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"Holy Empire of Bassiliya" and "Empire of Bassiliya" redirect here.
The Holy Empire of Bassiliya
Ιερά Αυτοκρατορία της Βασιλείας
Motto: Όπλα, Πόλεμος, και Γενναιότητα
Weapons, War, and Bravery
and largest city
|Recognised national languages||Middle Juliean, Eastern Krotoi|
|Recognised regional languages||Old Juliean|
|Government||Theocratic Feudal Imperial Monarchy|
|Independence from Peraro Krotoik|
• Province of the Peraro Krotoik
• Imperial Prefecture of the Peraro Krotoik
• Kingdom of the Juliae
• The Holy Empire of Bassiliya
|840,060 km2 (324,350 sq mi)? (5th)|
• 1384 estimate
|~13.5 million ? (4th)|
• 1380 census
|16.08/km2 (41.6/sq mi) (22nd)|
The Holy Empire of Bassiliya (Bassiliyan: Ierá Aftokratoría tis Vasileías; Eastern Krotoi: ; Middle Juliaen: Imperija na Basilija), also known as Bassiliya, is a large empire spanning southeastern Oskiya from the Burning Sea in the west to the eastern shore of the Sea of Tovachy. Originally a breakaway rebellion from the Peraro Krotoik, Bassiliya has become an independent, major nation in its own right. With a total land area of 840,060 square kilometers, it is the fifth largest nation in the known world by recognized areas claimed. Through its rivalry with the Peraro Krotoik, the Empire of Bassiliya claims an additional 2,217,960 square kilometers of territory. Due to the occupation of vast areas of the Peraro Krotoik, it is unclear of the official land size of the Bassiliyan nation.
Following the colonization of the region by the Peraro Krotoik, Bassiliya became a Province of the Emperor, ruled by the Juliae family. After the Juliae family came to power within the Peraro Krotoik itself, the region then known as Gisoúliaen became an Imperial Prefecture, administered indirectly by the Emperor. Ousted from power during a succession crisis, the Juliae family returned to Gisoúliaen, declared a rebellion, and became an independent nation. After the Schism War, the region was called the Kingdom of the Juliae; shortly after, the first Emperor was crowned, renaming the nation to the Empire of Bassiliya.
A highly developed nation, Bassiliya channels a large amount of trade and commerce, known as a bridge between east and west. Usurping Peraro Krotoik’s place as the economic center of the known world, Bassiliya has become the economic capital of Deteros and Osikya. With a population of over 13 million, the Bassiliyan Empire is a powerful and formidable economic and military power.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 2.1 Ancient Tribes
- 2.2 Krotoik Invasion (460-483 IE)
- 2.3 Imperial Province of the Peraro Krotoik (483-898 IE)
- 2.4 The Krotoik Civil War (607-615 IE)
- 2.5 Imperial Prefecture of the Peraro Krotoik (898-1022 IE)
- 2.6 The Kingdom of Juliae (1022-1048 IE)
- 2.7 Foundation of the Empire
- 2.8 The Opening Decades of the Eternal War (1074-1106 IE)
- 2.9 The First Peace (1107-1173 IE)
- 2.10 The Second Campaign (1170-1176 IE)
- 2.11 The Long Peace
- 2.12 The Invasion of Bassiliya (1253-1255 IE)
- 2.13 The Reformation Period
- 2.14 Imperial Renaissance and the Renewed War (1300-1309 IE)
- 2.15 The Long Rest (1309-1381 IE)
- 2.16 The Final Campaign (1381 IE-present)
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Government
- 6 Economy
- 7 Culture
- 8 Military
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
Bassiliya derives from the Bassiliyan word for ruler or king: “vasiliás”. Previously known as the Kingdom of the Juliae, Bassiliya and Bassiliyan rose as a popular name for the nation following the beginning of the Eternal War in earnest. Bassiliyan became adopted as the primary language over Middle Juliaen in the mid-11th century IE, cementing Bassiliya as the paramount national identity.
Records concerning the original settling of the Bassiliyan region are sparse, leaving many scholars to assume the tribal structure inherited by the later tribes existed before written records existed. The tribal poglavarstvo system was the predominant ruling method up until the colonization of the region by the Peraro Krotoik. Within poglavarstvo, a single male was made glaven (chief), which was both a ruling and religious title. The glaven would perform religious rites, sacrificing to the tribe’s patron god, as well as decide on legal matters, issue new rules, and conduct diplomacy.
During this era, four tribes became the most powerful entities in the region: the Juliae, the Heptameri, the Melatos, and the Zervatos. These four major tribes all followed the Skajizam religion. This religion worshiped the spirits and deities of the sky, including clouds, wind, stars, and the sun. Having conquered, subjugated, or allied their smaller and weaker neighbors, these four tribes entered a period of conflict, primarily over religious sites and practices, around the 5th century AE. By 350 AE, the Juliae and the Zervatos divided and claimed most of central and eastern Bassiliya. In the east, the Juliae built the city of Soncetopilay, named after the god of the sun, which would eventually become Otoklis. Establishing this village as the capital of their tribe, the Juliae began a long, concerted campaign to capture the major forts and outposts of the Zervatos in 324 AE. Over the next hundred and forty years, the two tribes would continue to fight over their border territory.
After the Istočna Plague struck the Bassiliyan region hard in 124 AE, the two tribes negotiated a peace, establishing permanent borders and an agreement to permit unrestricted pilgrimages. However, this agreement fell apart in 84 AE after a bloody massacre of 18 Zervatos pilgrims traveling to a holy site in eastern Juliae territory. Committed by several local Skajizam fundamentalists, the massacre was blamed on the Juliae tribal leadership by the Zervatos clan. Declaring war in the same year, the conflict known as the War of the Pilgrims began. Both sides attempted to take and hold religious sites as prizes of war; however, the lack of built-up defenses around these areas led to mass field battles rather than sieges. Within three years, much of the area on the border between the Zervatos and the Juliae became depopulated. Declaring a truce in 80 AE, the two tribes were forced to withdraw from the area that became known as the Nenaseleni or Desolate Place.
After a long era of peace and prosperity, both the Juliae and the Zervatos began to recolonize the Nenaseleni. Both tribes laid claim to multiple outposts and villages, leading to small skirmishes starting in 2 IE. By this time, news of the rising empire in the west sparked a scrabble for land, especially in the previously prosperous Nenaseleni territory. As a result of rising conflicts over territorial claims, the Juliae and the Zervatos entered the Nenaseleni War. Another conflict centralized in the Nenaseleni further destabilized the region. However, the use of strategic outposts and forts meant very few field battles were fought between the two tribes. Finally ending in 18 IE, the Juliae and the Zervatos declared yet another peace, which would last until 223 IE.
During the period between 18 IE and 223 IE, the Juliae and Zervatos grew in influence and wealth, primarily through trade and commerce. The discovery of gold and silver in western Zervatos created a booming mining industry. The Juliae benefited from this industry boom, supplying the necessary resources involved in mining. This time also saw the rise of theological and philosophical radicals and theorists. In Juliae, a library was built in Soncetopilay, collecting texts, books, and art. The Library of Mudriot, also known as the Library of the Sofos, still houses texts of ancient knowledge and theology. Scientific advancements were rudimentary but lay the foundation for the military innovation of the 10th century.
