Holy Levantine Empire
Holy Levantine Empire
|761 AD–1935 AD|
Motto: Regnat Deus super Terra
("God reigns over the Earth")
Error creating thumbnail: File missing
Map of the Holy Levantine Empire
in Levantia (gray) in 1927. The three constituent Kingdoms are indicated by color.
|Common languages||Latin, Lebhan, High Celtic, High Germanic|
|Government||Electoral Confederal Monarchy|
|Emperor of the Levantines|
|Today part of||Urcea|
The Holy Levantine Empire (Latin: Sacrum Levanum Imperium, Lebhan: Ìmpireador Naomh Levánach), also called the Levantine Empire until 1228, was a multi-ethnic confederation of more than 200 states in Levantia that developed during the Early Middle Ages. Over the course of its history, the Empire had come to be constituted by the Kingdom of Ultmar, Kingdom of Dericania, and Kingdom of Urcea.
Formed at the beginning of the Medieval Era as the Kingdom of Gallawa set itself over most of western continental Levantia, the Holy Levantine Empire remained a geopolitical fixture, being an important diplomatic institution in Levantia, in Christendom, and globally. During the High Middle Ages, the Empire was the dominant political and economic power in Levantia and exercised wide-reaching influence over the whole Occidental world. Due to various legal reforms, including failures to centralize in the early modern era, the Empire became less of a state but more so a supranational confederation of mostly sovereign entities by the time of The Anarchy. Re-stabilized after the Great Confessional War, the Empire enjoyed a period of stability and peace until the Caroline Wars put Urcea on an antagonistic footing with the Empire, a period called the Recess of the Julii. This, combined with the question of the Two Derics and the First Fratricide followed by a general period of chaos in the 19th century lead to crippling instability within the Empire by the dawn of the 20th century.
While the direct cause of its collapse is a matter of considerable scholarly debate, the direct result was a conflict over its continued existence that became known as the Great War, one of the most destructive conflicts in human history. During the Great War, the Emperor of the Levantines - the Apostolic King of Urcea - "relinquished the responsibilities and administration of Imperial Governance", formally (but not legally) bringing the Empire to an end. The Apostolic King of Urcea maintains, to the present day, the title of Emperor of the Levantines as part of the peace settlement following the war. As such, it could be said that the Empire is still extant de jure in the person of the Emperor, but the distinct Diet-based institutions of the territorial Empire were definitively abolished following the war and is generally not considered to still exist in any meaningful sense.
Main Article: History of the Holy Levantine Empire
The Holy Levantine Empire's origins lay in the era immediately succeeding the collapse of Great Levantia in 502AD, which had reigned over the continent for nearly a millennium. In the ruins of that society, several Latinic and Gaelic successor states attempted to exert dominance over the continent, the most prominent of which was the Gaelic kingdom of Gallawa, which emerged from its densely populated cultural enclave to extend over most of what became the western half of the Deric States and part of eastern Urcea. Continued demographic growth lead to a second period in the late 7th century, sometimes called the "Gaelic explosion", in which Gallawa acquired considerably more territory uniting the other petty Gaelic kingdoms into one sprawling empire.
In 750, Conchobar became King of Gallawa and decided to end the warring states period of Levantia definitively by marching west to conquer most of the former Great Levantine heartland. Moving rapidly down the coasts against the Latinic city-states along the coasts and the upcountry Gallo-Latinic principalities he set his eyes on the “crown jewel of Levantia”, Urceopolis, beginning his march against it in 756. The Duke of Urceopolis, Julius prepared the defenses of the city as several of the noble families fled or fought Conchobar’s army in losing pitched battles along the river. Many local magnates were brought to heel by Conchobar’s forces while many others saw their castles destroyed and their patrimony shattered. ADD SEIGE OR SOMETHING TO MAKE UP FOR THE TWO YEARS HERE
As Conchobar’s army began its encirclement and encampment of Urceopolis, in early 759, Julius was approached by the Pope, who advised that, rather than fight, the Duke should submit rather than see the city come under siege and fight a battle against fellow Catholics. Julius met Conchobar in the field between the camp and the city, and to the latter’s surprise, Julius bent the knee and submitted himself to Conchobar as his subject. The King of Gallawa embraced Julius and, according to legend, told Julius of a vision of St. Joseph he had received that Urceopolis would be part of a great Christian Empire without so much as a drop of blood being shed. to Conchobar entered the city then asked Julius to marshal his forces and march on Yustona, which fell to the combined armies in the span of a month. In exchange for his loyalty, Conchobar granted Julius the title of Archduke of Urceopolis and also granted the new Grand Duchy of Yustona to Julius’s brother, Aedanicus. Later, in 761, Conchobar was crowned Emperor of Levantia in Urceopolis by the Pope, forming the Levantine Empire. which cast itself as a reformed Great Levantia, capitaled in Corcra.
