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Shahanshah

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Stories & Tales' started by need my speed, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    In 600 BC, the flames of revolution took the Persian Despotate asunder. The fort-cities behind the Mountains of Babel, seeing their food stores shrink dangerously low as Immortals were amassed there. The Valleylands, now stretching to the lush Indus and the great salty reaches of the south, a scent of salt and sea and freedom. The great desert, dividing the Despotate in half, and the Farsi River, dividing the Despotate in half more - yet even there, the steppe culture of the Mongol tribes tore at the cohesion of Persia. In the west, Antioch found itself to be more Turkic than Persian, and Persians were indeed sighted joining the raiders of Edrine. It was a broken empire, old Persia.

    Long ago, Elamites and Medians and Parthians had come together under the banners of the great Kurus, Kurosh, Koresh - Cyrus, as the history books would note. The Farsi River had united the tribes, in commerce and trade and common purpose. The fertile riverbanks, the flood plains that kept the dry desert at bay, the wealthy farms of wheat - they had fuelled Persia, ushered her into a population boom, and had ensured that starvation was met by expansion, under the able guidance of the despots of Persia.

    Pasargadae, city of iron and gold, built into the mountains of the Caspi, who would go on to erect the famous Colossus in honour of glorious Cyrus and his glorious descendants. Gordium, first to find itself in dry lands, the gate to Farsi proper, as it held one of the only two only passes through the mountain range - yet faced with such dry lands, the Persians had taken up the challenge and created the world's largest irrigation network, straight from the Farsi River herself. The greatest granaries had been built, to keep food fresh and plenty, so much that even a bad harvest or a harsh winter could be survived with little loss of life. The Pyramidal Granaries were a true wonder.

    And it hadn't stopped there; south, trekking many days and nights through the mountain valley, the Valleylands had been colonised by Persia, with iron and sugar giving life to the dry desert, no rain penetrating the enclosing mountains. East, then, the gold of Bactra that lay at the very edge of the great desert, the very edge of human habitation. But it was not the edge of the world. The circular road, from Gordium to Pasargadae to Antioch, was the crowning achievement of a son of Cyrus, and the road from Arbela to Pasargadae, heading through the driest of desert wasteland, was a mighty undertaking too, but they would be nothing compared to future generations.

    The Persians showed their mettle once more, and twice, and thrice over indeed, as the north-south road and the east-west road were established, allowing trade to gradually find its way through the desert. The oasis became a beacon of commerce, and from Hamadan, even the far west was irrigated - like Gordium of old, but on a far larger scale. The fort-cities of Tyre, Dariush Kabir, and Herat, there to ward off the Babylonian peoples, could now be kept supplied from the banks of the Farsi herself, should the need arise. Persia was one, a land of and for Persians, with public works that boggled the minds of all those that surrounded her.

    It was in this time that the peoples of Persia devoted themselves to literature and philosophy, with starvation mostly being a thing of the past. Settlements threatened by such exiled many a son and daughter and adventurer, and thus it came to be that Persia would even reach the great salt sea of the south - and then east, to the lush Indus valley, named so for the Indians that dwelt there. In this prosperous time, the third-to-last son of Cyrus devoted himself to philosophy, establishing the greatest temple yet in the capital of Persepolis and sponsoring the construction of libraries everywhere. We know his name from the very histories he helped create; Cambyses in the modern dialect, Kambujiya as then favoured in the south, Kambuses in the west, and Kanbuzi in the north-east.

    The second-to-last son of Cyrus, Bardiya - Pirtiya in the south, Barziya in the west, and Smerdis in the north-east - devoted himself to iron working and sword crafting. He applied his father's philosophies and literature, his curiosity and his desire to know, to the practical arts of metal. Steel would be discovered thanks to his experiments. And he promised to raise an immortal army of iron and gold, in the image of Pasargadae, with commanders from Gordium and soldiers from all over the realm, and they would keep the greatest empire the world had ever seen in order and guard her vast borders against the peoples encroaching upon them.

    The last son of Cyrus, Artabanus, whose name needs not the honour of translation to different dialects, whose name is recognised in every corner of the world as the purest of evil, left a different sort of legacy.

    He plunged the empire into civil war.

    Millions died, and a million corpses rotted, and a dozen million carrion birds feasted upon the starving Persians, as brother ate sister and as even the Pyramids of Gordium threatened collapse. He called himself Xsyarsa, a true Gordian name, but his birth name was Khshayarsha, reminiscent of Merv or Bampur or another southern village. He became the legendary commander of the Immortal Army, he stylised himself as the Ruler of Heroes - and he was, he was - and he was beloved by all the men under his command and all the women under Persian rule. We know him as Xerxes, and we know Artabanus had him assassinated.

    "Ruler of heroes? Look upon ye words, ye mighty, and despair! I am the ruler of heroes! I am the ruler of a thousand-year long empire, four times over - and I have unveiled your treachery, Xerxes the Southerner! Born in the salt-blasted deserts, perhaps, assuming a fake identity to gain command of my Immortals - and what for?

    What, indeed, Xerxes? Who profits? The Indians, defiling Dakyanus overlooking 'their' river? It is ours by right of might, and the Indians will be subject to the Persians! The Mongols, of Ulaanbaatar and Almarikh - do we even see the Persian roots in our brothers of Ghulaman anymore? Have they gone astray so far, that they are now Mongols, and Persians no longer? Oh, but if it isn't the Indians to our south-east, nor the Mongols to our north-east, then perhaps you hail from Edrine to our north-west? For our brothers of Antioch have long been seen drinking and making merry with Ottoman and Turkic raiders! Or did you come from a more cultured place, the upstarts of Babylon, thinking they can rival us? Have you come to plunge your dagger into the heart of Persia? Have you come to turn the Immortals lose upon their brothers and sisters? Have you come to take my life, Xerxes?

    You forget, then, that I am Artabanus, son of Cyrus, ruler of heroes indeed - and if I rule the Immortals, pray tell, does that not make me immortal myself? Do I not bleed, when I am cut?
    "

    Artabanus, blasted from Cyrus' lineage, discovered to be a false son, an imposter, false and wrong and evil in every way, did bleed. He challenged Xerxes to a duel, and lost, and Xerxes did indeed plunge his dagger into the heart of Artabanus and into all of Persia. Into himself. For he was of Persia, and he saw the ruin that he had wrought with his deceptions. He took those Immortals that remained loyal to him, and set out to Babylon, to prove his worth to Persia. And behind him, in his footsteps, Persia burned. And with every step he took, new fires arose behind him.

    But Persia was like the phoenix, and would come out only stronger, only better.
     
  2. jiikoo

    jiikoo Chieftain

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    Please, finish the game. Too many players drop it after some time.
     
  3. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    Exalted governor, long has Gordium prospered under your benevolent rule. Graced by your wisdom, we, your citizens, are truly blessed. It is no small honour that you have entrusted upon me, and I can only pray that I can prove myself worthy of your trust. With this compilation of the cultures of Persia, drawn from my own experiences of wandering through our glorious realm, I am hopeful that I may be of some small service to your exalted self.

    First and foremost of the old Persian cultures is that which sprung from the Farsi River, nursed and nurtured by a river rife with all the bounty men and women could ever hope for. The Farsi people, and the Farsi culture, are the true Persian heroes, wearing their hair in the braids of Cyrus and Xerxes and dressing in ocean blue robes. These are unlike the simpler robes worn in the Valleylands, for the body coat consists of three separate pieces and the sleeves are attached separately once more. The wealthiest of the Farsi have intricate patterns to add even more complexity to their robes. These Farsi have other ways of showing off their wealth too; a variety of headdresses can be found, especially in the palace of Persepolis. Pointed and coned caps with side-flaps long enough to be tied under the chin were the most prominent symbol when I journeyed there, but currently one can see more of the distinctive hats worn by many of Cyrus' sons, coloured in blue and reaching out to the heavens. They dine on the finest foods in existence. Lavish banquets can be seen in the halls of Persepolis' palace, and in that of the homes of the eldest and wisest men. They have large meals, of specially bred chickens and ducks, or of rice prepared in all its multitudes. They have rich sauces, such as tart pomegranate combined with walnut and onion, and they season their foods with herbs and spices, such as saffron, cinnamon, or sugar. There are tomatoes and lemon juice, grapes and eggs, beans, and dozens of different berries, and all the wealth of the world can be found in a Farsi cookery.

    They have brought this wealth to Gordium, and built all of Persia with it, but as you surely must have realised, they have grown decadent, and haughty, and arrogant, and thus it is that some whisper that Gordium is the true heart of Persia, and not the far-away masters of Persepolis, commanding even the highest of governors, such as your exalted self, as if they are but slaves or common citizens. Gordium, of course, combines the best of all that Persia has to offer, and is the beating heart of the Persian realm, lying at the crossroads of the entire land. To be a governor there, is to be the king of kings of all of Persia. And my own eyes can verify that the palace of Persepolis is an ancient construct, poorly maintained and lacking all the modern signs of wealth and splendour that are so prevalent in Gordium, and especially in the governor's palace there. It is clear for all to see that Gordium is ruled better than even Cyrus' latest sons could rule Persepolis.

