"Volantis is the oldest, the first colony of Valyria. After the Doom, the Volantenes tried to rebuild the empire under their rule. They failed. Not least because the last Valyrian with dragons, Aegon Targaryen, entered the war against them. Now they are content to dominate only their lower classes, or so they say."
―Ser Jorah Mormont, discussing the Free Cities
Volantis is one of the Free Cities located to the east of Westeros. The southern-most and oldest of the Free Cities, it lies on the southern coast of Essos, where the mighty Rhoyne River meets the Summer Sea. It was founded as a colony of Valyria many centuries ago and is a great port.
Volantis was the first of the Free Cities founded by the Valyrian Freehold in western Essos. Four centuries ago, Valyria was destroyed in a single day by a massive volcanic cataclysm known as the Doom, and the empire fractured. Without central leadership, Valyria's surviving colonies were torn apart in a period of chaotic civil wars known as the Century of Blood. As the oldest and most populous of the Free Cities, Volantis attempted to conquer the other remaining colonies and rebuild the Freehold under its own rule. It failed when all of the other Free Cities united against Volantis. The only thing that could unite all of the other Free Cities was their determination not to be forcefully united under the rule of the Volantenes. However, the deciding factor was that the young Aegon I Targaryen, possessor of the last three Valyrian dragons in the world, entered the conflict on the side of Volantis's enemies. Volantis's armies were shattered, and no further grand attempts were made to unite all of the Free Cities into a new Valyrian empire.
In the present day, Volantis remains one of the more powerful of the Free Cities, and has the largest population of any of them, although more than 80% of that population are slaves.
Volantis is the oldest of the Free Cities, founded at some point after the destruction of the Old Empire of Ghis. It was the first colony of the Valyrian Freehold, her "first daughter". Established to protect the borders of the Freehold, Volantis was little more than a garrison protected by the Black Walls for a hundred years. Wealthy Valyrians used this military outpost to take advantage of trade along the Rhoyne, however, and settlements quickly grew on both sides of the river. Construction of the Long Bridge to cross the Rhoyne began under Triarch Vhalaso the Munificent.
Volantis grew powerful trading with Valyria and the Rhoynar, although the nearby Rhoynish city Sarhoy declined. This led to the lengthy Rhoynish Wars.
In the Second Spice War, the last of these wars, Volantis and three Valyrian dragonlords destroyed Sarhoy and sowed the ruins with salt to prevent the Rhoynish city from rising again. Prince Garin of Chroyane declared war and marched at the head of the biggest army Essos had seen. He won victories at Selhorys, Valysar, and Volon Therys, where he faced a hundred thousand enemies, a hundred elephants, and three dragonlords. After Volon Therys, the Volantenes behind the Black Walls asked the Freehold for help. The alliance between Volantis and the Freehold shattered Garin's host, and it is said the blood of the Rhoynar turned the great harbor of Volantis red as far as one could see.
Century of Blood
After the Doom of Valyria, the Volantenes considered themselves the heirs to the Freehold and rightful rulers of the world. They sent a fleet to claim the Valyrian peninsula, but it vanished in the Smoking Sea.
Tommen II Lannister, King of the Rock, stayed at Volantis on his way to Old Valyria during the Century of Blood. According to The Glory of Volantis, Tommen promised half of what he would find to the triarchs of Volantis in return for their generosity and potential aid from their fleet. Triarch Marqelo Tagaros sent ships after Tommen the following year, but no sign of the king was found.
Those in Volantis were divided on how to achieve conquest against the other Free Cities. Those of the Old Blood favored war, whilst the moneylenders and merchants favored trade. These two factions became known as the tigers and the elephants, respectively. The tigers held sway for almost a century, and Volantis called for war upon the other cities, with the tigers leading the city into a great conflict with the other daughters. They were successful at first, taking control of Lys and Myr. When they tried to take Tyrosh, however, Pentos joined the Tyroshi, and Lys and Myr rebelled. The Sealord of Braavos provided ships to aid Lys, and Argilac Durrandon, the Westerosi Storm King, joined the conflict and led a host into the Disputed Lands. It was Argilac's host who defeated a Volantene host which had been attempting to retake Myr.
Aegon Targaryen, Lord of Dragonstone, accepted an alliance with Pentos and Tyrosh against Volantis, flew to Lys, and set ablaze a Volantene fleet preparing to invade the city. Volantis was further defeated at Dagger Lake, where galleys from Qohor and Norvos destroyed much of the Volantene fleet which had been on the Rhoyne. Even Dothraki entered the conflict, falling upon the weakened Volantis.
In the end, the Volantene faction favoring peace, the elephants, took power from the tigers, and the fighting was at an end.
For the last three centuries, at least two of the three triarchs in power have been elephants. Triarch Horonno, who had been returned as triarch for forty years, declared himself as triarch for life. In response, he was seized by rioters soon after, tied between two elephant animals, and torn apart.
Volantis fought against the combined power of Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh, in the Battle of the Borderland. The victory of the three smaller cities over Volantis led to the start of the Triarchy, in 96 AC.
