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THYATIS (The City)
Location: Southeastern coast of the continent of Brun, at the midway point of Vanya's Girdle on the banks of the Mesonian River in Thyatis. OW
Area: 50 sq. mi. (130 sq. km.).
Languages: Thyatian (Thyatian, Heldann, Kerendan, and Tel Akbiran dialects). Many other languages are spoken within Thyatis City, including Milenian spoken by refugees from Davania, some of whom were settled here.
Coinage: Thyatian Standard: emperor (pp), lucin (gp), justiciar (ep), asterius (sp), denarius (cp).
Taxes: 20% income tax collected quarterly on the aristocracy, nobility, and wealthy; 15% income tax collected quarterly on everyone else (Va. 1, Ya. 1, Fy. 3, and Ei. 1). Thyatians abroad must still pay their taxes. Expensive and magical items are also taxed 25% of their worth. 10% imperial commercia sales tax on all goods except food, clothing, and fixed assets; levied on imports, rebated on exports. Tax on slave owning equal to 50% of the slave's value annually. Property tax levied based on quality of land, roughly 6% of its value annually.
Government Type: Municipality administered by civic officials and elected representatives on behalf of the Emperor of Thyatis, imperial capital of the Thyatian Empire.
Industries: Arts (especially mosaic, sculpture, stonemasonry, theatre), crafts (especially metalworking, glassworks, tanning, cloth-including brocade, cotton, linen, satin, velvet, wool), fishing, finance, magic, military, services (including finance, insurance), scholarship, shipbuilding, silk (including spider silk), textiles, trade.
Important Figures: Bellissarian Strategius (Imperial Marshal and Chief of the General Staff), Constantine Lecapenus (First Sea Lord and Grand Admiral of the Imperial Admiralty), Antonina Alessandrasia (Lady Knight Commander of the Air Guard), Marcian Lactanius (Commander of the Sacred Guard), Andronicus Ducatzes (Commander of the Hetaereia), Tredorian (Prince of Alphatia), Maximius Colophorius (Lord Knight and Grand Master of the Glorious Wings of Vanya), Nikephorus Logotharion (Praefect of Thyatis), Julius Sartorius (High Priest of the Endless Seas of Protius), Regino Helioprobus (Patriarch of Solarios), Helena Daphnotarthius (Priestess of Valerias's House of Passions), Theophylact Cerularius (Chief Priest of Tarastia), Trasaricus Theophilus (High Priest of Asterius), Yalag (ex-Gladiator), Carolus Anthemion (Gladiator), Phaedra Daphnorakenzes (Priestess of Vanya), Theodosius Kantinomeiros (Con Man), Tanobari Nuar (Pearl Islander Consul), Dylan son of Penn (Thratian Consul), Athanasia Romanones (Proctor of the Collegium Arcanum), Philoxenus Scholasticus (Curator of the Great Library), Methodius Armorakius (Dean of the Imperial Academy), Elektra Sharpblade (Gladiator), Hukkt (Gladiator), Stult Bearclaw (Gladiator), Speriopitis Melanikas (Gladiator), Valnor Acidelyrovius (Master of the Shadow Hand). A multitude of other characters of all levels also inhabit the City of Thyatis.
Flora and Fauna: Lycanthropes (especially wererats under the city), wild cats and dogs, giant rats, goblinoids. Pegasi, griffons, rocs, ruby, gold, and white dragons as well as other aerial mounts are used as mounts. Many other unknown varieties of monsters live in the catacombs underneath The City.
Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, DDA1 Arena of Thyatis, DDA2 Legions of Thyatis, previous almanacs.
Note: The scale of the map for Thyatis City (and Sundsvall, although the city is now in ruins) has been semi-officially re-designated. Instead of 1'' = 1,000' use the scale 1'' = 1,000 yards. This works better given the size of the Colosseum as depicted in DDA1 anyhow, as anyone who has tried to fit it into the 1,000' scale will have noticed. In addition, the floor plan of that map should have a scale of 1 square = 15' rather than 1 square = 25'. It will then fit with the map of the upper basement, as it should, and will precisely fit within the area allocated for the Colosseum on the main city map with its scale revised at 1'' = 1,000 yards.
