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4.   The Family Wars and conservative reaction, 307 - 323.

"Aincayun Crehix" ("The Family Wars").

1. The war against Siphirix and Carel, 307-8.

YEASOR'S VICTORIES

Yeasor recruited considerable forces to his side between April and July of 307, and from a secure base in E. Helvr´eh then moved on Cennetis and afterwards, Numercuat. Meanwhile Siphirixo took a considerable time organizing his forces, and when he had done so, made his own relations and friends into commanders (including Carel in Helvr´eh), against the advice of his "College of Military Art". Most of 307 was spent in fairly inconclusive and scrappy fighting, in which the siege of Numercuat by Yeasor was the outstanding event. This city finally surrendered in November, but Ugholtis, under the command of Carel, now lay before Yeasor if he wished to enter Atlantis by this route from Helvris. He decided instead to move to Atlantid´eh, now in his hands, and attack Atlantis from the east. By April 308 he had concentrated 40000 men at Gentes, all unbeknown to Siphirixo.

Yeasor then began a fairly easy parade into Atlantis, and moved via Yzuephe and Fourtis on the capital. Siphirixo recalled Carel with 15000 men, but had to let Yeasor enter Atlantis in July, while he retired on to the Algrunix hills nearby. Carel joined his father and persuaded him to attack Yeasor's army which was spread out, deliberately, some way from the Algrunix. The Royal Army attacked piecemeal with some 30000 men, and was decisively defeated by Yeasor's 50000 men in a series of concentrated blows. (Battle of the River Atlanos). Carel and 8000 of his men were killed and Siphirixo was captured. This was the decisive encounter and Yeasor now made himself Emperor, although fighting continued for the rest of the year in W.Helvr´eh and parts of Atlantid´eh.

 

2. Yeasor and the revolt of Lasso, 308-311

Yeasor proved to be a despotic and corrupt Emperor, who immediately distributed land to all his favoured friends and allowed many nobles to increase the size of their armies. Only 20000 men were left in the Royal Army, which became Yeasor's personal bodyguard. He made himself unpopular and indeed hated by many of his subjects because of his cruelty to his supposed enemies, many of whom were executed without any sort of trial and after terrible tortures. In particular it seems certain that he put his imprisoned father, Siphirixo, to death in 309. Contemporary rumour, and in years to come, many plays and poems, elaborated this to a climactic father-son confrontation, in which Siphirixo rebuked his son for his behaviour to his father. Whereupon Yeasor is supposed to have struck his father, and then or soon after killed him personally.

It was not long before a large number of former Royal Army generals, antagonistic nobles and dispossessed landowners began looking for a chance to overthrow Yeasor, who, by 310, was revelling in the sybaritic trappings of power, and giving himself up to every sort of luxury and depravity. This popular antagonism to the Emperor was seized by Lasso, the 34 year old son of Cao-Mel´on's third wife, Cairille. Until her death in 304, a coterie of nobles had supported her against Cao-Mel´on's behaviour towards her, and now claimed Lasso was Siphirixo's rightful heir, rather than any of Cao-Mel´on's grand-children by his first two wives, namely Lasso, Carel, Ruthoyon, etc. Lasso could command up to 20000 men from friendly nobles in N. Atlantid´eh, but of course Yeasor could in theory use 20000 Royal Army forces and up to 60000 noble armies.

Fighting began in April 311, and consisted of a 6 month campaign between Lasso in Atlantid´eh and Yeasor in Atlantis. Yeasor was defeated on the river Ghesse, after which many Royal troops defected to Lasso. By August Lasso reached Atlantis (capital), and by now most of Yeasor's support had faded away. He decided he must retire back to Th.Thiss. where his original bedrock of support lay. He fled there from Atlantis in early September, right to the extreme south, just beyond its southernmost border, as an exile with a friendly independent chieftain.

 

(To see a large-scale map of the war between Yeasor and Siphirixo, and of Lasso's revolt wars, click the thumbnail)

 

3. The reign of Lasso and the seizure of power by Ceuralla, 311-312.

(To see a large-scale map of the war against Lasso and Ruthoyon's wars, click the thumbnail)

Family Wars map

Lasso's reign was effective only in the provinces north of the Helveng´o, and even there many nobles went their own way. Militarily he only had direct control of a Royal Army of about 23000 men; otherwise he had to depend on the goodwill of some 30 nobles who had private armies of their own, amounting to perhaps 120000 in all. Few of these were legitimate Class 1 nobles who were allowed private armies. It did not take long for his supporters to dwindle or turn into opponents, and the main opposition soon crystallised round Yeasor and Ceuralla, the 26 year old sister of Ruthoyon and the late Carel, herself backed by her aunt Puella. Ceuralla saw herself as the rightful heir to the throne, if females were allowed ( a moot point in itself), from the line of Millei, Cao-Mel´on's second wife, thus having priority over Lasso the grandson of Cao-Mel´on's third wife, Cairille. In fact Yeasor, the grandson of Cao-Mel´on's first wife, had the best claim of all, and it was he who took the lead in preparing the renewed struggle against Lasso.

