OOC: This is a succinct summary of the history of the Ancient World.
According to most historians, the earliest civilization began on the banks of the River Had and River Sesh, in the center of what we would later call the known world. Each river fell from mountains and steep canyons down to a flat and well-watered delta. It would be the middle stretches of each – the meandering bends of either river, that saw the first cities arise, taking root near where people had first domesticated crops and animals.
The principal peoples to rise here would be the Seshweay and Arkage along the Sesh, and the Hu'ut near the mouth of the Had. By the time of the earliest records, the Seshweay and Arkage already struggled for dominance over the River Sesh, each fighting desperately to eject the other from the delta; neither quite succeeding for hundreds of years. The Hu'ut, by contrast, never even hoped to dominate all the Had, instead focusing on the problematic Farou, a state of escaped slaves to their north.
Other peoples had already begun their ascent as well – the seafaring Trilui on the coast near the Farou, the merchantile Opulensi and religiously devout Arta Xorti on the eastern islands, and Krato and Thearak across the southern mountains (already called the “Kotthorns”).
Far to the west, cities rose somewhat later, relying mostly on a staple crop of maize. Aeda, Tiagho and Dula were the greatest of these, with the first being the most impressive by far, already starting to conquer an empire across the western plain.
As the age of bronze and early empires wore on, things got much larger – and more complex.
The Seshweay and Arkage conflict never really resolved in a satisfactory way, for both peoples came under a sudden invasion by steppe peoples. After a series of conflicts, a general known as Te'esh united the various peoples of the Sesh into the Empire of the Sesh, the largest empire the world had seen to that point. Rivalries immediately developed with the second and third largest empires – the Empire of the Trilui, who had expanded from their humble origins to dominate the seas, and the Hu'ut Empire, which nearly united the Had under its rule.
Krato and Thearak had become locked in a series of wars of their own, which more or less completely isolated them from the rest of the world – passage over the mountains was difficult enough, and their wars meant they had little interest in northern affairs. Meanwhile, the sea route around the Nakalani had become nearly impassible, given the three-way rivalry rising between the Opulensi, Trilui, and southern Hamakua.
Northern states like Gallat and Ferman started to grow as well, though they were largely ignored by the main branches of civilization. Still unknown, too, were the western states, of which Tiagho had started to rise to prominence with a significant empire nearly uniting their river valley.
The three great empires of the cradle would each nearly collapse in a devastating series of cycles that marked the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the exclusive use of iron. The Empire of the Sesh fell completely, being reunited by an Arkage warlord later, but never recovering its former glory. The Hu'ut managed to survive, if only in truncated form – only the Trilui really emerged with their imperial system intact and growing, subduing the Hamakua as they went.
In the west, Aeda nearly managed to unite the entire valley under a single state, though it fell quite short – possibly as part of the same turmoil that struck the eastern civilizations.
The Trilui had ascended to to the point where they could conceivably have been called a world-empire. Allied with Seshweay exiles and the Farou, they destroyed the remnants of the Empire of the Sesh and the Hu'ut Empire, respectively. Alas, even as it seemed like the cradle of civilization was on the brink of peace, a new threat emerged – an invasion of the steppe people known as the Satar . Under their Redeemers Arastephas and Atraxes, they conquered the Sesh and united it under the rule, and pushed southwards before retreating once more.
This very same southward push halted the rise of the Empire of Krato, which had only just subdued its longtime rival in Thearak. The Satar invasion devastated the agricultural heartland of the country, and though it would partly recover, it never again came as close to hegemony as it had here.
The north saw the rise of new powers, the Evyni Empire and the Ming. Conquering many of their rivals with an extremely efficient, organized military, the Evyni would soon come to threaten even the established powers of Gallat and Ferman. The Ming, on the other hand, remained largely disunited, though legend has it that they had once been part of a single, enormous empire, still unknown to modern historians.
Even today, historians are caught off-guard by the rise of the Tollanaugh Empire. After thousands of years of disunity, it seemed as though the western cradle of civilization would never see the same splendor as the east. A dynasty out of the far western shorelands, the Tollanaugh swept over the armies of Aeda, easily conquered Tiagho, and reigned unchallenged in the west for nearly a century, more powerful, perhaps, than any other state in the entire world, known or unknown.
As their ascent had come at the expense of many of the great powers in the cradle, the Satar quickly amassed a whole host of enemies. These states would ally against the Satar in what would later be called the War of the Crimson Elephant, easily the largest war the world had seen up to that point, ending in the defeat of the Satar by the coalition, commanded by the Emperor First-Gaci. The war would have dozens of major consequences – the fall of the Trilui, the descent of Krato into civil war, the rise of the Holy Moti Empire, the destruction of the first Satar Exatai and the rise of Acca, and the founding of the Kothari Exatai being only the most important of these.
Generally speaking, the War of the Crimson Elephant can be considered the end point of the ancient era, and the beginning of the The Classical Age.
At the same time, numerous events came to a climax elsewhere in the world. The Opulensi would finally be united by a certain King Charitas I, who became their first Emperor. In the north, Ferman would finally be destroyed by Gallat, while the Evyni Empire crushed the northern Ming states, incorporating them into their growing realm. The Gallatene faith of Maninism would be exported southwards, where the nomadic peoples would be united by the Roshate of Sira.
Of course, the most incredible development would surely be the rise of the Dulama Empire. The Tollanaugh had reigned for scarcely any time at all before they would attempt to bring down the Dulama, a comparatively compact state in the mountains near the east of their cradle. The Dulama, under their Emperor Cairl I, put the Tollanaugh to flight in a series of titanic battles, crushing the western state, and soon conquering the entire thing and putting it under their own rule. The Dulama would rapidly expand in all directions, coming to the borders of the Moti and Krato in the far east, and bringing the two cradles in direct contact for the first time.
OOC: For a continuation, go to The Classical Age.