The Aeillan Empire (/eilɪn ɘmpair/ (Aeillan: /bazɪleiu:m ton eiloi/))
Μπαζιλεουμ τον Εíλλοι
The Aeillan Empire, a unified political body that dominated the whole of the Aeillan Region and further beyond even, was the immediate predecessor to the current Aeillan political paradigm. Initially ruled as a principal state, the Empire slowly shifted towards a more dominate one as the nation was rocked by crisis throughout the Late Imperial. For many Aeillans, the reign of the Empire marks what many consider the peak of their civilization, and the following centuries of successor states infighting have seen the decline of Aeillan prominence on the world stage. Though the expansion of maritime Aeillan powers has functionally seen the reverse, at least for the more coastal mercantile successor states. The Aeillan Empire was one of the most developed states in the continent of Galisea with extensive urbanization, and a fostering of creative and engineering arts that was nearly unrivaled. It was however quite a militaristic society with much of the High Imperial marked by wars of expansion, and the Late Imperial marked by a grind of civil infighting, as well as continuing the ancient Yulan-Tai tradition of slavery into the modern period. Indeed the strengthening of the military and its political influence is often cited as one of the reasons for the Empire's weakness during the years of crisis. The Aeillan Empire was eventually destroyed by the twin catastrophes of the Feloran Invasionary Period, and in particular, the Aeillan Succession Wars. These two conflicts lead to the breaking of the Imperial dynasty, administrative apparatus, and infrastructure necessary to keep the whole of the nation running. After the Succession War sundered the ties between the regional governors, and sowed distrust in one another, the Empire broke up into a series of successor states, which manage the region in the Post-Imperial Period. Still cultural ties between the Aeillan successors are strong, and many seek to restore the Empire, or at least a unified Aeillan state.
The Aeillan Empire was largely responsible for the creation of modern Aeillan culture, with a lot of the central values of the modern culture being developed by the Imperial citizens during the High Imperial Period and Late Imperial Period. Particularly, as the Empire steadily expanded, the formerly insular Aeillan culture was forced to come into contact with other foreign nations, and as a result, adopted a more outward and cosmopolitan outlook. Traditionally, Aeillan culture favored sport, and theatre as sources of entertainment, particularly during religious festivals, though Cyrenic music did arrive to the Empire, and eventually evolve into its own genres. Though the Common pidgin had not fully developed at that time, Aeillans contributed, along with Hadar peoples to the initial formation of the pidgin, with later Feloran, Leandran, Gallacan, and northern contributions eventually rounding out the modern conception of the Common pidgin language. Aeillan culture has, historically, favored of strong families, generally headed by a senior patriarch, or more rarely a senior matriarch with near absolute authority in matters of the family. The head of the family was in charge of the house purse, though this is often delegated to their spouse, and arranging marriages for the younger members of the family, rarely, family heads even have control of which extramarital lovers were allowed to pursue family members, and whom family members are allowed to pursue. Family honor, and the standing of the family name was extremely important and those that act dishonorably, and especially criminally are quickly disowned by their families, and effectively severed from a functional life in Aeillan society. The Imperial tradition fostered the development of mosaic and sculpture as the core artforms of the Empire, and its chief form of propaganda. It was also during the Imperial Period that the theater culture of the peoples of the Tyros River, and especially the Polanii tradition spread out from the Tyros River valley and into the whole of the Aeillan Empire. Aeilla did have something of a musical boom during the High Imperial as foreign instruments and players flooded into the region from outside, though with the Late Imperial Period this trend went into decline. This musical influx incorporated many instruments, particularly those from Qua'adar and Gallaca into Aeillan ensembles, and fostered the creation of the more modern, rythmic, Aeillan music.
The History of the Aeillan Empire is divided into two distinctive eras, the High and Late Imperial Periods, with the rule of the late Ilosi Republic serving as a defacto Early Imperial Period.
High ImperialDuring the High Imperial Period, the Aeillan Empire was in a long-standing expansionary phase, taking the success of the Ilosi Republic, and pushing further. In the early years of the High Imperial, the Aeillan Empire captured the lands west of the Spathos River, incorporating the last major holdouts from earlier expansion into the traditional lands of the Aeillan people into the Empire, as well as seizing all of the land west and south of the Odric Mountains for the Empire, and securing its borders. During this time, the economic prosperity of the Imperial Center was slowly spread throughout the rest of the adjacent territories, and the culture of the Empire flourished as, unified, the Aeillan cultural groups began to share their expressions with the other, creating a truly united melting pot culture. In the latter days of the High Imperial, the Aeillan Empire expanded into frontier territories and lands not traditionally considered part of the Aeillan culture. Outposts were established in the Terruk Steppes, Hadar settlements bordering Aeilla were captured, and much of what would become Gallaca was seized by the Empire, later being formed into the tributary Kingdom of Gallaca. The rapid expansion of prosperity and cultural flowering had stabilized into generally safe and careful administration of extant conquests and the occasional influx of gold and slaves as a result of military excursions into the neighboring territories. Emphasis was placed on conserving past gains than further expansion. Frustrations in the military would arise during this period, as often pay was supplemented by the looting and slave sales that came with wars of conquest.
