|The Empire of Arathor|
Dissolved into the Seven Kingdoms, last branch became Kingdom of Stromgarde.
The Empire of Arathor or Arathorian Empire was the first human nation that centered its power in the Arathi Highlands in the city of Strom. Founded by Emperor-King Thoradin to unite the human tribes in the Troll Wars, the empire quickly spread across what today is known as the subcontinent of Lordaeron through aggressive conquest by the Arathorian Legion. After several centuries of prosperity, the empire collapsed in what is now known as the Dissolution Period. What remains of the Arathorian Empire is now known as the Kingdom of Stromgarde.
Note: The following article was written by players to expand upon the history of the Empire of Arathor. As with all fan additions and articles on this wiki, feel free to use content from this article in your own role-play and writing. Those who seek a purely canon history should seek out the Arathor article on Wowpedia.
The History of Arathor it's self is clouded, many different interpretations exist though some confirmed history exists amongst the various interpretations and tellings.
The Kingdom of Arathor and beginning of the EmpireEdit
Prior to the foundation of Arathor, the humans of Azeroth lived in scattered tribes about the regions of what is now known as the northern Eastern Kingdoms. The region now known as Lordaeron was filled with dense fertile lands and forests that were largely unexplored past the regions of the Silverpine Forest and Hillsbrad Foothills. The region now known as Alterac was a snowy region that housed a manner of fierce creatures, such as the Yeti, yet was rich for its mines and resources within the snow capped mountain tops, a region inhabited by people who had acclimated to the cold. The region now known as Gilneas was a large peninsula, marshy in some regions, yet fertile and ripe for mining in others. Notably it was inhabited at the time by pagans who had worshiped and used nature magics to survive. And within the Highlands laid long rolling fields with little trees, fertile for farming and filled with land apt for mining as well. It was here that a tribe known as the Arathi under Chieftain Thoradin had rose to ambition. Alongside his trusted friends, Ignaeus the Trollbane who would become his general, and Lordain, Thoradin proposed a daring plan. The tribe would unite the various tribes of the Highlands then expand out into the other regions and unite Humanity under one banner, the banner of Arathor. They would be forced to submit, but those who did would be treated fairly and granted equality under the banner so long as they served faithfully and acknowledged Thoradin as king.
With ambition and men to follow him, Thoradin, Lordain and Ignaeus set out, conquering and bringing the tribes of the Highlands. Naming the region the Arathi Highlands as the center of the budding empire, Thoradin reached out into the various regions nearby, his influence eventually bringing those of Gilneas and Alterac into the fold as well. Congregating at the site of Thoradin's rise, the mighty city of Strom was founded. Here it gave the humans a monumental advantage to the region, as the dwarves and elves were well within reach for trading and, should hostilities break out, war. Naming himself King of Strom and Emperor of Arathor, the humans began a prosperous and wealthy empire centered from their mighty city under Thoradin; hampered only by the local Forest Trolls that infested the region from the borders of Arathi, through the Hinterlands and up into Quel'Thalas at their city of Zul'aman. The mighty Thoradin's Wall was erected on the border of the Highlands and Hillsbrad in order to ensure that should a troll invasion arise the Humans would be able to defend the heartland of their people.
The Troll WarsEdit
At the same time as Arathor was founded, the elves of Quel'thalas had already founded and begun their own prosperous kingdom. However, they were constantly beset by the local forest troll population, as their grand city of Silvermoon had been established on a once sacred troll site in Eversong. While the elves had battled the trolls for generations, their numbers continued to swell and in time the Elves found themselves losing the thousands of years old war. With defeat upon the horizon, King Anasterian Sunstrider reached out to the now powerful humans of Arathor. Though the two races harbored no love for each other, indeed tales of elf treatment of humans being similar to how they treated trolls were rampant, Emperor-King Thoradin saw the threat of what could happen should the elven civilization fall. Ever the shrewd politician, Thoradin agreed to aid the elves in return for something of equal value, which King Sunstrider proposed was the teaching of magic to the humans. During this time, Human's grasp of the magical arts was rough shod at best, the pagans of Gilneas having the makings of proto-druids, while the humans of Arathor and beyond barely understood the concepts of true magical mastery. Seeing mages as a danger but a boon needed to smite this common threat, Thoradin accepted and Arathor raised its banners alongside the elves in exchange for one hundred humans being taught the arcane arts.