In 220 IE, the Zervatos tribe began colonizing the Nenaseleni, despite the previously established treaty defining a neutral zone. Claiming authority over historically Juliaen territory in 223 IE, the Zervatos blatantly violated the terms of the treaty. Declaring open war, the Juliae began to recapture their colonial territory. Surprised by the might of the Juliaen force, the Zervatos were unable to defend their claims. However, the Juliae declared a holy war against the Zervatos, signaling that the Juliae sought to completely subjugate the Zervatos. Beginning a massive campaign in the spring of 224 IE, the Juliae pushed deep into their core territory. Despite the heavy defenses of the region, by 226 IE, the Juliae had conquered a large portion of the Zervatos territory. In attempts to regain peace, the glaven of the Zervatos, Ane, declared that he and his house would convert to the Juliaen sect. However, Mito, glaven of the Juliae, demanded his subordination. Facing complete destruction, Ane was forced to submit, becoming a vassal of the Juliae.
Following their victory in 226 IE, the Juliae began to colonize the Nenaseleni and the Zervatos territory, integrating it by 267 IE. In that year, Sacha Sinotnamito, glaven of the Juliae, declared the forgiveness of the Zervatos tribe and their acceptance into the Juliae tribe as brethren. With the last vestiges of Zervatos independent identity assimilated, the region settled into a peaceful rule under the Juliae for the next two centuries.
Krotoik Invasion (460-483 IE)
In 460 IE, the Peraro Krotoik crossed the Ekatisloia Mountains and began to colonize and subjugate the tribes west of the Juliae. Fearing annihilation at the hands of the Krotoi, the Juliae tribe began a military buildup. By 475 IE, the two nations shared a mutual border and already had minor border conflicts all along the western border of the Nenaseleni. In 480 IE, a large band of ethnic Zervatos began a rebellion against their Juliaen overlords, citing cultural grievances. Not wanting a subjugated and primarily assimilated culture to create a weakening civil war within the Juliaen tribe, glaven Lazo Panamito ordered a large contingent of cavalry and patrolmen to put down the rebellion. Disastrously for the Juliae, the army failed to completely destroy the rebellion, allowing many Zervatos to escape west. Seeing a chance to strike, the Krotoika invaded the Juliae in late May of 480 IE.
Responding quickly, a great force of Juliaen soldiers and tribesmen gathered in eastern Nenaseleni, led by Lazo Panamito. This force, a collection of all able-bodied warriors of the tribe, numbered five thousand. These five thousand, known later as Lazo’s Band, amassed outside the village of Ridibunar. Creating a defensive position, Lazo’s strategy hinged on the Krotoik attacking his defensive position, allowing him to make use of his powerful cavalry units to flank and crush the attackers. Unable to predict the ferocity of the Krotoik forces, Lazo’s Band was soundly defeated at the Battle of Ridibunar, losing over four hundred warriors to the Krotoik eighty. Devastated by the massive loss, Lazo’s Band split, disappearing into the wildest parts of the Nenaseleni. Unable to win another decisive victory over the Juliae, the Krotoik settled down and occupied much of western Nenaseleni.
Although many guerilla forces continued to harass the Krotoiks throughout 480 IE, no record of any battle or large-scale skirmish exists. In 481 IE, however, the Juliaen forces once again gathered outside the fort-town of Dzidikamen, once again setting up heavy defenses. This time, the Krotoika forces, harassed from their holdings in western Nenaseleni by raiding parties, were overcome by the defenders at Dzidikamen, leading to a Krotoik loss of three hundred and sixty. Forced back, the Krotoika were plagued by continual raids by the Juliaen force. Retreating past their former front lines, the Krotoika re-camped in Crnoidrvo, holding off the Juliaen forces until fall ended the campaign.
With neither side holding a clear victory, the Krotoika brought in enough reinforcements to deal with the Juliaen forces, no matter the cost. Facing a force of thirteen thousand Krotoik warriors, Lazo Panamito gathered the last of his remaining forces, along with new recruits, outside the capital city of Soncetopilay. Marching west to face the Krotoika, the Juliaens met their enemies on the plains of Nenaseleni at a place now known as the Zemji-na-Krv, the lands of blood. With only six thousand Juliaens, Lazo prepared to defend against the superior Krotoik force. With defenses prepared, the Juliaens waited out the onslaught. Although the exact date of the battle is unknown, legend tells that, at sunrise on the third day of July, the Krotoik army charged at the outnumbered Juliaens. The battle raged for most of the day and through the night. Making use of crude field-siege weapons, the Juliaens were able to hold off the Krotoika for hours, but eventually were forced to retreat.
With losses in the high hundreds, Lazo fled back towards the capital, the Krotoik forces in pursuit. However, before his remaining force of three thousand warriors could cross the river Predavnik, Krotoik scouts overtook them and began a battle. The Slaughter of Predavnik River crushed the last of the organized army of the Juliae. Caught between the river and an increasing force of Krotoi, the Juliaen warriors fought to the last man. A few hundred managed to escape across the river, but most, including Lazo Panamito, were killed in the battle. After hearing news of the defeat at Predavnik, the council of elders at Soncetopilay voted to surrender.
Given a generous peace treaty by the Peraro Krotoik, the newly appointed governor of the Province of the Juliae, Mirko Vasiliadis, reorganized the region under Krotoik rule. Absorbing several of the smaller provincial governments into the Juliae regional government, Vasiliadis established the Juliae primacy over the area. Shortly after his rise to power, Vasiliadis changed his surname to Juliae, signifying his ties to the people of the land. The first of the ruling house of Juliae, Mirko Juliae oversaw the absorption of many ethnicities into the formerly Juliaen culture, including many elements of Krotoik culture.
Imperial Province of the Peraro Krotoik (483-898 IE)
Prospering under Krotoik rule, the Juliae people grew to appreciate the empire they lived under. Assimilating into their culture and religion, the Juliae people and language began to transform into a new, distinct culture. This new culture, named Bassili, meaning “royal”, began as a high-class culture. It name implies that only the royals of the region were Bassili, which was the case at first. However, as Otoism grew in popularity and size, so did the use of the modified Krotoik language, eventually known as Bassiliyan. As the culture changed, so did the political outlook and makeup of the region. Many in the upper classes had formerly resisted integration into the Peraro Krotoik, attempting to start various unsuccessful rebellions. However, the empire brought both riches and stability to many of the most powerful, eventually convincing them to cease their subversive activities.
Not all elite cultural groups found solace in the riches of the empire and her religion. A group of local nobles gathered around a self-proclaimed prophet, Mykalis Althaea, born in 502 IE. Proclaiming her divinity and descendance from the stars, Mykalis drew the attention of the Krotoik authorities. Not only did she proclaim the primacy of herself as the most powerful and important of the gods, but she also advocated for a rebirth of Juliaen culture, subverting years of cultural integration and peacemaking. Stories of miracles and wonders done by the prophet served to further incite the local Bassiliyan and Krotoik authorities to violence. Beginning with simple arrests and floggings, the punishments doled out to the subversive Mykalist radicals quickly escalated to torture and executions. Eventually, following a particularly inflammatory sermon held in Soncetopilay, the local Krotoik priest demanded that the governor, Xanthos Juliae, issue a warrant for the arrest and trial of Mykalae. Arrested in 531 IE, her trial quickly led to condemnation, and she was stoned to death. No precise record of this event remains, but the local legends and the religious texts of Mykaism claim she was continually beaten before her execution. Within Soncetopilay, many of her Juliaen followers began a riot, leading to hundreds of casualties and further executions.
Following their failed rebellion and the execution of their divine prophet, all Mykaists were exiled from the Peraro Krotoik. With the last of the Juliaen cultural radicals either exiled or forced into hiding, the distinctly hybrid Juliaen-Krotoik culture took the dominant place in the region. Known as Bassiliyan, this culture would continue to spread and incorporate surrounding identities into itself. It was during this time that Otoism became the most popular religion. The region had always been dominated by a primarily sky-worshiping religion, so the move from general sky worship to Otoism took little effort. Adopting Otoism as its primarily religion, the region experienced a rapid Otofication, with hundreds of temples being built and thousands of converts being made. The wealth of the region continued to grow under the empire, but the seeds of trouble began to sprout.
