Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Lands of Light: Emperor Aurelian

The last of the Alcides, Aurelian was a man of medium height, with dark hair and grey eyes, like much of his family.  While it has become popular in Lightlander art to depict him as thin, in truth he was a somewhat stout man, who gained weight as he aged--had he lived longer, he might have become quite fat.

This sort of transformation is quite typical in their depictions of the man they hold to be the last "true" Holy Emperor.  Despite efforts to depict him as a virtual saint, most of his contemporaries found Aurelian to be a difficult man to get along with.  Simultaneously harsh and mercurial, he could veer from religious extremism to wanton sensuality with very little warning, upbraiding his courtiers for wearing sumptuous clothes on a religious feast day even as he plotted to force one of them to offer the Emperor his daughter as a mistress.

This style of rule managed to discomfit and offend everybody--even dedicated toadies found it hard to follow a king whose mind could change so rapidly.  Still, the Empire might have survived if Aurelian had been content to allow it to muddle on through his reign--but alas, no.  Aurelian, you see, saw himself as a reformer. 

Great effort was taken to centralize the Empire, placing as much of it as possible under Aurelian's personal control.  This frequently meant uprooting vice-regal families of long-standing, and more or less declaring war on various subject monarchs--acts which were frequently more or less identical.  As Aurelian threw the Empire into chaos, the Nightfolk rebels that had been striving with little success for decades to throw off the Imperial yoke saw their chance...

2 comments:

  1. "regal clothes", not "regal close"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bah. I meant sumptuous. Making an error on the error correction. How embarrassing.

    ReplyDelete