2. The Principalities of Near Harad
The Principalities of Near Harad worked as a collection of independent but allied city states. Ain al-Harad lost its status as capital of Near Harad while a new Council Tower was built at The Gardens of Beruthiel in which the regents of all recognized Near Haradrim City States discussed and decided important matters. The ruler of a recognized Near Haradrim city state was called a "Serpent". In the Principalities of Near Harad there were five recognized Serpents:
- Serpent Karseius II. in Ain al-Harad
- Serpent shamiir in Ajtiaz al-Harad
- Serpent GetWrekt_ in Haradwaith al-Harad
- Serpent Skilliar at the Gulf of Harad
- Serpent denniskolin at Poros
The Principalities of Near Harad were relatively short lived. After the Doom of Ain al-Harad and the disappearance of the mightiest Serpent Karseius II. the Principalities broke into more or less feuding camps which ended in the seizure of power by the Serpent Skilliar and his banner-men.
The Principalities used a joint banner with five red-golden stripes to respresent the five Principalities. The black Serpent was not crowned to symbolize the turning away from the absolute monarchy and the returning to a more tribal structure similar to Near Harad's forfathers.
The Principalities were divided into five indipendent Principalities. They covered the same territory as the preceding Old Empire.
Cities and Strongholds
Ain al Harad (Principality of Ain)
Ajtiaz al-Harad (Principality of Ajtiaz)
Poros (Principality of Harandor)
Freehold of the Gulf (Principality of the Gulf)
Haradwaith al-Harad (Princypality of the Desert)
The Principalities of Near Harad
After the First Near Harad Civil War Serpentlord Karseius II. decided to reform the political structure of Near Harad. Therefore he transformed the Old Empire into a collection of allied city states to share power with other Near Haradrim rulers. Although this transformation was considered a positive development by the northern human kingdoms tensions between some of the city states and Gondor arose. A new war was avoided but the tensions still stood. Following the transformation of the empire into a collection of allied city states Serpent Karseius II. of Ain al-Harad built the great Council Tower near the gardens Beruthiel. Although the Principalities seemed to cooperate quite well as intended in the beginning soon a greater divide between the five ruling Serpents was becoming apparent. The appearance of Rookieninjas II. eldest son Razum_Darn , who established himself as leader of the Moredain, brought in even more tensions which nearly escalated into a second civil war. Before this could happen Serpent Karseius II. held the Principalities together by the unmatched predominance of his and his follower's army. Although Razum_Darn disappeared by unknown circumstances and his city got sacked by his own banner-men, the divide between the Near Haradrim Serpents grew bigger and bigger and was only held together by the power of Ain al-Harad, exactly what the last Serpentlord Karseius II. wanted to avoid.
The Doom (The Principalities of Near Harad)
The Doom was a very mysterious event on the continent of Harad, affecting mostly the west of the fertile lands of Near Harad. Although its effects were perceived on the whole continent, the most affected place was Ain al-Harad. The cause of the Doom is not known and there are only speculations but the results were certain. One of the biggest cities of the known world was ruined and its people exterminated nearly over night including Serpent Karseius II and his forces. The Doom caused a major power shift in Near Harad and without Karseius II. the Principalities swiftly fell apart. Following the Doom a civil war like situation emerged with the remaining Serpents and newcomers to Near Harad fighting for power and control.
Falling Apart of the Principalities
As the vacum of power caused chaos in Near Harad, Serpent Skilliar of the Gulf started making plans to conquer Near Harad and establish his own empire in the image of the Old Empire. Together with his allies in Harandor he defeated Serpent GetWrekt_ of the desert and took control over Haradwaith al-Harad and declaring the New Empire. It is disputed among scholars when the Principalities of Near Harad actually ended. The predominant teaching sees the Principalities end after the seizure of power by Skilliar and the defeat of Haradwaith al-Harad, as all institutions established during the principalities did not exist anymore at this point. The other opinion teaches, that the Principalities in fact did not end with the declaration of the New Empire, as the city state of Ajiaz al-Harad was never conquered. The latter schlolars see the New City States of Near Harad as a continuation of the principalities and set the end to this multipolar period when the Astrasi Empir arose.
During the Principalities of Near Harad the religions of the region slowly started to diverge. Southron Mythology started to differ more and more from region to region while in Harandor and the Gulf the influence of the Sauron Cult started to grow.
The Principalities left a mixed legacy to Near Harad. For one this period caused a decentralization of Near Harad which contributed to the growth of many cities in the region other than Ain al-Harad. The period was also a golden age for Near haradrim art and sience. The Imperial Tower is the main building which still exists from this period, although at the time it was called the Council Tower. During the early Astrasi Empire the tower was renovated and turned into a imperial meeting place.
On the other hand this period broke the unity of Near Harad and caused a loss in influence in the region. During the late phase of the principalitaies many important buildings had been lost. While Old Ain al-Harad fell victim to the Doom, Haradwaith al-Harad was conquered and destroyed by New Empire forces. Today, the city of Harnen al-Harad stands on the ruins of Haradwaith al-Harad.