Of the four major races of New Eden, none has endured more tragedy and suffering than the Minmatar. Once part of a thriving and technologically capable tribal civilization, billions of Matari were enslaved by the Amarr Empire for more than seven hundred years, until a mass rebellion freed most, but not all, of those held in servitude. Initially modeling its recovery after Gallente Federation notions of democracy, the Minmatar Republic was born through the cooperation of four major tribes.
The Minmatar are the most numerous of all the races in New Eden, but their vast numbers are dispersed widely and divided into many factions. While the Minmatar Republic is the official state, only a quarter of all Minmatar currently alive are part of it. A very large proportion, almost a third, remains enslaved within the huge Amarr Empire, while a fifth resides within the Gallente Federation, creating a powerful political bloc that contributes in no small part to the constant state of tension between Gallente and Amarr.
The remainder, who are not part of any formal organization, live as freemen throughout the world. Many are itinerant laborers, roaming from one system to another in search of work. A fair number make their living on the darker side of the law, acting as pirates, smugglers, and peddlers in all kinds of illegal goods. It is worth noting that many of the larger criminal groups in New Eden are run by people of Minmatar heritage.
The free Minmatar peoples are resilient, ingenious, and hard working. Perhaps most of all they are proud, and many of them believe that democracy, though it served them well at first, will never restore what was taken from them by the Amarr Empire. As all seven tribes of Matar have united again and found a new sense of their identity in the Empyrean Age, the development of the Minmatar Republic has swung away from Gallente ideas of unadulterated democracy. The Minmatar have created a form of government truly reflective of their historical tribal culture. Almost invariably they remain deeply attached to their enslaved kindred and will go to extraordinary lengths to recover them. The Minmatar will forever resent the Amarr and yearn for the days before the empire’s accursed ships ever reached their home world.
In AD 8017, the Terran explorers of the CMS-17 system were delighted to discover two temperate planets in the circumstellar habitable zone, and even more so when they found that one of these worlds, the fourth planet from the sun, was blessed with particularly hospitable conditions. News of these discoveries made the CMS-17 system a prime target for colonization, and it was soon renamed “Pator,” with the fourth planet becoming known as “Matar.”
Matar was quickly colonized by numerous expeditions attracted by the prospect of settling a world that would require no terraforming and very likely support self-sustaining colonies. Indeed, when the EVE Gate closed, most of the settlements on Matar survived and even prospered once they recovered from the initial crisis. Over the centuries these colonies lost their advanced technologies, as a lack of supplies and the loss of knowledge led to an inevitable breakdown.
The Minmatar Empire
Over the next ten thousand years, several distinct civilizations developed on Matar and gradually became aware of one another, as technological advances allowed for regular trade. Certain legends and fragmentary histories indicate that internecine warfare between the tribes, and even between clans of the same tribe, was commonplace in the early period of the world. In the end, perhaps promoted by a combination of trade and the spread of a mystic belief system, the tribes understood that cooperation was a far better way than war.
After a general peace between the tribes was established in AD 20374, a global culture developed, and the Minmatar eventually unified in a loose empire. Minmatar technology developed at a respectable pace in this period, and a little over a millennium later they made their way into space. As well as colonizing much of the Pator system, the Minmatar Empire was able to settle colonies on a number of planets and moons in several local systems, usually depending on ancient star gates but initially using ships accelerated to near light speed.
The Day of Darkness
Despite having made great strides in space technology, the Minmatar Empire did not manage to expand very far or develop a large space fleet before its fateful first encounter with another empire: the Amarr Empire. A theocratic state driven by its religion to “Reclaim” the stars and all living around them, the Amarr Empire had managed to reverse engineer star gate technology and occupy a great swath of star systems. In AD 22355, after detecting the Minmatar Empire’s presence and evaluating its capabilities, the Amarr sent a large fleet to the Pator system intent on a grim purpose. The day the Amarr fleet entered the Pator system, a great storm blew up over the largest continent of the planet Matar.
The storm was incredibly destructive and turned the skies dark, an ill omen that would be remembered as the herald of the Amarr fleet. The core of the fleet was made up of six giant slaver vessels, each escorted by many heavily armed warships. Each of the slaver vessels made for a different planet and, once in orbit, proceeded to land troops and round up large numbers of people. The escorting warships took pains to destroy every Minmatar spaceship, satellite, and station they encountered. Surface installations of military or space-industrial value were systematically bombarded. The Minmatar armed forces tried bravely to resist but were crushed by the superior arms and technology of the Amarr slavers.
On that day the Amarr took hundreds of millions of slaves, depopulating most of the colony worlds they invaded and wreaking havoc on Matar. The day itself, by association with the black storm it began with and to underline the horror of the deeds the Amarr carried out, became known as the Day of Darkness.
Conquest and Occupation
For a little over a century after their first incursion, the Amarr continued to make slave raids on the Minmatar Empire. In this period, for all practical purposes, the Minmatar Empire ceased to exist, as the Minmatar colonies were cut off from Matar and eventually left empty and ruined. Matar itself entered a period of chaos, as the global infrastructure that had been created was wrecked by successive slave raids. Finally, in AD 22480, Emperor Damius III ordered the conquest and occupation of Matar. The entire Minmatar race was to be subjugated and enslaved. As with each time they had been raided, the Minmatar attempted to resist, but no power left to them could stop the Amarr from conquering their world. With the exception of a few mountain strongholds and secret resistance cells, the Amarr quite easily achieved global domination of Matar. Every remaining Minmatar colony world was likewise invaded and placed under the rule of Amarr holders.
