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Ascesian Empire (OWP v1)

Ascesian Empire
IMPERIVM ASCESIANVM

702-700 BCE–509
 

 


Flag

Location of Ascesian Empire
The Ascesian Empire at its greatest extent, circa 1 CE.
Hatched areas represent marches.
Capital Ascesi
Languages Ascesian
Religion Dordanic paganism, Senuminism then Jakarism
Government Elective Monarchy, Hereditary Monarchy
Dux
 •  c.700-673 BCE Sex. Sentius Aquilinus,
as Sextus I
 •  211-193 BCE Marcus VII
(last elected)
Imperator
 •  193-179 BCE Decimus XIV
(first hereditary)
 •  498-509 Sextus XXII
(last of united empire)
Legislature Concilium
Historical era Antiquity
 •  Imperial Crowning 702-700 BCE
 •  Decimine Massacre 193 BCE
 •  War of the Ballots 170-174
 •  Sack of Ascesi 492
 •  Partition 509
 •  Terminal demise 521 (death of Sextus XXII)
Area
 •  1 CE 12,000,000 km² (4,633,226 sq mi)
Population
 •  1 CE est. 85,000,000 
Template:NbspDensity 7.1 /km²  (18.3 /sq mi)
Currency Aureus, Denarius & smaller bronze coins

The Ascesian Empire (IMPERIVM ASCESIANVM) was a state that grew from a small Dordanic city founded in the late 11th century BCE to an empire that, at its apogee at the transition between the BCE and CE eras, controlled most of Ascesia and north-western Lestria. The empire formed gradually by conquest or peaceful absorbtions, starting with the military unification of the Dordanic sphere by the city-state of Ascesi (with its southern Dordanics allies) in the 9-8th centuries BCE. The Empire "official" foundation is set with the crowning of Rector Sextus Sentius Aquilinus as Dux Omnium Sabamiorum in 702-700 BCE.

The Ascesian Empire lasted approximately 1,200 years. Its history is subdivised by historians in three main periods, based on the government form existing at the time. The period from the empire's foundation to the Decimine Massacre in 193 BCE is known as the First Elective Empire. The period following the Decimine Massacre is known as the Hereditary or the Dynastic Empire and is further subdivised in the Decimine Dynasty and the Quintine Dynasty; considered as the empire's apogee, it ended with the War of the Ballots (170-174 CE). The final period, lasting from 174 to 509 is known as the Second Elective Empire. It is during this latter period that economic difficulties, internal strifes and external pressure initiated during the Dynastic Empire would eventually result in the empire's partition in 509 CE, with the secession of the Western Ascesian Empire and rapid decline of the remaining eastern part. After a two centuries hiatus, imperial authority would be restored in Eastern Ascesia in the form of the Armandian Empire.

It is known as the largest contiguous empire to have ever existed on Arden and had a deep influence on world history, leaving a considerable technical, linguistic, cultural and religious legacy that can be found not only in former imperial territories but also in distant regions such as the Seranias or Ereana.

Government

First Elective Empire

The government structure of the First Elective Empire forms the "generic" Ascesian governmental structure, based on the earlier Dordanic-style government and subsequently altered or, partially, restored during later periods.

Dux

The Dux (leader), officially the Dux Omnium Sabamiorum, was the empire's head of state and head of government. The highest magistrate, he was the sole recipient of executive power, tasked with enacting laws, maintain civil order, answer petitions and oversee the whole imperial administration. To do so, the Dux had a wide authority over the state apparatus and was responsible, directly or indirectly, for the appointement of numberous positions from the praefectus urbi to the quaestores.

The Dux was only theoriticaly subordinate only to the Concilium although their exact relationship varied depending on the Dux political capital. The Dux was elected for life by the Concilium.

Cancellarii

The Cancellarii (chancellors) were the advisors and ministers of the Dux, formimg the upper echelon of the civilian government. Only the (prime) cancellarius (prime chancellor) has a magistrate status; he was the Dux's official second-in-command and could act with the Dux authority when necessary. For example, if the Dux was out of Ascesi, the (prime) cancellarius was taking his duties over.

