The Armorta people inhabit south-west Victellus. Though an old cultural lineage, their modern evolution stems from over 1600 years under foreign rule. The Armorta culture developed along coast of Victellus bordering The Lihke strait, around 3500 years before the present time. Their city states thrived on a naval culture that has prospered until the present time. In the early 15th century, the Armorta were subjugated by the Suran Empire. The last of their cities, Bakieh, was conquered in 1422 YSB, beginning the Suran Imperial Age. They have persisted within the empire, though their culture has been changed by its influence.
HistoryThe Armorta settled upon the coasts of Victellus in the Ahel, as refugees from the Askear Empire's conquest of their homelands in Kerden, further north. The marshy lands they settled upon, subject to frequent summer flooding, provided a safe haven from the empire's interest - generally too difficult to access and too unproductive for Askear to have an interest in. They founded many cities, the greatest of which was Bakieh, settled around 700 RC. The Armorta culture developed in relative isolation for the next several centuries, with only occasional trade and communication with Askear or Senet'tu across the Lihke. The cities of the Ahel prospered on trade and easy movement by water, and the Armorta adopted a flourishing naval culture. Though a lack of ideal local trees hindered boat construction, the Armorta imported and domesticated Nemnak and constructed a watergate system to drain arable land for growth of both food and Nemnak for boat building. The floods in summer which inundated most of the marshes between cities allowed them to trade and move with relative ease over long distances, and repelled any raider or conqueror who considered encroaching. The Armorta's success peaked in the early 9th century, when they developed deep sea vessels and began to trade abroad, especially to the insular Wa'Senet people of Senet'tu. Their sale of goods unavailable in Senet'tu, such as the wood of the Nemnak, numerous semi-aquatic herbs, and pickled fish brought them fortune that helped the city states rise to unprecedented wealth. Their favourable trade with the Wa'Senet proved a great boon, when the Kibmehk dynasty conquered much of Terrosea, and gave the Armorta trading inroads to the continent as a whole. Bakieh, and the other cities of the Armorta, were ruled by a number of merchant princes during this period. Their focus on plying the trade routes of Terrosea made the Armorta almost universally known as the merchant people; not only trading their own goods, but using their advantageous ship technology to visit every port on Terrosea and Victellus. The Armorta maintained this success even after the fall of the empire of the Wa'Senet in the 13th century. However, their great wealth would attract the attention of the newly rising Sura Empire, and the Armorta's advantage at sea was quickly eroded, as other cultures on Terrosea and Victellus began to develop their own deep sea fleets. Senet'tu was conquered in the mid 14th century, and Nerto Agaptus united the rest of Terrosea under Suran control in the next ten years. The closure of Suran trade hit the Armorta people heavily, and they began to withdraw to their island cities, fortifying their remaining trade routes around Victellus, and their cities as well. These efforts proved only a delaying tactic, as the early 15th century bought the ire of Sura, and the Armorta were progressively conquered under the reigns of Culia Epimacha and Mattehk Salvius. Bakieh fell in 1422, the last Armorta city to be subjugated. The Armorta persisted under the Suran Empire over the following 1600 years, however their golden age of independence was behind them. Their culture remained relatively intact, thanks to the Suran policy of non-interference in local custom - though Suran efforts progressively supplanted Armortan religion with the Temple of the One and Six Gods.
ArchitectureThe Armorta, due to their island cities, developed a distinctive style of architecture featuring monumental facades and palace-platforms. Their marshy homeland is heavily prone to flooding, and Armortan cities are customarily surrounded by large areas of drained land inside earthen flood walls, where during spring the crops are grown. The flood gates are then opened in summer, filling the land - allowing naval access and bringing fertile silt for next seasons crops. Due to their low lying positions, usually on only half-solid islands, most Armorta cities are surrounded by earth ramparts and raised on earthen platforms to prevent the city proper flooding. These platforms are then walled, with Armortan walls famous for their impressive size and carvings of their winged gods. The interior of their cities surround a raised palace complex, which is built upon an earthen platform raised to the level of the roofs of other buildings in the city. This platform serves as a citadel, show of wealth, and evacuation center during occasions when floods breach the city walls. A long ramp leads to the gates of a second ring of walls, inside which the palace complex is located. These palaces are usually built with monumental facades, behind which the construction is clay brick. These palaces, and the outer gates, are often decorated with coloured glazed tiles, and statues of mythic figures. They combine royal residence, government office, military barracks and town depo - including within their walls almost all government functions. More modest homes outside of palace complexes traditionally have orange clay render, and square pillars are used to support balconies, which usually face the road. Roofs are constructed of clay tiles, usually coloured dark black or grey. An average home will include a receiving room, which also serves as the social hub of the home, where on extremely cold nights a fire may be lit to warm the home. Off this, the rest of the lower floor is usually occupied by a kitchen and a formal room for entertaining esteemed guests or family. Here, the family's books and best furniture may be located, and the man of the house may have a desk for handling the family finances and correspondence. The upper level is usually occupied by a single large living space, which includes pallets for sleeping, and numerous chests where food, clothes and essentials are stored.
Common Dress code
The Armorta traditional wear garments spun of Osa Ellu wool, sometimes used in conjunction with the yarn of the Npago plant, grown locally and especially used for summer garments. Fashion favours more conservative clothing than in Sura, and the most popular garment for both men and women is a thigh length tunic with short sleeves. On many occasions including during winter, formal occasions and among the elderly, a tasseled shawl is worn over the tunic; it is wrapped around the body twice and the excess folded over the shoulder. Men often wear this tightened with a cord around the waist. Some, especially among youth, adopt a more Wa'Senet style tunic, which is knee length and entirely sleeveless. Large hoop earrings are popular with women, as well as bracelets, rings and anklets. Men of status may wear a ring-like necklace, clasped at the back, and often styled as a vine or snake.
The Armorta have largely adopted Suran relationship customs. With Suran conquest, the Armorta progressively abandoned the institution of marriage and polyandry. Relationships today are far less formal, and may involve only two individuals or up to half a dozen. The upper class of Armortan society continues to maintain traditionally polyandry, especially among the remaining native merchant princes who maintained their position post-conquest. Historically, a very high percentage of the Armortan population was traditionally abroad trading at any one time, so they traditionally practiced polyandry, with woman expected to have at least two husbands; in this manner, children could be had and the estate managed while one husband was abroad trading, with the other remaining home. Usually, husbands would alternate terms abroad.