The Republic of Nikea (/ripəblɪk ɘv nikeiə/ (Aeillan: /di:mokratia ton naikia/))
Δημοκρατία τον Ναϊκια
The Republic of Nikea is a prominent coastal Aeillan successor state centered on the Ilos River, and was formerly known as the Second City of the Empire. Nikea has been pushing for greater prominence among the Aeillan Successor States using its relatively potent military, its position, controlling the mouth of the Ilos in a bid to not only secure prominence, to secure the unification of Aeilla under their banner. The Republic of Nikea was recently founded with the death of the former Exarch Gaius Lucian Vatinius, and the instability of the resultant succession crisis. A group of merchants, lesser nobles, and craftspeople seized the opportunity provided by the chaos to demand increased power over the state, and with the mysterious death of numerous prominent family heads, the Exarchate was overthrown and a new Republic was established, promising some measure of political freedom for most of the citizen body of the Republic, and reinstating the ancient title of Proconsul to the Aeillan political landscape. The new republic promises to bring a new era of political equality to the people, however the old guard of the lesser nobility has stonewalled most of the more radical reforms, instead turning the republic into something of an aristocratic republic with most power in the senate concentrated in the hands of the merchants, and especially of the aristocracy. Still, the handpicked champion of the Mother of the Republic, Proconsula Theodora Victoria Laskaris is a reformer herself, and pushes strongly for a more egalitarian republican government.
Demography and Population
Nikea is densely settled with the bulk of the population living close to the River Ilos. According to the most recent tax records the Nikeans have there are about 4,281,000 people living in the Republic. It is a heavily urbanized state, as a result of the natural fertility of the land, which supports a very large population in a small amount of land, and periodic raids made by the Spathoi discouraging the spread of smaller towns, resulting in the clustering of people into tighter, more easily fortified urban centers. The rise of the mercantile class has further compounded this as the newly organized manufactories have resulted in many leaving the countryside and small towns for work in the cities. The City of Nikea is the Republic's largest city, with 115,700 people calling it home. Other major settlements in Nikea include Sisophonia with 37,700 residents, Iconia with 34,700, Napla with 18,100, Laestigon with 16,600, and Dalamitos with 8,000. Nikea is mostly settled along the river Ilos, and on the coast with the interior fairly sparsely populated by comparison. Despite this, even the interior is more densely settled than the far interior successor states, with a fair amount of sizable agricultural settlement. Nikea is predominantly human with Ilosi humans being predominant and a significant population of Sparthanoi Aeillans. Tyroi Aeillans are comparatively rare, with Gallacans being a larger ethnic minority. Of the populations of nonhumans Cyrenic Dwarves and Grecci Gnomes are the most common, though there is a significant population of Half-elves, often children of Feloran traders and native Nikean citizens. As a free Republic, Nikea has none of its population held in chains as slaves, though some criminals are forced to do hard labor as punishment for their crime.
Nikea is one the more middling Successor States in terms of territory controlling area of about 143,870 kilometers, taking about 6 days to cross on foot using the larger roads going west to east, or about 5 days of travel from north to south. It has relatively open frontiers with Spathos and with Korentis, which are as a result heavily fortified. Similarly its border with Syros is relatively open, though Nikea maintains friendly relations with Syros, and as a result that border is softer. To its south is the Yulan Ocean. Most of Nikea is dominated by the southern Ilos River watershed, which provides extremely good soil nutrients and keeps the ground watered. As a result almost the entire territory of Nikea is arable, and cultivated by the population. Nikea's climate is semi-humid, with seasonal storms rolling in from the Yulan Ocean providing most of the rainfall, and comparatively little precipitation outside the rainy season. Most of Nikea that isn't cultivated is fairly grassy with small forests in areas that have not been recently cultivated.
Apepsos maintains a large standing army with 18,600 professional Penandroi, who act as the primary ground based striking arm of the of the Republic. The Penandroi are well equipped with most at least possessing metal cuirasses, helmets, and modern weapons, including a large number of cannon and muskets and some better equipped even than that. Nikea does however suffer from a relative lack of cavalry as most of its horse population comes from working stock, poorly suited to the task of war. From the Penandroi, Nikea maintains a fairly extensive body, a half tagma (1,200) soldiers that serve as elite Hetairoi, including a large number of war mages and war priests, trained at the temple of Maretal, and the Schola Magos. In addition to the Penandroi, there are about 30,000 Akritae in Nikea who are semi-professional soldier-farmers. Usually tasked with guarding the frontier, policing the Republic, and occasionally launching minor raids into enemy territory, the Akritae are generally less well equipped than their professional counterparts, they usually have fairly light weapons and older style suits of light mail, Lorikon armor. They do however, possess a larger number of cavalry as the Akritae are more willing to use work horses for scouting and mobility, than the Penandroi. The Republic of Nikea maintains a large navy, larger than most other Aeillan Polei bar the Republic of Artenos. With a fleet of 86 ships, the Nikeans favor modern technology, and small fast ships, possessing a fairly large number of gun carracks, and gun caravels though the Drágo Nikos, a large war galley serves as the flag ship of the Nikean admiral, as well as a robust transport fleet. Nikea maintains a small force of marines relative to the size of its navy due in large part to the small number of galleys. The newly founded Republic has begun to process of nationalizing the personal guards of Nikean nobles and incorporating them as a more heavily armed, and better skilled gendarmerie to accompnay the Akritae, with some of the elite retainers into the Hetairoi as scouts, or as Evokatoi. However, this process is only in its earliest stages, with some noble houses resisting the seizure of their power.
