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Classical Era: 1500 BCE-840 CEEdit
Maenomian Period: 1500-1150 BCEEdit
The rapid and marked rise of the Maenemoi ended the Archaic era and launched Solentia into a period of growth and prominence that would drive the course of the next 2000 years. The Meanemoi had taken on a level of advancement and sophistication by 1500 BCE that out-shinned all neighbors. Through trade and learning they had grown past the simple decentralized Anax system and had begun the development of genuine cities. Although the cities were ruled by Kings for this entire period, the wealth and prosperity of the upper classes drove the development of the Republics of the middle Classical Era. Civilization excelled to a point at which their ideas and knowledge imprinted itself on all Solentian culture and ideas. The Maenomian model of city-states was the status quo in most of the land by 1350, and the previous Urghu cultures were wiped away in the ensuing changes. Military might had partly to do with it, but colonization and the spread of ideas played a larger role in the permeation of these ideas across Solentia.
A major advancement of the Maenoman period was in literature. A number of the cities engaged in brilliant oratory and political spectacles that have been immortalized in their poetic oratory. Each line took the form of six measures, each one of which could have a long syllable followed by two short syllables or two long syllables in a row.
Maenomian Hexameter OratoryEdit
From the poet/statesman Halanu in 1345:
"Ἀλκυὶ μαῖτεσι νεισοὺς ἄλμενε ἀρχὰς αλμαῖσι
Παῖνης τεμν ἔτε ρεγύτι μαῖτελσυ ἐπὶ χώνδρο;"
"I have tried, men of Alman, to drive away, to rid (ourselves), of these cruel plagues
of Paenu yet cruelty has been locked deep away in our forgetful hearts."
Post-Maenomian Period: 1150-1100 BCEEdit
During the rise of Maenomian city-states, certain regions in Northern Nukeya developed a rival culture directly descendant from the nearly-forgotten Urghu. These peoples profited from the military knowledge of the Southern cities, but retained a more barbaric life-style. In 1500 BCE they swept South under the leadership of their brilliant leader Alkaias and overthrew the stability of the last 350 years. The Maenomians collectively united and fought against their ancient foes. But with the coming of war came the rapid political coalescence of the city-states around the powerful metropolei of Teshuen; something of a united Maenomian nation emerged after the first ten years of fighting. So powerful was this force that the invaders from Nukeya were beaten back and then invaded themselves. The region was subjected to heavy taxation and tributary obligations for the next 200 years.
Kalopian Period: 1100-957 BCEEdit
The United Maenomia did not last long after the conquest of Nukeya, but the age of city-states was over. After the alliance fell apart form bickering between the city-states, the great, renowed city of Kalops in Teshuen grew to such prominence that they began to absorb much of the former alliance during the next 100 years. And so by 1000 BCE, much of the cities in Teshuen, Shintawa, and Fuwan were under the dominance of Pelops. The military conquest modified the political system greatly. Pelops had transitioned to a republican government in 1140, and with the conquest of Southern Solentia, the Kings of old were overthrown and replaced with the respective local aristocrats and occasionally with popular assemblies. These revolutionary political ideas spread by Kalops would linger in Solentia until the present day. However, the Kalopians were unprepared and unskilled at managing an Empire. The combined unrest in the subject cities along with pressure from the Northern free states caused the Kalopian hegemony to collapse. However, in its place would rise a more permanent imperial presence.
A Foreign Observer Comments on the Kalopian HegemonyEdit
From the journal of Alcandrus of Kanjor, 1025 BCE: "The rise of Kalops in the recent era has been driven in part by the Republican policies of the conquerors and the appeal of these policies to the aristocrats in the other cities of Maenomia. It is not peculiar for cities to throw open their gates to the coming armies in hope that the Monarchs would be overthrown. In almost all cases, this will occur, and the nobility rules through a Republic centered around a Senate. In cities where the nobility are loyal to the Monarch, the conquerors will remove both parties and install a democratic government. Thus, the pressure is on the nobles to surrender, and, being powerful in this age of trade and commerce, the nobility often do succeed."
