(Banner image credit: Anonymous Tweetfleet Slack Troll)
CCP Delegate Zero has released a new chronicle titled “Sine Wave: Alpha” after months of EVE lore drought. It was easy to tell the writer, as Delegate Zero’s baroque writing is unmistakable, head and shoulders above the crowd. And it has been a drought. Prior to this chronicle and the Resident Evil style contagion outbreak news that started a few days ago, the last official CCP lore was released in late November.
The chronicle deals with the Sisters of EVE and their Project Ascension, which dealt with Alpha clones, but that’s not really all that important right now.
The important line in the chronicle is:
He’d [Sub-Inquisitor Ramal Zoshan] personally closed down a filthy river dock dive in Ozol called “Jamyl’s Jugs” after the passing of the last empress.
It’s always interesting to get trolled personally in the lore. This is the second time it’s happened.
A bit of backstory
I am not just a Jamylite. I am the Jamylite. At Fanfest last year, I cosplayed as a Jamylite priestess, because it would be sacrilege to actually cosplay as the Empress herself. As a side bit of flavour, the Amarr symbol that I fashioned out of brass plates by hand was said to actually be taken from the golden armor plating of TES Seraph, Empress Jamyl’s flagship. This is important later.
In addition to the cosplay, I won the bid for the picture. Fanfest had a silent auction, with many lots prints of chronicle art. The highest priced print was that of Empress Jamyl from “All These Wayward Children” when the bidding stopped. It was won by yours truly for something like 300 USD. The drama and excitement around the picture resulted in more than one CCP employee, including CCP Seagull, asking me “did you get the picture?” It was really cool to know they cared and were interested in the passions of their players.
As a lorehound (Somewhere along the lines we changed our names from lore nerds to lorehounds; I suspect marketing reasons. Looking at you, Imperium.) I spent a lot of time talking to the lore team, CCPs Delegate Zero, Affinity, and Falcon. I knew all of them from Tweetfleet slack. So, it was fun to finally meet them in person. Naturally, I berated them—in what I hope came across as good natured—for killing the Empress.
My devotion to Empress Jamyl continues to manifest in my writings and my appearances on lore podcasts and in Tweetfleet slack. It has not diminished with time. I am actually insulted when people call me a fanatic. A fanatic is tame compared to me.
This ain’t my first rodeo
The first time CCP Delegate Zero trolled me with regards to Empress Jamyl was on the Christmas item: Armor Plating From TES Seraph. The description reads:
While the Imperial authorities have attempted to prevent looters from taking materials away from the wreckage site of TES Seraph, the Avatar class titan which was destroyed in Safizon, claiming the life of the late Empress of the Amarr Empire, scavengers and black market dealers have managed to make off with more than a few souvenirs. Be careful when transporting this in the Amarr Empire, as the Navy to not take kindly to looters.
Remember, the Amarr symbol (the two arcs) on my costume were said to be made out of that plating. So, Delegate Zero both gave my character a way to plausibly have some of the material, but also made it suboptimal to have it in the first place, at least in the eyes of the Amarr Navy. However, my character’s, (who are we kidding?) I mean, my devotion to Her Majesty, Empress Jamyl I transcends the sensibilities of any admiral. And if the Theology Council wants to burn me (in character) as a heretic? That’s quite alright. I shall die and join Her Majesty in Paradise.
On to Jamyl’s Jugs
Jamyl’s Jugs is a term that had been bounced around Tweetfleet slack for a while from a few different people, but I don’t know who started it. Delegate Zero, to his immense credit, likes to take ideas and phrases from the lore community, both on Tweetfleet slack and the role play forum Intergalactic Summit, and incorporate them into lore, usually with a twist. So, it was only a matter of time before Jamyl’s Jugs was put into prime fiction somewhere.
Of course, everyone in the lore community immediately made a huge deal of the line and wondered what my reaction would be. As if there was any doubt. There was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. CCP Falcon got into the action by uploading pictures of a can of spam, with the title “Sarum.” He has an infamous line that “Jamyl Sarum is as dead as a can of spam.” So, after abusing my moderator powers for quite a bit, eliminated any sacrilegious images, the rancor finally died down. (A good time was had by all. Falcon was complaining that he laughed so much it hurt. It’s turned into a formal dance by this point.)
It’s good to be able to at least joke about this; it’s been well over a year and by now the tears are mostly gone. Except, you know, when I write articles about her. Fuck.
It was Arrendis that pointed out that I am looking at this from the wrong perspective. Rather than get upset at the name, I should look at the meaning and implications behind it.
Empress Jamyl: Beloved By All
So, it’s important to deconstruct the line and the one following before we can dig deeper into the analysis:
He’d personally closed down a filthy river dock dive in Ozol called “Jamyl’s Jugs” after the passing of the last empress. Even then, it was primarily the impropriety of such a name in the aftermath of her assassination, when inquisitorial teams had been especially on alert for examples of lèse-majesté, that had prompted the action.
The first implication of this relates to the bar being a filthy river dock dive. This isn’t haute culture, but a bar for the hoi polloi. Empress Jamyl wasn’t just beloved by the nobility and the military, the upper crust of the Empire, but by all her subjects, down to the lowest stevedore on the docks. Afterall, a bar isn’t named for something that the people hate. Jamyl’s Jugs, though a name rife with lèse-majesté, was an affectionate name. The passing of Empress Jamyl was keenly felt through all strata of the Empire. Everyone loved her.
