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    Tarajani History

    Post by New Tarajan on Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:47 pm

    History of New Tarajan

    Part I:

    Part I

    The beginning: - 0 J.E.

    The Port of Arzimakil of Muraz, reconstructed at the Royal Tarajan Historical Museum of Astana, is one of the most famous monuments of the Shramanid Empire.

    The lands of the actual Kingdom knew a form of unified government since the very dawn of history.
    The first trace of a civilization in Tarajan is the so-called Paragaal Culture, a prehistoric culture principally known through its conic monuments (archaeologists are still divided if to consider them as temples/places for the community or graves; probably, they were used for both functions). Then, around the third millenium before Jahan (B.J.), the Plain of Kashair, at the time the most fertile and rich area of Tarajan, saw the birth of the first, true civilization: the Murazians, from the name of their principle city, Muraz (they're, however, better known, especially in New Tarajan, as Shramanids, as we will see below).
    This civilization introduced a writing (ideographic) system, and produced some of the most beautiful artifacts and monuments of the Tarajani history (the ruins of Muraz, the ziqqurat of Bakran, and the Shraman Tomb are all examples). Also, they were the first to unify (at least, under a same culture, if not under a same government) the land of Tarajan from the Azarsheen Mountains (the great chain dividing New Tarajan and Antanares) and the Shalimar River at the south. The political structure of what is known as Shramanid Empire is still to be fully understood by scholars, but at the actual stage of play the most reknown theory is that the Empire was not a fully unified body, but a sort of confederation of small principalities, with a (often symbolic) head in the prince of the city of Muraz, known also as Emperor. The centrality of Muraz, as main and also holy city for the Shramanids is unquestionable any way.
    For around three millennia the Murazian civilization dominated Tarajan, starting also contacts with many other cultures around it. However, civil strife and wars continuously weakened the Empire, eventually giving the opportunity for its fall.
    And, indeed, this event (recorded by the few documents survived as one of the most catastrophic imaginable) came, from the hands of a semi-nomadic people from the north-east, the Ajans.
    The real steps of the invasions are not known: the only, complete, tale of it is the Song of Jahan, an epic and lyric poem composed during the last centuries of the Ajanic civilization.
    Remnants of the Murazian civilization will keep to stand only in Alleskandberg and in the Seven Rivers Region (still today, that area keeps its cultural distinctiveness).

    Note: The Song of Jahan

    Jahan and Shraman in Muraz, picture from one of the first copies of the Song of Jahan, Nuyern, 1427 a.J.

    The Song was composed around the 1425 J.E. (during a time the Ajans defined as Waning Era), by Tariz Qin Firuz, historian, philosopher, architect, poet and scholar at the time of Anoushiravan IV Jahan Shah (1385-1424) and his son, Kalihaan Jahan Shah (1424-1446), and one of the most famous representatives of the Ajanic culture ever. His main goal was to collect all the stories circulating at the time about the beginning of the Ajanic history, thus "discovering" and systematizing the mythic history of the period, while at the same time founding a mythological (thus, almost religious) ground for his ideal (in reality, an ideal always present in the Ajanic culture) of the Ajans as the perfect mixture of War (instinct) and Art ("the understanding of beauty", as defined by an anonymous poet two centuries before Qin Firuz). The result is one of the most beautiful poems ever composed, and a piece of invaluable importance for the study of the Ajanic history (obviously, with all the necessary caution, due the nature of the document).
    The Song begins with the tale of how Kilijali, the Ajanic god of war, unified all the Ajanic tribes, giving them also the powerful Ajan (the characteristic spear of that people, so important that it will become their own name later) to defeat the giants which inhabited their land. After this victory, Kilijali decided to invade the rich and prosperous Kashair, ignoring the warnings of an old man he met during the march to south. At the end, he was defeated by Arzimakil, emperor-god and protector of Muraz. Finding refuge on Mount Grishna (one of the most high peaks of the Azarsheen Chain), he then met Yaligham, the beautiful goddess of arts and music, who seduced him, "civilizing" the barbaric warrior. Their union gave birth to Jahan who, loosing his true identity, reached Muraz, where, thanks to his courage, ability in war (the legacy of his father) and the beauty, his artistic capabilities (legacy of the mother) he became the lover of Shraman, beautiful daughter of Arzimakil himself. Then, during a duel, Arzimakil recognized in the impetus of the young boy the heritage of the blood of his ancient enemy Kilijali, and decided to ban him from Muraz once and for all, ignoring the protests of Shraman.
    Jahan accepted the exile, deciding to prove to Arzimakil that he's not the heir of such a bloody god like Kilijali himself. He went to the north, then meeting the Ajans. When he reached them, a mysterious knight suddenly appeared, challenging all the warriors to duel. Nobody could defeat him, but Jahan, conscious of his heritage as son of the gods of Ajans, feeling as an humiliation those defeats, decided to challenge the knight himself, and ultimately defeated him, who then revealed to be Kilijali himself. From that day to come, the Ajans welcomed Jahan as their King. Deciding to clean the humiliation suffered long ago by the Ajans from Arzimakil, he united once again the tribes, and marched against Kashair, forgetting about Shraman and his love.
    The night before the final battle, Shraman herself reached him, but, blind for wrath, he didn't recognize her, and he rudely sent her away. Then, he fought against Arzimakil himself, defeating and killing him. The entire Murazian army was annihilated, Muraz destroyed, and Kashair sacked, becoming a desert without life. Shraman fled away (to the Shraman Isles, or maybe more far, to the actual Meisjegronden), and Jahan, finally recovering from the blindness of the wrath, understood what he had done. With his heart broken by his own action, he founded Astana ("capital"), teaching to the Ajans the arts of his mother instead of the sole, barbaric costumes of his father; then, after this civilizational work ended, he fled away, searching for his lover. And some people still believe to see him all around Tarajan, screaming and crying desperately for Shraman.

