Volantis also controls the Rhoyne as far as the tributary river Selhoru, and holds sway over the Orange Shore, west of the city. The ruins of Sar Mell lie northeast as well.
Volantis is the closest Free City to Slaver's Bay, lying approximately five hundred and fifty leagues from Meereen. Between Volantis and Slaver's Bay lies the Demon Road.
Volantis is a port city. Its large, deep harbor is ideally placed. Volantenes claim that the hundred isles of Braavos could be dropped into the harbor and disappear. Volantis spreads across the mouth of the Rhoyne and across the hills and marshes on both sides of the river. The older districts of the city lie upon the eastern banks, while the newer districts are located on the west. These two halves are connected by the Long Bridge.
Volantis was once the most populous of the Free Cities. The Volantenes feel that people of quality should not travel afoot, but instead by palanquin or in a hathay. Travelling afoot can taint a person in the eyes of both the native-born Volantenes and the foreign captains in the city. According to semi-canon sources the freeborn citizens tattoo themselves to show prowess in battle and as a record of their exploits.
The Old Blood refers to some of the population in Volantis, noble families who can prove unbroken descent from old Valyria itself. Only those of the Old Blood are allowed to live within the Black Walls of eastern Volantis, and only they can invite slaves, freedmen, or foreigners to enter. Freeborn Volantenes with enough property can vote. There are precious few voters on the western side of Volantis, over the river.
While Volantis was, at the time of the Doom of Valyria, the mightiest of the Free Cities, in the centuries that followed it had to give up that position to Braavos.
Volantis is key to the slave market, trading heavily with the cities of Slaver's Bay to the east. It is said there are five slaves to every free man in the city.
Volantis use coins, called "honors", with a crown on one face and death's head on the other as part of their currency. The honors are no bigger than a penny.
Volantenes are fond of sweet beets, which they grow in profusion and serve in most major culinary dishes in the city. They make a cold soup of the beets which is as thick and rich as purple honey. The Volantenes are known for their sweet red wine.
Few ships from Westeros come as far as Volantis, and those who do fill their holds with silk and spice from the Jade Sea, then bend their oars for home.
The board game cyvasse originates from Volantis, and its pieces are sold in the city.
Important Sites Edit
- The Black Walls is a great oval of fused black stone built two hundred feet high in the eastern half of Volantis, often called "Old Volantis". It's thick enough that six four-horse chariots can race around its top abreast, which is done annually to celebrate the founding of Volantis. Only scions of the Old Blood able to trace their ancestry to Valyria are allowed to dwell there.
- The Long Bridge is an old bridge that joins the two halves of Volantis across the mouth of the Rhoyne. It is a great span with a fused stone road supported by massive piers. It was built under orders of Triarch Vhalaso the Munificent.
- The Temple of the Lord of Light is a red temple in Volantis dedicated to the god R'hllor, the Lord of Light. The temple is protected by a private army of slave soldiers known as the Fiery Hand.
Volantis is ruled by three triarchs, chosen anually through festive and tumultuous elections. While foreigners might see the elections as chaotic, they are usually peaceful. All freeborn who own land, regardless of gender, are allowed to vote. They are chosen from amongst the noble families who can prove unbroken descent from old Valyria, and will serve until the first day of the new year. The triarchs of Volantis are considered so elevated that they are not allowed to have their feet touch the ground during their year of service. The elections last ten days, with much campaigning and bribery.
The triarchs belong to one of two political parties, the elephants and the tigers. The elephants are the party of the merchants and moneylenders advocating trade, while the tigers are old aristocracy and warriors interested in conquest. At no time has more than one tiger been named triarch. Some of the first elephants were women, one of whom, Trianna, was returned four times. Volantis has not had a female triarch for one hundred years.
Current Triarchs Edit
Volantis is the oldest of the Free Cities, founded at some point after the destruction of the Old Empire of Ghis. It was the first colony of the Valyrian Freehold, her "first daughter". Established to protect the borders of the Freehold, Volantis was little more than a garrison protected by the Black Walls for a hundred years. Wealthy Valyrians used this military outpost to take advantage of trade along the Rhoyne, however, and settlements quickly grew on both sides of the river. Construction of the Long Bridge to cross the Rhoyne began under Triarch Vhalaso the Munificent.
Rhoynish Wars Edit
Volantis grew powerful trading with Valyria and the Rhoynar, although the nearby Rhoynish city Sarhoy declined. This led to the lengthy Rhoynish Wars.
In the Second Spice War, the last of these wars, Volantis and three Valyrian dragonlords destroyed Sarhoy and sowed the ruins with salt to prevent the Rhoynish city from rising again. Prince Garin of Chroyane declared war and marched at the head of the biggest army Essos had seen. He won victories at Selhorys, Valysar, and Volon Therys, where he faced a hundred thousand enemies, a hundred elephants, and three dragonlords. After Volon Therys, the Volantenes behind the Black Walls asked the Freehold for help. The alliance between Volantis and the Freehold shattered Garin's host, and it is said the blood of the Rhoynar turned the great harbor of Volantis red as far as one could see.
Century of Blood Edit
After the Doom of Valyria, the Volantenes considered themselves the heirs to the Freehold and rightful rulers of the world. Those in Volantis were divided on how to achieve conquest against the other Free Cities. Those of the Old Blood favored war, whilst the moneylenders and merchants favored trade. These two factions became known as the tigers and the elephants, respectively. The tigers held sway for almost a century, and Volantis called for war upon the other cities, with the tigers leading the city into a great conflict with the other daughters. They were successful at first, taking control of Lys and Myr. When they tried to take Tyrosh, however, Pentos joined the Tyroshi, and Lys and Myr rebelled. The Sealord of Braavos provided ships to aid Lys, and Argilac Durrandon, the Westerosi Storm King, joined the conflict and led a host into the Disputed Lands.
Aegon Targaryen, Lord of Dragonstone, accepted an alliance with Pentos and Tyrosh against Volantis, flew to Lys, and set ablaze a Volantene fleet preparing to invade the city. Volantis was further defeated at Dagger Lake, where galleys from Qohor and Norvos destroyed much of the Volantene fleet which had been on the Rhoyne. Even Dothraki entered the conflict, falling upon the weakened Volantis.
In the end, the Volantene faction favoring peace, the elephants, took power from the tigers, and the fighting was at an end. For the last one hundred years, at least two of the three triarchs in power have been elephants.