The Amarr – Minmatar War: Faith and ConquestTarek Raimo
Some time ago, I wrote a synopsis of the Caldari-Gallente war and declared it a more interesting subject than the war between Amarr and Minmatar. I stand by that statement, but it would be unfair to give treatment to one conflict while neglecting the other. This will be a vastly different piece of historical narrative, however. While the Caldari and Gallente fought as equals with clashing ideals, the battle between Minmatar and Amarr developed from the struggle of an oppressed people against a colonial power. As it sadly happens in such cases, the history of the Minmatar effectively became one with the history of the Amarr for long stretches. Still, this is a classical story of faith and conviction on both sides, leading to immense suffering and bloodshed.
God’s Chosen People
When the first of New Eden’s stranded colonists took to the stars again in 20572, they came from a civilisation built upon a universal religion and a strong feeling of manifest destiny. As a people, they had turned their homeworld into a hierarchical theocracy ruled by an emperor and a caste of high priests. The dominant ethnic group of that world called themselves Amarr after their original island home. Hence they named their planetary dominion the Amarr Empire. Their global regime was held together by religious convictions including a belief that they were destined to reclaim New Eden as God’s chosen. The religious zeal and sense of providence which fueled this Reclaiming drove them to colonise their own solar system and eventually expand the Amarr Empire beyond its boundaries. By the year 21290, the Amarr had built the first stargate to the neighbouring system of Hedion and in the centuries that followed they expanded ever further. Despite internal struggles and the emergence of aggressive heretical sects, the Empire conquered the scattered remnants of human colonies they found during that expansion period. It had long been considered a god-given right that a conqueror may enslave the subjugated, and so the Amarr assimilated several peoples of whom only the Ealur and Ni-Kunni are remembered in name. When the Empire discovered the first space-faring civilisation in 22355, the fates of both nations became tied to one another for centuries to come.
The Amarr encountered the interstellar society of the Minmatar, an alliance of seven tribes that had colonised several worlds in the constellation around their home system Pator. Although the Minmatar had not yet developed the technology to build stargates, they had discovered ancient acceleration gates and developed unparalleled propulsion systems. Many of the tribes had been nomads for ages, so they followed the ancient interstellar routes like their ancestors would follow the natural pathways of their homeworld Matar. In the centuries since the warring tribes of that planet had united to become a global culture, they had developed a strong, proud civilisation based on venerable traditions and an impressive excellence in engineering, but nothing prepared them for the military might of the Amarr Empire.
The Day Of Darkness
Despite considering them beneath their level, the Amarr did not take the Minmatar lightly. Probing raids showed that they were a rebellious and belligerent people. Consequently, any campaign against them would have to be swift and decisive. After more than a century of covert operations, the opportunity came for the Amarr to strike in the year 22480. Due to a major instability in the planetary climate, the population of Matar was confronted with massive storms on a global scale. During this planetary emergency the Amarr attacked the heart of Minmatar civilisation, destroyed the defenses of the tribal homeworld and spread through the Pator system, devastating military and civilian infrastructure alike. With their fleets crippled and their communication systems in complete disarray, the Minmatar were virtually helpless when a fleet of slaver vessels descended upon their colonies and abducted millions. Some of the smaller settlements were completely depopulated and only on Matar itself did the Amarr meet any significant resistance.
While the raid was a resounding success, the Amarr also realised that the fierce Minmatar would not be conquered as easily as the civilisations the Empire had encountered before. Instead, the Amarr continued to raid colonies and kept destroying any defenses the Minmatar would rebuild. The final blow which broke the cohesion of the Matari tribes came when Emperor Damius III managed to convince the leaders of the Nefantar tribe that they could remain free if they cooperated and sold their fellow Minmatar into slavery. In an effort to spare their own population, the Nefantar leaders agreed and started to deport all unaffiliated Matari on their homeworld Hjoramold and adjacent systems into the hands of Amarr slavers. The other tribes were appalled by this betrayal, but the Amarr emperor kept his word. After a final raid into Pator which lead to the total collapse of the Minmatar as a unified civilisation, Damius III granted the Nefantar the Ani constellation as their own dominion. The majority of the last tribe to remain fully free converted to the Amarr faith and the emperor would henceforth refer to them as the Ammatar. What remained of the other tribes adopted that term as an insult reserved for the worst of traitors.
After the final sack of Pator in 22485, those who managed to escape slaver raids formed resistance groups and guerilla armies which harassed the Amarr, but could do little to prevent the continued depletion of any colonies that were still left. By the time Damius III died in 22620, the vast majority of Minmatar had been enslaved and their worlds became part of the Amarr Empire for hundreds of years.
A time of peace and prosperity for the Amarr Empire followed during which the Ammatar enjoyed rapid progress and increasing wealth as imperial vassals. Their former brethren endured a much more terrible fate, though. In an effort to “improve” on their slaves, the Amarr subjected the Minmatar tribes to a systematic regime of brutal eugenics to weed out the weak and breed the most desirable qualities into their slave population. This Human Endurance Program cost countless lives and caused immense suffering, but the Amarr kept going until it eventually resulted—among other things—in the breeding of an unconditionally loyal army of slave soldiers: the Kameiras.
Peace did not last indefinitely however. In the past, the Amarr Empire had already seen its share of byzantine intrigue and civil war, and the next internal conflict came after the succession trials following the death of Velenus IV in 23041. Traditionally, the losing heirs were supposed to commit ritual suicide after the new ruler had been determined, but this time the headstrong Khanid heir Gharkeh refused to do so, declaring “I will not be ordered by some whimpering fool to destroy myself when my work is unfinished. You will not take anything from me, not my kingdom, not my people, and least of all my life.”