    The Farsi people spread from Persepolis all along the Farsi River, with Arbela and Zohak neighbouring Persepolis, and with the port-city of Sardis controlling the lake where the Farsi River ends. Sidon and Istakhr lie to the east, loyal to Persepolis and untouched by the Mongol taint, unlike Ghulaman. Pasargadae, insular and shielded by mountains and hills, falls too under the Farsi culture, though it has its own peculiarities. The Caspi people still live there, tending to their herds in the mountains, or fishing in the sea named after them, and they still worship their Persian betters. They are mighty proud to belong to our glorious people, and it would be the purest wisdom to seek to encourage similar sentiments amongst other people. To not accentuate their negatives while letting out a call to arms, but to accentuate their positives, to make them feel proud of themselves, and receptive to further wisdom. Wisdom that cannot be so easily dismissed, for to do so would be to dismiss their own pride. The wise ruler would then entice them, showing them what Persia can offer them, and soon, Persia would have grown yet larger. It is sound advice to let the Caspi keep their delusions, and their conflation and conflict over whether the Colossus represents Cyrus, Xerxes, or even you, exalted governor, is a quaint and harmless pastime. No doubt, they would at once agree that the Colossus bears your likeness, if Pasargadae might ever be blessed by your visit, but the proud Caspi might be reluctant to voice this, only admitting it in the privacy of their minds. The wise ruler knows the truth, however.

    Second only to the Farsi, the culture of the Valleylands is amongst the most influential in Persia. It is no wonder that Gordium lies at the crossroad betwixt the two. The three sisters, Samaria, Ergili, and Jinjan, have long since banded together to face off the eternal threat of starvation; they lay in a dry desert surrounded by mountains that ward off all rain. Gordium plays a most important role here, as she has established the irrigation channels that feed the people of the Valleylands, for which they are eternally grateful. The people of the Valleylands know little variety of food, though they are one of the main sources of sugar for Persia. Nor do they know a variety of clothes, wearing simple white robes to best ward off the heat. They can further be seen wearing simple, flat, triangular caps of white, that provide relief from the burning sun. The best shoes are crafted in Samaria, and they will forever protect one's feet against both water and sand. The people of the Valleylands are cunning merchants, for that is the only way to survive in this harsh place; securing the best deal for oneself. They do not believe in the concept of cheating, for often, their very lives are at stake, and that is worth everything to them. A wise ruler would be cautious negotiating with such a people, but their partly nomadic existence makes their culture too influential to ignore.

    They have a certain sense of seeking out extremes, as evidenced by the village of Bactra, founded on the then-edge of civilisation; past even the many mountains that shield Persia from the great and perilous desert. The people there are too busy with the survival of their selves and their closest kin, so a ruler need not worry about them overtly much. Hamadan, directly to the south, is a slightly larger village, as a consequence of the nearby oasis - and, recently, the commerce that has flown in the wake of Xerxes' marches. Bampur is much like Bactra, and is like one of the three sisters without the other two, in that it lies isolated and alone in an unforgiving desert. To travel to there without crossing any mountains is to trek from Bactra to Bampur, a journey that may take years and will surely kill nine out of ten men. No merchants come here, no roads are here, and no irrigation is here. Should one wish to reach the sea people, of which I shall write below, one is far better off travelling through the mountain villages of the frontier; from Hamadan, to Herat of the frontier, and then to Borazjan of the sea people.

    The people of Herat, Dariush Kabir, and Tyre, are hard men with little time for frivolity or luxury, which they will denounce as wastefulness. They have grown up on the frontier, often with little infrastructure and irrigation, having had to survive on the occasional food shipment, the few merchants that make their way so far east, and mostly, their own small farms and herds, which they tend to day and night. This has bred a close kinship into these peoples. Theirs is a more guttural accent, with short words that may sound like snarls and obscenities to the untrained ear. Should you treat them with respect, however, they shall embrace you as if you were their brother. They favour the conical cap that is known as the cidaris, as they once did in the Valleylands, and as they still do in the outskirts of the great desert. Wearing such a hat might endear you to them, but they respect hard work and honesty above all else; pretensions and deceit are the surest way to incur their enmity. The women favour a simple robe - often brown, sometimes white, as they lack ready access to dyes - while more and more men wear the simple trousers so common in Edrine and in presumably all of Ottoman society. This is not a cultural influence to be on your guard against; this is but the pragmatic attitude of a people often found on horses.

    It bears mentioning, at this point, that Antioch often has to close its gates to ward off hordes of desperate Turks and Ottomans, fleeing their native homeland in pursuit of a better life in Persia. When the governor of Antioch so wisely puts the well-being of his own citizens over the foreign masses at his gates, raiding parties may be sent out from Edrine to pillage his lands. Already, a fine Persian road and the irrigated fields it runs through have been seized by the Ottomans. A grape plantation, too, is home to Turkic workers and Ottoman warriors, even though it lies right between Antioch and Tyre, and is thus clearly part of the Persian realm. A disgusting rumour that I have verified to be true, is that the hats of these workers - triangular ones made of fur - are made from aborted lamb fetuses. Even with the governor's wise precautions, many a Turk dwell within the walls of Antioch, and many an Ottoman roams the Persian countryside. A wiser governor - such as your exalted self - would have undoubtedly dealt ably with this menace, but for now, Antioch is distressingly Turkic and becoming moreso by the day.

    With Xerxes' war, the people of Herat, Dariush Kabir, and Tyre, have seen a marked increase in infrastructure, as labourers work tirelessly to complete and maintain the extensive road networks to move an army and to keep it supplied deep within Babylonian territory. The few mountain outposts manned by hunters have grown considerably, so that they may house and send out small patrols across the Mountains of Babel. The frontier - for as long as it remains so, for surely, great victories shall be achieved, and no defeat shall be suffered - is growing wealthier by the day, as merchants arrive with luxurious goods to trade, in pursuit of the great Persian armies. The small villages here appropriate some of the foodstuffs of the baggage trains that pass by - as is their right by law, they will be quick to point out, and grow angry that they must point out such an obvious fact - and so too it is for the other supplies that are stored here for the armies. They are a fair people, however, with a harsh sense of justice, but a fair one; such is necessary to survive on the barren frontiers. A wise man would trust their words, yet seek to verify when the opportunity to do so in an inoffensive manner presents itself. Positioned between the rich Babylonian heartland and glorious Farsi, once Babylonia is brought under Persian rule, it seems inevitable that the tribal bonds of these hard people here will weaken, as a result of commerce flowing through their lands.

    In the other corner of our vast realm, far away from the mountain villages, lies Ghulaman, which deserves special mention. Trousers are more common among the peoples of the mountains and of the frontier, but whereas they wear them for pragmatic reasons, the people of Ghulaman wear them as symbols, finding them to be stylish. This is most worrying, for their trousers are exact copies of the Mongolian ones, and I have heard that the Mongols bitterly frown upon what they call 'Persian intrusion into our rightful lands'. Indeed, the peoples of Almarikh and Ulaanbaatar - collections of Mongolian tents and huts - are known to regularly remark upon the false fact that 'Persians are defiling our river'. A lie even to themselves, for they regularly defile the women of Ghulaman - how can Persians defile their river, if they themselves voluntarily seek out the beauty of Persian wives? The governor of Ghulaman would undoubtedly raise legions of spearmen, but even so close to Persepolis, the capital is powerless to offer aid, and the governor told me in a most worried voice that his pleas for help have almost always gone unanswered. It is stunning and shocking and shameful that a ruler of a great realm could let his women be raped by any horde of beastmen that so wishes. But I am sure the capital has plans to combat this. Plans that it has surely been refining for the last few decades by now. Let it not be said that I am not loyal to Persia - but I should note that I am sure that an active and compassionate ruler, such as the governor of Gordium, would do a far better job.

    Enough of that northern rot. Along the seashore, far to the south, a curious cap can be found; a poor imitation of the Farsi conical cap, the side-flaps of this so-called Phrygian one do not even cover the ears. It is not viewed as a poor imitation by the people wearing them, however, and the people of Borazjan, Merv, and Tureng Tepe, are very proud of these hats. They make them with their own hand, from boy to girl and from man to woman alike, and they are a symbol of freedom and liberty. This is perhaps the most important quality to be ascribed to the people on the coast of the great southern sea, and a wise ruler would never seek to impose harsh restrictions upon them. Instead, he would favour bartering and argument, to work out a mutually beneficial trade, if possible. For this reason, a wise man would demand whatever he wishes twice over, so that the people here may congratulate themselves on bringing down the price to a more reasonable level. A level coinciding with precisely what the cunning man set out to achieve.

    These sea people are travellers and merchants, having grown up in the shadow of the valley, and whereas the Valleylands are insular and introverted, the sea people are often boisterous and extroverted. Daring adventurers, or arrogant fools, it is a matter of perspective. One should expect rude words and exaggerated displays of emotion, too, and it is easy to dismiss the sea people as an unruly and ungrateful lot. But of all the Persian peoples, they live the farthest away from Persepolis, and behind their unpleasant exterior, a loyal subject dwells. Their friendship expresses itself in odd mannerisms, and sometimes even in violence, but they take care to do no real harm, and can often be found laughing and drinking together mere moments later, or promising to host a feast for their companions. They do not have many feasts, and their diet is rather lacking and poor, another trait they inherited from the Valleylands. They do have all the bounty of the sea to feast upon, with fish, crab, and clam perhaps being the most common foods. They eat these in taverns by the seaside, where they always recognise friend or family, and share boisterous words and roaring laughs, before returning to work again.