    The Ajanic Empire (Empire of the Padishah): 0 - 487 J.E.

    The foundation of Astana symbolically marked the beginning of history (the year zero of the Jahan Era). After Kashair became a desert (still at our times it did not recover), the Ajans mainly transferred themselves to the east region (the Horat Region), where Astana itself was founded, and to the south. Led by their emperors (the Padishah), direct descendants of Jahan, they conquered one by one all the remnants of the Murazian principalities, establishing an empire which extended its borders to all the contemporary Kingdom of New Tarajan, the Sdudeti-Karabak, the actual continental territory of Shirouma, and North Ajania, at the north, and to the coasts of the Atletius Sea at south.
    This age was a time of renaissance for every arts: the Ajans created their own architecture style (which is still a characteristic of New Tarajan); they left their mark everywhere, shaping the true identity of the land they conquered, eventually giving to it also their name (Tarajan means, literally "Land of the Ajans")
    While the first four-five Emperors are known only through few documents, and are still surrounded by a mythological aura, we can reconstruct approximately the line of emperors (always belonging, by same way or another, to the House of Jahan) of Tarajan. The most famous ones are without doubts Anoushiravan I and II (334-342 and 345-360, respectively), and Ardashir III (434-478).
    Anoushiravan I is particularly known for his military conquests: inheriting the throne during a period of civil strife, he personally led the imperial army against the principalities in North Ajania, which had proclaimed themselves independent, and after a five years campaign he completely subjugated them, eventually extending the influence of the Empire even on the northern part of contemporary Antanares (but scholars are still debating about this); the main reason he's so well known is that he founded Shahrazad (capital city of North Ajania), building a summer palace, where he wished to represent all the history of the Empire till his days. He was also a legislator, promoting one of the most complete code of laws the Ajans left to us.
    His son Anoushiravan II became Emperor after a three-years regency by his corrupted mother, Azar (who someone accuse of having poisoned the husband), ended by a plot inside the court itself. Obtaining the crown at the young age of fifteen, he was mainly a constructor (he builded the Palace of the Padishah in Astana, which became the masterpiece, and yardstick of all the future Ajanic architecture), but didn't lack also military qualities, suppressing a revolt organized by his own mother with the support of some princes of the south (350-352).
    He updated the code of law commissioned by his father, and promoted arts and culture in every form. During his reign the famous philosopher Abbas was welcomed at court. But, more important, he was the first Emperor to institutionalize the office of Wizard (an approximate translation from an Ajanic word which means, literally "one who knows the Truth"): members of an ancient order of scholars, organized in an independent community based on the semi-legendary island of Takara, known for superior knowledge and technical capabilities, who assisted the Padishah and the princes with every mean.
    During the subsequent period, taking the opportunity offered by the continuous fights between the central power and the princes (mainly in the south) the Wizards became the real power behind the throne in many occasions, and soon they began to become princes themselves.
    Ardashir III Jahan Shah was the second-last Padishah of the Empire. He rebuilded the Palace of Astana (destroyed during a fire which broke out during an attempted coup): many of its parts still survive today. He had to manage the first series of clashes between the now too-powerful Wizards: particularly, two factions began to organize in Takara in the last years of his reign. The reason of the rivalry is not well known, since it has been obscured by the representation of one of the most important mythos in the Tarajani culture.
    What is known is that the rivalry escalated at the end in a full-scale conflict under the son ofArdashir III, Tumir IV (478-487), the last Padishah.
    The rival armies of two Wizards, Fed'on and Uyil, started to fight in the south, literally devastating the empire.
    The Padishah decided to intervene in order to finally restore peace, but in the catastrophic Battle of Bakran (487), he was killed, together with most part of the imperial army, and with Fed'on and Uyil themselves. Suddenly, the Empire crashed under the invasions of barbaric populations coming from east and from the south, while the remnants of the imperial army was divided between different warlords who began to fight for supremacy. Astana itself was sacked few years later (490). It was the beginning of the Waning Era.

    Statue of the Emperor-philosopher Humyat Jahan Shah (401-423), in Humyat Square, Himeraa. Follower of the philosopher Abbas, Humyat founded many schools and universities in the Empire ; he devoted himself completely to culture, allowing the resurgence of internal fights between princes, until he was finally killed by a guardsman.

    Note: the Myth of Shalimar

    Together with the mythos surrounding Jahan, the pillar of Ajanic mythology and religion is without doubts the Myth of Shalimar. The Myth tells how Fed'or and Ulyil, once best friend, became rivals for the love of Shalimar, the most beautiful creature, and one of the women Wizards. They started to fight, bringing with them the entire order.
    When Emperor Tumir decided to find a solution to the problem in Bakran, Shalimar herself tried to collaborate, calling at a meeting both rivals. But, when they saw Shalimar in the tent of the Padishah, they felt betrayed, believing she was falling in love with the sovereign, and they began to fight each other, until the entire imperial army was destroyed, and the emperor killed, thanks to their magical powers. In order to stop the war once and for all, they tried a last powerful attack against each other. But the energy they released could have destroyed the entire world, thus Shalimar decided to put herself in the middle, absorbing all the energy. However, it was so powerful that a wave of energy destroyed the armies of both Fed'or and Uyil, killing also the two Wizards, and ultimately destroying Takara. The scar left, became the Shalimar River, while all the energy absorbed, and the spirit of Shalimar itself, was forever imprisoned in a stone, the Stone of Shalimar.
    Soon, this tale became the core of a true religious cult, the Church of Shalimar, which grew in power during the centuries, almost causing a civil war during the reign of Kalihaan Jahan Shah.

