Alphatia: Why the Known World?

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Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:03 pm

Going over Mystaran history, and I got to wondering what was Alphatia's interest in the region originally? Specifically:

1) We are told they decide to target Thyatis for conquest c.200 BC because the Thyatians preyed on their sea trade and eventually became a great burden to their economy, but why? Who were the Alphatians trading with in the Known World region that was so important an economic partner at that time? Or were the Thyatians really roaming so far asea as to reach the Isle of Dawn and parts further east?

Surely there were pirates closer to Alphatian shores that would have been a lot more pertinent- the Minaean coast, for instance, which is a hotbed of piracy even in modern times. Yet the Alphatians haven't attempted to conquer them seemingly. Or the Northern Reaches, particularly Ostland, who are noted as being at the height of their raiding on Thyatian and Alphatian shipping around 400 AC. Why not conquer and pacify those pirate barbarians as well?

As best I can imagine on my own, the Thyatians were probably plaguing Ochalean sea lanes, which may have prompted Alphatian action for some reason (not sure what Ochalea has to offer, though; it's agriculturally unproductive. Maybe they were robbing grain shipments from Bellissaria and thus threatening the still somewhat young Ochalean colonies?) Perhaps Alphatians were getting slaves from some Known World regions, and Thyatian piracy was interfering with that?

2) Why did Alphatia decide to settle Ylaruam c. 250 AC? Gaz2 says that it was economically very lucrative for them. They also settle Minrothad, but they seem to bypass a lot of other areas that might be just as viable- Traladara, the Shires, Darokin, the Northern Reaches. Why would they settle on Ylaruam of all places?

(Side note to 2: I wonder what Barimoor thought of all that. He came to Ylaruam to get away from the Alphatians; he couldn't have been happy they decided to colonize overhead. Maybe that's when he first moved operations underground? Also, I wonder if he secretly- or perhaps openly- supported Al-Kalim in his efforts to oust the Alphatians?)
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by cab » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:52 pm

I'd bet that Alphatia had trading links all along the Known World coast and beyond to the Serpent Peninsula and the Savage Cost; if you control the West side of the Isle of Dawn you might expect to be trading with all of those nations. Thyatis is a great place to prey on all of that trade from.

Minrothad then becomes a great place for provisioning, watering, and basing further trading outposts; its islands, so it intrinsically more defensible for a naval power than, say, Traldara would be. So that makes sense, its rather like the British taking and keeping Malta or Gibraltar (and at times even the Balearics) in the Med., it makes strategic and commercial sense.

The real mystery is Ylarum. Its not obvious why the Alphatians moved in there, but then again the Alphatians are not an obvious people. Could be as simple as a cabal of mages wanting their own space.

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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:46 am

cab wrote:I'd bet that Alphatia had trading links all along the Known World coast and beyond to the Serpent Peninsula and the Savage Cost; if you control the West side of the Isle of Dawn you might expect to be trading with all of those nations. Thyatis is a great place to prey on all of that trade from.
All of that seems a little far afield, though, particularly for a nation that (at the time in question, c. 200 BC) gets thwomped by Thyatis because its naval fleet is somewhat pitiful. If it doesn't have a very good navy, I can't imagine they're venturing too far abroad with their merchant fleets, for the very reason they seem to have a mad on for Thyatis- they can't really protect valuable transport over that great a distance.

Not to mention, that (again for the 200 BC era timeframe) there's a real question of who are they trading with? Prior to 500 BC, one might argue that they were engaging in trade with the Nithians (though I'd argue that the greatest extent of that trade would be through/with Thothia, rather than trying to circumnavigate northwards or southwards around the IoD to reach Nithia proper). After that, though, there really aren't any notable nations worth trading with. By my count, all we've got are:

