Flag Coat of Arms
The Empire of Gao-Soto and its tributary states at its greatest extent
|Languages Classical Kunikata|
|Government Feudal Monarchy|
The Empire of Gao-Soto (Classical Kunikata: 御國, mikuni or mikoku) was a feudal monarchy located in the north-western coast of Dovani, comprising the modern territory of Greater Hulstria proper and its Eastern Territories. The empire was comprised of lands from numerous clans, all of them pledging loyalty and taxation towards the Emperor of Gao-Soto, or Mikado (Gao-Indralan: 帝, Kunikata: mikado or tei, Standard Indralan: dì), in exchange of continued rule over the land, as well as a chance of forging marriage with the imperial family to expand their influence.
The exact origin of the Gao-Soto is unknown, although most historians now agree that it was founded by an alliance between Dovani nomads (soto, literally "outsider" or "foreign") from the east and settled Gao-Showan people (gao, literally "high") from the north. As the empire expanded its rule from Gao-Showan settlements to the eastern plains of the nomads, the nomads were believed to adopt Gao-Showan culture as well, and was assimilated during the apex of the empire.
In its later years, the empire suffered from political turbulence and instability caused by revolts from colonies, as well as feuds between the ruling clans within the empire, who sought to expand their influence at the expense of the other clans and the empire in general. The arrival of the Luthori army in 1560, following the discovery of Dovani by Christopher Dove, finally annexed the empire and established the land of Gao-Soto, as well as north-eastern Sekowo and Kazulia as its colony.
The Empire of Gao-Soto is recognised as one of history's first Gao-Showan states, and thus its restoration and reverence for the Empire has been a rallying point for Gao-Showan nationalists since its fall.
The name Gao-Soto is an exonym, first used by traders from Indrala and Seleya in general. This name is most likely a description of the system of early Gao-Soto, where both the Gao-Showa settlers ("Gao") and the nomads ("Soto") were considered equal part in forming the country. As Gao-Showan settlers gradually colonised the plains and assimilated the nomadic population, the name lost its original meaning, but remained as a heritage of the early Gao-Soton history.
The Kunikata name of Gao-Soto is Mikuni, which can be translated into many forms, including the Holy Kingdom, Imperial Realm, as well as a more literary form of it, the Most Serene Empire.
Little is known about the Gao-Showan people before their arrival to the land of Gao-Soto around CE 600. The land was then inhabited by nomads from the eastern plains, who were culturally and genetically related to the Orincos of Lourenne and Sekowo. It is believed that the Gao-Showan people settled along the coast soon after contact and conflict with the nomads. Gao-Showan settlements and chiefdoms soon adopted large-scale wet-rice farming, presumably from traders from Seleya, and started to expand into the nomadic inland.
The Empire of Gao-Soto was first documented in 819, as an alliance between Gao-Showan chiefdoms and nomadic tribes, centred around modern Hilgar. Records concerning the early days of the period was scarce, even when compared with other periods of Gao-Soto. The founder of the Empire was only known as meijiyo, and nothing concerning his, or her, person beyond the name was known. A legend that quickly developed around him was that he was the grandson of the Sun Goddess of Kamism, Amatubime, who embodies the heavenly order of things. This legend formed the foundation of Imperial legitimacy in both the concepts of hereditary succession and dynastic succession according to the Mandate of Heaven, and it started the role of the Emperor as High Priest in the Kamist religion.
In 856, Meijiyo established the first legal code of the empire, the Inscribed Code (銘律令, meijiritsuryou), which standardised the criminal code (律, ritsu) and administrative code (令, ryou) on the basis of Jienist ideals, and established the guiding principle of the government on merit other than birth. Such guiding principle also introduced the concept of Mandate of Heaven, which stated that the meritocratic principle also applies to the emperor, and a ruinous reign is a sign from the heaven for the people to overthrow the incompetent emperor and install someone better on the throne. The legend of the Emperor's divine descent restricted this meritocratic principle to his immediate family, a concept referred to as succession within an Imperial phratry. Because of the legend of divine descent, invocations of the Heavenly Mandate were rare in the founding days of the Empire, and when they occurred, they remained within the Imperial dynasty. The fusion of the ideas of the heavenly mandate and the Imperial phratry would be a driving force in the progress of Gao-Showan history.
With a strong central government ruling over the then-weak nomadic clans and settlements, it is widely regarded as the golden age of Gao-Showan people in general, for it laid the foundation of the Gao-Showan culture, including art, poetry and literature. The Zenshō school of Daenism was also developed during this period, after its introduction from Indrala in 845.
