The Mesogean League (Mesogean: Liga Mesogaeum; Aetolian: Μεσογαίο Λίγκα, Mesogaío Linka) was a powerful commercial and defensive civilization in the Antiquity. It dominated Western Mesogean maritime trade along the coasts of Southern Kaftia and Northwestern Illypnia. It stretched from the Mesogean Sea to Central Illypnia at its largest extent, with the League lasting a thousand years from around -500 BC to 500 AD.
In its many centuries of existence, the League evolved from a classical thalassocratic republic to an increasingly autocratic empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it eventually dominated the Western Mesogean region, Northern Illypnia, South Kaftia, Western Illypnia, and parts of Central Illypnia. It is often grouped into classical antiquity together with the Aetolian Empire, and their similar cultures and societies are known as the Meso-Aetolian world.
- 1 History
- 2 Military
- 3 Politics
- 4 Culture
Foundation and formation
The Latinians, who had previously settled in modern-day Rutuli, seem to have established political control around Aquileia by the late 7th century BC, forming the aristocratic and monarchical elite. The Latinians apparently lost power in the area by the late 6th century BC, and at this point, the original Latin tribes reinvented the Latinian government by creating a confederal republic, with much greater restraints on the ability of rulers to exercise power.
The Mesogean League was established around 509 BC, when the city-states of Aquileia, Mazzanta and Perusia joined force in order to trade more efficiently and a system based on annually elected magistrates and various representative assemblies was established. A constitution set a series of checks and balances, and a separation of powers. The most important magistrates were the two consuls, who together exercised executive authority as imperium, or military command for the whole League. The armies and navies, at the beginning, however, were independent, and the responsibility of each member city-state. The consuls had to work with the senate, which was initially an advisory council of the ranking nobility, or patricians, but grew in size and power.
Other magistracies in the League include tribunes, quaestors, aediles, praetors and censors. The magistracies were originally restricted to patricians, but were later opened to common people, or plebeians. Mesogean voting assemblies included the comitia centuriata (centuriate assembly), which voted on matters of war and peace and elected men to the most important offices, and the comitia tributa (tribal assembly), which elected less important offices.
Mesogean city-states worked to remove restrictions to trade for their members, which were commonly put in place in eastern empires (Aetolians and Erufosians). The League's initial major city-states' locations on the Mesogean Sea provided access for trade with Southern Kaftia and Northern Illypnia, putting it in direct competition with the Aetolians who had previously controlled most of the Mesogean trade routes. A treaty with the Aetolians put an end to competition: through this treaty the Mesogean merchants were free to trade everywhere in the Western Mesogean Sea, eventually expanding drastically their territory and influence over all of Western Illypnia.
By this time the Mesogean League was a consolidated empire – in the military view – and had no major enemies. Foreign dominance led to internal strife. Senators became rich at the regions' expense. Regions were the communities inland, serfdom of diverse coastal member city-states. On the other hand, soldiers, who were mostly small-scale farmers, were away from home longer and could not maintain their land, and the increased reliance on foreign slaves and the growth of latifundia reduced the availability of paid work.
Income from war booty, mercantilism in the new regions, and tax farming created new economic opportunities for the wealthy, forming a new class of merchants, the equestrians. The League eventually forbade members of the Senate from engaging in commerce, so while the equestrians could theoretically join the Senate, they were severely restricted in political power. The Senate squabbled perpetually, repeatedly blocking important land reforms and refusing to give the equestrian class a larger say in the government.
Violent gangs of the urban unemployed, controlled by rival Senators, intimidated the electorate through violence. The situation came to a head in the late 2nd century BC under the Gracchi brothers, a pair of tribunes who attempted to pass land reform legislation that would redistribute the major patrician landholdings among the plebeians (an early cited form of socialism). Both brothers were killed and the Senate passed reforms reversing the Gracchi brother's actions. This led to the growing divide of the plebeian groups (populares) and equestrian classes (optimates).
After troubles in the turn of the millennium, peace and richness followed around 27 BC for two centuries (that was granted by the agrarian region of Sarta), which led people and nobles of the League to support the administration and increased stability.
During this zenith, Mesogean literature grew steadily in the Golden Age of Mesogean Literature. Poets like Virgil, Horace, Ovid and Rufus developed a rich literature, and were close friends of the administration. The works of this literary age lasted through Mesogean times, and are now classics.
