpoints offer plenty of opportunity for the Emperor's dutiful servants to receive underhanded private fund donations. All unregistered, of course.

They got to eat, after all.

One everyday example of such an ordinary internal toll station experience can be glimpsed on the great Imperial voidholm of Boiorum Theta, in the tribuneship of Uliaris Sextus in 110.M39. At this time, it cost 5 Boiorian siglos for a draft animal to pass any district line, 7 siglos for merchants, and 20 siglos for prostitutes to enter another area. The saintly holy man known as Gaius Anthemius sought to gain access to the southwestern lower protrusion of the giant spacestation to do the Emperor's work among the poor.

At this, the customs officer asked: "What have you got with you?"

To which the holy man said: "Nothing, but Temperance, Righteousness and Charity."

And so the custom officer wanted to charge him 60 siglos, because he thought they were three whores.
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manati20's avatar
manati20's avatar
Arowe65's avatar

You said it's a doodle ??

I said :

What a doodle 😀

Great artwork, Sir !

KarakNornClansman's avatar
SkyPotatoFire's avatar

You can really see the concern that he has for his friend

Gemmaker's avatar

"To which the holy man said: "Nothing, but Temperance, Righteousness and Charity."

And so the custom officer wanted to charge him 60 siglos, because he thought they were three whores."

I have heard of this one before! It was in the eastern Roman Empire's frontier sometime in the early century ADs. The frontier official thought they were sex slaves so they were taxed. It was a quarter tax but I can't find anything online. I was reading about it in the books The Roman Empire and the Indian Ocean/Silk Road.

As for your post: But there must be movements of imperial people, after all there are evacuations and colonization movements from time to time. There are also pilgrimages.

KarakNornClansman's avatar

The trail gets hotter! I stumbled across it in this John Romer documentary, but have not been able to find out anything more about it online. I wonder in what primary source it shows up?


Of course, but evacuations are extraordinary and approved from above, and colonization attempts normally happen under the wings of some powerful factions. Often, colonists are scooped up from excess population regardless of whether they want it or not. Pilgimages are likewise controlled movements, because they are predictable. Try to move outside the pilgrimage routes, and problems will arise.

The above text describes the problems which small individuals without power and clout will face if they try to move about of their own will. It is fine to do so under Imperial command, on pilgrimages and under the wings of Noble houses and the like, but most people will find it damn hard to move about of their own volition in areas of high Imperial and Governance control. Soviet-style.

Ordinary Imperial subjects cannot move around at will on civilized worlds. There exists migrant workers and all manner of other exceptions, but most are locked like serfs to the land and compound.

Gemmaker's avatar

Well this sucks. I spent all evening night and morning looking for that reference. And I can't find where it's from. I thought "The Roman Empire and the Indian Ocean" was where I'd find it, but despite searching I can't find it at all. I could have sworn that's where I read it.

So I checked my other books, Mary Beard's SPQR A History of Ancient Rome, How Do We Look, , McLaughlin's Roman Empire and the Silk Routes, Peter Frankopan's THe SIlk Roads a New History of the World, and a bit of Mark Kurlansky's "Salt: A World History".

Nothing, but I haven't re-read everything, so maybe it's not found through the index.

If you want we can talk about it on discord?

KarakNornClansman's avatar

Wow, that is an admirable litterature search. Well done, despite the bad luck!

This sounds like a typical piece of knowledge which professor Raul McLaughlin would have in the back of his head. When I get back home I'll track down his contact info and send him a mail if possible. I'll report back to you as soon as I hit upon anything.

We can take it on Discord if you like, or keep this channel open so to say (at any rate, posting the source here, once found, could benefit random people who happen upon these comments). I trust myself at reading text correctly a lot more than hearing correctly, but I have a working headset if that is wished for. I don't remember my Discord numbers off the top of my head, but will check once back home.

I'll append the primary source below the 40k writing once we find it.


Gemmaker's avatar

Still can't find anything. I thought it was Roman Empire and Indian Ocean, or at least Mary Beard's SPQR, but I can't find anything close to it. It's set in the Roman Empire and deals with trade taxes/custom fees so I thought REIO, but SPQR deals with women more so I thought it could also be there. If we do find it yes it would be great to put the source here.

Also my discord is Gemmaker#9112, I'd prefer talking with text rather than voice.

KarakNornClansman's avatar

No reply yet from Dr. MacLaughlin. Friend request sent on Discord (I think that is how you start a conversation, though I may be wrong).

Fingers crossed we can find it.

NotSoCrazyTank's avatar

Ah the dark irony of humanity and it's petty power hunger

KarakNornClansman's avatar

That's the Imperium of Man to the core for you! :)

NotSoCrazyTank's avatar
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