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Lendian Revolution

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The Lendian Revolution, occurring between 102 AP and 106 AP, saw the overthrow of several monarchies in Lendia and the creation of the Second Lendian Republic. The Revolution began the process of reunifying Lendia after the Plague, and also had a major effect on the island's politics and culture.

OriginsEdit

Following the Plague, Lendia had been fragmented into several often-hostile states (see noble families of Lendosa). Bt 100 AP, the number of states had settled at six: the Kingdoms of Lalta, Neonia, Rivania, Teldia, and Aspalia, plus the Grand Duchy of Olasano. All six were absolute monarchies, and there was widespread discontent among most sectors of society. The frequent warfare between the states caused considerable hardship on the population, and the heavy taxes that the wars necessitated angered the wealthy merchants. Scholars and intellectuals were also hostile to the monarchies, lamenting the censorship imposed upon them and the "lack of enlightenment" in government.

Historians generally identify three principles as the "pillars" of the Lendian Revolution — democracy, liberty, and national reunification. These goals are interrelated, and it would have been difficult to implement one without also implementing the other two.

  • Democracy — the most broadly supported pillar of the Revolution was a desire for democracy. Lendia had been democratic before the Plague, and so the absolute monarchies which arose afterwards had very little credibility in the eyes of the Lendian public — it was rare to find a person who believed that their king had a right to rule. Coupled with this belief in democracy was a belief in the superiority of republics to monarchies — a constitutional monarchy, even if democratic, would not have satisfied most revolutionaries. Rather, most believed that the rules and styles of a republic were inherently more just, and that a system which accorded great respect (even if only symbolic respect) to single person was flawed.
  • Liberty — in addition to political freedom, social liberalisation was also a key goal of the Revolution. Under the monarchies, many personal freedoms had been restricted or completely abolished. There were many topics which could not be discussed without risking punishment, and the publication or possession of any work deemed "seditious, treasonous, or immoral" was highly dangerous. The restrictions were not limited to academics and scholars — many popular playwrights, actors, songwriters, and other entertainers were jailed or executed for their satires of the state. The cultures of ethnic minorities were also harshly suppressed, and in some states, religious minorities were also persecuted. The push for social and cultural freedoms was important component of the Revolution, distinct from (but naturally related to) the push for political reform.
  • Reunification — before the Plague, Lendia had been a single state, and many revolutionaries were deeply resentful of its fragmentation. Nationalists believed that Lendia was a "natural state", and that the division was an artificial construct of the ruling families — a partitioning of the island into personal domains. Other revolutionaries placed less emphasis on nationhood, but believed that division exposed Lendia to external threats, and that the constant disputes between states was greatly damaging to the whole island. When the Revolution broke out, it ignored state borders — it was seen as a movement for the whole of Lendia.

In addition, there were several other streams of opinion that motivated some revolutionaries. They were not, however, common to all supporters of the Revolution, and in fact, were actively opposed in some quarters.

  • Economic causes — the division between rich and poor at the time of the Revolution was significant, and was perceived to be growing larger (the truth of this claim is debated). Many poorer revolutionaries, such as workers and farmers, hoped that the Revolution would improve their economic situation, and destroy the power of the rich. However, many of the Revolution's leaders were actually wealthy merchants and traders — they supported the Revolution because they opposed the high taxation and oppressive trade policies of the monarchies, and because they were excluded from power despite their wealth (as they were not of noble birth).
  • Anti-clericalism — at the time of the Revolution, the Papaist Church was widely perceived as corrupt — where senior clergy were not being being coerced by the monarchies, they were accepting (and even soliciting) bribes. The Pope at the time, Zeno III, accepted bribes from many noble families, and was popularly believed to be having an affair with the King of Lalta's cousin. A desire to "free the country from its corrupt priests and greedy bishops" was an important current within the Revolution, although it should be noted that several Papaist cardinals, desiring to end the corruption in the Church, actually supported the revolutionaries.
  • Women's rights — a small but vocal faction of the Revolution believed that the freedom brought by Revolution must (or at least, should) include freedom for women. In the early stages of the Revolution, when it consisted mainly of peasant rebellions and city riots, a number of women took part in the fighting, and later, a small women's unit was formed in the Army of the Republic. A more widely recognised contribution by women was the corps of volunteers who provided supplies and medical services. Although some feminists consider this participation in the Revolution to be the beginning of the women's rights movement in Lendia, this aspect of the Revolution did not gain a great deal of recognition at the time.

RevolutionEdit

In 102 AP, a small peasant revolt broke out in northern Lalta, where skirmishes between Lalta and Rivania had destoyed crops and villages. Military forces (mostly unwilling conscripts) were sent by the local barons to subdue the revolt, but ended up mutinying, and joining the rebellion. When word of the rebellion reached the larger Laltese cities, such as Gloria Libertatis and Tiano, riots broke out in favour of the revolutionaries. Heavy-handed responses by the authorities only served to inflame the riots, and several prominent intellectuals were jailed for making pro-rebel speeches to the crowds. As the rebel forces began to advance on the capital, more and more of the country rose up, and many military units changed sides.

The rebellion paid little attention to national borders — the goals of the rebels, being the overthrow of the aristocracy, were just as well supported in other kingdoms. In early 103 AP, open rebellion broke out in the Kingdom of Neonia, directly inspired by events in Lolthia. Soon afterwards, fighting also spilled over into the Kingdom of Rivania, with Laltese and Rivanian revolutionaries joining forces to overthrow the local lords. Soon, rebels across all three kingdoms came to see themselves as fighting for the same goal.

