Hafsighi Kingdom

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Hafsighi Kingdom
guźajd hafþíqe
Tributary
2nd century BCE–1078 CE


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Capital Hafsigh
Languages Classical Algaz, Lonish, Aukidian
Government Monarchy
Historical era Middle Ages
 •  Established 2nd century BCE
 •  Battle of Madashir 248 CE
 •  Sadhas Coup 795 CE
 •  Death of Aransagh III 1078 CE

The Hafsighi Kingdom (Classical Algaz: Guvayd Haftsīghe, Modern Algaz: Guvaydh Hafsighi) was a state located in western Ekuosia from the 2nd Century BCE until 1078 CE. Centered on Lake Wadan and the city of Hafsigh, the kingdom grew to encompass much of the present-day Algazi Union, as well as small portions of Letzia, Lons, and Zhinayak.

History

Pre-History

Improved irrigation techniques in the vicinity of Argeyaz Bay during the last three centuries BCE led to an intensification of agriculture and the beginnings of urbanization, mostly centered on Lake Wadan. Archeological evidence suggests that the city of Hafsigh, one of these early urban centers, was formed through an amalgamation of 3-5 smaller villages located on the peninsula in the lake. While the origins of the Yurek Dynasty are unclear, some historians have suggested that it is tied to this process of the city's formation.

Expansion (150-302)

Hafsigh's defensible location, which also allowed control of transportation across the lake, was most likely what led to the city's emergence as the pre-eminent power of the Lake Wadan region in the 2nd Century CE. The defeat of Hafsigh's most powerful rival, the city of Madashir, in 248 marked the establishment of Hafsighi rule over the entire lake; from that point, the kingdom expanded outward into the loosely-organized hinterland of smaller agrarian and pastoral communities.

Adzamasi Tributary (302-795)

The expansion of both the Letsatian and Adzamasi Empires towards the region prompted concern in the smaller kingdom. Eager to avoid conquest, particularly by the Letsatians, King Uftar V formally entered into a tributary relationship with the Adzamasi Empire in 302. Relying on Adzamasi protection, several generations of Hafsighi rulers continued the kingdom's expansionist policies, eventually extending the kingdom's territory to include much of the present-day Algazi Union. Several ports were established in these territories, aimed at building up a substantial naval presence in Argeyaz Bay and the Gulf of Ishenar.

Given its military and economic dependence on the Adzamasi Empire, the Hafsighi Kingdom was hit hard as the Empire began to decline in the 8th Century. In addition to the loss of the kingdom's main trading partner, the disintegration of the western Empire led to a period of upheaval, sparking numerous conflicts on the borders of the kingdom and, increasingly, within it.

Sadhas Dynasty and Revival (795-903)

Manuscript illustration of a Hafsighi court scene, c. 880. Hayan the Wise is seated at left.

In the midst of the political instability and inter-dynastic conflict that characterized the later 8th century, nobleman and general Dareb Sadhas, appointed as the chief advisor for the aging king Kedjun, seized control of the government. Following Kedjun's death in captivity n 795, Dareb formally usurped the throne, declaring himself king and establishing a new dynasty, which would rule the kingdom until its dissolution. Through intimidation, enticement, and violence, Dareb I was able to stave off the threat of ambitious rival families and ensure their compliance, bringing a relative stability to the Hafsighi Kingdom.

Following Dareb I's death in 822, he was succeeded by his 24 year-old son Aransagh (r. 822-869), known as "the Great." A shrewd negotiator backed by a fiercely loyal inner circle, Aransagh implemented sweeping reforms that reversed the kingdom's decline, ushering a renewed, though still diminished, period of economic and political power. The Argeyaz Campaign of 838-841 saw the recovery of several peripheral territories over which control had been lost, including the strategic port of Yazurum. Cultural development during this period of relative prosperity and stability escalated under Aransagh's son Hayan (r. 869-903), known as "the Wise." Though deeply involved in economic projects, literary and artistic patronage became the hallmark of Hayan's reign.

Decline and Collapse (903-1078)

The renewed stability and vigor of the early Sadhas Period began to falter under Hayan's successor Dareb II (r. 903-912). Surviving personal writings suggest that Dareb II struggled with depression throughout his life, which officials and noble families sought to take advantage of. The increasing political tensions and conflicts escalated rapidly following the onset of a major drought in 907, which caused famine and serious instability. Unable to cope with stresses of economic decline and unrest among aristocrats, commoners, and bureaucrats alike, Dareb II committed suicide in 912. As both of his sons had died in adulthood, the throne passed to his infant grandson Taysh.

