This is a list of the Emperors and Empresses of the Laurasian Empire from 1685, when Neuchrus I usurped the Laurasian throne, at the end of the Crisis of the Seventeenth Century, until 1803, when Aurelia I the Great of Laurasia died, bringing an end to the Neuchrian Dynasty.
The Neuchrian Dynasty (1685-1803)Edit
Neuchrus I the Restorer (r. 1685-1709)Edit
Neuchrus I the Restorer (28 January 1657-21 April 1709), was the 54th Emperor and Autocrat of All the Laurasians, and was the founder of the Neuchrian Dynasty, the longest-reigning dynasty of the Laurasian Empire since the Leonidian Dynasty. Neuchrus was born on 28 January 1657 in the Palace of Urgud in Gilbertine, Tudoria, one of the wealthiest resort worlds in the Laurasian Empire, and the home of the Craterles family, a aristocratic family which had been established in the 12th century and had served in the military since the reign of Seleucus II the Strong in the early 14th century. Seleucus' father was the Laurasian General, Athanasius Craterles (1615-82), who had two sons and three daughters from two earlier marriages. His mother was the young, intelligent, and beautiful Minerva Ragritus, Duchess of Caladaria (1637-1709), who was to have a strong influence on her only son. Neuchrus was yet inspired by both of his parents, who were both well respected figures amongst the Laurasian elite. Having entered a wealthy and prominent family, Neuchrus was from his early years lavishly surrounded, and was accorded an excellent education. Under the direction of his tutor Eusebius Alexandrius (1609-76), a scholar of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, the young nobleman learned to converse and write in seven languages, besides being educated in various fields of mathematics, engineering, literature, military tactics and history, navigation, geology, geography and astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, and theology.
At this time however, in the Laurasian Empire, not all was in a paradise. Since the assassination of Alexander Severus the Unfortunate (18 March 1635), Laurasia had been embroiled with civil disunion, constant struggles for the Laurasian throne, disintegration, economic decline, foreign invasions and military campaigns, and widespread social unrest. Poverty and unemployment rates were at their highest levels since the Time of Troubles, and Laurasians of all classes, except for the very wealthy and government officials, like the Craterles family, suffered immensely. After Alexander Severus, a series of rulers had been installed by the Praetorian Guard, Governing Senate, among other government bodies; many had imposed themselves by military victory over their rivals. None of these, however, had been particularly strong, and all had faced rebellions, economic depressions, and constant wars with other states, in particular the Marasharites, Scotrrians, Vectorians, Dejaniks, Haynsians, and others, who constantly threatened the Empire's boundaries. Indeed, the Empire had partially disintegrated: in 1658, the General Postumus seized control of Samantha and parts of the Barsar Regions, establishing the breakaway Gallic Empire. That same year, Septimus Orbanius had seized control of the Xilanian regions and established the Palymerne Empire. Emperors Valerian, Gaillenus, Claudius Gothicus, and Qutintillus had proved unable to deal with the secession empires. Valerian in fact, was defeated by the Marasharite Emperor Shapur in the Battle of Tessa in 1660, and had been taken captive, but committed suicide. Although Neuchrus was sheltered from the troubles throughout the 1660s, he was aware of them, and developed a desire to strengthen the Empire and end the terrors. Hope appeared for Laurasia in the figure of Emperor Aurelian (r. 1670-75), who reconquered the Gallic and Palymerne Empires, defeated the Marasharites, the Scotrrians, and the Vectorians, and began the process of ending the Crisis of the Seventeenth Century. Aurelian had then been assassinated in 1675, and more troubles soon ensued for the Laurasian Empire.
