Azoz (Origo Mundi)
|Kingdom of Azoz|
Map of Azoz, including constituent city-states
|Languages||Mesallian, Azozan, Frasnokian|
|Historical era||Ancient / Classical|
|•||Non culture era||c. 450 BR|
|•||Azoz founded||c. 150 BR|
|•||Nelrim's ministry||4 BR - 9 AR|
|•||Fall of Perea||c. 130 AR|
|•||Chatna Empire||220 AR|
|•||Conquest by Ioxemander||302 AR|
|•||800 est.||c. 12,000,000|
Kingdom of Azoz, alternatively called the City of Azoz or unofficially Empire of Azoz, is a unitary feudal monarchy located on the continent of Letsia between the Bangui Sea and the Gabatria Sea. Its culture has evolved considerably over the centuries, with inhabitants of the region going back to the neolithic era. Traditionally, it is considered the city we know of today was founded around 116 BR, but other theories postulate the civilization going back a few centuries earlier. Today, the kingdom remains the dominant political force on the continent. People of Azoz are alternatively called Azozans, or more properly Azouri, but more common names have been used such as Thalutites and Thotites, as variations of the royal name Thalut/Taulut.
The western border of the Kingdom of Azoz extends from Occident Mountains down to the coast of the Bangui Sea. The Uriel Islands extend as an archipelago into the sea, consisting of one major island and four minor islands. The Uriels are very lush and paradisical in appearance, being very lucrative in tourist vacations in recent years. Fotashe exists as a small colony on the northern coast of the Bangui Sea, extending northwest to encompass the entire Fotashe River. Bangui, Langui, Saraita and Frasnoq all exist as coastal cities on the Bangui Sea, but only Langui and Saraita have major ports.
The southern border starts just south and parallel to the Fransk River, which flows right through the city of Frasnoq down from the Austrias Mountains. The eastern border starts at the Austrias Mountains and extends straight up through the desert to meet at the Ashe River delta, then follows the delta northeastward to the border of Tuartha and Neum. Bangui and Ishbak are constituent cities that exist mostly in the mountainous regions to the west of Azoz, and for that reason have much more traditional lifestyle. The remaining cities of Azoz, Teman, Medan and Agnomon thrive directly from the Ashe River as it flows down from the mountains toward the Gabatrian Sea.
Agnomon is offset from the other three, however, and enjoys a much looser and liberal culture in the far south. Ishbak and Medan each form a dual-city system, as Ishbak is merged with the older city of Jokshan and Medan is merged with Zimran. Azoz technically also includes a dual-city of Perea, which is far smaller. Teman is by far the most rural, as well as the most eastern, of the other cities, comprised of more suburbs mostly focused on cultivation of superior agriculture. The largest metropolitan centers are those of Azoz, Medan, Teman, Bangui and Ishbak in that order.
The Old or Historic City of Azoz exists in surrounding villages of Mount Azoz, a mountain rich in iron and copper minerals, as well as alumite. The traditional royal residence, and even more ancient religious centers, are carved directly into the mountain from a network of pre-existing caverns. The main cities in northeastern Azoz have always thrived on the Ashe River delta, using it for fast navigation of trade, irrigation and source of cleansing. Outside of the metropolitan areas, the surrounding countryside consists of smaller villages and farmland, mostly existing in the northern and western parts of the kingdom. Azoz borders Tuartha directly to the east, and indirectly it borders with Valun and Khin to the north.
The original Proto-Mesallian culture in the region were hunter-gatherers, primarily focused on fishing from the Gabatrian Sea and hunting wild bison. After the bison died out around 5000 BR, there was a sudden shift in the economy toward permanent settlements using fixed agricultural systems. Corn was first domesticated around 4800 BR followed by tomatoes in 4500 BR, which have been the stable crops of Azoz ever since. Rice as well as wheat were later introduced to the region in the Bronze Age.
The main farmland settlements around Azoz and the surrounding Ashe River Valley comprise the bulk of farming across the kingdom. Teman has the largest proportional arable land, and during the second century AR had their own agricultural revolution in terms of production. Mendelevian style genetics are used to optimize the pedigrees of individual crops, as well as livestock. Cows and sheep are also raised for food, while sheep are used more for wool clothing than meat. Beef on the other hand is by far and away the most popular meat, usually in the form of ground beef. Cows are alternatively used to produce milk, which is primarily manufactured as cheese in Teman.
