In the Classical Period the ruler, and in the Decadent Period the nominal ruler, of Gehennum.

The emperors succeed from the anaxoi of Thekla, who established an hegemony which gradually grew to encompass the entire Gehennum archipelago. They trace their ancestry eventually to Pontus in the male line, and to several other daimons through female members of other royal families.

In the Classical Period, the emperor appoints the anakrites, the hierarkh, the khrysofylax, the polemarkh, angelos, and the arkhimagos. This makes the emperor the ultimate font of all patronage. The Gerusia claims the right to elect any male member of the imperial family to the throne when it is vacant, but this right is contested by the heir-in-chief of the late emperor at every succession. The heir-in-chief points out that the anaxy of Thekla was strictly hereditary, the Gerusia, that the hegemony was based on voluntary treaties renewed at each succession, and that the dynastai are the heirs of the sovereigns of the allied states.

In the Decadent Period, the emperor is a virtual prisoner, with no real power, his time totally consumed with ceremonial duties and court protocol. He is even obliged to marry and take as concubines women whom the polemarkh/ chooses. Despite this, the emperor commands a great deal of respect, and his interest is the rallying-point of occasional opposition to the polemarkh.

Like any monarchy, the office of emperor combines duties proper to a warrior, a magistrate, and a priest, and is in many ways above the Four Lives. Nonetheless, it is not uncommon for an emperor to retire at the age of eighty, or to abdicate the throne for a priesthood at sixty.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.