Just a fun dispatch where I add / remove / edit as many TV tropes as I can find with some basis in Ephyra, either because they accurately apply or are substantially subverted.
Some tropes may contradict one another, as Ephyral citizens may have unique ways of interpreting the systems surrounding them, leading to potential disagreement - or a case of circumstantial application of one trope as opposed to its alternatively valid opposite.
Many of these tropes reflect cultural trends in Ephyra intended for values dissonance exercised within a consistent culture. It is almost guaranteed you will find something morally objectionable in this list. Discretion is therefore advised.
ALL ELECTIONS ARE SERIOUS BUSINESS | A softer version of this exists in Ephyra. No citizen will declare the election of some local city officer to be equivalent in relevance to the election of the annual archons, but with suffrage being a rare prize to hold, those who do not use it in all elections they are eligible to partake in is neglectful of his responsibilities of contributing to the common good of Ephyra. The republican traditions are hallowed, elections are ritualised, and candidates at every level expected to meet moral virtues. Accordingly, electoral fraud and corruption is strongly despised, with men even executed for such actions. However, a patron calling upon his clients to cast their votes for him when they enter political office is not considered corruption, and there are many ways Ephyral candidates gather support that might strike a foreign nation as unprincipled. Despite strange methods however, the citizenry agree that electoral rites must be observed, and the right to cast vote must be exercised by any dutiful member of the body politic.
ALL WOMEN ARE LUSTFUL | This trope was very common in Ancient Selian belief and mythology and through the two outlets has survived into the modern day. It has, however, softened its grip. Women, though not viewed as sex-mad, are certainly still credited with their own individual sexual impulses and desires as an occurrence of nature, and thus the traditional feminine precepts of chastity, modesty, shame (as a positive quality), and other virtues are taught to distinguish the nobler citizen women from her 'barbarian' counterparts in foreign nations. As a result, a subconscious dichotomy of Ephyral women and foreign women has taken strong root, with the latter being seen as far more sexually promiscuous and licentious, earning the scorn of Ephyral women and being viewed as sex objects by Ephyral men. Within a marriage, frequent sexual activity between a husband and wife is not only tolerated but lauded (privately of course, such conversation is improper for women) for its procreative and romantic symbolism.
APPEAL TO TRADITION | Ephyra is a very strong embodiment of this. Social change has taken place, but very slowly, and Selio-Ephyral culture as carried on through the Ephyral (as opposed to the Christianised Selians of Pontus and Aestirion) is recognised by many abroad as rigid and resistant to change. A conscious concept of the 'ancestral way' - a non-codified collection of ideas and values and virtues - is of strong importance both in daily life and political argumentation, and many a proposed legislative item has been voted down just because enough senators were convinced of its undue novelty. Where in other nations the word for 'archaic' is derivative, in Ephyra, it is praiseworthy. Old ideas don't become old unless they work, and Ephyra's respect for foreign traditions is rooted almost entirely in their longevity. Novel ideas, particularly the social activist causes elsewhere regarding LGBT, feminism, and the spread of atheism, are viewed with anything from mild distrust to overt hatred by the traditionally minded Ephyral, amongst whom a spectrum of tolerance naturally exists. A peer-accepted reference to the ancestral way is all the argument an Ephyral needs to conclude any debate.
ARRANGED MARRIAGE | All marriages in Ephyra are, by formality, arranged, even if it appears they are not. For a marriage to be lawful, in addition to both participants possessing a right to wed pursuant to Ephyral law, the familial father of each intended spouse must have consented to the betrothal. Only if she is 'of her own right', that is, lacking a familial father due to emancipation, does a woman have the legal power to consent to her own marriage. This procedure means a lot of matches are proposed by the spouses themselves, with approval and arrangement then sought from respective family heads after meeting and exchanging gifts. Even an elopement may be considered arranged, as the families of the absconded man and woman may grant formal approval for their marriage to retroactively cover up the dishonour of their absence, particularly if the woman has been made pregnant. Arranged marriages are expected to have at the very least concord between the spouses, and a commitment to honour and each other's duty in the family. Love is not a prerequisite - and even in marriages proposed by the spouses factors less importantly than their belief in marital compatibility - but certainly a goal, a blessing achieved by the mutual observance of duty and responsibility, and the creation of children.
BACK FROM THE BRINK | The century before the outbreak of the Second World War had seen Ephyra's apex of glory as master of the Mediterranean slowly ebb as foreign powers took the technological edge. As its power waned, corruption was more visible, and adherence to the ancestral way and moral virtues were seen to lack. The First World War was seen by many to have hammered the first nail in the coffin for the ailing Freehold, which was subsequently plagued with political street violence between newly spawned socialist groups and traditionalist reactionaries. The Second however, ripped the coffin apart. Attacked by Italy from the west, and Pontus from the east, the Ephyral people were stunningly mobilised to an unremembered level of sheer will, as Ephyra's armies made their enemies pay dearly for every mile lost. This brutal war of attrition kept Ephyra alive along enough to receive support from the rest of the Allies, and turn the war around against its enemies. In victory, Ephyra rebuilt its lost reputation as a power to be reckoned with, and visited upon Pontus and Italy a new savagery in vengeance for the humiliations it had suffered. Since then, Ephyra has remained a relevant player on the world stage and the continuing Cold War between West and East.
