| Senate and People of Selucia|
Senatus Populusque Selucianus
Flag Coat of Arms
The Selucian Empire at its greatest extent in 1889, before the North Seleyan Wars (superimposed over modern borders)
|Languages Selucian (official)|
Selucian-based creoles (Canrillaise, Egelian, Tukarese, Vintallian), Ikpi languages, Qildari, Jelbic, Majatran (unofficial, but commonly spoken)
|Government Constitutional republic, colonial empire|
First Iulianus Capraeus and Sextus Fontilius (1811)
Last Benedictus Linius Mussio and Licinius Martinianus (1935)
First Marcus Iunius Cato and Decimus Sempronius Mutius (1833-1838)
Last Constantinus Propertius and Aurelius Maevius (1933-1935)
|Legislature Centuriate Assembly, Tribal Assembly, Council of the Plebs|
|Area 11,800,000 km² (1889)|
|Population 125 million (1889)|
|Currency As, Denarius|
The Selucian Empire is the modern term referring to the Republic of Selucia established after the Unification of Selucia in 1811 and the colonial empire over which it ruled. The Selucian Empire was officially known as the "Senate and People of Selucia" (Selucian: Senatus Populusque Selucianus) throughout its history, and informally it was referred to as the "Selucian Republic" or "Selucian Commonwealth" (Res Publica Seluciana). Competing with other major colonial powers like Luthori and Great Deltaria, at the height of its power the Selucian Empire controlled a vast area, including more than half of the continent of Seleya and large colonial outposts in Keris and on mainland Majatra, encompassing a territory of more than 11,800,000 km², thus being one of the largest Empires in Terran history.
Although established primarily for economic and geopolitical reasons, Selucia's colonial empire was justified as a means to bring Selucian culture and civilization to "primitive" peoples, through assimilation and even occasionally citizenship rights. Its proponents argued that due to Selucia's tropical climate and the mixed origin of the Selucian people they were more humane and adaptable to other cultures and climates. This was often manifested through pro-miscegenation policies towards the colonized peoples and relatively large numbers of Selucian settlers overseas. Over time this policy resulted in the emergence of several Selucian-based creole languages, most notably Canrillaise, Egelian, Tukarese, and Vintallian.
Government and politicsEdit
The constitutional theory of the Selucian Commonwealth was based on the writings and ideals of the Renascentia, whose most prominent authors identified the source of the Cildanian Hegemony's rise to power in its mixed constitution and balance between different sources of authority while attributing its corruption and ultimate decline to what they saw as the excessive increase in the democratic elements of the Cildanian constitution. As such the founding fathers of the Selucian Republic based its political system on the theory of the "balance of the estates", namely the Many, the Few, and the One, that is democracy (represented by the popular assemblies), aristocracy (represented by the Senate), and monarchy (embedded in the Consuls). However for most of its history the Selucian Empire was plagued by a social and political conflict between the landed aristocracy (the "Patricians") and the commoners led by the rising bourgeoisie (the "Plebs") known as the "Conflict of the Orders". The conflict ended with the partial triumph of the latter and the rise of a new capitalist upper class, in conflict with the emerging urban working class known as the "Proletarii", that is those whose sole contribution to the state were their offspring (proles), who would become the future Selucian citizens to colonize the new territories acquired by the Republic. This latter conflict led to the rise of Selucia's first mass party, the Factio Socialis Democratica ("Social Democratic Party") towards the end of the 19th century and the radicalization of Selucian politics. Conflict between socialist trade unions and the middle class eventually led to the rise of Fascism as a new ideology in Selucia and the ultimate collapse of the Republic in 1935 under Terra's first Fascist regime.
The most powerful institution of the Commonwealth was the Senate (Senatus), originally composed of the landed gentry who supported the Unification of Selucia and the creation of a Selucian nation-state. Its membership was initially determined by the Consuls, and although there were no formal property or heredity qualifications Senators were almost exclusively chosen due to their birth. Towards the mid 19th century having previously held a magistrature became an informal requirement for membership in the Senate, which was later formalized as the sole means to obtain membership. In 1833 the power of the Consuls to determine Senate membership was transferred to the office of the Censor, who apart from the requirement that candidates be former magistrates also required that Senators be of good character and morals. Unless removed from the Senate by a Censor, which happened rarely, Senate membership was for life.
