by Max Barry

Latest Forum Topics




by The Freehold of The Land of the Ephyral. . 2,037 reads.

Ephyra | Wiki Overview


[center][font=georgia][color=#4f4e4e][size=175][b]WIKI OVERVIEW[/b][/size][/color][/font][/center]


[center][font=georgia][color=#4f4e4e][size=150][b]CORE INDEX[/b][/size][/color][/font][/center]


[center][font=georgia][size=125][url=][b][color=#014A7F]CULTURE[/color][/b][/url] | [url=][b][color=#014A7F]EXTERNAL[/color][/b][/url] | [url=][b][color=#014A7F]HISTORY[/color][/b][/url] | [url=][b][color=#014A7F]LAW[/color][/b][/url] | [url=][b][color=#014A7F]MILITARY[/color][/b][/url] | [url=][b][color=#014A7F]RELIGION[/color][/b][/url][/size][/font][/center]



[font=georgia][size=150][b]Senate and Freeborn Landholders of Ephyra[/b][/font][/size]





Ephyra Unconquered[/font][/center]


Ever For Honour[/font]



[font=georgia]Present territorial extent of the SFLE[/align][/font]

[table=plain][tr][td][hr][/td] [td][hr][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Capital[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Ephyra[/font][/td][/tr]


[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Largest city[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Hypatolion[/font][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][hr][/td] [td][hr][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Official language[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Ephyral High Selian[/font][/td][/tr]


[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Common languages[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Ephyral High Selian[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Anatolian Selian[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Kemetic Selian[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Pontic Selian[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Syriac Selian[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Arabic[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Bulgarian[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Persian[/font][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][hr][/td] [td][hr][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Demonym[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Ephyral / Ephyrian / Ephyran (English)[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia] - Noun (EHS)[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]TBA[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia] - Adjective (EHS)[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]TBA[/font][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][hr][/td] [td][hr][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Population (1960)[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]111,843,252[/font][/td][/tr]


[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Population density (1960)[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]21.77 people per km˛[/font][/td][/tr]


[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Area[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]5,137,982 km˛[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]3,192,594 mi˛[/font][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][hr][/td] [td][hr][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Social status demographics[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Percentage of population[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia] - Ephyral citizens[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]13%[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia] - Lykosian citizens[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]28%[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia] - Foreigners[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]4%[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia] - Provincials[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]41%[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia] - Slaves[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]14%[/font][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][hr][/td] [td][hr][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Ethno-racial groups[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia](Pan-)Selian[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][color=white]a[/color][/td] [td][font=georgia]TBA[/font][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][hr][/td] [td][hr][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia][b]State religion[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Selian polytheism[/font][/td][/tr]


[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Common religions[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Selian polytheism[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Bahá'í[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Christianity[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Islam[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Judaism[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Yazīdī[/font][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][hr][/td] [td][hr][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Government[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Unitary timocratic republic[/font][/td][/tr]


[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Archon[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia] - PS 1 (1626 AD) - PS 27 (1652 AD)[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Valaemedes Anogarios Artalos (first)[/font][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia] - PS 315 (1940 AD) - PS 325 (1950 AD)[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Anomedes Gorgosios Lenaleos Asalinos[/font][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia] - PS 335 (1960 AD) - PS 336 (1961 AD)[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Taelaryon Kalios Baelgyreon (present)[/font][/td][/tr]


[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Legislature[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Senate of the Freeborn Landholders[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Symposium of the Freeborn Landholders[/font][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][hr][/td] [td][hr][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Historical Era[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia][color=white]a[/color][/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia]Declaration of the Freehold[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]July 16th, 1626 AD / PS 1[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia]Sacred Hearth Bloodbath[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]1668 - 1669 AD / PS 43 - 44[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia]Unification of Selia[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]1720 AD / PS 95[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia]Golden Age[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia](1807) 1844 - 1898 AD / (PS 182) 219 - 273[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia]Great Raid of the Maidens[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]1882 AD / PS 257[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia]Ephyral Civil War[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]1933 - 1940 AD / PS 308 - 315[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia]Great War against Russia[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]1940 - 1946 AD / PS 315 - 321[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][font=georgia]Sack of Odessa / Teranair[/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]1945 AD / PS 320[/font][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][hr][/td] [td][hr][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia][b]GDP (nominal)[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]$4,400,229,028,167.56[/font][/td][/tr]


[tr][td][font=georgia][b]GDP (nominal) per capita[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]$17,253.46[/font][/td][/tr]


[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Currency[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]Gold Honour / Ephyral Honour[/font][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][hr][/td] [td][hr][/td][/tr]

