Historical Atlas of Arcél

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Arcél Terrain

This atlas tells the story of the continent of Arcél, using the same structure and diagrammatic conventions as the existing atlas of Ereláe.

As you can see, I’ve used Almeopedia for both maps and commentary. To view the maps in a separate window while scrolling through the commentary, simply click on them. Links to the next and previous maps will be provided in the image description.

With each map I provide links to characteristic figures— individuals of interest that shed light on their cultures and epoch, or complement the main commentary by focusing on minor peoples or cultural developments.

Boundaries of the base map

There aren’t many decisions to make about a base map of Arcél, since it’s surrounded by ocean on three sides and the land connection to Curym is blocked by the Zone of Fire. About the only debatable point is how far to extend the map eastward.

Contact with the east goes back into prehistory and was never lost. Northeastern Arcél, in fact, functions as an extension of Kereminth, and was populated by speakers of the Kereminthic language family. Ȟamsan is part of this world, even briefly ruling Ȟaibalai.

The Uyseʔic states also traded with the east; in the 2000s their ships reached Ħomswiʔnyournartai ‘big surrounded-by-sea land’— Neinuoi— and beyond. This contact was close enough that crops were exchanged: Neinuoi’s meigrass and long yam are now widely grown in southern Arcél, and Uytainese crops and especially animals now predominate in Neinuoi.

Arguably, then, we should show Kereminth and Neinuoi, and a good portion of the Island Sea farther east. However, this would double the width of the map and add little information. Large-scale states have only just begun to be established on Neinuoi and not at all in Kereminth. Therefore, it seems best to cut off the map at Ȟaibalai and mention interactions eastward in the commentary.

Contact westward

Ereláe is physically not far— less than 3000 km across the Qarau Sea, not much further than Neinuoi— but it’s a voyage over open ocean, requiring large ships, long experience with deep-ocean navigation, and kingly resources. By contrast, one can cross to Neinuoi and halfway across the Island Sea without a sea crossing of more than 500 km.

Nonetheless the journey was made. As early as 1400, Axunemi and Skourene ships were travelling regularly to Uytai; the most important local consequence was the adoption of ironworking. During its brief period of empire (c. 2500), Belesao sent ships westward to Ereláe, trading briefly in Feináe— an event which would have repercussions later, when Feináe, newly converted to Jippirasti, remembered the far-off eastern land and sent massive ships to colonize it and convert it to the worship of Jippir (2988). And in recent times, Verduria, Kebri, Xurno, and Sura have reestablished regular trade with Arcél.

Taking the longer view, however, contact with Ereláe was intermittent until modern times, and changed no one’s view of the world; as late as 2800 an authoritative encyclopedia prepared for the emperor of Uytai denied that anything besides “a few poor islands” existed to the west. (They must be poor, as they were so covetous of Uytainese gold.)

The name Arcél is, like all the names of Almean continents, Verdurian. It derives from Uyseʔ ʔarkhel ‘the world’.

Historical Atlas of Arcél