Precious minerals have been mined from the Occident, Austrias, and Azoz mountains as old as the beginning of the Iron Age. Iron and copper are mined mainly from these mountains, although more silver is mined out of the Occident Mountains. At the end of the second century BR, alumite was discovered in the deeper mines of Mount Azoz, which proved to be the most lucrative natural resource of the kingdom for most of its history. Slavery originally was a thriving business in the kingdom as well, buying and selling barbarians into slavery as early as 100 BR. This was primarily due to the need of expendable resources to extract the alumite mining. However, slavery was mostly discontinued with the advent of Ulm in the first century AR, with the exception of contracted servitude which persists to this day.
Weights of measurement had started being used for standard currency during the Bronze Age Samarra culture. The Azozan Shekel was the standard weight adopted in the Iron Age, first seen around the third century BR. Around the second century AR, the shekel had evolved to refer specifically to a standard weight of silver.
The region where Azoz how stands is argued to be one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world, although this falls under some dispute. Certain paleolithic artifacts suggest nomadic settlements along with the same Prot-Messalian migration period at the very end of the Ice Age. These hunter-gatherers focused mainly on fresh-water fishing and hunting of the Asmeran Bison. After the bison went extinct around 5000 BR, the Proto-Mesallian culture split into settled neolithic civilizations, including the Trans-Ashe culture in modern-day Azoz. This is the beginning of the first urbanized center in the region, although without any written language it is hard to verify is this was one and the same as the later instances of the city. The Trans-Ashe culture benefited greatly from the fertile river valley, where corn and tomatoes were first domesticated along with cows and sheep.
The Trans-Ashe culture is typically divided into three eras, before evolving into the Bronze Age Samarran Culture around 2200 BR. The Bronze Age saw an explosion of new developments, creating the first centrally-organized government, writing, and the wheel. Not much is known about the history of the Samarran culture, but it is speculated that they were a vast, centralized empire with its religious center located at the site of modern Azoz, originally called the city of Non. The Library of Azoz, which may originally date back to the Bronze Age, might have been a vast storehouse of knowledge used by scholars for many centuries after this point, before its destruction in the Ebony Era.
Archaeology of Non indicates it had a complex system of religious rites, establishing the first temples to the pagan "Azouri" religion and a royal cemetery deep in the catacombs of Mount Azoz. The Non culture was responsible for some of the most impressive architectural feats of the Bronze Age, including the Pyramids of Ishbak and the underground facilities carved into Mount Azoz. It is these feats of engineering that gives rise to the theory Samarra had a vast pool of human resources at its disposal. The Samarran culture began its decay around the beginning of the first millennium BR, which is largely believed to be caused by lack of agriculture as a result of a changing climate. by 500 BR, most of the cities in that culture had been completely abandoned, and in some cases returned completely to hunter-gatherers.
Our main sources of knowledge of early history of the city comes from archaeology of the region, tracing rapid iron age development in the last 500 years of the first millennium BR. Outside of that archaeology sources become much more nebulous, due to the destruction of the Library of Azoz that lost most history of this period. Instead, references to the early history of Azoz come from historical anecdotes and romance fiction written several hundred years after the events took place. The earliest confirmed reference to Azoz on the inner walls of the Old City have been dated around the Year 116 BR, but the last reference to the city of Non is dated around 440 BR. It's usually assumed that there was some gap in time between the two events, after which new settlers came in the abandoned city to rebuild the inner walls. However, others have speculated a more continuous inhabitation, such that Azoz was founded immediately after Non.
Early Azoz suffered quite a bit from frequent plagues and barbarian invasions, usually the nomadic Trans-Ashe culture that split off from the earlier Bronze Age civilization. It was for this reason the city required a strong defense, building up thick walls and armaments of chariots and iron-age weapons. The development of this military technology in the late 2nd century BR gave Azoz a distinct advantage over the nomadic people around them, allowing rapid growth to seize control of the Ashe river valley. Alumite is an important commodity mined out of Mount Azoz to be traded on the Ashe river system, but this was costly for city citizens due to conditions in the mines. As a result of this, slavery became an important facet of Azoz culture, and much of early traditional epics emphasize the innate inferiority of barbarian captives.
The advent of centrally-organized government also saw the rise of an absolute monarchy, although information of individual rulers at this time are only pieced together from later romance. The first rulers of Azoz are known to be absolute monarchs, although as urbanization increased more city-states were delegated to a complex feudal system. The royal residence was re-purposed from the old cemetery in Mount Azoz, meant originally as a fortress against barbarians. With absolute control over individual lives, the earliest kings practiced rituals of a "rite of the first night", which was discontinued after the advent of Ulm. The High Priesthood of the Azouri religion persisted as well, with their own level of control over politics in the city.
