The Barmenian Empire in Zardugal (also known as Barmenian Zardugal or Zardic Empire by its inhabitants during the time of its duration) was a state which came into being in 3983, at the formal ascension of Emperor Antono and which ended in 4038, culminating in the structured withdrawal of Barmenian forces from the nation in line with treaty obligations, and its subsequent termination thereafter.
For much of its tenure, the Empire was governed as a popular, constitutional, semi absolute monarchy, and laid firmly under the control of the Barmenian born, syncretic wise Emperor Calixtus and his wife, the Augustan born Empress Katina Kokinos.
Creation of the Empire: Antono I and the Year of Three Emperors. Edit
Antono I Alexandra, previously the President of Zardugal, declared himself Emperor of Zardugal in the year 3983. His death would come merely a year later at the hands of a still unknown assassin; his greatest accomplishments remain the creation of the Empire itself, the ideals of which he espoused, and the passage of the Zardic Languages charter.
The background of the civil war can be traced to the internal politics of the Zardic Senate and pre-existing tensions regarding the role of the Emperor; the Democrats, previously seen as stable in their positioning, grew to become radically authoritarian prior to the beginning of the war. Their support of the Emperor and subsequent attempt to arrest Syndicalist aligned Senators helped ignite the spark which put the nation on the path to bloodshed.
The failure of the Democrats to properly arrest the Syndicalists would prove dire for the nation; having lost legitimacy within the capital, the Democrats and their allies within the government were thus forced to flee to Sakvejo. This action would set the stage for the war to come; with the Senate declaring itself the sole authority, and the Emperor and his government having declared the same, there was little turning back.
Following the evacuation of the Emperor and his cabinet, Field Marshal Ludoviko Vilhelmo would be declared Supreme Commander of All Zardugal and acting head of government; effectively, Antono I had been replaced.
The nascent regency of Vilhelmo beheld little initial success; en masse defections at the start of the war and armed civilians eroded efforts on the part of imperial government to retake territory. He and his officials would launch a series of sluggish battles to retake the Ingomo governate throughout the period of 3984. In addition, in an attempt to seek aid from abroad, the government would offer the throne of the deposed Antono to the Vanukuese Prince Juhn III. These conflicting interests would ultimately set the stage for the World War; Queen Hrstin, mother of King Christopher of Barmenia and sister to the Vanukuese monarch, would later use Barmenia's voting power on the Commission for the Election of the Protector of Jelbic People's as a means to have her brother abdicate. This decision, besides allowing Vanuku to keep its title and tilting the world into a state of warfare, would also leave King Christopher (proclaimed Emperor Calixtus from 3985 onward) as the undisputed ruler of the Imperial State.
Completion of Ignomo offensive and collapse of the First Imperial StateEdit
The Ignomo offensive would see the loss of a vast array of Barmenian and Zardic forces (130,000 were lost on the part of Barmenia; some 50,000 were lost on the part of Zardic forces.) yet also a crushing defeat for Zardic democracy; at the beginning of what would ultimately be a prolonged cold war and armistice, the Zardic Army would be reduced to 170,000 by some estimates; the civil war would crush the Zardic Army of National Defense (ZAND) and Black Star, eliminating a combined force 605,000. These would signal not only military defeats, but the crushing of all effective opposition.
The completion of the Ignomo offensive, and the effective elimination of the Zardic Army as a pliable threat, would leave the Zardic forces reliant on the Barmenian military and their gateway to reinforcements by way of Vanuku. The complete and utter transformation of the nation was encapsulated in the brutal crackdown by Imperialist backed militia forces upon the Skaraj protests late in the First Imperial State; once quelled by military officials, the military had been all but relieved of command following the rise of IBI director Paŭlo Dezirinda. Finally, following the besiegement of Zardopolo, Imperial forces made a series of advances that culminated in two almost simultaneous events; the destruction of much of northern Zardugal, and the downfall of Dezirinda following mass protests. Historians often disagree on the nature of the latter; some have said it was actually the Emperor himself that had fired the Director. Others have said it was a genuine popular movement.
Whatever the case, the result was the same; with the swift trial and conviction of the Director, the Emperor confirmed the leader of the coup, Miĥaelo Vilĉjo, as his regent. The first imperial state would collapse soon after.