The Krotoik Civil War (607-615 IE)
In the year 607 IE, the Senate declared that a number of prominent generals, including Philosphthes of Scipthas, a Bassiliyan commander, were to be tried and executed for their part in an alleged conspiracy against the Peraro Krotoik. This triggered a large coup that threw the entire empire into internal struggles. With the internal structure of the empire dissolving and the military being the only stable institution remaining, three factions formed within Bassiliya. The Juliae faction remained loyal to the Peraro Krotoik and was the largest faction formed. Much of the local military leaders sided with Hypolas Juliae, the governor at the time. The second faction, the Philosphes, were led by Philosphthes of Scipthas, who had returned with his army to western Bassiliya in 608 IE. The third faction called themselves the Paradosiakoí, which translated to the traditionalists, who fought primarily for the independence of the region. Their rebellion was mostly contained in the furthest northern reaches of the province and had little to no affect on the general conflict.
Hearing news of the secession of Selt, Mitiya, and many city-states in the Prefencian region, the two main factions, the Philosphes and the Juliaens, began a conflict over who would rule the region. Outnumbered and surrounded at Tauros in the north, Philosphthes made a hasty retreat to the sea and escaped from Hypolas at the Battle of the Red Sands. Philosphthes quickly retreated with his army to Trolis while Hypolas and his force returned to the main peninsula to restore order there. Building up a large force from the surrounding warlords and petty rulers, Philosphthes crossed the Sunlit Sea and landed just north of Soncetopilay. Threatened by Philosphthes’ force, Hypolas was compelled to head out and meet the general head on. In the Battle of Brothers, seven thousand Philosphes and three thousand of their allies faced a well-trained but exhausted force of nine thousand Juliaens. Fatigued by their quick march and the months of suppressing rebellions across the peninsula, the Juliaens’ force crumbled under pressure from the Philosphes. With losses over a thousand, the Juliaens beat a hasty retreat to Soncetopilay and prepared for a siege. However, Philosphthes refused to besiege the city, knowing that doing so would lead to a long, drawn-out battle, ultimately leaving both sides unable to fight. Instead, the general took the majority of his force and began raiding and pillaging across the countryside, burning villages and stealing crops. Again, forced out of their defensive position, the Juliaens marched to meet the Philosphes in battle. This time they met at Olyis, north and east of the capital. Superior positioning and a slight advantage in numbers allowed the Juliaens to narrowly defeat the Philosphes and drive them north.
Defeated, the Philosphes quickly retreated north. Unhappy with the result of their military exploits, the mercenary allies Philosphthes had raised in the west negotiated a white peace with the Juliaens and returned home. Deprived of a large number of forces, the Philosphes’ morale quickly deteriorated and hundreds of soldiers either defected or deserted. Faced with utter annihilation, Philosphthes retreated into the far north of the region with five thousand soldiers. Caught in a sandstorm from the deserts to the north, Philosphthes became separated from his army and is presumed to have died in 611 IE. With their leader dead and nothing to hold them together, the Philosphes dissolved, with many of the soldiers leaving to return to Tauros or join the Paradosiakoí.
With the defeat of the Philosphes, the remainder of the rebels within Bassiliya itself dissolved and either joined the Juliae or the Paradosiakoí. Securing their position at home, the Juliae marched north to deal with the Paradosiakoí in June of 615 IE. Overtaking their main force at the Battle of the Two Trees a few dozen miles north of Athonis, the Juliae obliterated the Paradosiakoí forces, crushing their political movement. With the last of the rebellious warlords defeated, the Juliae set about restoring Imperial order to the region. With tensions in the rest of the empire still quite high, the stability of the Bassiliyan province increased the attraction for rich or powerful families. Seeing a drastic increase in Krotoik immigration, the Juliae family began an official policy of Otoification and Bassiliyanization. The capital was renamed to Otoklis, City of God, and Otoism became closely tied to the political power of the region. Priesthoods and holy orders were founded to ensure the integrity of the Otoist faith across Bassiliya. Within a dozen years, the crisis across the empire calmed down, but many of the rich and influential families within Bassiliya remained.
Imperial Prefecture of the Peraro Krotoik (898-1022 IE)
With the loss of Prefencia, Selt, and Mitiya, along with the devastating Kuhin raids in the north, the Peraro Krotoik required extensive rebuilding of infrastructure and trust in the Emperor. This was accomplished primarily through the use of religious leaders, who already had the trust of the Krotoik people. However, due to the relatively early return of stability in the region, Bassiliyans needed little prompting by the priesthood. The power in the region remained primarily with the feudal nobles and the governor, though the Otoists retained sway within this structure. With the Emperor solidifying power in the west, the governors of Bassiliya continued to build influence and wealth, eventually becoming the most powerful governors in the Peraro Krotoik. In 872 IE, the governor of Bassiliya, Xanthos Juliae II, married the daughter of the Emperor. Through alleged murder and trickery, Xanthos managed to become the only male in the immediate family of the Emperor. Appointed and confirmed by the Senate, Xanthos Juliae II became the Emperor of the Peraro Krotoik in 898 IE. Ruling for over a decade, Xanthos established the Juliaen house as the imperial line for almost a century. During this time, Bassiliya became an Imperial Prefecture, nominally the personal fief of the Emperor, but usually ruled by one of the Emperor’s sons as a de facto princedom. Prospering during this time, Bassiliya saw another influx of rich immigrants, who brought their well-educated and talented households with them.
In the late 9th century IE, Emperor Hypolytos Juliae, known as the Melancholic, died at the age of thirty-eight. Disaster had struck when his wife and two young girls were killed in a boating accident. Left without an heir, Hypolytos pined away and died, leaving the Imperial Throne without an heir. Rightfully, the Emperor’s nephew, Ephumenos Juliae, should have inherited the throne. However, since the Emperor failed to nominate any male relative as successor, the Senate elected Ythykos the Herald as Emperor. Not a member of the Juliae family, Ythykos wanted to ensure his line’s security on the throne and ordered Ephumenos to revoke his claim to the throne and return Bassiliya to a province. Ephumenos refused, leading to a serious crisis in power. The Senate, not powerful enough to broker a peace between the two factions, was unable to stop the coming war. Both factions raised armies to fight the other, beginning the Succession War. Ephumenos, leading an army of fifty thousand Bassiliyans and thirty thousand allied forces, marched across the Ekatisloia Mountains, west into Peraro Krotoik. Meeting Ephumenos at the base of the mountains, Ythykos’s army of sixty thousand was overrun and defeated by the Bassiliyans.
Forced to return further west into the Peraro Krotoik, Ythykos’s depleted army began to gather more men and supplies. Supported by the Senate, the Emperor managed to rebuild his army, gathering more than twenty thousand more soldiers to his banner within three months. Ephumenos, on the other hand, was unable to raise proper support among the lords of eastern Peraro Krotoik, leaving him stranded and cutoff from sufficient supply. Unable to reinforce and feed his troops, Ephumenos was forced to retreat back over the mountains in winter, losing five thousand men along the way. Another ten thousand deserted once they made it to the Bassiliyan side of the range, leaving Ephumenos outnumbered and in a serious predicament. By 1002 IE, his forces had almost completely disintegrated; only fourteen thousand soldiers remained under his command. Forced to deal with other rebellious situations in the west, Ythykos maintained a moderate force that guarded the passes over the Ekatisloia Mountains, keeping the Bassiliyan rebels bottled up on the peninsula.