The elves found that although humans were innately clumsy in their handling of magic, they possessed a startling natural affinity for it. One hundred men were taught the very basics of the elves' magical secrets: no more than was absolutely necessary to combat the trolls. Convinced that their human students were ready to aid in the struggle, the elves left Strom and traveled north alongside the mighty armies of Thoradin, forming an extremely close alliance with the budding kingdom of Arathor.
In a battle known as the Battle of the Alterac Mountains, the humans met with the elves to clash against the fierce Amani Empire that was prepared to begin an invasion of the Arathorian lands. Being caught within a pincer, the Amani attempted to push through the Arathorian lands as the Elves arrived from the north in Quel'Thalas. However, the knights of Arathor, led by Ignaeus the Trollbane armed with his dread blade Trol'kalar, refused to give way and the Trolls were unable to escape. Deeming it an acceptable moment, the elven masters of magic unleashed their arcane arts alongside their new human students, annihilating the Amani army in a fury of arcane and steel. The dense array of arcane being unleashed caused the trolls to be unable to regenerate, and even as they fled they were butchered in scores. By the end of the encounter, the Amani had been slaughtered and their empire crumbled under the combined might of the elves and humans; a defeat they would never recover from even to this day. Many lives were lost during the fighting, including Thoradin's close friend Lordain.
Death of ThoradinEdit
With the absence of trolls in the northlands, the elves of Quel'Thalas bent their efforts towards rebuilding their glorious homeland. The victorious armies of Arathor returned home to southlands of Strom. The human society of Arathor grew and prospered, yet Thoradin, fearful that his empire would splinter apart if it overextended itself, maintained that Strom was the center of the Arathorian kingdom. Old in his age, Thoradin set off on a quest to find the true origins of humanity, abdicating his crown to his successor and leaving with his retainers and his legendary sword, Strom'kar. After having left to the mountains of what would become Tirisfal, Thoradin was never seen again and his body was never recovered.
Thus, after Thoradin, began the expansion of the kingdom into the empire beyond the lands of Arathor and the neighboring lands. With Gilneas having been the farthest province of the Empire, the one hundred magi set out into the borders of Hillsbrad on the shores of Lordamere lake. It was here the second great city of Strom was erected, Dalaran. A haven for mages to practice and learn, the original one hundred magi practiced their teachings cautiously as their elven masters had taught them, however their students and later generations did not heed such warnings. While this resulted in the evolution of human magic and advancements at a rapid pace, it also caused a great deal of concern for the elven masters that had outlived their students. The young magicians explored the northern reaches of the continent, allowing for more city states to be established as they defended would be settlers from the dangers that lurked about in the unexplored reaches of the empire. However, as this occurred rumor of demons and the like began to spread amongst the peasantry of Dalaran. Fearful of revolt that would cause Strom to react, the ruling magocrats of Dalaran sought out the elves who had confirmed that while the demons were only about in a minor number and more of a nuisance than a threat, the rampant spread of magic users and their careless usage of the arcane had caused them to appear. Thus, a secret pact was formed amongst the elves and the mages of Dalaran, forming the Council of Tirisfal.
The Council would meet within the lands of Tirisfal Glades where they would make motions to banish and defeat the envoys of the legion, as to avoid another attempted invasion that had resulted in the High Elves' banishing thousands of years prior. They would empower a single person at a time, a Guardian of Tirisfal, with the power of both elven and human magic in order to prevent the rise of the legion. A person with enough power to decimate the legion should they arrive. The first guardian being a half elf by the name of Alodi.