    The Waning Era: 487-1505

    The period lasting from the Battle of Bakran to the creation of the Grand Duchy of Bakran (1505) was called by the Ajans the Waning Era, and the scholars decided to keep this definition.
    The first centuries of this age are obscures: the fall of the Empire had terrible consequences, with the end of a central, organized power, thus leaving behind only few documents. However, it's not like for the fall of the Shramanid civilization, and we can reconstruct the main events of the period with a good grade of approximation.
    From 487 to 790 about, the land of Tarajan was devastated by a series of external invasions and the strife between warlords.
    After the first sack of 490, Astana was conquered many times, by many ambitious warlords who tried to restore the previous glory, as symbol of the ancient power of the Padishah. But all those dominations provided to be ephemeral, together with many dominions created during this time. Worth of mention is the dominion created by Arezu Bahadur Badak (555-592): born in a poor family of Nuyern, he became a soldier, and then a commander, thank to his innate abilities. After the death of the local bey, he created a vast kingdom, which,for the first time since the Empire, unified most part of the south of the country. He also fought many battles against the barbaric populations who lived on High Shalimar (the eastern part of the river).
    He died during one of these battles, and his empire suddenly disintegrated.
    Meanwhile, in Astana the Jahanid Dynasty was formally restored by Javed Jahan Shah (790-834). A descendant of Tumir IV, he claimed the heritage of the ancient Empire after defeating in battle the army of his rival, tarkhan Rashid Jalaawi, not far from Astana itself. Thus, Astana became the core of a new political entity, the Tarajan Shahdom, which claimed to be the only, true successor of the Ajanic Empire.
    However, the first decades were not easy for the new kingdom: Javed himself fell assassinated in 834, and for thirteen years the throne was contended by his sons. In 847, Mehrdad, nephew of Jamshid, the third son of Javed, took the power, restoring the order in the kingdom, and even conducting a brief, successful military campaign on the east side of Horat Lake (the region will be soon known as Tarkhanate, since there all the tarkhans of the Shahdom will have their own residences and fiefs, following an imperial tradition), subjugating all the small principalities of the area. However, he was killed on the way back to Astana by his wife Laleh only five years after he obtained the crown (852).
    At his death, the shahdom saw the quick rise and consequent death of at least ten shahs (852-876). The situation was finally stabilized with Javed III (876-900), who restored the order in the entire shahdom.
    The reign of Javed III is known for the partial reconstruction and enlargement of the Palace of Astana, and for a military expedition he led against the south of North Ajania (definitely lost already after the death of Ardashir III). His son Javed IV (901-915) conquered the contemporary Sdudeti-Karabak and Kashair too.
    But it's only forty years later, with the reign of Ardashir IV (957-980) that the Shahs will feel themselves finally ready for their first campaigns to the south.
    Here, the fall of the empire founded by Badak paved the way for the birth of few States, the so-called Beyliks. The most important of them were Nuyern (direct successor of the Badakian Empire, ruled since then by the Rumi Dynasty, one of the most ancient and important Tarajani families till today), Kusraw (ruled by the Darya family), and Aken, the modern Aaken (ruled by the Hedayats). Alongside these States, the High Shalimar was still in the hands of barbaric tribes which often sacked the lands around them, while Alleskan (the modern Alleskandberg), while formally governed by a beylik, assumed more the shape of a mercantile city.
    The first military expedition to the south led by Ardashir IV lasted for three years (960-963) and allowed the Shah to create the ground for all the future campaigns, defeating the allied armies of Alleskan and Nuyern, and accepting the submission of the former.
    Esmail Jahan Shah (967-983), followed his steps, defeating once again Nuyern and conquering the city (970). However, he understood the impossibility to keep full control over it, and restored Dara III Rumi on the throne, as vassal, thus beginning a policy which his successors will continue in the future.
    Esmail II (983-990) led the armies of Tarajan against Kusraw, which voluntarily submitted (985), and, two years later (987) against Aken. He died in battle against the army of the bey Daryush II Hedayat. However, the same bey was lately defeated and imprisoned by Ardashir V (990-1050), the most long-lived sovereign in Ajanic history, in 1093. Daryush was then taken to Astana, where he was finally executed, one year later.

    The School of Firuz, in the Ajan Citadel of Astana. A masterpiece of the late Ajanic architecture, it was builded under project of Tariz Qin Firuz himself in the first years of the XV century of the Jahan Era.

