Valyria is an ancient state on the Essos continent, which the birthplace of the House Targaryen. Vallllyria was the dominant power of its time, both militarily and culturally. With the help of dragons and, according to legends, the magic of the Valyriasubjugated most of the continent.
Although Valyria disappeared from the map of the world, its legacy remained: nine Free Cities – former Valyrian colonies – were risen on the west coast; in the east rose Ghiscarian city-states – the remnants of the once conquered Ghiscari Empire. There are still Valyrian roads, ancient scrolls, and weapons made of Valyrian steel – as legends say, forged with the help of enchantment and dragon fire.
The rise of the city-state of Valyria began about 5,000 years BC. The Valyrians were an isolated tribe of shepherds who grazed their goats among the gigantic volcanic mountains – the Fourteen Fires. In these parts resided dragons, and the Valyrians learned to tame them. Valyrian legends claim that the indigenous people themselves came directly from dragons, unlike all other people, and are the blood relatives of these winged creatures. The ancient books of Asshai, however, speak of a certain ancient unnamed people who tamed the dragons even before the Valyrians, led them out of the Shadow – a gloomy country on the edge of which lies Asshai itself – and taught the Valyrians their art
People and traditions
Valyria was an ancient republic. There was never a king or emperor in it. Officials, archons, were elected for a year. All free landowners, i.e. Valyrians who were not born into slavery and who owned land, had the right to citizenship and vote in elections; at least, such a system has survived in Volantis. In practice, power in Valyria was in the hands of powerful families – rich, ancestral, sorcerers, and, most importantly, dragons – the key to the power of aristocrats and the power of the whole. Very rarely and for a while, the power in Valyria was in the hands of one family, although it is impossible to say that such cases are unknown. There were about forty families of dragonlords in Valyria – they endlessly fought each other, rumbling and falling. The House Targaryen was far from the most powerful and rich of them.
The religious cult of Valyria is unknown, however, it is mentioned that the dragons of Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters are named after the gods of Valyria – Balerion, Vhagar, and Meraxes. This suggests that there were polytheism and a pantheon of deities in Valyria.
It is known that the Valyrian used hieroglyphics as writing and books in the form of scrolls, not volumes.
There were slavery and slave trade in Valyria, and their scale cannot be overestimated. Thanks to the successful wars in Valyria there were thousands of slaves who were used everywhere and were not valued. In particular, they were sent to mines, where most of them ended their lives. It was at such mines that the Faceless Men once emerged, worshipping the god of death. Braavos founded runaway galley slaves who rebelled in the Valyrian fleet and led the ships far north to establish their hidden city there.
The people of Valyria had blond hair with a silver tinge, or gold, and eyes violet, indigo color, purple or thick purple. It was this appearance that distinguished the representatives of the Targaryen, as well as the Velaryon and other small houses of immigrants from Valyria. However, in the Free Cities, especially the southern – Lys and Volantis – people with Valyrian appearance live more, and they can be found not only among noble people but also among prostitutes.
There is an assumption that there was no taboo among the patricians of Valyria for close marriages as early as the heyday of the Republic. Similar to the tradition in the house of Targaryen, it is assumed that due to the limited number of noble families (those that had tamed dragons), sooner or later (and for 5000 years – for sure) all houses would be in kinship. Therefore, in order to preserve the purity of blood, the taboo on incest did not exist. According to Catelyn in Old Valiria, the practice of marrying a sister and brother was commonplace.
It is known that the heyday of Valyria was a time when magic was a familiar craft. Perhaps that’s why Valyrian swords are so valuable: the excellent properties of metal were supplemented by spells as well. However, now the magical secrets that were possessed by the Valyrian blacksmiths, lost, and the Valyrian blades on the whole of Westeros are extremely hard to find. The same can be said about The Valyrian masons, who, according to rumors, worked not with their hands, but with fire and magic. There is little left of their art: Dragonstone Castle, straight as arrows, roads on Essos, and sphinxes scattered over the old possessions of Valyria. It is also known that the Valyrians produced giant obsidian candles, magically lit and burning with a still fire, which also discards color glare. They were used to observe remote places and to communicate from a distance.