Classical Period

The middle period of the three discussed in this encyclopædia, typified by the year 4800 AED.

Rice has replaced sorghum as the staple food. Food is cheap and plentiful, the population is burgeoning. More land is being brought into cultivation by the terracing of hillsides for paddy fields and the clearing of forest. Labour is cheap, vast works can be undertaken. Manufactures are available in unheard-of quantity and quality, and advances in mechanics and hydraulics are making new luxuries available every year. Life grows ever more comfortable and secure.

Art and architecture are at the zenith of their beauty and elegance. Sculpture and building in stone have achieved perfect proportion. Painting, mural and on pottery and papyrus, is vigorous and lifelike. Literature and drama are developing new forms: prose fiction (the novel), comedy, satire, and tragedy. Philosophy is plumbing the depths of metaphysics and ethics, science, of geometry and optics.

Gehennum is united: a single state, most powerful in the world. The royal house of Thekla presides over a centralised, bureaucratic empire. The petty monarchs of the Archaic Period are reduced to a nobility, the squabbling, warlike poleis, to chartered cities. Castles have been converted to country villas. Suburbs have sprawled beyond the protective city walls. But political intrigue threatens the new order. One Civil War has been fought over the succession to the throne, and the winner has delivered weak government and political paralysis. The nobles are manœuvring for support in the army and the militia, and are re-fortifying their villa-castles.

The Classical Period is an age for courtiers, for heroes who can fence in the darkness of court intrigue with weapons more subtle than swords, but who can hold their own with swords as well.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.