[tr][td][font=georgia][b]Date format[/b][/font][/td] [td][font=georgia]yyyy-mm-dd[/font][/td][/tr][/table][/box][/floatright]

[font=georgia][b]Ephyra[/b], known more ceremoniously as the [b]Senate and Freeborn Landholders of Ephyra (SFLE)[/b], and more commonly as the [b]Freehold[/b] is a country and regional power with control of territory in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The totality of the Freehold's extent is in excess of 5 million square kilometres encompassing desert, mountains, forest, and plateau. It's longest coast is along the eastern Mediterranean, and the Freehold shares borders with Pontus, Russia, and Karthspire, as well as a number of less significant powers in Asia and Africa. The Freehold's 5 million square kilometres are home to over 110 million people of a variety of ethnic, language, and religious groups, arranged into hierarchical strata under Ephyral rule.[/font]

[font=georgia]Ephyra is a republic governed along classical styles as opposed to modern, with a strong emphasis on civil society, civic virtue, and with the system of rule operating as a mixed government blending elements of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. In actual fact, Ephyral territory makes up a minority of what it governs, comprised of those cities and towns administrated as colonies and municiplities with full citizen rights. Outside of these, the Freehold heads what can be described as a military confederation of subject states without sovereignty or foreign policy, who in return for autonomous rule and protection provide auxiliary forces to the Freehold when demanded. These subject states include those that hold the Lykosian rights, and federated allies. With the centre of administration focused on urban settlement, the Freehold is in effect a city-state with a complex network of treaties and relationships with all other recognised autonomous municipal capitals, but with the city of Ephyra itself recognised as the undisputed capital of the state in its totality.[/font]

[font=georgia]The Freehold is renowned internationally for its ferociously conservative values and strong social hierarchy. Though elections are held annually for all important offices, only a minority of the population who qualify as freeholders are eligible to vote. It's emphasis on self-governing localities allows Ephyra to manage the intense diversity of ethnic and religious groups with a more relaxed hands off approach, interfering only when necessary for the stability of the Freehold. The Freehold is not egalitaran however, emphasising its own civility above the more barbaric peoples it has conquered. Its governing culture is referred to as Selio-Ephyral, an amalgamation of the city of Ephyra's own unique facets and the wider Selian culture it emerged from. The Selians are commonly regarded as the native pan-ethnic group of the Freehold, with most internal divisions having long since broken down since the founding in 1626. Enforced through its revered ancestral mores, these go to perpetuate the strict traditions of its citizenry from generation to generation. In a cyclic fashion, the ancestral mores self-establish, and make the Ephyral citizens very resilient to change.[/font]

[font=georgia]With Ephyra's growing international power, influence, and reputation, it has become associated to many of its more famous cultural qualities both good and bad, including the legal ownership of slaves; penetratingly patriarchal state; emphasis on honour, family, and community; the Selian practice of incest; and religiosity. The Freehold's modern world position was cemented following the Great War, with its territorial extent in possession of vast resources, and the state in command of a competent, organised, and well-equipped modern army.[/font]

[font=georgia][floatleft][box][center][b]Table of Contents[/b][/center]
[url=][color=#014A7F]I | Etymology[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#014A7F]II | History[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]1 | Recent history[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#014A7F]III | Geography[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]1 | Climate and biomes[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#014A7F]IV | Demographics[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]1 | Population and growth[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]2 | Citizenship[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]3 | Language[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]4 | Religion[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]......[/color][color=#014A7F]4.1 | Religious tolerance[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]5 | Race and ethnicity[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]6 | Largest cities[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#014A7F]V | Government[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]1 | Foreign relations[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]2 | Law[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]3 | Policy[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]4 | Administration and provinces[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]5 | Military[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#014A7F]VI | Economy[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#014A7F]VII | Culture[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#014A7F]VIII | Infrastructure[/color][/url]
[url=][color=#FFFFFF]...[/color][color=#014A7F]1 | Energy[/color][/url]


[font=georgia][size=95][i]Main Article | [url=][color=#014A7F]History of Ephyra[/color][/url][/i][/size][/font]