Azoz is typically listed as the oldest ruler, from whom the kingdom bears his name, most notable for building the walls of the city. Roshtam Old is the first ruler mentioned in the Foundation Saga, whose death probably dates to 75 BR. He is ultimately known as the original patriarch for all subsequent nobility for every city-state in the kingdom.
Jamshid, his son, is the main hero of the early epics, personifying the expansion of civilization to overcome the barbarity of the wild. The legend of the Rape of Hanida at that time was probably the oldest propaganda in support of the slave culture, which was reversed by later Ulm tradition where Jamshid is depicted as the arch villain. As urbanization rapidly expanded at this time, each of the new city-states branched off from Azoz adopted names of each of the immediate sons of Rostam, and each adopted their own foundation myth associated with it. Jamshid disappeared around 58 BR when he journeyed to the western edge of the Bangui Sea, generally believed to have been around the Uriel Islands.
Zohhak, the next ruler becomes the diametric opposite, meant to represent the ultimate tyrant or despicable king to offset from the stories of Jamshid. However, as the oldest versions of the foundation saga end with Jamshid's disappearance, many historians speculate if the negative depiction of Zohhak was actually an invention of Ulm tradition, rather than an original myth. Even still, Zohhak led some of the most ambitious campaigns of the time against the nearby culture of Frasnoq to the south, which ultimately led to his death in the Frasnoq-Azoz War of 37-34 BR. The next series of rulers are largely unknown, not having any special myths associated with them, and are more utilized to fill a gap of time between the birth and ministry of Nelrim.
Advent of Ulm
Life of Nelrim
The corpus of scripture collectively known as the Book of Ulm is some of the only surviving literature prior to the Ebony Era, and therefore comprises the most reliable historical text for this period. Nelrim the Prophet was born toward the end of the Frasnoq war in 34 BR. Many anecdotes in the Book of Ulm describe prophesies of his nativity, including the Cow of Teman, which has since become one of the iconic symbols of the nation. Nelrim began making prophesies in the name of the "True God" when he was 12-years-old, around 22 BR. However, his public ministry did not begin until 4 BR, when he was a full adult.
Details of Nelrim's life and ministry are the focus of the "Hagiography" of Nelrim in the Book of Ulm, as well as several apocryphal biographies made by Apocist and Enulmist sects. During his public ministry from 4 BR-1 AR, Nelrim challenged the establish religious authorities, and presented a doctrine that offered equality of life and personal peace. The High Priest of Azoz pressured the King to have Nelrim arrested and ultimately executed, scattering the original Seven Apostles as well. The king may not have been completely innocent in this action, however, as Nelrim's popularity posed a significant threat to the established government of the realm.
Nelrim's resurrection, the culmination and centerpiece of the Book of Ulm, splits the calendar of Azoz between BR (before the rising) and AR (after the rising). Nelrim's resurrection sparked the popular slave revolt that completely toppled the monarchy of the city, known as the Azoz Civil War. The end of this war led to an interregnum from 2-9 AR, during which time a new order of the kingdom was established by the Ulmian apostles. Traditionally, it is considered that Nelrim himself led the nation during this time in his post-resurrection state, before ascending into heaven in 9 AR. However, most historians attribute de facto control at this time to Ramu, the "chief" of the Apostles and first Holy Patra of Azoz.
First Ulmian Rulers
Taulat, or alternatively spelled Thalut I, was the first ruler of the new Ulmian dynasty anointed by the Holy Patra, and with it came many monumental changes to the kingdom. The temples of pagan gods were replaced with Basilicas, and all previous laws on pagan rituals were completely reversed. Slavery, based on race and not economic status, was completely outlawed at this time and more efforts were made for equal treatment of citizens. These events also propelled further expansion, primarily caused by many citizens of Azoz migrating south into lands of Frasnoq and Agnomon. Furthermore, emancipation of the slaves created a far larger pool of manpower for warfare, which further gave a leading edge.
Propagation of the religion abroad helped greatly facilitate more international trade, expanding influence of Azoz into politics of Mesallian city-states as well as in Xuenoi and Niani. Political marriages ensured a close connection between the dynasties of Azoz, Frasnoq and Tuartha which became especially important as these nations were subsequently united. King Jair "the lion heart", considered the father of Nathon, may be the first ruler of Azoz explicitly mentioned in contemporary history, provided we accept "Commander Yari" attested in the Chronicle of Parius in the as one and the same as this ruler.
