The Empire at its greatest extent, and the tributary Hafsighi Kingdom.
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The Adzamic Empire (Proto-Adzamic */iumojən ädəzämä:si/ ; Old Adzamian: Adsamasi þarTahidon /ɐdsɐma:sɪ θɐχtɐhɪdʌn/) also called the Adzamian Empire, was a trade empire and one of the largest states in the history of Sahar, spanning almost a third of northern Baredina. At its greatest it controlled large portions of Ekuosia, Püzimm, and Central Baredina, bordering the Paršita, Armizziya and Saru seas. Its growth was fueled by a booming population and economy, and facilitated by advancements in agricultural and military technology (chiefly irrigation, weaponry, and cavalry), and economics. It was succeeded by the Holy Adzamic Empire, which collapsed within a few hundred years. It has no true modern successor, although Tabiqa claims direct descent, a claim bolstered by its location at the heart of the old Empire.
The Empire was named after its lingua franca, Old Adzamian, and the Adzamasiin, who both founded and ruled the Empire during (and sometimes after) its collapse. The terms Adzamic, Adzamian, Adzamasi can be reconstructed to the Proto-Adzamic language endonym */atəsa-mohtaək/. While *mohtaək is accepted to mean 'speech, language,' the meaning and further etymology of */atəsa/ is less clear; it may come from Proto Ekuo-Lahiri */äd=ə́shäɨçə/ 'savanna people' which would regularly have the reflex */əsaiħ-ət/ in Proto-Adzamic and /si:χt/ by Old Adzamian, but could have arisen as an exonym from a related EKL language such as Halarian. The source of the -masi ending is also unclear, possibly relating to Proto-Adzamic *maheħə 'gold, precious metal', the reflex of which in other languages may begin with *mas- ; or to the PEKL root *mäh 'certainty; conviction', with no other clear descendant in the Adzamic languages.
Most of the area controlled by the Adzamic Empire had been inhabited for tens of thousands of years before written records can be found. It is known that the early Adzamic peoples, an offshoot of the Ekuo-Lahiri people, originated somewhere near the Ekuos river delta in modern-day Nevira, where they split from their closely-related Neviran cousins and moved back inland up the river. The origins of the Kõ, Kavahiri, and other peoples lost to history, such as the Date Pit Culture, are not well-known, although the extant groups are thought to largely inhabit their traditional lands.
The Empire was first founded in 706 BCE from a coalition of several independent city-states located along the Tabiq River and the nearby stretches of the Ekuos. It did not extend far beyond the banks of the Tabiq in any direction and was bounded by the Kavahiri Kingdom to the north. The most populous and powerful city in the region was Mehyaran in the south, at the confluence of the Tabiq and Ekuos rivers, which formed the seat of the unified government.
As agricultural reform allowed more of the Ekuosian desert's nomads to settle along the banks of the rivers, Mehyara began to control more and more of the desert, and had a larger population at its disposal. Over time, many Adzamasiin dispersed from city centres to farm on the banks of the Tabiq, along which goods were easily distributed.
New military technology was traded into the new nation, which also developed its own strategies for use in the desert landscape and along the course of the large rivers. Religious and economic incentives coupled with a population explosion lead to a push for further expansion, resulting in skirmishes along the Kavahiri border, and eventually an organized military assault to the north and east; by the -500s BCE the Empire had begun rapid expansion. Large swaths of desert, only inhabited by nomads, were officially brought into the Empire, pledging allegiance, trade priorities, and tribute in return for protection and free travel throughout its borders.
Between 500-100 BCE, most of present-day Dzimur was conquered and, in the north, the Kavahariin faced the same fate, expanding out into Ebo Nganagam in reaction. Unfortunately for them, they were followed relentlessly by the expanding Adzamasiin, who managed to extend their borders to an inlet of the Paršita by 132 BCE. To the east, conflicts arose for the first time between the Adzamasiin, Osureko, and Povani. Despite the highly defensible geography of the Osuri Valley, in time the Empire had success with its more highly organized and better-funded military and its more advanced weaponry, also signing extensive treaties incorporating new land, citizens, and taxpayers into its folds.