For the next seven hundred years or so, the Minmatar lived under Amarr occupation and enslavement. Many hundreds of millions of Minmatar were shipped across the Amarr Empire as slaves. The Amarr always crushed what rebellions occurred with utter ruthlessness and brutality. The uprising of the Starkmanir tribe some 450 years after their conquest was deemed so serious—and indeed a royal heir of House Ardishapur was killed in this rebellion—that the tribe was ordered annihilated by orbital bombardment. Later events showed that the genocide, while it killed the vast majority of the once-largest tribe of the Minmatar, was not complete.
However, so far as anyone at the time was concerned, the Starkmanir had been destroyed, and inevitably the story and its symbols, notably that of the khumaak, spread among the Minmatar. From that time on, if they had not known it before, the Minmatar knew that one day they must all fight to be free of their overlords.
The Great Rebellion
A little over 250 years after the annihilation of the Starkmanir, the four great star empires of the Amarr, Caldari, Gallente, and Jove had come into contact with one another. The Jove had limited their contact with the others and, while it was clear they were technologically advanced, their true capabilities and motives were a mystery to the other nations. The Gallente Federation and the Caldari State, for their part, were still at war, but their conflict had bogged down into a stalemate. The Gallente, libertarians by instinct and prone to intervention, had become aware of the plight of the Minmatar and were appalled by it. Over the preceding centuries, the Minmatar resistance had organized itself and even achieved the capability to mount raids on Amarrian installations. The Gallente Federation secretly aided this resistance in every way it could.
Against this background, the Amarr Empire was feeling increasingly uneasy at the presence of several rival powers along its borders. As so often before, the Amarr decided that they must act according to their doctrine of “Reclaiming” and chose the Jove Empire for a demonstration of Amarrian might. The Amarr had concluded that the Jovians were hiding weakness behind a cloak of mystery and a few minor technological advances. Consequently, in AD 23216, the Amarr sent a fleet of two hundred warships to a system they called Vak’Atioth, a fringe holding of the Jove Empire, where the Amarr intended to crush the Jovian presence and begin a new campaign of conquest. The Amarr had not been shy about the matter of their intentions and all their propaganda for weeks past had made it clear they intended to act against the Jove. For their part, the Jovians had made sure to infiltrate the highest levels of the Amarr government and military. When the Amarr fleet entered Vak’Atioth, the Jovians were waiting.
The ensuing Battle of Vak’Atioth was notable in several ways: it was the first defeat, and a crushing one at that, of an Amarr war fleet by another race; it was the first and last time that the Jovians engaged in battle with another race, at least so far as the other races knew; and it was the first and last time that a Jovian mother ship was seen in battle. The Amarr reaction to their defeat was to prepare a second, larger fleet to attack the Jovians. At this time, as news of the first Amarr fleet’s defeat spread throughout the empire, the Minmatar resistance sent the signal to their people to rise up against the Amarr. Faced by a large, well-equipped rebellion on multiple worlds, the Amarr had no choice but to sue for peace with the Jovians and see to the flames spreading across their empire.
The Great Rebellion made fantastic gains in its first days, the Amarr occupation of Matar was lifted, and those Amarr unable to flee the planet found as little mercy at the hands of the Matari as they had shown their erstwhile slaves. The Amarr occupation fleet was driven out of Pator in some disarray, the shock of the defeat at Vak’Atioth seemingly deeply demoralizing the Amarr military. This pattern was repeated in most of the systems previously controlled by the old Minmatar Empire and many others besides in the coming months and years. The Amarr only stabilized the situation in the end by establishing and massively bolstering the Ammatar Mandate—a puppet state nominally ruled by the Nefantar, a Minmatar tribe that had always collaborated with the Amarr and fled with them from the wrath of the free tribes during the rebellion. By this time the free Matari had consolidated their hold over a considerable number of systems, giving them a firm base on which to establish a new nation: the Minmatar Republic.
The Early Republic
With the aid of the Gallente Federation, the free Minmatar rapidly established their new nation-state as a parliamentary republic. The Minmatar Republic’s first concern was the security of its new borders and its second was to develop a self-sustaining industrial base. The new republic willingly participated in the CONCORD Assembly when it was founded in AD 23233, even if it meant entering into diplomacy with the hated Amarr. They also took part in the Yoiul Conference and adopted the new standard time and calendar of New Eden.
The Minmatar tribes accepted that much of the management of the new republic would have to be overseen by the Republic Parliament and its agencies. Gallente aid was essential in these early days, and federation notions of democracy were accepted without too much scrutiny. To many Minmatar, they were a breath of fresh air after the horrors of the Amarr occupation. Even so, some Minmatar were not so sure about the republic, and the Thukker tribe decided they wanted no part of it, choosing to take their spacefaring caravans to the Great Wildlands region. Others could not adjust to civil society and democratic politics, variously carrying on the fight against the Amarr as terrorists, joining criminal cartels, or taking themselves into space as wanderers.
