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Terms for Rulers


Jeff

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TERMS FOR RULERS

RuneQuest uses the closest English words for the titles of Gloranthan leaders. However, these titles do not mean precisely what the English words mean and often have a different etymology and set of associations. Here are some notes that may help to better understand the title and its meaning.

EMPEROR

Dara Happan/New Pelorian. Term literally means “universal ruler.” Only one legitimate emperor can exist in the world at a time, although the title is also applied to Yelm. The emperor rules by right not only Peloria but the entire world and is responsible for maintaining both the social order and the cosmic balance. The emperor must be acclaimed at Raibanth. If during periods of civil strife or political division, more than one person claimed the title, it is understood that only a single claimant could be the true emperor – the others are false.

SATRAP

Dara Happan/New Pelorian/Carmanian. Term literally means “protector of the province.” Denotes a ruler with some inherent authority that is properly subordinate and loyal to the emperor.  

OVERSEER

Dara Happan/New Pelorian/Carmanian. Denotes a ruler appointed by an emperor or satrap to serve as their representative or agent.

COUNT

Dara Happan/New Pelorian/Theyalan. Literally means “delegate of the universal ruler.” Denotes an independent ruler whose authority is sanctioned by the “universal ruler,” either the emperor or even from Yelm. Used by the Yelmalio cult for the rulers of the Sun Dome Temples. Also used by the Lunar Empire for Black Horse County. 

CHIEF

Theyalan. Literally means “Great One” and denotes the leader of a kinship or other community (such as a temple). The most common Theyalan title and sometimes transliterated as “Lord”.

THANE

Theyalan. Literally means “Martial Retainer,” this denotes a member of the Orlanthi martial aristocracy. Often transliterated as “Lord”.

KING 

Theyalan. (1) Literally means “Martial Leader of the Assembly” or “Martial Leader of the Council”. (2) Husband or consort of a ruling queen.

REX

Theyalan. Literally means “Leader.” Denotes the incarnation of Orlanth Rex. Often synonymous with King or Prince, but not always.

PRINCE

Theyalan. Literally means “First; Foremost”.  Denotes the ruler of a confederation of tribes or cities.

QUEEN

Theyalan. (1) Feminine of the title “king”. (2) Wife or consort of a king. (3) Transliteration of a title that literally mean “Great Mother”. Denotes the head of an Ernalda temple or ruler of an Esrolian city or group of cities.

GOD-KING

Theyalan. Title for the divine Ruler of the Sixths of the Holy Country.

KHAN

Praxian. Literally means “Great One.” Denotes the leader of a male-dominated group. Synonymous with the Theyalan “chief”.

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1 minute ago, Paid a bod yn dwp said:

How does the lunar sultan fit into this? Is it still used? 

Sultan is a Pentan word that means literally "authority" or "power". During the period of Sheng Seleris it was used synonymously with "satrap" and probably "overseer".

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7 minutes ago, Paid a bod yn dwp said:

Thanks - Has the name pharaoh been completely replaced with God-king In the Holy Country, or is it still used in game? 

It has been replaced since the Guide. Greg thought Pharaoh meant "God-King" but in fact, it comes from "Big House" and so its etymology is entirely wrong for Belintar. And unlike the Egyptian "nswt" (which we would transliterate as "universal ruler" or "emperor"), Belintar NEVER made any claims of universal rule and actually went out of his way to refuse to assert authority outside of the Sixths.

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7 hours ago, GAZZA said:

What about Duke, as in Duke Raus? I always assumed that was a higher rank than "Count" but the above table makes that somewhat ambiguous?

(BTW thanks for this, this is good stuff!)

DUKE

Western/Carmanian/New Pelorian. Literally means “leader”, but typically denotes a martial commander or someone who exercises martial command in an area.

 

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Just now, Jeff said:

DUKE

Western/Carmanian/New Pelorian. Literally means “leader”, but typically denotes a martial commander or someone who exercises martial command in an area.

 

And Duke is not higher than Count. Means something different completely.

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And look, I updated the list:

TERMS FOR RULERS

RuneQuest uses the closest English words for the titles of Gloranthan leaders. However, these titles do not mean precisely what the English words mean and often have a different etymology and set of associations. Here are some notes that may help to better understand the title and its meaning. These titles are group by language and arranged with the most culturally important term listed first.

