One day, Remus visited Romulus and made fun of his wall by jumping over it and saying how easily it could be breached. Romulus was so annoyed that he killed Remus and said the he would kill anyone who mocked his city or tried to break through the walls of Rome. The legend says that Romulus became the first King of Rome in BC and populated his new city with runaway slaves and convicted criminals.
He stole women from the Sabine tribe to provide wives for the slaves and criminals and to populate his new city. The Sabine tribe were not happy about this and declared war on Rome. The war went on for many years but eventually the Sabine tribe and Romulus reached an agreement and the Sabines became a part of Rome under the Kingship of Romulus.
The legend ends by telling how Romulus was carried up to the heavens by his father, Mars, and was worshipped as the God Quirinus. Rome at the time was very unstable, struggling to manage its influence and size. This led him to break off his current engagement with a plebeian girl and to marry Cornelia, a patrician and daughter of a the influential Lucius Cinna member of the Populares. Sulla, the Roman ruler at the time declared himself to be dictator of rome and started to purge his enemies systematically. With no other way to provide for his family, Caesar decided to join the army.
From there he worked himself up until he, himself became dictator of Rome. How did Julius Caesar die? Julius Caesar died from being stabbed to death by a mob of conspirators in a place just next to the Theatre of Pompey, in 44 BC on the Roman Ides of March. He became very popular with the lower and middle-class Romans , but many senators despised him and were concerned about him having too much power as dictator. One of his biggest mistakes was to appoint two of his former enemies, Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus who ended up leading the plot to assassinate him.
They organized a gladiator game and a meeting of the Senate. During the meeting, Casca struck at Ceasar with a dagger, after which Caesar acted in surprise.
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Casca called for help and the whole group, Brutus included, stabbed him. He tried to get away but was surrounded by a mob of about 60 men. He was stabbed 23 times, although only one of the wounds was fatal. The main cause of the fall of the Roman Empire is still a topic of debate among historians, maybe because it is a symbol of what we fear about our own civilization. Alexander Demandt, for example, had different theories and even more emerged afterwards. Boudicca is said to have been very tall with striking red hair that hung to her hips.
Her army of Iceni tribesmen and women captured and burned Colchester, London, St Albans and caused the governor of Britain, Suetonius Paulinus, to raise the biggest force he could. Boudicca poisoned herself to evade capture. Many were taken by the Romans as slaves. The Romans built many roads, towns, bath houses and buildings. Trade and industry flourished under Roman rule. Construction of the wall began in and was completed by It was abandoned in AD.
The Emperor Diocletian ordered that all Christians should be persecuted. St Alban, a recent convert to Christianity changed places with a local priest who was wanted by the Romans. When he was discovered he was executed at Verulamium St Albans. Reinforcements were sent to Britain and the attacks were repelled. The Saxons had pushed the Britons further and further west unchecked until this battle.
The story of King Arthur dates from this period. For more resources similar to this Roman Britain timeline, specifically the Roman invasion of Britain, please click here. The Fall of the Empire was a gradual process. The Romans did not wake up one day to find their Empire gone! Barbarians from Germany called vandals were conquering parts of the Empire and there were not enough soldiers to fight back. Although the outer edges of the Empire were well defended, there was no defence with in the Empire. This meant that once barbarians had broken through there was nothing to stop them marching to Rome.
No one had decided on a good way to choose an Emperor,. This meant that any general could march into Rome, kill the Emperor and make himself the next Emperor. In 73 years there were 23 Emperors and 20 of them were murdered. The Romans traded goods throughout their Empire. By importing goods from other countries they raised their standard of living and were able to have many luxuries. The Romans used their network of roads and also waterways to transport goods from one country to another.
The Romans traded with Britain for silver, which they used to make jewelry and coins, and wool which they used to make clothes. They imported dyes to color their clothes from the south-eastern part of their Empire and also spices to flavor their food. From the Far East, what is now China, they imported silk to make fine clothing. Cotton came from Egypt and exotic and wild animals for the gladiator fights came from Africa by sea. The Romans are noted for their skill at building roads.
At the time of the Empire there was a vast network of roads that all led to the centre of Rome. Many of these roads still exist today. The Romans were the first people to build paved roads that would be able to be used in all types of weather. They built their roads so that they were higher in the middle than at the edges. This meant that when it rained the rain would run off the sides of the roads. They often put a drainage system alongside the roads to catch the water as it ran off.
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Rich people travelled along the roads in litters carried either by six or eight men or pulled by mules. Those who could not afford a litter often travelled in small groups for safety. They would travel in carriages. Messengers, who had to travel alone and fast, would ride in a light carriage like a chariot. Travel was not safe, especially at night.
There were roadside inns along all the roads but even these were not safe. Fights would break out and sometimes people were murdered. Travelers preferred to stay with either friends of their own or friends of their friends. The Romans were the first civilization to introduce a public health system. They had to do this because Rome had grown in size and it was impossible to find a natural source of fresh water in the city. It was also necessary to find a way of disposing of the rubbish to prevent pollution causing health problems.
Aqueducts were built to transport fresh water into the city. In AD there were a total of nine aqueducts that brought fresh water into the city of Rome. Public baths were places where people could go to bathe, meet and discuss business. There were hot and cold baths as well as massage rooms. A network of sewers was built to take sewerage and waste out of the city to the river Tiber. There were also public lavatories. Roman society was clearly hierarchical, with legally defined privileges allotted to different classes and countless informal differences in attitudes toward the classes in everyday life.
The patrician class were the descendants of the most ancient and powerful noble families. They were landowners, lived in large houses and they had political power in the Senate. The patricians married and did business only with people of their own class. If they were lucky plebeians could become clients obedient servants of a patrician family. They offered their services in return received the protection of the head of the patrician family, who became their patron.
Below is the pyramid of Roman society, with the emperor at top and slaves at the bottom. Multiple layers existed between them. The Emperor Head of Roman society and ruler of all Rome. Plebeians Working class. Men without substantial wealth who worked for their living at jobs such as artisans, craftsmen, bakers etc. Freed Slaves Slaves who had either been given their freedom or had paid for their freedom and now worked for their living.
Slaves Generally prisoners of war but sometimes abandoned children who were owned by their master. The Roman government took on my different forms from its centuries-long existence, back to its legendary founding. For the sake of brevity, this article will skip over its city-state and kingdom periods to focus on its republican and imperial periods. They usually lived in grand houses and had slaves to do their work for them. Because they were citizens of Rome they were allowed to go to the Assembly to vote. They were usually craftsmen or tradesmen and they worked for a living. The citizens of Rome voted for two consuls.
They were elected to serve for one year. It was the Consuls job to govern Rome. They had to both agree on all decisions. After they had served their year they were replaced. They were not allowed to be consuls again for ten years. The citizens of Rome voted for a number of magistrates.
When magistrates retired they became senators and attended the Senate. The citizens of Rome voted for tribunes. It was the tribunes job to make sure that the people were treated fairly. Senators went to the Senate to discuss important government issues. Senators were retired magistrates and knew a lot about the government of Rome.