3995-3999: Creation of Second Imperial State and move to Hipero Edit
Once the First Imperial State had collapsed, the Emperor failed to see a reason to give up hope on what many of his advisors recognized as a temporary occupation. In this vain, the Emperor abandoned the city of Skaraj and instead moved his court to the city of Hipero, which had been untouched by rebel forces. Soon after, word came of the capture of Balgae, but this was reportedly met with little ease, as a new civil war had begun. Though the Empire would succeed in creating a stalemate, the Imperial government would never succeed in controlling all of Zardugal; what would resume was a long and drawn out cold war between the Empire and Nationalist forces, which was only aided by the cessation of all attempts to truly occupy the northern provinces. Instead, the Emperor gave the former capital back to the Nationalist forces, and maintained his occupation of the southern provinces for what would prove to be the rest of his life.
3999-4031: Maintenance of government, infighting and death of the Emperor. Edit
The second Imperial State was both more efficient and more chaotic than the first one; on one hand, the Emperor proved to be a more hands on executive. On the other hand, the government suffered a high turnover rate due in large part to the whims of the Empress Katina; as her husband's de facto regent in his absence, she was well known for firing any Prime Minister that displeased her. This was most noted in the year 4012, following the marriage of her sister to the erstwhile Doux Spiros. The Empress, according to a Lady in waiting, fired no less than six Prime Ministers in the course of two months. One of these Prime Ministers reportedly only lasted a week.
Nonetheless, despite her mercurial nature, the Empress was known to be close to her husband, and together they had no less than twelve children, with several pre-deceasing the couple prior to her husband's death due to various causes. Their family was thus presented in later years as an example of Hosian purity and family values. This image, of course, was tarnished by the memory of the Empresses crackdown on the Mallans during the civil war; as part of her campaign to expand her husband's influence, millions of Mallans had been forced to flee her religious enforcers. Many relatives of these exiles reportedly held the Empress in low regard, and this action would be one of the subtle influences that would lead to eventual dissipation of the Empire itself.
However, it must be noted that for much of their reign, the Emperor himself was beloved. He was often seen as a man of the people, despite his acquiescence to his wife's whims. Many praised him for his wish for a "liberal monarchy" and saw him after 4019 (with a generation having passed since the informal armistice) as a champion of their liberty; the Ministry of Education went to lengths to paint the opposition, which had been allowed to form a rump state which was the continuation of the Federation, as metaphorical lions at the gates. This view was cemented with a bronze statue of the Emperor which was erected in Skaraj in 4021.
Yet, despite the Empire's reported successes, the Court back in Eksandr often complained of the costs of occupation, and pressure grew on the Emperor by 4025 to conclude the Kingdom's longest war and withdraw. Though he had bested a coup in Barmenistan in 4016, the Emperor nonetheless felt weakened by the death of several of his children, including his eldest son, the Prince of Kathura. It was thus that the Emperor sent his negotiators to the rebel capital of Belgae in 4028. According to the treaty signed, Imperial forces were given ten years to round down operations and withdraw.
In the final years of his life, the Emperor left his foreign domain in the hands of his wife's brother in law, Duke Spiros. He would die a natural death in 4031, and his throne would pass to his grandson, Constantine, who had led his regency council in Barmenistan.
4031-4038: Rise of Constantine and end of the Empire. Edit
The young Constantine, previously made Prince of Kathura following the death of his father, became both Emperor of Zardugal and King of Barmenistan following the death of his grandfather in 4031. Yet, per the treaty, he became little more than a bureaucrat with the sole end of closing the last chapter of imperial rule. His wife, Anne of Aridad, nonetheless wished to make their time worth some significance; it was thus in 4034 that their eldest, a daughter named Theodora, was baptized at the Eastern Patriarchal Church in Hipero. It was this moment that brought the Imperial family a great joy mixed with sadness; for though the new Imperial Crown Princess was ingratiated with the people of the capital, all knew that their time was running out.
By December of 4037, all but a token force remained; the country side was mostly patrolled by miltia's loyal to the Nasirs themselves, and they too would laydown their arms once the treaty came into full effect. At the stroke of midnight on January 1st of 4038, this would come to pass. The last week of their rule was reportedly marked by a grand parade, and as a gift from the Empress, the citizenry were given an extended holiday.
Many Barmenian historians are of a mixed opinion regarding the nations "long excursion" into the Zardic homeland; some paint it as a mission of liberation, while the religiously devout point it as either a crusade from god or a success for the horde of heathens. Whatever else it was, it did do one thing; it created a lasting imprint on the history of both nations, and elevated the former Prince's legacy to that of both a saint and a devil, enrapturing the minds of a generation of Barmenians and Zardics alike.