I have recently finished heavily revising and editing my three-part novel Imperatrix, in preparation of sharing it with a publisher. It currently stands at just over 500 pages, with the supporting, background Companion Guide (A List of all Roan and Aquaen Emperors and Empresses, with their Reigns, Consorts, Regents, Issue, and Legacies) at 162 pages. The Imperatrix manuscript first began in its infancy ten years ago with just the first two chapters of what is now a fourteen-chapter unpublished historical fiction novel. The Companion Guide is a fictional history of the Roan and Aquaen empires’ monarchies from 27 BC to present day.
I hope to solicit people’s thoughts on the envisioned political system in the world of Imperatrix. It is a mixed system, with elements of limited or constitutional monarchy, autocracy, and republicanism. It is primarily a “traditional monarchy” with power shared among a series of elite groups, but all ultimate political sovereignty still resting in the supra-political, non-partisan,sacred person of the monarch anointed by the Church. The monarchy itself is neither fully autocratic/absolute nor entirely constitutional. It combines elements of a classical aristocracy, traditional monarchy, some degrees of autocracy, and elements of republicanism.
I have also written an as yet unfinished pre-history of the Roan (etymologically derived from their sea god Roanes) civilization during its kingdom and republic stages, which you may access here. The “Early History of the Roans” is divided into three periods: the Roan Monarchy (approximately 831-520 BC), the Roan Republic (520-27 BC) and the Roan Imperium (modeled loosely after the Principate, 27 BC to AD 330). The Aquaen Empire is the eastern successor state (it sees itself as a seamless continuation) to the classical Roan Empire, based at Aquaenum (modeled loosely after Constantinople). Unlike Byzantium in real life, the Aquaen Empire never falls, nor does it have periods of religious violence or sectarian intolerance. In that sense, of course, it is highly idealized.
Within the religious and political context of the Aquaen world– roughly based off a fusion of Late Antiquity Rome, Byzantium/New Rome, Renaissance Italy, Tsarist Russia, and early modern England — I envisioned the Aquaen government as the perfect compromise, in which all branches — the Imperial Monarchy, Senates, and Courts — check the others, bureaucracy is kept to a minimum, and, above all, the system allows for the most stable, conservative, pious, virtuous, and liberty-protecting society possible.
23 October 2015 (Updated on 25 May 2016).
Aquaen Imperium/Imperial Government
- The Imperial Monarchy:
The monarch’s political authority and responsibility, his/her spiritual role, and the formation of the heir to the throne
- All rightful authority derives from the Triune God in obedience to His grace and will, and rulers exercise political authority as power in the form of a sacred trust. The Emperor/Empress regnant is thus believed to rule by and with God’s grace and protection.
- The monarch and his/her consort along with the Imperial Family serve as the symbolic head and centre of the Imperium.
- The Imperial Throne of Aquaenum, established in the fourth century since our Lord by the grace of God and the especial labours and dedication of the laudable and righteous St. Emperor Constantinus of blessed memory, is held to be the full, unbroken, and continuous continuation of the ancient Roan Empire based in Roanum.
- Full, unified, and undivided political sovereignty rests in the person of the monarch — whose person is inviolable — and is exercised in his/her name by all branches of the Aquaen Imperium on behalf of the Aquaen people. The monarch is thus referred to as the Sovereign with the style of “Imperial Majesty”.
- Typologically speaking, the Sovereign serves as the highest icon or symbolic embodiment of Christ on earth, and the monarch is held to rule for the corporate, collective benefit, salvation, and good ordering of the Aquaen people.
- The monarch is the head of state and official head of the government (chief executive). In terms of preparing the monarch to ascend the Throne, above all else, the monarch is to be raised, ideally from birth if born the heir to the throne, to understand and endeavour to undertake his or her duties of service to the Empire and her people as a sacred, solemn trust. From childhood the heir to the throne should have the most outstanding tutors, the wisest minds should surround him or her, and his or her elders and family should raise him or her to be diligent, self-sacrificing, dedicated to his or her duties, and above all a person who cultivates wisdom, tact, fortitude, and piety. The monarch is thus the first servant of the Aquaen people, bound by custom from time immemorial and the memory of his or her righteous predecessors to rule with justice, wisdom, clemency, and fortitude.