Aurelian's immediate successor, the elderly general and Governing Senator Alexander Severus, one of the line of Demetrius Severus, was elected Emperor by the Governing Senate-the last time the Senate did so-but reigned for only a matter of months before expiring in June 1676. Alexander Severus II's nephew, Florian, proclaimed himself Emperor, but was immediately challenged by Probus, the procurator of Robert. Probus defeated Florian, who committed suicide in September 1676. Probus thereafter was proclaimed Emperor and asserted himself on Laurasia Prime, reigning for seven years until his death in 1683. This Emperor launched a series of successful campaigns against the Marasharites, Haynsians, and Dejaniks, conquering the territories of the old Northern Khanate as a result. Probus's death on 9 April 1683, however, left his 10-year old son Maximinus on the Imperial throne. Maximinus reigned for only a handful of months, before being deposed and assassinated by his uncle, Probus' younger brother Titus, in June 1683. Titus thereafter became Emperor and began a program of terror in the Laurasian Empire.
In the meantime, Neuchrus entered the Imperial Academy of Military Sciences on Caladaria in 1674, quickly rising to the forefront of the class. He excelled in navigation, military tactics, and personal combat, managing to graduate early from the Academy in 1677. Neuchrus thereafter entered service into the Praetorian Guards, becoming a officer of the Semeonvsky Regiment, and becoming renowned for his hard work, effiency, and loyalty to the state. He quickly began building a power base for himself, assisted by his mother, who was an intriguing and ambitious figure. By 1680, Neuchrus had reached the rank of colonel, and was awarded the Seleucian Cross by the Emperor Probus for his bravery in the Battle of Heleuciae. Neuchrus continued his duties and within three years, had advanced to the rank of Praetorian General, gaining command of the Semeonvsky Regiment. This was the situation when Titus usurped the throne in June 1683. Originally, Neuchrus was supportive of his imperial master, who had been one of his public benefactors and had assisted him with his rapid rise in the Guards. This changed however, as the paranoid Emperor began oppressing the nobility and brought Neuchrus, his mother, and his half-siblings under survelliance by the state. The fortunes of the Craterles family was threatened, and Neuchrus' position in the Guards became perilous. Neuchrus then began turning against the Emperor, privately opposing his measures and utilizing the popular support base which he had constructed. At his family's personal strongholds, the General began amassing military resources, and he began plotting with nobles, the Senate, and others against Titus. In October 1684, the Emperor attempted to have the General arrested, but Neuchrus escaped with the assistance of his mother and that of the Empress Consort, Octavia Crania, who despised her husband and his cruel ways. The Seven Nobles, a group of Laurasian government officials and aristocrats, who opposed the Emperor's policies, also gave considerable finanical aid to Neuchrus. Neuchrus then rose the banner of rebellion in March 1685, calling for the deposition of Titus. Gaining support rapidly, Neuchrus quickly secured Laurasian dominions in the Outer Borderlands, seized control of the Rebeccan Galactic Trade Route, and crushed a force of the Emperor at Beharis (29 April 1685).
Titus aroused himself from Laurasia Prime, mustering his units from Laurasian fortresses on Old Saray, Alexandra, Foolaria, and Devaronia. The Emperor hurled into the Industralized Borderlands in July 1685, and sought to confront Neuchrus. Neuchrus, although he was gaining support, was still outnumbered, and thus decided on a strategy of sabatoge. By this point however, the Emperor's position was detoriating even further. One by one, Governing Senators, Guards regiments, noblemen, Presidents of the Colleges of State, Procurators, Imperial Generals and Admirals, Praetors, Aediles, clergy, officials of the Imperial Household, and even Titus' own family abandoned the Emperor, flocking to Neuchrus. Neuchrus, with this new support, ambushed Titus at Archleuta (22 August 1685). The Emperor's commanders betrayed their master, and his flagship was destroyed by Claudius-class starfighters, killing Titus the Cruel. Neuchrus was thereafter acclaimed Emperor by those present at the battefield, and he advanced rapidly to Laurasia Prime, securing the loyalty of military garrisons in the Core. The new Emperor, twenty-eight years of age, came to Laurasia Prime in the midst of a great imperial triumph (25 August 1685). With the ascension of Neuchrus, the Crisis of the Seventeenth Century had finally come to an end, after fifty years, and the Neuchrian Dynasty and Era had commenced, the greatest in Laurasian history. The dynasty founded by Neuchrus would rule the Laurasian Empire for 118 years, until the death of Aurelia the Great in 1803.
