|246 BCE–1305 CE1|
Traditional territory of Symmeria
|Common languages||Ancient Symmerian|
|Historical era||Antiquity to Medieval|
• Conquests of Orestes II
|Today part of||Syara |
The Symmerian Empire (also called Symmerian Realm or simply Symmeria) was an ancient kingdom in Syara before rising to become an empire and one of the biggest powers in ancient Siduri. Makedon was originally founded by Epikharmas in 556 BCE, who established the Zelusian Dynasty that would serve as the Symmerian monarchy until 1987 CE at the end of the Refusal War. Home to the Ancient Symmerians, Makedon in it's earliest state was centered in northern Syara, bordered by Ruvelka to the east, Galania to the south, and Scitaria to the west.
Before the 3rd Century BCE Symmeria was one of several competing nations within Syara, distinct for it's professional and well trained army. In 246 BCE Orestes II ascended to the throne and began a campaign of conquest across the rest of Syara. Between 238 to 227 BCE Orestes conquered much of Ruvelka, Mansuriyyah, and Arkoenn, while defeating the Sardaranian Empire and what remained of the Erani kingdoms. Symmeria continued to slowly expand over the course of several centuries, leading to conflicts with the northern Bosrei, the Chalna Empire, and the various steppe nomads of central Siduri. Friction with the Hannashka Empire and the Hayren Migration between the 3rd and 5th Century CE preceeded the eastward expansion of the Empire into Quenmin under Deinokrates III, which led to conflict with the Sabrian Empire in what became known as the Sabrian Wars, during which the Empire reached it's territorial apex.
The outbreak of the Burning Plague in 825 CE is generally considered to mark the decline of Symmeria. Syara lost approximately 25% of the population, crippling the Empire's taxation system and military manpower and leading to a demographic crisis. Weakened by its depleted population, the Empire suffered a series of military defeats against the Rideva Empire of southern Siduri, resulting in the loss of Knichus in the early 10th Century. The Âu Lạc Rebellion, brought an end to Symmerian rule over Quenmin, while the rise of the Arkoennite Empire reduced Makedonian influence in central Siduri further. The rise of the Rawwadid Sultunate followed by Symmerian defeat in the Battle of Tell Saqara ended Symmerian dominion over Mansuriyyah in the early 13th Century, reducing Symmeria's borders to the Kurilla and Matra Mountains in Ruvelka. The Adamdar invasion of Ruvelka followed by their victory at the Battle of Nemaro effectively ended Symmeria's independence and is often cited as the end of the empire, after which Symmeria became a tributary state to the Adamdar Empire.
Symmeria's influence was felt throughout Siduri. At it's peak, the Empire ruled over approximately 10 million square kilometers of territory, and presided over 90-120 million inhabitants. The prominence of the Empire spread Hellenic culture throughout Tyran, including the Indo-Hellenic Arosiananda Kingdom and Hellenic migrants in the Liúşai League. Considerable debate reigns in regard to the Fall of the Symmerian Empire and the nature of the Empire itself. Among these debates is the moniker of "Empire", the role of Symmerian culture, and its impact on its vassals.
The name "Symmeria" is derived from the term makednós, meaning tall or large. It is believed that this in turn became the ethnonym Makedónes, which would be consistent with ancient descriptions of the Symmerian people which frequently make mention of their height and build over other contemporary inhabitants of Syara.
The term "Symmerian Empire" itself is a product of modern historians who seek to differentiate the imperial period of Makedon from Ancient Symmeria, before it became a continental power. The term was never recognized or utilized by the Symmerian themselves. "Symmeria" within the context of the Symmerian language entailed all land that was under the control of the Symmerian King (basileús), and therefore did not designate a specific geographic or territorial extent. Some Symmerian, both officially and unofficially, referred to the territory under Symmerian control as "Realm" (agrós), which means "land" or "countryside". This term remained in use in modern Syara starting in the Republic.
Historians use the ascension of Orestes II in 246 BCE as a dividing mark between Ancient Symmeria and the Symmerian Empire, which saw Symmeria rise from a local power in Syara to the premier power of Siduri. The change from kingdom to empire was recognized by the Symmerians as a change in government or society, and continued to refer to their domain simply as the "Realm" of Symmeria.
