Dāiadak

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The Dāiadak (from NT daing ndak "Mountain Ndak") were the inhabitants of the Rathedān highlands during classical times, and the core population of the glorious Empire of Athalē. Ethnically, most Dāiadak were descendants of the Gezoro, a Western people that had migrated into the Rathedān around -3000 YP. Linguistically and culturally, however, the Dāiadak are part of the Edastean sphere – their language, Adāta, was a direct descendant of Ndak Ta, and their culture (although strongly influenced by Gezoro traditions) was based on that of Tsinakan's empire, which had conquered the Rathedān around -1900 YP.

Dāiadak Culture

Written by Dewrad.
In common with other works discussing the Edak sphere, I have chosen in this work to prefer the Fáralo terms for wider concepts of geography and history, while preferring to use native terms for Rathedān and the Dāiadak.

Introduction

The Dāiadak are the native inhabitants of the Rathedān and the highlands to the north-east, south of the great floodplain of the river Eige, descendants of those Xezoro who were Edakised during the time of the Empire of Kasegad. The modern Dāiadak are a rich and populous people, exerting not inconsiderable influence over the southern states and peoples of the Edak sphere.

Most Dāiadak would probably disagree with the title of this page- insisting that there is no one "Dāiadak Culture", rather that each city-state (damō) has its own individual culture. To an extent this is true, however it is exaggerated. This page will outline some aspects of culture common to all or most Dāiadak and note a few of the more interesting aspects of the individual city-states' cultures (such as the government of Mezaras).

Geography and Climate

The Rathedān is a region of moderate highlands with several high peaks which divides the floodplain of the Eige from the great Xšali Empire to the south. While not on the scale of (say) the Himalayas, the Rathedān presents a not inconsiderable barrier to trade and communication between north and south, and good passes ( in Adāta) are few.

The lowland areas in the Rathedān are generally fairly arid, although the highlands provide a watershed for a network of rivers which make irrigation and agriculture possible. The highland areas, by contrast, are relatively damp and rather well-forested in many areas, along with montane pastures above the treeline. Winters tend to be cold and damp, while summers are long, warm and dry- most rainfall occurs in spring, winter and autumn.

The few lowland forested areas tend to be deciduous, with the oak being dominant. However, the preponderant vegetation away from cultivated areas tend to be grasslands and scrub. The highland forests are dominated by the spruce and the fir.

The topography of the highland areas can be dramatic- with steep valleys and impressive mountain torrents and waterfalls. Upper valleys frequently end in a semicircle of steep cliffs, which are produced by glaciation. The higher peaks tend not to be snow-bound all year round, although this is not unknown.

The main feature of the mountains, however, is the abundance of metal ores- the Rathedān is the only decent source of iron ore in the Edak sphere. In addition to iron ore, copper ore and precious metals are common, as is tin.

A fairly close Terrestrial analogue would be the Pyrenees or the Carpathian mountains.

History and Origins

The pre-Edak ancestors of the Dāiadak were the Xezoro, a group of semi-nomadic tribes who had migrated to the Rathedān from the West of the continent some 1000 years before the rise of the Empire of Kasegad. Here they settled and discovered the rich mineral resources of the mountains, becoming the first group in the ancient world to discover and master iron-working. Due to the manoeuvrability afforded by their domestication of the horse and their superior weaponry, the Xezoro raided and terrorised the people of the Eige valley fairly constantly, becoming the sworn enemies of the fledgling state of Kasegad.

However, the Xezoro were lacked any sort of political unity, and were just as likely to attack each other as they were the plainsmen. This was ultimately their downfall, as the extensive campaigns of the great Edak emperor Siənčæn proved. The Xezoro were conquered and sixty thousand Xezoro slaves were transported to Kasegad as slaves.

The Rathedān became vitally important to the Edak as a mining centre and later emperors flooded the region with settlers from Kasegad, Lašumu and other corners of the Empire. Edakisation followed quickly, and the descendants of the Xezoro began to consider themselves as Edak as their conquerors.

After the fall of the Empire, Rathedān became rather isolated culturally and fragmented into many small city-states centred around the old Edak settlements, which recommenced the old Xezoro habit of internecine war. Contact with nations outside the Rathedān were few and largely limited to trade with the Tjakori, an ethnic group speaking a language related to that of the pre-Edak Xezoro who inhabited the river-valley on the south-western side of the Rathedān mountains.

Contact with the world outside the Rathedān was not established until some six or seven hundred years ago, when the Xšali extended their empire into the Tjakori river-valley, bringing the Dāiadak into contact with an ancient, powerful and exceedingly rich civilisation. After a few brief and indecisive conflicts across the mountain passes, the Dāiadak and Xšali settled down to the serious business of trade. This enriched the Dāiadak city-states, which further encouraged them to seek markets to the north for their newly-acquired goods, bringing them back into the wider Edak sphere.

Around two hundred years ago, Zārakātias was born to a goatherd in Athalē, an otherwise insignificant event which would later send shockwaves through Dāiadak society. Zārakātias was no ordinary goatherd's son, however, as the gods spoke to him. During his life he revolutionised Dāiadak religion, completely reforming it and providing the disparate city-states with a reason for unity (or at least closer cooperation).

Since Zārakātias the Dāiadak city-states have united in a league of sorts and taken on a more expansionist outlook, which has resulted in the Rathedān and Huyfárah eyeing each other comfortably across the Eige Valley.

Economy

The main concerns of the Dāiadak are agriculture, pastoralism, metallurgy and trade.

The valleys of the Rathedān are not highly suited to agriculture, being rather arid. However, most city-states (the exceptions being Hiphago and Radias) have extensive and complex irrigation systems which make large-scale agriculture possible in the valleys. The principal crops are emmer wheat, barley, oats and flax, along with various secondary crops such as root vegetables, various legumes and almonds. Radias and Hiphago are noted above all for the complex terraced fields which rise up the sides of the valleys, which generally receive more rain than the fields of the other lowland cities.

Dāiadak pastoralists generally practise transhumance, keeping their flocks in the valleys during the winter (where they graze on the stubble of the fields and fertilise them with their dung), moving to the high pastures during the summer months. The principal livestock animals of the Dāiadak are goats (pir) for milk and meat; sheep (xāra) for their wool and meat and llamas (tīkas) for meat and wool, principally, although the llama is the main beast of burden in the mines of Rathedān. The city-state of Thāras is also unique among the Dāiadak not only for keeping cattle in preference to llamas and goats but also for preferring husbandry over agriculture.

The principal mines of the Rathedān are located in Radias, Hiphago, Zophīs and Athalē, the latter being particularly famous for its tin. These city-states are famous not only for mining the ore, but also for producing and working the metal- it is still said even in the Eige Valley that the best swords in the world come from Zophīs.

The trading of the products of this expertise in metallurgy are the foundation of Rathedān's wealth- Zophīs and Hiphago trade weapons and armour across the Eige valley, even all the way to Huyfárah- although most trade routes terminate in the Kascan city of Buruya, the valley's principal trading entrepôt- while Athalē and Khalanu are famous for their fancy goods. In addition, much trade goes south-west to the Xšali, and trade caravans supply Rathedān and the north with exotic goods and spices, delicate olive oils and fragrant perfumes from the far south. Due to the difficulty in reaching the ports of Xšalad by sea, much of the north-south trade passes through the Rathedān- particularly through Radias, which guards the largest pass through the mountains. It is notable that this quasi-monopoly of the Dāiadak is one of the factors which have spurred Huyfárah's push southwards and the growing importance of the ports of the Eige delta.

Politics

Rathedān is divided into eight city-states (ādamō)- Athalē, Hiphago, Khalanu, Mezaras, Nitazē, Radias, Thāras and Zophīs. These city-states, like the Greek poleis, are more in the way of collections of small villages and towns with a single civic centre, where centres of government and religion are to be found, along with the markets and craftsmen.

The governmental systems of the states vary, from the strict isonomy of Khalanu to the rather tyrannical monarchy of Thāras. The most common form of government, however, was that of an oligarchy, with some elements of democracy. The power of government was generally in the hands of a small council, the khiara, membership of which was drawn from a select few noble families. Most states also had a zāthar, a popular assembly in which all citizens of the state had the right of speech, which would act as an advisory body to the khiara, and in Athalē, Mezaras and Radias the zāthar has right of veto over the decisions of the khiara.

