In a recent Lore forum post, Corvinoobus of the Dev. Team revealed that gil as a standardized currency has only existed for roughly one hundred years and came about as a result of the Autumn War, a revelation that should catch the attention those who recognize the name of this conflict as having a much bigger impact on Eorzean history than the scarce mentions of it would suggest. What did we learn about gil, and how does this tie in to a chapter of history not oft read by players? Read on to find out!
In the midst of the Sixth Astral Era, a pact with the elementals of the Twelveswood allowed the Hyur and Elezen inhabitants of the underground city of Gelmorra to finally return to the forest above, and the nation of Gridania was born. During that same period, the warring tribes of Gyr Abania were brought together as one and the Highlander nation of Ala Mhigo was established. However, as both countries matured over the following centuries, these neighbors would not remain at peace.
About eight decades ago (around the year 1500 of the Sixth Astral Era), the reigning monarch of Ala Mhigo, King Manfred, attempted to expand his nation’s influence by launching a series of large-scale campaigns into the Twelveswood. Unwilling to tolerate this intrusion, Gridania rallied its defenses, appointing the renowned lancer Vainchelon commander of its forces. The enemy general, Gylbarde, was a believer in the Fist of Rhalgr and enjoyed great popularity among the Ala Mhigans. Morale was high on both sides as the armies met on the Firesand Banks in stalemate. Though no victor emerged, Vainchelon suddenly took violently ill. He planned to fall back to land familiar to the Gridanians and ambush the Ala Mhigans as they gave chase, but died before his intentions could manifest.
Eager to prove himself to the Seedseers, Vainchelon’s successor, Osbern, ordered an ambitious frontal assault on the Ala Mhigan position, but the Gridanian forces were decimated in a series of crippling defeats as Gylbarde saw through one inexperienced tactic after another. Realizing that the Ala Mhigans would be on their borders and hungry for more land should they take the Black Shroud so easily, Ishgard enlisted the aid of Ul’dah and Limsa Lominsa, uniting with Gridania to repel Gylbarde’s forces. Owing to the might of this alliance, the Autumn War ended as quickly as it began, and the city-states returned to ambivalent peace. Borders were drawn and treaties signed as the city-states agreed to mutual independence on the condition that the rise of one over the others would not be tolerated.
It was shortly after this that the currency know as “gil” came into existence as a means to strengthen the trade relations between city-states after the end of the Autumn War. Though each city had hitherto minted its own currency, the erratic exchange rates imposed on traders led many of them to abandon the use of such coinage in favor of ancient Allagan pieces. Losing control of their own wealth, leaders from every city-state agreed to adopt this pragmatic approach and created the standardized gil currency in the image of its predecessor to encourage the populace to embrace the transition.
To further the sentiment of solidarity, the city-states forwent the opportunity to celebrate figures dear to their own nations and minted gil bearing the likenesses of the Twelve, the worship of whom was common to all. As time passed and the relationships between the city-states strengthened, however, this policy was relaxed. A recent example of the ever-varying motifs to grace the currency came in the year 1572 of the Sixth Astral Era when one gil coins were minted bearing the visages of Grand Company leaders to celebrate the reformation of the Eorzean Alliance. In-game, the icon seen on the HUD features an example of the former, bearing the image of Nymeia, the Spinner, goddess of fate and a symbol for luck.
Expecting to see a new Lorecast with this installment of Lore Train? Don’t fret! We’ll be releasing another edition tomorrow talking about everything you need to know going into Patch 2.2 and with that post we’ll be releasing the next episode of Lorecast!