Yeasor managed to raise most of Th. Thiss, while Ceuralla and her aunt got support from Manralia and Helvr´eh. By the spring of 312 noble armies of up to 50000 were ready to fight Lasso who could rely on only 20000 Royal troops and 30000 dubiously loyal noble forces. The war was brief : a brief attack into Helvr´eh by Lasso failed, and then Yeasor crossed into Numidis and marched straight for Atlantis.

THE SECOND BATTLE OF THE ALGRUNIX, 312

Yeasor reached the Algrunix, and entrenched himself on these hills with his four Pueggisix, 19000 men. The three noble ones were at the front, with the Royal one in reserve. Lasso had about 28000 men, 13000 noble-led. He threw his Royal forces, about 15000, against Yeasorĺs main army, but could make no impression against Lassoĺs defences, well-defended by a sizeable number of bowmen. Lassoĺs defeat was ensured when Ceurallaĺs army, 18000 strong, and predominantly swordsmen, advanced round the eastern flank of the hills and smashed into Lssoĺs left, held by the nobles. Her cavalry smashed his own cavalry, and then completed the rout. Lasso was himself killed, and lost 6000 men, to the rebelsĺ 3000.

THE QUARREL BETWEEN YEASOR AND CEURALLA

Yeasor entered Atlantis soon after, but it was not long before he fell out with Ceuralla. Ceuralla was indeed plotting to seize the throne from Yeasor, and soon secured the support of most of the noble forces in Atlantis. Thus it happened that on Yeasor's (second) coronation day in December, he and his bodyguard were attacked and butchered. Ceuralla was proclaimed empress and crowned on the spot by the priesthood, under considerable duress!

Ruthoyon had finally accompanied Ceuralla into Atlantis, and was made Commander-in-chief of the Royal Army. Ceuralla herself had only a shaky grip on power, many nobles rejecting the whole concept of an empress of Atlantis. Anarchy grew apace, and as early as February 313 Ruthoyon denounced Ceuralla's coup d'Útat, claiming that women could not accede to the throne, and that he was the rightful heir. He gained the support of a number of traditionalist nobles as well as the Royal Army itself, which he led and was rapidly expanding.

4. Ruthoyon's wars for the crown, 313-314.

RUTHOYON DEFEATS CEURALLA

During the summer, there was considerable argument and pseudo-legal discussion between Ceuralla's and Ruthoyon's camps about the legality of female accession to the throne. It all ended in disarray, and in August, Ruthoyon declared war on the empress. Ruthoyon had built up a Royal Army of over 50000 in Atlantid´eh and Helvr´eh, while Ceuralla had only 35000. He crossed the river Bore from Atlantid´eh, and manoeuvred round to defeat Ceuralla from the south. Her army was decimated, and she fled to Atlantis city, and then south to try to rally friendly forces in the Numidis area. Ruthoyon meanwhile moved on Atlantis and entered it in late September. He stayed there a while to crown himself Emperor Ruthoyon I, changing his surname to Celamel-Ramillenel, to create a new dynasty. He also ordered the abolition of all noble armies, and then advanced south towards Ceuralla, before his proclamation could cause much opposition to solidify. Ceuralla had raised a half-hearted army of about 20000 men, which according to the later feminist legend also included some units of fighting women. This may in fact be true. In any case, Ceuralla's army was comprehensively beaten at the Battle of the River Fellepp a straightforward slugging match. The losers suffered huge casualties, and Ceuralla herself was captured. On being brought before Ruthoyon, and assuming she would be executed, she swallowed poison.

THE LEGENDS ABOUT CEURALLA

Thus passed Ceuralla, who became the subject of many romantic and dramatic epics composed in the Second Empire. Her character was often softened and romanticised, although in fact she seems to have been a hard-headed, ambitious and ruthless woman, and an early feminist, who for example had no qualms about murdering Yeasor. Further romantic aspects were provided by Ceuralla's aunt and supporter, Puella, who was captured after the battle on the Bore. She was imprisoned in a castle in Atlantis, from which she twice tried unsuccessfully to escape in 314. She was then exiled to an island in the Cressix Mandengix, guarded by naval vessels. She died, supposedly, of a broken heart in 316, aged only 47.

RUTHOYON THE VICTOR OF THE FAMILY WARS

Ruthoyon was still far from home and dry as 314 dawned, for a number of nobles were determined to resist his plans to abolish all noble armies. These nobles' strongholds were mostly now in Helvr´eh and in the northern and southern parts on Atlantid´eh. The fighting that ensued, though bloody, was mostly on a small scale, sieges and skirmishes. The last rebel stronghold finally surrendered in November 314. Usually these nobles' fortifications were razed, and the nobles themselves lost their land or reduced to the ranks of the (later) equivalents of class 3 or 4 (non-noble).