The First Republic: 953-510 BCEEdit
Although Kalops fell in 957, the political units of Solentia were no longer cities, but nations. The centuries of war and conflict brought about irrecoverable changes. Unity was felt on a national scale that surpasses cities. This concept of "Pan-Solentia" was of great prominence during this age. Between 957 and 953, Solentia was involved in a civil war that broke down between two sides: Kalops and the loyal regions, and a Grand Alliance of non-Kalopian powers. When Kalops was sacked by the Grand Alliance, Solentia unified under the leadership of a polity in Orame known as Rwerso. Here, the capital was chosen and a Republican system enacted. However, this was by no means an egalitarian state. Although most males were citizens of this new united, almost all power lay in the hands of the inhabitants of the several Rwersan cities. The other citizens would have to travel a great distance to cast their votes, and elections as well as referendums were somewhat irregular.
Society was rather restrictive and moral values during the early Republic centered around the family. The father (pater familias) had complete control over the members of his family. Marriage was in most cases mandated by elders at an early age and divorce was often forbidden. Lower class families would be employed on small farms or as trades-workers while the wealthy were involved in politics. The Senate (called at the time the "Geroula"), was the most influential body. It did not have any official powers, but it used its wealth and prestige to influence the elections of the magistrates and the drafting of legislation in the lower assemblies. The assemblies were open to all citizens, although the voting system was heavily skewed to favor the rich. The magistrates were varied, but the most prestigious and powerful were the "Pyhri," somewhat similar to co-presidents. The military was run by these men and they in turn took commands from the Geroula.
In any case, the longevity of the Republic was fundamentally limited because of the power of the army. By the later Republic, the military had attained such size and influence that it ultimately determined the rulers. The Senate became more or less defunct as the armies fought each other for the right to claim their general as ruler of Solentia. In 510 BCE, the General Arisophu, after years of civil war, defeated his enemies and was named "the son of the Deity" by the Senate and given de facto control over the entire working of government.
Epic Poetry of the First RepublicEdit
A translation of The Almaicon by Caeso, Book I lines 34-38, 712 BCE
"O the majestic bards of Illias, and how Almos longed for their pleasing songs,
But resolutely the Caeran deities stood forth from their silver thrones
And naming sudden veto once again, they parted with their grandson wronged.
The youthful prince aflame with need, and speaking forth in such longing tones
He made aloud his needing for this goal."
The First Empire: 510 BCE-256 CEEdit
With the ascension of Aristophu to such supreme power, the Republic was practically dead. However, in the following two centuries, known as the Pseudo-Republic, the Republican institutions would remain nominally active, but true power would rest in the hands of the leader, who was later known as the "Embratur," translating to "Emperor" or "Imperator." But in these 766 years that the Empire lasted, the culture, politics and society were not constant. In fact, the only political factor that unites this period is the un-interrupted blood lineage of the Emperors.
Historians break down this period into five sections: the Pseudo-Republican period, the Later Rwersan period, the Bieiran period, the Religious Wars, and the Later Empire or Dual Empire. All four of these sections will be explored at length:
The Pseudo-Republican period: 510-345 BCEEdit
As described earlier, the republican institutions were nominally active and defined the Empire at this time. The Embratur did not exist at this point, but instead the ruling man would as a rule occupy all offices of Pyhri and would be the Speaker of the Geroula. He in practice had complete power and the Republican offices were left in as a courtesy to the now disenfranchised Aristocracy. At the time, all government was strongly centered in Rwerso. A powerful bureaucracy concentrated power and culture in the city of Rwerso proper (the namesake of the region).
The religion was still the paganism that had existed for thousands of years before, and State-sponsored cults worshiped the State-gods. Family life also centered around religion and traditional values, as in the Republic. The same societal balances were in place as before, with little modification.
However, at the end of the Pseudo-Republic period, a number of crises emerged simultaneously: the northern provinces, never secure places, began to revolt. The plague ripped through the nation as well, decreasing the number of available troops and causing a secondary famine. With failing wars, famine, and the plague, the position of the rulers in Rwerso became tenuous. Several "pretenders" claimed the office of Pyhri and the Geroula began to compete with the generals over succession matters as the leaders died of plague or assassination. In 349, however, a young man by the name of Julyrios took power. He was of a singular intelligence and, after cleaning up the provinces, swept away all dissidents. In 345, he returned to Rwerso and assumed control of the Empire, but he never took the title of "Pyhri." Thus, by ignoring it, he abolished the last remnants of the Republic. In only a few generations, all of these offices would fall out of use except for the Geroula, which held even less power than before.