After five years of suppressing rebellions in the west, Ythykos returned to Bassiliya in 1008 IE to finish off Ephumenos and his forces. However, he found a large force of Bassiliyans had gathered in the meantime. Now in command of nearly one hundred thousand trained soldiers, Ephumenos was able to keep Ythykos at bay for ten more years. Lain under almost constant siege, the Bassiliyan people became hardened and cynical, turning against formerly beloved Krotoik symbolism and institutions. The priesthood was culled, leaving the temples in the hands of the local religious leaders rather than under a centralized priesthood. Many imperial officials were murdered and their families hunted, leaving a power vacuum. By the time Ythykos managed to break through the Bassiliyan defenses in 1019 IE, the country had largely been cleansed of Krotoik influence. The two armies, equally matched, began a long, concerted campaign of attrition. Few large battles were fought, each commander choosing to engage in running battles or skirmishes. Eventually, in May of 1022 IE, the main forces of each faction met at Athonis.
Ythykos sought to overcome the city and capture its strategic port; Ephumenos wanted to ensure that access to the Sea of Tovachy remained closed to the Krotoika. Gathering his forces outside the city, Ythykos began a short siege of the city. Interrupted by Ephymenos’s forward screening force, the Krotoika prepared for an assault. On the morning of the 15th of May, 1022 IE, the Bassiliyan army marched out of the rising sun, over the hills surrounding the city, and down onto the Krotoika. Legend states that the sun rose an hour early that day in order to blind the Krotoik defenders. In any case, the Krotoik forces were both surprised and stunned, overwhelmed by the superior Bassiliyan force. Unable to properly mount a defense, the Krotoik were forced to retreat from the battle. Pursued by the Bassiliyan force, Ythykos was chased over the Ekatisloia Mountains and southwest of them to Trolis. Although he attempted to draw the Bassiliyans into a siege there, he was unsuccessful. Retreating further west into the Peraro Krotoik, Ythykos was unable to again enter Bassiliyan territory, dying in disgrace in 1038 IE.
The Kingdom of Juliae (1022-1048 IE)
Following the defeat of the last Krotoik outpost at Byzanis in the fall of 1022 IE, Ephumenos returned to Otoklis in triumph. The Council of Juliae, elders gathered from around the realm to decide the fate of the Bassiliyan nation, elected Ephumenos Juliae as the Progenitor of Kings, First of the Kings of Juliae. In later years, when the first Emperor was crowned in Otoklis, King Ephumenos Juliae was posthumously named Father of Emperors, First Emperor of Bassiliya. Coronated on the final day of 1022 IE, Ephumenos declared peace with the Krotoika, prosperity for the Bassiliyans, and humble reverence for Oto. Declared a day of thanksgiving and thoughtful prayer, Iméra Stépsis is celebrated every year on the last day of the solar year. Following tradition, Emperors are crowned on the last day of the year in reverence to Ephumenos. Elevated to the status of a demigod following his ascension to the throne, Ephumenos Juliae became the first High Priest of Oto in Bassiliya, starting the long-held tradition of the Emperor’s dual role as Emperor and High Priest, interrupted only briefly by the succession crisis in 1050 IE.
During his reign, the nation prospered and grew. The hardships of the war against the Peraro Krotoik faded into the memories of the elders, with the new, prosperous age leading to a population boom. Trade with the outside world became one of the central pillars of Bassiliyan culture, allowing for the rapid growth of a merchant class. Bassiliyan culture became more solidified and unique, relying heavily on the teachings of their king as High Priest. Ephumenos founded several Bassiliyan religious orders, including the Order of Iliofótistos, an order of religious healers focused on ministering to the sick and the needy. Through the widespread influence of the Iliofótistosi, the cultural hegemony of the Bassiliyans was solidified as ancient cultures and tribal religions slowly assimilated. Temples, shrines, and holy sites, partly funded by Ephumenos himself, appeared in every city, town, and village.
With the worship of Oto came religious tension between the Krotoik aand the Bassiliyans. Although the peace between the two nations had been cordial and friendly since the coronation of Ephumenos, increasing religious differences between the two cultures turned into a religious crusade. In 1031 IE, Ephumenos Juliae died, following a period of intense sickness. Buried in the Grand Temple in Oto, a period of mourning followed, in which the people of Bassiliya fasted for three days. Ephymenos’s son, Hyperdes, became king at the end of 1031 IE, ushering in a new age for the Bassiliyan people. Far more violent and expansionist than his father, Hyperdes began skirmishing against the Krotoika in the west, attempting to establish Bassiliyan spheres of influence further from the Bassiliyan Peninsula.
Turning to the south, Hyperdes began to expand into colonies north of Kretaza in 1038 IE. Following the recent collapse of the Vyaamen hegemony, several towns on the coast of the Sunlit Sea fell under the control of local nobles and warlords. Seeing an opportunity, Hyperdes marched an army from Trolis in the north down to the cities of Illyna and Lycernia, seizing them from the control of the local Kretazans. Pushing further south, Hyperdes began a siege of the city of Thornika on the banks of the Renos River. After an extensive siege lasting eight months, the defenders of the city surrendered to the Bassiliyan forces, ceding control of the city from the local liege-lord directly to Hyperdes. Thornika would be renamed to Otolika in the following decade, although Thornika remained the unofficial name due to the local population’s preference for it. Following the conquest of Thornika, the surrounding nobles either surrendered their claims to Hyperdes or were subjugated by the king’s army. Despite the ease of conquest in northeast Kretaza, Hyperdes was forced to return home with his army due to rising religious unrest and increased skirmishes near the Krotoik border.
Forced to return to the Bassiliyan Peninsula to defend the homeland in 1040 IE, the king began setting up a line of mountain defenses along the length of the Ekatisloia Mountains, which became known as the Hyperdes Line. These forts protected the western border by controlling the vital mountain passes between the Peraro Krotoik and the Kingdom of Juliae. However, with such a lengthy border to protect, the forts quickly fell into disuse following Hyperdes sudden death in 1047 IE. Suffering from several illnesses, believed to be caused by extensive exposure to the elements and battle fatigue, Hyperdes died of apoplexy in March of 1047 IE at the age of 59.
Foundation of the Empire
Hyperdes, a popular monarch, was mourned by the kingdom for three days. Religious gatherings were held continuously throughout this time as the people attended prayerful times of reflection. Having had no male children, Hyperdes’s nephew, Daimothenes became King of Juliae. However, Daimothenes’s popularity rapidly sank as he failed to live up to the expectations of his predecessor. In 1048 IE, a massive famine hit the kingdom, leaving thousands starving as crops failed. Daimothenes was blamed for displeasing Oto, as a drought was claimed to be the precipitator of the famine. In the early hours of the final day of 1048, seventeen conspirators snuck into the sleeping chambers of the king and attempted to assassinate him. Although the king survived the attempt and the conspirators were swiftly executed, the attempt left the king blind and paralyzed from the waist down. A few months later, having contracted pneumonia, the king died. Having no heirs, it was feared that the line of Juliae would have died out with Daimothenes. However, one of Ephumenos’s great-grand nephews, Xerocles Juliae, was traced as the next heir. Young and less experienced than his predecessors, he nevertheless politically positioned himself, using his inherited wealth and claim to the title, into being appointed as the new ruler of Bassiliya.
