Kingdom of Aln

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Sasarg Cadeyrn II & Leixh IX, the last Vŭzel Herrien of Aln before modern restoration.

This article deals with the Kingdom of Aln, also known as the Kingdom of Faeland. For other uses, see Kingdom of Faeland (disambiguation).

The Kingdom of Aln or Kingdom of Faeland known variously as the First Kingdom of Faeland, Old Kingdom of Faeland, or the High Kingdom of Faeland (and as Alnava, Latinized Alnia, e.g. in the Faelish National Anthem) was a historic state in central Faeland which existed as a political entity in a number of forms with very different boundaries. The creation of the Kingdom corresponded roughly with the founding of the city of Aln in 523 CE, which was a direct result of the final stages of the so-called Alan Invasion. The kingdom's first recorded act is in 530 CE, with the coronation of Gregorus I.

At its founding there were a number of nascent tribal organizations in the Great Faelish Plain. The success of the Kingdon of Aln led to its primacy among the other principalities. Eventually, the Kings of Aln were recognized as High Kings over other monarchs in Faeland. Although the authority of the Kings over the vassals varied over the centuries, their ceremonial role was rarely disputed.

The Kingdom continued to exist for over 1,000 years, by far one of the longest lived political entities on the island, and perhaps a reason the Ríocht Fíl finds such political kinship with it. The Kingdom was disestablished during the colonial period when France, Spain, and Britain vied for dominance on the island. The various countries were not averse to the monarchy's continuing existence, but following the Seven Years' War, the British were the only remaining colonial power, eliminating the need for political pawns. Subsequently, the U.K. stood quietly by as the British Biscayne Company encroached on, and eventually toppled the Kingdom of Aln at the Battle of Burgoyne on March 15, 1782.

Origins

Following the foundation of the city of Aln, the Alan migrants immediately formed themselves into a kingdom in defense.

The first documented King of Aln was crowned Gregorus in 530 CE, who reigned for roughly a decade.

The remains of the century saw the consolidation of the monarchy and rise of the city as a trading center. Alans from 600 onward settled to the west, forming marches against their chief rival, the city of Iúilis, itself under a Count.

Development

During the early period, the Alannic people of the city migrated into the hills in the wake of the expansion of their warring leaders during the 7th century, they mixed with the Faels, and, to a limited extent, the Vallo-Roman population, and established the realm of Alnia (see: Octarchy), as it was called at the time, which covered a good fifth of the territory at the base of the Montes Aemili. In the meantime, the Çelathi tribes of the Cessereni and Ardui mixed with the Alan-Çelathi population.

During the following centuries, these settlers went down the rivers and up the the mountains, a process through which the Kingdom of Aln was to become the Çelathi-speaking country it is today.

The settlers themselves came under the overlordship of the Alnian monarchs and subsequently a enjoyed their protection, as they were fast becoming known for their excellent cavalry. King Kynet, who wanted to maintain Alnian independence, was the first king to command fealty from defeated adversaries. Although his generals may have assassinated him for his reluctance to conquer outright, the system he introduced remained. Through sword or diplomacy, Aln's kings were on the path to leadership of the native kingdoms of the Midlands.

A western march (marchia occidentalis) was established shortly thereafter, but it was overrun by the allied forces of the Kingdom of Tamillard and the Duke of Hranichli in 909. Thereafter castle-building as a means of local control was begun in earnest.

History

Asterion Dynasty (523-900 CE)

See also: House of Asterion

The Asterion Dynasty was the longest-lasting dynasty in Alnish history, from 523 CE to approximately 900 CE. By the start of the 6th century, the Asterion family began to rise in the military of Aln, overrunning the territory of the Seánegh. The Asterions appear to have begun their ascent under a tribal/clan system in their homeland in eastern Europe. They were a family from west of the Sarmatian homelands, and the Asterion paterfamilias had been appointed "Protector" by the lords. Their story is largely speculative aside from myth and legend prior to their arrival in Faeland in the dark, sub-Roman age.

