The African Realm
— Private Life
— Prejudice and Discrimination
— Sexual Interaction
— Alcohol and Opiates
Appearance and Fashion
— Concepts of Beauty
— Beauty and the Divine
In the Homestead
— Currency and Trade
— Materials and Resources
The general impression of the African realm is that of sand, sun and exceptional heat. This limits the food able to be grown in these kingdoms, adjusts the clothing that can be worn in these areas and dictates the behaviour and rituals of its people. In short, the climate of the African realm decides almost everything about the everyday life of those who live there. The African people grow up with an understanding of frugal means and resources, the understanding that preparation and forethought - months of prior planning - is required to ensure the basic necessities of life against the elements. Water supplies are often low, the crop yield is often a low percentage, shelter is desperately required at certain times of day or year. So long as the people of Africa are prepared, such eventualities are not disasters. Without due consideration, the denizens of Africa are at risk of multiple ways to die. Preparation, thought, cunning, frugalness and patience are all qualities that those of the African realm are taught from birth, in order to survive in their harsh homeland.
The African Way of Life
The African way of life cannot be boiled down to a singular path. Unlike their neighbours to the north in Greece, the kingdoms of Africa are diverse and proud of there differences after many years of turmoil along their borders. As such, many of the sections of this page are divided by kingdom in order to detail these distinctions. Anything not listed beneath a specific kingdom header is applicable to all three African kingdoms.
The Bedoans are an intensely private group of people. They have a natural distrust and suspicion of strangers, and this permeates their culture even within tribes. Family units within the Bedoan tribes are considered to look after themselves. To interfere in the personal business of another family unit (even one you are related to) is inappropriate and oversteps social boundaries. These boundaries are drawn around nuclear family units; between parents and children. An uncle, for example, can not make a comment or cause issues regarding how his brother is raising his children (for his is not within that immediate family circle) but can comment on how his brother is handling their parents' inheritance. It is these lines of order that allow each family their own identities and plans, despite most within a single tribe being in some way related.
It is not considered bad form to discuss information or gossip between families. In fact, Bedoans advocate honesty in all circumstances. What they do not permit and where social norms are defied, is if someone offers their own advice or comments on the information shared; or tries to influence someone else's choices within their family. Talking is permitted. Interfering in any way, regardless of situation, is not.
The Egyptians are an open book. They are open in their way of life, dress and how they handle their private lives. In Egypt there is little that one can do to cause scandal or offence, meaning that there is little to hide or be private of. Gossip is encouraged, and chatter both between families and the lower classes and amongst the upper echelons of society and Court are openly accepted. The difference here is that, while gossip is encouraged and enjoyed, very little of it is believed. To talk of others' private lives is such an entertainment to the Egyptians that half of what leaves their lips, in the effort of that entertainment, is pure fiction. And everyone is aware that this is the case. So much so that people will talk in fact but, if they wish to be assured that the information is true, will ask outright to that effect.
Another reason Egypt is so open with their lives is the fact that their kingdom has an inordinate amount of slaves. Slavery is one of the most common forms of punishment and routes for prisoners of war, and there are nearly three slaves to every free man within the Egyptian borders. To be conscious of privacy when there are so many slaves wandering in and out of homes at all hours of the day or night - homes very open to the elements due to such hot climate - would be foolish and moot.
Judea are a more private people than the Egyptians but more due to social image than distrust. The Judeans believe in living a good life beyond any other form. Good, hereby meaning to do good; not to achieve wealth, victory or ambition but to be a force for good deeds and good acts. As such, to discuss personal or private business in public contradicts these ideals in two ways. One, these beliefs make the Judeans a little self-conscious and image paranoid; they seek to be seen as good. And gossip can have a horrendous detriment to this appearance. And two, if the gossip is positive and only serves to encourage the impression of them or their family as good people, it is feared that people will believe it to be a lie or arrogant bragging. For a Judean, to not be the source of any public gossip - good or bad - is to be on the right track. Humility and dignity are key to their ways of life.
As such, if any scandalous news or gossip is circulated regarding a Judean, it is often believed. With an ethos focused on honesty and dignity, to have something float to the service in this manner would not be considered a form of entertainment but one of condemnation and would be taken very seriously.
Prejudice and Discrimination
The African realm has a healthy dose of sexism in each of its cultures. Women are considered to be inferior to men in many ways; physically, intellectually and in their ability to dream on a larger scale or hold grand ambitions. However, women are given the credit of being illustrious beings who can tempt a man to distraction and hold power over their betters through the natural, feminine wiles.
There is no sense of African identity in this realm. All kingdoms are kept very separated in their cultural alignment. Within their kingdoms, Judeans and Egyptians hold little in the way of national identity; save for it being their homeland. To them, land is just land. That which is important is the significance of what is built on it (Judeans) and what is buried under it (Egyptians). Bedoans are entirely without connection to their land. Aside from the area known as the Oorsprong, Bedoans have no ties or connections to any kind of "nation". Instead, they are entirely a loyal and devoted culture to their people. To Bedoans, their nation is their people - not the land they live on.