Gharkeh withdrew his family and followers to the region house Khanid held as their dominion. To make matters worse, Gharkeh had been the supreme commander of the Imperial Navy, and as such he managed to commandeer one of the two titan warships the Amarr had built. He also had the loyalty of many admirals and commanders who followed him with their fleets when he declared independence. In defiance of the Theology Council, he chose an inverted imperial sigil as the arms for his Khanid Kingdom. The Amarr glyph symbolises the supremacy of God over mankind, and by turning it upside down Gharkeh Khanid declared himself above religious law.
The Empire was thrown into disarray by this defection and rather than retaliating against the Khanid, the new emperor Heideran VII opted for consolidating internal affairs. Initially, Heideran hoped to make the rebellion fail by supporting Dakos Khanid, the younger brother of the self-proclaimed king who remained loyal to the Empire, but Dakos failed to undo his brother’s work and got killed as a result. In another effort to strengthen his own position, Emperor Heideran VII suppressed the religious order of St. Tetrimon and declared their leader a heretic. Formed in 21460, this orthodox sect sought to uphold the purity of Amarr scripture and prevent it from being amended in ways that would benefit the agendas of individual Emperors or the Theology Council. Naturally, that put them at odds with the ruling authorities and Heideran VII would not risk any further internal dissent. To spite the Amarr Empire further, the newly minted king Khanid II granted the order asylum. That was the final move which forced the Emperor’s hand and he ordered the invasion of the secessionist kingdom, but by then he was too late. Ironically, the Khanid military had gained valuable experience during Dakos’ rebellion which had been supported by the Amarr, and when the attack came, they were battle-hardened and well prepared. Faced with potential defeat, Emperor Heideran VII slowly reduced the war effort until it became no more than a series of border skirmishes.
The Empire also had other issues to deal with on the home front. The Privy Council was the secular advisory body for the Emperor and traditionally it was comprised of five imperial heirs to prevent ties during decision making. With the Khanid gone, a replacement had to be found to prevent a political stalemate. The Emperor thus elevated the wealthy and powerful Tash-Murkon family to the status of imperial heir. That caused displeasure within the traditionalist house Ardishapur who resented the choice because the Tash-Murkon bloodline had come from the Udorian ethnicity – a people the Amarr had subjugated long ago during the time when they were still fighting to unify their homeworld. Consequently, the Ardishapur considered the Tash-Murkon unworthy.
The Ardishapur, however, did not get much opportunity to contend with the Emperor about his decision as they got under pressure from the authorities themselves. Moving against them, the Theology Council persecuted Arzad Hamri, an important vassal and personal friend of Arkon Ardishapur, head of the house. Hamri had developed an increasingly liberal attitude towards his slaves. He granted them leave, established educational programs that would keep their tribal culture alive, and even created special scepters of office granted to valued servants. Arzad Hamri’s slaves belonged almost exclusively to one tribe, the Starkmanir, and because of his leniency he had earned their unified respect. The Theology Council, however, deemed those actions heretic. Not in the least because the “obsidian scepters” which Hamri awarded made use of the Amarr religious symbols in unacceptable ways.
Arkon Ardishapur tried to downplay the problem but was eventually forced by the Theology Council to prosecute his friend to the full extent of the law—which meant the death penalty. Seeing their well-liked lord put to death lead the Starkmanir to rise up in rebellion. The turning point of this uprising came when the court-slave Drupar Maak struck down Arkon Ardishapur with one of the scepters Arzad Hamri had created. In retaliation, the Imperial Navy was ordered to completely destroy the Starkmanir tribe and for a long time it was believed that they were annihilated during that campaign. It would only come out many decades later that the Ammatar had secretly evacuated large numbers of Starkmanir and hid them among their own slave population.
The End Of Isolation
Despite all the setbacks, the Empire reigned supreme and unchallenged for centuries and its expansion continued in great strides once the jump drive was invented in 23058. The Amarr thought themselves the undisputed rulers of New Eden. They considered their Reclaiming a success and thus proof that they were God’s chosen, until they encountered the first Gallente in 23180.
Shockingly, these strangers were not only a technologically advanced civilisation—easily capable of challenging the Amarr militarily—they also appeared to be a complete anathema to the Amarr way of life. Secular, hedonistic, and democratic, the Gallente embodied everything the Empire rejected and it soon became clear that they were too powerful to be conquered. The upsetting nature of that meeting was alleviated slightly when the Caldari were encountered soon thereafter in 23187.
While the Amarr considered the Caldari a stoic and faithless people, they were somewhat consoled by learning that these corporate pragmatists were engaged in a war with the Gallente. At least the Empire could rest assured that those two foreign cultures had better things to do than bother with them, but the supremacy of God’s chosen was put into doubt by these encounters.
An opportunity to reassert the divine mandate of the Amarr Empire did present itself—or so it seemed—in 23191. Another culture made contact with the Amarr, and those people—known as the Jove—appeared to be a peaceful, docile civilisation of scientists and philosophers with no significant military power. The Amarr saw an opening to demonstrate their might and gain a foothold in the northern regions of New Eden by subjugating and enslaving the Jove.
That proved to be an error of judgement which would shake the very foundations of the Empire.
 He called himself the second because in ancient times the Khanid on the Amarr homeworld were once ruled by a king.