It was the job of the senate to give advice to the two consuls. When Rome had an Emperor the senate still gave advice on governing Rome and the Empire. The Roman invasion of Britain was a determined military and political effort to project Roman power in the Northeastern Atlantic.
Although Julius Caesar had visited Britain in 55BC Before the birth of Christ and reported that the soil was good, there was plenty of food and people that could be used as slaves, the Romans did not have a large enough army to invade and conquer Britain. Different legions were sent to conquer different parts of Southern Britain. The 2nd legion set up their first base at Fishbourne, near Chichester in Sussex, then continued to Exeter where they set up their main base.
The 20th legion, established their base at Colchester, the 14th legion at Leicester and the 9th at Longthorpe near Peterborough. Eleven British Kings surrendered to Claudius immediately while King Caratacus was easily defeated by the 20th legion and escaped to Wales. By AD 47 half the country had been conquered but some Kings, like Caratacus still resisted the Romans.
Caratacus lost another battle to the Romans near the river Severn in AD 51 but escaped again and hid in the camp of the Brigantes tribe. However, the Queen of the Brigantes told the Romans that Caratacus was hiding with them. The Romans captured Caratacus and sent him to Rome as a slave. His wife, Boudicca, became Queen and intended to remain at peace with the Romans. Boudicca was not happy and planned revenge on the Romans.
Boudicca joined forces with the Trinovantes and together they raised an army to fight the Romans. The Romans were forced to raise the largest army they had ever had to defeat Queen Boudicca. The Romans killed anyone who had fought them. Boudicca poisoned herself to prevent the Romans from capturing her. Many of the English were taken by the Romans as slaves. However, this peace was often coterminous with subjugation. The Emperor used the army to protect Rome and to control the people it had conquered. The Roman army was also a tool of cultural assimilation.
Some soldiers were away from their families for long periods of time, loosening their clan loyalties and replacing them with loyalty to Rome. The Roman army was a means by which a barbarian could become a citizen, but the process was not fast. Only when a soldier had served in the army for 25 years he could become a citizen of Rome. Roman soldiers had to be physically vigorous. They were expected to march up to 20 miles per day in line, wearing all their armor and carrying their food and tents. Roman soldiers were trained to fight well and to defend themselves.
If the enemy shot arrows at them they would use their shields to surround their bodies and protect themselves. They fought with short swords, daggers for stabbing and a long spear for throwing. They also carried a shield for protection as well as wearing armor. The tactics were simple but versatile enough to face different enemies in multiple terrains: From the forests of Germania to the rocky planes of the Greek peninsula.
A favored slave of a wealthy patrician could live in relative comfort; a less-fortunate laborer could literally be worked to death.
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Ancient Roman slaves were usually prisoners captured in war, but some were people who had been kidnapped in Italy. These Slaves were sold at a slave-market. They were put on show, naked, with a notice around their necks. Once sold they were the property of their new owner and had to work for no money. Sometimes a rich man would have as many as slaves. Some slave owners beat their slaves and slaves that ran away could be killed.
Slaves could not argue with their masters, they had to do exactly as they were told or else they would be punished. If a slave killed his master then all the other slaves in the household would be killed. Both men and women were sold as slaves and young boys were the most expensive slaves to buy. Some slaves were well educated, especially those from Greece, and they would be used to teach the children of the house.
Women slaves would be used as hairdressers, dressmakers, cooks and servants for rich women. Other slaves worked in small workshops making leather or silver goods or pots and pans. The ancient Roman slaves who had the hardest lives were those who were put to work in the mines. They had to spend long hours underground in hot, cramped conditions. The mines were also unsafe and often slaves were killed in accidents. Farmers used slaves to do the hardest work on their farms like digging and ploughing.
Some slaves were called public slaves; they worked for Rome.
Their job was to build roads and other buildings and to repair the aqueducts that supplied Rome with fresh water. Other public slaves worked as clerks and tax collectors for the city. Although they, and other slaves, would be killed if they ran away, many did try to escape. However, this was very difficult because they had no one to help them and many of them did not speak Latin.
Spartacus was a famous ancient Roman slave who did manage to escape and form a group of slaves who defeated the Roman army in battle. However, their success did not last for long as the army managed to stop more slaves from joining Spartacus and killed those that had survived the battle. Roman entertainment is a byword for the decadence of the late empire, leading to its downfall when it spent more time on amusement than reforming the military or rooting out corruption.
But few did mass entertainment better then the Romans. Their coliseums still inspire modern-day sporting arenas. The Colosseum in Rome could seat up to 50, people and was the largest amphitheatre in the Empire. It was here that people gathered to see the fights between gladiators, slaves , prisoners and wild animals like lions.
The Emperors encouraged people to go to see the fights as it stopped them from being bored and criticising their ruler. The fights were very violent and ended when the loser died. Sometimes, when the arena was flooded there would be fights with boats. The cells where the animals and prisoners were kept was underneath the floor of the main arena.
The Colosseum even had a lift to bring them up to the arena. The Circus Maximus was the largest hippodrome in Rome and could hold up to , people. Chariots were pulled by 2 — 4 horses, and were driven seven times around the ring at extremely fast speeds. Sometimes accidents happened and drivers were often trampled to death. Because the audience would not stay quiet the actors had to wear costumes. The actors wore masks — brown for men, white for women, smiling or sad depending on the type of play. The costumes showed the audience who the person was — a purple gown for a rich man, a striped toga for a boy, a short cloak for a soldier, a red toga for a poor man, a short tunic for a slave etc.
Women were not allowed act, so their parts were normally played by a man or young boys wearing a white mask. The actors spoke the lines, but a second actor mimed the gestures to fit the lines, such as feeling a pulse to show a sick person, making the shape of a lyre with fingers to show music. The plays were often violent and could result in the death of an actor by mistake. Children from poor Roman families engaged in near-constant labor, typically in agriculture, but they still found time to play, whether after the harvest or the fleeting moments of time between sundown and bedtime.
Accounts by Roman writers and archeological evidence suggests they fashioned instruments at hand into many sorts of toys. Children from wealthy Roman families had significantly more time for leisure. As the household slaves performed most of the menial labor, and their parents feared that the appearance of their children laboring would lower their social standing among other patricians, they had ample opportunities to play.
Some of the games were directly influenced by Roman social institutions. Children loved to engage in mock swordplay and mimic their favorite gladiator. Other toys and objects of leisure were influenced by the inter-imperial trade of Rome. Rag dolls Wax dolls Board games Loading Children also played with their pets. The Romans were very superstitious. They believed that good or bad luck was given by the gods — if the gods were happy then you would have good luck but if they were unhappy then your luck would be bad.
The Romans worshipped their gods in a temple. They made sacrifices of animals and precious items to their gods. They believed that when an Emperor died he became a god and so a sacrifice was also made to the Emperor. The Romans also worshipped Gods in their own homes. Christians worshipped one god and refused to recognise or make sacrifices to either the Roman gods or the Emperor. Many of them worshipped in secret. The Romans were very suspicious of the Christians and believed that they were dangerous to Rome. Christians who refused to sacrifice to the gods were put into the arena with lions.