    The final blow to the independence of the beyliks came in the 1114, when Sarmath Jahan Shah  conquered Aken after a revolt had expelled Daryush IV Hedayat (vassal of the Shah) and elected his cousin, Mahmoud, as new bey. However, once again, after the suppression of the revolt, Sarmath restored Daryush IV.
    The Shahs never attempted to fully integrate the beyliks, since their power was sensibly lower than the ancient Empire. Moreover, south of the Shalimar River, many sultanates and beyliks still lived in full independence.
    The Shahdom also had to face a dangerous invasion from the Sinaic kingdom (from the VIII to the XIII century the most powerful kingdom on the west of Antanares), which lasted for twenty years (1230-1250); the Sinaics were finally defeated by Mahmoud Jahan Shah (1248-1257).
    The Tarajan Shahdom saw its most prosperous period from the XII to the XIV century: during this time, the arts and culture saw their most classical development, producing jems which last until our days.
    The most important Shah of the late Ajanic history was Kalihaan Jahan Shah (1424-1446). He concluded the campaign against the tribes of the High Shalimar during which his father found the death, before coming back to Astana (1426). The beginning of his reign saw the explosion of the Alleskan Uprising (1426): cultists of the Church of Shalimar killed the governor of Alleskan, causing a civil unrest which was put to an end only with the arrival in the city of Hedyat Dilaver Taher, right-hand of the Shah. However, the unrest reached Astana itself, with an attempted assassination of Kalihaan himself. The entire strife ended when Kalihaan allowed the cultists to freely worship Shalimar (later she would be recognized as one of the Seven Gods of the Ajanic religion). While giving to the Shahdom the maximum of its power, Kalihaan also reformed the legislation, promoted culture and philosophy; he also commissioned the construction of the Kalihaan Temple of the Seven Gods, the most important example of Ajanic religious architecture, and restored, for the last time, the Palace of the Padishah.
    Kalihaan is without doubts the Ajanic sovereign who saw the most number of myths on this figure. His love for Mahavash Alaleh Ziyar, who later became his wife, will soon become a legend, and a paradigm for any future romantic story.
    After a long and prosperous reign he died in 1446, leaving to his successors a strong kingdom.
    But the end was near. It came through christian knights coming from the South. Having fought in the long-lasting period of war devastating Antanares during the XIV and XV centuries, many knights and warriors found themselves suddenly without any opportunity to continue with their military carreers in a contest of renewed stability for Antanares. The result, was that they looked forward for a prey to take over.
    The first wave was led by Gustav Van Der Grudeln (1449-1507) and Sigismund I Van Vinkel (1465-1520). They rapidly established their stronghold in Alleskan (lost by the shahdom after a revolt organized by extremist cultists of Shalimar once again), reaching it by sea and keeping it under control, nominally as vassals of the Shah (at the time, the throne was occupied by Kalihaan III, a child of twelve). However, the affluence of many other knights and adventurers soon led the Antanaresians to occupy and destroy Kusraw, while founding a new stronghold near the ruins of the ancient Bakran, creating the Grand Duchy of Bakran. The birth of the first, officially independent (thus, finally leaving behind the mark of the formal submission to the Shah) Antanaresian fiefdom in Tarajan conventionally marks the end of the Waning Era.

    Note: the stories around Kalihaan

    The main myth about Kalihaan concerns his first years of reign. The tale tels about the secret love for Kalihaan of Mahvash, daughter of Arash (vizir of Kalihaan) and childhood friend of the Shah himself, commander of the guards and expert musician (she played the arezoo, a characteristic Ajanic flute). Kalihaan was cursed by a medallion he found near the ruins of Bakran, containing the memories of a young girl, follower of Shalimar, during the last moments of her life before the final annihilation. Kalihaan became so obsessed by this memory, that he literally fell in love with the mysterious girl, ignoring the sentiments of Mahavash.
    The situation changed with the arrival of a mysterious and strange group of adventurers, which firstly tried to resolve the problems in Alleskan. When they failed (partly), Hedyat Taher took them in Astana, where they met Kalihaan. But an obscure creature, sent by evil cultists, tried to kill him. Only the noble sacrifice of Mahvash allowed him to survive; at the same time, the warrior-girl was saved by one brave adventurer. At the end, the creature was defeated through cunning tricks by the adventurers, who also promoted the final peace between Kalihaan and the cultists of Shalimar. Then, they freed the Shah from the medallion and finally he understood the love he felt for Mahvash. The mysterious guests at the end left Tarajan, but with rich gifts from the Shahs and the promise that they would be always welcome in the Shahdom.

    Statue of Kalihaan Jahan Shah, in the Ziyar Gardens, Ajan Citadel, Astana.

    === END OF PART I ===


    Last edited by New Tarajan on Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:59 pm; edited 4 times in total
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    Re: Tarajani History

    Post by New Tarajan on Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:50 pm

    Part II:

    History of New Tarajan
    Part II

    Founding a new Kingdom: 1505 - 1597

    After the foundation of the Grand Duchy of Bakran, the Antanaresian knights began an uninterrupted series of (often very brief) military campaigns, whose main result was the complete elimination of the power of the Shahs of Astana from the entire south.
    In 1507 (only after two years from the birth of the Grand Duchy), Gustav Van Der Grudeln himself led a small contingent of 2000 knights to the eastern bank of the Shalimar river, occupying the sultanate of Myra and the beylik of Marisah, thus constituting lying the ground for a stable domination in the area (however, he was killed in Marisah during an outbreak of small pox during the same year).
    Sigismund Van Vinkel, instead, focused on the consolidation of the Antanaresian control on the western bank. Consequently, he led two expeditions against Aken (1507-1508 and 1511-1513), at the end of which the beylik was finally occupied, with the creation of the Landgraviate of Aaken; and another expedition against the Shahdom itself. This first, direct war between the Shah of Astana (at the time, Kalihaan IV, after the violent death of his predecessor) and the Antanaresians showed the incredible military superiority of the latters on the obsolete techniques of the Ajanic forces. And, indeed, at the end of the brief conflict (1517-1519), Van Vinkel obtained from the Shah the control over the Great Eastern Road (the road which connected Astana to Alleskan, backbone of the Tarajani trade), and the liberation from any obligation, even formal ones, of Alleskan and Nuyern.
    As a direct consequence, his successor, Sigismund II, will conquest Nuyern itself (reduced to a small enclave surrounded by Antanaresian fiefs), founding his personal fiefdom, in the city of Merlberg (with the title of Marquis), which will become the center of the Van Vinkel power over the next decades.
    In the north, the power of the Shah was ever reduced by a continuous series of plots and assassinations made by ambitious aristocrats and military commanders. Kalihaan IV himself fell under a knife, the 13th May 1520. After his death, the Shahdom was divided between his two sons, Kalihaan (V) and Arad (II). But the division didn't last for long: Arad killed his brother while he was relaxing in his rooms in the Palace of Astana, and his troops entered into the capital, sacking it (1523). Arad was supported by a strong military faction (the tarkhans), and was forced to delegate much of his remnant power to them. The consequence of this was his assassination (1525) by a small group of bureaucrats of the capital, who tried to impose their own candidate, Amin, son of Kalihaan IV; but also this attempt failed, and Amin was captured and killed by Tarkhan Rashid Balili (1526), who proclaimed himself as Regent and protector of the child son of Arad, Anoushiravan, practically exercising absolute power over the remnants of the Shahdom. The reign of Balili (which lasted for almost ten years, to 1535), marked a brief recovery of the Shahdom: he promoted the restauration of both the Palace of the Padishah and the Temple of the Seven Gods, together with many other important buildings; he also commissioned many epic poems on the ancient Ajanic history.
    This period of relative peace was also favoured by the feuds erupted between the Antanaresian lords after the death of Sigismund II Van Vinkel in 1527: Roderick Van Aardenne, Count of Marisah, attacked Nuyern, then besieging directly Merlberg in 1530. The city survived only thanks to the heroic resistance of Margarethe Van Vinkel, widow of Sigismund, and regent for the young Heinrich. Count Roderick was then ultimately defeated by a coalition of the families Van Leeuwen, Van Der Grudeln and Van Sondenburg in the Battle of the Stone (1533), after he attempted to conquer Bakran.
    The conflict between the Antanaresian families continued until 1539, when Heinrich I Van Vinkel reached the majority age and took the full control of his State. Brave like few, and incredibly skilled in strategy and tactics, Heinrich I immediately attacked Count Roderick, avenging the siege of Merlberg with the conquest of Marisah itself (1540), which, however, he gave to the son of Roderick, Albrecht. Immediately after this victory, he was challenged by his own brother, Alexander Rupert, who attempted to plot against him in Merlberg during his absence. But, once again, the intervention of their mother Margarethe saved Heinrich, and Alexander Rupert was forced to leave Merlberg with many of his supporters.
    He then fled to Astana, to the court of Anoushiravan V, who had killed Balili five years before, taking the mantle of power on himself.
    The asylum offered to the fleeing brother offered to Heinrich a perfect casus belli for a new war against the weakened shahdom. However, he waited for other four years, while consolidating his power in the south. Then, at the end of the year 1544, an army marched through the Great Road, directly toward Astana. Anoushiravan V decided to face the threat firmly. He managed to collect an army from the remnant lands under his power, and tried to intercept the enemies before they reached the capital. But he was tricked: because the army marching from West was simply a vanguard, while Heinrich I was sneaking on the other side of the Shaby Mountains, reaching Lake Horat two months after the beginning of the hostilities.
    Surprised by such a maneuver, and fearing for the safety of Astana, Anoushiravan immediately stepped back and headlong attacked the Van Vinkel, thus falling in his trap.
    Because, following the quick withdrawal of the Shah, the vanguard sent from West managed to reach the besieged army of Heinrich, and Anoushiravan, together with Alexander Rupert, found himself trapped between two armies.
    The battle was fierce, and bloody, and it was resolved only when the Marquis himself led a devastating charge of the Western cavalry against the center of the Ajanic army.
    The defeat was complete: the last army of the Shahdom was annihilated, the Shah himself was killed during the battle, Alexander Rupert was captured and his supporters who survived were executed directly on the field.
    Then the victorious Heinrich led his army to the doors of Astana, which surrendered.
    It was the end of the Ajanic rule over Tarajan. Heinrich Van Vinkel didn't allow a sack of the capital, thus preserving the beauties of the city, but left it few days after, coming back to Merlberg, and installing a governor.
    Few remnants of the Ajanic aristocracy fled to the region of Karabak, where they created their strongholds: it was the beginning of that "Karabak Question" which will so deeply influence the future history of the Kingdom.

    Heinrich I leading the Antanaresian cavalry to victory, during the Battle of Lake Horat.