1) Northern Reaches (weak, badly organized, loosely affiliated tribes; any seafarers at the time are probably mostly viking-style raiders)- this pretty much includes Heldann and Norwold.
2) Ylaruam (very loosely affiliated nomadic tribes, greatly weakened by the fall of Nithia. Coastal settlements not very likely to have much seafaring merchant activity; probably just fishermen and the like. Gaz2 doesn't even have them with settlements before AC 0, which I find a little odd.)
3) Thyatis (increasingly warlike and progressively organized tribes and/or city-states. Engaging in high seas piracy more than merchant trading.)
4) Minrothad (Verdier and Meditor elves live in the eastern islands, but seem largely isolationist; Minroth humans inhabit Trader's Isle, but are probably still recovering from the loss of memory associated with Nithia. Meditor elves probably engage in overseas exploration and trade, by nature.)
5) Ierendi (Makai islanders; fishermen, pearl divers, etc. Tribal and not known for their seafaring.)
6) Karameikos (Still in their Dark Age Traladara period; the days of the seafaring Traldar pirates are long past, though some coastal settlements probably engage in overseas trade.)
7) Five Shires (halflings said to begin naval trade with coastal nations as of AC 0, but I'd say that's mainly for the same reasons I don't see much Alphatian activity here- no one to really trade with. The Shires at this point are the most likely nation next to Minrothad to actually have any sort of overseas trade activity going on.)
8) Yavdlom (People of Yav likely still in the process of reclaiming their island after their re-emigration in 400 BC)
9) Atruaghin (settled by the Turtle Clan, probably not much trade going on)
10) Sind (The big families that unite the lands won't be around for another several centuries; these lands are primarily still tribal)

So, at least as of 200 BC, there really isn't much for the Alphatians to want over in this region, much less further abroad. Going by Haldemar's adventures in VotPA, they weren't even much aware of the nations of the Savage Coast before 1000 AC.

After 250 AC, when Alphatia begins settling in Minrothad and Ylaruam, I can see where they might have more interest in the region, and your reasoning for them colonizing the Isles is a sound one (still stuck on the desert, though.)

Come to think of it, I guess Ylaruam would be a good place to plant settlements because the land was thinly populated and not well-organized enough to put up a fight (as opposed to Thyatis and possibly the Northern Reaches), and would be a good central location from which to stage trade vessels going between the Known World and Alphatia (via the Isle of Dawn, and thus avoiding the treacherous northern and southern routes).
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by CmdrCorsiken » Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:46 am

cab wrote:The real mystery is Ylarum. Its not obvious why the Alphatians moved in there, but then again the Alphatians are not an obvious people. Could be as simple as a cabal of mages wanting their own space.
Perhaps, having dealt with the Thothians, the Alphatian mages had guessed at what might have happened to the Thothian's mother culture (Nithia). They might have been scouting and snooping around the Alassyan desert for clues that might lead to access to ancient Nithian knowledge or artifacts.
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by cab » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:41 am

Cthulhudrew wrote: All of that seems a little far afield, though, particularly for a nation that (at the time in question, c. 200 BC) gets thwomped by Thyatis because its naval fleet is somewhat pitiful. If it doesn't have a very good navy, I can't imagine they're venturing too far abroad with their merchant fleets, for the very reason they seem to have a mad on for Thyatis- they can't really protect valuable transport over that great a distance.
Think of the Royal Navy in the mid to late Victorian era. There were old timers around who provided living links to Nelson, Cochrane and Collingwood. They had effectively won the first global war by strangling the life out of France and occasionall Spain (once or twice Denmark too, just for a bit of a change). And they had, since that point, stagnated. Technical improvements in ship design at the end of the 19th century almost left them behind, leading to one one of the most insane arms races the world has ever seen as in the run up to the first world war Britain and Germany started building dreadnoughts; it isn't a huge exageration to say that the British economy became more or less focussed on that very task to avert the risk of falling behind.

I would suggest that this is what happened to Alphatia; they had beaten all before them, they had nothing but barbarians on their fringes, and they stagnated. The 'barbarians' got smart, and they got tough. Alphatia hadn't needed to rebuild a great navy to reduce losses due to pirates down to acceptable levels, all they had to do was go and punish some barbarians and try to civilise them. Heck, thats rather reminiscent of elements of British imperialism too...

