Rise and Fall of Valencia
The Aurelian Empire
Geographical name: Aurelia (Or-ell-ee-a)
What a citizen is called: Aurelian (Or-ell-ee-en)
Government: Dictatorship under dynastic Imperator, with supporting Republic.
Real World Inspiration: Rome/Byzantine Empire, with medieval Europe mixed in.
“A good offense is a good defense.”
The Aurelian Empire as created originally when the three great families/clans of the area came together and agreed to unite their powers against outward threats under the leadership(/coersion) of King Tiber Aurelius of the Valerii.
The Aurelian Empire expanded quickly, each family competing against the other for prestige and glory. Many cultures were conquered, and by the present point in time assimilated into Aurelia as minor families, but generally as the working class or slaves. As is the case with any multi-cultural, expansionist Empire, there are always rebellions and revolts against the authority of the Emperor, but these are quashed quickly and violently.
“The rich get richer, and the poor get drafted.”
The class division in the Aurelian Empire is all too clear. Those who are not wealthy merchants are generally found in poverty, their labour unwanted due to the large number of slaves found circulating in the Empire. This is in fact a continuation of a deadly circle, where those who cannot find jobs join the military in the hopes of being settled on conquered soil. Thus, the military grows and the government uses it to the best of its ability, which then conquered more territory and imports more slaves into the Empire. However, recently the society has begun to stagnate as the Aurelian Empire has come into contact with formidable enemies which are not keen on breaking.
Aurelians are generally olive skinned with sharp features and dark hair. Not predisposed to any given stereotype, one will find tall Aurelians, short Aurelians, slim Aurelians and bulky Aurelians. Some traits are favoured depending on the family, Sollertii are generally dark skinned while Torosii are larger.
Their clothing is generally simple, men wearing a tunic belted at the waist while women wear single-piece dresses. Nobles will wear more exotic wear, the current trend being the frills and floppy hats with feathers from Ciariaco, but have official wear as well. Senators still wear togas while in session, to honour their ancestors.
“The tides of change are upon us.”
The Aurelian state religion promotes a large pantheon of gods, but also deifies the reigning Imperator so that he may keep the cosmic order. The religion is steeped in mysticism: prophecies and curses, etc…Nothing is done without the blessing of the gods. While an infinite number of minor gods find their way into the pantheon, generally through the assimilation of other cultures, the major gods are:
Lorr, God of Time, Eternity, Father of the Gods. His symbol is a circle with an hour glass within it.
Ruhal, God of Warfare, Honour, Justice. His symbol is a winged sword.
Sinisisa, Goddess of the Hunt, Night, Stars, secrets. Her symbol is an owl.
Selasiti, Goddess of the Harvest, Day, Fertility, life. Her symbol is sheaf of wheat.
Kazal, God of Fire, the Forge, Commerce. His symbol is the hammer and anvil.
Oreti, Goddess of the Seas, Nature. Her symbol is conch.
Vazuroga, God of Knowledge, Wisdom, History. His symbol is an open book.
However, a growing number of people are starting to adhere to the religion of Helos, the One True God. Its clergy’s proclamations of universal equality within castes and genders appeals to many, and its ideals of life everlasting to the pure has drawn many xenophobic members. This latter population has created two orders to hunt down heretics: the Militant Order of Templar, charged with fighting heresy whenever it is found; and the Inquisition, charged with rooting out heretics and returning them to the correct path.
The membership of two of the Imperators children lends much strength to the religion, and his second eldest son earned his cognomen, Angelus, from his merciful conquests though he himself is not a believer.
The three great families:
Motto: “Righteous in Wrath!”
Symbol: Imperial Eagle
The most well known family of Aurelia, the Valerii are known for their discipline and valor. Generally seen as honourable to a fault, the Valerii armies are the most drilled and see the military life as part of their duty as citizens of the empire. Furthermore, as the home of the Valerii family is a major port city they also compose most of the Aurelian navy, and are famed for their marines who are excellent in boarding actions as well as handy with their assault crossbows (heavy repeaters).
The Emperors of Aurelia have always been drawn from the Valerii, something the other families find a sore point, but the current Imperator Gaius Aurelius Valerius Justinius (The Just) married a Sollertii wife who died giving birth to his successor – the first who is not a full-blooded Valerii.
Important members of the Valerii:
The Imperator of the Aurelian Empire
-Gaius Aurelius Valerius Justinius (The Just)
His children, by seniority:
-Lucia Valeria, daughter of Levita Sollertia
—Her husband, Titus Torosus Gigas, Commander of the Torosii Colossus Legions
-Gaius II Valerius Immitis (The Merciless), son of Levita Sollertia; heir apparent, wealthy merchant and renown Senator
—His wife, Perdice Sollertia
-Marcus Valerius Angelus (The Angel), son of Gloria Valeria; Commander of the Valerii Phoenix Legions, renown strategist
-Maria Valeria, daughter of Gloria Valeria
—Her husband, Orontes Sollertius, a powerful merchant
-Gloria II Valeria Prudentia (The Prudent, or Foreseeing), daughter of Gloria Valeria; Priestess of Helios
-Cornelius Valerius Castus (The Pure), son of Gloria Valeria; Templar and Castigator of Helios
Motto: “Blood and Fire!”
The Sollertii are seen by everyone (including themselves) as merciless and calculating in all that they do. Their expansion in the early period was ruthless, conquered populations were enslaved and their wills broken, which led to the Sollertii becoming the wealthiest of the three major families. This influx in wealth turned the Sollertii into the businessmen of the Aurelian Empire, and once they consolidated their authority over conquered nations they turned to mercantile concerns.
In the present the Sollertii are known as intellectuals and merchants extraordinaire, not to be trifled with or trusted. Their armies are composed almost exclusively of mercenaries, allowing their family members to concentrate on more important matters.
Important members of the Sollertii:
-Avarus Sollertius, treasurer of Aurelia (Aerarii Praefectus) and Senator.
His children, by seniority:
-Orontes Sollertius, son of Lydia Sollertia; powerful merchant, married to Maria Valeria
-Julius Sollertius Patronus (The Protector), son of Lydia Sollertia; Commander of the Urban Cohort
-Perdice Sollertia, daughter of Lydia Sollertia; married to Gaius II Valerius
Motto: “Ours is the Fury!”
Considered by most to be simple brutes, the Torosii certainly follow this trend. Both men and women serve in the army of the Torosii, and what they lack in discipline they make up in fierce determination and pride. Born and raised in the saddle the Torosii forces specialize in cavalry, the numerous horses of their lands allowing the majority of their soldiers to be mounted.
While the Sollertii expand for profit and the Valerii for glory, the Torosii do so to progress through the ranks of their society. Their agricultural community is run almost exclusive by slaves, allowing their people to be professional militants from a young age.
Important members of the Torosii:
-Titus Torosus Gigas (The Giant), commander of the Colossus Legions, married to Lucia Valeria
His children, by seniority:
-Titus is away on campaign constantly and spends little time with his wife, their marriage being entirely political
-however, he has fathered countless bastard children, none of which he acknowledges unless they’ve proven themselves to be excellent fighters