    The final village to be mentioned is the hill-fort of Dakyanus, seizing the lush valley of the Indus for the realm, watching over the Indians from atop a hill and behind the Indus river. Lying beyond the mountains, east of the sea people, this place is perhaps the hardest to reach out of all of Persia. However, the people are strong of heart and mind, and the only signs of Indian influence are the looser robes and the deep caps, that come down in the front to the eyebrows and at the back to the nape of the neck. They are more frugal than the sea people, and far more humble too; they are but one small village, and Persepolis is so very far away, while India is nearby. Yet they are forever loyal to Persia, and so they are humble, so that the Indians might let them be. This is not a weakness of Dakyanus, but a weakness of Persepolis; were the capital to be in Gordium, then surely, the people of Dakyanus would feel emboldened and lose their Indian-induced humility.

    Now and forever, I remain,
    Your loyal serant,
    Ctesias of Gordium
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  4. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    It is doubtful that I will ever finish this, but so far I am having fun. Thank you for your reply. :)
     
  5. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    Mass starvation beset the Despotate, as roads and trade deteriorated, and public works were abandoned. The countryside, too, was abandoned, and so was the law. Thieves and thugs had a joyful winter of feasting on the abandoned crops and livestock, before finding themselves shut out of the cities and starving the next winter. Along with most of the peasants, of course. Unless they managed to smuggle themselves back inside amidst one of the plentiful riots - or even small-scale sieges, as the Valleylands rose up collectively to march on Gordium, demanding food and water. It was not a good time to be reliant on the great irrigation networks of Persia.

    From 500 BC to 450 BC, civil authority was gradually restored. The Despotate was in terrible shape, divided in shattered pieces, with a handful of despots vying for absolute power at any given moment. Absolute power that only extended as far as the palace walls did, at that. Social structures needed time to form, and social cohesion needed time to build. As smaller villages restored order and began to produce enough food for specialisation, the enforcement of the law could slowly start again. Smiths could be heard banging copper and iron, and farmers could be seen harvesting in relative safety, now that their uncles or nephews guarded their fields. Second cousins and grandsons had spears of copper and swords of iron pressed into their hands, and were sent to guard the main roads of Persia. Trade commenced, slowly, then quickly, as farmers had their first surpluses in decades. Larger towns opened their gates, and noted the absence of piles of starved corpses come winter. Of course, they also noted a drastic reduction in population. But as more and more men could be spared from the fields, artisans began repairing and restoring Persia's famous irrigation networks - population would grow soon enough.

    This was not the end of Persia's problems. The people had been forced to form tight-knit communities, to survive together or to starve separately. But this social - tribal - structure could not accommodate to the sheer scale of Persia's holdings. The Valleylands - Samaria, Ergili, and Jinjan - had bound together, for the harsh desert risked to bury their cities, but this already was unprecedented. Elsewhere, at the very utmost, people were loyal to the brothers and sisters of their city, sharing one culture, one dialect, one way of life. Not with Persia at large, and certainly not with the faraway despots in Persepolis, that seemed to ascend the throne only to be cut down like stones chasing each other as they cascade down a mountain.

    Gordium lay at the conflux of cultures, but even there, instead of this tying Gordium to all corners of the realm, the governor of Gordium promoted a unique identity based upon the superiority of Gordian culture, the best from all of Persia, and the superiority of Gordian men - Xerxes, our hero! And those despots in Persepolis would cut him down? I would stab Artabanus a thousand times over, and all of his ilk, if they dare rise up against our men!

    With Gordium positioned at the crossroads of the world, this was a sentiment that soon spread throughout the Despotate. Perhaps not the hero-worship of Xerxes, but that 'those despots over there' held no real claim to Persia, had no connection to the common folk that lived so very far away, knew nothing of local problems and local culture - why, indeed, should a despot in faraway Persepolis reign over all? Because all Persians descended from those tribes that had united under the gentle breeze of the Farsi River? Because all Persians were still dependent on that selfsame water of the Farsi River? So the benevolent despots sought to kill of all Persians that disagreed, by withholding water, until all of Persia was a graveyard? Cyrus and his sons had been great, and glorious, and worthy, yes, but their lineage was at an end now, by the hand of the accursed Artabanus, and who could possibly be an able successor, able enough to unite all of Persia?

    Xerxes, was the oft-heard answer. But he was far away for now, traversing the Persian empire in its multitudes, greeting the citizens of all the villages and the peasants of all the fields he passed through, making his way to Babylonia. They loved him, admired him, worshipped him, south of the Farsi River. He must have heard the rumours and whispers, that he should rule, and no one else. But he kept his word, his promise to the peoples of Persia; he would prove himself worthy first.

    Until that time - and here, Xerxes finally crossed the border, into unclaimed mountains and then into Babylonia - a council would reign. A great meeting was held in Gordium, where all and sunder were welcomed warmly by the governor of Gordium, and feasted on the most majestic meal ever, with entertainers and fools, and sword fighting and spear throwing competitions, and all that one could ever desire. Even the noblemen from Persepolis, holding disdain for all the others in attendance, and consisting for some small part of those still loyal to the despot ineffectually cowering in his palace, were impressed and spoke favourably of Gordium. And as the wine flowed, even this dour and disdainful lot forged ties with all of Persia, finding respect for the wealth of the merchants of the Valleylands and of the seashore, for the prowess of the soldiers of the frontier, and instead of looking down upon all the different foods and clothes, they came to view them as symbols of how vast Persia was, how influential and enlightened she was, how the entire world was subject to her, and thus, to them.

    After days of opulence and extravagance, a council had been formed, to reign from Gordium, with the approval of all the citizens of Persia except for the vying despots and their cliques and clienteles in Persepolis. But even they would have no choice but to accept the mandate of the council, lest the nobles there starve in the winter; their small bands of bodyguards and mercenaries were no match for the city guards and patrols and armies of all of mighty Persia. Otanes, the governor of Gordium, took the lead in the formation of the council, appointing one hundred and twenty of the most important Persians from all over the realm. The wealthiest of merchants, the strongest of soldiers, the wisest of philosophers, the most cultured and the most talented and the most influential, the owners of vast tracts of land and the exporters of vast stocks of food, those with the noblest lineage and those with the purest herds and those with the largest deposits of resources, and many more besides, so that all of Persia was appropriately represented.

    Otanes had the support of many present, for he had unveiled two pieces of parchment. One parchment proved the falseness of Artabanus, detailing how Otanes had long since suspected that Artabanus was no son of Cyrus or Cyrus' sons at all. Another parchment proved that Xerxes was indeed born in Gordium, and that a gross miscarriage of justice had happened, one that Otanes rectified at once to the cheers of all present. Of course, those that Otanes supported for the council - which he named the Megisthanes, the 'Great Thing' - supported Otanes' other appointments in turn, and so, Otanes ably managed and placated the many people present, proving his wisdom thrice over and then some.

    There was the issue of governance, of how exactly the Megisthanes would function, and in this, Otanes argued in favour of a democracy. It was neither pleasant nor good for one man to rule over all others, as the despots did, for what recourse has the public if this despot grows arrogant, angry, or envious? What can a man do, then, when his farms are seized, or when his wife is raped, all on the orders of this despot, certain of his own supremacy and invincibility? Indeed, were those not precisely the traits Artabanus displayed? And all nodded sagely at this argument. In Artabanus' haughty tyranny, he sought to kill one of the greatest heroes to have ever lived, almost rivalling Cyrus himself. But Xerxes survived, he noted, and now you might think that the time has come to proclaim Xerxes to be our despot, our king and our king of kings, for he is just and good and should another imposter ascend to the throne, our advice will surely keep him in check. This, however, ignores precisely why men such as Cyrus and his sons, and Xerxes, and surely his sons as well, are heroes, while we are but men. For it is a feat worthy of heroes to rule so well while having been born in such wealth.

    We have worked hard for our prosperity, but what would a man born holding the wealth of all of Persia know of working hard? How could such a man comprehend the realities that surround our lives? Born in such power, this man's pride in all that he has will grow, and their envy will fuel a wicked cycle; for having all that a man can ever hold, his envy will turn itself to virtuosity and beauty and other immaterial possessions, and coupled with the absolute power that a despot holds, he will soon seek to cut down the targets of his envy, and heroes as Xerxes will be beheaded for their virtue, and wives will be raped and imprisoned for their beauty, and wickedness will reign throughout the lands. Such a despot will take delight in the meanest and the basest, and this will only make him grow more envious of the better nature of others, and so the cycle continues until evil incarnate occupies the Persian throne.

    This will further breed irrationality, ensuring that logic and reason will be seen as treason, and our measured advice will be held as poison, and soon we shall find ourselves killed too; note the many nobles of Persepolis amongst you, who have become your trusted friends and comrades, but note the absence of the despots and their cliques, for they would sooner rain down fire and plague upon the whole city than to listen to the peoples in their multitudes. These despots will find a lack of respect bordering on treachery should a courtier not pay his despot the proper respects, yet these same despots will accuse the same courtier of fawning and lickspitting should he attempt to do so, and so this courtier has no way of pleasing his despot, for his despot is predetermined to take offence where none is given.

    In the halls of his palace, the despot is the ultimate master, and he will surely envision all of the realm as his palace, and so the rule of law and all that we hold up as good and just is only of concern to lesser beings, such as us, and the despot will be quick to put us to death if we try to temper his worst impulses. Such a despot disrupts the laws and his unchecked supremacy will bring ruin to all, as we have seen, and it would take a true hero to resist these base impulses. The rule of the many, on the other hand, inherently holds equality before the law, for it is the many that rule and they do so in equal measure. Further, it is free from all those outrages which a despot is wont to commit; the magistrate is answerable for what he does, and measures rest with the commonalty, which is predisposed to the common good and thus to fairness and righteousness.