In reaction to various Apocist sects in other nations, the Holy Patra officially codified the canon of scripture in 62 AR, ending with the Apocalypse of Prackyob. However, from a historiographical perspective this puts subsequent history of Azoz back in murky waters, without any reliable historical text outside of the romantic fiction surrounding the Pentangle of Perea.
Nathonian cycle of literature, or the "Matter of Azoz" forms the basis of classical literature that became most popular during the Chatna Empire, and as such the actions of King Nathon reflect everything idealized about the later imperial era. After King Jair died in the First Mesallian War in 87 AR, the kingdom's rising feudal nobility was starting to cause problems for stability of the nation. Nathon was allegedly chosen as ruler by a sword that fell out of heaven, which only he could lift. After he began to reign in 89 AR, Nathon established a confederacy of powerful warriors, both within and outside of Azoz, to meet at his personal palace of Perea, alternatively known as the Pentangle of Perea. The strongest and most famous of these warriors was Cassander of Leviea, who became the eponymous ancestor of the Cassanderan Dynasty.
The only event during Nathon's reign that is confirmed in archaeology is the conquest of Frasnoq, which is also one of the most enigmatic. Artifacts indicate that Frasnoq came under domination from Azoz starting roughly around 150 AR. The traditional chronology of Nathon's reign, however, indicates that the Fall of Perea took place in the Year 131 AR, almost 20 years too early. Various attempts continue to be made to rectify this discrepancy in the chronology, with respect to subsequent attested rulers of the Cassanderan Dynasty.
It's generally considered that the era of the Pentangle of Perea was merely a patch on the inevitable disintegration of the Kingdom that was already going on after the First Mesallian War. By the middle of the second century AR, Azoz was thrown into a dark age or "Ebony Era" marked by political decentralization and social chaos. Feudal nobles over each individual city was able to raise its own military, often times rivaling or surpassing the military of the King. Consequently, lack of communication in the initial chaos allowed each city-state to adopt its own unique culture and philosophy, still loosely connected by the common religion of Ulm.
The Great Library of Azoz was destroyed sometime around 170 AR, which means consistently-reliable history only goes back to this point. The chaos prompted many people to immigrate out from the cities, causing rapid expansion from farming settlements to flow out from the core. the Uriel Islands were colonized as a result, as well as a smaller colony at the river Fotashe. The coastal cities of Langui and Saraita developed more naval than land military, which competed to dominate trade across the Bangui Sea. The destruction of the library is largely blamed on the brief civil war between 167-170 AR, fought between the different sons of Cassius I. The two branches of dynasties from Cassius I would continue feuding with each other largely until the younger branch died out around 195 AR.
Ishbak and their vassal cities were more frequently cause of inter-city warfare, and fostered some of the most rapid development in military technology. Gerrier of Ishbak at the end of this era was responsible for the first professional military in history. As Ishbak's military was off at war, the city government would assume control over each soldier's farms directly. Medan, on the other hand, was responsible for financing the intellectual group of "Nine Sages", including some of the most famous philosophers in western history. Draco was first responsible for applying logic to prove the existence of God. Gandai (also called Gandes) followed up from this by establishing the first textbook on geometry and logic, known as The Elements, published in 193 AR. Saragythorp was known as a masterful engineer, and invented the catapult around the beginning of the third century AR. Finally, Anthrax was known as the "Father of Cosmology", and developed the first theories on the shape of the world and the universe.
As the feudal system over Azoz came to an end, the subsequent history of the Kingdom served not as a completely independent state, but merely the core kingdom of the larger Chatna Dynasty that spanned a far larger region. Chatnaguri, the founder of the dynasty, started out as leader of the cavalry for King Nicomedie of Azoz. After seizing control in a coup in 211 AR, Chatna set about on his campaign to reunite the empire under a far more centralized government. Chatna first exerted his power to subjugate the city of Ishbak, which despite being outmatched militarily he managed to overcome by sheer chance. With the resources of both Ishbak and Teman at his disposal, the subsequent war of Azoz reunification came to completion in 220 AR.
Chatna restructured the government of Azoz to be more centrally organized back to the capital. As most of the nobility existed with autonomous military, contrary to the imperial edicts, Chatna used this as an excuse to systematically depose each of the feudal nobles and replace them with appointed governors or "satraps". The constituent city-states then became provincial districts, directly controlled by the central monarchy. Chatna also worked to unify the culture of Azoz under a single Ulm Orthodoxy, viciously persecuting the alternate religion of Drokksidites in Frasnoq. This led to a number of revolts in his reign from the region, most notably the Moon Bear Revolt in 229 AR.