Ascending to the throne in 1050 IE, Xerocles, with the support of the High Priest of Oto and many of his vassal lords, began the process of evolving the national identity. Through a process of propaganda, nationalist teachings from the High Priest, and the maneuvering of history into place, Xerocles and his advisors began the process of declaring the former kingdom as a new empire. The High Priest of Oto crowned Xerocles Emperor of Bassiliya in 1051 IE, declaring the new realm of the Holy Empire of Bassiliya and establishing the legacy of the true successor state to Peraro Krotoik. However, with the continued existence of the Peraro Krotoik as a powerful state within the world, Xerocles began to plan a campaign to destroy the Krotoika and subjugate the empire. Gathering a force in 1053, Xerocles marched across the border between the two empires.
Attempting to take advantage of the ongoing civil war between factions within the Peraro Krotoik, Xerocles began skirmishing with Krotoik defenses on the other side of the border with several of the local legions. Unfortunately, Xerocles had underestimated the size and dedication of the defenders along the border. Repelled only six weeks after the invasion, Xerocles retreated in disgrace, leaving a few hundred dead Bassiliyans behind.
After this initial failure, Emperor Xerocles devoted himself to becoming a patron of the arts, sciences, and religion. He built three new universities, one in Otoklis, Trolis, and the burgeoning Byzanis each. Due to his heavy investment in the growth of Byzanis, a recent colony-town in the far north of Bassiliyan influence, he is known as the Patron Emperor of Byzanis. He sponsored the creation of a new festival in celebration of art, now known as the Festival of Colored Lights. In addition, he began the construction of vomosii in every major city, earning him much favor with the clergy and priesthood of the realm. With each investment, Xerocles cemented himself as a popular and well-liked ruler, despite the failures of the beginning of his reign.
Although Xerocles had focused two decades on promoting the internal stability and wealth of the nation, he never forgot his humiliating defeat. In 1074 IE, after having prepared a massive army for the invasion, Emperor Xerocles led a force of one hundred thousand men across the Krotoik border and declared that an eternal war would be waged against the Krotoik heathens and usurpers. This moment was the official beginning of the Eternal War.
The Opening Decades of the Eternal War (1074-1106 IE)
With a massive army crossing the Ekatisloia Mountains south of Tauros, Xerocles besieged and sacked two towns on the narrow isthmus between the Sunlit Sea and the Burning Sea in 1074 IE. This action completed the main part of his initial plan; cutting off the access to the Sunlit Sea and splitting the eastern half of the Peraro Krotoik in half. With the empire still recovering from the recent strife and civil warring, the defenders moved slowly to counter the threat. Encouraged by the lethargic response, Xerocles prepared defenses at his location, maintaining the overland blockade between north and south. However, as the spring melt arrived, he struck southwest, beginning a campaign of sacking the rich coastal cities of the Peraro Krotoik.
As the dire need of proper defenses had increased in the Senate’s mind, the Emperor dispatched a number of legions to stall the force of Xerocles at Kostaliklis. Here, a massive battle raged between the main force of the Bassiliyans and the hastily assembled force of Krotoika. Despite being caught off-guard, the Bassiliyan force managed to beat off the Krotoik force, both sides taking equally heavy losses. Although the empire had more than enough men to throw at the Bassiliyans, the Senate elected to take the diplomatic route and call for a ceasefire. This lasted through the end of 1075 IE and through into the spring of 1076 IE.
With the first warm spell of spring, Xerocles continued his push southwest into rich Krotoik lands. However, he met his first major roadblock of 1076 IE as the Senate had gathered a formidable force of legions at Torveda to counter his invasion. Meeting this force outside the town, the two armies engaged in a massive pitched battle, wherein the Krotoik suicide troops managed to break a hole in the Bassiliyan lines, cutting the army in two. Realizing his defeat, Xerocles ordered a general retreat, regrouping at the fortified Trodalon. Hoping to hold out the siege until reinforcements arrived, the unexpected swiftness of the Krotoik forced Xerocles to retreat to an old outpost of the Hyperdes Line.
Holding out at the fort, later nicknamed the Home of the Hopeless, Xerocles and the remainder of his force held out against the Krotoika for four weeks until a reinforcing army of fifteen thousand arrived to help drive off the besiegers. Forced to regoup his forces, it was fall by the time Xerocles left the fort and moved northwards to winter at his established redouts between the seas. Occupying the isthmus through the winter of 1076 IE, Xerocles hunkered down for the winter months.
In 1077 IE, Xerocles was forced to return to Otoklis to deal with religious tensions and minor uprisings in the clergy. Having taken back the role of High Priest, Xerocles was expected to adjudicate any religious upheaval in the church. Considering many among the clergy had some sympathy for the Peraro Krotoik as the homeland of Otoism, the religious strife caused by an all-out war with the larger neighbor was relatively minor. However, Xerocles was forced to leave his army in the hands of his generals. Unfortunately for the Bassiliyans, three of the generals attempted to take the army south before the end of the spring thaw, leading to almost a thousand casualties caused by attrition and cold. Engaging in a minor skirmish in early May, one general had his entire command destroyed and died on the battlefield himself.
Returning to a weakened force in the summer of 1077 IE, Xerocles was furious with the state of the army. Forced to abandon his position on the isthmus in the face of a much larger Krotoik force, he led his troops back over the mountains and set up defenses along the Hyperdes Line until the end of the summer campaign season. Signing a ceasefire with the Senate in the fall, Xerocles maintained his defenses along the mountain range and regrouped his strength. With the loss of so many thousands, the Bassiliyan public needed time to recover, both physically and financially. Xerocles ensured that the Bassiliyan economic situation continued to flourish during peacetime.
Over the next ten years, Xerocles would order and lead several raids and skirmishes into Krotoik territory but was unable to gain any meaningful victory without committing a larger force to the campaign. Although the ceasefire had expired in the early months of 1078 IE, neither Xerocles nor the Krotoik commanders committed any serious force to the war. Petering out by 1085 IE, the war continued through the political maneuvering of allies, the extensive use of espionage, and a piracy war. Xerocles strengthened his alliances with his nearby allies and order exploratory missions to the east to explore tales of lands far away. Passing through the straights at Tovachy, the discovery of many nations beyond contemporary knowledge occurred.
The next major campaign of the war occurred in the final years of Xerocles’s life. By 1099 IE, the first emperor had become an elderly man, well into his seventies. With a new generation of Bassiliyans growing up under the shadowy threat of the Eternal War, a new army had been formed under the command of the emperor himself. Despite the advice of his court, Xerocles decided to take his army across the mountains and into the Krotoik isthmus. Crossing the mountains in the spring of 1100 IE, the emperor struck southwest immediately, bypassing the towns sacked a generation earlier.
Sacking the rich port cities and pillaging the fertile farmlands around the Burning Sea, Xerocles’s army eventually met a large force of Krotoik south of Stipalis. Outnumbered, Xerocles used his tactical advantages and a new invention to overcome his enemies. Saps, oil-filled jars set ablaze and hurled at the enemy, had always been around. However, using a unique combination of oils and water, the splashing area of the so-called trench-fires was more than double of saps. Setting the enemy on the run, Xerocles pursued them, eventually catching them north of Trolis. Stuck between the Bassiliyans and the mountains, many of the Krotoika surrendered, with only the fanatics choosing to fight.
After dismantling the army sent by the Senate, Xerocles continued to pillage up and down the eastern seaboard of the Burning Sea. Taking many riches, he returned to Bassiliya in 1103 IE in triumph. Unable to directly lead his armies at the age of seventy-six, he permanently retired from being a general in the fall of that year. Xerocles left the army in his nephew, Dux Thynis of Tyrox, a capable commander. Taking the army north, Thynis attempted to make use of the ongoing Kuhin raids to distract the Krotoika. Cutting off most of the path between the southeastern realm and the north, Thynis began to raid and pillage the lands of the northern isthmus.
