05 · Politics and Power in the Mûmakan
Politics and Power in the Mûmakan in the 17th century of the Third Age
No official of course, but the Court (since Ardinaak is the location of the Citadel of Ardor) has its agents nearly everywhere, and so Ardinaak in disguise influences the decisions of many lords for the interests of Court members.
As a realm Tantûrak in T.A. 1640 – 1700 is one of the two great powers south of the Yellow Mountains (the other being Mûmakan). It’s far-flung empire reaches from the Pel Dûshera to Tumag. Because of constant squabbles in his western posessions, the emperor cannot spend as much attention as he would like on the Koronandën and Mûmakan borders, allowing for a balance of power in this region.
The squabbles in the western part of the empire stem from two sources: Once, the western flank is constantly threatened by the possibility of invasion from Hyarn and Ciryatandor, two regions which are known to be ruled by enemies of the emperor in Sarûl: Once, when the ruler of Tantûrak felt strong enough (T.A. 1480), in harsh words he demanded their recognition of his superiority in all former Númenorean holdings in the South, which they of course declined and answered with war. This conflict was settled several decades ago, but the threat is still very real and the emperor is planning a great campaign against Ciryatandor. Second, the Magri tribes of Mag and Tumag threaten Tantûraki interests, as they constantly harass Ûsakan and the trade in the Bay of Ûsakan.
On his eastern borders, Tantûrak faces several problems: Expanding its own influence in the North, gaining influence in Koronandë and Hathor and pushing back Mûmakanril influence. Tantûrak supports the independence of the Gan for two reasons: First, the emperor is interested in the skill of their craftsmen for the maintenace of his military (especially the fleet) and second, he wants to deny these prizes the King of the Mûmakani, who himself strives to maintain his grip on the realm. The Tantûraki influence north of the Ered Laranor is relative small since these lands are dominated by the Storm King (and the independent City-States of Greater Harad). However, from 1643 – 1684 Tûl Isra is officially allied with Tantûrak (to prevent Clan Bulgan and the Storm King from reclaiming power in Sîrayn), so during these times the emperor wields some power even in Greater Harad. In the whole, the success of the three goals is somewhat limited, since Hathor and Koronandë still are fiercely independent and it must be feared that Mûmakan is preparing for a major campaign to expand its own realm.
The peoples of the towns till the land about their homes, raising enough corn and wheat to subsist on, with a few exceptions, as the Elves and Hathorians to the south will pay a high price in fine tools and weapons for wheat, which does not grow well in their realms. The excess products are mostly given as a tribute to its dominating power (s.a.). There is, therefore, a river trade, although the majority of the traders themselves are Kirani.
Dûshera today is still not conquered by any of the factions in the region. There is a balance of power between Mûmakan, Tantûrak and Koronandë/Hathor, that leaves Dûshera and Tuktan (s.b.) in a political no-man’s-land, although it is believed that this situation won’t last for very long anymore. With this in mind, Sharaeki lords have intensified their connections to Koronandë, because in them they see the best partner, since the Kirani of this realm are believed to be the most honest and tolerant of their neighboors.
Similar to Dûshera, of late Tuktan has had increasing problems with the Mûmakan people who, beginning to envy the fine homes and land of the Tuktani, are ever more antagonistic, raiding on the bordering villages with increasing frequency. This led the Tuktani to seek support among the powerful of Hathor and Koronandë, but they fear this will not be enough to stop an aggressive and determined Mûmakanril monarch. Accordingly, many are considering to take refuge in Koronandë (s.a.), while others seek the support of the other ‘super-power’ Tantûrak, ignoring the not unlikely lust this state has for their realm too.
Mûmakan is nearly the sole country in the region which has no allies to speak of. Because of their aggressive nature, every neighboor seeks the alliance with other realms to avoid being conquered by the Mûmak-riders. Until now, the power of Mûmakan was held in check by the loose alliance of the other realms in the area. However, since the reappearance of Amaav in T.A. 1265 matters became worse since he crushed any resistance and rebuilt the central government and changed the Mûmakan’s minds from inter-tribal warfare to external conquests. The takeover in Gan durin the 15th century helped the Mûmak-riders to increase their power and re-establishing their old empire. In T.A. 1650, it seems the Mûmakanril are ready to begin a major war within a year.
With the reappearance of the Dark Lord and the Nazgûl in Arda in the Third Age, things once again evolved to a strong central authority and by T.A. 1651, despite Jí Indûr dwelling temporarily in Mordor, the power of the tribes is once again on a nadir and the king holds absolute authority in all matters. Mûmakan is expanding again and the king Ulaar II. is showing his intentions of conquering the region by steadily expanding his army and the training of his soldiers. While it seems unlikely that he will take the action himself (being quite old) is is believed that his son won’t shy away from using the war machinery that is being built.