As for the distances covered, its not THAT far along the Known World coast out to the Serpent Peninsula. Windjammers have travelled a heck of a lot further in the real world for a very long time indeed, and thats without an empire full of mages giving them advantages over the elements.
Not to mention, that (again for the 200 BC era timeframe) there's a real question of who are they trading with?
You're thinking in terms of nation trading with nation, and its not necessarily like that. We get traded goods in the British Isles that have travelled vast distances way before any of the modern nations we recognise were organised. Alphatia was civilised for a very long time, and it has had an insatiable desire for curiosities, strange creatures, strange spices, precious metals, gems, incense, oils, dyes, slaves, etc. for an extremely long time (since well before Alphatians came to Mystara). You're not necessarily looking at organised nations they're dealing with, you're probably looking at trading ports at various points along the coast. One may almost imagine this as being like a nautical 'silk road'.

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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Zendrolion » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:11 am

Interesting topic, Andrew. :)
Here are my thoughts about the whole subject:
Cthulhudrew wrote:1) We are told they decide to target Thyatis for conquest c.200 BC because the Thyatians preyed on their sea trade and eventually became a great burden to their economy, but why? Who were the Alphatians trading with in the Known World region that was so important an economic partner at that time? Or were the Thyatians really roaming so far asea as to reach the Isle of Dawn and parts further east?
Alphatian sea trade routes in the 3rd century BC could venture to the Makai islands (modern Ierendi), Sind, and the Serpent Peninsula; perhaps they coveted some of the commodities produced in those lands (Yavdlom's cocoa?) which Alphatia didn't had. Even Traladara could have been a valuable trading partner, considering the amount of precious metals that gets mined from the Altan Tepes Mountains.

I also think that the Thyatians could have raided Ochalean and Pearl Islander trade routes, in particular if you like to have the trading empires of Vacros and Cathos (from MS1) located in the southern seas area - accordingly to LoZompatore's late theory.

Whatever the case, I see Thyatians taking advantage of the weak Alphatian dominion on the Isle of Dawn's western shores, mostly in Redstone, Septentriona, and West Portage/Kendach area. I'd not exclude also attempts by the Thyatian city-states of that time (or by the Thyatian league of city-states, if you go with Ruhland's Thyatian history) to estabilish permanent holdings on those coastal areas, in order to control and exploit them better. Here I'm thinking about something like the Roman Republic's control over the provinces of Asia, Africa, and Sicily, not about a proper colonization of those lands (like the one the Roman Empire later staged in Dacia or Britannia).
Cthulhudrew wrote:Surely there were pirates closer to Alphatian shores that would have been a lot more pertinent- the Minaean coast, for instance, which is a hotbed of piracy even in modern times. Yet the Alphatians haven't attempted to conquer them seemingly. Or the Northern Reaches, particularly Ostland, who are noted as being at the height of their raiding on Thyatian and Alphatian shipping around 400 AC. Why not conquer and pacify those pirate barbarians as well?
The Minaeans probably didn't pose a sizeable threat to Alphatia until very modern times, while Ostland pirates likely proved too hard to subdue from AC 400 on, considering the relative lack of Alphatian seafaring skill, and the proximity of the Thyatian Empire to Northern Reach waters. Moreover, in regards to Ostland piracy, I see each of the two empires, tired after decades of intermittent war, hiring the Northmen as mercenaries against the rival; this could explain why the Ostland jarls continued to stay independent despite the success of their pirate activities.

Apart from this, I think the main reason why did the Alphatian decide to submit the Thyatians at the beginning of th 2nd century BC were gold in the Altan Tepes, which they saw was mostly unexploited by the Thyatians, and slaves. Remember that Kerothar IV needed both during his reign.
Cthulhudrew wrote:2) Why did Alphatia decide to settle Ylaruam c. 250 AC? Gaz2 says that it was economically very lucrative for them. They also settle Minrothad, but they seem to bypass a lot of other areas that might be just as viable- Traladara, the Shires, Darokin, the Northern Reaches. Why would they settle on Ylaruam of all places?
I tend to see New Alphatia on Trader's Island settled by an Alphatian sect or a group of outcasts. I can't imagine the Thyatian Empire - which at that time was at its height - allowing a colonization attempt on lands at its back by the Alphatian Empire. The colonists of New Alphatia could have been losers in an Alphatian civil war, or someone like that; likely they asked permission from Thyatis to settle there, otherwise the Thyatians would have destroyed their settlements in a short time.

