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AzureOwl

The Extent of the Valyrian Empire

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There is a tapestry in Meereen in ADWD which shows a Ghiscari army defeating a Valyrian one and taking the survivors back as slaves. That indicates that the Valyrians used conventional forces in warfare, and may have preferred not to have deployed the dragons unless absolutely necessary.

Or that the Ghiscari managed to reverse-engineer the sorcery used by Valyrians and could hijack their Dragons.

Or the tapestry's just bullshit.

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There is a tapestry in Meereen in ADWD which shows a Ghiscari army defeating a Valyrian one and taking the survivors back as slaves. That indicates that the Valyrians used conventional forces in warfare, and may have preferred not to have deployed the dragons unless absolutely necessary.

:agree:

Or that the Ghiscari managed to reverse-engineer the sorcery used by Valyrians and could hijack their Dragons.

Or the tapestry's just bullshit.

There were five wars between Valyria and the Ghiscari Empire over a period of at least 1000 years, it would be silly to think that the Ghiscari never won a battle.

In fact I would argue that the fact that there were five wars indicates that the Ghiscari either won or forced a stalemate in four of them.

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If the wars between the Ghiscari Empire and the Valyrian Freehold are (loosely) based on the wars between Carthage and Rome, it's very likely that the original cause of the conflict were colonies abroad, not direct clashes of the two empires on the mainland. Thus the ignition spark could have been a Valyrian colony in close vicinity to great Ghiscari colony on the shores of Sothoryos (or on one of the islands in Slaver's Bay).



The fact that the Ghiscari claim to have been a great empire while the Valyrians were still goatherds indicates that the Ghiscari were much more powerful in the beginnings of their conflict, especially if we assume that the Valyrians had only a few dragons and/or only recently developed/stumbled upon the magic trick to tame and ride dragons.



A few dragons would not have enabled to Valyrians to bring a huge Empire to heel, at least not at once. We don't know much about the extent of the Ghiscari Empire pre-Valyrian conquest.



We don't know anything about the number of the Valyrian dragons, but I'd also assume that they must have at least hundreds of dragons, not counting wild dragons (we don't if they had any, but I assume they did).


Dragons obviously were very precious in Valyria, and it seems that it was forbidden/highly unusual to take them permanently off the Valyrian peninsula (perhaps it was even forbidden to move them beyond the city borders of Valyria itself). If Volantis is any indication, then all the dragonlords resided in Valyria. They were utmost elite of the Freehold, and they were never charged with governing the provinces/colonies. The Old Blood of Volantis descends from Valyrian nobility, but all of them either descend from non-dragonriding families, or from dragonlords whose children were not allowed to take any dragons with them when they permanently moved to Volantis. The same seems to be true for the other colonies.



Prince Daemon indicates in TPatQ that there were quite a few civil wars fought on dragonback during the history of Valyria. This would explain why the dragonlords kept such a close guard on their dragons. If the overseers/rulers of their colonies would be allowed to keep their own dragons, the whole Freehold would soon tear itself apart.



Thus I think the concept of Targaryen exile (indicated in the book title 'Dragonkin - from Exile to Apotheosis') may actually be viable. It's possible that Aenar was only allowed to take his dragons with him to Dragonstone under the condition that he gave up all his holdings and rights as a citizen of the Valyrian Freehold, and never returned home again.



This could also explain why (many) battles involving Valyrian armies were fought without dragons. If all the dragons were in Valyria, they would have to be brought to wherever the war was fought, and this would need time. The Valyrians seem to have cared as much about their subjects/servants/slaves the Volantenes do today (i.e. not at all), and their whole society was built upon slavery (I'm pretty sure the concept of slave soldiers the Volantenes follow to this day was invented by the Valyrians), so it would not surprise me one bit if they did not care all that much about the loss of life in their colonies. They knew they would eventually bring their dragons over to crush all rebellion/resistance/invading forces, and it did not really matter if the enemy won some smaller victories up to this point...



