The Age of Reawakening (0 AC to 300 AC)
The Dawn of Civilization
The Age of Reawakening, is the term used in Sunar to signify the period in which mankind reemerged from the perceived dark age that was the Age of Loss. Achieving this, the ancestors to modern Sunarians gave up their formerly nomadic lifestyle and instead settled down along the banks of the Sun River, founding the first sedentary communities. This was made possible entirely because of an agricultural revolution that took root along the fertile banks of the mighty river. This revolution saw mankind discover the value of farming, and ultimately allowed the already growing population to reach new, never before seen numbers that made the birth of cities feasible.
AGRICULTURE IN SUNAR
The first crops grown by the early inhabitants of Sunar are thought to be wheat, or other grains, as well as lentils. Root vegetables, including yams, onion, garlic, and carrot, followed soon after. Domestication of certain animals advanced tremendously around this period as well, with cattle, pigs and sheep all likely falling under man's preview at this period in time. The horse would also be domesticated around this time, but not as a riding animal. Instead, horses were valued primarily as draft animals used for plowing or hauling. It is likely that in some specific areas, the animal was also slaughtered for its meat, though given the fact that this practice is almost unheard of in modern Sunar, it can be safely written off as lost custom, that no doubt disappeared around the time horses began to gain value as a riding animal.
All this was tenable thanks to the the Sun River's predictability, which flooded regularly, enriching the red soil of Sunar with silt collected upriver in Drumidia, and Emensis. As a result of this, the banks of the great river were then and still are one of the most fertile stretches of lands anywhere in the world. Despite the benefits regular flooding brought, it also came with severe drawbacks for the country. Early Sunarians relied heavily on the river for survival, and as such, any disparity, or alteration in the severity of its water level could spell disaster. When floodwaters rose to high, fields could be submerged, canals could be destroyed, and roads could be entirely washed away. Whole towns could even be enveloped and rendered uninhabitable if built too close to the river's edge. In contrast if a flood were missed, or below average, there existed the even greater risk of a famine. These disasters are uncommon though, and despite their severity, Sunar remains a remarkably stable and prosperous realm, that has benefited greatly from the assurance that the Sun River will always provide for its inhabitants.
URBANIZATION AND THE FIRST CITIES
The true catalyst that would mark the beginning of the Age of Reawakening, would be the arrival of large, urban communities in Central Sunar. This would not be a sudden development, but was rather a natural one that arose thanks to several centuries of stable population growth across the region as a whole. The first and most influential of these cities, would be the city of Urkadet, which sprang up along the banks of the river, and likely made its name known far afield for its mastery of pottery. While Urkadet exists as a ruin today, other cities of the period like Hecarmenu, Cuspoma and Anrudet still exist in the modern age, and are without a doubt some of the oldest inhabited cities in the world.
Central Sunar would be the birthplace of this development thanks to its warm, temperateness that differed from the tropical Sun Delta, and the more dry and arid climate of Upper Sunar. This would not stop cities from appearing in these areas, however, and within a hundred and fifty years, cities like Khusuru, Oparna, Tholan, Wajerna and Phernac, were springing up and thriving all across the three regions of Sunar.
THE BIRTH OF WARFARE
With the rise of populous city states, inter-city warfare underwent a dramatic change in this period, as older, tribal feuds grew into large conflicts involving hundreds, and eventually thousands, of combatants. Another change in this period would be the development of large fortifications such as walls and other earthworks, as such constructions served as a major obstacle that attacking armies needed to overcome, or circumvent if they wished to defeat a rival city.
Unable to properly breach such defenses and lacking the technological know-how to create siege weaponry, attacking armies were left with the option of encircling and starving out their enemy, however, this tactic included several of its own problems. For one, the extreme fertility of the region meant that more than one harvest could be collected annually. This meant that cities could often times maintain food stores capable of lasting several years if rationed. As a result, a siege was an incredibly time consuming affair that furthermore meant, that an attacker's manpower would be needed to remain abroad for significant periods of time, an impossibility when the attacker's own crops needed harvesting in tandem. Thus, sieges were rarely employed, with warfare instead adapting into a more ceremonial role in which rival cities met at an agreed upon location, away from their protected civilian bodies, to settle their disagreements.