Classism is very low in the African realms. There is very little judgement between classes for classes themselves don't exist in the same way they do in other realms. In Judea, all men are created equal - there are simply a few families who are appointed and trusted to look out for the best interests of many and help run the cities. In Bedoa, the same is true. Each tribe could have a different leader whenever they choose; they simply choose those most personally skilled to protect the tribe and make the best choices for its future. In Egypt, the monarchy is decided based on marriage as well as on blood and can be overthrown to an entirely different bloodline, beginning a new Dynasty. In this manner, there is little to no judgement in any of the three kingdoms based on how a man is born. Instead, the focus is on how he lives. The only exception to this rule is the concept of slavery. Slaves are treated as nobodies; they have no identities, no thoughts, no hopes, no dreams; they are the property of those who own them and have no rights or privileges. The strongest social division is between those who are enslaved and those who are free. Not on birth or class.
Discrimination against sexualities that are considered to be "unnatural" is incredibly high in Africa. Anyone who is caught acting upon any desires other than heterosexual is punished for behaving in an unnatural, scandalous or disgusting manner. Women found to be in relationships with other women are stoned to death. Men who commit acts of sodomy with other men are beheaded.
There is no racism in Africa. In this realm, the colour of skin and the aesthetics of the people are very varied; from the paler Jewish tone to the deepest black of those Bedoan tribes that are descended in some way from Nubian peoples. As such, skin colour is rarely noticed.
Each kingdom within Africa has their own faith: Bedoans believe in the spirits of their ancestors watching over them, permitting them guidance and visions. Egyptians believe in the ancient Egyptian Gods and Judeans have faith in Yahweh; the future Judeo-Christian God. Despite this, there is no discrimination between the kingdoms. They all simply believe other kingdoms to be sadly ignorant or plainly wrong; unfortunate but not something that should land judgement upon them.
All three kingdoms speak different languages - even different dialects between the Bedoan tribes. As such, in order to encourage trade and business between them, many merchants and businessmen have learnt at least the basic words of other languages. Ergo, there is little to no linguistic discrimination between the kingdoms and a high percentage of bilingualism.
Neurological discrimination, when able to be identified, is seen as some kind of disease or curse. If the "issue" noted is obvious and affects physicality, an individual will be taken to a healing house in an effort to "cure" them. If the individual is born with the anomaly, they will likely be drowned. If their neurological distinction is easily hidden; anger issues, ADHD or other disorders that we are more aware of in modern times, these would simply be attributed as part of personalities and are not judged against at all.
Physical disorders are judged differently in different kingdoms. In Egypt, they are considered abominations and drowned at birth. In Bedoa they are accepted and looked after but considered burdens - they are not discriminated against, nor are they shown hatred - but within a Bedoan tribe, all are supposed to carry their own weight, and a physical deformity that stops someone being able to do this would turn them into a burden on the whole tribe. Women with physical deformities must hide them if they are ever to marry. Judeans take a simpler approach to Bedoans, allowing that those with physical deformities are no fewer people but that they are burdensome. In both cases, it must be the case that the disability is not a disease. If it is seen as a disease, the chances of someone being mistaken for a leper and stoned in the streets is high. Also, in both cases, physical deformity or disabilities are considered to be in relation to intelligence also, and most will misjudge someone to have something wrong with their brain due to them being unable bodied.
Age of Consent
There is no age of consent in Africa.
Aeipathy Note: Please note that we do not permit that active roleplaying of any sexual intercourse between characters under the age of fifteen.
In Bedoa and Judea, women are expected to remain chaste until marriage. They are harboured and protected as sacred, and their virginity greatly praised. In Egypt the opposite is true. A man will often like the idea of a virgin wife but, for different reasons, also like the concept of a wife with experience. It is down to personal or familial beliefs that decide whether one or the other is more important to a particular male. In general, however, Egypt holds little rules on how a woman should behave sexually prior to marriage. Men are not considered men until they have a least one sexual partner. However, priests and men of the temples are often virgins.
Promiscuity is not encouraged in either gender in Bedoa or Judea. Sex is considered tied to intimacy and faithfulness and is expected to be an act between a married pair (or more) - not on a regular basis with different partners. As such, marriages are often arranged when people are young and consummated early. In Egypt, sex is considered an enjoyment of the body; in the same way, smoking opiates or drinking alcohol is. Therefore, neither men or women can be too promiscuous. Sexual encounters between more than two people are also permitted and viewed without scandal, so long as there is only one man in participation. In this instance, any sexual act between only women is seen to be an act for the male's pleasure and not a sign of unnatural desires in the women themselves. Generally, however, even in group encounters, women are less likely to engage with each other, for fear of an angered male partner calling them out on such behaviour at a later date.
