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The Three Empires

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So just a quick question I wanted to clarify. In the Arcanum Unbounded Entry for Sel, Khriss references "multiple empires".

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It is a wilful kind of ignorance, with each of the three great domains pretending that the others are mere blips on the map, barely worth notice.

My question is, what are the three empires?

One is Fjordell and another is the Rose Empire, but what is the third?

The only other options are either Elantris/Aonic kingdoms (Arelon, Teod, Duladel), which doesn't seem to fit with the comparitive size/relationship of the other two, or JinDo which is technically a part of the Fjordell Empire.

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I don't believe anything is known about the third empire. It's possible that it exists on another continent.

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It is not something that we have any information about. 

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Weltall [PENDING REVIEW]

Is there anything you'd be willing to tell us about the third empire Khriss mentioned in Arcanum Unbounded?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Umm, yeah, I have not decided on some canon answers for that yet, I've debated back and forth on what I'm going to do with it so I just won't tell you yet.

source

 

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I think it's set on another continent or atleast south of the great desert of Opelon. It might be faux meso-american , faux west African or faux Indian. I hope it's faux Indian. India gets represented very little even tho it has as much historical impact as China or Rome . I really wish Mr. Sanderson would rectify that .

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9 hours ago, PrinceGenocide said:

I really wish Mr. Sanderson would rectify that .

He has represent way more obscure cultures and we still don't know all of the shardworlds.  I think we will be fine.

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15 hours ago, PrinceGenocide said:

I think it's set on another continent or atleast south of the great desert of Opelon. It might be faux meso-american , faux west African or faux Indian. I hope it's faux Indian. India gets represented very little even tho it has as much historical impact as China or Rome . I really wish Mr. Sanderson would rectify that .

Did you read the post right before yours prior to resurrecting this topic (which might have been citing a WoB obtained by yours truly *cough*)? As of two years ago, Brandon himself didn't have the third empire nailed down and I doubt much has changed since then given how busy he's been on other projects.

One thing that I think is a pretty safe guess however is that it's not going to have any overt Mesoamerican influence because that's literally what he's got planned out for The Aztlanian, whenever he writes it.

Edited by Weltall
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Is this still a necro if it's already been resurrected and a new discussion started? I'm wondering. Because this new WOB adds a lot to this discussion:

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Nimrod Rappaport

In Arcanum Unbounded you mentioned that Sel is one of the biggest planets. You also mentioned that there are three empires on that planet. In Elantris 2 two will we get... You also mentioned that they are largely ignorant of each other, will we get a book in which those empires interact? Maybe in Elantris 2

Also, can you please specify on their nature and maybe some inspirations you got when writing and thinking about them?

Brandon Sanderson

So, sure. Sel wears its inspirations quite blatantly on its sleeve, right? It's not that obvious for instance in Stormlight that the Alethi are based off of Mongolians, because there's so much more in the mix there, that it's not quite as obvious. But in Sel, it's a little more obvious. You know, basically the idea came to me that what if the vikings had united behind a very hierarchical religion like Catholicism, and we had Catholic vikings, conquering the world. What would the world look like and that is where the entire religion came from.

Actually the truth is it's like, there was this priest, right, and one group became Buddhist and the other became Catholic vikings and, you know, Buddhist Renaissance... Italians is kind of where we got there and of course, the Rose Empire the inspirations are a little bit more Eastern and Middle Eastern. For instance, the Grands are based on Babylonian influences and I'm kind of looking at a lot of Babylonian, a little bit of Syrian. But of course Shai is very very clearly based on East Asian cultures and specifically China.

So, the empires and things like that... for there you might have noticed that we've got a Europe centered one, and an Asia/Eastern centered one, so you might be able to theorize where the third empire's inspirations might be or at least a list of possible candidates.

ICon 2019 (Oct. 17, 2019)

This makes it seem like he has planned it as: Sycla = European inspirations / Rose Empire continent = Asian inspirations / third continent = something different, and outside of Europe and Asia.

That doesn't leave much. I'm not an expert on historical empires, so I might miss an important one outside of Asia and Europe, but from what I know, I'd guess that Mesoamerican is indeed the most probable. And concerning that matter ...

On 20.9.2019 at 5:17 AM, Weltall said:

One thing that I think is a pretty safe guess however is that it's not going to have any overt Mesoamerican influence because that's literally what he's got planned out for The Aztlanian, whenever he writes it.

I don't think that him using it as an inspiration for The Aztlanian necessarily makes it unlikely. He has used other influences several times (and there's nothing wrong with that), like Scadrial having Eurpean inspirations just like Sycla, and Roshar having a lot of Eastern ones just like Sel's "second" continent, so that doesn't seem to rule it out.

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@Elegy People always seem to forget Africa. Africa has a long history of civilisations and empires.

This doesn't rule out the possibility of combining empire ideas as well, such as a Middle-Eastern, African, and American hybrid.