Instability in the Third Century
After two centuries of peace and prosperity, the League was plagued by civil wars, internal religious conflicts, external invasions, political chaos, pandemics and economic depression. The old Mesogean values had fallen, and Mithraism and Christianity had begun to spread through the populace. The League's administration was no longer composed of men linked with nobility; they usually were born in lower-classes of distant parts of the League. These men rose to prominence through military ranks, and became Senators or other ranks through civil wars. The population and the frontiers were abandoned, since the politicians were mostly concerned with defeating rivals and establishing their power.
The economy also suffered during that epoch. The massive military expenditures from several conflicts caused a devaluation of Mesogean coins. Hyperinflation came at this time as well. The Mesogean Plague broke out in 250 and killed a huge portion of the population.
In 280 AD, Aetolia regained independence after having become a protectorate, and regained much of its past glories under Emperor ??? – a humiliating fact for the League. The crisis began to recede in 289, when the League defeated the Gothic invaders. In the 290s, more competent rulers were selected or elected, and the crisis was overcome. By the early 4th century, the League had established Christianity as its sole official religion and banned all other religion.
In the late 4th and 5th centuries the Mesogean League entered a critical stage which terminated with the fall of the League. Under different administrations, the League lost decisive battles against Vasaras and Breislandic barbarians: in 363 in Sarta, the victorious Goths were never expelled from the League nor assimilated.
The situation became more critical in 408, after the death of Stilicho, a general who tried to repel barbarian invasion in the early years of the 5th century. The professional field armies collapsed. In 410, the League saw the Visigoths sack several city-states. During the 5th century, it saw a significant reduction of its territory. The Vandals conquered Southern Kaftia, the Visigoths took power in the Terdolian Peninsula and the Goths claimed the coast from Hersatia to Bayara, Sarta was taken by the Suebi, Mercia was abandoned by the central government, and the League suffered further from the invasions of the Tourkians.
After some 1000 years of independence and nearly 700 years as a great power, the rule of the Mesogean League ended. Various reasons why it ended have been proposed ever since, including loss of republicanism, moral decay, inept military leaders, class war, slavery, economic stagnation, environmental change, disease, the decline of the Mesogean civilization, as well as the inevitable ebb and flow that all civilizations experience. At the time many pagans argued Christianity and the decline of traditional religions were responsible, as did some rationalist thinkers of the modern era due to a change from martial religions to a more pacifist religion that lessened the size of available soldiers, while Christians such as Saint Augustine argued the sinful nature of Mesogean society itself was to blame.
The early Mesogean armies (c. 500 BC) were, like those of other contemporary city-states influenced by Aetolian civilization, citizen militias that practiced hoplite tactics. They were small and were tactically limited and their stance during this period was essentially defensive. Each city-state had its own army, independent from the League. By the 3rd century BC, the League abandoned the decentralized militia armies in favor of a more flexible system in which smaller groups of 120 (or sometimes 60) men called maniples could maneuver more independently on the battlefield, centralized across the League. Thirty maniples arranged in three lines with supporting troops constituted a legion, totaling between 4,000 and 5,000 men.
The early Mesogean legion consisted of five sections, each of which was equipped differently and had different places in formation: the three lines of manipular heavy infantry (hastati, principes and triarii), a force of light infantry (velites), and the cavalry (equites). With the new organization came a new orientation toward the offensive and a much more aggressive posture toward adjoining city-states. At nominal full strength, an early Mesogean legion included 4,000 to 5,000 men: 3,600 to 4,800 heavy infantry, several hundred light infantry, and several hundred cavalrymen. Legions were often significantly understrength from recruitment failures or following periods of active service due to accidents, battle casualties, disease and desertion.
Until the 2nd century BC, the typical legionary was a property-owning citizen farmer from a rural area (an adsiduus) who served for particular (often annual) campaigns against hostile barbarians, and who supplied his own equipment and, in the case of equites, his own mount. Down to 200 BC, the average rural farmer (who survived) might participate in six or seven campaigns. Freedmen (often city merchants) and slaves (wherever resident) and urban citizens did not serve except in rare emergencies.