The name itself is of particular note. Jamyl’s Jugs obviously refers to her breasts. Now, there’s obviously the erotic aspect of a woman’s breasts that might overtly appeal to the stevedores patronizing Jamyl’s Jugs, but there is the other aspect of women’s breasts that goes back to antiquity: nurturing and motherhood.
Going back to ancient Rome (and it is easy to argue for strong Roman influences on Amarr; their language is based on Latin) the breast were viewed primarily as a symbol of motherhood and nurturing. This is not to say that the Romans didn’t know the erotic value of the breast; they did. However, they were not primarily seen in the erotic way that pervades today. In Roman art, the breast was the source of female power and indicative of the mother-child relationship.
For a woman to bear her breast in ancient times was to appeal for mercy. “See! I am a mother, do not kill me.”
There is also the story “Roman Charity.” In the story, a woman, Pero, secretly breastfeeds her father, Cimon, when he is jailed and sentenced to starve to death. When she is found out, her selflessness inspires the powers that be to free her father. It should be noted that this story was meant as an exemplary tale. Pero is a good woman, and one to be emulated.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother.” And from that hour, the disciple took her into his home. John 19:26-27
It would be wrong to ascribe any Christian theology, or any other real world religious theology to the Amarr faith. There are some similarities, but only inasmuch as they are both monotheistic. Empress Jamyl was not the Amarr Jesus, no matter how many times I describe myself as Saint Peter forever living on a Saturday.
However, the Marian ideas, specifically that Mary became the mother of all in that moment, is just too rich to pass up here. Jamyl Sarum was the second Empress of Amarr ever. There were plenty other of Emperors, but only one ruling Empress before her. Interestingly, since this first Empress is not mentioned in Prime Fiction anywhere, we have no idea what she was like or did. However, not being mentioned is a pretty key fact. She wasn’t important enough to the story of the Amarr Empire to write.
To trillions of faithful, Empress Jamyl was the female ruler of Amarr. She has been succeeded by another, but only time can tell how the people take to Catiz I and how she will be remembered. For Empress Jamyl, though, it’s not hard to imagine. She saved the Empire. When the Minmatar invaded, it was Empress Jamyl that came in with the Wrath of God behind her to smite those that challenge Holy Amarr. The saying that the most dangerous place to be is between a grizzly bear and her cubs comes to mind. When her children were threatened, Empress Jamyl saved them.
Woman, behold your children. Amarr, behold your mother.
Jamyl Leading the People
There is a very famous painting in the Louvre, Liberty Leading the People, painted by Eugène Delacroix to commemorate the July Revolution of 1830. (Side note: when you have to label your revolutions by month and year, you need to cut down a bit.)
In the painting,Liberty is depicted as a bare breasted woman with a flag and a rifle leading the people. Which, should be evident from the name. However, the bare breast is actually an important part of the painting.
In most depictions of Lady Liberty, or Marianne, she is not topless. However, Delacroix was a painter in the Romantic period, and nudity had a very definite connotation. Nudity was not for casual subject matter. Nudity was reserved, extraordinary, not the everyday. A nude painting would be of a goddess of ancient mythology or other subjects far removed from everyday life. However, Liberty in the painting is in the middle of Paris; Notre Dame is in the background. This is not just another person with a rifle. Even without looking at the name, one can see the painting and know that this woman is not a woman, but a goddess. Her breasts are bare to indicate who she is. The bare breasts are indicative of her power; she is above the affairs of mere mortals.
The Modern World
In the age of the internet and a camera in every cellphone, maybe people have gotten too desensitized to nudity and bare breasts and the significance. There’s so much smut on the internet that a bare breast in a painting hardly raises an eyebrow. A puritanical culture conflicts with the libertine and art is lost. An ancient Roman watching Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl halftime show would have immediately seen the art of the act: her vulnerability and the violence, however playacted, inflicted on her. Instead, Americans file FCC complaints.
There’s so much smut on the internet that the power of the breast is lost. It’s also debased and turned vulgar. Somewhere on the pages of Larry Flint’s magazines, the feminine mystique was lost.
In Inglorious Basterds, Bridget von Hammersmark, whom I have used as my avatar for years, points out that the character is the character. The actions of a character cannot be judged by the writer. Old Shatterhand isn’t German, and Hamlet isn’t English. Empress Jamyl is Amarr, not from the 21st century western world. The Empire is also not our world.
We cannot interpret her character through the lense of our own morality, or experiences. We can only interpret her in the context of her own story. Likewise, we can only interpret the filthy river dock dive and its name and patrons through the context of their own story.
The stevedores would go there after a long day of stevedoring to relax and recuperate. They would share the good times and the bad times of their day with their friends. Likely, they would make a toast to their figurative mother, Empress Jamyl. The bar became the metaphorical bosom on which they would rest their weary head.
Empress Jamyl was the spiritual mother of all the Empire and her passing was a devastating blow to all her children. Naming a bar Jamyl’s Jugs might be vulgar and base, but the sentiment is not. She nurtured the Empire back to health after the Blooder Chamberlain brought Holy Amarr to its knees.
To this end, an Astrahus is going to be anchored in Sarum Prime. Inside a will be a bar named Jamyl’s Bosom, where we can all remember our mother and rest our weary head