The Exarchate of Iskandris (/eksarkɪt ɘv ɪskandrɪs/ (Aeillan: eksarkɪt ton ɪskandrɪs))
Εξψαριτ τον Ιςκαντρις
The Exarchate of Iskandris is the capital and center of the Aeillan slave trade, as well as one of its chief raw material providers, thanks in large part to the Exarchate's position near the northern, and eastern frontiers of the Aeillan region. For a long time, this afforded Iskandris a preeminent position as one of the most powerful successor states in Aeilla despite its comparative economic weakness. As other successors develop their economies Iskandris has fallen into decline and has become increasingly hungry for experts to improve their economy to become less reliant on the slave trade. Iskandris is run as a Principate Exarchy with the monarch serving as the first citizen and as one of the presiding speakers of the Iskandrian Senate. The Senate is composed entirely of members of the aristocracy with the franchise over its selection similarly limited to the upper class and certain particularly wealthy merchants able to purchase favors from the government. Exarchs inherit succession through heredity and adoption is generally not allowed except under very specific circumstances. As a result of the restrictive rules for power and succession as well as mass discontentment from its large population of slaves results in massive political instability with dynasties changing once every 50-75 years on average with periods of particularly intensity seeing dynasties last less than one generation. Iskandris is frequently invaded by hostile neighbors contributing to the instability of its frontier. The Exarchate of Iskandris was founded from the remains of a series of nearby senatorial districts, during the reforms of the Empire. Exploiting the growing centralization of the empire, the first exarchs dramatically increased the slave trade in the region, making the state the slaver capital of the Empire. When the Aeillan Empire collapsed into the successor states, Iskandris was initially one of the most powerful states in the aftermath, claiming a near-monopoly on the slave trade. As the years have gone on, however, and more states have become free, or secured their own sources for enslaved persons, Iskandris has lost much of influence. It remains, however, the center of the largest and most influential slave market in the known world.
Demography and Population
Iskandris, in spite of having a constant influx of enslaved persons, has a fairly low, and fairly sparse population relative to the rest of Aeillan territory. According to the best available records, Iskandris has roughly 1,831,000 semi-permanent and permanent residents. Most of the population lives in the rural hinterlands particularly in small mining communities guarded by a modest military detachment, with a relatively minute (for an Aeillan successor state) urban population. Settlements are largely disconnected from each other, with the state serving as the primary maintainers of communication in the Exarchate. The largest settlement and capital of the Exarchate is Iskandris itself which has a semi-permanent population of 62,100 residents. Other major settlements include Telon with 37,200 residents, Thenei with 22,300, Recton with 13,200, and Bithon with 8,200. The population of Iskandris is widely dispersed with most of the population spread out over several pockets of concentration around either the river heads on the Exarchate's southeastern or southwestern frontiers or around major mines. Smaller settlements can be found near the Great Wall, though these towns are often much smaller than those in the more prime territory within the wider Exarchate. The population consists primarily of Tyroi and Ilosi Aeillan humans with smaller populations of Spartharoi Aeillans, and Hadar peoples. Non-humans include orcs, gnomes, halflings, aarakocra, kenku, and dwarves, though most of these populations are transient enslaved persons awaiting sale on the market, or otherwise enslaved by the locals. Slaves account for nearly half of the population, and almost a hundred thousand more enslaved persons in transit through the Exarchate on the way to slavers living in other successor states and foreign nations every year.
Iskandris is one of the larger Aeillan Successors with a vast territory of 172,000 square kilometers oriented relatively evenly. It would take roughly 6 days to cross the Exarchate on foot, using the larger safer roads. All of its frontiers are relatively open with only the Cyrenic Mountains, Indric Mountains, and the Nabri Plateau protecting the borders from Nabiu, Cyrenica, and Inhdara respectively. Its northern frontier is guarded by the Great Wall, an ancient construct that has safeguarded it from the nomadic peoples to the north. Its southern frontier is open and rather poorly guarded, allowing many to infiltrate the country and raid it. Iskandris is semi-arid with few storms making it as far as Iskandris and only light precipitation even during the wet season. Vast scrublands dominate the Exarchate, particularly away from the two riverine watersheds on its southern frontier. In unusually stormy years, this scrubland bursts to life with green, thanks in large part to the very fertile soil briefly, before returning to its natural state when the rains cease.
Iskandris lacks a cadre of Penandroi unlike many of its neighbors. This lack of a permanent professional military unit has resulted in Iskandris relying mostly on its semiprofessional Akritae of about 4800 and on mercenaries to carry out its political objectives, transporting slaves to and from the frontiers of the Exarchate and carrying out slaver raids into foreign territory. Stratelogi have historically been employed, but only sparingly as the state fears a slave uprising occurring in the even that most freemen are called away from the fields. Iskandrian Akritae are, theoretically semiprofessionals serving part-time as soldier-farmers. Functionally, however, Akritae in Iskandris are full-time police, border guards, and are frequently used to counter enemy raids, and more often put down slave rebellions. They are, however, lightly equipped with most possessing only Kavadion and light weapons, and are unsuited to fighting in open battle against a serious and well-equipped opponent. They are augmented by mercenaries, usually hired from Polanis who carry out the more intensive tasks required by Iskandris.
