Antilean dynasty

From Constructed Worlds
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Antilean dynasty was a period in Sillenic history starting in 148X – the Fall of Sillas and succeeded by the War of Cliques starting 166X. The term "Antilean" was originally applied to soldiers that participated in the TBD Revolt in 145X; they demanded higher pay and full citizenship for their service. However, as Sillas proper came to be subjected to foreign incursions, numerous barbarians and colonials began to join their ranks, including Qaryaati, Mohejarians, Drakans – and even Algeorgian and Irian pirates, and desert nomads from the east. The term itself was derived from the Sillenic word meaning the "Golden Ones". A popular but probably erroneous folk etymology is that it refers to the color of their hair (blonde); most historians believe that it refers to the golden thread used in the uniforms of high-ranking military officials.

The dynasty was founded by the ethnic Algeorgian warlord and pirate Brichio, whose name is the Sillenic approximation of the Algeorgian name "Brays". In 147X, he successfully invaded the Makuku province. For a brief period, he ruled it under Sillenic authority – as its designated Governor-General. However, in 148X, he would besiege and occupy the city of Sillas itself, an action that would thus conclude the Later Sillenistic period and commence the Early Middle Ages. Despite the insistence of the Pontiff, he would not claim the now-vacant Jade Throne. Over the next two decades, Brichio would work to reconquer the regions of Chrystalia, Jauvuk, Mohejaro, Qaryaat, as well as portions of Yecadecal and Cazekorom. Brichio would repeatedly rebuff offers from the Ogaholleans (also referred to as the Western Sillenes) to rule in their name, prompting him to wage numerous campaigns against them. Despite his background, he was known to be a pragmatic and charitable leader, with his policies ushering a period of sustained but ultimately incomplete recovery known as the Antilean Renaissance – which would last until his death in 15XX. During this period, economic growth picked up as the population of the city of Sillas recovered to ~450,000, while secular art and literature flourished. This success would earn him the posthumous distinction of "the Great", although during his life he would be more famously known by the epithet "the Just" or "the Blonde". Recognizing their importance in administration, Brichio would work closely with the scholar–gentry. However, in stark contrast to his successors, he viewed Anystesseanism with much disdain and would (unsuccessfully) attempt to curb the power of the Orthodox Church – especially the Supreme Pontiff.

In 15XX, in anticipation of his death, he partitioned – per Algeorgian tradition, leadership over the country to his three sons: TBD, TBD, and TBD. However, instead of bequeathing one of them the throne – which would jeopardize peace by causing a succession dispute, and further alienate the Sillenic population (due to their foreign origin, and due to their gender), he devised the viceroy-system. Under this system, each viceroy would be responsible for the defense of multiple provinces while theoretically abstaining from civilian matters. Reluctantly, he would give the Pontiff the ceremonial role as a figurehead. Later, on, the Pontiff would progressively wield more and more real power – especially in the areas surrounding the capital. The imposition of racial segregation (in which cities would be divided into quarters), quasi-feudal institutions, and their general insistence on separation would result in animosity towards the Antileans. These would culminate in the Peasant's Revolt of 166X during the reign of TBD, which would end the Antilean period (and result in the forced assimilation of their remnants). It would also usher in the Feuding Cliques period, which would be characterized by the heightened influence of the clergy and the division of the scholar–gentry into factions based on personal beliefs.

Traditional historiography denounced the Antilean dynasty a dismal period in Sillenic history, in which its people would be second-class citizens in their own motherland. This view was first propagated by the Orthodox Church during the subsequent War of Cliques period, and much later on by supporters of pan-Sillenic nationalism. However, modern views are more favorable, as it effectively prevented the complete disintegration of the Sillenic state and would be critical in the establishment of the Pontificate.

Social system[edit]

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.