As to Qarth vs. Valyria:



I guess if magic really worked much better during the Valyrian era, the Qartheen warlocks must have been a real power in their own right back then. This could have enabled the Qartheen to resist both the Ghiscari and later the Valyrian advances much better than one might think with the present state of Qarth in mind.


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:agree:

There were five wars between Valyria and the Ghiscari Empire over a period of at least 1000 years, it would be silly to think that the Ghiscari never won a battle.

In fact I would argue that the fact that there were five wars indicates that the Ghiscari either won or forced a stalemate in four of them.

Or were beat down step by step for each war.

Even Rome needed 3 wars to burn down Carthage.

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Thus the ignition spark could have been a Valyrian colony in close vicinity to great Ghiscari colony on the shores of Sothoryos (or on one of the islands in Slaver's Bay).

Aha!

The Isle of Cedars, between the Valyrian and Ghiscari mainlands, was known as the Isle of a Hundred Battles. Velos, on the south coast, sounds like a Valyrian name, whilst Ghozai, on the north coast, is a Ghiscari. That could be our casus belli right there.

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Wert,



yes, that makes a lot of sense.



I guess that Oros, Tyria, Tolos, Elyria, and Mantarys were cities founded by Valyrians at some time during their early expansions (they are all on the Valyrian peninsula or on islands close by.



But Bhorash is clearly a Ghiscari name, indicating that it was a city founded by the Ghiscari Empire.



The Ghiscari Empire should have at least controlled all the Eastern shores of Slaver's Bay, extending into the West at least as far as Bhorash, and I'd also wager that the ruined cities of Gogossos, Yeen, and Zamettar on Sothroyos/the Basilisk Isles are also former Ghiscari colonies.



The fact that Yezzan zo Qaggaz seems to have business relations in Sothoryos (he was there, and got infected with his diseases there) could also indicate that the Ghiscari are somewhat connected to Sothoyos.



I'd expect the Ghiscari Empire to stretch perhaps even farther North and East than the Valyrian Empire later on. If they were truly powerful, they could have founded all the cities in the (later) Red Waste Dany stumbled upon. The dragon remains found there could have been remnants from war between the Valyrians and the Qartheen. It would also not surprise me if the Red Waste turned out to be a magically created waste (just as the Children of the Forest used magic to change the landscape). Perhaps the warlocks of Qarth created the Red Waste to prevent the Valyrians from creeping closer to the territories they controlled?



My guess is that Qarkash is ruled from Qarth up to this point, and Qolahn most certainly is a city founded by the Qartheen.


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The Lands of Ice and Fire also clearly shows cities on the Dothraki Sea that were of Ghiscari origin: Ghazdaq and Hazdahn No. The cities of Sarnor also sound more Valyrian to me: Essaria, Sarnath, Kasath, Sathar, Gornath, Sallosh, Saath and Morosh. It's possible that Sarnor was a client-kingdom of Valyria founded later on, or an amalgamation of Valyrian influences and more local origins. If Sarnor covered most of the western and central Dothraki Sea, its ancestors could have been more peaceful versions of the Dothraki who were keener to settle down.



On this basis, the Ghiscari borders could have pushed down into the Red Waste to Qarkash and as far east almost to the Bone Mountains. However, Adakhakileki and Yinishar sound like they could be part of a different cultural tradition. The former sounds like it could come from the same naming convention as Kayakayanaya, to the north-east beyond the mountains.


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The Lands of Ice and Fire also clearly shows cities on the Dothraki Sea that were of Ghiscari origin: Ghazdaq and Hazdahn No. The cities of Sarnor also sound more Valyrian to me: Essaria, Sarnath, Kasath, Sathar, Gornath, Sallosh, Saath and Morosh. It's possible that Sarnor was a client-kingdom of Valyria founded later on, or an amalgamation of Valyrian influences and more local origins. If Sarnor covered most of the western and central Dothraki Sea, its ancestors could have been more peaceful versions of the Dothraki who were keener to settle down.

On this basis, the Ghiscari borders could have pushed down into the Red Waste to Qarkash and as far east almost to the Bone Mountains. However, Adakhakileki and Yinishar sound like they could be part of a different cultural tradition. The former sounds like it could come from the same naming convention as Kayakayanaya, to the north-east beyond the mountains.