In Egypt, pig intestines are often used as a form of preventative contraception, and abortive tonics are available. These resources do not hold the same stigma as in other realms. In Bedoa and Judea, any form of contraception or abortive measure is illegal, and the use of one is seen as going against the will of the spirits/God or murder. As women are expected to be chaste before marriage and faithful during, the idea is that there should be no need for any form of contraception between a husband and wife and no use for one elsewhere.
In Egypt, nudity of is no moment. Children are often naked in everyday life until the age of adulthood (12) with lower classes clothing their young at 6 when they were expected to work with their parents under the hot sun. Young girls are occasionally clothed before then if they appear to develop a womanly figure earlier. Even as adults, however, nudity is not considered a taboo. Public baths are mixed gender, women often dress in particular gowns that leave their chests bare and men can be found wearing the briefest of attire at times if a day is particularly hot. For Egyptians, the body is not sacred, nor is it private. In Bedoa this is true for men. They share sweat lodges and carry out council meetings nude. However, their women are clothed at all times. They are not required to hide their faces, nor to dress in full cloaking garments, but the more a woman saves her naked body for her husband, the more humble and dignified she is seen to be. Women bathe entirely privately. This rule is only in effect, however, until the couple in question produce a child. Immediately, the wife is then seen as fully claimed - with a permanent and undeniable connection to her husband. Therefore, she need not hide. Many mothers dress with their breasts on show, feeding their newborns for all to see. This is not considered in any way scandalous. A young maiden dressing in the same way, would be considered brash and rude. In Judea, they are even more prudish. A woman dresses in gowns that cover her appropriately and in public places covers her head. She is only to be seen in any form of nudity by her husband and even then only in the bedroom when decided by him. To be sexually confident as a woman is not normally encouraged in the Judean kingdom. The men are just as cautious, however and do not encourage nudity. Even to remove one's shirt on a hot day would be seen as something a slave or someone of ill-breeding might do.
Sexual assault is impossible against men. It is not considered even plausible for a man to be without the strength to defend himself against a woman; for a woman has not the physical strength, nor intelligence to arrange such circumstances. A man enacting sexual assault on a woman, however, is punishable in many severe manners. In Egypt, it is less the sexual side of the attack that is considered inappropriate - but the violence against the fairer sex that is unacceptable. In Judea or Bedoa, the attempt to steal a woman's virtue would result in imprisonment or slavery (in Judea) or the removal of the perpetrator's hands (in Bedoa). A successful attempt upon a woman, resulting in rape, would be punishable by execution (in Judea) and the removal of the... "opportunity" to ever do so again... (in Bedoa).
Incest is not permitted in Judea. It is considered odd but accepted in Bedoa and in Egypt it is considered perfectly normal - as normal as any other relationship between cousins, friends or strangers.
Alcohol and Opiates
Judeans are the most conservative of the three African kingdoms. They permit alcohol but not opiates or drugs. The alcohol is expected to be consumed as part of a meal and in moderated enjoyment. Bedoans value water over wine but they enjoy both. The smoking of opiates is accepted but only as part of sacred traditions and visions quests that are performed by the spiritual leaders of the tribe and by each man as he comes of age. It is not an act permitted to women. Egyptians have a no-holds-barred policy. Life is for living before the Underworld claims your soul and drinking and smoking to excess is a sign of wealth and luxury.
The African Aesthetic
While each kingdom has its own styles, fashions and designs, most clothing in all three kingdoms is made for linen and worn to protect against the elements and climate, depending on the location and homes of the denizens of that kingdom. The people of Bedoa dress appropriately for the heat but large cloaks and overlayers in dark colours to protect against the heat of the son in the desert lands. The Egyptians wear next to nothing, their clothing being a means of decorating their bodies rather than hiding them, the brevity of their attire helping with the heat. Judeans wear loose and unfitted clothes in simple and humble styles in order to protect against the sun but also fit with their more frugal and conservative aesthetic. In all three kingdoms jewellery is used to impress and show significance; either in how little is worn (thereby making what is worn seem significant), by the meaning behind particular pieces of jewellery or accessory, or through the sheer luxury and awe excessive gold and jewels produce. No matter a kingdoms preference, the additional adornment is considered important.
The Bedoan tribes wore clothing of linen dyed in bright colours and stitched or sewn with bright geometric patterns and shapes - often with both black and white being used in the designs for emphasis to particular areas or pieces. For men, on the upper half of their bodies, their clothing is often shapeless and worn in layers wrapped around the torso and/or over the shoulders. Bands of material are often wrapped around the waist to be used as both belts and storage for weapons or utilities. The often wear large pants, held in place at the top by their waist wrappings and tied at the ankles. Some men wear turbans, others not; the item is not a form of religious wear but one of style.
In Egypt, clothing is made almost exclusively from linen or netting. They do not like silks as they become hot and sticky in the arid and sweltering weather. The linen their clothing is made from is bleached and starched white. The Egyptians like simply colour schemes - white, ochre, gold and black. There is not a lot of market in Egypt for bright colours or fabric dyes. The clothing themselves can be worn in a plethora of manners. In the lower classes, simply short tunics are worn by most. In the upper classes, anything goes. Nudity and practicality are not in question or a concern, so clothes will be worn only in decoration to one's body. To go completely naked would be seen as perhaps odd or like the individual is poor but even the simplest of items (a net bodice, for example) would immediately turn such exposure to a style over a sign of poverty.
