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An Overview of Thyatian Literature

by James Ruhland and Giulio Caroletti

Tiresias, Teliad

The prophet Tiresias was born in a village bordering the Dymrak Forest of Vyalia; when he was young he adventured in Traladara with a company of friends. He discovered his prophetic aptitude when he dreamed of a dragon killing his compatriots with fierce fire; the magic user of the company - whom they had nicknamed "Draco" - soon attacked the party, and all but Tiresias were murdered with fireballs. After the event he begun to pay more attention to his dreams, and discovered disturbing similarities between them and events that happened later. So Tiresias sought the help of the Vyalia elves. He spent several years in the western forests, learning to control his abilities, and at the same time becoming a skillful bard. Returning to Thyatis, he composed the marvelous Teliad. This work commemorates the assault of the ancient three tribes united against the northern populations in the conquest of Tel Akbir of BC 523. The work unifies and gives an organic format to a slew of small ballads that had celebrated single episodes of the war in the centuries after the destruction of the city. Tiresias wrote many other works, among which are the Prophetic Rhymes, all collected in the House of Haruspices.

Thebas Drosos, Tales of Thyatian Kings

This is a collection of poems and historical fragments of the period of Kings of Thyatis. Thebas Drosos was a Thyatian exile who had fled the country because he was affiliated with a group that was considered "dangerous" by the Alphatian rulers, and spent the rest of his life hiding in Ochalea.

There are several editions of the Tales. The most ancient edition, owned by the Teng ruling family of Ochalea, presents all the poems and the historical notes. The Tales are written in a prosaic way, are extremely anti-Alphatian, and are not historically reliable, but are the first historical text of Thyatis, and presents interesting points of view on the Alphatian domination and of ancient legends and tales of the Three Tribes.

Ennius Cymonikeides, First Laughter in Thyatis City

Ennius Cymonikeides was the first Thyatian comedy writer. Born in 78 BC to a poor family, Ennius wrote his first comedy in 61, and was soon taken in great consideration by the Alphatian nobles. His works, collected later by the great literary critic Lysianus in the opera omnia First Laughter in Thyatis City presents mostly Alphatian scenes, and are built with a fixed scheme. The plots revolve mainly around a poor young Alphatian commoner who learns, helped by his clever Thyatian slave, how to seduce a noble Alphatian woman who is living with a zzonga-addicted magic user (or a woman who has a zzonga addicted father and so on). The plays were liked both by the Alphatians, because they were "politically correct" and by Thyatian commoners, but overall they are poorly written and were not at all liked by Thyatian patriots. With the passing of time, and the growing of Ennius' wealth, the comedies worsened in style and became clearly pro-Alphatian reactionary works, and the comedian was slain by a Thyatian revolutionary in BC 13.

Giorgio de Blasi, How We Won the Peace

Giorgio de Blasi was a Thyatian diplomat and one of Empress Valentia's counselors. He was one of her principal agents in Ochalea and the Pearl Islands, and one of the first Senators of the Empire. How We Won The Peace is a book of memoirs written in the last years of his life, and is the principal source for information on the years 20-55 of the Empire. They are full of anecdotes, interesting political observations, and presents a whole chapter dedicated to "The Thyatian Empire's distinctiveness," which explains the difference between the Alphatian and the Thyatian ways to conduct the Empires.

Cicercios Paphocuzitum, Oratory

Cicercios Paphocuzitum was one of the first Senators in Thyatis, hailing from the City of Thyatis itself. His orations were famous for their erudition and persuasiveness. After his death in AC 61, his personal scribe (Scrivonius Papholuzitulus is the only name we know him by) collected copies of Paphocuzitum's speeches and published them in this compendium.

Alexis Vorbian, A Show of Hands

A masterpiece of Mystaran literature, A Show of Hands is the story of the long travels of the adventurer Alexis Vorbian and of his friends travelling around the world. The trip was very long, extending from the AC 78 to AC 91. Vorbian and his group traveled all over Western Brun, going as far as the Arm of the Immortals and the Endworld Spine. Vorbian traced a very famous map of the world upon his return from the trip [The map from the Original Master's Boxed Set. -Caroletti]. A great deal of useful information on legends of all the world may be found in the work. The problem is that it consists of 7 volumes, and some (notably volumes 3, 5 and 6) nearly cannot be found, probably due to the fact that they are in the hands of private collectors.