Regarding the Alphatian colonization of Ylaruam, I think it could only have been possible if the Alphatians held the northern lands of the Isle of Dawn, and if they had got the alliance of Ostlander clans. In the history of Thyatis I've written, I had the Thyatians control the Ostlander clans until about AC 220 and estabilishing a sort of protectorate over them, then I had the clans switching their alliance to Alphatia; this fact could have allowed the Alphatians to get the upper hand in the northern Western Sea of Dawn, opening the route to Ylaruam.

As to why did the Alphatians chose to take northern Ylaruam, I like very much your own ideas about Barimoor. The whole colonization attempt could have been arranged by a "young" Barimoor as a first step on his road to Immortality; he would have then used the coverage offered by official Alphatian colonization to follow his own agendas, and at last would have stirred up the rebellion of al-Kalim against both empires to oust both of them from "his" land. And now (by AC 1000) he's readying for the final stage of his path to Immortality.
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Seer of Yhog » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:10 pm

Definitely an interesting question, and one I've pondered, on and off.

I would agree on the idea of the Alphatians trading for raw commodities with local tribes and whatnot, rather than civilised nations. If you can trade for something you want, rather than go to war for it, why not? Plus, peaceful trade lets the mages continue their work on their estates, while ensuring that rare magical ingredients keep flowing in. Wars are messy, after all, and often involve the emperor/empress asking them to contribute resources, and (god forbid) leave their estates. And there's the small matter of commoner soldiers getting killed in droves, which means fewer servants around the house afterwards. Payroll costs go down, but you have to hire more of them later on (you can't trust slaves with everything). Bloody inconvenient. Inconsiderate, too. *sniffs disdainfully*
zendrolion wrote:I tend to see New Alphatia on Trader's Island settled by an Alphatian sect or a group of outcasts. I can't imagine the Thyatian Empire - which at that time was at its height - allowing a colonization attempt on lands at its back by the Alphatian Empire. The colonists of New Alphatia could have been losers in an Alphatian civil war, or someone like that; likely they asked permission from Thyatis to settle there, otherwise the Thyatians would have destroyed their settlements in a short time.
I agree, and if you were to use my ideas surrounding the fallen realm of Argonath (the Other Kingdom we don't speak about any more), then you have the perfect group to settle on Trader's Isle. By AY 1200 (200 AC) Argonath had fallen, and only a couple of rump states remained. No doubt, many people would have wanted to flee elsewhere, and rebuild. They would definitely qualify as losers in a civil war. Thyatis, for its part, would have granted them passage in exchange for some of their magical knowledge, which the Argonathians would happily have done if it meant settling in a place far away from their kin. Some would probably have settled on the western Isle of Dawn and other parts of the empire as well, and would have been absorbed within a couple of generations.

My thoughts on colonising Ylaruam are mainly that the Alphatians would want a foothold on the continent to keep watch on Thyatis, and a place where they can trade with Ylari tribes (who still produce things the Alphers want). Plus, there are those strange (Nithian/whatever) ruins scattered around the place that are so fascinating. Pillaging ruins is a time-honoured tradition.
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:59 pm

Zendrolion wrote:As to why did the Alphatians chose to take northern Ylaruam, I like very much your own ideas about Barimoor. The whole colonization attempt could have been arranged by a "young" Barimoor as a first step on his road to Immortality; he would have then used the coverage offered by official Alphatian colonization to follow his own agendas, and at last would have stirred up the rebellion of al-Kalim against both empires to oust both of them from "his" land. And now (by AC 1000) he's readying for the final stage of his path to Immortality.
That's a really interesting idea about Barimoor being the catalyst behind the colonization of Ylaruam. Gaz2 says that he came to the Ylari colony right around that time (c. 8 centuries ago, right around when it was being settled), so it could work. I like it.
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by dfryer36 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:47 pm

I think that the answer lies in the reasons against them having relations in the Known World. Yes the Known World is broken and filled with "barbarians" at this time, which is precisely why Alphatia decides to take an interest in it. Consider our own really world history for a moment, once North America is discovered everyone wants a stake in it. This is not in spite of the primitive and "barbaric" nature of the land and it's inhabitants but because of it.

