Until 600 the Republic remained under a relatively benign and tolerant regime. Giesti was succeeded as Leader in 597 by Soinin El´ol, a very charismatic and flamboyant woman , who was strongly in favour of equality of rights for women, and had been greatly influenced by the more academic co-writer of the 591 Constitution, Gorzen Pronen. Bronel followed her till 600, but after that a shadow begins to fall over the Republic.
It is particularly frustrating that it is precisely at this point that our sources for Republican - and Imperialist history, for that matter - begin to fail us. This is partly due to the ever-increasing chaos and upheaval which was spreading across the whole Atlantean Empire, as it had been. The Imperialist parts, as we shall see, were beginning to split into separate fiefdoms, with more and more rulers being thrown up, and later disappearing, who claimed to be the new Emperor, or indeed just a commander of a Province or two, but usually at loggerheads with other claimants or pretenders. Other countries - Basquecs, Ughans - begin to invade and occupy portions of Atlantean territory, while another wave of barbarians was battering at the borders. The other chief cause of this dearth of reliable sources is that later regimes wanted to hide or alter the course of events to their advantage, and quite ruthlessly destroyed or altered histories written at this time. Finally, the times were becoming so rough and turbulent that it was very difficult for any would-be writer to find the leisure or access to the sources he needed to write a contemporaneous history.
By 602 a number of political upheavals rend the Republic, as a result of a series of plots by Imperialist agents seeking to subvert or overthrow republican rule in various provinces. This, combined with a renewed flare-up of the war with the Imperialists led to a series of measures limiting democratic freedoms and tolerance, and the overthrow of the liberal regime by a more authoritarian, but non-religious group formerly Scale 4s. Gradually between 602 and 609 the constitution is subverted or changed into a strict authoritarian regime. The Republican Provinces are brought more forcibly under the central control of Atlantis, and many of the notions of the period between 590 and 594 reappear. These include the persecution and expulsion of remaining noble landlords, even if they had earlier agreed to support the Republic and give up most of their lands; restrictions on personal, artistic and religious freedoms; and the promulgation, eventually, of nationalist and secular propaganda. In 610, a dictator in all but name takes over the Republic, pledged to a militaristic, expansionistic and anti-religious regime.
INVASIONS AND INCURSIONS AGAINST THE IMPERIALISTS
Between 600 and 615, the old Imperialist parts of the Empire descended into complete chaos, under the pressures of revolts and rebellions by military leaders and indigenous peoples, as well as invasions from across the borders. By 610 and in the decade following it, a dispassionate observer would have been sure that the Atlantean Empire as such was doomed. It would certainly dissolve into an anarchic swirl of warlords, and the only question remaining would be how far and for how long the profoundly un-Atlantean Republican despotism in the western Provinces would survive a similar fate - certainly it appeared to have no chance of reconquering the old Imperialist areas in the south and east.
The Ughans now held all the west bank of the Gestes, and occupied much of the east of Dravid´eh II. Pressure on this front did cease after 610, as a third wave of barbarians attacked the frontiers of Ughr´eh, and then the country collapsed into civil war. However these same nomads, fast-moving horsemen, called Nechevif in Skalland, also attacked Atlantean provinces after 612, and soon occupied most of Nunchalcr´eh, raiding right down into Chalcr´eh II. The Basquecs had occupied Razira, and were invading Yall. Thiss., (Republican) Manralia and Vulcania. The founders of the future Southern Empire ("Rabarr´eh") and other tribes began to dominate the Southern Seas and captured most of the smaller Atlantean colonies there, as well as taking hold of the Numedeas area of the Th. Thiss., and creeping north up the river Gosal.
Finally, the nomads ľ the Jenisidif, literally "strong soldiers" in Skalland, who some 60 years earlier had attacked the north-eastern frontiers of the Empire, had been forced further west by new waves of tribes, the horsemen Jeninechif pressing in from the east after the 580s. They took over the Elioss´en Protectorate, and then attacked and finally overwhelmed Elioss´e itself by 610. They then pressed into Marossan, which they completely occupied by 615, and attacked Yc´el Atlantis, Naokeltan´eh and even Republican Atlantis itself. Finally in 612 there began the great North Kelt rebellion, in which these people, fired by the example of the free nomads all around them, and encouraged by the collapse of central authority over their homelands, soon threw off all Atlantean control in Nunkeltan´eh and north Nunchalcr´eh.
