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The road to civil war : Cao-Thildo I and II, 343-353


Cao-Thildo was a most unlikeable person. He carried on the autocratic method of government which characterised Ruthoyon II, but owing to his extreme indolence, most of the Empire tended to be left to its own devices during his reign. He was indifferent to everything except his personal pleasure, and this led to a considerable increase in misrule, corruption and personal indulgence by local Governors and others. Cao-Thildo appointed many new Military Governors, just because they happened to be personal friends of his, and then left them largely to do as they wished in their Provinces. The influence of philosophers, artists, or political thinkers, formerly so great, now sank to almost nothing.


"Yallandix Thissaindix" means the Yalland city states, which had grown up at the east end of the Helveng´o, between the rivers Gairase and Vulcan, and bordering on the state of Razira to the south-east across the Raziris Mountains. These cities had been built by Yalland traders over the past several hundred years, but since about 300, they also began to fill up with Atlantean merchants, who wanted to get some of the riches to be gained from trade with Razira, Vulcania, and the caravan routes which went far away to the south and east. These cities included places such as Yemdir, Faibaddo, Grolodairo and Duccouth. Now Razira was growing increasingly suspicious of and hostile to Atlantis' influence in these city-states, because in the past she had considered some at least of the Yalland cities to be under her protection.

During the reign of Ruthoyon II in particular, Atlantis pressed hard to open up friendly relations with Vulcania to offset the hostility of the Razirans, and indeed historically the two states had fought several wars with each other. (Vulcania was a large kingdom south of Ughrieh, with which she was often at loggerheads, despite a close mutual kinship: the languages of the two countries are closely related). Finally in 343, Razira launched an invasion of Yall. Thiss. Cao-Thildo had no intention of intervening, even to protect the many Atlantean citizens there, and instead, over the next few years, a virtually independent Atlantean-Yalland army, assisted by the Governor of Manralia, defended the territory. Help was requested and received from the Vulcans, led by their king, Butjnu, as well. As a result, the Raziran invasion was defeated, and the Razirans retreated to their own lands by 347. But by this time, Cao-Thildo was dead, following a series of heart-attacks.


Cao-Thildo I was succeeded by his son, Cao-Thildo II, who, although only 33, proved to be a cruel and vicious man, who quickly surrounded himself with a horde of cronies and gangsters, and a strong personal military Guard.

He completely flouted the interests of that conservative upper-class, which his predecessors since 314 had favoured, and tried to place his own friends - a mixture of royal relations, miscellaneous nobles and lower-class cronies - into Provincial and Governmental positions for which they had no training or qualifications. Traditional post-holders, as well as the appointees of his father, were ruthlessly ousted, and if they objected, were exiled or executed.


In 348, the West Kelts resumed war against the Atlanteans, partly due to Cao-Thildo's blatant and careless overriding of the treaties made earlier with them by Ruthoyon II. Again the Marossans lent the Atlanteans some help, but not until 352 was all resistance overcome. The very next year the Province of Naokeltan´eh (West Kelts) was crested, but in fact the country was not properly pacified, and further revolts were endemic for years to come.

At the same time, in 350, the Razirans again invaded the Yalland City-states. This time, Cao-Thildo committed the Atlantean Empire to defend the area, and formally charged the Governor of Manralia with its defence. Again the Vulcans helped, and again the Razirans were forced to make peace in 353. However, they carried out a third incursion in 355, this time accompanied by raids from the Jutes to the north-west, and owing to the civil wars in the Atlantean Empire, they were not finally defeated till 361, when Atlantis created and annexed the Province of Yallandix Thissaindix. There was also a completely independent war initiated by the Governor of Helvr´eh in 352 for personal glory against the largely farming inhabitants of the area between the river Gestes and the border of Helvr´eh, known as the "Meist´ensix" or Farmers - this is, however, generally translated here as the "Pastoral Folk". These people had an efficient army, however, and were aided by the Jutes from the south. As a result, the Atlanteans could make no progress, and after 355 peace was made which only gave the Atlanteans a narrow corridor of land stretching from Helvr´eh to Yall. Thiss on the north bank of the river Gestes.