Neuchrus was however, confronted with a great task. Fifty years of civil war and economic regression had their toll on the Laurasian Empire, for unemployment rates on most worlds exceeded 30%. The imperial currency, the Laurasian Diadium, was virtually worthless, as successive Emperors, trying to maintain their position, had wasted countless trillions in gifts to the Prateorian Guards and to the nobles who had raised them to the throne. Civil war had ushered in the collapse of central authority, as trade routes were plagued by pirates, criminals, and bandits who seemed to have sprung fully developed from the Galactic Dark Age, of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Many worlds experienced high levels of poverty, and Imperial garrisons, colonies, and stations on the boundaries were threatened by slavers, foreign invaders, and other contenders. The taxation system, which had remained largely unchanged since the late fifteenth century, was inefficent and had a bewildering set of taxes, levies, and imposts that were not clarified. The Praetorian Guards and the Imperial Army had been exempted from taxes since the reign of Claudius (1441-54), thus depriving the state of potential revenue. Imperial authority on worlds of the Outer Borderlands and Wild Marshes was minimal at best, and there were in fact, territorial losses in the region of the Denveranian Trunk Line. The monarchy's prestige had been greatly lowered by the civil war, as the Guards, Senate, and Army had installed or desposed Emperors at will. Laurasia Prime's population had decreased significantly during the Crisis, from 2.3 trillion in 1600 to 1.2 trillion in 1685. Many of the planetary districts had fallen into crime or disrepair. Also, the imperial legal codification system was disjointed. Ever since the reign of Caligula (1437-41), successive Emperors had issued imperial constitutions and rescripts, which codified all of their laws and the legal practices of the Empire. This had been especially common during the sixteenth century. After the death of Alexander Severus however, and during the Crisis of the Seventeenth Century, all of the rival Emperors had issued their own rescripts, which contradicted with each other. The breakaway Palymerne and Gallic Empires had also issued their own decrees. Imperial procurators, aediles, praetors, Governing Senators, and other officials had also issued their own instructions, although many were ignored by the population and by the various factions bickering for control. As a result of this, imperial administration had degenrated into corruption and ineffiency, the laws of the empire were in a absolute mess, and there was confusion over the merits of the legal system. All of these issues required the attention of the Emperor, if the Empire was to settle back into organized life.
After establishing himself on Laurasia Prime, Neuchrus took immediate actions to revive the Laurasian Empire and reverse the oppressive policies of Titus the Cruel. By the decree of 9 November 1685, the hated Agency of State Security, known commonly as the Vadimonti, was abolished. The Emperor liberated all political prisoners, granted amnesties for minor offenses, and ordered the closure of the Imperial Fortress of Haley, established by Commodus the Terrible in 1587, that had been used to confine dissidents, rebels, and other opponents of the state. Following this, the Emperor ended the deportations and exiles of various alien races, confirming in a manifesto of 9 December 1685, the alien security measures that had been implemented during the sixteenth century. Neuchrus reinstated the Charter of Planetary Privileges, exempted the clergy and monasteries from conscription, and abolished the monopolies that had been granted by Titus, Probus, and other crisis Emperors. He also moved against the Praetorian Guards, which had during the seventeenth century installed or deposed Emperors at will, and had during much of the time, dominated the Imperial military and government. It had gone far beyond its original purpose as the bodyguard units of the sovereign and ceremonial police of Laurasia Prime, for which purposes it had been established by Seleucus I. In 1686, Neuchrus abolished the tax exemption status of the Guards, which had been in existence for over two centuries. The following year, he passed legislation that barred the Guards from the trades and revoked their special franking, intelligence, and security privileges. And then in 1688, Neuchrus demolished the Guards fortress on Calaxis II. These actions angered the Guards, and a certain officer, Gregorious Simnelis (1663-89), led a major revolt of the Guards on Laurasia Prime in November 1688. This rebellion was, however, ill-coordinated and organized, and the Emperor's troops quickly dispersed the rebellion. On 9 January 1689, Simnelis was convicted of treason by the Senate, and the following day he and over 500 of his followers were executed at the Fortress of Baureux, the imperial armoury, prison, and military fortress that had been established by Antigonus I the Great in 1509. Enraged at the rebellion, Neuchrus formally abolished the Praetorian Guards (17 January 1689), exiled the wives and children of the Guards, and dispersed the Guards regiments throughout the Galaxy, forbidding them from holding public office, returning to Laurasia Prime, or entering regular military service. He replaced the Praetorian Guards with the Yeoman Guards, which became the new personal protection squads of the sovereign. The Yeomans, however, were under the strict personal oversight of the monarch, were subject to taxes and enumerations, and did not hold any special privileges besides a salary and retirement rights.
