Holy Levantine Empire
|Holy Levantine Empire|
|Ìmpireador Naomh Levánach (Ábciwidar)|
Sacrum Levanum Imperium (Latin)
Regnat Deus super Terra
("God reigns over the Earth")
Map of the Holy Levantine Empire
in Levantia (gray) in 1927. The three constituent Kingdoms are indicated by color.
|Languages||Latin, Ábciwidar, High Celtic, High Germanic|
|Government||Electoral Confederal Monarchy|
|Emperor of the Levantines|
|•||761-805||Emperor Conchobar I|
|•||1920-1927||Emperor Adrian VI|
|•||Upper house||Collegial Electorate|
|•||Emperor Conchobar I is crowned Emperor of the Levantines||761 AD|
|Today part of||Urcea|
|Warning: Value specified for "continent" does not comply|
The Holy Levantine Empire (Latin: Sacrum Levanum Imperium, Ábciwidar: Ìmpireador Naomh Levánach) 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 Latium, 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 has remained a geopolitical fixture, being an important diplomatic institution in Levantia, in Christendom, and globally. Due to various legal reforms, including failures to centralize in the early modern era, the modern Empire was less of a state but more so a supranational confederation of mostly sovereign entities. While the direct cause of its collapse is a matter of considerable scholarly debate, the resulting conflict became known as the Great War, one of the most destructive conflicts in human history. The Apostolic King of Apostolic Kingdom 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.
Several of the institutions of the Empire, as well as the spirit of unity between Levantine states, formed the basis of the Levantine Union.
Legal Composition and the Diet
The Empire was comprised of three de jure Kingdoms by the 20th century; Ultmar, Latium, 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 one hundred members and was convened by the Emperor in Corcra as needed, or could automatically convene itself with assent of fifty one members. It was comprised of the thirty members of the Collegial Electorate as well as twenty members from each Kingdom. The Kingdoms of Ultmar and Latium were thus divided into twenty “circles”, in which the rulers within the circles determined who would sit in the Diet on their behalf.
As a result of the Great Imperial Recess of 1849-1852, in which the Empire was de facto legally extinct for a brief period, 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 1852: the separation of Kuhlfros from Ultmar as a result of it having become a republic; 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 Latium; 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 beginning 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 civil war, the Empire was converted to Christianity by its new Magister, 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 the basis of Procuratorial Monarchy. 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.