Animal hides, skins and furs were used for clothing in Egypt but only for decoration and excessive adornment by the upper classes. Leopard or lion fur were particular favourites of pharaohs. Lower classes would never wear such hot items in the Egyptian climate, and the fur was a topic of taboo and unable to be worn inside temples.
For the Judeans, clothing is simple and mass produced. To go with their humble image, men and women dress very similarly in large and floating pants tied at both the waist and ankles, with long tunics to either the thigh or feet worn over the top. All clothing is made of linen or wool though the more gregarious of Judeans; those wanting to impress foreign traders or dignitaries, will wear similar cut clothing in bright silks. Women cover their heads when in public places but not their faces - a shawl simply held over the top of the head is enough to be considered polite. These shawls at often made of organza or silk as they are an item of respect to their faith rather than simply attire.
Items of Clothing
A sarong-like skirt worn by the women of the Bedoan tribes. It's made of a long strip of soft fabric wrapped (sometimes multiple times) around the waist to produce several layers of skirt down to the feet.
A loose-fitting outer robe with long wide sleeves and length down to the knees. It is worn as a shirt and pulls over the head with a simple V-neck cut. It's usually made from bright and colourful fabric, or pure black and is worn by either sex (though usually men) in the Bedoan tribes.
An excessively large and almost shapeless outer robe, split down the middle at the front and worn by shrugging into it like a jacket. The robe has flowing sleeves to mid-forearm and is normally starch white and/or decorated with elaborate designs in bright colours. It's worn by important men in the Bedoan tribes during ceremonious (and joyous) occasions, such as weddings.
An informal shirt with V-shaped collar and open, wide sleeves to the elbow. It is a basic and common form of garment in the Bedoan tribes and is usually brightly coloured and decorated with patterns and embroidery.
A dress, cut like a slip down to the feet and cut off just passed the elbows. It's shapeless, airy and worn by both men and women of the Bedoan tribes.
A kanga is a strip of cloth (roughly a metre to two metres in length and width) with patterns down all four sides and a central design; similar to a mandala. It is worn (more often by women) in the Bedoan tribes and can be worn in many ways - around the hips as a second sarong layer to clothes, around the chest as a form of top or around the shoulders and over the head as a headdress. It is often made from light and airy material and the design are often in bright colours and highly decorative.
In the same way an agbaba is worn by the men of the Bedoan tribes during formal events, a habesha kemis is worn by women on similar occasion. It is a long flowing dress of cotton, wide in both the sleeves and body, worn tied at the waist and at the wrists and with ornate patterns along its hems. It is often in a single colour across the main body of the garment with complimentary colours used within said patterns. It is often worn with a kanga or a netela.
A formal headdress worn by women in the tribes of Bedoa. Often white but can be other colours, there is no embroidery or patterning on a netela and it is closer fitting than when a kanga is wrapped into a headdress. A netela wraps around the head and down over the back of the skull, flowing freely over the shoulders.
A taqiyah is a round and hat with a firm shape (roughly two inches tall) that, in later centuries will be tied closely to Islamic culture and faith. For now, however, it is a fashion choice and accessory that some Bedoan men choice to wear.
Depending on the tribe and how closely they monitor their women's appearances, a female in a Bedoan tribe may wear a burqa. This word doesn't singularly relate to a modern day burqa with only the eyes shown but could also be applied to cloth that hides only part of the face, rows of decorative coins that are hung beneath the eyes to mask the features below or even just a lot of jewellery hung across the forehead that the wear then peers between. Any item of accessory or clothing that covers a woman's face in Bedoa is referred to as a burqa. Burqas are worn commonly in only a few tribes and are never a requirement.
The most common form of dress for Egyptian women, a kalasiris is a tight fighting linen dress held up by one or two straps over the shoulders. It has no sleeves and is ankle length. Instead of being held up by straps over the shoulders, it is sometimes tied around the chest, making it strapless or around the waist, leaving the breasts exposed. Shawls, capes, cloaks, and robes could be worn over the top of a kalasiris.
Egyptians were fond of network (as in net-work) in that they would often form pieces of their clothing or whole dresses simply from netted pieces of silk or thread, each line pieced together with cylindrical beading made of scilla or glass. The work was unfeasibly intricate, entirely revealing and worn only by the upper classes. If an item of clothing was entirely constructed from network, they would usually hold small bronze or copper discs to cover the areola and sex. These types of clothing were only worn by women.
A garment cut like a long-sleeved tunic without shape or decoration. It has open and wide sleeves to the wrists and hangs wide and straight down to the feet. It's made of linen bleached white as a sign of purity and is a garment worn by cloistered holy men in Egypt.
