Senntisten, also known as "Holy City", was the capital city of the Zarosian Empire, which existed during the Second and Third Ages. According to modern archaeological findings, Senntisten occupied the rough area east of modern-day Varrock and parts of Silvarea, making it one of the largest known cities in history. Senntisten is also home to The Empty Throne Room, the place where Zamorak and his accomplices overthrew Zaros near the end of the Second Age.
Beyond its reduced socio-economic influence and military capabilities, one of the main causes of Senntisten's gradual decline was demographic in nature, due to the increasingly tight grip imposed by the late part of the Gielinorian God Wars, as emerging gods had started occupying territories near the once prosperous city. The capital's prestige was so great that the opposed armies of both Zamorak and Saradomin became temporary allies in an attempt to crush the city, as it had firmly stood for thousands of years against all odds.
Before Zaros arrived on Gielinor, Senntisten was a small village terrorised by the beast god Loarnab. Zaros trapped Loarnab and used it as a divine powersource to transport his demonic forces from Infernus to Gielinor. The defeat of Loarnab and the arrival of thousands of demons intimidated the people of Senntisten to such an extent that they didn't even try to fight. They bowed down in worship of their new lord.
As his legions spread out and conquered more human tribes, Zaros remained in Senntisten, making it the capital of his new empire. Almost all of the villages population were converted into his priesthood and trained in law, religion, the infernal language and similar topics. Zaros sent many of the priests out to newly conquered territories as bureaucrats, emissaries and missionaries.
Senntisten continued to grow, as disaffected and pilgrims from all over the empire flocked there. The streets of the city became filled with elaborate temples, many of which were courts or schools, among other things. However, the population of priests and jurists could not support itself, and so the city relied on tributes from all across the empire to sustain itself.
The establishment of Senntisten, along with the rest of the Empire, greatly disrupted the trade and movement of rival nations established during the Second Age. As a result, the Kharidian Desert, Hallowvale, the Eastern Sea, and tribesmen of Misthalin and Asgarnia were kept greatly separated by the presence of the Empire,
At the end of the Second Age, Zaros's most trusted general, Zamorak, lead a rebellion into the heart of Senntisten and attacked Zaros himself. Using the Staff of Armadyl, Zamorak defeated Zaros. With his newfound divine power, as a result of the battle, Zamorak declared that Zaros was slain and that he was now a god. Not soon after he collapsed to the ground in agony and exhaustion. The Tsutsaroth demon Thammaron then opened a portal to Infernus and he, along with the other demons, carried Zamorak to infernus where he helped liberate them from their Chthonian masters.
Despite Zaros' disappearance, the latter's rule was still nominally recognized as preponderant throughout the whole empire, especially within Senntisten. This was not surprising as under him, the capital enjoyed a long age of peace and prosperity. After briefly holding the Divine Palace, the insurgents had failed to claim the city as a result of Zamorak's absence. The traitor's forces retreated out of Senntisten and across the empire, as Azzanadra had planned a counter-attack along with Nex while the palace was still under rebel control.
As the empire was weakened, the other gods saw this as a critical time to lead their proper invasions. Azzandra, now the new regent of the Zarosian empire, had his forces spread thin across all borders to defend it from the surrounding gods. Unable to establish contact with Zaros, he deceived his subjects into thinking he knows Zaros's will, in a desperate attempt to restore hope to his forces, which succeeded..
Thus, as the Zarosians enjoyed this brief resurgence of power, Senntisten's political organization and jurisdictional structure were well maintained in the traditional sense. Some of the capital's subservient fortresses spread throughout parts of what is now Misthalin, Morytania, the Wilderness, and Asgarnia, remained intact for many centuries to come. Thus the Zarosian capital's decadence, already politically sensitive, became patently militaristic after the fall of its ruler, becoming a mere shadow of its former self.
The God Wars
After a brief period of exile (~20 years), Zamorak returned from Infernus with a powerful army consisting of Avernic demons - albeit less disciplined than the expulsed Chtonian demons - together with vampires and humans formerly allied with Zaros. With it, he attempted to claim the entire former empire as his domain while attacking the invading gods at its borders, although the remaining Zarosians kept defending their capital.
As the God Wars had begun, Gielinor got thrown into the Third Age. Rival civilizations played their integrative role, first and foremost on a religious level. Although Senntisten's belligerents were great in number, their religious ideologies did not stand up to the spiritual depth of the city. With zeal now, the rival gods' armies sought to spread or impose what they believed to be the true faith, some going as far as ordering the destruction of temples related to Zaros.
In short, large portions of the old world got conquered by a vast majority of enemy forces, and many Zarosian strongholds were becoming increasingly divided between the vast armies of Saradomin, Zamorak and Bandos, while the Armadylean culture started rising as a scent in the air. Despite these unfortunate events, Senntisten remained more unitary than nominal, since it still controlled more or less federated fortresses, whose sociological interests brightened by conflicts of religious origin, deploying its military wherever possible.