Alphatia is looking for space and resources. Now, you could go to war with your neighbors and try conquering them, but they are in the same boat you are resourcewise and so that doesn't help you at all. However over on the other side of you is a land filled with uncultured heathans who don't even know how to use their land properly. You can get what you need while bringing civilization to the "savages" and best of all you have a few almost insignificant pirates raiding your shipping fleets from that region with which you can sell the war to the folks back home.

To me Alphatia's motives work best when you think of it from an imperialist standpoint. For example, consider the Spanish-American War. Was Spain a really threat at that time to the United States? The short answer is no, but the moement the Maine blew up in Havana harbor because of a faulty boiler, hawkish politicians and their will accomplises in the press turned Spain in to the biggest threat to American freedom since the British invaded in 1812. Never mind that in 1812 the British were responding to the U.S. invasion of Canada. Really what we are seeing with the Alphatia/Thyatis conflict is the result of imperial ambition combined with really good propeganda.
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Planefarer » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:14 pm

One thing to bear in mind in a topic like this is that we actually know fairly little of Alphatia's history as an empire on Mystara.

For example, Aasla originally found a city named after herself, while Citadel was founded elsewhere, and Ar went north to create his floating islands shortly after Landfall. But that just leaves them cities or communities. We have no idea when Alphatia became an empire of fairly autonomous kingdoms, although it must have been before the elves of Shiye-Lawr were given autonomy in BC 500.

And there are many other questions like that. Why was the Haven wall built? Randel is said to be somewhat hostile and warlike, which explains its borders to Bettellyn, Theranderol and Eadrin, but we know of no hostility between Haven and Vertiloch.

And who founded Stonewall? We have no idea. We know the city of Draco was founded by an adventurer, but that was not King Koblan Dracodon (he's not old enough). And that speaks only to the city. When did it become a kingdom and under what circumstances? It would seem to me to take rather a lot for the Grand Council to accept a kingdom like Stonewall to exist in the empire, so I'd think the reason must be interesting. But we don't know.

By the same token, we also know fairly little about the details of the Alphatian conquests of the Esterhold Peninsula.

My point with all this is that just on Mystara, Alphatia has a history spanning 2000 years, which is described almost exclusively in DotE. Thyatis is described indirectly in sources like Gaz1, but Alphatia is almost always that "older and more alien empire than Thyatis" with very little other description in many sources. Alphatia is both large and old, and yet it gets no more exposure in DotE than Thyatis did. This leaves an awful lot of Alphatian history unexplained, such as in the examples above. Heck, we didn't even know the names of the kingdoms on Bellissaria until PWA1 was published.

So looking at the original post, I have to question whether Alphatia even has a special interest in the Known World region on eastern Brun at all. Do we actually know that Alphatia had particular interests on Brun?

We might suspect so from their conquests of Thyatis and Ylaruam (and later Norwold), but then the Alphatians also conquered the Esterhold Peninsula and other regions. Remember that the gazetteers generally has a focus on the Known World region of eastern Brun, so I don't find it so surprising that a large gazetteer on both empires focuses mainly on their relationships with the nations already described in the gazetteer series. After all, if DotE had to go into the question of Alphatia's relationships and past history with various nations or communities along the Minaean Coast or the Bay of Thorin, then it would require descriptions of those nations as well. Esterhold probably gets some description only because Alphatia has colonies there. Though Alphatia has conquered the Esterhold Peninsula, we actually knew very little about the Jennite tribes until PWA2 was published.

So who's to say the Alphatians never conquered other parts of Skothar? Maybe they did and were then pushed out as they were from Thyatis and Ylaruam. Or maybe they just appointed such terribly bad local rulers that they lost the colonies. Or maybe the problems with Minaean pirates was never so large that Alphatia felt it had to conquer the place to stop it, as they did with Thyatis.

