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Historical groundwork for the City Statesby Kenneth Baggaley
The Savage Baronies book says Dwarves settled on the Eastern SC in 450 BC, and Traldar arrive in 450 AC and "establish several city states on the Eastern shores of the Gulf of Hule". So we could have Dwarven survivors from earlier, mingling with the Traldar to form the city states (cs). This would make sense given the mountainous regions surrounding the cs. Traldar had gypsies and russian sounding city names, and this would tie into the cultures desired and the "vitch" type place names. Any Traldar culture would be effected by the dwarves remaining, plus the obvious role of "link" these cs play. Trade across the desert, plus colonists from Ylaruam and Thyatis, would almost certainly have stopped amoung the cs, impacting both Western and Eastern flavors.
I'm uncertain to what extent Yavldom would influence the cs. Clearly, from a trade standpoint, they would have much commerce. But given the cultural differences, how much Yavldom culture could rub off on these cs? I think the Serbian/ Balkan xenophobia might halt Yavldom influence at the dock - the cs might be pretty set in their ways by now.
The inland cs, having seen invasions and having some dwarven culture, would build excellent defensive cities. Even the smallest place would be protected by walls and other defensive measures. Mining would be part of their culture, although forays would be close due to gobliniod and Hule raids. The seige mentality plays well to dwarves, the trade and exotic flavors play well to Traldar gypsies
For a few historical notes: Serbia depended on infantry, less on cavalry than the open areas of Bulgaria or Romania. Archers, including poison arrows, were used! The cultures had that wonderful mix of east and west we call Eastern Europe. Knights in armor, light bow cavalry, sheep-farming axemen, petty nobles electing centrally weak kings, every lord ruling by fiendishly ruthless decree. Nobles were called Boyars. Tribalism was replaced by a feudalism under local hospodars. A noble with more power and a royal appointment was called a Voivode. In Bosnia, local chieftans were called Zupe, and were organized under defensive regions called Bans. In Albania, a city-state mentality existed due to the proximity to Greece and Italy. Local leaders were called Archons (my favorite name!). Occasionally, they united under a Magnus Archonte, until they all fell out again. (You can hear the cry now..."who will be Magnus?"). People were semi-nomadic, sheep and goats being prevalent. Wine was made, and cheese and olives. The light spear/javelin cavalry were famous as the Stradiots, feared throughout for their speed, ruthlessness and efficiency at stripping enemy baggage camps! They took heads as trophies and fostered their reputation for effect. As parts of this coast joined (or were taken by) the Venetian Empire, naval galley trade was common to their culture. Defense and raiding (both for and against!) were critical aspects shaping their cultural outlook. In Bulgaria, land-owning peasants were called viteji. Haiduks were military border settlers, mostly infantry with firearms (any adventurers want a home?). Heavy infantry called Voynuks wore skullcaps and chain/plate armor, and carried distinctive axes/halbards - again sounding dwarvish.
Standing armies didn't exist. Foot bodyguards for kings were called curteni, basically bowmen in nicer clothes, a shield with the states insignia, and a spear. Local headgear was exotic and distinguishing. Noble cavalry supplemented the light cavalry troops, and peasant levies produced many bowmen and some axemen. Wool was the common cloth. Long moustaches, no beards, and longish dark hair prevailed (imagine THAT dwarf!).
Tough, proud, divisive, xenophobic, nomadic/pastoral surrounding city states, exotic in style and temperment:
I hope this helps to lay some historical groundwork for the cs!