....map?

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Sarnor could easily have been a northern version of the Kingdom/Triarchy of the Three Daughters, i.e. a sort of alliance/amalgamation of a bunch of former Valyrian colonies that either united directly after the Doom, or after a brief period of independence (as the Triarchy did). We don't yet know if the Kingdom of the Three Daughters formed itself after the Volantenes were defeated shortly before the Targaryen Conquest of Westeros, or whether this union was a sort of answer to the rise of the new dragonlords in and the unification of Westeros.



Sarnor could also have been an independent kingdom before it ended under the Valyrian thumb. If that was the case, it's easily imaginable that they recreated that kingdom immediately after the Doom (especially if they realized the threat the Dothraki posed). They could have withstood the Dothraki for some time, I imagine, if we assume that the Dothraki were limited to the regions surrounding Vaes Dothrak during the height of Valyrian power. It would have taken them decades, or perhaps even a century to lay waste to all the cities between Vaes Dothrak and Qohor.


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The non-Valyrian roads might have been later additions. Looking at the geography, it also appears that Sarnor was a successor-state founded in the north which prospered for few decades before being destroyed by the Dothraki. Otherwise, if it existed prior to that time it should have Valyrian roads in its interior as well (Sarnor appears to have extended east past those big lakes from the city names). I don't recall it being confirmed if it was possible to destroy the roads with effort (the Dothraki might have expanded that effort, whilst the Free Cities saw no reason to), or if they were completely indestructible. The former might be the case; if Ghiscar was ruled by Valyria for 5,000 years (or 4,600, rather), I find it unlikely that the Valyrians would not have built their highways there as well, and the Ghiscari would have had more reason to destroy the roads in a fit of vengeance.

I think the lack of Valyrian roads in most of Sarnor proper can be explained by the great availability of big rivers that are presumably navigable. Why build roads when rivers provide an easier mean of communication? This is suported also by the fact that the northern network of Valyrian roads end in Sarnath, which sat in one of those rivers, while three great cities, Saath, Morosh and Sarys were located in the mouths of that river network.

The fluvial communication network could also account for the fact that the hill country in eastern Sarnor appears to have been one of the most heavily urbanized regions in the known world. It was probably faster to go down by barge to the Bay of Tusks and then by galley to Sarys and Morosh than it would have been to go by land.

There is a tapestry in Meereen in ADWD which shows a Ghiscari army defeating a Valyrian one and taking the survivors back as slaves. That indicates that the Valyrians used conventional forces in warfare, and may have preferred not to have deployed the dragons unless absolutely necessary.

It may have taken time to breed enough dragons for the Valyrians to have enough overwhelming superiority that they could crush the Ghiscari once and for all.

Sarnor could also have been an independent kingdom before it ended under the Valyrian thumb. If that was the case, it's easily imaginable that they recreated that kingdom immediately after the Doom (especially if they realized the threat the Dothraki posed). They could have withstood the Dothraki for some time, I imagine, if we assume that the Dothraki were limited to the regions surrounding Vaes Dothrak during the height of Valyrian power. It would have taken them decades, or perhaps even a century to lay waste to all the cities between Vaes Dothrak and Qohor.

The Dothraki being limited to the vicinity of Vaes Dothrak is also supported by the heavy urbanization of eastern Sarnor. However, the destruction of Sarnor and Omber probably took considerably less than a century. Khal Temmo attacked Qohor pretty soon after the Doom, around 400 years ago. That means that the destruction of Sarnor was pretty fast. Either that, or Temmo went straight thru the plain between Sarnor and the Painted Mountains and attacked Qohor directly, but that doesn't ring right to me.

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Or unless dragons can alight on a ship without setting it on fire or getting entangled in sails.

Moondancer, smaller than a horse, might accomplish that. Older and bigger dragons... how is a sailing ship adapted/designed to be dragon carrier?