The first ruler of Aln, King Fialtus, with the assistance of his brother, the Duke of Aln, as vice-regent, managed to defeat the Seánegh at the Battle of Mairn. The king at this time invoked the concept of the divine right as successor to Rome to legitimize his rule, a concept that would be influential for almost every succeeding dynasty, and led to conflicts with the Pentapolis. The main proponent of this divine right mandate was the court scribe and erstwhile philosopher, Valerianus. The House of Asterion initially moved their "capital" along with the location of the king, and initially they would preside over a series of de facto capitals up and down the Rómhhánach River valley. This would be the first of many population migrations from east to west in Alnish history.

Fall and Winter Period (900-1050 CE)

In the 10th century CE, power became decentralized during the Fall and Winter Period. At this time, local military leaders used by the Asterions began to assert their power and vie for hegemony. The situation was aggravated by the invasion of Vallo-Roman peoples from the northeast, forcing the Asterions to move their capital westward. This, in turn, pushed the Alnish kingdom to local polities in long contact with the Vallo-Romans which further diluted the court power of the Alan Asterions.

This marks the second major phase of the Asterion dynasty: the Western Asterion. In each of the dozens of petty vassal states that eventually arose, local strongmen held most of the political power and continued their subservience to the Asterion kings in name only. For instance, local leaders started using royal titles for themselves. The "Time of Learning" blossomed during this period, as Latin expanded into the multitude of courts eager to patronize the new Alnish literati of both Valerian and Christian scholastic schools (the introduction of Roman style learning came not from the cities of the Pentapolis but from retreating clerics under Viking threat in the Dhíall). The Fall and Winter Period is marked by a crumbling of the central Asterion court's prestige and the growing power of western, highland vassals.

These warlords -although factious- were united by linguistic and cultural ties to the "archaic" court philosophies of Valerianus, which was viewed as traditional when juxtaposed to the upstart Christianity of the Romanized north and semi-Christianized Alnish court. Aln now consisted of nearly 35 states, some of them only as large as a village with a fort.

Farther, literally on the edge of the island, the beginning of Viking raids had culminated in the appearance of the first, unorganized sea lords.

Dominail Dynasty (1050-1100 CE)

Historians often refer to the period of the Dominail Dynasty as the "Little Empire". Though the unified reign of the Dominail Kings lasted only 50 years, they managed to subdue great parts of what constitutes the core of the Aln homeland and to unite the warlords under a tightly centralized legalist government seated at Fohan. The doctrine of legalism that guided the Dominail emphasized strict adherence to a legal code and the absolute power of the King of Aln. This philosophy, while effective for ruling the kingdom in a homogeneous fashion, proved unworkable for governing it in peacetime when non-Alnish tribes were conquered. The Dominail Kings presided over the brutal silencing of political opposition, including the event known as the burning of scholars and burying of books. This would be the impetus behind the later Ausenai synthesis incorporating the more moderate schools of political governance.

The Dominail Dynasty is well known for beginning the corduroy road system, which was later augmented and enhanced during the Muchór Dynasty. The other major contributions of the Dominail include the concept of a centralized government, the unification of a legal code, further development of the written language to counter Latin's dominance, measurement, and currency modeled after the Roman province. Even something as basic as the length of axles for carts was made uniform to ensure a viable trading system throughout the kingdom.

Ausenai Dynasty (1100-1150 CE)

King Lich Banach, founder of the Ausenai Dynasty

The Ausenai Dynasty emerged in 1098 CE, with its founder Lich Banach proclaimed king by his local vassals. It was the first dynasty to embrace the local religion of the Faels, officially abandoning the Christianity adopted by their forebears in Gaul. Under the Ausenai Dynasty, Aln made great advances in many areas of the arts and sciences. King Goáhl consolidated and extended the Alnish kingdom by pushing back the Tamillard to the shores of Lake Clesthen, wresting from them the confluence of the rivers Norvern and Verdan. This enabled the first opening of trading connections between Aln and the Midlands, along what would become a southern extension of the Roman Road. Ausenai Dynasty general Naiol Fearnihg expanded the conquests north to the lake, encircling Tamillard. The first of several Latin embassies to Aln is recorded in Alnish sources, coming over the mountains.

