1. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Do Empires require an Emperor?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Uberwatch, Sep 20, 2013.

    Something has been bugging me in my story whether or not my fictional empire should have an emperor. Currently it hasn't even been written into the story as the highest title of the Empire is simply a Chancellor. There's no Emperor on the throne or anything.

    But does anyone know if there has been empires where there was no king or emperor/empress at all?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    "Empire" is a general term that applies to a variety of organizational systems. So, an emperor is not needed to have an empire.

    From the Free Dictionary:
     
  3. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Technically speaking, the answer is no. An empire is characterized by it's single gov't which has consolidated power over many territories by conquering and expanding it's boarders. They could be lead by representatives (although that would make them a bit of a republic). Keep in mind that most empires don't have a vote. And if there is a vote for the leader, it is among the other leaders, not the populace. It could be run by a small council. The thing to remember is that Empires consolidate power in a single authority entity, whether it is an emperor, a ruling family, or a council. They act as one, and are unquestioned within their realm.
     
  4. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe it'd be fun to think about it the other way around: do an Emperor need an Empire? :)

    @Andrae Smith well, there IS an American Empire, and they have some sort of electorial system as I understand :)
     
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  5. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Let me rephrase, most traditional empires don't allow for a republic gov't because they tend to rise around the same time as a nation begins to consolidate power within a central entity. But these days, we have broadened it to include expansinst nations. There is definitely an American empire, even if we don't openly admit to forcing our influence into the lands and lives of the western (and middle eastern) world lol!
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    An interesting question. Is an emperor an anointed personage like a king or queen. Mary Stuart was a queen from when she was anointed until she was beheaded though she held a queendom for only a small part of that time.
     
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  7. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    The Klingon Empire hadn't had an Emperor in hundreds of years of being an Empire. They also had a High Chancellor, so you're safe.
     
  8. DPVP
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    DPVP Active Member

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    You chould use the British empire as an example, they had a parliament. ( you chould argue they still are like me USA)
    The Soviet Union is another great example, sometimes one man led like Stalin but other times the power was diffused among a politburo.
     
  9. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    Just to add another historical example, the Weimar Republic was officially called "Deutsches Reich" (= German Empire) but had a parliament, chancellor and president, no emperor.

    Another oddity is the Holy Roman Empire, which had an elected emperor (elected by the electors, who were themselves princes, dukes and other sovereign leaders of German states).
     
  10. Rafiki
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    Rafiki Active Member

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    Interestingly enough my local newspaper, The Press Democrat, named their domestic section 'Empire News'.
     
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  11. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Often Rome was without an emperor, of course, that was because the previous one lost his guts (or his head, or his etc.) and it was only a few days before the new one was crowned.
     
  12. Fred
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    Fred Member

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    Late to the party, but here I go, nevertheless…

    It's been said before here, but I can't help myself - history is littered with empires that are not dominated by emperors. Sure, Victoria was granted the title Empress of India, but that was a ceremonial title conceived by Disraeli to curry favour with the queen, otherwise the British empire was carved out by a parliamentary democracy (or what passed for one, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries). The Roman Republic began building her empire long before Augustus became the first emperor, and, as has also been noted, the fledgling United States expanded westwards under the flag of a republic. These days you might consider the global empires of multinational corporations as useful examples. All it takes, I suppose, is a unifying philosophy.
     
  13. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    The British Empire also had (has, for what's left of it) an emperor or empress: the reigning monarch.

    My answer would be that an empire does have to have an emperor, but the role might be purely symbolic, not the true locus of power.
     
  14. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    History is dotted with empires which not only have no emperors but also no titular emperors: Athens. Pre-Augustan Rome, as Fred notes. The French Third Republic. There will be more. In these places the idea of a titular position would have been widely regarded as an obscenity and wholly contrary to the spirit of the state.
     
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  15. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    Thats right, even though britain was an empire we still had a parliament and a monarchy, the Monarchy being head of state, thus making them the figurehead of the empire, we still have a commonwealth where the Queen is the figurehead for the countries in it
     

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