Tales of Brittanis
The Tiberian Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Tiberian civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Northern Caledor.
The 500-year-old Tiberian Republic, which preceded it, had been weakened and subverted through several civil wars.
Tiberian expansion began in the days of the Republic, but the Empire reached its greatest extent under Emperor Dominicus: during his reign (898 to 1924 IC) the Tiberian Empire controlled approximately 5 million square miles of land surface. Because of the Empire’s vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Tiberium had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, religion, architecture, philosophy, law, and forms of government in the territory it governed, particularly Caledor, and by means of Tiberian expansionism throughout the world.
1 IC: Founding of Tiberium: Tiberius, a general in Athrax’s armies, tires of constant, incessant warfare and leads his army, their families, and supporters far to the south and founds a kingdom. Tiberius declares his land a meritocracy where the skilled and powerful rule. Within a few generations after his death, it becomes a magocracy, ruled by those adepts who harness arcane energy.
217 IC: Magewar ends: Athrax and Kel are both slain in a magical apocalypse that devastates most of the northeast, turning it into a magic-blasted wilderness. Where The Mageblight and Tiberian lands meet, the number of children born with the ability to use magic skyrockets from one in several hundred thousand to nearly one in a thousand. After this first generation, mages will never again be so numerous as mixing the bloodlines of mages and non-mages proves to dilute magical ability.
230 IC: Council of Magic founded: The Tiberian Empire, in an effort to locate and train those born with magical power, forms a group to oversee the location, training, and management of arcane adepts. Eventually the Council of Magic becomes the defacto ruling body of the Tiberian Empire.
737 IC: Edict of Proscription: The Council of Magic issues a proclamation that anyone caught using magic outside the sanction of the Council is anathema and punishable by death. Divine adepts are burned by the multitude as they refuse to renounce their god or their magic.
904 IC: Priests of many religions, based on the urgings of their deities, begin to fight back against the oppression and prejudice against those who harness magic through divine means. The first treatise on the separation of divine and arcane magic is written.
998 IC: The Church of Light is founded by the high priests of Arturian, Aureus, Aenryia, Dagmar, Ghorn, Emrys, and Liriel, and the first Patriarch of the Church is elected.
1052 IC: For the first time, a divine adept becomes Emperor of Tiberium and declared a Holy March against the Council of Magic. The division of the Empire causes civil war for a generation. The Church of Light becomes the official religion of Tiberium.
1115 IC: The civil strife in the Tiberian Empire ends with the lands of the Empire split in two. The Patriarch of the Church of Light rules the Holy Tiberian Empire in the west, and the High Arcanist of the Council of Mages rules the Eastern Empire.
1250 IC: The Eastern Empire fractures and crumbles, degenerating into a series city-states and smaller, warring kingdoms that persist to this day, changing borders and rulers constantly. This region is today called the Twelve Cities.
1300 IC: Honoria Brittania, general of the Tiberian Empire, leads her forces over the Wyrmsteeth Mountains in a bold strike against the never-claimed lands to the south. She swiftly conquers the unprepared Norn and Brynn tribes, uniting them under Imperial rule that will last for 600 years. She names the new province after herself—*Brittanis*.
1600 IC: A fleet of ships from far-flung Iskandria land on Brittanic shores, exiles and refugees from the might of their Pharaoh. These Khemri dismantle their ships and craft traveling wagons, wandering the trade roads and becoming known as the Traveling Folk.
1700 IC: Imperial rule flourishes in Brittanis, trade grows and though is harsh and autocratic, roads are built, monsters are pushed back into the deepest wilderness, and the region generally prospers.
1807 IC: Kairn Invasion. From across the Narrow Sea a fleet of raiding ships lands on Brittanis’ shores, catching the Imperial Legions unprepared and unready to fight off a full-scale assault. Countless coastal settlements are razed and destroyed, and in many places the Kairn take thousands of slaves back to their homeland with them. From this year forth, the Kairn raids become increasingly fierce and eventually the forces of Brittanis cannot hold their coasts, pulling their borders back and guarding what they know they can keep.
1860 IC: A screaming, savage horde of savage Kairn barbarians comes flooding out of the East, catching the Holy Tiberian Empire as unprepared as the Brittanic forces were. Cities are reduced to rubble and vast swaths of land are lost before the legions can be brought to confront the threat.
1875 IC: After a generation of yearly Kairn raids, the Holy Tiberian Empire cannot sustain the protection of Brittanis as well as fend off its own invasion. They begin a strategic removal of forces from the Brittanis region. The leaders of Brittanis petition the Empire for more troops, but the Patriarch sends back a cold, cruel message: “Tend to your own safety.” And still the Kairn raids come every time the snow thaws from the mountaintops.
The powers of an emperor existed, in theory at least, by virtue of his “tribunician powers” and his “proconsular powers”. In theory, the tribunician powers (which were similar to those of the Tribunes under the old republic) made the Emperor’s person and office sacrosanct, and gave the Emperor authority over Tiberium’s civil government, including the power to preside over and to control the Assembly.
The proconsular powers (similar to those of military governors, or Proconsuls, under the old Republic) gave him authority over the Tiberian army. He was also given powers that, under the Republic, had been reserved for the Assembly, including the right to declare war, to ratify treaties, and to negotiate with foreign leaders.
The emperor also had the authority to carry out a range of duties that had been performed by the censors, including the power to control Assembly membership. In addition, from 1052 IC onward, the emperor controlled the religious institutions, since, he was always Patriarch of the Church.
While these distinctions were clearly defined during the early Empire, eventually they were lost, and the emperor’s powers became less constitutional and more monarchical.
Realistically, the main support of an emperor’s power and authority was the military (and, eventually, religious when the Church of Light took over the government). Being paid by the imperial treasury, the legionaries also swore an annual military oath of loyalty towards him, called the Sacramentum.
The death of an emperor led to a crucial period of uncertainty and crisis. In theory the Assembly was entitled to choose the new emperor, but most emperors chose their own successors, usually a close family member. The new emperor had to seek a swift acknowledgement of his new status and authority in order to stabilize the political landscape. No emperor could hope to survive, much less to reign, without the allegiance and loyalty of the Imperial Guard and of the legions. To secure their loyalty, several emperors paid the Imperial Guard a monetary reward.