Warring States Period
The Classical Period was in decline after the first millennium, as more and more power was transferred from the imperial government to Daenic clergy and local clans, both of them gaining increasing leverage in the imperial court from their ownership of lands in the expanding empire. This led to the establishment of an agency known as the Three Departments and Six Ministries, headed increasingly by clan noblemen upon whose support the Emperor was increasingly dependent. Their increased power at the expense of the Jienist meritocratic bureaucracy brought about a revival of the Kamist religion, with its focus on heredity and the importance of ancestor spirits. The Mandate of Heaven declined as a weak Emperor was in the interest of the clans while consolidating their positions; the only way in which it was used was for the purpose of determining which son succeeded the reigning Emperor. As the conflicts between various factions escalated, the imperial harem expanded in ranks by wives and concubines introduced (often forcefully) by the factions, as the offspring between the emperor and the most powerful clan would most likely become the new emperor.
However, due to the ever-changing nature of Gao-Soton politics in the Warring States Period, the reigning emperor is usually not from the most powerful clan during its rule, and thus its authority declined further. During the last few emperors before the Warring States Period, most power belonged to the regents, who were offspring between the emperor and various clans.
By 1124, the conflict between clans had escalated into open warfare, and the empire was plunged into a civil war, where the authority of the emperor rarely left the imperial capital or the land of his clan. Because of the nature of the period, it also saw the rise of warrior clans such as Iwanami into authority.
The Warring States period ended in 1245, when Clan Iwanami defeated its rivals, Clan Winoue, and united the empire under its rule. After dominating the imperial court and harem for several generations, Clan Iwanami, with support from the Jienist bureaucracy, invoked the Mandate of Heaven and forced the emperor to abdicate in favour of members of Clan Iwanami, beginning the Iwanami Period. Once installed on the Throne, the Iwanami Emperors adopted the concept of the Imperial phratry, often reigning only under their era names or given names to signify continuity with the Classical Era. Nevertheless, the Iwanami Period, after a brief restoration of a meritocratic Jienist bureaucracy, quickly saw the renewal of an aristocracy-dominated Three Departments and Six Ministries, which the Emperors used to reward their allies.
The Iwanami Period saw the largest expansion of the Gao-Soto Empire, as both Sekowo and Kazulia was conquered and colonised by the Empire in the 14th century. The idea of Imperial Tribute, where both Gao-Showan clans and foreign subject kingdoms sent tributes, wealth, people, as well as other exotic goods to the emperor also started in this period, as the Kyo Kingdom, Orinco city-states in Sekowo, Draddwyr and Degalogesan tribes in Great North Dovani Plain, the United Indralan Commonwealth, and the Kingdom of Kimlien started to pay tribute to the emperor in the 14th century. As such, the influence of the Gao-Soto Empire was considered the strongest and furthest during the Iwanami Period.
The Kazulian revolution against the Gao-Soto Empire in 1460 was considered the end of the Iwanami Period, for the defeat of the imperial force, and the independence of Kazulia inspired other subjects of the empire to revolt as well, and the spread of central military force enabled other clans to rise up against the Iwanami clan. After a brief conflict between Iwanami and a coalition led by Clan Tomowe, the Iwanami was forced to abdicate after Tomowe force marched into the imperial capital in 1467, which marked the beginning of the short-lived Tomowe Period as it ascended onto the throne.
Despite losing the civil war, the Iwanami clan was still strong and had a lot of support among the bureaucracy, and infighting between Tomowe and its former allies started another civil war between Iwanami and Tomowe, which weakened the cohesion of the declining empire, and by the time it was discovered by Luthori, all clans were too weak to defend themselves against foreign colonisation. After several generations of gradual invasion of the Luthori colonists, the empire was officially disbanded in 1560 under the decree of Luthori.
- ↑ Literally means "inscribe" in imperative mood, it is believed that the name "Meijiyo" was not a true name, but a title of the emperor, or a combination of both.
|Peoples||Central: Kunihito • Sekowans • Kyo | Northern: Utari • Welang | Southern: Indralans • Đinh • Phra | Western: Tukarese • Mu-Tze • Bianjie|
|Languages||Gao-Indralan: Kunikata • Sekowan • Kyo • Indralan • Đinh • Phra • Utari | Jelbo-Tukaric: Panmuan • Bianjie|
|Regions||Dovani • Seleya • Gao-Soto • Sekowo • Dankuk • Indrala • Tukarali • Jinlian • Dalibor • Great North Dovani Plain • Kalistan • Bianjie|
|History||Empire of Gao-Soto • Kingdom of Sekowo • History of Sekowo • History of Indrala • History of Dranland • History of Tukarali • Great Sekowian War • Southern Hemisphere War|
|Religion||Gao-Showan Religions • Daenism • Mazdâyanâ • Zenshō • Kamism • Guidao • Jienism • Kanzo|