Conchobar’s descendants ruled the Levantine Empire until 917, when the Empire was split among Emperor Brian III's sons according to Gaelic custom. The Eastern Kingdom of the Levantines under King Culmann, the Southern Kingdom of the Levantines under King Charles, and the Western Kingdom of the Levantines under King Aemon were created. Though it was thought King Culmann would be crowned Emperor of the Levantines with prestigious supremacy over his younger brothers, the Pope refused to do so. The Imperial throne, then, sat vacant for nearly a generation. In 965, the Eastern King, Leo, of some Latin and native extraction, deposed the Conine King in the Southern Kingdom. The Pope crowned Leo as Emperor in 972, reforming the Levantine Empire, though permanently without the Western Kingdom of the Levantines. The Leonine Dynasty proved short lived, and its failure to produce an heir lead to near-open revolt. The revolt’s victory securing that the Emperor would be elected by the most powerful or worthy vassals of the Empire via the Collegial Electorate.
Early Elective Monarchy
In 997, the Collegial Electorate met for the first time and elected Louis, the Duke of Allaria, who was subsequently crowned by the Pope. He was unable to secure election for his son, Vamniticus. In 1014, Archduke Adrian IV of the Archduchy of Urceopolis was elected Emperor.
Hištanšahr is still doing its own thing here. BURGOSPHERE is all sorts of stuff some of it Imperial maybe like the Imperial Abbey of Costello (1062), Archbishopric of Rabascall-Bergendia 937-1264, and Bishopric of Bonavix 926-1847.
Following the reign of Emperor Adrian, the Collegial Electorate selected Leo, Duke of San Gomaina, who established the Luciusian dynasty. The Luciusians managed to become the first family in the electoral era to maintain a father-to-son succession on the Imperial throne, creating an environment of dominance that lasted for 98 years.
Golden Bull of 1043 established two administriative kingdoms: the Kingdom of Dericania was which encompassed the southern half of the Empire and the Kingdom of Culfra which encompassed the north and set the number of electors at 9. They were:
- Duke-Elector of Allaria
- Duke-Elector of Anivania
- Count-Elector of Baylium
- Prince(Bishop)-Elector of Bergendia
- Duke-Elector of Canaery
- Prince(Bishop)-Elector of Carinella
- Margrave-Elector Eastmarch
- Duke-Elector of San Gomania
- Prince-Elector of Verecundia
Hištanšahr, long a free kingdom in the heart of Empire, fell to the forces of Seoirge Ashrafioun in the War of the Three Princes, in 1071. Seoirge was crowned as the first King of Gassavelia by the Pope, incorporating the realm into the Empire. Removing the need to watch the southern border of the Empire, successive emperors looked northward and set about an age of expansionism across Levantia.
The Luciusian reign was notable for the initiation of the Crusades in Sarpedon, in 1095. The Crusades consolidated the identity of the Empire and rested much more power in the Emperor. The various princelings who campaigned together began to see beyond their narrow fiefdoms and understand the vastness and diversity of the Empire but also of their commonality with eachother. They all spoke Latin as well as their local tongue, they all worshiped in the same Church with the same rites. Some scholars have posited that the 12th century was the cultural birth of the Imperial identity.
In the 1090s, the Kingdom of Culfra began to openly discuss separating from the Empire altogether or deposing the Collegial Electorate in favor of a hereditary northern King, and by 1096 began to march for Corcra. The Emperor, Charles II Luciusian, citing the recent canonization of Saint Julius I, the pious prestige accrued during the recent Crusade, and the considerable lands and titles his successors had acquired, offered Prince-Archduke Riordan of Urceopolis a Kingship of his own in exchange for his support. Specifically, the Emperor proposed dividing western Kingdom of Dericania into the newly formed so-called Imperial Kingdom of Urcea, a legal entity within the Empire alongside the Royal title. Riordan accepted, and Emperor Carles II issued the Golden Bull of 1098, which created the Kingdom and consolidated all of Riordan’s holdings under him and compelling the other vassals in the region to be nominally subservient to him. With the support of Urcea, the Imperial faction won the war.
