Today we write the first page of a new history: our history. Each of you must play his part. Put down this rebellion. - For Archadia! We fight!
- —Vayne Solidor
The Archadian Empire (アルケイディア帝国, Arukeidia teikoku?) is one of the main political powers in Final Fantasy XII. A vast empire to the northeast of Ivalice, it is the largest empire on the continent and can be considered the game's primary antagonist.
The mightiest sovereign state in Valendia. Originally a republic governed by an active senate, the rise of the military brought about the shift to an imperial system 200 years ago. With the change in governance, Archadia began invading its neighboring lands, quickly becoming the largest realm in Ivalice. While in the past the emperor was traditionally of military extraction, a purge of key figures in the military by the politically powerful House Solidor led to the installation of a line of Solidor emperors which continue to this day.
- —Sage Knowledge
A small kingdom before the Galtean Alliance, Archadia prospered during peacetime and grew to be Ivalice's mightiest republic state. Ruled by a cadre of senators, the might of its military turned Archadia into an empire subjugating its neighboring lands. Emperors were chosen from those most active in the military, but when the House Solidor took over 200 years ago things began to change. To ensure their rule was absolute, they created a law system that benefited them, introducing the Judge system in Archadia. Archadia expanded into smaller nations, taking their lands, and ruling over them with the same level of law as in their capital.
The Rozarrian Empire did not agree with Archadia's imperialistic advances, and so hostilities developed between the Empires. Cidolfus Demen Bunansa, the Empire's leading magicite researcher, treveled to Jagd Difohr and happened upon the ancient city of Giruvegan and the Occuria Venat. The Occuria are the most powerful beings in the world of Ivalice, referred to as "The Undying," though their existence is unknown to Ivalice at large. Occuria are concerned with controlling the course of Ivalice's history, and offer nethicite to a man who would subjugate other nations as they directed. Seven hundred years ago the Occuria chose King Raithwall as their Dynast King, and had him unite Ivalice in the Galtean Alliance wielding three pieces of deifacted nethicite gifted to him by the Occuria.
Venat disagrees with the Occurian philosophy and wants to instate its own "Dynast King" to undermine their influence in Ivalice. When Cid traveled to Giruvegan Venat teamed up with him, and came to Archades with him, teaching him how to manufacture manmade nethicite. The manufacted nethicite bolstered the Empire greatly, and the Venat-Cid duo gained the aid of the emperor's son, Vayne Carudas Solidor, who set up the Empire's war against Rozarria. As the Empire moves to steal the shards cut by Raithwall from the locations they conquer, the rest of the Occuria are enraged at Venat's heresy. The other Occuria decide to bring forth a new Dynast King to destroy Archadia and restore the status quo they had created.
Archadia invaded Nabradia to claim its Midlight Shard, a piece of deifacted nethicite and an heirloom of the Dynast King. Judge Magister Zecht was ordered to test the shard's power, and in doing so he unwittingly destroyed the capital of Nabradia. The spent remains of the Midlight Shard ended up in Cid's possession, but Judge Zecht went missing, plagued by guilt of what he had unknowingly done. With Nabradia fallen Archadia turned its gaze toward the kingdom of Dalmasca and its Dusk Shard. The invasion succeeded as the Nalbina Fortress fell, and Vayne orchestrated the Dalmascan King Raminas assassinated to strip the kingdom of sovereignty. With the Dalmascan princess announced to have committed suicide the kingdom was left without an heir and becomes governed by the Empire.
As Vayne is sent to the Dalmascan capital of Rabanastre to rule the kingdom as its consul, he searches the royal palace for the Dusk Shard but comes up empty-handed. Unknown to Vayne, the Dusk Shard was stolen by a common street thief Vaan who is ignorant of its significance. Vaan's excursion to the palace is enabled by the diversion when the Resistance attacks the palace to remove the consul. The Resistance is led by Princess Ashe under an alias, but the attack is repelled and she is captured and imprisoned aboard Judge Ghis's Dreadnought Leviathan.
Vaan ends up teaming up with a band of friends, among them Basch fon Ronsenburg of the former Order of the Knights of Dalmasca, who seeks Marquis Ondore's aid of the supposedly neutral skycity of Bhujerba to save Ashe. Vaan, Basch and their friends are brought before Ashe and Ghis and while Basch attempts to negotiate for their freedom by promising to reveal the location of the Dusk Shard, the shard begins to glow in Vaan's pocket to the presence of Ashe pointing her out as Raithwall's kin and the rightful heir to Dalmasca's throne. Ghis seizes the nethicite and sends it out to Cid in Draklor Laboratory, while Vaan's party breaks Ashe free from Ghis's Dreadnought.
