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Crystal Spires and Togas

"Johnny groped through the pristine folds of his toga, wondering how Mankind could touch the stars yet fashion-wise be stuck in the days of Imperial Rome."
Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space

After passing the "big, shiny and sciencey!" period, a highly developed civilization can enter a stage where technology continues to advance, but becomes a lot sleeker and subtler. At the same time, society gets epic. Jumpsuits will start being replaced by togas, robes and such garments, bustling mega-cities by brilliant arcologies. There will be crystals. Lots and lots of crystals. This world of tomorrow may end up looking much like Ancient Greece (the theme-park Cecil B. de Mille version at least) while still enjoying ultratech comforts.

It's kinda like the civilization-scale equivalent of crossing the Bishonen Line.

Any society with Crystal Spires and Togas holds a high chance of being ruled by Philosopher Kings, and populated with Perfect Pacifist People (or aliens, as the case may be) and requires others (namely The Hero and his squad) to take up arms for them. Occasionally they occur in the past, A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away..., since decimated by some catastrophe with perhaps a single surviving Advanced Ancient Acropolis. Sufficiently Advanced Aliens are not the same thing, but as beings who can do anything with no apparent devices, they could be a logical outcome. Thematically it may play opposite number to a society in Medieval Stasis. A common subversion has this kind of atmosphere only for the rich and powerful, while everyone else lives in a Used Future.

The rare cases where a future society is genuinely not a Bad Future might look like this, but even some Bad Futures still do.

The same sense of style permeates other facets of society, not just clothing and architecture. Instead of a president or an assembly, the Minbari are ruled by the Grey Council, the Nibblonians from the Hall of Forever (which also hosts the Feast of a Thousand Hams).

While there's a definite trend towards giant and architecturally impressive glass towers in the modern era, the trope hasn't quite made it to the status of Truth in Television yet — aside from a conspicuous lack of togas, robes, or unisuits, these shiny new buildings aren't part of the sort of sweeping social movement this Trope describes but individual corporations jockeying to display their wealthnote . Utopian cities they are not; very real slums crowd their feet.

As Time Magazine put it, this is nearly the opposite of Steampunk, as Steampunk seeks to make technology more viewable, easier to connect with than the sleek shiny technology of this era. Compare City of Gold. See also Data Crystal.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Olympus from Appleseed is a classic example. At least to the outside.
  • Macross sort of shows this.
  • Sailor Moon had the Silver Millennium in the distant past and Crystal Tokyo in the distant future, though neither are shown with Togas. We mostly see the Royalty and Soldiers, which consist of a Pimped-Out Dress and Sailor Suits respectively for the women, and a Suit/Vaguely Medieval Armour and a vaguely military uniform, both apparently based on boy's school uniforms, for the men
    • Though they don't appear anywhere else, the girls are shown wearing togas during the Silver Millennium in the footage that goes along with Tuxedo Mirage, the first ending theme of the first anime's Super season.
  • The space civilizations in the Galaxy Angel games; the first is actually called EDEN.
  • The aliens in Fantastic Children.
  • The world of gods in Ah! My Goddess is this. While at first glance it resembles a stereotypical Olympian heaven, it turns out that it actually relies on massive amounts of Applied Phlebotinum, its inhabitants hold regular jobs and there are even shopping malls (plus plenty of politicking and the occasional doomsday device)
  • In the anime adaptation of Bokurano, it is implied that one of these is responsible for the robot combats that are destroying universes, gathering the energy gained from them or something-the anime isn't exactly as deep as the manga...
  • The Guild in Last Exile partly falls under this trope. Despite the rest of the world being steampunkish.

    Comic Books 
  • Many depictions of Superman's home world of Krypton fit this trope. Post-crisis, though, Krypton was more dystopian despite all the crystal-toga trappings. When Superman: Birthright retconned Krypton's society back to something closer to the Pre Crisis version (i.e. a more general super-advanced civilization without a specific, dominant theme), the togas changed back to Space Clothes.