Sirius, Astrologycal Ponderings

This incredibly popular booklet is a collection of superstitions and astrological theories, mainly based on the movement of the stars and the planets. It is based on Sirius' impressions of Thothian mysticism, but he has bastardized it; it is a text that has become very popular among superstitious commoners throughout Mystara. "Sirius" was probably the pseudonym of Galian, a low ranking Thyatian cleric of the 2nd century who had traveled to Thothia in his late years, and had become very involved by their mystic and religious beliefs.

Elianus Gallus, Now We Have No Rhyme

Elianus Gallus was a skilled diplomat of the late 2nd century, but has passed to history as the greatest Thyatian visionary poet. His first work, When Cosmoses Collapse, was based on the "Calamity Star" quatrains of the Alphatian prophet Jarrot the Mad, whom he reworked in a cosmological context. After this Gallus wrote his Visions, Death of a King, In the Grip of Hardened Clay, and Through Stony Eyes. In AC 192, he wrote the masterpiece Now we have no Rhyme, a long experimental poem that deals with all rhymes and metrical schemes known at the time and develops new ones, until it ultimately expands into a free verse session. Gallus was never famous among commoners, but was much appreciated in the artistic circles. The literary critic Lysianus believes that he is the greatest poet of Thyatis, and maybe of the Old World.

Livia Salinatrix, I Told You, Didn't I?

Livia was a skilled Thyatian thief and swindler in the 3rd century; she tricked wealthy adventurers, military officers and merchants using her charms (she was a very beautiful woman). She conned them into revealing the locations of their treasures and used various subterfuges to get them to give them to her. Her career ended when finally she fell in love with one of them, the nobleman Aemilius Scaurus, and married him. From then on, she began to write comedies, and was very successful. Her plots were always inventive, as they had been in her thief career. I Told You, Didn't I? is her most successful work.

Publicola, Brutally Sanguinary

Publicola was a Thyatian fighter who wrote this autobiography in 282, in which he denounced the atrocities committed by the Thyatian troops in the siege of Cubia, Biazzan and during the general conduction of the war. It depicts the total disregard of human life by several Thyatian generals, resulting in suicide actions in which many Thyatian soldiers were killed. Brutally Sanguinary is one of the harshest accusations of the Imperial politics of the Thyatian Empire. Nationalists killed Publicola two years after his work was published, and a posthumous show trial found him guilty of being an Alphatian spy.

Menai Stroznner, Rhetoric

Menai Stroznner was a half-Kerendan, half-Hattian professor at the university in Thyatis City during the early 4th century. Storznner taught on political subjects and international relations, and was a great admirer of good speeches and speakers, but felt that the quality of argumentation was declining. Therefore, Stroznner wrote Rhetoric as a textbook and manual, discussing aspects of logic, effective debating style and argumentation, and the attributes of skillful oratory.

Getronius Tullius, Of Agricultural Techniques for the Shadow Coast

Getronius was a farmer and colonist in the Province of Septentriona. This is probably the first fundamental Thyatian treatise regarding farming and agricultural techniques. Getronius especially deals with the differences between the Thyatian and Isle of Dawn's soil and climates, and shows the different methods used for a successful harvest in the two regions. It contains also a short chapter with references to the animals and plants that suit best to the Empire's regions.

Eneki Nuar, Philosophy

This tome was written by Eneki Nuar, a common Pearl Islander, and is a compendium of the philosophical ideas of the Pearl Islands' people, complete with short references to religious beliefs and proverbs from all over the Empire in the last years of the 4th century.

Valeria Scarola, Philosophical Musings

This two-volume work by the philosopher Valeria Scarola (334- 387) shows a conception of the Multiverse that intends the whole reality as simply the physical projection of an ideal perfect world. The primal ideas that inhabit the perfect world have been transplanted at a lower level in the material form. Valeria believed firmly that the Immortals were just the intermediate state between the material and immaterial (thus ideal and perfect) form. The purpose of life was thus to reach not Immortality, nor to worship them, but deprive oneself of the material body in order to reach the ideal level. In her last years, Valeria went mad and killed herself in an attempt to free her consciousness from her material body.