Nevertheless, land acquisitions by elite families gradually drained the tax base. In 1179 CE, the usurper Feargus founded a short-lived breakaway kingdom and started an extensive program of land and other economic reforms. These programs, however, were never supported by the landholding families, because they favored the peasants. The instability brought about chaos and uprisings.

King Bennboru reinstated the authority of the Ausenai Dynasty with the support of landholding and merchant families at Lovhn, west of Fohan. This new era would be termed the Western Ausenai Dynasty. Ausenai power declined again, however, amidst land acquisitions, invasions, and feuding between consort clans and aggressive neighboring kingdoms. The Tehon Rebellion broke out in AD 1194, ushering in an era of warlords. In the ensuing turmoil, three states tried to gain predominance in the period of the Three Kingdoms. This time period has been greatly romanticized in works such as the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

The Three Kingdoms (1150-1220 CE)

After Caculahon reunified the north in 1149, his son proclaimed the Ainmurech dynasty in 1150. Soon, the Ainmurech family's rivals, the families Megedo and Faeladh, proclaimed their independence, leading Aln into the Three Kingdoms Period. This era was characterized by a gradual decentralization of the state that had existed during the Dominail and Ausenai dynasties, and an increase in the power of great families. Although the Three Kingdoms were reunified by the Megedo Dynasty (who ruled from Aln) in 1203, this structure was essentially the same until the Great uprising. It was also during this time that the Nantes Crusade commenced in 1212, when Othicar of Servon fled to the Megedo court at Aln.

The Great Uprising & Faelish Kingdoms Period (1220-1350 CE)

Taking advantage of civil war in the Ainmurech Dynasty, the contemporary non-Alnish Fael ethnic groups controlled much of the country in the early 13th century and provoked large-scale migrations to south of the Norvern River. In 1220 the __ people rebelled and later captured Connafel, establishing a state in rebellion. Under Leach Brohan, the Tehon rebelled near today's Yellowford and established another rebel state. Brohan's successor Leach Bronafil captured and executed the two members of the royal family. Many kingdoms were established of short-lived non-noble dynasties that came to rule the whole or parts of the central and western Alnish kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries. Many ethnic groups were involved, and most of these peoples had been "Alnicized", to some extent, long before their ascent to power. In point of fact a few had already been allowed to live in the frontier regions within the borders since late Ausenai times.

Lóegaire Dynasty (1350-1400 CE)

The Lóegaire Dynasty, which managed to reunite the country in 1350 after nearly a century of political fragmentation, played a role more important than its length of existence would suggest. The Lóegaire brought the kingdom together again and set up many institutions that were to be adopted by their successors, the Adamair. Like the Dominail, however, the Lóegaire overused their resources and collapsed. Also similar to the Dominail, traditional history has judged the Lóegaire somewhat unfairly, as it has stressed the harshness of the regime and the arrogance of its second king, giving little credit for the dynasty's many positive achievements.

The family rose to military prominence in the southern lands, which were facing pressure from migrating tribes fleeing Galician settlement in the south. As their political star rose, they moved north, and gradually became too estranged from their base of support.

Adamair Dynasty (1400-1513 CE)

On March 2, 1403, Goasech took the throne, and the Adamair Dynasty was established, opening a new age of prosperity and innovation in arts and technology. Vianism, which had gradually taken root in the Pentapolis from the end of the Roman period, had become the predominant religion of the court and was officially adopted by the royal family and many of the nobility. It's proliferation among the commoners, however, is hard to ascertain but was widespread at this point.