Although the Christians were persecuted by the Romans for years, the religion continued to become more popular and by AD it was the official religion of Rome. The Romans education was based on the classical Greek tradition but infused with Roman politics, cosmology, and religious beliefs. The only children to receive a formal education were the children of the rich.
The very rich families employed a private tutor to teach their children. Those that could not afford to do this used either slaves or sent their children to a private school. Children of poor families, those living in the country or those whose parents were slaves were not educated at all. A Roman school would be one room with one teacher. Teachers were very badly paid and worked long hours.
Children learned to read and write. It was important to be able to read and write because words were everywhere. If a boy answered a question with the wrong answer, the teacher would beat him with a cane.
If he spoke in class without permission he would be dragged to the front of the class and beaten with a cane or a whip. Although they learned how to do simple addition and subtraction more difficult mathematics was not taught because it was difficult to add up numbers written in the Roman system. It is believed that the first gladiators were slaves who were made to fight to the death at the funeral of Junius Brutus Pera. The tradition was copied at other funerals and then became staged events put on by rich locals for the benefit of their local population.
Spectators to the games were charged a fee to watch an array of gladiatorial tournaments. The majority of gladiators were slaves who were taught how to fight in special schools. They were trained to fight with daggers, swords, forks and nets. They had to fight slaves and criminals who were either unarmed, or armed only with the net. The fight ended when one man died.
If a man was wounded and unable to fight on, he make a sign for mercy. The crowd would then decide whether he should live or die by giving him thumbs up or thumbs down. Thumbs up signified that the crowd wanted the loser killed while thumbs down meant that he should be spared.
The largest and most spectacular gladiator fights were those staged in Colosseum in Rome. The huge circular amphitheatre could seat up to 50, people. Spectators were given tickets showing their seat place and also which of the 80 entrances they should use. The gladiator fights took place on the huge central stage. Underneath the stage was a network of rooms and corridors used to store costumes and props used to stage the larger spectacles.
Some rooms were also used by the gladiators as dressing rooms. Ancient Roman housing was bereft of modern conveniences such as indoor plumbing, but they were surprisingly sophisticated as well. There were big differences between the housing of the rich and the poor in Roman times. An insulae consisted of six to eight three-storey apartment blocks, grouped around a central courtyard. The ground floors were used by shops and businesses while the upper floors were rented as living space. Insulae were made of wood and mud brick and often collapsed or caught fire. There was no heating or running water and often no toilet.
The upper floors were the most unsafe and therefore the cheapest to rent. An entire family would often occupy just one or two rooms. A domus was very grand — with marble pillars, statues, plaster or mosaic walls and mosaic floors. A domus was divided into two sections the antica, which was at the front and the postica, which was at the back.
A corridor called the fauces led from the front door to the central area of the antica which was called the atrium. There was an opening in the centre of the atrium ceiling, beneath which there was a shallow pool called an impluvium to catch rainwater. The bedroom cubiculum , dining room triclinium and other general living rooms surrounded the atrium.
The ala was an open room which had windows in the outside wall. There were two alae, found on each side of the atrium, and it is thought that their main function was to let light into the house. The main reception room of the house was located between the antica and postica and was called the tablinum. It was separated from the atrium by a curtain which was often drawn back when the weather was warm.
A door or screen separated the tablinum from the postica. The main feature of the postica was the peristylium which could be reached by going through the tablinum or through an arched passageway called an andron. The peristylium did not have a roof and was the garden of the house.
The Romans grew both herbs and flowers and when the weather was warm would often eat their meals here. The kitchen cucina , bathroom and other bedrooms surrounded the peristylium. The exhedra was a large room used as a communal dining room or lounge during the summer months. Roman clothes were made of wool, spun into cloth by the women of the family. Later on the richer people had slaves to do this work for them.
If you could afford to buy clothes, you could buy linen, cotton or silk, which was brought to Rome from other parts of the Empire. Washing clothes was difficult because the Romans did not have washing machines or soap powder. They used either a chemical called sulphur or urine. This man is wearing a toga. Only male citizens of Rome were allowed to wear togas. They were made out of wool and were very large. The material was not sewn or pinned but was draped around the body and over one arm. Togas were very expensive because of the large amount of material needed to make them and very heavy.
It was the law that all citizens wore togas for public events. They were even told which colour of toga they had to wear:. The tunic was standard dress for all men from slaves to the nobles. It could be worn plain, belted at the waist or under a cloak. Citizens of Rome would wear a tunic under their toga. The simplest and cheapest tunics were made by sewing two pieces of wool together to make a tube with holes for the arms. For those that could afford it tunics could be made of linen or even silk. The tunic would be worn belted at the waist and just covering the knees.
Indoors, the Romans wore open-toed sandals. However, outdoors they preferred to wear shoes that covered their toes. The Romans made shoes and sandals by fixing strips of leather to a tough leather or cork base. Sandals, to be worn indoors or in the summer, had a smaller number of leather strips. Shoes for walking, for winter or for soldiers had many more leather strips to cover the toes and provide more warmth. Men were only allowed to wear one piece of jewellery — a ring that was used to make a mark in wax for sealing documents. However, many ignored the rules and wore several rings and brooches to pin their cloaks.
All men had their hair cut short and shaved. After the time of Hadrian some men began growing beards. Despite the opulence of the city of Rome, and the power of its imperial army , Roman food was quite plain by modern standards and served in small portions. As such, the Romans did not eat huge meals. Their main food was pottage. Pottage is a kind of thick stew made from wheat, millet or corn.
Sometimes they would add cooked meat, offal or a sauce made out of wine. The Cult of Sigmar was one of the first to seize upon the idea of illuminated books, commissioning lavish tomes after the style of the nobles' histories. Focused around the Life of Sigmar, these works were frequently treated as objects of homage, with some Sigmarite temples dedicating thousands of gold crowns to their creation. The completion of the soaring Cathedral of Sigmar in Altdorf occasioned the commissioning of eight such illuminated books, each bound in beaten gold dug from the mountains by the descendants of King Kurgan Ironbeard himself.
Completed in IC, these eight tomes were paraded with great ceremony throughout the Empire before being returned to a vault deep beneath the Cathedral. Within the dye trade, the creation of so many works of art caused great leaps forward in coloring and dye fixatives. Not only were tinted inks in great demand, so too were fine shades of cloth and paint. Certain families began to specialize in the hugely expensive pigments required for noble portraiture, experimenting with all manner of ingredients in the quest to find the brightest blue and the most brilliant gold.
This short-lived but highly lucrative trade reached its peak in IC when Baroness Auerbach of Hochland was reputed to have paid , crowns for a pearl-based paint that exactly matched the yellow-white of her teeth. This brief blossoming of the arts was not to survive for long. The disasters to come would end the decadence of the Drakwald line for good. Others joined the game as the cults began selling ecclesiastical offices to the highest bidders. The Emperor himself would even sell to commoners the right to spend the night in the Imperial Palace, renting out the chambers of the 9th century Emperor, Jurgen the Opulent.