    But the victory over the Ajans did not mark the foundation of a new political entity.
    However, it definitely marked the beginning of an age of oppression for the Ajans themselves: with their religion persecuted by the new christian dominators, the Church spreading everywhere, and the lords themselves interested only in making more Ajans possible their slaves, for that ancient and once glorious population, a dark age began.
    In the meanwhile, rivalries between Antanaresian families erupted once again, particularly feeded by the victory of the Van Vinkels over the ancient Shahs.
    Heinrich I would be the first victim of the renewed hostilities: the brilliant commander and warrior was indeed killed by Alexander Rupert (whose life he graced after the Battle of Lake Horat), instigated for the occasion by Mathieu Van Geldern, Duke of Eindhoven (1550).
    Alexander Rupert then usurped the title of Marquis of Merlberg, only to be killed three months later by his nephew, Sigismund Heinrich, a young boy of the age of seventeen, who thus avenged the death of his father.
    The new, young Marquis then spent ten years of his reign to consolidate his power. In 1560, he bestowed himself of the title of Prince of Merlberg, elevating the old Marquessate in a Principality.
    More importantly, in 1561, there was the first meeting of what will become, in the future, the Landsraad. With the end of the Ajanic power in Tarajan, indeed, the Antanaresian lords understood that, sooner or later, the endemic conflicts between them would have exposed their domains to new threats. Particularly, they feared that the Principality of Antanares would have taken the opportunity offered by their incredible successes against the Ajans in order to consolidate a direct domination over the Tarajani lands, with the pretext of their being, at least formally, still subjects of the Principality itself. Consequently, they decided to create an assembly of all the lords of Tarajan, with the aim to try to ensure peace or, at least, balance and stability between them.
    The first meeting of the new-born Landsraad was in Alleskandberg, historical place of the first landing of Antanaresian knights in Tarajan.
    Although it successfully resolved a number of disputes in the next twenty years, the Landsraad also demonstrated not to have the necessary power to stop the struggles between the major lords of Tarajan. The prize was no less than the complete supremacy over the entire former Ajanic territories.
    The last years of reign of Sigismund Heinrich I (1550-1578), saw the Prince fighting against the Ajanic remnants in the Karabak region, and subjugating the three Duchies of North Ajania.
    After his death, the Principality was governed by his son, Gustav (1578-1590), mainly known as a poet and a scholar, very differently from his successor, Sigismund Heinrich II (1590-1598).
    True heir of his grandfather, he demonstrated great skills as commander and tactician, but he revealed also to possess the qualities of a true statesman and diplomat. Moved by an apparently-infinite ambition, he was extremely keen on believing his House to be the only, true possible dominator of Tarajan. And he spent the entirety of his life to realize this belief.
    And it began with a traditional rival of the Van Vinkels: in 1591, he marched against Mathieu II Van Geldern, son of the same Mathieu who instigated the murder of Sigismund Heinrich I.
    The result was the complete defeat of the Duke of Eindhoven, who was subsequently forced to submit himself as vassal of Merlberg.
    In 1592-3, the Prince led a new campaign in the Karabak, destroying one by one the Ajanic strongholds. In 1594, however, he was obliged to quickly come back.
    The power of the House Van Vinkel was now too strong, not to cause panic between the other noble Houses of the Landsraad. Thus, in the same year, during a meeting held in Bergenfort, the lords decided to unite their forces to stop, once and for all, the ambitions of the young Prince of Merlberg. For the occasion, they even resolved to call for the support of Velikogovolka (however, such support was concretized only in the sending of few thousands of mercenaries).
    Sigismund Heinrich took the new threat terribly seriously: the army of the Landsraad outnumbered his own, and was far more near to Merlberg than him. Indeed, the first move of his enemies was to besiege Markenstadt, a strategically important stronghold on the way for Merlberg.
    Taking the opportunity offered by this move, with his enemies focusing their attention on the siege, Sigismund Heinrich immediately came back from Karabak, calling around him the last allies of his House (the House Van Leeuwen, De Witt and Van Sondenburg). After hearing of the rapid march of their enemy, the lords of the Landsraad left the siege of Markenstadt, moving to intercept the Prince.
    The battle between the two armies took place near the old Ajanic town of Himeraa (later, it would be renamed Koenigscasteel). The result was a catastrophic defeat of the Landsraad forces and the triumph of Sigismund Heinrich superior skills and troops.
    With many lords died in battle, and others captured by the Prince of Merlberg, the Landsraad, in a new meeting held in the same town, sanctioned the victory: the (unfruitful, at last) alliance with Antanares was declared broken, together with any vassallatic tie, and Sigismund Heinrich II was proclaimed as first King of Tarajan (6th May 1595). The coronation took place in Merlberg only two years after.
    It was the beginning of a new chapter of the Tarajani history.

    The army of the House Van Vinkel standing on the fields of Himeraa immediately after the battle. Anonymous. Royal Palace Collection.

    Sigismund Heinrich II is crowned King of Tarajan. Painting of Michael Angels. Royal Tarajan History Museum.

    Struggle for consolidation: 1597 - 1669

    The new Kingdom was, since its very birth, fragile.
    Based solely on the ground provided by the military supremacy of House Van Vinkel and its allies against the other Houses of the Landsraad, it was no more than a feudal conglomerate, loosely based on the recognition of the authority of the King.
    Not only it was smaller than it actually is (since it didn't include the then-unitary Duchy of Brandelhorn, the Landgraviate of Meisjecasteel, the County of Marisah, the Duchy of Hogeberg, and the Principalities of Horat and Benham) but also far more fragmented. Also, the growing power of Antanares at the southern border constituted an increasing threat, particularly since many lords among those defeated at Himeraa were more than willing to serve as instruments for the new expansion policy of the Principality over what it considered to be a prize of conquest.
    Finally, the turbolent tribes of the Planitan territories still threatened the territories on the eastern bank of the Shalimar, while in the Karabak region the surviving Ajanic princes still aspired to the liberation of their lands.
    After the death of Sigismund Heinrich II in 1598, these weaknesses became far more evident to his son and successor, Heinrich III (1598-1613). Initially recognized as King by the Landsraad (since the outcome of the Second Battle of Himeraa was still fresh), he was however obliged to face almost immediately the challenge posed by the rebirth of the coalition between some of its Houses, now also helped by the defection of some of the former allies of the Van Vinkels (scared by the power obtained by them after Himeraa) and by the Antanaresian support.
    But Heinrich III was well aware of the fact that a return to a state of war would have almost surely destroyed the already-low legitimacy of his power, not to mention his finances. Thus, a skilled diplomat and statesman, he decided to use diplomacy, bargaining and also treachery in order to achieve his goals.
    His first move was to re-gain the loyalty of some of the former allies of his father (such as the powerful House De Witt). Then, he began to use a divide et impera strategy against his rivals. Both these moves soon proved to be successful, as the new King managed to defeat in front of the Landsraad the new Duke of Eindhoven, Marcus II Van Geldern, denouncing his collusion with Antanares, and by publicly obtaining his apologies for the attempted rebellion.
    Heinrich III also focused on the organization of the young Kingdom: conscious that it was impossible for him to govern without the support of the Noble Houses, he left the feudal structure almost untouched, while at the same time giving to the lordships of the Kingdom a more stable and organized structure. Thus, he ordered the birth of a unified juridical system (which, with all the necessary adjustments, it is still used nowadays), and arrogating to himself the rank of supreme and final judge.
    He also strengthened the army, weakened by the heavy losses suffered during the never-ending wars of Sigismund Heinrich.
    At his death, in 1613, although not totally pacified, the Kingdom appeared at least more calm, and better organized.
    It fell upon the shoulders of his young son, Heinrich IV (1613-1630), to go ahead on his work.
    He was the perfect representative of the new course House Van Vinkel was taking: strong (both physically and mentally), intelligent and cleaver, extremely keen on both studies and politics, he was also firmly in support of an absolutist view of the King's power.
    After only two years of reign, he decided then to carry out his views by emanating a new edict, the Capitolum Pacis (also called First Capitolum Pacis by historians), in 1615.
    A strong blow to the aristocratic power, the edict relieved from the noble families most of their powers, from taxation, to the right to organize the local administrations following their own wishes; the Capitolum also formalized the birth of a new central administration, with its head in the Royal Council, a meeting assembly of all the advisers of the Crown.
    Not surprisingly, the Noble Houses did not react passively to the new attack brought against them by the Crown, and finally decided to rise up against the King, with the so-called Revolt of the Castles (1615-1616). However, the new rebellion proved soon to be extremely weaker then expected, and it took only five months (from November to March) to the King to crush down the rebels, restoring order.
    The following fourteen years of reign saw the Kingdom relatively calm, with Heinrich IV keeping going ahead with his plans of transforming Tarajan in a modern absolutist monarchy: on this way, he also formalized the new juridical system already inaugurated by his father.
    At his death, in 1630, however, he left behind him a power-vacuum, due to the young age of his only male child, Sigismund. This situation led to a power struggle between two rival factions at Court: the first led by Queen Regent Elise Van Sondenburg, who managed to collect around her figure her own House, and the Houses De Witt and Van De Groot (the Duchy of South Brandelhorn joined the Kingdom in 1629), the most powerful supporters of the Crown; the second was led by the emerging figure of Duke Robert Van Aardenne, former Counselor of the Treasury (a sort of Minister of Finance) and appointed as Chancellor of the Kingdom few months before the death of Heinrich.
    The fight erupted after only one year, in 1631, when the Queen, after months of careful preparations, made her move: by putting under trial a young page of the Duke, she tried to undermine his power and blacken his reputation in front of the Kingdom.
    The Duke understood too well what the truth was. Thus, he decided to react openly: accusing the Queen Regent of treachery against her own son, he publicly declared her deposed, and with a detachment of the garrison of Merlberg, marched on the Royal Palace. But this was protected by the Royal Guards, direct descendants of the most loyal soldiers who followed the first Van Vinkels in their conquests. The fight erupted, and the Queen managed to escape together with the child King, finding refuge in Alleskandberg first, then in Astana.
    Very soon the two factions fighting for power became symbols of two different concepts of power itself: on one side, Queen Regent was struggling to keep the order established by her husband intact, spreading the concept of absolutistic monarchy; Duke Robert soon became, instead, the symbol of the requests of the high aristocracy for a return of the previous privileges in its own hands.
    The situation was further messed up also by issues of foreign policy: with a pradoxical change of sides, now the Queen came to represent a strongly pro-Antanaresian faction (the power of Velikogovolka being seen as a possible antidote to finally suppress the residual powers of the turbolent aristocrats of the Kingdom), while the Houses of the Landsraad were now far more jealous of their independence, no matter if against Antanares or the House Van Vinkel.
    But, devastating and bloody as it was, the war was, in reality, also unconclusive(thanks also the impossibility, for Antanares, to directly support the Queen Regent in her fight). Both its main characters died ten years later (Queen Elise in 1632; Duke Robert in 1633), and when Sigismund III finally took power, at the death of his mother, he too was forced to diverge most of its forces against the armies of the Noble Houses.
    His reign (1632-1640 as effective king) was then marked by the counter-offensive of the monarchy: the liberation of Merlberg became the symbol of the new tide.
    Sigismund V (1640-1650) became King at the young age of seventeen. An heir worthy of Heinrich III and IV for his abilities as leader and strategist, he winned two major battles in 1641 and 1642, against the rebels, thus securing his power.
    Although the war was in theory still going on, the Kingdom was slowly reaching a new peace, the main result of which was the rebirth of trade and commerce, particularly in Merlberg and Alleskandberg, the two main ports of the Kingdom, which will become the base for the birth of the future Tarajani Empire.
    But the true end of the war (also called War of the three Sigismunds), and thus the completion of the consolidation of the monarchy, came only with Sigismund VI (1650-1669): under his reign, the Landsraad finally capitulated.
    The King and the Noble Houses thus signed a new Capitolum (Second Capitolum Pacis, 1652), which practically created the political and administrative structure of the Kingdom as it is still today: the Landsraad became a permanent legislative body, with recognized powers, as the representative of the Noble Houses; on their side, these accepted the policies enacted since the reign of Heinrich III in exchange for the recognition of their autonomy in their own fiefs. The result of the compromise was thus an hybrid political system: an absolutist monarchy, but flanked and limited by the existence of autonomous States which still kept fundamentally their feudal structure.
    Sigismund VI has been one of the best Kings in the history of New Tarajan: not only he managed to finally end the endemic civil war, but he also consolidated the administration, the political and judicial system, reorganized the army, created the Tarajani Navy, patronized the arts, founded three Academies (the Royal Academy of History, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and Humanities, the Royal Academy of Sciences and Technologies). He provided New Tarajan with all the symbols of a modern nation: a national anthem, a new flag, even new uniforms for the soldiers. He also definitively moved the capital to Astana (where he was born), marking also geographically a new era of monarchical centrality.
    During his reign, the borders of the Kingdom were further expanded: the Duchy of North Brandelhorn swored allegiance in 1657, Meisjecasteel and Marisah in 1670, while the lands around the Lake Horat were finally annexed in two years later, forming a Duchy (then elevated in Principality by King Heinrich VII).


    Sigismund VI in 1658, portrait.