The city of Aln is thought to have been the Midlands' largest city at this time. The Adamair and the Ausenai dynasties are often referred to as the most prosperous periods of Alnish history.

The Adamair, like the Ausenai, kept the trade routes open to the south and north. Budding regular commerce began with overseas foreign countries, and many merchants settled in the kingdom.

The Adamair introduced a new land tenure system called the "Fair Fields". This system gave common families land grants from the king based on their needs, not their wealth. Naturally this upset some of the nobility; previously no land had been granted to anyone not in direct service to the royal house.

From about 1460, the Adamair Dynasty began to decline due to a series of rebellions within the kingdom itself and in the previously subject Kingdom of Murchadh to the south. One of the warlords, Chail of Gornei, captured Aufear in 1479, killing most of the inhabitants, including the large colony of merchant families there. In late 1480, King Felchud of Cadhvhoin surrendered to him, and on January 12, 1481 Chail completed his conquest of that kingdom. He next swore loyalty to Harrig, King of Vracosa, who declared himself an "Emperor", while Chail established a new temporary dual kingdom of Cadhvhoin and Osweag, which was eventually destroyed by Adamair forces, but not without terrible losses.

Among the few offensive thrusts made by the Adamair was the reconquest of Servon in 1502 by King Althrohn. He claimed to be ejecting the local Catholic prince-bishop from power along the eastern coast, but it is more likely he was shoring up defenses against Pentapolis to the north. The immediate construction of walls and mural towers supports this theory.

Despite the victory, another time of political chaos was to follow.

The Three Dynasties Period (1513-1574 CE)

The period of political disunity between the Adamair and the Bódhibad dynasties, known as the Three Dynasties Period, lasted little more than half a century. During this brief era, when Aln was in most respects a rump state, three regimes succeeded one another rapidly in control of the old heartland in central Faeland. During this same time, virtually independent despotates occupied sections of the western, southern and eastern kingdom, ruling practically unencumbered. Although technically subject to Alnish suzerainty, these were formalities following political reality. Often these petty states fought each other and the king. Among them was the powerful family from the Kingdom of Landamaer, the Fádach, who had deposed the ___ and usurped Aln. In so doing they had created a state of personal union between the two kingdoms.

Bódhibad Dynasty (1574-1675 CE)

Cothir Auldwd, grandson of Fennar, established the Bódhibad Dynasty in the Westfald. They would become the first dynasty to rule almost all of the Midlands, and from Althóan as the official capital. Althóan had been ceded to the kingdom in 952 CE, but technically the court had always been itinerant. Seeking to allay fears that these highland warriors were uncouth and barbaric, Althóan was officially designated the royal seat.

The tantalizing double-crown of Landamaer and the Kingdom proved too tempting, and the Fádach dynasty was defeated in the first of several wars of conquest and unification by the powerful Bódhibad clan; who then proceeded to subdue other vassals and eventually defeat the southern Ceniteq Kingdoms (themselves locked in struggle with colonialist conquistadors) in a long and bloody war— the first in which firearms played an important role.

During the era after the war, enterprising Europeans began to colonize the exhausted Faelish Isles and thus sowed seeds of future strife.

Before the Bódhibad invasion, Alnish dynasties supposedly ruled approximately 3 million inhabitants; after the conquest was completed in 1588, the census reported roughly 2 million people. While it is tempting to attribute this major decline solely to Bódhibad ferocity, scholars today have mixed sentiments regarding this subject. They argue that the dramatic drop in numbers reflects an administrative failure to record rather than an actual decrease whilst others argue that the Bódhibad created a system of serfdom among a huge portion of the populace causing many to disappear from the census altogether. Other historians argue that plague was the main factor behind the demographic decline during this period. In all likelihood a combination of the three can explain the discrepancy.

By the dawn of the 17th century, fissures appeared in the Bódhibad Dynasty. They were divided between those who wanted to retain a center of power based in the mountains and those who wished to adopt the customs of the more urban Alnish nobility in the plains, and increase cooperation with the Europeans.