We know the number of dragonlord families of Valyria. 40. Targaryens with 5 dragons at exile were one of the lesser families. This suggests for me that the total of Valyrian dragons may have been something like 300 (if Targaryens had been average, it would have been 200, but they were one of the lessers).

Targaryens´ exile was unusual and scorned as weakness - but not punished or forcibly prevented. So at Doom, there would have been 300 dragons in Valyria, just 5 at Dragonstone, but 0 anywhere else like Volantis or Lys.

Targaryen dragons preferred Dragonstone as well, yet Targaryens kept many at Dragonpit. As of the Dance, they had 10 ridden dragons total (4 in Dragonpit, 6 on Dragonstone) plus 3 ex-ridden ones (on Dragonstone). But while they travelled the country, they do not appear to have posted dragons or riders elsewhere in peacetime.

How do we know that they had dragons by the time of the doom ?

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How do we know that they had dragons by the time of the doom ?

Not sure if I understand this question correctly. Do you mean did the Valyrians still have dragons 400 years ago when the Doom struck?

If so, the answer is yes they did.

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Not sure if I understand this question correctly. Do you mean did the Valyrians still have dragons 400 years ago when the Doom struck?

If so, the answer is yes they did.

But how can we be certain that they had? Where exactly is it mentioned?

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But how can we be certain that they had? Where exactly is it mentioned?

Aenar Targaryen had 5 dragons when he evacuated the family to Dragonstone 12 years before the Doom and his was considered one of the less powerful dragonlord families. It stands to reason that the rest of the dragonlords in Valyria had considerably more.

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Aenar Targaryen had 5 dragons when he evacuated the family to Dragonstone 12 years before the Doom and his was considered one of the less powerful dragonlord families. It stands to reason that the rest of the dragonlords in Valyria had considerably more.

Something I found interesting was, if Aenar had 5 dragons, and they were an ancient family, how come they ONLY had 5 dragons?

We see that the Targs, starting with just 3 dragons at the Conquest, had about a dozen dragons by the time of the Dance of the Dragons, 130 years later.

Surely over the course of 5000 years the Targaryens would have increased their dragon numbers way beyond just 5.

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Good question, FNR.



The best I can come up with is that perhaps in Valyria they controlled the dragon population. Just because the Targaryens were a minor dragonlord family, they couldn't be allowed to own more dragons than the great families. And the great families number of usable dragons would be restricted by the number of members of that family.

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Prince Daemon indicated that the there have been civil wars in Valyria, involving dragonrider infighting just a later during the Dance. Those things would have greatly reduced the number of dragon the families involved had.



It's also possible that the Targaryens were allowed to take as much of their dragons as they could carry (i.e. the members of the family could/would only take their personal mounts, not any riderless dragons they may have had as well). Transporting huge dragon by ship would have been difficult in any case, but only the ridden dragons could have been taken out for a ride. Riderless dragons would have spend the whole way from Valyria to Dragonstone - if we assume that they went directly there, which I don't - on the ships. That could have been dangerous.



Taking riderless dragons with them could also have been forbidden because they could have ended in non-Targaryen/dragonlord hands. The Targaryens could have sold them to the Volantenes or the Lyseni on the way, and it's pretty obvious that they were not allowed to have dragons (else they would have had some, when the Doom stuck Valyria).


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Aenar Targaryen had 5 dragons when he evacuated the family to Dragonstone 12 years before the Doom and his was considered one of the less powerful dragonlord families. It stands to reason that the rest of the dragonlords in Valyria had considerably more.

Ok. I was of the impression that Valyria experienced something similar to what happened to the dragons in Westeros. Hence the need to construct continent spanning roads for the purpose of quickly moving armies to rebellious provinces.

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The Valyrian roads were important for the 99.99% of the population who didn't have dragons ;)



It's also said that most of the Valyrian dragons laired in the Fourteen Flames themselves (most of them apart from the Targaryen ones, it appears), so were at Ground Zero when the Doom struck and had no chance to survive. This is also why the Doom is said to have caused the loss of magic in the western world, because it destroyed the dragons in the process.


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