    Note: The Sigismundian Period and the end of Christianity in the Kingdom

    The so-called Sigismundian Period (comprising the reigns of Sigismund IV, V and VI) was the moment when the young Kingdom really came to life. Also, it was a period of feverish progress in all fields of culture: the modern Tarajani culture owes its true foundations to this period, when poets, musicians, painters, architects, contributed to the beginning of a great era of prosperity, which will finally find its complete manifestation after the death of Sigismund VI and the beginning of the Age of Expansion (also known, from the names of the Kings of those years, and particularly as a reference to the cultural movements, Heinrichian Period).
    Probably the most important event of the Period was, however, both political and cultural: the abolition of Christianity.
    Since the very beginning of the Antanaresian invasion and migration in the lands of Tarajan, Christianity was the religions of the conquerors, which allowed them to cover with a veil of crusade their never-ending wars against the Ajans. With the birth of the monarchy, in theory, such element of the Western culture becomes even more emphasized: Sigismund Heinrich I was crowned by the archbishop of Eindhoven, and the first Kings had many advisers belonging to the ranks of the Church.
    The situation slowly changed since the reign of Heinrich III: many prelates were becoming also lords, obtaining even a seat in the Landsraad. At the death of Heinrich IV, in 1630, the Church was without doubts one of the most powerful lords of the lands of Tarajan. Thus, it was only natural that it was a fundamental ally of the Noble Houses during the ensuing civil war against the Crown.
    But the consequences of such a war were far more unexpected for it. With its lands devastated by the contending armies, its political power quickly vanished. When the Noble Houses of the Landsraad finally came to an armistice with the Crown and the consequent compromise expressed by the Second Capitolum Pacis, the Church was the chosen sacrificial victim: Sigismund VI confiscated all the lands and properties of the Church, arrested the main prelates, and distributed the spoils between the Noble Houses and the Royal House. Christianity was officially declared abolished in 1656: the clergy which refused to renounce to their role was expelled (or even sentenced to death, as in many cases in Merlberg, Astana and Eindhoven), christians were forbidden to profess their religion anymore, and the old Ajanic religion (now called Jahanism) was restored in its place (although the process went slow, of course, and its final step, namely the proclamation of the King as Head of the Faithfuls, and direct representative of the Gods, will only come later).
    Although apparently sudden, in reality the abolition of Christianity was the result of a slow process of assimilation of the Western aristocracy operated by the glorious traditions of the Ajanic culture. Although persecuted everywhere in the Kingdom and forced to live as slaves or escape, the Ajans had an incredible influence over those more primitive warriors coming from the south, and many of them became disciples of the Jahanism far before the civil war. The request of the Church to exchange its support during the war with the total conversion of the nobles was one of the factors which allowed the rebels and the King to make peace at the expense of Christianity.
    The laws against christians (which became ever more a minority after only one decade from the Capitolum Pacis) were probably second only to the anti-ajanic ones in terms of ruthlessness, and will be slowly relaxed only a century and a half later.
    The abolition of Christianity, the conversion to Jahanism, the end of the War of the three Sigismunds and the glories of the Sigismundian period as a whole are many faces of the same thing: the Kingdom of Tarajan was leaving behind its Antanaresian legacy once and for all, marking the birth of something totally anew, a mixture of the ancient Ajanic culture and the new influences from the South.
    It's not a case that many historians, also following the opinions of the majority of Tarajani citizens, see this historical period as the true beginning of Tarajan as a nation.

    === END OF PART II ===


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    Re: Tarajani History

    Post by New Tarajan on Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:50 am

    History of New Tarajan
    Part III

    The Age of Expansion: 1669 - 1760


    Vessels of the Tarajani East Trade Company departing in Alleskandberg. Koninklijk Tarajan Schilderijenmuseum.

    At his death in 1669, Sigismund VI left to his son, Heinrich V (1669-1677) a Kingdom consolidated in its fundamental structures, now enjoying a cultural and artistic renaissance, and ready to develop itself further.
    The eight years of reign of Heinrich were devoted to the consolidation of these achievements, and they saw no significant changes from the Sigismundian Period.
    The event which really inaugurated a new era was the ascension to the throne of the young son of the King, Heinrich VI (1677-1715): and from 1677 the historians consider the beginning of the so-called Heinrichian Period, indeed.
    It was the moment when the Kingdom of Tarajan, after having gained its own "right to existence" from the successful overcoming of the domestic and foreign challenges (and, particularly, from the omnipresent influence of Antanares), finally emerged as a completely independent creature, with its own unique political, economic and cultural heritage.
    Although his activity in support of arts, culture, education and architecture is surely notable, Heinrich VI is better known for his promotion of the expansion of Tarajani trade and for the consequent strengthening of the navy.
    From 1677 to 1680, in sole three years, the number of vessels produced in the docks of Alleskandberg and Merlberg (the two main ports of the Kingdom) almost quadruples.
    In 1681 the Shraman Islands, until that moment still fragmented in three independent Duchies, were unified, and annexed to the Kingdom. It was during this event that, for the first time, the interests of the rising Tarajani Kingdom and the powerful Antanaresian trade companies came to conflict with each other.
    However, in this case the conflict did not explode, thanks to the concession, made by the King, to leave the privileges of the Antanaresian merchants untouched.
    In 1682, a group of Tarajani traders of Alleskandberg founded the Tarajani East Trade Company (OHC, Oosten Handel Compagnie), which soon became the main supporter of the future activities of exploration and colonization. Indeed, it was the Company which funded the foundation of the first three official Tarajani trade posts outside the continent, in Meisjegronden (the future Groenestadt, in 1684), in Duresia (1689) and in Ashar (1690).
    From these three bases, the vessels of the Company further expanded their activities: in 1699, the Company thus obtained a Royal Charter, giving it quasi-governmental powers.
    In 1700, the beginning of the new century was marked by the expeditions of the Abel Van Tasman (1670-1722), a young captain of the Company, who was the first Tarajani to discover Ienara (1700-01), thus marking the beginning of the economic penetration of the Shogunate by Tarajan.

    === TO BE CONTINUED ===

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