As a result of this manner of conducting war, conflicts were often limited in scope and waged primarily between bordering states, over blood feuds, tribute, or the right to land. More like a brawl than a battle, engagements in this age, were largely symbolic in nature, with both sides agreeing to a set location, where their combat would cause minimal damage to either side's civilian body. Because of this, it was rare for one side to possess a geographic advantage, and an actual battle was usually set upon an open plain, wherein neither party had the upper hand.
Death as well, was highly unusual in this style of war, with the defeated side often being spared and given the chance to retreat under the condition their leaders submit to imposed terms. While it is not directly known for sure, it is likely that this mindset was employed out of a desire for such a mercy to be returned, should the current victor ever be on the receiving end of such a defeat. This style of conflict resolved the issue of unassailable settlements, and made it so disagreements could often times be resolved quickly, and with minimal casualties to both sides, making the collective city states of Sunar a highly prosperous civilization where entire generations were not squandered in war.
This entire system would be utterly shattered towards the end of the period, though, when the people of Phernac, in Upper Sunar, became the first masters of siege warfare, and began to show no mercy to those who dared challenge them on the field of battle.
The discovery of copper metallurgy predates the Age of Reawakening, with its origin likely arising some time in the final few centuries of the Age of Loss. It would not be until the growth of sedentary farming communities that the crafting of metal really became common or widespread practice, however, as nomadism prevented a more intensive forging process from developing.
Once copper was discovered and its value as a material was known, it quickly began to be accepted as the best across the three regions of Sunar, with coppersmiths springing up in every well to do town to ply their new trade. Copper tools were simply better than their stone or wooden predecessors, as their blades cut deeper and wore down far slower than anything that had come before. For this reason the new material quickly rose into the new norm, wherever it could be afforded. So great would the demand for copper be, that its presence would determine where and in who wealth ultimately resided. Cities with a nearby source of copper grew into behemoths of their day, growing incredibly rich by mastering the working of the metal to produce tools, art, weapons and more. Cities that lacked it, however, often had to make the bulk of their living off of less lucrative industries such as agriculture, fishing, or pottery.
It not known specifically when writing came to be invented, though it is strongly believed to have been sometime during the Age of Reawakening in the form of primitive hieroglyphics. Paper, or papyrus were not yet known by early man, and thus it is assumed the first writing was undertaken upon clay, or stone tablets by masons, engravers or artisans. These inscriptions would have likely been aesthetic in design with strong usages of symbolism being widespread throughout the hieroglyphs. There purpose, no doubt was to display myths or legends, depicting great leaders, epic feats, and religious motif. Most Sunic languages would ultimately develop their own written hieroglyphic form from this initial innovation that occurred in the Age of Reawakening, even though it itself is not well known and largely a mystery to man today.
City walls would be a major development in this era that would begin quite early in the form of simply wooden palisades and evolve over the centuries into dense, stone fortifications made of stone brick or slabs. This evolution would play a tremendous role on Sunarian warfare as the formation of thick stone defenses made assaulting a walled city an immensely costly task that was in nearly all cases avoided. Siege warfare was simply not yet an aspect of conflict; and thus an imposing, high, stone wall, was often enough to deter even the most determined of attackers.
These early walls were often about a meter thick, with the bulk of their mass being comprised of thick carefully cut stone boulders, or simpler brick like constructs that were impacted around a gravel or dirt filling. Simple by today's standards these primitive walls could often reach 9-12 feet in height, but lacked much of the later developments that would grant the defenders some offensive capabilities. Most walls lacked a walkway along their top for example, which made it difficult for defenders to shoot over, or down from the walls along its length. Instead the tops were often lined with wooden spikes, or jagged stones that would make scaling the fortifications a dangerous and difficult task. Wooden platforms or towers no doubt existed to allow some form of sight and fire power over the walls, however, next to nothing of these potential additions remain to this day.
City gates during this time appear to have also been sunk into the ground to disadvantage the attackers in an assault, even though full on assaults are thought to have rarely occurred. This design aspect lingers in smaller Sunarian settlements to this day, and has proven successful at combating an enemy battering ram, as the lower elevation makes transporting and swinging such a long wooden log or device difficult. There is also the fact that all the defenders would need to do would be to fill the pit on their side with dirt, rubble or debris to seriously hamper any form of attack through such an opening. For this reason ancient Sunarian cities were quite formidable and most conflict was determined on the field of battle where armies could fight to settle disagreements; without putting their family and community in serious danger.
History of Sunar
The Age of Reawakening
An example of ancient pottery recovered from the ruins at Urkadet
Remnants of what was once a city wall for the ancient city of Theren
Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild