Gylian ascendancy

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The Gylian ascendancy (French reformed: L'ascendant gylienne) was a social, cultural, and political movement among Gylic and non-Gylic peoples in the 19th century, resulting in the establishment of a common Gylian identity and a "parallel society" in opposition to Xevdenite rule. It was a period of significant development that gave rise to Gylian culture and a more organised Gylian resistance, bringing the "Gylian Question" to the forefront of Xevdenite politics.

Name

The term "Gylian ascendancy" emerged popularisation of "Gylias" and "Gylian" as an umbrella term for the populations oppressed by Xevden, regardless of ethnicity or history. The name itself originates from Anca Déuréy's 1848 poem "My Country (A Ballad)", as rendered in a regional dialect.

An alternative term that is sometimes used in a more academic sense is "Gylian national awakening". Nevertheless, many leading figures of the ascendancy objected to what they saw as negative implications in terms like "national awakening" or "national revival", perceiving them to insinuate Gylian weakness.

Background

The 19th century had seen the rise of romantic nationalism and several revolutionary waves, an international context that encouraged the native populations now under Xevdenite rule. The reign of queen Senalta (1754–1804) had a mixed effect: the Treaty of Aðnat secured a constitutional monarchy, but the pace of reforms under Senalta's enlightened absolutism remained slow, and frustrations grew with the second-class citizenship regime and the institution of salvationism as a state religion.

The tenuous peace built by Senalta unraveled under her successors, with the monarchy losing influence to the conservative nobility. Xevden grew increasingly authoritarian, with a combination of racism and social spencerism solidifying into the ideological justification for the elites' rule.

One major advantage for the ascendancy was the Xevdenite state policy of "willful ignorance", according to historian Lere Sineşe. Xevdenites saw themselves as superior and non-Xevdenites with contempt, which discouraged endeavours to learn more about non-Xevdenites, especially languages. Crucially, one of the major concessions of the Treaty of Aðnat was native populations' right to establish their own schools and conduct their affairs in their own languages. The policy of "willful ignorance", combined with arbitrary and capricious law enforcement, left the Xevdenite elites either ignorant or in denial of the growing work of Gylian organisation.

The long-term failures of the Rebellion of 1749 and riots of 1789 led many Gylic intellectuals and activists to conclude that efforts should be directed at strengthening the national foundation before undertaking any more revolts, particularly by building up national unity to prevent ethnic conflicts from derailing future revolutions.

Society and culture

The main methods of the Gylian ascendancy were education, modernisation, and building up economic and social capital. The focus was activities outside the immediate purview of the Xevdenite state, particularly in Gylic-majority areas neglected by the authorities. A network of Gylian institutions was built up over decades, which included clandestine schools, publications, political parties, mutual organisations, and cooperatives. Out of all these, schools arguably had the greatest importance, and certainly received a lofty position in subsequent historiography.

A priority of the ascendancy was forging Gylic and non-Gylic unity against Xevdenites. Sustained interaction and deliberate cultivation of ties led to the emergence of Gylian nationalism, which posited a common, flexible identity that could include all populations victimised by Xevden. French came to be embraced as a lingua franca, contributing to the emergence of francité as a distinct tendency.

One notable victory for the Gylian ascendancy was the Gylianisation of the Ŋej. The Ŋej had established Xevden, but over the years a severe diglossia had emerged between the ordinary and elite Ŋej languages. Additionally, ordinary Ŋej interacted mainly with Gylics, and the haphazard transition to capitalism made them identify more with Gylics as fellow victims of poverty rather than the elite Ŋej who were ostensibly compatriots. The Gylians seized on this opportunity and encouraged Ŋej linguistic secessionism and relexification, in the process inventing the Ŋej–Xevdenite distinction. The success in turning the Ŋej into a Gylic people further isolated and weakened the Xevdenite elites, which were ignorant of the process until very late.

The ascendancy was characterised by the emergence and flourishing of Gylian culture, with notable manifestations in literature, art, and folk song. Romanticism and realism became the prevailing styles of the day, fulfilling complementary goals in giving voice to Gylians' struggle for emancipation. A combination of necessity and expediency drove many artists toward eclecticism and the polymath ideal.

Anca Déuréy was recognised in her lifetime as the "mother of Gylian literature". Not only did the term "Gylias" itself originate from one of her poems, her work was characterised by adventurous multilingualism, code-switching, and idioglossia, which had a great impact on the subsequent evolution of the Gylic languages and alphabet. Another major writer of the period was Angeline Dalles, whose works as "Madame Rouge" pioneered a fusion of horror fiction and Juvenalian satire whose influence endured beyond the struggle with Xevden.