Expansion and End of the EmpireEdit
With Emperor Thoradin dead, the humans of Strom expanded, setting up city states in various regions of the empire to act as cultural hubs. During this time, Gilneas and Alterac rose as the first city states since Dalaran, and were strong supporters of Strom's authority. Following them came Kul Tiras, established on a large island south of Lordaeron and flourished on exports and trading. Gilneas and Alterac made up large armies that would scour the lands for the empire, and Arathor flourished. However, all was not well within the empire. Even as it flourished, the strongest elements of the empire were at odds with one another, and thus began the signal of the end. The mighty lords of Strom sought to move their estates and homes to the beautiful and unsettled lands north in lush fertile Lordaeron, so it might become the new seat of the empire. However, Thoradin's descendants refused and many of the lords departed anyway to establish the city state of Lordaeron. In time, Lordaeron grew into a religious mecca, and eventually its own kingdom. With this, Arathor's power began to wane as the various city states began to take more and more autonomy onto themselves for one reason or the other. With the empire's collapse inevitable, the descendants of Thoradin, the House of Lothar, departed to the southern reaches of the continent, founding the Kingdom of Azeroth in the lush fertile Elwynn Forest.
With their leaders gone, the empire finally collapsed. The various city states had deemed themselves kingdoms in their own right, some warring and squabbling over land and territory while Strom was left on its own. Unwilling to allow the once heart of the empire fade into nothingness, the House of Trollbane, descended from Emperor Thoradin's right hand, Ignaeus the Trollbane, took up the crown onto themselves. Renaming the region into the Kingdom of Stromgarde and renaming their city to Stromgarde as well, the men and women of the region took it upon themselves to guard the legacy of their people. Thus was the end of the empire, having lasted about 1,600 years before the first fracture and only to falter to the very thing that Thoradin had feared would happen should they over extend their reach.
Various interpretations have been found that detail the story of Arathor. Some clash with known history and each other, it is unknown what has truly occurred aside from what has already been detailed.
Westridge Historical Society InterpretationEdit
Not much is known about Arathian humans prior to their unification other than that they were scattered in small hunter-gatherer groups throughout the continents that today make up the Eastern Kingdoms.
Some speculate that human witch doctors or shamans used very basic elemental magic. Others claim that only alchemical rituals were practiced. With theories arising that humans are the descendants of the brutal and savage vrykyl of Northrend, one can only imagine the barbaric rituals that might have been practiced by early humans.
Kingdom of Arathor and the Troll WarsEdit
As humans slowly discovered agriculture and seafaring techniques, family-tribes began to form permanent settlements along the coast of Lordaeron and the islands of the Baradin Sea. A number of tribes struggled to eck out their own respective niches in the hostile countryside of what today is known as the Arathi Highlands. The Highlands were fraught with raptors and forest trolls, much as they are today. Due to the precarious nature of their surroundings, the human tribes developed warrior-based cultures that prized martial prowess.
Of the human tribes in the highlands, the Arathi were among the most ingenuitive - developing iron weapons and tools that were superior to the forest trolls' stone implements. Concerned that the forest trolls were becoming too great a threat with their superior numbers, the Arathi tribe embarked on a campaign to conquer its rivals through combat and politics. By offering equality and peace to the people they conquered, the Arathi were able to gather a powerful following under their leadership. The fortress-city of Strom was constructed on the Arathian coast, and many humans flocked to its protection as the forest trolls increased in number. The warlord of the Arathi tribe, Thoradin, was named king of the Arathi nation of Arathor in 2718 P.C. (by the King's Calendar). Thus began the count of the Thoradine Calendar that would dominate human date-keeping for nearly two millennia.
The ancient high elves of Quel'Thalas were in open war with the trolls in what is now Lordaeron. On the verge of defeat, they sent ambassadors to Strom to plead for assistance from the Arathi king. In exchange for support, the elves agreed to instruct one hundred humans in the use of magic. Through the military might of Strom, and the magic wielded by the elves and new human mages, the trolls were soundly defeated. This great conflict was later dubbed the "Troll Wars."
