Comprised of the great barbaric realms of Celesyria, Iran, Mesopotamia and Bactriana, Asia Major explodes on eastwards from Anatolia into the lands of ancient barbarian empires until the very gates of Baktria, famed for the silk which is said to be produced in distant lands further east, separated by even more leagues' worth of seldom travelled wastes and inhospitable mountain ranges. Nevertheless, Alexander's passing many decades ago however may have been a blessing in disguise: his former friends and employees, usurpers as they may be, have ensured that the barbarians of Asia will finally understand what makes a Greek far more superior than any race on earth. Of the Greeks who have made themselves lords of Asia, however, the Seleucids have seized Mesopotamia and have shown thus far to be the most powerful if not the most antagonistic, holding sway over the Pontics, Bactrians, Parthians, Bosporans and Armenians. Whether the Pergamenes of Ionia will ever bend their knee to the heirs of Seleucus however is another matter.
Special thanks goes to Aaliyah T Kheli for confirming a few small but significant details on the design notes for Gadruza.
The sheer size of Asia means that if one needs strategic resources, they need go no further than the reaches of Asia Major. The barren landscape means that spices and wool frequently feature in Asia Major, alongside more exotic wares such as glassware, cotton, diamonds and incense which all can benefit your civilisation greatly. Asia Major is also fairly large and versatile, covering an area from the mountains of Arianna all the way to the shores of Africa, but a near-lack of borders and a large number of neighbours means that expansion in Asia may prove difficult, especially for factions such as the Seleucids who are often surrounded by many factions they need to slay. In this case, diplomacy is very much necessary. If any factions have the best starts, however, it would be the Sabaeans, Baktrians and Parthians since they are somewhat isolated from the potential hotspots for conflict, such as the Levantine coast where the Hellenic kingdoms tend to congregate.
Strategic resources Edit
Dominated by craggy mountains and sandy valleys, Drangiana consists of the more barren southeastern half of the Iranian world, tucked away between Iran and India and fronting the Gulf of Hormuz.
- Corresponds to: Afghanistan
This mountainous territory is dominated by a single river which makes life seem to appear like a mirage in this otherwise barren land. This is also the source of some of the finest gems to be found in all the world.
- Alternate names: Gedrosia
- Corresponds to: Sindh
Water and vegetation are so scarce in this arid and mountainous coastal region that Greek visitors have named those brave, unlucky or mad enough to live and die here the "fish-eaters" after the main component of their diet. Despite this desert land's deadly reputation, its inhabitants live in mountain valleys where precipitation is greatest, but the city of Pura therein allows access to the riches of India. For this reason, the littorial territory of Mazun is accessible from Gadruza, giving whomsoever controlling this territory the ability to enter the former while bypassing the overland route westwards through Karmania.
- Alternate names: Gedrosia
- Corresponds to: Elburz (south)
Despite this desert land's harsh reputation, the coastline is heavily wooded, making it an excellent source of both pastoral products from the sandy north and precious timber from the southern coastal forests.
In contrast to arid and isolated Drangiana, Arianna is known as the main terminus of trade for silk, a commodity of increasing demand in the world. Slaves and luxuries from Greece and beyond arrive here to be exchanged for the goods of distant lands. Thus for this reason, Bactriana produces the greatest amount of tribute to anyone capable of uniting all its territories under a single sceptre.
- Alternate names: Bactria
- Corresponds to: Afghanistan
This rocky and harsh land has come alive with trade following the establishment of the Diadochi, and is one of the many kingdoms in Greek Asia ruled by the great Seleucid empire.
- Alternate names: Sogdiana
- Corresponds to: Turkestan
The true wealth of Baktra is not found in its foothills, but rather in this neighbouring territory, famed for its shining yet ill-fated daughter Rukhanna who married Alexander the Great. Sugh however is not just known for its place in the annals in Seleucia: if Baktra is the office, then Sugh is the warehouse of its monarchs, and is where the silk-bearing caravans of distant lands arrive with their precious cargoes.
- Alternate names: Chorasmia
- Corresponds to: Khwarezmia
This desolate land forms part of the Silk Road ranging from Bactria into the Mediterranean, and is the last frontier of the Bactrian lands before arriving in Iran.
Once the umbillicus of the mighty Achaemenid Empire, Iran is now a former shadow of itself, subservient to its Greek masters who have ensconced themselves in their palaces in Mesopotamia.
- Corresponds to: Elburz (w)
The beauty and fecundity of this land is likened to heaven on earth, but is poor due to it being mountainous and heavily wooded. As such, it is a source of high-quality honey as well as men to swell armies by recruiting those tired of being goatherds.
- Corresponds to: Elburz (e)
This is the capital of the Parthian satrapy, subservient to the Seleucids.
- Alternate names: Persis
- Corresponds to: Fars
Although the Achaemenids are long since gone, the vestiges of their achievements still remain in sufficient number and grandeur to amaze the unwashed and uncultured.
- Owned by: Seleucids (entire region)
The resilience of Mesopotamia is the secret to why the Seleucids have not just survived for so long but also managed to even corral the other powers of Asia into their fold. Babylon, the oldest survivng city in this land thus far remains a vital hub of the trade which stretches from Asia to Iberia. For this reason, Alexander the Great planned to make this the eastern capital of his new empire (and some say chose to even depart for his forefathers' here). Even so, Babylon's age is catching up with it and Alexander's Seleucid successors have moved their capital further north to a new city named Seleucia.