Acastian Canoplates, On Virtue and The Politics

Acastian Canoplates (355 - 413) studied philosophy as a student of Valeria Scarola, and was heavily influenced by the philosophies of Eneki Nuar as well. His On Virtue discusses the qualities Canoplates thought were required for individuals to lead a good life, and the pursuit of excellence and skill in chosen endeavors. He followed this opus with The Politics, a discourse translating his theories into the realm of political science.

Lysianus Dekritenes, History of Thyatian Literature

Lysianus' five volume work fully details Thyatian Literature until 457, when the author died. Lysianus himself was a good poet (his best collection of sonnets, Tidings from the Gold Mountains, was inspired by a trip to Halathius). Dekritenes was a meticulous scholar: he was the inventor of modern philology, and collected many authors' opera-omnias.

Priscius Protovertzes, Anecdota

This is a book of short stories, tragedies and mannered tales set in the late 5th century and early 6th century, during the reigns of Emperors Romanos and Perseus. Protovertzes and Savir Kalas (see below) were involved in the first "literary feud" and rivalry in Thyatian history - Protovertzes' style was much more tragic and moralistic, at odds with Kalas' satirical style.

Savir Kalas, Tongue In Cheek

An Alasyian from Tel Akbir, Savir Kalas (520- 558) collected jokes, funny tales and anecdotes, wrote sarcastic epigrams and satires, and had great success with them, in his 11 volumes of Tongue in Cheek. Each volume is divided into 6 chapters with different subjects. Kalas was an adventurer, and died before he was 40 years old during a fight with an undead horde, so his eleventh book was not completed. His last words when his companions told him that he was dying, were, "Well, I see that - I mean, Death."

Rang Tchou-Chan, A Look into My Soul

A mystical tome from a Cleric of Koryis, A Look into My Soul is an fascinating philosophical and religious tome. It contains a long chapter dedicated to the analysis and critic of the works of Valeria Scarola and Eneki Nuar, and other minor philosophers until 622, as well as the author's own beliefs.

Albert Ritterman, On Justice

This tome is a metaphysical discussion of the qualities of Justice and what it demands of people and nations who desire to live a just existence. Ritterman, a Hattian who lived in Port Hatti during the 8th century, builds upon - but also finds fault with - the works of earlier Thyatian philosophers.

Marcianus Dalessenos, Strategy

This discussion of warfare and the uses of war as "diplomacy by other means" was written by the Emperor Marcianus Dalessenos sometime during his reign (AC 728 - 758). It discusses strategy, logistics, operational planning, how to organize forces for campaigns, the arms and tactics of the era, and the strengths and weaknesses of the opponents a Thyatian commander is likely to face (concentrating, of course, on Alphatia). It also discusses the uses and missuses of war, and when and why to fight, and when to pursue goals by other means.

Alexandros II Dalessenos, The Administration of Empire

Though personally uninterested in the practical aspects of rulership, Emperor Alexandros II (reigned 783 - 793) none the less wrote this discourse, which includes detailed descriptions of court protocol, hierarchy and duties of various Imperial officials. It also contains a large section on Thyatis' political geography, and discussion of the Empire's diplomatic relations with its neighbors of the era.

Kun Tai-Pen & Flaminia Silanius, De Agricultura

The most extensive agricultural treatise of the Empire. Kun Tai Pen was a wealthy Ochalean land owner, and Flaminia Silanius was his wife, a skilled magic user who especially concentrated on Elementalism spells. This provided the two with many interesting ideas regarding the application of magics to the cultivation. Although the ideas presented in this three-volume work have been used by several farmers all over the world, and several chapters are related to the study of similar magic using in Alphatia, the work has nowadays raised new interest in the Popular faction of the Senate, which is pushing to promote some of its ideas in order to prevent future famines.

Estelle Puir, Alphatia Seen From the Inside

Estelle Puir (767- 833) was a cleric of Korotiku who lived most of her life in Alphatia, adventuring and traveling in most of its regions and colonies. Upon her return to Thyatis, she published the diaries of her travels. The book helped to broaden the understanding of Alphatia not only for the Thyatians, but also of many other nations of the Old World. It is a fair and accurate description of that Empire. It is concluded by a long appendix that builds on and expands Giorgio De Blasi's observations on the differences between the two Empires from How We Won the Peace. This appendix also explores and attempts to explain the different reasons Alphatians and Thyatians had lost their colonies in Alasyia.

