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This is an article for the Middle East in the World of Darkness. Please see also Egypt and Mediterranean for more information.

The Middle East is an umbrella term for several nations, the greatest being Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Throughout its history the Middle East has been a major center of world affairs; a strategically, economically, politically, culturally, and religiously sensitive area. This is especially true in the World of Darkness, as the Middle East has also the sad reputation of being one of the ancient birthplaces of Infernalism. In the Modern Nights, Islam is the dominant religion in many parts, but several other religions, under them Christianity and Judaism, claim these lands as their home.

Vampire: The MasqueradeEdit

The Camarilla and the Sabbat hold little sway in the lands of the Middle East. These are the ancient territories of Clan Assamite and they guard it jealously against outsiders. Thanks to expansion from other cultures, such as Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire, the Crusades and several others, a great variety of Cainites dwell in the desert cities, much to the chagrin of hardliners within the Clan. Most of the vampires native to the Middle East have embraced Islam long ago, organizing themselves into a muslim sect called the Ashirra. This, however, is widely an escape for one of the more disturbing (for vampires nonetheless) phenomenons of the Middle East: The Keening. Each vampire resting within the boundaries of the Middle East can feel the course of the sun as a cacophonic howl even in Torpor. As a result, most turn to Islam or similar religions, which grants them a small way of support against the daily torments. Ashirra presence focuses mainly on the the Eastern Quarter of Arabia, and only the most devout choose to live in western Arabia, near Mecca and Medina, to prove their devotion by expose themselves to the full effect of the Keening.

Besides the Assamites, Followers of Set and Malkavians claim the Middle East as their ancestral homelands. Other Clans include the Brujah, Lasombra, Toreador and Nosferatu, who have risen to prominence following the advent of Phoenicia, the Hyksos, the Diadochi and Islam respectivly. Before their demises, the Cappadocians and Salubri had a strong presence in these lands as well, just as the Children of Osiris did in the Modern Nights before their near extinction. Gangrel and Ravnos have wandered the deserts since the earliest nights and Ventrue had their domains in these lands since the split between the Western and Eastern Roman Empire. Another, more darker truth is that the Baali also call these lands home and their darkest temples and organ pits still lie hidden in these lands.

Cainite archaelogists place the original sites of the First and Second City in the boundaries of the Middle East.

Werewolf: The ApocalypseEdit

As the birthplace of human civilization, the Children of Gaia and the Warders of Apes both originate in the Middle East. As the wolf population became more rare and the centers of human culture shifted to other regions, most left the Middle East. Remaining pockets of these two tribes, alongside Black Furies who had followed Alexander, Bone Gnawers who live in the slums of the great cities, Red Talons that fought to preserve the remaining wolf populations and Silver Fangs from Rome, who would later found House Wiseheart, kept a vigil on these lands. In modern times, many Silent Striders have returned, as the Set's curse begins to lift.

The constant warfare and suffering in the Middle East feeds the Wyrm and Pentex weapon-smugglers ensure that it doesn't stop. Ananasi and Nagah live hidden in the deserts and mountains, as do many Ajaba that have fled the genocidial war of Black Tooth.

Mage: The AscensionEdit

Thanks to the effortless work of the Taftani, the paradigm in the Middle East is more flexible, allowing magickal acts that would be considered vulgar in other parts of the world. The most notorious of these Consensus-deviating locations is Afghanistan, where technomagic is considered vulgar and subject to Paradox, much to the Technocracy's (and several armies of the world's superpowers) chagrin. The Umbra of the Middle East is the home to the Djinn, spirits of remarkable independence that mankind learne to bind to their service during the rule of Solomon.