- The monarch exercises and embodies the full sovereign imperial authority (imperium) not out of a desire for power or self-serving means, but with a sense of sacred duty, holy undertaking, and God-entrusted responsibility and accountability for the good, justice, and prosperity of the realm. His or her Coronation Oath constitutes his or her promise to uphold the Aquaen Constitution, Dapheanic and Justinian Civil Codes, and the respective laws and liberties of the Aquaen people and the Empire at large. His or her holy coronation and the sacrament or Mystery of anointing by the Patriarch of the Aquaen Orthodox Church in the presence of the Senate peers and deputies, Court justices, and the nobles and citizens of Aquaenum symbolically ‘marries’ the monarch to the Aquaen people. This sacred bond between the sovereign and the people may only be dissolved by voluntary abdication or natural death. The sacred ceremonies of the imperial coronation and anointing realize and effect a mystical, three-way bond of mutual love, duty, and covenantal trust between God, the monarch, and the Aquaen people.
- All citizens of the Aquaen Empire may freely petition the monarch and his/her consort for a redress of grievances, correction of injustice, clemency or pardon, or investigation of wrongdoing.
- The Empress/Emperor consort, the monarch’s noble spouse, serves as the monarch’s principal helper, informal adviser, and partner in the burden of imperial rule. The monarch may invest his or her consort with certain dignities or responsibilities, but the Constitution and Imperial Tradition do not confer any such obligations or honours on the imperial consort aside from his or her right to enjoy the imperial rank and style from the moment of marriage to the reigning monarch.
- The monarch may freely abdicate for his/her chosen heir, but cannot be pressured to do so by anyone. A forced abdication is considered null and void.
The monarch’s governing powers over the Imperium
- The monarch convenes the Aquaen and Imperial Senates, may prorogue them at will, and may introduce legislation through his or her liaisons to the Senates, two senior, veteran senators who act as the monarch’s representatives in the day-to-day running of the Senates. No imperial legislation passed in either Senate may take effect without the assent of the monarch, who may exercise the power of line-item veto and then reintroduce an amended bill to the chamber in which it passed.
- Consulting his or her relevant Privy Council ministers, the monarch makes treaties of commerce, war, and peace with sovereign foreign powers, which must be ratified by a two-thirds vote of the Aquaen Senate and the House of Peers of the Imperial Senate.
- The imperial prerogative of exercising clemency/mercy: The monarch alone may pardon, reprieve, or commute the sentences of condemned criminals, and s/he may order governors at the lower levels of the Imperium to do either of these on his/her behalf. In the case of the monarch’s temporary incapacity due to illness or advanced pregnancy, the imperial consort may exercise the discharge of this responsibility if the monarch so wishes.
- The monarch accedes to the Aquaen Imperial Throne immediately following the death of his or her reigning parent and predecessor and the nominal confirmation of the Senates. The principle of automatic hereditary succession to the Throne is embodied by the phrase, uttered by the Lord Secretary General (Chief Councillor) of the Privy Council immediately at the death of the monarch, “The Emperor/Empress is dead! Long live the [new] Emperor/Empress!”. As soon as the monarch’s earthly body dies, his or her heir automatically accedes to the Imperial Throne. In the unlikely event that the previous monarch did not have any surviving legitimate issue, or for some reason the intended heir is unacceptable to the Aquaen and Imperial Senate, the Aquaen Orthodox Church, and the Aquaen nobility and people, then a new monarch is chosen following his or her nomination, election, and confirmation on behalf of the Aquaen people through the motion and majority vote of the Imperial Senate’s House of Deputies and a two-thirds vote in the Imperial Senate’s House of Peers and the Aquaen Senate.
The monarch’s Imperial Privy Council, the Imperial Secretariat, and executive governors under the Crown
- The monarch’s Imperial Privy Council of 15-17 appointed councillors oversees day-to-day administration of the Imperium, serving as the monarch’s principal advisory body and cabinet. With the exception of the two senior Imperial liaisons to the Senates (who sit on the Council as honorary members), each councillor heads a different ministry of the Imperial Secretariat. All Privy Councillors are answerable to the monarch for their conduct and discharge of their office, and may be censured by the Senates or dismissed if three-fourths of the Imperial Senate and three-fourths of the Aquaen Senate vote to dismiss them. The monarch may dismiss and appoint new members of his or her Privy Council at will, but from time immemorial the monarch has always notified the Senates and the Imperial courts of these appointments.
