I don’t have the game up, but on the religion screen (F3?), top left, there may be an option to adopt a religion as your state religion. Click on each religion’s tab to see if it’s an option.
Heh, I was worried about the same thing – because in both my last two games, my enemies built Ballistas like crazy. Which are plenty annoying, don’t get me wrong. But now that I think about it, in my first game (on Able), my enemies built mostly Spearmen.
Major grats! As you say, that’s no small feat in this game. I’m sure we’ll all get better at it, and maybe in a while we’ll all be asking Soren to make the hardest difficulties harder. But for now, anything over Strong is a big challenge for me.
I thought governors had to be from the family of the city they govern, but I could be wrong. Family opinion of you directly affects military performance: at one point in my most recent game, all my military units had a 10% penalty to strength (I think) because all three families were annoyed with me. (I was playing the Game of the Week, on Magnificent, and I was struggling to keep both families and foreign nations happy with me.) I eventually fixed it, but ouch. Also, if family opinion gets really bad, rebel units can spawn at the family’s cities: this happened to me too. Double ouch. I think family modifiers do scale with opinion, but I’m not sure. I thought I read somewhere about some interaction between luxuries and families; maybe just that you can buy off families with luxuries. Of course, family opinion affects events and such. And different families have different buffs and debuffs, as @FinnegansFather described. I’m sure I’m forgetting other synergies.