The Empire of The Kusan

Discussions about constructed worlds, cultures and any topics related to constructed societies.
Post Reply
User avatar
sangi39
moderator
moderator
Posts: 2621
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 00:53
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

The Empire of The Kusan

Post by sangi39 » Sun 12 Nov 2017, 02:06

So, to begin with, the Empire of the Kusan is an empire/federation located on the south-eastern coast of the continent of Sirden in my conworld, Yantas. It's roughly similar to the Roman Empire of our time, but with a few differences thrown in which reflect a different history.

The main aim of this thread, rather than dealing with specific politics or history (so no names or dates really), is to present the politics, geography and culture of the Empire as a whole in what would, in our timeline, be roughly 1AD.

I'm also sharing this information over on nationstates.net, so what gets posted here will be posted there and vice versa.

The next few posts will effectively be a wall of text, due to, basically, copying and pasting information from there to here, but I'd be really happy to get some feedback from the Board [:)]
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
User avatar
sangi39
moderator
moderator
Posts: 2621
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 00:53
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: The Empire of The Kusan

Post by sangi39 » Sun 12 Nov 2017, 02:07

The Imperial Constitution:



The Empire of the Kusan has a somewhat complex political system, mixing elements of direct and representative democracy, oligarchy and federalism. The key features of the Kusan political system are:

1) The Emperor: A hereditary ruler, who serves for life

2) The King: A semi-hereditary ruler, elected by the Senate, who serves for life - A member of the Imperial Family

3) The Five Princes: Five semi-hereditary rulers, appointed by the Emperor, all serving for life - Members of Five Princely Families

4) The Nobility: Members of historically high-ranking families within the Empire. This status could be granted and stripped by the Emperor. Both men and women of noble birth could vote.

5) Citizens: Men who have served at least five years in the military before the age of 25 whose father was also a citizen, and whose maternal grandfather was also a citizen (if they weren't a citizen, but a commoner, then they would have to have served 10 years in the military for their son/grandson to be considered a citizen).

6) Commoners: All people within the Five Principalities who are neither slaves nor citizens.

7) Barbarians: All people living outside the Five Principalities who are neither citizens nor nobles not slaves (citizens and nobles living within these areas are strictly associated with the principality from which their family originally came).

8) Slaves: Includes both indentured slaves and hereditary slaves (the latter will always be slaves, as with their children, while the former are only slaves as the result of debt, which can be passed to their children, but eventually indentured slaves can become commoners).

9) The Senate Proper: The political body representing the noble families of the Empire of the Kusan - Elected once every 5 years

10) The Council Proper: A smaller political body elected by members of the Senate who would consult with the King and the Emperor - Elected every three years.

11) The Assembly Proper: A larger political body, elected by non-noble citizens and the nobility - Elected every 5 years, during the third year of the Senate Proper.

12) The Committee Proper: Elected by members of the Assembly Proper to sit on meetings of the Senate Proper - Elected once of 3 years.

12) The Common Senate: Elected by Commoners (strictly men) across the entire Empire as a whole - Elected every three years.

13) The Common Council: Elected by members of the Common Senate to attend meetings of the Common Senate - Elected once a year.

14) The Common Assembly: Elected by Commoners (strictly men) in line with their Principality - Elected every three years during the second year of the Common Senate.

15) The Common Committee: Elected by member of the Common Assembly to attend meetings of the Assembly Proper - Elected once a year

16) The Barbarian Senate: Elected in a similar manner to the Common Assembly, by people from outside of the Five Principalities. Members had no power to vote, but could attend meetings of the Senate Proper if invited to do so - Elected once every 4 years.

17) Slaves, of course, have no political representation within the Empire, but various local "senates" are held, although highly unpopular and in most cases banned outright by the local nobility.

18) Each of the Five Principalities also have their own Senates (Proper and Common), handling local matters.