A type of leather sandal with straps over the foot and around the ankle worn by both genders of Judean.
Judean underwear (worn more often by men - women often wore simple bound cloth without shape) that works as a small apron around the waist and tied at each hip. If fastened with a belt or girdle the underwear ('ezor) was known as a hagor.
A kethoneth is an undershirt; a long tunic, cut loose and hanging to the knee. It is worn under clothing during the day if required but also used to sleep in. Worn by both men and women.
The upper classes of Judea might also wear a sadhin beneath the kethoneth. A Sadhin is cut in a similar fashion but carried on to mid-shin and had long sleeves. It is made of very fine linen for coolness and is therefore only worn by the upper classes; such skillfully made linen is more expensive. Worn by both men and women.
Similar to a Greek himation, a simlah is a large square piece of fabric that wraps around the body (over both shoulders) and crudely sewn down the sides, leaving the front open and two holes in the sides where arms can be put through. It is worn similar to a modern-day jacket but as the material is so large, free-flowing and shapeless it more resembles a cloak once on. Worn by both genders but more often men. Women tend to wear the mitpahath.
Similar to a simlah but with more shape and fitting and with careful construction and sewing, a me'il is an outer stole, worn over the other layers of clothing. For style purposes it is often an opposing or complementary colour to the robes beneath. Worn only by men.
The male leaders of the key families in Judea, when operating in an official capacity might wear an addereth; a stole that went around the neck, hanging down the front of the body and formed from many ironed folds and pleats. If made of leather (unpleated) this item of clothing as known as a ma'atafah.
A keffiyeh is a form of headdress worn only by the men. A large square of normally white fabric is folded into a triangle (often at an angle to produce two downward points) and then placed over the head, the long folded edge across the forehead, the two downward points against the back. It is then fastened in place but a twisted braid of material (often black) secured around the head.
A shawl or organsa cape that is worn as a neckcloth and headpiece. It is rested over the head, inline with the forehead, wrapped down and under the chin and then placed around the shoulders. Sometimes is is clasped in place for a tight design (possibly by an older woman or someone naturally more prudish) but more often left to hang a little loose and decorative. The shawl is always large enough (in either sense) to fall to the hips down the back of the wearer. This is solely worn by women.
Judean clothing was often adorned and decorated with small tassels. These were either for the purpose of style along the hems of clothing, or were used to fasten clothing in place. The decorative ones were referred to as zizits.
The Judeans are a religious people with certain rituals and expectations of their people and holy leaders. As such, there are some forms of clothing that only Judean priests are permitted (and required) to wear.
Linen pants worn beneath the tunics and outlayers of clothing. They are loose, flowing, airy and made from very tine linen. They are cinched at the waist and left loose at the ankles.
A long under-tunic similar to a sadhin, made of pure linen and covering the priest from the neck to his feet.
A sash tied either around the waist or up over a shoulder and across the torso. These were only worn by high priests and would often be purple, red or blue.
A turban worn by the priesthood that was wrapped tight and formed an almost conical shape in its centre. Often made from white fabric.
A sleeveless tunic worn as if in two flaps - one down the front of the body and the other down the back and then fastened to itself around the hips. A priests' ketonet was always plain while the high priests' would be embroidered.
The Bedoan style is all about permanency, despite (or perhaps due to) their geographical life being transient and nomadic. As such, their fashions and styles are largely based on permanent modifications or elements that don't age. Clothing is kept in large sheets of material, able to be constructed into different fashions and styles as time goes on - fated to never be unpopular or useless; permanent pieces of clothing for the owner. Their jewellery and adornment are just as permanent. The piercing of the flesh (particularly the ears and facial features) is common and ink tattoos are rare but also seen more often on men than women. Jewellery is often formed from metal and soldered into shapes around the body (such as around the neck or wrists and hands), unable to be removed without being heated or broken. These bands might be in gold, iron, bronze or copper. Another form of "tattoo" that is used by both genders is burning and scarification. Using a small metal poker (known as a vuurtaal), heated in flame, the implement is laid upon the skin to form a small oval shape. This can be applied over and over to form many different shapes and patterns, normally on the chest or back. Such work is often done (in women) purely for decoration or (in men) to count or symbolise great victories or achievements.
In direct reverse of the Bedoans, Egypt is all about transient. Their bodies are not sacred, nor signs of greatness - for it is the soul that passes to the Underworld eventually; not the flesh. As such, few make changes such as piercing or tattooing, unless for some great personal sentiment. Instead, Egyptians wear many different pieces of jewellery and decoration that can be removed at the end of the day. Women would often wear crowns, headdresses, tiaras, diadems, circlets, earrings, necklaces, armbands, bracelets, rings, decorative belts, legbands, anklets and toerings. Men would wear exactly the same. Jewellery was not, in Egypt, seen as a feminine style of adornment. It was a manner of showing off the body and displaying style and wealth - for either gender. In this manner, the Egyptian style is very androgynous with men wearing wigs and earrings in the same way women would.
