Gatia - The Chosen of Heber Mar 20, 2019 19:12:28 GMT
Post by WildlingKing on Mar 20, 2019 19:12:28 GMT
Gatia – The Chosen of Heber
Valley of Gatia, located on the northern half of the peninsula of Herianos, is where the Herian culture begun to develop during the Lost Age. The Herian folklore tells that they were led there by the god Heber and had to conquer the land from cyclopes. However, some have doubted this story, suggesting instead that the Herian tribes migrated to the Valley of Gatia in waves over centuries between 3000 and 2000 BFK, driving the tribes who were there before to the Senian Coastland.
The first known written record of Herians comes from the Kyrian colonists of Pantia in early 17th century BFK. Kyrians described these early Herians as primitive and warlike, and mostly avoided contact with them. It was also during these times that the Herians begun to spread more and more north to Hermia and Mydan. However, Valley of Gatia still remained the heart of the Herian culture, arguably at least until around 1000 BFK when the Kingdom of Mydan begun to rise to prominence.
The Age of Collapse shook the Herian world, with the Kyrian Empire having fallen under the massive Hykyran raids. In the decades following the Fall of Kyria the Herian tribes of Gatia conquered Lakyria, Kyrea and Crenea. In the beginning of the Dark Age that followed the Age of Collapse the Valley of Gatia was engulfed in violent conflicts between its many Herian tribes. However, a warlord known as Henros the Chosen of Heber eventually emerged victorious from these wars, uniting Gatia under a single ruler for the first time in 108 AFK. King Henros was deified by the Gatians after his death, and it was prophesized that one day his descendant would rule over all the Herians.
King Henros was succeeded by his only son King Theodos the Stalwart (also known as ‘the Tyrant’ by Herians outside of Gatia), who reigned from 119 to 136 AFK. His reign was spent mostly in putting down rebellions against his rule in Gatia. It was a time that saw the future of Henros’ royal line hung in the balance several times, but Theodos was ruthless and thorough in his efforts to secure the rule of his family and subdue all the attempts to overthrow him. With these efforts he secured a stable foundation for the Kings of Gatia that came after him. King Theodos was succeeded by his eldest son King Henros II, who reigned from 136 to 160 AFK. He conquered Pantia and Perea, as well as begun the campaign to conquer Lakyria, but died before seeing it completed. King Henros II died without children and was thus succeeded by his younger brother King Eranos, who reigned from 160 to 171 AFK. Eranos spent most of his reign in Lakyria with his troops, taking the conquest his brother had started to its conclusion in 169 AFK.
King Eranos was succeeded by his eldest son King Theodos II (aka ‘the Trader’), who reigned from 171 to 195 AFK. Instead of conquest, Theodos concentrated his efforts to expanding Gatia’s trade with Orenae and the city-states of Kyrea. Theodos the Trader’s son and successor was King Henros III, who reigned from 195 to 228 AFK and is best known for conquering the lands of the Ete tribe in the southern Hermia between 198 and 202 AFK, killing and enslaving thousands of the Ete and driving the rest to exile. He was succeeded by his grandson, King Henros IV, who reigned from 228 to 263 AFK and is best known for conquering the island of Creia in 235 AFK.
During the 4th century AFK Gatia fought many bloody wars to conquer Crenea, these campaigns led by such famed kings as Timonos the Fierce, Henros V, Aratus the Avenger and Theodos IV. It was King Theodos IV who finally made the last of the Crenean city-states (Panaus) submit to the Gatian rule in 396 AFK.
During the early 5th century AFK the Gatians begun to make plans for conquering the Herian states to the north, still driven by the prophecy that a descendant of Henros the Chosen of Heber would one day rule all of the Herian world. Finally, in 437 AFK King Timonos II marched to Hermia with the objective to conquer the lands of the city-state of Orenae. However, by the year 444 AFK the Gatians hadn’t managed to make meaningful process or gained any significant victories over the Orenaeans, and due to civil unrest in Crenea they had to give up on the effort. For the rest of the 5th century AFK the Gatians were constantly occupied with fighting against widespread rebellions against their rule in Lakyria and Crenea. Especially King Henros VI, who reigned from 452 to 470 AFK, is best known for having spent practically his whole reign marching from one internal conflict to another, putting down a dozen rebellions in Lakyria and Crenea. He is remembered as Henros the Merciless, infamous for using brutal methods of punishment on traitors and rebels, especially towards the end of his reign.
Surprisingly, during the 6th century AFK the Kingdom of Gatia rarely attempted to conquer, the old prophecy having lost much of the influence it once had in Gatian politics. Instead the Gatian kings of the 6th century AFK concentrated on making reforms to the kingdom’s constitution, to secure its rule over the lands it had already conquered and to avoid the kind of civil unrest that had plagued them throughout the 5th century AFK. However, many of these reforms were tempered and held back by the very conservative Council of Elders which shares the legislative powers with the King. The most famous of these reformist rulers was King Nikolaos the Lawgiver, who reigned from 559 to 584 AFK. In his most important reform King Nikolaos gave the cities of Pantia, Lakyria and Crenea the right to choose their own archons, whereas before they had been governed by Gatian polemarchs.
