I | Social structure and class
II | Clothing
III | Cuisine
IV | Education
V | Arts
...1 | Literature
...2 | Visual art
...3 | Music and dance
...4 | Architecture
VI | Religion
...1 | Philosophy, values, and ethics
VII | Marriage and concubinage
VIII | Sexuality
...1| Homosexuality in Ephyra
IX | Leisure and entertainment
...1 | Physical sport
...2 | Gladiator combat
...3 | Brothels and nightlife
...4 | Movies and games
Main Article: Social structure in Ephyra
The very core of social structure in Ephyral society is the family, a hierarchical network of biological relation and branches extending into possession, property, and clients. It is the representation of the state within a smaller space. Patriarchal in the absolute, any given branch of a citizen family is commanded by a male figure, the asepro aekesio. This is distinct and more liberal from related Roman institutions, which placed adult men under the subjection of others and denied them the authoritative status if a greater yet lived. In Ephyral families, networks of family heads might exist and form a broader familial council, relying on each other for guidance and support, but not exercising greater control over another man's family than that man himself. Under the asepro aekesio come his dependants over which his authority is varied. Sons whom have no family of their own and daughters both unwed and wed exist under near limitless paternal authority. A husband possesses influence but no legal control over his wife, who remains subject in full to her father before her husband. This results in significant familial variety at just how much direct de facto control a man might possess over his wife, from minimal to substantial. Over a man's various clients, he can again exert influence without direct authority, but has the leverage of severing patronage if displeased.
This strong internal hierarchy, a state within a state so to speak, is a model for the rest of society. Peoples of the Freehold are typically designated into numerous labels which reflect their social standing. Amongst the most key is circumstance of birth; slave or freeborn. If born a slave, requiring that one's mother be enslaved at time of birth, virtually no other circumstance is relevant as one exists as property of other with minimal protections from the state. Slaves are to the family what any other property is, though they do exist as legally distinct from animals and inanimate property and a certain level of protection is afforded to them, such as prohibition of killing without just cause. If freeborn, one has an array of other classes and statuses to be born into. Ephyral citizenship, Lykosian status, metics, or provincials.
Ephyral citizens are at the peak of this hierarchy, but are themselves divisible into numerous wealth classes (affecting their power and influence), suffrage camps, as well as subjection to the Ephyral familial structure which is dependent upon age and sex. Consequently, it is the wealthiest, eldest, and usually male citizens who command the highest social respect and influence. In terms of suffrage, two primary camps exist. Citizenship with and citizenship without. Citizenship with suffrage is granted to freeborn Ephyral citizen men, who have served honourably in the Freehold's military and possess enough financial stake in the nation that they have the right to direct its future. This excludes therefore non-citizens from the electoral process, as well as freed slaves granted citizenship, poorer wealth classes, and notably all women. It is often incorrectly asserted that women are subject to men as a rule, however the reality is a far more specified relationship of guardianship. A man has no legal power over a woman he is not guardian to, and she is not bound by any norm or custom to adhere to him. However, circumstantial necessities of respect or deference due to other status may be relevant, such as political office, age, social status, and others. However, respect and moral decency form the crux of etiquette and proper behaviour, making it perhaps difficult for outsiders to observe respect born of mandated deference in contrast to respect by nature. Citizen women are however entirely subject to their fathers (who decide their marriages and are responsible for their moral integrity) and in part to their husbands, or other legal guardians should one or the other expire with conditions for replacement. It is in marriage that women can obtain a degree of personal liberty, removed from the daily scrutiny of their father and living instead with a man with no legal control over her. It is however possible for women of citizens standing to find themselves in positions lacking a paternal authority altogether, although this is usually acquired through disreputable means and any sense of freedom derived from it is usually countered by social ostracism and economic hardship.
Lykosians form a class of semi-citizens, above conquered and foreign peoples residing in Ephyra but not equal to citizens. Essentially the rights of trust, the rights of this status permit greater free interaction with citizens including intermarriage, contract, and migration, but offer no right to vote in the Ephyral elections or hold official power as an asepro aekesio over a family, as well as reduced legal priority and other downsides, though notably still higher than the classes they came from. Provincials designate the status of conquered people and their descendants, typically occupying tributary settlements which operate largely autonomously in return for a flat tax and legal submission. Metics designate foreign migrants and their descendants, who are above provincials as they are a voluntary associating people, and have access to certain other rights but retain a low social standing. Mere birth in the Freehold does not grant citizenship, and consequently one can be a metic despite the migration making them so having occurred generations prior.