In a matter of few generations, Senntisten's political situation had radically changed, as its neighboring citizens slowly began to perish or adopted the religions of their dominant conquerors, due to the capital's proper armies being divided between multiple fronts, ruthlessly repulsing their enemies' expansion simultaneously. With the east of the empire being mostly lost, the Zarosians preserved and perfected their military system: each province disposed of a permanent force of soldiers and peasants destined to receive the first shock of any possible aggression simultaneously, exploiting their opponents' weaknesses and ideological differences.
In order to withstand its strong adversaries throughout the current age, Senntisten organized a collective resistance in an acute spiritual and political sense, and applied strategic military thinking, which had continued to evolve from the Second Age until its late fall in the God Wars. The empire's capital developed effective tactics and an unparalleled ability to adapt to its hostile environment dominated by the other gods' armies.
Even in Zaros' absence, Senntisten had managed to triumph due to efforts by its armies 'commanders' still loyal to it, As the imperial strategy had become fundamentally defensive, the enemies' assaults were being stopped at all costs, though due to its setbacks, the city was forced to diminish its sphere of influence. It retained a thematic army in the image of an empire that, outside of some limited offensives throughout the Third Age, was above all on the defensive, as a consequence of its depleted resources in manpower.
Early on in the Wars Azzanadra and his followers were driven further south, into the Kharidian Desert. Subsequently, after a brief battle, Azzanadra got entrapped in The Jaldraocht Pyramid where he had remained until year 169 of the 5th age.
Thus, as the church of Senntisten retained political authority, its empire was already depopulated and ruined. Their leaders' successors held onto their power for as long as they could for the centuries that followed, as for them, nothing was decided yet,
The remaining soldiers and citizens of the empire heroically exploited their enemies' weaknesses in a limited tactical context, but lacked any strategic insight, holding onto their esoteric beliefs in a miraculous resistance. This time however, it was too late, as many key figures formerly defending the empire were now truly gone. The city no longer had enough men to protect it, after successfully defending itself for a hundred generations.
Having failed to individually conquer Senntisten every time beforehand , circumstantial alliances between Zamorakian and Saradominist forces were being negotiated from this point onwards. Despite Zamorak's claim to the throne and its enemies' clear numerical superiority, Senntisten continued to remain loyal to Zaros. As for the contributions of others who still served the capital, the Mahjarrat strategist Wahisietel organized one last mission to divide its enemies' coherence, though he failed to deter them despite their ideological differences.
The newly formed coalition of enemy forces had begun to besiege the remaining people of Senntisten. The fate of its elderly was sealed as there was no adequate army to defend them. The Zamorakians advanced, simultaneously with the Saradominist forces, to the gates of Senntisten. After being overwhelmed by its final siege, the city disastrously fell to the combined attacks, characterizing a demographic strangulation.
The remaining Zarosians abandoned the city and retreated to their remaining strongholds, Carrallanger, Dareeyak and Ghorrock. Nothing seemed to be able to resist the organization of the other armies assembled before them. The Zarosian Empire, protected by its diminished forces that could not be destroyed by the enemy forces before, was nothing more than a trivial relic: most of its troops perished accordingly.
Some time after the fall of the resistance Zamorak established himself as ruler of the capital as of 3740. Senntisten's architectural grandeur was destroyed sometime between 3740 and 3804 by Saradominists, who rebuilt it as Saranthium. The latter, despite its vibrant beginnings, got destroyed by unknown causes in the early Fourth Age.
Although Varrock now exists where Senntisten's western walls once stood, the eastern portions of the city are currently being excavated by the Varrock Museum. During the Digsite Quest, players discover a cavern beneath the ruins where the remains of a Zarosian altar still exist. The ruins still appear to possess some dark energy, as evidenced by Tolna's claims during A Soul's Bane.
Those with the knowledge of Ancient Magicks can utilise a Zarosian spell, Senntisten Teleport, to teleport here, provided they have 60 Magic, 2 Law runes and one Soul rune. The Digsite Pendant, which uses the same teleportation channel, also can be used.
- The city's name appears to be derived from the Hungarian phrase Szent Isten, meaning "holy god".
- ^ Azzanadra, "The Temple at Senntisten", RuneScape. "Above us, long ago, stood the glorious city of Senntisten. Huge towers loomed over the pass leading to Morytania, giant stone sentinels watching over the prize of Zaros's empire."
- ^ Akthanakos, "Akthanakos' memory", RuneScape. "In the time before Zaros, at the dawn of the second age, Senntisten was a primitive human settlement much like any of the other that dotted Gielinor. It and the villages around it were ruled over by Loarnab, a many headed god of limited intellect but tremendous might."
