Summoning the Senate


Your presence is requested to a State of the Empire address at Blachernae Palace on January First, 1880.

The following newspapers are considered significant by the archivists.

And the Senate’s world map is being updated.

As always, feel free to send messages of concern to the palace before the address.

Before the Address

Bah, reactionaries. There are too many radicals in these dangerous times, from the stubborn reactionaries to the wild liberals to the crazy socialists.

- Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

Congratulations on the victory over Deccan, Your Imperial Majesty.

These rebellions in Russia and Germany are indeed worrying. We can only hope this Jacobin madness does not pass on to the Empire.

I see there have been many interesting scientific developments. It is quite fascinating to learn more about the noble Archaeopteryx. Too bad that Professor Huxley has gone insane.

I believe the Minister of Justice should investigate this disturbing trend of corset-related fainting. Perhaps we should ban corsets if they are causing so much trouble for our young women. What do you think, Your Majesty?

Events in Scandinavia are somewhat alarming. I believe we should monitor the situation and ensure that the region does not undergo too much instability.

- Senator Moustakas, Foreign Minister

So…many…jacobins…I’m getting a bit old for this.

Those pesky Bavarians beat us to the source of the Nile!  (where as you may recall they promptly were massacred by the Cult)

Russian expansions is quite worrying.  We should supply training officers and weapons to the Ming in order to stop their advance into Asia.

I appreciate all of the Imperial research into these “dinosaurs,” but I don’t seem to see a single Greek scientist among them, right?

Why did the editor mention the Irish craving for the protection of the British, who barely exist?

Gender equality…does this have something to do with the corset fainting thing lately?

- Senator Doukas, Minister of Security

So we help the Unite Tribes for years and they suddenly see us as dangerous to them?  See if we help them again!

We should seek out these Doctors Cope and Marsh.  They seem both brilliant, although their bitter rivalry seems to get the better of them.  They must be brought to cooperate for scientific achievement!

I see that the interior of Africa has been tamed.  I suppose there was no doubt that the savages there would be brought under our rule eventually.

- Senator Leonardo Favero

I completely agree, Roman civilization should be spread to the savages of Africa and we should reestablish our imperial presence on the Dark Continent.


Don’t forget, the Cult has multiple strongholds there.  We must destroy them quickly lest they spread like a cancer to the rest of the world.

- Doukas

The editor said no such thing, Senator Doukas. The editorial said ‘Much as the Irish graciously welcomed British overlordship, the black race crave the guiding hand of whites.’. Nothing here implies that the Irish crave for the protection of the British, only that they had graciously welcomed it before. Now, as far as I recall, the Irish did no such thing, so the editor should be reprimanded for making such a claim.

-Nestorius Septiadis

A Senate historian submits a report:

I went and reviewed the historical archives. Despite a focus on Imperial history, they have some hints as to the history of Britannia.

The Irish were long dominated by the Scottish, though with many rebellions, so the conquest took hundreds of years.

It’s unclear who this newspaper article might mean by ‘the British’. The Britons were long dominated by the Anglo-Saxons, of course, who ruled England. But they were constantly harassed by other powers (the Norwegians, the Scottish, the French), before the Empire reconquered Roman Britannia. The Anglo-Saxon had taken many aspects of these cultures and fused them into their own form. The cultural melting pot of England had become a colonizing power, forming a major nation in the Brazilian region as well as many colonies elsewhere. The other colonies were eventually conquered by other powers, and Roman Brazil, mostly populated with a Romano-native peoples who still have a strong Brazilian cultural identity, was traded to England for the surrender of their claims on Britannia.

So if the article’s mention of British means the Anglo-Saxons, then it must satire about peoples who were barely able to rule themselves and eventually who were wholly displaced and their disinterest in dominating their neighbors. Perhaps making some kind of reference to the Empresses’ rulership? If it refers to the Scottish, which would be a strange use of ‘British’, then it might be serious in tone, but the Irish rebellions and the slow conquest again point towards satire. And on the off chance it refers to the Empire as ‘the British’—after all, we were the ones who civilized the land first, despite our thousand-year absence—then again it’s satirical, as the Empire never made a move to conquer any of Ireland.

In any case, the article is muddled and poorly-written. This has become frequent with the increased freedom of the press. Note as well the decreased number of papers worth archiving.

The clerk sighs, and walks off grumbling.

I recommend this Senate Historian be awarded a commendation for his fantastic research!

- Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

Ah, I see now.  This makes sense.  Someone should reprimand the reporter responsible for the article!  And if the number of papers worth archiving is decreasing, what happens when that number reaches zero?

- Doukas

Those Jacobins overthrowing rightful governments are worrying. Especially if they do it in countries like Germany and Russia.

I am proud seeing that we’ve been victorious in so-called “Scramble for Africa”.

- Senator Alexios Damaskinos

I demand that the editor of one of the newspapers be arrested for spreading defeatism. How are we scared of Russia? We are the Roman Empire! We have the largest, most advanced army in a world and a navy to go along with it! Why are we scared of some barbaric Slavs from the east?

Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

Well perhaps instead of bring death and destruction to the Dark Continent we could bring enlightenment.

The rebellions throughout the world are the workers way of forcing new values and ideas into corrupt and failing institutions, this Senate should be aware that our very own Empire has a growing discontent between those that have and those that have not. The force of history is pushing on the pillars of the old systems and unless the Empire reforms and acknowledges the very people who bleed for her then our Empress and Empire are at risk, not just from some cult, but from a tide that will was it away and see it reborn.

