Uwkara Mo Ethnicity in Samthô | World Anvil
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Uwkara Mo

General introduction

The Uwkara Mo were the predecessors of the modern Madini people, who inhabit the Madini desert and steppe south of the Mukebahari Bay in eastern Erana. While nowadays the Madini people are divided into some city states and more rural clan lands, the Uwkara Mo used to rule a unified kingdom governed from a central capital, also called Uwkara Mo. The name of the people and their kingdom stems from their capital, which was called 'The Black City' with uwkara meaning 'black' and mo meaning 'city'. This name, however, is probably only an exonym used by a people once conquered and integrated into Uwkara Mo society.

It is unknown how the state eventually broke apart and even what became of the so called black city. Considering the name, it is probable, that it was positioned more to the east, where the dark granite mined from quarries in the Ipindi Mountains could have provided for a building material fitting to the monicker the city, the kingdom and its people were given.


Only rough estimates can be given considering the history of Uwkara Mo. The kingdom was most likely in existence for some centuries during the late Era of the Trees. While the capital and its ruins have vanished, some other remnants of settlements, buildings and infrastructure still stand testimony to Uwkara Mos former power. The ruins have in part become the basis of following political entities, like Kwane Sinaxe, a Madini city state that still uses the southern and eastern stretches of a Uwkara Mo fortification as its city wall.

One characteristic of Uwkara Mo craftsmenship, beside their dry stone architecture are their ceramics, which boast no extravagant paintings, glazes or other kinds of design, but are distinct in their shapes. Due to their coarse clay bodies, their ceramics where not fit to transport liquids like honey or oil. Instead the two main staples of Uwkara Mo export wheresalt, grain and grain products like grist. This seems unlikely nowadays as cultivation of grain in general is hard to impossible due to Madinis dry climate.


Uwkara Mo was ruled by a king, but the kingship was not hereditary. Rather several aristocratic families vyed for power, whenever a king died. Sometimes the same family could secure the throne for two or three generations, as indicated by some kings' lists which might be authentic or forgeries made by subsequent rulers of the kingdom. During the more stable phases of Uwkara Mo's history it was characterised by a strong drive to expansion. This made Uwkara Mo's area stretching out more or less from period to period, like the irregular swelling and retracting of an amoeba.

Attempts to reconstruct the rough history of the Uwkara Mo have been made by creating the so called Kings list of the Uwkara Mo. It is pieced together by a plethora of stone carvings from temples.

Albeit all seemingly problematic internal structures, the regular expansion of Uwkara Mo made its culture dissipate into all the area of what is now called Madini eventually, strengthening impulses given by prior expansions of power or giving new impulses from the also evolving core of the kingdom.

Uwkara Mo was not only active in the military sector, as indicated, but also promoted trade. While Madini used to be a lot more fertile and blessed with more regular rainfall during the time of Uwkara Mo's existence, it had always been a rather harsh and unpredictable area. The rivers existing in the past brought fresh, mineral soil from the mountains into the lowlands, but due to the huge amounts of sediments changed their flow regularly, even more than is the case in Andaperna nowadays. Thus trade had always been facilitated by vessels along the rivers and caravans crossing the land. Todays caravan culture of Madini probably originates in Uwkara Mo's established and most prevalent mode of transportation.

Beliefs, cult and festivities

From reliefs found in temple ruins of the Uwkara Mo, we can see that people back in the day worshipped a similar pantheon of gods as the Madini people do nowadays. Although it cannot be said with certainty whether the gods were the same, some strong parallels can be drawn from Uwkara Mo depictions of gods and godesses and Madini sculpture. Temples always seem to be dedicated to one deity only with certain deities having cult centres in certain settlements. One connecting element seems to be the worship of a river god which might have been the main deity of the city of Uwkara Mo itself. Earlier relics from the area show more diverse appearances of river gods, but later on the design in wall paintings or carvings becomes more unified with the role model spreading out from the east, where the actual city of Uwkara Mo was supposed to be.

While the modern Madini people still worship a plethora of gods, Uwkara Mo monumental architecture has not survived into modern times. Some ruins still exist though and are not entirely buried in Madini's sands, giving a good impression of Uwkara Mo religious art and also revealing some information pertaining to Uwkara Mo's history.

