|This article, Sanctum of Virtue, is currently under active construction.|
There are many metropoli and megapoli on Kaaran, the native Sangheili having several thousand years to build and inhabit - but most of the cities erected have since been destroyed during wars, natural disasters, or other devastating events. Those that stand are comparatively recent, erected during the period of expansion that followed the Morhekan Renaissance. Sanctum is not one of those - founded in approximately 400 BC, the city stands as the oldest on the face of the planet, and one of the largest.
Originally, what would later become Sanctum of Virtue started as a military outpost of the Keltash Empire from the Northern Continent, and was otherwise unnotable. Initially serving as a staging point for attempts at colonising the continent, it was eventually abandoned when the harsh conditions, rugged terrain, and scarcity of precious minerals saw a lack of interest on the part of the Keltash people, and the base struggled to remain operational. It might have collapsed entirely, if not for the eruption of Mount Teltaq - located on teh Keltash peninsula, its eruption would have devastating consequences on the Keltash. The initial ash cloud covered the surrounding area in soot and ash, covering cities. The tremors reduced others to rubble, and generated tsunami's that smashed against the coastlines. In a single night, four hundred million Sangheili were killed. In the end, a paltry number remained, wandering a devastated country, eventually deciding to make the treacherous crossing one last time to Kaaran to start again.
Thus it was that the first settlement on Kaaran became the last stronghold of the Sangheili people on Ketesh. For a long time, survival chances looked to be slim - reduced to a few hundred thousand, another disaster could have wiped the Sangheili out. Instead, they thrived, adapting to the new conditions as best they could. Given the comparatively small number of survivors, Sanctum became the initial centre of Sangheili culture - as the population grew, other settlements came to prominence, and they began to spread across the continent. By 300 BC, the northern regions, what would come to be Kotarq, Joralan and Xoram were settled, and beginning to conduct trade with each other. By 100 BC, there were settlements as far east as the Qel'taq Inland Sea, and by 200 AD several distinct political entities had formed. The Narteca and Mopad clans were exiled, forming Mopada to the south. As the Sangheili spread through Kaaran, the importance of Sanctum waned, and by 400 AD it had been abandoned, with Morheka using Qel'tazh as its capital.
The Morhekan Renaissance brought this period of decline to a swift end. The discovery of Forerunner relics at the Quenyathar mountains began a technological revolution, with Morheka as its source - and with Sanctum at its centre. Perfectly situated to be a stop-off point for pilgrims travelling to visit the site of the Gods, Sanctum began its newfound life as a major stop along the Yahtzek River trade route, growing rapidly. By 1300 AD, it was a thriving hub of Morhekan civilisation, and was becoming the largest congregation of artists, politicians, scientists and philosophers on Kaaran, and was once again declared the Morhekan capital, the Morhek royal family moving its residences to the city. In 2132, it was the site of First Contact with San'Shyuum missionaries, and the resulting cultural and technological exchange instigated another cultural revolutuion - as well as genuine revolutions by local inhabitants with grievances against the manner of the Prophets' missionary work, rejecting the ways of the old and demanding that their own religious system be adopted. While most were happy to make the change, and the planet officially joined the Covenant as a member world in 2151, a grassroots religious movement intent on preserving as much of its old culture had developed, based primarily in Sanctum - after the planet joined the Covenant, the Prophets swiftly and harshly came down upon these "heretics", executing the most important leaders as an example to the rest.
The Second Morhekan Renaissance brought about a massive shift in the culture of Kaaran - with the backing of Covenant technology, nations were confident in their ability to quell unrest, and many smaller nation-states were absorbed in small and relatively bloodless wars. The relationship betweek Morheka and Mopada, never a friendly one, became one of uneasy tension - while Morheka possessed enough firepower to wipe its rival off the face of Ketesh, the same was true of Mopada. The Mopad-Morhek Cold War would last two centuries, ended only by economic ruin of both nations and the formation of the Ketesh Alliance of Unified Governments. Sanctum itself never suffered from the decay of either nation - it remained a thriving cultural metropolis, growing larger each century, and in 2459 declared its independance, joining the KAUG as a neutral party, though maintaining economic ties with Morheka.