Judgment for these practices came in IC when plague erupted in several cities at once in the east, spreading inexorably westwards. The easternmost lands of Talabecland and Ostland, which would later become the Kingdom of Kislev, were denuded of even animal life by the virulent disease and had to be abandoned by the Empire. The crowded Imperial towns and cities were the hardest hit and desperate authorities would set fires to burn whole neighborhoods at the first sign of the plague's emergence. Travelers even suspected of carrying the plague were hung and their corpses burned by desperate road wardens.
Prayers to the Gods went unanswered, with the priests dying at their altars, while the nobles and the wealthy commoners abandoned the urban areas for the relative safety of their rural manors and estates. The Emperor could not have cared less. Boris secluded himself at a palace miles from Carroburg and allowed only the wealthiest and most beautiful of his subjects to join him there. Thoughts of plague and postulated peasants were far away. They would laugh and drink and wait for the plague to finally extinguish itself.
In the summer of IC, there was an especially virulent eruption of the plague. The Emperor, most of the Elector Counts and their immediate families and retainers had gathered at the Carroburg palace to hold court and wait for the disease to die down once more. One hot summer evening during a ball, they met their own deaths. As the Emperor gorged himself on roast goose and the courtiers danced under the stars, none noticed the figures in ragged robes gathering upwind of them.
They were the censer carriers of Clan Pestilens and this marked the beginning of the Skaven's first assault upon the Empire that was completely ignorant of the mutant rat-men's existence. The winds carried the many chemical plagues of the Skaven throughout the palace grounds.
Hundred of the Empire's leaders died that night, buboes sprouting from their bodies and pustules bursting. As he lay dying, Emperor Boris the Incompetent listened as the Skaven leader told him of the rat-men's grand plan, how armies of his kin were that very night marching all over the Empire, the heralds of Mankind's downfall, the start of the Great Skaven Wars.
Many Imperial towns and cities fell to the Skaven that night and for the many that followed as the Skaven Wars erupted all around them. Even if they were not captured outright, the damage done to the Empire's infrastructure was tremendous as libraries, temples, universities and whole city districts burned.
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The Empire's defenders tried to put up a resistance, but they were disorganized and possessed only a shadow of their once potent martial prowess. Great Imperial cities like Nuln and Mordheim became islands in a sea of Skaven-ruled territory. Eventually, they were all sure to fall. From behind their walls, the Empire's few remaining leaders were sure they were watching the terrible end of Sigmar's great dream of Human unity. Yet hope came from the North. The Elector Count of Middenland and Middenheim , Graf Mandred von Zelt , broke the Skaven siege of Middenheim and, gathering what forces he could, fought them to a standstill along the lines of the Talabec and Reik Rivers.
For the next nine years, Mandred rallied the Empire's people and, in battle after battle, pushed the rat-men back into their subterranean realm. There on the battlefield strewn with Skaven corpses, the remaining Elector Counts declared him by acclamation Emperor Mandred I Skavenslayer. Emperor Mandred faced a herculean task of reconstruction. Thanks to the plagues and other depredations caused by the Skaven, it is believed that only roughly three out of every ten souls once living in the Empire had survived the Skaven Wars.
Vast tracts of land were laid to waste and much of the Empire's territory had reverted to wilderness. Mandred's first act upon coming to the throne was to enact punishment for all the foolishness that had led to the disaster. By Imperial decree, he stripped the House of Hohenbach of all of its honors and declared the Grand Province of Drakwald dissolved, its lands merged with Middenland and Nordland. Emperor Mandred I ruled for over twenty-five years and in that time gained a reputation for his strength and as a stern but just ruler.
Reconstruction began on the Empire's cities and towns, but much knowledge was lost in the Skaven War that could never be recovered. Mandred ruled as a strong Emperor and the Elector Counts deferred to his wishes in all things. After a few years, the people of the Empire began to forget the horrors of the Skaven Wars during the years of to IC, and have even forget that the Skaven even exist, but the Skaven never forgot. Taking their revenge, the Skaven's of Clan Eshin assassinated Emperor Mandred in his bedchamber on the night of Geheimnisnacht Eve , IC, leaving over a dozen daggers in his body and carving out his heart.
Like Sigmar before him, Mandred Ratslayer had left no heirs. The Electoral Council chose a weakling as the next Emperor, Emperor Otto of Solland, a pattern that would hold for centuries; the office of the Emperor had become a toy to be traded amongst the Elector Counts. It did not matter to the Elector Counts, who wanted the freedom provided by a weak Emperor to engage in their internecine wars without restraint. So common were these that this era has become known in Imperial history as the " Age of Wars ".
Yet the Imperial throne remained an important symbol of Human unity, until finally one Elector Count decided she did not wish to see it in the hands of another. From this point forward, the private wars of the Empire took on a religious character, with Sigmarite-loyal provinces clashing with Ulrican ones as the two Imperial thrones contested for power, although it was not uncommon for other provinces to side with their ostensible religious enemies for short-term political or strategic gain.
This growing religious militancy of the Empire became more clear with the start of the Great Crusades in IC. Though the majority of the Imperial Knightly Orders are sworn to the protection of the Empire's people, there are still times when they have found themselves called to war in foreign lands. When Sultan Jaffar of the desert kingdoms of Araby invaded the distant lands of Estalia , the then current Royarch of Bretonnia, King Louis the Righteous , raised a grand army of Knights and pledged himself to free the distant land from the oppressing clutches of the Arabyans.
The Bretonnia king issued a call to arm to all warriors of honour in the Old World and the Grand Masters of many Imperial Knightly Orders swore themselves and their knights to this noble cause, seeking to prove their valour in wars beyond the petty civil conflicts that afflicted the Empire during the Age of Wars.
During the bloody crusade, not only was Estalia freed from the control of Araby, but the gathered knights took the conflict to Araby itself to destroy the Sultan's empire. The Knights were filled with religious zeal and they destroyed the Sultan's decadent palaces, burned thousands of heathen tomes in his grand libraries of ancient lore and cast down the idols from his temples. The political situation of the Empire grew worse in IC, when the Ulrican Elector Count of Middenland, Grand Duke Heinrich , felt that he had the votes to become Emperor by election and unify the Empire once again.
The other Elector Counts disagreed, and made their feelings quite clear by aiming the points of their crossbow quarrels at the Grand Duke's chest. Heinrich stormed off in a rage back to Middenheim and issued a proclamation declaring himself Emperor, minting coins and issuing edicts to that effect. Now the Empire had three Emperors--one elected and two self-chosen--and the political disintegration only accelerated.
The Age of Three Emperors had begun. Meanwhile, Frederik made war on the Nuln Emperor, whose name has been lost to history but who was apprently a political tool of the Grand Theogonist of Sigmar. Even the lesser Imperial provinces asserted their autonomy in the general chaos: western Middenland in IC declared its independence from Middenheim under the leadership of the von Bildhofen family and received the Runefang of Drakwald in return for supporting the claim of the Nuln Emperor.
