Amash-Akura (born circa 16410 AD, died circa 16600 AD [disputed]) was the founder of the Amarr Empire and its first Emperor. He began as a regional warlord in the city of Dam-Torsad and managed, through conquest and diplomacy, to unite Amarr Island under one banner in 16470 AD. He is widely venerated by the Amarr as one of its greatest leaders, saints, and religious thinkers. Many of the establishments he created persist to the present day in some form.
While his existence is considered a matter of historical fact by most mainstream historians, many of the events surrounding his life have been mythologized. According to the Amarr, he reigned for just over 100 years and died protecting the Empire from an usurper. Foreign historians frequently posit that the name Amash-Akura was actually a title held by several separate individuals, either as a part of an elaborate ruse or a simple succession that was misinterpreted by later generations.
Historians believe Amash-Akura was born roughly around 16410 AD, in the city-state of Dam-Torsad. His father was a general who fought for the ruler of Dam-Torsad, Damask. Amash-Akura followed in his father's footsteps and became a soldier as well, joining Damask's army when he turned sixteen. Damask was unpopular with neighboring warlords and frequently was forced to put his army into the field.
In his early twenties, Amash-Akura suffered a serious wound in battle. He was not expected to live and even had a priest administer last rites, but later made a miraculous recovery. Amash-Akura attributed this recovery to the power of God and became heavily religious afterward. He continued to fight in Damask's army, slowly rising in the ranks until he became a captain around the age of thirty.
Damask died in 16443 AD. Subsequent bickering and infighting among his sons, who were fighting over his inheritance, saw them lose the allegiance of their own soldiers. Amash-Akura seized the opportunity, rallied a large number of loyal men to his side and overthrew the sons, installing himself as the ruler of Dam-Torsad in 16445 AD.
As the ruler of Dam-Torsad, Amash-Akura instituted several reforms. He placed governance of the city in the hands of the church and made worship mandatory, ruled the precepts be laid down in the Scriptures - giving aid to the pious and striking down heretics - and he strictly enforced a code of morals on his soldiers, forbidding them from rape, looting, or mistreatment of enemies.
Around 16450 AD, Amash-Akura began a war of conquest against his neighbors. He won several early victories, crushing several lesser warlords and taking their cities for his own. In each city, he installed members of the clergy as its rulers, allowed his soldiers a few weeks of rest and recruited new followers, then moved on to the next battle. Within five years, he had full control of the central area of Amarr Island, controlling the majority of roads and thus trade among the Amarr.
The decisive victories and charismatic nature of Amash-Akura won him many willing followers. The church especially favored him, once he had proven his military acumen, and put their full support behind his conquest. Upon hearing of the church's decree, the warlord of the city-state Iphria declared his fealty to Amash-Akura.
From that point on, Amash-Akura changed his strategy to one that came to be known as “the light or the flame.” He would send messengers to the rulers of a city-state, promising to allow them to remain in power should they submit to him and follow his laws. If they refused, he would march his army to the city, besiege it, and offer the enemy soldiers their lives if they surrendered and turned over their masters. Should this too fail, Amash-Akura would sack the city and kill every soldier and their leaders, while sparing those who had not raised arms against him.
While many rulers attempted to hold out, many more willingly surrendered to Amash-Akura. By 16470 AD, the last opposition on the island was crushed and Amash-Akura ruled unchallenged.
Founding the Empire
In 16470 AD, Amash-Akura declared the creation of the Amarr Empire. The leaders of the church crowned him their Emperor. Amash-Akura instituted a year of celebration, allowing his soldiers to return home, while opening the Imperial treasury to reward those who had served with loyalty.
The newly-crowned Emperor, at this point already old by the measuring of the time period, began setting up institutions that would survive him. He established the Council of Apostles, formed from the most senior members of the clergy, those warlords who had proven most loyal to him, and the most pious and courageous of his generals. The Apostles would concern themselves with the actual ruling of the Empire, leaving Amash-Akura as something of a symbol.
In addition, thanks to his experience and understanding of the chaos that can erupt from the lack of laws concerning inheritance and lineage, he granted to the Council of Apostles, and many others who were worthy, the title of Holder, and parceled out land and duties to them. He codified the rights and responsibilities of the Holders in the Scriptures, forming the foundation for the nobility that still applies even in the modern era.
Finally, he ordered a census of his subjects, to be repeated every five years. The records collected by the census were entered into the Book of Records, becoming the first large-scale genealogical record in New Eden since the collapse of the EVE Gate. Since his time, the Book of Records has expanded greatly, so that it now forms one of the bedrocks of the Scriptures.
Arrival of the Sefrim
In the tenth year of Amash-Akura's reign, the sky suddenly went black and a group of angels reportedly descended from the heavens to wait outside Dam-Torsad's walls. Legend has it that Amash-Akura rose from his throne and ventured out of the city, causing the darkness to break. The angels spoke to Amash-Akura and informed him they were the sefrim, sent by God to protect the emperor from any harm.