Many Minmatar, on the other hand, were very taken with Gallente ideals and chose to migrate to the federation rather than help build a new Minmatar society. Over time more and more Minmatar took this path, with the effect that Gallente influence over the republic as a whole waned. Resentment of those who had left the Minmatar Republic became common, and those most enamored of Gallente ways tended to be among those emigrating to the federation. By YC 110, the Minmatar Republic had started to undergo a “tribal renaissance,” as the tribal heritage and culture of the Minmatar increasingly influenced the society and politics of the republic.
The Minmatar Republic is very much based on tribal society. The Republic's justice system is handled on a tribal level. Tribes have their own courts and judgment halls.
The Minmatar people are divided into seven major tribes: Sebiestor, Krusual, Brutor, Vherokior, Nefantar, Thukker, and Starkmanir. Most of these tribes are composed of a number of different clans, in some cases many hundreds. The history of the Minmatar has resulted in very different situations for several of these tribes. The Minmatar Republic was founded by the Brutor, Krusual, Sebiestor, and Vherokior tribes. These have sometimes been called the “Republic Tribes.”
The Thukker, Starkmanir, and Nefantar have each gone their own way in the past, either by choice or by tragic fate, and their place in the new Tribal Republic remains very much in flux. Many Nefantar, Starkmanir and Thukker have returned to join with the others, reuniting the Seven Tribes of Matar.
The Sebiestor Tribe are technically and mechanically inclined, much Minmatar technology comes from them. The Sebiestors have always been a leading tribe in the Minmatar Republic, though their authority has many times been under attack from the crafty Krusual tribe, their main rivals in Republic politics.
With a culture emphasizing the virtues of patience, contemplation, and practical skill, the Sebiestor are known far and wide as engineers and inventors. The Sebiestor reputation for tinkering with any kind of technology is well deserved, and this excellence in engineering naturally propelled the Sebiestor to the fore during the period when the old Minmatar Empire pushed into space.
During the Amarr occupation, the Sebiestor did much to hold what remained of Minmatar society together with their skill at maintaining or adapting technology. The Sebiestor Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
The Brutor Tribe suffered the worst under the Amarr occupation – aside from the massacre of the Starkmanir – and many are still enslaved within the Amarr Empire. This fuels their hate for the Amarrians and they are the only tribe to actively pursue a continuation of the war against the Amarrians and their underlings, the Ammatars.
The Brutor are marked by a disciplined stoicism and deeply spiritual cast of mind that combine to project a sense of nobility around the people of this tribe. While the Brutor have a traditional mindset, they suffered great loss of cultural heritage and knowledge of their history during the Amarr occupation. To the occasional annoyance of the other tribes, the Brutor consider themselves responsible for the freedom of the entire Minmatar people and make no bones about standing on this claim for political purposes when it suits them.
In particular, the Brutor are great supporters and protectors of the Starkmanir Tribe, on account of the former originating as an offshoot of the latter. The Brutor Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
The Krusual Tribe is cautious and cunning, shrouding its ways in subterfuge and secrecy. It is isolationist by nature, but lately it's been becoming more and more involved with the power politics of the Republic, staking a claim for its mastery.
Pride is a common Minmatar trait, but the Krusual are wont to take it to extraordinary lengths. They rarely lose an opportunity to remind the other tribes that they alone managed to maintain strongholds in the mountainous Tronhadar region of Matar during the Amarr occupation. It is certainly remarkable that in all the long years of the occupation, the Amarr were unable to once and for all crush Krusual resistance.
Their ability to hold onto a certain amount of independence during the occupation resulted in the Krusual retaining more of their pre-conquest culture than any other tribe, and their underground bases played an important role in sheltering some Vherokior mystics. The Krusual Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
The Vherokior Tribe is perhaps the least troubled of the Minmatar tribes, with little aspiration for dominance, content to live on the fringe. Most Vherokiors are shop-keepers or small scale businessmen, seldom venturing into the interstellar corporate leagues.
Vherokior are disinclined to engage in great collective efforts, and their various clans are rather loosely grouped under the tribal chief’s authority. Indeed, the clans themselves hold nominal authority in many cases, with the family being by far the most important social unit to the individual Vherokior. These families are traditionally matriarchal in structure, though the aftermath of the Amarrian occupation has disrupted this pattern somewhat, as with so many other aspects of Minmatar tribal culture.
Most Vherokior have long-abandoned the ancient nomadism of their tribe but the Vherokior mystics are the guardians of the Voluval Ritual and travel immense distances in this role. The Vherokior Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
The Nefantar Tribe played a notorious role during the Amarr Empire's occupation of the Minmatar home worlds as collaborators who actively assisted in the enslavement of other tribes by the Amarr. The Nefantar were so faithful to the Amarr that Emperor Damius III bestowed the name "Ammatar" upon them. When the Great Rebellion succeeded in driving the Amarr from the Minmatar Regions they were also driven out.The Amarr subsequently set up the Nefantar in a puppet state called the Ammatar Mandate. Unbeknownst to anyone else, certain Ammatar elites had hidden a large number of Starkmanir Tribe survivors from the Amarr within the Mandate.
After the discovery of the Starkmanir led to a Minmatar invasion in YC110, the Nefantar conspirators and their families led a mass defection of many Ammatar back to the Minmatar Republic, assisting in the recovery of the Starkmanir. Today, the Nefantar tribe has been restored as one of the Seven Tribes of Matar, even while many of their tribe remain loyal to the Amarr Empire back in the Mandate.