    Otanes, thus, urged all present to do away with the Despotate, and raise the people to power, for the people are all in all, as he said. Though receptive to Otanes' wisdom, this prompted further discussion, with Megabyzus promoting the Megisthanes to act as the representative of all the people, as all had envisioned during Otanes' speech, yet Otanes then pointed out that a true democracy would rest the power directly with the people, and not with an oligarchy such as Megabyzus would promote. Debate ensued over whether the Megisthanes would be allowed to act in concordat with only the Megisthanes, without the common citizen influencing this, such as by electing the members of the Megisthanes as Otanes would favour. Though many found themselves fond of Otanes' fair words, they were persuaded to temper the radical proposal of democracy with the compromise of oligarchy. Otherwise election to the Megisthanes might well become a popularity contest, with all those wishing for a seat promising the very gods to come down to bring forth miracles, promising things that cannot be promised and promising things that would bring ruin to Persia in the long-term; emptying the treasury might buy thousands upon thousands of votes but would certainly buy ruin. A rule by the best men, with us amongst them, as Megabyzus put it, was thus favoured, and all promised to pay great attention to the common citizen's needs in their various regions and cultures and occupations, so that the Megisthanes would still rule with the citizens' consent.

    Otanes and Megabyzus shook hands, as did the one hundred and eighteen other members of the new Megisthanes, and the hundreds of others that had come to Gordium besides, and all were happy to have written this page of history, to have contributed to the renewed greatness of Persia. Now they only had to wait for Xerxes to come home, so that he might take up the mantle of despot, regent, or king. He was a hero, and he would add Babylonia to Persia's multitudes, and so he would surely work with the Megisthanes as equals, to usher Persia forth into more enlightened rule.
     
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  6. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    The establishment of the Megisthanes - and the proclamation of the Persian Republic - coincided with Xerxes' incursions into Babylonia, and word soon spread from Babylon of Xerxes' legendary campaigns.

    Eridu was seemingly shielded from Persian aggression, what with the only ways into it involving either a gruelling mountain climb or a march through the desert. As Persia had not extended her public works to the newly settled south just yet - and would not do so anytime soon, what with the civil war still burning the empire apart at that point - Hammurabi was content to let his army parade around in Babylon.

    Content, and lax. Xerxes himself had the command, of men sworn personally to him, no less, and his presence inspired his men to do the impossible. Down the mountain they came, hungry and thirsty, yes, but equally for fish and water as for Babylonian blood. The village was small and unprepared, consisting mostly of workers irrigating the small river. Xerxes' Immortals drank well that day; water, from irrigated river, and blood, from cut-down Babylonian. Some were enslaved, set to work on building roads. Others starved, the food now seized by Xerxes for his Immortals.

    This, however, would have doomed Persia. For Hammurabi's army was large, numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Bowmen, quick to the draw and accurate up to 650 meters, specially chosen for their sight and their hand-eye coordination. Should they be able to entrench themselves, then only the likes of Cyrus could stem the midnight-blue Babylonian tide. These were elite men, outclassing the rank and file of Persian soldiery - spearmen and archers - comparable to Xerxes' own Immortals in prestige. Not in talent, however, nor in tactics or manoeuvring. A forced march from Dariush Kabir enabled the Immortals to fall upon the army of Babylon as it sought to cross the riverbanks, to liberate Eridu, and to occupy the Mountains of Babel. Xerxes hurried from Eridu to join them, and again, he made victory a reality where others would have held it for fantasy.

    In 350 BC, the once mighty army of bowmen had died under the onslaught of Xerxes' Immortals, their corpses feeding the Tigra and her swamps. It is said that even today, the irrigation channels dug here, the agriculture that flourishes here, is nurtured with the blood of Babylon's sons. Two great battles are known in detail, and many smaller skirmishes have been forgotten, but all combined to create the legend of the Immortals. Scattered to the winds, starving troupes of bowmen died on the outskirts of Eridu, in forgotten deserts, or turned rogue and tried to survive the winter with hunting and gathering. Often, these men, bereft of their identity and health, mental and physical strength waning both, turned on one another. All Xerxes had to do was to seize the twin-mouth of the Tigra and the Ufratu, and settle his Immortals in the comforts of the most bountiful farms Persia had ever known, fortified along the lush riverbanks.

    Meanwhile, a third army had been dispatched, from Tyre. Persian workers had previously mapped the Mountains of Babel, and established several crossings fit for an army. A necessary mercy, for the army here had to travel for miles and miles beyond the mountains, living off the hills and the rugged countryside. Sparsely inhabited, too, with the citizens of Nineveh preferring the floodplains and the lush grasses fed by the Tigra and the Ufratu. Perhaps Hammurabi was therefore caught off guard, when these Immortals showed up at the gates of Nineveh. They seized the forest, to hide their numbers from Babylonian scouts, and to craft ad-hoc siege weaponry to force the gates of Nineveh. Another miraculous feat, though not one executed by Xerxes - but he was, of course, responsible for the planning.

    Scattered Babylonian forces, broken against the Immortals, now found themselves behind Persian lines, with both Eridu and Nineveh under the control of Xerxes. Even so, the Mountains of Babel would break the remnants of Babylonia's armies once again.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
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  7. CELTICEMPIRE

    CELTICEMPIRE Zulu Conqueror

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    Interesting.:scan:
     
  8. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    Truly? The great CELTICEMPIRE himself? What an honour!

    As a sidenote, I have made numerous modifications to Civilization III; on top of my head, the application of a balance patch that I found somewhere on this forum, the removal of wonders obsoleting, letting the Great Wall put a Barracks in every city (instead of a Wall, so as to prevent the bombardment bug), whereas Sun Tzu's Art of War now puts a Courthouse in every city, the disabling of tech trading, and the increase of the minimum research time to eight. Aside from some minor things such as changing the civilisations' colours to be more fitting, in my eyes (but I am still using the game's original colours).

    I haven't played Civilization III properly in a long time, but I feel that this level - Monarch, I believe - is comfortable enough for me to simply do my thing without worrying overtly much. You will see me build lots of unnecessary infrastructure, but I'll probably have to refer to that in the story at some point; it'd be silly if a world-spanning empire only ever used its cities to build wealth. 'Tis a story first and foremost, not a competitive game played to win in the least amount of turns. :)
     
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  9. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    Hammurabi mostly left the war to his generals, who were the governors of the most influential cities of Babylonia. Unlike the Farsi people, who had colonised the lands now known as Persia, the area of Mesopotamia had been the home of humans long before Cyrus' birth, and Babylonia was forged by conquest, one city-state at a time. Therefore, these governors were all skilled in the ways of war, and if Hammurabi had not been a just ruler - and how could he not be, when his laws came directly from Persia's own? - handing out food and gold and titles to all those that pleased him, and giving generously to temples and granaries and other infrastructure, then each of these governors was more than capable of raising an army to dethrone their despot and occupy Babylon. Still, they were unified in the face of Persian aggression, and their armies worked as one, methodologically garrisoning the riverbanks and harrying the Persian encampments with rains of arrows.

    Their greatest generals were Yarimlim, Zimrilim, and Ibal Pi'el, and they knew that now was the time for patience; Xerxes had farms and food aplenty, yes, but not enough to last two winters, and Persian workers hadn't yet bridged the deserts and empty lands that lay between Persia proper and Xerxes' encampments. By systematically hunting the wildlife and denying any place of crossing to Xerxes, his only option was to retreat or to launch a desperate attack. An attack upon an ever-growing army of bowmen, who, by now, were being paid to simply sit and watch. The deep pockets of the generous Hammurabi were useful here, and Xerxes saw his chance at an all-out attack on the walls of Babylon evaporate.

    For the moment, that is. In the year of the construction of the Temple of Artemis, to properly inaugurate the Megisthanes and the Republic - to shut down any whispers that a multitude of rulers could not hold the divine favour that was reserved for only one, that there thus should be one ruler, one despot - Xerxes met with Hammurabi himself. He correctly pointed out that even if Hammurabi's generals could force Xerxes from the riverbanks, Xerxes would be back, to recover the sons of Persia left to rot in the swamps of Babylonia, and to exact revenge for every arrow that had struck down the mighty Immortals. This would not be a war Hammurabi had any hopes of winning, for Persia was vast and mighty, while Babylonia was a realm of quarrelling city-states, choked by a great desert and surviving only on the sliver of green that the Tigra and the Ufratu provided.

    The end of the war was soon signed. In the field, by Xerxes and Hammurabi, and again in front of the gates of Nineveh, by the former governor Sin-ahhi-eriba, or Sennacherib in modern parlance. He would serve as an aide to the new governor of Nineveh, and would now be loyal to Persia, lest he wanted his son Ashur-nadin-shumi to be killed. This son was in line to succeed Hammurabi to the Babylonian throne, and so he was carted off to the palace of Persepolis. A great honour, perhaps providing him with opportunities that might have him rise even higher than his father, in this new Persian world, but unbeknown to the Babylonians, the real power had shifted to Gordium. Sin-ahhi-eriba devoted himself to the lands around Nineveh, raising farms and forests, and roads and gardens - indeed, a student of history might have read of his hanging gardens, though they are a pale imitation of the Hanging Gardens of Bad-tibira - and he further educated the common peasants in religious matters. Not in the Persian gods, in the duality of good and evil, in the One God and Creator, Ahura Mazdah, and in the eternal fire that is His holy face, nor in the larger Persian pantheons, or in the gods that had dwelt for untold millennia amidst the Persian plateaus, or even in Artemis and the gods that had come to Persia through exposure to foreign peoples, but in the pantheon of Nineveh that revolved around Ishtar. This was fair, for Persia had always sought to please all the spirits that may or may not be.