----------------------

Each of the various bodies have their own election processes and functions, as well as sets of checks and balances in some cases. Despite all of the representative bodies, the word of the Emperor was final.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
User avatar
sangi39
moderator
moderator
Posts: 2621
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 00:53
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: The Empire of The Kusan

Post by sangi39 » Sun 12 Nov 2017, 02:08

Constitution: Part 1 - The Emperor

The Emperor of the Kusan is, strictly speaking, an absolute monarch. He has the power to veto any decision made by the various legislative bodies beneath him, as well as to dissolve them at will, strip individuals and groups of rights and powers, appoint anyone to any position, declare war and make peace and a whim and so on and so on. The current Emperor seems content to go along calmly with the traditions of the Empire, but past emperors have disregarded the system in various ways many times.
The title of "Emperor" is a hereditary one, passing from one man to another through agnatic primogeniture, with a strict exclusive of women from both holding the position and being used in determining the right of a man to the position. For example, should the Emperor die having only had daugthers, even if one of those daughters were to have a son, the title of Emperor would pass first to the now-deceased Emperor's oldest brother, then to the next oldest brother, then to the oldest son of his oldest uncle, etc. On occasion this has caused civil wars through succession crises, where the strict exclusion of matrilineal inheritance has meant that the presumptive Emperor lacks the support of the nobility, usually due to being a very minor member of the Imperial Family.

All power within the Empire, in the strictest theoretical interpretation, lies within the hands of the Emperor, but a number of these powers are delegated to "lesser" legislative bodies.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
User avatar
sangi39
moderator
moderator
Posts: 2621
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 00:53
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: The Empire of The Kusan

Post by sangi39 » Sun 12 Nov 2017, 02:09

Constitution: Part 2 - The King

The position of "King" within the Empire of the Kusan is an unusual one. Elected by the Senate, the King is chosen by the elected representatives of the nobility, but, like the Emperor, is drawn from the wider Imperial Family and serves for life.
To stand for selection as King, a man must be a member of the Imperial Family either through strict patrilineal descent or the son of a woman who is a member of the Imperial Family through strict patrilineal descent. Who and who isn't a member of the Imperial Family is, in theory, decided by the Emperor, but most often it includes all male descendants of all past emperors unless that line is stripped of their membership.

It is possible for the King to ascend the the Imperial Throne, after which a new election for King is held, and at various points in history the King has been elected on the basis that they would be heir presumptive to the Emperor. Other times lesser members of the Imperial Family have been elected on the basis that they might suit the role better, with the King being a predominantly military role.

The newly elected King serves first and foremost as head of the Imperial Army and Navy, advising the Emperor on military matters and, unless vetoed by the Emperor himself, can declare war unchecked, although it is often expected that he be present on large-scale military excursions.

The King also acts as the primary "Voice of the Emperor" during diplomatic missions abroad, since it is believed that the Emperor cannot leave the Empire, and being the first among all in the world, some emperors have believed it beneath them to talk directly to certain groups of people (usually foreigners).
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
User avatar
sangi39
moderator
moderator
Posts: 2621
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 00:53
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: The Empire of The Kusan

Post by sangi39 » Sun 12 Nov 2017, 02:09

Constitution: Part 3 - The Five Princes

The Empire of the Kusan is divided at its core into five principalities, the relatively small island of Sengo in the Sea of Kalma, the large country of Histon to the north, Rukar and Selka to the east and west of Histon respectively (all three lying on the coast), and the smaller land of Tommal to the north, border Histon and Selka.
Each of these five principalities is ruled by a Prince, drawn from the Princely Family of each region. In a similar manner to the King, these five princes are appointed, but directly by the Emperor instead. Each family has a different set of rules for determining who and who isn't suitable for nomination to the position of Prince, but the Emperor will most often choose the son or closest male relative of the previous Prince unless he believes another nominee is more suitable (assuming he pays attention to the nomination process at all).

The Five Princes perform similar roles to the King, dealing predominantly with military matters, but concerned more with internal affairs within their respective principalities, although they are also expected to draw soldiers from their armies to support the Imperial Army and Navy (with the exclusion of Tommal which doesn't have a navy, although men from Tommal can still join the Imperial Navy if they wish).

The Five Princes also, with the exception of intervention from the Emperor, have final say on any internal matters that concern just their respective principalities, including taxation, the appointment of local judges, how local taxes should be spent, etc.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
User avatar
sangi39
moderator
moderator
Posts: 2621
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 00:53
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: The Empire of The Kusan

Post by sangi39 » Sun 12 Nov 2017, 02:10

Constitution: Part 4 - The Nobility

The Nobility are, in a quite circular manner, those families and their members that are defined as "noble". In most cases this stretches back to the days when the Five Principalities were independent nations, while others were raised to that level by the Emperor, and in other cases noble families are, in the strictest sense, cadet branches of older noble families.
What defines "nobility", at the very basic level, is that a person or family is recognised as so by the Princes, and especially by the Emperor (there are noble families, for example, that are only considered nobility within given principalities, but not on the level of the Empire as a whole).

