Talk:Solomani Rim War

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Sstefan Notes (2007)[edit]

The Solomani people are an important and successful branch of humaniti, able to trace their ancestry back to the original human stock of Terra. The Terrans (as the Solomani were known before their widespread settlement on worlds other than Terra) achieved space flight about 2,500 years before the founding of the Third Imperium and soon contacted the Vilani Empire and the Vilani, another important branch of humaniti. The Vilani Empire was deep in a period of decline at the time of the contact, and the Terran Confederation was eventually able to conquer the empire after a long series of interstellar wars. Thus, the Rule of Man was established. However, the decline of civilized organization continued throughout the region, as the Terrans' industriousness was insufficient to counteract both their inexperienced, brash rule and the inefficiency and decadence of the surviving bureaucracies of the Vilani Empire. Within 400 years of the conquest, the Rule of Man collapsed, and a 1700 year interregnum began.

Though brief, the Rule of Man allowed a wide dispersal of the Solomani throughout the region. They came as conquerors, rulers, and administrators throughout the old Vilani Empire, eventually forming a large proportion of the presentday lmperial nobility. Outside the region of the Vilani Empire, they came as settlers, making the entire region from Sol to Canopus overwhelmingly Solomani in character.

The interregnum ended when a Solomani noble, Cleon Zhunastu, using his family industrial base and considerable political support, declared himself emperor and established the Third Empire (today's Imperium). The Imperium, centered on Zhunastu's (now Cleon I) holdings based in the core of the Vilani settled region, expanded rapidly in its first few centuries. During this period, the Solomani hypothesis came into vogue. The hypothesis held that Terra was the homeworld of not just the Solomani but all humaniti, and that all other human races developed from specimens transported from Terra by an ancient star-faring species. A similar theory had been promoted during the Rule of Man, but it was largely forgotten during the interregnum. When Terra was incorporated into the lmperium in 588 (Imperial calendar), a scientific expedition to the world verified the theory through archaeological evidence. The hypothesis was especially embraced by the nobility of the Imperium, which was composed mostly of Solomani families.

In the 600's, the lmperium witnessed a chaotic period, brought on by the very success of the Imperium's expansion in the preceding centuries. In particular, the admirals along the marches of the lmperium had command over large concentrations of naval and military power, while the slowness of communications meant that the lmperial government had little control over these admirals. The result was a period of civil wars, as various admirals used their forces to proclaim themselves emperor. During this period, Vilani industrialists and nobles began to assume positions of authority within the lmperial political and economic hierarchies, often at the expense of the entrenched Solomani families. As a reaction to this tumultuous time, the Solomani movement was born. In essence, the movement held that the pure Terran racial stock was superior and best fit for running the Imperium, as witnessed by conquest of the Vilani Empire by the vastly outnumbered Terrans. As the lmperial troubles grew, the movement gained many supporters. It was at its height at the end of the civil wars, and it completely dominated the inner circles of the lmperial court. Although rejected by Emperor Zhakirov in the 660's, proponents of the movement remained a strong political force, and the Solomani Autonomous Region was formed in 704 to placate them.

The charter granted control of the region of space within a radius of 50 parsecs of Terra (hence the name, the [[Solomani Sphere]]) to a Solomani governing body; although trade and even taxes were to continue with the Imperium, the Solomani were given broad powers of authority. Interestingly, the charter ignored the fact that a number of worlds of the Aslan Hierate lay within the defined boundary of the Solomani Autonomous region. While the Solomani government tended to maintain that the charter granted control over lmperial space only, a small Solomani faction has blocked all attempts for the government to abandon officially its claim to these worlds. This has been a continuing source of tension between local Aslan clans and the Solomani.

In the two centuries following the granting of the charter, the Solomani government did its best to implement the aims of the Solomani Movement throughout the sphere. In 871, the Solomani government reorganized itself as the Solomani Confederation, to strengthen its claims to the heritage of the heroic Terran Confederation. This move was tantamount to declariing independence, but it gained little attention from the Imperium. Within three decades, however, the increasingly arrogant and extremist policies of the Solomani Confederation caused a growing stream of petitions to the lmperial court from non-Solomani races seeking redress. Scattered resistance to Solomani rule began on some of these worlds, particularly by the Vegans in the Vegan District and by the Vilani and other pro-Imperial inhabitants of the Old Expanses Sector. These resistance movements are marked by some to be the actual beginning of the Solomani Rim War, particularly as various Vilani organizations in the lmperial portion of the Old Expanses started to send aid to their cousins in the Solomani portion of this sector.

With the ascension of Margaret II to the lmperial throne (in the year 908), the oppressed peoples in the Solomani Sphere gained a champion. Initially, the lmperium used diplomacy and bureaucracy to counter Solomani influence along the borders of the sphere. This method was especially successful in the Old Expanses, whereby a Vilani world would depose its Solomani rulers and petition to be placed under direct lmperial government. In such cases, the lmperial fleet would move in and be present in force to face any Solomani attempt to re-establish authority. The Solomani at first backed down from any major confrontation, but minor engagements by the opposing fleets occurred more and more often. Meanwhile, the Solomani Confederation marshalled its resources to entrench itself firmly among the border worlds.

