|Regions with significant populations|
|Terran Patriarchal Church|
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Augustans (Augustan: Αυγυστανοι Aŭgustanoj) are an ethnic group in South Majatra forming the dominant ethnicity in Zardugal and a significant minority in Cobura and neighboring nations. Descending from Selucian colonists and various native peoples, Augustans derive their name from the medieval Augustan Empire, and speak a language derived from Selucian, with significant Delic, Dunic, and Kalopian influences, called Augustan. Most Augustans are members of the Terran Patriarchal Church, the modern descendant of the Augustan Church. A very large number of them are also irreligious or adhere to other faiths.
The origins of the modern Augustan people lay in the Selucian and Kalopian colonization of the southern shores of the Majatran Sea during antiquity. Foremost among these colonies was the Selucian-speaking city-state of Leucopolis, established according to tradition sometime in the 8th century BCE. Leucopolis and its hinterland were conquered by the Cildanian Hegemony in 319 BCE, during the Selucian-Cildanian Wars, and for the next 400 years Leucopolis would exist as an integral part of the Cildanian empire and the capital of the Province of Leucopolis. During Cildanian rule the southern provinces of the Empire, including Leucopolis, were heavily Kalopianized, as the language of culture, literature, and local government in the south was Classical Kalopian. During the centuries of Cildanian rule Leucopolis flourished and produced a syncretic Seluco-Kalopian-Cildanian civilization that would later form the basis of Augustan culture.
The Jelbo-Tukaric Migrations that eventually brought the Cildanian Hegemony to an end had a major impact on Leucopolis, but the province managed to survive the Jelbo-Tukaric onslaught. In the Battle of Alazinder River of 39 BCE the local Leucopolitan levy, under the command of Rab Mahanet (Magister Militum) Esmunhalus Ptolmy won a great victory against the armies of Khan Timur of the Yelb Empire, delaying the Jelbo-Tukaric invasion and preserving Cildanian rule in Leucopolis. Caesar Diocles, the successor of Esmunhalos Ptolmy as the Rab Mahanet for Leucopolis, defeated further Jelbo-Tukaric attempts at conquering the province. When the Cildanian Hegemony disintegrated in 22 CE due to the civil war between Qart Qildar and the city-states under its rule, Caesar maintained his own rule in much of his province, creating a Cildanian remnant state that came to be known as the Kingdom of Leucopolis. In 27 CE Caesar proclaimed himself King of Leucopolis, and his descendants of the emerging Dioclid dynasty would rule the Cildanian successor state for centuries.
For four hundred years the Kingdom of Leucopolis remained one of the many petty kingdoms in South Majatra, with a population composed of partly Kalopianized Selucians, while the rest of the region was ruled by Jelbic, Qedarite, and Kalopian polities, the most powerful and influential of which was the Kingdom of Irkawa. In 392 CE Augustus II Diocles was crowned as King of Leucopolis, and his reign was marked by a massive shift in the balance of power throughout the south of the continent. Soon after taking the throne Augustus reformed the Leucopolitan military, which at the time of his ascension still used classical Cildanian tactics and equipment based on the Dorkim, the Kalopian-style hoplite-based phalanx. Augustus reformed the infantry into what came to be known as the Augustan phalanx formation, replacing the short spears of the heavily armored hoplites with 6 metre long pikes, light armor, and a tight formation, making the phalanx effectively invincible from the front. After consolidating his rule over the often rebellious tribes and city-states under Leucopolitan rule, Augustus used his reformed army to embark on one of the largest campaigns of conquest on the continent. In 395 Augustus initiated the conquest of the Kingdom of Irkawa, the largest territorial empire on the continent. Following a rapid seven-year campaign, the entire Kingdom was conquered by Augustus in 402, who was then proclaimed Pharaoh of Irkawa. Ruling from the newly founded city of Augusta on the shores of Lake Majatra, Augustus spent the rest of his reign expanding his empire to the north and consolidating his dynasty. At his death in 433, Augustus left one of the largest empires that had ever been formed, an empire that was to bear his name and eventually give birth to the Augustan people.