Description by Vivianna Romanones.
At the centre of the Duchy of Thyatis lays the Queen of Cities, the wealthiest, grandest, and most powerful city of Mystara, from which all things are measured. It has been called the foremost city of luxury, fashion, and culture, but also the city of vice, corruption, and material temptation. What is certainly true is that the survival and prosperity of Thyatis City is crucial to the survival and prosperity of the Thyatian Empire. As the first settlement founded when the Thyatians migrated here from the south, it is over sixteen hundred years old and perhaps the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent. Though most people use the calendar that dates from the crowning of the first emperor, some scholars and pedants still use the traditional calendar, dating from the foundation of the city in BC 600 (this is AUC 0, thus this year is AUC 1618 in this ancient calendar of Thyatis). This is a city that surpasses all in wealth and might; its motto ("Gold in Peace-Steel in War") sums up the attitudes of its people, which can shift from an obsession with commerce and wealth to martial stoicism in the blink of an eye. [Some in other countries say the motto should be "greed in peace-steal in war." Ed.] More people live in the city of Thyatis than live in many entire nations of the Old World or in the whole continent of Bellissaria. Normally, half a million people live within its walls with another hundred thousand in the immediate exurbs surrounding the city (not including Port Hatti, which itself could be seen as a suburb of the city).
From here, Emperor Eusebius Torion and the Imperial Senate govern the Empire of Thyatis. People of all races and cultures can be found in the city of Thyatis, as it boasts trade from around the world. Glorious temples and magnificent palaces share space with humble residences. The city's emporiums and harbours bustle with activity; merchants from every nation can be seen here as Thyatis lies at the hub of the world's trade routes. The city of Thyatis is not only the financial and governmental capital of the empire, but also its military capital. The city is headquarters of many Thyatian fighting orders, from older ones like the Order of the Grey Lady to newer ones, like the Order of the Silver Shield, which was formed during the recent Final Alphatian War. Since the foundation of the empire, the city of Thyatis has never fallen to an outside force, and only once have its walls been breached. That time, some fifty years ago, was when an Alphatian strike force managed to enter the city, powering their way to the imperial palace to kill then-Emperor Gabrionus V before being defeated and expelled. The city and its immediate hinterland, roughly 4 miles in every direction from the centre of The City (around 50 square miles) was recently given a special status of its own, further highlighting its pivotal nature as the hub of the empire.
Built where the Mesonian River flows into Vanya's Girdle, the city of Thyatis is strategically situated for both war and commerce. Its site at the midpoint of the great channel separating Hattias from the mainland, Vanya's Girdle, and alongside the empire's main river, is a major asset. As such the city is sheltered from attack while laying astride the main trade lanes between northeastern Brun and the Isle of Dawn on the one hand and southwestern Brun and the Sea of Dread on the other.
The city itself is built on a series of hills, the most prominent being at the Zendrolium overlooking Vanya's Girdle and the massive Emperor's Hill which overlooks the entire city. Part of the city, River Guard Town, is located across the Mesonian River. River Guard Town (Riovigila in classical Thyatian) also functions as a sort of foreign quarter, though in reality people of all nations can be found almost anywhere in The City.
The most important harbourages of Thyatis City are not those of the Mesonian River, however. The Great Harbour, a deepwater anchorage seemingly carved out of the city and sheltered behind its walls is the greatest trading port in Brun, and perhaps the world. A veritable forest of masts fills it at any given time; ships of all nations come to Thyatis to sell their wares and buy the products of the empire. Jutting off the southern end of the Great Harbour is the Lesser Harbour, a port that would be considered large in many a city. This is the anchorage for the imperial fleet, located in the Zendrolium district of the city, where most of the soldiers based in the area have their barracks; this district is separated from the bulk of Thyatis City itself, and is a miniature city in its own right.