    • For maximum effect, post Infinite Crisis reverts some of Birthright's changes to include some of the Byrne era Kryptonian aesthetics so that you have the crystal spires and the togas at the same time.
  • The story "The Reformers" in Weird Science, 1953, had a perfect utopian place with ultratech elements but several flowing robes and stone arches. Also, it turned out to be Heaven.
  • ElfQuest pretty much starts out this way, and much of the main storyline involves getting back to the Time Machine (which has a similar atmosphere). Notably, the spires and togas are an invention by an advanced alien race, but become the future when everyone is sent back 20,000 years in time; the last stages of this are shown in the opening narration.
  • When Skynet is erased from history at the end of RoboCop Versus The Terminator, the new future heavily resembles this trope.
  • In the first color Zot story arc, the future utopian version of Sirius seen through the Door at the Edge of the Universe includes togas and hi-tech faux-classical architecture.
  • The milespires of Magnus Robot Fighter are arguably a deconstruction of this trope. The upper class at the top of the spires are enlightened psychics in togas who have become decadent and slothful, protected by a Master Computer, while the radicals on the lower levels live in a Used Future.
  • In the Silver Surfer's past, when he was still just Norrin Radd living on Zenn-La, his planet was very much like this. Their world was so nearly perfect, with beautiful and exotic architecture and clothing, that everyone was bored, and Norrin most of all.
  • In Watchmen, Doctor Manhattan invokes this with his floating glass tower during his stay on Mars.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, with totally excellent music to boot.
  • The 1978 Superman movie and its sequels invoke this trope with Krypton (and Argo City in the spinoff Supergirl). Krypton's spires are giant crystals. The walls are made of crystal. The canyons are lined with crystal. The clothes are made of some form of wearable, highly-reflective crystal. But, because so little of Kryptonian society is glimpsed, it is left up to the viewer's interpretation whether this is a utopia or a dystopia.
  • Discussed and parodied in the narration of Idiocracy with some accompanying images of a futuristic world showing bearded guys in togas among the crystal spires of their city. The camera pulls back to reveal that these images are all part of a mural at a carnival, in front of which a bunch of not-too-bright and decidedly non-futuristic-looking people are waiting in line to get into some kind of exhibition or maybe carnival ride.
  • Subverted in Logans Run; while the post-apocalyptic society of the film is at first glance a utopia, its prosperity is maintained by a Master Computer that ritually executes all citizens on their 30th birthday in order to conserve resources. Those who manage to escape this fate and flee the city are invariably captured by a deranged robot who freeze-dries them in the belief that they are seafood.
  • In 1973's Godzilla vs. Megalon, the inhabitants of Seatopia are an advanced undersea civilization (who are rather P.O.'d at the testing of nukes near them and send out their monster for revenge) where the toga seems the most commonly worn clothing.
  • Star Wars: while the original trilogy has a Used Future aesthetic, there are flourishes of this trope, most notably in the robes of Jedi. The prequel trilogy use it more, before the Evil Empire took over. Coruscant and Naboo are particular examples.
  • At the tram station in Star Trek The Motion Picture, most of the civilians in the background are wearing togas.
  • The H. G. Wells-written film Things to Come is the Trope Codifier. The future technocrats literally live in crystal spires and wear togas. The preface to the published script gives the rationale for the costuming which "cries aloud for cloaks, the most dramatic of garments."
  • In Forbidden Planet, the Krell civilization is supposed to have been an example of this, with "cloud-piercing towers of glass and porcelain and adamantine steel".
  • Kin-Dza-Dza!, where the toga people specialize in turning dangerous alien invaders into cacti. The nasty part? A bunch of unarmed aliens arriving on their world needing help fits their definition of "alien invaders".
  • Some of the upper-crust civilians in Demolition Man dress in long ornate robes, in reference to their attempts to re-engineer society to conform to this trope. As the film is set only Twenty Minutes into the Future, conventional clothing is also common, and architecture hasn't yet fallen prey to this aesthetic.
  • Asgard in the 2011 Thor film fits this trope as well.