However, the Kuhin raids largely ended in 1105 IE, leaving the Peraro Krotoik with enough spare troops to attack the invading Bassiliyans. Forced back over the course of 1106 IE, the Bassiliyan forces found themselves backed up against the Ekatisloia Mountains. Holding out for another year, Thynis opted for a ceasefire with the Krotoik force, retreating back over the mountains, and ending the second campaign of the war. Xerocles hoped that this would be a temporary setback in the Eternal War, and that within a few years, the Empire would collapse. Unfortunately for the emperor, he died of a suspected heart attack in November of 1107 IE, ending Bassiliyan interest in the Eternal War throughout the reign of his successor.
The First Peace (1107-1173 IE)
After the death of Xerocles in 1107 IE, his grandson, Ophleus Juliae was coronated Emperor of Bassiliya and High Priest of Oto. In his middle years, Ophleus declared that he would not invade the Peraro Krotoik. Although some historians mark this as the end of the first Eternal War, skirmishes and border conflicts continued throughout the period of the peace. Ophleus attempted to reach diplomatic stasis with the Senate, but was unable to broker a deal that would ensure continual peace between the nations. Notably, Ophleus refused to renounce his predecessor’s claim to be the rightful Emperor of the Peraro Krotoik, but it was during his reign that some separation from the claim of direct successorship began.
Building up his empire was the primary goal of the emperor during the first years of his reign. During this time, he encouraged an increase in economic power, establishing laws and codes for the protection of trade and the regulation of taxation throughout the empire. Branching out, the Bassiliyan economy began establishing trade relations with nations in the south and further east, including Cisalpine and Mychenar, respectively. This expansion of trade also led to an increase of culture, revitalizing the nation. Long-dormant schools re-opened and libraries were reestablished across the nation. The discovery of ancient texts relating to the tribal history of the Juliae were discovered in a crypt in Otoklis, leading to a widespread interest in the history of the nation.
Arts also blossomed during the First Peace. New playwrights, sculptors, artists, and writers began producing material, especially concerning the Bassiliyan forefathers. Many of these works depicted the Krotoika as the hereditary enemies of the Bassiliyan people, reinforcing nationalist hatred for the Empire’s neighbor. In addition, religious texts were thoroughly analyzed by the scholastic clergy. This rigorous de-canonization of false texts eventually led to a new form of Otoism, dubbed by historians as Eastern Orthodox Otosim. Declaring human sacrifice as a heathenish practice, as High Priest, Ophleus declared the end of Krotoik teaching in Bassiliya. This religious decree cleared out the remnants of Krotoik Otoists in Bassiliya, causing some protests from the Krotoik Senate, but no further action came of the incident.
The remainder of Ophleus’s reign stayed peaceful. With the growth of the empire into a cultural and economic powerhouse beyond the local stage allowed for a peaceful and secure environment for Bassiliya. With rich trade flowing in from the south and east, new opportunities for the citizens flourished. In addition, technological advancements continued, pulling focus away from the Peraro Krotoik as the industrial and scientific center. With the increase of economic power, Bassiliya experienced an increase in political power as well. Having established relations with the far-flung nations of Prefencia, Selt, and even Kuhin, Ophleus sought to create a solid treaty that would bind the nations together. In the end, however, he was successful only with Prefencia, which signed a treaty of alliance with Bassiliya in 1132 IE.
Ophleus reigned until 1134 IE, dying at the age of sixty-one. His son, Polonades Juliae, was coronated on the final day of the same year. Reigning for a short six years, Polonades was considered mediocre even in his own time, continuing the practices of his father. Dying after a rough fall from a horse caused internal bleeding, Polonades was succeeded by his brother, Iaon the Wise.
Iaon, reigning from 1140-1164 IE, was trained from and early age to study and understand the law. Grasping the complexities of the legal codes of Bassiliya, Iaon began the long and arduous process of reforming, codifying, and simplifying Bassiliyan laws. From his system, much of the modern law is derived. Iaon established a number of core rights belonging to the citizens of Bassiliya, including the right to be tried fairly and objectively, the right to dispute an arrest, the right to defense and self-preservation, and the right to home-worship. He also established the watchmen system, wherein local authorities would employ watchmen to help enforce the law, put out fires, and assist in any minor medical emergencies.
After the death of Iaon in 1164 IE from cancer, Ryxanos Juliae, the second sond of Iaon, ascended to the throne. As emperor, Ryxanos vowed to renew the Eternal War against the Peraro Krotoik. A violent and powerful man, Ryxanos stirred up bloodlust in his council, convincing them to begin preparations for another invasion of the heathenish Krotoika. Building up an army to invade over the Ekatisloia Mountains, he prepared for six years before the invasion began. Striking westward, Ryxanos ended the long First Peace in 1170 IE, renewing the Eternal War.
The Second Campaign (1170-1176 IE)
Deciding to create a new route of invasion from his predecessors, Ryxanos shipped his army over the Sunlit Sea. Encamped at Trolis, his army continued to organize and plan. Finally, in April of 1070 IE, Ryxanos marched northwest, across the border, and into Krotoik territory. Encountering little resistance at first, the emperor continued to capture hamlets and villages along the route to the sea. However, the Senate had dispatched a defense force of three legions, which engaged the Bassiliyans at Kalemsis. Despite the aggressive attacks by the Krotoik army, the Bassiliyans overwhelmed them with superior numbers and scattered the force over the plains.
With the year’s campaign coming to an end, the emperor encamped outside Kortanoklis, situated at the southern edge of the Plucton River. Unbeknownst to the Bassiliyans, the Krotoika had gathered a force across the river. Crossing the river in the night, the Krotoika smashed into the Bassiliyan force and routed them, causing many casualties. Forced to retreat in the winter months, the Bassiliyans suffered hundreds of casualties due to the weather. Fortifying a small village a few dozen miles away, the Bassiliyans were able to hold off the Krotoik attacks until the spring, when reinforcements arrived. Gathering a formidable force of fresh troops, the Bassiliyans broke out of the surrounding Krotoika, forcing a retreat to Kortanoklis. In the beginning weeks of the spring of 1171 IE, the Bassiliyans struck further west, entering the rich, seaboard region.
Harassed by the Krotoik navy, Ryxanos was forced to continually move from town to town, unable to set up a proper defense until the end of the autumn. Strong storms made it impossible for the Krotoik navy to engage with the Bassiliyans, but they also hampered defensive efforts. As the winter set in, the Bassiliyans were left in a precarious position. Fortunately, an internal political conflict left the Senate unable to properly take advantage of the situation. As the spring season thawed the ground, the Bassiliyans were joined by a new ally far to the west.
Throughout the course of the war and several years before, Ryxanos had sent representatives to the Prefencian Republic and Selt, seeking an alliance to strike against their hereditary enemy. In the early months of 1172 IE, the two nations agreed to send military forces against the Peraro Krotoik. Gathering a combined force of Seltic and Prefencian armies, the western allies began an eastbound invasion. In addition, the Prefencian navy began raiding coastlines and raiding shipping leaving the Burning Sea. This combined threat allowed the allies to run rampant on both fronts for another two years.
Beginning in 1175 IE, the Senate appointed Tracus the Brilliant to command their forces. Taking command of the forces in the west, he used his force’s tactical and technological advantages to soundly rout the combined Seltic and Prefencian force, sending them retreating from Krotoik lands. Despite the urges of the Senate, Tracus refused to push further into Seltic lands, leaving a holding force to discourage further invasion. Marching to push back the Bassiliyans, he received the first designs for the Melesbak, a weapon designed to fire projectiles using gunpowder. Implementing it on a smaller scale, early skirmishes with the invaders proved it to be a highly effective weapon for scaring enemies and punching holes through heavy lines. However, the lack of accuracy and high accident rate associated with the weapon left it distributed sparingly.