In the middle of 103 AP, Laltese revolutionaries took control of the capital, Gloria Libertatis, being welcomed by large crowds. The king was captured and executed, and political prisoners were set free. Among them was Imbrio Adoso, a philosopher and political theorist whose famous address in Septima Plaza is regarded as the keynote for the whole Revolution. The death of the Laltese king prompted panic in the rest of Lendia. The rulers of Neonia and Rivania, realising that the rebellion would not easily be crushed, combined their forces. In 104 AP, leaders of the Revolution from across Lendia gathered in Tiano, where they declared an intent to "create a united Lendian state free from the tyranny of kings". They proclaimed that the principles of the Revolution were universal, and would not be contained by borders. This prompted the rulers of Teldia, Aspalia, and Olasano to join the counter-revolutionary alliance, fearing that if the Revolution was not stopped, it would indeed spread across the whole of Lendia.

In 105 AP, the revolutionaries proclaimed the new Republic of Lendia, laying claim to the entirity of the island. Imbrio Adoso was proclaimed First Councillor until elections could be held. Not long afterwards, the capitals of both Neonia and Rivania were captured by a combination of Laltese and local revolutionaries, and incorporated into the new state. Many artistocrats fled westward, helping Teldia and Aspalia to raise an army to counter the republicans. The revolutionaries soon defeated the monarchists, however — in large part, this was due to the leadership of Ravamiro Talriez, a general in the Army of the Republic. Talriez defeated the last monarchist holdout, the citadel of Olasano, in 106 AP, and was proclaimed a hero of the Republic.

AftermathEdit

The new Republic was not secure, however, facing both internal and external threats. First Councillor Adoso died mysteriously in 107 AP, and Ravamiro Talriez was chosen as a replacement. Talriez's huge popularity among the public worried many of the Republic's leaders, who suspected him of being more committed to his own interests than to the ideals of the Republic. These doubters were eventually proven correct, as Talriez used his status to gradually increase his powers and supress dissent. All his actions were defended as "necessary for the defence of the Republic", and those who opposed his measures were accused of being disloyal to the Republic's principles. In 108 AP, the three Piolsan kingdoms declared war on the Lendian Republic, believing its goals to be "dangerous" — the war gave Talriez further excuse to clamp down on dissent.

Finally, by 115 AP, Talriez had eliminated all major opposition to his rule, and he arranged to have himself proclaimed Emperor of Lendia. Declaring that a republic was not able to protect the gains made in the Revolution, Talriez proclaimed an "enlightened monarchy" to replace the corrupt ones of the past — the new monarch would, he said, be "the highest servant, not master, of the people". In reality, Talriez intended to rule as an absolute dictator, paying only token respect to the Revolution's principles. Emperor Ravamiro was only half successful — the Imperial Council, the elected body he created to help legitimise his rule, was not always the harmless puppet he had planned, and for the duration of the Empire, power swung between it and the Emperor.

ConsequencesEdit

PoliticalEdit

Although Ravamiro Talriez's usurpation of the Republic undermined many of the principles of the Revolution, the ideals that the Revolution championed did not entirely disappear. In modern Lendosa, the Revolution is supported by politicians from both the reformist and traditionalist camps — it is one of the few events in the country's post-Plague political history to enjoy this broad support. Reformists regard the overthrow of the old kingdoms as a sign of freedom and progress, while traditionalists believe that the old kingdoms were corrupt and degenerate, and needed to be swept away in order for traditional values to re-assert themselves.

Overall, the Revolution is considered an important foundation of modern Lendosan society. While there are those who deplore the violence surrounding the Revolution, few oppose the basic ideals — it is pointed out that even Emperor Talriez had to justify his actions in the name of the Revolution. Even if only in name, the principles of the Revolution have been generally accepted for some two hundred years.

SocialEdit

As well as being a major political change, the Revolution also ushered in a great number of social transformations. The Republic was eager to effect sweeping reforms, believing that in order for political change to be successful, the whole underlying culture needed to be altered. Even after the Revolutionary cause was usurped by Ravamiro Talriez, the changes continued — if anything, Emperor Ravamiro focused more on the cultural aspect of the Revolution, so as to distract from the regression he was causing in its political aspect.

One of the major endeavours of the new government was to promote a sense of Lendian national unity. The concept of a united Lendian nation had been severely eroded by the Plague and the country's subsequent fragmentation, and the "recognition that we are all one people" was an important part of the Revolution's ideology. (The constant conflict between the various Lendian kingdoms was one of the sources of discontent from which the Revolution grew). Coupled with this campaign for unity was a campaign for equality — attempts were made to eliminate prejudice between different Lendian cultural groups.

The Revolution also made attempts to foster equality between men and women, although disputes between the Revolution's leaders made this campaign less prominent. The changes tended to be relatively minor, and focused on giving women equal rights under the law with regard to things such as property and employment.

CulturalEdit

The Revolution also had a significant impact on Lendian language, literature, and art. Much of this was indirect, with poets, writers, and painters taking inspiration from events surrounding the Revolution. Other changes, however, were deliberate — the Revolutionary governments made several attempts to reform the Lendian language, some more successful than others. For example, there was the creation of a "neutral" gender for nouns — previously, a word such as "teacher" could refer either to males (pedanto) or females (pedanta), with no word encompassing both. A new set of words, ending in e, was created to fill this gap (giving pedante). The changes to the language were generally unpopular at the time, and most have since been abandoned, but a few still survive today.

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