The Empire established by Augustus came to be known as the Augustan Empire and its inhabitants began calling themselves "Augustans" beginning with the 6th century. The empire's geographical span, covering nearly the entire southern half of the continent, created a melting pot of various ethnicities, including Selucians, Kalopians, Irkawans, Mallans, Jelbics, Turjaks, or Yeudis, which encouraged the Augustan rulers to implement a policy of ethnic and cultural unity. The empire encouraged the adoption of Seluco-Kalopian customs and practices by the educated native classes, and in turn the empire's ruling class incorporated some local traditions. Throughout the Empire's nearly 1000 year existence it remained a multi-ethnic and multi-religious polity, and the term "Augustan" then referred to all of the empire's citizens and subjects of the Emperor. And indeed a form of Augustan identity was adopted by many of the empire's inhabitants, irrespective of their native language or ethnic background. The development of the political or statist Augustan self-perception was not only the result of the cultural syncretism between the Empire's numerous ethnic groups, but also of deliberate cultural and religious policy imposed by the emperors. When the Augustan Empire became Hosian in 509 a new element was added to Augustan identity, namely adherence to the Augustan-centered and ruled Augustan Church, wholly subordinate to the Emperor in secular and administrative matters while also in communion with and subordinate to the Holy Apostolic Hosian Church of Terra in doctrinal matters.
Thus by the 9th century a more or less distinct ethnic Augustan identity began to crystalize; although any citizen of the Empire could call themselves "Augustan", in order for one's status as such to be unquestioned it was best for one to be an Augustan Hosian, a Selucian-speaker, and fluent in Classical Kalopian. The religious and ethnic conflicts with the Unitarian heresy that eventually became the Coburan Apostolic Tewahedo Church also had a major role in shaping Augustan identity, as the Empire's minorities, although politically "Augustan", rejected identification with the Emperor and the Church, the two main markers of unquestionable Augustan identity. The conflicts with the new threat posed by the Deltarians and the Tokundian Empire also helped forge an ethnic as opposed to political or religious Augustan identity.
Towards the end of the empire the earliest written texts in the Augustan language were written. Until around the 11th century the local dialects of Selucian were not written and were considered just one of the many native languages spoken by Augustans as opposed to the official and cultured Classical Kalopian, although the ability to speak Selucian was a prerequisite for social and political advancement. During the late empire the earliest texts in Arcaicam Aùgustanam (Ancient Augustan), written in the Kalopian alphabet, emerge, although Kalopian remained the sole language of government and formal literary creation until the fall of the empire.
Outside the empire several other peoples and states also adopted Augustan culture and were integrated into the Augustan cultural and religious sphere without being brought under Augustan political authority. The conversion to Augustan Hosianism of the Khanate of the Banster and the Tokundian Empire, as well as several other smaller polities, expanded the Augustan world far beyond the political boundaries of the empire, and these foreign states and peoples would perpetuate Augustan cultural and political ideals and practices long after the fall of the Augustan Empire.
The founding of a new religion in the 12th century would later help forge the Augustan people as a distinct ethnicity. Ahmadism was born in 1186 in Barmenistan, and the Ahmadi Caliphate expanded rapidly throughout the continent. Capitalizing on the ethnic and religious tensions and inequality in the Augustan Empire, the Caliphate succeeded in conquering vast territories from the empire in the Great War of the South, while the empire itself managed to avoid conquest. The war reduced the empire's territory primarily to its Selucophone heartlands, and as a result the Augustan polity, culture, and self-perception became largely equivalent.
Another event during the last years of the empire that would have a major impact on Augustan ethnogenesis was the revolt of the Deltarian tribes against the Tokundians, leading to the mass expulsion of the latter and their migration and settlement in the Augustan Empire. The Augustan and Tokundian Empires had been close allies since the Great War of the South, cemented by dynastic, cultural, religious, and political ties, so when the Deltarian tribes revolted against the Tokundians with Caliphate backing, the Augustans supported the latter, and after their defeat allowed the mass migration of Tokundians into the empire. Several years later, in 1401, the Augustan Empire fell to the forces of the Caliphate and the empire was abolished. Under the Caliphate, the settlement of Tokundians and the cultural interaction between the two peoples would cement the Augustan ethnos as fully distinct. The shared opposition to the Caliphate, growing ethnic and religious ties, and intermarriage led to a shared struggle and identity and the assimilation of most Tokundians into Augustan culture. At the same time the Augustans adopted many Tokundian cultural practices, including the use of Old Tokundian as the language of culture as opposed to Classical Kalopian, as well as elements of Tokundian mythology.
After the conquest of the empire in 1401, the Caliphs divided the newly conquered territories into two emirates, the Emirate of Zardugal and Emirate of Cobura. During the first years of Ahmadi rule, life for the local population remained largely unchanged. Ahmadi garrisons were kept apart in camps, and the local civil service and aristocracy was left in place. Additionally, and for the first time in history, the Augustan language was granted an official role as language of administration in the two emirates, until it was replaced in that role by Classical Brmek. Under Ahmadi rule the local population was allowed to freely practice its religion in exchange for a protection tax, and the religious minorities of the fallen empire even enjoyed greater freedom under the Caliphate than they had under the emperors. However the Augustan Church, as a distinct branch of the Holy Apostolic Hosian Church of Terra, was brought to an end. The city of Augusta, the capital of the Church, was sacked in 1401 and since the city lost its political importance, the Patriarch of Augusta relocated to Belgae and later to Čachtice, in independent Great Deltaria.