- The Imperial Secretariat is the Empire’s bureaucratic organ. Entrance to and advancement in any of the Secretariat’s 15-17 ministries/departments is based on the candidate’s merit, service, professional recommendations, and his or her performance on the imperial bureaucratic entrance exams. The Secretariats are as follows: State (Foreign Affairs), Justice, Treasury, Commerce, Colonial Affairs, Education, War, Army, Navy, Infrastructure (Public Works), Agriculture, Resources, Security (internal affairs and espionage), and Natural Preservation.
- Each Secretariat ministry/department has a body of 1,000 professionally trained civil servants (responsible for implementing laws at the imperial, regional, provincial, and local levels) to enforce existing imperial laws, statutes, and policies. The monarch appoints the heads of the Secretariat’s ministries, and these must be confirmed by a majority vote of the Imperial Senate and two-thirds vote of the Aquaen Senate.
- Appointed imperial regional and provincial governors, as well as elected district and local council presidents, are answerable ultimately to the monarch and, more immediately, to the level of executive authority immediately above their own rank. Imperial regional and provincial governors serve 6 year terms at the monarch’s pleasure, and may be censured by the Aquaen or Imperial Senates. They may be impeached by a majority vote, and convicted and deposed by a two-thirds vote of their regional or provincial legislature. District and local council presidents are popularly elected for 5 year terms and may be censured by the district or local councils and removed by a two-thirds vote of the councils.
2) The Senates:
- The Aquaen Senate is a 100-member popularly elected body (whose members serve 6 year terms) which governs Aquaenum and its domains. All laws affecting Aquaenum must originate in this chamber, and be passed by a simple majority. For any altered bills introduced following the monarch’s line-item veto, a two-thirds vote of the chamber will pass the altered bill into law. Aquaen senators may freely resign their office, but may not be compelled to do so.
- The Aquaen Senate must approve by a two-thirds vote all foreign policy legislation coming from the Imperial Senate’s House of Peers, as well as any House of Deputies taxation legislation relevant to Aquaenum.
- The Aquaen Senate may vote to express its disapproval of and censure the monarch’s conduct by a two-thirds vote, and, in cases of extreme abuse of imperial authority and misrule by the monarch, they may vote by three-fourths to convict and depose the monarch if the Imperial Senate has voted to impeach and convict him/her. Following this, the presiding Lord Chief Justice of the Supreme Court must either confirm or reject the lawfulness of the monarch’s conviction and deposition.
- In the extraordinary case of the monarch’s conviction and deposition from the throne, the Aquaen and Imperial Senates must either confirm the succession of the former monarch’s designated heir to the imperial throne in the usual process, or, if the designated heir is considered unsuitable for the throne, the Senates must nominate at least four citizens of outstanding merit and virtue as potential successors. The Aquaen people through their senatorial representatives must then elect and confirm one of these nominees as the new monarch—whichever one receives the most votes in the combined Senates.
- In order for treaties of peace, trade, or war to become law, the Aquaen Senate and the House of Peers of the Imperial Senate must ratify the monarch’s treaties made with sovereign foreign powers by a two-thirds vote.
- The Imperial Senate is a bicameral 600-member body comprised of the lower House of Deputies (whose members are popularly elected to serve 3 year terms, each representing the province of his or her origin) of 500 members devoted to passing laws regarding taxation and trade, and the upper House of Peers (in which all hereditary noble peers may sit, propose legislation, and deliberate, but only whose elected members, noble or not, may vote on legislation), whose members are elected to serve 6 year terms, each province having two peers representing it. The House of Peers has 100 members, who are devoted to passing laws regarding foreign policy.
- Unofficially, many newly-incorporated (e.g. conquered) foreign provinces, whose client kings, queens, or local lords swear fealty to the Aquaen monarch and receive the honours, protections, and duties of Aquaen citizenship, choose to send members of their ruling elite to represent them in trade negotiations, meetings with influential Aquaen senators and citizens, appeal to the monarch, etc. These client rulers may write to and petition the monarch and Senates, and, in times of crisis these client rulers may journey to Aquaenum under imperial protection and appeal directly to the monarch for a resolution of conflict.