The Kingdom of Arathor grew and prospered, yet Thoradin, fearful that his realm would splinter apart if it overextended itself, maintained that Strom was the center of the nation. After many peaceful years of growth and commerce, mighty Thoradin died of old age, leaving Arathor's younger generation free to expand the kingdom beyond the Arathi Highlands.
The Arathorian RepublicEdit
As time and generations passed after the Troll Wars, the people who thrived in the fortress of Strom soon began to adopt what we contemporaries know as typical city life. Trade with the elves and other human settlements in Lordaeron spurred a growing class of wealthy merchants, warriors and landowners that rose above the typical Arathorian populace. Leisure and study time became available to these individuals, with which they reflected on the workings of life, philosophy, and the government of the various workings of the Arathorian state.
Most people of Strom worshiped a number of heavenly divinities that they believed granted boons to those who built monuments and sacrificed animals in their honor - the blessing in question depending on which one they devoted their attention to the most. Many believe that these ancient Arathorian divinities were remnants of the Titan mythos passed on by the Vrykul.
Tensions rose between families of the most prominent of Arathor. With every acre of fertile land in the Arathi Higlands claimed, some houses of Arathor could only expand their influence through taking it from their peers through force or subterfuge. Even the royal house of Arathi was outstripped in underhanded rivalries by other houses in wealth and influence.
In a sudden coup of power in what is estimated to be around 1950 P.C., the heads of the elite families of Arathor surrounded the last king of the Arathi line at swordpoint, demanding that he share the rule of the kingdom with the noble elite. Without choice and his guards overpowered, the last heir resigned his title and rule.
The landed noble and military elite of Arathor collaborated to form the first Arathorian Senate, where the most prominent of the regional divisions of the kingdom stood and voted on matters regarding the republic as a whole. Arathor, then a republic, was ruled by the senate for over 300 years.
The Holy Arathorian EmpireEdit
As the republic grew in scope, the units of its military were stretched further and further apart from one another - adopting their own arms, armor and techniques based upon their geography. The Arathorian Legion expanded aggressively, securing arable land and establishing garrisons far from the walls of Strom. With the increased food production, the army swelled, each of its regional legions growing larger enough that the Arathorian Senate feared that even one legion could take Strom if prompted.
When a multi-legion Arathorian force met a native pagan army in its conquest of Gilnea, the Legate in command of Arathor's forces saw bright lights streaking across the sky above the battlefield. Taking it as a sign of good omen, the Arathorian commander led his forces to a great victory - eventually breaking the pagan army in Gilnea. Returning to Strom, emboldened with the spoils of war and with news of the brilliant light, the Legate marched his full army on Strom - considered to be an act of war due to the size of the multi-legion force.
Greeted as a hero, the commander of the Gilnean victory force rallied the common people of Strom around him as his massive army marched through its streets. What began as one commoner shouting turned into the entire city praising the commander for both his victory and revelation of the heavenly power of the light. The senate, fearing for their lives should they have dissented, fled the city. The commander was crowned Emperor of Arathor. Embracing the Holy Light as his channel to his newfound power, the first Emperor of Arathor established the Arathorian Church of Light, which regarded the Holy Light as a gift from otherworldly beings of immense power.
Fracture and WarEdit
The fears that Thoradin voiced in the first years of the Kingdom of Arathor soon came to be realized as tensions rose between the far-flung holdings of the empire. Scholars to this day debate the causes and belligerents of the greater conflict known as the Warring Kingdoms Period, but all agree that the authority of the Emperor collapsed roughly 1,200 years ago.
A number of mages chose to leave the holdings of Strom and found their own nation, Dalaran, dedicated to the study and use of magic. In time, other city-states were founded: Gilneas, Alterac, and Kul Tiras. Much of Arathor's nobility decided to move from Stromgarde to the fertile lands of the north, where they then broke ties with the emperor and declared themselves sovereign rulers of what was to become the Kingdom of Lordaeron. The heirs of King Thoradin travelled far south to form the kingdom of Azeroth - later known as Stormwind. Brutal mismanagement by the Arathorian Legion led to a revolt that ultimately toppled their control over the province in the War for Stormwind's Independence.