Ashe leads her new companions to the Tomb of Raithwall to claim the Dawn Shard, the last of Raithwall's heirlooms, to prove her royal lineage to ascend the throne of Dalmasca, but her fellow Resistance leader Vossler York Azelas is a turncoat and hands her and the Dawn Shard over to Ghis. Instead of sending the shard to Cid, however, Ghis falls to delusions of grandeur and while attempting to evaluate the stone's power ends up releasing the Mist it inhabits and destroying the Archadian Eight Fleet and the Dreadnought with it, while Ashe and her friends flee.
The incident discredits Vayne who is recalled to Archades. He begins to believe the senate will bypass him for emperor, instead giving the throne to his younger brother Larsa Ferrinas Solidor instead, whom the senate deem easy to manipulate due to his youth. The emperor Gramis Gana Solidor is of ailing health and the question of his succession is to come up soon. Unsure who should inherit the throne, he tasks Judge Magister Gabranth, Basch's twin brother, with keeping an eye on Vayne and reporting back to him to discern his true intentions, as the emperor is aware he is scheming for something behind his back. In truth, Vayne is in league with Cid and Venat, planning on becoming Ivalice's new Dynast King and ruler. Meanwhile, Judge Magister Drace worries what is to become of Larsa should he inherit the throne, for when the senate realizes he is not one to be manipulated, he could be in danger of being assassinated.
The Occuria choose Ashe as their new Dynast King to overthrow Venat and Vayne and manipulate her by creating an image of her dead husband Lord Rasler, which she mistakes for his spirit come to deliver her guidance from the beyond. Larsa wants to avert the looming war as Marquis Ondore of Bhujerba steps down and covertly begins to assemble a Resistance against Archadia. Larsa attempts to have both Rozarria and the Gran Kiltias Anastasis of the Light of Kiltia faith recognize Ashe as the queen of Dalmasca giving her legitimacy as a sovereign, and then have her propose peace to the Empire. The plan falls apart when it is learned Vayne has murdered his father, disbanded the senate and taken the throne. Out of the Judge Magisters only Drace opposes Vayne's ruthlessness, and when she tries to arrest him for high treason the other Judges turn against her, and Vayne orders Gabranth to execute her as a test of loyalty, knowing Gabranth had been spying on him on Gramis's behalf. Gabranth reluctantly executes Drace, silently vowing to protect Larsa in her stead.
Judges Gabranth and Zargabaath pick Larsa up from Mt Bur-Omisace where the Light of Kiltia's temple is located while Ashe and her friends are away in the Stilshrine of Miriam to claim the Sword of Kings, a legendary sword said to be able to cut through nethicite. The sword had been given to the Gran Kiltias by Raithwall himself to look over it as a neutral party, and the current Gran Kiltias, seeing Ashe as Raithwall's heir, lent her the knowledge of its existence and whereabouts. When they return they find the Gran Kiltias slain by Judge Magister Bergan who has been augmented by manufacted nethicite in his bid to support Vayne and driven mad as a result. He declares Vayne the new Dynast King and to wash Raithwall's blood clean from Ivalice, but Ashe and her friends kill him. Bent on going to war against the Empire, Ashe heads to the Draklor Laboratories with the Sword of Kings to destroy the nethicite in Doctor Cid's possession.
They infiltrate the lab and run into the mysterious sky pirate Reddas who had been tasked by Marquis Ondore to steal the Empire's nethicite. Reddas, however, believes all nethicite in Ivalice should be destroyed. They confront Cid who flees with the Dusk Shard in hand, informing them he is heading for Giruvegan. Ashe pursues Cid there and meets the Occuria who reveal their intent of controlling Ivalice's history as Man's path is too volatile and bent on war and violence. The Occuria give Ashe the Treaty-Blade to cut new shards of nethicite from the Sun-Cryst, tempting her to use its power to take revenge on Archadia and restore Dalmasca. When she reaches it, however, she realizes Rasler would not want her taking revenge and realizes what she thought was his spirit was just an illusion created by the Occuria. As she decides to destroy the Cryst instead, Dr Cid reintegrates the Dawn, Dusk and Midlight Shards to the Sun-Cryst that begins to spill Mist over Ivalice rousing Archadia's largest battleship, the Sky Fortress Bahamut. Despite Venat's protection Cid perishes, and the Sun-Cryst is destroyed by Reddas with the Sword of Kings revealing his true identity as that of the missing Judge Zecht.
Marquis Ondore's Resistance forces meet the Archadian airfleet in the battle above Rabanastre. Vayne oversees the war from the Bahamut's flightdeck alongside Larsa, who opposes the war. Ashe's party infiltrates the Bahamut and Larsa and Gabranth joins them in the struggle against Vayne. Vayne strikes Gabranth down, and Venat fuses its powers with him, transforming Vayne into The Undying, but Ashe and her friends defeat Vayne even with his enhanced powers. Vayne apologizes to Venat for not being a true Dynast King, but Venat tells Vayne that with the destruction of the Sun-Cryst the age of stones is over and their goals have been fulfilled and that they will walk the path of death together.
