First off, to aid with general research:
Praetorian Temple Library (list of various Amarr lore articles, includes all the links below and others)
Chronicle Reference Compilation (quotes of all references to Amarr made in chronicles up to July 2015. Missing latest chronicles)
Amarr Political Primer (introduction to the various houses and major factions, complete with reference links)
Demographics of the Amarr Empire (one of the most important amarr articles)
Government of the Amarr Empire (as above)
Economy of the Amarr Empire (^)
Now, to specifics.
Though Amarr slavery is not necessarily as bad as the antebellum south (Amarr slavery is considerably more expansive, with slaves occupying many more roles, even academic or scientific ones, and there is some basic manner of religious compassion expected), it’s still slavery and still a violation of people’s rights. Some specific details:
Use of drugs like vitoxin/vitoc, blue paradise, and neurotoxin-filled glaive-collars to reward, coerce, or punish slaves.
Use of transcranial microcontrollers, especially in Tash-Murkon and Khanid territories, to literally mind control slaves.
Experimentation on slaves. The Human Endurance Program and the sale of slaves to Sansha Kuvakei are both elements of this.
Sexual exploitation of slaves, including breeding facilities designed specifically around popping out as many slave babies as possible (see the chronicle “The Lottery” for details on that). Amarr racial politics makes it considered dirty for a True Amarr to sleep with those of lesser races, especially slaves and particularly disreputable groups like Ealur and Minmatar, so this is not a very public occurrence, but it certainly happens.
Use of slaves as soldiers and for particularly expendable tasks. Slaves are expensive so there is an economic desire to avoid wasting them, but when a task needs doing and that task is dangerous, slaves can’t exactly say no to the order.
Amarr as a religion has some positive benefits. It encourages self- discipline and improvement, compassion, and unity. However, it is highly stratified and treats many people like dirt. It takes a lot of the worst parts of RL religions (especially Abrahamic ones) and uses them as core doctrines.
The True Amarr as a divine people. The True Amarr are God’s Chosen people, favored above all other groups. While some more egalitarian groups might view the state of being Amarr as something one achieves through converting to and serving the religion, in Amarr it’s most traditionally used as an excuse for racial profiling. The True Amarr are essentially “still in the Garden of Eden”, as they have not committed the Amarr’s version of the Original Sin.
That Original Sin is apostasy. Apostasy is the most major crime in Amarr. All of creation was whole and at one with God (see the Signs of Faith chronicle), but then creation committed apostasy and turned away from God. Only the True Amarr stayed faithful, and so they became God’s Chosen people.
What this all means is thus:
True Amarr are considered absent of sin, and must maintain a state of purity. According to EVE Source, the use of the word “True” indicates an unbroken faithfulness to God. The task God sets before the True Amarr is to maintain their purity and Reclaim all of creation. While on the one hand this raises Amarr up to a place of power and authority over all other races, a master race, it is also a tremendous responsibility. Religiously-speaking, if a True Amarr sins gravely, and especially if a True Amarr commits apostasy, they are no longer True. In practice, it just means that True Amarr have their faults more easily forgiven than anyone else.
Everyone that is not True Amarr is considered descended from apostates and thus, born sinners. This is the default point of stance for most Abrahamic religions, where mankind are sinners who were cast out of the Garden of Eden for eating the fruit of wisdom. This kind of belief can, at its worst, generate a great sense of shame and self-hatred. This is especially the case in the Amarr religion, where only most of mankind are sinners, but a small segment are not. So on top of the shame of being born a sinner spiritually unworthy save for the grace of God, you are also forever compared with a group of people who are supposedly spiritually pure. And of course, in most traditional Amarr beliefs, it is impossible for the sinners to ascend. So you will be forever inferior to the True Amarr, both in the mundane sense as an oppressed race, and in your spirituality.
CLASSISM - THE EMPEROR
Following along the above line is the stratification of Amarr society as a whole, where those believed to be of greater purity rule over those who are believed to be of lesser.
