The Empire of Videssos is a fictional empire based upon the Byzantine Empire.
The geography of the Empire of Videssos--and the rest of the fictional world in which Videssos is placed--is based upon the geography of the Mediteranean, Europe, and parts of Asia compressed and reversed so what lies to the East in our world lies to the West in Videssos and vice versa.
Videssos, the City and EmpireEdit
Videssos is the name of the capital city. It is analogous to Byzantium which then became Constantinople, and the empire as a whole. Videssos is located on a peninsula that nearly separates the Videssian Sea -Black Sea- from the Sailor's Sea -Mediterranean-. The empire is actually divided in two halves by the Cattle Crossing, the waterway that connects the two seas. Videssos lies on the eastern half -Balkans-, which lies south of the Astris River and borders Khatrish. To the west lies the Westlands, a knobby peninsula -Anatolia- that contains the bulk of Videssian territory and borders Vaspurakan -Armenia- and Makuran -Persia-.
Videssos is at least 1,200 years old and once stretched from the bay of Haloga to the border with Makuran. Agder, Kubrat, Khatrish, and Thatagush were all part of the empire, but were lost when the Khamorth -Barbarians- invaded the empire. Vaspurakan was also part of the empire but was lost to Makuran. Namdalen -Sicily- became an independent duchy later on.
Videssos is presumably the founder of the worship of Phos, the religion that views the universe as being created by the good god Phos who battles the evil god Skotos, which based heavily on Zoroastrianism. The good ascend to Phos' heaven when they die, but the wicked fall off the Bridge of the Separator and are immured in Skotos' ice hell. The Ecclestical hierarchy of Videssos is dominated by the Patriarch, the head of the faith which based on Orthodox Christianity.
Videssian Emperor - AvtokratorEdit
The Videssian Emperor or Avtokrator is considered Phos vice-Regent on Earth and Videssos is considered Phos' City.
The exact age of the Empire of Videssos is never spelled out and no dating system has ever been established by the Videssians themselves. However, remarks made have given a rough idea as to its age.
In The Tale of Krispos, it is noted that the fall of the north-east to Khamorth invaders occured 300 years ago and the last great war with Makuran (ie the Time of Troubles Series) occured 150 years ago. It is also noted that by this point, the Empire of Videssos has existed for about 700 years.
In The Time of Troubles Cycle, the Khamorth Invasion occured 150 years prior.
From this a rough time line can be established.
Year Zero: Videssos the city and later the empire is established.
Not long afterwards, Kveldulf the Halogai attempts to convert his fellow Halogai to Phos, but is martyred in the attempt.
Zero+400: Grand Domestikos Stylianos launches a rebellion against Avtokrator Maleinos II, plunging the empire into Civil War.* Maleinos pulls the garrisons from the towns and cities and Stylianos recalls border guards to help them fight one another. This conflict weakens Videssos so much that the Khamorth nomads of Pardraya manage to enter and invade the north-eastern provinces of Videssos, sacking Skopentzana. Makuran also manages to seize Vaspurakan from Videssos. Prelate Rhavas of Skopentzana turns from Phos to Skotos. Stylianos defeats and kills Maleinos, becoming Avtokrator.
Over time, the nations of Kubrat, Khatrish and Thatagush emerge from the lands the Khamorth invaded.
In Videssos Besieged it's mentioned that the Vaspurakaner rebel Andzeratsik (the Videssian style name he took was Kalekas) attempted to seize power in a civil war and lost about 150 years before the Time of Troubles. If this was a reference to the Great Civil War that led to the Khamorth invasion then it was probably retconned out. It also could have been a later civil war in roughly the same time period.
Zero+550: Avtokrator Likinios spreads gold among the Khamorth of Pardraya, inticing them to attack Makuran. The ploy succeeds and the Khamorth trap and destroy a great Makuraner Army under Peroz King of Kings, weakening Makuran and allowing a usurper named Smerdis to seize the thrown and imprison Sharbaraz, Peroz' son and heir.
