This is just a preliminary work, so I'd like any advice on what I had missed, what needs expanding/changing etc. ---------------------- The Empire has extremely complex internal politics. Main factors in those are the emperor and his court, large landowners, the army and the small landowners, the people of the capital, and the Church. The people living in the capital city are able to put pressure on the Emperor and imperial court. When emperor Trebius wanted to shift his capital away from Ardea, people of the capital rose to demonstrate, and the plan was abandoned. Army itself depends on peasants and small landowners for its existence in its current form. As such, it also serves as a pathway through which said classess can articulate and present their demands. Main problem is the provincial aristocracy. They are indispensable as a source of educated officers on frontiers, but likewise present a danger to military system of the Empire by their depredations aimed at military lands. While they are forbidden from buying military lands, that does not necessarily prevent them from trying to do so – or from rebelling when prevented in it by central government. Natural disasters can easily result in mass sell-outs of land to the aristocracy. Provincial aristocracy itself had came out of the military system, and consists of military commanders. Due to education, they tend to be able to acquire high commands, which are profitable due to plunder. They also acquire a retinue of veterans of their commands, which can prove extremely valuable on the battlefield. However, as their loyalty is primarily to the magnate in question, they often rebel. Because of this, central government is forced to regularly buy or even forcibly acquire lands from the magnates and give them back to thematic troops. While magnates are quite happy to fight enemies of the Empire, they are also happy to turn their forces against each other or the central government, which presents significant problem. Under legislation, only imperial chrysobulls are a valid proof of ownership. A system has emerged from this situation where soldiers are not given land, but rather assigned land which remains in ownership of the state. As such, they have no right to sell or rent the land they use, but are tied to the land and the military service which itself is also tied to the land. An aristocrat attempting to buy such land would be going directly against the emperor and, technically, committing treason. Land grant is only for life and cannot be inherited. Users of land still have to pay taxes, albeit those are lower than what person actually owning the same amount of land would have paid. Even so, magnates remain powerful. While access to offices of the state is the easiest way of becoming powerful, economic power is another way. And these magnates have both economic power, and interest in self-promotion. Further, some of them are able to resist taxation, with the result that imperial estates have gained importance as a source of revenue. If a magnate rebels, he is regularly stripped of a portion of his lands, which are transferred to the state ownership.