The Lathléar People Ethnicity in Aotra | World Anvil
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The Lathléar People (LATH-lay-ar)

Most of the population of Olathe are wood elves that belong to the Lathléar ethnic group. The Lathléar people are a small and distinctive cultural group: they are one of the oldest elven ethnic groups, and over time, their insular social dynamics have resulted in a culture that has little in common with that of even the closest neighboring ethnic groups. They have almost no shared ancestry with other elven ethnic groups in their geographic region.   Their language, Lathléaril, is similarly unique. Some scholars of Elvish linguistics, and many Olathians, would categorize Lathléaril as a true language, distinct from general Elvish, though the more common view asserts that it and other ethnic Elvish variants are merely dialects. Even those that consider it a dialect agree that it is more thoroughly differentiated from standard Elvish than almost any other ethnic Elvish variant; Lathléaril is mutually unintelligible with several other Elvish variants, as it descends from a different proto-Elvish language than most modern Elvish (specifically, Lathléaril descends linearly from a language usually called Proto-Lathléaril, instead of the linguistic ancestor of standard Elvish, Elder Middle Eldeni). It also possesses an entirely different writing system, though at present, most Lathléar people can write with high proficiency in standard Elvish as well as in Lathléaril.


The culture of the Lathléar people is inseparable from the culture of their nation, Olathe, for the kingdom of Olathe is predominantly made up of Lathléar elves, and Lathléar people have near-zero presence outside of Olathe. The dominant features of Lathléar culture are their profound loyalty to their nation and their monarch; their worship of the Moon Spirit; and their use of death magic, especially eccentric necromancy.   Lathléar culture is also influenced by the organization of Olathian society. The wealthy nation's standard of living is very high, even for those in the lowest rungs of society, so in turn, the culture reflects the realities of life post-scarcity. Menial labor is performed by reanimated undead, so the living are free to spend their time on occupations deemed worthy of time: namely the arts and sciences, as well as religious, political, and military pursuits. All occupations are generally viewed to be of equal value: simply attaining great skill in anything at all merits respect, and the exact nature of a person's skill matters little in comparison to their dedication to honing it.   Olathian society is hierarchical, but the Lathléar people have a nuanced perspective on social status that does not assign much superiority to those of higher status. Rather, the Lathléar people view status as a combination of privilege and responsibility: those with high status have power at the cost of great obligation to the nation, while those with lower status have less power but are under less pressure to succeed. As such, individuals do not unilaterally desire high status. Some seek to lower their status, others to raise it, and many seek to simply stay where they are in society.   Another characteristic of Lathléar culture is their regard for ancestry and lineage. Generally, a Lathléar individual's heritage is deeply important to them, and it is not at all uncommon for Lathléar people to be able to recite family trees stretching back at least five generations. The Lathléar trace ancestry along matrilineal lines, largely because the identity of one's biological mother can be determined with much more ease and precision than that of one's biological father. Over time, the importance of matrilineal heritage has resulted in a broadly matriarchal society. Women hold most positions of ceremonial and political power in Olathe, and like with the monarchy itself, hereditary titles are passed down through a system of female-preference primogeniture, in which a woman's title passes to her eldest daughter.   Widespread acceptance of plural marriage is also a feature of Lathléar society, most notably among the aristocracy, but throughout the general population as well. Among the aristocracy, it is normal for women to marry two partners: the first (typically a husband) is usually a desirable social or political match that serves as one's primary partner for legal and ceremonial purposes, while any others are usually love relationships. The reigning Queen of Olathe, Fiaéain IV, is an example of this relationship structure: her first husband, Prince-Consort Aeríle, is the eldest son of the Duchess of Aldomis, a highly-respected noble house, and her second husband, Archduke Aruvagn, is a general who came from a family of no renown.   Several unique social norms have arisen from this practice. One of the most widespread cultural norms around plural marriage is that it is undesirable for a woman to have biological children with more than one partner (a norm which arose largely from the legal complications of status inheritance across plural relationships). Typically, women only have biological children with their first partner, though it is not unheard of for a different partner to serve as a de facto parent of those children. While plural marriage is most common among women, it is not at all rare for aristocratic men to marry multiple partners: the Queen's eldest son, Prince Aelerís is one example.