Already in August 1872 we had a number of protests put down with lethal force, for shame Senator Doukas & Favero ordering the massacre of our own people. Yet still we talk about invasion here and new lands for the thirds sons of senators to lord over, perhaps we should bring our own house in order before these matters become too violent to resist.

- Αιδεν Γκρέυ
Chief of Staff and Commissar of the Workers Progression Union of the Koinotita

Expel this man from the Senate immediately

- Mikael Moustakas

Ioannes Angelos says contemptuously, “perhaps we should set the senate and palace in order by removing you, senator Grey.”

If me and mine need to respresent the spirit of a modern Gracchi in this Senate so be it.

I hope members of this Senate will realise this movement will not pass and that unless the Senate members are prepared to act directly against me, I am here to stay!

- Αιδεν Γκρέυ

Ioannes smiles unpleasantly.  “Given your outbursts of late, that’s a tempting proposition, but I will wait for the voice of the senate or the Basilissa first.”

Speaking of which the majority of members here have either bought or inherited their place in this Senate.

Strange people paying off officals is no basis for a system of government! Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some… farcical amount of money changing hands!

- Αιδεν Γκρέυ

Well it’s certainly more legitimate than if the senators were chosen through some farcical aquatic ceremony involving some watery tart throwing a sword at potential senators.

- Senator Leonardo Favero

“A mandate from the masses?” Ioannes says with a sneer.  “Don’t make me laugh, senator.  Over a thousand years ago, the great scholar Alcuin warned the false emperor Karolomagnos against such a path, in words that yet resonate today: And those people should not be listened to who keep saying, the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.”

He shrugs dismissively in the general direction of the entire Koinotita faction.  “He who is ignorant of history is doomed to repeat it.”

Alexios laughed.
Should we give the people to decide who rules the Empire, eventually these “elections” will devolve into a mere popularity contest in which the man who speaks the loudest and has the most money trumps everybody else!

The state derives from the person of the emperor/empress, whose authority is derived from God and tradition dating back to Augustus Caesar, not some hogwash about the masses. The Basilissa should listen to the people, but your theory of sovereignty is complete nonsense.

- Mikael Moustakas

(( In a private letter to Nicodemo Theodosio ))
Welcome to the Senate, Mr. Theodosio.  Please be careful as to how you present your views around here, as due to some recent events many of us do not like socialists.  Your point about free universal education intrigued me, as my family has always strove for such a system, though on your other points I’m afraid we differ quite significantly.

- Alexios Doukas, Minister of Security, Doux of Graecia

(( In a private letter in response ))

The recent events of which you mention can only be tied to Socialism as a whole if you insist on every “enemy” of the empire wearing the same face. The actions of both foreign states and cultists are not supported by the Party, and do not represent revolutionary activity as we encourage it. Servants to a dark god are no different than servants to a hostile state, and should be treated as such.

I do not encourage the overthrow of the Roman Empire, long may it endure, I call for its transition to a more economically centralized and efficient state. The Empire has long truly worked off the power of the bureaucrats, and the acknowledgement of the work of the proletariat in maintaining our proud nation is long overdue.

There are those among the Communists who do encourage the overthrow of the Empire and the establishment of independent nationality-based states, but I do not support those views. The dissolution of the Empire can only harm civilization, as it threw Europe into chaos when we were at our weakest. I believe in a strong Roman Empire, but one that doesn’t suppress the culture and language of its citizens. The Empire of old did not do so, and it is a product of modern Bourgeois Imperialism.

I would argue for the appointment of reasonably powerful regional governors to bring the concerns of the regions to the attention of the rest of the Empire when necessary. I would suggest that these governors be appointed from among those from the region, as opposed to further appointments of Greeks in similar positions.

Regards, Nicodemo Theodosio

The Address, part one


First, We wish to welcome the new Senators, and to appoint Senators Favero and Doukas into their fathers’ positions. They have both proven worthy of the positions.

Second, We will update you on the royal family. Princess Louiza married John Tudor, Duke of Kent in 1871. Prince Alfrédos married Grand Duchess Maria of Ukraine in 1874. Prince Artoúros married Princess Louise Margaret of Germany in 1879. To my great sorrow, though, Princess Alíki’s family was struck was diphtheria in 1878, killing two of her children and then killing her. Of my nine children, only eight now survive. I have twenty-four living grandchildren, with an additional seven already dead.

Third, in response to your concerns: It is true that much work in exploration and archaeology is done by non-citizens of the Empire. Our efforts have been in the military sciences, in industry, and in commerce. Matters of the humanities have been much neglected, apart from those areas of philosophy useful to the government.

As you observed, Africa has mostly come under the control of the Empire. Like Italy, Spain, Gaul, Britannia, South America, and many others, the locals are finding it to their benefit to be a part of the Imperial system and joining with glee. More on that later.

Finally, We would remind you that Senators are appointed because they are useful to the Empire. Be that as a representative of wealthy families, of aristocrats, of the bureaucracy, or as representatives of the working class. Kindly have respect for those in other social classes than your own. After all, all are equally made in the image of God, reliant on the cross, and citizens of the Empire. If need be, We can ask the Patriarch of Constantinople to give a homily on the topic.

Finally, news of the Empire.

After the last session, IV. Legio made a landing on Deccan’s west coast and marched towards the capital in Hyderabad. Before they arrived, Deccan had agreed to a peace. Nearly all of the subcontinent was in Our sphere of influence.

At the turn of the year, the philosophers again came to request a new chair. They pointed to the success of Empiricism, and claimed that they could free logic from any but self-evident axioms. So We funded a new chair, expecting that again there would be useful benefits for the rest of the Empire. They finished their initial work with such speed that we suspect they had prepared much of it in advance, though many other advances came with time.

