How to bring forth a culture with roots deep enough to reach the first half of the last BC millennium? For a thorough cross-section, the task would require quite a library, so in this post, only a few unique, iconic, or otherwise interesting aspects of the Aurean culture are explored.
In general, the Aurean culture, or the Aureans as a people, can be described as sophisticated and open-minded, tolerant and pacific, with strong convictions for personal and political freedoms and against all sorts of militarism. Education and knowledge, arts and creativity are respected and valued. Aureans are, generally speaking, quite religious or at least "spiritually inclined", though very rarely fanatically dogmatic or fundamentalistic, or insulting towards other people's faith; this is considered particularly oafish. The same goes with politics: Aureans tend to be interested and active when it comes to communal matters, but believe more in "friendly rivalry" than bloody competition.
In the latest World Assembly surveys, Pax Aurea has repeatedly been nominated to have one of the world's happiest, nicest, and most compassionate population.
The Average Agrippa
Let us take a look at a very average citizen of Pax Aurea.
Claudia Agrippa is a 32-year-old resident of Pacifica. A recent mother, she shares her 22nd floor apartment with her husband Caius and their six-months-old baby daughter, Vespasia. Claudia and Caius met each others during their studies at the Faculty of Medicine of the Great Academy. Her immediate family also includes her parents, both in their early sixties and still actively working; her younger brother Josephus and his husband Guillaume; and her mother-in-law who's a bit too meddlesome for her tastes. The family also owns two cats and a rare-and-coveted Patrician seaslug; quite pricey, that one.
Claudia is currently on paid maternity leave from her job at a private biotech company that focuses on finding new cancer treatments. Her husband is a veterinarian. The combined yearly income of the family is approximately 42 000 Aurean Marks (~ 75 000 US$). They consider themselves as upper-middle-class.
The couple follows world news and domestics politics quite eagerly; the internet newsfeed is available everywhere, after all. In the last elections, Claudia cast her vote to the Liberal Centrist Party. To her great annoyance, Caius has steadfastly refused to reveal who received his vote. Claudia's also a staunch supporter of President Julia Glorius, of the same party.
Neither Claudia nor her husband owns a car because of the efficient public transportation system of Pacifica. When she returns back to work, she's considered getting either an electric or a hybrid car, though, because of her often busy schedules.
Though she spends much of her time with her baby, Claudia leaves Vespasia in a kindergarten every two or three days to steal some time for herself. She likes to hog books and is a concert enthusiast. She's also a member of Amnesty International. Once or twice a month she visits her local Lutheran church, or accompanies Caius when he attends to the nearest Pure Land Buddhist temple service. Her secret weakness is chocolate, though she tries to follow a healthy diet and exercise as much as her timetables allow. Claudia has also developed an impressive caffeine addiction.
The family's planning on making a two-weeks-long cruise to the Caribbean provinces later this summer.
"No Beer Please, We're Aureans"
Many tourists who arrive to spend some quality time on Pax Aurea's many sunny beaches but know little about the culture can be quite surprised when their request for a margarita is politely denied. The Commonwealth has one of the strictest legislation concerning intoxicants. All alcoholic bewerages, tobacco products, and recreational drugs are illegal. Even in the Holy Communion, non-alcoholic wine is used. While this policy isn't favoured by some grumpy tourists and travellers, it has had a significant impact on the national crime and health statistics.
With the alcoholic drinks out of the menu, the Aureans have put the harvest of their vast fruit plantations, greenhouses, and exotic spice production into good use, replacing beer and wine with a multitude of juices and other soft drinks. Spiced Aurean coffee in particular is considered a delicacy, and the various coffee brands enjoy a status among the gourmands not unlike that of the best French wines in many other countries.
Re-Living The Past
Quite a many Aurean is a history enthusiast. This is shown not only in the number of historic books, both factual and fiction, sold annually, and historic films produced by the Aurean movie industry, but also in the popularity of history-themed events of all sorts. Different fairs have been among the most visited festivals, drawing in millions of participants every year. They're also frequently sought-after by tourists.
Historic festivals and reenactments of all kinds can be spotted from the list of happenings, but year after year, medieval fairs have held the first place, followed by antique (most often Roman era) and renaissance fairs.
Besides fairs and festivals with historic themes, live-action role playing ("larping") is surprisingly popular in Pax Aurea. This tradition seems to have its roots in the old-and-esteemed theatric culture and performing arts, dating all the way back to the Greco-Roman playwrights.
Virtual Sports, Real Money
On the field of traditional sports, such ancient games as penathlon, chariot driving, fencing, and archery still enjoy great popularity, among with the more modern soccer and basketball. But the "real" sports are rapidly losing fandom, as an entirely new modern tradition has risen to challenge them, quite suitable for a nation so keenly endorsing the information age: virtual sports.
Aureans love their computer games, but certain games have risen to unexpected favour. They are mostly fast-paced real-time strategy games or first person shooters, with dozens of teams competing against each others in official national tournaments -- tournaments that draw hundreds of thousands of people in front of their TVs and computer screens. Entire TV channels have been dedicated to these matches, and they're as closely followed and discussed as any soccer games. In Pax Aurea, virtual sports is already a multi-million Aurean Mark business, and many of the most successful "virtual athletes" have become close to national heroes, with huge hordes of fans.
In The Footsteps of Vergilius
Poetry may not sound like the most "pop" area of culture, but in Pax Aurea, it has retained its popularity for centuries -- not only among the sophisticated elite, but also among the masses. The two-and-a-half millennia have given birth to dozens of world-famous Aurean poets and poetesses. In a way, poetry penetrates the entire society. Numerous new poem anthologies are published every year; schools have poetry classes from early on, not to mention competitions; the national epics contest draws in hundreds of budding writers every year; it is not uncommon to hear people quoting famous poets in their most mundane conversations. Also, it is considered very charming and desireable for both sexes to woo with self-rhymed poetry. In Pax Aurea, real men read and recite poetry!