- Alternate names: Assyria, Nineveh, Athura, Mesopotamia Sup (Bor)
Formerly known as Assyria or Athura, a new line of emperors - the Seleucids - have taken over this ancient land, renovated its cities and named it after their esteemed progenitor the strategos Seleucus I Nicator. Trade routes from Mesopotamia and Iran must pass through Seleucia, making it thus the envy and object of hatred from the other Greek powers. Rumour has it that the Seleucids - now seen as a more elevated caste of robbers and thieves - moved their capital here so as to consort with the dreaded pirates of Cilicia, a stone's throw away to the west!
- Alternate names: Seleucia, Tigris, Mesopotamia, Mesopotamia Inf (Aust)
- Corresponds to: Iraq
Although Babylon is long forgotten and is little more than a crumbling monastery for the worship of forgotten gods whose time has long passed, their priests still share many great secrets in the arts of administration. Merchants also sail up into the Persian Gulf to Mesopotamia, bringing spices from India which are freely sold here.
- Corresponds to: Kordestan (east)
Haunted mountains infested with the scum and villainy of Ahriman. But even devils can be called upon to perform divine feats for gods and godly kings!
- Corresponds to: Zagros
- Owned by: Egypt (Judaea), and Selecids (other territories)
Despite its strange name - in Aramaean, "All of Syria" - Celesyria has very little if anything to do with the real "Syria" - that is Assyria, now Hellenicised as Seleucia. It is better left said that Celesyria is best described as the maritime home of the Semitic tribes and kingdoms of old, from which the kingdoms of Cyprus and Judaea are descended from.
- Alternate names: Phoenicia, Syria Magna, Damascus
- Corresponds to: Syria
The land erroneously called Syria was once called Phoenicia, and consists of the Phoenician coast as well as the Syrian desert to the southeast. Although the Phoenicians have been reduced in power and prominence by the Greeks, business still goes on in its cities, with goods cleared from Africa and Sabaea passing through the desert to the coastline.
- Alternate names: Palestine, Jerusalem
- Corresponds to: Jerusalem
This sandy and arid land is dominated by a long strip of coastal plain in the north, and arid mountains further south where it meets the land of the Nabataeans. The fact that Judaea has long been the frontier line of kingdoms past and present however has stoked an undying hatred and contempt of foreigners in its people's hearts.
- Alternate names: Alaxia
- Corresponds to: Cyprus!
Formerly divided into four Phoenician city-states, this island defected to the Macedonians during Alexander's march to the east, preserving its customs and old ways of life and continues to do so. Aside from being a vital emporion for copper, Cyprus also is located on a strategic juncture between Judaea, Krete and Cilicia.
Arabia Magna covers the hot and arid wastes which are settled by a group of nomads who appear to have adapted a similar degree in culture and speech. It is dominated by the massive sandy waste known as "Arabia Magna", with all human settlement limited to the northern, southern and eastern peripheries.
Although like all nomads the "Arabians" of this land often derive their living from hunting, herding and raiding, the sandy dunes are also host to some of the richest cities on earth, thanks to the trade between Africa, the Mediterranean and India.
- Alternate names: Madiam
- Corresponds to: Hejaz (n)
Although they are related to the Sabaeans and the desert-dwelling hunter-gatherers of Arabia Magna, the Nabataeans have developed a sedentary lifestyle, fuelled by the exacting of tolls along the Red Sea coast trade route. Thanks to the security provided by them, Nabataean influence has penetrated far enough to bring the date-producing oaeses of the south under their rule.
One of the harshest environments ever known to man, this arid and sun-blasted desert land is home to desert nomad tribes ... as well as their flocks of sheep and goats. The Arabian Desert is not to be disdained, however — its location on the Erythrean Sea's east flank allows inroads into neighbouring Meroë.
Dominated by the Arab city-state of Gerrha, Hagar represents one of the major terminuses of trade in the Arabian peninsula, and forms a vital link in international commerce, leading east into Iran and further north to Mesopotamia.
- Corresponds to: Hejaz (s)
The Hejaz Highlands include the Hejaz mountains which run parallel along the Red Sea coast, as well as the many wadis which stretch across the northern part of Magna Arabia. Despite searing heat and sandstorms, the mountains function as a precipitative barrier, drawing rainwater from the clouds to form oases and aquifers in the deserts below.
Most notably, the southernmost land of Saba, called "Happy Arabia" by Romans, is known as a producer of one of the finest goods known in the world — incense. Unlike Arabia Magna, Arabia Felix is relatively fertile, with winds from the Ethiopian Sea bringing in drenching monsoons which create forested hill valleys wherever they accumulate against the mountains of this coastal region
Mazun's strategic location on the Gulf of Hormuz means that it is a vital staging post for those who wish to travel to India from the Middle East. The mountains of Mazun also hide viable deposits of ore, so it is by no means a poor region. Mazun is part of the maritime route which covers Fars, Karmania and Gadruza.
- Corresponds to: Yemen
These foothills in the far south of the Arabian peninsula consist of harsh desert mountains which conceal lush and green valleys.
- Alternate name: Arabia Felix
- Corresponds to: Yemen
This land is the source of all incense which the civilised world uses to commune with the gods and to send their departed loves ones to the same. Although the Sabaeans do trade in other commodities, this is the one good on which their prosperity and fame rests, based on the trade routes which stretch along the Eastern African coastline, hailing at Damiot.
Like the rest of the Arabian peninsula, Sabaea is protected by its isolation but hindered by the lack of supply centres throughout the region. However, life is a little rosier compared to Sabaea's Nabataean cousins.
Sabaea's relative isolation from most other factions means that the Sabaeans have a lot of room to expand, particularly across Africa if need be so. The Ptolemaïc Egyptians may be embroiled in squabbles with the Nabataeans and Seleucids to the north where their Asian holdings are located, so it is possible that the Sabaean may send expeditions into Africa if need be, where there are plenty of resources to exploit such as slaves and gold.