When they were completed, We noted that the Legions claimed there were new guns that could provide support from fixed positions. Instead of artillery, these would be rapid firing ‘machine guns’. We ordered several arms companies to develop designs and begin equipping the Legions.

As We added more Indian nations to Our sphere of influence, it become clear that it would a constant fight to keep them in Our sphere. So We moved to have them unite as a single nation under Our influence. That they would soon be regarded as a Great Power and be beyond Our economic influence was unexpected.

Apart from a minor reactionary revolt, time passed peacefully.

When the machine guns had been completed, We ordered that the existing railroad designs be undated again, using the Empire’s greater iron resources unlocked by improving technology.

And when We saw that yet another German-Bavarian war was in a stalemate, We decided to intervene. Technically Our casus belli was to humiliate Our foe, but the real reason was to soften them against their other enemies. The Legions prepared as the diplomats prepared the justifications.

And when Centurion Doukas had demonstrated that the Cult was using Africa for bases of operation, We decided that the Empire’s influence must be extended at any cost.

Fortunately, the use of force was not necessary, and the locals were easily brought into under Imperial governance, organizing themselves under local colonial governments. Although in the west, England and Scotland competed to expand their influences, winning the coast and competing for years over the inland areas. And in the east, Ethiopia expanded along the coasts and inland up until the African Great Lakes.

When We were ready to attack Bavaria, it was almost too late.

The legions moved in mass across the border, while X. Legio in the north attempted to assist Germany.

When the railway designs were complete, the businessmen of the Empire took no time in upgrading the railways nearly everywhere. During a meeting with Ourselves, they pointed out that there was a great need to know how to manage a workforce scientifically. So We created a task force to learn how to do so.

With Our help, Germany was able to annex Thuringia. But this was not the end, as their former war with Weimar had shown. They needed to escape with at least a white peace with Bavaria.

When the scientific management task force released its first findings, We created a new task force to better understand the flaws with the capitalist system of production.

The war with Bavaria was devastating…for them. We did not agree to a peace until they had no men under arms, no land under their control. They were able to resume control of their own lands once the peace was signed, but surely Germany and their Commonwealth allies would end that.

When the collectivist research was done, We saw the need to better support the workers of the Empire. They had jobs in increasing numbers, but these jobs did little to address the quality of their lives. Sadly, it would take time to develop the political will to make changes.

In the meanwhile We tasked a group with better improving the methods of mining iron.

With the success of the censored press, We decided it was not worth Our while to continue the work of censoring the papers, and thus We allowed for a free press.

With the improved iron extraction techniques, We tasked engineers with tailoring steam engines to various jobs.

When those had completed, We began drafting laws that would regulate the printing of money. Specific private banks would do so, not whomever pleased.

And of course, a great many inventions developed from advances before the last address to the Senate. During the few years of peace, We upgraded factories throughout the Empire, attempting to provide jobs for the thousands of peoples moving into the cities.

As We have now covered events until 1875, there shall now be a short recess to discuss them and to refresh ourselves.

Senators Reply

It is good that we live in such enlightened times.  All these new inventions and ideas surely benefit the Empire

The Indians are surely thanking us for helping them unify the subcontinent.  Let it be known that the Empire and our Empress care for those outside our border.

- Senator Leonardo Favero

We live in prospering times, yet we must not forget the common people and their efforts in getting us here.  Already we have heard rumors of Jacobins bringing down foreign governments at alarming rates, and that must not happen here.

- Senator Alexios Doukas

Your Imperial Majesty, I speak to you today to address a dire issue that is facing our Glorious Empire. Despite the increased research into collectivist economics, (a move I applaud) the class divide is only growing greater. I speak on this not to denigrate the aristocrats or plutocrats among us, but to point to an issue that will cause strife in this Empire. If the working class cannot trust the upper class to treat them as human beings, the reverse sentiment is at least understandable in its origin. The rising tide of Nationalism is also trying to subvert the ends of the Empire. To this end I must call again for the following policies, at the very least:

  1. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
  2. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
  3. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
  4. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
  5. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
  6. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.
  7. The appointment of powerful regional governors for each separate nationality still distinguished in the Empire. These governors are to be selected from members of the populace, and not appointed to a Greek as has been done in previous such situations.

- Your Citizen, Senator Nicodemo Theodosio

I am glad to see Bavaria humbled. Those barbarians must be taught to respect the might of the Empire.

I am somewhat skeptical of these press “reforms” but it could be beneficial to the Empire to let all our citizens speak their mind.

-Senator Moustakas

We must seek greater trade with our Indian tributaries. Offer them the Orient while we mop up the uncivilized savages of Europe, Western Asia, the Americas, and Africa. While they take the casualties, we must exploit the situation. Let everyone obey the divine law of Rome!

- Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

“Senator, if we do not appoint Greeks to positions of power, how do we expect our ideals, society and influences to be spread properly?  All must speak (and think!) Greek in our great empire.”

- Ioannes Angelos

Am I not a non-Greek standing before you now? Do I not espouse the glory and potential of this great Empire? I speak in Greek now to speak to you all, Senators, but when I was born, I first learned Spanish. The ideals of Rome have spread to the furthest reach of the Empire and beyond. I am here as a voice for the “radicals” and I must say what the honest opinion of the citizen in the reaches of the Empire is.

That opinion, radical as it might seem, is that Rome was never a Greek Empire. Rome was an Empire for and of its people. It provided clean water, medicine, sanitation, roads, and countless other public works. The re-establishment of these projects would go a long way towards lowering public dissent and revolt.

