Official Religion: Holy Cross (birthplace)
Major Cities: Aix, Dardans, Herbens, Neris, Pirence, Sanctua
Citizens: The people of Ganon are called Ganonians, Gans, or by the city from whence they hail, i.e. Sanctuans. The people are known for their golden hair, fair complexions, blue eyes and fairly tall frames.
There is a great deal of rivalry between the major cities and their surrounding environs within Ganon. Known for their rich history, complex politics, heavy emphasis on the arts (including literature, music, fashion, fine art, drama and architecture), Ganon has long been the pivot of elegant society.
The people of Ganon can easily be divided into four classes: The Noblès, those aristocrats with royal blood, and who hold the lands and titles of Ganon; the Bourgeois, those upper class citizens not of royal blood but possessed of good social standing or wealth; the Citoyens, the working class, industrialists, labourers and others of honest work; and the Sansculottes, the grimy, disenfranchised poor of the nation. Sadly, the percentages of these four classes are roughly 6% Nobles, 12% Bourgeois, 40% Citoyens and 42% Sansculottes. This increasingly rising amount of Sansculottes has been accompanied with increasing amounts of piracy, crime, rebellion and rioting. There have been hushed words of revolution in the poorest quarters, and many believe that the decadent reign of this so-called Holy Nation may be soon at hand.
In style, the Gans are largely obsessed with aesthetics and olfactory pleasure. They are a nation of sybarites, prizing the ornate, decorated, delicate and elaborate in all things. From carved wainscotting to embroidered handkerchiefs, they would never make do with silver thread if they could obtain gold. The use of jewels, pearls and metals to decorate even everyday clothing has made their public balls or processions a beautiful spectacle, and has led to the Bourgeois ingenuity of mimicing such finary with glass, shell and enamel replicas of noble finery. The Fleur-du-lis, the national symbol is reserved for use by the Noblès, and all others are encouraged to show their patriotism by use of the blue-white-and-gold, sans the flower. Perfumes are greatly prized as well, and are used in snuff, handkerchiefs, personal linens, sleeve cuffs, lace adornments, ribbons, wigs, natural hair, facial oils or powders, letters - even bath water. It comes as no suprise that Perfumerie is a much coveted career and the products they create are widely distributed throughout the world.
In music and dance, they lead the world's tastes, and all of the most popular social dances hail from Ganon: the Menuet, the Brise, the Langcombe, the Gavote, the Passacaille, the Chaconne, the Bourrée, the Sarabande, the Tambourin, and perhaps most famously, the Ballet. Fashions for social situations have largely waxed and waned through the ability to enjoin in said dances, and some fashions arose specifically for the ability to use them for such performances, being unacceptable to be worn outside the ballrooms or theatres.
Their royalty and nobility have been emulated by courts near and far, and in fashion they seem to lead every trend. Their royal family line has been unbroken for nearly 1400 years, making it the longest reigning empire in the world. The birth of the Holy Cross faith began in their capitol of Sanctua, and as such, despite their often wasteful, liscentious and extravagent culture, the lands of Ganon are often considered holy. Their many converts from foreign lands make pilgrimages to visit Sanctua and drink the waters of the Graille Santé, the most spiritual artifact of the Holy Cross religion.
The history of Ganon's expansion, overtaking and absorbing the old countries of Dardans, Aix and Pirence, their subsequent push outward into the Seven Seas to make religious progress in Beracco, Tantland, Sperana and especially Laosland, and their rise to pre-eminence among the Eropan nations has been recorded in history gilded in gold. Tales are told of God's divine preference and protection, the monarchs of Ganon even being called the 'Holy Flowers of Heaven'. But the truth is far more bloody. The extensive wealth of Ganon, the hard labours of her people (often unrewarded by their commanding nobility), and their constant use of slave and criminal punishment labour paints a far grisslier tale. Between their military might, papal sanctions of atrocities and widely influential banks, Ganon has long ruled Uphelios, and likely will hold power for a long while to come. While in religious matters they have clashed with Rabinon, the two have been in peaceful relations for centuries, preferring to join forces against the newer Cabal worshippers, common enemies (like Rabimira, Gothan, Davosland or Herespere) and the as-of-yet unbroken Pagan nations.
In recent decades, the rise of piracy has encouraged more international co-operation between nations, even as they continue to compete for exploration and exploitation of unsettled lands. The Ganon Monarchy created and issued the first Letters of Marque, granting pardon to their own Gan pirates so long as their Gan ships were left unmolested. The practise has spread like wildfire, and now most of the prominant seafaring nations have taken up the use of Letters of Marque.
There has been some speculation that there is dissent in the Holy Cross church, especially as difference of worship begins to crop up in their many converted nations - Tokaskan, Berraco and Sperana especially. While no official split has been acquiesced, there are some heretical factions that have begun to splinter off, and variances in the classic design of the Holy Cross symbol have become rallying symbols of these new sects.
It is a time of upheaval and change in Ganon, but the general populace's attitude is one of careless disdain. "Ah, sacré croix! We have survived worse! We Gans may be gilded in gold, but we are forged of stronger stuff! Let the oceans boil - Ganon will yet stand!"
(Influences: 1700s France, Byzantine Constantinople, Holy Roman Empire)