PELORIAN

EMPEROR

Dara Happan/New Pelorian. Term literally means “universal ruler.” Only one legitimate emperor can exist in the world at a time, although the title is also applied to Yelm. The emperor rules by right not only Peloria but the entire world and is responsible for maintaining both the social order and the cosmic balance. The emperor must be acclaimed at Raibanth. If during periods of civil strife or political division, more than one person claimed the title, it is understood that only a single claimant could be the true emperor – the others are false.

OVERSEER

Dara Happan/New Pelorian/Carmanian. Denotes someone entitled to give commands; typically used by a ruler appointed by an emperor or satrap to serve as their representative or agent. 

SATRAP

Dara Happan/New Pelorian/Carmanian. Term literally means “protector of the province.” Denotes a ruler with some inherent authority that is properly subordinate and loyal to the emperor.  

SULTAN

Pentan/New Pelorian. Term literally means “power” or “authority”. Denotes a ruler who claim almost full sovereignty, but without claiming universal rule. In the early Lunar Empire “sultan” was used synonymously with “satrap”. After the fall of Sheng Seleris, this title has largely disappeared in favor of “satrap” although it is sometimes used to describe the rulers of peaceful barbarian nations. 

TYRANT

Dara Happan/New Pelorian. Term literally means “illegitimate ruler”. Denotes someone who rules without lawful authority, such as a rebel, barbarian tribe, or usurper. 

COUNT

Dara Happan/New Pelorian/Theyalan. Literally means “delegate of the universal ruler.” Denotes an independent ruler whose authority is sanctioned by the “universal ruler,” either the emperor or even from Yelm. Used by the Yelmalio cult for the rulers of the Sun Dome Temples. Also used by the Lunar Empire for Black Horse County. 

DUKE

Western/Carmanian/New Pelorian. Literally means “leader”, but typically denotes a martial commander or someone who exercises martial command in an area.

THEYALAN

CHIEF

Theyalan. Literally means “Great One; Most Important; Big Man” and denotes the leader of a kinship group or other community (such as a temple). The most common Theyalan title and sometimes transliterated as “Lord”.

THANE

Theyalan. Literally means “Martial Companion,” this denotes a member of the Orlanthi martial aristocracy. Often transliterated as “Lord”.

MAYOR

Theyalan. Literally means “Bigger” or “Greater” and is probably the same word as “Chief.” This title denotes the leader of a city council or assembly, who typically has a variety of martial and executive responsibilities.

KING 

Theyalan. (1) Literally means “Martial Leader of the Assembly” or “Martial Leader of the Council”. Typically denotes the leader of a tribe or a group of tribes with a combined martial and sacral role. Sometimes denotes the leader of city-state (see also, Mayor and Queen below).(2) Husband or consort of a ruling queen.

REX

Theyalan. Literally means “Leader.” Denotes the incarnation of Orlanth Rex. Often synonymous with King or Prince, but not always.

PRINCE

Theyalan. Literally means “First; Foremost.”  Denotes the ruler of a confederation of tribes or cities.

QUEEN

Theyalan. (1) Feminine of the title “king”. (2) Wife or consort of a king. (3) Transliteration of a title that literally mean “Great Mother”. Denotes the head of an Ernalda temple or priestess-ruler of an Esrolian city or group of cities.

GOD-KING

Theyalan. Title for the divine Ruler of the Sixths of the Holy Country.

PRAXIAN

KHAN

Praxian. Literally means “Great One.” Denotes the leader of a male-dominated group. Synonymous with the Theyalan “chief”.

NEAR UNIVERSAL

Some titles can be found in one form or another in almost every Gloranthan culture. 

RUNE PRIEST

Near universal. Denotes a full time magical specialist dedicated to a cult.

RUNE LORD

Near universal. Denotes a warrior-magician dedicated to a cult.

 

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8 hours ago, Oracle said:

And that's quite obvious, as a goose in *not* a duck ...

Common human bias misconception... "duck" is derogatory slang, not actual taxonomy. In reality, the Durulz involve a whole bunch of various anseriformes anthropomorphs! (although the much fabled Swan Durulz seems to have disappeared some time in the First Age).