  • Although the series played the trope a little more straight, it was consciously avoided with the design for the Alliance environments in Serenity. On the commentary, Joss Whedon says he wanted the central planet settlements to look 'genuinely Utopian rather than just tall'. Thus the design of the cities notably omit crystalline spires.
  • The Fifth Element, along with other kinds of styles.
  • A.I.: Artificial Intelligence has, at the very end, extremely advanced robots who are long, skinny, and made up of glowing crystal.
  • Man of Steel: Though hardly the crystal-encrusted world shown in the previous films, Kyrpton is a "neo-medieval" society, with Jor-El, Zod and others wearing armor, capes and robes over their supersuit-esque bodysuits.

    Literature 
  • Probably a shipload of ancient pulp Sci-Fi that we can't name. Heck, the good aliens wore togas in the 1930s Lensman series that started Space Opera!
    • Note that all of the clothing that the good aliens (the Arisians) wore, in fact the bodies and cities and everything else about the Arisians, was a mental projection which was intended to fit whatever made the visitor to Arisia most comfortable. This point was made explicitly in chapter 3 of "First Lensman", where all of the people saw different things: aliens in togas, male humans in uniform, professors at large universities, 7 foot tall women, disembodied intelligences, etc. There are references to it in the rest of the books when the fellow aliens (Tregonsee, Worsel, Nadreck, etc) briefly discuss their experience on Arisia. They even use the mental projection trick to fool Kim Kinnison into "seeing" one of the forms of the bad aliens, so when he beats one of them (Gharlane of Eddore) he thinks it was a rogue Arisian. The children of the Lens do realize that the Arisians have no physical form at all. The all-too-human Atlanteans, on the other hand...
  • In Peter F. Hamilton's Void Trilogy, humans finally hit this stage around 1500 years into the future: most technology is sleek, hidden, implanted or only partially made of matter, and fashion is dominated by "toga-suits" made of smart nanomaterials that reflect and refract light in interesting patterns. Peace, on the other hand, is nowhere in sight...
    • And from the same author, the Edenists in Night's Dawn are a civilization of super-advanced genetically engineered telepathic superhumans who dress in antiquated clothes like robes, tunics, and togas and live in giant, sentient floating space stations. Heck, their entire lifestyle is based around clean, sentient or semi-sentient organic bio-tech and they believe themselves to be superior to the more traditional "Adamist" civilizations. Sort of a subversion, insofar as their society is clearly NOT perfect, and a pretty big portion of the books is about this. Hamilton LOVES subverting this trope, and does a really good job of it.
  • William Gibson's short story "The Gernsback Continuum" is about a photographer who, while on commission to shoot some old Thirties-art-deco buildings (all magnificent examples of Zeerust), suddenly begins to see glimpses of an alternate reality that contains all the weird architecture, drapery clothing, and amazing technical advances predicted by the pulp-SF writers of the 1920s-1950s. Gibson actually specifies that the alternate-Earth dress code includes a toga. Gibson states in various places that it is meant as a deconstruction of this trope.
  • Many of Arthur C. Clarke's short stories imagined this as the ideal civilization. One of his earliest (Rescue Party) supposed that the replacement of the car with the personal helicopter would eliminate the need for cities and "decentralize" civilization.
    • The "helicopters decentralize civilization" idea popped up in several Clarke stories during that period. Clarke didn't foresee that flying a helicopter would be harder and more expensive than driving a car, to the point where not everyone can do it.
      • Come to that, not everyone can drive a car...The "civilization decentralized" idea also crops up in Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination (aka Tiger! Tiger!), where "jaunting" (teleporting without a teleporter, pretty much) means you can live anywhere on earth and still be able to get to work perfectly conveniently. It's not exactly an utopian future, though.
      • Cars or helicopters, there are still logistics considerations. As Larry Niven wrote about in e.g. Flash Crowd or the Final Days of the Permanent Floating Riot Club, the most straightforward way to achieve societal decentralization is teleportation tech.