Family structure and naming

Written by Radius and Zhen Lin.

The Dāiadak nobility was structured into houses, which were divided into branches. Upon marriage, women entered the house of their husband, leaving the house of their father. As houses grew increasingly large, married couples were entitled to start their own branch at any time after the birth of their first child, but starting their own branch disqualified them from inheriting leadership of the husband's branch of the house. A single branch was identified as the "main" branch, and its oldest man was identified as the patriarch of the house, who was usually also the de facto head of the house. Leadership in a branch followed male line descent. Marriages between members of closely related branches were discouraged. Marriage between the main branches of two different houses was regarded as a very serious affair; it is tantamount to merging the two houses.

All Dāiadak children were given one birth name by their parents. As a matter of tradition, fathers name sons and mothers name daughters. A person's birth name was the name they were known by for the rest of their lives, with a few exceptions: when a person is recognised as a noble person in their own right, they were required to take on an appellation in recognition of their new status. Taking on an appellation (and indeed, any name change) was regarded as a very serious matter; in the case of persons of non-noble descent gaining noble status, the right to select an appellation was sometimes given to the sponsoring noble in gratitude. Children of noble descent, on the other hand, usually selected their own appellation. Regnal names were considered an extension of this practice.

Commoners did not have family names. Informal appellations were used, for example, a man's profession. Unlike the formal appellations of the nobility, informal appellations were secondary to the birth name and were also postpositional. All boys used patronymics and all girls used matronymics, regardless of descent. Patronyms and matronyms were usually dropped in adulthood or in the event of the death of the father (if patronymic) or the mother (if matronymic).

Full name structures:

  • Noble, main branch: <appellation> <birth name> ax zēra ax <house>
  • Noble, other branch: <appellation> <birth name> ax <branch> ax <house>
    • Boy, noble: <birth name> zed ax <patronym> ax <branch> ax <house>
    • Girl, noble: <birth name> taran ax <matronym> ax <branch> ax <house>
  • Commoner: <birth name> <informal appellation>
    • Boy, commoner: <birth name> zed ax <patronym> <appellation of father>
    • Girl, commoner: <birth name> taran ax <matronym> <appellation of mother>

The names of the nobility

The Dāiadak nobility had a habit of adding suffixes to their children's names, especially children they had hope of achieving some power (although any noble had the right to bear such a name). These suffixes served a marker of noble blood and that one was thusly due respect. Commoners who tried giving such suffixes to their own children earned public ridicule, or in some city-states, could even be punished.

Historians in Athalē traced their development from a system of noble patronymics that in earlier centuries were strictly-enforced labels of lineage from particular ancestors. By -400 Y.P., however, the noble families of Rathedān had intermarried enough over the centuries that most could claim a number of lineages­ – but use of multiple patronymics came to be seen as pompous. When they could thus no longer serve as useful markers of family membership, the number of such names in use declined as nobles used only those deemed more prestigious. Further, the forms of these names were shortened and by the time of the Prophet Zārakātias had become simple suffixes.

By the second century, only about a dozen suffixes were still in common use, and most had become segregated by gender. Some were more popular in some city-states than others.

Feminine:

  • -ːla­: used across Rathedān (always follows a long vowel), e.g. Naiōla, Makīla
  • -oze­: fashionable in Radias, Athalē, and Hiphago
  • -ni: prevalent in Khalanu and Zophīs

Unisex:

  • -thi: popular in Athalē, Tharas, and Hiphago, e.g. Aiathi
  • -rā­: mostly Mezaras and Nitazē

Masculine:

  • -as­: widespread but especially prestigious in Radias and Athalē; derives from Radias, legendary founder of that city-state, e.g. Tēmekas, Uremas
  • -es: a form of -as used mostly in Tharas, e.g. Idores
  • -ːtus: traditional in Khalanu, rare elsewhere (always follows a long vowel)
  • -al: commonly believed to derive from Athalē although scholars ascribed it a different origin; common only in that city; sometimes takes the form -alē; e.g. Phanal
  • -non: widespread and common; e.g. Khepōnon
  • -mīx: primarily Khanalu and Zophīs
  • -ur­: Popular in Mezaras; also found in Nitazē and Radias, but rare elsewhere

See also