(OK, I'm just blabbering here but hey, let me have my joke!)

But more seriously, it does make me wonder if the various small groups of Beast Valley might have their own custom terms for their leaders.

Also: Dragonewts. I think they tend to name their rules things like "Lord-Prince One Ex"?

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7 hours ago, Jeff said:

THANE

Theyalan. Literally means “Martial Companion,” this denotes a member of the Orlanthi martial aristocracy. Often transliterated as “Lord”.

Thanks a lot for all these infos. I think it could also take a place in some cultural / civilization books (too rich world, too much work)

 

About Thane, does that mean there is no "no martial aristocracy" ? (based on trade, knowledge, heal, sheep, any other "job" in the mythical ring)

Same about women and aristocracy. Except the queen, does that mean that you must marry a thane or  become vinga / bab / or any martial female figure to be considered as a thane (or only "thane's wife, what about widow) ?

And is this status given from father or mother to child or only by sword exploit (if martial) or a position/skill ?

 

 

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3 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

Thanks a lot for all these infos. I think it could also take a place in some cultural / civilization books (too rich world, too much work)

 

About Thane, does that mean there is no "no martial aristocracy" ? (based on trade, knowledge, heal, sheep, any other "job" in the mythical ring)

Same about women and aristocracy. Except the queen, does that mean that you must marry a thane or  become vinga / bab / or any martial female figure to be considered as a thane (or only "thane's wife, what about widow) ?

And is this status given from father or mother to child or only by sword exploit (if martial) or a position/skill ?

 

 

Yeah, this is a good question. Previous iterations used specificities like "sword-thane" or "weapon-thane" which always sounded nice to me, and left the door open for non-martial noble retainers, but I don't know if that's unfeasible now or not.

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7 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Yeah, this is a good question. Previous iterations used specificities like "sword-thane" or "weapon-thane" which always sounded nice to me, and left the door open for non-martial noble retainers, but I don't know if that's unfeasible now or not.

Most wealthy positions come from a cult. So a priestess of Ernalda is supported by the temple, which is one of the wealthier institutions in the community. The Chief has control over the local Orlanth temple's wealth, and has other resources. And so on. A thane gets their wealth from service to a community or powerful leader and can be outside of that temple hierarchy (although still ultimately dependent on a community leader, be it a tribal king, the tribal assembly, or the clan itself).

In a violent, dangerous society like most you find in the Orlanthi belt, the justification for doing this is almost always going to be to have a handful of full-time fighters (aka martial aristocracy) in the direct service of that leader or community. If you look at the development of Orlanthi society in the Second Age, you can see this martial aristocracy come into being.

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12 hours ago, Richard S. said:

I'd guess whatever we may call their rulers is a very skewed translation of an incredibly complex idea.

You are being -- as humans are wont to be -- completely absurd.

The idea being expressed is utterly simple.

It is your own skewed language that calls for incredible complexity in attempting to approach whatever human preconception you are foolishly attempting to fit around a dragon.

🐲 

 

 

( In case it wasn't clear:. 😉 )

Edited by g33k
Winky -- itsa joke!)
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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

In a violent, dangerous society like most you find in the Orlanthi belt, the justification for doing this is almost always going to be to have a handful of full-time fighters (aka martial aristocracy) in the direct service of that leader or community. If you look at the development of Orlanthi society in the Second Age, you can see this martial aristocracy come into being.

Why in the Second Age?

When I look at the tales of Rastalulf and Brolarulf, these are tales about thanes, from the late middle of the Dawn Age.

Much of the later Second Age history of the Orlanthi is about the EWF, little mentioned and much forgotten.

Prior to that was the Kingdom of Orlanthland, at first under Arkat's Command but in control of the tribute from Dara Happa, then they lost control over Dara Happa, and a century later the Tax Slaughter ended the tributes to the trolls about the time the first of those weird dragonfriends showed up.

Next came the regime of the priests, without kings but instead Great Living Heroes, a concept lost along with the dragon-speaking, but practiced by traditionalist Orlanthi outside of the EWF as well as inside the EWF (Renvald).

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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