The emperor is treated as a divine figure, who can never be challenged and who is the ultimate arbitrator on what is good and what is evil. There is an Islam command that is very close to one in Amarr Scripture: “Enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil”. This doctrine that essentially calls on people to call out evil and work to do good. Amarr has this same doctrine, but twisted on its head: “The Lord gave our Emperor the power to harness the Good and punish the Evil.” What this means is that, in Amarr, the emperor decides what is good and what is evil. If the emperor does something evil, but calls it good, then by the religion of Amarr it is a good act and any Amarr citizen who tries to call him out on it is wrong.
It is very likely that the above is actually a change in Scripture due to the Moral Reforms, as Scripture was edited during that time to give more power to the emperor (this is something the Order of St. Tetrimon regularly calls out). This adds another element of ‘wtf’ when you consider that the above line was probably changed explicitly by Heideran V (not to be confused with Heideran VII) in order to give himself more power. Many lines referring to the emperor in Scripture feel like this.
CLASSISM - THE HOLDERS
Below the emperor are the Heirs and Holders. Once again, this plays into the purity idea. Heirs are royalty, kings and queens, while Holders are nobility, the lords, barons and counts. They are born into their positions, considered more pure than other people by simple merit of their having been the spawn of a powerful family. They wield huge power over their territories, and cannot be challenged easily. Aritcio Kor-Azor was doing things like arbitrarily torturing or cutting people’s tongues out, ordering attractive women to dance naked in the city square, and so on. While he was eventually judged and punished, it was only after a huge amount of violations before there was enough calls for the Seekers of Truth to move against him. When you are a commoner in Amarr, and especially if you are a slave, you are at the whim of your lord, who can order you to virtually do anything he wants and against whom you will have very little legal recourse. Holders answer to superior Holders, the emperor, the Theology Council, and, as a last resort and very rarely, the Speakers of Truth.
Oh, and Holders are also priests. Which brings us to the next point.
NO SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
Amarr does not really have the idea of secular action. It is a place where religious law and civil law are one and the same. The Scriptures function as a combination bible, census, book of laws, scientific journal, and compilation of ethics, speeches, stories, poetry, and so on. Of major note here are its establishing of laws and the census:
The equivalent of federal, nation-wide laws in Amarr are Scriptural laws. When a law is intended to be applied over the entire Empire, it is added to Scripture. Thus, the Theology Council is essentially a legislative body, as well as a court, and the study of law in Amarrian schools is called “Practical Theology”. If you violate a Scripture law, like committing simple theft, you not only violated a law, you are considered to have trespassed against God and sinned. This tends to mean that punishments are quite severe.
There is a lesser court called the Civic Court. This court handles things Scripture doesn’t cover: In essence, local ordinances passed by Holders and their subordinates, which apply only in their local territories. This might entail one to believe that these are “secular” crimes, but remember: Holders are priests. Local ordinances, while not as severe as Scriptural laws, are still laws passed by a religious official.
Ergo! Punishments in Amarr tend to be very harsh, because breaking the law in Amarr is a sin. It is a betrayal the faith. Expect considerable use of corporeal punishments. These are not reserved just for slaves. Everyone in Amarr, even Holders judged to have broken the law, are frequently treated to severe physical punishment. So, torture.
There’s also reeducation camps and mind prisons (where a person is suspended in a cell and treated to mental rehabilitation efforts via virtual reality).
Heaven forbid you commit apostasy. Expect enslavement or the death penalty at the least.
The Book of Records is Amarr’s census. As in all other parts of Amarr society, it is religious. Being included in the Book of Records establishes you as a member of the Amarr religion, as well as a citizen of the Empire. This leads to such nice things as: In order to properly convert to the Amarr religion, even as someone from a non-Amarrian nation, you must become a citizen of Amarr; being struck from the Book (essentially, excommunicated) both removes you from the religion as well as removes your citizenship; and slaves, who are not counted in the census, are not treated as citizens or members of the religion, essentially existing as non-people with no rights and questionable spiritual prospects.
