Why Arathor Is Not Rome

90 Human Warlock
11665
As of late I've noticed quite a few folk deigning to compare the Arathorian Empire of old to the Roman Empire, and some going so far as to out-and-out create their own personal lore (read: fanon) heavily based on this presumption. There is nothing inherently wrong with this and everyone is free and welcome to be influenced by whatever they choose and apply it how they will.

The problem becomes when people try and actually justify this view instead of simply saying, "Arathor is Rome because I think it'd be cool."

Allow me to begin this discussion by repeating a maxim that was oft-repeated to me in school: historians distrust large-scale models. "What, Eldanesh, does this mean?" you might ask? It means that nothing is ever as simple as it seems and the vastness of history is far too vast and far too complex for any simple comparison or analogy to be more than hyperbole. Modern examples of this are those fine folk who spout off how "America is the modern Rome and it's destined to fall!" America is not the Modern Rome. Modern America is so far removed from Classical Rome in both circumstance and fact that a close examination of this comparison is swift to reveal how hollow it really is.

Now, on to the actual subject. Arathor has exactly one similarity with Rome: they were both powerful empires in their heyday.

The similarities end there. Full stop.

One might, were they so inclined to entertain themselves with a futile argument, protest that "But Eldanesh! They were both powerful empires that fell and fragmented!"

Yeah, okay. Sure. Let's examine the 'fall of Arathor' as it was. For one, there's precious little information as to the exact circumstances of the breakup of the Arathorian Empire. To begin, from the in-game book The Seven Kingdoms:

Strom continued to act as the central hub of Arathor, but as with Dalaran, many new city-states arose across the continent of Lordaeron. Gilneas, Alterac, and Kul Tiras were the first city-states to arise, and although they each had their own customs and commercial workings, they all held to the unifying authority of Strom.


The key-word here is new city-states arose. Not "provinces" or "clients" or "subject kingdoms" but city-states. This implies sovereignty. Moreover, it establishes the 'successor kingdoms' of Arathor as extant before the dissolution of the state itself. None of the medieval and ancient states to 'follow' Rome, if one accepts the doctrine of translatio imperii or even the contiguity of law, were wholly extant at the time of Rome's heyday. They instead coalesced when Rome was already in decline.

Let's continue.

In time, the lords of Strom sought to move their estates to the lush northlands of Lordaeron and leave the arid lands of the south. The heirs of King Thoradin, the last descendants of the Arathi bloodline, argued that Strom should not be abandoned and thus incurred the displeasure of the greater citizenry, who were likewise eager to leave. The lords of Strom, seeking to find purity and enlightenment in the untamed north, decided to leave their ancient city behind. Far to the north of Dalaran, the lords of Strom built a new city-state which they named Lordaeron. The entire continent would take its name from this city-state. Lordaeron became a mecca for religious travelers and all those who sought inner peace and security.


Arathor did not decline or tremble or fragment for any of the numerous reasons it can be argued ancient Rome did. It fragmented because the lords of Strom, in the words of yonder book, "sought to move their estates to the lush northlands of Lordaeron". We're talking purely economic reasons here. 'The land here is bad. Let's go find good land to the north!' A maneuver like this is actually more consistent with migration than it is with societal breakdown and decay of order. We should note here that the 'greater citizenry' were 'likewise eager to leave.'

Moving on.

The descendents of the Arathi, left within the crumbling walls of ancient Strom, decided to travel south past the rocky mountains of Khaz Modan. Their journey finally ended after many long seasons, and they settled in the northern region of the continent they would name Azeroth. In a fertile valley they founded the kingdom of Stormwind, which quickly became a self-sufficient power in its own right.

The few warriors still left in Strom decided to remain and guard the ancient walls of their city. Strom was no longer the center of the empire, but it developed into a new nation known as Stromgarde. Though each of the city-states became prosperous in its own right, the empire of Arathor had effectively disintegrated.
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90 Human Warlock
11665
Here we see the final breakup of the Arathi Empire, a 'breakup' which is the result of the bulk of the populace migrating elsewhere, the dejected migrating elsewhere, and the obdurate staying in place. There is nothing here to suggest Arathor went through a functional equivalent of the Crisis of the Third Century which weakened the empire beyond all previous strata of recovery, as Rome did.

Arathor did not fall. Fall implies a cataclysmic event or the action of otherwise outside forces. Nor did Arathor really fragment, for the majority of the Seven Kingdoms were already extant. Arathor simply ceased to be. It effectively became Lordaeron. A few objectors to this transition went on to found Stormwind.

But I now begin to ramble. This thread is not intended to tell people they are "doing it wrong." I am an historian and it is my job to educate when I see poor comparison and false assumptions. It's okay to think of Arathor as Rome because it's cool or because you want to RP it. It's not okay to think of Arathor as Rome because you think it's actually true.