The Thukker, a nomadic tribe, are scattered throughout the world of New Eden, surviving through self-sufficiency and skill as much as possible in the wastelands of space. Their tribal bindings are very loose and many of them don't even consider themselves to be a part of a tribe any longer, having rejected many of the strongest traditions of the Minmatar. They are trained to handle unforeseen circumstances and encouraged to rely on their judgement and intuition.
The closest thing the Thukker have got to home is the Great Wildlands region, where they are very numerous, but the Thukkers like to be on the move, constantly going from one solar system to another in their huge caravans, trading and scavenging. Many frown upon the Thukkers, considering them to be nothing but scoundrels and thieves. Indeed, the Thukkers often operate on the shadier side of the law, but their resourcefulness and diligence count a lot more for their success than their criminal activities.
According to what remains of the historical records of the Minmatar, the Thukker tribe had always been a nomadic people, journeying back and forth across Matar in large caravans. The development of the old Minmatar Empire appears to have done little to inhibit the wandering of the Thukker. Indeed, the Great Caravanserai itself was constructed by the Thukker long ago to serve as a major junction in their network of routes and caravanserais. The Amarr found the Thukker intractable and many escaped to remote areas of space, forming the nucleus of the later culture of Great Caravans.
The Thukker were notable fighters in the Great Rebellion but declined to join in the founding of the Republic. The wanderering Thukker Tribe officially joined the Republic in YC111, maintaining full autonomy of their Great Wildlands region but once more uniting the Minmatar as seven tribes.
Subjected to an Amarr campaign of annihilation after a rebellion four centuries ago, with barely a handful remaining as slaves within the Amarr Empire, the Starkmanir Tribe was considered lost for centuries until the discovery in YC110 of a viable surviving population hidden by Nefantar elites on Halturzhan, the sixth planet of Jarizza in the Ammatar Mandate.
The discovery spurred a Minmatar fleet into an invasion of Amarr territories with a view to recovering the Starkmanir and as many other enslaved Minmatar as possible. The vast majority of surviving Starkmanir were successfully recovered, evacuated to the Minmatar Republic, and settled on lands set aside for them by the larger tribes.
Though few in number, the Starkmanir have full status as one of the Seven Tribes of Matar and govern their affairs through a council of clan chiefs headed by the overall chief of the Starkmanir Tribe.
The Minmatar Republic of today is a tribal republic with some democratic aspects.
In the republic’s first phase, which for practical purposes lasted until shortly after the start of the Empyrean War in YC110, the tribes had no official say in government matters, and the Republic Parliament was a very powerful body. This Gallente-inspired political system placed the prime minister at the apex of the power structure as head of government and de facto head of state. In fact, given the importance of the tribes and their sense of sovereignty, the “First Republic” did not codify several important concepts, such as head of state or supreme judicial authority.
Following the unopposed election of Maleatu Shakor as prime minister and his acclamation as the first Sanmatar since the Great Rebellion, the political order of the republic was radically altered to hand effective power back to the tribes.
Sanmatar Shakor ruled by edict, with the support of the tribes, and effectively bypassed the parliament. He called for a Tribal Assembly, the first gathering of the seven tribes since the Amarrian occupation of Matar, and this event resulted in a formal redrafting of the Minmatar Republic’s political structure. Today the Tribal Council effectively governs all aspects of the republic, foreign and domestic, economic and military. A shift back to the old ways has begun, and many would say the era of the democratic experiment is over for the Minmatar.
Tribes of the Republic
The new republic embodies all seven tribes of the Minmatar people, joined together in the union of the republic, with each tribe enjoying considerable autonomy. All tribes hold jurisdiction over their own members and territory and have their own laws and internal forms of government. While individual tribes can differ greatly in these aspects, each tribe is ruled by a tribal chief who, in theory, wields supreme authority over the tribe.
The territories of each tribe are extremely scattered, and the relationships between them can appear convoluted to the outsider, while seeming entirely natural and straightforward to the Minmatar. In a Minmatar star system, it is entirely possible to have a planet owned by the Sebiestor, with an orbital station owned by the Vherokior tribe, but rented by a Krusual clan, who then employ a circle from the Brutor tribe to run security and a Sebiestor circle to administer it.
The tribal chiefs are the heads of their respective tribes, each chosen according to the tribe’s laws, for a term dictated by those laws. This results in the Tribal Council never being renewed entirely at the same time, which provides longerterm continuity than comparable ruling bodies.
While not the official head of state within the republic, the Sanmatar carries out several functions that normally apply in states where an individual is head of state. In addition, in situations where the whole council cannot or will not attend in its entirety, the Sanmatar acts as the recognized head of state. As the council rarely meets outside of council meetings this, in effect, means for much of the time the Sanmatar is the visible and de facto head of state for the Minmatar Republic.
Once every two years a Tribal Assembly is held to choose a Sanmatar (an old Minmatar title of leadership literally translated as “true Matar”). The Sanmatar presides over all Tribal Council meetings, acting as a mediator, but carrying no vote in council decisions. The Sanmatar’s sole official power is the ability to declare an emergency, during which period he is granted complete executive control. However, the Tribal Council can vote by simple majority to end the emergency at any time, and when they do so, the Sanmatar is removed from office, unless the council votes by two-thirds majority to retain the current Sanmatar.
