Imperial estate

When the Theklan hegemony took over sovereignty of Gehennum, the lion’s share of the public and royal land of the archipelago was taken over by the new emperor. The greater part of this land was let out in leasehold, and the emperors agreed that they would not collect any ship-money other than that due as rents from this land. After this event, the spread of rice-growing trebled the value of farmland, and the leases at fixed rent became very valuable. Most of these lands are let on lifetime leases. When a lease lapses and an estate becomes available the person who decides who gets the new lease has important patronage at his disposal. In most cases this is the local episkopos, though the emperor and the khrysofylax retain disposal of the very largest estates.

Access to leases on parts of the imperial estate are very important to the eupatridai, who make a great deal of their income out of them. Most families have at least some freehold, and can maintain their positions without patronage, or have only modest requirements. But some depend absolutely on leasing imperial land, and their prosperity depends on renewed leases every generation. Members of these families need either favours won in court careers or distinguished records of service to the public, the empire, or (in the Decadent Period the episkopy to maintain their status. The same things are necessary for anyone who wishes to get ahead by leasing imperial land. See Four LIves and Agema.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.