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1 hour ago, Ixthos said:

@Elegy People always seem to forget Africa. Africa has a long history of civilisations and empires.

That's true! This also made me realize something. Hieroglyphs in the style of ancient Egypt would work fabulously well with the Dor magic system. Maybe that one's much more likely. Man, how did I glance over that earlier?

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18 minutes ago, Elegy said:

That's true! This also made me realize something. Hieroglyphs in the style of ancient Egypt would work fabulously well with the Dor magic system. Maybe that one's much more likely. Man, how did I glance over that earlier?

 

1 hour ago, Ixthos said:

@Elegy People always seem to forget Africa. Africa has a long history of civilisations and empires.

This doesn't rule out the possibility of combining empire ideas as well, such as a Middle-Eastern, African, and American hybrid.

Either could be very interesting! There's Egypt, Nubia, Mali (don't forget old Timbuktu), and the Aztecs, Mayans, Incans, and so many more with their own beliefs in magic that I would love to see with a Realmatic twist! All of these cultures use pictographic writings too! 

Ancient Egypt's (Ren) true name and (Sheut) shadow, and shabti and why they always portrayed people sideways..., in particular could be very interesting. Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations had ritualistic sacrifices (for strengthening the sun) and absolutely terrifying gods! (the sun bleeding cheetahs! also a giant feathery boa!) Count me in! There's so much that could be had!

We can have sacrifice system magic, (like Dakhor or Hemalurgy or even Nahel Bonds and Threnody), where Cognitive Shadows are stapled together or use of spoken language in Selish magic and so much more! 

Edited by Honorless
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It could also be some kind of Indonesian Monsoon Marketplace.

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2 hours ago, Karger said:

It could also be some kind of Indonesian Monsoon Marketplace.

That would be cool, but the way he phrases it in the WOB's last paragraph heavily implies that it won't be based on anything Asian since that one's already taken.

Anyway, it's really cool that the continents of a fantasy world with geography as a main theme would draw inspirations from real world continents. Seems so fitting!

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On 11/1/2019 at 2:02 PM, Elegy said:

That would be cool, but the way he phrases it in the WOB's last paragraph heavily implies that it won't be based on anything Asian since that one's already taken.

Indonesia is more Oceania in my book anyway.  Also the culture their is very different from the middle east or china.

Edited by Karger
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The thing to remember is that there are three big empires, and lots and lots of smaller ones that - if Elantris and the Emperor's Soul are any indication - are slowly being absorbed into them. There is still lots of room for small or medium sized kingdoms and city states, especially considering Sel is so massive. Any type of civilisation could be present as a smaller group, and hopefully they still exist in later stories as well.

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On 11/1/2019 at 10:18 PM, Karger said:

It could also be some kind of Indonesian Monsoon Marketplace.

I really like this idea though as pointed out by @Elegy it's not very likely. Indonesia as a whole has a lot of both Oceanian and Indian influence while also having a lot of indigenous cultures that can differentiate it from the Eelakin of FoTS. I wonder what kind of state you are imagining. Personally, I think a Majapahit style vassal-liege archipelagic empire that is both agrarian and maritime could be very interesting and maybe with more emphasis on eastern Indonesian cultures, like Bugis or Banda, instead of the Indian-style devaraja kingdoms of western Indonesia. Perhaps both the coastline and rivers could be the geographic aspect to access the Dor in this empire. 

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7 hours ago, Hessi's Ward said:

I really like this idea though as pointed out by @Elegy it's not very likely. Indonesia as a whole has a lot of both Oceanian and Indian influence while also having a lot of indigenous cultures that can differentiate it from the Eelakin of FoTS. I wonder what kind of state you are imagining. Personally, I think a Majapahit style vassal-liege archipelagic empire that is both agrarian and maritime could be very interesting and maybe with more emphasis on eastern Indonesian cultures, like Bugis or Banda, instead of the Indian-style devaraja kingdoms of western Indonesia. Perhaps both the coastline and rivers could be the geographic aspect to access the Dor in this empire. 

My history of that region is spotty at best(it is not really covered in US world history courses and I have yet to cover that region extensively in my own reading) however I personally was hopping for some kind of large mercantile society featuring lots of overlapping political boundaries governed by well understood weather patterns(like the Monsoons) that allowed safe travel between several different larger empires like Indonesia had during the hellenistic period.

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I feel like the third Empire would probably have some similarities to African Nations, as the way that African nations/kingdoms were once structured (before the whole "why are there white people dividing up our land" thing) were very culturally distinct and localized. Though there were regional similarities among cultures and nations, each local group had their own beliefs that were shaped by where they were. This localization of culture would be perfect for Sel, as Investiture on the planet is localized and dependent on the nearby environment. Egypt would be a good contender as has been noted by others in this thread, and it makes sense, considering that the Egyptians were pretty much self-sufficient because of the Nile river giving their agricultural capacities a huge boost, which would explain why the third empire could generally ignore the others, as they didn't really need anything vital from anyone else.

