The Empire of Videssos was an empire on a distant unknown world.
Videssos, the City and EmpireEdit
The empire was centered on Videssos the city, which was located on a peninsula that nearly separates the Videssian Sea from the Sailor's Sea. The empire was divided in two halves by the Cattle Crossing, the waterway that connected the two seas. Videssos was located on the eastern half, which lay south of the Astris River and bordered Khatrish. To the west were the Westlands, a knobby peninsula that contained the bulk of Videssian territory and bordered Vaspurakan and Makuran. Videssos maintained an outpost called Prista, on a peninsula that jutted out of southern Pardraya and into the Videssian Sea. By the time of the arrival of Marcus Aemilius Scaurus and his men, the Empire was 1,200 years old. At its height, the empire stretched from the bay of Haloga to the border with Makuran. Agder, Kubrat, Khatrish, and Thatagush were all part of the empire, but were lost when the Khamorth invaded the empire. Vaspurakan was also part of the empire but was lost to Makuran. Namdalen was conquered by the seafaring Halogai and became an independent Duchy.
The Empire's state religion was the dualist faith of Phos, the god of light, and Skotos, the dark god. The core of this faith was the idea that Phos and Skotos will battle and only one will emerge. Followers of Pho believed that the universe was created by the good god Phos who battled the evil god Skotos. In this theology, the good ascended to Phos' heaven when they died, but the wicked fell off the Bridge of the Separator and were immured in Skotos' ice hell. The Ecclestical hierarchy of Videssos is dominated by the Patriarch. Everything within Videssian life centered around this religion.
Within Phos-worship, there were nuanced variations that lead to enmity between different countries.
- Videssians believed that in the end, Phos will be victorious, a belief that earned them the nickname "Cocksures."
- Duchy of Namdalen believed that the fight between the two gods was balanced, but you should stake your soul on the favorable outcome of Phos, a belief known as Phos' Wager. They were nicknamed "Gamblers" as a result.
- Thatagush, Khatrish, & the Kingdom of Agder all believed that the fight between the two gods was perfectly balanced and what mortals believed or did made no difference to the conflict. Holders of this belief were known as "Balancers."
- Vaspurakan believed that they and their land was founded by Vaspur, son of Phos.
The outworlder Gorgidas postulated that the variants of the Phos belief stemmed from political and ethnic reasons rather than true belief. For example, he noted that Vaspurakanur belief in their direct descent from Phos was a way to separate themselves from Videssos . The Balancer beliefs originated in the areas of the Empire subjected to barbarian invasions. Those who survived these centuries of attacks were no longer certain of the inevitable victory of Phos.
The Videssian Emperor or Avtokrator was considered Phos' vice-Regent on Earth and Videssos is considered Phos' City. The Emperor was assisted by a large and influential bureaucracy, which is powerful enough to have been able to enforce its choice for the throne, even in the face of military opposition; the bureaucracy and military are traditionally rivals for power and influence.
Year Zero: Videssos the city and later the empire is established.
Not long afterwards, Kveldulf the Halogai attempts to convert his fellow Halogai to Phos, but is martyred in the attempt.
Zero+400: Grand Domestikos Stylianos launches a rebellion against Avtokrator Maleinos II, plunging the empire into civil war. Maleinos pulls the garrisons from the towns and cities and Stylianos recalls border guards to help them fight one another. This conflict weakens Videssos so much that the Khamorth nomads of Pardraya manage to enter and invade the north-eastern provinces of Videssos, sacking Skopentzana. Makuran also manages to seize Vaspurakan from Videssos. Prelate Rhavas of Skopentzana turns from Phos to Skotos. Stylianos defeats and kills Maleinos, becoming Avtokrator.
Over time, the nations of Kubrat, Khatrish and Thatagush emerge from the lands the Khamorth invaded.
Not long after this war ended, the Vaspurakaner rebel Andzeratsik (the Videssian style name he took was Kalekas) attempted to seize power in a civil war and lost about 150 years before the Time of Troubles.
Zero+550: Avtokrator Likinios spreads gold among the Khamorth of Pardraya, enticing them to attack Makuran. The ploy succeeds and the Khamorth trap and destroy a great Makuraner Army under Peroz King of Kings, weakening Makuran and allowing a usurper named Smerdis to seize the thrown and imprison Sharbaraz, Peroz' son and heir.
Abivard son of Godarz, disgusted at Smerdis, helps free Sharbaraz and launches a rebellion to put Sharbaraz on the throne of Makuran, but are beaten and driven into Videssos where they implore Likinios for aid. Likinios assists Sharbaraz by sending his General Maniakes to help. Sharbaraz beats Smerdis and becomes King of Kings of Makuran.
Likinios is overthrown and killed while forcing his army to stay in Kubrat. Genesios becomes Avtokrator. Makuran invades Videssos, seizing Vaspurakan and the Westlands, prompting Maniakes to rebel and overthrow Genesios, becoming Avtokrator and saving Videssos from Makuran.
Zero+700: Avtokrator Rhaptes dies and is suceeded by his son Anthimos III under the regency of his uncle Petronas. Krispos rises to prominence in Videssos. Harvas Black-Robe (Rhavas) leads an army of Halogai, rampaging across Thatagush and then Kubrat upon the invitation of Petronas so he can invade Makuran. Krispos helps Anthimos remove his uncle. Anthimos attempts to slay Krispos by magic, but fails and kills himself. Krispos becomes Avtokrator and defeats Harvas and conquers Kubrat. He also crushes the Thanasiot rebellion.
During the next five hundred years, minor border changes occur between Agder and Halogaland and between Khatrish and Thatagush. Haloga pirates conquer the Videssian island province of Kalavria, becoming the new nation of Namdalen and the Phos' Wager theology flourishes.
Zero+1100: Avtokrator Khoirosphaktes establishes a fort in Pardraya on the Kouphis River as a gift to a powerful Khamorth khagan. It was abandoned after his death.
Zero+1150: The Arshaum invade western Pardraya, driving the Khamorth over the Shaum (formerly Mylasa) River. Avshar (Rhavas) uses magic to slay Varahran King of Kings of Makuran and allows a Khamorth clan called the Yezda to invade and conquer Makuran and Vaspurakan. Avshar establishes himself as a prince in Yezd (formerly Makuran) and teaches the cult of Skotos to the Yezda who begin raiding and attacking Videssos.
Zero+1200: Avtokator Ioannakis III is replaced by Avtokrator Strobilos Sphrantzes who in turn is overthrown by Avtokrator Mavrikios Gavras. The Roman Legion under Marcus Aemilius Scaurus arrives in Videssos. Mavrikios goes to war with Yezd but is defeated and killed by Avshar, allowing Ortaias Sphrantzes to seize the throne. Thorisin Gavras overthrows Ortaias and becomes Avtokrator, beating rebellions by Baanes Onomagolous and the Great Count Drax. Avshar overthrows Khagan Wulghash of Yezd and launches and all out war to destroy Videssos but is stopped by Patriarch Balsamon, Marcus Scaurus, Viridovix son of Drappes, and Avtokrator Thoirisin. Avshar is defeated forever and the Yezda withdraw to Yezd proper.