The History of Realmgard in 30 Days: November 27

“What exactly spurred Artemio’s change of heart is unknown, and different sources give different accounts: a vision of the goddess Creusa, the castigation of his elderly mother, a debate with a priest, or even hitting his head on a low doorframe.”

Saint Artemio

Saint Artemio throwing his sword in a well.
Saint Artemio renounces violence, throwing his sword into the well at Galgango.

Venerated as a saint and folk hero for centuries in the Natalian village of Galgano, Artemio Albano’s story as a knight-turned-holy man has spread first throughout Natalis, then throughout all of Realmgard and he is now most commonly known as Saint Artemio.

Though numerous biographies of varying reliability have obscured the details of Saint Artemio’s life and deeds, there is no doubt that he is a historically-verifiable individual and every account of his life agrees on at least the broad details of his life.

The son of a well-established though fairly minor noble family, Artemio was made a knight and joined the multi-national Realmgardian army that ventured north to repel the massive Hrimfaxi invasion that threatened to conquered nearly the entire north of Realmgard. Famously, this campaign culminated in the Liberation of Folkvang — a battle that would inspire later generations of artists, poets, and writers.

Artemio himself was greatly disillusioned with Realmgardian chivalry in the aftermath of this war, disgusted by many of his fellows’ disregard for the very principles of chivalry they ostensibly went to war for in the first place. In particular, though a not insignificant minority of the Realmgardian leaders showed the defeated Hrimfaxi warriors mercy and magnanimity in victory, the majority treated their defeat adversaries harshly and ruthlessly, and then apportioned out the reconquer lands of the north out among themselves to establish themselves as independent kings.

Artemio briefly turned to a life of errantry, wandering Realmgard to aid the oppressed and downtrodden in the spirit of true chivalry, but became ever more disillusioned by the constant violence of a knight’s life, even in service of the weak.

What exactly spurred Artemio’s change of heart is unknown, and different sources give different accounts: a vision of the goddess Creusa, the castigation of his elderly mother, a debate with a priest, or even hitting his head on a low doorframe.

Whatever the reason, it was in the village of Galgano that Saint Artemio formally renounced martial pursuits and worldly wealth and declared that he could henceforth live as a mendicant hermit in the hills of Natalis.

At was at this moment that Saint Artemio famously flung his sword into the village’s well, with it landing point-down and sinking into the stone at the bottom. Miracles were reported at the well even within Saint Artemio’s own lifetime: it was said that the well’s water was henceforth (and still is) remarkably clear and pure, that the sword shines with its own light, that the sword has not rusted even after centuries at the bottom of the well, and that the waters have healing properties.

Saint Artemio lived as a hermit to the age of 106, spending the bulk of that in a cave not far from Galgano.

After Saint Artemio’s death, the sacred well of Galgano and his hermitage became the objects of veneration and pilgrimage sites, if not a major ones. Saint Artemio’s sword can still be seen at the bottom of the sacred well at Galgano, though few people outside Natalis have made the journey to the small, out-of-the-way village to view it for themselves.

FYI, this is basically a real saint: Galgano Guidotti was an Italian knight who had a vision spurring him to renounce material possessions and live as a hermit. Most notably, he drove his sword into a rock, which is still visible at chapel of Montesiepi — St. Galgano’s sword, miraculously stuck as it is in a big chunk of rock, is argued to be the real-world inspiration for the Sword in the Stone of Arthurian legend (whether or not it’s the same sword as Excalibur depends on which version of the story you’re reading.

Admittedly, I’m a little unclear on why Artemio’s a saint given the current state of religion in Realmgard. Though I have definitely seen “saint” used to basically mean “folk hero.”

Quoth Wikipedia:

In some theological literature, the use of the term saint tends to be used in non-Christian contexts as well. In many religions, there are people who have been recognized within their tradition as having fulfilled the highest aspirations of religious teaching. In English, the term saint is often used to translate this idea from many world religions. The Jewish hasid or tsaddiq, the Islamic qidees, the Zoroastrian fravashi, the Hindu rsi or guru, the Buddhist arahant or bodhisattva, the Daoist shengren, the Shinto kami, and others have all been referred to as saints.

Saint“, via Wikipedia.
Text posted under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0

I’m not going to post the recap for the last “week” of November until after the month is over, so “week” 4 of the month is going to be, like, nine days long.

You know what to do:

Sign-up for my email newsletter here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s