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 Post subject: Ranks in the Republic
PostPosted: 31 Jul 2006 16:35 
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Sergeant Major of the USMC
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RANKS

In its laws and customs, the Republic is a class society. A person's rank describes his or her position in Nova Terran society. Rank also determines one's priviledges and legal rights. Rank will affect everything about a person's interactions with other people, from birth to the grave. That is not to say that there is no social mobility, the possibility of advancement within the ranks exists. The class system that pacifies rebellious slaves who hope to become freedmen also impels ambitious citizens who wish to become Senators.

In our reality the Emperor Carcalla granted citizenship to the entire free population of the Imperium in 212 AD, but by then the notion of citizenship was blurred: the right to vote had disappeared, provincial Romans had lost their exemption from taxation, and personal priviledges were restricted to the wealty elite. In the universe where the Romans were taken from Terra and planted on Nova Terra these things had not yet occurred, so on Nova Terra the institution of rank remains strong as Nova Terran Emperors beginning with the wise Quintus Maximius Aratus, used citizenship as a societal tool to reward proper behavior within the limits of the class structure.

There are six ranks under the Republic's law: three for citizens and three for non-citizens. Citizens (Cives) are divided into three distinct ranks based mainly on wealth - Senators, Equestrians, and Plebians; non-citizens (Peregrini) are divided into Freedmen, Foreigners and Slaves.

The free citizens (Cives) of the Republic are collectively referred to as the POPULUS ROMANUS or Roman People. Being Roman does not necessarily mean being of Italian descent; it entitles one to specific legal rights under the Republic, such as voting and eligibility for political office. In the provinces, which includes the new worlds of the Republic in its definition, being a citizen will exempt you from the absolute dominion that Roman Magistrates have over foreign subjects. Although women are not technically full citizens (they cannot vote or hold office) females retain the social privileges associated with their rank.


SENATORS (SENATORES)

Apart from the Imperial family (whose members sit at the apex of the social pyramid outside of the six rank heirarchy) Senators are the most elite citizens of the Senatus Populesque Romanus. When Augustus siezed the throne, the size of the Senate had been fixed at 600 members, but with the restoration of the Republic under Imperator Aratus, the Senatorial membership is now determined by provincial population size and status of whether it is a Senatorial or Imperial province. Patricians (Patricii) make up an aristocratic sub-class of the Senatorial rank that traces it its family's genealogy to the beginnings of Rome.

Senators must maintain an estate value (money and property) of ten million sesterces. If a Senator's wealth falls below this minimum, he and his family are in danger of being expelled from the Senatorial rank by the Censors, who administer the record (album) of free citizens and their rank. Senatorial families retain their rank through inheritance. A Senator's son is automatically qualified to be elected to the Senate. However, not all Senators have a male heir that survives or wishes to pursue a career in the Senate; some lacking talent or ambition even fail to become elected to be a financial deputy (quaestor), the minimum magistracy required to qualify for election to the Senate. To fill the depleted ranks of the Senate, the Emperor may approve new men into the Senatorial rank by granting immediate membership by bestowing the Latus Clavus, literally 'the broad purple stripe', which allows an individual to run for quaestor in his province or homeworld.

Since 536 A.U.C. (218 BC), the Lex Claudia has prevented Senators from engaging in any commercial ventures. Thus the vast wealth of Senatorial families is invested in real estate; Senators are the primary Landowners in the Republic's agricultural worlds and provinces. Senators are not farmers, however, and are not expected to till the land or even actively manage a slave plantation (latifunda). Senators are expected to pursue are career in public service. The preferred career path (Cursus Honorum) for a Senator is a political one with the ultimate goal of the Imperial throne. To reach that lofty height, a Senator must hold (and perform well in) various military and political offices. Men of the Senatorial rank who forsake a public career are demoted to the Equestrian rank.

Senators enjoy many privileges in the Republic. Choice seating is reserved for them at entertainment venues and civic ceremonies. They are entitled to wear the broad purple stripe (Latus Clavus) on their Powered Armor. Only members of the Senatorial rank are eligible for certain honorary priesthoods.



