History of Civilisation
The history of civilisation on Macalgra is tied closely to the development of magic and technology alike. Humans were created at an undetermined point by Frugi, after the smiting of the first mortals set upon the world by Drewel. The gods have not deigned to provide mortals with a convenient timeline for their early history, but from communication with spirits and minor Divine scholars theorise that their migration out of Sura/Terrosea began around 60,000 RC. The Seneti scholar Wirvth Sutt compiled the most accepted map of human migration in 3014 YSB, based on over a decade of summoning Familiar to ask them of their memories of early humanity, and historical records already extant.
Mundane Age (7000-4000 RC)The early history of human was relatively static. Humanity lived as hunter-gathers for an exceptionally long period. By 7000 RC humans occupied every continent except Skug, but agricultural societies had begun to develop around 10,000 RC on Liang. The cultures of Terrosea independently developed agriculture around 7,000 RC but it was the arrival of magic that accelerated development. Magic of the early period, known as the Mundane Age, was extremely simple. Magic had to be performed by brute force and was relatively ineffective. One could light a flame or create water but mages did so without Spellwords, instead using sheer concentration and exceptionally large amounts of magic. This was facilitated by contracts with Familiar, after Anenky forged the first contract. Many early people worshiped Familiars and their companions as a result, and modern religions can often be traced to these origins. Cities began to develop on both Sura and Liang in the Mundane Age, such as the mythological city of Anen. Magic, limited as it was, allowed mankind to develop agriculture to the level required to sustain urban populations, and a magically gifted upper class developed in many regions.
The Spoken Age (4000-1500RC)The development of Spellwords in Liang around 4000 RC changed human civilisation forever. Who should be credited with the discovery is now lost, but the Spoken Age began in earnest once written language was developed. Originally created as a method of recording keeping for agricultural yields and other administrative purposes, the invention allowed Spellwords to be spread widely and accurately recorded. Spellwords catapulted human society forward into the bronze age and just as quickly into the iron age. The most significant development was the ability for mages to use the Forging Spell to create flames of significant enough heat to forge tin, and later iron. It also led to the development of complex agriculture and advanced architecture, both as a result of the iron technology, but also as Spellwords were discovered to assist in earthmoving and construction. The people of Liang entered this period far ahead of most of the world; the Wa'Senet gained the knowledge of Spellwords around 2400 RC when Liang traders brought it with them, and the Imilico of Lissimo's east coast did not achieve spellwords until 1000 RC, though they did so independently. Liang's development of the great sea faring barges, with mages providing constant wind to aid their travel, allowed them to open trade with the tribes of Okinochi and Tulan, eventually reaching to Terrosea and trading with coastal communities there. The first centralised state developed in Liang allowed the financing of these vast expeditions. The First Dynasty of Liang ruled over a golden age for their people from around 3000-1400 RC, bringing back exotic plants, materials and slaves from far flung areas. Sura adopted Spellwords with enthusiasm, and it saw the vast expansion of major cities. Agriculture, iron tools and monolithic architecture such as the Noldutt were developed alongside the pottery wheel and papyrus. The trade ships of Liang connected large parts of the world, and spread these magical and technological developments to most continents.
Intermediate Period (1500-1200 RC)The collapse of the First Dynasty of Liang, the Yekeen Kingdom and numerous other civilisations around 1500 YSB brought an end to this period of success abruptly. Scholars have debated the cause of the collapse endlessly, with theories ranging from a global drought to Divine intervention. However the most widely accepted theory today is the Iron Bubble Theory. The Iron Bubble Theory argues that the collapse was the result of the discovery and then spread of the Creation Spellword, allowing creation of metal out of pure magic, coinciding with a larger number of magically capable individuals. This lead to the collapse of value placed on materials such as gold and iron, and further, removed control of both magic and iron tools from the ruling dynasties of the period, who relied on control of mines and forges and being the only institutions large enough to produce iron weapons on any notable scale. Further, trade in iron was immediately rendered pointless when any location with enough mages could produce its own ores. In essence, bursting the bubble of the economy. The Creation Spellword also allowed any discontented group to arm its soldiers with iron weapons and armour, and combined with the sudden loss of economic monopoly by governments, this led to the collapse of most civilisations into a series of internal wars. The resulting anarchy led to a drop in global population and the cessation of trade routes, the splintering of major empires into a number of small groups, and the sacking of many cities. Senet'tu was nearly abandoned, but many cities were entirely destroyed. The Liang state fractured to a number of independent small towns, while civilisation on Sura returned to an agrarian, rural state.
Ryseum Age (1200-250 RC) and Surah Age (250 RC - 1400 YSB)The Ryseum Age followed the building of the city of Ryseum around 1200 YSB. This period of rebuilding probably began earlier in Liang, but records are often mythological in nature to support the Shen's claim of unbroken legitimacy. While urban living had never entirely ceased, it was taken up again on a far more widespread scale in the Ryseum Age. Magical development had remained relatively stagnant, and technology had changed little during the Intermediate Period. The Ryseum Period saw the development of better fired bricks, refined iron-forging, glass blowing, complex city planning and sanitation and a vast number of spellwords. The fall of Ryseum in 250 RC ended the age, but there is little indication this was an age on any global scale. Therefore scholars often count the Surah Age as the same period. Liang during this period resumed trade with nearby continents, but it had no motivation to trade as far afield as Sura - being able to acquire all it wanted from Okinochi, Lissimo and Tulan. The international trade of the Spoken Age would not be resumed for centuries more. In the Surah Age, the Suran Empire rose as the first true empire. It conquered the nations of Terrosea by 1300 YSB, developed concrete, window glass, and made large advances in irrigation and agricultural technology. In YSS 1355 the scholar Lin Xun created the Soul Theory, the first coherent explanation for the inheritance of magic. The Surah Age traditionally ends in 1400 YSB when Sura conquered its first oversees territory and began the Imperial Age of international conquest.
Imperial Age (1400 - 2000 YSB)Read more: History of Sura The Imperial Age was notably begun with the conquest of Bakieh in 1422 YSB. The Sura Empire entered into a vast program of conquest over the next centuries, and it was this need to govern a widespread empire divided by many oceans that led to one of the most critical inventions of the period. The steamship. Early steam pistons had been developed as mere curiosities, but the need to have a ship that did not rely on the winds or currents and was more efficient than past ships, drove the development of steamships. They replaced earlier intercontinental vessels which relied on mages to produce a constant wind to drive sails. The steamship of the earliest period used magical flames to heat water into steam, which was used to turn a paddlewheel. These ships were not exceptionally efficient, and so had a compliment of sails as well, but they allowed fast travel from Sura to Victellus where its new conquests were located. With the ability to now move large numbers of troops and resources at much higher speed, Sura set its eyes upon the far flung continents of Lissimo and Debenya. In 1485 it launched the first invasion of the city states of the Imilico kingdoms, and in 1502 it forced the chieftains of north Debenya to sign away their independence in the Subjugation of the Chiefs. The discovery of the Spell of Soul Sight in 1521 was one of the most significant developments of the period. It allowed almost perfect healing, reducing infant and childbirth-related mortality rates drastically and rendering battlefield deaths and work-related injuries negligible. The knowledge of the spell spread to most developed nations and led to a sudden population boom. World population doubled from estimated 70 million in 1500 YSB to 140 million by 1600 YSB.
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