Nikea is an advanced state by Galisean standards, with a professional mercantile class, a comparatively high percentage of its population engaged in activity other than agriculture, as well as being one of the first states in Galisea to embrace gunpowder weaponry on a wide scale. It also builds and maintains large scale engineering works with massive aqueducts, a highly developed road network. Thanks to trade from Felora, alternative rigging methods have enabled Nikean shipwrights to build ships far more advanced than their Gallacan, Hadar, or Meridan counterparts.
The official state religion of the Republic of Nikea is Pandroi, the traditional religion of the Aeillan peoples dating back to the fall of the Yuan-Ti. More specifically, Nikea has adopted Maretal, the Stormbringer as its patron deity. Most of the population, practices the Pandroi faith, though some populations, particularly those of nonhumans practice other faiths.
Nikea is actively attempting to expand its influence over its neighbors in an attempt to secure primacy over the Ilosi region and the Sparthanoi region of Aeilla, and in the longer term to reunite the Aeillan Empire under its banner. Nikea generally favors using its political clout, and the threat of force to expand its influence, though it does also seek partnerships with potentially friendly successor states. To that end it has established a protectorate over Syros, securing an alliance with Artenos as well as building an informal alliance with Thibaia and Salmis, the other free states in Aeilla. Additionally, the Republic, as one of its first major changes in foreign policy has begun to push for unification with Korentis to help secure the frontiers of Artenos (and possibly secure unification later). Conversely, the Republic of has cold relations with Apepsos, in a rivalry over hegemony on the Ilos which has formed an alliance with Spathos, Iskandris, and Polanis with the express purpose of containing Nikean ambitions. Outside of Aeilla, Nikea has built and maintained formal relations with only Qua'adar, Cyrenica, and Nabiu, though active trade linkes exist with large portions of Galisea, and to Felora and Leandris. Nikea is generally interested in breaking the Peptid monopoly on trade with Cyrenica, and has actively courted the Cyrus Rex for the power to do just that. Outside of this, Nikea has little ambition other than maintaining the status quo.
Agriculture & Industry
Despite showing early signs of transitioning to a different mode of production, Nikea is still predominantly agrarian, with the overwhelming majority of the population working in agriculture. This is however lower than many other parts of Aeilla and especially the wider world. In ER 315, the Exarchate created a system of enclosure to maximize the productivity of farmers, with fairly sizable plots of land given to families to grow crops for consumption, taxation, and exchange, to be accounted for in five year censuses by administrators. Successful farmers are generally given more land, if available to work, most often as joint tenants with members of the Akritae. The Republic has elected to continue this policy, as the efficient land use of the system has improved yields, and allowed the population to support one of the largest cities in Aeilla. Most non-agriculture workers engage in skilled trades, either producing goods, engaging in commerce or serving as administrators for the Nikean state. This class has steadily been growing, and is expected to grow more quickly as the Republic has begun to push for mercantilzation. These workers provide most of the crucially needed services to keep up the operation of the state. Above these are the soldier caste with the Akritae, Penandroi, and Hetairoi proving successively more professionalized military services. Lastly is the old aristocracy, which has lost a lot of power in recent years, but remains influential thanks to their wealth, they have a sizable influence in government, particularly in places where "the old guard" and its experience is more valuable then meeting the policy aims of the Senate. Nikea has, thanks to the acquisition of blueprints and experts, established a fair number of manufacturing centers in its urban areas. Primitive watermills, and windmills, and better organizing of skilled and semi-skilled craftspeople into formalized manufactories has resulted in the earliest stages of an industrial revolution. Though this has largely been for the benefit of the military (with manufactory produced armor, weapons and ships), the textile industry has begun to expand, as has the rise of semi-standardized tools for the purpose of producing more goods.
Trade & Transport
Most trade through Nikea is conducted by a semi-hereditary merchant class operating on well established trade routes. The largest and most important of these are the Ilos River trade route, and the maritime Guangdao to Erigan trade circuit which are both longstanding and highly important trade routes that form the backbone of trade in Aeilla, and in the latter case of the whole Galisean continent. Secondarily are the overland Polanis to Gallaca trade route and the trans-oceanic Feloran and Leadran trade routes with smaller intra-Aeillan trade routes rounding out the rest of Nikea's trade. In Nikean markets, one can find an unusually large number of manufactured goods in addition to the grain on exchange, mostly this comes in the form, pottery, smithied goods, and lower quality military cast off weapons. Some civil manufactories have provided textiles as well. Foreign goods command a high premium, with spices from Guangdao being particularly prized. Magic items can be found in Nikean markets though these are rare, and likely only made on commission for a large fee.
Nikea has put extensive effort in maintaining and building upon infrastructure constructed by the Empire, with its extensive Imperial road network fully intact, as well as most of the locks on its section of the Ilos. Most settlements of any significant size will at least have plumbing and water access, and the largest have such magical conveniences as streetlights, and magical wards. Daily life in Nikea, at least for the urban citizenry is filled with luxuries that would be completely unheard of in many other parts of the world.
EA 371, Independent ER 1
Imperial Denarios, Imperial Oros, Nikean Talent, Artenisian Talent
Official State Religion
Related Ranks & Titles