I think it's fair to say that the 5th ed line has done a good job (given constraints) of showcasing many of the cities as of 1220.
What I'm curious about, and know that this is subjective, what city would be most likely to have a powerful magic regio? The SG as always can say "where ever I want." Naturally I'm asking because I'm curious for those who've read more history and played various Ars Saga's what their opinions are?
There are cities in medieval Europe - and Mythic Europe - that go back well over 1500 years, into the times before the Roman Empire: Naples, Marseille, the Greek cities, the cities of Asia Minor like Antioch, Alexandria and the other Egyptian cities. All of these might still have former pagan cult sites from well before the Cult of Mercury, and sites from that Cult as well.
TtA p.70ff The Oracles of Didyma describes a pagan Ex Miscellanea tradition which in Mythic Europe you could transfer into the surroundings of many of these cities. Sub Rosa #16 p.82ff AD 1050: Strange Alliances outlines the Mithraea of Rome as lacunae (see HoH:S p.57).
Definitely Baghdad, Alexandria and Persepolis, both due to their longevity and also the rule that "the further away things are the more magical they appear".
For cities that will seem magical even to their inhabitants, then age is again a good proxy for magic. So Constantinople, Rome, Trier, Cologne, Marseille, and any Roman/Phonecian/Greek city would work.
Then there are dead cities, Carthage, Leptis Magna etc.
There might be symbolic links between these. Maybe a regio in Rome links to ancient Carthage due to a Triumphal Arch commemorating that war, built from the foundation stones of the defeated city?
The other issue is history- Rome isn't likely to be heavily magical due to teh overwhelming presence of the Divine. Lithuania and parts of the Novograd tribunal are your most obvious locations for this, though Alexandria stands out as a center of pre-Christian academics. Ireland (Dublin) has only been Christianised for a couple of centuries at this point (discussions of hidden paganism aren't relevant to the nature of cities which will be the most heavily Christianized areas and under the influence of divine auras emanating from churches). There might be some chance of magical cities in Spain where the divine is clashing with itself as mosques and churches try and establish different auras as the area falls back and forth due to political conflict...
quora.com/What-were-the-las ... ern-Europe
covers a lot of this ground, but by the AM rules an ancient site of pagan magic will be divine pretty quickly after a church gets built over it, even if people still pray to the old gods alongside their Christian belief (in fact this practice being in conflict with the Christian belief would possibly make it infernal in nature, even if they were faerie or magical gods that were being prayed to... though surely a demon will move in pretty quickly to take charge of that situation.)
Cambridge, simply because of the years spent there by David Chart (the line editor for many years) and other authors. I'm sure many sagas have been run featuring strange covenants of scholars in that city.
I have been assured that the greatest regio of all the world lies beneath Bury St Edmunds, but that may be the fault of one particular author, convention organiser and podcast host. Personally, I think that London (because of all the modern British urban fantasy novels that reference odd bits of London's history and psychogeography) and York (with its long history of multiple cultures changing with all the invasions of England) are fine settings for magic regiones in a city.
Depends on what you consider a city- in the bronze age there were "cities" with less than 5000 people. I'm sure out in the "boonies" of Ireland and Lithuania were communities that the locals considered cities that we, or even their contemporary Europeans, would not.
Obviously cities which were abandoned prior to Christianization could be highly magical, though it depends on whether you want to consider unoccupied cities for your list. Again these "cities" will be much smaller than even game-contemporary examples.
Definetively Cádiz, the oldest standing city in western Europe, over 3000 years old. Some legends claim that it was founded by Hercules after he slayed Geryon (who is said to had been buried near the city), it was a significant point for everyone passing through, the Cult of Hermes probably was strong there, and there was a device in the city to block the passing from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. For a standard game, it's still under muslim rule, and will be for around 40 years.
Or Tartessos, commercially related to Cádiz, lost and unkown. Maybe it is lost and can't be found because the whole city was inside a regio.
given Islam's tolerance of pagan religions, there could well have even been pagan communities there... ( bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/ ... story.html documents ancient pagan communities in Islamic lands even today) which could sustain the magic aura, depending on how much the divine aura of Islamic presence would overwhelm them... there could certainly be religious sites away from mosques where polytheists were still allowed to practice and maintain a magic aura higher than the local divine aura (presumably where the divine would be 2 or lower)
This Boston Globe article describes Yazidis, Mandeans and Druzes, which are by no means 'pagans', and the Boston Globe also does not address them as such.
There were polytheist religions in the medieval Middle East indeed. Look e. g. for the Sabians of Harran, which due to Thabit ibn Qurra even made it into Sub Rosa #16 p.63. Gerard Russell - interviewed in the Boston Globe article - mentions him as well as the Sabians of Harran as examples of pagans in the medieval Middle East. I very much doubt that Thabit ibn Qurra was still a practicing 'pagan' in Baghdad, though.
I didn't claim any of those religions are specifically pagan, I was referring to the opening paragrapgh
although personally if I were going to investigate how pagan or not-pagan a religious group is I would want to go further than Wikipedia in my examination. I personally know many duo-theistic pagans today, and even some monotheistic and panentheistic ones, so your Wikipedia definitions do not fully encompass the reality of the situation.
clearly Thabit ibn Qurra would have died centuries before the setting of Ars Magica as an individual, but the idea that sects, especially small sects, would have existed under Muslim tolerance is not exactly far fetched.
just because zoroastrianism is divine does not mean that every duo-theistic religion is divine. Though really zoroastriansim was polytheistic seperating a pantheon into "light" and "dark" camps rather than bein duotheistic, so the lines are rather blurry here...
point being that Muslims did tollerate polytheistic groups (at least their right to exist if not their right to prosper), and such a group could help maintain a magic aura in Muslim held parts of Iberia.
Yazidis and Druzes are as Abrahamic as Sunnites and Shiites. Also Mandeans revere persons from the old testament and John the Baptist, and are classified as Abrahamic. Yazidism, Mandaeism and Druze religion have not been reliably shown to date back to before Jesus, though they all incorporate older beliefs and practices - just as Christian religion does.
I very much encourage you to do so.
So does the Wikipedia article I provided as a starting point. Perhaps you continue further studies from here?
To be eligible to be Dhimmi in the middle ages, you had to be recognized to belong among the People of the Book. This was often a political as well as a theological classification, as can be seen from both the Sabians of Harran and the Hindus under Muslim rule. But it certainly required some interest by the Muslim rulers and scholars to find a position for a sect or religion under Muslim rule, which puts small sects at a significant disadvantage.
The last reference to Sabians of Harran I know of is in the name of the eminent Muslim astronomer Al-Battani - but there may of course have been others.
A elusive and resilient pagan underground cult that might interest you is the worship of Dhul Khalasa. Some claim that it resurfaced from hiding or resurrected somewhat before 1815, only to be destroyed again by gunfire. If it made it somehow into the 19th century, it certainly was never accepted by Muslims. This cult may serve well if you need medieval Arab pagans for your saga.
We had addressed Zoroastrianism on the forum before: see here and especially here. Qualifying it simply as 'duotheistic' or even 'polytheistic' is not helpful.
the articles you site give examples of Buddhist and Hindu Dhimmi, and I have found references where the Dhimmi status began as a protection for pre-Islamic pagans during the time of Muhammed in order to have a peaceful state where the rights of all were protected. Do you have a reference as to when that original practice stopped? I have been looking and while I can find numerous places which only refer to Christian and Jewish Dhimmi, I have found none that specify that they were required to be Abrahamic.