[font=georgia]The history of Ephyra as a self-styled Freehold begins on July 16th, 1626 (PS 1) with the appointment of Valaemedes Anogarios Artalos to the position of archon, a temporarily decennial office, following a short civil-war that ousted a prior government of the already sovereign city-state. The ascension of Artalos was joined by the simultaneous appointment of a number of men now collectively remembered as the Forefathers of the Freehold, to the reconstituted offices of the state, drawn from the several hundred strong body of men who formed the new patrician class, themselves the core members of Artalos' militant force. Though the initial Freehold looked on the hallmark of tyranny, it swiftly proved otherwise, organising into a three-part system of government in the archonship, the Senate, and the Symposium. Annual elections for every office but the archonship were held, as the reforms and innovations of what are now remembered as the Ephyral Spring were implemented by Artalos, who ten years after his initial appointment, surrendered the office to an annual election cycle with a prohibition on repeat holding for a decade. At this point, the Senate also became open to membership outside of the newly established patrician class, whilst non-patrician freeborn landholders participated in the election of both patrician and non-patrician individuals to the offices of state.[/font]

[font=georgia]The Freehold's early decades were marked by growing pains and inner turmoil, typical of the region for the time following numerous philosophical, political, social, cultural, and religious revolutions and rediscoveries as part of the wider Selian Renaissance. By 1700 (PS 75), Ephyra had extended its control through diplomatic alliances and treaties with neighbouring states, and through armed conflict, to become one of three dominant powers in Selia itself, with control over most of southern Selia and the islands to the east. Numerous internal conflicts with the state's ever dwindling Christian population amounted to several persecutions, not all state authorised, which saw back and forth violence between the recently revived pagan Selian faith and orthodox Christians, culminating in the democide of Christians across Ephyral territory in 1668 (PS 43) and 1669 (PS 44) following a successful attempt by a Christian mob to extinguish the sacred hearth-fire of the goddess Lysara at Ephyra itself. By 1720 (PS 95), the SFLE had successfully incorporated its two other rivals, Arconia and Volos, adopting a pan-Selian ideology recognising the shared brotherhood of the Selian peoples against a mutually perceived barbarian outside. Many Selians were granted full citizenship rights based on blood and reformed into the Ephyral political identity, informed by their shared heritage, cultural legacy, and religious traditions. The SFLE's control had also extended into regions of Anatolia, contesting the power of the Selian Pontic Kingdom, and wars fought against the Slavic nation of the Acai to the north-west.[/font]

[font=georgia]Ephyra's power, territorial control, and its ambitions accelerated exponentially into the 18th century. With a cored citizen body, wars of aggression were waged with increasing frequency as the elected magistrates of each year sought honour and glory for themselves and for the Freehold. With more territory in Europe brought under control, combined with advances into Anatolia against other Selian powers - culminating famously in war with the Kingdom of Pontus - the Freehold came to profit massively from possession of new resources, an increased taxable population, and vast numbers of slaves taken in war. The Freehold simultaneously entered a commercial period and became a leading world-power in the slave trade, exchanging directly and by proxy with various sellers and buyers including the Arabs, Africans, Tatars, and inhabitants of the New World. Expanding at a continuous rate brought Ephyra into conflict with the Muslim powers of the Levant by the close of the 18th century. Little distinction was made by the Freehold between this faith and the troublesome Christians they had tried to deal with, whilst the Muslims regarded the Ephyral as an infidel pagan power. Trade existed between the Freehold and these Muslim states, but no lasting peace was able to be found.[/font]

[font=georgia]It is the 19th century which marked the rise of the Freehold's peak power and domain until the modern period. By 1844 (PS 219), all remaining Selian states had been fully annexed into the Freehold with the exception of Pontus, with whom several bloody wars had been fought. A number of Muslim powers had been reduced to client, republican-style states under Ephyral influence as an increasingly common tactic to promote integration before annexation. In response to a war with Russia strangling the Tatary slave route however, the Freehold had begun to endorse pirates and corsairs taking ships out across the Atlantic to hold ships for ransom, or to raid coastal villages and even towns for slaves. This reached as far as the New World, with the Republic of Washington particularly affected. Though by the end of the century the Washingtonians would have all but eliminated the ability for the corsairs to enslave their citizens, thousands if not tens of thousands of Washingtonians had been taken as slaves, especially young women. 1844 to 1898 (PS 219 - 273) is considered the peak of the Freehold's power before internal cracks and instability prompted a decline in technological growth and caused stagnation military, a consequence of slowly growing corruption within both the Senate and provincial governors. Though public commitment to the ancestral mores remained strong, this period onward is remembered for a rise of radical ideologues and new politics contrary to the established [i]modus operandi[/i] of the Freehold, including communist, socialist, monarchist, fascist, and other ideals. The internal splintering of the citizenry along ideological lines and the onset of an economic crisis prompted the outbreak of the Ephyral Civil War in 1933 (PS 308).[/font]

[font=georgia][b][size=130][anchor=Recent_history]Recent history[/anchor][/b][/size][/font]