Princess Saera Targaryen, a younger daughter of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen and Queen Alysanne, ended her days in Volantis as the proprietor of a famous pleasure house. During the reign of King Aerys II Targaryen, Volantis was involved in a trade war against Myr and Tyrosh. Gold and arms were provided to them by the Targaryen kings.
Harwyn Hoare, visited Volantis before becoming King of the Isles and the Rivers. Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne, visited Volantis in his youth, while on his way to Norvos. His younger brother, Prince Oberyn, fathered a bastard daughter, Nymeria Sand, on a Volantene noblewoman of the old blood. King Aerys II Targaryen sent his first cousin, Lord Steffon Baratheon, on an ultimately fruitless mission to seek a bride across the narrow sea for his son, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. One of the places Steffon is known to have visited is Volantis, where he found the jester Patchface, whose freedom he bought so he could bring him to Storm's End.
When Daenerys Targaryen was a girl she and her brother, Viserys, spent some time in Volantis when they were wandering from place to place. After leaving behind his wife, Lynesse Hightower, and fleeing Lys, Ser Jorah Mormont ended up in Volantis for the best part of a year, owning nothing but his sword and the clothes upon his back. Hizdahr zo Loraq has also visited Volantis.
Volantis is the southeastern-most of the Free Cities, located east of the Disputed Lands. Volantis sprawls across one of the four mouths of the Rhoyne, where the river flows into the Summer Sea. To the north is the river Volaena. The cities Volon Therys, Valysar, and Selhorys are located directly northeast of the city, and are ruled by Volantis. Volantis also controls the Rhoyne as far as the tributary river Selhoru, and holds sway over the Orange Shore, west of the city. The ruins of Sar Mell lie northeast as well.
Volantis is the closest Free City to Slaver's Bay, lying approximately five hundred and fifty leagues from Meereen. Between Volantis and Slaver's Bay lies the Demon Road.
The climate of Volantis is hot and humid, the air is hot and heavy. Beyond the waterfront and its breezes the streets and alleys of Volantis are enough to drown a man in his own sweat, as least on the eastern side of the river. Heat shimmers off of the streets, giving a dreamlike quality to the surroundings. Quentyn Martell finds that the sullen wet heat of the city saps his strength and leaves him feeling dirty. There is also a smell that hangs in the air, rich, rank and pervasive. There is fish in it, flowers and some elephant dung, also something sweet and something earthy and something dead and rotten. According to Tyrion Lannister the city smells like an old whore. In Volantis the nights are almost as hot as the days.
Volantis was once the most populous of the Free Cities. Doran Martell considers the Volantenes to be “strange and subtle”.
The Volantenes feel that people of quality should not travel afoot, but instead by palanquin or in a hathay. Travelling afoot can taint a person in the eyes of both the native-born Volantenes and the foreign captains in the city. According to semi-canon sources the freeborn citizens tattoo themselves to show prowess in battle and as a record of their exploits.
The Old Blood refers to some of the population in Volantis, noble families who can prove unbroken descent from old Valyria itself. Only those of the Old Blood are allowed to live within the Black Walls of eastern Volantis, and only they can invite slaves, freedmen, or foreigners to enter. Freeborn Volantenes with enough property can vote. There are precious few voters on the western side of Volantis, over the river.
There are five slaves for each freedman in Volantis. It is custom in Volantis to have the faces of slaves tattooed, to mark their status. This custom is similarly practised in the cities under the control of Volantis, like Selhorys.
While Volantis was, at the time of the Doom of Valyria, the mightiest of the Free Cities, in the centuries that followed it had to give up that position to Braavos.
Volantis is key to the slave market, trading heavily with the cities of Slaver's Bay to the east. It is said there are five slaves to every free man in the city.
Volantis use coins, called "honors", with a crown on one face and death's head on the other as part of their currency. The honors are no bigger than a penny.
Volantenes are fond of sweet beets, which they grow in profusion and serve in most major culinary dishes in the city. They make a cold soup of the beets which is as thick and rich as purple honey. The Volantenes are known for their sweet red wine.
Few ships from Westeros come as far as Volantis, and those who do fill their holds with silk and spice from the Jade Sea, then bend their oars for home.
The board game cyvasse originates from Volantis, and its pieces are sold in the city.
Talisa Stark, née Maegyr, a noblewoman of the Maegyr family who relocated to the Westerlands where she undertook medical practice and eventually married the King in the North, Robb Stark. Butchered at the Red Wedding by Lothar Frey.
Kinvara, Flame of Truth, Light of Wisdom and First Servant of the Lord of Light, the High Priestess of the city's Red Temple.
Belicho Paenymion, the Volantene envoy sent to Meereen to negotiate with Tyrion Lannister. He was killed during the Second Siege of Meereen by Grey Worm.
The wineseller in the market at Vaes Dothrak boasts of his fine wine from Volantis, the Arbor and Dorne.
Following the Battle of Oxcross, Robb Stark meets Talisa, a healer from Volantis. Robb remarks that she is a long way from home.