BI THE WAY | There is an idea amongst foreigners that Ephyral, particularly men, are bisexual. This comes from the Selio-Ephyral binary model of sexual preferences not along heterosexual or homosexual lines but rather physical and symbolic positions of an active and passive partner. Ephyral men, in accordance with masculine virtues, are expected to take the active, dominating, phallic role, and so long as their partner is not of an impermissible status and the frequency of activity does not indicate a lack of self-restraint, the sex of the passive, submissive, and receptive partner is immaterial. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Ephyral men do not self-report attraction to 'men' as a group, indicating perhaps that such intercourse is primarily about the assertion of status and power, or that it's the effeminate and emasculating qualities of an 'inferior' man that disqualifies him as a 'man' and make him sexually attractive. Amongst women, who are perceived as the naturally passive and receptive sex, same-sex activity is not unknown but nowhere near as openly discussed, with attitudes ranging from tolerated so long as it makes no infringement upon modesty and sexual virtue, to condemnation as an unnatural, unfeminine, and masculine impulse.
BROTHER-SISTER INCEST | Brothers and sisters in Ephyra can marry and subsequently couple. This practice however is observed almost exclusively within the Selian ethnic groups, but is not unknown amongst non-Selian citizens. An extension of the tolerated marriage of first cousins, uncles and nieces, and aunts and nephews, the practice itself is mostly associated with the aristocracy but has an understated and more unique manifestation in the varied classes of the freeholder citizens. Amongst the former group, particularly the blood-based aristocracy known as the patriciate, the eldest son is often (but not always) expected to take one of his sisters as a wife. In practice, the second, third, or another son may be the one to this, or even none of them, and varies by familial and individual interests. Amongst the general citizenry, this occurs mostly if the brother and sister in question develop an attraction and request from their father or grandfather the permission to marry. The origin of this tradition is not known except in contradicting myths, but what's more curious is that the Selian ethnic groups seem resistant (though not totally immune) to the deleterious effects of inbreeding. The effects take both longer to emerge and are of limited impact. A population bottleneck forcing survival through inbreeding has been proposed by anthropologists but has not received much support or study.
CHASTITY DAGGER | A literal practice. Many Ephyral women, particularly unwed virgins, continue to carry (of their own volition or familial requirement) a concealed blade upon their person when out in public. Its purpose is quite simply to threaten away, harm, or kill any potential attacker against her, to defend both her body and her honour from assault. Alternatively, as symbolised in traditional myths, legends, and folklore, many women have displayed the resolve to use the weapon on themselves, and deny their attacker their spoils. Less commonly, it has been known for such women to be killed by family members to prevent this fate worse than death, an act considered a mercy rather than a cruelty. The trope returned to obvious demonstration in the Second World War, where on the Pontic front in particular, many women were killed by suicide or family in fear of impending defilement. More suicides followed where defilement did occur. It isn't known how many lives were lost to chastity suicides or familial killings, but news of the events shocked many, and kept the will to fight amongst the Ephyral alive. The possession of this knife however is what has enable young women greater freedom in movement and interaction in recent decades, with the family assured she is armed to fend off any attacker or to take her own life if she must.
COMBAT BY CHAMPION | A primarily mythological trope, it is an ideal still praised in story and song, and one which many lament the loss of due to the advent of modern warfare. In history and in myth, the glory of single combat was often sought between skilled warriors, princes, and kings of states, to take place alongside or even in substitute of a larger battle. In the latter, these champion fights proved useful in avoiding the loss of manpower, and for the loser, to avoid the despoiling of his lands and people. The love for the idea of the honour and glory of single combat is echoed in one on one combat sports such as boxing, wrestling, and a more ruthless set of contact sports, as well as in the popular entertainment of gladiator combat.
COMMON LAW MARRIAGE | Marriage in Ephyra occurs (usually) without a priestly officiator or even legal restrigation. Marriage is a ritual, symbolic, and experienced act, of a man and a woman living together as such with the assent of their families for the production of children, and the forming and maintaining of the social, political, and religious unit of a family. All that is needed therefore is the approval of each spouse's familial father, unless one of the spouses is the familial father or in the case of the woman, emancipated from one. A dowry marks it as a 'proper' marriage, with witnesses attending the ceremony and feast, and to observe the entry of the bride to her husband's home. Only those possessing the legal right to marry pursuant to the legal acknowledgement of these rites can be considered 'married', but use of the terms 'wife' to describe a woman living with a man when they do not possess this right is not uncommon (the Western Selian languages have no word for 'husband'), such as amongst slaves or foreigners, where the term marks informally a woman who lives as an Ephyral wife would. For federate citizens, the legal residents and participants in the common welfare of their own local state, the legality of their own unions are recognised. A concubine is defined as a woman in a legal and recognised relationship with an Ephyral man but who is not his wife, noted by lack of dowry. The status is not derogatory.
