The Arathorian Empire, or Arathor, was the first human nation that centered its power in the Arathi Highlands in the city of Strom. Founded by King Thoradin to unite the human tribes in the Troll Wars, the empire quickly spread across what today are the Eastern Kingdoms through aggressive conquest by the Arathorian Legion.
Not much is known about Arathian humans prior to their unification other than that they were scattered in small hunter-gatherer groups throughout the continents that today make up the Eastern Kingdoms.
Some speculate that human witch doctors or shamans used very basic elemental magic. Others claim that only alchemical rituals were practiced. With theories arising that humans are the descendants of the brutal and savage vrykyl of Northrend, one can only imagine the barbaric rituals that might have been practiced by early humans.
Kingdom of Arathor and the Troll WarsEdit
As humans slowly discovered agriculture and seafaring techniques, family-tribes began to form permanent settlements along the coast of Lordaeron and the islands of the Baradin Sea. A number of tribes struggled to eck out their own respective niches in the hostile countryside of what today is known as the Arathi Highlands. The Highlands were fraught with raptors and forest trolls, much as they are today. Due to the precarious nature of their surroundings, the human tribes developed warrior-based cultures that prized martial prowess.
Of the human tribes in the highlands, the Arathi were among the most ingenuitive - developing iron weapons and tools that were superior to the forest trolls' stone implements. Concerned that the forest trolls were becoming too great a threat with their superior numbers, the Arathi tribe embarked on a campaign to conquer its rivals through combat and politics. By offering equality and peace to the people they conquered, the Arathi were able to gather a powerful following under their leadership. The fortress-city of Strom was constructed on the Arathian coast, and many humans flocked to its protection as the forest trolls increased in number. The warlord of the Arathi tribe, Thoradin, was named king of the Arathi nation of Arathor in 2718 P.C. (by the King's Calendar). Thus began the count of the Thoradine Calendar that would dominate human date-keeping for nearly two millennia.
The ancient high elves of Quel'Thalas were in open war with the trolls in what is now Lordaeron. On the verge of defeat, they sent ambassadors to Strom to plead for assistance from the Arathi king. In exchange for support, the elves agreed to instruct one hundred humans in the use of magic. Through the military might of Strom, and the magic wielded by the elves and new human mages, the trolls were soundly defeated. This great conflict was later dubbed the "Troll Wars."
The Kingdom of Arathor grew and prospered, yet Thoradin, fearful that his realm would splinter apart if it overextended itself, maintained that Strom was the center of the nation. After many peaceful years of growth and commerce, mighty Thoradin died of old age, leaving Arathor's younger generation free to expand the kingdom beyond the Arathi Highlands.
The Arathorian RepublicEdit
As time and generations passed after the Troll Wars, the people who thrived in the fortress of Strom soon began to adopt what we contemporaries know as typical city life. Trade with the elves and other human settlements in Lordaeron spurred a growing class of wealthy merchants, warriors and landowners that rose above the typical Arathorian populace. Leisure and study time became available to these individuals, with which they reflected on the workings of life, philosophy, and the government of the various workings of the Arathorian state.
Most people of Strom worshiped a number of heavenly divinities that they believed granted boons to those who built monuments and sacrificed animals in their honor - the blessing in question depending on which one they devoted their attention to the most. Many believe that these ancient Arathorian divinities were remnants of the Titan mythos passed on by the Vrykul.
Tensions rose between families of the most prominent of Arathor. With every acre of fertile land in the Arathi Higlands claimed, some houses of Arathor could only expand their influence through taking it from their peers through force or subterfuge. Even the royal house of Arathi was outstripped in underhanded rivalries by other houses in wealth and influence.
In a sudden coup of power in what is estimated to be around 1950 P.C., the heads of the elite families of Arathor surrounded the last king of the Arathi line at swordpoint, demanding that he share the rule of the kingdom with the noble elite. Without choice and his guards overpowered, the last heir resigned his title and rule.
The landed noble and military elite of Arathor collaborated to form the first Arathorian Senate, where the most prominent of the regional divisions of the kingdom stood and voted on matters regarding the republic as a whole. Arathor, then a republic, was ruled by the senate for over 300 years.
The Holy Arathorian EmpireEdit
As the republic grew in scope, the units of its military were stretched further and further apart from one another - adopting their own arms, armor and techniques based upon their geography. The Arathorian Legion expanded aggressively, securing arable land and establishing garrisons far from the walls of Strom. With the increased food production, the army swelled, each of its regional legions growing larger enough that the Arathorian Senate feared that even one legion could take Strom if prompted.
When a multi-legion Arathorian force met a native pagan army in its conquest of Gilnea, the Legate in command of Arathor's forces saw bright lights streaking across the sky above the battlefield. Taking it as a sign of good omen, the Arathorian commander led his forces to a great victory - eventually breaking the pagan army in Gilnea. Returning to Strom, emboldened with the spoils of war and with news of the brilliant light, the Legate marched his full army on Strom - considered to be an act of war due to the size of the multi-legion force.
Greeted as a hero, the commander of the Gilnean victory force rallied the common people of Strom around him as his massive army marched through its streets. What began as one commoner shouting turned into the entire city praising the commander for both his victory and revelation of the heavenly power of the light. The senate, fearing for their lives should they have dissented, fled the city. The commander, whom was a direct descendant of Ignaeus Trollbane, was crowned Emperor of Arathor. Embracing the Holy Light as his channel to his newfound power, the first Emperor of Arathor established the Arathorian Church of Light, which regarded the Holy Light as a gift from otherworldly beings of immense power.
Adapted from Wowpedia.