The following 166 years were characterized by rapid economic and political decline, with frequent inter- and intra-dysnastic power struggles and armed conflicts with rebellious cities on the periphery. As the last Hafsighi ruler, Aransagh III (r. 1053-1078), is recorded as having had relationships only with men throughout his life, he died without an heir; both his younger brother and his lover claimed to be his legitimate successors, sparking a civil war that marked the kingdom's dissolution. Competing families and factions remained at war until 1094, causing extensive devastation to Hafsigh and the surrounding region as the former Hafsighi cities along the coast flourished.

Geography

Divisions

The Hafsighi Kingdom was divided into several provinces, each of which was subdivided in turn into districts. Both provincial and district governors were appointed by the monarch, who administered Wadan Province and the city of Hafsigh directly.

Province Districts
Wadan Haftsīgh
Farīgh
Bėghim
Vomzīgh Yadzurum
Dorīdjā
Vēske
Eṣėnar Eyozan
Azar
Argeyadz
(Argeyaz)
Mirad
Nowadz
Latṣot

Society

Government

The Hafsighi Kingdom was theoretically an absolute monarchy with aristocratic officials comprising a highly centralized bureaucracy in the capital. In practice, however, the state was characterized by constant tensions between the royal household and the aristocratic civil service, with nobles exercised a great deal of control during periods of weak rule. Indeed, by the late Sadhas Period, the outer cities were essentially autonomous, being largely under the control of local nobles.

Military officers and commanders were typically slaves drawn from the ranks of the military rather than aristocrats, who were felt to be potentially seditious. These elite slaves had the opportunity to rise into higher positions both in military administration and in the royal household. Increasing inheritance of these positions in the later Yurek Period, coupled with privileges granted by Dareb I in exchange for their support of his coup in 795, essentially elevated their status to that of a second, lesser aristocracy, initially pitting them against the more elite civil aristocracy. This division would eventually be effaced with the onset of civil war in 1078 in which civil aristocratic families, needing the resources and abilities of the military aristocracy, formed strategic alliances cemented by intermarriage.

Commoners

Despite the dramatic urbanization of the region during the Hafsighi Kingdom, the vast majority of the population remained rural, with most people engaged in subsistence farming or herding. Substantial changes to the structure of rural society did occur during the kingdom's history, however, particularly through the middle and later periods of the Yurek dynasty. Initially an ethnically and culturally diverse region loosely organized by diffuse and overlapping clan networks, rural Hafsighi subjects increasingly coalesced into communities based on proximity rather than kinship or ethnicity. This promoted an extensive degree of assimilation, with Hafsighi Algaz, serving as both a prestige dialect and a lingua franca, largely displaced the various Continental Argeyazic and High Lonish dialects spoken before. These communities were also integrated politically into the Hafsighi state through their leaders (mostly elders), who were expected to answer directly to district governors.

Religion

Courtyard of the Temple of Yena', Hafsigh

Official religion in the Hafsighi Kingdom was far more centralized and uniform than in the present-day Algazi Union, with a tightly ordered hierarchy of clergy centered on the city of Hafsigh itself. The upper ranks of clergy ultimately dissolved during and after the Hafsighi civil war, due to a high death rate and the general instability of Hafsigh and its surroundings. Other cities, housing only the lower ranks of clergy, became characterized by decentralized and largely un-organized religion, fostering diversification of religious beliefs and practices.

Periods of instability and decline, such as the 8th century or the late Sadhas Dynasty, were characterized by a number of new religious movements, often with millenarian tendencies and varying degrees of influence from Iovism and Adzamism. The largest of these by far was the sect which emerged in the city of Hafsigh in the 960s around Serīm, a prophet figure who proselytized among the lower classes. Serīm and his followers believed that the world would eventually be cleansed of mazuran, the malignant spirits of the traditional Algazi religion, and the aristocrats who were seen as their servants. This cleansing, which would lead to the creation of a world-wide utopian society centered on Hafsigh and under direct rule of the four main gods. Serimism therefore placed heavy emphasis on trances and the use of mind-altering substances as a means of both speaking to and receiving signs from the gods. The arrest of Serīm in 972 launched several days of rioting in Hafsigh, in which he was released by his followers. Serīm and his movement went underground, leading to a six year period of assassinations, spontaneous uprisings, and raids that escalated to the point of open war from 978 until Serīm's death in 983. Though no longer a significant theological or political force, Serimist sects have nonetheless continued to enjoy periodic revivals throughout Algazi history.