Nikolaos’ successor was his second son King Potamon the Patient, who reigned from 584 to 615 AFK. Potamon concentrated his rule on reforming the Gatian military and raising a generation of warriors more disciplined and stronger than any that had come before, though he never got the opportunity to lead them to war himself. However, his son and successor King Timonos IV, who reigned from 615 to 635 AFK, led the Gatians to war against the Eteian League in 622 AFK. Timonos successfully occupied Hermia and Mydan, but the Eteians answered with devastating raids to Pantia, Lakyria and Crenea, forcing the Gatians to greatly reduce the resources and troops they were able to commit to the offensive front. It was a long and bloody war, ending only after King Timonos died in the Battle of Tesbi in the autumn of 635 AFK. Timonos’ first son King Nikolaos II then ascended to the throne, and begun his reign by making peace with the Eteian League in 636 AFK. King Nikolaos II was often encouraged by the Council of Elders to march against the Eteians again, but he refused them, stating every time that preparing to defend the Herian world against the Barvian threat was more important than seeking hegemony over it. And so the peace held in the Herian world, until in 651 AFK a great Barvian army led by Prince Artaman marched to invade it. Artaman conquered Noria and Serea, but as he tried to enter Mydan through the Pass of Pyrhyi, he was faced with the combined forces of the Kingdom of Gatia and the Eteian League. The Barvians were defeated and had to retreat to Noria. However, King Nikolaos died on the battlefield, which earned him the moniker of ‘the Hero’ in all the Herian world. He has now been succeeded by his son King Herondas, who is rumored to have ambitions to rule over all of the Herian world as the ancient prophecy promised.
Culture and Religion
All of the 12 major deities of the Herian pantheon are worshiped in Gatia, but by far the most important is Heber, the King of Gods and god of prophecy, wisdom and warfare. The Gatians herald themselves as the chosen people of Heber and believe their fates to be decided by him. The travelling priests of Heber are highly respected in the kingdom, but perhaps even more so the oracles of Heber are looked upon for guidance and counsel in all facets of Gatian life. Even the royal court in Iontos always has at least one resident oracle of Heber to give advice for the King and the Council of Elders. In general prophecies are a very central part of Gatian culture and religion, even more so than in the rest of the Herian world.
Another notable religious faction in Gatia is the Cult of Garas, which is more prominent there than anywhere else in the Herian world. Priests of Garas are warriors who consider it their purpose to give the god of chaos and violence what he craves in order to keep him satisfied. To do this they sacrifice animals on a daily basis to him in their secluded temples, as well as fight each other in ritualistic duels. Many Gatian soldiers visit these temples to get the blessing of Garas before marching to war, but otherwise they are mostly avoided by ordinary folk. The career of a priest of Garas is usually chosen by Gatian veterans who have no family or lands to dedicate their life to. The average priest of Garas serves in the temple to the age of 50, which is when they typically choose to die in a ceremonial duel.
Gatians are big appreciators of athleticism, and in times of peace grandiose wrestling, boxing and running competitions are held in Iontos. People from all over the kingdom come to watch and participate in these games, and champions of each competition are given sizable prizes from the royal treasury. However, often the fame and glory is the more important part for the champion, which is why even members of the royal family may choose to participate.
Overall Gatian culture is one that values strength, honor and fealty to the gods. As a strictly monarchic society they are seen as somewhat archaic among the rest of the Herians, but the Gatians themselves see it as their strength that they are led by what they believe to be a divine line of rulers.
Constitution and Economy
At the top of Gatian hierarchy is the King, descendant from King Henros the Chosen of Heber. Traditionally the previous king has been succeeded by his eldest son, but there has been some exceptions where a younger son, brother or even cousin has been made the King, either out of necessity or because they were seen as better suited by the old king or the Council of Elders. Those royal children who don’t inherit the crown often take on other responsibilities either in the royal court or in the military.
Below the King in the hierarchy is the Council of Elders, consisting currently of 48 members. The original Council of Elders was formed by King Theodos I from his 15 most trusted advisors, and for a long time to become a member of the council one had to be descended from one of the original 15 councilors or the royal line. However, this was changed by King Nikolaos the Lawgiver, who made it so that anyone approved by the King could be made a member of the council. The role of the council is to advice the King, as well as to plan, debate and vote for new legislation or decrees. However, the King always has veto powers over the council.
