Campaign of the Month: June 2012
Aegyptus is a dioecesis with a very special and different status. The Phthians view the Aegyptians with an almost mystical appreciation. They see them as progenitors of a great deal of the perception that Phthyans have of the universe. Even though the Ionians are much more easily identified with the roots of Phthyan culture, it is acknowledged that the highly influential Cult of Isis originated in Aegyptus. In addition to this cultural appreciation, a vast amount of grain that helps feed the Empire comes from the Nyle River basin. Other very profitable trade goods come from the Afrikan dioecesis like linen, dates, olives, and cotton.
The capital of Aegyptus Inferior, or Lower Aegyptus is Alexandretta; with its seaport and location on the Aethyan Sea it is ideal for trade and growth. Thebus, the former capital of Aegyptus Median, or Middle Aegyptus, remains a cultural and spiritual center for many native Aegyptians allowing for an effective central administration of the surrounding lands and peoples. Although Thebus is officially governed and occupied by Sethoon, and the Empire has been pushed back across the River Nyle, it remains a powerful influence over the Imperial occupied lands west of the Nyle. The Empire asserts its control over Middle Aegyptus from the City of Anteopolis. Upper Aegyptus, also known as Aegyptus Superior, is firmly ruled by the Pthtyan presence in the City of Nekhen, built over the vast burial catacombs of its sister city on the other side of the Nyle River, Nexheb.
Aegyptus itself is considered well settled and does not pose a threat to the security of the Empire. It has embraced the Empire as the Empire has embraced Aegyptus, with understanding and a strong commitment to one another. The advances that flow from the temples and universities of this dioecesis rival those of Phthya, Cthylaea or the most learned magi of the Jade Empire. Aegyptus is a place people find mysterious and ancient despite the age of the Empire.
As ever, there are power struggles between the Empire and Sethoon over the lands east of the Nyle River. The river forms an effective barrier preventing either faction to gain a foothold on the opposite banks of the life-spring of Aegyptus. For the last century or so, Sethoon has settled for occupation of the Eastern regions, and has not sent any naval sorties across the Nyle. Imperial assaults, no matter the size, have proven ineffectual against the strong magic of the Sethi Priests and sorcerous Hekai.
There has been an interesting social development in Aegyptus. Thirty years ago, the Oracle of Amon-Re at Siwan (a Sethoon ocupied city) declared that a wealthy patrician of Aegyptian ancestry was, through lineage, the rightful pharaoh of Aegyptus. This proclaimed pharaoh was quickly ratified and adopted by the ruling Pharaoh of Sethoon, who held great faith in the infamous Oracle. This proclamation concerned the Phthyans, but the Prefect Licius Epis, Voluciusí, the current ruler’s grandfather, thought it best to allow this concession to the Aegyptian people. Many believe it was a bad idea to allow the Aegyptians such a powerful figurehead back again, and that it would merely rouse rebels to the cause of an independent Aegyptus. Curiously, it has had the opposite effect, pushing the Aegyptians and the Pharaoh Ptolemy XVI to supporting the Phthyans and even extending influence out into neighboring countries. For thirty years it has kept peace and strengthened the dioecesis.
In the south, near Nekhen other rumors have sprung up. These seem to have popular support and many of the priests of the old gods find themselves vindicated. The people are claiming to have seen Isis, Osiris and other gods moving amongst the people. The Phthyan authorities have yet to confirm this rumor and discount it as superstitions of the rural farmers. There are members of the more radical cults that believe this to be the beginning of a new era. A time of independence is believed to be coming for Aegyptus and combined with the prophecy of the Oracle at Siwan, some Phthyans fear it could be so.