Cancellarii were freely appointed by the Dux, but for the (prime) cancellarius that had to be vouched for by the Concilium.

Concilium

The Concilium (council or assembly) was theoritically the most important organ of the Ascesian government. Members of the Concilium were elected by the citizens every 6 years (and were thus magistrates) or whenever the Concilium dismissed itself. While technically open to any Ascesian citizen, seats on the Concilium were typically occupied by aristocrats or members of the upper-classes as they were the only people having the necessary wealth to fun electoral campaign and popular public events. As the empire grew, popular and wealthy military men (the so-called military aristocracy) also became common within the ranks of the Concilium.

Under the auspices of separation of powers the Concilium was responsible for discussing and voting laws and other decrees, as well as electing the Dux and Imperator and approving candidates to the council of the (Supreme High) Praetores. The Concilium also could veto any decree taken by the civilian governemnt (the Dux or the Cancellarii) and, in the direst situation, could remove a Dux from his office. The Concilium also had the authority to appoint promagistrates if required and could receive judicial petitions that were refused by the (Supreme High) praetors.

The Concilium's exact share of power fluctuated considerably depending on individual circumstances. At times, weak duces were overshadowed by the Concilium. For example, the informal duomvirate of councillors Ap. Calpurnius Corvinus and Ti. Verginius Florus presided over the empire's affairs, completely puting aside Spurius IX between 303 and his death in 287 BCE. On the other hand, a strong dux could yield enough influence or gather enough supporters to have the Concilium follow most of its will. Imperators could also yield such influence, with the most famous example being Imperator D. Herennius Malleolus in the years preceding the Decimine Massacre.

Imperator

The Imperator Militum (Commander of the Soldiers) was the highest military officer in the empire. Elected by the Concilium for 6 years, the Imperator was a magistrate office and not an honorific such as the augustus or invictus titles. The Imperator was in charge of everything related to the empire's armies: while the supreme commanding officer, he also had to oversee the logistics that supported the army.

Judiciary

The empire's judiciary, one of the two pillars of the imperial administration, was functioning mostly independantly from the rest of the government. At the lowest level, judicial matters were handled by XXXX (judges) that were locally elected by free men, regardless of their citizenship (the distinction between free men and citizens became obsolote with the Decree of Naturalisation in 170). To be eligible, one had to prove his judicial qualifications by having attended an official law school (called the XXXX) and have commited no past offences. Local judges did not have a magistrate status until the Second Elective Empire.

Overseeing the local judges were Praetores (singular: praetor) and Censores (singular: censor); both had magistrate status. Praetores were judges elected by citizens (or appointed by higher judicial magistrates if the province did not have any citizens) overseeing an area within a province, serving as an appellate body. They worked in tandem with Censores, which were tasked with law enforcement, ensuring civil order and maintaing the census. Until the late 5th century BCE, censores were appointed by praetores but had to be vouched by the civilian governement (i.e. ultimately the Dux). After that, the position became elected by citizens (when possible), although the vouching process remained in order to verify the elected censor's qualifications.

In each province, (high) Praetores were responsible for the judiciary. Initially a body of several justices, the (high) praetorship was reformed in the 360s BCE to a position occupied by a single individual. In all cases, the magistrates were elected by citizens. Judgment by praetores could be appealed to the (high) praetor. (High) praetores were assisted by censores in the same fashion as praetores. Although province-level censores yielded much more authority than their regional-level subordinates, they did not have a differenciated title. Designation procedures were the same as regional-level censores.

Ultimately the judiciary was supervised in the whole empire by the (Supreme High) Praetores, a body of six justices that were the highest appellate court (barring a petition to the Concilium or the Dux). They also served as a supreme court for cases concerning imperial officials. The (Supreme High) praetores were elected by the combined body of the praetores and (high) praetores but before declaring onself as a candidate, one had to be vouched by the Concilium.