[font=georgia]The outbreak of the Ephyral Civil War in 1933 is agreed upon by historians to have occurred when the governor of Syria, Baerapos Altios Kandares, with the backing of the local military force declared an independent Kingdom of Damascus and seceded from the Freehold. It was however the defeat of the Freehold forces sent to punish this defiance that instigated a state-wide explosion into conflict. 1933 saw also the First Battle of Ephyra, in which communist rebels in the Revolutionary Vanguard Movement tried to take over the capital. This uprising was short-lived and was swiftly crushed by the home Ephyral forces, but had inspired a number of rebellions within major cities and splinters of the military to form their own factions. A number of provincial communities especially in the more recently acquired territories of Africa and the southern Levant also proclaimed independence and alliance to other factions. The Senate declared all non-state forces enemies of the state, with their citizen status if any held being stripped and property legally forfeit. One such recipient of this action was a popular commanded named Anomedes Gorgosios Lenaleos, who revolted in favour of the ancestral mores and made a unique declaration of his positions as being for the continued existence of the Ephyral state as it was, with his war being against the Senatorial corruption and the poor management of power. Winning over large portions of the military finding themselves in a like mind, Lenaeos emerged by 1936 (PS 311) as the strongest individual faction in the civil war. It continued to wage until the beginning of 1940 (PS 315), with most of the radical elements destroyed. Lenaleos took the capital on January 8th, 1940, and as an acting archon dictator, declared martial law. The war concluded on April 17th, when the self-proclaimed Kingdom of Damacus was defeated and governor Kandares taken prisoner. Barring small-scale militia conflict in the fringe provinces, the war was over.[/font]

[font=georgia]At the proclamation of the Senate, Lenaleos was made a legal Archon Dictator with legal power to act for ten years, and annual elections were suspended. Key allies of Lenaleos were named to the Senate in various positions before the Lenaleos Purge. Four Senators were executed (alongside Kandares), fifteen sentenced to imprisonment, and over fifty expelled from the Senate following trial by Lenaleos and his supporters on charges of corruption and neglect towards the security of the Freehold. It was also here that Lenaleos made the now famous Spring Proclamation, as by now citizens in favour of Lenaleos were comparing his takeover to that of the Freehold's founder, Artalos. In it, Lenaleos pledged a rebuilding of Ephyra and a restructuring to ensure it would not again succumb to the self-interested corruption of dishonourable Senators and governors, and return to the forefront of the state the power of the ancestral mores that had guided their ancestors. However, what would begin as an apparent attempt to merely correct the flaws in the system swiftly became a fight for existence. The Soviet Union, believed to have been backing a variety of socialist and communist militias in the civil war, declared war on the Freehold, Pontus (whom had backed Lenaleos at the end), and Germany (for the same, and for territorial reasons). Lenaleos' dictatorial authority was reaffirmed in the military, and just months after exiting the Ephyral Civil War, the Great War had begun.[/font]

[font=georgia]The Ephyral stance in the war was a losing one until the end of 1943 (PS 318) and beginning of 1944 (PS 319), with the Russians and their allies overextended, and unable to mount an effective resistance against a coordinated counteroffensive. During the losing wars, Ephyral bitterness and splintered anger that had emerged during the civil war was now redirected at a single enemy. News of plundering, killing of civilians, and war rapes came south to infuriate both the retreating Ephyral forces and the citizens behind them. Historical vitriol was resurrected at Russia, the enemy who had helped instigate a collapse of Ephyral trade, and the Karthspiri; nomad savages who cared nothing for civilisation. The armed forces themselves had not been neglected by Lenaleos reforms, and had been reorganised, retrained, and newly equipped with both arms and philosophy to wage what was now a war of survival. The modern army of Ephyra became swiftly feared in its counter-offensive for what is now called demand-or-desolate warfare. Advancing Ephyral forces would demand of each local civilian and military administration it encountered a surrender without battle, offering safety and protection from harm as honourable prisoners of war, with the intention that these generous terms encourage surrender to lessen Ephyral losses in manpower and time. This encouragement to comply was reinforced by the complete withdrawal of legal protections should the enemy locality opt to fight. News spread quickly to both sides in the war that regions that did not submit were ransacked by Ephyral troops at the order of their commanders whenever it was strategically secure to do so, with such plundering routinely involving the theft of personal and public treasures, beatings, killings, rapes, and most notoriously, the post-victorious deportation of portions of the local communities behind the front-lines. These were the first acts of a beginning trend of prisoner enslavement.[/font]

