8000 BCE to 499 BCE
In the regions bordering the Argean coast, to the north of Argus, the transition from palaeolithic hunter-gatherers to neolithic villagers begins in about 4500 BC. These villagers later develop a striking tradition of prehistoric architecture, focusing on timber-based structures using wood from the abundant forests in the region.
Most of the Northern-Argusian neolithic communities live in villages of timber houses, often with a communal longhouse. The longhouse would be used for a variety of events - from celebrations of tribe members maturing to the mourning of tribal leaders. But along the entire Alteran coast, the central feature of each village is a great tomb, around which simple huts are clustered. The tomb chambers of these regions introduce the tradition of stonework which includes Passage graves and megaliths.
It was in Altera that a tradition of massive neolithic architecture begins, in the late 5th millennium BCE, with passage graves. The name reflects the design. A stone passage leads into the centre of a great mound of turf, where a tomb chamber - first of wood but later of stone - contains the dead of the surrounding community.
Over the centuries increasingly large slabs of stone, or megaliths, are used for the passage graves.
An outstanding example is the passage grave at Ludlum in Northern Altera, dating from about 2500 BC. Huge slabs of stone, carved in intricate spiral patterns, form the walls of the chamber. At sunrise on the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year, when the sun itself seems in danger of dying) the rays penetrate the length of the passage to illuminate the innermost recess.
In a later stage of this deeply mysterious Neolithic tradition the megaliths, previously hidden beneath the mounds of the tombs, emerge in their own right as great standing stones, often arranged in circles. The ritual purpose of such circles is not known. They too, in many cases, have a solar alignment, usually now relating to sunrise at the summer solstice.
In spite of the obstacle of the Argean Sea - which separates Altera from Gael and the islands to the north, Altera is much influenced by successive waves of immigrants or invaders from continental Gael and the Northern islands.
By the end of the 5th Century BCE, most of the inhabitants within the Alteran region lived in isolated, tribal communities far inland - or in various small kingdoms located along the coastline and rivers of Altera. The most prominent of these was the Kingdom of Angevin, which spanned across Southern and Central Altera.
During this period, several languages were spoken across the region; most notably Early-Alteran, Angevine, Gudaon and Braeton.
500 BCE to 1000 CE
Despite evidence suggesting that iron-forged objects were in use in the 7th Century, it wasn't until the 4th and 5th Centuries BCE that the use of iron-forged tools and objects became widespread. The skill of these blacksmiths, namely concentrated in the Kingdoms of Angevine and Altera, enabled these communities to create a variety of durable tools, cultural items and weapons. Through the use of these tools, agricultural communities were soon established in order to feed and growing cities - where it's inhabitants were able to focus on other pursuits. These cities became cultural and industrial powerhouses and used their newly found wealth, influence and power-projection to lay claim to larger swathes of territory.
By the early 1st Century CE, two of these cultures became the most prominent along the Alteran coastline; Altera to the north and Angevin to the South. Both of these nations had a stable, mixed economy - that actively trading with one another and other surround tribes and kingdoms. Throughout the Angevine Era, there is evidence for extensive networks of fields associated with small farming settlements. A mixed farming economy is suggested by cattle, sheep and pig remains and the processing of cereals including wheat, barley and oats. Improved cereal crops and breeds of domestic animals were developed and introduced during the Angevine Era.
Central to these kingdoms were the hill-forts, giant earth-mounds with wooden - and sometimes stone - fortifications built upon the top. By the fourth century BC, many parts of Altera and Angevin were dominated by hill forts. In some areas, such as central southern Altera and the Southern borders, they were very large with complex earthworks and entrances. Many of these sites supported sizeable populations and acted as service centres for a growing rural population.
Technological innovation increased during the Angevine Era, especially towards the end of the period. Some of the major advances included the introduction of the potter's wheel (mainly in southeastern Altera), the lathe (used for woodworking and manufacturing shale objects) and the rotary quern for grinding grain.
The population of both the Alteran and Angevine Kingdoms grew substantially during this era and probably exceeded one million. This population growth was partly made possible by the introduction of new crops, including improved varieties of barley and wheat, and increased farming of peas, beans, flax and other crops.
Farming techniques improved and the introduction of the iron-tipped ploughshare made the cultivation of heavy clay soils possible.
As the two largest kingdoms in Northern Argus, both Altera and Angevin considered themselves economic and military rivals. Whilst for the majority of the period the two nations were at peace with one another - it wasn't uncommon for skirmishes to erupt between the rival kingdoms. Whilst these skirmishes would rarely erupt into a full-blown conflict, the Angevine Era was dominated by wars between these two rivals. Smaller kingdoms and communities were equally not able to escape Angevine wrath, as the kingdom would frequently send their armies out to conquer in order to gain more citizens, resources or sometimes just to prevent their rivals from gaining those resources. Angevine was brutal in this 'scorched earth' policy.