Dynastic Empire

Second Dynastic Empire

Imperial bureaucracy

Military

The Ascesian empire relied on its military a lot, for it allowed the conquest and control of territories and trade routes stretching over 7,000 km. As their Dordanic predecessors, the Ascesians were able fighters and came to dominate Ascesian warfare thanks to a number of innovations in military science and technology that gave them a significant advantage over their rivals for several centuries before the initial impetus dissolved in the empire's larger politico-economic decline.

However, constant expansionism and an ever expanding military was not without problems. Supporting the military's needs remained a constant problem for the imperial government and the military yielded more and more political influence with each generation, eventually playing an instrumental role in the establishement and stability of the Dynastic Empire.

Land armies

Dordanic traditions

Before the 7th century, the Ascesians fielded armies in line with the military tradition of the Dordanics, itself comprised into the greater military tradition of Eastern Ascesia and the western Medius-Messenic Basin. This "ancestors' way of war" as Ascesian historian XXX called it, was centred on the intensive use of heavy infantry. Heavily armoured soldiers would form compact formations and battles would essentially turn into a match to determine which side was able to move its formations quickly enough to disorganise and crush enemy formations.

The armoured soldiers formed the army's elite backbone but had to be supported by a large number of auxiliaries, including archers and cavalrymen. As manufacturing the heavy equipment for the armoured soldiers was expensive, both in money and manpower, auxiliaries were very lightly equipped; often they looked like nothing but peasants or city-dwellers yielding a bow, sword or spear. While the auxiliaries played first roles in some important battles and wars of the Dordanic times, the heavy armoured infantry remained the focus of all military action.

Traditional Dordanic warfare allowed Ascesi and its southern allies to complete the unification of the Dordanics people (barring the colonial cities west of the Sea of Marvet). However, it was only considerable military reforms that would allow, from the mid 7th century BCE onwards, conquering a continent-spanning empire.

Ascesian reforms

File:AscesianChainmail.jpg
Reproduction of 6th century BCE Ascesian chain mail

In the 680-670s BCE chain mail was introduced into the Ascesian army, leading to a fundamental change. Indeed, chain mail was considerably less expensive and time-consuming to manufacture than the Dordanic-style plate armours (although still more than leather armours). Initially, chain mail was intended for elite troops only; within a generation it was mass produced in quantities large enough to be handed to auxiliaries too. As a consequence, differences between heavy and light troops started to fade away so that by the 650s BCE, the Ascesian army was completely reorganised compared to traditional armies: medium and light infantry was the new system's core.

Chain mail-armoured soldiers formed the first pillar of the new Ascesian army. Clad in a hauberk made of iron, they were also protected by a helmet usually made of bronze (cheaper to produce) and a large wooden shield. Some units had their shields plated with copper, bronze or (rarely) iron. These basics virtually remained unchanged for the next 1,000 years, with details such as shields' size and helmets' design changing according to trends.

A similar trend happened with offensive weapons, which remained mostly consistent: a short stabbing sword and, depending on the soldier's unit, one short thrusting spear or two throwing javelins. At various times, units yielding longer slashing swords also existed; spear and javelin units nonetheless remained the focus.

The second pillar of the new Ascesian army was light infantry. Light infantrymen were usually equipped with leather armours and had smaller shields, sometimes none at all. Their offensive weaponry was more diverse, from range weapons such as bows or slings to close combat weapons such as short stabbing swords and maces.

Cavalry was similarly equipped, with led to a large harmonisation of the Ascesian army compared to its rivals. Consistent quality levels were also maintained during most of the empire's history, despite mass-production (mass-produced goods in antiquity were typically of lower quality than crafted goods). Only when the empire's economy went on a downward spiral after the second century CE, equipment quality became unconsistent.

File:Ascesian soldier1.jpg
An Ascesian soldier from the Oriental Peninsula Wars, early 4th century BCE

Finally, the third pillar of Ascesian military reform concerned tactics. Ascesian innovation consisted in bringing mobility to the battlefield. Traditional warfare required thightly packed formations to move as a single man to crush opposing formations, which could only be achieved with elaborated manoeuvres. In contrast, the Ascesians started to introduce in the late 600s a more "disorganised" combat style.