Neuchrus next focused his attention on remedying the economic situation of the Empire. On 5 February 1687, Neuchrus established the Commission of State Revenue and Finances, which was charged with the responsibility of conducting an extensive survey of the Laurasian taxation system, preparing a report on the budget and finanical situation of the Empire, and proposing recommendations to the Emperor and the Imperial Council of Secretaries. The Commission worked for nearly a year, and on 3 February 1688, presented its formal report and memo to the Emperor at the Quencilvanian Palace. The report showed that the Imperial state was in grave debt, for successive Emperors had borrowed large sums of money and had bequeathed vast gifts upon many of their subordinates. The imperial treasury's resources were drained, as the government's expenses were greater than its income, and the Imperial Treasury did not use its finanical resources effectively. The Imperial Household's budget was in dire need of reform and proper management. The council recommended that expenses be revised, a balanced budget instated, and the entire tax system reorganized. Neuchrus immediately followed their recommendations. With the assistance of his Chancellor, Sir Antigonus Dudley (1662-1710), the Emperor reformed tax collection in 1690, through his Edict of Aristocratic Revenues. The edict imposed a graduated tax system on the nobility, which was now required to pay organized head, capital, and inheritance taxes. The system was based on the wealth and property of the nobles and operated along a give or take basis: if a noble had plenty of money, it was assumed that he could spare some to the state; if he did not, it was assumed that he lived modestly and could work for paying his taxes. This measure, although extremely unpopular with the nobility, greatly increased the Treasury's revenues.
The following year, Neuchrus merged the College of State Expenses with that of State Income, establishing the College of State Finances, to which the Treasury was subordinated. He implemented extensive regulations on tax collection, cracking down on corruption and emphaizing the exact enumeration of tax levies. In 1692, the Emperor issued the Statute of Tax Levies and Regulations. The archaic planetary communication and military enrollment taxes were abolished, replaced with a uniform capitation and a tax on household products. This measure was followed by a general census in 1694-95, which tabulated the population and wealth of the Empire. Neuchrus thereafter decreed that a general census of revenues and resources was to be held every five years. The duties of the census were entrusted to the Imperial College of Justice. In 1697, an imperial decree abolished the tax exemption status of the imperial clergy for the final time. This status, originally instated in 1099 by Honorius I, had been abolished by Seleucus I in 1301 as part of his administrative reforms. The status had been reinstated by Lysimachus I in 1530, as part of his efforts to secure the support of the Church. The final abolition of the status insured the Church's subordinate position to the state and increased the state's revenues. Neuchrus also abolished the worthless imperial diadium in 1687, replacing it with the imperial denarius. Under his direction, the Imperial Government issued better-quality pieces, laid out regulations and procedures on transactions and accounts, and suspended the debts of the Imperial Household. Finally, the Emperor issued his Edict of the Imperial Household (1698), which reorganized household administration, slashed the salaries of household staff, and streamlined the finanical management of the Emperor's properties.
