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This is copied from Fearless Leaders webpage http://www.geocities.com/fearless_leader101 which incorporates his own and Solamyr's work.
Imperial Law sets forth the structure and behavior of government within the old Anuirean Empire. It evolved over the centuries of Imperial Rule as a body of laws, traditions, edicts, and orders enacted by the Emperor and his feudal lords. The law spells out the feudal structure of the Empire, the role of the Chamberlain and other officials, the supremacy of the Emperor, and divine right. However, it is a complicated and byzantine affair, as the Emperors enacted many new laws without countermanding old laws contradicting the new ones. Further, many laws, though not practiced, simply fell out of disuse.
Of course, with over 500 years of no central authority in Anuire, Imperial Law has come to mean what the various lords want it to mean. Personal power and influence has supplanted the authority of Imperial Law and anyone with a power base strong enough can do as they please, despite what the Law might say.
Shortly before Michael Roele ascended the Iron Throne, the system of feudalism began to falter. Growing prosperity and population encouraged the growth of a middle class, cities outside the rural fiefdoms, and the growing influence of the guilds. In the centuries following Michael Roele's death, this trend increased. Larger and larger portions of the population began to escape the bonds of serfdom and an explosion of knowledge and learning occurred in the cities.
Today, that trend continues. Guilds and temples once under the strict thumb of the feudal lords have asserted their independence and become an important force unto themselves. Though the nobility remains important in most realms, such as in the traditionalist realms of Avanil, [Boeruine], and Diemed, it has all but disappeared in Endier and its importance reduced in realms like Roesone, Talinie, and Medoere.
Some faiths of Haelyn have also argued for a less strict interpretation of the Book of Laws (notably the Western Imperial Temple) and new religions not traditionally strong in the days of the Empire have gained popularity to suite the tastes of the merchant and scholar classes (notably the faiths of Sarimie and Avanalae).
Similar to the decline in the feudal system, the central authority of the Iron Throne has faded as well. Though this process had begun years before Alandalae V took the Iron Throne, it was his actions that hastened it. As is told in the histories, Alandalae lead his armies against the forces of the Basarji rebel, el-Arrasi. Following Alandalae's death at the end of the Basarji Revolution, a wave of rebellions took hold against imperial authority in Rjurik and Brechtur. The next 200 years were renowned for the amount of bloodshed in the conquered territories. Though the Empire held those lands, its authority in them was weakened. Most of the realms in the conquered areas became 'Free States' and Anuirean nobility sent to rule them all but subsumed into the subject cultures by years of inter-breeding.
In Anuire itself, central authority weakened. The vassal realms of the Empire increasingly asserted themselves and grew more independent. By the time Michael Roele assumed the Throne, the Emperor had few law holdings outside the Imperial City itself and the Imperial Anuirean Army was exceedingly small. The situation deteriorated to such a point that no authority really held the Empire together save for the ancient systems of vassalage in place since the Battle of Deismaar. The situation was so tenuous that when Arwyn Boeruine attempted to sieze the Iron Throne, Michael Roele had to rely on the goodwill of Avanil and a handful of other vassal realms to oppose the Archduke of Boeruine.
Though Michael had grandiose designs for restoring the power of the Empire (and may very well have succeeded), he died at the hands of the Black Prince before he could fulfill his dreams.
The Houses of Roele and Dosiere were closely allied during the days of the Empire. Though House Dosiere held only the rank of viscount, they were respected across the length and breadth of Anuire. When the Emperor sat the Iron Throne, the Chamberlain was only a functionary tasked with the maintenance of the Imperial Household, filling the role of standard-bearer for the Emperor, and serving as the Imperial representative on the various councils that governed the Imperial City of Anuire.
Though there was only one such council at the foundation of the Empire, the progression of history saw more and more councils arise as the City increased in size and importance. The Chamberlain was also tasked with a highly symbolic ceremonial role of little power: that of passing the Imperial Regalia from one Emperor to the next (the Regalia consists of Imperial Signet Ring, the Emperor's Crown and the State Crown, the Amulet of Roele, and at one point in time, the Sword of Roele).