The currently high population density gives the realm a sizeable army but this is partially offset by the relative poverty of the realm compared to its neighboors (especially Koronandë). There are some Mûmakanril colonies and settlements in the southeastern archipelago and even Mórenore but today this oversea regions are negligible in the continental politics given the sea power of Tantûrak or Koronandë.
Today (as so often in its history) Mûmakan’s relations to Tantûrak are extremely strained, one can say the only thing the two realms can agree on is their enmity. The occasions where the two cooperated are rare, and even then matters are accompanied by extreme suspicion of the other’s motives (comparable to real-history cold war). They vie constantly for any opportunity to outmaneuver the other and discredit him in the most effective way. Koronandë and Hathor too are in opposition, but because of their proximity there seems to be at least better diplomatic contact (like the neutral states in the cold war). The relation with these countries are fair because they hold considerable economic power in the region — a factor Mûmakan wants to profit from. As long as the King sees no opportunity to take over these countries by force of arms (which he would prefer), he treats them with courtesy (in Mûmakanril eyes of course…). Traditionally, Tuktan and Gan are principal targets of the Mûmakanril expansionism and so they are viewed as Mûmakan’s territory not yet brought back under the rightful scepter. In the case of Gan, Mûmakan must count on the stiff opposition of all other factions given the value of the Ganims’ crafting skills.
Comparable in size to Cardolan in the Far North, Hathor belongs to the secondary powers in the region, and because of this they tend to ally themselves constantly with the Kirani (out of sympathy and a common creed) and occasional with Tantûrak (the lesser of two evils) but never with Mûmakan. They leave the diplomatic intricacies and and negotiations mostly to their Kiran allies (the areas in which those excel) while themselves providing the needed manpower to back up the treaties. In this manner the Hathor/Koronandë alliance often tips the scales in the politcal power-plays of Tantûrak and Mûmakan and so Hathor remains independent in the fray.
The Hathorian king constantly tries to support tendencies of resistance and rebellion in areas controlled by Mûmakan (and sometimes Tantûrak), so as to weaken the position of these realms. Especially the Gan is supported by Hathor, but it seems that this is going to be of no avail in face of the current military might of Mûmakan. To the other realms in the area, Hathor holds fairly good relations: Tâliran, Tuktan and (perhaps) Mag (being far away anyway) are counted among potential allies whereas Ûsakan is counted among Tantûrak’s vassals and therefore falling under that realm’s politics.
The king maintains an army of respectable size to guard the borders facing potential enemies (Mûmakan of course). In current years the guard is strengthened because of the growing danger of war by Mûmakan.
Tâliran tries to stay apart from the political schemes of the region, an isolation not unlike that of Doriath but with less power of course. The rulers of the realm simply see no point with mingling in mannish affairs and wars, were only Elves are killed and the gains are lost often within a mortal generation. According to the Court’s schemes however, the Tâliran lords quietly support the goals of Hathor and Koronandë which they deem the most noble of all mannish realms. They are in stiff opposition to Tantûrak and Mûmakan and it may be that the elven realm is not able to remain aloof from the great politics of the region in the future.
Towards the other mannish realms they are indifferent, but the few Sindarin residents retain a dislike for the Mablâd (due to painful rememberances of the sack of Doriath), although the Dwarves of Bávors Folk were not involved in any affairs of Beleriand. The Tâliran lords have partial knowledge of the Court and it’s goals and oppose it, albeit covert and indirectly — they clearly remember the fate of Dînsûlinor.
Koronandë is a political enigma in the region: surrounded by powerful and aggressive monarchies for a long time of its history, nonetheless, the realm managed to remain independent and become a decisive political factor. The reasons for this are twofold: First, Koronandë has a very sophisticated trade network and holds considerable economic power in many areas south of the Ered Laranor. This gives them the money and influence needed to back up a policy of neutrality between Tantûrak and Mûmakan. With the trade comes the strong navy which is a major obstacle to any would-be invasion or sea blockade of the realm. Second, the Kirani are skillfull diplomats and since the government recognized the potential distrust between the superpowers Tantûrak and Mûmakan, they use this for their own benefit. The Kirani took advantage of this and are able to hold a balance of power through shifting alliances, treaties and information services. The age-old alliance with Hathor served the Kirani also quite well, since the Hathorians are superb warriors on land but weak on ships. This is the ideal complement for the Koronandën navy and this gives the alliance the needed military strength to make an attack too costly for the attacker, who must fear to be beaten itself by another realm after a costly war. Both in Tantûrak and Mûmakan there are fears the other state captures the rich and influential Kirani and gains a decisive advantage. So both of them strive to win the Kirani for themselves through diplomacy, but Koronandë is far too clever to make strong alliances with one of these states over a long time. Like Hathor, Koronandë supports rebellions and tendencies for more autonomy in the conquered provinces of Tantûrak and Mumakan to weaken them. The special interest of Kiran politics today is Tuktan but it must be feared that the region will be conquered by Mûmakan when an aggressive king comes to power who doesn’t care of treaties and diplomacy for reaching his goals. All in all, Koronandë strives to hold a balance of power in the rgion, where the Kirani can survive and extend their trade. They are aware, should both Mûmakan and Tantûrak ever come to a permanent agreement over their spheres of influence, hard times would come for themselves, Hathor and every other free nation in the region.