Although no clear record exists of hos this magical runesword disappeared from the Ulrican vaults in Middenheim and appeared in Nuln, the religious lore of the Cult of Ranald refers to this theft as "The Great Caper. Gorbad Ironclaw was one of the most feared Orc warlords of this era and he eventually commanded a huge horde of Orcs and Goblins through Black Fire Pass to devastate the Imperial provinces of Averland and Solland. Eldred , the Elector Count of Solland , marched his forces to the Aver River where he commanded the crossing towards the province capital of Averheim.
Gorbad's army plunged into the river and attacked the Imperial defenders on the opposite bank. Though the Greenskin horde lost thousands of warriors during the cross, the Orcs gained a foothold on the other side of the riverbank and stormed the Imperial forces headon. This marked a grave turn of events for the defenders, whose only hope for victory had been to keep the Orcs on the far bank. The Imperial army could not contained all the beachheads and were soon encircled and Eldred desperately sought to quit the field before his forces were slaughtered.
But this decision came too late, for Orc cavalry had already attacked the Halfling province of the Moot and had circled around behind the Imperial army. Eldred's personaly bodyguard tried to protect their lord, but Goblin wolf riders and Orcs on their powerful war boars flanked the Imperial amy and ultimately caused a rout. Throwing caution to the wind, Eldred bravely led his Greatswords to face the leader of the Orcs. But Gorbad was a monstrously powerful Orc, and even armed with a magical Runefang , Eldred was brutally slain.
The last Elector Count of Solland's body was dismembered and hung upon the Orc warlord's trophy racks. Gorbad took Eldred's Runefang and his comital crown as spoils of war. This battle became known as the Battle of Solland's Crown. Gorbad's invasion was only ultimately defeated at the Siege of Altdorf , though not before the Emperor Sigismund was torn apart bya wyvern, and his army was scattered as winter set in. The Greenskin threat to the Empire had ended, but the province of Solland was utterly destroyed and one of the Runefangs was lost. Solland was annexed in its entirety by Wissenland.
Centuries later, the lost Runefang originally wielded by Alaric the Mad was rediscovered by a warrior band led by the Dwarf Thane Ergrim Stonehammer deep in the lair of a mutant beast in the Worlds Edge Mountains. Stonehammer returned the Runefang to the Prince of Altdorf, where the sword was placed in the Imperial Treasury, to be presented to the greatest of Imperial heroes and wielded in battle in the times of direst need. Before the peers of the Empire would accede to the annexation of Solland by Wissenland, the other Elector Counts demanded the political separation of the city of Nuln from the Wissenland.
Talabheim, too, gained a short-lived independence from Talabecland when the Talabeclander Emperor Horst the Cautious refused to attack an invading army in IC, leading the city to revolt and embrace its own Emperor, Helmut II. The political collapse of the Empire was complete with the election of Grand Countess Margraritha of Nuln in IC, via a "rump council" of Electors.
None outside of Wissenland, Stirland and Averland recognised her rule and the Grand Theogonist declared the office of Emperor vacant. For almost years, the Empire was nothing more than a fading idea of unity in Men's minds. One other event heralded the dark times that were about to engulf the Empire, the destruction of the city of Mordheim, once the greatest city and capital of the League of Ostermark.
Corruption and madness ran riot in within the walls of Mordheim as the Second Millennium IC drew to a close. A twin-tailed comet appeared in the sky above Mordheim on the first day of the year IC, growing ever closer as the final day of the millennium approached. A depraved festival atmosphere grew in the city, and it is said that daemons crept from the shadows, crying with joy and carousing with men and women alike.
As the clocks struck midnight, the comet, a great mass of green Warpstone, smashed down on the city like a divine hammer. The people of the Empire came to believe that Sigmar had judged Mordheim lacking. Those unfortunate people who survived the impact were soon horribly mutated by exposure to such high concentrations of Warpstone and to make matters worse, the Skaven were drawn to the city in large numbers by such lmassiveconcetrations of the Chaotic substance.
Mordheim had become the City of the Damned, cursed forever to be a place of ill fortune and misery until its eventual destruction at the hands of the Sigmarite forces of the Grand Theogonist and a combined force of the Imperial Knightly Orders. Yet even today, the Skaven-haunted ruins of Mordheim are a by-word for sin and moral corruption. As the Time of Three Emperors dragged on with none of the claimants achieving final superiority, a dreadful threat to Mankind was stirring in the frigid shadow of the Worlds Edge Mountains.
The County of Sylvania, the most infamous region of the Empire, had long been shunned by most folk of any sense, but its wicked reputation truly began when Vlad von Carstein , a Vampire of ancient lineage, wrested control of the province from the previous ill-loved Count, Otto von Drak , by marrying his daughter, Isabella von Drak to Vlad von Carstein in IC. Vlad and Isabella come to share a true, if unholy love and Vlad transforms her into a particularly vicious Vampire, the first of his new von Carstein lineage.
Many of the other Sylvanian noble familes objected to the thought of having an outsider rule them, but these dissedents were quickly silenced by foul and unnatural means. Under Vlad's tyrannical grip, the province soon flourished for the first time in it's history. The Elector Counts of the Empire looked on with indifference, too caught up in their own schemes for power to pay much attention to a poor and backwater province.
For the next two hundred years, Count Vlad von Carstein ruled over Sylvania under the guise of different identities to prevent anyone from becoming aware of his Undead nature. Marching at the head of the Sylvanian army and a massive host of Undead troops he had raised from the graves of Sylvania using a potent necromantic spell drawn from one of the Books of Nagash , Vlad invaded Stirland and laid waste to Ostermark before turning his attentions to the heart of the Empire.
Unfortunately for the Empire, not even death could hold Vlad for long: Kruger's body was found at the base of Ulricsberg one year later, making Vlad's return apparent. For the next twenty-five years, Vlad's Undead armies ravaged the lands of the Empire until in IC he eventually fought his way to Altdorf, the seat of Prince Ludwig, one of the three claimants to the title of Emperor. The siege lasted for many months, but in the Empire's darkest hour the Grand Theogonist of Sigmar, Wilhelm III, seized Vlad in a desperate grip and bore him from the city's walls, impaling them both on the wooden stakes that lay at the buttom.
With Vlad dead, much of the Sylvanian army began to disintegrate as the necromantic magic maintaining its Undead troops unraveled and the surviving Vampires of the von Carstein line were forced to retreat. Prince Ludwig rallied his forces to give puruit, but fearful that the victory would allow him to cement support for his bid for the Imperial throne, his rivals united against him and the pernicious Undead lords of Sylvania were allowed the time to regain their strength. Years later, Count Konrad von Carstein emerged as Vlad's successor and launched another invasion of the Empire.