Quod erat demonstratum.
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90 Worgen Druid
10460
Nicely done, I enjoyed reading it.

I was (mostly) joking in that other thread.
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I wholeheartedly agree. I've had people try and attack my heavily Scandinavian-influenced Arathor on the grounds that it conflicts with the 'proven' idea of Arathor as Rome.
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90 Human Warlock
11665
If anyone would like to present a 'similarity' that I've missed I'll happily discuss it with them, by the by.
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90 Human Paladin
1340
I wholeheartedly agree. I've had people try and attack my heavily Scandinavian-influenced Arathor on the grounds that it conflicts with the 'proven' idea of Arathor as Rome.


I hold that both are ridiculous.

However, the real issue is not that people base kingdoms on these things. Hell, someone could say Arathor is actually Japanese for all I care. The issue is when they begin to force this onto other players through laws they imagine everyone must abide by, or with something like the MG wiki where Rome is deliberately copied to a point of absurdia. The Arathorian Republic? Eh.

That is my issue with the Skyrim or the Caesar thing. Stop forcing them onto other people. Don't make lore for kingdoms because you don't really have the ability to do that. The most you should do is interface in a way that deals primarily with your character.
Edited by Kauthryn on 4/2/2013 6:44 PM PDT
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
12855
I agree with it not being roman.
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90 Worgen Druid
10460
I do have a question. What style and time period would you say the Arathorian houses are typical of? Including the city and all that.
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90 Human Priest
12070
*APPLAUSE*
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90 Human Hunter
11510
I wholeheartedly agree. I've had people try and attack my heavily Scandinavian-influenced Arathor on the grounds that it conflicts with the 'proven' idea of Arathor as Rome.


There are no influences that would attribute Arathor to match any known culture other than 'Medieval European'. Please stop trying to make it as such.
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There are no influences that would attribute Arathor to match any known culture other than 'Medieval European'. Please stop trying to make it as such.


I'm sorry. You seem offended that I take liberally from early medieval europe for my roleplay.
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90 Human Warlock
11665
I do have a question. What style and time period would you say the Arathorian houses are typical of? Including the city and all that.


Architecturally?

16-17th century Europe.

I honestly can't say more than that.
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90 Human Priest
12070
I do have a question. What style and time period would you say the Arathorian houses are typical of? Including the city and all that.


Stop trying to make Arathor happen, Ferenold! It's not going to happen!
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90 Human Paladin
1340
I do have a question. What style and time period would you say the Arathorian houses are typical of? Including the city and all that.


Honestly, there's like no evidence.

Lordaeron you could say medieval England if you wanted to. Not that it is, but that it took influence from it. Gilneas, Regency period.
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90 Human Hunter
11510
04/02/2013 06:48 PMPosted by Everen
There are no influences that would attribute Arathor to match any known culture other than 'Medieval European'. Please stop trying to make it as such.


I'm sorry. You seem offended that I take liberally from early medieval europe for my roleplay.


I'm offended when you among others push a self subscribed fanon upon other.
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90 Worgen Druid
10460
04/02/2013 06:48 PMPosted by Aluciya
I do have a question. What style and time period would you say the Arathorian houses are typical of? Including the city and all that.


Stop trying to make Arathor happen, Ferenold! It's not going to happen!


Gee, I'm just curious! I don't know much about architectural history...

04/02/2013 06:48 PMPosted by Asuryån
I do have a question. What style and time period would you say the Arathorian houses are typical of? Including the city and all that.


Architecturally?

16-17th century Europe.

I honestly can't say more than that.


Ah, got it. Thanks!

I read somewhere that a lot of the (human) buildings in Azeroth were Tudor or Gothic style.
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I'm offended when you among others push a self subscribed fanon upon other.


I apologize. Evidently I should not have the KoA's fanon apply at KoA events.
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90 Worgen Druid
10460
I still haven't seen any evidence for Everen (Or anyone else, really) pushing their fanon upon other people.
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90 Human Warlock
11665
Ah, got it. Thanks!

I read somewhere that a lot of the (human) buildings in Azeroth were Tudor or Gothic style.


Not particularly.

Honestly, I shouldn't even have dared venture a specific time period (broad as it was) because the architecture in WoW is cartoonish and not really beholden to anything. The fortifications evident in Stromgarde's walls seem more 13-14th century (high walls, lacking radical angles, etc etc) whilst the houses themselves exhibit later construction in terms of material unison.

Basically, it's "medieval". Trying to say "15th century Welsh architecture" or something like that would just be wrong.
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90 Human Paladin
1340
I apologize. Evidently I should not have the KoA's fanon apply at KoA events.


Do you believe all RP involving Arathor is a KoA event? Because as I've seen, your "laws" are often thrown at other people.
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