- Senator Nicodemo Theodosio

Ah yes but you have assimilated into Greek culture. I agree with many of your points. However, I also wish to include greater integration of Romanized minorities into the Greek culture. We must make the Empire stronger than before and that includes assimilating those who are minorities.

- Senator Andronikos Palaiologos, Duke of Nicaea

Asimilado!? Me presento ante ustedes como un romano, no un griego! Mis compatriotas sienten lo mismo que yo! Somos romanos, los griegos no!

Ahem, Senators, to call me a Greek, or assimilated, shows great disregard for the value of other cultures. The Roman Empire of old looked at each new culture it continued with interest and passion. Many of the gods on the old pagan pantheon were adopted from other cultures. The Roman Empire is not an Empire of Greeks, and continuing to pursue culturally destructive policies will lead to rebellions from nationalists. I will state this publicly now, that if I am again called an assimilated Greek, I will be happy to settle this elsewhere.

- Senator Nicodemo Theodosio

Spoken like a radical socialist! The old order will always be defended by those who were the first Romans in this country, the Greeks! We accept every culture but we expect those cultures to follow Roman laws and Roman rules! Let the nationalists rise, our army will crush them! Rome is a massive multi- ethnic nation, I am willing to tolerate minorities but not extreme radicals. How dare you talk about paganism in the sacred Christian halls here! How dare you talk about our policies like they are destructive! How dare you talk about rebellions as a reasonable thing! I shall tolerate this as free speech but I vehemently disagree with you.

- Senator Andronikos Palaiologos, Duke of Nicaea

The old order has fallen across the world. This was a revolution of the people, not the aristocracy, and that is why the honorable Senator defends against it. He relies on an outdated institution: the aristocratic class. I kneel to the Empress! Not to you sir, never to the aristocrat class! Even here its power has been limited severely, the authority of the bureaucrats upheld. While it is not the ultimate injustice the Communists and Socialists rally against, they are the front line in the class warfare I speak of. It is them who would see all other viewpoints squashed, who would ensure that a child is never taught the language of his parents.

And while you extoll the virtue of the legion, do not forget your history, Senator. The army was involved in almost every political instability of the Roman Empire, and will continue today. I am sure if you asked the common soldier, his views would differ from yours. I wager that a large percentage of the soldiers in the Roman Empire are involved in radical groups!

Unlike the honorable Senator, I wish to maintain the borders and strength of this Empire. I merely see that refusing to accept the power the people have in our Empire is unfair and will lead to nothing but ruin. I would not see the Empire fall in my lifetime, not ever!

- Senator Nicodemo Theodosio

Alexios sighed.

Muttering to himself so that only he can hear:
Now all we need are some ultranationalists.  We could call them…fascists?

Speaking louder:
Please, enough squabbling!  We are here to discuss the future of the Empire, not argue over who’s ideology is better than the other in serving the Empire!  We must discuss things peacefully and without argument, so that we can come to a conclusion agreed upon by all sides!  Isn’t the point of the Senate for us to work together in deciding the Empire’s path in the coming years?
We are at a crossroads, senators.  Everything is changing.  Not only are borders and technologies changing, but minds are changing.  The Empire hasn’t experienced such change since the rise of Islam in the 7th century AD.  If we don’t change now like we did then to survive, we will stumble and fall apart.  If we change too fast or too radically, we will lose ourselves and what the Empire stands for.   Now is not the time for ideological factionalism.  It is this kind of arguing that tore apart Germany and Russia and put them under the boot of the Jacobins and allowed the Cult to operate practically unmolested in foreign lands.  We absolutely cannot let that happen here.

- Alexios Doukas, Doux of Greece and Minister of Security

“Whilst I agree with Senator Doukas, I do wonder who Senator Theodosias thinks the Basilissa is, other than the matriarch of Constantinople’s greatest family.  Many of us in the palace are part of the very best families - the Angeloi and the Doukai are just two.”

- Ioannes Angelos

My Red Colleague and Trusted Friend Nicodemo,

As those of our party constantly try to impress upon the Senate the world is changing, the common person yearns for change. We see what happens when the conversatives and reactionaries think that there schemes and ploys will keep those beneath them in place yet we see how their greed blinds them and allows a new power to grow in India all cause they couldn’t control the people well enough. Even now our sister party in India makes great gains in this new state.

Two Burly Senate Gaurds rise from their seats and attempt force Αιδεν back into his seat

Aha, now we see the violence inherent in the system.


- Αιδεν Γκρέυ

Speaking of India it is a shame that those heathens believe they are too good for Roman protection. Hopefully we will still be able to foster further economic ties and prevent the Rusians from entering the market.

- Moustakas

I would agree on this, continuing our history of peaceful international economic cooperation is ideal.

To the honorable senator, I would encourage a little more restraint. The theories of communism espoused in less developed countries would not serve the material conditions in place here. While I would be happy to see the communists there take power, it has little effect on a nation as developed as the Empire. We must endeavor to create new lines of thought that serve to illuminate the path to revolution for a Roman.

- Senator Nicodemo Theodosio

Do we still maintain an alliance with India or have we lost all diplomatic power in this region?

- Στήβεν Γκρέυ

I would think we are still allied with India.  We may have lost all of our influence in the region in helping with the unification process, and if we still have some influence, I believe that it will presently wither away once India reaches Great Power status, which it should probably reach within a year or two due to the resulting prestige, its extremely large population, and industrial capacity.