The Later Rwersan period: 345-3 BCEEdit
This development led to the use of the title "Embratur," which is the word for "high military commander" that eventually came to mean "Emperor." Since Julyrios had no official title, the name of his office came to take on the name of the highest office he held at the time, which was "high military commander." With the death of the republican offices and all traces of the old ways, other changes began to occur as well. First, society became looser. No longer were the State-religions respected and the Gods of old worshiped: new deities from the Wester borders trickled in through the armies and manifested itself in the form of the mystery cults. Second, the importance of the city of Rwerso as an administrative capital diminished with the growth in power of the Embratur. Where ever he would travel, his court would follow, and they became the new "administrative capital." In addition, the city's position in the North made is susceptible to invasions from the sea that were more and more frequent with the coming of the barbarian sea peoples in 290. From these developments came the final transition of the capital from Rwerso in the North to Bieirus in the West.
The Bieiran period: 3 BCE-90 CEEdit
The capital was now moved to the wealthy western province of Fuwan, from where the Embratur was more free to maneuver his resources and troops and protect the Empire's most precious cities. The Empire continued to move along a path towards greater opulence, indulgence, and arrogance. The taxes were heavy in the extreme and the State-deities were all but forgotten for the mysterious imports from the West. An observer from the Republic or even the Pseudo-Republic would not have recognized the culture or society, so greatly had it changed. But even further modifications were due. For in 31 CE, a militant religious revolution would change the Empire forever. In the Northern, impoverished city of Clyuol, a neighbor of the once-great Rwerso, a man named Artyanu was born. Through the first 30 years of his life, he grew to develop a belief in a pantheon of vengeful orthodox Gods who were displeased by the current State of affairs. When he was 34, Artyanu began to advocate what he called "a return to truth," known at the time as "Kailism." He gained followers in the disenfranchised, the old aristocrats, the growing number of poor, and those who needed to find an identity in this impersonal, heavily taxing Empire. Kailism returned to the ancient ways, the orthodoxies of the Republic and the old pantheon. However, it simplified this complex, convoluted system of gods and myths. With a clear-cut method for eternal pleasure in the afterlife, a solid moral foundation, and only 3 gods, Artyanu's movement gained momentum quickly.
In the neglected North, the Kailans quickly became an obvious threat to the Empire. In 86 CE, the Embratur Cersilian sent a force to put down what was now an open rebellion. But this only stroked the flames. With the support of the local noblemen and leaders, Artyanu defeated the Imperial troops in 90 CE and set off 41 years of war and chaos.
The Religious Wars: 90-131 CEEdit
As the war broadened and the battles raged, the nature of Kailism began to change as well. It became more radical in order to feed itself as its membership grew. The idea behind the movement was one of staunch conservatism, simplicity, kindness, and modesty. The gods eventually became wrapped into one idea of a "supreme deity" whose clear shape was not yet defined. Like Christianity, which had been spreading on the distant continent of Seleya, Kailism gave men an escape from the oppression of their everyday lives by focusing on the hereafter.
The military successes continued throughout the East. Everywhere, the downtrodden and angry lifted up their spears and rebelled. The Imperial government still had vast support in the prosperous west, and for some time the two sides were even. Yet, in the Kailan lands, there was no centralized order. Artyanu was in partial control, but his success was still in large part due to the help of the influential nobility. With a clear stalemate by 118, Artyanu feared that the movement would disintegrate, so he set about finding a new enemy: his former allies, the Aristocrats. He gave a famous speech in the ancient Senate hall in Rwerso, calling for the execution of all of the "decedent, mischievous sinners whose very name opposes the Gods." His words energized the resting armies, and soon, a massacre ensued. The wealthy were executed and their lands and wealth confiscated. Artyanu was now in undisputed control of the East.
He then set about planning an offensive. In 122, his forces crossed into Nukeya through a rugged mountainous pass where he would be least expected. Quickly, and without warning, he broke the stalemate and rampaged through the rich Imperial cities, taking their wealth as he went. He moved South and neared the ancient borders of Fuwan and the capital at Bieiran. The Embratur finally sent envoys to talk over peace agreements. Artyanu was not in the condition to refuse. Although he had crushed the Northern provinces, his troops were tired and worn; the mountain crossing and the stiff resistance made his victories only Pyrrhic. If he continued to have these short term victories, it would only be at his ultimate demise. And so he pretended to be reluctant, but in truth he gobbled up the peace agreements.