Theophanes de Coseninus, Cosmology

Theophanes de Cosenius, a prominent Priest of Solarius, penned this discourse in the mid 9th century. It is a theological enquiry into the order of the cosmos and the role each Immortal plays in the scheme of things. It analyizes the function and portfolio of the "five cosmic spheres of being," and how this relates to life on Mystara.

Aetius Kekumanes, On Campaigning

Kekumanes (854 - 903) was a soldier and Lord in Biazzan in the 9th century AC, who fought many border skirmishes with the Ylari. On Campaigning is a sort of practical manual of soldiering and guide to good conduct and discipline. Kekumanes wrote this book at the turn of the century, shortly before becoming part of the colonizing expedition that founded Oceansend. It is widely read by soldiers in Thyatis and throughout the Known World, and there are translations and versions of this guidebook in many languages (including an infamous Orcish version used in the Broken Lands).

Ianus Mastarte, Songs

Ianus Mastarte (873-949) was a songwriter and folksinger from Kantridae. His works are collected in the Songs, annotated with music. Many popular and traditional songs from Mainland Thyatis and Hattias are also present.

Michiela Psellia, Chronographia

During her long life (882 - 976), Michiela Psellia was a bureaucrat, professor, and court official, serving the Emperor (first Gabrionus IV, then his son) and "retiring" when Thincol became Emperor. Psellia then wrote the Chronographia, a lively, well-written, but disturbing account of Thyatian political intrigue and court life during the 10th Century. It discusses the intrigues and growing self-indulgence of the Thyatian aristocracy with remarkable frankness. Michiela Psellia is also known for writing a book known as The Secret Lives of the Emperors, a sometimes accurate, sometimes highly fictionalized collection of various scandalous stories and tales of intrigue.

Elena Hessenberg, Traladara

Elena Hessenberg was one of the first colonists in Traladara, and traveled through that country, reporting legends, religious traditions and fascinating reports on the people of that land. Elena then emigrated from Thyatis and settled down in Specularum, and even became its governor for a short time. The text is widely known in Thyatis and Karameikos, although many Traladarans dislike it for the somehow ironic attitude the "civilized" Hattian woman shows toward the "superstitious" Traladarans.

Iaccovitzes Murtipholus, Commerce and Prosperity

Iaccovitzes Murtipholus was a Cleric of Asterius living in Lucinius, who studied philosophy and was interested in why some places were more prosperous than others; he became one of the founding scholars in the study of modern economics. He published his theories on the subject in Commerce and Prosperity early in the 10th century. Though widely respected, his theories were applied with more practicality in Darokin and gained little attention in Thyatis until recently, when there has been a revival of interest in the subject.

Fabritius Luscinia, The Republic of Thyatis

A subversive, Fabritius Luscinia was born in Thyatis in 930, member of an impoverished noble family. Fabritius' ancestors had been members of the Senate, but one of them had been stripped of that status, and the family had never recovered. Although his father was a drunkard and inept, Luscinia grew up cultured, taught by his uncle Aurelius, and developed a subversive utopian idea of transforming the Empire into a Republic. After several years of adventuring, Luscinia wrote The Republic of Thyatis, an astonishing political work calling for the destruction of the Empire by undermining its foundations through terrorism and systematic killing of the heads of the Empire. It dealt also with the role to assign to allies in the Empire, and how to create the downfall of Alphatia, which he considered even worse than Thyatis, especially after his visits in Esterhold, where he contacted Jennite rebels. Luscinia was exiled by Thincol Torion in 960, when he tried to set up a revolt against the newly elected Emperor, and his book, although not illegal, is very unpopular in Thyatis, although most politicians have read it and know it. Though The Republic of Thyatis is very detailed in describing how to destroy the Imperial institutions, the chapters describing the Republic that would follow are vague and less substantive. Luscinia died in Specularum in 971 during the Marilenev revolt, which he had actively supported.