A huge double wall that is studded with towers protects the city of Thyatis. Outside the wall lay a pair of ditches or moats, preventing our enemies from easily approaching its defences. Aqueducts crossing through bring fresh water to the city, which are deposited in a series of cisterns from which water is then diverted through pipes to individual buildings. Beyond are military training fields, and the city's immediate exurbs; some pleasant regions where the wealthy repose when not in the walls, others used for crafts not suitable for conducting within the walls. None of the exurbs are built closer than a thousand yards from the walls of Thyatis, with the exception of River Guard Town. In this zone is only fields, parklands, and some livestock pens for animals driven to the city, where they are kept before slaughter. This empty zone is maintained so that in time of war, the defenders have a clean line of fire and attackers cannot sneak close to the walls, but the exurbs are still close enough to the city for convenience in normal times.
The area outside River Guard Town (or Riovigila), is known as the Xenos, and is home to many slaughterhouses and tanneries serving The City. Outside the city walls along Vanya's Girdle the city is known as Reginas, and is in normal times where homes of military officers, desiring to live close to the Zendrolion but in a pleasant countryside, reside. Along the banks of the Mesonian River outside the walls is the district of Abydos, which itself is lined with mills and docks, including quays where many of the wealthy keep their yachts. Counting the city itself along with the exurbs of Riovigila, Reginas, Abydos, and the Xenos there are five boroughs of Thyatis administered by the prefecture, with Port Hatti being part of Hattias instead. Also found outside the walls are the graveyards and mausoleums of over sixteen centuries of habitation.
But the bulk of the city's population and main points of interest are sheltered inside the walls. Its structures range from the marble halls and gilded-roofed palaces of The Estates and Emperor's Hill to the brownstones of recently rebuilt Axetown. In the renovation and rebuilding performed in the aftermath of the great fire of AC 1013, the squalid, rickety tenements were replaced with well-built three to five story brownstone residences on the insulae (blocks). Other buildings built in the aftermath of the great fire, also of stone, frequently have small shops fronting the street on the ground floor, which not only provide services to local residents, but jobs as well, with apartments on the upper floors. Overcrowding was significantly reduced around the same time. Flagstone-paved forums see debate between the city's fractious factions. Colonnaded porticos line its main avenues, where merchants set up their shops. At night these boulevards are lighted by lamps enchanted with continual light. The roadways are paved, and by law must be at least 12 feet wide, thus the dark, narrow, mud-drenched twisting alleys of other cities are not found here. All streets are lined with pedestrian sidewalks, sheltered from inclement weather by colonnaded arcades. At the very centre of Thyatis is the Heart, the great merchant district where goods from throughout the world are traded. Here grand emporiums throng with traders and their customers. Along with the Imperial Palace, the Curia (Senate House), and Colosseum, which are the structures which come to mind when most people think of Thyatis City, there are numerous other examples of monumental architecture. It is said that seven wonders reside within the walls of this one city.
In addition to the ones mentioned there is the Liberty Pharos, which overlooks Vanya's Girdle from the northern mouth of the Great Harbour. This is a lighthouse in the form of a gargantuan statue of a woman, robed in the classical style, holding the torch of Thyatian freedom aloft with one hand, with the other held forward as if to ward off enemies. Sheathed in copper and several hundred feet high (if you count its pedestal), the statue was constructed after the reign of Empress Valentia, and some say its face uses hers as its model. Another monumental structure is the Great Imperial Library. Though only three stories high, the stories themselves are each 30' in height, the building constructed out of marble. In the interior, tiered balconies line the walls of each floor, giving access to the huge store of books held here. Then there are the Imperial Bakeries, which supply food to the city's needy, and the orphanages and poor houses that care for the indigent. These too are grand buildings, not only in architecture but also a monument to Thyatis's generosity. The Imperial Bakeries were built many centuries ago in the early days of the empire, while the poor house was endowed by Emperor Gabrionus V, who also refurbished the orphanage as well. Similar foundations exist in many of the empire's cities, in emulation of its megalopolis. Many of these were also the creation of Emperor Gabrionus V, who believed in good will towards men. And we haven't even discussed the High Temple of Vanya and other religious structures that can be found here, the many colleges and other places of learning, the baths and theatres, the parks and gardens, the clubs, bistros, inns, taverns, and other establishments catering to every sort of taste. The latter are centred in the Long Portico that runs between the district of The Heart and Emperor's Hill, but can be found almost anywhere in The City. If you can name it, it can probably be found here in this City That Never Sleeps.