Neuchrus next focused his attention on judicial matters. He was determined to reorganize the antiquidated legal and judical administration of the Laurasian Empire, which had remained stagnant since the sixteenth century. From the start of his reign, Neuchrus duitfully replied to all petitions and legal documents submitted to his person, carefully supervised the Senate's judicial proceedings, and sent out detailed instructions to the Imperial Praetors throughout the Empire, commanding them to use fair judgment and consideration of all the evidence in their rendering of cases. In 1688, the Emperor issued an imperial constitution of decrees and edicts issued during the first three years of his reign, pointing towards more radical changes. Indeed, the following year, Neuchrus established a legal commission of experts and officials, which included the renowned jurist Gregorius Bostipuis (1637-1712) and the Laurasian legal historian Hermogeanius Morestes (1651-1719). The commission was charged with revising the Laurasian legal code, proposing recommendations on the revision of the judicial system, and compiling/revising the decrees, edicts, proclamations, laws, rescripts, constitutions, and instructions of all the Laurasian Emperors since Lysimachus. The comission began their work in January 1690, refering to numerous legal studies, documents, procedure records, and the constitutions or legal codifications of previous Emperors, in order to accomplish their task. Out of their efforts appeared the Codex Gregorianus (1692), a registry and set of imperial statute books. The Codex Gregorianus compiled all of the legal codes that had been issued since 1517, including the Codex Lysimachsinus, the Codex Aurelianus, and the Codex Severanus. Detailed legal summaries, imperial proclamation statements, and registry explanations were included with each section, along with a legal commentary and authoritative guide to the principles of Laurasian law concerning personal, administrative, and tort manners. The Codex Hermogenianus (1696), organized all of the edicts, decrees, and rescripts of every Emperor since Lysimachus, with updated descriptions and clarifications about each law, and also including a registry of laws since repealed. These extensive works cleared up the legal confusion resulting from the Crisis of the Seventeenth Century, and were to remain in effect as the basis of the Laurasian legal system until the even more comprehensive Codex Aureliasius of Aurelia the Great, containing a compilation, explanation, and codification of all the laws since the start of the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia, appeared in 1769.
Besides these measures, Neuchrus focused on reforming the organizational structure of the Imperial Laurasian judicial system, and in effect, the entire administrative apparatus of the Laurasian Empire. Ever since the time of Claudius (r. 1441-54), the Laurasian Empire had been divided into two classes of provinces: Senatorial Provinces, which were under the administrative oversight of the Governing Senate and had procurators appointed by that body, with the approval of the Emperor (these provinces generally being areas in the Central Core and Core Worlds); and Imperial Provinces, under the administrative oversight of the Imperial Government and with procurators appointed by the Emperor directly. These provinces were generally located in the Empire's border regions and included colonies, important military strongholds, or projects of interest to the Emperor. Each province had a Imperial Praetor, responsible for overseeing public morals, handling the censorship system, and acting as the Provincial Attorney and legal enforcer, and also a Imperial Aedile, responsible for imperial projects and public works in province and the maintenance of Imperial residences, properties, and institutions. This system had replaced the viceroyaltes and districts system established by Seleucus I and Antiochus I. Although it worked well for most of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it degenerated into ineffectiveness, corruption, and confusion during the seventeenth century, with the Senate using the Senatorial Provinces as its lever for power and the Imperial Provinces falling into anarchy. Emperors Probus and Titus had seized the right to choose the Procurators of the Senatorial Provinces, but these provinces remained subject to the Senate's jurisdiction. With this ineffectiveness hampering Imperial administration, tax revenues and imperial spending on local matters had declined, and the crushing corruption offended the Empire's subject populations. Upon ascending to the throne, Neuchrus formally transfered the Senatorial Provinces to the jurisdiction of the Imperial Council of Secretaries, placing them under the Emperor's direct oversight. In 1687, he issued instructions to each Procurator and Praetor in the Empire, instructing them to carry out their duties effectively and severe loyally to the state. The following year, Neuchrus installed a quaetor on the capital world of each province, who was charged with representing the Emperor and cracking down on corruption and ineffiency. These preliminary measures only moderated the situation, as the Imperial provincial administration was proving disjointed and antiqudated.