In response to the Solomani mobilization, Margaret II declared the Solomani Autonomous Region dissolved in 940. The Solomani Confederation resisted. The lmperium continued its diplomatic initiative against the Solomani border worlds, but with less success than before. The number of incidents and fleet skirmishes continued to increase.

In the late 970's, the lmperium began to prepare for a major confrontation with the Solomani. The center of the lmperial strategy was to grant the Vegans their own autonomous district and then to use it as a base for a strong lmperial presence in the center of the Solomani Sphere.

The originators of this plan did not seem to realize that this would provoke full scale retaliation by the Solomani, but such oversights were rather common in the mismanaged reign of Styryx (emperor, 945 to 989). The plan was not implemented, as lmperial attention and resources were instead channeled to fight the Third Frontier War (979 to 986). The Solomani, convinced that a major clash was now inevitable, used the respite to begin full war production. Hoping to profit from the abdication of Styryx in 989, the Solomani re-asserted their claim to full control over the entire Solomani sphere, including the portions re-absorbed by the Imperium. The lmperium chose to consider this to be a declaration of war, and the Solomani Rim War officially began in 990.

The initial phase of the war went very favorably for the Solomani. Although the lmperium maintained sizeable fleets along the border, they were inferior in strength to the massed naval elements of the Solomani Confederation. In most areas, the Solomani regained the border worlds lost to the lmperium in the last half century and even occupied a number of worlds that had never been part of the Solomani Sphere. However, Solomani fortunes were checked in 993 when a large invasion force attempted to regain the worlds in the Old Expanses Sector; it encountered near-fanatical resistance from the Vilani there and was repulsed with heavy losses.

The period from 993 to 998 was one of stalemate. The Solomani abandoned their plans of further expansion in order to rebuild their forces. However, their policy of inflexibly defending every border world was a constant drain on their resources, and the Solomani were not able to regain the initiative. By 998, the lmperial Navy achieved strategic dominance, as the greater industrial base of the lmperium made its power felt.

The last phase of the war, 998 to 1002, consisted of a near continual advance by lmperial forces into the heart of the Solomani Sphere. The basic lmperial strategy was to attack along two parallel axis of advance, with lesser task forces spreading out to create a huge pocket of Solomani territory. Although the Solomani occasionally achieved a tactical success against a task force (such as the Battle of Kagukhasaggan in early 1002, they were unable to halt the main advances. With the liberation of the Vegan District in 1001, the lmperium gained the secure base envisioned in the reign of Styryx. The loss of the Vegan district prompted the Solomani to embark on a desperate gamble. Recalling the time when the outnumbered Terran Confederation was able to defeat the Vilani Empire, the Solomani consolidated their remaining naval forces into a single fleet and struck at the lmperial fleet advancing out of the Vegan District. At the Battle of Dingir, in early 1002, the Solomani Grand Fleet was scattered and substantially destroyed. The remnants of the Solomani fleet fell back deeper into the Sphere, with the lmperial forces firmly establishing themselves in Terra's own subsector.

The lmperial High Command decided that Terra would have to be invaded, in order to end forever all claims of Solomani superiority and thus the use of Terra as a rallying standard elsewhere in the Sphere. In order to invade Terra, a sizeable fraction of the lmperial forces in the Solomani Sphere were assembled as the assault force, effectively ending the pursuit of the defeated Solomani fleet. The invasion began and conquered the planet. However, the battle for Terra had consumed so much of the lmperial military resources that the lmperial High Command felt they lacked sufficient strength to resume their advance into the rest of the Solomani Sphere. Accordingly, they negotiated a temporary armistice with the Solomani military commanders, who were glad to gain a respite to regroup their remaining forces. The war ended on this basis as both the lmperial and Solomani civilian governments, concerned with the strain placed on their economies by the protracted war, informally agreed to extend the armistice indefinitely.

Although scholars continue to debate the wisdom of invading Terra, some claiming that the battle was a marginal if not Pyrrhic victory for the Imperium, the general consensus is that the war as a whole was a major victory for the Imperium. A substantial amount of the Solomani Sphere was re-absorbed by the Imperium, and a vigorous Vegan Autonomous District was set up to oversee lmperial interests along the new border. While the Solomani Confederation continues to exist, the central tenet of the Solomani movement is largely discredited. In fact, with the strong Imperial presence along the border, the Solomani Confederation seems to have abandoned any plans to resume the conflict in the near future, instead concentrating on reviving its claims to certain worlds in the more loosely organized Aslan Hierate.

-excerpts from Hsanivvoh Morr's The Rise and Fall of the Solomani Movement (Vegan Free Press, 1042)