Another method of decoration was cosmetics and body paint. These were also employed by both genders. Men would often wear eyeliner and kohl to emphasise their features, women would wear their own in my more obvious manners combined with golden or white or blue powder over the eyes. They had their own forms of lipstick, blusher, contour and full paints with which to decorate the body and limbs. Many such cosmetics in the upper circles of society were made from real, powdered gold.
A popular Egyptian practice - in all classes, was for both genders to shave their heads and wear wigs instead of their own hair growth. The wigs were made of vegetable fiber such as linen, sheep’s wool, other types of animal hair or human hair stiffened with beeswax. The cheapest ones were made of fibers but royals and the upper classes only used the ones made of human hair. For both real hair and wigs, ancient Egyptians used fragrant oils like fir oil, almond oil, rosemary oil, and castor oil to treat them, believing it would keep the hair supple and shiny and that the oils would encourage natural hair to grow. The very best wigs appeared as if the real hair of the wearer.
The Judean style is one of simplicity and practicality and the accepting and blessing of what is natural. As such, there is little jewellery involved. The jewellery that Judeans do wear is often simple - a necklace and pendant perhaps, a mandala for the men or the wedding bands worn by married couples. All such pieces would be worn only if they offered great significance to the wearer, which means that even the most subtle of decoration would call attention to itself just through the possible meanings behind it.
The tribes of Bedoa and the people of Egypt go barefoot almost permanently. They lower classes and slaves never own shoes or sandals and the upper classes only wear them when there is risk of them hurting their feet - such as when walking long distance across hot sands or rocky terrain. Any footwear the people of Bedoa and Judea do wear is usually in the form of flat sandals with leather thong straps over the foot; the bases made of either leather or woven papyrus.
Judeans wear na'alayim - a leather sandal with straps over the foot and around the ankle. These sandals (and any other footwear) is always removed upon entering a home - socks or bare feet only when indoors - but to walk outside in bare feet is a show of great poverty or mourning and is rarely done by those suffering from neither.
In all African cultures, hygiene is of great importance. In Bedoa it is important to bathe where possible because of limited supplies and days of travel. In Egypt it is a sign of wealth, good breeding and attractiveness to be clean and in Judea it is a practice of showing your body respect. In all forms, the people of the African kingdoms remain very hygienic despite the dusty and arid land in which they live.
In the Bedoan tribes water is far too rare and precious to be squandered on cleaning one's body. As such, their method of washing is performed in sweat tents. A tent of thick fabric is erected, a fire started within (a small hole at the top apex of the tent permits the smoke out - and the men sit together nude within the tent, talking, drinking, playing games and socialising, while they literally sweat. Curved blades called Araa (singular) Araaes (plural) are then used to scrape away the layers of sweat, removing hair and dirty along with it, while they sit and entertain one another. Slaves are often used to scrape the men's backs and hard to reach areas. Men do not use the Araaes upon each other - this is considered too intimate. A minimal amount of fresh water is then used to wipe over the entire body upon leaving the tent. This is a lengthy process and is therefore completed only once a week or so. Women follow the same process but bathe alone. If they are permitted a slave to help them, the slave must be a eunuch.
The Egyptians, with the Nile at their fingertips, are much more open with the water they use. The lower classes tend to bathe directly in the Nile, while the middle and upper classes bathe in mixed gender public bathhouses. The highest echelons of society will also bathe in private baths of milk, honey, flower petals and anything else that gives the skin a soft texture and fragrant scent. The Egyptians are all about clean shaven and men and women both shave their entire bodies. Women will sometimes keep their natural hair but some prefer to shave their heads in order to facilitate wearing a wig. Men will often shave their heads, either entirely in particular designs. Young boys often wear their hair in a side knot - their head entirely shaved apart from a piece on the right side of their head tied into a short ponytail or bound wedge. Some Egyptian men (especially but not exclusively, the lower classes) prefer a natural head of hair - long or short. Egyptian men rarely grow beards but if they do they are always full beards and cleanly cared for. Stubble is a sign of dirtiness or appears unkempt.
The people of Judea believe in respecting the body and that which you have. Therefore, they are careful in their hygiene and their attire and are generally a clean and well-kept race of people. As nudity is something more taboo for them than in other kingdoms, they tend to bathe at home in a basin rather than in public bathhouses or in the rivers like the lowest classes and slaves. Judean women always wear their hair long and men can wear it either long or short; the upper classes normally no shorter than chin-length and no longer than past their shoulders, ergo hair was often brushed her braided in simple designs to keep it clean and tidy.
Concepts of Beauty
Egypt believes that beauty is in what you can show off and how you present yourself. Even someone less attractive might be considered beautiful if they are well cared for and up to date on the latest fashions and styles. In this manner, Egyptians are very shallow and popularised people. However, they are also not blind to the natural beauty of their people and a woman who is both beautiful in the natural body and able to show it to its best advantage with the right attire and cosmetics is generally considered to be rare and very coveted.