Although the Bódhibad dynasty was born in martial victory and unification, the 1600s saw the erosion of central authority and increased local wars as the Deins struggled with each other for a place in the new order. Ultimately the weakened Faelish Kingdom would be ripe pickings for the colonial powers.

Muchór Dynasty (1675-1757 CE)

Throughout the century of Bódhibad rule there was strong resentment among the populace and nobles alike. The Bódhibad were eventually overthrown by the Muchór.

Urbanization revived as the population grew and the agricultural economy was able to function unimpeded by war. Large urban centers, such as Althóan, Iúilis, and Larnic, also contributed to the growth of a small merchant class. In particular, small-scale industries grew up, often specializing in paper, horses, sheep, and wooden goods. For the most part, however, relatively small urban centers with markets proliferated around the country. Town markets mainly traded food, with some necessary manufactures such as ceramics or textiles.

Despite the xenophobia and intellectual introspection characteristic of the increasingly popular new school of neo-conservatism, Aln under the early Muchór Dynasty was not isolated. Foreign trade and other contacts with the outside world, particularly Spain, increased considerably, parallel with their influence and presence.

Colonis, the founder of the dynasty, laid the foundations for a state interested less in commerce and more in extracting revenues from the agricultural sector. Perhaps because of the King's background as a peasant, the Muchór economic system emphasized agriculture, unlike that of the previous dynasties, which were by and large laissez-fare. Neo-feudal landholdings of the Bódhibad period were expropriated by the Muchór rulers. Land estates were confiscated by the government, fragmented, and rented out. Private slavery was forbidden. Consequently, after some time, independent peasant landholders predominated in Faelish agriculture. These laws might have paved the way to removing the worst of the poverty during the previous regimes.

The dynasty had a strong and complex central government that unified and controlled the kingdom. The king's role became more autocratic, although they made use of what they called the "Grand Prefects" to assist with the immense paperwork of the bureaucracy, including memorials (petitions and recommendations to the throne), royal edicts in reply, reports of various kinds, and tax records. It was this same bureaucracy that later prevented the Muchór government from being able to adapt to changes in society, and eventually led to its decline. Most importantly, local rulers, both feudal and bureaucratic alike, were unable to stem the tide of European colonial aggression due to the processing time of policy-level decisions which emanated from the capital. True to form, the Europeans simply took what they were not given or offered in time for decorum.

King _____ strenuously tried to extend Aln's influence beyond its borders by demanding other rulers of the Faelish Isles send ambassadors to Althóan to present tribute. A large navy was built (by Faelish standards), including four-masted ships displacing 1,500 tons. A standing army of 20,000 troops was created. Both of these creations were meant to stabilize central authority and ward off colonial powers, but ultimately they were never put to use and put an immense strain on the state's finances.

Nevertheless the Alnish armies defeated the English militias of The Shore and for a very brief period it seemed they might abandon their foothold. In the end, the setback incited England to undertake a more intense presence on the island which would take several decades (see: Demesne Faeland).

Several maritime city-states sent envoys with tribute for the King. Domestically, the Grand Canal was expanded and proved to be a stimulus to domestic trade. As much as 10,000 tons of iron per year were exported. Many books were printed using movable type. The royal palace in Althóan reached its greatest splendor but, like the armies and fleets, was ultimately a folly and cost the kingdom far too much. New crops were imported and cultivated and industries such as those producing wood products and textiles flourished.

Ironically Faeland's growing strength and prosperity proved its undoing. Europe was on the move and colonialism was consequently rising. Spain and England had been present for centuries, but now France joined in earnest and the race was on. By the reign of Cadeyrn II the British had managed to eject all of their European rivals on the island and forced the king to abdicate. The ancient Kingdom of Faeland ceased to exist by virtue of an officially empty throne. The era of colonialism had begun.