How can you effectively erase a globe-spanning empire from modern historical records?

Erebus

Troubadour
Thousands of years ago, an ancient Hegemony known as the Daevite Empire dominated the globe. It was the world's first superpower, reaching all corners of the world and ruled with an iron fist. It was also the most technologically advanced, using a form of bio-degradable material that was plant-based. This form of plant material had to be slowly grown and cultured for it to be useful, but led to the creation of powerful weaponry that put it far ahead of other empires, However, like all typical empires, it eventually grew too large to manage and govern properly, beginning its slow decline through a mix of infighting, economic turmoil, and outside aggressors seeking to take its place as the center of the world order. Due to the fact that its technology was formed by plant-based living material, it decayed after rotting away over a few generations. This has led to no trace of any of their civilization, nor of their architecture. From buildings to weapons to pottery, all have degraded to leave nothing behind. The Daevites have ultimately left no trace of themselves, almost as if they had never existed. However, the fact that no evidence has been left behind of their presence shouldn't be enough to erase them from history. The Roman Empire, one of the largest powers in the ancient world, eventually fell into disarray in the same fashion, followed by a period known as the dark ages which lasted for many centuries. Yet today we still know that they existed due to written records left behind by people who lived in their heyday and other great powers at the time, as well as the influence they may have left on those civilizations. The Daevites however, have been completely forgotten by history, not appearing in any of the historical narratives or records of other nations to the point where nobody in the modern age has heard of them.

What factors could possibly lead to an empire as large as theirs to be erased completely in this fashion?
 

ThinkerX

Myth Weaver
First off, 'complete erasure' is highly unlikely. Empires like that leave deep marks on their subject peoples, resulting, at a minimum, in tales getting passed down through the ages.

Second, the biodegradable technology is highly unlikely to completely vanish; furthermore, the effects of that technology WILL leave lasting marks - road construction, harbors, buildings, that sort of thing.

Third, we have the 'human genetics' issue - aka 'mixing of the races.' Even if the primary race is destroyed (unlikely), there will be a great many half-breed descendants running around.

As to vanishing...that depends on how far back you care to push things. Ten thousand years? That was the tail end of the last ice age. The ice sheets that covered much of North America melted, raising ocean levels something like sixty feet (call it about 18 meters) - enough to drown low lying coastal areas and nearby rivers - but that process took thousands of years.

There was a truly gargantuan super-volcano eruption after that; I have read articles claiming it spawned tsunami's with two hundred foot high waves that tossed giant boulders a dozen miles inland - in addition to canceling summer for a year or two.
 

Eduardo Letavia

Troubadour
Thousands of years ago, an ancient Hegemony known as the Daevite Empire dominated the globe...
If there's no record or remains whatsoever from that empire, you cannot even tell that they were an hegemony or how they were known as! Also, if there's nothing left from them, is the same as if they never existed at all and, therefore, it'll have zero relevance in your worldbuilding. This begs the question of why would you invest your time in researching such completely lost, or deleted, civilization.
 
For reference to the Roman Empire, you've got to remember that they left a lot of stuff behind. First of all there's all the buildings and roads and the like. There's area's in Europe where you probably can't lift a rock that hasn't been put there by some roman. You can learn a lot from a culture by digging up everything they left behind.

And as for all the written records, you have to remember that the Eastern Roman Empire outlived the Western one by 1,000 years (give or take). So even if everything in the Western part would have been destroyed, then it would have remained in the East for 1,000 years more, at which point people in the west were interested enough in the ancient history to bring that knowledge back our way.

So, step 1 is to have no architecture remain behind. Step 2 is to make sure all written records get destroyed in the fall. And step 3 then would be to make sure the fall is deep enough that people have no time to write down what they know right after the fall.

As for oral records, remember that thousands of years is a very, very long time. The roman empire started 2,000 years ago. We only started writing 5500 years ago or so, and farming something like 10.000 years ago. It's very likely tales about the empire survived, but they'd be more like biblical stories, or myths and legends. Or stories which would be adapted to the local culture and known history.

If you want to dig into disappearing empires and mysterious collapses, you could investigate the Bronze Age collapse, which almost overnight destroyed many of the civilizations in the mediteranean region.
 

Queshire

Auror
Who does the looking is going to matter as well. Someone from ye olde times might have a harder time recognizing ruins for what they are than a modern day professor with all the benefits of current day technology.
 
Who does the looking is going to matter as well. Someone from ye olde times might have a harder time recognizing ruins for what they are than a modern day professor with all the benefits of current day technology.
This reminds me of something I read about the great wall of China at some point. Apparently some of the early Western explores who travelled to the ends of the wall talked to some local people living near the wall. These locals had built their houses against it, cut passages through it and so on. The westerners asked about what these locals thought about the wall, and the locals were amazed by the questions. They hadn't really given any thought to the wall at all, just like other people didn't think about other landscape features. It was just something that was always there.

Another example, though of a building disappearing, not a whole empire. For 500+ years people thought the largest pyramid in the world, Great Pyramid of Cholula, was just a large, overgrown hill. And it wasn't until people started digging there to build something on top of it that it was rediscovered.
 

Mad Swede

Inkling
Well, the simplest answer to your question is time. Tales do get handed down from generation to generation, but eventually these are corrupted or forgotten. Written records sometimes survive, if the people did a lot of writing. But a society which uses stories and songs as a way of recording knowledge and history doesn't leave much behind. As an example, take Stonehenge. The building of that site took many years and it required organisation - there must have been some form of centralised government for it to be built. Someone had to organise food, places to live, transport etc. You can ask the same questions of those Iron Age communities who built hill forts all over Europe. That took organisation too, and there must have been an organised threat to the communities in question over a long period of time to justify building the hill forts. But what do we really know about those who built these things and how they lived?
 

Erebus

Troubadour
Why would you want them to be completely erased?
The whole point of erasing it from history is because a few remnants of that empire exist in the modern world, but nobody remembers them. These remnants operate as cults which seek to return to power and use their obscurity and anonymity to aid their goals.
 

Gurkhal

Auror
A complete destruction may be unlikely. But a partial obfuscation of an earlier existance should certainly be possible. Just look at how relatively late much of the Bronze Age civilizations of Anatolia and the Aegean were lost before being rediscovered again. If writing is lost and there's a major collapse of interconnected systems of that civilization fairly fast, then I don't see the problem as to why something could be essentially forgotten.
 

pmmg

Istar
The whole point of erasing it from history is because a few remnants of that empire exist in the modern world, but nobody remembers them. These remnants operate as cults which seek to return to power and use their obscurity and anonymity to aid their goals.

This is not exactly erased. It would be far less on the impossible side of the scale if the above is true.
 
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