The few remaining nobles and loyal defenders of Strom renamed it Stromgarde, a shell of what was left of a once-great empire. The Kingdom of Stromgarde would be ruled by the House of Trollbane for several generations afterwards, and with their vassals they maintained Stromgarde as a power to be reckoned with.
Despite the Kingdom of Stromgarde's victories in the Orcish Wars and its position as a leading force in the Alliance of Lordaeron, the kingdom fell into mismanagement, disarray and ultimately destruction in the times surrounding the Third War. The ruins of the Kingdom of Stromgarde are all that remain of the once great Arathorian Empire. Those who remain loyal to the House of Trollbane often sport the colors and motifs of the Arathorian Empire of old, using its symbols in hope of reclaiming the glory they once stood for.
Everen Corelas's InterpretationEdit
(While much of this is a bare framework, the intent is to gradually expand it. The content planned differs significantly from that found above.)
Seven Years of WarfareEdit
(Work in Progress)
The Founding of StromEdit
Following the unprecedented achievement of uniting a host of hundreds - perhaps even thousands - of small, disparate human tribes, clans and isolated families, Thoradin set his gaze on a longer-term strategy: the creation of a fortress, a safe haven for his people. He turned to the leaders of the tribes for counsel, though he ultimately disregarded those who told him to settle in a fertile land, or lead the tribes south beyond the Span, beyond the great snowy ranges, to hopefully greener pastures. To the dismay of many, he listened to his oldest companion among the tribal chieftains: Ignaeus Trollbane, chieftain of the Strom.
Ignaeus counselled him not to flee, or to seek the soft hills of the north, filled with trees and fertile valleys. Instead, the grizzled warrior suggested his own tribal lands on the windswept and rocky shore of the bay, flanked by great granite mountains, mouthed by a ridge - and surrounded only by empty, near-barren plains. Such a site would have but a precarious grasp on food and even fresh water with so many crowding it, but it held a great advantage over softer lands. The lack of trees prevented the [[Forest Troll] warbands from sneaking upon it, the mountains gave easy access to solid stone, and the strange stone temple of the Earth Elementals offered untold potential medicine and magic.
Thoradin agreed, and construction began. Strom was more than mere city; it was a rallying cry, a beacon of safety, of something new. For the bulk of the tribes, structures more permanent than flimsy wooden shacks were completely unheard of. Their nomadic lives, spent fleeing from elves and trolls and other beasts, had given them no chance to develop permanent settlements. Even those who had had built only of wood and turf, and their hamlets had been miserably small, poorly defended, and vulnerable.
Strom was to be hewn of granite, populated by thousands. Men who had never slept beneath a roof would share space with the Arathi; high would share food with low. There could be no division in this new society, this new idea, if it was to succeed.
(Work in Progress)
(Work in Progress)
Elements of GovernmentEdit
(Work in Progress)
The Arathorian Empire was forged from a great host of disparate, and often semi-nomadic, tribes from across the Azerothian supercontinent. Unaccustomed to centralized government and resident in one of the most inhospitable areas of Azeroth, the first days of the empire were typified not, as is typically portrayed in art and theatre, by glory and a well-ordered society; but rather, by a terrifying shambolic state of near-starvation, brutal tribal feuds, and stresses that threatened to tear Strom and the entire Empire asunder.
In order to bring some semblance of order - and long-term viability - to the nascent state, the Emperor embarked on one of his most ambitious schemes. With the help of the Elves of Quel'thalas, the languages of the tribes were syncreticized and a semi-standardized lingua franca developed out of the range of tongues spoken at the time. While helpful in defusing situations, this was not the stroke of genius that saved the empire, and merely allowed for the creation of a sizeable class of literate scribes. These scribes, focused on the careful maintenance and upkeep of all manner of tasks necessary, were the first Arathorian bureaucrats.