The sefrim gifted Amash-Akura with Ametat the Scepter and Avetat the Crown, two divine artifacts that blessed Amash-Akura with wisdom and vigor, keeping him eternally youthful and strong. Amash-Akura ordered the construction of a great building of white marble in which the sefrim could dwell.
The sefrim watched over Amash-Akura, guarding him from evil, and in this time the Empire was prosperous. For a hundred years, the Empire was free of famine, disease, disaster, or any violence. Many great works of art were created, the people were happy and rich, and none wanted for any thing.
Molok the Deceiver
Molok was a member of the Council of Apostles who, according to the Scriptures, grew jealous of Amash-Akura and hateful of the sefrim. Molok desired the youth and wisdom of the emperor for himself, believing that the emperor had no singular right to it. In an effort to attain this, he turned to forbidden arts and rituals, praising false gods and learning secrets forbidden to man.
He used his influence and charisma to corrupt many Holders, turning them against the sefrim, and eventually he and his Holders rose in rebellion. Molok reportedly utilized his dark powers to conjure floods and plagues, decimating the countryside and bringing famine and ruin to the people. The people, swayed by Molok's poisoned words, believed that the sefrim were allowing the disasters to occur and had withheld the gifts of eternal life from the people.
In time, Molok managed to conquer nearly half the Empire. Amash-Akura eventually went to the sefrim and asked for their assistance. When they refused, Amash-Akura cast the sefrim out, causing them to return to heaven. As it had when they came, the sky turned dark, further spreading fear and hatred among the populace. That night, Amash-Akura was visited by a vision of God, who chastised Amash-Akura and revoked the powers of the Ametat and Avetat.
Amash-Akura aged greatly in a single day, becoming frail and wrinkled. Despite his feebleness, Amash-Akura rallied his armies and rode out into battle himself. He utilized the Ametat in battle, where it struck down the wicked as surely as a sword, and wore the Avetat, which turned away the deadliest blows better than any armor.
The civil war raged for five years, until Molok's forces were finally routed at the Battle of Edras. Molok was placed into chains and brought before Amash-Akura, who sacrificed his enemy on the altar of God.
Death and aftermath
The next day, Amash-Akura died in his sleep, roughly in the year 16600 AD. The sky turned red, but this was interpreted as a good omen by the people. The Council of Apostles, as it had been established to do, selected a new emperor to succeed Amash-Akura. Much as Amash-Akura had once envisioned himself, this emperor was to be a first among equals of the Apostles. He would serve as a symbol and carry on the metaphysical aspect of Amash-Akura's righteousness.
The Empire underwent a long period of peace and stability. The civil war had been greatly draining on the Amarr, leaving the population decimated and the land destroyed. Rebuilding was slow but peaceful, carried out mostly on the backs of the peasantry. The Holders and church concentrated their powers, growing ever closer together, further strengthening their collective hold over the Amarr people.
Aside from founding the Empire and establishing the position of Amarr Empire, Amash-Akura is responsible for many of the laws and rituals which still hold sway in the Empire to this day. He was the first Amarr leader to enforce a census, which greatly improved record keeping. The census grew into the Book of Records, first becoming a yearly census, then eventually evolving into a real-time database of every Amarr citizen, living and dead.
He also founded the Council of Apostles, which ruled the Amarr over 5,000 years before being dissolved in the Moral Reforms of 21875 AD. The notion of a leadership council composed of the religious and secular rulers of the Empire persists with the Privy and Theology Councils, though in significantly different forms than envisioned by Amash-Akura.
Though religion was very powerful among the Amarr during his time, the church's influence in governance was limited. Amash-Akura directly tied the power of leadership to religious piety and divine right. He removed many of the boundaries between secular and religious life, paving the way for the ever-present church that would gain hold in the centuries following his death.
His most significant and lasting contribution to the Empire was the establishment of the Holder class. Though powerful warlords, such as himself, had ruled prior to his rise, few established anything like lasting dynasties. Most houses fizzled within a few generations, being overthrown by someone new. Power was egalitarian, being attainable by anyone, regardless of station of birth.
Amash-Akura codified the right of Holders in the Scriptures, establishing a nobility out of whole cloth. He gave them broad, sweeping responsibilities and rights for land ownership, governing, and taxation. This additionally culled the powers of the commoners, indenturing them to their new Holders much more firmly than they had been beholden to the warlords. Since Amash-Akura's time, the Holder class has only grown more powerful and influential, so that now it sits several rungs above the commoner on the social ladder of the Empire.
The Amarr often contend that the events of Amash-Akura's life, as laid out in the Scriptures, are literal truth. They believe he reigned for just over a century and lived nearly twice that, spoke freely with the sefrim, did not age and possessed near-infallible wisdom, and did battle with a supernaturally-powered adversary while armed with a magical scepter and crown.