THE COLLAPSE OF IMPERIALIST CONTROL
So much for the pressure on the Imperialists from outside. At the same time they had to cope with a resurgence of fighting with the Republicans after 602 (admittedly initiated by Norro to try to unite his failing Empire), but most debilitating of all, a series of internal revolts. As a result of these various revolts, now to be described, the whole Imperialist part of the Empire split up into a number of independent groups of Provinces, ruled by a selection of Kings, Emperors, Generals and despots. These coalesced into six Powers by about 615, which, in the later writings of Atlantean historians, were enumerated by the letters "A" to "F", for the sake of convenience. These groups fought against the Republicans, the barbarians, and themselves over the next few decades, until one man, Louron Ruthopheax , from the C group of Provinces conquered the Republicans, held off the nomads, and finally overcame all his rivals, and reunited the whole Empire in 648.
THE "OFFICIAL" EMPIRE (GROUP E) : NORRO TO CRECHONNI
The Emperor Norro ruled as the "official" Emperor, and successor to all the Emperors of the First and Second Empire, based in his temporary capital, Atlandravizzi. Already he was shorn of the south-eastern group of Provinces (C), which had declared their independence in 596 under Yeasor. In 603, Norro led his armies against the invading Ughans, and in his absence from the capital, one of his generals deposed him and set himself up as Emperor - this was Meison Suennon, the son of Norro's wife by her first marriage. Norro returned to Dravid´eh I to try to drum up army support against Meison, but failed : threatened with capture and execution by troops loyal to Meison, Norro fled across the Gestes and threw himself, and some of the forces still loyal to him, on the mercies of the Ughans, his erstwhile enemies. The Ughans agreed to support him on condition of receiving substantial chunks of Atlantean territory , and in 606 the Ughans, with Norro, reinvade Dravid´eh II. After initial successes, they are defeated by Meison, and Norro is wounded and captured. Prevented from committing suicide, he was cruelly tortured and finally killed by having each of his limbs hacked off, one by one, ending at last with his head. This "execution" in itself shows how the rulers of Atlantis, who earlier prided themselves on their humanity and civilisation, had by this stage descended into the depths of barbarity. This coarsening of behaviour and way of life would continue, - indeed increase -, throughout the whole Empire for the next fifty years, and even when the Third Empire was established in 648, its whole ethos was very different to that which prevailed before the Revolution.
THE IMPERIALISTS SPLIT UP
Meison was killed in a brawl and firefight in the Imperial Palace itself, and over the next few years a series of ephemeral Emperors were created and discarded - even their names are not definitely certain now. By 615, when some historical light again shines forth, a former general, of obviously Chalcran origin, called Crechonni, had become Emperor. However, by that time the Provinces over which he ruled had dwindled away. In 608, the southern colony of Siphiya (the only colony remaining not captured by the Southern Empire forces) and the Province of Th. Thiss. threw off their allegiance to the shadowy Emperor at Atlandravizzi, and were ruled independently by General Fillasil, who for a while kept a tame, alternative Emperor, Cencon. (Group F).
Then in 611, the Governor of Naokeltan´eh (whose command at this point also covered Marossan), General Norcairillel, rebelled and declared himself Emperor with the support of his troops. Determined to challenge the Emperor at Atlandravizzi, he marched on Chalcr´eh I, denuding Marossan and much of Naokeltan´eh of defenders. The northern barbarians, who had already occupied Elioss´e, and were on the borders of Marossan, immediately flooded into Marossan, which they had conquered by 612. Norcairr´el, having marched into Chalcr´eh II, found himself threatened by the troops in Nunkeltan´eh and Nunchalcr´eh to the north, who remained loyal to Atlandravizzi. They are led into Naokeltan´eh, in Norcairr´el's rear, but once again the thereby left Nunkeltan´eh empty of defenders. Almost at once the North Kelts, led by Volnan Dortainch, there broke into open revolt against all Atlantean rule, and defeated the Atlantean army when it retraced its steps. Norcairr´el also tried to crush the revolt, but is himself overthrown by General Tuaingel, of half-Kelt origin. He was able, by 615, to pacify the area, and then declared the Provinces of Naokelt., Nunkelt. and Nunchalc. an independent state under himself. (Group B). He was able to play on the nationalism of the Kelts, identifying with them and holding off attacks against them by barbarians and other Atlantean Provinces.