The Empire would be reunited, but with a new Kailan State-religion. In the East, in the city of Clyuol, he would reign as head of the religion while the Embratur in the West would have certain requirements: he had to ensure the the new Patriarch of Clyuol was satisfied with all policy decisions and had to supply him with a large sum of the treasury each year. And so in 131 CE, the victorious Artyanu marched into Clyuol a hero. He died shortly after, but he successor was already chosen and was crowned by the Embratur himself a year later.
The Dual Empire: 131-256Edit
The two rulers seemed to get along until 153, when a scandal erupted and the two capitals, as they were now known, ceased to communicate. In effect, there were now two Solentias: the Imperial West and the Kailan East. In name only the Patriarch of Clyuol was powerless and only in theory did the Embratur rule the East. The dual Empire existed with varying culture and societies. The West never had adopted their promised faith of Kailism, and retained the Western mystery cults and exotic indulgences. The East, on the other hand, was thoroughly Kailan. But by the end of the Classical era, the West was weak. With no unifying force other than the imperial iron fist, the cohesion of the Empire began to crumble under the increasing internal instability and external barbarian attacks. The East, on the other hand, grew only stronger. The barbarians would not attack the Kailan lands after a landmark deal hatched in 186 with the Patriarch, and with faith as an internal glue, the Kailan Theocracy was only growing more powerful and influential.
In 106, Barbarians aided with Kailan mercenaries sacked Rieian and installed an puppet Embratur. Over the next decades, the Empire would essentially be a barbarian kingdom run in name by the weak Embratur. But in 131, the Eastern Patriarch was discontent with the situation in the West; the barbarians had far too much influence, and with their poor management skills, they stood to loose the entire nation. And so an Army under the direct command of the Patriarch set march to Rieian. With little resistance, they took the West and deposed of the Embratur once and for all. The empire was now over in every sense; the imperial lineage was broken, never to be restored.
The First Theocracy and The Dark Ages: 256-840 CEEdit
With Solentia united under the theocrats, a new era was at hand. However, not much changed from before. The West was slowly integrated into the Kailan mindset, but this process was already occurring. The only technical change was that the Embraturship was abolished and the barbarians vanquished. The culture of the previous year simply furthered over time from that of before. Kailanism continued to change and vary, slowly becoming more codified and more monotheist. But in many ways, the religion also weakened. Various heresies popped up in this period and threatened the orthodox Patriarch in Clyuol. The Kingdom of the Deity, as it was known officially, was undergoing several structural difficulties: first the Patriarch was growing more and more dependent on the nobility for support; the religion became corrupted and edicts based more on business than on faith. Second, there was a general devolution of power to the country side and the petty nobles. Internal wars arose frequently over land disputes and no national army could be raised without a great deal of trouble, and the process often took several years. Thus, thirdly, the borders became less certain as heretical nobles carved out more land unopposed. By 400, there was virtually no centralized power left in the nation. The patriarch only had power in the city of Clyuol, and more often than not, even this privilege was lost to local dynasts.
Without any central authority, the nation spun into chaos. The last national army was called by the Patriarch in 390, and it disintegrated after only 5 months. Now, the definition of Solentia was less certain than ever before as barbarian tribes mixed with the lordships and feudal domains. Linguistic changes were also in the making. The Solentian dialects that were somewhat unified an mutually intelligible were mixed with various foreign tongues and local languages grew ever more prohibitive of national unity. There were over 600 years of these dark ages during which Solentia degraded to a mix of weak, divided, brutish feudal estates.
But in 800, a foreign force from the distant, uncharted Western Lands swept into Solentia without warning. First it began with raiding parties, but soon it grew into a great flood of foreign fighters. The tribes were under the unified leadership of the Kthalar, similar to an Emperor, who ruled over various Niroi, the Kings of the respective tribes. In only 30 years, they had swept far to the East, eating up the lands and establishing settled rule. Hundreds of thousands of them came, shattering the old ways and the feudal practices. But the Classical Era and the First Theocracy would end in 840, when the Kthalar Vagnerich II himself marched through the shattered gates of Clyuol and slew the last Patriarch, Huyrwaityu XXIV. And with the fall of the Patriarchy, the official power finally changed hands in theory as well as practice.
|History of Solentia Series|