[font=georgia]The most famous of these actions is the Sack of Odessa, committed in 1945 (PS 320), where men of the II and VI Phalanxes, along with attached auxiliaries and allied tropes, carried out the threat issued following Odessa's total fall. Many belongings were stolen from people on the spot or from ransacked homes, usually accompanied by beatings or killings in the street, as well as later penalties for resistance to Ephyral rule. In news shocking to the wider world, women, girls, and even young men and boys were abducted into 'comfort camps' near the barracks and other makeshift brothels within the city to be prostituted and raped, whilst other victims - especially in the first days of the Sack - were simply assaulted when found by Ephyral soldiers roaming the city in homes, schools, hospitals, and other areas, and with many victims being kept captive by the squads for prolonged use. A distinction is often made between the initial Sack and the subsequent occupation, as though many of these actions continued under the year-long occupation - especially the forcing of women and girls into prostitution for the officers and soldiers - the remembered intensity of the actions is associated to the week immediately following total local victory. Such abuses continued under reinforcing units, as many of the forces involved in taking the city did not remain beyond the first few weeks. A significant proportion of the population were deported to camps behind the front line during the occupation, with even more taken during the later Freehold withdrawal - with these prisoners taken south into Ephyra proper to be sold as slaves. The Sack of Odessa remains one of the most infamous acts of the war, cultivating for the Ephyral armed forces a reputation of cruelty and depredation. A similar, though less continuous fate befell most local authorities which had failed to satisfy the Ephyral demand for compliance, whilst as promised, the areas of Karthspire which had surrendered were left intact, and honourable prisoners of war returned to their homes.[/font]

[font=georgia]The war ended in 1946 (PS 321) with a victory for the anti-Russian alliance, by which time at home news of victories and success of the imposed reforms of Lenaleos had elevated public support for the new regime, especially with the economic influx from the captured war slaves. Aside from the self-contained conflict that was the annexation of Armenia, and dealing with further rebellions across the provinces, Ephyra has faced no major conflict since the Great War. When Lenaleos term came to a close in 1950 (PS 325), he restored the elections to those citizens eligible to vote and stand for office, and presided only long enough to see the election of the new archons and other offices of state.[/font]


[font=georgia]The Freehold is one of the geographically larger nations of the world, boasting over 5 million square kilometres of control across land in three continents. Though the core heartland of the Freehold, Selia, is located entirely within Europe, the bulk of the Freehold's authority lies upon land in Asia. Asia Minor and Anatolia to the Zagros mountains fall under the Freehold's law and administration, as well as south across the Levant and into Arabia. West across the Sinai, Ephyra's African possessions extend as far as the former power of Carthage, whilst journeying south from the Nile keeps one in Freehold land as far as the south-eastern tip of the Sahara desert. European control extends north of Selia itself, in the lands of Thrace and Illyria.[/font]

[font=georgia]The scale of the Freehold's control emphasises maritime superiority, as the entirety of the eastern Mediterranean finds itself surrounded by land under the banner of Ephyra. Territorial penetration into Africa is limited, with control of the coast along the Mediterranean and Red Sea having taken greater priority. Inland control of Anatolia is near-total with the exception of the neighbouring power of Pontus, whilst the Fertile Crescent finds itself entirely under the administration of the Freehold.[/font]

[font=georgia]Two significant states share a land border with Ephyra; Pontus and Russia. Whilst numerous less significant states dot Ephyra's extensive borders along Africa, Asia, and Europe, many of these find themselves under the Freehold's sphere of influence. The Black Sea is shared with tension between Pontus, Russia, Karthspire, and Ephyra. Relations with these neighbouring states is variable, with Pontus having emerged as an ally, and Karthspire and Russia reviled as long-time enemies.[/font]

[font=georgia][b][size=130][anchor=Climate_and_biomes]Climate and biomes[/anchor][/b][/size][/font]


[font=georgia][b][size=130][anchor=Population_and_growth]Population and growth[/anchor][/size][/b][/font]

[font=georgia]The 111 million people who live in the SFLE are broken down into numerous demographics and categories due to the immense ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity of the Ephyral state. Population growth is steady across the SFLE, with the average between 1950 and 1960 being 2.08% growth. The highest growth recorded in a year was shared between 1955, 1958, and 1960, with a rise of 2.2%. The Freehold's consistently high population growth reflects a high fertility rate amongst women at all social strata, alongside declining maternal and infant mortality rates, lack of significant deaths through armed conflict, low emigration, and other factors.[/font] 

