Cteranei

From Almeopedia

The Cteranei [kte ra ˈne i], Ver. Žranei, was a dynasty of Caďinorian emperors ruling 128 years, from 2472 to 2610, during the darkest of the Dark Years.

Contents

Rise

Cteranei dynasty
2472-2501 Calpirion Capiro
2501-2533 Londoguesos II Longués 2e
2533-2546 Erbelaica IV Erbelaca 4e
2546-2571 Fidora Fidra
2571-2601 Andona Andona
2601-2605 Erbelaica V Erbelaca 5e
2605-2610 Aertund II Erčun 2e

In 2435 Ctesifon was conquered by a Naviu tribe, the Bešbalicu. Though the nomads attempted to rule rather than simply loot, the disruption to Caďinorian society was immense. The emperor Renberac II fled to the northern capital, Verduria, and duly named his son Zolcruvos crown prince (sadues). But central authority was only tenuously maintained; provincial governors and general largely did as they pleased. There were attempts to regain Ctesifon, but when the Western and Southern armies failed in this and then turned on each other, it was largely felt that division was preferable to war.

It took a generation for these ideas to change. The Gelyet were beating back the Meťelyi who had dominated the Barbarian Plain; this seemed to be a hopeful sign that powerful nomads could be defeated. Calpirion of Cterano, general of the Eastern Army, formed an alliance with Velto Cänen, warlord of Arcaln, and began a campaign against the Bešbalicu. They succeeded in liberating Ctesifon in 2472.

Left out of the picture was Keadau, Zolcruvos’s son, widely ridiculed for making promises as future emperor, while contributing nothing to the war effort. The nobles of Ctesifon were happy to hand the sash to Calpirion. Grateful for Cänen’s assistasnce, he named the northern leader sanno (Lord) of Verduria, giving him conrol over Verduria city, now elevated to a satranda or free city. He also established the Biyetora, a council of nobles with the right to choose new Lords (previously the mayor of the city was appointed by the emperor).

Calpirion recaptured more territory from the Bešbalicu, and spent the rest of his reign attempting to restore centralized rule. When he died he could consider himself a second Irun, having restored the realm of Ervëa if not its glory.

The Gelyet disaster

His son Londoguesos II even advanced the frontiers up the Svetla against the Coruo. But then came the assault of Länguraz, anaraz of the Gelyet, who had dedicated themselves to universal empire; they had already united nearly all the nomads and conquered Xengiman. In 2519-2523 he conquered the southern third of Caďinas; Ctesifon was only saved when the anaraz was killed on its outskirts, and the nomads retired to hold games of strength to select a new anaraz; the winner, Aitän, then proceeded south to quash a rebellion of the Coruo rather than pursuing the seige of Ctesifon.

If Londoguesos was reduced to despair, his son Erbelaica IV didn’t even wish to play the game; he declared that the gods had abandoned Caďinas, and the Gelyet were unstoppable. He devoted himself to luxury and sexual pleasure— might as well enjoy them before the barbarians destroyed them. The emperor under Caďinorian law could do no wrong, but he maintained a strong secret police to ensure that criticism never got out of hand.

Ismahi took advantage of the confusion to declare itself independent in 2535. This left imperial control over Érenat fairly theoretical; Erbelaica declared it a “sovereign loyal province” which largely meant that he considered it part of his realm but left it to its own devices.

Slow recovery

Erbelaica left many sons, but none legitimate. The nobles and generals forestalled a fight for the sash by awarding to it to his daughter Fidra. As befit the daughter of a libertine, she was conservative and zealously religious. She is known for granting land to Naviu tribes in order for their military assistance; though this was criticized as merely recovering land by redrawing lines on the map, the tribes did fight against rather than for the Gelyet, and Caďinorian peasants in the tribal areas were freed from barbarian rule.

She insisted on raising her son Andona in Žrano, Calpirion’s home city, to keep him from the temptations of Ctesifon. Andona grew up with a suitable military orientation, and succeeded in reconquering the upper Svetla. The region was kept under military control rather than entrusting it to nobles, who across the realm were showing a worrying tendency to self-sufficiency.

Final years

The Gelyet were weakened, having lost Xurno and Sarnáe; but they returned their attention to the upper Svetla, and recaptured most of it from Andona’s son Erbelaica V (2604); Aránicer was barely held, thanks to the general Aerlupeȟ and his very able lieutenant Mália, leader of the Naviu cavalry. The imperial family, disgusted, deposed Erbelaica in favor of his brother Aertund II. Aertund considered himself a military expert; his main idea was to extend Fidra’s policy of land grants to the Somoyi. This allowed him to recover Ožnëa, but the Somoyi were not satisfied with the rewards he provided, and occupied Šerian in revenge. He ordered Mália (who had succeeded Aerlupeȟ) to ride from the south to resist them; she prevented further losses there but in her absence Aránicer was lost.

Aertund ordered her back to Aránicer. She retook it, but instead of proceeding to the east, she marched on Ctesifon— in league with two other generals. (As the military comprised six armies, this was half of the Caďinorian armed forces. Aertund implored the central army to resist this treachery, which it did— though not enthusiastically. The barbarian general advanced in the name of Caďinas, declaring Aertund to be an unworthy incompetent. She occupied the capital and maintained order, and did her best to act as a Caďinorian (2609). By the next year she had won public opinion over sufficiently to be named empress.

Analysis

The Cteranei period coincided with the rise and fall of the Gelyet, and the empire was understandably preoccupied with the threat of the nomads. Virtually the sole preoccupation of the state became the military. Trade declined; economies became local; peasants's lives were dominated not by far-off Ctesifon but by the local lord.

As a necessity, Caďinas had accepted military rulers. Paradoxically, perhaps, the military under the Cteranei was weaker than ever. A smaller population and a devastated economy supported a smaller standing army; and to resist the nomads required large numbers of barbarian units who might or might not take the Caďinorian cause as their own. The deepest rot, however, was in the raising and support of troops at the imperial level. Increasingly the empire relied on local troops, as shown by the story of Velto Cänen. This allowed the empire to survive for a time without a center at all, during the Bešbalicu occupation; but nobles with local sovereignty and local troops were just one step away from independence. One more disaster would shatter the empire.

Dynasties of Caďinas
Preceded by:
Bešbalicu rule
Cteranei d.
2472-2610
Succeeded by:
Dascoro d.