In the end a sort of compromise was reached with the remaining Class 1 rebel nobles, and Ruthoyon allowed a total of five nobles to retain armies with a maximum force of only 6000 in wartime, or 1000 for ceremonial peace duties. Thus finally ended the Family Wars, and Atlantis was at peace with itself at last. This would last 40 years, and the intervening emperors would greatly expand Atlantis' empire, but at the same time pull the social and political stance of the realm more and more towards authoritarianism, aristocracy and illiberalism.

 

Ruthoyon I and the end of liberalism, 313 - 323

THE EMPEROR - HIS PERSONALITY : FACT AND LEGEND

Ruthoyon I was a different sort of Emperor to those who had come before him. Personally he shared some of the ambitions and qualities of leadership of his sibling, Ceuralla, but lacked the uncharismatic lack of adventurousness of his brother Carel. Moreover, although of aristocratic lineage, Ruthoyon had been surrounded since 308 by self-made men from the lesser nobility and soldiers of a lower class still, and this helps to explain the difference between Siphirixo's aristocratic liberalism and social conscience, and Ruthoyon's own "landowner-class" conservatism.

As a person, Ruthoyon was pale and dark, and not immediately handsome. But he had a charismatic attraction to others, and was able to mould and lead them. He surrounded himself with like-minded and subservient friends and servants. There is no trace in the records of any female attachment, while, on the contrary, he greatly enjoyed the company of young men, of his own political persuasion, and always had favourites amongst them. He probably had homosexual tendencies, though how far these went, it is impossible to say from the somewhat sparse and dry records which survive from this period. Plays written later in the Second Empire do bring out and make much of supposed love affairs between Ruthoyon and his favourites, but these are based on rumour or are frankly invented.

Ruthoyon's reign therefore shows no further advances in social or administrative reform for the Empire, and Ruthoyon and his successors till the 350s quite deliberately placed their like-minded friends or relations in all important government posts, Controllers and Governors especially. The Great Council continued to meet, but remained purely advisory and was usually ignored.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND WARS

In foreign affairs, Ruthoyon was in fact no more imperialistic than Siphirixo had been, and avoided in particular becoming entangled in Chalcran internal affairs. He did however show interest in military matters, and revivified the older military organizations like the "College of Military Art", and the "Grand Generals". In his time, armed forces had as many as 30% of their infantry using the crossbow ( and 70% swordsmen), while the combined bayonet-crossbow was introduced in 318. Armies (PUEGGISIX) were now numbered consecutively, and increasingly left in particular Provinces, after which they were named.

The main foreign war of the period from 318 was the Second Phonerian War. This began as a result of the breakdown of the Marossan Confederacy, which originally included Eliossie and the mainland Phonerians under Marossan supremacy. Eliossie and the Phonerians broke free after 295, and the Phonerians began to try to take over parts of the Marossan state. The Marossan Leader, Ralelka Ophotil, sought Atlantean help, which was forthcoming after 318 when the Phonerians raided a number of Atlantean islands in the Marossan Liranca. The war became increasingly bitter, as the Atlanteans sought to break the Phonerians, under their leader, Ouphaton Olvelbeli, once and for all. There was considerable fighting in Phonerian territory south of the river Noilafa, and by Ruthoyon's death, Atlantis had taken over these settlements. On the other hand, they had suffered several defeats at sea, and the Phonerians once raided almost to the gates of Atlantis itself. The Phoneriansĺ prowess at sea had long been notorious, and their navy, the "sundelbeli", was their pride and joy. By 323, the Atlanteans were victorious on land, but the Phonerians held command of the sea.

RUTHOYON'S DEATH AND THE SUCCESSION

In 323, Ruthoyon, only 37, died when he fell off a cliff during military manoeuvres in north Atlantis. The succession could once again have proved a problem, as Ruthoyon himself had no heirs, having never married. His dead brother Carel had no son, but there were a few other cousins around, from the lines of Cairille, Lasso and Carnaxa. But in fact the only possible choice was Lasso's son, Ruthoyon, now 24. As a gesture of reconciliation (after all Lasso had been killed in 312 by Yeasor with Ruthoyon's tacit approval), Ruthoyon I had taken charge of the younger Ruthoyon and openly brought him up to be his heir. He could see in him great powers of authority, linked to an increasing interest in glory and war. The young Ruthoyon had since 316 worked his way up in the army, and saw some fighting in the south and the Phonerian War. Although kept at some distance from the battle front, for safety's sake, Ruthoyon showed great military acumen, and contributed much to the winning of the land war by 323. Thus it was that with the war still in progress, Ruthoyon II encountered no opposition when he claimed the throne on Ruthoyon I's death in 323.

To read the next part of this history, click on (4) 323-343
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