Abivard son of Godarz, disgusted at Smerdis, helps free Sharbaraz and launches a rebellion to put Sharbaraz on the throne of Makuran, but are beaten and driven into Videssos where they implore Likinios for aid. Likinios assists Sharbaraz by sending his General Maniakes to help. Sharbaraz beats Smerdis and becomes King of Kings of Makuran.
Likinios is overthrown and killed while forcing his army to stay in Kubrat. Genesios becomes Avtokrator. Makuran invades Videssos, seizing Vaspurakan and the Westlands, prompting Maniakes to rebel and overthrow Genesios, becoming Avtokrator and saving Videssos from Makuran.
Zero+700: Avtokrator Rhaptes dies and is suceeded by his son Anthimos III under the regency of his uncle Petronas. Krispos rises to prominence in Videssos. Harvas Black-Robe (Rhavas) leads an army of Halogai, rampaging across Thatagush and then Kubrat upon the invitation of Petronas so he can invade Makuran. Krispos helps Anthimos remove his uncle. Anthimos attempts to slay Krispos by magic, but fails and kills himself. Krispos becomes Avtokrator and defeats Harvas and conquers Kubrat. He also crushes the Thanasiot rebellion.
During the next five hundred years, minor border changes occur between Agder and Halogaland and between Khatrish and Thatagush. Haloga pirates conquer the Videssian island province of Kalavria, becoming the new nation of Namdalen and the Phos' Wager theology flourishes.
Zero+1100: Avtokrator Khoirosphaktes establishes a fort in Pardraya on the Kouphis River as a gift to a powerful Khamorth khagan. It was abandoned after his death.
Zero+1150: The Arshaum invade western Pardraya, driving the Khamorth over the Shaum (formerly Mylasa) River. Avshar (Rhavas) uses magic to slay Varahan King of Kings of Makuran and allows a Khamorth clan called the Yezda to invade and conquer Makuran and Vaspurakan. Avshar establishes himself as a prince in Yezd (formerly Makuran) and teaches the cult of Skotos to the Yezda who begin raiding and attacking Videssos.
Zero+1200: Avtokator Ioannakis III is replaced by Avtokrator Strobilos Sphrantzes who in turn is overthrown by Avtokrator Mavrikios Gavras. The Roman Legion under Marcus Scaurus arrives in Videssos. Mavrikios goes to war with Yezd but is defeated and killed by Avshar, allowing Ortaias Sphrantzes to sezie the throne. Thorisin Gavras overthrows Ortaias and becomes Avtokrator, beating rebellions by Baanes Onomagolous and the Great Count Drax. Avshar overthrows Khagan Wulghash of Yezd and launches and all out war to destroy Videssos but is stopped by Patriarch Balsamon, Marcus Scaurus, Viridovix son of Drappes, and Avtokrator Thoirisin. Avshar is defeated forever and the Yezda withdraw to Yezd proper.
- In earlier books the great civil war that led to the fall of the northeast is described as occuring between twin brothers who couldn't admit to who was older. This was later retconned into the events shown in Bridge of the Separator.
Avtokrator Maleinos II
Avtokrator Anthimos III
Avtokrator Ioannakis III
Avtokrator Strobilos Sphrantzes
Avtokrator Mavrikios Gavras
Avtokrator Ortaias Sphrantzes
Avtokrator Thorisin Gavras
- Laskaris is credited with sacking Mashiz 739 years before the arrival of the Romans and seizing a Makuraner helmet from their King of Kings and is portrayed in a picture in the Videssian Palace. However, in all subsequent books it is Stavrakios who sacked Mashiz, claimed the helmet, and appears in the painting in the Palace, suggesting that Laskaris was retconned into Stavrakios.
The fall of Skopentzana and the northeast is analagous to the division of the Roman Empire into its Western and Eastern halves and the barbarian invasions that destroyed the Western Roman Empire. Likewise, the fact that the lands stolen from Videssos (Khatrish, Thatagush, Namdalen, Vaspurakan, and Agder) all deviated from the Orthodox Videssian faith just as the Western lands of the Roman Empire separated into the Roman Catholic faith while the Eastern Roman Empire into the Orthodox.