Naturally, some Chamberlains were more powerful than others, and some even held the power behind the Iron Throne. Well known Chamberlains of power and influence include Aedan Dosiere, who served Michael Roele and remained a close friend to him until his death.
However, when the last Roele perished, the role of the Chamberlain in the succession increased. According to little known and little practiced points of Imperial Law, an Emperor cannot be named until the Chamberlain symbolically recognizes the Emperor by passing him the Imperial Regalia. This has not occurred in the last 500 years for a plethora of reasons. For one, no single faction has emerged strong enough to unite all of Anuire behind it and naming one faction at the expense of another would almost certainly lead to unrelenting factional warfare whose outcome would be most uncertain. Instead, the Chamberlain has been mostly content to allow the Empire to settle into its present form where a tense peace has settled across the land (though war between realms remains common, intense wars between the major factions over the succession has been relatively rare).
Another reason may be fear, as some Chamberlains have been too afraid to name a successor, even when a regent appears capable of uniting Anuire. Though there have been many craven and self-serving Chamberlains in the past, none have laid that charge at the current Chamberlain, Caleidhe Dosiere, who is generally recognized as a man of iron determination, scholarly aptitude, and intense Anuirean patriotism.
In the past, nobles have challenged the Chamberlain's authority of recognition, but none have succeeded.
Finally, one fanciful tale holds that the line of Roele might reemerge someday. Rumors of men claiming to descend from the ancient dynasty are not uncommon, but are most always dismissed as frauds. Few give the tale of the Roele Reemergence any credence and consign such tales to the realm of children's stories and wishful dreaming.
As the Empire was held by only one family, little law emerged regarding dynastic succession. However, some law did emerge for the situation in which more than one heir was eligible to sit the throne. In such cases, a council of lords would be called upon to vote for the next Emperor. Such a council, simply called the Council of the Twelve, would consist of the regents of the Twelve Duchies with the Lord High Chamberlain presiding. The council would decide upon the most eligible candidate to sit the Iron Throne by majority vote. The Chamberlain was permitted only to cast a tie breaking vote.
Emperors named by a Council of the Twelve included Galien I, Caercuillen I (in which the Chamberlain broke a tie), Alandalae III, and Cuiralean II (in which the Chamberlain broke a tie). After the election, the winning candidate had to be confirmed by the Chamberlain. Should the Chamberlain refuse, the elections must be held again (this took place during the election of Caercuillen I). Following that, the candidate would be crowned by the Patriarch of the Imperial Temple of Haelyn and named Emperor.
Of course, should the Chamberlain or the Patriarch refuse to recognize the candidate, a particularly strong candidate might be able to depose them and force the matter (such was the case in the succession of Alandalae III, who deposed Vaedric Dosiere and replaced him with Arlen Dosiere, Vaedric's nephew).
An election could conceivably be called for in order to name an Emperor today, but the situation is greatly muddled (as proven by the election at the Sword & Crown of 295 MR). As some of the original Twelve Duchies no longer exist or are ruled by different families, assembling such a council would be a daunting task.
The following section is from Solmyr's site, with few alterations.
One of the ancient customs of the Twelve Tribes of Andu stated that "no portion or inheritance is for a woman but all the land belongs to members of the male sex who are brothers." After the formation of the Empire, this custom (called the Anduric Law) was interpreted by some to mean that no part of the realm could be inherited by a woman or her children, but everything must go to a male heir or heirs within the family. The Imperial succession of the Roeles followed this law; since the last Emperor, Michael Roele, had no surviving children, the Roele family ended in the male line, and succession became disputed. Since then, the more traditionally-minded families (primarily Avan, Boeruine, Diem, and Alam) have followed the Anduric Law, while other families such as Mhoried or the newer ones (Tuor/Flaertes, Mierelen, the families of Talinie and Dhoesone) have tended to be less bound by it, making it possible for women to become rulers. Of course, nothing prevented a woman from becoming the real power behind the throne, especially if she acted as a regent for an infant son. During the game, each realm ruler may decide whether he intends to follow the Anduric Law or not.