Besides, Thyatis was an emerging power. We don't know that any of Alphatia's other neighbours ever grew that powerful. Conquering Ylaruam may also have been a step toward fighting Thyatis, at the time a rising and rivaling empire. Or perhaps conquering Ylaruam gave them control of the waters to Norwold, cutting off Thaytian trade in the region, so that the Alphatians would have Norwold to themselves.
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Seer of Yhog » Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:39 am

Planefarer wrote:Why was the Haven wall built? Randel is said to be somewhat hostile and warlike, which explains its borders to Bettellyn, Theranderol and Eadrin, but we know of no hostility between Haven and Vertiloch.
I'll make an educated guess - Queen Aasla founded Haven on aesthetic and artistic principles (and I know that's written down somewhere...), and that philosophy has been upheld for centuries. If Haven became a kingdom of beauty, then it would make sense to me to wall it off from the ugly politics of Sundsvall. The Shiye elves are no problem, and they serve as a barrier with Blackheart, too. The Kerothar Mountains form another formidable barrier, so when you look at it, it's pretty easy to isolate Haven from the rest of the continent.
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Zendrolion » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:52 am

dfryer36 wrote:I think that the answer lies in the reasons against them having relations in the Known World. Yes the Known World is broken and filled with "barbarians" at this time, which is precisely why Alphatia decides to take an interest in it. Consider our own really world history for a moment, once North America is discovered everyone wants a stake in it. This is not in spite of the primitive and "barbaric" nature of the land and it's inhabitants but because of it.
Well dfryer, actually North America wasn't indeed coveted for the barbarism of its inhabitants. From an European point of view, Africa was quite barbarian from the beginning, but European powers didn't take a special interest in it until the very end of the 19th century (apart from trading posts on its coasts, I mean).
The first English advances in North America were animated by the hope to find riches and gold, as the Spaniards did in South and Central America, and most of all by the search of the "Northwest Passage" to bypass America and reach Asia from the West through a different route than those of the Spanish (from Magellan's Strait) and Portuguese empires (via circumnavigation of Africa).
Only once those motivations were over (there was never much gold in North America, neither an available Northwest Passage) the English (and later other powers, like the French or the Dutch) began to use their tiny lands along North America's coast to trade with natives, and to grow profitable plants (like tobacco).

Then again one has to consider the type of settlement the English did at first - they were trading stations, mostly; unlike the Spanish colonies the South America, they were not planned to be immigration colonies. They indeed become ones (at least those in modern US) once religious and economic immigration (largely unsanctioned by the English crown) from England took hundreds of would-be colonists and pioneers in places such as Maryland, Pennsylvania, and so on.

All that is to say that I don't think the English colonial empire is a proper term of comparison for the Alphatian Empire. In this fashion, the "Spanish" attitude toward conquest and exploitment of the land seems more fitting. In the ancient world, instead, I can see similarities between the predatory attitudes of the late Roman Republic (say 2nd and 1st centuries BC) and those of the Alphatian Empire.
dfryer36 wrote:Alphatia is looking for space and resources. Now, you could go to war with your neighbors and try conquering them, but they are in the same boat you are resourcewise and so that doesn't help you at all. However over on the other side of you is a land filled with uncultured heathans who don't even know how to use their land properly. You can get what you need while bringing civilization to the "savages" and best of all you have a few almost insignificant pirates raiding your shipping fleets from that region with which you can sell the war to the folks back home.
You're right from a general point of view, but note that the Alphatians had conquered almost all the Alphatian Sea lands (Alphatia proper, Bellissaria, Esterhold, the Isle of Dawn, even Ochalea and the Pearl Islands, and likely the Alatians) when they decided to add Thyatis to their empire. They're not jumping over seas and countries to reach Thyatis, they're slowly expanding the empire in a place already bordering their own lands or seas.
dfryer36 wrote:To me Alphatia's motives work best when you think of it from an imperialist standpoint. For example, consider the Spanish-American War.
Of course, but we should not confuse late 19th-20th century imperialism with general "empire building" which has happened in every age of history. The former was in fact fueled only partly by economic needs - many nations were animated by the wish to take part in the "rush for colonies" only for political reasons (i.e. you were not considered a great power unless you had some colonies). Moreover, in my opinion things belonging to modern mass society such as propaganda, public opinion, etc. should not be taken into account when talking about a premodern society (at best) like Alphatia.