    As part of the peace treaty, the coastal village of Ellipi was transferred to Xerxes' control, and Hammurabi further gave up eighty-six bars of gold. All this for a peace that the Megisthanes did not even debate in the halls of Gordium - all this for a treaty that Xerxes threw into a campfire, indeed, promising a renewed campaign period after the feasts were done. It was splendid to be in the military, in this time, for food and gold were plenty, thanks to Hammurabi and the former Babylonian farms. Xerxes himself spoke of a golden age; Babylonian gold, golden wheat and apples and other foods, and a golden sunset on the shores of Ellipi.
     
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  10. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    Hammurabi mostly left the war to his generals, who were the governors of the most influential cities of Babylonia. Unlike the Farsi people, who had colonised the lands now known as Persia, the area of Mesopotamia had been the home of humans long before Cyrus' birth, and Babylonia was forged by conquest, one city-state at a time. Therefore, these governors were all skilled in the ways of war, and if Hammurabi had not been a just ruler - and how could he not be, when his laws came directly from Persia's own? - handing out food and gold and titles to all those that pleased him, and giving generously to temples and granaries and other infrastructure, then each of these governors was more than capable of raising an army to dethrone their despot and occupy Babylon. Still, they were unified in the face of Persian aggression, and their armies worked as one, methodologically garrisoning the riverbanks and harrying the Persian encampments with rains of arrows.

    Their greatest generals were Yarimlim, Zimrilim, and Ibal Pi'el, and they knew that now was the time for patience; Xerxes had farms and food aplenty, yes, but not enough to last two winters, and Persian workers hadn't yet bridged the deserts and empty lands that lay between Persia proper and Xerxes' encampments. By systematically hunting the wildlife and denying any place of crossing to Xerxes, his only option was to retreat or to launch a desperate attack. An attack upon an ever-growing army of bowmen, who, by now, were being paid to simply sit and watch. The deep pockets of the generous Hammurabi were useful here, and Xerxes saw his chance at an all-out attack on the walls of Babylon evaporate.

    For the moment, that is. In the year of the construction of the Temple of Artemis, to properly inaugurate the Megisthanes and the Republic - to shut down any whispers that a multitude of rulers could not hold the divine favour that was reserved for only one, that there thus should be one ruler, one despot - Xerxes met with Hammurabi himself. He correctly pointed out that even if Hammurabi's generals could force Xerxes from the riverbanks, Xerxes would be back, to recover the sons of Persia left to rot in the swamps of Babylonia, and to exact revenge for every arrow that had struck down the mighty Immortals. This would not be a war Hammurabi had any hopes of winning, for Persia was vast and mighty, while Babylonia was a realm of quarrelling city-states, choked by a great desert and surviving only on the sliver of green that the Tigra and the Ufratu provided.

    The end of the war was soon signed. In the field, by Xerxes and Hammurabi, and again in front of the gates of Nineveh, by the former governor Sin-ahhi-eriba, or Sennacherib in modern parlance. He would serve as an aide to the new governor of Nineveh, and would now be loyal to Persia, lest he wanted his son Ashur-nadin-shumi to be killed. This son was in line to succeed Hammurabi to the Babylonian throne, and so he was carted off to the palace of Persepolis. A great honour, perhaps providing him with opportunities that might have him rise even higher than his father, in this new Persian world, but unbeknown to the Babylonians, the real power had shifted to Gordium. Sin-ahhi-eriba devoted himself to the lands around Nineveh, raising farms and forests, and roads and gardens - indeed, a student of history might have read of his hanging gardens, though they are a pale imitation of the Hanging Gardens of Bad-tibira - and he further educated the common peasants in religious matters. Not in the Persian gods, in the duality of good and evil, in the One God and Creator, Ahura Mazdah, and in the eternal fire that is His holy face, nor in the larger Persian pantheons, or in the gods that had dwelt for untold millennia amidst the Persian plateaus, or even in Artemis and the gods that had come to Persia through exposure to foreign peoples, but in the pantheon of Nineveh that revolved around Ishtar. This was fair, for Persia had always sought to please all the spirits that may or may not be.

    As part of the peace treaty, the coastal village of Ellipi was transferred to Xerxes' control, and Hammurabi further gave up eighty-six bars of gold. All this for a peace that the Megisthanes did not even debate in the halls of Gordium - all this for a treaty that Xerxes threw into a campfire, indeed, promising a renewed campaign period after the feasts were done. It was splendid to be in the military, in this time, for food and gold were plenty, thanks to Hammurabi and the former Babylonian farms. Xerxes himself spoke of a golden age; Babylonian gold, golden wheat and apples and other foods, and a golden sunset on the shores of Ellipi.
     
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  11. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    It was not a golden age that would last, of course; Xerxes gathered all of his armies in Nineveh, and set his men to work, erecting tall walls and procuring as many herbs and metals as possible, for concoctions of healing and weapons of killing. In the coming months, dozens and hundreds of Persian labourers would work tirelessly to facilitate rapid crossing from Persia proper to Nineveh; for trade and food and commerce, ostensibly, but as uncountable numbers of Immortals camped down in and around Nineveh, one wondered how mercantile these soldiers were.

    Hammurabi thought he was safe, though, for his generals reported the Persian Immortals to be throwing down their curved swords that had ripped open so many Babylonian men, replacing their tools of war with tools of building and healing. The Babylonian armies were sent north, past Nineveh, instead of returning to Babylon, to repel the Ottoman raiders that had come south, attracted by the scent of Babylonian weakness. These raiders were given food and shelter in the forests of Nineveh, the same forests wherein the Persian Immortals had once hidden before seizing Nineveh from Hammurabi's grasp. The Ottomans lost, of course, mere raiders that couldn't stand against the disciplined bowmen and overwhelming numbers of Hammurabi. These skirmishes allowed Xerxes to study Hammurabi's generals and their tactics, and drained Babylon of manpower - important for when, not if, the Immortals would march once more.

    Small incidents might have served as warning signs for the continuation of hostilities; in particular, the sea people exiled a Babylonian expedition force to the other side of the sea. A tale that would go on to become legend, the basic fact was that this force was now stuck on the hardly inhabitable Arabian peninsula, without any supplies or any means of survival. Another worrying sign would have been the catapults arriving in Nineveh, mostly from the far north of Persia. There were not many trees, but when Gordium received Xerxes' messenger with this request, those few that had proven to be not entirely accepting of the Megisthanes' rule suddenly found part of their property seized, to be converted into batches of wood and stone for the catapults. This, then, was the death knell to even the hushed whispers that went around - mostly around the Farsi River - of the illegitimate occupation of Persia by Otanes and his henchmen. So Xerxes entrenched the Megisthanes' rule, and so Xerxes did another service to the good of Persia.

    In fact, at this time, the first coins were minted, featuring the heads of Cyrus and Xerxes and various other prominents, often from the Megisthanes. The great phoenix of Persia, the Zoroastrian eagle, was imprinted upon these coins as well, as were the swords of the Immortals, and the monuments that all of the world gazed upon in awe, and the symbols of all the peoples and cultures of Persia. Trade boomed, with the new markets of Nineveh and Ellipi, and with a growing awareness of the world outside of Persian lands. Some daring explorers - particularly the sea people - assembled ships, such as the Babylonian curragh, and set out to explore the wider world. Emissaries from places as distant and fantastical as the marble city of Rome, founded by demigods that were half man and half wolf, and faraway Beijing, where the people were made out of clay, and those overcooked turned black while those undercooked turned white, but the Chinese yellow was perfect and so the Chinese reigned over these lands.

    Contrary to Babylonian belief, Nineveh had not imported such vast amounts of lumber because it wanted to construct so many houses. There were plenty enough mud bricks, thanks to the Tigra and the Ufratu. No, with all this lumber, in 10 BC, half a score - two handfuls - of catapults had been assembled in Nineveh. It was at this time that one of the many Turkic raiders, that regularly made camp near Nineveh, contacted a Persian general, who alerted the governor of Nineveh, who bid Xerxes to meet with these Turkic raiders. He had a message from Osman, of the Ottomans, and with him was Malhun Hatun, the diamond between two sapphires and two emeralds, she who formed the most precious stone in the ring of all Ottoman people, the wife and greatest treasure of Osman. Apparently, this was a custom that showed the seriosity of the matter and the great faith and respect Osman held for their Persian neighbours. Xerxes held no love for her, however, and though he gratefully received her and admitted her to his bedroom, he secured a second bed, for her to sleep in, and in this he showed the superiority of Persian civilisation. Behind those doors, at night, she spoke the rehearsed words Osman would have her speak:

    "Evil rears its serpentine head in the form of Babylon! Join me in the defence of our peoples, and we will fend off this threat together!"

    And that morning, as the sun came up, so too did thousands of millions of swords, raised by the scores of Immortals readying themselves for battle.

    [Apparently, I broke the 20-turn peace treaty with Babylonia here? When I checked the previous turn, I saw no number next to the peace treaty, in the diplomacy window, but suddenly, everyone is annoyed with me. Oh well.]
     
