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Map showing the location of Volantis on the continent of Essos.

Volantis is one of the Free Cities located to the east of Westeros. It is the southern-most and oldest of the Free Cities, located on the Summer Sea at the mouth of the River Rhoyne. It was founded as a colony of Valyria many centuries ago. It is a great port.[1]

People from Volantis are known as Volantene. They are ruled by the Triarchs. Only those who can trace their lineage back to the times of Valyria may become candidates to the post of Triarch. The city welcomes a mixture of religions but holds a large temple devoted to the worship of the Lord of Light.[1]

The harbor metropolis lies on both sides of one of the many mouths of the Rhoyne. The river is spanned by a great structure known as the Long Bridge.[2]

Volantis is ruled by a noble class, but also possesses large number of slaves. Slaves are tattooed on the face so they are easily identified. A fish tattoo indicates that the slave works on a fishing vessel. In Volantis, it is death for a slave to touch a noble.[3]

Notable Volantenes


Season 1

The wineseller in the market at Vaes Dothrak boasts of his fine wine from Volantis, the Arbor and Dorne.[4]

Season 2

Following the Battle of Oxcross, Robb Stark meets Talisa, a healer from Volantis. Robb remarks that she is a long way from home.[5]

Robb and Talisa later discuss why she became a healer. She reveals that one summer, her little brother nearly drowned in the Rhoyne and was saved by a slave.[6]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Volantis (sometimes called Old Volantis) is the oldest, largest, and the most populous of the Free Cities, but also the most corrupt. Its vast, crescent-shaped harbor could contain the entirety of Braavos within it. The city is located on the mouth of the River Rhoyne, which spills into the Summer Sea through a large delta. Volantis lies on both sides of the main mouth of the river and is protected from the Dothraki by further mouths of the river to the east.

Volantis is divided in two halves by the Rhoyne. The western side of the city is open to foreigners, traders and merchants. The eastern side contains the inner city, which is protected by the 200-foot-tall Black Walls. The Black Walls are wide enough for six four-horse chariots to ride along its top abreast. Slaves, foreigners and freedmen are not permitted within the Black Walls. The main waterway is bridged by the Long Bridge, a structure so large it can take hours to cross if traffic is very heavy.

Volantis is known as the Firstborn of Valyria. Of the colony-states that eventually became the Free Cities, Volantis maintained the closest ties to Valyria and carried on its traditions the most stringently. Immediately after the Doom of Valyria four centuries ago, the rulers of Volantis tried to subdue all of the other Free Cities and reforge a new Valyrian empire, resulting in a decades-long series of chaotic wars known as the Century of Blood. Volantis managed to conquer and control their fellow cities of Lys and Myr for two generations.

After a hundred years of warfare, Volantis was on the verge of also conquering Tyrosh. At this point they petitioned the Targaryens on Dragonstone to help them with the aid of their dragons but the young Aegon I Targaryen refused, and instead sided with Volantis's enemies. Volantis had overreached in its offensive against Tyrosh, and now a great alliance formed against them. Braavos and Pentos joined the war on Tyrosh's side, and also supported successful uprisings in Lys and Myr. Aegon Targaryen also joined the alliance with his young dragons, gaining them valuable battle experience. Even the king of the Stormlands in Westeros joined the alliance against Volantis. Faced with so many enemies, Volantis was defeated.

At the same time, Volantis had overextended itself even further in attempts to expand eastwards, which similarly collapsed. An entire fleet sent to reclaim Old Valyria became lost in the Smoking Sea - a fleet which was already badly needed in the losing struggle against the coalition of their enemies in the west. Moreover, no longer restrained by the power of the Valyrians and their dragons, the Dothraki mounted hordes began overrunning all of the lands east of the Rhoyne: do to its eastern location Volantis was particularly hard hit. In the north, Qohorik fireships broke Volantis' attempts to control the entire Rhoyne river network, restricting Volantis' influence to south of the ruins of Chroyane.

The Century of Blood left Volantis bankrupt and anarchic, and traders, merchants, and more moderate leaders took control of the city and have effectively ruled it ever since. Meanwhile, the coalition against Volantis soon collapsed as Lys and Myr turned into bitter enemies, struggling over the central border territories which had frequently changed hands during the course of the war. Lys and Myr have continued to fight over these territories over the past three hundred years until the present day (broken up by the occasional truce).

Volantis is still a freehold, like Valyria before it. All freeborn landholders - including women - are entitled to vote in elections to vote for the rulers of the city. Three freeholders - the triarchs - rule for a period of one year, during which time they travel everywhere by elephant, as their feet are not allowed to touch the ground. The triarchs must come from noble families that can prove an unbroken line of descent from Valyria. The traders and other moderate factions call themselves the "elephants", while those who favor military expansion are known as "tigers". The tigers have been out of favor for the three hundred years since the Century of BLood, never holding more than one position in the triumvirate.

Volantis remains the center of the slave-trading industry in the Free Cities, and maintains sea and land links with Slaver's Bay hundreds of miles to the east. Volantis prefers a policy of neutrality and getting rich on its slave trading, but its location on the south-eastern edge of the Disputed Lands sees it sometimes drawn into warfare with Lys, Myr, and Tyrosh for control of the region.

See also



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