The hardy Classical Verdial ethnicity arose from the first Verdial peoples to develop a formalized writing system and bureaucratic hierarchy in the harsh Caudal Tesseract, in the regions which would become known as the Verdial Arc. The Classical Verdial era spanned a period of roughly 2,000 years, from the invention of writing in the 5th millenia to the downfall of The Ordaureum and rise of Forgism in the 7th millenia. The rise of the Vale Verdial identity and the inability of early verdial settlers to expand much further in the Caudal Tesseract without more advanced technology consigned Classical Verdial identity to slow extinction. In the present era, a few scattered pockets of this older strain of verdial thought may be found in isolated villages scattered throughout the Verdial Arc and are considered insular and conservative even by verdial standards. In this sense, Classical Verdials may now be formally considered part of the Freelander group of ethnicities, though some would argue that they are functionally a Lost Tribe in the current era.
Major language groups and dialects
Because of the officious nature of the Classical Verdial clans, they kept rigorous records of (at the time) important matters. This widespread literacy had the effect of slowing the evolution of their language significantly; while an archaic dialect, the Valespeak of the Classical Verdials is almost intelligible to modern Vale Verdials.
Shared customary codes and values
Overall, Classical Verdial society was formal, familial, and bureaucratic in nature, with each clan answering to a small council of lords who, in turn, delegated important tasks to functionaries within the clan. Every wealthy, aged, or learned member of the clan had a role and was expected to pursue it without delay or complaint. Among the clan lords, decisions which affected the culture as a whole were handled through a form of representative democracy, with clan lords sitting in collective meetings to hash out important issues. These meetings could often become highly contentious and much political intrigue was had; it is a common expression among modern verdials that, as much as the Voxelians love their drama, their backstabbery doesn't hold a candle to Classical Verdial machinations. Generally, Classical Verdial society was polytheistic, with the Ordaureum and their Sire of Destruction representing one of the most powerful religious sects. The publication of Universal Artifice represented a serious deviation from the norms of Classical Verdial religious beliefs, upending the values of that society by elevating the artisan, farmer, and other people who created things over those who had achieved status by right of heritage or charisma.
Common Etiquette rules
Among Classical Verdials, it was understood that one was to show defference to one's betters (generally older, wealthier, and better-connected men) without being wholly selfless. A degree of ambition among the male members of a clan was expected, and expressions as such were not frowned upon as long as they were handled with a degree of sarcasm and self-deprecation.
Art & Architecture
Surviving Classical Verdial architecture shows that this older ethnicity does show restraint with the way it uses natural resources. Because trees and mushrooms are useful sources of building materials, kindling, and food, they were generally not used for art objects. Instead, many structures were built with ornately-carved stone monoliths and decorated with statue gardens hewn to resemble famous clan members of yesteryear.
Like modern Vale Verdials, Classical Verdials regarded signs of physical labor attractive. Unlike Vale Verdials, however, this manifested in the desire to sculpt one's own body through rigorous exercise into a statuesque physique, not a pattern of sun-baked striation on the skin.
Classical Verdial culture was decidedly less egalitarian than modern Vale Verdial culture, with women often percieved as articles of entertainment and status among the elite. Generally, the lower one got on the social totem pole, the more egalitarian Classical Verdial culture became, with many farmers, laborers, and tradesmen holding their wives in high regard for sharing in the duties of the household.
Among the lower classes of Classical Verdial society, individuals could court and marry one another based on love, the desire to establish kin or business ties with a neighboring family, or through marriages arranged by the parents of the prospective couple. Romance was generally a very formal affair, with each step carefully choreographed by the families of the prospective lovers. Even so, elopements were not uncommon, as many reasoned that life was too short to wait for stodgy elders to make up their minds on matters of others' hearts. Among the highest eschelons of the various Classical Verdial clans, however, arranged marriages to establish political ties were mandatory. In such political marriages, establishing a line of succession which bridged the two families was considered the most important thing, as this greatly reduced the chances of inter-clan conflict - it's hard, after all, to fight one's own kin. To ensure that such couples bore legitimate heirs, every aspect of a political marriage was done literally in public - from the ceremony itself, to the consummation, to the first year or two of married life. The couple would be put up in open, airy apartments near town squares and not allowed a moment of respite from public eyes until a live birth occurred; sometimes, the clans would even appoint 'chaperones' to watch over a couple when the sun went down and the streets cleared. This humiliating practice was only put to rest when it was observed that Caudal lichens could share pigment genes not only with their direct family members, but with those of intimate partners as well, creating a visible mark of marital fidelity. Like many aspects of Classical Verdial society, arranged marriages largely faded from relevance with the victory of the more individualistic, accomplishment-focussed philosophy of Forgism over the more formal, bureaucratic Ordaureum faith.