[font=georgia]A core cause for the growth rate can be identified as the low age of female marriage and high marital fertility. Citizen females, who make up just about 7 million of the population, may be betrothed from as young as 7 and marry from the age of 13onward. The average age of marriage for a citizen woman is 18.74 years old. Just over a fifth of brides are below the age of 17, and two thirds are below the age of 20. Cultural emphasis on a woman's role as a wife and mother results in high marital fertility, and many brides are pregnant within the first year of marriage, and most pregnant within the first two. Natural family planning tends to cap children at about three to five per family, though this is not ubiquitous as some women achieve local recognition for being the mothers of anywhere from six to nine children.[/font]

[font=georgia]Citizen men enter into marriage later than their brides, with an average first-time marriage age of 26.85, just over eight years their bride's senior. This later age in marriage reflects a more demanding public duty of men, and emerges from multiple cultural factors emphasising female readiness to become a wife and mother in her teenage years, whilst highlighting a need for men to nurture and improve their communal standing and honour. From their mid-20s onward, men are expected to check the impulses of their youth and settle down to find a wife and subsequently father children for Ephyra. The male duty to provide sons and daughters for their family and for the Freehold is no lesser than the female obligation to the same, though it becomes pressing later. Over half of men become husbands between age 25 and 29, and the Freehold imposes a tax proportionate to income on men unmarried and without children beyond 30. This tax is increased by 1/6th after 35, and again after 40 if no wife is acquired.[/font]

[font=georgia]Records for non-citizen ages of preference for cohabitation and childbearing are uncertain, and depending on the community may differ markedly or minimally from Ephyral norms.[/font]

[font=georgia]As of the 1950 census, the population was 91 million. The steady population growth across the 50s along with a subsequent decline in deaths due to issues in childbirth for mother and child led to estimations of a total population above 110 million by the census in 1960. The census in 1960 confirmed estimates, with the population tallied at 111,843,000. If present trends continue, by 1970 the population of the Freehold should exceed 130 million.[/font]


[font=georgia]The 110 million residents of Ephyra all hold a status on a ranking of rights and duties defined against Ephyral citizenship. Those who possess full citizenship be it with or without public suffrage comprise just 13% of the total population. All other peoples are organised as 'foreigners', with varying rights and responsibilities to the Freehold. They legally belong to self-governing communities considered effectively independent from the Ephyral state, but may live and work in communities of Ephyral colonial or municipal status. All residents of the Freehold and its territories are considered citizens of the legal locality to which they are born or have the right to reside with attendant status. These statuses include Lykosians, allies, federates, capitulates, and aliens.[/font]

[font=georgia]Lykosians are the highest citizens of communities with the Lykosian rights, granted by the state as a promotion to a Lykosian municipality or by direct founding from Ephyral citizens as a Lykosian colony. The rights of Lykosians include intermarriage, contract with citizens, and others. These rights are shared with the allies, citizens of fully independent foreign states with whom the Freehold has declared friendship, possibly but not necessarily supported by treaty. These allies are distinct from federates, who are also considered allies, but who lack independence and sovereignty as well as some of the rights of the Lykosians. Federates are brought into the fold typically through annexation of land and the establishment of individual treaties with local communal authorities, after the land has been apportioned to reward local sympathisers, for Ephyral and Lykosian colonists, and private auction. Lykosians and federates together provide the same military obligation to the Freehold, acting as an unofficial allied confederacy with a duty to provide auxiliary forces for the military when called upon to do so. Capitulates are the lowest of the Freehold's governed communities, possessing alongside many federates only the basic rights afforded by the idea of their humanity. Though citizens of capitulate communities are eligible to serve as auxiliaries, their communal obligation manifests as tributary states. Federates and capitulates together make up the 'provincial' class. Alien refers to any citizen of a foreign state without friendship to Ephyra, and who are likewise considered only under the customary rights of free peoples.[/font]

[font=georgia]14% of the population possess no free standing whatsoever, and are legally slaves. They live as property under masters of both citizen and non-citizen ownership and are disposable to them. Their existence is more than a continuation of an economic practice and has always served a social purpose to value freedom. The fact that it is a legal possibility for an individual to be stripped of all their rights including freedom and sold as a slave means that the freedoms enjoyed by the rest of the population have an active contrast, against which they can be measured, valued, and exalted.[/font]


[font=georgia]The official language of the state and the encouraged primary language of all citizens is that of Ephyral High Selian. The Selian languages are in the modern era a fairly diverse group, formed into dialects of mutually intelligibility but with grammatical and lexicon differences, often impacted by the native languages of their prevalent regions. Mastery of a Selian language is considered to be the basis for Ephyral citizenship through speaking the language of the civilised, but of these, it is the language native to the city of Ephyra and its surrounding regions which is regarded as the purest strain. This is by fact of monopoly if nothing else, for Pontic Selian is both a dialect in the Freehold and the national language of the neighbouring realm of Pontus, no less a Selian-descended language than Ephyral (itself influenced by other languages like Latin), the Pontic being a people who are Selian in blood and language, but are unsubscribed to the Ephyral self-definition of Selian ethnos.[/font]

