To build these wonders, the Ptah-Hamuts used their wealth of resources to feed great armies and enslaved the "lesser peoples" of the continent. Eventually, their conquest spread across the sea to the east, they conquered the fallen kingdoms of Sindahar and established the second part of their empire-- Raj-Hamut "land of princes". This was a means to an end:
From that point onward, the first born of the god-king was the heir to the throne of Ptah-Hamut. If the god-king had twins, the second born would become the heir of the reining maharaja. The majaraja's firstborn would be his heir, if not supplanted by the pharoah's twin child, and/or his other sons would be rajas of small princedoms of Raj-Hamut. The rajas battle for control of their small kingdoms but all under the command of the maharaja in the capitol of Kuthkuta.
This created a unique balance of power between members of the royal family that would last for several centuries until the god-king Nexret had twin daughters Wadjet and Nekhbet. This was a problem for a variety of reasons.
The war also sprouted the first slave rebellion. The slaves that fled during the civil war formed the first wave of colonists of modern Zafaria along the Nadjabadi coast.
It was during the following between the following period, between the 57th and 60th centuries, that the cult evolved so that a serpent, the supposed descendant of the cosmic serpent and Wadjet, calling itself Apep II became the new pharaoh of Ptah-Hamut. Snake cults are a constant in Hamutian history and this one managed to sit itself upon the throne. Apep II was a serpent of gargantuan size, power and intellect. Only through a rebellion led by slaves, who would later become modern Zafarians who settled in Jalatia, was the snake cult overthrown and the pharoah's line properly restored.
But the god-king's empire has been in decline ever since that indignity.
This cultural revolution has allowed Raj-Hamut to flourish as an empire of individuals. But have they too began to fall behind the rest of Sublanarya?
GEOGRAPHY & ARCHITECTURE
Hamutia is a vast region stretched across two continents and different regions represent a variety of environments that vary intensely across each expansive landmass. If there was anything that immediately distinguishes the region and separates it from the northern continent of Sublanarya, is that Hamutia is significantly warmer and hosts a variety of greater extremes on that end of the climate spectrum.
Those who survive in the desert do so by clinging to springs and oasis they can find and/or moving from livable scrap of land to livable scrap of land. These desert dwellers must avoid the dangers of the desert and the slavers of the pharaoh while surviving the harsh weather. After all, in some parts of the Desert-Sea, it is said that the heat reflected off of the sands can roast exposed flesh.
The most legendary and dangerous region of Raj-Hamut is Devibala, the Island of Small Gods, which is a sacred place forbidden to all but the natives and believed to be visited by the gods. It is also home to giant beasts, demons, spirits, and other threats that make it inhospitable and the misty island is shrouded in mystery.
POPULATION DEMOGRAPHICSThe demographics of Hamutia are broken up into Ptah-Hamut and Raj-Hamut. The most notable difference is the lack of classic "demi-humans" such as dwarves or elves in this region. Dhole also make up a considerable amount of the population of Hamut.
Ptah-Hamut: 80% human, 10% dhole, 5% catfolk (cheetah, lion), 5% other.
Raj-Hamut: 80% human, 10% dhole, 5% catfolk (leopard, tiger), 10% other (including yuan-ti haathraji (elephant folk), and aarakocra)
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
The government structures, that is the ruling power, behind both empires is reflective of their similarities and differences:
They represent ma'at by wearing special vestments and decorations representative of their own divinity and participating in many special rituals meant to reflect that history of their gods and the journey of the afterlife. This sets forth an example for the masses. One such example is the Boat Festival of Yasar. In the festival, the pharaoh's river fleet travels down the river, lit with lanterns and divine magic, and at the end of the journey he tosses a box filled with a offering in parts, representing Yasar's body, into the river. It is not unheard of for the offering to be the recently dead body of a servant of the god-king. Human sacrifices are generally frowned upon but not unheard of in this kingdom. After all, the interpretations of the will of the gods is in the god-king's hands and a mad king does come along.
The god-king sets forth laws and decrees, the priests refine them and export them throughout the kingdom from Aneb downriver, and the local authorities, usually made-up of local prominent leaders, merchants, priests, and retired military officers enforce the will of the god-king. Criminal law is very absolute and unforgiving in Ptah-Hamut.
Thieves lose fingers or hands, heretics lose tongues and murderers are tossed to the crocodiles.