By the 12th century the Luciusian Dynasty had conquered portions of the Western Kingdom of the Levantines, bringing the empire in possession of a great portion of the lands of Great Levantia. At this point the Empire was truly a continental power and began to define Levantia in terms of its dominance of it. The Luciusian Dynasty built a series of walls to protect the Empire’s new northern borders and everything beyond them were ‘’Ultramurus’’ later ‘’Ultmar’’ (Eng: beyond the wall). This dichotomy persists even unto this day to refer to those lands that were at one point in time part of the Gallo-Latinic, Catholic, Empire. These expansions occurred primarily against the Gothic tribes of the modern nation of Kuhlfros and against the Istroyan Kingdom of Eagaria in modern day Burgundie.
Legal Composition and the Diet
The Empire was comprised of three de jure Kingdoms by the 20th century; Ultmar, Dericania, and Urcea, the former two of which were titles held by the Emperor and are de facto defunct as functional governing entities. The Ultmar was later granted to the Prince of Burgundie. The Emperor ruled from Corcra, the Imperial City (and, as of 1927, the fourth largest city in the Empire), which by law, was always to be held by the Emperor and could not be inherited by the children of a deceased Emperor. As such, the city and its hinterlands were the only territories guaranteed to be a direct fief of the Emperor, though in the closing days of the Empire the city was held by Latin nationalists and was a matter of considerable diplomatic confrontation.
Imperial Law was issued by the Emperor himself via Golden Bulls or Pragmatic Sanctions, the former being Imperial decrees establishing law and the latter being various adjustments or exceptions to the law that establish precedent. The Imperial Diet could also create laws (or, by the 20th century, regulations and trade agreements), though Imperial Law was not substantially changed after the Pragmatic Sanction of 1896 (elaborated below). The High Imperial Court, appointed by the Emperor and confirmed by the Diet, had jurisdiction over matters of Imperial Law within nations, and also accepted petitions for non-Imperial cases determined by the high courts of the states of the Empire.
The Imperial Diet had XXX hundred members and was convened by the Emperor in Corcra as needed, or could automatically convene itself with assent of XXX members. It was comprised of the thirty members of the Collegial Electorate.
As a result of the unrest following the Third Caroline War and First Fratricide, many reforms were implemented in an attempt to put the confederal Empire on sounder footing and increase its viability. Many major changes were implemented when the Diet reconvened in 1855: the Diet's reformation into a confederate council rather than a legal institution; the Imperial Inquisition, the primary law-enforcement institution, was abolished; mediatization of large parts of the Empire, especially in the Kingdom of Dericania; and a series of other changes intended to abolish the medieval legal structures of the Empire and reform it into something more resembling a customs and trade union. These reforms were successful, for a time, until the final dissolution of the Empire in the 20th century.
Emperor and Collegial Electorate
Further Information: Collegial Electorate
The Empire itself was embodied in the person of the Emperor, who, since the High Middle Ages, had been elected by a body known as the Collegial Electorate, thirty secular and clerical princes of the realm. The Emperor could be any baptized Catholic (of any rite in union with the Holy See in Urceopolis) male, whether or not he was a landholder or even a resident of the Empire. He was the head of the Imperial Bureaucracy and (sometimes nominal) head of the Imperial Army, and was crowned by the Pope as de jure worldly head of all Christendom.