One useful term of comparison of the conquest of Thyatis by Alphatia from the real world could instead be the Persian Wars between Hellenic city-states and the Persian Empire, back in the 5th century BC; imagine what could have happened if the Persians (that is, the RW-Alphatians) had won. ;)
Planefarer wrote:Besides, Thyatis was an emerging power. We don't know that any of Alphatia's other neighbours ever grew that powerful. Conquering Ylaruam may also have been a step toward fighting Thyatis, at the time a rising and rivaling empire. Or perhaps conquering Ylaruam gave them control of the waters to Norwold, cutting off Thaytian trade in the region, so that the Alphatians would have Norwold to themselves.
The point is: how they could conquer northern Ylaruam if the western side of the Isle of Dawn was in Thyatian hands, and the clans of Ostland were ferocious pirates that likely would have not allowed Alphatian warships into their waters?
I gave a possible explanation of this in one of my previous posts; other are certainly possible (like the use of skyship to get there).
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:28 am

Planefarer wrote:And there are many other questions like that. Why was the Haven wall built?
DotE states that Aasla founded Haven so that her followers- the "common" Alphatians- would have a land where they weren't discriminated against by the "pure" Alphatians such as Emperor Kerothar and his lackeys. Stands to reason that Kerothar may not have been a big fan of that, and conflicts would arise as a result, possibly leading to the wall.
So looking at the original post, I have to question whether Alphatia even has a special interest in the Known World region on eastern Brun at all. Do we actually know that Alphatia had particular interests on Brun?
I get your point, and it's true that much of Alphatian history isn't known or developed (even that which is known isn't particularly deep), but that's more or less the point of the OP- to try and come up with some ideas as to why Alphatia did show an interest in Brun (which is an undisputed fact- they have a long history of involvement there).

Going back to original sources, I note that DotE (in the Alphatia guide) says they became interested in Thyatis as being a very gold rich reason, among other reasons. So that's another thing we can add to the list, I guess.
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Zendrolion » Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:25 am

Cthulhudrew wrote:Going back to original sources, I note that DotE (in the Alphatia guide) says they became interested in Thyatis as being a very gold rich reason, among other reasons. So that's another thing we can add to the list, I guess.
From which we can likely deduce that the rest of the Alphatian Empire at that time (Alphatia, Bellissaria, etc.) wasn't rich in gold deposits, at least.
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Planefarer » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:42 pm

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Planefarer wrote:And there are many other questions like that. Why was the Haven wall built?
DotE states that Aasla founded Haven so that her followers- the "common" Alphatians- would have a land where they weren't discriminated against by the "pure" Alphatians such as Emperor Kerothar and his lackeys. Stands to reason that Kerothar may not have been a big fan of that, and conflicts would arise as a result, possibly leading to the wall.
Actually, to split hairs again and assuming I remember correctly, Aasla is said to have founded only the city of Aasla upon Landfall, because she didn't like the pro "pure" Alphatian sentiments of Emperor Kerothar I much. She founded the city, but the founding of the nation of Haven actually isn't mentioned anywhere in DotE and not in PWA1, IIRC.
Cthulhudrew wrote:
So looking at the original post, I have to question whether Alphatia even has a special interest in the Known World region on eastern Brun at all. Do we actually know that Alphatia had particular interests on Brun?
I get your point, and it's true that much of Alphatian history isn't known or developed (even that which is known isn't particularly deep), but that's more or less the point of the OP- to try and come up with some ideas as to why Alphatia did show an interest in Brun (which is an undisputed fact- they have a long history of involvement there).
I tend to think keeping the rising power of Thyatis in check and perhaps limiting their influence might be a major factor. But that's just a theory.
Cthulhudrew wrote:Going back to original sources, I note that DotE (in the Alphatia guide) says they became interested in Thyatis as being a very gold rich reason, among other reasons. So that's another thing we can add to the list, I guess.
Actually, that's a good point. Alphatia may have invaded Thyatis for this or other reasons many times and presumably failed. After all, we know fairly little about the power struggles among the two empires between Thyatis' founding and the "Spike Assault" war in AC 959. DotE just says they've clashed many times, but the details are very sparse, except where they have influenced other areas such as Norwold.
Zendrolion wrote:From which we can likely deduce that the rest of the Alphatian Empire at that time (Alphatia, Bellissaria, etc.) wasn't rich in gold deposits, at least.
And which might incidentally explain the reasons for the Alphatians' conquest of the Esterhold Peninsula too.
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:25 pm

