Under Feet of Clay
“Space is the greatest thing, for it contains all things.” – Thales, Sage of Science
Overlooking the Archon Bay, the city of Dikethaleos is a wonder of architecture. Home to several academies and workshops, the city is surrounded by quarries and mines. Rich in copper and iron for making weapons, with marble and granite for construction, Dikethaleos is also known as the Unburning City, as there is so little wood or straw that an enemy army could not burn the city to the ground.
In ancient times, the Sage of Science inscribed circles and triangles in the dirt here while contemplating the nature of numbers and space. Thales understood that through mathematics, even the gods had their limits, and people flocked to hear his lectures and understand his proofs. Ultimately, he departed with the other Sages, leaving an academy built in accordance with his architectural plans behind. Since then, other temples have sprung up and grand agoras, coliseums, and theaters have been built. In accordance with Thales’ teachings, the sciences that each have an academy in Dikethaleos are Mathematics, queen of the sciences, Physics, Medicine, Alchemy, Architecture, Rhetoric, and Philosophy. The collected campuses of these academies, or colleges, is known as the University of Dikethaleos.
However, a city cannot survive on academics alone. The city relies on trading its stone and metal for income, and feeds its populace by fishing the native octopus from the bay and farming tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Because the mighty plains stretching to the southwest are also under Dikethaleos’s control, they also enjoy oxen and occasionally horses. One breed of horse, the Hipandrax, is even large enough for a warrior to ride into battle, and so the Hippiomachs form a cavalry that patrol the edges of the Dark Forest of Chaos.
Learning and literacy determine social standing in the City of Scholars, with the Doctorae being the city’s leaders. Established as the masters of their fields in the academy, the Doctorae gather to pass laws and policies for the city. Beneath them are the Educated, those who have demonstrated competence in one of the sciences. Beneath them are the Literati, those capable of reading and writing and who make up the majority of the population. Under these are the Ignorant, the class that cannot read script or write their name, but are still free farmers and laborers. At the bottom are the slaves, though many slaves are taught to read and write to assist in their work. Some consider an educated slave to be of more value than an Ignorant, and as such the Ignorant are famously hostile toward slaves who demonstrate their literacy.
The people of Dikethaleos are considered to be insular and snobby by other cities. However, in times of uncertainty a city will send a messenger to an Oracle as well as to a Doctorae. With a pride earned by years of mastering a topic, Dikethaleons with an education are often dismissive of other views, though slaves see the city as a beacon of hope for bettering themselves. Its population is roughly 40% human, 20% dwarf, 20% Halfling, 10% gnome, 5% tiefling, and 5% other. Heroes from Dikethaleos trace their blood to Basilus and Pius before all others.