The Realmgardic Period
Scholars and archaeologists in Realmgard recognise several periods of the continent’s history: the post-Imperial period of present-day Realmgard, spanning everything after the dissolution of the Elven Empire, the self-explanatory Imperial period, the Creusan period — referring to the establishment of the League of Creusa — between the arrival of the Elves and the foundation of the Empire, the Archaic period for the period immediately before the arrival of the Elves, and the Realmgardic period for the emergence of the earliest literate societies on the continent.
The tail end of the Realmgardic period is generally calculated to be contemporary to the Archipelagic War that spurred Elven settlement of Realmgard.
The Realmgardic period is divided into the Minor, Major, and Late periods, themselves further subdivided into more specific periods identifiable based on their respective artistic style and conventions.
Though the Realmgardic period saw the emergence of writing on the continent, it took scholars generations to begin deciphering the Realmgardic script and many of the surviving Realmgardic documents are administrative rather than narrative. The process of decipherment and translation is ongoing.
The entire body of Realmgardic writing to date consists of lists and inventories of supplies. In fact, the first Realmgardic document to be deciphered appears to be a shopping list.
Much surviving Realmgardic-period writing has been recovered from the ruins of Realmgardic palaces.
All evidence thus far indicates that Realmgardic society was localised and oriented towards martial strength. The ruins of Realmgardic palaces are monumental in scale and the scale of the surviving walls indicates that these palaces were heavily-fortified. Similarly, the most common artifacts discovered at palace sites are weapons and armour and much surviving Realmgardic artwork depicts military scenes.
Most famously, the so-called Galgano Chariot was recovered was unearthed in remarkably good condition from the Realmgardic ruins overlooking the otherwise largely-outlooked Natalian village of Galgano.
The Realmgardic civilisation was, in fact, more broadly distributed across the continent than the later Elven Empire, with Realmgardic ruins found in areas of the continent never incorporated into the Empire. However, there is no evidence that Realmgardic civilisation was united under any sort of imperial authority, with each palace believed to be self-governing and controlling only an immediate area of influence.
Nevertheless, it is clear that the Realmgardic civilisation maintained extensive intercontinental trade ties. Southern Realmgardic ruins demonstrate a clear influence in their surviving palace artwork from the ancient Wandering Coast.
In terms of its religion, the Realmgardic civilisation displays a remarkable continuity with later Realmgardian religion. Following the decipherment of the language, the names of deities are recognisable as Realmgardic forms of the names of deities still worshipped in Realmgard, and much of the iconography is consistent with later depictions.
Notably, Realmgardic religious art widely depicts women, and it is thus believed that priestess played a major leadership role in Realmgardic religious ritual. However, as is the case with any aspects of Realmgardic civilisation, the exact details remain open to debate and interpretation in lieu of clear, unambiguous written sources.
FYI, this is basically Mycenaean Greece.
And FYI, basically all translated Mycenaean writing (the script is called Linear B) is palace inventories — one the key developments in deciphering that it was a form of Greek is the realisation that one of the words was a syllabic (i.e. the same sort of writing system as Japanese katakana and hiragana) form of the word ‘tripod.’
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