Two crafts dominate the Middle East: The Ahl-i-Batin, a former Tradition holding the Seat of Correspondence, who have embraced Islam and are centered around Jerusalem, Iran, Iraq and Mecca; and the Taftani, blatant conjurers of pre-islamic traditions that are masters of using Djinn for their magic and have strongholds in Jordania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and the deserts of central Arabia. Since 1997, the Technocracy is effectivly driven from the Middle East, the most popular remaining being Void Engineers of the EFD that cartograph the arabian deserts. Traditions that have holdouts in the Middle East are the Euthanatos from the Golden Chalice, the Order of Hermes in the form of House Janissary and Ecstatics and Choristers that flock to regional practices ( the ecstatic rites of the dervishes, the devotion in several holy places etc.) that appeal to them.

A darker part in the history of the Middle East is that it was once, in the time of Babylon and Sumer, the birthplace of the Nif'ur en'Daah, the first Nephandi. Cities like Bhât and Gehenna ruled over frightened populations that covered before their dark masters. In later times, the Age of Devil-Kings was founded by the rogue Batini Ishaq al-Iblis, which would last for six hundred years until the rise of Mohammad. Although their temples have been destroyed, many Devil-Kings had hidden stashes of their forbidden knowledge, which ahve remained secure throughout the ages.

Wraith: The OblivionEdit

The Shadowlands of the Middle East, called Mantaqat Khayal by the natives, were used to be locked into an eternal maelstrom of sand by the sheer intensity of the Keening. Only Necropoli offered shelter against the constant wailing and the only way through them was to use the ancient caravan lines forged through a millennium of use by Nabatean traders and the devout living. These paths had been controlled by ancient families of wraiths that had prospered from the business of ferrying the dead safely along trade lines and pilgrimage routes.

The exact political orientation of the Mantaqat Khayal was never stated, but it can be assumed that they fell under Stygian jurisdiction, as the only other Dark Kingdom near the Middle East was the Shadow Realm of Amenti.

The Mantaquat Khayal were torn asunder by the Sixth Maelstrom.

Changeling: The DreamingEdit

The three main Changeling organizations in the Middle East are the Caliphate of Cedars focused on the Levante, the Sultanate of Hejaz centered around Arabia, and the Empire of the Caucasus focused on Turkey and the Caspian Sea. Few western Changelings travel there, but the Eshu bring with them tales of bountiful crafts and impressive architecture, and Pooka and Satyrs tell that Noble and Commoner alike is welcome without distinction in the lands of the Middle east.

Demon: The FallenEdit

The Middle East was (and is) the center of numerous Earthbound cults, starting with the summoning of Abaddon and Asmodeus in Akkad and Sumer. While Abaddon would later relocate to Greece and Asia Minor, Asmodeus secretly influenced mortal mystery cults, Mithraism being one of them. Infernalists would later recall dozens of Earthbound into the world, whose cults battled each other for the amusements of their masters. But the Middle East was also one of the first places of resistance against the Dread King, evident in the lore of the Hebrews and the teachings of Zarathustra. When monotheistic religions began to dominate the spiritual landscape and the Earthbound were on a general decline, Belial tried to use Jerusalem to sow dissent between them, resulting in a series of holy wars that only amplified the Faith of the poeple in their one god, draining the ressources of the Earthbound even more. Many fell into slumber by the time of the 1600s and only recently, cults prop up that begin to turn away from monotheism and to the demons that once ruled over the Middle East.

Many Fallen also have a presence in the Middle East, but are more cautious than in the Western World. Convictions run strong in the population and few of the fresh released demons want to face potential witch-hunters. The abundance of Sacred Ground also makes movement difficult.

Mummy: The ResurrectionEdit

The Middle East makes up a great deal of the Lands of Faith, with centers in the Web of Faith like the ruins of Persepolis, Jerusalem, Jericho, Petra, Mecca and Medina (and with disturbing blanks like the Rub Al Khali, where once the center of the Devil-King Empire stood) that provide the Reborn with a constant flow of Sekhem.

Many Nations within the Middle East are now locked in struggle with each other and with much of the rest of the world over matters of politics and faith. Their ancient glories and ruins call to the Amenti as do the agents of Apophis that lurk in the shadows stoking the flames of conflict and feeding off the results of their work. Although the servants of Apophis and Set were at first taken aback by the power of the Web of Faith, they've learned to pervert its power to their own ends by spreading religious extremism and conflict, and by sowing the seeds of mistrust and intolerance. The Amenti struggle to prevent the power of faith, their greatest strength, from being turned against them.