As the Chatna Empire grew under Thalut II, the monarch remained largely absent from local affairs in the capital. As such, de facto control over the Kingdom fell under domination of the Holy Patra Rainer, who established a more systematic bureaucracy to lead the nation in the king's absence. The Council of Senior Scholars, or the Senate, was originally staffed entirely by prominent clergy, before being opened to a larger enfranchisement.
Culture in Azoz revolves around balance between opposing forces in the universe: light and dark, male and female, order and chaos etc. In order to maintain stability in the Universe, these two forces are constantly appeased to ensure the most moderation between the two. Individual habits of Azozans focus on strict moderation of personal resources, and consider it bad to either be too rich or too poor, as well as eating too much or too little. This is also reflected on their treatment of individual families, keeping a balance in the household between power of the male and female, although still normally patriarchal. Families are nuclear in focus, and ban any forms of sexual deviation.
Cuisine in Azoz centers around the use of corn and beef mainly. Tortillas are bread made from cornmeal and wheat in combination, often served with separate dishes of ground beef and sliced tomatoes. The Priests of Jiff in the Iron age were first tasked to determine how to combine these ingredients to create the perfect sandwich, which has since transferred to the Jiff Monastery. Because of the abundance of beef in their foods, cows are generally regarded as revered creatures, and forms some of the most important symbols of the kingdom.
Universal equality is also an important feature of Azoz culture, although not nearly as prominent. Basic decency and equal treatment of race and gender were important facets of Ulm theology that is still practiced today. A slave class still exists to some extent in the Chatna empire, but in a far more economic than cultural level.
Ulm is a dual-theistic, evangelical religion founded in the City of Azoz. It believes the world was created by the True God, who has a more descriptive name that has never been revealed to anyone. Drokksid, the evil god, is the antithesis of the True God, and masquerades as the god of every pagan religion. Drokksid's ultimate goal is the complete destruction of the universe and its return to ultimate void. Both the True God and Drokksid recruits as many souls as they can in preparation for the end of time, where there is a single battle to destroy one. However, the Apocalypse of Prackyob reveals that the True God wins in the end regardless, and ushers in a New Heaven and a New Earth devoid of all pain and suffering.
Both the True God and Drokksid promise their followers with resurrection and eternal life. However, this is the truth for the True God but a lie for Drokksid, who destroys the souls and uses the body as his own drone. This is ultimately proven by how Nelrim the Prophet, the one true messenger of the True God, was resurrected after his execution. Nelrim's coming was foretold allegedly by a cow that was gifted the ability to speak around 70 BR, which has led to the symbol of the cow as one of the main symbols associated with the Ulm faith.
Nelrim began to have visions when he was 12-years of age in 22 BR, but didn't begin his public ministry until 4 BR. Nelrim is the author for a large portion of the Ulm corpus of scripture, detailing his personal prophesies, as well as proverbs and teachings inspired directly from the True God. Ulm tradition has it that, after his resurrection in 1 AR, Nelrim went on to rule Azoz directly as a theocratic interregnum for seven years, although in reality it is likely his seven disciples ran the theocracy instead.
Ulm teaching emphasize moderation in every aspect of life, denouncing hedonism as well as overt asceticism without piety. Harmony in the family is encouraged with expulsion of all forms of sexual fornication and adultery in order to maintain balance between husband and wife. Most significantly the Ulm scriptures talk about extending love and support to all people groups on earth, no matter how strange or different they seem.
Outward signs of faith in the Ulm religion mainly revolve around the anointing of oil to all new believers, including children of believing parents once they reach adolescence. Corporate worship is held in a local Basilica in each metropolitan, where all people sit inside to sing hymns and prayers. The dates of Nelrim's birth and resurrection are the most sacred days in the Ulmian calendar, set on the winter solstice and spring equinox respectively. The summer solstice is celebrated as the birth of Lucretia, the holy mother of Nelrim. The fall equinox likewise has a holy day celebrating the creation of the world. The year of Nelrim's resurrection is used as Year 1 in the Ulm calendar, with subsequent years as AR (After the Rising) and previous years as BR (Before the Rising). The conversion is 1 AR = 116 CE.