    • In "Against the Fall of Night"/The City and the Stars, the city of Diaspar is a classic example of this trope.
    • Arthur C. Clarke's "How We Went to Mars" (1938) plays this trope for humor.
  • The Martians in Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. Most of the elements seem like a fantastic version of Egypt, with books written in hieroglyphs that sing when you touch them, houses built of crystal pillars and traveling using flocks of birds, all in the middle of a great desert.
  • Common for a Communist Utopia future in Soviet science fiction. Almost every Soviet book dealing with really distant future or a really developed society will have an Ancient Greece smell.
    • True for Ivan Efremov's Andromeda Nebula; our utopian future is to become athletical and pretencious much like Greek gods.
    • Gennady Martynov's Callisto and Callistians features Sufficiently Advanced Alien civilisation with distinctive Ancient Greek traits. And of course, it is Communist.
  • Doubly subverted in arguably the most chilling scene of James Blish's very dark The Day After Judgement (a.k.a. the second half of The Devil's Day). The End of the World as We Know It has taken place. God, it turns out, really did die. Satan (who is not so bad) shows a viewpoint character the Crystal Spires and Togas future which would have come about had he not destroyed everything and then reveals that compared to such a soul-less living death, the Apocalypse would seem preferable.
  • The Vampire Hunter D novels mention a rare example of a post-Crystal Spires and Togas Used Future: the capital city, built out of crystal by the Vampires and then fallen into disrepair once they were driven out.
    • Indeed, they were Crystal Spires and Togas with a goth twist. All the major vampire buildings resemble gigantic gothic cathedrals and gloomy castles straight out of Victorian horror novels, while the vampires themselves prefer to dress in elaborate evening suits and long flowing capes, which they enjoy twisting into bat's wings.
  • In Animorphs, the Pemalites and Iskoort are both examples of this trope, with their playful societies and fanciful architecture. The Andalites, too, have given up the habit of living in cities in favor of a natural lifestyle on the open plains, without losing any of their great technological skill.
    • It should be noted that the Pemalites were designed by God, aka The Ellimist, to be that way. The Iskoort have architecture that's more like legos and they have spires because the ground is generally too marshy to build on. The Andalites had cities, but because they're basically herd animals, they hated them.
    • The Kentrans were essentially like this as well, though the Ellimist only shows up in the toga-wearing appearance much much later. The crystal spires were floating in the air, powered by the flapping of the Ketrans.
  • A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones. Statues, glass domes, technology which looks like 'a pipe organ' and the caskets (which are actually some kind of advanced time-battery-thing), amongst others. The people wear jumpsuits most of the time, but robes are donned for official functions.
  • The interex in Warhammer 40,000: Horus Rising.
  • DJ MacHale's The Pendragon Adventure has the "closer to nature" future version of Earth, Third Earth. But of course it gets completely and utterly screwed over by our resident Magnificent Bastard and becomes a Crapsack World.
  • Subverted in H. G. Wells's The Time Machine in which the Eloi seem to live in this kind of future but are actually little more than sentient (barely) cattle for their underground dwelling Morlock masters.
    • Actually invented by H. G. Wells in Men like Gods.
  • Tanith Lee's two-volume Biting the Sun series portrays this as a semi-dystopia.
  • Most of Iain M. Banks' novels, especially those set in the fictional universe known as The Culture.
  • Played with/averted in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, as jokester-qua-gunslinger Eddie Dean abandons the last of his naivetť in realizing that that city of "wise ***ing elves" isn't going to magically appear to help the heroes on their quest.
  • This is the stated goal of Alvin Maker in The Tales of Alvin Maker series by Orson Scott Card
  • Deconstructed in Paths Not Taken, in which Lilith's idealized vision of a city resembles this trope, but anyone who's actually lived in a city can see that she's failed to take logistics into account. It's big on the crystal spires, fountains, and other frills, but lacking in such necessary amenities as sewers.
  • The Elderling civilization in Realm of the Elderlings seems to have been like this before being destroyed by a natural disaster.