The Emperor thus began his plans for revising the Laurasian administrative structure. He ordered the Imperial College of Justice and the Imperial College of Regional Administration to work together on formulating a new administrative plan for the Laurasian Empire. These efforts eventually ushered in the Imperial Statute of Provincial and Local Administration (1694), which implemented significant reforms of provincial administration and justice in the Laurasian Empire. By this decree, the Laurasian Empire was reorganized into twenty different governorates. Each governorate was to have a Regional Governor, all of whom were to be appointed and dismissed by the Emperor at will. Each Governor would be "personally responsible to His Majesty and to the bureaus of government for regional administration". All were to submit annual reports and updates to their master. In order to strike against corruption and enforce the Emperor's commands, each governorate received a Imperial Justicar, who assumed the duties of the aedile and also the duties of the quaetor. The Justiciar was to be assisted by the Praetor, who was now made the Chief Justice of the Regional Court of a Governorate. Governorates were subdivided into provinces, each one with their own Provincial Governor and Imperial Procurator, and provinces in turn were subdivided into districts (with district governors) and star systems (with solar governors).
Every world in the Empire with a population of 1 billion or more was to have its own Planetary Governor, while worlds with less than a billion inhabitants would be given a Colonial Procurator. Each governorate was to have a Regional Court, comprised of the Praetor and twelve paid, professional justices. While the Praetor was to be appointed and dismissed by the Emperor or the Imperial College of Regional Administration, half of the Justices were to be appointed by the Governor and half elected by an assembly of officials, nobles, and delegates, who in turn were chosen through electoral colleges. Each province, district, and solar system would have its own court, comprised of a Procurator of Justice and his elected advisers. The decree also organized the Empire into twelve military districts, or dioceses, each one comprising a certain number of governorates and each having its own military commander, or magnus. With the magnus would be stationed an agent of the Imperial Intelligence Agency and a quaetor, who would counterbalance his powers. And finally, each Governor was to have his own executive council, completely subject to his authority.
In order to sustain this very significant local administrative reform, Neuchrus tripled the number of civil servants, bureaucrats, and officials. In order to accommodate this, the Emperor established the Imperial Academy of Political Sciences on Amanda, vastly expanded the University of Laurasia Prime, and established the Imperial Bureaucratic Corps, attached to the Quencilvanian Palace and comprised of specially selected boys of the nobility and wealthy classes, trained to enter the civil service. The Emperor also reorganized the Imperial Chancellory, creating the Bureau of Regional Civil Service, and entrusted the Senate with authority over the new court system. The Senate was proclaimed the court of final resort and was given a Judicial Department, responsible for handling imperial petitions and coordinating the various Regional Courts. In his later years, Neuchrus focused on codifing various aspects of legal regulations and fields of law, these efforts ushering in the Criminal Code of the Laurasian Empire (1702) and the Code of Tort Affairs in the Laurasian Governorates (1706).
All of these exhaustive efforts by Neuchrus reorganized the Imperial government, revitalized the civil service, expanded the judicial and administrative apparatus, and lifted the Laurasian Empire out of the troubles of the Crisis of the Seventeenth Century. The emphasis of the Emperor was always, as he himself declared in a official memorandum of January 17, 1705, "for the prosperity and security of the dominions which hath been entrusted to me by the will of Almitis, and for justice and mercy to be exercised in all matters of state; as also, for the maintenance of the welfare and the persons of the subjects of my honorable Empire". Although Neuchrus could be autocratic and assertive when the situation demanded it, he was also a relatively benevolent and kind monarch, treating those at the Imperial Court with great dignity and seeking to endear himself to his subjects. Neuchrus was perhaps, the most popular Emperor since Antigonus IV the Philosopher, although his granddaughter Aurelia the Great would prove to be even more popular with her subjects. This popularity, however, would not spare the Emperor from uprisings against his authority. Indeed, from the moment of his ascension, there were those within the Empire who sought to exert their own ambitions and to establish their own influence in matters of state.