The Tribal Council
The council meets weekly at the Great Caravanserai on Matar, by ancient tradition a neutral ground for the tribes. While most meetings are conducted in person, it is sometimes necessary for members to join a meeting remotely via holography. In addition, while it is expected that each tribal chief attend all council meetings, she is entitled to appoint a second to take her place.
All meetings are held in conclave—that is, in private with public attendance not permitted. The prime minister of the republic has a standing invitation to attend but may take no part in proceedings. The remit for council meetings is to make final decisions on matter presented to them and discuss republic-wide issues formally. The majority of the actual political and detail work occurs between formal council meetings.
For some decisions, commissions will be formed to investigate and report back; for others, experts will be summoned to be questioned and ministers can be brought in to explain their actions. The council has the power to deal with any issues as it sees fit, while bearing in mind the internal sovereignty of the tribes.
The Tribal Council sits as the supreme authority over republic matters. While each tribe has full autonomy, the council is made up of the tribal chiefs, who in turn govern their respective tribes. In essence, all power is held by the council. To the majority of Minmatar, this seems only right and proper: the chiefs chosen by each tribe are meant to lead.
Most of the actual work is done by lower bodies, such as the parliament, and much of the final approval by the council is decided beforehand, in any case. The council rarely bothers itself with any issues it considers minor, and many items are passed on to respective bodies to handle. There is very little bureaucracy in the council; decisions are made or they are delegated. There is almost no binding procedure to hinder the workings of the Tribal Council.
The Republic Parliament
The Republic Parliament is a thirty-five-seat house that embodies the legislative and administrative functions of the Minmatar Republic. It also takes on any issues passed down to it from the Tribal Council. The parliament is directly accountable to the Tribal Council and subservient to it in all matters. This, in addition to the fact that each tribe functions as an autonomous and internally sovereign body, means that the parliament, in contrast to its earlier incarnation, now wields little real power.
Members of Parliament are chosen by the seven individual tribes. The manner and time of choosing is left up to the tribes themselves; the only requirement is that each tribe fills all five seats in Parliament allocated to them. The term each member of Parliament serves is determined by the tribe he represents.
The prime minister is a member of Parliament directly appointed by the Tribal Council who serves as the chairperson of the parliament. It is the prime minister’s responsibility to guide and direct the parliament. The prime minister also distributes issues to be resolved that are handed down by the Tribal Council. The office carries with it a standing invitation to attend the Tribal Council as an observer.
Responsibility and Powers
The parliament is responsible for creating and maintaining all legislation relating to the republic as a whole. The parliament has no powers over legislation for individual tribes; this is handled by the tribes themselves.
Legislation created by the parliament must be ratified by the Tribal Council for it to become law. The Tribal Council can repeal or arbitrarily modify any legislation as it sees fit. In practice, most laws are simply signed off by the Tribal Council, as agreement is usually reached far in advance of it appearing before the council. In practice, the amount of legislation needed for the republic is fairly minimal. The tribes govern themselves, and any intertribal matters are almost always handled between the tribes themselves or arranged between the appropriate parties.
The parliament also deals with issues handed to it by the Tribal Council. The prime minister decides how these should be dealt with; usually a small action group is formed to assess and deal with the issue at hand. The resolution is then passed back up to the council for ratification. The heads of the various administrative departments of the republic are chosen by the parliament. Such appointments must be ratified by the Tribal Council.
Republic Justice Department
The Republic Justice Department (RJD) is one of the most powerful and visible of the Minmatar Republic’s government bodies. It is responsible for the republic’s courts, prisons, and law enforcement. The RJD operates multiple levels of law enforcement. There are relatively few police on the ground, mostly at republic institutions and areas ungoverned by tribal law. The majority of law enforcement consists of large task forces dedicated to rooting out slavery or targeting organized crime elements. These two task force functions often overlap.
As relatively few cases fall under republic law—as opposed to tribal law—the RJD has evolved to take a leading role in the fight against slavery, prosecuting an aggressive campaign against slavers within the republic’s borders, and sometimes beyond. The antislavery role has resulted in the Justice Department being held in exceptionally high regard within the republic, a fact which the department takes every opportunity to capitalize upon, as it makes its work that much more effective.
Republic Security Services
The Republic Security Services (RSS) are just as dedicated as the Justice Department to the freedom of the Minmatar people but have a rather more controversial reputation. The RSS are utterly ruthless in their pursuit of security for the republic and the Minmatar as a whole. To that end, the RSS operate many clandestine cells and do not balk at maintaining links with organized crime and other underworld elements.
The constant rumors of such off-book contacts and activities are only given fuel by the strong showing the Krusual make among the numbers of the RSS agencies. That tribe’s reputation for guile and deception gives many cause for concern when it comes to their apparent influence over the RSS, and the impression of Krusual dominance is a significant factor in the controversial standing of the security services. Nevertheless, the RSS are seen as a necessary evil by most Minmatar and accorded the grudging respect of many across New Eden as highly effective operators.
Tribes and Clans
To the Minmatar mindset, the most important thing in life is to be able to take care of one’s self, and although kin and family are important, most Minmatar prefer to identify themselves in terms of clan or tribe rather than along family lines. The Vherokior are a notable exception to this, having considerable identification with the family, while the Thukker are more oriented around their caravans. While the seven great tribes and their different ways are the clearest indication of the unique culture of the Minmatar, the fine grain of their heritage is given its texture by the clans.