  • Not much is known about the Eldren ancient civilization in the Gentleman Bastard series, but they did build (among other things) crystal spires, who are now used as housing for the most powerful noble families.
  • In The Wheel of Time, the few glimpses we have of the Age of Legends civilization show it to be very much like that. For example, one of their top universities had an annex designed to look like a huge pure white perfect sphere levitating a few hundred of meters above the campus, that could only be accessed through flying or teleportation.
  • Cordwainer Smith had a definite fondness for weird future settings jumbling all sorts of advanced technology — much of it barely understood by the people using it, if that — with baroque and sometimes archaic furniture and clothing.
  • From what's left of their vanished civilization in Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora the Elderen had a civilization like this. They certainly had the Crystal Spires. Whether they had the togas is unknown.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Minbari in Babylon 5 have the crystal part down pat in their architecture, but their social development is stuck in thousand year Medieval Stasis. The Utopian and Enlightened bit of this trope gets subverted in the 4th season, when they fall into Civil War.
  • The Myster Science Theater 3000 experiment Warrior of the Lost World featured a Dystopian world in which lived a group of toga-wearing "enlightened ones". They had healing powers and lived in a pocket dimension from which they battled an oppressive totalitarian government that had taken over the world.
  • The Time Lords of Doctor Who represented a civilization of this type; the trope was subverted in a couple of ways. Even their first appearance, which shows them highly advanced and almost utopian, establishes their civilization as so boring and pompous that the Doctor couldn't wait to run away from them. Later appearances often, though not always, revealed them as corrupt, petty and hypocritical. So it's probably not so bad that they had a cosmic bridge dropped on them in the new series.
    • "Last of the Time Lords" has a flashback of a Time Lord in long robes standing on a hill, with the Citadel of the Time Lords behind him, a great city encased in a glass sphere.
  • Subverted in the 2007 Flash Gordon series, where Mongo's capital, Nascent City, is all crystal spires and togas, while the rest of the planet is a post-environmental-catastrophe Scavenger World.
    • This is a possible rip-off of "The Cloud Minders" from the third season of Star Trek: The Original Series, where the Startoses had artists and scholars living in a shiny clean floating city in the clouds, while the Troglytes did all the hard labor in the mines below.
    • This in turn is a nod to the Eloi and Morlocks in H.G. Wells' Time Machine (1895). Only in this case, the bestial Morlocks hunted and ate the childlike and pastoral Eloi, and the Morlocks had all the technology and weapons while the Eloi had degenerated into barely intelligent humanoids who knew no technology at all.
  • The Beings of Light and their Ships of Lights in the original Battlestar Galactica have this feel to them.
    • As did the original colonies. In the pilot, Saga of a Star World, The Quorum of the Twelve on the Atlantia and its reconstitution afterwards featured togas. And crystalline pyramids are wrecked by the Cylon bombardment of Caprica.
      • This is largely averted in the new series, where the Colonies have buildings that are plausible to build today, but simply do not extend to our architectural styles (although looking at Caprica City for too long may sear your retinas, it's that shiny-future...) Same thing for people's appearance, with...well...normal clothes. An exception is the spectral forms of the Final Five Cylons, who appear as glowing robed figures before they're revealed to be the most ridiculously human of the show's Ridiculously Human Robots.
  • The Ancient race in the Stargate television series, especially Stargate Atlantis, are an example of a crystal spires and togas race which has "ascended" to a higher plane, leaving their crystal city (actually a metal-alloy spaceship the size of Manhattan) deserted.
    • They are not the only one. Almost everyone, the Goa'uld (and the Tok'ra), the Tollans, the Asgard, later even the humans use crystal-based technology. For most civilizations, the crystals are only the guts. The outward appearance varies wildly. The Asgard and ancient stuff looks crystal spire-y, except when it looks paleolithic.
    • In Stargate Continuum we see that following the downfall of the System Lords, the Tok'ra apparently stopped hiding and now have a city made of crystal skyscrapers. They are also fond of wearing toga-like clothing.