- Doukas

I am a man of the people. Each and every person is a human, I am a fierce proponent of reform. I agreed with your social reform, remember that! The aristocracy support the reactionaries, I am not a reactionary. You may call me a conservative but I am not an old fool nor a young radical. You are the man of the radical nationalists! The army was involved everywhere! The only reason we exist now and we are here now is because of the legions! Some may have radicalized but our officers will keep them in check. I wish to bring civilization to the rest of the world. You must seek the greater good!

- Andronikos Palaiologos

Ah! the Greater Good, that old adage. Generally the more money that finds its way into the Greater’s pockets the better and if you happen to do some Good on the way well, jolly good.

I submit to the Parliament a report by the Journalist Henry Mayhew on the conditions in part of my own province’s capital Londino, Londino Labour and the Londino Poor a shameful reflection on the multitudes that throng streets such as those not far from this very chamber. The squalor and depravity these unfortunates are forced to resort to to feed, clothe and shelter themselves is a sad relection on this Parliament and because of this Parliament a stain on your Imperial Highness.

I request that a Senate Committee be formed to further investigate the conditions of the poor in our 20 largest cities and what measures we can take to reduce their suffering. I would request that Senator Palaiologos be co-chair on this committee so that there is no appearence on bias.

To those members that would only look to what they stand to gain, under our parties leadership the poor would be entitled to subsidies, those subsidies would fuel greater growth in the economy as people would no longer be forced to just survive, but could educate themselves, find a home of their own and perhaps even group together to start new industries so we are not so reliant on the same few thousand capitialist elite to drive our industry. Heck perhaps it would allow the government to stop holding the hand of industry and support the people more.

“If you want the state to to improve these poor people’s lives, then clearly industry should be tasked with this matter.  Build new Greek schools to teach the glories of Rome to the poor unfortunates and build new factories so that their parents might earn their own crusts.  It is the Church that should provide charity, not the State.”

- Ioannes Angelos

Hear, hear.

- Mikael Moustakas

I agree with this. Many poor people are being oppressed by corrupt, sleazy capitalists. We need unemployment subsidies, a minimum wage, and limited safety regulations to protect those abused poor people. However, I believe reform can come from the government and it must be slow and methodical to prevent mistakes and loopholes, unlike my red colleague.

- Andronikos Palaiologos

I would be glad to offer my support towards social reform.  How can Rome claim to be the leader of the world when its people don’t have an appropriate standard of living?

- Alexios Doukas

“If dangerous conditions are harming the Empire’s productivity, then a commission should be formed to investigate these matters, but this senate is not the Holy Church and the Basilissa is not the Patriarch.  Let the Church perform charity, whilst the State ensures that none is needed.”

- Ioannes Angelos

((Introducing Senator Columba Comminus))


Your Imperial Majesty, Your Holiness, Honourable and Eminent Senators.

My apologies for arriving late for this particular session so if you will allow a few minutes for an introduction I promise to keep it brief. (Though I have provided a longer version explaining my origins further for those of you who so wish to read it)

The origins of my family are shrouded in mystery thought to date back to the time when Rome was ruled by Kings me and my kin are said to be descended from slaves who won their freedom in the overthrow of the last king and establishment of the Republic.

Overtime we rose to a respected, but not prominent or powerful place in society. By the time of the Caesars we were a rich equestrian (and on occasion senatorial) family who migrated to Roman controlled Caledonia for what most said was at long last an aim to rise to higher positions within the Empire. But despite what you may have heard was an attempt to move to more suitable climes as the paler complexion and hair of my dynasty led to an unfortunate tendency to be almost permanently sunburnt or very heavily tanned even in the winter. Those of you who have been “Up North” as they say just South of Hadrian’s Wall will know the change suited us admirably (though sunshine is nice from time to time).

After our fellow countrymen withdrew; first from Caledonia then Britannia altogether you may have thought we would have found ourselves alone and surrounded by a hostile people.

Thankfully the natives were found to be much friendlier once we stopped lording it over them and got on rather well and soon found common ground in our love of the weather, alcohol and poking fun at those men sissy enough to wear trousers.

Over the intervening centuries my family endured a series of rises and falls from wealth and power to destitution and irrelevance. We may have been down at times but never out which is more than can be said for most families which lied in the border regions of Scotland (or indeed any region of anywhere).

Which brings us to the here and now. I myself was born some years ago in “the early days of Winter 1855” according to my Da nobody bothered to note the exact date as my mas’ 13 hours of labour had left her in a spectacularly foul mood and my Da’ hand nearly half chewed off (we are still to hear the end of it).

I lead quite an active youth studying and travelling both within and without the empire. I have studied not only various languages but also am fully qualified in matters of both Scots and Roman law (which are remarkably similar) as well as theology and history according to Glasgow, Constantine, the Gregorian and Paris Universities respectively (I must confess I am rather anti-social preferring a good night’s reading to a good night’s drinking any day) I also had the honour of enjoying a brief though largely ceremonial tenure as a junior officer in the Varangian Guard and as a navy cadet. (Celts and Anglo-Saxons have been part of the guard ever since the Vikings started raiding us. Though if you value your lives you will please ensure that the Angles are as far as possible from the Celts in the same room while sober and preferably city while not (which I regret to say the latter is the norm).

And so now after an absence of many centuries my family has asked me to come to the Queen of cities to reclaim the seat in the Senate that once belonged to us. Provided your majesty has no objections.

As for political leanings I have come primarily to represent the interests of my Family and those who live in the lands surrounding my birth so you will forgive me I hope if I do not align myself just yet.