Iskandris is relatively underdeveloped in comparison to other successor states. As much of its northern frontier was considered far from the core, riverine regions of the Old Empire, and as a result, a lot of the convenience-based technology didn't make its way into Iskandris until nearly the end of the Imperial government, and much of the technology that was didn't survive five centuries of being raids, slave revolts, and open warfare. In the most recent years, Iskandris has been seeking out foreign experts, and often intelligent slaves to rapidly develop the core of its territory in order to keep up with the other major Aeillan population centers.
The official state religion of the Exarchate of Iskandris is Pandroi, the traditional religion of the Aeillan peoples dating back to the fall of the Yuan-Ti. More specifically, Iskandris has adopted Kategothea, the Divine Prosecutor, as its patron deity. Pandroi is enforced across the Exarchate with slaves and free peoples alike expected to perform the necessary sacrifices and punished for their transgressions. Similarly, open worship of Sion is actively repressed by Iskandris, with slaves practicing it given particularly harsh executions if they are caught.
Iskandris serves as a market hub for Aeillan slavers, and as a result relations with many Aeillan slaver states are necessarily positive, if only to make obtaining sentient property easier, and without the risk of sending their own troops on raids. Iskandris itself lacks the capacity to project meaningful power and instead relies on its alliances with Apepsos and Spathos to enforce its will in Aeilla. Iskandris has a marriage alliance with Polanis. Conversely, every free successor state is hostile to some degree against the Exarchate of Iskandris with Syros, in particular, invading the region every time it has troops to spare from the Spathoi and Peptid fronts. Nikea likewise frequently attacks Iskandris outright and routinely attacks Iskandrian ships that travel outside of the River Tyros. Artenos and Thibaia both are opposed to the Iskandrians, though don't frequently attack them as much. Relations with outside states ranges from fairly friendly in the case of Cyrenica and Qua'adar, to openly hostile in many of the places frequented by Iskandrian slave raiders, especially the various tribal groups of Leandris, and the Terruk-Mal (and before them the Huri and Aarumites), as well as anti-slavery states such as the Dotharan Alliance. Many other states are more willing, however, to take a payoff to look the other way when their subjects are abducted, and indeed the Terruk peoples to the north often give captives to Iskandrian slavers in exchange for access to the wider Aeillan marketplace.
Agriculture & Industry
Iskandris is primarily agrarian with almost 92% of its population living as farmers and herders. This generally results in enough food to meet the needs of Iskandris. Iskandris is, however, also well known for its extensive number of large mines extracting iron, silver, and other metals and stones vital for the needs of the general economy, and indeed keeping these mines in operation is part of Iskandris' geopolitical strategy to maintain its intensely horrific slaver society. Most of the economically productive manual labor is done by slaves, with free folk in menial tasks generally working at subsistence or barely above subsistence level. The Exarchate of Iskandris does have a robust mercantile class relying primarily on the sale of the raw materials and of enslaved persons with the most skilled crafts serving the needs of the local community and little else, and as a result luxury goods most often being imported by Iskandris rather than made locally. There are also a lot of people who seek out the profession of arms and find gainful employment keeping order in slave camps, guarding against liberation raids, and tracking down escapees. Educated people are a rare but valuable resource in keeping the machinery of state functioning with the aristocracy largely idle and non-contributive.
Trade & Transport
Trade is generally conducted overland or via the Tyros river with most of its trade being with immediate neighbors rather than to far-off exotic lands. Their trade over oceans is tightly restricted with most of the Coastal states outright hostile to the interests of Iskandris and merchant vessels routinely seized in order to prevent the Iskandrian state from selling slaves overseas, and foreign states often seizing Iskandrian transports on an anti-slavery basis, or to recapture person that had been abducted from their nations. Iskandrian marketplaces are, generally affairs intended for merchant to merchant trade with little in the way of trade to consumers. Most of the goods found on Iskandrian markets are raw materials, food, metals, stones, and other products that are to be turned around and manufactured into products that are sold to the general public. Smaller markets exist for goods to serve locals, farming and mining implements, pottery, and more rarely textiles and spices. Slaves are the most important commodity of Iskandris, enslaved people are brought in from all over the immediate area, or more rarely from overseas. Unlike many other successor states, Aeillans are not immune from Iskandrian slavers. They however are a minority with most captives being from traditional raiding provinces. The Terruk orcs sometimes provide more exotic captives from far afield thanks in large part to their own massive empire.
Iskandris has allowed most of its infrastructure to rot as a means of keeping its enslaved population isolated and therefore far easier to control. As a result, much of the Imperial Road infrastructure is degraded and only a few paved sections remain in the hinterlands. Closer to the core regions of the Exarchate, especially the capital, conditions are much improved, roads become higher quality and some of the more primitive plumbing systems are accessible to the general populace. Iskandris, in order to impress potential customers itself, was kept up to the Imperial standard with plumbing, well-managed roads, and streetlights. Other major settlements are not kept up to this living standard at the Imperial level but are markedly better than the conditions in the hinterlands.
EA 371, Independent ER 1
Head of State
Head of Government
Imperial Denarios, Imperial Oros, Peptid Dekatos, Polani Talent
The Iskandrian Senate
Official State Religion