In Bedoa and Judea - while they show such assets very differently - the natural beauty of a woman shines through; including that of her personality. Is she brave, thoughtful, kind? Bedoans like expressive eyes and lips, Judeans like delicate frames and soft hands. Different heterosexual men will prefer different things in their women but most Bedoan and Judean men see past fashion and style.
In terms of men, all three kingdoms have the same ruling but their cultures and fashions display them differently. Men are expected to be good providers and strong husbands. As such, Egyptian men are often scantily clad to show off muscles and war wounds; displaying their prowess. Judeans are often well dressed to display stable wealth and a sound mind. Bedoans often carry their weapons as a show of virility or go bare-chested. Height, strength, financial security are all more important in the attractiveness of men than their personality or character traits.
Beauty and the Divine
There is no connection between beauty and godliness in the African realm. Beauty is not a sign of favoritism or benevolence from the Gods - simply strokes of luck or good inheritance. Good looks in women are considered important because the wives of men were ways to show their power and their virility. Beautiful women were therefore idolised and considered of great importance but not in a manner related to the Gods.
Resources and Materials
Currency and Trade
The kingdoms of Africa trade and do business, more often than not, in the form of goods and materials. They trade for like rather than for money. In the lower circles of life, such trading is done based on each person's valuation of the individual trade - if both think it fair, then it is fair. As such, there is much haggling and bartering to be done - handled often by the men. In the upper classes, goods are measured on their weight vs monetary value (even if said money never changes hands) and there is (in Egypt and in Judea) a long currency list of what weight of what product is worth. This then allows someone to match up the equivalent worth in the item being traded for it. Alternatively, if someone is a member of the upper classes and has coinage to their man, they might trade directly with coin or with small pieces of gold or silver. Most traders and merchants who mix in these circles carry around a small set of scales in order to measure if the metal is worth the amount of goods being given. Many of the lower classes - especially in Bedoa - are hesitant to trade in gold as metal ore is useless for nothing but value. Trading for goods is far more efficient and convenient.
Bronze 'Hitta' (10 cents)
Silver 'Sugh' (worth 20 Hitta) ($2)
Gold 'Tolem' (worth 100 Sughs) ($200)
The Bedoans trade for a lot of their cuisine as there is little to be had in the desert. Their general diet is based in couscous, rice and meat stews that are spiced like curry. The meats preferred are camel, rabbit, goat or lamb. Dried fish can be carried for many miles and consumed when wanted and fruits and vegetables (while perishable and requiring consumption soon are purchase) are a popular dish and often roasted. Most meals are accompanied by unleavened flatbread, cooked in the sands of the desert. In terms of drink, the Bedoans prize their water and use it sparingly. Instead, they tend to drink goat or camel milk. The milk and meat of camels is only ever used from arabian camels - the dromedaries - which are one-humped, even-toed camels.
The general basics of an Egyptian diet - for both the lower and upper classes - was bread and beer formed from the malt and barley grown in the region. The Egyptians were less a fan of wine but it was considered a delicacy. Their food consisted of green-shooted onions, vegetables and dried fruits. Many Egyptians were mostly vegetarian in their diet as meat, game and fish were less common. In upper class banquets alcohol was plentiful and food unchecked; there were whole roasted oxen, ducks, geese, pigeons and at times fish. The dishes frequently consisted of stews served with great amounts of bread, fresh vegetables and fruit. For sweets there were cakes baked with dates and sweetened with honey. Most sweet treats were breaded goods with sweet fruits or treacle - dairy or creams were not used. Grilled and dried foods were also very popular. The Egyptians liked their food salted and seasoned but not often spiced.
Judeans had a hearty diet that they ate sparingly. They dined on breads, grains and legumes. Vegetables were less commonly used but considered important when they were added to the meal. Olives were used to create the oil with which most foods were cooked or fried. Judeans mostly drank wine or goat or cow milk. They also occasionally had sugarcane imported from Egypt. Generally, Judeans were very seasonal in their cuisine, buying their food on a more regular (almost daily basis) rather than storing it for long periods of time and therefore eating whatever was being harvested at the time. This could lead to long periods of famine or meagre meals, or periods of great feast, depending on the harvest or season.
Materials and Resources
In general, the African kingdoms lead simple lives. They enjoy the basic joys of living; fine foods, good wine, the occasional indulgence and in the connections with people. Bedoa and Judea specifically are very engaged in familial and friendship connections, seeking enjoyment from life in the interactions they make. Egyptians are more hedonistic and enjoy the delights that life can offer whether solitary or as a group. Either way, there is little need for impressive surroundings and materialistic hoarding in any of the kingdoms.
Bedoan homes are built with two things in mind; protection from the climate and transient moving. The tribes of Bedoa move around the desert at all times. They rarely stay in a single place longer than a few weeks or (at the very most if something is holding them) a month. As such, all of their worldly possessions and built homes must be able to be packed up onto the back of a camel or into a horse-drawn caravan.