The nature of Ephyral familial relationships and social hierarchy results in a great emphasis in public life. Mostly for men, who emphasise careers in politics or public service for the government, but also for women who use the opportunity to socialise and advance in more subtle means the interests of their families. Most Ephyral cities, towns, and other settlements contain public squares for traditional marketplace activity, oratory, celebrations, and interactions that promote the communal life between constituent families. Of great significance also are interactions within the home - the private sphere -, in particular dining. The act of eating or drinking together is a valued one, and extended family gatherings and meals are commonplace. It is within the home that the domestic duties of the woman are realised, such as cooking, cleaning, childcare, healthcare, and others, in contrast to the more public duties of men in the form of labour and service. The ownership of slaves however alleviates this burden placed upon women, allowing wealthier families with larger numbers of slaves a more luxurious lifestyle.
Citizens in particular, but also any resident of the Freehold who wishes to be approved of by their betters, are bound strongly to concepts of honour, virtue, and duty. Moral deviancy is routinely shunned, as are other traits deemed antithesis to expected behaviours and demonstrations by men and women. Vainglory, arrogance, shamelessness, and intemperance are vices of one extreme held in contempt, just as their opposites of excessive humility, shyness, and insensibility. Middle-ground pursuits of high-mindedness, modesty, self-discipline, and a range of other values including piety, reliability, masculinity (for men), chastity (for women primarily), frugality, respectability, and tenacity. A consequence of the embodiment of these ideals for men and women both is the earning of social influence and authority. This trait is particularly important for men, whom may use it in a political career for the acquirement of actual legal power.
Main Article: Clothing in Ephyra
The clothing of the Ephyral is noted for being a continuation of ancient dress, and are customarily loose-fitting, light, and held as traditionally conservative. The loose-fitting nature of Ephyral clothing both male and female is countered with the use of belts, and whilst light, can be worn in multiple layers for insulation (though the clothing is typical for the climate of the Ephyral). For men, commonplace dress is that of the tunic. Typically sleeved to the elbow, the tunic is worn either to just above knee-length (often more casual and practical), or longer towards the ankles (for more symbolic or ceremonial duties). It is a one-piece item, belted at the waist to gather the material in regardless of its length. Due to simplicity, a man can wear two or more tunics simultaneously without discomfort for extra warmth if needed. Beneath a tunic a man wears no undershirt, but does wear underwear known as a zasalar. Resembling shorts, these can also be worn beneath a pair of trousers adopted into common civilian use from military style dress, again providing further insulation for the wearer.
The customary colour of the tunic is white, and this is maintained for ceremonies and festivals, however men will ordinarily vary the colour of their uppermost or sole tunic for personal variety, utilising both block colours as well as patterned or decorated tunics which offer more flavour and variety. Darker colours are preferred. Above the tunic, the Ephyral have long since adopted the Roman toga, known in their tongue as the doka, and wear it identical manner to the people they emulate. Also copied are the use of coloured stripes to indicate political status and rank. Idealised as the defining dress of citizen manhood, being clad in the doka is prohibited for non-citizen men and all women, to be penalised under status impersonation laws and cross-dressing laws respectively or doubly.
Female dress in Ephyra tends to offer more variety due to a typical four-layer combination, of which pieces can be removed to create three-piece or two-piece combinations with visual distinctiveness. Whilst ordinary male tunics are shortened to accommodate practical movement, no such trend exists amongst female dress; the primary concern of which is the modesty and chastity of the wearer. Female underwear is also termed by the name zalasar, but presents more variety and can either resemble the male shorts or adopt a more female-fitting and slimmer form per the wearer's choice. The closest analogue to the bra in Ephyral fashion is the nylvabēhos (literally, breast-band), however this is worn only by pubescent girls and women typically above the age of fifty. It's purpose for younger girls is to restrict breast-growth, a long-standing beauty-tradition in a culture where larger breasts are seen as unappealing. For older women, the garment serves as a means of concealing what is from then on natural bodily deterioration. For women of peak years, typically envisioned as marital child-bearing years (roughly fourteen to the forties), it is not utilised.