COOL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT | Crucifixion remains the most symbolic and harshest of these punishments. Citizens are immune from being crucified, with the exception of military personnel, who swear a sacred oath of loyalty and discipline and who can thus be so punished or executed for desertion or treason. Its historic use as a punishment for slaves has generally faded from practice, unless the slave is convicted of murder or some other higher crime. Strangulation, selling into slavery, and exile have all existed as unusual punishments carried out by Ephyral magistrates.
CORPORAL PUNISHMENT | Ephyral citizens have a right to immunity from this legal punishment. It is typically carried out for lower level offences such as thieving, and can be ordered at will by any local magistrate with the power to do so. Ordinarily, execution of this punishment is done through the victim being tied to some post, and flogged on the back. Enlist soldiers swear an oath by the gods to loyalty and to discipline, which, alongside capital punishment, allows their corporal punishment for insubordination and disobedience by a commanding officer, to be carried out in the same way, although routinely carried out by the men of his unit.
DEFILED FOREVER | Ephyra is a society where the reproductive integrity and power of the family is considered the vital essence of the state and its people. Adultery vitiates this idea, introducing parental ambiguity when a woman takes a lover despite being married, and such women are considered ruined and without honour. How these cases are resolved is down to her own family and her husband's, but typically result in divorce, and her familial exile / suicide / killing. For premarital sex, greater leniency is afforded. This is less a case of reproductive integrity as it is an insult to her familial father's authority, an insult which can be repaired. A deflowered girl lacks the marital prospects of a virgin, unless she can be married to the man who took it. This is the most common way that known cases of premarital relations is resolved, especially in (and indicated by) cases of pregnancy. Cases of premarital sex that do not result in pregnancy may never be known by the young woman's family or future husband. In both scenarios however she is not 'defiled forever', and it's estimated that anywhere from a tenth to a fifth of citizen women at any point in Ephyral history may have been non-virgins, either married to the man who deflowered them or another man entirely. The fact that women can re-marry after a divorce or a spousal death demonstrates that virginity upon marriage is not an absolute requirement, and that breaking the trust of marriage with adultery is many times more serious. In the case of rape, it is less a question of reproductive integrity and more an assault upon honour, both hers and her family. As a result, a victim of rape has no blame assigned to her. She has committed no crime or wrong, as she was compelled by force. Despite this, the self-perception of violated honour is so strong in the minds of many victims that suicide as its recovery, and denial of her attacker's triumph over her, is commonplace, though often not before declaring the rape and demanding justice. Suicide to prevent a rape is likewise considered a viable and reasonable action for a woman to take. However, a growing number of raped women do not commit suicide, and do not have problems finding suitors and marriage if unwed prior to the attack.
DOMESTIC ABUSE | Typically subverted. As an overtly patriarchal society and culture, many expect Ephyral marriages to be one in which the abuse of a spouse, particularly the wife, by her husband, is commonplace. Such abuse is grounds for divorce should it happen, and to the vast majority of Ephyral considered a moral deficiency, a wrong, and an insult against the woman, although little thought is given to the act of injury itself. Difficulty in identifying such cases can occur however. A man assumes only a customary power over his wife, and she remains under the total legal power of her most senior agnatic ancestor. This customary power can demand her obedience only so long as he himself is behaving correctly as a man and husband. For centuries, the concept that a man has to on occasion chastise his wife has been used to justify lighter and singular instances of private physical contact. This is a concept embraced by many Ephyral women also, with many of the view that only a woman who embodies virtue completely will ever be absent a deserved punishment, and the further belief that the inherent morality of such a beating is dependent on her own actions. In short, whilst men possess no liberty to harm their wives with impunity and without cause, many accept that just causes exist.
DOUBLE STANDARD (RAPE) - DIVINE ON MORTAL | Purely a motif within Selio-Ephyral mythology, both in myths dating back from Ancient Selia in the first millennium BC, and more recent legends and folk stories dating to before and around the Freehold's creation. The act of the rape is usually interpreted foremost as an abduction, and not always without consent, but almost always as a means to some other end in the story. When it is portrayed negatively, it is typically through the perspective of the insulted father or husband of the defiled woman. These legends do not necessarily require rape by force, as deception features often. Some of these myths have become folklore warnings, especially with the satyrs, who whilst not individualised gods in the primary pantheon, are divine nature spirits with a reputation for the abduction, seduction, and violation of both mortal women and divine. These have been interpreted as warnings for women against strangers. A gender reversal of this trope occurs in myth also, but is less common, featuring mortal men forced, deceived, or otherwise manipulated into sex with a goddess for her own ends. A reversal of roles also exists, with a number of myths involving the goddess of love allowing herself to be 'raped' in mortal form, sometimes as a test of virtue, but sometimes as a means to birth offspring. The symbolism of these myths is often confusing and bizarre, and debated at length by philosophically minded Ephyral. Some mystery and secretive cults and religions within the wider Selian religion are believed to re-enact these myths, and others have been re-enacted as punishments.
TROPE | TBA