Thioridh an-drasta and God love you

As Chief of Staff I would request that for the next senate session we have access to the current landscape of the senate, our laws both constitutional and social.

Also out current tax rates and any subsidation/tariffs for local industry, I sincerely hope that our conservative friends and refusing to the people what they provide to their rich backers and that being charity. If it is fine for the State to bankroll industry, then why we can not offer to protect those most at risk once again is an issue I must strongly bring to the Empress’ attention.

- Στήβεν Γκρέυ

“At the risk of sounding heretical, senator, the Church must be where there is need, and if the church does not free people from oppression or poverty, what purpose does it serve?”

- Ioannes Angelos

How dare you paint us conservatives with the reactionaries! The government must do more to protect the workers while promoting industry. I am not one of those old fools known as reactionaries but nor am I a red radical who achieve power through anarchy and bomb- throwing. As a Senator, I must ask the Chief of Staff why he is the Chief of Staff of the military when he is against the military?

- Andronikos Palaiologos

Have I ever praised the anarchists or the bomb-throwers? The anarchists may want what we desire eventually, a society free of capitalism and  its restrictions. We differ on methods. Most Communists advocate for revolution against the Bourgoise state, this is true. But Roman Communists see the truth of the matter: that a transition through socialism can be accomplished peacefully. The Imperial powers are known, the history of the Empire is full of examples of them. The state, should it be benevolent, should assume control until class struggles can be resolved.

I second this request, with the possible addition of some sort of census. The cultural landscape of the Empire is something I think needs to be discussed.

- Nicodemo Theodosio

Requested Information


While it is not yet time to resume the address, it seems some comments are in order. My clerks have quickly prepared some charts displayed on the easel here at the front of the chamber.

First is a political summary of the Empire. While the Senate is wonderfully diverse—which immensely helps in Our governing the Empire—the administrators who would implement any changes are not so. If a simple majority of them supported any given reform then it could be implemented. But only 23% of them would support social reforms at this time, and only 36% of them would support political reforms.

Second is the latest budget information. This tends to be highly variable, as the government buys various goods in order to build naval bases and factories, or temporarily supports factories in distress so that people retain their jobs, so it may not be the best reflection of the true state of the Empire’s finances.

Third, the Minister of Security has reported the following mass movements within the Empire.

A census will be conducted post-haste, but the result will not be available until the next State of the Empire Address.

Also, I would remind the Senators that the Church and Our government work quite closely. If We wished for the government to provide charity to the poor, it would need be done via the Church. To do otherwise would require great changes to the administrative structure of both the Church and the government, as they are deeply intertwined.

Finally, India sadly allied with Persia recently, and as we have treaties of old with two Great Powers—Poland-Lithuania and the United Tribes of America—they are unlikely to ally with us again.

Senators Reply

Anarchism is the epitome of social disaster. You yourself have admitted that you do not want the Emperor, you support anarchism! People will shoot each other for sport, it will be a return to the feudal peasant- hunting days!

- Andronikos Palaiologos

We do not listen to the words of Marx, except we agree that this change is destined to happen. Already we are the second largest party should those fools in the liberal party understand that their time is done we will soon control the senate.

Anarchism maybe a sideline for some in the Empire, but not for those of the party. As for us being violent our supporters that are champing for change number in the millions, yet only a fraction have become militant. Look at the last vestiges of the reactionaries, only a few 10’s of thousands yet they are far more likely to take up arms!

Whilst we would look to full sufferage as it would truely put our party as the power in the Empire, the Empress is our monarch and we will defend her to the death. However we do fully support the minimum wage, injured workers cover and a limit on the number of hours a man or woman can work in a day.

As per my previous speech I note that our poorest still pay the majority of taxes, yet receive the least protection. This can not stand.

- Στήβεν Γκρέυ

This treasonous suffrage movement should be suppressed at all costs. To defile the Senate by transforming it into a vulgar democratic body would threaten the integrity of the Empire.

- Moustakas

The Ministry of Security will set to work suppressing all of these potential uprisings, especially the Communist one.  We have yet to determine a link with the Cult, but I am sure there is one.  How else would they have gotten this far?

- Alexios Doukas

I would point out that a large number of our soldiers are already part of radical organizations. This is likely to only grow over time. Indeed this appraisal of radicals in the empire shows the growth of the Communist movement. Those who are potentially rebels are those who are losing faith in the empire’s ability to take care of them.

As for the economic situation, if the Empress indeed wishes to lower the amount of Communist sympathizers, as many seem to, she should simply redistribute taxes to focus more on the middle and upper tiers of income. From what I’ve heard the capitalists do little useful and efficiently besides build railroads.

The goal of anarchism is the annihilation of class society, is it not? Anarchists, communists, and socialists (If they believe that socialism is a transitory state as written in most every text) all desire the end of class warfare, and the seizing of political power by the proletariat.

I support the Empress strongly, her intentions have proven benevolent, unlike many here. Her as a symbol, and as a powerful part of the government, is necessary in my opinion.

Indeed Empress, I call attention to what has always been the first demand I have made: A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. The mere fact of reality is that the less money you have, the larger percentage of it is needed to survive. The fact that the upper income brackets pay less percentage-wise than the lower is a travesty.

- Nicodemo Theodosio

I must make it known that in my opinion a graduated income tax is just not fair.
Why should the poor man pay in nothing the well to do pay say 10% and the rich pay 50%. There is absolutely no justice in this. An unlikely example I know but not impossible.
However I do believe that those not so well off within our empire do deserve some kind of tax reduction. as it must be accepted that a certain basic income is required to survive.