At home, meanwhile, Cao-Thildo seemed to be doing his best to turn everyone against him. In order to safeguard his position, he set up a regular secret police service, and after 350 started a proper reign of terror against anyone who opposed him. In 352 he tried to abolish the remaining rights of a few nobles to maintain and raise armies of their own, which they had preserved since the Family Wars as a sort of anachronism. At the same time he encouraged six of his personal non-noble friends to set up private forces of their own. Also that year he executed one Military Governor (Nundatlantid´eh) and an Army Commander in Yall. Thiss for failures in the wars against the Kelts and Razirans, and ordered the Governor of Manralia to report to Atlantis. Furthermore, he appropriated the land and property of other nobles, and increased taxes all round. All of this led in May 353 to a revolt by the Military Governors of Manralia, Helvr´eh and Thoinix Thissaindix against the Emperor, which started off the series of civil wars, known collectively as the Imperial Wars, and which lasted till 361, when Atlaniphon I initiated the Second Empire.

It can be seen with hindsight that the underlying theme of this series of wars was nothing less than who should run the Empire, and what sort of society and political structure it should have. At least three groups jockeyed for power. These were the non-noble (Class 3 and 4) classes (who cannot really be called "middle classes" as yet), who tended to support particular Emperors (like Cao-Thildo II) just for what they could get out of holding power; the conservative upper classes (Class 1and 2s) who had run the Empire since the end of the Family Wars in 314; and the traditional liberal elite, who had gained power in the third century and lost it again to the conservatives. The liberal group finally won out with the victory of Atlaniphon in 361, and proceeded to run the Empire and set its tone for the next century or more.


6.  "Crehix ergain cer´ehan" ("The Imperial Wars"), 353 - 361


Civil War, 353-360.


The revolt against Cao-Thildo II by the Military Governors gained the support of one of the Emperor's cousins, also called Cao-Thildo, who was Military Governor of Th. Thiss. province, as well as some semi-independent armies in Yall. Thiss. The Emperor had the support of another of his cousins, Carel, who ultimately wanted the crown for himself. After some scrappy fighting in Atlantis province, Cao-Thildo II was assassinated with the connivance of his cousin Cao-Thildo, who claimed the crown. But almost immediately Carel proclaimed himself as rightful Emperor, and civil conflict broke out anew in 354. Cao-Thildo was supported now by an able group of Class 2 landed gentry and the Governors of the Provinces which had proclaimed him earlier against his cousin, plus Borchalcr´eh. Carel found backers in Atlantis and other western Provinces from Class 1 nobles, whose privileges he promised to maintain.

Cao-Thildo, ejected from the capital, concentrated his forces in Helvr´eh, and marched straight for Atlantis city. He besieged it, and defeated a relieving army. It duly surrendered after a couple of months, and Carel was handed over by his generals, to whom Cao-Thildo had promised immunity. Carel was then executed.


Cao-Thildo turned out to be a mere puppet of a junta of Class 2 and Class 1 landowners, who simply wanted to put the clock back to the time of Ruthoyon I, and carve up the Empire amongst themselves. But it did not take long for quarrels to arise over posts and jobs. Many of these nobles had small armies of their own from traditional usage, and other armed forces sprang up, organised by other nobles, and by towns for their own defence. Anarchy approached, when Razira invaded a poorly defended Yall. Thiss. later in 355, and the Governors of Yc´el Atlantis and Naokeltan´eh rejected Cao-Thildo's rule.

Later in 356 there occurred a number of riots by the lower classes in various towns, caused by food shortage, and fear of growing anarchy all round. The lead in a full-scale rebellion against the Emperor was finally taken by a Class 3 Army Commander from Chalcr´eh I, Giallonni. A distant relation of Cao-Thildo's, called Lasson, also attached himself to this revolt aiming to take the crown. The rebellion as a whole seemed to favour the middle classes and the liberal consensus of the third century.

