Briscine Empire

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The Briscine Empire was an imperial successor state from 1458 until 1550. The term refers to the dynasty's founder, Briscio the Elder. However, the Briscine monarchs referred to their house as the House of Brisciovicho (with the suffix being derived from the Algeorgian patronymic marker -vich instead of the Sillenic -ino). The Briscines were the first of the Sillenic conquest dynasties. They also referred to themselves as the "Golden Dynasty", in reference to their mission to restore the past glory of the First Empire.

The dynasty was founded by Algeorgian warlord Briscio, whose name is the Sillenic approximation of the Algeorgian Brykis. His successor and son, Briscio II the Great, conquered Sillas Proper. Briscio II is also referred to by the appellation "the Just". Initially, the Briscines were considered a legitimate Sillenic dynasty. Briscine policies ushered a period of sustained but ultimately incomplete recovery known as the Briscine Renaissance. During this period, secular art and literature flourished. Upon his death, the empire was partitioned between his three sons, with Alessio, as the Viceroy of Sillas, being primus inter pares. Alessio would be the last competent Briscine monarch. Disatistfaction with the imposition of semifeudal institutions, and the news of a Ogahollean reconquest (seen as the successor of the Sillenic Empire's western half) undermined the Briscines' authority. In 1550, the last Briscine Emperor was killed by ethnic Aputian warlord Aisha, resulting in the dissolution of the Briscine Empire, which marked the end of Late Antiquity and the start of the Sillenic Dark Ages as well as the Triarchal Era.

Traditional historiography denounced the Briscine Empire as a dismal period in Sillenic history. This view has been propagated by both secular authorities and the Orthodox Church in the Dark Ages. Given reasons for the Briscine Empire's collapse were for the sex of their rulers, their "foreignness", and their late conversion to Anystesseanism. Modern views have been more favorable, as the Briscine Empire prevented the complete disintegration of the Sillenic nation.

Etymology

History

Social system

Initially, during the Classical era, there were five "estates" – legally-defined social groups. Unlike later systems, this was purely statistical and all groups had the same tax obligations: all paid about ~10% of their land value annually (either in bullion or goods in kind), and fulfilled corvée during the agricultural off-season (commutable to a head tax). The five estates administrative and martial nobility, the merchants, the artisans, the free peasants, and dependent peasants (initially people of this category were semi-serfs; later they were tenants).

By the Sillenistic era, there were four estates: the clergy, the scholar–gentry, merchants and artisans, and the peasantry. These could be grouped in a basic distinction between nobility (in which the clergy constitute the upper nobility, while the scholar–gentry, the lower) and commoners. Unlike the first system, all estates were equal in the law. However, they have different tax obliations: the first estate had none, the second and third were required to pay the land tax in bullion, while the fourth had the privilege of paying the land tax in either grain or bullion. In addition, the first and second estates received a government salary – though this was very low compared to the income they acquired through the rents.

The Antilenas under Brichio the Just continued to uphold the Sillenistic social system. His sons Domeatio and Pekorino, however, completely-revamped the structure of Sillenic society. The scholar–gentry were barred from occupying higher political offices, and while the central bureaucracy in the capital remained, it declined in importance. Lands from the scholar–gentry and the church were confiscated, ostensibly to convert into public land; outrage caused massive revolts.

The land value tax was raised to ~25%; all those who failed to pay this amount were reduced to serfdom. These people were referred to as the diliberes ("unfree") in the Domeatian Code of 158X – they were nevertheless popularly and discreetly referred to as "alípinos" ("chattel slaves") due to their heavy dependence on their masters. By 1600, about ~60% of the population were enslaved. While in theory, they were publicly-owned, in reality the government leased them to members of the martial nobility (that is, the Antileans) depending on the length of their service and their personal ties.