In AC 1013 a conflagration swept through Axetown and the Blocks, Thyatis City's poorer sections. This caused widespread hardship at the time, but proved to be a long-term boon for the city. Axetown had long been scheduled for renovation, but various impediments resulted in it being put off time and again, and the region became the worst slum in Thyatis. For all the damage it caused at the time, the fire finally forced Thyatis to face the problem of Axetown, and renovate it while rebuilding the burned out portions of the city. Two fifths of Thyatis, the area most in need of it, was rebuilt. The new brownstones built on the insulae (blocks) were constructed of solid stone and brick rather than wood, with bistros, taverns, bodegas and other establishments on the ground floor and residences built on upper levels. Much of the land was given over to parks, hospices, hospitals, and other public works. Streets were widened and straightened in many cases, and lamps lit by magic set up on every block to cut down on crime. A few months later, several sewers in Axetown exploded due to a build up of gasses (some say this was caused by the Shadow Hand's machinations), but the affected area was rebuilt better than before, as a market district surrounding a broad plaza. A new aqueduct was begun (completed in AC 1015) to bring more water into this area of Thyatis as well. This is still the poor section of town, but it is far less crowded, filthy, and run down than it was previously, with the squalid tenements almost entirely absent.
In Vanya's Girdle, within a few miles of the city, are about a dozen small islets, known as the Princess Isles. Lore has it that Empress Valentia herself raised these from the rock of the floor of the girdle. None of the isles are more than a few acres in area. Most of these are pretty, home of estates of some of Thyatis's wealthiest families. The emperor himself has one of these islands for his own use, with a palace used whenever he or his family wants to get away from the city's politics, but does not want to go all the way to Carytion. Two of the islets are exceptional, however. One, a relatively barren islet known as the Isle of Pelicans or just simply The Key, is home to a fortified imperial naval and marine facility, which bars the seaward door to Thyatis. The other, known as the Isle of Seahawks, formerly known as Treasure Island, was at times an emporium for a world-renowned fair, but is now the docking base for the imperial airships whose crew are stationed at the Queen of Cities. It will likely be a future site for repair and construction facilities for such vessels as well. It was here where the Alphatian skyships that crashed on Thyatian soil during the Week Without Magic were taken after their impoundment by the empire for study, and it may be possible to repair a few and put them into Thyatian service.
The Queen of Cities is a microcosm of the empire, or if you prefer, the empire is The City writ large, as some say Thyatis is the largest city-state in the world. People swarm everywhere in Thyatis City, talking of incomprehensible theological and philosophical matters, in hovels and mansions, streets and squares, marketplaces and crossroads. Though most of the people are native Thyatians, the trading districts swarm with a cosmopolitan crowd, as if the whole world had arranged to meet here. Dwarves with pointed beards and black hair falling to the shoulder; turbaned traders from Nicostenia and Abbashan, shaven, dirty Heldanners wearing an iron chain around their waists as a belt; Traladarans with long, drooping moustaches, dressed all in furs; Ethengars and Alasiyans with outlandish accents; caravan drovers from Athenos and Selenica; and merchants from Minrothad and Ierendi. All races, languages, and religions meet and mingle here.