The current situation is similar to that at the end of the Second Age when Mûmakan was the dominant power in the region and Gan belonged to its empire. Mûmakan today is once again master in the eastern part of the (greater) Mûmakan. Accordingly Gan obeys its master in Amaru, paying tribute and lending military and economic aid. The local chiefs are trying to retain some kind of independence and still hold ties with Koronandë, Hathor, and even Tantûrak.
Before becoming an integral part of the Tantûraki empire, the Ûsakani followed a code of neutrality among all the warring and quarreling states of the region. They were particularly friendly however towards their Kiran cousins.
Now, however, they follow the guidelines enacted in Sarûl. They retain some friendly contacts to the Kirani and in this manner provide the king with a possibility of covert diplomacy and aid for the ‘neutral faction’ when open friendship is not feasible or advisable.
Mag and Tumag
The realms of Mag and Tumag are settled by the Magri, a race of proud and fiercely independent men. Though their countries are relatively disunited, surprisingly they remain independent to this day. This owes chiefly to two reasons: first, the hot and humid lands of Tumag form sort of a natural barrier to Ûsakan (the prime direction for a possible invasion). Second, the Tantûraki attempts of conquest are opposed by nearly all people in the region (not only the Magri). In addition to that, in spite of all their internal strife and particularism, the Magri are surprisingly united when faced by an outer threat.
Their most prevalent enemy is Tantûrak and its fast ally Ûsakan. They raid these as often as time and other duties permits. Besides the Magri are employed by numerous clients as able mercenaries.
Politically, the realms are divided into a number of city-states (similar to classical Greece) which plot against one another but stay firm together in the face of an outer threat.
Mablâd-dûm and Nárad-dûm
Due to their particularism (and the general decline of non-mannish races) the Dwarves of the South remain largely aloft from the politics in the Mûmakan. They protect their own interests, but everyone is eager not to displease them for fear of loss of commercial benefits from the skilled Naugrim.
The Dwarves of Blackflame however, have taken a relative clear position that they would not tolerate the destruction of the present order within the Seven Lands. In this manner, they have allied themselves with the free Peoples versus the attempts of the minions of the Shadow to dominate the whole South.
The Dwarves of Mâblâd-dûm and Nárad-dûm still follow the traditional dwarven policy of non-interference in mannish (and elven) affairs. It seems likely that they can remain so, because no faction wants to displease the Naugrim when it can be avoided. So even Sauron’s minions do not harm the Dwarves overly much and try not to force them in a coalition against the Shadow.
Sauronic influence in the Mûmakan
It has been over 1600 years since Sauron lost the One Ring, and although he is crippled (relatively speaking) without it, he has had many years to consolidate his position and regather his servants.
As far as the Mûmakan is concerned, however, Sauron’s influence is represented by his wraith-servant Indûr who has orders to subjugate (or destroy) any opposition just as Sauron is directing his efforts towards regaining his strength and arranging (through the Witch King) the final destruction of Arnor. While at one time (S.A. 3320 – 3441 ) he dominated the Court of Ardor and thereby eliminated any serious resistance versus his domination (they were forced to do his bidding as did Umbar and all of the Harad lands between Mûmakan and Gondor), with his fall at the end of the Second Age they were freed to once again act independently — at least for a time.
In T.A. 1264 Sauron sent Jí Indûr to the Citadel of Ardor requesting an “Alliance”, being unable to demand their submission with the certainty of their compliance, since crushing a rebellion would be costly and of little profit. The Ardan Council, still bitter and angry over Sauron’s dominance and aware of his weakness, yet still wary and uncertain of his true power even without the One, stalled, haggling over terms. Of course, they had nothing to gain by such an alliance, as the new Ritual time approached, they grew ever more confident that they could seize control of Middle-earth for themselves.
The colonial interests in Morenorë
Morenorë is a prize several realms in the Ûrdor have long tried to win. Since the continent is far away (the Inner Sea is quite extensive here), the treacherous wind and currents and the overall political situation colonization attempts have been selective, and then only in those areas close to the homeland. Notably the Kirani colony in the middle and the Númenórean (Tantûraki) in the west have been succesful and provide their homelands with political and economic support. Mûmakan, being a continental power with little love for the sea has limited its oversea ventures to the southwestern archipelago which is more developed its realms reap greater rewards.
In general the colonies are a boon to their home countries but their size is limited and their influence in politics therefore not to be overestimated. They remain an important source for goods from the unconquered and wild southern continent.
Since only areas on the northern coast have been developed, large areas remain wild and unexplored. It is rumored that there exist a number of old Númenórean colonies in the Morenorë regions further south, but these are rumours and its everyone’s guess to believe or turn them down.
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