By the third century BCE Symmeria had been placed in a position of power relative to the other Syaran nations, namely the Kydonian League and Galania. Orestes made clear his intention to conquer Syara and beyond shortly after taking the throne, a move which was opposed by his older brother Lycklos, who was killed by Orestes in response. Orestes set out to conquer the remnants of the Kydonian League, weakened by years of Bastarnae invasions and civil wars, in 244 BCE. By 240 BCE Orestes had led Symmeria to victory over the tribes of Scitaria and had defeated the Galaians at the Battle of Nemaro, establishing control over all of Syara. In 238 BCE Orestes crossed into Ruvelka and conquered the Kartozan and mountain kingdoms of the Kurillas and Matra Ranges. By 233 BCE Orestes had conquered the Sardaranian Empire before crossing the Kurilla Mountains in 232 BCE and invading Shirvaniya. Campaigns against the Shirvani and Erani kingdoms of central Siduri continued until 227 BCE, at which point Orestes abruptly ended his campaigns and returned to Syara for reasons that are still uncertain.
Orestes's rapid conquests transformed Symmeria from a relatively isolated power in north-west Siduri into a major regional power across the continent. The destruction caused by the Symmerian conquests effectively ended the dominion of the Erani Empires that had dominated much of central Siduri for centuries, which was followed by the rise of nomadic empires in central Siduri and the Chalna Empire in the south. Symmerian expanse had also brought the empire into direct contact with the Han of Serikos, and to a lesser extent the Quảng Dynasty of Quenmin. Relations were also established with the Acrean Empire of Eracura.
Following the death of Orestes II, Symmerian expansion took on a much more gradual process driven largely by commercial endeavors and colonization. The two most common areas of colonization were in Boreas, the region of Eracura closest to Siduri, and Mansuriyyah. Both regions provoked conflict with the native inhabitants, the Bosrei in Boreas and the various Mansuri tribes of Mansuriyyah. Conflict between these groups and the Symmerian generally consisted or asymmetric fighting and border skirmishes across several years and decades rather than large-scale warfare.
Symmerian domination of north-west Siduri had brought profound change to the society and culture of Syara. For many citizens of the former Kydonian League, the birthplace of democracy and countless theorists of philosophy, science, and art, life under a highly militarized autocracy that was the Zelusian Dynasty produced a profound culture shock. For many Kydonians who had grown up in a society that valued open air symposiums and mass assemblies for decision making, being ruled over by highly aggressive and confrontational Symmerian nobles and aristocrats was considered insulting and demeaning. While the Symmerians gradually adopted many of the artistic and philosophical tenets of the rest of Hellenic Syara, the initial decades of Symmerian rule were dominated by animosity and general unhappiness. Further compounding this issue were economic concerns; the vast influx of foreign slaves captured during the Symmerian conquests resulted in a diluted labor pool that made it difficult for other Syarans to find work and pay.
Eventually the mixture of economic and political stress resulted in several waves of migration from the former Kydonian regions across Siduri, most notably settling in the Chalna Empire and the Liúşai League, where they formed a sizeable population in Gylias that persists to the modern era as Hellene Gylians. Separated from the rest of Hellenic Syara, the Hellene Gylians would go on to preserve many of the Hellenic cultural and social traditions that gradually evolved and changed within the Empire. In Syara, the consolidation of all power under the reign of an absolute monarch brought with its own set of challenges including dynastic conflicts. The first of these was Zarina's Civil War, sparked by the Queen Zarina's conflict with Menedemus over Zarina's insistence on maintaining her son Nikomakhos's claim to the throne, which was resolved in a Zarinan victory.