The citizens themselves are a clever and crafty lot, sharp and perhaps even sometimes cynical. Though the wealthy senatorial families can be haughty and snobbish, the common folk of Thyatis City tend to be friendly and egalitarian. Most merchants are organized into guilds, which are regulated by the government through the office of the Civil Praefect of Thyatis. Anyone who's dealt with a government ministry knows how irksome dealing with supercilious bureaucrats can be. The good news is that, thanks to Eusebius's reforms, they are more efficient now than they have been in recent memory, and corruption has been tempered. Likewise, due to the charter issued to Thyatis City by Eusebius last year, there are very few slaves in the city; almost all its inhabitants are now free citizens with all the rights thereof, able to participate in civic life.
Not all is wondrous, though. Although there is a renewed sense of civic spirit, the city is not without its poverty and squalor. Thieves and reprobates of all sorts can be found here preying upon the productive but gullible members of society, happy to swindle the unwitting visitor (or native!). The criminals of the Shadow Hand have their base here and an untold number of hidden cabals and conspiracies are afoot at any one time. Intrigue is a way of life to many inhabitants, and a vengeful senator can be as fearsome as an angry dragon, if subtler in his schemes than a gout of fiery breath, no less dangerous for that.
You cannot see all that is worthy in one visit to the city any more than one can see all that should be seen in Glantri in one visit. There is always a new theatrical production opening, some of which are truly works of art, which should not be missed. The city's many monuments; its triumphal arches, statues of famous emperors and heroes, museums housing ancient works of art. All have their virtues. Scholars should not miss the Great Imperial Library or the Imperial Academy. But of note to spellcasters will be the Collegium Arcanum, Thyatis's main college for the schooling of wizards. Though small by former Alphatian standards, its quality can be surmised by noting that most of the mages with estates on Sclaras first learned magic here, and many now serve in its faculty. In recent years much attention has been given to schools of magic of much more recent foundation, but I believe that a college's reputation should be based on what it has achieved over time. And by this measure the Collegium Arcanum compares favourably with the other such universities on the continent. Arguably not even the Great School of Magic in Glantri can claim so many students who have reached such a high level of skill as the collegium, though for sure the quality of the Great School cannot be slighted.
If you are lucky enough to receive an audience with the emperor, the Golden Throne Room (Chrysotriclinos) is another sight that will remain with you for the rest of your life. To get to the throne room one passes through a series of marble corridors and chambers, rich with mosaics and cloth of gold, through long lines of palace guards in white uniforms, through great crowds of patricians, prelates, senators, and all of this to the music of organs and choirs, escorted by palace functionaries on either side of you. At last you enter an octagonal room, the Golden Throne Room itself. This awe-inspiring chamber's ceiling vaults skyward, roofed over in alabaster cut so delicately that the light of the sun filters through. The floor is all in porphyry, with a cloth of gold carpet leading up to the marble dais. Columns of rich marble soar upwards, capped in capitals that are carved into golden filigree, creating images of religious significance. The walls are done over entirely in mosaics, with gilded tiles surrounding images of the empire's greatest leaders and patron Immortals. The throne itself is of gold, with deep crimson upholstery beyond a veil of purple. A pair of golden lions flanks it, and golden griffons, and beside the lions and griffons are pillars in the shape of golden trees, with golden branches and leaves, upon which sit enamelled golden birds. When the petitioner approaches, the lions can be made to roar and thrash their tails, the birds sing forth, the griffons whistle. As the petitioner bows to the emperor, the throne rises, and when the envoy looks up again, he is likely to see the emperor apparently clad in new garments. All this might seem like magic, but it is actually an example of Thyatian engineering-fine clockworks and steam power everything.
Avoid the catacombs under the city itself, a teaming warren of tunnels, some connected to the sewers and others to half-forgotten dungeons and crypts. These twisting passages and caverns are seemingly endless, and some say they pass all the way through to the Hollow World. If you decide to ignore my warning, be sure to pack your best weapons and bring plenty of provisions; many have become lost in the maze-like catacombs, and if you run short of supplies eating the creatures you find there is not recommended.