This is listed separately from slavery because slavery is only a part of it. The Reclaiming is the Amarr’s ‘Destiny of Faith’. It is their holy war. It is the call to expand, conquer, and create one single holy state.
The Reclaiming has two major components: Reclaim all of creation under the Amarr Empire (essentially God’s Kingdom), and to return to spiritual oneness with God, essentially converting and purifying one’s self completely (returning to the first symbol of Amarr: a complete circle). Essentially, the Reclaiming is about the cultivation of the spirit of man, through defeating the enemies of the outside (conquering/assimilating other societies) and controlling of the enemies inside (slavery in the physical sense, self- enlightenment and purification in the spiritual sense).
Due to a long history of always being on top, the traditional way of Amarr carrying out the ‘defeating the enemies of the outside’ part is through war and conquest. This is obviously a bad thing, and ensures that anyone who deals with Amarr, and especially with the Sarum Family who love the conquest thing, can expect always a knife to their throat. Amarr doesn’t always need to conquer by force (the Khanid and Ni-kunni were largely assimilated bloodlessly, and such is likely what the Amarr intend to do with the Caldari), but it uses force an awful lot.
The ‘controlling the enemies of the inside’ has its own problems. The Ardishapur Family are focused primarily on this half, and you can see what that means with their politics: isolationism, strengthening the power of religion over the lives of the people, and resisting/expelling foreign influences. And of course, slavery.
In both cases, this could be done positively. But this is EVE, where darkness and evil tends to be more common than goodness and light.
Apostasy is the Original Sin, but the other big one is Deception. Religiously speaking, Molok, Amarr’s most prominent demon, is called the DECEIVER, and so it stands to reason that deception would be considered a grave sin. But this also arises from Amarr’s nature as a feudal society, where oaths and marriage arrangements are sacrosanct and families rise and fall based on their reputation and honor. It is essential for any good Amarr to be known as honest, reliable, and dependable. Expect things like guest rights, being held to one’s promises, an aversion to divorces, and so on.
This all seems positive, right?
The problem with making a society so concerned with the public appearance of honor and honesty is that they just learn how to hide it. Anyone who watches Game of Thrones knows exactly what I’m talking about. Ultimately the appearance of honesty ends up being more important to most people than actual honesty. You work to avoid being caught in a lie, rather than never lying at all.
Amarr is like King’s Landing. Everyone is lying and manipulating those around them, and they’re incredibly good at it. Those who are truly honest will be eaten alive by those who know how to appear truthful while hatching schemes behind your back.
This desire to honesty also leads to things like Amarr’s intelligence operations making less use of wiretapping and infiltration and instead on encouraging public reporting. Amarr is a society where you can expect your neighbor, friend, or loved one to very likely turn you in if you do something bad (or something that just appears bad).
This one is a bit obvious, the various categories above all give reasons why Amarr tend to be very prideful.
REGULATION, OBEDIENCE, AND RESTRAINT
The religio-, cultural-, and national- centrism means that Amarr heavily regulates all aspects of people’s lives. There’s multiple daily prayers (which you are, of course, expected to attend), foreign products, entertainment, and culture are strongly resisted, and the most conservative elements practice anti-free-market tactics like protectionism or even restricting who is allowed to engage in trade (House Kador, for example, only allows certain traditional Holder families to practice trade). Slaves have physical chains, but most everyone in Amarr is ultimately under the yoke (except in particularly “free” territories like Tash-Murkon and Kor-Azor).
This also goes towards emotional needs. Amarr is all about self- discipline and enlightenment, which means it calls for the squashing of many internal temptations. Pornography is banned, baring the flesh in public places is considered extremely indecent, relations between people of different social classes or between True Amarr and non-TA races are looked down upon, and there’s some possible evidence of homophobia. Giving into one’s desires, engaging in hedonism, is failing to ‘control the enemies within’.