The rapid expansion of Symmerian conquest had also served to wildly inflate the wealth of the Symmerian nobility and aristocracy, necessitating the creation of large estates to leading to competition over land claims and titles. Driven in part by this competition, large number of Symmerian nobles, along with other Syarans looking for land and wealth outside of Syara, began settling on the edge of the Empire's borders. Apart from Boreas, the most common destination was Adnaniyyah in Mansuriyyah. The growth of Symmerian colonization of northern Mansuriyyah eventually led to competition and eventual conflict with the native tribes of Qatna, Erani, Kanesh, Kenaani, and Irviyim. The Kenaani in particular alarmed at the expansion of Makedon, responded by forming the Seyhad League to oppose further Symmerian incursion into Mansuriyyah. This eventually escalated into open war, in what became known as the Seyhad Wars, the first lasting from 163-145 BCE. The second conflict waged by Arcidamus, lasted just four years before the Symmerian King withdrew back to Syara.
Following the collapse of the Chalna Empire in 93 BCE Symmerian pre-eminence in western Siduri became largely unmatched, leading to the Third Seyhd War from 20-6 BCE. Led by Phalaris, the Symmerians successfully conquered the Kenaani city-states of Mansuriyyah, eventually driving the League from Siduri entirely and assuring Symmerian dominion over western Siduri was, at least for the time, unchallenged. While the Symmerians had been able to secure victory on land, defeating the Seyhad at sea had proven far more difficult. Lacking an extensive maritime history and tradition, the Symmerians had been forced to rely heavily on their satrapies, namely Scitaria, for assistance in constructing and manning a large navy. Despite fielding over 300 Quinqueremes built under order by Phalaris, the Symmerians had still struggled to achieve naval superiority against the Seyhad. For the fourth Seyhad War (52-56 CE), two years of successive naval warfare were required before the Symmerians were able to invade the island of Yalunji, where they destroyed the last bastion of the Seyhad League.
Institutions and Government
Symmeria was ruled by a King (basileus) who served as the head of state for the Empire, as had been the case in Ancient Symmeria. The King wielded largely uncontested power and served as the chief executive, supreme commander of the military, and chief justice of the Empire. The King was also expected to serve as a high priest on occasion, and mark important celebrations and religious festivals with animal sacrifices. This practice declined somewhat with the rise of Zobethos, which saw many roles of the high priest transferred over to the Oracle of the All-Mother. The king was also responsible for setting of foreign policy and hosting foreign dignitaries.
Although the King wielded absolute power, he was often expected to focus primarily on grand strategy and military leadership, while the more mundane and tedious affairs of the Empire were left to the Royal Court. The Royal Court was composed of the companions (hetairoi), members of the Symmerian nobility, aristocracy, judiciary, religious council, military, and representatives from the various provinces of the Empire. The Royal Court was typically tasked with the drafting of laws and treaties, as well as handling other matters of internal management and administration. The Court could also try subjects of the Empire for treason as well as issue directives regarding criminal punishment and demands for extradition or transfers of money.
The Royal Court gradually grew more powerful and influential over the course of the Empire's duration, both out of a deliberate effort by the Court to acquire more gravitas but also out of the necessity of governing an increasingly large and complex domain. At the beginning of the Empire under Orestes II the Court had largely existed as a rubber stamp institution and membership conferred few special privilege's. By the time of Alexarchus however the Court held enough power to challenge and undermine the King's authority if it so desired. The Court's power would ultimately wax and wane numerous times over the course of the Empire, and largely depended on the King at the time.
Ruling over the conquered territories of Siduri was complicated by a lack of a robust administrative system that resulted in significant variations in the power dynamic between Parilla and the various provinces of the Realm.
The Symmerians divided their Realm into provinces, the total of which varied over time but numbered around 29 at the peak of their dominion. The Symmerians attempted to divide their provinces based on ethnic and cultural ties, but this practice proved difficult to maintain in light of migrations and changes in demographics across the Empire throughout its history. Provinces could be formed, disbanded, and reformed based on political and social developments. Over the course of the empire's existence provinces gradually became more fluid and less defined, and by the 12th Century had effectively become mobile, tracking populaces as they migrated around Siduri rather than assigned to specific geographic regions.