The Emperor could have been landed within the Empire, could have been landless, or could have even be a foreigner. A landed Emperor usually wielded substantial power within the Empire as the Emperor could rely upon his own tax levies and armies as well as that of Corcra and that which he owed by his Imperial dignity by the states of the Empire; a landless Emperor could only rely on Corcra’s contributions and the goodwill of his vassals. Many times, during times of sustained peace and relative prosperity, a landless Emperor would be elected mostly as an honorary distinction to an aged individual of merit within the Empire or its sphere of influence; such an Emperor was popularly known as an “Emperor in the Garden”, as the election is viewed as a comfortable retirement (perhaps for an elderly Imperial statesman or general) rather than a position of global influence. In times of global disorder and threats against the Empire, a powerful landed ruler was traditionally elected Emperor (including the Prince of Adenborough, the Apostolic King of Urcea, or any other powerful contemporaries). The Electors, during such a time, could also elect a landless foreigner who would secure for the Empire an important alliance (such as electing a Coscivian or a similar decision).
Upon the death of a landless Emperor, the direct heir of the deceased Emperor was granted either a Manor and estate in the hinterlands or city of Corcra (if the successive Emperor was landless), or was granted a title and lands in perpetuity within the state that his successor is from. Such families are known as “Garden Dynasties” (from the “Emperor in the Garden” colloquialism).
The election of an Emperor required a simple plurality with a minimum of ten votes; the Pope could veto any selection that did not receive a majority vote of the Collegial Electorate. In the event that the Electors, by majority, selected a candidate the Pope does not accede to, the Emperor assumed the throne anyway, albeit uncrowned and under the legal title of “King of the Levantines”.
There were thirty electors in the Collegial Electorate, half of which were held by some of the Prince-Bishops and Prince-Archbishops of the Empire. Some of the secular electors, over the course of history, were replaced with Democratic regimes; the Pragmatic Sanction of 1896 allowed for elected rulers of the states of the Empire to assume the Electoral title if they were so entitled. Meetings were traditionally held upon the death of the previous Emperor in the Imperial City of Corcra, and the elected Mayor of that city was traditionally the non-voting presiding officer of the College. Following the Pragmatic Sanction of 1701, both men and women could serve as members of the Collegial Electorate. After the reforms of 1853, nearly all the Prince-Bishops were titular princes only.
Translatio imperii is the concept in Levantine law from which the legitimacy of the Imperator Levantiorum is derived. According to this cornerstone of Imperial continental dominance, the Emperor of the Levantines, whoever he was, could trace his spiritual lineage directly back to the Magister Militum of Great Levantia, and is as such the inheritor of all the power of the Augusti of that Levantia-spanning state. The privilege of rulership was not only vested on the principle of continuity, but also by a divine mandate from God himself, handed down by the Bishops of Urceopolis, and granting the Emperor authority as vicegerent of God and Arbiter of His will on Earth.
The Pope's right to crown the Emperor of the Levantines is traced to a crucial event in Great Levantia, near the beginning of it's inexorable decline and fragmentation. During the period when Great Levantia was pagan, the state was ruled by an individual using the official title of Pontifex Maximus - the Chief Priest - who claimed to wield authority of the gods themselves and the great personified Levantine state-god. The position, appointed by the Chief Priest, of the Magister Militum ("Master of the Soldiers", sometimes also simply called Imperator, or "commander"), originally a civil post, gradually began to assume and increasing amount of power over the Levantine State, being the true political authority by the middle of the third century. As the empire began to decline, a succession of ever-more brutal civil wars were fought between various generals and aristocrats for control of the Empire, symbolized by a claim to the aforementioned title. After one such brief civil war, Amadeus Agrippa assumed command of Great Levantia. During his reign, the Empire was converted to Christianity, which by the beginning of the fourth century was the majority faith of the Levantines. In an effort to symbolize this transition, along with a thought to quell any thoughts of a counterclaim to the throne, the Bishop of Urceopolis, that is, the Pope, had the title of Pontifex Maximus linked to the Petrine Office in perpetuity by the Magister Militum - making Jesus Christ the de jure head of the Levantine state in place of the god of Great Levantia.
The idea of Christ as the true head of society - with the political rulers only ruling in his place - eventually formed an important philosophical basis of Crown Liberalism. The Magister and his successors would also increasingly adopt the military title Imperator as their primarily form of reference, and the title, in Levantia, began to denote the highest possible political office. Despite it's short term relative political insignificance - seeing as how the pagan religion had already weakened and the Bishop of Urceopolis, as Pope, already had wide reaching authority - the decision to appoint the Bishop of Urceopolis Pontifex Maximus would have wide reaching diplomatic and political effects, only one of which being his right to crown the Emperor of Levantia centuries in the future.