Konrad was so vicious a Vampire that the three claimants to the Imperial throne were forced to ally against him and he too was ultimately defeated, the dust of his ashes floating on the wind, cut down by the Dwarf hero Grufbad and the soon to be Count of Marienburg, Helmar, at the Battle of Grim Moor in IC. The last and most dangerous of the Vampire Counts was Mannfred von Carstein, a subtle, devious and treacherous Vampire lord who was perhaps the most dangerous of the von Carstein line. He allowed the various contenders for the Imperial Crown to think that with Konrad's death the threat from Sylvania had ended and simply waited for the civil strife to begin anew.
When the Empire was once more wracked by civil war Mannfred attacked, his Undead legions marching through the snow to Altdorf and defating all the armies that gathered to oppose him. Seeing many of his Undead troops crumbling to dust, Mannfred ordered a hasty retreat. After a failed attack on Marienburg, the Vampire Count was forced to return to Sylvania. The Imperial nobility finally put aside their self-interested scheming and invaded Sylvania in force to end the threat of the Undead once and for all.
For his heroic feat, the Count of Stirland claimed all of Sylvania as part of his province and thus ended the Vampire Wars, though the ever-present threat of the Vampire Counts' return ensures that none forget the dread of Sylvania, where the dead never fully rest. Though now officially a part of Stirland, Sylvania is now an abandoned rpovince where the dead are easily stirred and the dark forests are prowled by unknown terrors.
The dawn of the twenty-fourth century IC saw the development of an even graver threat to all the peoples of the Old World, this time in the north. The power of the Chaos Gods had waxed fat upon the myriad sacrifices of their faithful and the excesses of Humanity and other mortals over the previous centuries. The hand of the Ruinous Powers began to move with great strength across the face of the Warhammer World once more. Auroras were seen as far south as Nuln, omens in the temples of the Empire spoke of a coming time of great danger and Kislevan scouts reported a vast, horrible army composed of the Forces of Chaos gathering beyond the taiga in the Chaos Wastes under the command of the powerful Northman and Champion of Chaos Undivided named Asavar Kul, the Everchosen.
The Great War Against Chaos was about to begin. In IC, the Forces of Chaos , comprised of Chaos Warriors, Beastmen and even powerful daemonhosts, crossed the River Lynsk into Kislev , laying waste to the Kislevite cities of Erengrad and Praag and marching on to besiege the capital city of Kislev. The Siege of Praag had lasted throughout the spring and summer, with the coty's brave defenders hurling back their attackers tme and again with desperate heroics and stalwart bravery. But as winter set in and the year drew to a close, Praag fell and the hordes of Chaos ran through its tortured streets.
The raw power of Chaos engulfed the city and Praag was changed forever, its survivors fused together into hellish and inhuman mutant shapes. Living bodies fused into the walls of the city itself, so that it became impossible to tell flesh from stone. Distorted Human faces peered out from walls, agonised limbs writhed from the streets and pillas of stone groaned with Human voices. Praag had become a living nightmare and stood as a grim warning of the suffering that lay ahead for the whole Warhammer World if the warriors of the Ruinous Powers proved victorious over the Forces of Order.
A Chaos Fleet sailed the Sea of Claws , laying waste to the coasts of the Old World and sinking any ships they could find. The Tsar of Kislev sent messages to each of the Elector Counts' courts, begging for help, but the response was confused and bordered on panic. No leader was chosen for the Empire's military efforts, for none of the Electors trusted the others enough to cede authority to him or her. The High Priests of Sigmar and Ulric squabbled with each other over who should take the overall command of Imperial forces, whilst many of the nobility refused to send help for fear their neighbours would attack their lands in their absence.
Some even felt the cause was lost and openly began to worship the Dark Gods, hoping for mercy from the Forces of Chaos after the Empire's fall. One man did not give up or give in to fear and apathy. Magnus von Bildhofen of Nuln, a young noble and priest of Sigmar, still believed in the dream of a united Empire strong enough to defeat the Forces of Chaos and the daemonic servants of the Dark Gods. Within the city of Nuln , a powerful Tzeentch cult known as "The Magi" , led the largest of the uprisings, unleashing demons and other horrors upon the city.
Those who remained loyal to Sigmar prayed for deliverance, receiving an answer in the Twin-Tailed Comet that soured through the night sky. Magnus saw the comet, and inspired by his grounding in the church of Sigmar used his influence as a minor noble to rally the people. Under Magnus's leadership, Nuln was liberated from Chaos, and took his crusade across the Empire.
Magnus was a magnificent orator whose rousing speeches raised a massive following amongst the common folk of the Empire. He marched northward from city to city, addressing the people in the market places, gathering about him an army the like of which had not been seen within the Empire for centuries. Other Imperial armies have also begun to muster from the Electors and other powers, either swayed by Magnus' tongue or afraid of any refusal to aid the growing force.
By the time Magnus reached the great city of Middenheim , his legions of followers became the largest military formation ever assembled within the Empire's up to the point in time. After Kriestov denounced Magnus as a charlatan, Magnus bravely walked through the Sacred Flame - a holy site of the Church of Ulric which separates the pure from the tainted, and the truthful from the liar. After miraculously emerging unscathed, Magnus had proven the righteousness of his cause, and gained the support of a powerful ally.
Magnus tactfully appointed Kriestov as the leader of his cavalry force. Just as the Empire finished uniting behind Magnus, a message was received from the Kislevite leader Tzar Alexis Vassilivich. It told of a crushing defeat inflicted on the army of Kislev, leaving her cities wide open to attack. Magnus heeded the news and decided to march to Kislev, and there take the fight to their foe. As the new year began, Magnus finished consolidating his army and split it into two mighty forces: one of infantry and one of cavalry, setting Ar-Ulric Kriestov to lead the former and heading the latter himself.
With their greater mobility the cavalry force headed towards Kislev to buy time for the second half of the army. The war had reached its crisis point as the Forces of Chaos prepared to cross the border into the Empire. The Elves were powerful archmages, namely Teclis and his two comrades, Finreir and Yrtle. Although Magnus had a strong faith in Sigmar he did not have the same faith in the men he led. Despite knowing they could defeat any mortal enemy, the daemons of Chaos were not mortal.
Magnus knew that the advantage the armies of Chaos had over his own lay in the Winds of Magic, but traditionally any man of the Empire who dabbled with magic was seen as a pawn of Chaos himself. With the help of the High Elves, however, a new system could be devised to allow humans to wield the winds without opening themselves to corruption. With this new status quo possible, Magnus declared an amnesty to those who could use magic, subject to the judgement of the High Elves. Teclis and his brethren subsequently used their own arts to assemble those who could be taught.
The High Elven wizard Teclis and his companions had joined Magnus during the march north and assisted him with their advice and magic and also trained a few of the Imperial wizards in how to use magic to defend their brethren. After they learned of the fall of Praag, Dwarfs from Karaz-a-Karak , though themselves under siege by Chaos forces and greenskins, joined the Tzar within the city of Kislev.