By the end of 1175 IE, the two nations had been locked in stalemate, both strategically and politically. As the campaigning season ended for the year, diplomats agreed on a year-long ceasefire to negotiate a peace treaty. Knowing another campaign would ruin his nation, Ryxanos settled for a small concession of land west of the Kirmakai Mountains. Returning with his force in the spring of 1176 IE, the emperor was met with triumphant crowds, celebrating his victory. However, the nation had been drained by the campaign and had gained little. Ryxanos, worn thin by the rigors of war, contracted River Fever in 1180 IE and died, unsuccessful in subjugating the Peraro Krotoik. Despite his apparent unsuccess, both his contemporaries and historians laud his efforts and innovations.
The Long Peace
The era of the Long Peace began with the ascendance of Sycanthes the Peaceful, grand-nephew of Ryxanos. A young man at the time of his coronation, Sycanthes quickly became known as a generous and gentle man. He funded the construction of multiple public projects, founded three new holy orders, and became the patron of several artistic communities. In addition, the deployment of gunpowder weapons in the most recent conflict with the Peraro Krotoik sparked the invention of new technology, including the Bassiliyan roukéta, fire lances, and fireworks. In addition to weapons of war, this era saw the invention of the Bassiliyan cog, a ship primarily used for trading and commerce.
Culture also flourished during the entire Long Peace. Artists began creating new types of frescoes and reliefs, employing the use of dyes and colored clay. Some of Bassiliya’s most famous authors, including Philos, Moxon, and Thermisis, wrote masterpieces throughout the era. It was during this period that the Bassiliyan culture began to supplant Krotoik culture as the dominant influence in the region. Although the western nations were less influenced by Bassiliya, nations in the east increasingly adopted Bassiliyan cultural elements over those of the Krotoika.
Although their defeat at the hands of the Krotoika damaged international relations with the Bassiliyans, Prefencia and Selt both continued to have a strong relationship with the empire. Nations such as Cothern and Albia entered into trade and alliance agreements in the early 13th century, settling minor border disputes over the area surrounding Byzanis.
In the final years of Emperor Icanthos’s reign, the Peraro Krotoik began increasing raids against the Bassiliyans. Facing a crisis on the western border, Icanthos mustered the army to defend along the Hyperdes Line. Unfortunately for the Bassiliyans, the Long Peace had seen the line of forts fall into disarray and disrepair. Fearing a full-scale invasion, the emperor called upon his vassals for levies and ippótes to defend the realm. Before the majority of the army had mustered outside Athonis, the Krotoika force invaded, laying siege of Tauros and ending the Long Peace.
The Invasion of Bassiliya (1253-1255 IE)
With Tauros besieged, the Hyperdes Line became compromised. Tauros acted as the southernmost anchor of the line, plugging the gap between the Ekatisloia Mountains and the Sunlit Sea. A captured Tauros would mean unhindered entry into the lower plains of the Bassiliyan Peninsula. The Bassiliyan force gathered outside Athonis marched against the besiegers at Tauros in May of 1253 IE, arriving late in the month. On a particularly scorching morning, the two forces met and began a battle which lasted for two days. Ending in a Bassiliyan defeat and retreat, the battle reportedly claimed more than three thousand lives.
Retreating towards Athonis to gather reinforcements, the Bassiliyan army prepared defenses at Ithilis, roughly one hundred kilometers west of Athonis. However, the Krotoika launched a surprise attack before the Bassiliyans properly repaired, leaving eight hundred Bassiliyan soldiers dead and the army on the run. Falling back to Athonis, the Bassiliyan army prepared for a long siege. However the prolonged retreat of the Bassiliyan army and the delay at Ithilis left the Krotoika with a difficult decision. If their forces remained outside Athonis throughout the fall and winter months, the likelihood of being surrounded or attacked by Bassiliyan reinforcements was high. Instead of laying siege to Athonis, the Krotoik forces spent the rest of the campaign season pillaging and raiding the western Bassiliyan countryside.
As the spring of 1254 IE bloomed, the Bassiliyan forces had gathered reinforcements around Athonis. In addition, a second army gathered at Theonyka, a fortress-town on the western slopes of the Kirmakai range. With a sizeable raiding force under the command of Strategos Dymas of Exos, the Bassiliyans struck at southeastern Peraro Krotoik, attempting to draw the attention away from the main Bassiliyan invasion. Sending a portion of the Krotoik force to defend lower Krotoi, the remaining invaders began a slow withdrawal from northern Bassiliya. However, the large force at Athonis pursued and engaged the Krotoika at the pivotal Battle of the Crossroads. This battle, located at a meeting of the Great Road and the Northern Sunlit Highway, saw the complete defeat of the Krotoika, who lost thousands in casualties and prisoners of war.
Routed, the Krotoika fell back to Tauros, but were cut off by a swift-riding corps of cavalrymen. Forced west, the Krotoika were pursued into their own territory by the end of 1254 IE. With the invasion countered, Bassiliyan forces laying siege to Tauros, and southeastern Krotoi raided, the Senate negotiated a peace treaty, surrendering small parcels of land and paying a large tribute in gold and silver. The entire force at Tauros was overlooked in the treaty, leaving eight thousand Krotoik troops imprisoned by the Bassiliyans. Eventually most of these troops were paroled and allowed to return to Krotoi, but many chose to settle in the lands around Tauros.
The Reformation Period
During the period after the Krotoik invasion, Bassiliya entered a time of economic stagnation. A famine followed by a plague led to a crisis, both politically and economically. As the empire suffered, the nobility worried about an uprising of peasants. Although some minor uprisings attempted to establish local self-ruled communities, no large uprising occurred until 1262 IE.
Angered by the mismanagement of their farmland and the ongoing famine, three hundred peasants and freemen, armed with improvised weapons, began an uprising at Pithyra, a large farming estate ruled by Igétis Keos of Pithyra. Storming his estate house, the rioters killed him and his family, hanging them from the nearest tree. Alarmed by the violence, the local militia mustered out and attacked the mob, killing twelve and injuring dozens more.
News of the uprising spread quickly, becoming a national event within days. Peasants from all corners of the empire rose up, attempting to overthrow their nobles and take control of the estates they worked. In many places, especially in the north, these uprisings were initially successful. Although many of the rebellions in the south were quickly put down by militias and detachments of the army, the unrest in the region continued to simmer. With a large portion of the northern regions under rebel control, Emperor Dymnos mustered a sizable force of troops to march against them.
Meeting the largest concentration of rebels outside the outpost at Aytoe, the Bassiliyans managed a narrow victory over the peasant army, forcing a short retreat to the plains west of Aytoe. Regrouping his force, Dymnos led his army to engage the peasant army at the Battle of Aytoe Plain. Forced to engage with their enemy on a rainy day, the peasants were ill-prepared for the ferocity of the attack. Although the Bassiliyan force decimated the peasants, a small band of well-trained men, suspected to be rebel ippótes, broke through the lines and killed Dymnos, his son, and three of his generals.
Outraged by the loss, the nobles in command of the Bassiliyan force, now led by Igétis Ctesippus of Benae, slaughtered the peasant prisoners in their camp and hunted down the remaining bands of rebels. The event, often called the Slaughter of the Peasantry, sparked a bloodthirsty campaign of reprisals throughout Bassiliya. Nobles, especially in the south, were killed in their homes by servants and peasants. Likewise, peasants were arrested, tried, and executed with little or no evidence. This cycle of killings continued until early in 1263 IE, with the ascension of Emperor Hyllos the Peacemaker.