Theoretically and constitutionally the powers of the Senate were very limited. The Senate's role was to serve as an advisory council to the Consuls and other magistrates on matters of foreign and military policy. The authority of the Senate was called auctoritas, defined as prestige and political clout, contrasting with the formal political and military power granted by potestas and imperium, held by the popular assemblies and the magistrates. A decree of the Senate was called Senatus consultum (literally "advice of the Senate"), formally the Senate's advice to a sitting magistrate on a particular topic. The Senatus consulta were however almost always obeyed even if they did not have the power of law. If a Senatus consultum conflicted with a law passed by a popular assembly the law overrode the Senatus consultum. A motion passed by the Senate could also be vetoed by a Plebeian Tribune, and if not vetoed the motion became a Senatus consultum.
In Selucian constitutional theory sovereignty rested with the people, and thus the popularly elected representative assemblies had the power to pass laws, elect magistrates, declare war and peace, and carry out capital punishment. There were two main legislative assemblies in the Empire, the Centuriate Assembly and the Tribal Assembly, the former a military council and the latter a civilian body, both consisting of popularly elected representatives. Over time a third assembly, the Plebeian Council, formally a subdivision of the Tribal Assembly, gradually became the most important lawmaking body of the Republic. The legislative assemblies could only be convened by a presiding magistrate, usually a Consul and sometimes a Praetor. The legislative assemblies did not participate in debates or discuss matters, they only heard the speakers put forth by the presiding magistrate, and after the discussion the assembly cast its vote. Both assemblies were elected by universal male suffrage, but their composition and structure granted a significant advantage to the aristocracy and the wealthy. Moreover, although all adult male citizens had the right to vote and stand for office, they needed to be physically present in Selucia itself to cast their vote, meaning that Selucian citizens living in the colonies were effectively disenfranchised.
The Centuriate Assembly (Comitia Centuriata) was the democratic assembly of the Selucian soldiers, established during the Unification of Selucia. Elections for the Centuriate Assembly were held once every five years, and voters were organized into classes defined by a means test. Selucian soldiers were organized into a fixed number of units (193 throughout the Assembly's history) called "Centuries", so called because they were meant to encompass 100 men each, and membership in each Century was determined by income. Each Century would then send one representative to the Centuriate Assembly. The lowest ranking century was the fifth Century, representing the unarmed auxiliary forces. When the Republic of Argona implemented universal conscription in 1801, allowing citizens with no property to enlist, the fifth Century came to encompass almost the entire Argonan army, and this policy was continued under unified Selucia. This meant that the vast majority of Selucian citizens had only one representative in the 193-member assembly, while the wealthiest were grouped in 80 Centuries and thus had 80 representatives and the middle class returned 18 representatives. Together the upper and middle classes thus had more than the 97 votes required for a majority.
Only the Centuriate Assembly had the right to declare war and sign peace, ratify treaties, and elect the highest-ranking Magistrates, namely the Consuls, Praetors, and Censors, and it also served as a court of appeal in judicial cases involving capital punishment. A session of the Centuriate Assembly could only be called by one of the sitting Consuls, who would also preside over the session.
The civilian counterpart to the Centuriate Assembly was the Tribal Assembly (Comitia Tributa), elected every five years by the adult male citizens of the Republic, organized into 35 "tribes", each of which would return 14 representatives to the 490-member Tribal Assembly. The tribes were not ethnic or kinship groups but rather geographic divisions, established based on the Selucian city-states prior to unification and used for the purposes of taxation and the registration of Selucian citizens. Whenever a man came of age he was registered as a member of his father's tribe, and tribal membership could only change through adoption into another family or by an act of a Censor. Over time the geographic origin of the tribe became irrelevant, as the provincial population of Selucia migrated to the big cities as a result of industrialization, leading to a gradual over-representation of the urban population.
The Tribal Assembly was nonetheless far more representative than the Centuriate Assembly, which made the body a stronghold of the Plebeians in their struggle against Patrician privilege. Most laws were passed by the Tribal Assembly, which also had the right to determine the Republic's annual budget and to elect the lower-ranking magistrates, namely the Quaestors, Curule Aediles, and Military Tribunes. The Assembly was summoned and presided by either a Consul or a Praetor. The Tribal Assembly also had the right to try cases that did not involve the death penalty.