|Title||Form of Address||Notes|
|Emperor/Empress of Anuire||His/ Her Imperial Majesty, Your Imperial Majesty||Position is currently empty. The regents of Anuire have fought for this title for the last 550 years.|
|King/Queen||His/ Her Royal Majesty, Your Royal Majesty||This rank is considered sovereign. By claiming it, Aerenwe has effectively removed itself from the Empire.|
|Prince/Princess||His/ Her Imperial Highness, Your Imperial Highness||Considered one half step above the rank of duke. This originally meant a member of the Imperial family. After the end of the direct Roele line, some have claimed this to also mean a ruler with direct blood relations to the Roeles. The Avans have been the only family audacious enough to claim the title.|
|Duke/ Duchess||His/ Her Grace, Your Grace||These realms are among the original Twelve Duchies. The Twelve Great Houses were the core of the Empire and were the Emperor's primary vassals.|
No other regent may legally claim this title. As to whether a ruler may claim the title if he or she is not related to the original family is a debated subject. More conservative nobles have held that only those who descend from the original house may claim the title of duke, while others claim that the title may be claimed simply by virtue of ruling one of the original duchies. For example, though Taeghas is of the original Twelve Duchies, its ruler only claims the title of Count. The same situation has arisen in Cariele.
In Coeranys, the Cariele family, driven out of Cariele, continues to hold the title of Duke, despite the fact that Coeranys has never been a Duchy.
Ghieste and Bhalaene were once among the Twelve Duchies, but their houses have since died out and the realms have merged into the Barony of Ghoere, forced into a lower rank by the other nobility. However, many have now recognized Ghoere as a Grand Duchy, though the legality of this is questioned.
Elinie was once a duchy, but once it came under the rulership of a Khinasi paladin, he chose to take the title of Patriarch, in order to avoid offending Anuirean sensibilities.
In Brosengae, the title of Duke passed from the Brosen family to the Mierelen family through peaceful marriage and the death of the last Brosen heir.
Aerenwe was one of the original duchies, but has since claimed itself a kingdom.
The regents of Tuornen claim the title of Duke on the basis of their descent from House Alam and Dalton Alam's claim on the throne of Alamie.
|Baron/Baroness||His/ Her Lord/ Lady Baron, My Lord Baron||The Baronies were traditionally vassals of duchies and sometimes the Emperor himself and were established on the periphery of the Empire. In some of the larger duchies, regents have appointed vassal barons to oversee groups of 3-4 provinces.|
Dhoesone is a barony, and in the old days, was a direct vassal of the Emperor.
When Roesone broke away from the Duchy of Diemed, they claimed the title of Baron.
|Count/Countess||His/ Her Excellency, Your Excellency||Thoughout Anuire, the title of Count is used by individual province holders. As such, Count is one of the most powerful ranks in Anuirean feudalism.|
The title of Count was also awarded to free cities within Diemed's sphere of influence: Endier and Ilien. These counties have since broken away and are now the only two Free Cities within Anuire (though Endier rarely styles itself a County these days). The title of Count is the lowest rank that may control a province under Imperial Law.
|Viscount/ Viscountess||His Lordship/ Her Ladyship||Viscounts hold lands within a county.|
Though the rank of Lord High Chamberlain is significantly higher than that of viscount, neither title affords the Chamberlain the legal ability to hold provinces or significant lands.
|Baronet, Marquis, Governor||His Lordship/ Her Ladyship||Baronets and Marquis' may hold a few manors and estates and a small retainer of knights. Marquis is generally given to unblooded minor nobles. The title of Governor is given to those who are tasked with the administration of a colony. Mieres and Suiriene are examples of Anuirean colonies. Typically colonies owed their allegiance directly to the Emperor, though Mieres has since fallen under the protection of Avanil.|
|Knight||His/ Her Honor, Sir||Normally only an honorary title.|
Commoners elevated to knighthood are normally given a small manor or estate.
Holders of this rank form the backbone of Anuirean heavy cavalry.
|Special/ Unique Titles||His/ Her Lordship/ Ladyship||The rank of Thane of Talinie is roughly equivalent to that of a baron.|
|The Mhor||His/ Her Grace, Your Grace||This is an ancient title predating Deismaar used by the Mhoried dynasty in addition to their position as Dukes of Mhoried.|
, 07-01-2009 at 12:29 AM|
Last edited by , 10-23-2011 at 02:02 PM
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