|tlāna aerāniha (Aeranir)|
|Preceeded by||Aeranid Kingdom|
|Succeeded by||Southern Aeranid Empire, Eastern Aeranid Empire, Antine Kingdom, Fasser|
The Aeranid Empire (Aeranir: tlāna aerāniha) was the post-kingdom period of the ancient Aeranid culture, consisting of large territorial holdings throughout Epehenia, Eastern Eubora, and Northern Suria, ruled by a Senate representing the Schools of Telrhamir. The Empire eventually came to an abrupt end in 1266bnia with the Collapse, which devastated central Ephenia, creating the Great Desert, and entrapped the capital within the impenetrable Wall of Severence. There were some efforts made by the remains of the Empire to reconsolidate power, however these attempts disintegrated as local landlords, administrators, and tribal councils rose to power. In the south, the so-called 'Southern Aeranid Empire,' made mostly of Anderian tribes, devolved into a loose confederacy of constantly warring feudal states. Fyrdan invaders from the north flooded south, conquering much of Vall under the Antine Kingdom in 1140bnia. The Empire in Eubora and Suria lasted longer, holding out as the Eastern Aeranid Empire, until 827bnia, when its capital, Heirotophia, was taken by Fasser.
The previous Aeranid Kingdom began some time in the 23th or 24th century bnia, with the founding of the city of Telrhamir, although the exact date is unknown. The monarchy was overthrown in 2104bnia, and replaced with a Senate representing the ten Schools of Telhramir. As the Empire expanded under Senatorial rule, the number of Schools increased within the city, and subordinate School systems were adopted in the conquered territories. Eventually, one School, Motus Soniae, grained predominance through strategic intermarriage and through their leaders' successful military campaigns. In 1595bnia Cava Iliana enacted the Small Coup, enacting laws limiting Senate membership to Motus Soniae members. From there the Empire came to resemble a semi-hereditary single-party state. This continued until the Collapse.
Due to the Aeranid Empire's vast extent and long endurance, its institutions and culture left a profound influence on the territories it governed, as well as outside of its borders, across all Avrid. Its language evolved into the Aeranid languages spoken throughout Ephenia, Eubora, and Suria. Aeranir has also remained an important language for art, philosophy, science and administration.
There are second hand record and reports of wumbos living along the Traedus in Paliciun, the flat, arid region of Iscaria bordered by the Atulun Mountains in the north and Mount Colos in the south as early as the 3rd or 4th millennia bnia. However, due to the Collapse, almost all of this area has been covered by the Great Desert, and the precise location of these natural formations, such as the Traedus river, are unknown to this day. Due to the Wall of Severance, it impossible to ascertain exactly when the city of Telrhamir was first inhabited.
It is believed that the Aerans were the first Maro-Ephenians to settle in the region, in the later stage of migration from the First Forrest, which mostly overtaking the Ethrian tribes which had lived their previously, pushing them north in some cases, and intermingling in others. These Aerans were also in close contact with Talothic and Northern Haidic colonies established throughout Iscaria.
A number of Aeran settlements were made throughout Paliciun, and in their earliest days the most powerful and influential among them was Seleps, situated at on the Traedus delta. However, Telrhamir began to slowly rise to prominence. The region had always been well known for its manufacture of papyrus, but the discovery of paper (accredited to Panno Iunus Lucia Aprios) brought in huge amounts of wealth to Telrhamir. Even throughout the reign of the Empire, it was often referred to as the "paper capital" (indus harēpae). Furthermore, the city sat just upriver from the Niha Lupenta, a large and reliable flood plain of the Traedus, allowing high crop yields. In the Aeranid War, Telrhamir fought the other Aeranid settlements, lead by Seleps, and won, taking control of Paliciun, and establishing the Aeranid Kingdom (rennun aerānidun). During this time, many prominent houses and families were resettled in Telrhamir. Some of the smaller houses joined existing schools, while other more powerful ones banned together to form new schools.
There are mentions of 'kings' (Aeranir: rēner) as the primier political figure in Telrhamir going back to the city's earliest history, however it is only after the Aeranid War, and the large increase of Telrhamir-controlled land, that the Kingdom period is considered to have begun by historians. The Kingdom was marked by its territorial expansion, which, by the time the King was overthrown by the Senate in 2104bnia, covered all of Iscaria, most of central Ephenia, northern Hileria, Valun, Copta, Dalitia, and parts of northern Suria.
House and School
The centre of Aeran life in the capital, Telrhamir, was the cōmus ('house'). The cōmus was not based off of familial association, but rather social bonds. People were born into their mother's cōmus, but would often leave later in life to establish their own cōmus with friends, lovers, colleagues, etc., or join a pre-established cōmus of repute. A cōmus was usually composed from anywhere between three and a dozen members, although more prestigious or wealthy cōmerent were generally larger, especially as household staff were considered a part of the cōmus.