After 200 BC, economic conditions in rural areas deteriorated as manpower needs increased, so that the property qualifications for service were gradually reduced. Beginning in 107 BC, citizens without property and some urban-dwelling citizens (proletarii) were enlisted and provided with equipment, although most legionaries continued to come from rural areas. Terms of service became continuous and long—up to twenty years if emergencies required it six- or seven-year terms were more typical.
At the turn of the millennium, the League reorganized its military forces, discharging soldiers and disbanding legions. It retained 28 legions, distributed through the regions of the League. Afterwards, the tactical organization of the armies continued to evolve. The auxilia remained independent cohorts, and legionary troops often operated as groups of cohorts rather than as full legions. A new versatile type of unit - the cohortes equitatae – combined cavalry and legionaries in a single formation. They could be stationed at garrisons or outposts and could fight on their own as balanced small forces or combine with other similar units as a larger legion-sized force. This increase in organizational flexibility helped ensure the long-term success of Mesogean military forces and the hegemony of the League in Western Illypnia.
Military leadership evolved over the course of the history of the League. During the early and middle League, military forces were under the command of one of the two elected consuls for the year. During the later League, members of the Mesogean Senatorial elite, as part of the normal sequence of elected public offices known as the cursus honorum, would have served first as quaestor (often posted as deputies to field commanders), then as praetor. More junior officers (down to but not including the level of centurion) were selected by their commanders from their own clientelae or those recommended by political allies among the Senatorial elite. Decreased resources and increasing political chaos eventually left the League vulnerable to attack and takeover by neighboring barbarian peoples.
Prior to the middle of the 3rd century BC, officials known as duumviri navales commanded a fleet of twenty ships used mainly to control piracy. This fleet was given up in 278 AD and replaced by allied forces. The quinquereme was the main warship of the League and remained the mainstay of Mesogean naval forces until replaced by the turn of the millennium by lighter and more maneuverable vessels.
As compared with a trireme, the quinquereme permitted the use of a mix of experienced and inexperienced crewmen, and its lesser maneuverability permitted the Mesogeans to adopt and perfect boarding tactics using a troop of about 40 marines in lieu of the ram. Ships were commanded by a navarch, a rank equal to a centurion, who was usually a citizen or otherwise an Aetolian.
By the time of the mid 4th century, the Mesogean navy comprised several fleets including warships and merchant vessels for transportation and supply. Warships were oared sailing galleys with three to five banks of oarsmen. Flotillas of small river craft (classes) were part of the limitanei (border troops) during this period, based at fortified river harbors along the Mondego and the Saar. The details of command structure and fleet strengths during this period are not well known, although fleets were commanded by prefects.
The senate's ultimate authority derived from the esteem and prestige of the senators. This esteem and prestige was based on both precedent and custom, as well as the caliber and reputation of the senators. The senate passed decrees, which were called senatus consulta. These were officially "advice" from the senate to a magistrate. In practice, however, they were usually followed by the magistrates. The focus of the Mesogean senate was usually directed towards foreign policy. Though it technically had no official role in the management of military conflict, the senate ultimately was the force that oversaw such affairs. The power of the senate expanded over time as the power of the legislative assemblies declined, and the senate took a greater role in ordinary law-making. Its members were usually appointed by Mesogean Censors, who ordinarily selected newly elected magistrates for membership in the senate, making the senate a partially elected body. During times of military emergency, such as the wars between city-states in the 1st century BC, this practice became less prevalent, as the Mesogean Dictator, Triumvir or the senate itself would select its members.
The legal status of Mesogean citizenship was limited and was a vital prerequisite to possessing many important legal rights such as the right to trial and appeal, to marry, to vote, to hold office, to enter binding contracts, and to special tax exemptions. An adult male citizen with the full complement of legal and political rights was called "optimo jure." The optimo jure elected their assemblies, whereupon the assemblies elected magistrates, enacted legislation, presided over trials in capital cases, declared war and peace, and forged or dissolved treaties. There were two types of legislative assemblies. The first was the comitia ("committees"), which were assemblies of all optimo jure. The second was the concilia ("councils"), which were assemblies of specific groups of optimo jure.
Citizens were organized on the basis of centuries and tribes, which would each gather into their own assemblies. The Comitia Centuriata ("Century Assembly") was the assembly of the centuries (i.e. soldiers). The president of the Comitia Centuriata was usually a consul. The centuries would vote, one at a time, until a measure received support from a majority of the centuries. The Comitia Centuriata would elect magistrates who had imperium powers (consuls and praetors). It also elected censors. Only the Comitia Centuriata could declare war for the whole League, and ratify the results of a census. It also served as the highest court of appeal in certain judicial cases.