The various rajahs rule over their princedoms as they see fit, only beholden to the maharaja, and means that things vary greatly from princedom to princedom. After all, if only military action, which is especially rare on the behalf of the maharaja, or threat of revolt are the only thing that prevent a sultan from becoming too greedy than things can become dire quickly. Popular revolts are often led by the priest caste against cruel princes and neighboring rajas are expected to keep their brethren in check but a powerful enough raja is immovable except by divine intervention..
The core mythos and practices of the religion of Raj- and Ptah- Hamut have already been heavily discussed in A House Divided: The Hamutian Religion.
The most important take away from that is that the difference between their religions is the absolutism of Ptah-Hamutian interpretation and the multiplicity of different views by Raj-Hamutian religion. Ptah-Hamuts believe in the very black and white order of the universe and Raj-Hamuts have an evolving dialogue on their place in the universe. The latter extends to any number of cults and spiritual schools that permeate through out Raj-Hamut. The variety can be staggering with priests to any number of unusual cults and dead religions.
MILITARYThis region is steeped in military history with many battles and wars and yet, in recent years, have quickly began to lag behind the advances of modern combat. That said, they have one major factor on their side that have always worked in their favor: the sheer numbers that compose their national military.
Ptah-Hamut conquered their lands by overwhelming tribes and lesser civilizations with a combination of chariot cavalry, archery, and their sheer numbers. The sheer size of their military, on land or by river, is something to behold. Their numbers are kept strong by a large military built up of professional soldiers in volunteers who, during the rainy season, have nothing better to do than train in combat if they already don't have engineering jobs building monuments. A military career is considered the noblest of professions in Ptah-Hamut and those who die in combat are honored greatly. War heroes are celebrated in their home cities and the honored dead are often mummified and preserved alongside their god-kings to protect them in the afterlife.
But a large army of professional soldiers isn't enough.
In both places, able-bodied male slaves are bought up for various armies, trained in combat, and put on the front-lines. Those that survive combat are well-rewarded and, if not dying "a glorious and honorable death", maybe even receive freedom in exchange for their services at the end of a successful campaign.
The first thing that comes to the mind when many think of Hamutia is slavery.
Slavery exists throughout Sublanarya, but only in Hamutia is there such a profound history and culture that promotes and patronizes the slave trade. The "livestock" in this despicable trade are caught by professional mercenaries and pirates, bought from criminals and warlords, children sold by their parents and/or conquered by the Hamutian military. These unfortunate peoples are then transported to a major slave market such as in Itzarna or Undai. From there, individuals and slave merchants buy the slaves at auction to be sent to the four corners of Sublanarya.
These slaves are usually broken by the slave merchants before being resold again. Most of these slaves wind up as laborers in mines, quarries, farms, lumber yards and other difficult places throughout Hamuta. Others are trained for military service or gladiatorial arenas. Females, children and exotic specimens usually wind up in the hands of wealthy nobility to serve their masters as attendants, maids and company. Some unlucky women are forced into selling their bodies by brothel masters. The only opposition to the cruelty of the slave trade comes from abroad, especially from Zafaria (although Zafarian pirates are part of the problem) and the Iaurdin Empire (who are hypocrites that send criminals to die in the Dragon Mines of Smolder).
In Hamutia, slavery is just seen as part of the nature order.
In Ptah-Hamut, the same deserts that make survival such a challenge also provide quarries of good stone and metal that they send far abroad. Slaves are forced to work in these mines, until death.
Taxes in Ptah-Hamut are collected, it is worthy of note, in the harvest. The government pays for labor and services in exchange for larger shares of this grain that they divide among the leaders of the various cities and settlements who then divide it back among their people.
In Raj-Hamut, the Emerald Empire is a extremely rich in resources with good lumber, fruits, vegetables, dyes, textiles, and more that are highly desired abroad.
Both Raj-Hamut and Ptah-Hamut rely on Zafarians to export their goods abroad.
TRADITIONS, ENTERTAINMENT & FOOD
While Ptah-Hamuts are slaves to their traditions, Raj-Hamuts revel in the pageantry of their traditions.
This is all indicative of the strength of these communities in face of the difficulties that would divide them.
In a land that manipulates the forces of life and death to achieve a better outcome in the afterlife, undeath is sure to be at the end of many a tomb corridor.
Mummies and zombies are a serious concern in Ptah-Hamut. From time to time, a mummified noble arises, raising up an undead army, and wreaks havoc upon the people. Such threats are seen as a failing of the people to properly carry out funeral rites and maintain tombs.