The tents in which the Bedoan live when stationary is often much larger than one would expect from a nomadic tribe. Some can house up to 20 or 30 people laying side by side. The size of the tent, after all, is only reliant on the size of the sheets and tapestries used to build it and fabric can be rolled and folded up small. The tents themselves are formed from soft linen sheets with dyes and embroidery over their surface for decoration, held up into a tent shape by strategically placed poles, making the roof sag and soar depending on the point of the joist. The floors are covered in thicker rugs and tapestries, overlaid upon each other to keep out the sand. Most tents (known as "hawe"s) have the potential for a circular opening at the top in order for the smoke to escape from a fire during the winter months when the desert gets particularly cold at night. This is only required for a few weeks of the year, however, and the rest of the time the tent is fully closed, with all fire and food preparation happening outside.
The Bedoan have no rigid furniture or possessions as these are hard to transport. Instead, they form their beds and living quarters from cushions and quilted sheets. Fabrics and textiles are universal in the Bedoan culture, sometimes a woman will use a piece to decorate her home or to wear as a garment; whichever best suits - there is no particular cloth of a particular purpose aside from perhaps rugs which are heavier and would be hard to wrap into clothes.
As the Bedoans enjoy smoking camel dung, the inside of a Bedoan hawe often smells smoky and almost sweet or spicy. It is a strong atmosphere that the Bedoans feel is home but foreigners may find oppressive, hot or claustrophobic. Visually, the inside of a Bedoan hawe is a kaleidoscope of bright colours and geometric shapes - every piece of cloth and surface a different and striking pattern.
Single men will often have their own, smaller tents, designed for little more than sleeping and large enough for only a few people to sit inside comfortably at a time. When boys come of age (at 16) they are kicked out from the homes of their mothers and told to create a tent of their own. They are also then given a camel by the tribe and will be responsible for his own home and animal. Upon marriage and children, the tent naturally grows with more fabric and more joists to accommodate. The man of the family might work to produce more money to secure a second animal or a caravan for his family's goods or for his children to travel in when on the road. Otherwise, they might sit upon the camel while he walks. A woman remains with her birth family in their own tent until marriage but sleeps separately from her parents after the age of 13. Until the age of 13, all children sleep in the same room as their parents. Marital duties are often performed in quiet moments when the children are not present and are considered rare opportunities until the children have grown and left the bedchamber for their own section of the tent.
A Low Class Egyptian Home
The lower class homes of Egypt were often built of that which was most accessible and easy to come by in order to fix repairs or continue building at later dates: mud. The mudbrick the homes were built from were often built via heavy wooden poles being drilled into the ground, woven reeds forming the walls between said poles and then a mixed of thick mud and straw was applied over the reeds to make the walls solid. Homes could be built in conical shapes or in square blocks (the domed top ones normally in the poorest areas as they were easier to make but provided less standing space. Home were never more than a single storey high and often had separate rooms for adults and children, as well as a living space between the two. The preparing of food would be done inside the home and the cooking of it outside over an open flame. Egyptians were skills potters and were more likely to hold all their goods within ceramic vases than they were boxes or crates. Wood was a rarer commodity than clay. There was often little need for fabrics or luxuries used for warmth but the stitching of mosquito netting was very required and most beds - even in the lower classes - would be covered with one.
A High Class Egyptian Home
A high class Egyptian home is build in a very different style to the above. Made of clay and mudbrick also but this time from slabs of the material formed into actual bricks (roughly two foot in length, width and depth), the homes of the upper classes were built on massive scales. Each chamber was a hall in and of itself, each room a plethora of designs in glass and tile mosaics or hand carved and painted hieroglyphs or story designs. Egypt has no limit to the space their upper classes can utilise with their buildings so all the homes of the richest Egyptians are extravagant, with entire wings dedicated to slaves, storage or their children. With whole chambers enjoyed just for entertaining impressive guests. Columns of alabaster and marble are used to decorate the grandest of rooms and the furniture of such places if often lacquered in molten gold.
A Judean Home
A Judean home is very similar regardless of whose you enter; upper or lower class. The Judean people are about practicalities and so have a standard shape of home - a large entertaining room that often sports a stepped seating area where the family dines around a low table. and a section (usually at a cornered L-shape from the living quarter) dedicated to cooking with an open fire. A bedchamber is a separate room with a raised stone platform on which the mattresses and bedclothes are placed and the richer Judaen homes have rudimentary toilets that are a small addition off the back of the house and are relegated to a stone seat with a hole, build over guttering system that sends waste into nearby stream system and down the river.
Whether a family is rich or poor does not really affect the home in which they live other then to produce slightly smaller or larger sized rooms. The very rich will have separate sleeping chambers for their children but otherwise, offspring sleep in either the bedroom or the living quarters and the parents in the other. The only other difference between the houses of the upper and lower classes is the decoration. Rich Judean homes, instead of being made solely in granite or alabaster stone will be covered in pretty mosaics and designs in tile or glass, making colourful mandalas and designs on both the floors and ceilings. Some even paint their walls to be complimentary shades.