  • The inner Alliance worlds of Firefly are Crystal Spires and Costume Straight From The British Regency for the rich, and a very Used Future below.
  • In an episode of Red Dwarf where the lads got split up into a good and an evil part, the good version was portrayed like this.
  • In the Blackadder special "Back and Forth," Blackadder visits a future world that matches this trope.
  • The Australian kids' TV show The Girl From Tomorrow featured a future like this.
  • The Altrusian Civilization from the original Land of the Lost.
  • Wonder Woman: All the immortal amazons from Paradise Island use multicolor vaporous dresses and use bows and arrows even if they live in an Advanced Ancient Acropolis.
  • Atlantis in Hercules The Legendary Journeys.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Crops up in Warhammer 40,000 in the form of the Tau and Eldar. The more "enlightened" humans tend towards Crystal Spires And Power Armour. Also, in the Imperial Hive Cities, the aristocracy lives in total luxury and comfort - while everyone else gets the mind-crushing dystopia.
    • Eldar especially play this completely straight, right down to crystal spires and toga-like clothing. They used to play it even straighter before the Fall.
    • Prospero's capital Tizca, the pre-Heresy homeworld of the Thousand Sons fits the description practically to a T with its spires of glass and populace dressing in robes. The Sons are universally regarded as Warrior Scholars and are shown with a collective penchant for the fine arts, Ahriman himself an aspiring vintner. Tizca's libraries are the greatest collective repository of knowledge outside of Terra within the Imperium, and the living standards the population enjoys one of the highest. And then came the Space Wolves...
  • As usual, Atlantis in Mage: The Awakening is often shown as a crystal spire city. They even swear its name means "The Dragon Spire".
  • This is a well-established Aesthetic known as 'Crystal Future' in Genius The Transgression, for Geniuses who work towards this vision of the future. However, a lot of this use it sardonically these days, and it has a somewhat sinister reputation as it was popular with the Secret Masters of Lemuria before their demise.
  • High-clearance citizens live like this in Paranoia. The other 90-odd percent live in squalor.
  • The upper classes of the Third Imperium in Traveller. Even more so the Vilani of the First Imperium in the volume Interstellar Wars.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition, Eladrin cities in the Feywild have crystal spires.
  • The High First Age magitech-based society of Exalted perfectly fits this trope. There are even literal crystal spires in Chiaroscuro.

    Toys 
  • Metru Nui has shades of this in BIONICLE. (minus the togas, of course, as armoured cyborgs have no need for clothing). It's even lampshaded at one point, as a character walking through one of the districts notes how disturbingly clean everything is.

    Video Games 
  • The planet Le Marie Glennecia (AKA, Mariglenn, AKA "Eden") from Rogue Galaxy is almost literally this, featuring copious amounts of actual spires and togas, and to top it all off, possesses what is obviously extremely advanced technology. How advanced? Advanced enough to move their entire planet, intact, to a completely different galaxy, possibly a completely different universe, and surround it with a time stasis field. When they finally return to normal space, they spend 10,000 years waiting for the return of the return of Kisala. And all of this is completely inapparent just from looking at their stone-paved city streets or the pretty, ancient Greece-style masonry buildings. If the spires were crystalline, it would be a flawless literal example of this trope.
  • Final Fantasy X's Spira is this in spades. At least it was before Sin destroyed almost every major settlement (periodically terrorizing the small remaining ones too). The only major city left, Bevelle, is mainly experienced by the player via a few cut-scene at one point in the game, but its appearance fits the trope perfectly.
  • Xenogears has Solaris, which fits this to a T in reference to any other land based civilization.
    • Shevat fits this trope even better than Solaris. It is a Floating Continent full of immortal people who use elegant and completely invisible [[nanotechnology]] for everything. Solaris is not necessarily less technologically advanced, but their tech is much more obvious and awkward.
  • Xenosaga bleeds this in all three games. In this tropers OP, this series is the best example seen in any video game.
  • And for the Takahashi hat-trick, Xenoblade has this with the Floating Island Capital City Alcamoth.