[font=georgia]Other dialects of Selian, collectively known as the 'Low Selian dialects' in contrast to the 'higher' nature of Ephyral Selian, include the aforementioned Pontic Selian spoken in the Caucasus region, Kemetic Selian in north Africa, Anatolian Selian in Asia Minor, and Syriac Selian in the fertile crescent. European speakers of Selian are primarily speakers of Ephyral High Selian. The Low Selian dialects collectively make up the most common spoken languages, used by Lykosians and by many provincials as a [i]lingua franca[/i] due to its ease of communication to other languages. It's believed that at least 60-65% of the population are speakers of at least one Selian language.[/font]

[font=georgia]Non-Selian languages remain prevalent however, spoken either as an only language or as a part of a bilingual exercise by residents of the Freehold. The most significant of these in numbers is Arabic and its own dialects, spoken from Mesopotamia with the Syriac Selian speakers, to north Africa and the Kemetic Selian speakers. Indeed, language learning has gone both way, and Ephyral citizens of higher wealth in these lands often have their children educated in the local Arabic dialect as a tertiary language to Ephyral High Selian and the Low Selian dialect locally used.[/font]

[font=georgia]Language has a strong cultural importance to the Ephyral as it was to the ancient Selians, as it is through use of the same tongue that a ground of common values can be based, for the nature of languages leads to an emphasis that is not translatable even if the word is. To be able to speak the way the Ephyral citizens do is an essential part of Selianisation, and native elites of conquered territory made it their business to learn it or teach it to their children to advantage themselves in the new system, benefiting from the Freehold's lack of direct intervention in provincial communities whilst providing a passive cultural conversion incentive to the people they have influence over.[/font]


[font=georgia]The Freehold is home to a broad variety of religions and belief systems, of which some are similar and some are not. The state religion, and sole religion officially endorsed by the state, is the officially nameless faith native to Selia, known by foreigners as Selian polytheistic paganism, Selian paganism, or Ephyral paganism interchangeably. This faith as the name states is polytheistic, cultivating worship to a broad pantheon of gods organised into groups of major and minor and familial structures, often possessing influence or domain over an abstract idea or essence of nature. The nature of this religion is bizarre to the understanding of those raised in Abrahamic religions, as the relationship between gods and people is similar in effect to the patron-client relationship, emphasising sacrifice and correct ritual and prayer as opposed to faith and supplication, with excessive devotion to the gods regarded as an act of impiety.[/font]

[font=georgia]The Ephyral state is not secular, and the state's health is irremovable from religious conduct. Whilst there are few actual religious [i]laws[/i], and religion serves as a means to reinforce moral guides as opposed to having any sacred texts establishing them, the cultural focus on the conduct of the state can be viewed as a type of ritual, such as in elections, inaugurations, and more, whilst the Ephyral word for duty to one's family and honour is the same for obligations to the gods. Religious practice therefore is aimed at maintaining the divine peace between the Ephyral state and the gods, who receive contractual sacrifice and cultivation and in return variably grant the state favour, or simply withhold any form of retribution. In this way, the Ephyral can be considered a highly superstitious people, although the Ephyral translation of such a word is an accusation of improper ritual and impiety.[/font]

[font=georgia]Co-existing with Selian paganism are the Abrahamic faiths of Christianity and Islam, both of which have been declining under Ephyral rule. More ethnically specific faiths such as Judaism, and importantly polytheistic ones such as native Assyrian, Arabic, and north African have been on the rise, tolerated and even promoted by the Ephyral state for the purpose of religious syncretism; with the gods of these other faiths incorporated into the Selian pantheon, and local religious practice encouraged so long as it remains inoffensive to the Ephyral gods. A refusal of religious assimilation by the monotheists however has led to repeated internal and external religious conflict, mutual persecutions, and unrest for the past three centuries of the Freehold's existence with Jews, Christians, and Muslims obligated to pay a tax to the funding of Ephyra's pagan temples in lieu of the necessary religious observances practised by the believers of the Ephyral gods and their fellow pagans.[/font]

[font=georgia]Other minority faiths include Buddhism, Yazidi, and Zoroastrianism.[/font]

[font=georgia][b][size=110][anchor=Religious_tolerance]Religious tolerance[/anchor][/b][/size][/font]