International politics and outward contacts

Uwkara Mo was confined to the area between the Ipindi Mountains to the south and east and the Mukebahari Bay to the north. Distinctive Uwkara Mo architecture can be found as far west as the Paunis river. While Uwkara Mo's sphere of power might have reached further than that, this area is considered the more central part of the kingdom, at least when it was in one of its stronger phases. Not many finds hint at what other countries where in contact with Uwkara Mo. One notable exception is one of the few surviving stone carvings of the Asargam Empire, which mentions Uwkara Mo very clearly by its name, albeit in Asargam redition: Ukaara Mou. The stone carving deals with a contract regulating trade conducted by both parties in central Erana, the area that nowadays probably is the Confederation of Tarrabaenia.

Other that that the characteristic pottery vessels of Uwkara Mo can be found as far west as Tarrabaenia, underlining the mention of trade by Uwkara Mo in that area, but also to the south in Nuat Duinis Talou and Andaperna. Interestingly, though, no written sources from Andaperna exist, backing up the archeological finds. Uwkara Mo's surviving texts though clearly reference certain Andaperna rulers.

Sources and legacy

The Madini desert has long since swallowed a lot of the splendor that once must have been Uwkara Mo. Some ruins, either temples of administrative and palace buildings stick out of the deep sands here and there, giving shards of impressions, what Uwkara Mo's buildings must have looked like. Most of it becomes obvious not by the buildings itself, but rather by the stone carvings left on the walls surface. These often show stylised, but comprehensive views of monumental buildings and their surroundings. From this the question why no living quarters are ever found could be answered, as Uwkara Mo people used to live in straw huts with unfired mudbrick walls, all of which have long since deteriorated.

Administrative and palace buildings on the other hand were build of fired bricks further to the west and of stone from the Ipindi mountains to the east. The administrative and place buildings where artistically decorated with stone carvings showing other buildings, landscapes and sets of architecture. They represented real buildings and their surroundings, giving an impression of how Uwkara Mo settlements or religious sites were structured.

Another important source of Uwkara Mo's culture and history are temples. These are so far the only known carriers of Uwkara Mo written sources. Unfortunately the texts stay undeciphered for the most part. The Uwkara Mo did not develop their own script, but rather imported cuneiform writing from Andaperna, thus certain technical terms related to political figures and religious titles and rituals can be made out. These are accompanied by cuneiforms identical to those used in Andaperna, but containing meanings that make no sense, pointing at a phonetic value of the respective signs. So far the pronunciation of the parts around the technical terms stay a secret as does the entirety of the Uwkara Mo language.


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Oct 1, 2022 15:24

You have a lot of very good information here. The two main critiques that I would have is that your timeline is a bit hidden and that your article suffers from "wall of text."   The Sources and Legacy section has some wonderful tidbits that make one wonder, Why did most people live in such relatively temporary dwellings?   Why was there such an emphasis in art on a building's surroundings when one could step outside and see the same thing? How were the detailed carvings made?   You have an exemplary writing style, I think the inclusion of art and quotes/aloud boxes in columns to break up the text and ease reading would go a long way towards taking your articles from good to great.   All that said, this is a wonderfully constructed "lost" culture. Bravo.

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
Oct 20, 2022 20:39

Hey Panda,   sorry for replying only so late. Sorry about my formatting and style issues. I am very low on time at the moment, so carving out the culture was pretty much everything I got done. As always, this article needs some additions. I'm currently working on a supplementary article on an Uwkara Mo kings portrait + visualization (so much for the carvings) and - believe it or not - I have made two ceramic beakers to represent their material culture a bit. Those still have to get fired and photographed, but yeah ... working on fancy stuff in the background. XD I'll give you a holler when I finally get that done, presumably in December ... or ... Worldember. ^^   Cheers!

My world is Samthô - a 'as realistic as possible' fantasy-world, that's still in its childhood stage.
A current addition to Samthô is my contribution to the rivers ant waterways challenge: Paunis
Oct 21, 2022 21:09

Thats so awesome. I definitely understand time management, as I think most world-builders do. You did a great job and I am looking forward to the additions.

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.