The Nobility are an odd class, in that, strictly speaking, they are recognised as such only by means of descent. As a result, a person can be considered a member of the nobility with neither means of income nor land holdings (assuming the family doesn't disown the member or the Princes or the Emperor don't strip the title away from them), and in some cases this can mean that Citizens can be of higher standing than nobles (should an individual noble attempt to settle debts through indentured slavery, the right to noble standing is lost for the entire descending family).

Nobles have some rights to decide taxes, especially in areas over which they preside, and they can, on an individual basis, vote for members of both the Assembly Proper (if they were also citizens) and the Senate Proper (the latter exclusively representing and constituted of nobles).

In terms of influence within the Empire, the nobles have the most say, with their combined vote constituting the "heaviest" vote within the Imperial Parliament (constituting the whole of one house and a part of another).

On top of this, individual nobles have the following rights:

a) The right to vote in the Assembly and to stand for election in the Committee (if they had served in the Imperial Military for 5 years before the age of 25)
b) The right to vote in the Senate and to stand for election in the Council
c) The right for their children (both male and female) to be considered members of the nobility from birth (unless disowned)
d) The right to freedom of settlement within across the Principalities
e) The right to freedom of settlement outside of the Principalities (for this they would be given an initial annual allowance and a plot of land)
f) The right to be indebted to through indentured servitude
g) The right to slave ownership
h) The right to a trial
i) The right to appeal to higher courts
j) The right to serve on the various juries in the Empires judicial and political system
k) The right to serve in the Imperial Military as an officer
l) The right to serve in various state offices without having to risk loss of social status

This last point is quite crucial in distinguishing between the nobles and the citizens. For a family to remain a noble one, all it has to do is not have that status revoked by the Princes or the Emperor (depending on when they became a noble family). However, for a family to maintain citizenship throughout their line, they must serve in the military before the age of 25 or 30 (depending on which army they serve in). If a man fails to meet these conditions, he cannot become a citizen, and neither can the his sons or grandsons. Citizenship is earned while nobility is a matter of birth.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
User avatar
sangi39
moderator
moderator
Posts: 2621
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 00:53
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: The Empire of The Kusan

Post by sangi39 » Sun 12 Nov 2017, 02:11

Constitution: Part 5 - Citizens

Unlike the nobility, but similar to the ruling heads of state, the citizens of the Empire are exclusively men. However, citizenship is dependent not simply as a matter of birth, but also a matter of personal military service.
The conditions for citizenship are:

1) An individual must be a man over the age of 25.
2a) That man must have served at least 5 years in the Imperial Military or:
2b) 10 years in one of the Armies of the Principalities before the age of 30.
3a) His father must have also been a citizen or:
3b) His paternal grandfather must have served 10 years in the Imperial Military if he was not a citizen or:
3c) His paternal grandfather must have served 15 years in the Imperial Military if he was not a citizen.
4) His maternal grandfather must have been a citizen.

There is no alternative route to citizenship through maternal lines. A man's grandfather on his mother's side must have been a citizen.

Citizenship is granted upon completion of military service and came with rights to:

a) vote in the Assembly and to stand for election in the Committee,
b) have their sons recognised as citizens (assuming they marry daughters of other citizens and completed national service)
c) exemption from local taxation (if they served in the Armies of the Principalities they still had to pay tax at the levels of Principality and Empire, but not pay taxes to nobles. Similarly, if the served in the Imperial Army they didn't have to pay taxes to the Princes)
d) freedom of settlement within across the Principalities (or the Principality depending on level of service)
e) freedom to settle outside of the Principalities (for this they would be given an initial annual allowance and a plot of land)
f) be indebted to through indentured servitude, but not to slave ownership
g) a trial
h) appeal to higher courts
g) serve on the various juries in the Empires judicial and political system

Many of these rights were shared with the nobility, but in the case of citizens these rights had to be earned.

