Zantium was originally a colony of runaway human slaves who had escaped the Old Kingdoms. According to the Mandorlin, the colony was founded by Peredur, an escaped slave who became king of the Zantines after passing a series of mystical trials. The ruling family of Zantium claimed descendancy from Peredur himself.
By 1900 BYZ, however, it had become a province of the Old Exekian Empire, although their rule was always tentative rather than absolute. The Exekians permitted the mostly human population to govern themselves, provided they paid tribute to the Empire and guarded it from the human "barbarians" to the west. The Exekians feared these barbarians, who practiced magic/witchcraft and had very different customs and values. Therefore, the Exekians created the paladins, a specialized rank of knight trained to destroy magic and fight off those who used it.
After the fall of the Old Exekian Empire in Year Zero and the founding of the nation of Apicarta, the Zantines continued to practice their own unique form of Akhenism which differed significantly from the Apicartan Temple. They did not demonize the Exekians, nor did they hold them in special regard - this was done out of necessity, as the traditions and rituals of the paladins required the cooperation of the Exekians.
Zantine teachings differ from other Akhenist sects through their vilification of magic. Culturally, Zantium has a long history of persecuting magicians, with several members of their society who were found to possess supernatural abilities being either put to death or banished. The practice of divination using tarot cards and other forms of "witchcraft" are strictly forbidden, with harsh penalties.
The Zantines even developed a special order of knights, the paladins, to deal with militant magic users. These knights were trained in the use and keeping of special weapons constructed from a "divine metal", physical combat as well as spiritual warfare, and exorcisms. The blessing of a paladin was said to be even more powerful than that of a priest.