Each province was led by an Archon, also known as a Viceroy. Initially the Archon was appointed by the King, but following the Crisis of the Ninth Century Archons frequently appointed their own successors or were chosen in part by local authorities. The Archon ruled in effective as a downsized version of the King, ruling over a Court which handled administrative, judicial, and financial matters within the province. The chief responsibility of the Archon was maintaining order and preventing rebellions while ensuring a steady flow of tribute and taxation revenue to Parilla. Underneath the Archons were his military advisors and local officials. Standard Symmerian practice when incorporating a new province was the annihilation of the previous upper class and the statement of lower level leaders into positions of power; the conquest of Serikos concluded with the extermination of the Zhang Dynasty and the establishment of the Yu Dynasty. The local officials went by various titles depending on their culture; in Symmerian Quenmin the Quenminese government was known as the Ten Ministries.
A major responsibility of the Archon was to ensure a supply of manpower in case of war, which could result in conscription being implemented. Upon the outbreak of fighting, an Archon would typically be informed by courier from Syara and be tasked with supplying a set number of troops to assist in the war effort. How many troops were required were based on census reports conducted by the Archon's court, and the Archon could also be called upon to lead troops into battle if necessary. An Archon could be punished or removed from service if he failed to provide military forces for the war effort.
Archons initially held onto Symmerian court customs, but as time went on it became increasingly common for Archons to adopt the practices and customs of their respective regions. This was partly driven by necessity following decades of instability post-Burning Plague where central authority was severely weakened and regionalism became necessary for the continued functioning of the state. Archons could sometimes become sources of rebellions, or their rule could inspire revolts if they behaved cruelly or poorly enough. Unlike the King, who usually ruled until death, Archons were expected to retire once they had reached a certain age, as the duties of Archon typically involved more direct intervention into political and social affairs and the Symmerians were reluctant to trust such duties to exceptionally old men.
Local rule typically remained in the hands of previous rulers prior to Symmerian conquest and annexation, and for many in the lower class life before and after Symmerian rule did not affect much change. This could vary considerably depending on the nature of the Symmerian conquest, which could range from swift and relatively bloodless campaigns to extended wars of attrition.
Summation of life under Symmerian rule is difficult due to the vast differences in experience across the Empire, which ranged from radical reformation to existing power structures or upheavals caused by conquest to insignificant alterations to daily life. Even after the most bloodiest of conquests however, life under Symmerian rule did not differ much from previous regimes, although both improvements and declines in living standards did occur with regular frequency. Life under Symmerian hegemony posed it's own set of challenges. Submission to Symmerian taxes and demands for tribute extracted heavy tolls from many regions, and payments towards Parilla could drain entire towns and cities of finances and material. Rebellions, revolts, and unrest frequently broke out across the Realm in response to unfair financial burdens, which usually resulted in the implementation of more reasonable standards. Symmerian subjects could pay their dues in either coinage and products, such as grains or ores, with significant variance between regions and provinces.
The Symmerians lacked a constitution or an extensive codex of laws. Provinces typically retained the legal codes of their previous regimes and governments, and traditional customs were often maintained. Symmeria did not recognize any complex concept of citizenship; anyone who inhabited lands under Symmerian rule were considered subjects to the King, with the only effective distinction being between slaves and free people. Slaves freed by their masters were counted by the Symmerians the same as free citizens, but in some regions they were more restricted.
Some laws were held as universal, known to the Symmerians as the Laws of Gaia which forbade certain practices, namely human sacrifice and cannibalism, both of which were punishable by death. Treason against the Realm and King was also punished by death. Bestiality was also apparently considered a crime as well; a Khiyzan priestess was executed in 768 CE for allegedly copulating with a wolf. Other crimes such as murder, rape, theft, and assault were typically handled by local authorities according to local custom and law; exceptions were made for Symmerian nobles and officials who could only be punished in by the Royal Court.
The Symmerian Empire grew more unstable the larger it became. Symmerian rule and administration was fundamentally paradoxical, with a highly centralized autocratic figure at the top, while increasingly autonomous rulers with only a Royal Court centered in Parilla in between. This created an unstable power dynamic that could only fully be held in check by military force, which increasingly became the principle factor holding the Realm together. By the 8th Century Symmeria was not so much an empire as a confederation of tributary states held in power by a military-political elite. Even as the Empire reached its zenith in the 8th Century, it became clear the effective administration of Symmeria was becoming untenable. On top of the problems of administration, the geographic make up of the Realm compounded the issue; most of the Symmerian interior consisted of flat steppe that was home to perennially rebellious nomadic tribes, while most of the Empire's population centers were clustered around the eastern and western coastlines of Siduri. This created a vast internal gulf of lowly populated regions that still needed to be maintained and guarded, and proved a constant drain on the Empire's finances.