As the malfunctioning Bahamut begins to fall from the sky, Larsa accompanies Ashe to her party's airship and announces over the radio his brother fallen in battle and himself the new emperor of Archadia, calling a ceasefire. Ashe becomes the queen of Dalmasca and maintains peaceful relations with Archadia, the war averted. Basch takes up his brother's identity and becomes a Judge Magister and stays on Larsa's side as his bodyguard as per Gabranth's deathbed wish.
A large coastline that expands far over Archadia. Anyone traveling by foot will arrive here first. There is a Hunter's Camp located somewhere along the beach.
Grasslands that connect Archades to the lower parts of Archadia. The area is overrun by monsters, making prolonged travel here undesirable.
A network of caves under old Archades and Archadia, it possesses intricate palace chambers built during the Galtean Alliance. Deep within its halls lies the fearsome Hell Wyrm.
The lower sections of Archades. Once the main part of the city, it has now become a slum for lower class people. It is thought that once you come down here, you never leave.
The heart of the Archadian Empire, and its capital. The Imperial Senate is located here in the Administrative District. The city is run by members of the aristocracy, who generally look down upon those who are at a lower social status. Archades is a very segregated city. A social sign in the city is the wooden chop. The more you have of these chops, the higher your social status, and the more parts of the city you can access. Archades is also home of the famous Draklor Laboratory.
A giant laboratory run by Dr. Cid. It researches many things, from airships to weaponry. Recently however, all the lab's resources have been dedicated to developing nethicite. Entrance is impossible, unless you know the right people.
A port city, inhabited mainly by pirates, including the famous Reddas. While it is located in Archadia, the city tries to retain neutrality as best it can. This town is one of the few ports left, and one of the only ways a traveler can reach Mt Bur-Omisace from Archadia.
Wilderlands north of Balfonheim. There are many windmills located here which the group of Craftsmoogles have been attempting to repair. Their true purpose has been long forgotten though.
The composition of Archadia is 95% hume, and 5% other races, including bangaa, seeq, and moogles, and even one nu mou is seen as part of a sidequest. No viera are ever seen in the Imperial City of Archades.
As seen in Final Fantasy XII, Archadians speak with distinct English accents, depending on their social status. The common people, most notably the rank-and-file soldiers, speak with a dialect resembling Cockney. The nobility, such as Vayne and Larsa, use a well-spoken "Queen's English" dialect.
Archadia is known for her fearsome military, the foundation of its power. Its military consists of troops, airships, and a navy.
There are several ranks in the Archadian military.
Being the rank and file of the Archadian Imperial Army. The greater part of the Imperial army is comprised of swordsmen. In addition are hoplites in heavy armor for charging enemy fortifications, mages for ranged support, and others still for various more specialized roles.
Dogs specially trained for battle. Their ability to follow commands and their unswerving loyalty make them a vital part of the Imperial war machine. Training takes place at the hands of skilled "beast tamers", with a mastiff usually requiring two to three years before it is ready to see combat.
Name given to a highly trained group of soldiers who have undergone the most rigorous selection procedures to become the pride of the Imperial army. Elites are separated into three divisions by role: gunners, being marksmen trained in the use of rifles; pilots, being combat airship pilots; and beastmasters, being those who train the mighty mastiff dogs that fight alongside Imperial soldiers. Those who make it past the selection process go to the Imperial military school known as the "Akademy", there to learn the specialist skills of their allocated division.
Dr. Cid has been working on developing thought-driven combat weapons, called "rooks", for some time now. Test models saw their first combat use in a recent incident at the Draklor Laboratory. Three new models have been produced based on data collected during the Draklor Laboratory incident.
A special order of knights under the Imperial Archadian Ministry of Law. With the spread of Archadian influence came a rise in crime and regional conflicts. To reduce the amount of time required by the judicial process, a military court was established, this being the origin of the Order of Judges.
- Main article: Archadian Judges
One of the most prestigious ranks within the Archadian Empire. The Judge Magisters act as chief arbiters and enforcers of Archadian law. They are also the commanders of the Imperial Army.
- Main article: Archadian Imperial Fleets
Archadia has many airships. Out of these, only the 8th and 12th fleet are shown. These fleets consist of airships of all shapes and sizes, but they are usually lead by Dreadnought Class ships, like the Leviathan.
Since the invention of the airship, Archadia's navy has decreased in size. However, it still vigilantly guards Archadia's coasts from anyone who would try to enter.
|"Theme of the Empire" from Final Fantasy XII|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
- Main article: The Archadian Empire (theme)
The "Theme of the Empire" acts as the anthem of Archadia. Its leitmotif is used in several tracks involving Archadia, such as "Coexistence (Imperial Version)", "Upheaval (Imperial Version)" and "Sorrow (Imperial Version)." "Theme of the Empire" is composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto.
In the original soundtrack, "Theme of the Empire" is the eleventh track in Disc 2.
Some of the Archadian troops appear as enemies in Final Fantasy Record Keeper.