Culture of the Empyraeum
They say that the truth is stranger than fiction but they (whoever it is that they may be) are not always correct.
One of the keepers of this record had a strange meeting one day, with a woman who claimed to be what she called a writer of speculative fiction, apparently the very latest thing. She gave us a copy of her manuscript and it was truly eye-opening. It speculated what would have become of the world, how history would have progressed had the Hegèmon had not survived his illness in Babylon. In short, had the Empyraeum never come to be!
Understandably, this work of fiction was not destined for great popularity, bordering on heresy as it does.
It raised several intriguing questions and thoughts, however and was responsible for many "heated discussions" during impromptu symposia in the Great Library here in Alexandria-the-First.
As all learned citizens of the Empyraeum know well, our culture is very much due to what was called the "melting pot" of nationalities represented in the Hegèmon’s great army during the Bloodless Conquest. The Hegèmon himself was quite the visionary when it came to understanding true cultural hegemony. Noted, his adoption of Persian customs during the First Conquest was unpopular with his Macedonian officers but the wisdom of his actions was proven by history.
As the "melting pot" army marched first East then West, it began to homogenise all by itself, more so following the arrival of the Ten Thousand. Just like the new cohesion of the unchanged soldiers assisted greatly in turning the army argot into Empyraen Standard Greek, so too did other things cross that fertile osmotic barrier.
What became the Empyraeum began with soldiers from vastly different backgrounds trying to find something in common with one another.
In the aforementioned book, the barbarous tribes of Megale Hellas somehow united and formed their own form of much more aggressive hegemony called Rome. They built a great civilisation and culture but they built it upon the blood of all that opposed them. Ultimately, they became corrupt and their civilisation fizzled out just as all the civilisations which preceded the Empyraeum had.
They also took the teachings of the Kristoman and turned them into a very corrupt form of state religion, setting the centre of this insult to Yeshua's name in the city they called Vatican. Following this 'Fall', the fragmented nations of Western Civilisation, as the writer called it, continued the practises of the now-extinct Romans. They raided, they conquered and they murdered in order to carve out little empires of their own, always upon the skulls of whatever civilisation they found already resident in the lands they coveted.
In effect, the complete opposite of how the enlightened Empyraeum did it, following the Hegèmon’s Great Awakening under Chomolungma Mountain.
Suddenly, it occurred to many that this writer's opus was, perhaps, not the bad thing so many had considered it to be. In matter of fact, by revealing the horrors the world would have suffered in the absence of the Empyraeum, perhaps she was magnifying the glory of Alexander more than even she realised!
Though its foundations were Hellenic, the Empyraeum had already started to be influenced by Persia and Egypt when the foundations of Alexandria-the-First were laid. As the army moved East, many of the philosophies and art forms of the Land of the Jade Sun came back with it.
In fact, every nation which peacefully bent the knee to Alexander contributed so much more than restless young men and women to the burgeoning enterprise. They contributed their very selves.
With each new nation that accepted the Empyraeum, the Empyraeum was changed. As a thousand languages became Empyraen Standard Greek, so too did a thousand nations become the Empyraeum.
It was always Alexander's choice to never Hellenise the nations which joined; their leaders swore loyalty to him but the people were left to live their lives as they always had, perhaps even with a deal more prosperity and stability now that numerous territorial disputes and conflicts were effectively ended.
Yet people always seek to emulate that which they admire and so did the new citizens of the Empyraeum do. They also brought the best of their culture with them and added it to the swirling mix which would one day blend and result in a something truly greater than the sum of its parts.
No religion or form of worship was forbidden. As strongly influenced as Alexander had been by the Kristoman, no form of belief forced upon citizens. One prayed to whichever god one desired and it was the affair of no man who that god was; there were so many, surely there would be more than enough to go around.
The need for bloodshed was blessedly rare. The result of this all was incredible.
With their only consistent and universally popular pastime now a thing of the past and in possession of a prosperity beyond prior imagining, the human race turned its energies towards more worthwhile and enduring pursuits, those of the mind and the soul.
The Library of Alexandria-the-First had to be expanded five times in twenty years just to make room for all the works of poetry, history and philosophy that flooded into it. Larger and larger libraries were built across the Empyraeum, some including galleries for art also. In these libraries, men and women from completely different origins met and shared ideas which would set the foundations of the Empyraeum even deeper. Ideas which people had been previously afraid to give voice to were now discussed openly without reservation.
With the construction of the Flèva Dromos – a vast network if well-built and maintained roadways and the “logistical backbone of the world” – and the appearance of the soon-to-be-famous shambal or coaching inns of the Falcon Guilds, travel became much safer than it had been. Not all young people left their homes for the army life now, many more left to simply see the world.
Innovation and technological advancement grew in a manner never before seen in human history. As communication and travel became more reliable and faster, the Empyraeum began to communicate with its previously unknown neighbours and the osmosis began anew. None of these orphaned nations desired to attack the Empyraeum for none could come close to matching it in size and might. Instead they sent embassies, began tentative trade, and the doors were open to travel in both directions.
In the spirit of Alexander's vision, none of these nations were forced to join though the invitation was always there for those who so wished. None did and the Empyraeum respected that.
The First Golden Age occurred in EA350 but it was the Second Golden Age between EA1205-1500 that saw innovations and inventions like never before. The first World Symposeum of EA1306 was a wonder to behold. Officially, Man set foot on our nearest neighbour, the Moon in EA1898 but the Kalshodar and Dwarves beat Mike “Two-Hawks”, a Navajo of the Federated People’s Nations, by over one hundred years.
It was not long before invention occurred faster than people could grow accustomed to the last 'latest thing'.
Alexander would be proud.