Various solutions were proposed to handle the difficulties of administering the Empire. Short term solutions involved distribution of Serikese and Quenminese bureaucrats, renowned for their meticulous record keeping, to different regions to mediate administrative affairs. Longer term solutions involved reforming the Empire's structure; one solution advanced by Hermippos involved transforming several of the internal provinces into more autonomous client kingdoms, shifting administrative focus towards the more densely populated urban coast. Another suggestion involved splitting the empire into eastern and western halves; this was shelved due to the belief that neither Serikos nor Quenmin could be trusted to maintain loyalty to Parilla.
The Burning Plague effectively ended any chance Symmeria had at reformation. The remaining 438 years of the Realm's existence was marked by constant rebellion and internal strife, scarcely held in check by an increasingly depopulated and depleted military elite. Territorial loss began in earnest during the 9th Century and continued on until the final conquest of Symmeria by the Adamdar Empire.
Society and Culture
The Ancient Symmerians became a distinct people from the Aleitians sometime in the early 1st Millennia BCE, although the origins of their status as a separate people probably began several centuries earlier. Examples of pottery, ornaments, and burial places stretching across northern Syara, and to a lesser extent Ruvelka, point to a shared cultural lineage, if not necessarily a common political environment or single identity. The first coherent, concrete example of a unified Symmerian state was formed in 556 BCE under Epikharmas, the first Basileus (King) of Ancient Symmeria.
The Symmerians descended from the same stock as the Kydonian League and the two cultures continued to share many similar traits. Nevertheless the diverge of the two into separate groups eventually led most Kydonians to consider the Symmerians a separate, though related people. There are conflicting sources of information as to where the Symmerians landed in relation to the Kydonians. In relation to the Kydonians, the Symmerians fell closer than the Kartozan, but still retained what were often seen as barbaric qualities; the Symmerians didn't mix their wine, nor did they embrace many of the Kydonian philosophies. Instead the Symmerians retained much of the cultural standards of Archaic Syara; boys were not allowed to sit among men until they had speared their first boar, soldiers who had not slain a man in battle had to wear a red sash around their waist, and their political system remained dominated by small clusters of aristocrats ruling over large numbers of people in highly personalized inner circles.
By the time of the conquests of Orestes II this perception had changed and the Symmerians had become more synonymous with the general Hellenic identity of the Kydonians, although they were still treated as something of an outlier than the various city states that formed the Kydonian League. The expansion of Symmeria into a continent spanning empire in many ways both changed and did not change the basic tenets of Symmerian society. At some point during the reign of the Symmerians the Kydonian dialect became essentially extinct.
Summation of the society of the Symmerian Empire is complicated by the multi-cultural and multi-ethnic composition of the Empire throughout the duration of its existence. The Symmerians made little effort to incorporate the people they conquered into their empire; Hellenization was inconsistent and rarely utilized as an official policy. While it did occur, its impact was highly disparate, resulting in significant variations in Hellenic influence across the Empire's duration and breadth.
The Symmerian cosmological view was predicated on the belief in a fundamentally ordered and organized universe; things existed the way they did because the Gods (and later Mother Gaia) had made them so. This extended to the existence of foreign peoples and cultures. Thus, it seemed pointless to endeavor to change the way of barbarians, since if they were supposed to be Hellenic, they would have been made so. The Symmerians nevertheless viewed their way of life as superior to foreign societies, and thus did not discourage foreigners from learning Symmerian customs. Some Kings attempted to enforce Hellenic standards more consistently across the Realm, but this never took hold for long and was usually abandoned by local rulers when possible.