  • Neo Arcadia in Mega Man Zero, complete with Doric columns. Actually a False Eden, while the inevitable resistance is on a Used Future level.
  • The City in Mirror's Edge is slowly being transformed into one. And it's rather unsettling. After crushing the intital opposition and resistance, the mayor created an environment that left everyone lethargic and complacent. If people had freedom, they wouldn't know what to do with it.
  • Galactic Civilizations 2, in the past. Only one character is shown, but he has a white robe and a staff.
  • Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri. Space elevators, matter transmitters and the like are built in a standard scifi fashion, but telepathy is eventually done in shrines and ascension to posthumanity apparently by monks.
  • The Aeon Illuminate of Supreme Commander was founded by a group of human colonists who landed on a planet already inhabited by an alien race that embraced this trope. The aliens were annihilated by nuclear and biological warfare on the party of humanity, but the remaining colonists adopted the aliens' religion and technology as their own. The Aeon universally wear robes, are lead by a Princess, use all manner of advanced and esoteric weapons (ranging from sonic weapons on low-end units to massive 'oblivion cannons', death rays mounted on flying aircraft carriers, and giant robots with death rays for heads and tractor beams for arms), and have a universal design philosophy of sleek, shiny, and silver with their vehicles and buildings.
  • Atlantis in the Ecco The Dolphin: Defender of the Future fits this trope (especially the crystal part), existing in a civilization around the year 3500 in which humans and dolphins coexist in harmony.
  • The nation of Esthar in Final Fantasy VIII, which is actually a gigantic (and initially invisible) city, is all crystal and glass tubes and antigravity technology. Even the people (save its president) wear ankle-length robes.
  • While the entire nation of the D'ni in the Myst series was - probably - bereft of togas, their technology and archaeology almost definitely falls into this situation. Plus, they sowed the seeds of their own destruction, and whatnot.
  • Subverted in EVE Online. The Crystal Boulevard in Caille on Gallente Prime is a region near the nexus of the city where every structure, and even the ground itself, is made out of specially nanofabricated crystal. Its actual purpose? A nigh-invulnerable command bunker in case of orbital bombardment. The only way to disable the planetary government and military command would be to pulverise the entire city so thoroughly that it would constitute an unconscionable war crime and throw galactic opinion overwhelmingly against the attackers.
  • Lemuria in Golden Sun II: The Lost Age. Togas, Greek Temples, and the whole thing, all powered by magic...er...Psynergy. This lost civilization even discovered immortality, only to realize that life got really, really boring after a few hundred years.
  • This is somewhat present in the elven architecture in World of Warcraft.
    • Night Elves have a lot of Greek-style columns and spires and their racial leader changed from a Stripperific warrior getup in War Craft III to a toga-ish dress.
    • Meanwhile, Blood Elves have even taller spires and crystals everywhere (although the crystals tend to have creepy looking evil eyes staring out from them) with magical doodads all over the place.
    • The Draenai seem to have embraced this as well, at least the crystal spires part, their buildings being crystalline inter-dimensional spaceships or something like that. They mostly dress like anyone else but their racial leader appears in a slightly toga-like robe.
    • The highborne night elves were a (evil) textbook example of this at their time, excepting the lack of council. Queen Azshara palace even has a runway and a platform made purely of magic glass
  • Chrono Trigger has the Kingdom of Zeal, which is located on a Floating Continent to boot. All its awesome crystalness and toganess is due to extracting energy from an otherworldly world-devourer.
    • Well, by the time you visit it, anyway. Zeal was originally run on solar power, but they switched to Lavos power because Queen Zeal told them they didn't need the Sun Stone anymore. In an optional sidequest, you can obtain the Sun Stone and use it to create Lucca's best weapon. Awesome power source, indeed!
  • The Metroid universe has the Chozo, an advanced race of terrestrial birds who eventually became so intelligent they developed telepathic abilities. After their technology reached its peak most of them chose to become space hippies, living in harmony with nature where they could seek greater spiritual enlightenment. Most of the ruins they left behind are made stone and what little advanced technology there is seems to be designed to blend in with the surroundings.