Early modern era
The brief period of Ahmadi rule was however not fully peaceful. Although the local aristocracy and civil service retained many of their privileges, local commoners were displeased with the increasingly harsh and arbitrary rule by the Emirs. The breakdown of authority in the later years of Ahmadi rule led to the rise of the hajdukoj, bandits and brigands who targeted Emirate authorities, rich Ahmadis, and Augustan aristocrats, also acting as guerilla fighters. Later the hajdukoj were romanticized as figures who would steal from the rich and give to the poor, fighting against unjust rulers and for the independence of their homeland; the hajdukoj however also targeted Hosians of all classes as much as they did rich Ahmadis. Moreover, the centrifugal tendencies that elsewhere resulted in de facto independent sultanates also affected the two emirates, as the great noble houses of Zardugal and Cobura, capitalizing on the decline in Caliphal authority, sought to assert more autonomy for themselves. In 1477, Prince Leo Egato, one of the numerous Augustan princes allowed to retain their lands, proclaimed himself King of Cobura. Soon after, Leo initiated a massive military campaign against the weakening Caliphate, eventually succeeding in liberating most of Cobura. Leo I's son, Alexios I, inherited his father's strategic acumen, and led a series of campaigns that culminated in the conquest of Tokundi in 1493, essentially enshrining the modern Coburan borders. In 1480, following the example of Leo, a Zardic hajduko leader known as Zeno Donaŭro used his outlaw forces to slowly push the Caliphate's armies out of the country, recovering more and more land from them as they were now forced to focus not only on the Augustans but the Majalis in the East, who following the death of Caliph Azi Bunjamín in 1486 asserted their own right to the Caliphate.
Thus by 1493 the twin Kingdoms of Zardugal and Cobura had emerged from the ashes of the collapsing Caliphate, both led by Augustan dynasties and together comprising largely the same territory the Augustan Empire ruled before its conquest. However neither of the two kingdoms sought to fully claim the political heritage of the old empire, as both monarchs ruled as Kings rather than Emperors. Moreover, although both kingdoms were Augustan-dominated regimes that fostered a more specifically Augustan culture as opposed to the cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic culture of the old empire, they were culturally very distinct. Most of the centers of Augustan high culture from the time of the empire were in the southern kingdom, which also served as the power base of Augustan aristocracy. In comparison the Kingdom of Zardugal was more rural, had fewer urban centers, and a more egalitarian social structure. Consequently, Cobura developed as a multi-ethnic society governed by a noble class culturally and linguistically distinct from large segments of the population, whereas Zardugal was a largely homogeneous and socially undifferentiated society initially formed and ruled by a ruling class born from the peasantry, out of which a centralized and increasingly authoritarian bureaucracy was formed. The distinct cultures of the two Augustan kingdoms was visible in the different treatment of the newly settled Tokundians. While Zardugal integrated them culturally and politically, eventually leading to their assimilation into the Augustan ethnos, the Augustan aristocracy ruling Cobura saw the generally impoverished newcomers as a threat, leading to numerous revolts and even a brief period of independence of Tokundi (1658-1673). The end result was that the ethnic conflicts in Cobura led to the persistence of a distinct Tokundian identity and the maintenance of a Tokundophone homeland in Tokundi (although Tokundians had settled throughout the territory of the Augustan Empire at the time of the Tokundian migration), while in Zardugal the largely peaceful coexistence between the two ethnic groups led to the assimilation of the Tokundians.
In the 17th century the Kingdoms of Zardugal and Cobura experienced what is called the Augustan Golden Age, a period of flourishing in arts, literature, and science, marked by the rise of Augustan-language literature, the establishment of large public libraries, and scientific discoveries, as well as increased trade with rest of continent. The establishment of Dorvish Majatra in 1629 also brought increased trade with Artania as well as cultural interaction between Augustan and Artanian culture. As a result of this cultural interaction the Augustan language, by now a full-fledged literary and cultural language, received significant Dundorfian (and later Vanukeaans) influence, and around this time the Augustans began seeing themselves as fully distinct from surrounding populations, beginning to identify more with Selucian and Artanian culture than with those of Kalopia or Deltaria.