Council of the PlebsEdit
Over time, as the Conflict of the Orders led to increasing frustration on behalf of the Plebs, they decided to establish their own Plebeian-only assembly. The Council of the Plebs (Concilium Plebis) was originally an informal association of the Plebeian members of the Tribal Assembly. Following the unification of Selucia and the failure of the new Republic to enact a land reform, against the demands of the peasantry who had been led to believe such a reform was forthcoming following their joining the revolutionary armies of Argona, unrest and opposition to the institutions of the new Republic was widespread, and was further exacerbated by a severe financial crisis. The failure of the legislative assemblies and the Senate to address the crisis and the extensive privileges granted to the landed gentry threatened to provoke a civil war, while the commoners in Auroria declared a general strike in 1821, demanding financial reforms and the abolition of private debt. At the same time the popular pamphlet Quid est Plebs? ("What is the Plebs"), arguing that the Plebs constituted a nation complete unto itself and that the Patricians were essentially dead weight, provided ideological justification for the demands of the Plebs. Reacting to the popular demand for financial and political reform and emboldened by the pamphlet, the Plebeian representatives in the Tribal Assembly declared their solidarity with the strikers by boycotting the Assembly and instead convening as a separate legislative body, dedicated to protecting the rights of the Plebs, and proclaiming the independence of the Plebs as a separate nation in an event known as the first Secessio Plebis ("Secession of the Plebs"). The first "Council of the Plebs" proceeded to establish its own separate executive magistratures to defend Plebeian rights, and the secession ended when the Senate and the legislative assemblies acquiesced by recognizing the new magistratures as part of the Republic's constitution. This strategy was repeated three more times, in 1847, 1852, and 1878, resulting in further concessions to the demands of the Plebs, culminating with the recognition of "plebiscites" (Plebis scita, i.e. "decrees of the Plebs"), that is the laws passed by the Plebeian Council, as having full force of law for all Selucian citizens and not just Plebeians as had originally been the case. Consequently the Council of the Plebs became the main legislative institution of the Selucian Republic.
The Council however remained a subdivision of the Tribal Assembly, the main distinction residing in the fact that while the latter included both Plebeians and Patricians, the former was exclusively Plebeian in composition. In terms of function, the key difference between the Council and the Assembly was that the former was the legislature responsible for electing the Plebeian magistratures, namely the Plebeian Tribunes and Plebeian Aediles. The Council of the Plebs could only be convened by a Plebeian Tribune.
Executive power in the Republic was exercised by the "Magistrates" (Magistratus), officials elected by the people represented by the legislative assemblies. There were two types of magistrates, ordinary magistrates and extraordinary magistrates. The ordinary magistrates were divided into several ranks based on the power they possessed, namely Censors, Consuls, Praetors, Curule Aediles, and Quaestors. Any magistrate could veto an action of a magistrate of equal or lower rank. The Plebeian executive officials, that is the Plebeian Tribunes and Plebeian Aediles, were not technically considered magistrates as they were elected by the Plebs and not the people as a whole, however no magistrate could veto their actions. There was one extraordinary magistrate, the Dictator, elected during times of emergency and serving for a short period of time. The power of the Dictator was absolute, and no magistrate or institution could veto his actions.
Technically the highest ranking ordinary magistrates were the Censors, elected by the Centuriate Assembly for a five year term. Two Censors served at any one time. Although the Censors technically outranked all other ordinary magistrates, their real power was quite limited. Their power was rather based on prestige, as only former Consuls (and usually Patrician Consuls) could be elected to the office. The Censors' main responsibility was overseeing the regular census. Censors could also enroll citizens in the Senate or remove them from the Senate, although when Senate membership was formalized to automatically include every magistrate upon the completion of their term the Censor's power to confirm Senate membership became a mere formality. They had the power to fine a citizen or sell his property, usually applied for citizens evading the census or for providing fraudulent data, and sometimes also applied for poor cultivation of land, cowardice in the military, corruption, debt, or dereliction of civil duties. Censors could reassign a citizen to a different tribe, and were also in charge of public contracts and the payment of individuals or companies doing contract work for the state. The Censors, while technically the highest ranking magistrates, did not possess imperium, that is the authority to command armies. The actions of a Censor could not be vetoed by any magistrate other than a fellow Censor, but they could be vetoed by a Plebeian Tribune. Censors could not convene or preside over either the legislative assemblies or the Senate.
The most powerful ordinary magistrates were the Consuls, who served as the head of state of the Republic. Two Consuls served for a yearly term, elected by the Centuriate Assembly, which also granted them imperium powers. Once a Consul's term ended he held the honorary title of consularis, and could not be re-elected as Consul for at least ten years. The Consuls were the head of the Selucian government, and public administration was under their ultimate authority, thus having the responsibilities of enforcing the policies and laws enacted by the legislative, although various departments were delegated to other magistrates. The Consuls could convene and preside over the Senate and the legislative assemblies, and could also dissolve the latter and call for early elections. The Consuls were also the chief diplomats and were in charge of the Selucian diplomatic corps. Possessing imperium, the Consuls were the commanders-in-chief of the Armed Forces and enjoyed supreme military authority both in the metropolis and the colonies, which they could exercise with the consent of the Senate.