[font=georgia]With the great variation of religions in Ephyra, and the internal divisions of many of them, the question of religious tolerance and co-existence is a complicated one. The Ephyral state maintains no blanket policy, but addresses religions by classification. Of traditional faiths bound to a specific people group, the state is not only tolerant but encouraging of the maintaining of their religious practises so long as no conflict with the gods of Ephyra is raised. This is achieved through religious syncretism, with the gods of pagans and polytheists in the Freehold incorporated into the pantheon often as aspects or kin of the native Selian gods, identified by their sphere such as war, justice, love, the seas, or the sky. Through the practice of their cults, and the incorporation of native Selian feast days and festivals into their own practises, these peoples contribute to the divine peace, the maintaining of relations between the humans and the gods. This serves the state, as the maintaining of the divine peace is regarded as intrinsically linked to the health of the Ephyral state.[/font]

[font=georgia]The religious syncretism works two ways, as the population conquered may derive aspects from Selian gods or the gods of fellow conquered pagans and place them in their own religion, fusing and making common between ethnically varied populations a worship and cultivation to the gods of Ephyra. It is with the monotheists however that the Freehold has great issue from a practical perspective, and the Ephyral people have issue from a socioreligious one. The Selian ruled empires of the past in the Middle East found great issue ruling over the monotheistic Jewish people, who refused to acknowledge the existence of the Ephyral gods and consequently resisted religious assimilation, rendering them an 'other' culture particularly in regards to their other customs, such as abstaining from the consumption of pig-based food and circumcision, both of which alienated the Jews from the Selian ruling class and other ruled peoples. Wars, persecutions, rebellions, and general violence plagued Selian-Jewish relations until the conquest of both by the Romans, from whom the religious policy of the Freehold is greatly inspired by.[/font]

[font=georgia]In the modern Freehold, the Jewish faith is tolerated as a faith of a native people, bound to them, and the state permits it to exist in this fashion. Jews are however obligated to pay a tax in substitution for their refusal to cultivate to the Ephyral gods, and the social attitude to Judaism in the Freehold is one of thinly veiled contempt or denigration. This includes inter-faith relations, particularly with Judaism's fellow Abrahamic religions of Christianity and Islam. Christianity was the first religion with which the modern Freehold had contact, and a long history of violence has followed. Though Christianity shares with Judaism its refusal to cultivate to other gods on the basis of refusing that they exist, and its similar assertion of the exclusive sovereignty of a one God conflicting with the Ephyral demand of the highest loyalty being to the state, it lacks the redeeming quality of being a peopled religion. Christianity's propensity to proselytise and convert is especially reviled, as it is seen to drive those who convert to hate their ancestors and the gods of their ancestors, completely counter to Ephyral social and religious views of ancestor worship and veneration, the same reason that fellow pagan faiths are promoted.[/font]

[font=georgia]Christians are also liable to pay a tax, and are further prohibited from proselytising. Christians, like Jews who refused to pay their tax, and later Muslims who are considered to fall under the same classification as Christianity, are liable to face charges of atheism for neither demonstrating loyalty to the Ephyral state through practising of the state religion via participation in feast days or festivals, or paying the owed taxes that are demanded in lieu of this loyalty. A charge of atheism is not a measure of belief, but inaction. Anyone so charged with atheism can dispel the charges immediately by paying the tax owed if of an applicable faith, or by offering cult to the gods of Ephyra. A refusal to do either shall be met with a verdict of guilt, and the punishment death.[/font]

[font=georgia]Like Judaism, Christianity and Islam are religions considered superstition in Ephyral discourse, improper and secretive, subversive to the social order and disloyal to the Freehold. Open adherents are often shunned and distrusted by not only Ephyral pagans but fellow pagans. There have been few instances of a state sanctioned persecution of any faith in the Freehold, but outbreaks of violence against them are not unheard of, including in recent years. Religious tolerance in the Freehold is a matter of significant complexity, for it can exist in great abundance or total absence.[/font]

[font=georgia][b][size=130][anchor=Race_and_ethnicity]Race and ethnicity[/anchor][/size][/b][/font]


[font=georgia][b][size=130][anchor=Largest_cities]Largest cities[/anchor][/size][/b][/font]



[font=georgia][b][size=130][anchor=Foreign_relations]Foreign relations[/anchor][/size][/b][/font]

[font=georgia]FOREIGN RELATIONS[/font]





[font=georgia][b][size=130][anchor=Administration_and_provinces]Administration and provinces[/anchor][/size][/b][/font]





[font=georgia][size=95][i]Main Article | [url=][color=#014A7F]Culture of Ephyra[/color][/url][/i][/size][/font]