In 613 the Provinces of Chalcr´eh II and Dravid´eh I were split from Group E by General Buomil, who declared himself independent of everyone else (Group D). The final independent Group (A) appeared in 618. This was when General Proinen, who ruled Group C (Vulcan´eh, Razira and Yall Thiss) invaded Manralia. He had already seized Meistay´eh from Group E in 611, and had regained part of Helvr´eh from the Republicans after 615; he was now successful in taking Manralia (except for the city and capital of Noehtens) from the Republicans. However his second-in-command, General Yesteyu, waiting till Proinen had returned to Yall Thiss, seized control of the Province himself. (Group A).
THE SUBVERSION OF THE REPUBLIC
By 610 the Republic was being ruled by an extreme left-wing dictatorship, which clamped down ferociously on any opposition, and militantly enforced its ideals of atheism and egalitarianism. Initially the regime was ruled by a rather anonymous committee with two or three people who really wielded power staying behind the scenes - the most powerful was Riuden Bronel. Each ruler was fearfully jealous of all the others, and every so often one or other was denounced, tried and executed for "crimes against the Republic". This regime was also determined to prosecute the war against the Imperialists more vigorously : it denounced its predecessors for adopting a peaceful accommodation with the enemy, and proclaimed that the Republic must take over the whole of the old Empire. This policy also served to deflect opposition from the regime.
So the war with the Imperialists flared up after 612 along the borders in Chalcr´eh I and Helvr´eh. For a while the impetus of the Republicans and the chaotic state of the Imperialists brought them some success, but by 615 the chaos of the Imperialists spread to the Republicans. Military commanders began to rebel against the unrealistic, arbitrary and often cruel orders of the leadership, and then the leaders of the Republic fell out amongst themselves. War and economic mismanagement led to famine and revolt among the population, and finally the incursions of the northern barbarians through Marossan began to seriously threaten the heartlands of the Republic. By 616 there was general anarchy, and several Republican commanders were making personal arrangements with Imperialist generals for ceasefires, or even secret alliances against other Republican or Imperialist generals who were their enemies. By 618 the Republic, like the Imperialist areas, had collapsed into four or five separate provinces, none giving allegiance to any overall government. Later in that year one commander, Mestaos, took over Atlantis, summarily arrested and executed all the remaining adherents of the dictatorship that he could lay his hands on, instituted a more moderate and pragmatic military dictatorship, and eventually regained control of all the other Republican provinces.
Over the next decade the Republic drifted on, with little forethought or policy, as the military concentrated on keeping control of their provinces and making themselves as rich as they could. Of course there was no longer the slightest pretence of democracy or rule by popular agreement - the old Council had become a rubber stamp before 610, and after a hopeless attempt to reassert itself in 615, was abolished. The mass of people in Republican areas were completely disillusioned by their government in the 620s, and it became more and more difficult for the leaders to inspire its army to fight on its behalf. Later in the 620s, as defeat by the Imperialists loomed ever closer, the Council was reconstituted as a purely advisory body, and later, in a last effort to gain the government some popularity, turned into a unique half civilian, half military republican institution to act as a "Council for Atlantean Salvation", organised according to the old 590s constitution.
THE RECOVERY OF THE IMPERIALISTS UNDER GENERAL PROINEN
The fortunes of the whole former Atlantean Empire touched their nadir in the 610s, yet in the 620s remarkable signs of revival appeared in some Imperialist territories, and by the end of the decade all the Republican Provinces were back again under Imperialist rule - though admittedly under only one of six Imperialist factions. This recovery began in the Provinces called "E" and "C", and were due largely to a new way of waging war, and to one or two men who had the foresight to understand how these innovations could give their armies the edge in battle. In particular we must single out the amazing career of Louron Ruthopheax (to call him by his later Imperial name). His life will be recounted in more detail later, but he, along with Generals Proinen and Treckol, organised the defeat of the Republicans, and marched into Atlantis city in 628. He then became Emperor and over the next 20 years reunited the whole of the former Empire under his control. Then, over the next 20 years he conducted a series of incredible campaigns against the Empire's neighbours, utterly defeating in turn Ugr´eh and Basquec´eh, and gaining additional territory east of Th. Thiss. At the same time he transformed Atlantean society.