Above any underwear worn is the equivalent of the tunic known as the laimos. In three distinct forms, noted easily as unfolded Rhyosian, folded Rhoysian, and Iosorian, the laimos is an ankle length garment customarily fitted from a single sheet of fabric. In the Rhyosian variants, the single sheet is folded across the woman's body to be pinned at the shoulders with brooches known as kipissa (sing. kipis), often leaving one side of the body open (though this is often closed by the sheer size of the fabric as well as optional fastening of the open side with pins). The dress is then belted beneath the breasts and at the waist, usually creating a taut section at the midriff as excess material is pulled over or under the belt as practical. The variation between a folded and unfolded Rhyosian laimos is that prior to being folded across the body, a folded Rhyosian will first fold a top section of an enlarged sheet, roughly a third, over itself to create a blouse effect when folded over the wearer.
The Iosorian variant by contrast is a more unique form, in which two sheets are sewn together to form a rectangular tube (or one sheet folded over and sewn), which is then pinned along out-stretched arms to form make-shift sleeves, and belted in like the Rhyosian to gather the material. In present day Ephyra, this style is more favoured by the aristocracy.
Above a laimos is customarily worn a selar, a dress more resembling Western functions which is fully enclosing save for the shoulders, which must be pinned together. The shoulders of a selar either come with metallic pinning functions attached for a more seamless fixing, or are pinned similar in style to the laimos. This serves as the third-layer counting both underwear and laimos. Worn above or instead of the selar, and having usurped its function as the identifying dress of the female citizen, is the qalinos cloak. Worn from the shoulder and around the body, it possesses such symbolic worth that there is a specific name for young women who wear it; qalino, indicating a young virgin woman of the ages between when it was first donned and marriage.
Main Article: Cuisine in Ephyra
Main Article: Education in Ephyra
Education in the Freehold is handled according to national policy for Ephyral citizens, Lykosians, and metics, but with each municipium or colony having delegated responsibilities to their schools. Provincial territories operate largely autonomously, but still subject to central regulation. Formal and mandatory education is divided into two separate curriculum, lower and middle education, with higher education being an optional further pursuit.
Lower education begins at the age of 4 to 5 years old, and concludes at 10 to 11 years old. Unlike middle education, lower schools do not segregate classes on sex save for physical exercise. As lower education focuses on more basic educational elements such as reading, writing, mathematics, as well as some history, speech-craft, religious studies, and moral studies, they are not broadly specialised to either male or female students. For male and female students both, the 28 day month is divided into six days of attendance with every seventh day given as break.
Middle education, handled by more specific schools, starts at around the ages of 11 to 12. It is in middle education where sex differences become apparent. All classes are subsequently sex-segregated, whilst some schools may be entirely oriented towards male or female. Both male and female students engage in more advanced literacy classes, mathematics, as well as history, geography, foreign languages, religion, art and other creative subjects, moral education, and physical education. In the latter, male and female students both are put in strict and rigorous routines of physical fitness for different purposes. Adolescent males in middle education are taught to value physical fitness for the purpose of combat and work, whilst adolescent females are prepared for childbirth. This emphasis on physical education is far higher than in contemporary nations, with peak masculine and feminine physicality expected. Female students are also commonly taught dance, singing, and other feminine studies as part of physical education, which males do not partake in. Dance however does feature in small amounts. Male students also are educated in oratory, science, and practical work, whilst female students substitute this for catering, childcare, and science towards the matter of healthcare.
Males again attend middle education for six out of every seven days. Females however do not, attending just four out of every seven days. This does not function as an extended break, as adolescent girls are expected to be under the tutelage of their mothers and elder female relatives for practical home education on domestic duties. Male students also universally remain in school until the age of 15 to 16, and then leave with the option of further education. Females again do not follow this, and commonly leave at about the age of 14 or 15 to continue home-based domestic work and prepare for marriage.
Further education is not restricted to females but demographically dominated by males, who have the option of delaying their mandatory military service to pursue an academic course. Pursuit of such education is also possible after military service. However, as young men leave school at 16 and the mandatory service does not begin until 18, they commonly have enough time to begin the pursuit of a course, often politically oriented, to determine its worth. Young citizen women attending further education is rare, particularly in the otherwise higher educated upper classes (whose daughters would attend more rigorous private schools), due to the low marriage age of women. However, in lower-class citizen families where a daughter might not marry until her late teens or early twenties, pursuit of further education is an option. For Lykosian and metic women too, this is available. However, in comparison to the public lives expected of men, it is broadly regarded as unnecessary for women to pursue further education. As a combined result of personal interest or lack thereof, and discouragement, the citizen male entry to further education at a college level is five males to one female, and at university twenty-five to one.
Main Article: Arts in Ephyra
Main Article: Religion in Ephyra
Main Article: Marriage in Ephyra
Main Article: Sexuality in Ephyra
Main Article: Entertainment in Ephyra