Angevin was able to keep this regional dominance until the 800s CE, where a mixture of unfortunate events, disastrous decisions and military defeats would eventually result in the defeat and absorption of the once-mighty Kingdom. Starting in 823 CE, a young - but ambitious and inspiration - prince by the name of Eathelbart assumed the throne of Angevin. Using his charisma and natural leadership skills, as well as an eye for tactical thinking, this young King led his armies and administration on a series of rapid expansions in the region.
Absorbing with surrendering tribes, and destroying those who opposed him, the Kingdom quickly expanded its territories. The newly claimed lands were distributed to the friends of the King - enabling them to become titled lords and ladies with grand estates and tracts of land. However, following Eathelbart's death in 834 CE at the hands (or tusks) of a wild boar - the ensuing power vacuum allowed for these newly titled nobles to squabble over the throne. With no heir left to Angevin, the nobles either fought each other for the throne, each other's land or indeed just to settle a grudge that had been kept at bay by the previous monarch.
As Angevin continued to decline, Altera - emboldened by Angevin's weakness - started to slowly make small and deliberate claims to their rival's territory. Gobbling up the lands of the divided Angevine nobles, Altera had practically conquered all of Angevin by 956 CE. By 978 CE, Angevin's capital city - Sekovnia (now Segovia) - was under siege from Alteran forces, finally capitulating in 986 CE. This brought an end to the domination of the Angevine Kingdoms and the rise of the Alteran Republics.
~1000 CE to 1349 CE
By the beginning of the 11th Century CE, following Altera's conquest of Angevin, the collective of Alteran nations unified into one nation: the Alteran Republics. Though they had been informally known as this before, it would only be during this period onwards that the name was formally used.
In the aftermath of anarchy and civil war, the newly established Alteran Republics began a new era of peace of prosperity. The nation soon began to experience rapid population growth - with the clearance of forests for building material, industry and agriculture, the establishment of new towns and cottage industries and overall the nation began to gain an outward-looking crusading zeal.
Although monotheist religions had existed within the Northern Argus region for quite some time, wasn't until the Alterans took control of Angevin that the religion became mainstream. Prior to the 11th Century, many of the nations practised pagan-based religions; worshipping various deities believed to be in control of aspects of climate, good luck and fortune, geographical features, etc. Worshippers of the Nyssic Church, up to this point, had mainly only existed in small pockets along the coastline. Whilst it is unclear how the practice arrived, it is commonly believed that the religion was imported and brought over by traders and merchants being in contact with merchants from Noronica.
However, under the protection of religious freedom, the Alteran-born religion known as the "Blessings of Earendel" - which translates as the "Blessings of the Dawn", began to take root. Earendelism, as it was commonly known, spread rapidly in the Alteran Republics, as many citizens saw the monotheistic religion as an "enlightened" religion; far more fashionable than the "chaotic" nature of their prior paganistic practises. This religious fervour was exemplified in the 11th Century with the creation of the Lantea Scripts, a lavishly decorated and carefully crafted document - featuring the skins of over 300 calves and decorated with gold by a team of highly skilled manuscript craftsmen and scribes from across the Argusian region.
Following the demise of the Augevine Kingdoms, the territories quickly broke up into various smaller nation-states and free-cities. Though the power-vacuum led to ever-changing borders, by the late 11th Century, the borders had - for the most part - stabilized. The new nations the rose from the ashes of Augevin were:
Duchy of Augevin - A relic of the previous Kingdom, ruled by a distant relative of the previous Augevin nobles - though firmly under influence from Altera.
Free City of Oatbarton - A large, populous city situated close to the Alteran border along a prosperous trade route that ran from the north to the south of Argus.
Free City of Segovia - The former capital of the Augevine Kingdoms, now run and administrated by Alteran nobles and oligarchs.
Mercian Chiefdoms - Located to the south of the form Augevine Kingdoms, their frequent contact with raiders from the south did not allow for a centralised state to take hold. Instead, they devolved into smaller territories rules by warlords and self-proclaimed monarchs.
Whilst the Alteran Republic to the north was flourishing, the newly 'liberated' nations to the south were not as lucky. Internal power struggles, rivalries with neighbouring nations and raiders from Athara Magarat to the south were impacting the growth of these nations. Even though some of these nations did not share a border with the horde nations to the south, the southern armies rarely paid attention to these borders.
Age of Besiegement
1350 CE to 1473 CE
Alteran Golden Age
~1400 CE to 1579 CE
Imperial Age (Pax Altera-Noronica)
1580 CE to 1799 CE
1800 CE to 1909 CE
Early Modern Age
1910 CE to 1940 CE
Age of Strife
1941 CE to 1974 CE
1975 CE to 2009 CE
2010 CE to Present
Merito non pareret. | By merit, not birth.
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