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I am stuck. please help. Imperial goverments

Discussion in 'World Building' started by ArenRax, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

    How do Imperial dynasties and well Empires work?
    I know the japanese Empire of ww2 had the the emperor and I think some sort of Council.
    I know the Roman Empire had an Emperor and a Senate.
    and I know that the chinese Empire had an Emperor.
    Please note that I have never studied Empires but know of Imperialism and thats it, no idea how one functions.
  2. Russ

    Russ Istar

    An "Empire" is just a government that rules over more than one nationality. They all had their own unique structures.

    For instance for many years the Holy Roman Emperor was elected by various nobles for life. In other places it was passed down to the oldest son etc.
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  3. Zephyr

    Zephyr Scribe

    Your best answer is to start studying some Empires!

    The British Empire is probably one of the best examples of Imperial Dynastic Rule, since the Queen is still head of state of many of the Commonwealth countries. Their Empire was incredibly successful and only started its decline in the 1900s after existing nearly 400 years!

    The Roman Empire technically never even ended. Of course, Britain threw off the yoke of Roman rule in 410AD, and by then there were a series of disasters in the West and East parts of the empire such as barbarian attacks and rebellions by local rulers. The West Roman Empire died when Odoacer revolted and deposed Romulus in September 476, claiming to rule on behalf of Emperor Zeno, and no new emperor was appointed, but the East Roman Empire lived on, which eventually turned to the Byzantine Empire, and even nowadays you can say the Roman Empire lives on through the Catholic Church which spreads its influence over Europe.

    In the simplest terms, an Empire is a means of one country exploiting another. Usually it involves marching your soldiers in, bullying people around (Britain had a tactic called "gunboat diplomacy" whereby a battleship would anchor off the coast of a threatened nation, and if they did not acquiesce to Britain's demands, you can understand what their response would be) killing and enslaving the natives and raping the new lands of its resources to further build your empire and war machine, and benefit your own people.

    These days empires don't make much sense due to it being much cheaper to come into trade agreements than start wars, but back in ye olde anarchic times, when the world was still fresh and "uncivilised", the only way nationalist and jingoistic folk saw fit to deal with their native cousins was the eradicate or enslave them.

    You can have them run by a government, a monarch, whatever takes your fancy, since the external workings of an empire generally have little bearing on how the mother country is governed. Usually a despot or dictator makes sense, since those kind of right-wing governments have their focus on putting their country first above others (take Rome, Britain, Germany) with aggressive foreign policy and supremacists attitudes to bolster them.

    But then again, it's a fantasy story, so you can write it however you like. Maybe it's an aggressively nice Empire, trying to bring peace, unity and civilisation to the world? Who says it has to work in any one way?
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
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  4. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

    It varies greatly between empires. Really, it's a kingdom on a larger scale much of the time, with more than one nationality or ethnic group under a single banner. This doesn't even have to be accomplished through warfare, but could be brought about through political marriages and the like.

    Empires don't even need to have a monarchy or a dictatorship. Athens, which is often held up by some as a pinnacle of democracy, turned the Delian League into its own personal empire by the time of the Peloponnesian War.
  5. DeathtoTrite

    DeathtoTrite Troubadour

    Empires are VERY diverse. In Russia, you had the absolutist tsar, without any kind of parliament until 1905! The nobility too, was very weak compared to the tsar. In Britain, meanwhile, the empire wasn't a great empire truly until well after the British nobility was relegated to a relatively unimportant role. In Japan, the emperor was largely a religious puppet for centuries, subjugated to the Shogun. What kind of empire are you curious about? An ancient, middle-eastern kingdom? A European imperialist? An native american empire? All these empires had their own culture, governance style, role of religion, etc.
  6. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

    If you could tell us more about the context for your empire and what demands it needs to meet we can probably give you more precise help, because as others have mentioned there's no single way for an empire to work.
  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I echo what those above have said. You are not so much stuck as you have yet to leave the driveway.

    But I always say, start with what the story needs. What is it about your story that needs an empire?
  8. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

    In my story an Empire falls but years later it resurfaces but what happened is there is now the Old Regime which inhabit whats left of the Empire after it falls and then there is the New Empire that surfaces in the former Southern Provinces both of which are ruled by loyalists except one went against the regime to found his own in the south but what I need is to know what empires to study for both structure and a difference in ideals.
    Like the old would have slaves and the ideal of Native-born Superiority and the old would have Equality but I would like to make them as different as possible.
  9. ScipioSmith

    ScipioSmith Sage

    For empires that are both the rumps of a much greater predecessor, I think your first stop research-wise has to be the Byzantine Empire. Only trouble is that it's so obvious that it's been done to death a little bit in various forms, or at least people see shadows of it everywhere in fantasy fiction nowadays whenever a shadow of a once mighty empire exists.

    For the slave-holding society, the Antebellum South is probably a good starting point, and possibly Reconquista Spain with the obsession with blood purity amongst the nobles.

    For the egalitarian empire, that's a lot harder. I suppose the Roman Empire once citizenship had been made universal might qualify, as might Alexander's plan to create a state mingling Greek and oriental influences.

    A lot will flow from what the empire they descended from was like, so do you have any ideas at all on that score?
  10. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

    The Old empire in its glory was like rome, brutal,rich, and powerful, and its remnants of the present still hold to these ideals but the new empire that started in the south is full of promise with honor in battle and no slavery but equal citizenship.
  11. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

    A recommendation would be for the southern empire to be based on Classical Athens, which did found an empire even though it was broken before it could entirely fullfill its potential, and the extension of Roman citizenship across the empire. Note however that Classical Athens were kind of assholes, like all those reaching for power tend to be, but it might still give an idea about how a demcratic state/realm might forge and empire and who such a democracy might work.
  12. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Troubadour

    We mustn't forget the most ancient of empires: The First Galactic Empire. That was a very long time ago, in a galaxy far away. Nobody since has even remotely attained what Emperor Palpatine did.

    Impressive. Most impressive.
  13. Asura Levi

    Asura Levi Sage

    I dunno why some try to classify it as sci-fi when it is clearly historic fiction :D

    Now, let me see if I got it right.
    Old Empire fell, for one reason or many, leaving chaos behind. Still, some places cling to what was the Old Empire, the great tradition, etc...

    In the southern chaos, rose (<- is that right?) a new 'nation'. People who gathered together to make their lives better. Everyone would be equal, a beautiful dream. Why couldn't everyone sees how prosperous the world would be. If they only saw as clearly as the 'nation'.
    In order to help their cousins open their eyes, they decided, democratically at that, to force their eyes open.

    Now you have the Old Empire, trying to survive with whatever it got from its glorious past, and a New Empire, expanding its influence and mindset.
    The Old would be kind like the fading roman empire (the western one).
    The New, kind of like Athens I guess (or imagining if USA started just annexing other nations to itself while still being a democracy).

    A problem I see on this kind of 'democratic' empire: does the folks back home will like to see the newcomers on equal terms? Cousins or not. I guess a civil war could break out...

    Not sure if is that what you meant. But as everyone pointed out, you can have many forms of Empires. Some would be more stable than others. But one thing stand true, if the nobles or military do not approve of the emperor, then soon it would be a new emperor, or a few new ones.
    Also, as with many kingdoms, the king might not have the direct control over the bulk of military force, but only through its nobles, I believe England was much like that for quite a long time.

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