Opposition to Xevden represented the foundation of Gylian identity, and Gylians came to see themselves, above everything else, as Xevden's antithesis. Salvationism begat widespread hostility to monotheism, holding fast to traditional ethnic religions, and a powerful secularist current. Xevdenite society's restrictive and patriarchal morality led to the popularisation of the wicked–evil distinction and pride in the bawdy and libertine aspects of folklore. Xevdenite oppression was countered by a celebration of the Liúşai League, which contributed to the Gylian public's openness towards radical ideologies.

Perhaps most visibly, rejection of Xevdenite society's patriarchal subjugation and marginalisation of women brought widespread acceptance of Gylian feminism, with women taking prominent roles in the ascendancy and broader resistance to Xevden.

Politics

Important Gylian political pioneers include socialist Mary Grant (top left), conservative Hannah Edelstein (top right), liberal Nefne Sary (bottom left), and feminist Enari Lentesi (bottom right).

From the outset, the Gylian ascendancy formed a political movement that worked in concert with the socio-cultural one. The formation of a common Gylian identity, steady growth of clandestine education, and emergence of Gylian-specific publications provided the necessary backdrop for political organisation. Gylian activists established ties with like-minded international associations; translation and dissemination of political treatises contributed to the growth of Gylian political thought and movements.

Gylian political movements were fundamentally shaped by the circumstances of Xevdenite oppression, fundamentally orienting them towards fighting for freedom and justice. While elsewhere conservatism was an ideology of elites concerned with maintaining hierarchy and order, Gylian conservatism was founded from the perspective of the oppressed, giving it a unique focus on freethought, pragmatism, and paternalism. Liberalism's strong focus on civil rights and democracy led it to questions of economic justice.

The ascendancy was a period of radical agitation, and the tumult produced new ideologies like socialism, communism, and anarchism. Political parties began to appear: the National Unity Party in 1875, the National Liberal Party in 1877, and later the Social Democratic Party and Socialist Party as breakaways produced by sinistrisme. The Gylian public gradually grew more radical in response to Xevdenite intransigence, turning increasingly to far-left ideologies like anarchism and communism.

One significant barrier for Gylian participation in politics was their second-class citizenship, which was exacerbated by Xevden's limited suffrage and corruption. Two leading factions emerged within the Gylian opposition in response:

  • The constitutionalists, who argued for a focus on constitutional and non-violent agitation for their interests, in line with the focus on strengthening the nation rather than fruitless uprisings. They were known for their emphasis on party discipline to maximise influence and proto-entryist tactics such as formally taking citizenship in the minimum numbers necessary to win election, manipulating the first-past-the-post system and building the alliance with the Gylianised Ŋej.
  • The confrontationists, who argued that Gylian liberation could only be accomplished through physical force, and agitated for further insurrections, uprisings, and violence. They found notable kindred spirits among the anarchist tendencies of illegalism and insurrectionary anarchism. Their most important contribution was in transforming the kyðoi, largely disorganised mountain bandits and fighters active since the Colonisation War, into a modern insurrectionary force.

Historians regard one of the pivotal features of the ascendancy to be the enduring alliance between constitutionalists and confrontationists. Despite their disagreements over tactics, both factions were united by the goal of overthrowing Xevden, and recognised that their approaches were complementary. The constitutionalists refused to denounce or distance themselves from the confrontationists, and leading political theorists went further in embracing the right of revolution as fundamental. Xevden's inability to sever the alliance or reverse the Gylianisation of ordinary Ŋej contributed greatly to its disintegration.

Revolutions

Rampant corruption and nepotism, deficient industrialisation, severe inequality, and the increasing salience of the "Gylian Question" all contributed to a fracture among the Xevdenite elite. Pragmatists who recognised the crisis and advocated concessions to preserve the state were opposed by reactionaries who wanted to maintain the system and their privileges at any cost. Gylian agitation began to yield resuts in hard-won reforms, at this point concentrated on civil rights and liberties.

The Gylian revolution of 1848 was the first major show of force for the Gylian ascendancy. Public unrest erupted into nationwide rebellions and protests, and popular assemblies were organised, demanding a new constitution to replace the Treaty of Aðnat. Xevdenite authorities were unsure how to respond, and after several outbreaks of violence and kyðoi-aided uprisings, chose negotiation. The first Gylian national assembly was convened in Keraþ.