Nobles could also be classed as citizens after serving in the Imperial Military (nobles had immediate entry into the Imperial Military and at higher ranks) and some noble families served in the military as a matter of course.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
User avatar
sangi39
moderator
moderator
Posts: 2621
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 00:53
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: The Empire of The Kusan

Post by sangi39 » Sun 12 Nov 2017, 02:11

Constitution: Part 6 - Commoners

Commoners were, simply but, anyone who was neither a noble, a citizen, an indentured servant or a slave. Like citizens, they could serve in the military, but they were given no reward of citizenship upon completion of their service (at least if the other conditions for citizenship relating to heritage weren't met either).
They did, however, have some rights within the Principalities of the Empire, notably:

a) The right (of men) to vote in the Common Senate and to stand for election to the Common Council
b) The right (of men) to vote in the Common Assembly and to stand for election to the Common Committee
c) The right to move within the Principality of their birth
d) The right to serve in the Armies of the Principalities
e) The right to serve on certain juries
f) The right hold public office (as could the sons of citizens, see "Constitution: Part 6").
g) The right to a trial (but they could not appeal)
h) The right to a wage (and thus to pay tax)

Commoners also fell under the protection of the Empire, its laws and its military.

Strictly speaking, commoners could move out of the Principalities into the further reaches of the Empire, but only came under Imperial protection if they settled in lands owned by citizens or nobles. Unlike citizens or nobles, however, they weren't given any financial support to make this move.

Unlike citizens and nobles, it was possible for a commoner to be taken into slavery (citizens and nobles could only become indentured servants or face the death penalty), but they had no right to either own slaves or to be indebted to in the form of indentured servitude.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
User avatar
sangi39
moderator
moderator
Posts: 2621
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 00:53
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: The Empire of The Kusan

Post by sangi39 » Sun 12 Nov 2017, 02:12

Constitution: Part 7 - Barbarians

Barbarians were quite similar to the commoners of the Empire, but they fell outside of Imperial protection, despite being members of the Empire. The had limited rights, including:
1) The right to serve in the Imperial Army
2) The right to commoner status upon completion of 10 years military service
3) The right to hold land within areas under Imperial protection after completion of this service

Barbarians outside of Imperial protection were predominantly dealt with by the Imperial Military under the eye of the various governors, gradually being incorporated into the Empire as noble families or citizens from the Principalities (or who had already settled outside of the Principalities). Similarly, they had no right to move inside the areas under Imperial protection without express permission from the local land-owners.

Barbarians had no right to a trial, could be taken as slaves or as indentured servants for almost any crime, and could not appeal to a higher court. Likewise, they had no right to vote for members in any officially recognised political body within the Empire.

For a time, however, local hierarchies and institutions were permitted under the condition that the head of any "independent" group swear allegiance to the Empire of the Kusan and pay taxes directly to the Empire. In exchange, while not strictly under the protection of the Empire, they could call upon the aid of the military who had a strong local presence (disputes between the Empire and local leaders, especially new ones who refused to pay taxes, were often dealt with severely).

Eventually, through gradual co-operation with the Empire and the expansion of Kusan land-owners into new territories, barbarian territories could be brought fully into the Imperial fold (this could be achieved through various means which will be discussed later).
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
User avatar
sangi39
moderator
moderator
Posts: 2621
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 00:53
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: The Empire of The Kusan

Post by sangi39 » Thu 16 Nov 2017, 22:14

Constitution: Part 8 - Slaves

Slaves, as mentioned before, come in two varieties, each with their own sets of rights.
On the one hand are indentured servants, indebted to an individual (either the Emperor, the King, a Prince, a member of the nobility, or a citizen), paying off their debt through work, or working to atone for a crime they have committed. Any member of society could become an indenture servant, and the period of their servitude was determined by the courts of the Empire. Debt could also be passed to descendants, but eventually the debt would be paid or the crime atoned for, and indentures servants would become commoners.

On the other hand are slaves, taken as captives in war, punished for a crime, or in debt to an individual. Slaves could only come from commoner or barbarian stock, and their time as a slave was for the entirety of their life, with slave status passing on to all of their descendants. As a result, without special interference from the ruling elite, slaves had no ability to move up in society, existing in a perpetual state of servitude to the nobility.

Indentured servants had the right to sue their debtee for unfair or cruel treatment, were expected to be housed and fed to acceptable conditions, in theory earning a wage (although their expenses were deducted from this wage and the wage was strictly a measure of their debt, i.e. their wage was set by the court, paid for by the debtee, but any unspent money was returned to the debtee, with spending power being controlled by the debtee).

Slaves had literally no legal rights. They could be bought and sold (indentured servants were contracted strictly to one person or family), their movement throughout the Empire was determined by their owners and they had no ability to fight against their owners through the legal system in the event of cruel treatment, lack of housing or starvation.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
Post Reply