Ruthopheax and the new world
THE NEW ORDER : A SEA-CHANGE IN THE ATLANTEAN WAY OF LIFE
The triumph of the Imperialists in 628 also entailed the triumph of Ruthopheax, and the whole way of life he represented. Before we look in more detail at the man, soon to be Emperor of one group of Imperialist Provinces, and later to conquer the whole Empire, we need to consider the way in which Atlantean life, philosophy and society was changing, because Ruthopheax did not just impose this transformation - he was also its embodiment.
The Revolution had by 610-615 already put paid to most of the old way of life within the areas that it controlled. In society, the upper class estates and liberal way of life had been broken up, and the class system abolished. The second Empire political system, with its Controllers, Provincial Governors, the Council and the whole long-established political career progression had vanished completely. In the arts, most traces of the Romantic style, including the great Total Works of Art, had been rubbed out, and elitist art had been forbidden. The only sort of art - painting or drama - which was tolerated was nationalist - art which glorified the State. The Official Religion was completely proscribed after 610, and for a while atheism was actively encouraged.
In Imperialist areas some of these traditional things lingered longer, but with the growing chaos, the pressure of the Republicans and the barbarians on the borders, and the collapse of a universally recognised Imperial figurehead, Court and governing elite, here too the beliefs and structure of the Second Empire became an empty husk, just waiting for some strong person to make them collapse completely, and perhaps fill them up with a totally new way of life and set of beliefs.
The triumph of the Imperialists in 628, and the enthronement of Ruthopheax in 629 produced this sea-change. He brought a new ordering of society, a new religion, and a new type of army to Atlantis, and over the next 20 years to the whole of the former Empire. But these were but the reflection of deeper transformations which had been working away in different parts of the Empire for many years already. Socially, Ruthopheax, his army and his officials came from the relatively rural and conservative Provinces of Yall. Thiss., Meistay´eh, Vulcan´eh and Razira, being often Sc. 3s in the old grading structure. They have become known as the "Squires", and as they conquered Province after Province, they took over or expropriated houses and estates from the old Sc1 and 2s, or from Republicans, and, as the governors of new Third Empire, forced their own way of life and beliefs on to the whole Empire. Of course Ruthopheax led the way and enabled this to happen, but in a way he was only a symbol of a whole social upheaval. The same is true in religion, where many of the new rulers belonged to the State Theist Church, and Ruthopheax enforced its beliefs on to all his subjects.
ART IN AN AGE OF UPHEAVAL
By 610-620, art was as moribund in the Imperialist areas as it had already become in the Republic. Romantic and elitist art had not been suppressed, as such, but rather had withered away. Nationalist art glorifying the regime had grown up, as in the Republic, and after 630, this was the only art encouraged by Ruthopheax in his gradually expanding dominions.
The period around 600 and after seemed to many of the older writers and artists one of increasing barbarism, in which all cultural pretensions had disappeared. Often they dared not express these feelings publicly, but sometimes their writings have been preserved. The hermetic composer Giestizzi, who, as mentioned above, was killed in 608 for not toeing the Republic's artistic line, expressed the feelings of many at this time, Republican and Imperialist, in his despairing words :
"Folg´ens tehe unturgaxa e detincethen denix tincix
snarteyu croullan anasil."
"The sun has set, and there are no stars sparkling in the cold night sky."
Of the various arts, music now lost its earlier predominant position, although raucous mass nationalist music remained in demand throughout this period. Painting became important for the first half of the seventh century, and large-scale depictions of great moments in the turbulent history of the era were produced in considerable number. One of the few important artists of this period was Millei Tuaingel (602 - 674), a painter who started off with works glorifying her local regime (which was Ruthopheax's after 640), but then developed into an expert depicter of quieter, more domestic scenes in a realistic style. With the demise of Total Works of Art and hermetic writings, literature was represented chiefly by simple and didactic dramas, teaching a straightforward and officially approved moral.
Finally, architecture. This had reverted to simplicity of design and functionalism under the Republic, using brick, covered in stucco or stone cladding. In Imperialist areas, and after 610 in the Republic, public and higher class buildings became increasingly militaristic, without any "fripperies", and built largely of stone - square, regular, forbidding and austere. Even domestic buildings were built in a simple, square style, often in the form of flats, equally four-square and unornamented.
LOURON RUTHOPHEAX - HIS EARLY LIFE, 598 - 629
The figure who dominates the whole era from 630 onwards; who was to crush the Republicans, reunite the Empire, and declare himself the first Emperor of the Third Empire; who would defeat all neighbouring hostile nations, and force through the most massive changes in Atlantis' social organisation and religious beliefs that had ever taken place; and was generally reckoned to be the greatest military genius in the whole history of Atlantis - this man was Louron Ruthopheax I, whose story we must now tell.
Louron was born in 598, the son of a country landowner in Meistay´eh. His uncle was an officer in the Imperialist armies, along with other members of his large family, His youth was spent on the farm and estate, and there was much contact with his parents' noble (Class 3) friends. This gave him his rural, upper middle-class background, but at the same time he was in continual contact with military affairs via his uncle, and military units were frequently near or billetted on the estate. All the time, too, war and rumours of war swirled around him, although his father's estate, situated in central Meistay´eh, was relatively untouched physically by war or invasion.
Despite his father's wishes, Louron soon showed a fascination for war, and he avidly followed his uncle's career as an Army commander. The latter was involved in defending Emperor Mesion against Norro and the Ughans' invasion of south Dravid´eh in 606. In the uncertain period from 606 to 615, other relations were caught up in plots and fighting against Meison, and many were killed or forced to flee the Province. In 611 General Proinen from Vulcania invaded Meistay´eh, and most Imperial forces went over to him. Louron's uncle followed suit and welcomed him, and in 614 he secured Louron a command in Proinen's army, his father having now resigned himself to Louron's choice of career. He died, in any case, a year later in 615.
Due to the family's ever closer relationship with Proinen (one of Louron's sisters later married one of Proinen's sons), Louron was encouraged and advanced in his career, and was soon taking part in the fighting against the Republicans in Helvr´eh. It was at this time that Louron's beloved uncle was killed in action against the Republicans on the same front. This fired Louron's personal hatred for the Republic, an antipathy which was already being strengthened by his personal espousal of social and religious views wholly opposite to those of the Republicans.
When Yesteyu invaded Manralia in 618, and subsequently declared Manralia independent under his control, Louron and a few others of his small unit bravely fought their way back to Proinen's forces in Yall. Thiss. In 621 Proinen was assassinated, it was Louron whose reactions were fast enough for him to chase and kill his assassin. this in itself made his successor, General Treckol, favourably disposed towards the young soldier, and when the decisive campaign against the Republicans began in 624, Louron was given command of an Army. He also made sure he was the commander of the force that attacked and captured Atlantis city in 628. Following the treacherous murder of Treckol in 629, Louron took over control of the Provinces and Armies formerly ruled by Treckol.
Ruthopheax had thus virtually extirpated Republicanism. The only remaining Republican areas were Yc´el Atlantis, which was taken over by those Republican leaders who escaped from Atlantis in 628, and the Southern Island, which remained staunchly Republican till reconquered as late as 650.
For a contemporary account of Ruthopheax in the 630s, click here: Ruthopheax I
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