The next ranking magistrates were the Praetors, elected by the Centuriate Assembly for a one year term and whose powers included the administration of justice, organizing the justice system, overseeing the public prosecutor, and maintaining public order. There were initially two Praetors, the Praetor Civilis and the Praetor Peregrinus, in charge of suits involving citizens and foreigners, respectively, and their number gradually increased over time as the Republic expanded. Praetors also held imperium, below that of the Consuls, and could thus command armies and serve in the place of the Consuls when they were away. The Praetors also held the power to convene the legislative assemblies and introduce legislation.
Public administration was largely delegated to the Aediles, who were officials in charge of domestic affairs in the metropolis, and who also assisted the higher magistrates. Like most other magistrates, Aediles served annual terms. There were four Aediles at any time, two Curule Aediles and two Plebeian Aediles, the former elected by the Tribal Assembly chaired by either a Consul or a Praetor, and the latter elected by the Council of the Plebs, under the presidency of a Plebeian Tribune. Their sphere of responsibility included public games and shows, repairing and maintaining temples, sewers, aqueducts, public roads, and railroads, trade and industry, regulation regarding public safety, including oversight over firefighting and police forces, as well as care of public morals, including the prevention of gambling and usury, suppression of foreign or domestic superstitions, registration of prostitutes, and punishment of those who held too large a share of public land. They were also in charge of customer protection, correctness of weights and measures, regulation of agriculture and, towards the end of the Empire, public finance and banking. As lower-ranking magistrates, Aediles did not possess imperium and could thus not command armies.
The lowest ranking magistrates were the Quaestors (Quaestores), whose responsibilities varied throughout the Empire's existence, but were primarily tasked with supervising the treasury and the financial accounts of the Republic and its military. At first there were four Quaestors elected yearly by the Tribal Assembly, and the number increased to 20 by the end of the Empire. The Quaestors were primarily administrators, and their role was to assist the higher magistrates and the colonial governors in carrying out their duties. The specific department of each Quastor was determined by lot after their election. Election to the Quaestorship granted the holder an automatic seat in the Senate upon the completion of their term.
Not technically considered magistrates but possessing considerable political power, the Plebeian Tribunes or Tribunes of the Plebs (Tribuni Plebis) were one of the two executive offices available exclusively for Plebeians, the other being the Plebeian Aediles. The office of Plebeian Tribune was established as a result of the first Secession of the Plebs in 1821 with the goal of defending Plebeian interests against Patrician abuses. Although the Tribunes were not technically magistrates, as they were elected by the Plebs and not the People as a whole, they, just like the Plebeian Aediles who served as their deputies and were elected at the same time, functioned largely like ordinary magistrates. The Plebeian Tribunes were elected by the Council of the Plebs, and any Tribune could convene and preside over the Council and introduce legislation. There were at first two Tribunes elected for a yearly term, and the number expanded to five by the time of the last Secession of the Plebs, which remained constant till the end of the Empire.
The most important power belonging to the Plebeian Tribunes was the ius intercessionis, their right to intervene on behalf of Plebeians and veto the actions of any magistrate. Not being magistrates themselves the Tribunes did not possess potestas or imperium, being instead endowed with sacrosanctity, meaning that no person could harm the Tribunes or interfere with their activities. To violate a Tribune's sacrosanctity was punished by summary execution. Their sacrosanctity also meant that no magistrate or institution could interfere with their activities or veto their actions. The Tribunes' veto right extended to actions of any magistrate, elections, laws passed by either legislative assembly, and acts of the Senate. Occasionally a Tribune could impose a blanket veto on all functions of the government. Only the Dictator was immune from the Tribunes' veto rights.