The first assault of the Chaos forces, mainly composed of Beastmen, drove the Kislevite defenders from their outer defences and behind the city walls. It was the stolid determination of the Dwarfs that prevented the hordes of Beastmen from breaking through the city gates. As the Chaos hordes prepared for a second attack, they were struck in the rear by the combined forces of Magnus' Imperial troops and Teclis' devastating magical assault.
The Chaos Champion, Asvar Kul, divided his forces and sent one to attack the city and one to counter the Imperial army. The Imperials managed to resounding defeat the troops of the horded sent against them with Teclis' magical support, but the forces of Chaos were too large to be compeletely destroyed and they eventually redeployed and managed to push the Imperial army onto the defensive, keeping it away from the relief of the city. On the city walls, the battle between the forces of Chaos and the Imperial relief army was seen by the Kislevite defenders. Three hundred Dwarfs broke out of the city gates in an attempt to try and reach the Imperial relief forces, but they were beaten back.
Only half of the Dwarfs returned to the beleagured Kislevite capital. Watching the enemy suddenly broken by the appearance of the Imperial reinforcements, Magnus spurred his men on to one last herculean effort to relieve the city. Seeing the forces of Order had gained some momentum, the gates of Kislev were opened and and the Kislevites and their Dwarf allies spilled forth to slam into the army of Chaos from yet another flank. Caught between three separate offensives on every side, the forces of Chaos lost all discipline, milling as a mass to be cut down where they stood.
As Magnus prepared to lead another charge a voice warned him of a 'beast in human form' approaching, the enemy leader, Asavar Kul. The Everchosen challenged the champion of Sigmar to single combat, as a test of might between their respective Gods. After an awesome conflict of great magnitude Magnus eventually triumphed, disarming Kul and knocking him to the ground. After removing his helmet, Asavar admitted defeat, saying he had failed the Chaos gods and the fight belonged to Magnus.
Having slain Asavar, Magnus touched his golden hammer and reflected: "It was your gods who failed you. My god is always with me. Caught between three armies, the Chaos horde was finally ground down and destroyed, saving the Old World from being Chaos' thrall. Alriksson and Vassilivich recognised Magnus as the instrument of Chaos' defeat. With Erengrad being relieved and Praag levelled for rebuilding, Chaos was driven back to its domains.
As a last piece of clean up Magnus's army destroyed the cursed city of Mordheim, before liberating Ostland and the Ostermark and clearing the Empire's forests of Beastmen. After their defeat, the strength of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos slowly ebbed away and returned to their pre-war strength, but an echo of the Realm of Chaos would always remain within Praag, though it was levelled and subsequently rebuilt.
The Chaos Gods returned to their eternal bickering and infighting, the power of Chaos Undivided once more submerged beneath the Ruinous Powers' own intense antipathy for one another. Magnus, who had earned his moniker "the Pious", returned to the Empire as its greatest saviour and warrior since Sigmar himself and was quickly installed as the new Emperor by the Elector Counts, largely to popular acclaim and because he now commanded the loyalty of a very large, very battle-hardened army. Magnus proceeded to purge the lands of the Empire of the taint of Chaos and the anarchy of bandits, greenskins and Beastmen that remained for several years after the end of the Great War.
Order was eventually restored across the Empire and in Kislev. Though Finubar resisted the idea, Teclis taught the humans of the Empire the principles of magic as understood by the High Elves and helped them found the Colleges of Magic with Emperor Magnus' full agreement, as it had become clear that despite the Imperial prejudice against the use of magic as being tainted by Chaos, humanity and the Empire would need its power if it was to successfully defend itself from the future depredations of Chaos. Emperor Magnus reigned for sixty-five years and many regard his reign as among the happiest periods in the Empire's long history since Sigmar's own rule.
A general peace reigned throughout the land, and the reunification of the Empire brought increased commerce and prosperity as trade flowed like water. Magnus took steps to increase the defences of the Empire against the Dark Powers of Chaos and their servants, removing the ancient Imperial ban on wizardry and even creating the Imperial Colleges of Magic under the tutelage of the High Elf Wizard Teclis, the most powerful mage of the Warhammer World, who had come to the Empire's aid from the High Elven Kingdom of Ulthuan during the Great War against Chaos.
A new age of intellectual vigour and inquiry had begun for Humanity. Magnus also recognised the changing balance of Imperial power between city and country, granting Nuln the status of a city-state, whilst ratifying the political reintegration of Middenland and Middenheim under the Todbringer Grafs of Middenheim. His distant cousins, the Middenland von Bildhofens, had died during the war, but Magnus had no desire to claim the province for himself, and denied his brother's right to do so.
Instead, its electoral vote was put into abeyance. Magnus also acceded to the formal reunification of Talabheim and Talabecland, which had already occurred for all practical purposes centuries before. Magnus of Nuln died in his sleep in IC. For his great works, devotion to the Empire, and dedication to Sigmar and his dream, a conclave of the Electors voted to give Magnus the posthumous title "the Pious" and declared his birthday to be an Empire-wide day of thanks. Yet the Empire could not long escape its own fractious nature.
As had happened before under the Imperial electoral system, the need to bargain led successful candidates to cede Imperial powers and privileges to the Electors, gradually weakening the Emperor's office once again. This problem led the Unfahiger Emperors to seek other sources of Imperial revenue to give them leverage against the other Electors. Emperor Dieter IV carried this tendency too far when he reputedly accepted large bribes from the burgomeisters of the great commercial city of Marienburg to acknowledge its independence from the Empire as a free city-state.
The scandal of an entire Imperial province breaking away with the Emperor's permission was so shocking that an emergency meeting of the Electors was called in the Volkshalle in Altdorf. To avoid a civil war after the defeat of an Imperial Army outside of Marienburg, the new Emperor Wilhelm III recognised the Westerland's independence it soon became known as the Wasteland in the Empire, perhaps out of a sense of pique and made Dieter IV the Grand Duke and Elector Count of Talabecland, from which he detached Talabheim as a separate city-state in a manner similar to Nuln.
Perhaps it was a fear of what disunity had almost cost them during the Great War Against Chaos, but the Imperial Electors, their vassals and the priests of the Imperial cults all made a serious effort to avoid another period of civil war. Clandestine aristocratic maneuvers and conspiracies were another thing, however. Ruling from the Imperial capital of Altdorf like his predecessors, he showed more skill and character than all of his immediate ancestors and held out the promise of strong leadership for the Empire. The Electors felt pressured to toe the Imperial line and he skillfully played the Cults of Sigmar and Ulric against each other in their attempts to gain his favour.
Pundits and scholars alike claim that Karl Franz is able to maintain order by forcing each Imperial faction into deals that are mutually acceptable. With an excellent understanding of leverage, many of the Emperor's political victories have been won by granting a person not what they want, but instead what they do not want any of their rivals to have. Using such tactics, for example, Karl Franz was able to convince the Guilds of Altdorf to sign the infamous "Stench Act" of IC, committing themselves to large fines and fees, not because they believed in a cleaner Altdorf, but because they thought the cost would destroy their rival Guilds.
