Under Feet of Clay
“Practice all things.” -Periander, Sage of Civilization
More isolated than any other city as it keeps watch over the Bay of Selene, Periandropolis proudly declares itself a bastion of freedom and democracy. Founded in ancient times by the sage Periander, the metropolis is a realization of his vision. It was Periander’s hope to found a city where all citizens were free from tyranny, yet respected and honored the gods. And so he set off to a mighty plateau far to the south, and laid plans for a city. Because there were so few other cities nearby to rely upon, Periandropolis had to accomplish all facets of civilized life on its own. The citizenry took to practicing rhetoric, architecture, shipbuilding, textile work, farming, pottery, mining, fishing, herding, harvesting olives, and construction work.
Sustained by a mix of trade, expansive farms, and a thriving silver mine, Periandropolis is considered by some to be the cultural hub of Calopius. The Halfling and human dominant city houses competing temples of nearly every deity. Priests walk the streets in their holy garb calling for sacrifice and donations, though the winding walk up is full of itinerant oracles and seers preaching coming doom and despair. At the center of town is the mighty plateau known as Temple Top, with its winding streets and pillared halls.
Though Periandropolis boasts all its citizens can vote, this is in fact a few marks short of the truth. Every three years, the city elects an Archos during a normal work day. While aristocrats and wealthy merchants can easily afford to leave home for a day plus travel, the common farmer usually cannot spare the work time and cost. Women hoping to vote must be accompanied by a husband, father, or brother. Those unable to write their ballot on a shard of pottery must rely on the honesty of distributers outside the Grand Forum to give them the correct voting token. So while in theory all citizens can vote, it is the wealthy men who make up the largest block.
Rather than blood sport, which is the entertainment of choice for other cities, Periandropolans go to outdoor amphitheaters to see a play, hear poetry, or listen to a debate. These open air stages are strewn about the city, and are the sites of legal trials as much as comedies. With an ear for languages and fine grammar, no city is more steeped in rhetoric in all Calopius. Education centers on speech and poetry, with listeners to debates and arguments often caring less about the contents of the arguments than they do how they are made.
In the valley between the western mountains and eastern hills, the rural Halfling population happily cultivates enough wheat to feed the whole metropolis, while wealthy aristocrats own large swaths of the eastern hills for growing some of the finest wine grapes in Calopius. However, the true pride of Periandropolis is their olives, which grow hearty and strong around the city and the surrounding fields. Outside agriculture, there is an active fishing industry, a growing market for textiles, mines to employ the physically gifted, priesthoods for the faithful, and a small but robust market for building local ships. With support from the demand for their olive oil and a steady internal income from their silver mines, Periandropolis has a case for being the figurehead of all Calopius.
The citizenry of Calopius are a proud, self-assured sort who value discussion and the exchange of knowledge. They have a reputation for being fearful of bloodshed, but will field an infantry as quickly as any other city. They are curious, but slow to admit they lack any knowledge. Periandropolans are often critical of other ways of living, and are among the most religiously diverse Calopenes. The city is about 35% Halfling, 35% human, 10% dwarf, 10% elf, 5% gnome, 5% other. Heroes from Periandropolis trace their lineage back to Thenius above all others, save Periander himself.