EQUESTRIANS EQUITES

The Equestrians were originally those Roman citizens who owned a horse and formed the cavalry, hence the term equites, 'horsemen'. In the Republic, the Equestrians constitute a privileged class that ranks only below the Senators. To indicate their status among Roman citizens, Equestrians wear Powered Armor with a narrow purple stripe and a wide gold ring.

The Lex Claudia, the same law that prevents Senators from business affairs, creates lucrative opportunities for Equestrians throughout the Republic in the areas of finance, industry and trade. While most Equestrians are prosperous merchants (in fact, some are many times more wealthy than Senators), several key governmental posts are available to them such as command of the Praetorian Guard (Praefectus Praetorio) and the governorship of Nova Aegyptus (Praefectus Nova Aegyptii), the Republic's primary agricultural world.

Like Senators, Equestrians must maintain a minimum estate value; for this rank the amount of 4 million sesterces. Interestingly there are two special ways to acquire Equestrian rank where the 4 million sesterces rule is forever waived: on appointment, each senior Centurian (Primus Pilus) of a legion and Imperial Treasury legal advisor (Advocatus Fisci) automatically qualify as Equestrians.

A Plebian who wishes to enter the Equestrian rank must also have the Emperor's approval, symbolized by the granting of the public horse (Equus Publicus). Each year, on July 15, the Emperor holds a parade (Transvectio) to examine the physical and moral fitness of the Equestrians. At this ceremonial event, citizens ride by the Emperor who renews, confers or removes their Equus Publicus. if the Emperor has designated a crown prince (Princeps Iuventutis), the prince presides at the transvectio, since he is officially the first citizen (Primus Princeps) of the Equestrian rank.
Equestrians can be elevated into the Senatorial rank by the Emperor. The ones who prefer the affluent lifestyle of a successful businessman do not always accept.



PLEBIANS (PLEBES)

The majority of the Republic's citizens are of the Plebian rank. Plebians do most of the working and paying of the Roman people (Populus Romanus). while their lives and deaths are not normally recorded in the annals of Roman history, the men and women of the Plebian rank lead interesting lives, full of triumph and tragedy.

To become a Plebian, one must be born from a mother of Plebian or Freedmen status or be granted citizenship by Nova Terran law. The latter process is conferred upon individuals as well as large civic populations. For example, auxiliary soldiers (Auxilia) who complete 25 years of military service to Nova Terra are raised into the Plebian rank along with their entire family. As a special reward for aiding the Republic, the Senate may vote to bestow Nova Terran citizenship to an entire town. Through hard work, luck or help from a patron, Plebians can become Equestrians. Pliny the Younger gave a close friend 500,000 sesterces as a gift so that he was eligible for the Equestrian rank. Most Plebians earn a decent living as storekeepers, factory workers, or professional soldiers. Others are common laborers or farmers who struggle to make ends meet. Many are destitute, saved from starvation by the public distribution of free food (Annona).

Despite the fact Plebians are excluded from the most powerful and prestigious political offices and military commands, Plebians are to be a town Magistrate (Decurio), a public commisioner (Aedilis), or a legionary centurion (Centurio). Plebians are not allwed to wear Powered Armor of any type unless in the military.




FREEDMEN (LIBERTINI)

Freedmen were once slaves. They are free, but lack the full rights of Nova Terran citizens. Manumission is the most common way to attain the rank of Freedman. By one of three methods, a slave may be released from bondage. First, a slave might appeal to a Roman Magistrate directly (Manu Misit Censu) and be granted freedom through a Magistrate's direct power (Imperium). Second, a slave might be ordered by his master to present himself to the Censor's office for registration as a Freedman. Slaves freed from Roman citizens automatically become clients to their former masters, who in turn, become their patrons. As a condition for early release from slavery, a Freedman is often obligated to continue the duties he or she performed while a slave. These arrangements hold up under Nova Terran law; a Freedman who shirks his duty to his former master is severely punished or returned to slavery. Third, a slave might be set free by his master's will (Manu Misit Testamento). In such cases, the new Freedmen march in the funeral procession wearing tall red caps to symbolize their recent emancipation; it is a final duty that honors a former master by displaying his or her generosity to the public. A slave may also purchase freedom from his owner; gladiators and chariot drivers often earn enough private money (Peculiam) in their careers to accomplish this. In any event, criminals are ineligable for Freedman rank.