Hunter: The ReckoningEdit

Parallel to the christian Inquisition, the Ikhwan Al-Safa are hunters that stride to keep the night safe by using islamic teachings and doctrines to fight against the monsters. In Israel, Judges try to safeguard their people from predators of the night. Arcanum agents are drawn to the mystical sites in the Middle East to study them and gain a greater understanding of the underlying forces of reality. Akritai and Inquisitors sometimes travel to Jerusalem and Istanbul respectivly, to immerse themselves in their faith and display their devotion to God.

As with everywhere in the world, Imbued have appeared in the Middle East after 1999, although their numbers are too few to form any coherent organizations.

OrpheusEdit

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TimelineEdit

  • Prehistory: Caine invents murder and deceit when he kills his brother Abel, fundamentally altering existence. The War is suddenly lethal. Abel's death also triggers a storm in the underworld.
  • Prehistory:The Grand Experiment. Lucifer selects 10 of his most trusted retainers and sends them to teach humankind the secrets of not only Creation but of Heaven as well. This knowledge spawns the Civilization of Ashes where human cities rival those built by the angels and include cities built upon oceans, mountains, deserts, and jungles. Enoch is likely one of these cities.
  • 10500 BCE: The Beth-Alpha Synagogue in Galilee mosaic has encoded time indicators pointing to this year.[1]
  • 9600 BCE: Ananasi Jericho Euler helps to build the ancient city of Jericho.[2]
  • 4000 BCE: Assamite antitribu Izhim ur-Baal was Embraced.[3]
  • 4000 BCE: Babylon's first settlers arrive.[4]
  • 4000 BCE-2800 BCE: Thanatoic and Ecstatic cults arise in India. The Akashic Brotherhood takes form in China and Tibet. Babylonian priest-scientists discover principles of geometry and astronomy, harnessing the power of mathematics and the heavens to the human will. Druid priests and practitioners of magic raise Stonehenge in accordance with the movements of celestial bodies. [5][6][7]
  • 3800 BCE: Sumer's Uruk period starts at about this time.[8]
  • 3800 BCE: Babylonian tablet series named "The Day of Bel" is thought to have been written during this time, the reign of Sargon I, King of Agade.[9]
  • 3500 BCE: Artisan-priests of Babylon discover sacred geometry and astrology.[6][10]
  • 3200 BCE: - 2900 BCE: Sumer's Jemdat Nast period, best described as an extension and decline of the Uruk period.[8]
  • 2000m BCE: A massive meteor of near civilization-destroying proportions may have landed somewhere in the desert in the Middle East.[11]
  • 2900 BCE - 2370 BCE: Sumer's Early Dynastic period.[8]
  • 2000m BCE: The hero Gilgamesh ascends to the throne of Uruk.[12] Kindred offer him the Embrace, but he decides against it due to the intervention of Siduri Sabitu, a Child of Gaia, and he rejects the Embrace and turns the people against the Kindred.[13]
  • 2500 BCE: Archmagi Djhowtey and his wife Sesheta are active in Phoenicia (located in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and in Egypt. The two are responsible for the creation of the alphabet.[14]
  • 2300 BCE: Sargon of Akkad gathers seers and magicians and conquers the Sumerians. All Mesopotamia comes under his rule.[10][15]
  • 2100 BCE: In Sumer, Uthegal's rule is usurped by on of his lieutenants, establishing the third Ur dynasty shortly before this point.[12]
  • 2000 BCE: The Sumerian society collapses when the Amorites migrate into the area and gain control of the region.[12]
  • 1856 BCE: Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. This occurs because Lot turns his daughters over to the mob to be gang-raped, and in response, Black Furies descended upon the cities via moon-bridges and destroy them. [16]
  • 1830 BCE: Hammurabi orders the construction of Etemenanki ("the foundation of heaven and earth"), a seven-tiered ziggurat.[17]