The most significant role of these early bureaucrats was the lodging and rationing of foodstuffs. While the people chafed under the seizure of their supplies and their farms, the actions swiftly proved wise. With extensive record-keeping and communication between the capital and the farm holdings springing up throughout the Highlands, the grand total of foodstuffs was made known and accountable; and by this measure, control over the warring factions was achieved with remarkable swiftness. Rather than rely on other tribes to prosecute the peace, Thoradin called on the nascent bureaucracy to enforce the most primitive of the Arathorian laws, themselves yet a glimmer of a development. Troublesome tribes that ceased their quarrels received additional bribes of grain, wine, and meat; those that did not, received nothing at all.
Population censuses, land surveys, and other such bureaucratic tasks quickly followed this one vital role, and by these means, tribal quarrels over borders were dismissed, the great city-fortress of Strom kept from a density certain to bring down terrible outbreaks of miasma, and the state slowly began not only to survive, but to thrive. From shaky origins and a nascent empire at the brink of collapse emerged the mightiest human state ever seen; fit to rival the majestic High Elves and the terrible Amani. To its banner flocked other tribes, reluctant to join earlier with such instability. The primitive bureaucracy had, by merely controlling the production and distribution of food, forced centralized power and organization on a wild and untamed people.
Expansion and TaxationEdit
With the growth of the Empire following the foundation of the city-state of Dalaran and the death of Thoradin, the bureaucracy further expanded, taking on specific roles previously handled on an ad hoc basis by thegns, comes and appointees. Serving alongside the newly instated heriditary nobility (drawn largely from the ranks of tribal chiefs and their retainers. In some areas, nothing changed save the title.) was an increasingly potent administration of bureaucrats, from the 'lowly' scribes to the great Magocrats of Dalaran. The most powerful tool of control over the Empire was modified as food production increased with every settlement in more fertile soils, and total control over the farms by sometimes tyrannical scribes was largely abandoned. The new tool that replaced it was familiar to the people from the pre-Imperial period: taxation. While it differed greatly in its conduct and extraction, the tax was not perceived as greatly different from those 'gifts' collected by the headmen of the clans and tribes.
Much of the enlarged bureaucracy developed towards the purpose of ensuring the collection and accurate recording of the tax. The taxmen, employed by both local overlords and the central state, were concentrated largely in the towns and villages, taking the Imperial share from those who came to trade and from the local producers. Carefully documented (with the records submitted to the Scribe Overseer of each district to be verified) to avoid fraud and dispersed to the predecessors of the Arathorian Legion, bureaucrats, and the poor, these taxes served the purpose of the control and benefit for the Empire (and it's new emperors) almost as well as the total control and rationing previously practiced.
It was during this expansion that the office of the Palatine and the missi were created. The Palatinate, established in 31AD, acted primarily as an advisor to the Imperial Court on matters of law and taxation, but with the creation of the missi - envoys of the Emperor, to act as Imperial justices and overseers wandering through the provinces - expanded to the role of overseeing the taxes collected by the Missi. The centralized office of the Palatinate continued the practice of disbursement of goods to shore up loyalty, but also acted to bring as much of the taxed wealth to the capital as possible first - ostensibly to prevent skimming by corrupt Scribe Overseers, but in reality to further reinforce the power of the office and of the Emperor. With grain and other spoilage-resistant taxes held in the capital and dispatched as needed, the state regained the ability to simply withhold the grain ration from struggling and troublesome provinces and clans, and by this measure, force them back to heel.
Nobles and AristocratsEdit
(Work in Progress)
(Work in Progress)
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The magi of the Tower remained entirely in the service of the crown directly for many years after their formation, acting as a defacto branch of government dealing with taboo places, spirits, and troublesome remnants of the pre-Hundred witches.
(Work in Progress)
(Work in Progress)
Decline and FallEdit
(Work in Progress)
(Work in Progress)
Adapted from Wowpedia.