The children born to Freedmen are full citizens, although the social stigma of being descended from slaves was often remembered for several generations till Emperor Aratus ended the practice of using slave descent to prevent qualified people from attaining higher rank.

While excluded from high-level political and military service, Freedmen hold numerous local public offices and priesthoods. Many Freedmen engage in trade and factory work, continuing the work that they performed as slaves for payment. Those freed from wealthy households often inherit small fortunes from their master's will as well. In the Republic, the rich are expected to make lavish donations to the public. Freedmen who wish to emulate upper-class behaviors to gain social acceptance sponsor games (Ludi) and erect public monuments. In Nova Terran society, rich Freedmen have a reputation for being snobs, second only to Patricians of Senatorial rank.




FOREIGNERS (EXTERNI)

Foreigners are immigrants from other human star nations, another species or conquered subjects of the Republic. These Subjects of the Republic are denied the rights to vote, to marry a Nova Terran citizen and to be tried in a Nova Terran court. While a Nova Terran citizen may appeal to the Senate for justice, or the emperor himself if in an imperial province or world, a Foreigner is subject to the local Magistrate's imperium, power. During times of crisis, Foreigners are subject to harsh measures imposed by martial law, such as arrest and expulsion from Nova Terran territory.

A Foreigner can also refer to an outsider who lives in a territory not under Nova Terran rule. Although Americans are Foreigners, they are respected for being civilized. Other peoples and species are not as fortunate; they are marked for eventual subjugation, enslavement or extinction. Although the alliance with the Americans against the Siliconates and Arachnids has produced a slight fumendental shift in this outlook on Foreigners. Who knows where it may lead.

The average Roman has a prejudice against certain cultures. he stereotypes indivuduals based on their ethnicity, but without being racist in the sense we know it: Hibernians are quick-tempered, Iudeans are irrational, Germans are great individual warriors and Americans are crafty merchants. After a preliminary judgement based on ethnic background, a Foreigner is labeled as a good person or an unruly savage by observing behavior, not complexion for humans or species for aliens.

Foreigners represent the majority of the population. Many Foreigners are involved in the arts or in commerce as merchants and factory workers. Defense of the Republic relies on Auxiliaries, auxilia, uniformed foreign soldiers in the paid service of Nova Terra who protect the frontiers. Even though they are not armed with the most modern weapons, these auxiliary troops are disciplined, formidible and flexible in battle.




SLAVES (SERVI)

Slaves are property and therefore are owned by other people. Anyone in Nova Terran society may own a slave, even another slave. Slaves usually have only one name and are bought and sold as commodities. Slave dealers also offer the option to rent slaves for a specific time period or task. In general, the Republic is enjoyed by the few at the expense of the majority; it is estimated by the censors that slaves outnumber free citizens by two to one, and one reason why Nova Terran law forbids slaves to be differentiated by dress or ornamentation. The Senate fears that the slaves would rebel if they saw the vast numbers of oppressed people and species in their midst. if favored after many years of service, slaves can be manumitted into the Freedmen rank. An industrious and obediant servant in a private household can expect to be manumitted by the age of 35.

Slaves have few privileges or rights in the Republic. While the killing of a slave has been considered murder since Emperor Aratus, Nova Terran courts tend to overlook such 'accidents'. If convicted of a crime, punishment for a slave is severe: death by crucifixion, Cruci Suffixus, or eaten by wild animals in the arena, Damnatio ad Bestias. The fortunate are sentenced to be gladiators or miners. On the last day of the Saturnalia, December 23rd, the role of master and slave is reversed for one day. The servants of the household elect one of their number to preside as the mock king, Saturnalicius Princeps, over the feast, while the masters of the house serve and entertain the slaves. In addition the mistresses of the house serve food to their female slaves in a private ceremony on the Matronalia, March 1.

_________________
Benno the Mad Wrote:
man, you gotta realise that thor and bos fell out of the patriot tree (like the ugly tree, but instills patriotism instead of ugly) and hit every branch on the way down.


"Gone now, dispersed by the brutal destruction of this one day, was the belief that the Darkman and his army of the dead were so superior as to be invincible. By attempting to destroy the morale of the Marines, the Darkman had restored it to full vigor. Dia De La Muerto had failed in its objectives."
The Gunny: Stand of the 300

Si vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war

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