Worldbuilding My Ficton: Upothesa

THE GREEK NOUN, upothesa translates to English as variously: AFFAIR; HYPOTHESIS; ASSUMPTION; BUSINESS; CASE; CONCERN; CAUSE; MATTER; CONJECTURE; PREMISE; PRESUMPTION; SHEBANG; SUPPOSITION; UNDERTAKING

The name Upothesa was not used commonly much before 1780. Nor was it ever adopted formally as the name of a business enterprise, syndicate, or network — which is the true nature of Upothesa, also called the enterprise colloquially among its inherents. Like the Cosa Nostra, which followed Upothesa, and arose from a different circumstance, the entity was and remains deeply secret and secretive and no members of it ever discuss it with — or even reveal its existence to — non-members.

The word shebang appears to have been coined or to have evolved during the American Civil War, as a reference to huts or hooches that soldiers lived in in the field.

The organization has its roots in the distant past of the stone age, when proto-doric peoples inhabited the Balkan Peninsula and there arose among them the practices of worship of individuals who later came to be viewed as the Gods of Olympus.

These individuals were not, in truth, Gods as myth would have them. They had and have no overwhelming influence over weather, climate, agricultural success, the treatment of souls in the afterlife or the like. Nor has any of them ever claimed to have created the universe from scratch, although a good deal of credit goes to them collectively for the current shape of our world. There, they have had a great deal of influence. But the creation was not the mere waving of a hand plus the speaking of a word or two of power. Rather, it was a matter of patient years, decades, centuries of pushing and pulling individual humans this way and that.

Toward this end, in Stone Age Greece, a group who, as I say, later came to be called the Gods of Olympus, Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Hestia, Dionysus, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, and Hermes, entered into an agreement with a clan of normal humans that the former would support and — to the best of their abilities — protect the latter in perpetuity. The humans agreed to heed the Gods, and follow their lead. It was not a master-student relationship or one of god and worshiper, but a partnership, in which each side contributed what it had to a common weal, which was ordered and managed to the benefit of all.

The Gods, you see, were merely humans at the right end of the bell curve. They were stronger, faster, healthier, longer-lived, more intelligent, and able to do some things ordinary humans could not — or, at least, could not without extensive, narrowly-targeted training. The longer the Gods lived, the stranger they became, but they never completely lost their humanity.

Originally, the alliance was only supposed to raise the humans’ lot above the average of those surrounding them. But, as the generations passed, the clan grew more numerous and, on average, richer and more powerful than their neighbors. Eventually, they became kings. One of their number — Tantalus of Mycenae — even founded a dynasty of sorts, which dynasty gets its name from one of Tantalus’s descendants, Atreus. The name is Atreidae, or as in modern popular fiction, the House Atreides. Descendants of Atreus include his sons, Agamemnon and Menelaus. It was the latter’s marriage to Helen and her kidnap by Paris of Troy which precipitated the Trojan War, a watershed event of the Bronze Age which had a ripple effect all around the Mediterranean for centuries thereafter. The syndicate’s negative experiences in politics led eventually to the principle that Upothesa did not seek to rule. Not to say that those in Upothesa did not get politically involved, only that the main focus was on commerce and that the rule of nations was left to others.

Of further interest is the story of the sacrifice of Iphigenia and the fallout from it, including the story of Electra, who, it is told, avenged the murder of Agamemnon by Clytemnestra along with her brother Orestes. This is of passing interest to our readers because pseudo-psychological carping within Upothesa attributes the so-called Electra Complex to Dolly.

In any case, the fortunes of the Atreides waned and many of them — second sons and black sheep — migrated overseas to Hellenic colonies in Asia Minor, where they fell under the influence of the Akkadian Empire of King Ilushuma, then, later, the Persians under Cyrus the Great.

There, they founded colonies in river deltas and on islands along the coast of the Aegean. When Hellas grew powerful enough to claim those colonies over the Persians, they became Greek again, though the decades and centuries spent abroad, as it were, inculcated in them a love of commerce, and from that time, they derived their self-identity as merchants and traders.

Along the way, they founded religious cults. (Though, knowing Gods most intimately, they worshiped in no religion, as a matter of policy, they did follow local traditions wherever they found themselves doing business. In short, they went to church with their neighbors.) Being eastward of their land of origin, they associated themselves with Eos, Goddess of the Dawn — more as a matter of camouflage than of any sincerity. They founded religious and social mutual support societies called Dawn Phraetries and, eventually, acquired the habit of adopting the surname East, or its equivalent in the local tongue.

The notion of in deserves some comment. The word is used to demark one’s status as an initiate. One is said to be in to the degree one is inculcated and indoctrinated to the secrets of the enterprise. The farther in one is the more secrets one possesses. There is no precise calibration in any official sense, though the social behaviors surrounding the concept can get to be quite strong and severe — nearly darwinian, in fact. The first sign of one’s being in generally comes around a family dinner table in family conversation within East family households.

A graduation of sorts comes upon one’s admission to the multi-campus university, the strictly private East College, which has campuses on several continents. The campus of East College of the Americas (ECOA) is on the former family farm of the William Makepeace branch, whose daughter is/was Gabrielle Francesca (1830-1929), the 125th and all-time most successful Childe of the East, the figurhead leader of Upothesa from 1838 to 1863. Dolly (Baby Troll) is the karmic successor to Gabrielle Francesca.

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