The Compendium of Noric, or simply the Compendium, is the most important written work ever composed by any Norican. Even in realms outside Norica, the Compendium is held in high regard. At its heart, the Compendium serves as a roadmap for leading an honorable and virtuous life.
The effect of the Compendium on Norican culture cannot be overstated. It influences everything from war, to diplomacy, to family life. It is inaccurate to label the Compendium as a holy book, for Noric himself condemned any who would worship him. Any notion of an afterlife was rejected by Noric, who wrote in the Compendium that the only real afterlife a man can achieve comes not from worshipping some divine being, but from making a name for himself through great deeds. This compels Noricans from all echelons of society to compete for glory on the battlefield.
The writing style of Noric is both elegant and simple. Noric composed the Compendium in a manner which he believed would be accessible to future generations of Norican knights. To that end he was successful, as every knight has committed whole sections of the Compendium to memory. (It would be a great feat to memorize the Compendium in its entirety)
Every princely and knightly house owns a copy of the Compendium. Every Compendium is accompanied by a Paladin, who is responsible for the safekeeping of the book, and for instructing the youth of the nobility on the book’s contents. Only a knight can be awarded the title of Paladin of the Compendium. It is considered a great honor to be chosen for this task, and only a knight of considerable mental aptitude can be selected.
The manuscript tradition surrounding the Compendium is complicated. The original Compendium was lost in the destruction of the old Norican capital. Four copies, known as the Cardinal Codices, survived the destruction, albeit in many damaged fragments. As the Cardinal Codices were repaired, many Noricans disagreed as to accuracy of the restored fragments. Thus, arguments over which of the Cardinal Codices is more authentic have plagued the Noricans for generations. Such arguments might seem pointless to some, as the codices appear to convey very much the same information. There are, however, several differences in syntax and diction which have led to radically different interpretations of Noric’s teachings.