Lathléar Names


Lathléar surnames are structured differently depending on whether or not an individual is a member of an aristocratic family. A non-aristocratic individual would have a given name and a clan name, which refers to the heritage group to which they belong. Clan names are typically preceded by "na", meaning "of". In the name Ilinnrae na Caith, Ilinnrae is the given name and Caith is the clan name. Some of the most common clan names are Aongsa, Arda, Caith, Consovaer, Domhnall, fír Lenna, Laeghis, Mathaer, Oriar, síl Cormaic, síl Falchaen, Toraidh, uí Maeli, and uí Riagáin.   Individuals who are members of aristocratic houses have a much more complex surname system, though they use largely the same given names as non-aristocrats. Aristocrats use the name of their house, such as Aldomis or Innismor, as their surname, preceded by a prefix that varies depending upon the individual's gender and marital status. There are four possible prefixes. Women, both married and unmarried, typically use the prefix Uhl along with their mother's surname, though a married woman may occasionally use the prefix Im along with her spouse's surname in a context in which her spouse's status is relevant. Unmarried men use Uhl along with their mother's surname, while married men most commonly use Ist and their partner's surname (especially if their spouse is a woman) but sometimes use Er and their mother's surname. For example, Prince-Consort Aeríle uses the surname Er'Aldomis in reference to the noble house into which he was born, in the same way that Prince Aelerís uses the surname Er'Olathe to refer to his own birth surname; conversely, Archduke Aruvagn has used the surname Ist'Olathe since his marriage to Fiaéain IV, Queen of Olathe in place of his original clan name. Nonbinary people typically choose which prefixes they use once they marry, as Uhl is effectively gender-neutral for unmarried people.   Given names are quite similar among aristocratic and non-aristocratic Lathléar people. Most Lathléar aristocratic families and many commoner families follow a traditional pattern of naming in which children's given names have the same first syllable as their father's given name. The House Uhl'Olathe is an excellent example of this pattern: the children of Queen Fiaéain and Prince-Consort Aeríle all have names that start with Ae-, after their father's name, and the children of Fiaéain's brother, Ariathain Er'Olathe, all have names that start with Ar-.   Given names are typically considered unisex, though a few may have variant spellings that are regarded as specifically masculine or feminine. The Lathléar people tend to be creative with given names, so there are a great many given names in use, and relatively few are exceptionally common. However, there are a handful of names that are common. Some of the most common Lathléar names are those taken from lunar astrology: the names of the eight largest moons (Moruvagn, Erianor, Aeoan, Alhyria, Alachan, Ennunaeár, Fiaéain, and Cennaeín) are all frequently used, with the exception of Fiaéain, which has dropped off in popularity in deference to the members of the ruling lineage that bear that name.   It is common for Lathléar people to vary individual syllables in names to differentiate them from existing names; the first syllable is particularly subject to change to conform to the pattern of giving children names that use the same first syllable as their father's name. For instance, the name Aruvagn is a variation on the lunar name Moruvagn, and among the Lathléar people, that reference would be obvious. A few other relatively common Lathléar names are listed below. Common variants of those names are listed in parenthesis, and names with variant feminine or masculine spellings are divided by a slash, with the feminine variant listed first.  
Common Lathléar Given Names:
Aesiris, Aitha/Aithe, Arianwen/Arianwyn, Bryn, Celaine, Eisolde (Isolde, Ysolde), Gwen/Gwyn (Gwendolin/Gwyndolin, Gwenevír/Gwynevír, Gwenore/Gwynore), Lenore, Liamáea, Naeír, Roan, Rhaenín (Anraenín, Enrhae, Eraenín, Roanín), Zaiél.


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