  • 1500s BCE: The mages of Etemenanki, the first Labyrinth, create a gate.[17]
  • 1300s BCE: Founding of Judaism. The Weaver influences it with the seed of Dogma. The semi-Incarna of the Patriarch eventually forms.[18]
  • 1220 BCE: Moses leads the Israelite Exodus, performing many miracles along the way.[6]
  • 1120 BCE - 630 BCE: Ma'inite period.[10]
  • 1020 BCE: Hebrews found kingdom in Palestine.[10]
  • 900s BCE: A small sect of priests, The White Veils of the Temple live in the Holy Land.[19]
  • 996 BCE: Suleiman the Wise is born.[10]
  • 966 BCE: Suleiman founds the city of Palmyra, in what is now central Syria, northeast of Damascus. It was to become a major trade centre at the junction of several trade routes.[10]
  • 965 BCE: Suleiman becomes king of Israel; moves to consolidate power in the Lands of Faith by building a massive Temple in Jerusalem at the confluence of many Ley Lines, in accordance with Hermetic principles. This upsets the balance of power between humans and Djinn in favor of humans.[20][21][22][23]
  • 965 BCE-937 BCE: Suleiman raises temple and assembles many of the basic tenets of Hermeticism.[6]
  • 950 BCE: Career of the archmagus Solomon, king of Israel. Solomon wrote three magickal texts, of which two (the Greater and Lesser Keys of Solomon survive in watered-down editions. The unabridged books later form the basis of the Order of Hermes.[24]
  • 945 BCE-930 BCE: The great khans and pashas of the Invisible World decide that the meddling of humans in "their" world must come to an end. The 10,000 Djinni Plague begins in 645 BCE.[10][15][25] Malicious spirit hordes invade the Middle East. Suleiman contains many; early Arab sorcerers capture or destroy the remainder in or before 930 BCE.[6][10]
  • 939 BCE: Suleiman compiles and releases the Solomonic Code.[10]
  • 928 BCE: Suleiman the Wise dies under mysterious circumstances.[10]
  • 800 BCE - 115 BCE: The Sabaean period.[10]
  • 612 BCE: Scythians and Medes sack Nineveh. Black Fury Leukippes and her pack fight in the battle. [26]
  • 600s BCE: According to the Nephite Priesthood, God grants secret wisdom to the Nephi.[27]
  • 600s BCE: Many Enuma Anu Enil fragments are inscribed at this time.[9]
  • 1095-1192: The Crusades. Many Hermetic magi accompany Crusader regiments to the Middle East, and bring back new scrolls and insights into alchemy and mathematics, invigorating the Houses.[28]
  • 1191 CE: Khalid Al-Rashid, a Muslim war leader, is Embraced by Alexius, a Byzantine Nosferatu because Alexius believed that the best way to drive Islamic influence out of Palestine was to corrupt their leaders. Khalid's first reaction to his Embrace was a violent Frenzy that claimed the life of many of his followers. He was saved from the rays of the sun by a Jewish hermit, who taught him about his state and the kabbalah.
  • December 23, 2003: A mysterious and massive outbreak of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, has sparked panic and fears of an epidemic or worse in Egypt and throughout other parts of the Middle East. Over the past week, over 600 newborns between the ages of six weeks and less than 24 hours have died of unexplained causes in hospitals throughout Egypt. Physicians and medical experts say that while sudden and unexplained deaths do occur with some infants, the breadth of this outbreak is completely unprecedented and may represent an unknown infection of some kind. “SIDS is not a contagious disease,” says Dr. Mariq Hanoush of Cairo. “This epidemic clearly involves something beyond simply random chance. Frankly, we’re at a loss.” Egyptian authorities have declared a state of emergency and called upon the assistance of the World Health Organization. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also volunteered experts and resources to aid in both isolating and containing the cause of the fatalities.[29]

ReferencesEdit