The Athmesans rose to prominence about three and half thousand years ago, and their civilisation flourished for nearly a thousand years, before disaster struck. Most of what we know about them comes from archaelogical and historical study; we are fortunate that they left behind such lasting evidence of their existence. Not only did leave us such impressive physical structures, but many of their innovations and creations are still in use today, or paved the way for modern interpretations.
The city of Gran Riomar owes much of its existence to the people who once inhabited the place where the city now stands. From the ancient ziggurats which dominate the skyline, to the canal system which is the lifeblood of the city, the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the ancient Athmesans is evident everywhere.
Since the descent of The Needle there has been a huge increase in the number of scholars and scientists studying this ancient civilisation. It is hoped that they may lend some insight into the current situation the world is facing.
ZigguratsThese massive stone structures are by far the most enduring element of the Athmesan civilisation. While their defensive nature is quite well understood these days, there is still a great deal of mystery and debate surrounding the purpose of some of the chambers which have been found within. Whatever the theories surrounding the more esoteric elements of the Ancient Ziggurats there is no denying their defensive properties. The Athmesans were not a particularly warlike people and chose to turn their talents with stone crafting to build huge stone fortresses to keep themselves safe. By the time the Athmesan civilisation fell they had constructed five of these ziggurats, which would have been capable of housing most of their population in the event of a full scale attack.
It's hard to believe they were built over two thousand years ago, and yet we are still using them today, even if their purpose has changed over time.
While we are sure the chambers inside are designed to manipulate sound, we still have no idea what the people who built them were trying to acheive.
canals & sewersLiving in a delta valley, the Athmesans became highly skilled at controlling and utilising the waters of the river. They built a series of canals which carried water throughout the city and allowed them to redirect the worst of the seasonal floodings. Many parts of that canal system in are still in use today and we have simply expanded upon it as our city grows. Much as we do today, they also used the canals as a transport system, and were even able to get them to go uphill.Mirroring this waterway system underground, the Athmesans also built a crude sewer system which has been improved greatly by the current residents. While very little of the original stone work still exists, the modern sewer system, like the canal system, still follows the same basic design and layout.
The Athmesans are credited with the invention of the first canal locks. This clever device allowed their boats and other watercraft to travel between the diferent levels of the city, and the waterlifts of Gran Riomar are based off of this original principal
FarmingThese ingenious people were also responsible for several advancements in farming techniques. They developed several methods of irrigation, terrace and rooftop gardening, and proper crop rotation. The river delta was criss-crossed with raised farm beds, and orderly rows of strip-irrigated crops. They used small channels which fed off from the main canals to get water to the many gardens which dotted their city. This allowed them to grow trees which provided much needed shade in their hot and dry climate.
Hydro powerFrom the frescoes that adorn the internal walls of Eenwethe, the fifth ziggurat, we can see some of the other uses to which the Athmesans put the river. Water wheels were in common use for grinding grain and stone, and operating pulley and lift systems. We have also uncovered tablets, and some remarkably preserved scrolls, which seem to suggest they also used steam power. Water hydraulics were also used to open the large stone ziggurat doors, and raise and lower the bridges when larger cargo barges need to pass beneath.
MusicBelievers in the Universal Song, music played a big part in the Athmesan culture. Not only did they develop new musical instruments, but there is also evidence that they had a good understanding of sound dynamics and acoustics. This can be seen in both the artwork in the ziggurats, and the remains of some of the buildings, which seem to have been auditoriums.
Within the third ziggurat we found a stone tablet containing the oldest known example of musical annotation. After much study, we have been able to reproduce what we think this piece of music may have sounded like, and I must say, they had an incredible grasp of harmony.