When facing ennemy formations, Ascesian units would stay packed together during early advances or when receiving a charge. However, when attacking an ennemy formation, Ascesian soldiers woul first throw their javelins en masse and then, taking advantage of their lighter equipment, perform a sudden formation break, swarming the ennemy under a mass of apparently disorganised attacks. Contrary to what lay observers could concluded, formation braking was actually precisely organised, choreographed by Ascesians soldiers and officers. It allowed stricking quickly at the ennemy's weak points.

Battlefield mobility was emphasised and Ascesians officers did not hesitate to retreat if that was in their advantage, only to come back one hour later from another direction. Cavalry was always used after "swarming", charging the disorganised ennemy in a compact formation. Cavalry was also used to protect the army's flanks when the ennemy was also using mobile tactics, which was common in Western Ascesia.

These new tactics remained deadly efficient until the middle of the Oriental Peninsula Wars (498-238 BCE). At this time, the Ascesians' eastern ennemies had started to adopt similar tactics, diminishing their efficiency. Post mid-4th century tactics moved back to a focus on formations battles; however the swarming tactic was not discarded and regularly used. It allowed some early success against the Enos in the second century CE, as they were not accustomed to it.

Supporting the army

The Ascesian army would have been nothing without the considerable logistics supporting it. Imperial bureaucracy was devoted to maintaining a well-equipped standing army in peace and providing all the necessary food and goods to larger armies in war. Manufacturing the equipment was expensive, but efficient tax collection coped for it. An administrative service was devoted solely to ensure constant bread supplies while in campaigns; bread was produced in large quantitites in the empire's core and transported, usually by sea, to the war theatre.

Soldiers also supplied themselves on the land when invading enemy territory. Similar practices on imperial territories during civil wars was a source of great condemnation by the administration and scholars but remained common as rebellious lords could not used the centralised state logistical system to support their forces.

Actually, providing the army with adequate supplies was, for most of the empire's history, a major political issue; shortages triggered revolts. The fall of the Decimine Dynasty in the early first century CE is the result of such a supplies failure (and wages issues); generals led by Q. Rufius Fimbria led a rebellion that eventually ousted the imperator and installed the Quintine Dynasty. Modern scholars have remarked that the funding required by the army was so great that it required constant expansionism to find new funding sources (by ransom, tribute, plunder and post-conquest taxation). This quest eventually doomed the empire when it could not strech further.

Navy

Provinces

Religion

Senuminism

Jakarism

Languages

Culture

Economy

Demography

History

Introduction

Unification of the Marvet Sea

The Oriental Peninsula Wars

The Decimine Dynasty

The Quintine Dynasty

Restoration of the elective empire & decline

The Enos invasion

Final years

Legacy

Thudean Empire (OWPv1)

Thudean Empire
File:Reiki thiudessi.PNG

175 BCE–363 CE

File:Bannerofthude.png
Imperial symbol

Motto
File:Thiudi himinis.png (Hath)
"People of Heaven"
File:Thude.png
Location of Thudean Empire
The Thudean Empire at its height, c. 100–200 CE. Hatched areas represent marches.
Capital Thude
Languages Hath
Religion Cult of the Infinite Sky, later Siriash
Government Monarchy
King
 •  175–151 BCE Kurth
 •  359-363 Vanric
Legislature The Gafurdy
Historical era Antiquity
 •  Coronation of Kurth 175 BCE
 •  Sack of Thude 363 CE
Currency Thas, Kane
Festung took over the remnants of the Thudean apparatus of state, but is not regarded as a true successor or continuation of the Empire.

The Thudean Empire (Hath: File:Reiki thiudessi.PNG, REIKI THIUDESSI) was a large empire in eastern Ereana characterised by its theocratic, monarchical, but highly devolved system of government and developed culture. Thudean culture holds a large influence on Ereanan culture to this day. The Empire evolved from the Thudean State, and the precise transition is generally marked by the coronation of Kurth as King of Thude by the Gafurdy. The term Reiki was used by Thudeans to refer to the section of the world under Thudean rule, and from this derives, among others, the Ausdruck word "reich".

The Thudean Empire nominally survived the Sack of Thude, and even after the Sack a rump government remained in operation in Thude, which would later become Festung. Many of the new states thrown up by the decline of Thude retained the Thudean system of government. However, it is generally accepted that Vanric was the final true King of Thude.

History

Thudean State

Main article: Thudean State

The Thudean Empire originated in the Thudean State, a council government which held authority over the city of Thude and the various outlying Thudean settlements. The origins of the Thudean State are unclear, but the earliest items which can be certainly attributed to the State date from the 8th century BCE. The State was controlled by a class of hereditary nobles who were represented in the governing council itself, the Gafurdy. The State did not have a formal leader, but had a unique interdependent system of government, with various offices exercising power in a system that became increasingly complex as time moved on. Over the centuries, according to the later imperial chroniclers, the Gafurdy became a symbol of privilege and tradition, and the Thudean citizens became increasingly dissatisfied with the nobility, who were absorbed in political intrigue. The sphere of influence of the Thudean State grew slowly as Thude, through its prosperity and trade connections, subsumed the settlements surrounding it, and settlers moved out from Thude to develop the agriculture of the region.

Foundation

The Thudean Empire was established in the 2nd century BCE almost single-handedly by an intensely popular and powerful leader, Kurth, whose meteoric rise is chronicled in several Thudean sources. Kurth, originally called Oswacor, was a foreign mercenary and skilled general who rose rapidly in popular esteem through his cunning manipulation of Thudean religion, superstition and the economic and military situation of the empire, which was then being ravaged by the Glari. Kurth eventually established himself as a god-king in late 175BCE, seizing power from the formerly-dominant Gafurdy and beginning the Thudean Empire. His own territorial expansions following this period were relatively small, but he consolidated many of the protectorates as centrally-administrated imperial lands and allowed later kings, particularly his son Sigeric, to create a genuine empire.

Empire at its peak

Decline and break-up

The Empire's eventual collapse was due to a number of factors. Its vast nature required it to be decentralised, and this trend increased over time so that by the end of the empire, most of the provinces were, at best, de facto tributary states rather than parts of a single body. Thude's military power was also compromised by the settlement and agriculturisation of the roaming bands it had previously relied on for military experience and the spread of its advanced technologies to surrounding peoples. Tensions between the culturally dominant, Sirian north and the south, which varied in religion, grew steadily after the conversion of Leodoric the Younger to Siriash. When the Haupts began to settle on the borders of the Empire, the Thudeants attempted to pacify them by giving them larger and larger grants of land, which worked for a period. However, growing tensions between the Haupts and Thude, alongside large-scale population growth amongst the Haupts, led to the Haupticisation of more and more of the northern empire and a series of sporadic wars which culminated in the Sack of Thude. Vanric, the last Thudeant, was killed, the House of Titian Emulation was sacked and most of the high-ranking Priors fled, effectively ending the Thudean Empire.

Although the province of Thude, Gahwaland and large sections of Bairgsland no longer existed as political bodies, Mahtsland, Stairsland, Randasland, Riqisland and Rei continued as self-administrating provinces for various lengths of time before being reestablished as kingdoms or breaking up into smaller entities. Many of these kings, and many later kings, claimed the title of Thudeant, but none were widely recognised. The Teatran Compact was established in Stairsland, creating a symbolic regency for the Thudeant, and for hundreds of years this body would compete with the reestablished Thudean Compact for local dominance.

Government

Thudeant

Main article: Thudeant

The Thudean Empire was ruled by the theoretically all-powerful King of Thude (the Thiudans, Ellicized as the Thudeant). The authority of the King derived directly from the godhood of Kurth, to whom were surrendered the powers of both the high priests and the leading councillors of the Thudean State. The King therefore united both religious and secular authority. Although in theory a direct line of descendants had been established by Kurth, often the succession was usurped by peripheral members of the royal family who were backed by the Thudean patricians. Kurth was later reinterpreted as Titiath pre-descension, making the Thudeant the incarnation of Titiath.