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  12. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    Forty-seven separate armies were unleashed from the vast fields around Nineveh, as Ottoman raiders plunged southwards and fell upon the now trapped Babylonian army. Nineveh's native populace revolted against Persian rule, seeing opportunity now that the army was decamping and war had been declared once more. Fortunately, Sennacherib handled this well, as a letter to Gordium records:

    "Its inhabitants, young and old, I did not spare, and with their corpses I filled the streets of the city blocs loyal to Hammurabi. These parts of the town, and its houses, from their foundations to their roofs, I devastated, I destroyed, I overthrew by fire. I diverted the river to ravage the ruins, that even the soil of its temples be forgotten, that its streets may turn into pastures, that none shall ever know a Babylonian lived here."

    From the ashes of Nineveh, a half-razed, half-plundered, and half-sacked battlefield, Persian homes and Persian streets and Persian shops would rise, under the governance of Sennacherib, and all would be well for centuries to come. So it would be for the entirety of Babylonia. Eleven armies marched north and west to round up all the Babylonians that had surely routed and deserted and turned to looting, caught between the Turks and Persia's vast armies. Two score armies marched up to the front gates of Babylon, shielded by the riverbank, and shielded further by Xerxes himself, with his best men and his catapults besides, forcing all of Hammurabi's generals to fight from within the city walls, which restricted their mobility, flanking tactics, and food stores, which must have greatly displeased the citizens. No large armies of bowmen could be housed here, and Persia had free reign over all the fertile lands that had made Babylon so populous.

    Hammurabi was not without his merits, however; he had, after all, unified the Babylonian city-states through equal means of warfare as well as intrigue. One cunning stratagem that he employed was a naval incursion, with a small army of bowmen managing to gain a foothold on the desert-shores of Eridu. This army did not amount to much, aside from liberating the Babylonian labourers that were toiling in the fields, sweating under the sun, so that the citizens of Eridu might eat. The small Babylonian fleet suffered defeat at the hands of the cunning sea peoples, who had been exploring the waters, but other curraghs were sent forth from Babylonian parts, and the Babylonians, who had grown up venerating the waters as their lifeblood amidst their desert lands, soon achieved naval dominance.

    Still, for all his wiles, Babylon was vastly under-defended. Xerxes' scouts reported that at most three armies of average size were present. A small force had attempted to slip away, hidden in the marshlands, but they had been cut down by some of the keener-eyed Immortals. Perhaps this force had been sent to ensure the Babylonian labourers arrived safely in Babylon - but as the catapults swung up and down, first destroying Babylon's walls and then battering the garrisoned armies in such disarray that the city went up in smoke even before Xerxes sounded the attack, there was no safety in Babylon to be found anymore. Charging over the river, some few fine Persian men fell, but the Babylonians were cut down left and right, and dozens of men and women and jewels and other riches fell in Xerxes' lap, to be divided fairly between all of his men. Hammurabi himself had been wounded by an arrow, and the kinsman who was a healer - Hammurabi's own name - could not heal himself, and thus perished during the final hours of the siege. His son, Samsu-iluna, fled, and was never found again.

    A great feast was held amidst the ruins of Hammurabi's palace, where all the banners and weaponry and other symbols, that signified Hammurabi's dominance over all the city-states, were stolen and seized and burned. The Babylonian fleet floundered aimlessly in the great sea, for the great harbour of Babylon was now denied to them. Incense was found in the stores of Babylon's palace, and the halls of what had once been the might of Babylon now drowned in wine and choked in incense, as thousands upon thousands of Immortals cheered themselves on, warriors, conquerors, showered in glory greater than any other man, having attained the greatest victory the world had ever seen.

     
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  13. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    Ashur was the first of the Babylonian city-states to declare its independence from Hammurabi's rule. Shamshi-Adad was crowned despot, there, held up by the armies of Yarimlim and Zimrilim. Zimrilim, however, fled the city as Persia's armies approached, and he was soon apprehended by the Persian scouts. He was taken to the local Persian commander, and told him that Shamshi-Adad was an usurper that had assassinated the officers loyal to Zimrilim, and that he had fled for he himself would soon have been assassinated as well. Promise to govern Ashur righteously, Zimralim asked of the Persian commander, and you shall have my loyalty and the loyalty of the men that still look up to me.

    So the Persian armies marched, reinforced by Babylonian guerrilla forces, to seize Ashur from the hands of Shamshi-Adad the tyrant, and to install proper Persian governance. Commanding the armies of Yarimlim and Zimrilim - for the most part, that is - Ashur was a well-fortified city, perhaps twice as much as Babylon, as Shamshi-Adad was adamant to hold onto his throne by any means possible. Even so shortly into his reign, he had already made us of the tools a power-mad despot is wont to, such as assassination, and Persia was truly fortunate to be ruled by the Megisthanes instead of the likes of Artabanus. The Persian armies suffered some casualties as they fought alongside the Ottoman skirmishers against the final remnants of the Babylonian armies that had been sent north into Ottoman lands. However, the siege of Ashur was a surprisingly bloodless affair on the Persian side; few casualties were suffered, as the ranks of Shamshi-Adad were disunited and prone to bickering.

    Five scores of Babylonian labourers were liberated, having been forced to work literally day and night to support the regime Shamshi-Adad had imposed upon the city. Zimrilim was greeted as a liberator, as proof that the Persians were friends and that good times would now befall upon the city of Ashur, safe under the guidance of the Megisthanis and Zimralim's own hand, for he would be installed governor. Shamshi-Adad was cut down, his body ruined and mutilated beyond recognition, hung from a cross and thrown into the sea, and cut apart in a thousand pieces besides, and many more acts were committed to demonstrate how horrible he was, and how great and good Persia was for liberating Ashur from his tyranny.

    Meanwhile, Ibal Pi'el, third of Babylonia's finest generals, had fled south, to Akkad, Babylonia's final port on the Persian Sea, as it was now known. Xerxes himself headed there, accompanied by his best soldiers, but he soon broke off to head westwards, to make sure the city-states of the Hejaz wouldn't come to Hammurabi's aid and flank the Persian armies, trapping them in uninhabitable deserts that spelled nothing but death. This was not to be, for Xerxes' scouts soon realised the most prominent of city-states there owed allegiance to the queen of Thebes, Cleopatra, famed for her beauty. The sole exception were the people of Samarra, who had already been exiled to the desert's interior, away from the greener coasts, where there was more water and rainfall, and more loyalty to Cleopatra too.

     
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  14. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    Akkad's fall was swift, lightly garrisoned as it was by the disheartened men loyal to Ibal Pi'el. Starving men, perhaps too, this small village now needing to provide food for hundreds and thousands of men unaccustomed to the desert heat. Those Babylonian soldiers that survived were put to work irrigating the lands, so that some may continue to survive past the next winter. Ibal Pi'el himself escaped on a curragh, and came ashore again in the night, with his personal guard of handpicked bowmen. These twenty good men were not enough to secretly retake Akkad under cover of night, alas, and a relief expedition from Samarra couldn't help Ibal Pi'el either. He was killed, his corpse found broken amidst the Persian catapults and their heavy stones.

    This left Samarra guarded by what amounted to little more than a city guard, and soon even these people, practically nomads, swore allegiance to Xerxes and to the Megisthanes. Not without reason; Xerxes came upon a lion, and in an epic duel, he bested the beast and had a coat made out of its skin. Xerxes' Lions ever since became the designation of the most elite forces in all of Persia, and in all of the world besides. Such a daunting, daring, courageous and glorious and heroic deed, was enough to inspire loyalty in even the nomadic tribesmen of Samarra, swearing to uphold Xerxes' words in this deserted corner of the world.



    The march to Babylonia's final vestige was long and arduous, and it was here that the barbarian nature of the Turkic people revealed itself; refusing to hand over food, and refusing even to let the Persian armies march across Ottoman lands - for they would trample the grass, and leave the Ottoman herds bereft of food, and would plunder Ottoman farms besides, and would cause all manners of problems - the Persian armies were forced to skirt round the coast and traverse a small trail that led them into the Anatolian highlands. Perhaps Osman was angry that he had reaped none of the spoils of war, that all of Babylonia's wealth, its cities and its citizens, had fallen in Persia's hands. Perhaps he hoped to secure this final city for himself, to show his people what they had bled for. Understandable, and certainly so for a warlike horde of raiders, but all the same, an insult mighty Persia should not have to endure.

    As the Ottoman army - raiders and pillagers, leaderless hordes and grand war bands, and more - sought to cross the mountain ranges to bear down upon Uruk, the organised Persian armies, headed by an officer corps well-trained in the arts of logistics and mobility, stole a march upon them. And as the Ottomans were so busy gaining purchase in the highlands, skirmishing with various Babylonian auxiliaries, the Persian Immortals force marched themselves right to the gates of Uruk, where an epic battle was fought. The survival of all of Babylonia was at stake - and more importantly, for Xerxes, the final act of his masterpiece, the conclusion to a splendidly conducted campaign, the last lands of Babylonia, so that he could gift them all to the Megisthanes, to prove himself worthy to and of all of Persia.

    It was a hard-fought battle, and needlessly many Immortals died as a consequence of the forced march. The garrison of Uruk had always been cut off from Babylonia proper, perhaps only acquiescing to Babylonian rule to keep the Ottoman raiders away, and there had never been much food to be found in these highlands. An insular people, accustomed to the hardships of life, they fought for all they were worth - but all the wealth of Uruk could hardly equal the measliest farm along the Farsi River.