Above the cōmus was the achara ('school'). Originally the primary function of the achara was the education of children, but from an early stage of Aeranid society they took on a far vaster social role. The achara was a sort of super-cōmus, bringing together even larger groups of people with similar social, material, and philosophical interests. Representation in the Telrhamiran senate, at least before the Small Coup, was based off of the acharar, with each one sending a number of senators proportional to its share of the city's population.
Both cōmus and achara where not fixed groups, and one may choose to exit or enter either at any point in time, provided they met the entrance requirements for the cōmus or achara they wished to enter. Whilst most cōmerent where made up entirely of people of the same achara, inter-achara cōmerent where not uncommon. The leadership of both groups where decided internally, by whatever mechanisms they saw fit to do so. Each achara had its own culture, reputation, and speciality, and ran its affairs differently.
There where thirty-six achara officially listed in the capital at the hight of the empire. The following is an (incomplete) list:
- Accoehia (acc)
- Aelūia (ail)
- Avistia (avi)
- Caescar (cai)
- Camilia (cam)
- Cōmus Renis (cr)
- Ehermīnia (ehr)
- Lūcīnia (lov)
- Lupēnscia (lvp)
- Motus Avis (ma)
- Motus Soniae (ms)
- Ñōtar (ñot)
- Paetia (pai)
- Plumen Tullentun (pt)
- Qurtīnia (qvr)
- Rascānia (ras)
- Tersīnia (ter)
- Tūvīnia (toi)
As with anything, dining habits in the Aeranid Empire varied greatly depending on class, period, profession, and location. The following describes the dining habits of those in the capital, Telhramir, during the High Period of the Empire.
Dining in Telhramir usually took place in the home. The cōmus, or house, was the central pillar of Aeranid society. However, the form a comus took was dependant on class. Only the upper classes and well established houses could afford a private free standing cōmus called a tantiun (from tantus ‘single’). The rest of society rented space in public apartments called truscēs. These where several stories high and could contain three to over a dozen comerunt. For logistical reasons, kitchens where either on the ground floor or the basement. More expensive ground floor truscēs may have their own kitchens, but generally the ground floor was dedicated to public space, kitchens, or shops. Truscēs above shops were especially inexpensive, as that meant tenants would have to go elsewhere to eat. For those who did rent apartments with kitchens, food was generally included with rent.
Typically Aerans enjoyed four meals a day; māhiculun, oriha, tīn, and sāsūra. In truscēs the ‘menu’ was set by the chefs, while in tantiun these where decided upon by the Housemates or staff.
The first meal of the day was māhiculun (from māha ‘morning’), which was had at dawn no matter one’s class, before the day’s work began. This was often a simple meal meant to tide one over for the first few hours of the day, and especially among the lower classes was heavily spiced, to wake one up at the beginning of the day.
After a few hours of work, around noon, citizens of the Capital would enjoy their main meal of the day; oriha, so called because it generally contained at least one hearty grain, usually rice (oriha). For the majority of people who laboured outside of their home, oriha was either prepared and eaten at the workplace, or in a nearby truscēs kitchen. It was considered the employers duty to provide oriha for their workers, so if they didn’t have an on site kitchen they would contract with these nearby truscēs kitchens. An employer might contract an entire truscēs kitchen, or reserve a few spots in many and allocate them to employees.
For the upper classes, who either worked from home or had the luxury to go home for meals, oriha was the most important meal socially of the day. Corrihia, a sort of noontime dinner party, was an important part of upper class social life, where one gathered with friends and allies to strengthen bonds and discuss business and politics. The kitchen in a tantiun, because the it was not public, was generally in the basement, so that the ground floor would be clear for a large and lavish dining room.
The more intimate meal, and the one of greater importance to the working class, was tīn (lit. ‘tea’). Although tea was served at all meals, as it was the staple drink of the Aerans, tīn as a meal referred to a sort of afternoon tea had between friends and Housemates after work, usually around 4 to 6 in the afternoon, in one's home kitchen, like māhiculun. Because at that point one was assumed to be tired from work, one would only have tīn with their closest acquaintances, whose company they enjoyed. Generally, these would be members of the same comus or achara (‘school’), but not always.
Coltitiō (‘drinking together’) was considered therefore the highest form of social bond, and the type of relationship most strived for. Though it began as a working class activity, the upper classes also appropriated it during the early stages of the empire, especially due to the high degree of working class influence after the overthrow of the Telrhamiran monarchy, in which they played an outsized role. Many of the upper class even had tīn in public restaurants or in high class communal food halls, to mimic the public yet intimate setting of tīn truscēmun. To be invited to tīn was a high honour and a mark of camaraderie (carīnia), another pillar of Aeran social practice.