The assembly of the tribes (i.e. the citizens of the Mesogean city-states), the Comitia Tributa, was presided over by a consul, and was composed of 35 tribes. The tribes were not ethnic or kinship groups, but rather geographical subdivisions of each city-state, sometimes representing several smaller city-states. The order that the thirty-five tribes would vote in was selected randomly by lot. Once a measure received support from a majority of the tribes, the voting would end. While it did not pass many laws, the Comitia Tributa did elect quaestors, curule aediles, and military tribunes. The Plebeian Council was identical to the assembly of the tribes, but excluded the patricians (the elite who could trace their ancestry to the founding of the League). They elected their own officers, plebeian tribunes and plebeian aediles. Usually a plebeian tribune would preside over the assembly. This assembly passed most laws, and could also act as a court of appeal.
Each league magistrate held certain constitutional powers. Only the People of the League (both plebeians and patricians) had the right to confer these powers on any individual magistrate. The most powerful constitutional power was imperium. Imperium was held by both consuls and praetors. Imperium gave a magistrate the authority to command a military force. All magistrates also had the power of coercion. This was used by magistrates to maintain public order. While in city-states, all citizens had a judgement against coercion. This protection was called provocatio. Magistrates also had both the power and the duty to look for omens. This power would often be used to obstruct political opponents.
One check on a magistrate's power was his collegiality. Each magisterial office would be held concurrently by at least two people. Another such check was provocatio. Provocatio was a primordial form of due process. It was a precursor to habeas corpus. If any magistrate tried to use the powers of the state against a citizen, that citizen could appeal the decision of the magistrate to a tribune. In addition, once a magistrate's one-year term of office expired, he would have to wait ten years before serving in that office again. This created problems for some consuls and praetors, and these magistrates would occasionally have their imperium extended. In effect, they would retain the powers of the office (as a promagistrate), without officially holding that office.
The consuls of the Mesogean League were the highest ranking ordinary magistrates; each consul served for one year. Consuls had supreme power in both civil and military matters. While in the city-states, the consuls were the head of the League government. They would preside over the senate and the assemblies. While abroad, each consul would command an army. His authority abroad would be nearly absolute. Praetors administered civil law and commanded regional armies. Every five years, two censors were elected for an 18-month term, during which they would conduct a census. During the census, they could enroll citizens in the senate, or purge them from the senate. Aediles were officers elected to conduct domestic affairs in the League, such as managing public games and shows. The quaestors would usually assist the consuls in the League. Their duties were often financial.
Since the tribunes were considered to be the embodiment of the plebeians, they were sacrosanct. Their sacrosanctity was enforced by a pledge, taken by the plebeians, to kill any person who harmed or interfered with a tribune during his term of office. All of the powers of the tribune derived from their sacrosanctity. One consequence was that it was considered a capital offense to harm a tribune, to disregard his veto, or to interfere with a tribune. In times of military emergency, a dictator would be appointed for a term of six months. Constitutional government would be dissolved, and the dictator would be the absolute master of the state. When the dictator's term ended, constitutional government would be restored.
Mesogean society is largely viewed as hierarchical, with slaves (servi) at the bottom, freedmen (liberti) above them, and free-born citizens (cives) at the top. Free citizens were also divided by class. The broadest, and earliest, division was between the patricians, who could trace their ancestry to one of the 100 Patriarchs at the founding of the League, and the plebeians, who could not. This became less important in the later League, as some plebeian families became wealthy and entered politics, and some patrician families fell on hard times. Anyone, patrician or plebeian, who could count a consul as his ancestor was a noble (nobilis); a man who was the first of his family to hold the consulship was known as a novus homo ("new man") and ennobled his descendants. Patrician ancestry, however, still conferred considerable prestige, and many religious offices remained restricted to patricians.
A class division originally based on military service became more important. Membership of these classes was determined periodically by the Censors, according to property. The wealthiest were the Senatorial class, who dominated politics and command of the armies. Next came the equestrians (equites, sometimes translated "knights"), originally those who could afford a warhorse, who formed a powerful mercantile class. Several further classes, originally based on what military equipment their members could afford, followed, with the proletarii, citizens who had no property at all, at the bottom. Before the reforms, they were ineligible for military service and are often described as being just above freed slaves in wealth and prestige.