Each of the major metropolitans converted to the Ulm faith is governed by a Patra, or "Holy Father". The Patras collectively adhere to five main Patras in particular, who in turn report in a loose form of respect to the Holy Patra of Azoz itself. Each individual Basilica is run by a Parson and council of Elders who focus on individual needs of the church. Missionaries sent out to preach the Gospel of Nelrim are called apostles, and they frequently end up integrated in military positions. The seven original disciples of Nelrim and their generation were responsible for the corpus of canonical Ulm scripture, listed from the Hagiography of Nelrim to the Apocalypse of Prackyob. The more diverse sects of Ulm that exist in Edom and Syres have alternate canons of scripture, or no canon at all, which allows them to insert apocryphal books about the life of Nelrim and his apostles.
People in Frasnoq additionally adhere to Azoznafari, called Drokksidites, who worship the evil god of Drokksid directly instead of the True God. They are gradually becoming assimilated by proselytizing in the region, but the progress is slow.
Philosophy and Science
True philosophy in Azoz didn't fully develop until the late first century AR, after the initial generation of Apostles died out. Levian is sometimes considered the first Ulmian theologian, but he generally gets elevated to a higher status among the seven apostles. Levian's writings no doubt is some of the most instrumental works on Ulmian theology, including his various epistles to Mesallias, Xuenoi and Darna. The first major theologian after the Apostolic era was the Holy Patra Priapas, who flourished in 70 AR. The Theology of Priapas was largely in reaction to the First Mesallian War and rise of Yannis around that same time. Priapas codified much of the doctrines of Ulm in terms of personal virtues, specifically to contrast the altruistic and benevolent nature of Ulm to the selfish and cruel nature of Yannis.
Philosophy flourished more in the beginning of the Ebony Era in the second century AR. The Theologian Damashq around 130 AR was known for many theological treatise in reaction to the various sects of Ulm that appeared in Edom and Syres around that time. Damashq was the first scholar to specify a strictly Orthodox doctrine of Ulm, in contrast to other Nelrimic religions.
Starting in the middle of the second century AR, the "Nine Sages of Azoz" flourished. This group of sages are generally accredited for creating the first proper discipline of philosophy, not merely a branch of Ulm theology. It is also believed that the sages were largely inspired by the growth of philosophy from Mesallia which had developed some century before. Draco of Medan around 170 AR developed an axiomatic system of logic, and first applied this system to prove the existence of God. Gandai took this system and further developed it into a secular system of mathematics, creating the pivotal work of Geometry known as The Elements.
Anthrax, the "Father of Cosmology", developed the first axiomatic logic for determining the general shape of continents and the planets. However, his system was very flawed, and determined the Earth was shaped as a cylinder. Saragythorp in turn was able to utilize the system of mathematics to create large feats of engineering, which proved instrumental in the War of Ishbak Suzerainty.
As a result of the work from the Nine Sages and their successors, philosophy in Azoz is mostly centered around a strict, logical system of abstract proofs. Every axiom, postulate and theory is backed up by a provable system founded on even more basic axioms. At the core, the "Prime Mover" axiom is considered to be the True God himself, which is the core of the whole universe. All forms of science and observation, including complex engineering, can ultimately be traced back to this basic system.
Art and Architecture
Azoz possesses its own unique artistic style, that sets its works of art apart from other cultures. Just as with other aspects of its culture, the art of Azoz emphasizes contrast between opposing forces. Thus, for every action or symbol represented in art, there is a corresponding counterpoint opposite it. Colors also reflect this, giving the strongest contrast between light and dark shading. In early history of Azoz, people were depicted in idealized, two-dimensional forms usually on embedded and colored relief. The "Feast of Husiang" is a classic example of this style, dated around the mid first century AR.
This gradually transitioned around the beginning of the third century AR, starting with the revolutionary work of sculptures created by the artist Praxion around 210 AR. Praxion's "Canon" utilizes the contrasting elements of Azoz culture as a way of depicting human life: asymmetry. Subsequent sculpture work exploded in the Chatna Empire, with similar forms of realistic, asymmetric humans used in almost every part of the Kingdom. Typically, however, these statuary would be depicted in exaggerated, highly-emotional poses, owing to the term "Chatna Baroque" to refer to this style.
The Colossus of Chatnaguri, located in the center of the Grand Basilica of Azoz, is one of the best examples of the Praxion method at work, although it no longer exists today outside of its head and hands. Another example is the statue of Levian in the main square of the Second Temple in Nerismos, serving as explicit propaganda for Emperor Iskandar. Each Basilica in Azoz follows the same basic format of its architectural style, consisting of a central tall roundel and class dome. On either side of the dome extends two alcoves, which curve upward and section off a central courtyard for outdoor services.