Gafurdy

Main article: Gafurdy

The Gafurdy were the ruling body of the Thudean State and retained some influence in the early empire despite Kurth stripping them of their official powers. In the early years of the empire they became completely ceremonial, but returned to power later on as noble interests became resurgent.

Viceroys

The large territorial expanse conquered by Thude made it impossible for the King and the city's authority to be exercised directly across the entire Empire. For this reason a Viceroy (Ragineis) was appointed to each province of the Empire outside of Thude itself, and the monarchical authority was delegated to them in that province. At a lower level, Governors (Kindins) were appointed in turn by the Viceroys to practice control over smaller territories. These positions were hereditary except where the Viceroy or Governor was removed directly by higher powers.

Military

Provinces and marches

The Thudean Empire, as a very large geographical power, relied on a decentralized system of government, where Viceroys controlled Provinces outside of Thude. The boundaries of these Provinces were often poorly defined, however, and still more the boundaries of the Empire itself. Viceroys appointed Governors to control areas of their Provinces which were under unchallenged Thudean rule, whereas military commanders ruled the fluid imperial border marches directly in the course of their campaigns. Some Provinces existed largely only in name, such as the island of Änderey, whose Viceroys lived on and supposedly governed from the Ereanan mainland.

The Provinces continuously recognized after c. 100 CE were, from north to south:

Of these, a significant portion of Bairgsland and Randaland existed only as border marches, and the northernmost parts of Stairsland. The two islands of Hweitshulms and Rei did not have a functional apparatus of government. The southern portion of the province of Thude had been reigned over by a de facto Viceroy since its acquisition but was never recognized as a separate Province.

Language

Main article: Hath language

By the time of the establishment of the Thudean Empire, Hath was the main language in Thude and this became the empire's official language. A general assumption is that many local languages continued to stay in use beside the official language, but written sources of those are very scarce.

The hypothesis that Hath, Haugenite and Sunnenska share a common ancestor language distinct from the northern Hauptish languages is known as the Hatho-Haugenite hypothesis. It is still unclear if Hath was a separate southeast Hauptish language branch, or a variation of the Område-Sunna language family.

In the centuries after the demise of the Thudean Empire, Hath completely disappeared, other than a handful of loanwords such as reich. This is unlike the Ascesian Empire of around the same time, where Ascesian evolved into individual languages, Hath has been replaced by other Hauptish languages.

Religion

Originally Hav mythology was the traditional religion of Thude, which was usurped by Kurth who established the Cult of the Infinite Sky on his coronation as Thudeant. In contrast to mainstream Hav at that time, which treated the Five Gods as equals, transforming the God of the air Loft into the God of the Skies (Guth Himmins) ruling over all the others. Thudeans aggressively spread this new interpretation throughout southeastern Ereana. Many historians see the Cult of the Infinite Sky as the main driving force behind the expansion of the empire, whwere the emperor served both as religious and worldly leader.

After the Thudean conquest of Stairsland in the 2nd century CE, a new religion called Siriash started spreading throughout the Thudean Empire. In 223 CE, the Viceroy of Stairsland, Holy Baldred, recognized as one of the first Erleuchtet, converted to Siriash, giving the religion a foothold in Thudean high society. After this event many progressive-minded Thudean nobles, who wished to break down the power of the institutional clergy, took on board the religion at least in name.

In 290, the King of Thude, Leodoric the Younger, converted to Siriash in an event that passed into Sirian legend. Leodoric had been in a tight political situation, and by his conversion he brought on board many of the regional imperial officers. In the struggle that followed between the clergy and conservative Thudean patricians, and the King, it was the King who ended victorious, and the Gafurdy counterapproved the King's recongition of Siriash as the Thudean state religion in 292.

Culture and economy