Planefarer wrote:Actually, to split hairs again and assuming I remember correctly, Aasla is said to have founded only the city of Aasla upon Landfall, because she didn't like the pro "pure" Alphatian sentiments of Emperor Kerothar I much. She founded the city, but the founding of the nation of Haven actually isn't mentioned anywhere in DotE and not in PWA1, IIRC.
She did both. DotE book one mentions this (under the Haven entry).
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Planefarer » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:16 am

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Planefarer wrote:Actually, to split hairs again and assuming I remember correctly, Aasla is said to have founded only the city of Aasla upon Landfall, because she didn't like the pro "pure" Alphatian sentiments of Emperor Kerothar I much. She founded the city, but the founding of the nation of Haven actually isn't mentioned anywhere in DotE and not in PWA1, IIRC.
She did both. DotE book one mentions this (under the Haven entry).
I was fairly certain she was only ever associated just with the city, but you're right.

DotE, book I, p. 45 clearly says:

The Immortal Alphatia lived her human life under the name of Aasla - founder of this nation and city - and so she has special interest in the doings of Aasla and Haven.

Thanks for pointing that out. I've been wondering about when the Alphatian Empire formed its structure of autonomous kingdoms, and the only real proof I could find was that it had to be before BC 500, when the elves Shiye-Lawr had their autonomy confirmed. But since Aasla/Alphatia was the founder of Haven, and we know (from WotI, book I, p.15) that she achieved Immortality and disappeared after about 200 years, clearly Haven was a kingdom by then. Which means the practice of kingdoms was established by that time.
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:00 am

This thread has gotten me back to reviewing and thinking about expanding on Alphatian history... yet another project I'd like to do. I need to start completing some things first. :P
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Re: Alphatia: Why the Known World?

Post by Gecko » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:04 am

Planefarer wrote:Actually, that's a good point. Alphatia may have invaded Thyatis for this or other reasons many times and presumably failed. After all, we know fairly little about the power struggles among the two empires between Thyatis' founding and the "Spike Assault" war in AC 959. DotE just says they've clashed many times, but the details are very sparse, except where they have influenced other areas such as Norwold.
That remind me, at one point I had started to try to compile a list off all the wars Alphatia & Thyatis fought and I was going to post it here to see if I was missing any "hot" wars, but I never did finish the list. Let me see if I can find what I had. (searching HD).... yup, I still got that file:
  • BC 2-0: Struggle for Freedom against the Alphatian Empire.
  • 69-73: severe Border skirmishes (or 68-85?), but is it a declared war?
  • 130-136
  • shortly after Stefan I came to throne (180)
  • during reign of Tiberian I (220-223)
  • during reign of Marcian I (256-287)
  • during reign of Alexian II (287-313)
  • 316-328
  • 343-365
  • early in reign of Tiberius II Kerdolion (367-386)
  • Bogland revolt during Gabrionus reign (386-412) (possibly not a declared War?)
  • 497-509
  • 517?-543
  • when was the Alphatian air attack against Fabia? Retebius Air Corps elevated to Retebius Air Fleet by Wien Dien-Ling in recognition of its role in repelling that attack - and his reign was 567-574 so was that refering back to the last war or was there another?
  • 586-606
  • 637-640 East Portage revolts against Alphatia
  • 697-704 (or started 698 with the attack on Kendach?)
  • during 713-728 timeframe alphatian sea pressure (declared war or not?)
  • 728-730 Alphatian "final offensive" against Thyatian Alasiyan colonies
  • 758-760 Annius defeats Alphatian strike force's and raids (but is this a brief declared war?)
  • 773-c. 780 Thyatis looses significant territory on the Isle of Dawn
  • fighting in reign of Alexandrion II (783-795) or is this the same war as above?
  • during reign of Alexius Penhaligon (795-797) general Giovanni Porpora is sent to recapture Isle of Dawn territories ?-797 or 799 (is this part of the same one or two above?)
  • 904-912 Bogs War
  • 959-962 Spike Assault
  • WotI
Is that all of the declared wars between the two empires? Any help nailing down more details about some of the questionable ones?

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