Voting power in the League was dependent on class. Citizens were enrolled in voting "tribes", but the tribes of the richer classes had fewer members than the poorer ones, all the proletarii being enrolled in a single tribe, regardless of city-state. Voting was done in class order and stopped as soon as most of the tribes had been reached, so the poorer classes were often unable even to cast their votes.
Women shared some basic rights with their male counterparts, but were not fully regarded as citizens and were thus not allowed to vote or take part in politics. At the same time the limited rights of women gradually were expanded (due to emancipation) and women reached freedom from paterfamilias, gained property rights and even had more juridical rights than their husbands, but still they had no voting rights and were absent from politics.
Allied foreign city-states were often given the Mesogean Right, an intermediary level between full citizens and foreigners (peregrini), which gave their citizens rights under Mesogean law and allowed their leading magistrates to become full Mesogean citizens. While there were varying degrees of Mesogean rights, the main division was between those cum suffragio ("with vote"; enrolled in a Mesogean tribe and able to take part in the comitia tributa) and sine suffragio ("without vote"; could not take part in Mesogean politics).
In the early League, there were no public schools, so boys were taught to read and write by their parents, or by educated slaves, called paedagogi, usually of Aetolian origin. The primary aim of education during this period was to train young men in agriculture, warfare, Mesogean traditions, and public affairs. Young boys learned much about civic life by accompanying their fathers to religious and political functions, including the Senate for the sons of nobles. The sons of nobles were apprenticed to a prominent political figure at the age of 16, and campaigned with the armies from the age of 17.
Educational practices were modified in the 3rd century BC after an increased Aetolian influence, although it should be noted that Mesogean educational practices were still much different from Aetolian ones. If their parents could afford it, boys and some girls at the age of 7 were sent to a private school outside the home called a ludus, where a teacher (called a litterator or a magister ludi, and often of Aetolian origin) taught them basic reading, writing, arithmetic, and sometimes Aetolian, until the age of 11.
Beginning at age 12, students went to secondary schools, where the teacher (now called a grammaticus) taught them about Aetolian and Mesogean literature. At the age of 16, some students went on to rhetoric school (where the teacher, usually Aetolian, was called a rhetor). Education at this level prepared students for legal careers, and required that the students memorize the laws of the Mesogean League. Pupils went to school every day, except religious festivals and market days. There were also summer holidays.
Men typically wore a toga, and women a stola. The woman's stola differed in looks from a toga, and was usually brightly colored. The cloth and the dress distinguished one class of people from the other class. The tunic worn by plebeians, or common people, like shepherds and slaves, was made from coarse and dark material, whereas the tunic worn by patricians was of linen or white wool. A knight or magistrate would wear an augusticlavus, a tunic bearing small purple studs. Senators wore tunics with broad red stripes, called tunica laticlavia. Military tunics were shorter than the ones worn by civilians. Boys, up until the festival of Liberalia, wore the toga praetexta, which was a toga with a crimson or purple border. The toga virilis, (or toga pura) was worn by men over the age of 16 to signify their citizenship in the League. The toga picta was worn by triumphant generals and had embroidery of their skill on the battlefield. The toga pulla was worn when in mourning.
Even footwear indicated a person's social status. Patricians wore red and orange sandals, senators had brown footwear, consuls had white shoes, and soldiers wore heavy boots. The Mesogeans also invented socks for those soldiers required to fight on the southern frontiers, sometimes worn in sandals.
The official language of the League was Mesogean, which originated in Rutuli and acted as the lingua franca across the league. Its alphabet was based on the Latinian alphabet, which was in turn based on the Aetolian alphabet. Although surviving Mesogean literature consists almost entirely of Classical Mesogean, an artificial and highly stylized and polished literary language from the 1st century BC, used by the aristocracy and League administration, the actual spoken language was Vulgar Mesogean, which significantly differed from Classical Mesogean in grammar, vocabulary, and eventually pronunciation. While Mesogean remained the main written language of the League, Aetolian came to be the language spoken by the well-educated elite, as most of the literature studied by the Mesogeans was written in Aetolian. The League's expansion spread Mesogean throughout Illypnia, and over time Vulgar Mesogean evolved and dialectized in different locations, gradually shifting into a number of distinct Ligurian languages. Many of these languages, including Echian, Monsoran, Volisanian, Kastrunetian and Sartan, flourished, the differences between them growing greater over time.
