Saldaea


Saldaea

In the fictional world of Robert Jordan's fantasy series "The Wheel of Time", Saldaea is the westernmost of the four Borderlands, larger than Shienar and Arafel combined. Maradon is the capital of Saldaea; her Queen is Tenobia. The Marshal-General of Saldaea is Davram Bashere, uncle to Queen Tenobia and lord of Bashere, Sidona, and Tyr. His daughter, Faile Bashere, is wed to Perrin Aybara, childhood friend of Rand al'Thor -- the Dragon Reborn, unwilling "ta'veren", and Lord of the Two Rivers.

Saldaeans have bold, prominent noses and slightly up-tilted, almond-shaped eyes. (Perhaps phenotypically based on certain Central Asians--i.e., the Kazakhs--except the clearly bi-racial Sheriam.) While as ferocious in battle as any of the Border nations, their equestrian skills are undoubtedly superior; no other nation in Randland can match Saldaea for her famed and effective use of light cavalry. Saldaean soldiers often carry serpentine swords. Saldaean men usually have long moustaches.

The author has stated that Saldaea is based on "a number of Middle Eastern cultures, and several cultures in countries surrounding the Black Sea"; in particular, there are a number of similarities between Saldaea and historic Mongolia. The description of Davram's lordship is a revision of an old phrase identifying the neighboring regions of "Bashan, Sidon and Tyre" in the northwestern Middle East--once commonly used to identify the northernmost reach of the ancient Kingdom of Israel.

Women

Saldaean women are almost a breed apart, known as they are for their fierce loyalty and strength of will (not to mention temper). For Saldaeans, war is a family affair. The wives of officers and nobles accompany their husbands on all campaigns except those into the Blight. A traditional farewell from a Saldaean wife to a husband going to battle is "If you fall, I will take up your sword." While not trained with the sword, Saldaean girls are quite skilled both with knives and in hand-to-hand combat. All Saldaeans are armed with at least a knife at all times; in Saldaea, steel is not bared unless it will be used.

Economy

The Saldaean economy is strong; built upon the trade of furs, wood, and ice peppers. Saldaean goods fetch high prices at markets as far away as Tear and Shara.

The "sa'sara"

Another important part of Saldaean life is the "sa'sara", a dance outlawed by several Saldaean queens for its indecency. While known by virtually every noblewoman, few would ever admit to the knowledge. Apparently, the "sa'sara" has the ability to drive men wild. The "sa'sara" is known to have started three wars and sparked two rebellions, among many other smaller disturbances.


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