This essentially extends to declaring that anything originating from the individual is suspect at best, and gravely sinful at worst. Of course, in natural Amarrian fashion, those purer than others are considered to have better control over their own demons, and so are more sound of mind. Thus Amarr citizens are expected to rely on those above them to guide them as the superiors are wiser and more experienced. Scripture directly calls out free thought as a dangerous thing leading to chaos and disorder, and uniform thought as “the way of life”, and there is a famous bit of Amarrian poetry about a staircase where expanding one’s perspective and striving upwards without the guidance of those above you is shown as a grave mistake.
In short: Amarr is a religion of rejecting the self and embracing service and obedience. It therefore ranks incredibly low on personal freedom; the lowest of the four empires, in my opinion.
Due to the existence of slavery, strong family units, and religious institutions, Amarr has had no real incentive to develop much in the way of a safety net. If you fall on hard times, it is expected that your family supports you. If your family doesn’t have the means, then your only real chance for aid comes from charity. And if that is not enough, then you have the ultimate recourse of selling yourself into slavery, where you can guarantee yourself food and lodging at the expense of giving up your rights and committing all of your descendants to slavery as well.
Of course, slavery makes an additional problem. Slaves make up 50% of the population in Amarr, and therefore occupy a great many occupations. Everything from menial labor right up to academics, research, clergy, and so on, might be filled by a slave. If you are a free commoner, and especially a free commoner of non-True Amarr birth, expect your chances of finding work to be quite hard.
OUR HERETICS ARE AWFUL PEOPLE
Amarr’s heretics are basically a reaction to the heavy-handed nature of its society. The desire for freedom and egalitarian rights is, at its most extreme, represented by the blood raiders. Blood raiders eschew rules and hierarchies and focus utmost into the elevation of the individual. Sani Sabik scripture is the only scripture that actually says that non-Chosen can rise up to become Chosen. Sani Sabik faiths can be popular among commoners for this reason. Blood raiders literally harvest people’s blood in an effort to consume the strength of others, and as a way of asserting and demonstrating their dominance and authority. They engage in hedonistic practices because Amarr cracks down so heavily on fulfilling one’s own desires.
There are less extreme versions of the Sani Sabik (the overall “religion” that the blood raiders and less extreme variants follow), mind, but the blood raiders are the worst of them.
The Equilibrium of Mankind, on the other hand, represent the extreme religious response to Amarr’s drive to Reclaim creation and purify the spirit. They originate from House Ardishapur for a reason: What happens when you realize that unifying and enlightening the universe is an impossible task? What happens when you realize that the universe is too dark to ever be Reclaimed? Well, you send it all to hell instead. Like the Amarr, the EoM believe that most of mankind has failed in its duties to God. Unlike the Amarr, the EoM have no hope in it ever getting better. The EoM believe that the only way to Reclaim creation is to erase it all and start over.
Both groups represent extreme responses to the pressures described in the rest of this post. They are what happens when an Amarr snaps from the weight of it all.
Yeah, there’s that whole bit with wiping out the Starkmanir because they killed an Heir. The reasons for that happening is basically already given above. A mix of harsh religious laws, the near-divine nature of those at the top of Amarr’s hierarchy, the belief in lesser races as spiritually inferior and slaves as non-people, and a tendency towards extreme responses.
This is not spelled out specifically, but is implied. Female Heirs are described as being very rare, there has only been one female emperor prior to Jamyl and Catiz, and most of the names of saints that we have been given are male. This may be an area where Amarr has improved by modern times, however, as references to this are not common.
Okay. There. That’s, uh, everything that immediately comes to mind. These are the broad areas where Amarr’s society clearly shows fault. This is just written straight without references because I’ve put together a ton of those already and they’re easy enough to read through, but if you need to get a specific link to use for sourcing then ask me and I can drudge up one then.