- Columba Comminus

The Address, part two


Welcome back from the intermission. Many of you have brought forward various concerns, and they will be addressed at the end of the address.

When the Private Bank Money Bill Printing laws had been drafted, We allowed the Admiralty to design naval bases that could specialize in different forms of ships. Though it seemed it might be some time before any could be built, as the world was facing a great shortage of cement.

In July of 1875, there was a much larger revolt. You no doubt remember when the Scholai Palantinae were forced to retreat and Constantinople was put to siege.

And how XXIV. Legio assisted the Scholai Palatinae in repulsing the rebels before they came close to breaching the walls. And how the rest of the rebels were easily dispersed. Before the end of the year the last rebels had been removed.

When the naval bases were designed, We tasked a group with finding cheaper ways of making steel.

This research also gave the Empire improved methods of extracting coal.

While the Empire’s dye supply problems seemed to have been eased, an errant experiment with coal tar had produced a new artificial dye. The Chemistry Department at the University of Constantinople promised a new age of innovation if they were supported in their quest to understand organic chemistry. So We gave them support in this endeavor.

In April of 1877, Germany declared war on Bavaria. We had added Germany to Our sphere of influence, and were surprised when they did not immediately ask for Our aid. We quickly signed an alliance. But when no request to join their war came, We began fabricating a reason for war with Bavaria, pointing out to the Empire’s newspapers the danger their fortifications proved, how those were a sure sign of their aggressive intentions.

When the initial research into organic chemistry was complete (again improving the Legion’s ability to avoid disease and other attrition), We ordered the Legions to begin training junior officers in how to make decisions for themselves, which would allow them to better take advantage of changes in the battles they faced.

The war with Bavaria lasted until April of 1878, when they agreed to dismantle their fortifications in Bayern. Germany was now positioned to crush Bavaria.

The improved military tactics only came after the war, but that meant that the next war would be even better fought.

We insisted the Admiralty make the same training improvements as the Legions had just done.

We spent the following months as We had most of the time in the previous years: heavily investing in the economy to try to provide jobs for everyone, and upgrading the Empire’s naval bases. Meanwhile, the new naval training was beginning to bear fruit.

It was in August of 1879 that England saw the beginning of a new political force: Communists. Their reach was rapidly felt everywhere.

And meanwhile, Germany’s war with Bavaria stagnated, and it looked as though Bavaria might soon push back against them.

Senators Reply

Blasted Jacobins and Bavarians! We are facing a determined threat to Roman culture that could destroy us if we are not vigilant.

- Moustakas

If the honorable senators remember the examinations of rebel factions in the Empire that we underwent years ago, they pointed to this rebellion being a risk. They might also remember that the numbers of those supporting communists was 10 times larger. If that force continues to build, without some release of tension, violence is sure.

- Nicodemo Theodosio

Never forget the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest! Those savages, who were the predecessors of the Bavarians, massacred three legions there. We must seek to crush the Bavarians to atone for their crimes in that time. I am glad of our technological progress, I feel that Germany could soon be further included in the Roman Empire.

- Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

This form of communism in England sounds quite repugnant.  A society without a government?  Hows does such a country even operate without falling into anarchy?  At least Roman communists have the sense to know that the Empress provides sound government and stability for the Empire.

Those damn Jacobins threatened Constantinople and put the Empress in danger.  I hope the streets of Constantinople ran red with their blood for their insolence!

- Senator Leonardo Favero

“A society without government?  Hah!  So the true motives of I Koinotita have been revealed, eh?  Then there were those rebels, even besieging the walls of the Queen of Cities, and you want to give that rabble the vote?!

“Congratulations to the Empire’s armies on their work against the Nemitzoi.  Their final, feeble effort should be crushed and they should be at last absorbed into the Empire and never dare to stand apart from Rome again!”

- Ioannes Angelos

Closing the Session


Given the contentiousness of the question, We shall not create a progressive tax system at this time. However, We will strive to at least create a flat tax instead of the current highly regressive tax system.

We will also continue to expand the industry so that all citizens of the Empire might find employment to provide for themselves and their families.

We are also appointing all Senators as governors of various regions for the next five year period, as such:
(North) Africa - Alexios Damaskinos
Armenia - Julian Leon
Asia - Constantine Panaretos
Britannia - Andronikos Palaiologos
Dalmatia - Mikael Moustakas
Egypt - Marcos Alexandros
Macedonia - Ioannes Angelos
Naples - Nestorius Septiadis
Raetia - Columba Comminus
Sicily - Alexander Smithereens
Syria - Alexios Doukas

Brittany - Στήβεν Γκρέυ
Italy - Leonardo Favero
Spain - Nicodemo Theodosio
Once these five years have passed, We will reevaluate who should be governors where.

The following ministries have been filled:
Foreign minister - Senator Moustakas
Minister of security - Senator Doukas
Minister of intelligence - Senator Favero

But there are several more that need filling:
Armament minister
Chief of Staff
Chief of the Army
Chief of the Navy

We are also creating a General Staff, headed by Prince Alvértos. All Senators are invited to participate in the military planning.

Finally, We will order for a census to be undertaken, and the results shared with the Senate as soon as it is complete.

Senators, thank you for your time.

Senators Reply

Thank you, Your Higness. The taxes shall flow from Dalmatia as long as I am governor!

- Mikael Moustakas

I thank the Empress greatly for this appointment, I do hope that the governance of other regions can be transferred to their cultural kin reasonably soon however. I shall govern Hispania to the absolute best of my ability; I shall also seek to end the worrying faction that is seeking a return of a Castilian kingdom that we saw in the rebel census.

