Betrayal at Mydroll

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Seventeenth Century depiction of the Betrayal of Mydroll by Artur de Eslerich. Emperor Salonius (left) is depicted sitting awaiting the pledge of loyalty from Braga (centre) who brandishes a knife

The Betrayal of Mydroll was an event which took place near the city of Mydroll in modern day Midrasia in the year 492 CE. The event is used by historians to mark the official end of the Fiorentine Empire and in many cases the beginning of the medieval, or feudal era. The event saw the final Fiorentine Emperor Salonius Narcissus killed by the self-proclaimed King of Mydroll, Marciús Braga. With the assassination of the emperor and the defeat of his entourage, the Imperial Court lacked a suitable candidate to replace him, thus leading to the empire's collapse. The Betrayal of Mydroll was depicted for centuries, primarily by Alydian scholars, as a great setback for western societies, ushering in a dark age with the marginalisation of Alydianism by the various barbarian rulers who came to rule the former lands of the empire in subsequent decades. Nevertheless, modern revisionist historians have come to view the event as a seminal passing of the torch between the declining despotism of the late Fiorentine Empire and the new feudal kings who came to dominate the Middle Ages. Additionally, the event is also seen by Midrasian historians as a key moment in the formation of an independent Midrasian nation.

Background

Early medieval manuscript depicting the event

Decline of Fiorentina

From the onset of the Fourth Century onward, the power of the Fiorentine empire had been declining, suffering from numerous barbarian raids, growing corruption and loss of territory. During the early Fourth Century the Empire was forced to fend off advancing Sclavic tribes seeking to make inroads into Imperial territory, expending significant manpower in the process. Whilst ultimately successful in their attempts, the war had forced a large number of other outlier tribes into the territory of the empire, many of whom joined the legions. Many of these groups migrated in large groups, maintaining their traditional loyalties over loyalty to Fiorentina or the Emperor; this sparking a large number of internal tribal revolts. With revolts engulfing the empire, Fiorentina received its first major blow in 388 when Teyrnir Breda defeated the Fiorentine legions at the Battle of Phen Faol, forcing the Empire to abandon the region.

This trend continued throughout subsequent decades, forcing the Empire out of its less defensible frontier regions and into its core territories. By 470, the Empire only retained control of western Aquidneck, southern Midrasia and a small number of areas in Veleaz. The sack of Laterna in 492 by Veleazan barbarians considerably weakened the empire, resulting in huge migrations out of the empire's former capital and the fleeing of the imperial court to Burdigala. Despite retaking Laterna several years later, the empire was once again forced out, losing even more of its frontier territories in the process, leaving only a few holdings around modern Piemonte and Candare under its control.

Rise of the barbarian kingdoms

Within the Fifth Century, many barbarian tribes began to advance into the empire in an attempt to escape the advancing Sclavic tribes from the east. With the empire on the decline and unable to properly govern its territories, many of the advancing tribes began to overthrow their fiorentine overlords, developing their own states where the empire once stood. Of these tribes, the most powerful were the tribes of the Goths, Langobards and Burgundians, who all established major feudal kingdoms in and around the Padanian basin, becoming considerable regional powers. In contrast to these new kingdoms, the Fiorentine remnant in southern Midrasia remained weak, divided and inefficiently governed for waging modern feudal warfare. As a result a movement within the Fiorentine court began developing around the desire to bring about an alliance with some of the surrounding kingdoms with the hope of retaking Laterna.

It was decided that in order to forge a political alliance, the sister of the Emperor, Atilia Ingenvina would marry the King of Mydroll, Marciús Braga in an event set to take place in Mydroll. The official agreement was forged in early 492, it was agreed that the ceremony would take place on September 15th, after which, Braga would make a pledge of loyalty to retake Laterna on the Emperor's behalf.