LASSON'S WAR, 357-358

Compared with the earlier civil wars, Lasson's war was much longer and more widespread. Lasson and Giallonni's forces initially included the armies and leaders of Chalcr´eh I and Helvr´eh. Cao-Thildo had the backing of Atlantis, Atlantid´eh and Th. Thiss. Even the navy was split in its allegiance this time, the fleet based at Giezuat in the Helveng´o going over to the rebels, while the squadron at Achosil off Yc´el Atlantis stayed loyal at first.

After two battles in 357 at Tilrase and Yeldis, Lasson's army, marching on Atlantis from Chalcr´eh I was victorious. Cao-Thildo and his principal supporters fled to Atlantis island (Atlano Mandeng´o), and blockaded the main city with their navy. Lasson now left his army in Atlantis with Giallonni in charge, and took himself off to Giezuat, where he took control of the fleet. He then used part of it to land a force in Manralia. When he found out about this through his spies, Cao-Thildo sent a force to Th. Thiss. to recruit and organise resistance against Lasson. Later, however, Lasson invaded Th. Thiss. from Manralia and completely destroyed the loyal army.

Cao-Thildo remained with his sizeable army on Atlantis island, not daring to reinvade the mainland. This left the initiative to Lasson, who moved his fleet and an army to Ygohe. Then, early in 358, in a daring piece of naval strategy, he divided his navy, and defeated the loyal navy by attacking it from both the north and south ends of the channel separating Atlantis island from Atlantis city. Cao-Thildo, leading his force, was killed when his flagship was attacked and boarded by an enemy ship, and his body was unceremoniously dumped in the water (Battle of the Atlano Mandengio). (It was later washed up north of Atlantis city, seized by Lasson's orders, quartered and the pieces hung up around Atlantis for a few days, before being buried in an unmarked grave.) After an unsuccessful attempt to escape from the island, the remainder of Cao-Thildo's force surrendered. Lasson now cleaned up the remaining opposition to his rule. He moved against the Achosil naval fleet, which at once submitted. He also faced a continuing rebellion in the south of Marossan, which was finally overcome after his army stormed Alsono, the capital of Marossan Province and the headquarters of the enemy force.


Once in power, Lasson turned out to be a cruel despot. He soon rid himself of any potential rivals in the army, and Giallonni seems to have survived by behaving like a subservient servant to his whims. He tried to base his regime on the support of the Class 3 and 4s, winning their support against the Class 1 and 2s by initiating a Reign of Terror, which included pseudo-juridical public trials of the upper classes. All important nobles had to swear an oath of allegiance to him personally; many fled abroad, and many others were imprisoned or executed. Private armies were abolished completely, in one case only after a considerable battle with the Imperial army. Lasson also sought to gain the positive allegiance of the northern Provinces, like Naokeltan´eh and Chalcr´eh II, which had remained neutral in the earlier war, by ejecting the Governors of these Provinces. Even so, Lasson's power-base was never secure, and obviously most unpopular amongst the upper classes. It was only a matter of time before civil was broke out again.


The Triumph of Atlaniphon, 360 - 361


The battle-lines in this climactic phase of the Imperial Wars were split between three different armies. Lasson's loyal troops held Atlantis, Atlantid´eh, Nundatlantid´eh and Helvr´eh, as well as parts of Chalcr´eh I and Manralis. Yall. Thiss. had been invaded by Raziran forces, but there were a number of troops loyal to Lasson there as well, in defence. The rebels were divided into two parties. One consisted of a mixture of old-style Class 1 and 2 conservative nobles, while the other contained the Class 2 and upper Class 3 liberals of third century vintage, amongst whom the future Iustos Atlaniphon I was counted and seen as the leader and the next Emperor of Atlantis. The former formed their base in Manralia, Th. Thiss and some of Yall. Thiss, and had control of the Helveng´o with the Giezuat navy, while the latter, under Iustos, were strong in Naokeltan´eh, Marossan and the two Chalcran Provinces, and had the support, after June, of Yc´el Atlantis and the fleet at Achosil. The southern forces also had the advantage of the use of many of the small private armies still maintained by some Class 1 nobles. The loyalists had perhaps 200000 men, the northern rebels 150000, and the southern army perhaps 100000.


