+ inload; The Hesiod Romantic Rebellion +

+ The Alien Wars +

+ Histories of the Antona Australis sector: The Hesiod Romantic Rebellion +


The Hesiod Romantic Rebellion (M36.398–408) occupies a peculiar position in sector history, as it exemplifies both the zenith and nadir of Imperial politics. Celebrated in local myth and song, the Rebellion lingers in the popular imagination, perhaps owing to the larger-than-life characters on each side, and perhaps owing to the massive structural changes in sector politics. The conflict drew the ancient houses of various subsectors against one another in a massive power struggle that left the sector's political capital on Grovsenor in the Anton Antecedent subsector.

Following the Scribe Wars of the 33rd Millennium (M33.199–802), governance of the sector had been relocated to Hesiod, which cemented its political dominance through being used as the base of operations for elements of the famous Astartes Chapters of the Sons of Spectra, Emperor's Hawks and White Consuls during the War of Heretics. During these centuries, Hesiod and the subsector around it swelled in importance as diginitaries, trade merchants and myriad others flocked to the area. Meanwhile, subsector Anton Antecedent lay in the doldrums, disgraced by the trouble caused during the Scribe Wars and seemingly unable to regain its lost glory. The Siculus subsector, previously a backwater, began to grow in influence thanks to its proximity to Hesiod.

Spin-rimwards of the Antona Australis sector. Imperial subsectors in blue.
Interactive map accessible: [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]
Hesiod bathed in a golden age for a number of centuries, which was crowned by the planet producing a High Lord of Terra. This state of affairs was to change during the Nova Terra Interregnum crisis that gripped the Imperium. Hesiod's government was traditionally based in the teachings of the Ecclesiarchy, and the fateful decision was made by Ecclesiarch Martial II to support Constantium (Nova Terra) rather than Terra; a decision that – while it had few concrete repercussions – officially declared every other subsector as supportive of this move. Outraged, subsector Anton Antecedent rebelled en masse. The pragmatic Imperial Commanders of Anton Antecedent had dwelled patiently and built up substantial political backing, and they led an protest against Hesiod that drove trade away and increased the strain on the Hesiod subsector's income. Even so, the wealthier and more influential subsector would almost certainly have broken the rebellion if it were not for an opportunistic Imperial Commander from Siculus called Sebastian Bachwhit. Bachwhit was an incisive and talented political agitator, and he successfully encouraged the Siculus subsector to secretly undermine Hesiod, by drawing armies away under the pretext of xenocidal campaigns and retrenchment.

Martial II was incensed by Bachwit's furtive actions, but the political weather had changed, and his influence on sectorial matters was shrinking. He was unable to persecute Bachwit as this would risk antagonising his friends in the Siculus subsector; and Hesiod could not stand alone against two subsectors. Frozen into an embarrassing political wilderness, that was accellerated by the defeat of Nova Terra and the re-trenchment of Anton Antecedent as a viable political entity, the centuries following saw Hesiod and the Ecclesiarchy in general shrink in influence during the Age of Apostasy. Senator Luxa Abraxon, the head of the new Grovsenor Consulate, made it plain who now wielded power by proposing a merging of the Hesiod and Siculus subsectors. As Abraxon raised her ally close Bachwit to the Consulate, it became clear that Hesiod would be the junior in the new sector.

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+ Escalation +

Matters might have continued sedately if it weren't for the sudden and suspicious death of Sector Ecclesiarch Martial II and his successors as they campaigned furiously against the proposed merger. The Hesiod Epidemic – as the crisis became known – saw seven Ecclesiarchs assassinated in as many years, which caused huge turmoil across the whole sector and brought fresh piety to many. Numerous petty wars and rebellions broke out across Antona Australis as the Siculan, Hesiod and Anton Antecedent subsector governments struggled to assert political dominance or hold on to power.

Under the leadership of Saint Remuel, the world of Hesiod began to gather political momentum once more. With old grudges and political fractures more apparant than ever, and the threat from xenos all but absent from the principal subsectors, the stage was set for an apocalyptic conflict. Inspired by a popular romantic myth of Hesiod as having a divinely-given right to rule the sector, the dashing Marshal Bron of Memini successfully engaged the Ambitine Fleet and forces of Magna Grecia, sparking war between the mighty armies of the Hesiod and Anton Antecedent subsectors. No love was lost between the old rivals; and many millions perished.

Open warfare continued for five years, until the Siculus subsector – previously neutral – entered the war. Having allowed the two more powerful subsectors to break against each other, Bachwit began his own claim for power; assassinating his lover Abraxon and declaring himself Dicator-for-Life over both the Siculus and Anton Antecedent subsectors. He had lofty support, including the Hammers of the Emperor and Stellar Steeds Chapters of the Astartes, against whose forces neither Hesiod nor Anton Antecedent had an answer.

Desperate, Marshal Bron blackmailed Horsa (known as the Oathbound), then-Althing (high king) of the Iron Staff League to join him. Anti-abhuman feeling was high owing to the political winds – the Age of Apostasy was drawing to a close, bringing influence back to the Ecclesiarchy and giving thoughts of 'purity' to the broader Imperium. The addition of the powerful abhuman faction to the war tipped the balance too far. Despite Horsa's determinedly defensive stance, limiting his forces to keeping supply lines open and providing reserves to the Hesiod forces, the governments of Siculus and Anton Antecedent joined forces against Hesiod, resulting in the swift defeat of their armies. Saint Remuel was martyred in M36.405, and Marshal Bron was killed by Captain Titus of the Hammers of the Emperor later the same year. Without their charismatic leadership, the Romantic Rebellion collapsed.

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+ Conclusion and aftermath +

Open warfare continued between Hesiod, Siculus and Anton Antecedent until M36.407, when the Diet of Bronnling was instigated by the Inquisition. Intended as a conclave of the various subsector governments to reach a political compromise; Sector Ecclesiarch Martial VI of Hesiod played a brilliant move, turning the Diet into a show trial of Althing Horsa. In one fell stroke, the three simmering Imperial subsectors found a common enemy; accusing the Iron Staff League of orchestrating the whole affair and creating the war. The Althing was found guilty of sedition against the Emperor and executed. The Hammers of the Emperor and Stellar Steeds led the combined might of the sector against the League, removing it from sector politics and allowing the three subsectors a face-saving political climbdown.

+ Sebastian Bachwit and Consule Shm Vin. +
At this point, Ecclesiarch Martial VI of Hesiod, Sebastian Bachwit of Siculus and Shm Vin, head of the Grovsenor Consulate were all relatively well-placed. Thankfully, Martial VI was both a deeply pious and starkly pragmatic man. Recognising that Hesiod's time in the sun had passed and that further warfare served no-one's purposes but the enemies of the Imperium, he graciously withdrew from direct involvement in sector politics – leaving Siculus and Anton Antecedent eyeing each other warily. The stand-off was short lived, as Bachwit – increasingly filled with regret over the cold-blooded murder of his lover earlier in the conflict – committed suicide in the closing days of M36.408, effectively ending the war.

With no political rivals, governorship of the sector defaulted to Shm Vin, whose first motion before the Consulate was to merge the subsectors Siculus and Hesiod into a new combined sector in order to combat the increasing threat of the orks of the Scallop Stars. Linked by a common foe, the two subsectors bonded through blood shed together during the resultant Eorta Crusade and the Scallop Star Purges.

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