Outsiders frequently express doubt about the accuracy of the Scriptures as it relates to Amash-Akura. They typically agree that someone who came to be known as Amash-Akura lived around 16470 AD, conquered Amarr Island and founded the Empire, established the Council of Apostles, and codified laws about the Holder class. All those things have been verified from primary sources independent of the Scriptures that have survived to the modern day. The other, later details of Amash-Akura's life and reign are disputed.
Some of the more common contentions are below. As with much of New Eden's early history, few concrete facts exist that can validate these theories one way or another. Bits of evidence are scattered about that can be pointed to both support and conflict the various theories.
The long reign of Amash-Akura is often brought up as impossible. Given the technological level of the Amarr at the time of Amash-Akura's reign, a lifespan of nearly 200 years was impossible. The average lifespan during that time period was roughly 30, though those living past the age of 15 typically reached their mid-50s. The Amarr believe the Ametat and Avetat kept him supernaturally young. Some contend that life-extending implants could have been utilized, typically some leftover relic from prior to the EVE Gate's collapse.
For those who believe Amash-Akura was an ordinary man who had no technological or supernatural life extension, the following theories are often advanced.
One of the most common alternate beliefs is that Amash-Akura was not the name of an individual, but rather a title, meaning “Great Leader” or “Wise King”. According to this theory, when the first emperor died, his successor took the name Amash-Akura as well. This repeated itself several times, until Molok's rebellion, when subsequent rulers went by the alternate title of emperor in an effort to appease the rebellious populace. Later writers of the Scriptures merely misinterpreted the events, creating the misconception that there was a solitary Amash-Akura.
This theory is often tied with the “Egalitarian Hero” theory of Molok, presented below.
Those who ascribe to this theory posit that when Amash-Akura died, the Council of Apostles willfully deceived the populace into believing he still lived. This was supposedly done in an effort to hold the young Empire together and prevent challenges to his successor. Under this theory, a number of individuals played the role of Amash-Akura, before the deception was exposed by Molok, who attempted to overthrow the Apostles. Supposedly, the Council maintained the ruse until Molok's defeat, then killed off the “character” of Amash-Akura in the face of wide-scale disbelief.
This theory is often tied to the “False Sefrim” theory, presented below.
The presence of the sefrim, powerful angels sent from heaven to protect Amash-Akura, is a frequent point of dispute among scholars. A popular theory among outsiders is that the sefrim were actually fabrications by the church. According to this belief, the church was faced with a spread of heresy (sometimes named as the Sani Sabik faith) and created the sefrim as a counter to this. The actual sefrim were merely priests wearing robes and masks to obscure their human features, utilizing sleight of hand and pre-collapse relics to maintain the illusion.
Occasionally, Molok is credited with exposing the fictional nature of the sefrim.
The presence of Molok in the story is often a point of contention. There almost certainly was an Amarr civil war that took place around 16600 AD, but aside from that, there is little information that survived to the present day outside of the Scriptures.
Forces of Nature
According to one view, there was no individual named Molok who ever lived. Instead, the supernatural powers ascribed to him were simply a series of natural disasters that struck the Empire. These disasters caused widespread destruction and famine, which led to major unrest among the peasantry. Faced with starvation and a distant, inattentive emperor, the populace rose up in a number of unaffiliated rebellions, which took roughly five years to crush.
Molok, in this case, is simply a creation of the emperor and church as a scapegoat for the disasters. Once the revolts had been put down and the people had recovered from the natural disasters, Molok was declared defeated.
In this theory, Molok was an actual member of the Council of Apostles, but was instead disgusted by what he saw as the abuses and corruption rampant among the Holders and church. His attempts to fight the corruption were opposed by the Apostles, leading Molok to lead the peasantry in a wide scale rebellion. Once he had rebelled, the church blamed Molok for several natural disasters and vilified him as a demon in order to break his support. After he was captured, he was executed and further castigated by the clergy, painting him as a villain and warning for future generations.
This theory is occasionally tied to the Amash-Akura Deception theory, discussed above, with Molok being the one responsible for exposing the emperors' deception. At times, this Molok is also posited with exposing the False Sefrim, in the above theory.
In this final theory, Molok is similar in personality to that ascribed by the Scriptures, being an usurper. Its adherents believe that several natural disasters befell the Empire, prompting widespread unrest, giving Molok an opportunity to turn the people against the emperor and attempt a coup. This Molok held no belief in peasant equality or other moral vision, but simply took advantage of a situation. Only after his defeat were the disasters pinned on him, in an effort to deflect blame for wartime cruelties perpetrated by the emperor.
- Timeline: Amarr: http://www.eveonline.com/races/amarr_timeline.asp
- Chronicle: Ametat and Avetat: http://www.eveonline.com/background/potw/default.asp?cid=jun01-03