Hector von Hasseldorf, Beastiary

Von Hasseldorf's book, published in 989, was originally titled Creatures I Have Killed, but at the suggestion of one of his comrades the former adventurer gave it the more scholarly title Beastiary, subtitled "A Manual of Monsters." A very widely traveled explorer, von Hasseldorf fought, killed, and dissected virtually all of the creatures known today, from the minor (like Stirges) to the major (various types of dragons and gargantua). The Beastiary discusses the ecology of these creatures, their habits, and how they can be fought and defeated.

Manuelus Nicholous, The Senator

Manuelus Nicholous was a scholar, treasury minister, and (briefly) a Senator in the later half of the 10th century AC. His "Annotations" on Thebas Drosos's Tales of Thyatian Kings and other texts on early Thyatian history became widely popular, though they seem to reveal republican sympathies of the author (though that might be why they became popular, especially in Thyatian universities). He is, however, more famous for his book on contemporary politics, The Senator, which is written as a guidebook for aspiring Thyatian politicians. Where "Annotations" is infused with a sense of probity and morality, The Senator is much more pragmatic (some might even say amoral), advising those who hope to succeed in politics to seem good, but not necessarily be good. All manner of tricks, deviousness, manipulation, ruthlessnes, and political intrigue are discussed. Nicholous firmly advises that these things be done to achieve the public good (and, indeed, seems to say this sort of thing is required if the public good is to be attained). Some radical scholars suggest that The Senator isn't really directed at politicians (successful ones already know these methods), but instead reveals these subterfuges to average citizens.

Anonymous, All Mine

Written by an unknown author, All Mine is an unauthorized biography of Thincol Torion, dating year 998, masquerading as an autobiography. It is reasonably accurate, but has a sort of ironic view on the Emperor and his role in the Empire. For example, the writer suggested that maybe Thincol didn't get so much as he wanted from the exploitation of Machetos, and that Stefan in fact cheated him. The inside knowledge and the rather pointed tone could suggest that the author was a Senator of the Popular faction. Thincol himself didn't like the book much, understandably, but it became very popular in Thyatis and elsewhere.

Lucin (Karl Lusz), Food and Drink in Thyatis

Born in 951 in Hattias, greatest chef in Thyatis, "Lucin" is the personal cook of the Emperor. Lucin (who is still living) wrote this culinary treatise, which contains more than two hundred recipes of foods from all over the Empire, and a lot of good wines and beers suggestions. The latest edition, written in 1014, contains also recipes from Aegos and the Hinterlands.

Alexander and Lorn Penhaligon, Dark Worship in Thyatis

The two Penhaligon brothers - Alexander, a cleric of Tarastia and Lorn, a sorcerer (cousins of Lady Arteris, ruler of the Penhaligon Estate in Karameikos, and brothers of Julius of Wyrmteeth) - wrote a two volume tract on the cults of Entropic Immortals in the Empire through its history. The final chapters deal with some information on the so-called "Outer Being" cults, and present the famous "Legend of Zargon" extract.

Vivianna Romanones, A History of the Thyatian-Speaking Peoples

This multi-volume history (published in AC 1015) covers the length and breadth of Thyatian history, from BC 1000 to the tragic debacle of the Wrath War, discussing the strengths that made the Thyatian people so prominent and the causes of the setbacks they have experienced. It focuses on what set the Thyatians apart from their rivals, the Alphatians, and the strengths and weaknesses of the Thyatian political system. The later volumes also speculate on why the Alphatians became more highly regarded throughout most of the world than the Thyatians and the role this perception played in Thyatis' decline and the relatively swift recovery of the Alphatians after the disasters both had suffered during the Wrath War.

Stefania Torion, Thrainkelliad, Volume One

Stefania Torion, Countess of Redstone and eldest daughter of Emperor Thincol Torion, published the first volume of a biography of her father in 1016. This first volume covers his early life up to his coronation as Emperor, and is a touching but remarkably frank account of his life. It is a more authoritative portrayal than that of All Mine as it has added perspective because of the author's relationship with her subject. Subsequent volumes will cover Thincol's reign as Emperor reviving Thyatis, the tragedy of the Wrath War, and the Emperor's final years.

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Copyright (c) 2000, James Ruhland and Giulio Caroletti. All rights reserved. Used by permission.