Once writing was invented, it was possible to create a conventional biography— though only of figures considered notable to the early writers: mostly the monarchs.
Pausol [paw ˈsol] was king of Tsopwan, son of Paukhel who had unified the lower Ħomtso and Hurtso around 750. If his father had created the first kingdom-level state (as opposed to city-state), Pausol made it work; thus his epithet for Uytainese historians, “Inventor of civilization”.
He was born around 730 to Thulhey, first wife of Paukhel (then named Purkrau). He was old enough to participate in his father’s campaigns; he seems to have done so with bravery and dedication, but without brilliance. He was married to Kraulyel, daughter of the king of ʔaunhun, one of his father’s first conquests, and was later given the governorship of Srethun, the largest of the delta cities.
Paukhel— “ruler of everything”— died rather suddenly around 765, without having named a heir. Pausol was the clear choice, however; he was the oldest and most accomplished son; and not least of his attributes, he bore an uncanny physical resemblance to his father: tall, heavyset, big-nosed, with a severe look and a wispy beard.
He inherited a set of conquests, and had to turn them into a kingdom. He had both negative and positive models: the former included Purtyai, who had conquered a similar territory for Srethun, but was so oppressive that the epics describe him as ruled by the mad ancestors. A better model was his own father, who proclaimed fair treatment for conquered cities, but brutal countermeasures for rebellion. Paukhel had also brought the sons of conquered kings, and the uywar of their ancestors, to Tsopwan; but it was left to Pausol to decide what to do with them.
Pausol’s solution was to knit the cities together with close administration, a tribute system, and a personality cult.
- He dispatched adminstrators and inspectors to all the cities, monitoring land registration, the succession of nobles, and economic production under Tsopwanese law.
- All cities and estates were assessed tribute, which might be produce, notseh cattle, special economic resources such as lumber or cotton or oil, troops, or skilled workers. The large part of the spoils went to Tsopwan, where Pausol built a grand series of palaces and temples, doubling the size of the city.
- The tribute system was also a means of redistribution: goods were given to loyal lords and generals, who in turn could distribute them to their underlings.
- Pausol didn’t invent this sort of command economy; all the city-states had a version of it. But he applied it on a hitherto unknown scale, and peacefully; tribute is harder to manage than looting, but more stable.
- He built roads, ports, and fortifications across the kingdom. In some areas the roads were used for trade, but most trade was by river; the main use of the roads was to facilitate troop movements.
- The armies of each of the conquered cities were incorporated into the Tsopwanese army. This not only produced a large standing army, but effectively meant that no other city had an armed force of its own. At the same time, their military burden went down, as their contingent of the national force was smaller than their former sovereign army— a welcome change made possible by the lack of serious external threats.
- The use of written records was greatly extended, both in quantity and quality. The Tsopwanese system (including its calendar) was imposed as a standard, and extended with new symbols and innovations— for instance, tablets marking a lord’s accession, which had to be approved by the king, or commemorating the king’s participation in various rituals, displayed in the temple as a lasting reminder of his tireless spiritual work. The glyphs were not yet a full writing system, but Pausol is sometimes called the “father of writing” for his role in its development.
- The focus of obedience and devotion was not the city of Tsopwan, or its lords and soldiers, but the king, who was treated as a divinity. One could not sit in his presence, but only lie prostrate or, if invited, to stand; one could not speak until asked to; it was taught that the rivers flowed and the sun moved only because of his entreaties; when he died his wives were buried with him.
- None of his requests could be denied— and to keep people on the toes he might make onerous demands at will: give your daughter to him, give up an estate, personally wash his feet (rather than having a servant do it). Often, but not always, such extravagant gifts to the monarch would be returned.
The idea behind these arrangements was not tyranny per se— to the contrary, Pausol’s proclamations explicitly promise rewards for the loyal, fair treatment for all, and the king’s love for his subjects; abuses by government officials could be brought to the king’s attention at frequent open audiences. (Open to the already notable, that is; the idea wasn’t to co-opt peasants, but local authorities.)
Rather, the purpose was to knit together half a dozen principalities which were used to independence and to fighting each other. The bureaucracy and the personality cult were heavy-handed, but they were effective, especially in the absence of other techniques of nation-building. There was as yet no unifying religion (ancestors were after all entirely local), no market economy, no national institutions, no great sense of being Uyram as opposed to other nationalities.
The system worked well when the top administrators were competent and honest. Pausol himself seems to have been a tireless micromanager, who personally supervised his accountants, engineers, generals, and architects, and heard disputes and complaints both in Tsopwan and across the kingdom.
‘Honesty’ doesn’t mean that the ideal Tsopwanese civil servant didn’t profit from his position. He was expected to: powerholders at every level from village chief to king had certain privileges from special clothing to types of houses; these were marks of one’s status, and to live below them would be suspect— perhaps you were attempting to hide your jurisdiction’s wealth, to avoid the proper level of tribute upward! The honest subject properly monitored (and rewarded) his subordinates and didn’t fail to meet his tribute obligations.
Pausol undertook only one military expedition, to put down a rebellion in Swiʔkyau in 771; this was an excellent demonstration of the superiority of the national army to the ragtag forces a subjugated city could now raise. All the lords who participated in the revolt were killed and their estates redistributed. After this there were no significant attempts at rebellion for more than half a century.
Our sources— records of official actitvity, oral traditions incorporated into later written accounts— are not likely to take note of royal vices. However, later historians often describe Pausol as humorless and arbitrary. He could be admired and worshipped, but not exactly liked. It may be that they are simply reading between the lines— any executive would look dry if we could only examine his spreadsheets. On the other hand, he’s known to have executed a number of lords and ministers, one wife, and two sons. By modern standards (even in Uytai) this would be tyrannical, but in Pausol’s system such severity was necessary; as many later monarchs proved, the system was paralyzed by weakness at the top.
He had four wives after Kraulyel, each a political union to help knit the kingdom together. His most promising son was Syunseʔ, son of his second wife Pranhen, a serious boy who seemed likely to continue Pausol’s style of adminstration. He succeeded his father in 782.
Etymology: Uyseʔ 'rule-heir'.
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