    Yarimlim had presumably fled from Ashur, and was presumably present in the mountains holding the Ottomans at bay. He was consequently seized by the Ottomans and brought back to Istanbul in chains, so that the Ottoman warriors might at least have something to show for their fights. Wary of Osman's wrath, if it should ever come to that, armies of Immortals were kept in the field to garrison the long Ottoman-Persian border; it would not do for Ottoman raiders to come down upon Persia as they had upon Babylonia.

    With the fall of Uruk, with the deaths of Hammurabi, his son, and his finest generals, with people such as Sennacherib and Zimrilim now serving Persia, and after having endured the horrors of Shamshi-Adad, Babylonia was now truly done for. Its culture was absorbed within greater Persia, its people would go on to wear Persian clothes and speak Persian words, and its memory would be that of ancient city-states and peoples, comparable to the Caspi of Pasargadae in importance.

    Instead of immortal soldiers and the barracks to house them, traders and merchants would flock to the ever-growing marketplaces, now that the lush basin of the Tigra and the Ufratu had been opened up to Persia, now that the harsh deserts of Egypt and the highlands of the Ottomans bordered Persia, now that even the distant Celts and the even more distant Romans could dock at the now Persian ports of Ellipi and Uruk. Gold, and science, and a flourishing of culture, became the hallmarks of Persia, in the aftermath of this great triumph over weak Babylonia.

     
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  15. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    Thank you, Vincour, for liking my posts. It helps a lot to know that at least someone enjoys them. :)



    Xerxes came to Gordium, and then to Persepolis, to pay his respect to the Megisthanes and to Persia. He did not come alone. With him were a hundred Babylonians, noblemen and labourers and more, all dressed in the finest of Babylonian fashion. Sennacherib and Zimrilim, and others of import who had sided with Persia, were there too, leading the Babylonians and demonstrating their allegiance. The midnight blue robes clasped around their bodies, the golden curlers around their beards, the foreign luxury and finery they dressed with, shades of Persia and shades of Babylonia both, made for a great spectacle as they were paraded throughout all of Persia. A greater spectacle still were the thousand Immortals, their discipline and prowess unrivalled by anyone in the world. They marched as one and demonstrated their skills at sword fighting as one. The Persian spearmen and archers present only served to magnify the contrast, between common soldier - already a great honour and a business not for the poor - and glorious Immortal. Babylonian wives presented their tastiest dishes, and carried great stocks of more common food besides, handing them out lavishly to the Persian peasants and citizens that came to watch the parade. Plums and prunes and dates, and flat bread eaten with fruit, and onions and garlic for seasoning, and even the bear flowed generously. Entertainers acted out famous battles, sieges, the fall of Babylonia's greatest cities, the death of Hammurabi, the tyranny of Shamshi-Adad, and above all, the ever-present triumphs of Xerxes and his Immortals, legend made real, Cyrus reborn.

    This parade - this triumph - lasted for weeks and months, and all of Persia was ecstatic to see the splendour, the beauty, the glory, Xerxes himself, and his Immortals, and all his feats of wonder, right there on their farms or in their cities. Wives spread their legs for the famed Immortals, and husbands were honoured, and thankful, and promised to raise these new sons and daughters as befitting of their Immortal heritage, and the lands Xerxes visited were blessed with many more sons and daughters than elsewhere. Such was the untold glory Xerxes had amassed. The Megisthanes bowed to him, when he made to bow to the Megisthanes. Darius, of the Megisthanes, proclaimed him king, and some eagerly took up the chant, proclaiming Xerxes the king of Babylon. This lasted mere moments, before Xerxes handed over his 'kingdom' to the Megisthanes, to Otanes and Megabyzus and all the others, but the title of king was never officially retracted, and the streets of Gordium were filled with pride, of having nurtured a ruler to rival Cyrus.

    This begrudged the citizens of Persepolis, who had always been inordinately proud about their Cyrus, and their Persia, which he had built, but Xerxes was received with warmth by most even so. He paid his respects to the nobles of Persepolis, and was asked to take up residence in Persepolis' palace, that had fallen into disarray as petty bickering between petty despots and nobles alike had left the true power in the hands of the Megisthanes, but Xerxes declined here too. Perhaps he knew that to take up rulership would fracture the realm, or perhaps he simply sought to serve Persia to the best of his abilities and thought that to be in the field, or perhaps he felt he owed his Immortals, his lifelong friends, a father figure to look after them. He had pleased the people of all of Persia, with food and spectacle and sons and daughters and all that one could wish for. He had handed over his kingdom, rejected the position of king of all of Persia, and entrenched the Megisthanes' rule. But now, he would return to his armies, for living in the spotlight could only darken his legend, and would perhaps see all of Persia worse off.

    In these times of peace and prosperity, embassies were established and ambassadors were sent. Merchants from far and wide travelled to and fro the greater Persian realm, bringing cultural, philosophical, and scientific knowledge from all over the world to Persia, on the backs of their horses and goats, and their cows and donkeys. New cities were founded, such as Behistun or Kandahar, to bring Persian culture and Persian knowhow of irrigation works to the Tigra and the Ufratu. Expeditions into the Hejaz and the harsh desert to its east were launched, the Black Sea was mapped, the ports of Celtic Verulamium were bustling with Persian merchants - it was a time of adventure and exploration and of broadening one's world.

    The Megisthanes ordered the construction of the greatest library the world had ever seen, to store all this knowledge. This library would be headed by one man in particular; Xenophon, an Immortal under Xerxes' own command, who had gotten lost in the Babylonian deserts but had clawed his way back to civilisation, surviving for many years in the burning sands with a tenacity only found in true Persians. In this time, he had relied on the various peoples living there, some loosely aligned to Babylon, others to Thebes, and yet others to Persepolis, or no one. He had come to appreciate their different cultures and values, even though he often had to flee and hide for days, as angry Babylonians discovered just who he was. When he found his way back to Persia, Xerxes cried, seeing his dead friend alive, and the heroic epic Xenophon wrote of his travels became the defining story of a generation. He struck up a friendship with Megabyzus, admiring the combination of democracy and oligarchy of the Megisthanes, sharing his own insights from the many peoples he had met during his trials.

    In 270 AD, Persepolis - still the capital de jure - was graced with the completion of this great wonder. For many years to come, merchants and philosophers from far and wide would flock to the Great Library of Persepolis, a palace by a different name, with Xenophon its fair and just ruler. Epics from the military culture of Rome were stored here, glorifying the spartan life they lived as they faced off against the - in their eyes - barbarian Germans and Celts. The warrior code the Mongolian clansmen adhered to was codified here, too, along with their unrivalled knowledge of horseback riding. A copy of their stirrup, of such ancient design, can even now be found in the Great Library. Treatises on the different forms of autocracies - despots, monarchs - and their advantages and disadvantages compared to other forms of government came in from east and west and south too, offering unique insights into their values and their societies. Even the material sciences, pertaining to bridges and forts and gigantic catapults known as trebuchets, were written of in faraway lands and stored in the Great Library. A new age truly had dawn; an age of enlightenment.

     
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  16. Toxicman007

    Toxicman007 Custom User Title

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    Really liking this story! But I would love more pics to go with the reading :)
     
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  17. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    I echo the above. :)
     
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  18. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    Alright, I can do that! Thank you very much for your comments! :)

    As my Master has now started again - and don't you just love needing to read 100+ pages in advance of every single lecture, aside from a plethora of projects and things to do? :p - this story will most likely be updated slower, though.





    New threats, however, seemed to loom on the horizon. Osman's raiders and pillagers frequently harassed the mountainfolk of Uruk, as Osman was angry that many of those eking out existence in the Anatolian highlands now sought the protection of Uruk and of Persia. Mongolian hordes marched west, ostensibly to give battle to the Ottoman raiders, but then broke off to the south, where large Egyptian armies had been spotted, parading in their simple white cloaks adorned with vibrant colours. Even Russian armies came south, from the empty deserts of the far north, where it was thought none could survive. The Megisthanes ordered this to be investigated; was there life to the far north, were there peoples that lived there, capable of crossing such a brutal desert? Capable of posing a threat to mighty Persia, of striking directly at the Farsi River before Persia could even mobilise its Immortals?

    They soon headed back north again, however, and word from the palace of Persepolis reached Gordium, about a people sweating profusely, grim and dreary, grey and dark, dressed in black fur coats. The Russians, then, hailing from the frigid marshes and tundras, wholly unused to the deserts of Persia. Their language was deep and harsh, yet melodious, too, with flowing sounds of words without end, and limited contact had been established with between these Russian people and the nobles of Persepolis. They had come to ascertain the veracity of rumours concerning Persia's government, of concepts unknown and incomprehensible to most, such as 'republic' and 'democracy' - yet concepts that threatened to undermine Catherine's despotic rule. They had been exiled by Catherine herself, marked as the most troublesome dissidents of all of the Rus, signified as outcasts by their black fur coats. If they wanted a democracy, they could go beg to the effeminate Persian faux-kings. Of course, most of these outcasts had perished, crossing the deserts in black fur coats, and this once more lay bare the cruelty of despots. Alas, having been received by the pretentious cliques of Persepolis, their conception of a republic was forever darkened. By this coincidence, Catherine had averted civil war - or war with Persia, indeed, for how better to prove the superiority of tyranny than by triumphing over those her opponents would hold up as good and perfect?