Literature also serves as an important avenue of artistic expression in the Kingdom. The Great Library of Azoz housed a large number of works of both fiction and non-fiction before its sudden destruction in 170 AR. Most likely, the "Foundation Saga" of Azoz originally was composed as a piece of propaganda for the ruling dynasty of Roshtam under King Jamshid, serving to contrast the civilized people of Azoz from the barbarian slaves. The only remnant of these early epics are their incorporation into later Ulmian literature. The Book of Ulm, in all of its forms, is considered one of the greatest classics of all time, and became the benchmark for all Azoz literature since. Generally, romantic fiction and long epic sagas largely became popular during the Chatna Empire, most notably being the Nathonian Cycle of epics surrounding the Pentangle of Perea.
The King of Azoz is the sole absolute monarch of the realm. He is recognized as commander-in-chief of the entire armed forces, and has singular legal jurisdiction over all land in the kingdom. To that end, the king has the privilege of delegating land and authority to any lower official or noble. Due to this ability, the royal court mainly consists of prominent landed nobles that have delegated authority at that time, as well as commanding generals to delegate parts of the military.
Any member of the immediate royal family carries the same weight of authority when not in the presence of the king. This used to be more significant for the early history of Azoz, as other relatives of the royal family would utilize privileges such as "rite of the first night", before those practices discontinued with the Advent of Ulm. Collectively, the immediate royal family resides in the Royal Palace of Azoz, which is carved directly out of the deeper caverns beneath Mount Azoz. This palace was originally made as a royal cemetary for the older Samarra culture, before being repurposed as a fortress from ongoing barbarian attacks around 200 BR. Starting around 190 AR, the palace has gradually been refurnished and redecorated to accommodate newer artistic styles.
Azoz practices succession of agnatic primogeniture. The oldest male child of the king is automatically deemed the successor to the monarch, and the order of succession continues through his male descendants recursively. Female descendants are always listed last in succession regardless the actual order of birth. As a result of this system, a succession through a female royalty is considered to be the dividing line of a new dynasty of rulers.
Feudalism was first introduced to Azoz sometime in the second century BR. It is generally beleived to have been developed independently, as feudalism was generally unknown to the Mesallian culture. People who settled in the countryside outside of the Old City were tasked originally as farmers, whose descendents evolved into the peasant classes.
Each feudal title is associated directly to a major metropolitan, and kinship of political offices tie very strongly to the corresponding city-state. Starting around 80 AR, feudal titles became hereditary, and the nobles became wealthy enough to support their own private armies. However, after the Chatna dynasty took over in 211 AR, all personal military of feudal nobles were banned. As a result, almost all the titles of nobility were re-assumed by the king during the early imperial era. Within the personal demesne of the King, each provincial region is administered by a local governor called a Satrap. The Satrap is designated on a meritocratic basis, and his powers are relatively limited.
The legislative committee in the Azoz kingdom is the Council of Senior Scholars, also known as the Senate of Medan. The Senate is entirely composed of the most eminent scholars from across the core kingdom, nominated by a vetting committee and affirmed by the King. When it was originally founded around 240 AR, it was composed entirely of clerics from the Ulm churches. However, over time it has gradually accepted more secular scholars and laymen. The Senate collectively has legislative powers over internal policy and economic regulation, superseded by the King. The head of the senate is the Viceroy of Azoz, who acts as second-in-command to the realm under the rule of the king. As the Chatna Empire expanded to other realms, this same system of appointed Viceroy was implemented in other kingdoms.
Just before the local military of Azoz was dissolved by the Chatna Empire, its total fighting force consisted of roughly 40,000 men at maximum. The original military of the early Kingdom of Azoz worked as a local militia of peasant farmers, starting as a force of roughly 2,000-5,000 troops under the reign of Jamshid. As more local feudal nobility developed, they were granted more power to raise private military separately in times of war, and submit them to the collective national army. During the time of the First Mesallian War, military technology and discipline evolved considerably in the kingdom to be modeled more on foreign nations. King Nathon is believed to have developed the first fully organized military during his conquest of Frasnoq. Finally, it was Lord Gerrier of Ishbak during the Ebony Era who created a fully professional military to replace the earlier militia system.