Finally, a small snack, called sāsūra (from sahitz ‘it sates me’) was had shortly for retiring to one’s bed. Large sāsūrar where discouraged, as it was thought to interfere with restful sleep. These were generally simple but comfortable meals meant to relax one before bed. Sāsūra would also signal that a public kitchen was closing soon, and that patrons should go home.
Because chefs did not dine with the general population, but rather amongst themselves after regular meals were served, they were often considered a class apart, and children’s rumore held that they never ate.
Terrestrial and celestial gods'
Aeranid religion distinguished broadly between two sets of gods; terrestrial gods and celestial gods. Of the two, the earthly gods were much more frequently referred to and called upon in daily life and worship. They are associated mostly with nature, natural phenomena, places, animals, and peoples. The celestial gods however represented more abstract, cosmic forces, and were generally associated with heavenly bodies. They were understood to dwell in the stars, and were mostly occupied with cosmic matters.
This split is theorised by some to suggest the syncretism of two or more separate, earlier traditions amongst the ancestors of the Aerans. As the theory goes, the terrestrial gods descend from the gods worshipped by Maro-Ephenians migrating into Iscaria from Eubora, while the celestial gods descend from the religion of the earlier inhabitants of Iscaria. As the two groups intermingled and merged, so too were their religions combined. Critics of this theory point out that many of the basic beliefs and deities associated with the celestial gods are found in many other Maro-Ephenian cultures without the terrestrial_celestial distinction, suggesting these elements could not have originated in Iscaria. Proponents argue that these Early-Iscaric beliefs may have been more widespread than previously assumed, that they may have spread throughout Maro-Ephenian cultures after initial contact, or that many of the beliefs of the Maro-Ephenians were reanalysed and grafted onto the Early-Iscaric religion.
Creation myth, and the battle with Destruction
The fundemental focus of Aeranid theology was the battle between the universal forces of creation and destruction. Before the beginning of time, there was a massive battle between these two forces, with the Rham leading creation, which creation eventually won, casting all destruction out of the universe, however at a great loss of numbers. King of the Rham, Ixor, gathered the remaining Rham, and made his court in the centre of the universe, Satercas (satercās). From there they oversaw the creation of the universe as it is now known, and ruled over it. For a time, the universe was an absolute celestial paradise, however as time went on, the Rham became more and more powerful, and the greatest among them, including Ixor, were crushed under their own gravity, and gave into gluttony and desire. Through them destruction reentered the universe, and the remaining Rham again took up the battle against their former kings. However, with their ranks depleted, they were pushed out of Satercas, and unable to put up more than a stalemate against Ixor.
In one attempt to strengthen their ranks, the Rham decided to increase their numbers by seeding new creation outside of Ixor's reach. They sent out one among them, the sun god Odesser, away from the frontlines, to the lifeless planet of Avrid. There he used his power to create basic life on Avrid, giving rise to the Dim as well. He worked together with them to create more complex life, eventually creating intelligent wumbo, who could create for themselves new things even the gods could not imagine. It became the duty of the gods to cultivate wumbanity, so that one day it would be powerful enough to join the battle in the centre of the universe and defeat Ixor.
Because of Ixor's influence, all creations must eventually decay in time. This decay was seen as contrary to the fundemental force of life, aenun (aēnun), and objects or beings resistant to time's decay were considered to have more aenun than those that decayed quickly. Thus, under this concept, inanimate objects like rocks or trees are considered to be more alive than living things like wumbo and animals. However, many of these resistant beings were not particularly creative. These were considered eternal. The ideal was something that could create more than it was, or multiply itself, before it succumbed to time. These things were considered cyclical, or reproductive. Finally, things that easily succumbed to time were called temporary. This distinction was of the upmost important to Aeranid culture, and it can be found repeated across all aspects of Aeranid thought, including linguistics, where these distinctions gave rise to the names of the Aeranir grammatical genders.
The foundation of Telrhamir
According to Aeranid legend, the first Aerans were nomadic cast-outs from nnearby tribes, wandering through the arid regions of northern Iscaria in search of a place to settle. Arriving at a large mesa, their leader, Rhamanus, climbed it, and at its top beseeched the gods to show them a place where they could make a home. Their prayers were answered by Odesser, who told Rhamanus to build their city atop the mesa. Odesser then carved the river Traedus into the land beneath it, so that the city could be sustained. He told Rhamanus of the war in the center of the universe, and instructed them to use this city to cultivate wumbanity so that they would be ready when they were called upon to fight. Rhamanus was made the first king of this new city, which they called 'Telrhamir,' meaning 'mesa of the celestial gods' (Aeranir: tēlrhamir).