    One mystery solved, the purpose of the war bands of the Mongolians remained still unsolved. What purpose could they have, in that vast and inhospitable desert, a corner of the world left by the wayside, neglected by most? A variety of people sought to survive there, yes, but as their camps grew and their tribesmen needed more food, they often came to seek the protection of larger powers; some had pledged themselves to Babylonia, others to Egypt, the Samarrans had sworn themselves to Xerxes himself, and only few independent peoples remained, isolated and prone to hostility.



    The legend of Persia had spread throughout these harsh southern deserts, though, and in the coming years and decades, Persian culture would spread further, and tribesmen would teach Farsi to their children, and the lands would slowly come to fall under Persia's wings. It began with whispers of an uprising, of savages come to reap the spoils of civilisation, rejecting this influx of Persian culture, spitting on Xerxes and his Lions and all his Immortals and on the despots and noblemen and all princes of Persia too. Thus they boasted deep into the night amidst their campfires, boasting of hundreds of thousands of archers and tens of thousands of horses, raised from birth to take the desert and the lands beyond by storm. Perhaps it was a star, that flew by, in the night sky, and in the morning still, that gave weight to their fantastical words, and perhaps it was this that caused Cleopatra to act. As for Temujin - the Mongolian clansmen relished in battle, and what battle could be more glorious than such a clash of horses, of the Mongolian keshik against these desert-bred horses?

    Alas, boasts they were, and punctured boasts, at that, by a small company of Persian spearmen. The female camp followers of the Egyptian army kissed each and every spearman, whispering of the love and gratitude Cleopara sent them for their heroic deeds, while the Mongolian khan simply turned away and left a trail of dirt and dust clouds. A moment of fame, another brick on the road of Persian glory - a small one, but momentous even so for these young and brave spearmen, intrepid explorers, sons that had made Persia proud.



    As with the southern deserts, so too with the northern wastes; acting on the Megisthanes' wise counsel, small villages were settled to survey the deserts, and even the edge of the desert was sighted by a brave company of forty spearmen. They prowled the desert as thieves, making the desert even less accommodating to any power possibly harbouring ideas of a quick strike at Persia's heart. They learned of the capital of the Rus, Moscow, and saw game and deer, and all the wildlife of forests, and the exotic jungles, with never-before seen fruits and species, and found a whole world north of the desert. The village of Caspia was settled at the eastern border of the Caspian Sea, founded by flocks of proud and honoured Caspii, and a renewed surge of trade and commerce commenced as merchants sailed from Pasargadae to Caspi and back again, sailing right between the legs of the golden Colossus that had guarded the Caspian Sea since time immemorial.



     
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  19. CELTICEMPIRE

    CELTICEMPIRE Zulu Conqueror

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    I wouldn't consider myself to be great, but thanks for the compliment!

    Modifying Civ III can be interesting. I don't have the skills to make major modifications, but it's fun to play with the stats for Civilizations and units.
     
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  20. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

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    Ah, but then, the great ones never do. :p

    No, but I remember you writing a bunch of Civilization III stories, from many years ago - and the Indian Chronicles, more recently? Or at least you commented on many of them? I don't know, it has been almost ten years since I read all the stories in this subforum. It's possibly the reason I made an account here, even. :)

    And neither do I; I cannot create any graphics. But for a world map of this size, I felt that a reduction of the science rate was in order, so that I wouldn't still be confined to the Middle-East by the time the Industrial era hits. That was my main reason; to better enjoy everything the ages have to offer.











    To my lord Spitama, governor of Borazjan, whom I have the honour of naming my friend,

    Included with this message are our latest and most detailed maps. As always, a great work of guessing is involved, especially when it comes to the peoples in far-away Europe and Asia. Converting different measurements is hard, crossing the language barrier is harder still, and accounting for inaccuracy and exaggeration is sheer impossibility. None the less, my men and I have worked hard to serve you faithfully, my lord and friend, and all accounts are corroborated to be of the utmost truth as far as we can ascertain.

    We started our journey before Persia's righteous wrath wrestled control of the west away from Hammurabi's hands, yet even here, awed whispers of the prowess of Persian armies and the divine favour they deservedly enjoy, have reached our ears.

    We sailed down the coast of Aravia, first, where we sighted hills with grasses and bushes. It is our belief, based upon what we know of Babylonia's lands, that these hills catch the waters and rains that arise from the sea, and that beyond this thin sliver of green, a vast and empty desert lies. Babylonia must be desperate for control over the Tigra and the Ufratu, and as the wheel of fortune turns and Babylonia finds her wealth to be worthless and her food to be all too few, the city-states might erupt in open rebellion and seek the protection of almighty Persia, famous for its irrigation networks, to bring food to the starving.

    Contrary to our belief - the belief of my men and myself, my friend, for you as a lord are bound to be wiser than us and so the coming words will not come as a surprise to one such as yourself - it is possible to survive in such harsh deserts. This belief we base on the Byzantines, a people inhabiting the lands just beyond the narrow sea that separates the deserts of Aravia from a continent the Byzantines call Africa. There are bound to be tribes all too willing to pledge their loyalty to Persia, in the desert of Aravia, especially if Babylonia's authority can be eroded or removed, to be replaced with the far worthier authority of Persia.

    Of the Byzantines, who are led by the empress Theodora, it is foremost known that they are a highly pious people, frowning upon our many and varied gods, our inclusion of all the spirits within our pantheon, and our lax standards and rules. This proves them to be unwise, for they worship a single god that has never visited Gordium, the crossroads of the world, and so it is highly unlikely that their god is the one true god, as they claim. Meanwhile, we reap divine favour by worshipping all the gods equally; some false, perhaps, but given Persia's fortune, some very true indeed.

    Their schools and libraries are religious in nature, and a strong knowledge of their god and all their many rules is required before one might enter education. These rules are regarding food, cleaning, praying, ceremonies, and a thousand other subjects, and a Byzantine citizen would pay attention to his god at least every hour. Their religion is very hierarchical, and every citizen holds a place in this hierarchy, and some citizens can rise even above Theodora in this religious hierarchy. They are a very orthodox people, and a problem of Byzantine society is the development of different orthodoxies in different cities; while in the harbour of Heraclea, we heard word from Constantinople, the Byzantine capital, calling for able-bodied men desiring to prove themselves to their god, to join a crusade upon Nicaea, for a council of bishops there had incited heresy, according to Theodora.

    The Byzantines believe they hail from the distant north, though not from our northern deserts. The priest that we spoke with spoke of a lush land of green, with grass and wheat as far as the eye could reach, with warm waters interspersed, and joyous herds of cattle too. A paradise, but humanity sinned, and paradise was darkened with a twisted people, spawned by the lies and sin of the true humanity, and all good humans fled south while this shadow tainted the northern lands. Humanity built a refuge, a mighty city of marble, but here, too, the shadow reached, and as darkness spread and yet more true men were lost to falseness, the Byzantines fled southwards again. They crossed a sea, which finally kept the shadow at bay, and found themselves in a desert. They followed the holy water, that protected them against the evils, until the river ran dry, and there, they found Constantinople, the beacon of light amidst the darkness. The coming darkness, and only the true faith, the true god, could protect a man against this treacherous evil and insidious deceit.

    The Byzantines believe themselves to be the most cultured and enlightened, for they have survived the hardships the desert has thrown at them for countless generations, all the while unwavering in their faith, all the while praising their god for not doing worse. They compared this to the luxury and decadence of Cleopatra, as well as to mercantile jungle-traders, primitive savages that seek to undo civilisation, and others. In this way, they favourably compared themselves to every people they knew of, from the nomadic tribes that dwell within Byzantine's own borders to the larger polities such as the Dutch and the Zulu. These two are, respectively, the jungle-traders and the primitive savages, but as we met some of these people, we saw that the haughty attitude of Theodora and all the Byzantines was unfounded and wrong.

    Their language is a complex and melodious one, and music and chanting plays an important part in all their ceremonies, of which there are many on every day. Their clothes bear a resemble to the white Egyptian robes, but the Byzantines call theirs a toga, and it is customary to carry a shield or a spear wherever one goes. Their foods revolve around a white leavened bread, and it is heresy to not include this with the many Byzantine dishes it is part of. The Byzantines place a high value on meat, because of its scarcity in the desert, and spice it to a great extent to add even more flavour. They eat with their right hand, which pleases their god, and they use the bread to pick up bites of their other dishes. Despite the high value of meat, they hold many fasting ceremonies, some that involve no eating until sundown, others that involve only eating vegetables or fruits. In this way, they come closer to their god, sharing in the struggle against evil, which they identify by the sins of lust, gluttony, greed, and others.

    As to the other peoples, we have been welcomed warmly by the Dutch, and we have received adequate supplies from the Zulu, whose trackers and scouts have ran with us through the southernmost wilderness of Africa. We have reached the edge of the world, as far south as the world could possibly bend, and will now be exploring the western coast of Africa, if the gods continue to bless us with safety and supply. Soon, we should enter the waters of a mighty people, where we might restock. Our supplies should hold until we have rounded Africa, the Zulu assure us, and the Zulu further promised to supply us at the western coast of Africa, opposite to their capital of Zimbabwe. These are a warlike people, but with an unmatched kindness for all those that adapt to their tribal ways.

    My lord Spitama, I hope that, by the time this letter reaches you, all of Babylonia has come under Persian control, as is right and just. Under your auspicious rule, Borazjan must have surely grown large and prosperous, and I cannot think of a finer lord to navigate the intricacies that would come with the increase of commerce.

    My friend, my lord, may the gods be with you as they are with us, now and forever.

    I remain your leal servant,
    Hanno the Navigator
     
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