The professional military comprises soldiers who work direclty for the government of Azoz, while their local farms are run by representatives of the Senate. Any citizen or peasant of the kingdom are allowed to join, with minimum age of 13 years of age and are given seven months of basic training. Branches of military are divided between hoplite infantry, pikeman infantry, mounted lancers, and archers. Hoplites are equipped with one-handed long swords and a large rounded shield, with alternative short sword for close combat. Their armor is further equipped with half-helm and chainmail hauberk, overlaying a light bronze chest plate for fast maneuvering. The hoplites are trained to proceed in boxed formation, utilizing the shields to maximize coverage from enemy attack. The shield of solid bronze also doubles as a weapon in close combat as well.
Pikemen are similarly equipped as hoplites, but carry long javalins instead of long swords. Archers have no shields but instead are equipped with longbows, situated behind each hoplite group for maximum effective range. Lancers work on horseback, equipped with a smaller hoplite shield and a reinforced bronze xyston. They have heavier bronze armor and full helmets, and are trained to charge directly ahead to place the full weight of their attack on the end of the lance. Alternatively, they also carry short swords for closer combat. Each group of hoplites, archers, pikemen and lancers are commanded by a single corporal, who reports either to the king or a designated general.
The navy of Azoz was originally developed independently by the city-states of Langui and Saraita, the two major coastal ports during the Ebony Era. Use of ships for convoying navy are mentioned in legends as far back as Jamshid, but these were most likely converted merchant ships or makeshift barges. Naval groups consist each of three large warships and several smaller ships. They are primarily wind-driven, but every ship has a full set of oaring crew to drive against the wind at a moment's notice. The navy exists as a semi-autonomous entity from the rest of the kingdom, acting functionally as a maritime vassal with ports in Langui, Saraita, Uriel, and Fotashe.
List of Rulers
|No.||Name and Title||Dates||Succession||Dynasty||Image|
|c.120 BR or earlier||First ruler||unknown|
|1||Roshtam the Elder
|105-75 BR (30 years)||unknown||House of Roshtam|
|2||Jamshid the Spectacular||75-58 BR (17 years)||Son of Roshtam||House of Roshtam|
|3||Zohhak the Cruel||58-36 BR (22 years)||Grandson of Roshtam||House of Roshtam|
|36-11 BR (25 years)||Grandson of Roshtam||House of Roshtam|
|5||Husiang I the Young
|11 BR-2 AR (12 years)||Son of Tahmurs||House of Roshtam|
|N/A||None (Theocratic interregnum)||2-9 AR (7 years)||None (theocracy)||Nelrim the Prophet as de facto ruler|
|6||Taulut the Strong
|9-46 AR (37 years)||Great-grandson of Roshtam
Appointed by Ramu
|House of Taulut|
|7||Ashkenaz I||46-58 AR (12 years)||Son-in-law to Taulut||House of Taulut|
|8||Jair the Lionhart
|58-89 AR (34 years)||Grandson of Taulut||House of Taulut|
|9||Nathon the Pious
King of Frasnoq
|89-131 or c.150 AR (42 years)||Son of Jair||House of Taulut|
Lord of Uriel
|131 or c.150-158 AR (27 years)||Grandson of Nathon||House of Cassander|
|11||Cassius II||158-170 AR (12 years)||Son of Cassius I||House of Cassander|
Overlord of Ishbak
|170-182 AR (12 years)||Son of Cassius I||House of Cassander|
|13||Ashkenaz II||182-199 AR (17 years)||Son of Cassius II||House of Cassander|
|14||Nicomedie||199-211 AR (12 years)||Son of Cassius II||House of Cassander|
(Chatna the Awesome)
|211-246 AR (35 years)||Great grandson of Nathon||House of Chatna|
Thalut II the Great
|246-276 AR (30 years)||Son of Chatnaguri||House of Chatna|
|17||Iskandar the Wise||276 - 297 AR (21 years)||Son of Thalut||House of Chatna|
|18||Dara||297 - 302 AR (5 years)||Son of Thalut||House of Chatna|
|19||Ioximander the Mesallian
King of Erasidon
King of Emalia, et al.
|302 - 304 AR (2 years)||None (Right of Conquest)||House of Ptelamus|
|20||Ptelamus III the Mad
|304 - c.340 AR (36 years)||Son of Ioximander
Grandson of Dara
|House of Ptelamus|
(Xera the Savior)
King of Edom
|c.340 - 386 AR (46 years)||Nephew of Ioximander||House of Xera|
|386 AR - incumbent||Son of Xarenvarus||House of Xera|