In the year 3 CE, the borders for the first time expanded to the coast of the Saru Sea via modern (ex-Algador) and, in the following century, in northern Nevira. In the west, expansion left behind the curve of the Ekuos and came to cover most of modern (Ex-Istan/Kudzatia), following trade routes set up earlier to the shores of Armizziya.
Treaties and conquests continued to add to the size of the Empire, and it formed an official tributary relation with the Hafsighi Kingdom beyond its western edge, and the Kingdom of the Delta in modern-day Nevira to the east. Through to 468 BCE it expanded further into modern Barradiwa in the north until it reached the borders of Azerin, conquering (Ex-New-Asmal) and parts of (Ex-Lons), covering much of (Ex-Yutte-Basi), the Povan Union, Nevira, and the southern third of (ex-Algador), as well as the western third of Ebo Nganagam. The Kavahiri Kingdom fell in totality by 489, marking the largest extent of the Empire, divided into sixteen provinces and three territories and covering over (???) km². It remains one of the the largest states ever to exist on Sahar.
The Empire maintained its greatest size for over a century before being converted to the Holy Adzamic Empire in 638. This secondary empire quickly fractured, losing most of its territory within the next two hundred years, and collapsed totally by 923.
Climate and Biodiversity
The majority of the Adzamic Empire was across the Baredinan Desert, but extended as well to tropical and semi-tropical savannas, mountains, scrubland, and woodland on most sides. Due to its massive size and numerous biomes, it was extremely biodiverse, covering the ranges of many such iconic animals as elephants, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, lions, tigers, leopards, jackals, mongooses, hyenas, pangolins, flying foxes, many primates, peafowl, bearded vultures, and ostriches, as well as the native ranges of important domestic species including pigs, horses, sheep, and goats.
Big, well-organized, many hros, many camel
In the early days of the Empire the chief means of transportation, especially for goods, was by boat. These principally traveled along the Ekuos and Tabiq rivers, and later the Anuxas river to the north, all of which represented the foundations of vast trade networks across much of Ekuosia. Even at that time however, horses, donkeys, and camels were also broadly used for overland travel and trade, especially as more sure-footed and heat-tolerant breeds of equines were developed by early Tabiqiri. As the population increased and the economy grew, many regular caravan routes were set up across the desert, making use of draft animals to ferry goods to distant areas.
Within the city-states that made up the original empire, packed-dirt roads did exist, allowing for limited use of wheeled vehicles (early wheels being useless on sand dunes). In less sandy portions of the empire, a variety of simple wheeled vehicles were used, and some paved roads were created.
The Empire's swift expansion and great success can be largely attributed to its technological advances. Chief among these were the development of advanced irrigation systems, including extensive systems of aqueducts and qanats, which allowed permanent settlement of many parts of its realm. It was also a pioneer in late iron age weaponry, and the first culture in Baredina to make extensive use of cavalry. It created and swiftly adapted many new economic strategies, including the first modern currency, and with inspiration from its Algazi tributary state, banking. While it was not the inventor of literacy, it was an early adopter, which allowed unprecedented levels of organization and communication across such a vast territory.
Ethnic groups and languages
The official language and lingua franca of the empire was Old Adzamian. However, the region is extremely linguistically diverse, so many other languages were also spoken. There were also many other languages which have now become extinct, including a number of isolates, and smaller members of the Ekuo-Lahiri and other local language families.
These hundreds of languages were mirrored in turn by a similar number of distinct ethnic groups, which were not always on good terms with one another. In many areas of the Empire, the conquering Adzamians were able to present themselves as peacekeepers by putting an end to ethnic conflicts and blood feuds—although in reality they often encouraged these, intentionally or otherwise, which made the weakened remaining populations much easier to subdue.
Most of the symbols associated with the Adzamic Empire are those linked to its predominant religion, Temyarq: certain sacred animals that represent the four major gods (oryx, caracal, bearded vulture, and chital), the four-pointed star/compass rose, and the four primary colours (red, yellow, green, blue). It was also heavily associated with symbols of its military prowess (horses, cavalry, and chariots; particular designs of shields and weaponry), economics (gold; currency and coinage - which were invented in the region), and its major foodstuffs from different conquered regions (desert teff and dates; upper Ekuosian maize; Neviran pigs, pearl millet; and more).