The Empire's society largely reflected the political standard of the Realm. At the top were the Symmerians, the chosen children of the All Mother and the elite of the Empire. Directly beneath the Symmerians was usually reserves for the Syarans, Ruvelkans, Kartozan, and later the Hayren, followed by the other various people of the empire. This organization was largely unofficial and in practice there was little legal distinction between the various non-Symmerian people of the Realm. The Syarans, by virtue of their close proximity to Symmeria, gradually Hellenized and thus climbed the social ladder steadily over the course of the Empire, although never quite reaching the same level as Symmerians themselves.
The Symmerian language was the de facto official language of the Empire. It was used to record official works and decrees, and was used as the basis for written treatises and literature. The Symmerian tongue was a close relative to the Kydonian language that had been dominant in Classical Syara, but gradually gave way and was eventually overcome by the Symmerian speech owing to the dominance of the Symmerians in positions of power and in government. For most senior aristocrats and public figures in the Empire, knowledge of Symmerian was necessary to gain access to the upper levels of government, and it was common for senior members of government from across the various provinces to learn Symmerian. Despite this, local ordinances and rulings were usually passed down in the language most appropriate to the respective provinces.
Up until the mid-2nd Century CE the Symmerians largely followed the Hellenic Pantheon of the Kydonians, however as early as the 4th Century BCE differences had emerged among deities and practices. According to Androcles (412-341 BCE) the Symmerians favored the worship of Zeus, Athena, Artemis, and Hestia. By the time of Orestes II veneration of the other Olympian Gods had largely faded; testimonies and sites of worship found afterwards almost exclusively feature the "quartet" of god and goddesses that the Symmerians became primarily associated with. It is unclear why the Symmerians gravitated towards these four Gods rather than other Gods that were commonly worshiped and favored by other ancient Syarans. Ante Dujić, writing in 1971, comments on the unusual selection the Symmerians associated their faith with:
Why the Symmerians venerated the four Gods they did remains a matter of dispute within academic circles. The Symmerians were, unquestionably, a very warlike people with an appetite for song, wine, and boasting. But Ares, Apollo, and Dionysus are conspicuously absent from crafted shrines and temples. Despite the Symmerians clearly viewing the role of women as home makers and mothers, Hera is mysteriously absent. The Symmerians instead placed their hopes and faith in the King of the Gods (perhaps the most understandable given their autocratic nature), the huntress Artemis, the strategist Athena, and the home maker Hestia. While these seem sensible on some level, it remains a matter of inquiry among scholars.
Nadezhda Tatarcheva, writing in 2016, argues that the Symmerians were principle worshipers of concepts and ideals rather than objects or people. Veneration of the "quartet" reflected Symmerian drive towards the more intangible:
The Symmerians of antiquity were a prideful, boastful, and emotional people. They carried themselves with an energy and zeal for life that demanded accomplishment and success. They were a competitive lot who constantly maneuvered and endeavored for favor and fame, competing against each other, their ancestors, and themselves. This drove them towards more than just the physical, but the emotional and ethereal. The prayed to Zeus not for thunder or lightning but for the power and strength he wielded from his throne. They loved war and reveled in military affairs, but preferred the mental abilities of Athena's strategy to the raw bloodlust of Ares. In Artemis they sought the exhilaration and glory of the hunt, and in Hestia they saw not a literal hearth but a presence of mind at peace, warm and protected with the familiar. The Symmerians saw glory as achieving something beyond mortal coils, elevating oneself to a level above their normal existence; it's not hard to see where the influence of the Chalna lay.
Symmerian religious beliefs were heavily influenced by the various cultures and societies they encountered, resulting in a number of syncretic belief systems such as Symmerian Buddhism.
Beginning in the 2nd Century Zobethos began to rise in influence, especially among the lower classes and slaves with whom the promise of salvation and eternal paradise was more appealing than the afterlife of traditional Hellenic polytheism. This culminated in the Zobethos Civil War in the 5th Century CE, which ended with the establishment of Zobethos as the state religion of the Empire. Despite this, the Symmerians made little to no effort to convert their various subjugated tribes to the faith, owing to the retention of traditional Hellenic world views regarding the natural diversity of the world.
