Chief executive officer of an abbey. The constitutions of abbeys vary, but abbots are seldom absolute autocrats. Most often their powers are subject to review by a council of senior officers and in some specific instances, the membership as a whole. They are responsible for maintaining discipline, overseeing the abbey's operations and finances, and advancing its interests in the world at large. Their duties combine the roles of diplomat, politician, administrator, accountant, instructor, and strategist, though often they are assisted by a significant staff of slaves, servants and aides, most especially in the later periods. In some cases the abbot's responsibilities are borne almost entirely by their staff, leaving them to pursue lives of idle excess.

Despite the burdens of their office and the limitations on their power, abbots of the Classical and Decadent periods are figures of enormous influence and prestige who enjoy significant material and social benefits as a result of their position.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.