A powerful statesman, aided in no small way by the excellent advisors he has chosen, Emperor Karl Franz has managed to steer the Empire through many dangers. Contrary to popular beliefs, the Empire is not a unified nation ruled by a powerful central goverment but is in actuality a massive confederation of fiercely independent states and provinces whose inhabitants are tied together only by a common language, a shared faith in Sigmar and a mutual Imperial culture.
Nowadays there are two types of states: the provinces and the city-state. Sigmar was a wise and calculating leader, and he had the foresight to recognize that the Empire was far too big to be ruled by a single man. And so he gave the title of Counts to all the tribal leaders, each responsible for managing his own territory but subject to the Emperor in matters relating to its rulership.
Their independence was supposed to counterbalance the power of the Emperor should he proved too tyrannical as a leader, as well as to ensure mutual but non-violent competition amongst each of the Imperial Counts. When it became known that Sigmar did not have a heir to inherit the Imperial Thorne , the invention of the electoral system was successful in avoiding a Civil War amongst the various Counts, but it however complicated matters even further in creating and maintaining a successive ruler.
Those ambitious Elector Counts that wish to become Emperor have been known to give away privilges, titles, and power to any man that will cast his vote for him. The interests of each voters were such that they seldom rallied around a strong candidate, for they may find another of his rivals far more "generous" in their "gifts", which has resulted in the weaking of the Imperial system. Even when the Imperial Throne is transferred to his heir by majority vote thanks to the previous Emperor's influence, voters were quick to remind the newly elected Emperor to renew the promises made by his predecessor.
While the Empire had a fair share of strong and highly competent Emperors ruling the Empire, many times have the Imperial Throne been occupied by a uncaring Lord who allows his subjects to steal and expliot the Imperial system and her people, often going as far as to ignore the Imperial Edicts once placed by wise and caring rulers of ages past. However, the Imperial System as a whole still continues to work for the Empire as was its purpose, allowing any wise and ambitious Emperor to take the throne and used its powers to better the people under his reign.
In theory, the Emperor is free to make whatever laws and regulations he or she wishes and have it apply to the whole of the Empire. The truth is more nuanced, for laws must pass the review of the Prime Estates, who report to the Electors. A bad report is often all the excuse an Elector needs to quietly not enforce the law or deny it altogether, in times of a weak emperor.
In such cases, the Emperor, if he is determined to see the law obeyed, will exercise diplomatic and even public pressure on the recalcitrant Elector to come to heel. Often this is enough to gain grudging acceptance. But, if the Elector is determined, an Emperor may claim peremptory jurisdiction and have the case heard in his own courts.
Imperial Law concerns itself mostly with revenues, security from foreign and internal threats, the regulation of sorcery, and the rooting out of Chaos cults. Many Emperors have claimed jurisdiction over the succession to Electoral thrones when the succession is in dispute, and even the right in extreme cases to depose Electors, elevate new families to the Electoral rank, and even give whole provinces to another Elector, as was the case with Drakwald under Emperor Mandred.
Though rooted in ancient law and the precedent set by Sigmar himself, no Elector formally acknowledges this right and all resist it in any but the direst cases, lest a lasting precedent be set. Imperial courts exist in all the major cities of the Empire, including the capitals of the Grand Provinces, with judges appointed by the Emperor through the office of the Imperial authority over the case, leading to extended wrangling while thedefendant or parties to a civil case swing in the wind.
Due to its size, the Imperial Government is considered far to large and complex for a single man or woman to function properly. It is common that each day, the Emperor must devote attention to dozens of questions, from newly introduced tax policies, the final appeal of a prisoner convicted of treason, or even the official opening of a ceremonial fairground. To succeed in establishing a priority order in this complex system and ensure that only individuals whose cases are really crucial get an audience with the Emperor himself, successive Emperors have often surrounded themselves with advisers chosen from members among the most prominent noble families so that they may assist on legal, financial, diplomatic and military matters in the Emperors stead.
Over time, this gathering of councilors turned into a formal meeting, which officially became the Council of State. Each member of the Council controls a large bureaucracy who helps administer the affairs of the state. Such is the importance of their position within the Government that the common people will probably never see these members in person except maybe indirectly in official or ceremonial events.
The Prime Estates is an Imperial organization which was created to help administrate the actions and well-beings of the Emperor in person. At the end of the 11th century, when Boris the Incompetent tried to confer the title of Duke to his favorite race horse, the Electors unanimously decided that they had to administrate the Emperors actions as to keep face with the Empire's people. So they deputed one representative each to form a watchdog body that would take the name of Prime Estates. This institution is located within a beautiful building in the confines of the capital, ostensibly open to any person of recognized nobility, although the "lackeys" of the Emperor are carefully kept away.
In fact, the Prime Estates has now become the Supreme Court. All Imperial Edicts are carefully examined "in the interest of the state", with documented reports being immediately sent to the Electors who would choose either to support or veto the edict. This organization has the powerful ability to refuse any edict that does not suit them or the Empire's interest, allowing the Prime States to have a near-complete control over what the Emperor is logically placed to decide.
Each Elector Count has ensured an established representation in the capital, embassies directed by a loyal family member or close acquaintance. These ambassadors would discuss new imperial decree or legislation, as well as send these reports back to the Electors that had elevated them to such a position. As they have the power to reject decisions that do not suit them, it is important for the Emperor to obtain the approval of the Prime Estate if he hopes to accomplish anything.
In theory, the Emperor also has a veto over the choice, but in practice, it would be very difficult for him to exercise it. Indeed, without a real majority support amongst the Electors, the Emperor has no chance to assert his right of veto. The latest attempt to do so was Emperor Mattheus II who wised to institute the first ever Democracy, but the threat of civil war by the other Elector Counts was so pressing that he was forced to give it up.
Since the time of Sigmar Heldenhammer, the lands of what is today the Empire was divided between many semi-autonomous states that are collectively referred to as the Great Provinces or Electoral Provinces , named because the Elector Counts who rule them traditionally have a say in the election of the next Emperor. The provinces are further divided into various counties, baronies or leagues whose administrative governors are appointed by the Elector Count. These regional governors, in turn, appoint the governors of cities.
This practice, however, is not universally prevalent: some cities have been known to elect their own municipal councils. Theoretically, the boundaries of the Imperial provinces were based on the territories of the ancient barbarian tribes that Sigmar had united around him during his reign as the nation's first Emperor, however, over the last several centuries, the dynastic quarrels and ruthless ambition between various Lords and Counts have altered the borders, where new states have emerged while others have since disappeared from history.
The patriotic citizentry that lives within these provinces are fiercely proud of their people's traditions and ancestry. In essence, the people of each provinces are in many ways a completely different people, with many expressions or dialects varying from province to province. The people of the east and north are generally more hardy and warlike as they are regularly victims of invasions, while those in the West and South are perceived as more cosmopolitan and "civilized" or effeminate and proud, according to the view of the person to whom a person asks.
The style of government also varies from province to province. Talabecland, for example, is firmly autocratic, while Solland had many democratic ideals and institutions during its existance.