At the head of the Gatian military on the other hand are the 12 Polemarchs, each carrying the authority of the King over their legion of troops during war campaigns. One of these polemarchs is in charge of the Gatian navy stationed in Pantia, one is in charge of the Gatian cavalry, and the other 10 are each in charge of infantry legions of around 1000 men (during a campaign). In these infantry units usually around 50-100 men are elite troops, also known as the bloodcloaks, who have gone through a rigorous training from the age of 9. The captains of each ten sub-units (aka warbands) within a legion are also usually chosen from the ranks of the bloodcloaks. The bulk of each legion (usually around 500-700 troops) are hoplites, who are citizens of Gatia between the ages of 16 and 50 that have been called to arms. Even during peacetime every Gatian male citizen is obliged to serve in the military for at least five years before they turn 50. It should be noted though that this law only applies to the citizens born in the Valley of Gatia, aka “true Gatians”, while Pantian, Lakyrian and Creneian citizens can enlist voluntarily to the Gatian military. During this peacetime service the hoplites are first trained in Iontos, Alaka or Epius for a year, and after that they are stationed in city guards, fort garrisons or in the navy for the rest of their service. The rest of the infantry legions are comprised from light infantrymen, who are usually untrained and poorly armed and armored troops levied mostly from Lakyria and Crenea. In dire times even slaves may be used as light infantry. These light infantrymen are often used as skirmishers in battles, but perhaps even more importantly they take on duties outside of the battles that are seen as too lowly for bloodcloaks or even hoplites, such as scouting, foraging, cooking, or building and cleaning camps.
The cities of Pantia, Lakyria and Crenea are governed by locally appointed archons. The process of appointing an archon varies, but in most cases it is done by some form of council of magistrates. However, these archons must also be approved by the King of Gatia, as well as swear fealty to him and the Council of Elders.
The Gatian society is quite militaristic and patriarchal in nature. That said, female citizens do have a right to own and inherit property as well as to choose their profession (with the exception of military). While men of Gatia are expected to serve in the military, women of Gatia are in turn expected to marry and give birth. A woman of Gatia who has not married before the age of 30 or given birth before the age of 40 will be fined by the state. If an owner of land (or any other material property) dies without children their property is seized by the state and given to someone else. Same is done with the property of exiled or executed criminals and traitors.
Slavery in Gatia is more prominent than in any other part of the Herian world, with about 5 slaves for every free citizen of Gatia. Vast majority of these slaves are descendants of the tribes Henros the Chosen of Heber enslaved centuries ago, and they are mainly used in agriculture and other hard labor.
In terms of agriculture the Kingdom of Gatia is self-sufficient. The Valley of Gatia and Crenea mainly produces grains, vegetables, olive oil and animal products, whereas Lakyria is also a big producer of flax and wine. Fishing is also a significant source of livelihood, especially in Pantia and the coastal regions of Lakyria and Crenea. When it comes to exportation, the most lucrative part of Gatia’s economy are the silver mines of Lakyria.
Iontos is the capital of the Kingdom of Gatia, and with a population of little over 20 000 it is also the largest of the kingdom’s cities. It is built on a hilly terrain beside the river Gat, atop the highest hill standing the magnificent royal citadel and the rest of the settlement spreading around it. Iontos is not a typical Herian city, looking more like a collection of villages sprinkled next to each other. There are also no walls between Iontos and the farmlands and nature that surround it. Notable landmarks of the city include its Temple of Heber, which is one of the largest temples in all of the Herian world; the Plaza of Kings, in which 15 feet tall marble statues depicting all 24 Kings of Gatia (so far) stand side-by-side; and the Stadium of Henros, in which the athletic games are held.
Pantia is one of the most important port cities of the Kingdom of Gatia, being the place where the royal navy is stationed, and with a population of around 16 000 it is the third largest of all the kingdom’s cities. Pantia is governed by an archon elected by its council of magistrates and approved by the King. The shipyards of Pantia build the majority of triremes and biremes in the Gatian fleet. These shipyards are the most prominent livelihood in the city, fishing being a close second.
Alaka is a port city located on the northern Lakyria, and with a population of around 19 000 it is the largest city in Lakyria and the second largest in all of the Kingdom of Gatia. It is the kingdom’s most important port when it comes to foreign trade towards east. Alaka is governed by an archon elected by a local council of magistrates and approved by the King. The city also has a strong military presence, with two Gatian legions being stationed in the region during peacetime.
Epius is a city near the coast of Crenea, being the region’s largest city as well as the fourth largest in all of the Kingdom of Gatia with a population of around 14 000. It is the kingdom’s most important port when it comes to trade with the Hykyrans. Epius is governed by an archon elected by its citizens and approved by the King. Like Alaka, Epius also has a strong military presence, having similarly two Gatian legions stationed in the region during peacetime.
Climate, Landscape and Wildlife
The climate everywhere in the Kingdom of Gatia is warm or hot, the landscape mountainous and hilly, and the nature verdant. All of the kingdom also has plenty of fertile land suited for agriculture, though Crenea has a slightly drier climate and terrain than Lakyria or the Valley of Gatia. However, there are also plenty of untamed wilds in the kingdom, and in them a wide array of wildlife. The most feared beasts in the Gatian wilds are its large and fierce wolves.