- ^ Duke Nemesis, "Codex Ultimatus", RuneScape. "... Zaros conjured a new portal to Infernus. This had been his plan all along: not to kill the beast, but to turn its divine essence into a powersource for a portal"
- ^ Akthanakos, "Akthanakos' memory", RuneScape. "The arrival of thousands of demons, and the torture and imprisonent of their god, so intimidated the people of Senntisten that they didn't even try to fight. They bowed down in worship of their new ruler"
- ^ Akthanakos, "Akthanakos' memory", RuneScape. "Zaros's legions spread outwards conquering more and more of the humans tribes, but he remained in Senntisten and made it the centre of his civilisation. He converted almost all of the Village's population into his priesthood and had them trained in religion, law, the infernal language and such matters. Many of these priest he sent out to the newly conquered territories as emissaries, missionaries and bureaucrats, and so the empire rapidly spread and civilisation emerged."
- ^ Akthanakos, "Akthanakos' memory", RuneScape. "Many of these priest he sent out to the newly conquered territories as emissaries, missionaries and bureaucrats, and so the empire rapidly spread and civilisation emerged. Senntisten itself took tribute from the rest of the empire as its population of priests and jurists could not support itself. The population continued to grow, though, as pilgrims and the disaffected from all over the empire flocked there. The streets became filled with elaborate temples, many of which were schools or seminaries or courts or offices."
- ^ Zemouregal, "Zemouregal's memory", RuneScape. "Once the battle was won, and Zaros's shrivelled remains lay at Zamorak's feet, the Tsutsaroth saw no reason to wait. Zamorak, though visibly coursing with the divinity of our former lord, collapsed to the ground in agony and exhaustion.(...) Thammaron gathered them around Zamorak's body, opening a portal to Infernus. Between them, the mighty demons were able to lift the new god, and they carried him out of Gielinor. (...) Denied our leader, the rebel army fell back from the capital, although many former Zarosians flocked to our banner as news of what had occurred spread. Azzanadra led a furious assault that drove us out of the city and across the empire (...) the other gods chose this time of crisis to launch their own invasions into the stricken empire"
- ^ Ayanetka, "The Book of Zaros", RuneScape. "The usurper's minions defeated Zaros's loyal followers, and now hold the Divine Palace. I write this from the palace of Nex, where she and Azzanadra are even now planning a counter-attack."
- ^ Azzanadra, "Azzanadra's memory", RuneScape. "He must be out there, but the portal has failed to establish communication... I have no choice. I must tell the others that the portal is functioning and that I know Zaros's will. It is the only way to restore hope to our forces. For centuries I have divined his directives and governed the empire to his satisfaction. This will be no different. I can act as his regent in this short absence."
- ^ Zemouregal, "Zemouregal's memory", RuneScape. "Nineteen years later, Zamorak returned to Gielinor at the head of an Avernic demon army even larger than the one Zaros had invaded with, although admittedly not as well-disciplined now that the Chthonians had been exterminated or exiled to the Abyss. He was flush with his new divinity and his success on Infernus, and demonstrated his valour by declaring the entire former empire his domain and attacking almost all of the invading gods simultaneously, along with the remaining Zarosian loyalists. The God Wars then began in earnest."
- ^ Zemouregal, "Notes (a-j)", RuneScape. "A powerful adversary and Zaros's champion. Has been contained since the early God Wars. We have not dared free him for the Ritual yet. We should do so soon, while numbers of the Zamorakian faction are still high enough to handle him."
- ^ Eblis, "Desert Treasure", RuneScape. "With each battle they waged, we lost more and more land, unable to fight on all fronts, and were pushed further and further South into this gods-forsaken desert. Our greatest hero, Azzanadra, was finally trapped in a strange stone structure to the South of here, and bound within by terrible powers..."
- ^ Dagroda, "Book of Zaros", RuneScape. "For a hundred generations we have held the Holy City against the armies of the usurper and the other gods. Alone among the armies of this world at war, we fight without the presence of our god, and yet we stand unconquered. But our city now faces an unprecedented threat. The massed armies of Zamorak and Saradomin approach us at once, each larger than any army the city has repulsed before. Wahisietel's attempts to set the armies against one another have failed. With a heavy heart, I therefore decree that we are to abandon the Holy City and retreat to the strongholds of Carrallangar, Dareeyak and Ghorrock."
- ^ Varrock Museum Displays, RuneScape. "A battered and bent coin with Zamorakian markings. It bears the word 'Senntisten', which we believe to be the original name of the city, Saranthium, before it was rebuilt by those loyal to Saradomin. Partial numbers on the coin would indicate that it is from the year 3740, presumably from the 3rd Age."
- ^ Archaeological expert, "The Dig Site", RuneScape. "...Its inhabitants were human supporters of the god Saradomin. It's not recorded what happened to the community here."