Meeting for nearly a year, the Keraþ assembly produced a constitution that sought to reconcile competing demands of liberalism, nationalism, and radicalism. It maintained the constitutional monarchy but reduced its powers, strengthening parliamentary democracy instead. Universal suffrage and full citizenship were stipulated, as was a decentralisation of the state, to be reorganised along federal lines. Although the radical leftist factions were displeased with the compromises involved in the constitution, the Gylian united front was preserved, with the promise that the constitution would open the path for further emancipation in the economic sphere.

The Xevdenites responded to the Keraþ constitution with stalling tactics, introducing its provisions piecemeal into the Xevdenite parliament to further water them down. Anger at Xevdenite obstruction erupted into the Glorious Rebellion of 1856–1868. It succeeded in seizing significant territory in south-western Laişyn, where the rebels proclaimed a republic and implemented radical democratic reforms. Numerous Gylian luminaries took part in the Keraþ assembly and the Glorious Rebellion, including Mary Grant, Hannah Edelstein, Nefne Sary, Angeline Dalles, and Anca Déuréy.

While celebrated for its 12-year lifespan, the Glorious Rebellion failed to deal Xevden a knockout blow, and was ultimately defeated. However, the tenacity of the rebellion and closeness of the result shocked the Xevdenites, and authorities moved carefully to avoid further inflaming unrest. After an attempt to try leaders of the rebellion degenerated into a humiliating farce, the pragmatists assassinated the erratic king Ŋarny in 1870, and his successor Ernax immediately proclaimed a general amnesty and reconciliation.

The failure of the Glorious Rebellion opened a window in which Xevdenite pragmatists and Gylian constitutionalists had the upper hand in their respective camps, and a succession of governments struggled to resolve the "Gylian Question". However, the Xevdenite pragmatists were sabotaged by the instransigent reactionaries, whereas the Gylian opposition simply gained strength as the piecemeal and miserly nature of reforms pushed more Gylians into the confrontationist camp. Historian Nina Raukan writes that the 1848–1868 revolutionary period had an important economic effect: it further weakened industrialisation of Xevden, thus saving Gylians from enduring the full brunt of misery caused by the Industrial Revolution, and further isolated Xevden on the international stage.

A turning point came with the 1890 election, which produced a hung parliament. The ruling Party of Order split, and Raţiáş Keýmer assembled a coalition of Xevdenite pragmatists, liberals, Gylian nationalists, and republicans. His premiership saw the introduction of several reforms, but by this time the Gylians had lost patience for a constitutional remedy. The victory of Gezy Nemáz's liberal coalition in the 1900 election resulted in two years of struggle for reforms, notably including the forceful dissolution of the upper house and use of legislative violence against reactionaries. King Karnaz's autocratic regime brought about disaster in the Cacerta-Xevden War and the formation of Alscia, inaugurating the next phase of Gylian resistance.

Historiography

The Gylian ascendancy marked the birth of Gylian history, as the new Gylian identity sought a story of its own. As a result, while the Gylian ascendancy is generally lionised in public memory, and it resulted in groundbreaking, valuable studies of Gylian history and folklore, there was a strong tendency towards "heroic" history, and the interpretation of history and folklore in ways that deliberately strengthened Gylian identity and promoted opposition to Xevden.

The "heroic" tendency persisted into the 20th century, as manifestations of the will to overthrow Xevden. One notable manifestation was the glorification of the Liúşai League's direct democracy, which increasingly convinced Gylians to turn to anarchism as they saw the League as a successful precedent. During the Liberation War, the tendency turned into a presentation of the past as an inexorable march towards progress, with progress being identified with anarchism and praise directed at Gylian revolutionaries' willigness to use force, violence, and ruthlessness towards enemies.

The tendency lost its prominence during the Golden Revolution, and its retreat allowed for a more balanced assessment of Gylian history in the absence of an overpowering drive to promote resistance to the Xevdenite enemy. One biographer comments that much of the controversy provoked by historian Herta Schwamen was her adherence to the "heroic" slant even after it had fallen out of favour. The general consensus among modern historians is that the ascendancy's historiography played an important role in mobilising Gylian identity and agitation, but it led to excesses and distortions, such as inappropriate politicisation of anthropology and folklore studies, which had to be later corrected by later generations of Gylians.