I would offer my services as Chief of Staff, if the Empress sees it fit. I would see the worrying trend of corruption amongst government officials ended. I offer myself because I am as of yet, uncorrupted by the various factions that seek to buy influence rather than earn it. Unlike most senators, who live lives of leisure in this wonderful city, I live in a modest townhome I share with my wife and son, and all income that is not needed to take care of them or myself I donate to the soup kitchens here in the City of Cities.

You have my solemn vow, that if I am granted the position, I will use it to forward your will. Regardless of my political beliefs, the corruption and excess shown by many bureaucrats needs to end, and I would seek to end it. I may prefer the working bureaucrat to the aristocrat who inherits their position, but corruption among either is unacceptable. The citizens of this Empire should work for the glory of the Empire and all its people, rather than their own personal greed.

As for military matters, while I served in the legion in my youth, it was not out of choice, rather it was to provide for my family. I am your loyal sword should you need it, and will advise to the best of my ability, but I do not know about the wisdom of any territorial expansion given the internal problems we face. Nevertheless, I am committed to serve you, and will provide any council you wish of me.

- Nicodemo Theodosio

I thank you, My Empress, for allowing me to continue to serve as Governor of Italy as my father did before me.  I will ensure that the region remains quiet and prosperous.

- Senator Leonardo Favero

Thank You Empress for such glorious title that is Governor. You won’t be disappointed, I’ll make sure of that.

- Senator Alexios Damaskinos

“You have my great thanks, Megali Basilissa.  The Angeloi will not disappoint the Crown.”

To Theodosio, he says, “perhaps you should retire to a monastery and sing the praises of God each day.  It might suit your delicate temperament better than this place of worry and stress.”

- Ioannes Angelos

I assure the Senator that I am quite happy with my work here, I may not have accomplished everything I set out to do yet, but I am causing change.

I would remind the Senator of a certain quote of our Lord: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

- Nicodemo Theodosio

“We are all the product of wealth, senator, and some of us of good breeding.  Let’s not pretend that you are truly representative of the working classes you profess to love so much.”

Thank you, Your Imperial Highness, for appointing me as Governor of Syria.  I have served there in my youth, and I shall maintain the peace there efficiently.

- Senator Alexios Doukas, Doux of Greece and Governor of Syria

to her excellency
I would like to become the chief of the navy as well as continue to be  governor of Sicily my experience as governor of this province has given me the knowledge necessary to lead our navy to victory and rule the sea.

Alexander Smithereens

I will make sure to honor my role as Governor of Naples fiercely. I thank you, my Empress.

- Nestorius Septiadis

Ioannes, Thedosio  give it a rest you to you are beginning to make my brain hurt the way you to go at each other. There are times when I find myself wondering “Is it those two eminent senators at it again? Or have the Blues and Greens started yet another civil war? have you ever asked yourselves why half of us bring earmuffs to the senate even in July? Well now you know.

Augusta Magna.
I accept my appointment as the Governor of the province of Reatia it is my sincerest hope that I shall serve your Imperial Majesty and the Empire well.
Before I leave I would like to inquire on behalf of my fellow Governors precisely what territories we will be expected to govern as areas within our respective provinces. So as to avoid any confusion or unfortunate misunderstanding in the coming years.

- Columba Comminus

Thank you, Empress! Your benevolence and generosity has been shown with this gracious assignment. I will immediately take up my assignment as governor of Britannia!

- Andronikos Palaiologos

((Private - In Alexios Doukas’s mind))
While the senators were busy discussing what would be the better names for the provincial governors, Alexios thought back to those dark days, when the Jacobin menace stormed into the city, thirty-six thousand of them.  Angry peasants, unpaid soldiers, the homeless and the unemployed, all angry at the state and Church for abandoning them, outraged that they had to suffer while to them the Patriarch and Empress “swam in lakes of gold,”  as one Jacobin newspaper claimed before it was shut down by the government.
Luckily Alexios was on vacation in Thessaloniki when the rebels laid siege to the Queen of Cities, but his son Konstantinos wasn’t so lucky.  The Athenian Lancers were on the front lines when the rebellion began, and the three thousand lancers were swarmed by over ten thousand angry peasants, led by a Slavic-looking man with an eyepatch, who shouted that the “tyranny of the madwoman shall be crushed” to his followers.
By the time the Scholai Palatinae was forced to retreat, only a handful of Lancers had managed to fight their way out of the mob.  The rest were torn to pieces, their bodies desecrated and some even offered up to the Black God by zealous converts to Ignatieff’s paganism.
Konstantinos barely made it out alive, his right leg severely injured, leaving him with a permanent limp, and his right hand (his gun hand) barely able to hold things and write, much less swing a sword or shoot a pistol.  There was a burn scar over his right eye and a nasty scar running down his back from where a Jacobin used a scythe to torture him.
His son was alive, but scarred.  Alexios sensed that something was wrong with his thinking after the rebellion, even ten years later.  Konstantinos didn’t want to help out with his younger brother Michael’s University projects, despite promising to before the rebellion.  Where he showed respect for the cultures of others he now showed hatred of all things Slavic and Jacobin.  He refused to interact with anyone of the “lower classes,” the “plebeians,” not even his own servants.
Konstantinos wanted to be treated like royalty, like he was above the citizens of Rome, like he was the Emperor.  But that would be treason, wouldn’t it? Alexios thought.
For the last few years, he and his men had been keeping an eye on Konstantinos and had included amendments to his will leaving his property and titles and Senatorship to Michael should Konstantinos snap, which was inevitable.
What worried Alexios was when that would occur.