- Every imperial dominion — largely self-governing with an imperial governor (appointed by the monarch and confirmed by a majority in the Aquaen Senate), governor’s council, and locally elected legislature, but still under Aquaen suzerainty and therefore subject to the Imperium — may send three representatives to observe and vote on bills and proposals put to either chamber in the Imperial Senate.
- Every imperial colony — governed directly by an imperial governor and advisers appointed by the monarch and confirmed by a majority in the Aquaen Senate — may send two observer delegates to observe and vote on bills and proposals put to either chamber in the Imperial Senate.
- All laws introduced in one chamber of the Imperial Senate must pass by a simple majority vote in that chamber before going to the Aquaen Senate and the monarch for approval and assent. Imperial senators, whether peers or deputies, may freely resign, but may not be compelled to do so.
- For any altered bills introduced to either chamber of the Imperial Senate following the monarch’s line-item veto, a two-thirds vote of the chamber will pass the altered bill into law. If the vote falls short of the two-thirds necessary, the chamber leaders and bill’s sponsor(s) have the option to meet with the monarch or his/her chosen representative to discuss ways to resolve the issues at hand.
- The Imperial Senate may vote to express its disapproval of and censure the monarch’s conduct by a two-thirds vote. In cases of extreme abuse of imperial authority and misrule by the monarch, the House of Deputies may vote by two-thirds to impeach the monarch, following which the House of Peers may decide to convict the monarch by a three-fourths vote, after which the Aquaen Senate will then have to rule on the case.
- Elected regional and provincial senates, as well as elected district and local councils, are answerable ultimately to the monarch and presiding governor and, more immediately, to the level of executive authority immediately above their own rank. Regional and provincial senators serve 6 year terms and may censure the regional or provincial governors by a majority vote. They may impeach, convict, and depose by a two-thirds vote their regional or provincial governor. District and local council members are popularly elected for 3 year terms and may censure the district or local council presidents.
3) The Imperial Courts:
- The Supreme Court (formerly known as the Aquaen Synod) is the Empire and Aquaenum’s highest appellate court, also possessing original jurisdiction. 12-15 justices serve appointed 12 year terms, and may be reappointed to serve for the rest of their life with the agreement of the monarch and a majority of the Aquaen and Imperial Senates. They may freely resign, but may not be compelled to do so.
- The monarch nominates all Supreme Court justices, while a majority of the Imperial Senate’s House of Deputies and two-thirds of both the Imperial Senate’s House of Peers and the Aquaen Senate must vote to confirm the nomination.
- The Court rules on the constitutionality (or unconstitutionality) of all controversial imperial laws, and a majority of its justices may vote to censure either of the Senates for acting unconstitutionally or abusing their authority. Two-thirds of the justices must vote to censure the monarch for doing the same.
- Justice in Aquaenum is embodied first and foremost by the monarch, secondly by the Lord Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and then, thirdly, by the Lord Attorney General, Aquaenum’s chief prosecutor who serves at the pleasure of the monarch and must be confirmed by a majority vote of the Aquaen Senate.
- Following a vote by the Aquaen Senate to convict and depose the monarch in extraordinary circumstances, the presiding Lord Chief Justice of the Supreme Court must either confirm or reject the lawfulness of the monarch’s conviction and deposition. If the Lord Chief Justice confirms the conviction and deposition as just, the monarch is immediately considered deposed, and his/her heir automatically becomes monarch unless the Senates object, following which the Senates must then nominate and elect a new monarch on behalf of the Aquaen people in the usual process. If the Lord Chief Justice rejects the conviction as unjust, s/he may, after consulting with the rest of the Supreme Court, declare the monarch innocent, reserve judgment, or, if there is a perceived danger of civil war, refer the case to the Patriarch of the Aquaen Orthodox Church, who may then make a final pronouncement binding on all, on penalty of excommunication.
- Regional, provincial, district, and local courts function at the other levels of imperial jurisdiction in a way that mirrors the Supreme Court. Regional and provincial judges are appointed by the monarch (or, if a vacancy comes up, by the governor with the monarch’s approval) from qualified ranks of imperial judges to 8 year terms, while district and local judges are elected from qualified local ranks to 6 year terms.
- Following the rule of precedent, higher court decisions are always binding on all lower courts. Thus, a regional or provincial court’s ruling binds lower district and local court judges in determining their own rulings.