The Betrayal

The event itself took place on the 15th of September, with the Emperor's sister and Braga marrying in the early afternoon at Mydroll. As per the wishes of Braga, the event was a joint Alydian-Pagan ceremony, utilising two priests of either faith with each ceremony taking place simultaneously. After the ceremony, the entourage arrived on a hill outside of the city where the Imperial camps were set up. Emperor Salonius requested Braga bend the knee before him to swear his vow to retake Laterna. Taken aback, Braga refused, revealing a knife he held secluded in his tunic and stabbing the Emperor multiple times.

After the stabbing of the Emperor, Braga's right-hand man, Tremorinus sounded an alarm, (likely a horn) calling forth archers and horsemen hidden in the forests near the hill. The unexpected attack by the Mydrollian forces caught the Fiorentine camp off-guard, leading to a slaughter. The remaining members of the camp were rounded up and either enslaved or executed.

In the following days, Braga's forces marched upon Burdigala and the remaining Fiorentine territories, many of which simply opened their gates, accepting him as their ruler. With the subjugation of the last remaining Fiorentine settlements, the Empire was officially over. The imperial cloak and crown, along with the dagger used to kill the emperor, were sent in a package to the Alydian Pontiff, Leo V as a message that the barbarian tribes had triumphed over the Alydian empire.

Conspirators

Speculation as to who exactly was involved in the conspiracy remains to this day, though a number of figures are known to have directly conspired with the King of Mydroll to pull off the plot. Written evidence, art and manuscripts created before and after the event depict the plot as having been planned as soon at the Mydrollians were approached about a political alliance. This would suggest that much of the inner court of Mydroll as well as the military were knowledgeable about the plot. In Fiorentina, incomplete letters of correspondence between Braga and the Dux of Burdigala suggests that some elements of Fiorentine society were involved in, or at least sympathetic to the Mydrollian cause, likely in return for positions of political influence or riches.

Most modern academic debate surrounding the event usually centre on the extent to which Atilia Ingenvina was involved in the plot. Sixth Century historian Canuleius suggests that Ingenvina was merely a victim, unaware of Braga's intent and kept as a trophy by the King following his victory over the Fiorentines. Within his writings, Canuleius depicts Ingenvina as a pious Alydian woman whose honour was stripped from her by the ruthless barbarian leader. Alternatively, Fifteenth Century historian Gaétan de Auberjonois suggests that Ingenvina was complicit in the plot against her brother, seeking revenge for a marriage which she was forced into. Auberjonois instead depicts Ingenvina as a conniving schemer who overstepped her bounds out of a petty desire for revenge. In contrast, modern feminist historians have depicted Ingenvina as a woman of power, seeking to break out of her traditional bonds and playing an major role in plotting the conspiracy with her future husband Braga.

Legacy

The Betrayal at Mydroll stands as a seminal event in both this history of Asura and Midrasia and is generally used by historians as the point of transition between Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

Early Medieval scholars have traditionally viewed the event in a negative light, mostly due to its religious connotations. Some Renaissance historians also follow this line, viewing the end of Fiorentina as a tragedy, ushering in the Medieval ages, traditionally depicted as lacking in artistic, technological or political advancement. Whig historians also view the event as a tragedy, swapping the traditional popular democratic legacy of Fiorentina for monarchical despotism, though some whig historians suggested this is inaccurate as the Fiorentina of the Fifth Century was far from its democratic origins.

Other historians have viewed the event in a far more positive light, suggesting it was an event necessary to allow for the transition from outdated despotism of the Fiorentine Emperors to feudal monarchy. The most widespread interpretation of the event, especially among Midrasian historians however is that of Midrasian nationalism. Historians such as Didier Cazal view the event as the point at which Midrasia officially cast off its subservience to the Fiorentines, instead pursuing its own identity and historical trajectory. Other historians agreeing with the narrative of nationalism suggest that rather than forging a new identity, the Betrayal at Mydroll saw Midrasia inherit and re-appropriate the Fiorentine legacy for its own ends. This notion of Midrasian state-building from the Betrayal at Mydroll is prominent within the Midrasian Secondary School curriculum, which usually contains modules dedicated to the forging of the Midrasian state and identity.