When the Theklan hegemony absorbed the other states of the Gehennum archipelago, the rulers of those states, if they were monarchies were given hereditary places in the Gerusia of the emperor of Gehennum. These monarchs, and certain other people who joined them by act of legislation (see social mobility), are the forebears of the dynastai of the later periods. Strictly speaking, only a person who holds a seat in the Senate (including the emperor), his wife (not concubine), and his heir-apparent are dynastai, but in normal speech the whole families of these people are called ‘dynastai’. See anaxos, kreion, and kyrion.

In the Classical Period, the dynastai are powerful political figures, and generally very wealthy in leased and freehold land. They control powerful trading interests, own factories, and often hold command in the army, dignified posts in the government (see [[[Boulē]], episkopos, krites), or prestigious priesthoods (see Four Lives). As members of the Gerusia/ they have a legislative role. Entitled to trial by their peers, they can only be convicted of crime by the Gerusia itself.

Although the position of the dynastai in the Decadent Period is the same in law, in practice it is very different. The polemarkh fears the potential power of the dynastai, and takes steps to curb it. Dynastai are required to travel an annual round between Thekla, a provincial city, and a palace in the country. Their time is wasted with intricate court protocol and ceremonial duties. They still have vast incomes, but they are obliged to sustain huge expenses in maintaining three palaces (always fully staffed) and in providing for their relatives. They are compelled to marry at the age of twenty (their spouses chosen by the polemarkh), and the men to take a new concubine each time their wife falls pregnant. They are required to provide handsome pensions for all their siblings and half-siblings, and their fathers’ siblings and half-siblings, and so forth. Dynastai are forbidden to join the militia or the army, are not appointed to public office, and are forbidden to associate with frateries or to maintain agema.

The ostensible reason for all this is that the dynastai/, as associates of the emperor, descendants of demi-gods, and inheritors of a sacred character of royalty are sacred persons, not to be profaned, and that their service in the //Gerusia is monarchial in character, combines military, administrative, and priestly capacities, is all the public service they need do. The lower classes lap all this up, and regard the dynastai with even more awe than they did when they were great powers in the land. Dynastai are considered lucky, their persons sacrosanct. But they are charged inflated prices.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.