Funeral rites were of immense importance to the Symmerians. Burials and cremations were the most common forms of entombing the dead, and nobles were often buried with a variety of grave goods. Funerals were a deeply ritualistic matter and giving the honored dead a proper burial was of supreme importance for the Symmerians; recovery of the dead after battles was almost always attempted, and sometimes bargained for with an opposing army. Funeral practices remained largely the same even after the rise of Zobethos, indicating the inertia such a deep seeded cultural practice could carry. Specific prayers had to be said dependent on the nature of the deceased and the manner of their death (illness, old age, fallen in battle, murdered). Offerings were usually made during the funeral to ensure the individual remained tranquil in the afterlife; it was common for drachma to be place don the body to pay the toll for the Ferryman across the River Styx. During Zobethian times this was changed to a solemn prayer to safeguard the soul to the afterlife, where instead Charon would ferry them to the Garden of Gaia.
Influence from Tennai led the adoption of reincarnation as a component of Symmerian views of life and death. Reincarnation was believed to be the fate of the average individual; those neither particularly good nor wicked would be reborn into a different body. The honored dead who had lived lives of good faith and spirit would be welcomed into the Garden of Gaia, the equivalent of heaven for the Symmerians, while the wicked were banished into Hades.
The Empire's demographics were never stable, largely due to the frequent and extensive conflicts the Empire engaged in during the Hegemonic Wars. Conquest was the primary means by which the Symmerians gained new territory, which often resulted in depopulation of many regions through conscription and subsequent casualties. The conquest of Serikos itself halved the population of the province, and by the end of the Sabrian Wars the population of eastern Siduri is believed to have decreased by 10-20% both as a result of direct fatalities and economic hardships. Plagues, famines, and civil unrest at various stages of the Empire further undermined population growth. The frequency of which conscription was implemented often resulted in a gender imbalance among Symmerian provinces; after the Second Sabrian War it is estimated women accounted for over 60% of Quenmin's population.
Most of the Empire's population resided in two main regions, the western coasts from Syara to Mansuriyyah and in the east in Serikos and Quenmin. Much of the interior was by comparison sparsely populated, including Shirvaniya, eastern Mansuriyyah, Knichus, and eastern Ruvelka. Symmeria was less urbanized than both the Acrean Empire and the Rideva Empire, although it was more urbanized than any preceding Siduri empire. The average Symmerian city numbered around 10,000 inhabitants, while the majority of the populace resided in settlements of several hundred to 1,000 citizens. The Symmerians do not appear to have favored either urban or rural lifestyles, but occasionally relocated peoples to shore up depopulated regions or invigorate local economies critical to the empire, such as mining or farming.
Calculating the total population of the Empire is hampered by the lack of any nationwide census conducted over the course of the Empire. Provinces occasionally conducted their own internal census, but this was often done inconsistently and operated under different standards, sometimes excluding slaves or children for example. Frequent population losses due to wars and famines further complicate the matter, resulting in major variances between population estimates. Atanas Dobrudzhanski, writing in 1997, estimated that at its peak in the 8th Century, the Symmerian Empire was inhabited by roughly 300 million people, including both citizens and slaves. Other estimates are more conservative, falling between 200-230 million, while other less reputable claims range from 350-400 million. Dobrudzhanski's estimates remain the most popular and the most supported. At the time, the Empire would have accounted for roughly 20-35% of the population of Tyran. The Crisis of the Ninth Century and subsequent periods of civil wars meant that by the 11th Century, the population of the empire had shrunk to less than 200 million, roughly a third of the population.
Symmeria's population remained among the most diverse of any Empire. At it's peak, the various people of the Symmerian Realm included Symmerians, Bosrei, Scitarians, Galanians, Kartozan, Ruvelkans, Hayren, Qatna, Erani, Kanesh, Kenaani, Irviyim, Seyhads, Khaltians, Nalayans, Tahrmirihian, Adamdar, Taypa, Odamlar, Abkai, Shirvani, Khiyzan, Kazarakhai, Imertians, Serikese, Biểc, Cham, Hmong, Zhuangs, Töbedars, Mirians, Aōteans, Sidi, and Condottiero.