Late ImperialStarting with the Plague of Valerian in EA 271, the Aeillan Empire was locked into a relatively consistent cycle of decline, crisis, and stabilization with a number of minor calamities and civil insurrections destabilizing the Empire. This would be followed by a major crisis causing an overhaul in the administration of the Empire, and the resultant changes restabilizing the Empire, if in a slightly weakened state. The status of the Emperor as first among equals proved particularly dangerous as several influential Consuls attempting to seize power for themselves or break away from the Empire dramatically weakened the ruling authority of the central Empire. The military too became politically involved, often aiding regional governors, the Senate, or even their generals in assassinating the ruling Emperor in exchange for offers of better pay. The largest crisis, known as the Fifty years of Crisis resulted in multiple breakaway states, and a constant grind of civil war as a series of weak Imperial rulers, seized power during coups and assassinations only to be removed themselves. This finally came to an end when Sx. Hadriana Rauros seized power via a coup with the near-total backing of the military before launching an ambitious series of administrative reforms that dramatically weakened the power of traditional Consuls, expanded the power of the regnant monarch, and turned over regional governance to military governors, who reported directly to the Imperial Monarch, and helped organize a defense against growing foreign incursions into Imperial territory. Imperial coinage was reformed, with the relatively limited gold supply and Imperial Oros being supplemented by the silver Denarios, stabilizing the economy after administrative reforms saw the tax code overhauled. The military reforms also shifted much of the burden for paying the military onto local governments with several Tourmae of the Imperial Army made into Akritae, who were paid by Exarchates primarily, with only the land payments coming from the central government. The last years of the Empire were practically defined by the Feloran Invasions in which Elves from the Feloran Empire launched a massive invasion of Galisea, seizing much of the coastal territory of the Aeillan Empire, and dramatically upsetting the traditional Imperial power base. The Feloran Invasions, lasting almost a century with three major distinctive wars fought during the period resulted in the near-collapse of the Empire, though the Felorans were driven off the continent during and shortly after the Drowning of Antiokus. Several minor battles, periods of cold war, and raids were punctuated by a few major wars, culminating the Third Feloran War which saw the Felorans driven out, and their center of power, Antiokos destroyed by the Aeillans in a calamitous spell.
The Empire largely fell as a result of the Feloran Invasions. After the last Feloran outposts were destroyed the Empire launched a bloody purge of Elves from Aeilla's traditional homelands, which resulted in further upheaval. The Empire lasted only a single generation after the end of the Feloran invasions. After the death of Alexios III, a succession crisis sparked the Aeillan Succession War where the various Exarchs set upon each other, each vying for the title of Emperor, over the course of three years. The Exarchs of the Empire effectively destroyed much of administrative and political infrastructure that could effectively govern the whole of the region during the war, and the Empire fragmented into a series of successor states that fell largely along Exarchial lines.
Demography and Population
At its height, the Aeillan Empire boasted a, for the time, enormous population of roughly 27,151,000 residents. Included in this population were vast numbers of slaves and subject peoples who often performed most of the manual labor for the Empire, with most being nonhuman and especially non-Aeillan peoples subjected by the Empire during its wars of conquest or in large scale slave and looting raids that the Empire was capable of mounting. Throughout most of the Aeillan Empire's existence, there was an unspoken primacy of the Ilosi subgroup though this gradually fell away in favor of Aeillan unity. Towards the end of the Imperial period, growing political instability caused massive territory losses and the loss of population as well. The decades-long struggle with invading Felorans followed by a bloody purge of elven residents of the Empire dramatically reduced the population of the Aeillan Empire further, and by the time of the death of Emperor Alexios III Rauros, the Aeillan Empire possessed a drastically reduced population of a little over fifteen million. The Succession War saw enormous death and population flight reducing the population even further and by its end, only about thirteen million and a half people were living in formerly Imperial territory.
At its height, the Aeillan Empire possessed a territory of 2,582,000 square kilometers in size, having expanded beyond traditional territories of the Aeillan people into Qua'adar, Indhara, and the Terruk steppes, as well as having multiple client states nearby. This included Gallaca, which is formed in the later Empire as its ability to control the territory declined. Political control over these areas waxed and waned throughout the Imperial Period, though a good sign of the level of control the Empire had over any particular territory was the level of infrastructural development a province had. The phrase "With the roads come the Tourmae" was a common expression during the period of Aeillan dominance. As the Empire stagnated, and especially shortly before and during the Feloran invasions, the Aeillan Empire lost much of its territory to invasion, rebellion, or oftentimes simple neglect. The only notable conquest made by the Empire was in its final capture of the territories long held by independent Grecci communities on its north-central borders. Felorans occupied a large portion of the Empire's coastal territory during the Feloran Wars. After the wars, Aeilla did reclaim a few of its lost provinces, though by the time of its collapse the Empire had largely been reduced to the traditional boundaries of Aeillan civilization.