Calming the tide of enmity, the emperor promised land reforms, protecting the noble-peasant relationship. Eventually, peace returned to the empire. With the dark memory of famine, disease, and rebellion fading, the nation resumed flourishing. Throughout this period, some power struggles resulted in the restructuring of the nobility system, called the evgenón nómous. This structure laid out the proper titles, ranks, and laws concerning nobles, outlining their rights and responsibilities.
With the introduction of the evgenón nómous, the nobility began to form councils, especially in regions ruled by high-ranking nobility, like an igétio. These councils soon became a structural necessity within the realm. In 1293 IE, the first meeting of the Imperial Council of Lords was held by Emperor Agamedes the Reformer. Two years later, the Imperial Council became a permanent feature of the imperial court.
Imperial Renaissance and the Renewed War (1300-1309 IE)
Following the death of Emperor Agamedes, the Imperial Council recognized and coronated Emperor Polyneices in 1300 IE, who began the imperial naming tradition. This tradition stated that, as High Priest of Oto, the emperor could only be properly named after his death. Thus, throughout his life, Polyneices was known simply as “the Emperor”. During his reign, the Emperor established a new practice within Bassiliyan Otoism known as ypérvasi or transcendence. This practice taught the simple life, appreciating the nature and beauty of Oto without the confines of a temple or structured service, often encouraging the engagement of the self with nature.
In practice, few outside the rich and noble ever practiced ypérvasi or any of its variants. However, the renewed interest in the arts and sciences around nature increased the understanding of the world. Astronomy became the focus of many within the scientific community, with the clergy seeking to understand the nature of Oto and his realm. The discovery of the nature of stars, planets, and the upper realms led to the consolidation of beliefs surrounding the nature of Thegye and her universe.
This renaissance became somewhat distracted by a renewed invasion of Peraro Krotoik in 1306 IE. Destined to be a failure from the beginning, the Bassiliyan force attempted a two-pronged invasion, striking west from the north and the south simultaneously. However, well-prepared for this attack, the Krotoika easily threw the Bassiliyans back each year. With thousands needlessly killed and wounded over the course of three years, Emperor Polyneices sued for peace in 1309 IE, ending another campaign of the Eternal War.
The Long Rest (1309-1381 IE)
In the decades following Polyneices’s death in 1319 IE, the successive Emperors continued his traditions of siopiló onoma and ypérvasi. Bassiliya began re-establishing old alliances and relations, as well as beginning new ones. Bassiliya’s strong hold over the mouth of the Renos River brought it into diplomatic conflict with the Kingdom of Battlavia, beginning a semi-annual tradition of Battlavian diplomats demanding concessions. The alliance with the Prefencian Republic was renewed, along with tacit military agreements with Kuhin. Although initially concerned by the political upheaval in Kretaza, the Emperor eventually began sending diplomatic missions to the Great Protectorate in 1376 IE.
In addition, Bassiliyan merchants began to trade with nations as far south and west as Almaaz, Estenmark, and Upper Harmania. These trade routes opened new possibilities for both allies and trade. During this time, the Bassiliyans increased their relationship with other powerful trade nations, such as Cisalpine and Aquastareite. This increase and influx of wealth into the nation cemented Bassiliya’s rise to power, threatening the Peraro Krotoik’s precarious hold on dominating influence.
The Final Campaign (1381 IE-present)
In the spring of 1381, the Emperor led a force of thousands into the lands of the Peraro Krotoik, striking at the fortress-city of Athyastos Trikalis. After a short siege, the Bassiliyans successfully captured the city, claiming it as the first of many cities to fall to the Bassiliyan crusade. Following the surrender of the force at Athyastos Trikalis, the Emperor declared this to be the renewal of the just holy war against the Krotoik heathens. Waves of new recruits flocked to the Bassiliyan standard, swelling the ranks, especially following the re-capture of Athyastos Trikalis by the Krotoika a few weeks after the initial siege. Moving deeper, the Bassiliyans struck at and captured the city of Thoskelyna, but were confronted by a large force of Krotoika. Nearly outmaneuvered and outnumbered, Bassiliyan reinforcements arrived, driving off the Krotoik army.
After re-capturing the fortress at Athyastos Trikalis, the Bassiliyans accepted a negotiated harvest and winter ceasefire. During this time, the Prefencian Republic experienced a violent election of a new prince, Prince Beniti, who was heavily influenced by the Bassiliyan representatives in Prefencia. Far to the south, Almaaz and Greater Tagrai began a conflict; quickly supported by opposing nations, this escalated into a renewed campaign against the Peraro Krotoik. With Prefencia invaded by a Seltic force, allied with the Krotoika, the Bassiliyans began an invasion of eastern Krotoi. Calling upon the military agreements made with Kuhin, the Emperor began to escalate the scale of the war beyond the level ever before seen.
With the Kuhin invading Selt and Krotoi from the north, the Prefencians and Bassiliyans began a campaign to push into the fringes of the empire. In addition, the Almaazian navy sent a force to burn and pillage Greater Tagrai. In a disaster for the Krotoika, the Bassiliyans and Kuhin defeated an entire legion at the Battle near Athyastoriklis, finally cutting off the Krotoik capital from land routes to the rest of the empire. Within a few weeks of this defeat, the Great Protectorate joined the Allied forces, marching from the south to threaten the rich farmlands of the Krotoik breadbasket.
With the assistance of newly arrived Almaazian forces, Prefencia launched a campaign to capture the southern kingdom of Mitya. Within months, the Seltic forces in Mitya were routed, leaving the kingdom in the hands of the combined Prefencian, Almaazian, and newly-arrived Shejiun forces. Although the Emperor took great interest in the newly discovered Shejiun, Bassiliya was unable to dedicate sufficient focus towards diplomatic missions. Prince Beniti, in personal command of Prefenican forces, was declared Governor-Prince of Allied Selt, although Kuhin retained control of the Crown of Selt proper. Eventually, King Sajr of Selt surrendered his lands in Mitya to the Prefencian Republic and his lands in Selt to Kuhin and Shejiun in return for becoming an equally elected Prince of the Prefencian Republic.
The Triple Army then began an invasion from the west while the Bassiliyans invaded from the east. With thousands of Krotoika dead on the front lines, massive losses in territory on every front, and a collapsing society, the Krotoik commanders began guerrilla warfare. Some coastal cities, necessary for the eventual capture of the Krotoik capital, laid traps for the incoming Bassiliyans; forces of dedicated zealots ambushed Bassiliyan wagon trains and reinforcements along highways; ships bombarded the shore where Bassiliyan troops camped. However, not all Krotoika threw itself on the pyre of the empire. Cities and towns willingly surrendered themselves and their riches to the Bassiliyans, naming them liberators rather than conquers. These cities eventually formed militia forces, which joined the Bassiliyans in support and scouting roles.
After a major victory in the west at the Battle of the Broken Horn, Almaaz proclaimed victory and withdrew her forces from Prefencia. With mainland Peraro Krotoik quickly falling to the hands of the Allies, the Bassiliyans began to prepare for the final battle at Athyastoriklis. Building dozens of cheap boats would be required, as well as recruiting elite landing forces. Within a few months of the prepared invasion date, reports of Axolotl troops and ships at the Krotoik fortress-capital outraged the Emperor, who declared such an act to be an insult to him and Bassiliya. Likewise, a force from the Tricera Empire joined the defenders at the capital. Arriving late in 1385 IE, a combined force of Cisalpinian and Aquastareitean marines and ships joined the Allies outside the headquarters of the invasion, Athyastos Kostaliklis.
Landing on Athyastoriklis on March 5, 1385 IE, the Allied forces began to systematically lay siege to the entire island, fort by fort.