A clan can have any number of families of a given tribe in it, and its size is dictated largely by the traditional activities of its member families. Most clans have a tendency to concentrate on a particular area of industry or related professions. Minmatar clans that live mainly on planets might focus on agricultural or heavy industrial activities; others who travel around New Eden may concentrate on mercantilism or the like—or perhaps pirating. Clans also maintain their special identities through artistic and literary pursuits and styles unique to them.
In the distant past, the clans constantly warred against each other. In the larger scheme of things, however, the Matari have learned that cooperation is important, and although the clans still try to maintain their regional and ideological identities, they usually put themselves forward as a unified whole when dealing with other races. Clans are distinct from circles in having a much more general social and political function, together with having a particular approach to several areas of life, such as work, art, and sport. For example, a circle that specializes in electronic engineering would not at the same time formally specialize in rhetorical poetry. Traditional clans, which most nonrenegade clans are, do not admit members from other tribes and usually limit themselves to certain families of the tribe.
A circle can crudely be thought of as a hybrid of an adoptive clan and a workers’ guild. It is important to note that a member of a circle still remains a member of her familial clan but will usually join a circle to engage in a particular line of work or carry out some specific project. Each circle is a form of tribal syndicate brought together for various specific purposes. Some circles have a long-term, permanent existence; others are more temporary and operate in the short or medium term. In the Thukker tribe, the Great Caravans are, broadly speaking, equivalent to the familial clans of the Minmatar tribes, while the smaller, usually specialized caravans and subcaravans are analogous to the circles.
The relationships between familial clans and circles are a tremendously complex social area. Practices differ from circle to circle, but when an individual joins a circle, there is usually some kind of buy-in—a common analogy is to a wedding dowry—whereby the new member brings a certain amount of resources to the circle’s common treasury. This can affect the complex area of reputation, both the individual’s and their familial clan’s, with regard to the circle. Many circles are quite naturally internal to a given tribe, but inevitably—particularly during the Amarr occupation and later in the republic period— some cross-tribe circles came into being. Almost all circles cross family and clan lines, on the other hand, one of the original purposes of circles being to share knowledge within the tribe.
Circles were occasionally a source of controversy in the early Minmatar Republic, with accusations that some circles were secret societies wielding enormous power or, perhaps more likely, little more than organized crime groups. The Minmatar military, while formally organized in a typical military hierarchy, is also known to be crisscrossed by various circles, only adding to the complexities of running armed forces where clan and tribal ties play a significant role. Additionally, numerous Minmatar corporations were founded and continue to be run by the largest circles. The web of relationships and reputation surrounding these often quite powerful groupings is simply beyond the understanding of any outsider, given how much of it is informal and mediated by convention.
The First Elders
From the time of their first empire, the Minmatar traditionally followed a set of religious philosophies that varied by tribe, but shared the same pantheon of seven spirits. The spirits are known as the “First Elders” and are considered individually to be tutelary spirits of each of the seven tribes of Matar. In Minmatar philosophy, each spirit is seen as embodying a particular aspect of the human condition. Interpretations of these aspects vary from tribe to tribe, and it is perhaps no surprise that each tribe has a pronounced tendency to regard its own tutelary First Elder in the most positive light. Attitudes to the tutelaries of other tribes vary but are in the main reverent. Even the Krusual give a grudging acknowledgement of the importance of the Nefantar First Elder, though they are inclined to present that spirit in such terms as a tragic chief overcome with grief at the betrayal of his sons. This may very well not be the traditional view of that spirit, but the Krusual claim otherwise.
What is notable about the traditional religious philosophy of the Minmatar is that the First Elders are not simply traditional spirits worshiped or contemplated according to ancient practice. As the First Elders are the mythological incarnations of the seven Minmatar tribes, the traditional practice has been for each tribe to select a man or woman from every generation dating back to antiquity and name her as that tribe’s elder. These living elders were charged with the responsibility of absorbing the accumulated knowledge of the Minmatar tribes and using it to guide the nation toward the future. Although human, the elders were and are treated with a form of reverence so extreme that its parallel doesn’t exist anywhere else in Minmatar society.
Upon an elder’s death, she is said to merge with the archetypal First Elder spirit of her tribe. Her name will be recorded for posterity, but for philosophical purposes she is always considered first and foremost a torchbearer for the deeply fundamental human trait the tribe’s First Elder is taken to embody. The members of each tribe are well versed from a young age in the teachings of their First Elder, from which their philosophies and outlook on life broadly derive. Since the Minmatar are a highly individualistic people, the interpretation and application of elder teachings varies greatly, but it has been noted time and time again how remarkably pronounced these traits are for each respective tribe.
It has often been said that the corresponding tribal division along spiritual lines is a major reason why the Minmatar nation has had such historical trouble uniting its people. That the Minmatar people were able to unite in a global civilization centuries before the Amarr invasion of their worlds is for many evidence that any notion that their spirituality necessarily divides them is false. If you ask the Minmatar they are likely to tell you that the bond they feel for their tribe is no barrier to community within the larger nation; instead, they lay the blame squarely at the feet of the Amarr.