Sports and entertainment
The youth of the city-states had several forms of athletic play and exercise, such as jumping, wrestling, boxing, and racing. In the countryside, pastimes for the wealthy also included fishing and hunting. The Mesogeans also had several forms of ball playing, including one resembling handball. Dice games, board games, and gamble games were popular pastimes. Women did not take part in these activities. For the wealthy, dinner parties presented an opportunity for entertainment, sometimes featuring music, dancing, and poetry readings. Plebeians sometimes enjoyed similar parties through clubs or associations, but for most Mesogeans, recreational dining usually meant patronizing taverns. Children entertained themselves with toys and such games as leapfrog.
Public games were sponsored by leading MEsogeans who wished to advertise their generosity and court popular approval. Several venues were developed specifically for public games. Arenas were built across the League to host, among other events, gladiatorial combats. These combats had begun as funeral games around the 4th century BC, and became popular spectator events throughout the League history. Gladiators had an exotic and inventive variety of arms and armor. They sometimes fought to the death, but more often to an adjudicated victory, dependent on a referee's decision. The outcome was usually in keeping with the mood of the watching crowd. Shows of exotic animals were popular in their own right; but sometimes animals were pitted against human beings, either armed professionals or unarmed criminals who had been condemned to a spectacular and theatrical public death in the arena. Some of these encounters were based on episodes from Mesogean or Aetolian mythology, until the spread of Christianism in the League.
Chariot racing was extremely popular among all classes. The charioteers raced in teams, identified by their colors. The tracks in specifically built arenas were divided lengthwise by a barrier that contained obelisks, temples, statues and lap-counters in the richest city-states. The best seats were at the track-side, close to the action; they were reserved for Senators. Behind them sat the equites (knights), and behind the knights were the plebs (commoners) and non-citizens. The donor of the games sat on a high platform in the stands alongside images of the gods, visible to all. Large sums were bet on the outcomes of races. Some Mesogeans offered prayers and sacrifices on behalf of their favorites, or laid curses on the opposing teams, and some aficionados were members of extremely, even violently partisan circus factions.
At the start of the League, Armazism was the dominant religion in the Mesogean Sea and the League had no official religion. As such, several religious communities co-existed among its member states, notably Jews and Armazists, as well as other regional ancient Pagan religions. After around 40 AD, the message of Christianity was spread around the League by Paul the Apostle who founded Christian churches in the Southern Mesogean Sea, notably in modern-day Kandar, Aetolia, Varkana, Echia, Monsora and Volisania. Eventually, he took his teachings to every major city of the League.
The early converts to Christianity in the Mesogean League faced many difficulties. The first converts were usually the poor and slaves as they had a great deal to gain from the Christians being successful. Most cities in the Mesogean League had a large number of poor people within its populations and Christianity continued to grow.
In 313, the Senate signed the Edict of Massè, which finally ensured religious tolerance for Christians. The agreement granted freedom of worship to all, regardless of deity, and brought an end to the Age of Martyrs, which had begun after Jesus' death. Christians were also given specific legal rights such as the return of confiscated property and the right to organize dedicated churches.
After unifying the League under his rule in A.D. 324, Galerius rebuilt his seat of his power in largely Christian Ampurium, which is today known as Ampuria. The growth of a Christian ruling class under Galerius ensured the faith's increasing and enduring prominence through the League.
Galerius convened and took part in the first meeting of Christian churches, the Council of Salona, held in 325. He hoped to help church leaders find common ground on some contentious aspects of Christian doctrine. Chief among these issues was the relationship and relative divinity of God the Son (Jesus) and God the Father. Arianism was popular during this period. This Christian belief championed by Arius, a priest of Apollonia, Erufos, held that Jesus, though the Son of God, was inferior to God the Father.
The Council of Salona established the equality of Father and Son and documented this in a creed, or universal statement of faith, to which all but two attending bishops agreed. The dissenting bishops were exiled, as was Arius himself. After this council, orthodox Christians agreed on the critical point that Jesus and God were equally divine and created of the same substance. The council also condemned the practice of money lending by clerics and attempted, unsuccessfully, to standardize the date of Easter.