The Aeillan Imperial Army was perhaps the largest in the world during its heyday, with anywhere from 150,000 to 300,000 soldiers serving during the High Imperial Period and with 22 Tourmae serving continuously throughout the whole of the High Imperial Period. Though it was not as strong a maritime power as many of its successors, the Empire did possess a strong navy of around 200 warships. Aeillan soldiers were generally quite heavily armored, for the time, with good scaled armor, helmets, and shields. Traditional Aeillan weapons included spears, swords, and javelins. There were often extensive archer auxiliaries in use by the Imperial Army, in much the same way as the Ilosi Republic or earlier states. The prominence of archery would grow heavily in the later Empire, especially as the Aeillans learned from their experiences with the Felorans who were peerless archers in their own right, and archers became the primary offensive infantry force in Aeillan armies towards the end of the Feloran invasions. The Aeillan Empire maintained a large army even as the High Imperial Period came to an end and it fell into economic crisis and political turmoil. Indeed it is believed that maintaining a vast army was one of the key contributing factors towards the economic decline of the Empire during its later years. Shortly before the Feloran Invasion, the Empire subdivided its army into Penandroi and Akritae, a professional core force, and a less professional border guard force in order to expend less of the treasury to maintain the army, by exchanging pay for land for the Akritae, and serving to decentralize armament costs. By the time of the Succession War, there were 221,200 soldiers in Imperial service, with almost half of those being Akritae, and another quarter serving in the Imperial Navy.
The Aeillan Empire was one of the most technologically advanced states in Galisea, second only to Volgier and Cyrenic Dwarves, and peers of other Dwarven Kingdoms in Galisea. They possessed the technological knowledge necessary to sustain major infrastructural projects with aqueducts and roads being steadily constructed throughout the Imperial period, paused only by the Feloran Invasion, and then again by the Succession War afterward. Imperial technological developments generally came about through the advancement of metallurgical techniques, shipbuilding methods, and especially architecture. The development of magical techniques and magical literacy programs were a driver of and driven by this progression of technology. There was a slight decline in technical achievement during the early phases of the Late Imperial, though this trend was successfully reversed by Empress Kassandra Rauros who promoted learning as part of her administrative reorganizations.
The Aeillan Empire throughout its existence maintained Pandroi as its official state religion and promoted the spread of its faith throughout the whole of Southwest Galisea. Enforcement of this state religion changed over time with varying periods of peaceful integration and syncretism, and periods of violence and aggression campaigns of forced conversion and extermination which largely coincided with the rule of weak or particularly weak zealous Imperial rulers. Over time, however, the traditions of syncretism and peace of the gods generally won out over violent methods with the spread of the faith hastening in the final decades of Imperial rule.
The Aeillan Empire was generally hostile towards most neighboring states which resulted in frequent, though only rarely major wars with the disunited Hadar states to its east, and Namiearan Kingdom to its West, as well as launching frequent excursions into the Terruk steppes to raid, and sometimes even establish, admittedly short-lived outposts far to its north, particularly in North Huria. The Aeillans did have fairly stable relations with Cyrenica and did establish the Kingdom of Gallaca as a client, and a buffer state against other western states with which it maintained fairly positive relations. As the period of expansion came to an end, relations began to normalize with its neighbors. Towards the end of the Aeillan Imperial Period, Imperial foreign policy was almost entirely directed towards seeking help to fend off the increasingly savage attacks made by Feloran invaders, and to throw off their attempt at colonization. The Felorans having already attacked many of the Empire's neighbors, found few allies that could meaningfully assist. After the Felorean invasions came to an end, there was a brief attempt by the Empire to reassert regional hegemony, though it was much too weak to meaningfully project power, and imploded shortly after.
Trade & Transport
The Aeillan Empire, being home to three major waterways and situated close to the coast had several major trade routes that crisscross the whole of the region. The largest two of these, the Ilos River Trade Route, and the maritime Qua'adar to Gallaca trade route formed the backbone of commerce in the Aeillan region, with other riverine routes serving as secondary though still enormously significant trade routes. Rounding it out, were overland routes into the Terruk Steppe, and intra-Aeillan circuits. The bulk of cargo transport was conducted over waters, especially over rivers, and along the coast, as indeed riverine routes are center to trade and transport in the Empire, even as the Imperial Road network expanded and developed, though the roads were a viable alternative for much of the High and Late Imperial Period.
The Aeillan Empire was deeply invested in building a well-developed network of infrastructure within its territory. In particular, the Empire built an extensive and well-maintained paved road network throughout most of its territory. As the High Imperial went on, yield management and water management infrastructure became more and more common with irrigation systems, aqueducts, and sewers being constructed. The Late Imperial, though generally seen as a time of decay did see a number of further, if inconsistent improvements, with the first streetlights being erected in important Aeillan cities, and with a handful of major projects, including the Great Wall, and the Peresté Isaurid, being started and completed in the Later Imperial Period.
EF 461 - EA 517
Basileium ton Aeilloi
Imperial Dekatos, Imperial Denarios, Imperial Oros
The Aeillan Imperial Senate
Official State Religion
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