Robb and Talisa later discuss why she became a healer. She reveals that during a three-year summer, her little brother nearly drowned in the Rhoyne and was saved by a slave. As a result, she vowed when she was older that she would never again live in a place where slavery is legal.
In King's Landing, when Podrick Payne takes longer than she would like to fetch her a plate of figs, Olenna Tyrell sarcastically asks, "Where did you go for them, Volantis?"
In the east at Slaver's Bay, when the Second Sons sellsword company are encamped outside of Yunkai, their commander Mero settles a question among the three head officers by taking out some coins he has on him - one from Meereen, one from Volantis, and one from Braavos - and having each of the them pick one at random.
Talisa tells Robb that after the war is over, she would like him to visit Volantis with her so that her mother can meet him and "her grandchild", revealing she is pregnant. However, this never comes to pass, as both Robb and Talisa are killed at the Red Wedding.
Tywin Lannister says that one of the blacksmiths that melted down and reforged Ned Stark's sword Ice was from Volantis.
After Tyrion Lannister flees to Pentos, he is convinced by Varys to journey with him to Meereen to meet Daenerys Targaryen. As they ride through the fields out of Pentos in a large horse-drawn wheelhouse, Varys explains that they are heading to Volantis first, where they will board a ship that will take them the rest of the way to Meereen.
Tyrion and Varys arrive at Volantis, and Tyrion insists on finally taking a break from weeks trapped in the wheelhouse to refresh himself in the vast city. They walk through the crowded markets on the massive Long Bridge, and note the city's vast slave population, their faces tattooed to identify their ocupations. As they make their way through a market they spot a Red Priestess preaching to a crowd of slaves, who catches Tyrion's eye as he stops to listen to her sermon. She preaches that the Lord of Light has sent them a savior, the "Dragon Queen" - Daenerys Targaryen, who has been waging a campaign against slavery in Meereen. Tyrion remarks sardonically on her sermon to Varys - but unnaturally, despite being on the other side of the market space she seems to hear him, and meets Tyrion's gaze with an angry glare. Unnerved, Tyrion tells Varys they should continue on to find a brothel, where he can drink and find a prostitute.
In the brothel, they see that one of the prostitutes is dressed up in a Daenerys costume for the amusement of her clients. Varys quips to Tyrion that a woman who inspires both priests and whores is worth taking seriously. Unknown to Tyrion and Varys, the exiled Ser Jorah Mormont happens to be in the same brothel drowning his sorrows, and takes notice of them both. Tyrion leaves Varys to chat with the whore Clea, but he is still so distraught about killing Shae that he doesn't really think he has the spirit to have sex with her. He excuses himself to take a piss - urinating off the bridge into the Rhoyne River itself - and while he is alone Jorah ambushes him and takes him prisoner. Jorah then steals a fishing boat and leaves Volantis with the captive Tyrion, heading to Meereen to present him to Daenerys.
From the Meereenese prostitute Vala, Tyrion Lannister and Varys learn that Volantis along with the Ghiscari cities of Astapor and Yunkai are secretly funding the Sons of the Harpy, an insurgent organization opposed to Daenerys Targaryen and dedicated to restoring slavery. Tyrion gets Varys to send his spy network to open contact with the leaders of Volantis and the other cities. The Volantene envoy Belicho Paenymion is part of the joint diplomatic mission send to negotiate with Tyrion and his advisors. In the end, the two parties reach a compromise solution. They agree to abolish slavery over a seven-year period and to compensate all slave owners.
Following the peace agreement, Tyrion hires Kinvara, the High Priestess of the Red Temple at Volantis, to get the Red Priestesses to preach that Dany is The Prince That Was Promised. Later, Yara and Theon Greyjoy flee to Volantis following their uncle Euron's election to the Salt Throne. There they plan to meet Daenerys Targaryen in Meereen and with her help, reclaim their home, the Iron Islands.
Later, Volantis, Astapor, and Yunkai decide to break their peace treaty with Meereen. They launch a naval bombardment of the city which coincides with Dany's return to the city on her dragon Drogon. Dany meets with Belicho, Razdal mo Eraz, and Yezzan zo Qaggaz for a parley. Believing they have won, the slave masters demand that Dany and Tyrion surrender Missandei, Grey Worm, and the Unsullied and her three dragons to be slaughtered. However, she rejects their terms and orders Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal to burn the slaving cities' fleet. Grey Worm then executes Belicho and Razdal after they try to save themselves by offering up Yezzan to be slaughtered.
Upon realizing that she is disliked by Jon Snow and that she doesn't seem interested in serving Daenerys Targaryen, Varys presses Melisandre to leave Westeros for good. Melisandre explains that has already decided to leave for Volantis shortly, but states that she will return to Westeros one day, for like Varys, she is fated to die there.
History and zones of Game of Thrones Lore
Read about all the known history of Game of Thrones Lore. Learn about the zones and places on Westeros!
On our website you can find all the stories about Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft and Halo. You can learn about the places and all the characters.
Name The House Game of Thrones