The Amarr Faith
Certainly the Amarr have had a strong influence on the Minmatar, and not just through simple slavery and subjugation. Many are the Minmatar slaves who have been indoctrinated into the Amarr religion or even adopted it willingly. The surviving Starkmanir and defector Nefantar have among them many who continue to follow the Amarr faith despite their escape from the empire. To the dismay, and in many cases anger, of many Minmatar there are many who refuse to put aside their beliefs even when told of all that the Amarr Empire has done to the Matari people. The presence of Minmatar adherents of the Amarr religion is a major source of social tension within the Minmatar Republic.
Additionally, over the period of their enslavement, some Minmatar living as slaves on Amarr worlds have taken the faith of their oppressors and morphed it with the tribal mysticism of ages past to create a hybrid religion. It is a pantheistic version of the Amarr faith, heavily focused on communal meditation, as well as ritual sacrifice. For the Amarr this kind of perversion of the faith is far too close to the Sani Sabik heresy for their liking. In the centuries since the Minmatar were first enslaved, practice of this hybrid religion within Amarr territories has ranged from being cause for disciplinary purification to a capital offense.
In recent times, all across the empire—first under the relatively liberal reigns of Heideran VII and Doriam II, and then under the lax religious policies of Chamberlain Karsoth, who was himself perhaps the greatest Amarr heretic of recent times—some Amarr have been adopting elements of this hybrid religion. Furthermore, many of the vast numbers of freed Minmatar who have returned home to the republic since the Elder War have brought the pantheistic heresy back to their tribes alongside the orthodox Amarr faith.
When the Minmatar Empire was at its height, before a single Amarr ship ever darkened its skies, the Minmatar had truly made the tattoo into a form of high art. It was said the best artists could breathe life into the skin of an individual with their work. Today’s works, although still beyond what other races can achieve, are mere scribbling compared to the greatness of their predecessors. The Minmatar tattoo artists of today are forever seeking to regain the knowledge and skill that was lost to them when the Amarr issued an edict banning the practice.
This ban was a savage blow to the Minmatar, for a Minmatar’s tattoos proclaim who he is, where he comes from, what he does, where he has been, and what he has experienced. They represent a Minmatar’s identity, as well as his story. During the occupation, the Amarr all but eradicated the tattoo culture. Nevertheless, it managed to survive in an inevitably degraded form until the Great Rebellion. In the long, hard struggle for the Minmatar to regain all that was lost to them, the culture of tattoos was given primacy. The Minmatar Republic of today is enjoying a renewed ascendancy of this ancient art form, with the tattoo once again representing an integral part of Minmatar culture and being.
While the forms and styles of tattoo vary across tribes, the structure and culture behind the art are surprisingly uniform, making it a strong source of unity between the tribes. A notable exception to this is found in the Thukker tribe, where tattoo culture is not observed with anything like the universal adoption it has among the republic tribes. While many Thukker wear tattoos and even take part in the Voluval ceremony, it is not considered a detriment within Thukker society to go without tattoos or a Voluval mark. While this is considered to be one of the more unfortunate aspects of Thukker culture by the other tribes, it is accepted, given the power of the Thukker. The tattoo culture is also only sporadically observed within the recently returned Starkmanir and Nefantar tribes, though there are great social pressures on members of those tribes to adopt it.
The Voluval is the sacred coming-of-age ceremony for the Minmatar. It is here that the individual transforms from a child into a fully recognized member of his tribe. At the height of the ceremony, the presiding shaman will finalize the ritual by invoking the Voluval mark, where the soul and destiny of a person are said to be revealed through the emergence of a tattoo, the secrets of which are closely guarded by the Vherokior mystics who kept it alive during the long centuries of subjugation. The Voluval is considered the most sacred mark a Minmatar can carry, and in some rare cases can change his life irrevocably. Although the significance attached to the Voluval mark has waned considerably in today’s republic, certain marks can still see the recipient cast out from his clan and tribe, and conversely certain marks can lend the bearer much acclaim. In nearly all cases, the mark falls somewhere between these two extremes, and the bearer moves on with little effect.
A Minmatar cannot bestow upon herself any tattoo, and no Minmatar tattoo is without social significance. Usually she may be able to influence styling and shape, but she cannot add a specific tattoo without having first earned the right. Inking a tattoo upon yourself without permission is considered a grave crime and offenders are subject to severe judicial punishment. Because of this arrangement, a Minmatar who is heavily tattooed is more respected by her peers, which will allow her greater opportunities to advance. Her experience is there for all to see.
Growing Up Minmatar
While it is true for most people that the circumstances of one’s birth profoundly affect one’s future, it is for the Minmatar a matter of critical importance. Fully a third of the Matari people remain enslaved by the Amarr Empire. To be born to slavery means at best indoctrination by the Amarr in their religion, a life of unpaid toil, and possibly freedom in later life, if it suits the purposes of the Amarr. At worst it can mean being worked to death in the fields of a remote plantation or the depths of an asteroid mine. Nothing of the rich heritage and culture of the Minmatar will be taught to slaves by their masters, and any sharing of such fragments of knowledge that slave communities have preserved will be punished severely by the Amarr if discovered.
For those born as slaves but later freed and returned to the republic, unlearning Amarr indoctrination is a process that will take and shape the rest of their lives; often, they will never learn fully what it is to be a free Minmatar. Rescued or repatriated Minmatar are assisted by their tribes as a matter of course, but the powerful indoctrination of the Amarr faith is commonly found to be unshakable. Many free Minmatar choose to continue following the Amarr religion and bring up their children in that faith. Such choices are incomprehensible to the Minmatar who inherited the legacy of the Great Rebellion, and it is usual and wise for Minmatar adherents of the Amarr religion to practice their faith in private.
