Empires1275 World Map

The world of Empires, AD 1295.


"You see things; and you say, "Why?" But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"

George Bernard Shaw

This work would not have been possible without the love for books and times long past inspired in me by my family. With toy knights and soldiers, my brother Ramon inspired me with a love for those times when merloned walls and turreted towers reached into untainted skies, swords and courage solved disputes, and men travelled a globe which was still largely terra incognita.

I imagined a world where the glory of ancient empires had not dimmed, and darkness had not descended. Yet the modern world was held at bay by tradition, chivalry and unrelenting strife amongst those un-faded Empires. I wondered at the images which filled my head of mighty galleons whose wind-filled sails propelled them across treacherous oceans, their bulging holds filled with brocaded silks, ingots of precious metals, gem-filled chests, cunning hand-made artefacts, and exotic spices which these Empires would squabble over. I could almost see the gleaming forests of pikes, the sun flashing off the polished armour of the serried ranks of cavalry. I fancied hearing the solemn Te Deum and Magnificat, and the more raucusly joyous shouts from countless throats as armies prepared for battle on vast plains.

With friends who shared my love of this type of world, its inherent romance and swashbuckling adventure, I was inspired to shape and bring it to life. People like Joe Mestres who first helped Ramon and I realise this milleau. Keith Potter, my old schoolfriend who has always been willing and boisterously eager to explore these worlds. Miguel Mestres who was at first was drawn like a moth to a flame and then became the torchbearer for a new generation of adventurers, bringing with him others with their own ideas and influences – Chris Ford, Keiran Macmanus, Stephen Robinson, and Brad Alan.

And most recently and importantly, the person who inspires me in all aspects of my life. My muse, my teacher, my best friend, my critic, my companion, my Rhalina…… wife Paola.

Without these people my world would not exist, and my life would be far less enriched.

Welcome to the Empires Wiki

This wiki will explore and explain the world of Empires, an alternate history setting used as the basis for a role-playing game and various unfinished novels. This world was first created by the author of this wiki in 1986.

This Wiki incorporates the Encyclopedia Abyssinica as well as the Empires Library, and Empires Collated Chronologies.

NOTE: Please do not edit any pages on this wiki without seeking my permission first.

The World of Empires

The history of the world of Empires diverges from our own at one point, the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE. In Empires the forces of Octavian led by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa do not win but rather fight the more robust forces of Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra VII Philopator to a standstill.

Both received losses which prevent their further prosecution of the war.
Castro Battle of Actium

The Battle of Actium, 2 September 31 BC, by Lorenzo A. Castro, painted 1672

Instead a truce of sorts is undertaken between the two sides : In the West Octavian and his supporters are to rule Italy, Gaul, Hispania, Dalmatia, Raetia, Brittania, Mauretania and Germania. In the East Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra are to rule Macedonia, Thracia, Moesia, all of Asia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Africa. From here, apart from occasional localised confrontations, the two empires go their own ways. The Western Roman Empire invades and conquers Germany and pushes East and subjugates Brittamnia fully. In the East, the Graeco-Roman hybrid of the Antonine-Ptolemies expands into all of North Africa, pushes the Parthians and Persians back and siezes much of Mesopotamia and eventually crosses the expanse of the Black Sea and into the Chersonese.

By the 2,033rd year after the founding of Rome, the Empires have grown vast indeed.

Covering the lands of Western, Central and most of Eastern Europe, the Western Roman Empire is a great mercantile nation ruled by powerful merchant houses. Manufactories which once produced and supplied it's powerful armies now concentrate on producing goods which are sold far and wide. It enjoys the rich fruits of an ocean-spanning realm. It’s superior technological edge producing the great fleets of sailed galleons that have helped it discover the exotically wealthy territories of Hesperidia to the far west.

To it’s east the Byzantine Empire, a Graeco-Roman-Eastern amalgam, straddles the crossroads of culture. It’s territories span Europe south of the Danube, all of Asia, all of Northern Africa, the entire Eastern Mediterranean, parts of Mesopotamia, and Western Russia as far as the Volga. Once its legions kept the Persians, the Central-Asian barbarian hordes, and the thieves of the southern deserts at bay. Now they fight each other in a crippling civil war which threatens its very existence. Only the capital, shining, ageless, many-towered Constantinople, holds aloof from the fray. Its never breached, triple tiered walls protecting the commerce and intrigue conducted within.

Far to the east of Byzantium, it’s ancient capital straddling the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, lies Rome’s ancient enemy, the Persian Empire. It stretches from the two biblical rivers in the west to the very foothills of the mighty Himalayas in the east and from the upper waters of the Caspian and Aral Seas in the north, to the shores of the Indian Ocean in the south. Persia, ever intriguing to deal the children of it’s old foe the final blow, yearns for the strife in Byzantium to take its toll of the once mighty empire. Yet Persia is itself under siege of sorts. To its North lies the vast, howling wilderness of central Asia, an unthinkable world continuously bathed in war and bloodshed and spawning battle-hardened hordes of steppe nomads that test the porous borders of Persia with fire and sword. To its east, Persia strives to influence and intrigue in the patchwork quilt of states that comprise the Indian subcontinent as it tries to prevent Chung-Kuo from gaining influence. To its South it hunts the merchant ships of its foes seeking the riches of India, an enormous job in a vast ocean. Finally, in its very heartland Persia struggles with its own soul against the rise of a new religion which challenges the ancient Temples and Priestly colleges of Zoroaster.

In the Uttermost East, looming like a dark cloud, lies the vast and mysterious empire of Chung-Kuo, ruling most of Asia, its complex and ageless society influencing the lands all around it. Its vast armies, esoteric technologies, and enormous ocean-going fleets of junks plying the oceans and seas from Japan to the Moluccas. Its ambitions and hopes remain unknown by its rivals of the west, but its influence is lingering and omnipresent. All over the known world its silks and porcelains are traded by smiling and incredibly inquisitive merchants.

In the North-East of Africa lies the nascent empire of Abyssinia. Recovering from nearly two decades of civil war, this land is only now reaching out cautiously to pick the leavings of the older empires. Abbysinia is experiencing a renaisance of sorts, profiting from the victories and conquests made on its behalf by mercenaries and hired swords from other lands. It is here in the port-city of Adulis, gateway between east and west, and home of the mercenary-led Abbysinian fleet that we will begin our examination of this world of the Empires amongst the hustle and bustle of thousands of people from far and exotic lands.

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