I don't see the new empire being based on real life cultures that were tied to the seas more than the land, such as the Polynesians. (Yes, I know that the Vikings are known for their seafaring nature, but they were also known for settling large swathes of land and they were formidable overland warriors as well.) Sel's magic is tied to how the geography and location shows up in the Cognitive Realm, and geo-policial boundaries would be more difficult to define in bodies of water than on land.

Furthermore, a water based society/empire on Sel would likely not be able to access the Dor properly, making for a pretty uninteresting story. The Purelake on Roshar is stated to manifest in the Cognitive as a mountain range, and it might not be too far off to believe that a similar water-based society on Sel wouldn't show up the same way. The Dor is stated to be like a massive storm of plasma-Investiture stuff, so a giant mountain range would probably make it very difficult for the Dor to actually remain in the area, like how the Highstorms are deadened upon reaching the Misted Mountains, which protects Shinovar. 

There are probably a lot of holes in this idea, and I'd be happy to hear your thoughts. :)

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16 hours ago, Karger said:

My history of that region is spotty at best(it is not really covered in US world history courses and I have yet to cover that region extensively in my own reading) however I personally was hopping for some kind of large mercantile society featuring lots of overlapping political boundaries governed by well understood weather patterns(like the Monsoons) that allowed safe travel between several different larger empires like Indonesia had during the hellenistic period.

Something like medieval Sriwijaya perhaps? I was considering Majapahit because it doesn't depend as heavily on trade as Sriwijaya. Also, the thing about overlapping political boundaries could work really well with the mandala system and its thing about spheres of influence rather than borders.

15 hours ago, SirWolfe said:

I feel like the third Empire would probably have some similarities to African Nations, as the way that African nations/kingdoms were once structured (before the whole "why are there white people dividing up our land" thing) were very culturally distinct and localized. Though there were regional similarities among cultures and nations, each local group had their own beliefs that were shaped by where they were. This localization of culture would be perfect for Sel, as Investiture on the planet is localized and dependent on the nearby environment. Egypt would be a good contender as has been noted by others in this thread, and it makes sense, considering that the Egyptians were pretty much self-sufficient because of the Nile river giving their agricultural capacities a huge boost, which would explain why the third empire could generally ignore the others, as they didn't really need anything vital from anyone else.

I don't see the new empire being based on real life cultures that were tied to the seas more than the land, such as the Polynesians. (Yes, I know that the Vikings are known for their seafaring nature, but they were also known for settling large swathes of land and they were formidable overland warriors as well.) Sel's magic is tied to how the geography and location shows up in the Cognitive Realm, and geo-policial boundaries would be more difficult to define in bodies of water than on land.

Furthermore, a water based society/empire on Sel would likely not be able to access the Dor properly, making for a pretty uninteresting story. The Purelake on Roshar is stated to manifest in the Cognitive as a mountain range, and it might not be too far off to believe that a similar water-based society on Sel wouldn't show up the same way. The Dor is stated to be like a massive storm of plasma-Investiture stuff, so a giant mountain range would probably make it very difficult for the Dor to actually remain in the area, like how the Highstorms are deadened upon reaching the Misted Mountains, which protects Shinovar. 

There are probably a lot of holes in this idea, and I'd be happy to hear your thoughts. :)

I would love to see an Africa-inspired culture in the Cosmere and Egypt is really interesting as a society.

If the third empire is an Indonesia analog, maybe the volcanoes can be utilized as Investiture traps? It's pretty jiffy but maybe the depth of its analog in the Cognitive Realm can collect Investiture that runs off of the sea's analog and be as spiritually humid as spren birthplaces so the Investiture can be utilized by the folks living around it? I'm thinking of a radial flow of Investiture that can be the base for spheres of influence. A particularly volcanic island would become better at using the local Invested Art and produce enough food to have enough manpower to become an empire.

Then there's the whole problem of the land constantly changing because of the volcanoes, can the analog of a mountain be used as Investiture trap, and how many Invested Arts can arise when a place has a lot of distinct cultures (I personally think the Selish magic systems are more tied to cultural boundaries than political ones).

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Posted (edited)

17 hours ago, Hessi's Ward said:

Something like medieval Sriwijaya perhaps? I was considering Majapahit because it doesn't depend as heavily on trade as Sriwijaya. Also, the thing about overlapping political boundaries could work really well with the mandala system and its thing about spheres of influence rather than borders.

You would know better then me but that is definitely the kind of thing I am looking for.  If you happen to know any good histories of that era I would be interested.  I was thinking that their symbology would be based on navigational things like cloud and planetary movements.

Edited by Karger
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Well Europe, Asia and Africa touch so Geographically they would work, but mesoamerican cultures tend to get more spotlight. So either or, but that does leave Australia being ignored.

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