Many other Minmatar are brought up in the cosmopolitan world of the Gallente Federation, where perhaps a fifth of the total Matari population of New Eden have chosen to make their home. While many of these Minmatar celebrate and observe their tribal affiliations as a matter of cultural heritage, it is not usual for them to follow the implications of tribal culture to their logical conclusion. The Minmatar of the federation, indeed, are more loyal to the ideals of the Gallente democracy than the tribal politics of the Minmatar Republic. Even so, as a relatively recent and immigrant addition to the Gallente Federation, the Minmatar who live and grow up there are often confronted with their share of prejudice.
Even in the case of birth in the Minmatar Republic or aboard the caravans of the Thukker tribe, discovering one’s place among the Minmatar is a path and not a destination. The son of a clan chief may have certain advantages over other children, but only for so long as he can justify and earn them. Rites of passage, contests, and other traditional rituals help young Minmatar discover what is best for them and their people. Failing or succeeding in these tests determines a Minmatar’s initial place in the community. These challenges are not only physical, but mental and social. As the Minmatar grow and develop, they continue to devise tests for themselves. Many young Minmatar join a circle, a group of like-minded Minmatar that have joined together in pursuit of a specific goal or to work on a given project. Membership in a circle is not necessarily for life—or determined by ties of family, clan, and tribe—and it is usual for young Minmatar to leave their first circle and go on to other things. Progression, advancement, and self-reliance are key concepts in the Minmatar mindset.
By the time a Minmatar reaches adolescence, she will have a good idea of where her natural talents lie, and so will her family, clan, and tribe at large. At adolescence, Minmatar undergo the Voluval, a coming-of-age ceremony common across all clans and tribes. The Voluval ends with the youth receiving a special form of tattoo marking her emergence into adulthood, along with all her responsibility toward family, clan, and tribe. Afterward, the newly recognized adult usually begins serious study and practice in those areas where she shows promise. The exact form of this study varies greatly. Some Minmatar are apprenticed to a lone tradesman, while others join circles dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. Many simply enroll in academies with thousands of similarly talented youths. Upon completing her education, a Minmatar enters society fully, with all the choices and responsibilities that entails.
Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor is the current leader of the Minmatar Republic, occupying a unique role in Matari society as a mediator and spokesperson for the Minmatar tribes. As chair of the Tribal Council, Maleatu Shakor acts on its behalf on the public stage and is seen by many as the republic’s head of state, even though in law that role is collectively held by the entire Tribal Council.
Shakor’s reputation outside the Minmatar Republic is as a militarist who favors confrontation above negotiation. In fact, despite his record as a commander of Minmatar fighters against the Amarr Empire, Shakor is known within the republic for his canny handling of tribal politics and his careful approach to rebuilding a society still coming to terms with the return of the Nefantar and Starkmanir tribes.
Karin Midular was the prime minister of the Minmatar Republic during the first years of the Empyrean Age and is viewed as pursuing a foreign policy of compromise and reconciliation, particularly with the Amarr Empire. This strategy is widely considered a failure tantamount to appeasement within Minmatar society, but Karin Midular remained the respected chief of the Sebiestor tribe up until her assassination in YC 115.
The powerful influence of Midular’s role as a Ray of Matar—a traditional status of leadership conferred on those bearing the Voluval mark of that name—meant that she would continue to be held in high regard. Her assassination by a federation citizen, in a mass shooting at a Minmatar festival in the Gallente city of Caille, led to confrontation and deeply strained relations between the Minmatar Republic and the Gallente Federation.
As the first Nefantar governor of the Ammatar Mandate, Ana Utulf was in a unique position to act when the surviving members of the Starkmanir tribe were discovered on the Ammatar world of Halturzhan. A member of one of the Nefantar conspirator families that had long sheltered the remaining Starkmanir from the wrath of the Amarr, Utulf first obstructed the Amarr authorities and then, when the Elder Fleet invaded, openly defected and aided in the rescue of the Starkmanir.
Utulf led the calls for the Nefantar to abandon the Mandate and return to the Minmatar Republic. The conspirator families and many others heeded that call, and a large portion of the Nefantar tribe subsequently traveled to the republic as refugees. While many believed Utulf would try for the Nefantar chiefdom in the republic, she evidently recognized the deep controversy that would generate and retired from public life.
Abel Jarek was a charismatic cleric in the Salvation Church of Blessed Servitude, a movement of former slaves preaching the Amarr faith. He became well known as leader of the "Salvation Crusade," an attempt to spread the word of the Amarr faith inside the Minmatar Republic. Jarek and 214 other former slaves began their efforts at converting Minmatar within the republic in early YC 111.
Meeting with considerable opposition, not least due to the rather ill-chosen name of the "Crusade", they first worked in the refugee camps of Matar. Jarek later tried to establish a permanent religious community in Matar’s Tronhadar valley region—once again showing his lack of sensitivity, given the area’s status as a stronghold of the Krusual tribe. He died in an attack on the Salvation township by masked vigilantes. His life and death highlighted the problems and tensions arising from the presence of increasingly large numbers of former slaves in the Minmatar Republic.