There was one extraordinary magistrature in the Empire called the Dictator. The office was established at the beginning of the Unification of Selucia when, in 1799, the Prince of Argona was forced to abdicate and a provisional government was formed presided by a Dictator, Iulianus Capraeus, who was granted unlimited emergency powers. The office remained in place under unified Selucia, as a powerful office used only in cases of extreme danger to Selucia. The Dictator's imperium over-ranked that of all other magistrates, and the Plebeian Tribunes could not veto his actions. There were however severe limitations on the office to prevent it from becoming a threat to the Republic. A Dictator could only act within his determined sphere of authority, and was obliged to resign his office when the appointed task had been accomplished or at the expiration of six months. The other magistrates and institutions remained in place during a Dictatorship, but the Dictator could override their actions. Appointing a person to Dictatorship involved three steps: first the Senate would issue a Senatus consultum authorizing the Consuls to nominate a Dictator; although the Senatus consultum was strictly advisory, it was almost always followed. Then the two Consuls would nominate a Dictator. If the two Consuls could not agree on a nomination, they would draw lots. Finally the Centuriate Assembly would confirm the Consuls' nomination and grant the Dictator imperium. The Dictator was nominated for a specific reason, or causa, and was not allowed to take actions outside the pre-determined causa. The most common causae were rei gerundae causa ("for the matter to be done") when a Dictator was appointed to act against a specific external enemy, seditionis sedandae causa ("to quell sedition") in case of an internal uprising, comitiorum habendorum causa ("to hold elections") in case both Consuls were unable to organize legislative elections, and clavi figendi causa ("to drive a nail"), authorizing the Dictator to drive a nail into the Temple of Munius as a protection against an epidemic. The causae could sometimes be combined, such as one instance of a Dictator appointed seditionis sedandae et rei gerundae causa when the Republic was threatened by both external war and internal unrest. One exceptional causa was legibus faciendis et rei publicae constituendae causa ("for writing laws and the settling of the Constitution"), nominated in cases of constitutional instability, such as during the first Secession of the Plebs. In addition to the specific causa for which he was appointed, the Dictator was allowed to convene the Senate and the legislative assemblies and to introduce legislation.
Promagistrates and colonial governanceEdit
Governance of Selucia's extensive colonial empire was under the management of promagistrates, originating from the practice of extending the imperium of Consuls and Praetors at the end of their annual term through a legal mechanism called prorogatio. As the number of territories under Selucian rule outgrew the number of elected officials endowed with imperium, it became expedient to extend the military and administrative authority of outgoing Consuls and Praetors to cover the colonies. A Consul whose imperium was extended was termed a Proconsul, and a prorogued Praetor was known as a Propraetor. A promagistrate had equal formal ranking as the equivalent magistrate, but no political powers within the Republic as a whole. In time prorogatio became the specific legal procedure for governing the Selucian colonies, each of which was governed by either a Proconsul or a Propraetor, depending on its military and economic value. At the end of his term in office a Consul or Praetor would be randomly assigned a colony to govern. Whenever a new colony was established the Tribal Assembly drew up a colonial charter (lex provinciae) based on the report of the general who conquered the territory, defining the colony's territorial extent and the rights and duties of the colonial population, particularly the amount of tax levied on the natives. Within the confines of the lex provinciae promagistrates had supreme military and civilian control over the colony, often assisted by a consultative council formed of important local officials and native notables. Promagistrates were accountable for their actions in office and could be subject to prosecution, but this occurred only after their term in office expired. The large degree of autonomy enjoyed by the promagistrates led to serious abuses against the colonial population, leading to the legislative assemblies gradually restricting the powers of the promagistrates. The slave trade was abolished in 1881 and slavery in 1905, but the native population enjoyed far fewer rights than Selucian settlers in the colonies. In terms of civil law, Selucian citizens living in the colonies enjoyed full citizenship rights, including the right to vote and stand for office, although this right was in practice irrelevant as one had to be physically present in Selucia itself to exercise it. The native population on the other hand was usually allowed to maintain its own traditional laws, with the exception of punishments for capital crimes, as well as its traditional leadership, provided it remained loyal to the Commonwealth. Disputes between Selucian citizens and natives were adjudicated by the promagistrate's assize court, which granted citizens a significant advantage over the colonial population, as Selucian law would prevail over native law in case of conflict.
Towards the middle of the 19th century the focus of Selucian rule over its colonies shifted from strictly military and economic concerns towards the ideal of a "civilizing mission", the idea that Selucians had the duty to bring civilization to "primitive" peoples. Consequently colonial administrators initiated a policy of Selucianization in the colonies, establishing Selucian-language schools, allowing natives to serve in the colonial military and civil service and allowing them to migrate to Selucia, granting Selucian citizenship to loyal notables and, in 1867, granting free natives the right to marry Selucian citizens. Subsidies were given to Selucian citizens willing to relocate to the colonies, including a premium for each Selucian man willing to marry a local woman. However the various freedoms granted to the colonial population were a privilege, not a right, and only a relatively small percentage of the indigenous population gained citizenship, although a number of trained and educated natives managed to gain prominent positions in the military, civil service, education, and private business. Meanwhile Selucian conservatives decried the government's assimilationist policies as liberal fantasy, and instead promoted a policy of segregation.