Capricia was a small city-state that thrived for around a century on the Maesk River during the mid First Chaotic Period. The site was never rebuilt, and the river shifted course; leaving it in a relative desert. The Tell left behind by the city was excavated during the Golden Age and proved to be well-preserved, including a cache of manuscripts that shed much light on the city and its inhabitants.
Size and Occupation
Conservative estimates put the population at around 40,000 at the city's peak; but most scholars agree, it could have been considerably higher. While some private homes existed, most families lived in large, interconnected communal dwellings, with central heating and sophisticated natural ventilation systems. Families had individual belongings such as dishes and clothing, but many items were shared communally.
By all accounts, Capricia had a loose caste-system separated into four groups:
The primary distinction was between a "slave" and a "citizen". The slaves of Capricia formed an indentured servant class. Slaves were fed, housed, and allowed to have families; they were considered the property of the city and did not belong to individuals. Though they were not paid for their labor, they could earn extra rations of food which could be traded for other goods (grain being the common currency of the city). A female slave could earn her freedom by bearing a child for a barren woman of any of the other classes, and slaves of both genders could earn freedom by serving in the military. It was also common practice for slaves to simply be granted the status of citizen simply by being skilled or contributing more than was expected of their caste.
In many ways, the working-class had it worse-off than the slaves. They had to earn money and pay for housing necessities; but they often had the pick of much better jobs. Surviving documentation does not indicate a distinction between skilled and unskilled labor, but it seems that low-skill tasks such as picking crops or grinding flour were generally reserved for the slaves, while tasks requiring ingenuity or skill went to workers. Some of the surviving accounts of the city seem to indicate that at times, the lines between the two classes were heavily blurred.
Tradesmen were the skilled workers of the city, and often the most wealthy. This class included merchants. Anyone skilled in the making of things was likely to be a trader.
The priests were responsible for the city's religious practices, as well as government and defense. Soldiers were not considered a separate caste as they were mostly conscripts, with very few professionals.
The caste system was not considered rigid, with individuals being able to move between them with some degree of freedom. Learning a trade, while often a challenge for a worker, was certainly possible. Likewise, children born into the slave caste were not automatically considered slaves, though did usually end up as such. Children could be sold into the slave caste by their parents, often as a form of taxation. Slaves were not completely barred from joining the priest-caste, but doing so was very uncommon.
Because of annual floods on the Maesk River, very little infrastructure was built on the banks. The city was made overlooking the river on a nearby hill to provide both some geographic protection as well as to defend against floods. The peoples of Capricia cultivated the fertile land on either side of the river, which was renewed by the annual floods. Irrigation was used to supply an abundance of water, and because of the warm climate, the people could grow three or four crops a year. Livestock could be kept outdoors, and large flocks were possible. All the people of Capricia, including the slaves, ate meat regularly.
Farm land was considered communal. A certain amount of acreage had to be planted every year to meet the city's basic needs, with private crops being grown further up and down stream, or on irrigated land further away from the fertile riverbanks. The wealthiest members of the worker caste were specialist farmers, who grew spices and other flavorful food crops. The people of Capricia enjoyed a rich and varied diet.
Capricia was founded by multiple groups who came together in the region, and as such was not religiously homogeneous. The priest-caste was actually made up of multiple belief systems and more responsible for maintaining piece between the different groups as well as serving everyone's spiritual needs. The city had four temples, each of which appeared to serve a variety of gods. Festivals alternated between "Celebration" and "Countenance", with adherents expected to respect the varying belief systems of each group.
Capricia is believed to have been founded around 3300 B.G.A., in the mid First Chaotic Period. The region was sparsely populated before then, and the founders were a number of disparity groups from neighboring regions who came together to form a cooperative society. The city was effectively "built on nothing", with the founders having only the tools they brought along and natural resources to work with. Most of the construction was mud-brick and reads, since wood had to be brought in at great expense and stone was too time consuming. Some fired clay bricks were found, but typically only in aqueducts.
The city flourished for about 130 years. The exact cause of it's destruction is unknown, but it was mostly likely invaded and sacked by a more powerful neighboring city-state. The city was razed, and any surviving population dispersed. What is known is that it was not rebuilt, only one cycle of construction was found during the excavations.
Around a century after Capricia's destruction, the river Maesk changed course, shifting gradually by more than fifty miles. This would undoubtedly had completely doomed Caparicia as the region was left a barren, dry desert afterwards. Any remaining stragglers would have been forced to leave.
For the rest of the Mage Wars, the region was inhabited only by nomads and very small, semi-permanent settlements around the few remaining water sources. The remaining tell was mentioned by a few times, and was occasionally the focus of treasure hunters, but by the Dynastic Period had been forgotten.
During the Golden Age, prospectors located the ruined city while searching for gold. It was not difficult to spot, but was in a region considered "utterly hostile" to human life. Still, an expedition was mounted, and a fair amount of the city excavated and documented. Researchers were able to identify the place from surviving records, and it became a well-known site for study of early Mage Wars-era culture. Excavations continued for around ten years, but the area was too far off the beaten path for long-term study. With the cache of documents recovered, the city would continue to be studied, albeit only from notes, throughout the era of the Alliance.