During the first three months of the war, the two sets of rebels, largely because neither likes nor trusted the other, acted quite independently against Lasson's armies, as a result of which the Emperor was generally successful. With Giallonni as his main general, Lasson initially defeated Iustos in Chalcr´eh and advanced on to Runnates. In the south, the Atlantean navy, loyal to Lasson, entered the Helveng´o and defeated the smaller Giezuat force. Then an army was transported across to defend Raihco, in which the loyalists in Manralia were being besieged by the rebels.

At this point, Iustos took the initiative and negotiated with the southern rebels about a joint strategy. It was agreed that the southerners would move a large force across the Helveng´o to east Helvr´eh, and attack up into south Chalcr´eh to relieve the pressure on the northerners, and join up with them. The crossing of the eastern Helveng´o was made successfully in June, avoiding the loyalist navy over in the western part of the sea, and the troops moved north into Chalcr´eh. Meanwhile Iustos concentrated in Naokeltan´eh, took Encetes, and defeated the loyalists near Runnates. He then moved south and took Gasirotto at the same time as another Atlantean army defeated the southern rebels and forced them back south across the river Cresslepp. During September, the loyalists successfully sortied out of Raihco in Manralia, defeated their rebel besiegers and moved westwards. The southerners were in trouble all round, and Lasson now ordered Giallonni to take an army to retake Gasirotto and defeat Iustos' northern army there.

At this point, when the fortunes of the rebels were at their lowest, Giallonni suddenly changed sides, and threw in his lot with Iustos at Gasirotto. This dramatic move changed the whole course of the war, for Giallonni would now act as Iustos' military adviser, and the two together would bring victory to their arms.


The first success was the defeat of the loyalist at the Battle of Ancahouth to the west of Lake Oncia. Lasson compounded his problems by taking a large force off at a tangent to destroy the southern rebels beyond the Cresslepp. He succeeded in catching them in the territory of the Meist´ensix, and completely shattered their army.

To the north, Atlaniphon seized his chance and marched straight on Atlantis town, finding little real opposition. As he approached the capital in December, the small loyalist army of defenders retreated before him. By a brilliant stroke, Giallonni now seized Atlantis itself, behind the loyalists, in a "coup de main" using cavalry. The loyalists retreated towards Helvr´eh, where Lasson himself belatedly joined them. He tried also to get the army friendly to him in Th. Thiss (some of which had marched there from Raihco) to cross the Helveng´o to him, but much of his navy now went over to Atlaniphon, and the army had to remain in Th. Thiss, where it was attacked by southern forces.

The culminating battle of the war approached as Lasson's army moved towards Atlaniphon's in south Atlantis. Atlaniphon awaited Lasson near Ugholtis in N.W.Helvr´eh, but Lasson tried to surprise him by moving east and north up the river Gestes pass through the Meilox mountains. He moved on to the range of hills in south Atlantis called the Lillerunix, where he found the rebels had anticipated him, and lay in a good defensive position. Lasson deployed below them and spent three days in fruitless stand-off and attempted negotiation. Finally Atlaniphon descended from the hills, attacked and utterly defeated Lasson's army in the Battle of the Lillerunix in February 361. Lasson was killed in the fighting.

It did not take long for all remaining loyalists to give up. But the southern rebels were less happy to bow to Atlaniphon as the new Emperor, and Giallonni was forced to "persuade" them in a few more skirmishes. Once he was on the throne, Atlaniphon I, as he became known, declared the start of a new dynasty - "Celam-Norindel"-, and a new era - the Second Empire. The Atlantean Empire was now firmly back in the governing hands of upper-class liberals, and the social and political progress, which had been halted in its tracks after the Family Wars, now continued. The new era saw the flowering, too, of the golden age of Atlantean classical art and literature, and on the military side, the continued expansion of the Empire to bounds never dreamed of by the Emperors of the First Empire.

To read about the Second Empire of Atlantis, click on Second Empire- (1) 361 - 409

Atlantean Empire, 361

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