  • In Starcraft, the Protoss appear to have a Crystal Spires and Togas society, minus the togas right down to the togas, especially in the comics and parts of the manual. Of course, it gets obliterated by the Zerg.
  • Metal Arms: Glitch in the System, a game set on a planet where all the inhabitants are robots, has the equivalent with the underground-dwelling Morbots. The Droids and Mils on the surface seem to have conventional (if advanced) technology and architecture, with industrial and mechanical styling all built out of metal (duh), whereas the Morbot Region is all purple, white, and glowing, very sleek, and with bridges and doors that assemble or shift out of the way in little flying pieces, and Tron Lines everywhere.
  • Soul Calibur IV, When Siegfried defeats Nightmare, he sacrifices himself and using his sword, he plunges the world into a utopian society literally covered in crystal.
    • It's implied however, that this 'utopia' is achieved through everyone on the planet dying to prevent war and suffering.
  • The Lunar Capital in Touhou is a Japanese flavored version of this trope.
  • Played literally with Hallifax in the MUD Lusternia, a floating crystal city held aloft by Aeromancy. Interesting in that the denizens are also made of crystal.
  • Phantasy Star II has elements of this in its mix of Ghibli Hills and tower architecture on Mota; it's stated in the manual that Palm is a full-blown version at this point (but you never go there). In Phantasy Star IV, Rykros runs on this aesthetic.
  • Diablo III has the High Heavens where the hooded angels are living. So beautiful and awe inspiring until Diablo came in and made it into a nightmarish ground.
  • The Polaris from Escape Velocity: Nova fit this trope well. Their technology, which is head and shoulders above the rest of the galaxy, allows them to create serene, idyllic worlds to match their culture, even on planets specializing in industries like mining and manufacturing.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy pokes fun at this at a history museum, where a shiny, utopian city is presented as an ancient Ireland before whiskey was invented.
  • The Nibblonians in Futurama did use jumpsuits and conventional tech, but their leaders had impressive robes and monoliths.
    • There is also humanity's more advanced descendants in the year 5 million, as opposed to their stupid, vicious counterparts that live underground.
    • During the time slip while Fry is frozen in the first episode, we see New York being rebuilt as a more Classical-looking city after being destroyed. Then it is destroyed again.
  • New Olympus in Gargoyles has elements of this. The togas were justified though, since this was the island were all the Greek mythical creatures lived, apparently having borrowed the style of clothes from their neighbors the Romans.
    • Ancient Greek clothing can be seen as the forerunners to the Roman styles. (The Romans borrowed a fair amount from Greece.) New Olympus can be seen as sporting the latest fashions that they knew of.
  • The entire planet of Galaluna from Sym-Bionic Titan is a medieval version of this.
  • The Crystal Empire in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has this feel (minus the togas), since it has a partially Greco-Roman theming, and the city itself definitely has the crystalline buildings down pat.
    • This is actually a brilliant use of this trope, as Equestria as a whole seems to have a late 1800's type decor and level of technology, while the Crystal Empire has been sealed away for over a thousand years and hasn't changed since then.
  • In The Legend of Korra, Zaofu technically lacks togas (being Far East inspired), and the spires are metal instead of crystal. However, the metallic spires give the same general effect as crystal ones, and the culture completely fits the style; a peaceful, independent city-state built as a haven for artists and repentant criminals.

    Real Life 
  • Some Arab countries fit this trope, combining conservative values and dress codes with ludicrous wealth brought upon by vast oil fields.
  • The actual Ancient Greeks and Romans who partially inspired these aesthetics were absurdly technologically superior to the rest of the world at the time (except perhaps the comparably advanced Chinese). The Romans had floor heating and swimming pools when a lot of their contemporaries were still living in bronze-age style longhouses.
Chummy CommiesRomanticism Versus EnlightenmentDoing in the Wizard
The Cretaceous Is Always DoomedTime Travel TropesDelayed Ripple Effect
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