During the 610s, state "C", under General Proinen, created a strong and well-motivated army drawn from his Provinces of Meistay´eh, Yall Thiss and Vulcan´eh, indulging in almost continual fighting against Republicans, other Imperialists, Basquecs and rebellious southern tribes. Towards the end of the decade this pressure lessened considerably - the Republicans had collapsed, the enmity with other Imperialist groups died down, and the Basquecs' aggression ceased when civil war broke out in the country. This gave the Army the chance to absorb some lessons from the recent revolution in the military art.
THE APPEARANCE OF GUNPOWDER WEAPONS
The most important innovation was the invention of weapons using gunpowder, an advance first made outside the Atlantean Empire, but soon adopted by the Imperialists and the Basquecs. After about 610 General Proinen's armies led the way with the adoption of muzzle-loading gunpowder artillery and then rockets (though not handguns, as the Atlanteans considered crossbows to be more powerful and more accurate in the field). These weapons were rapidly developed, and after 625 or 630, they were able to batter down nearly all the old fortifications which had stood up quite adequately to torsion-powered artillery. These guns were static at first, but became more mobile after 630. This innovation was combined with a new method of warfare - more aggressive and faster moving, seeking battle in the open, and not behind fortifications and earthworks. So light and medium cavalry were increased, and after 620 or so, heavy cavalry appeared armed with crossbow and lance. This hard-hitting, fast-moving aggressive style of warfare helped to beat the Republicans, who had not kept up with these developments. In addition, as it was Group "C"'s armies that led the way in their adoption, they greatly helped them to overcome the Armies of all the other Provinces after 630, and reunite the Empire by 648.
In 621 Proinen was assassinated, and was succeeded by his second-in-command General Treckol, an older but very able man, who was determined to use the new developments in warfare to their fullest extent. With Louron (Ruthopheax) as the commander of one of his armies, Treckol prepared for a decisive campaign against the Republicans.
THE DEFEAT OF THE REPUBLICANS AND THE CAPTURE OF ATLANTIS
Treckol forged a temporary alliance with Crechonni of Group "E" (Chalcr´eh I and Dravid´eh II), and in 624, while Crechonni assaulted the Republicans frontally along the river Dodolla, he turned their strategic flank across the Cresslepp into north Helvr´eh and Atlantid´eh. Cennatlantis was captured from the west by Treckol's army, and by 626 the whole of Atlantid´eh had been recaptured. After a pause for recuperation, Treckol persuaded Group "D" (Chalcr´eh II and Dravid´eh I) under General Buomil to join in active warfare against the Republicans. So he pushed on, advancing westwards along the northern flank of the Meilox mountains, and on to the Lillerunix hills. At the same time, Crechonni's slower armies forced the Republicans back by frontal attacks.In 627, Tuainnatlantis was invaded, and Treckol marched on west, with many skirmishes and small battles, to Yeldis. Treckol was determined to beat Crechonni to Atlantis city, and a race began now, narrowly won by Treckol's armies, under Ruthopheax's direct command, in 628. The Republican government and their armies collapsed in disarray, although a number of the leaders made good their escape to Yc´el Atlantis. This now remained the sole surviving Republican Province apart from the Southern Island, as General Yesteyu from Manralia conquered Republican Th. Thiss. in 627. In 629, Treckol was assassinated by an agent of Crechonni, who was furious at Treckol's forces beating him to Atlantis. Following this, Ruthopheax took control of his armies. So, the Imperialists had finally defeated the Republicans after a schism of 40 years; now the question was - would it be possible to reunite the Imperialist Provinces, and if so, who would become the Emperor of the reunited Empire?
For more details about Ruthopheax I's first campaign, go to Ruthopheax I's war against the Republicans
To read the next part of this history, click on (3) Louron Ruthopheax and the new world
Home Page (3) Louron Ruthopheax and the new world Ruthopheax I's war against the Republicans Ruthopheax I's wars against State E, 1- 631-633