RoE General > The Sage (Questions & Answers)

The 12 Duchies (and other lands)



This is a much-debated issue, so rather than answer piecemeal I make a post here.

This goes for RoE II (slightly updated from RoE I):

- When the Andu came to Cerilia they arrived in five major (and several minor) waves, each lead by a major 'House' of the Andu (whose names are debated even today - might be the didn't really have any scholarly name-labels). The title of 'House' is not really fitting, as the 'Houses of the Andu' were more akin to large tribal groups than true noble houses (a 'House' included not only the ruling noble family, but rather all members of the tribal group). See the Background History section for additional details.

- The 'Houses' existed in Cerilia for 500 years before Deismaar. During this time they fought goblins and sidhe and each other. Many kingdoms, small and large, rose during those years. And some, but definitely not all, of them would eventually have links to the new realms created by Roele (the Alamie/Tuornen PSs has good examples of this in the History section).

- When Roele established the Empire, he naturally awarded lands to his supporters, bringing into existence the first Duchies (Duke - or 'Duc', the older form - actually meaning 'war chief'). The Duchies were not identical to the lands settled by the original Houses of the Andu many centuries before, but were new socio-political entities.

- Roele created only six (NOT twelve) duchies during his reign. Those were Diemed, Aerenwe, Avanil, Alamie, Mhoried and Boeruine. No distinction was made between Duchies and Arch-Duchies, as the later is a more recent innovation. The six original realms were all called Duchies.

- Boeruine was actually added at a later date than the others; once Roele had secured the Heartlands and the South Coast (the other regions were much poorer and of little value to him) he moved on to conquer Cerilia, and only added the West Coast to his dominion after prior to the failed Vosgaard campaign.

- As a result of the Wars of Consolidation (c. 60-200 HC), started by Boeruine's rebellion following Roele's death, the original six Duchies were elevated to the status of Arch-Duchies, as to signify that they were first among equals (the literal meaning of the prefix 'arch') as befitted realms created by Saint Roele himself.

- By the end of the Wars of Consolidation several new Duchies had come into existence. Taeghas was created out of land ruled by Boeruine, to limit the power of the least-loyal subject of the Empire. Ghieste and Dhalaene (in what is now know as Ghoere) were swiftly growing into major powers, testimony to their superior location and rich resources. Now there were nine Duchies.

- In the following centuries, more duchies were created. Osoerde and Elinie in the Eastern Marches, Cariele in the deep forests to the north, and Brosengae on the West Coast. The astute observer will now note that a total of 13 Duchies have been named, the reason for which will soon become clear (other domains were also added to the Empire during the same period, but none were granted status as duchies).

- During the Imperial Hegemony period, when Anuirean expansion and colonization turned marginal areas into wealthy regions within the Empire, the need arose for a restructuring of Imperial Territories. As a result, the Emperor raised six additional Duchies to the rank of Arch-Duchies; Taeghas, Ghieste, Dhalaene, Osoerde, Elinie and Cariele. More Duchies were created as well, all of the outside Anuire, leaving Brosengae as the only non Arch-Duchy in Anuire.

- Famous non-Anuirean Duchies includes Kiergard - and distant Alitaene. But many lands under the Empire were never divided into Duchies, but were instead smaller fiefs, run by Imperial Barons and such (of which Coeranys is a fine example). At any rate; contemporary Anuireans hardly though of external fiefs as 'non-Anuirean' - to the all the world must have seemed Anuirean.

- So when you hear the term 'the twelve duchies' or 'the original duchies' it actually refers to the creation of the twelve Arch-Duchies. Today the title ('Arch') has fallen from general use, although any of the realms mentioned could claim the title. The main reason is that with the loss of all extra-Anuirean duchies, the rank of arch-duchy has become largely meaningless - Cariele has been reduced to little more than a barony, and is not mentioned as a duchy anymore, at least not in the Heartlands courts.

- In addition, during the Golden Years period, the Emperors changed the way the title was bestowed, turning it into a honorary title bestowed by the Emperor on the newly invested Duke, which meant that the title of Arch-Duke was now tied to a person, rather than a realm.

- Lastly many of the old bloodlines that rule these realms have become extinct, and in many ways these bloodlines WERE the realms. So while Brosengae was a Duchy once, and its ruler claims the title of Duke, it must be remembered that that House is really nothing more than provincial counts that had made it big. And in Coernays the line of the Duke of Cariele still lives on - so that the children of William Deaulen, Baron of Coeranys, could claim to be of ducal blood.

- Relatedly; in the later years of the Empire, a crafty nobleman was granted the title of Duke of Talinie. The region was not as developed as today, but this nobleman effectively purchased both the land and the title from the Throne (who was effectively bankrupt at the time). He never moved his court to Talinie, nor did he try very hard to exert his claim, but he did make use of his title during is many and long visits to the City of Anuire...

- Very few people, even scholars learned in ancient history, will know that Roele created 6 duchies, and not twelve. And although most scholars will tell you that Cariele is one of the original twelve, not all of them can explain how this region, which was very lightly settled in Roele's days, ever gained status as a Duchy, much less an Arch-duchy. Some would even claim that Talinie, which is now a strong realm, was one of the twelve, while removing Calrie from the list altogether.

It's not easy to keep it all straight!

More permutations:

- Under the Empire, the term Principality was used to identify any realm ruled by a Prince/Princess of the Imperial House. The most famous principality was the Imperial Principality, ruled by the Crown Prince/Princess (the provinces of southern Avanil, outside the City of Anuire). Other principalities were created as needed, both in Anuire (Coeranys has a long history as a principality (and as a Barony), as has Mieres) and especially in the colonies.

- Modern day Avanil is both a (Arch)Duchy and a Principality, being a composite of the old Duchy of Avanil, and the Imperial Principality. In addition to grabbing the old Imperial lands, Prince Avan (who is also Duke Avan of Avanil) does claim to be the most direct descendant of House Roele, giving him (sort of) a claim to the title of Crown Prince of Anuire.

Current rulers and their title(s):

Tailine - Queen (also Thane {Marquis} of Nowelton)
Boeruine - (Arch)Duke (Brandon Boer also claims the title 'King')
Taeghas - Duchess (both by virtue of her realm and her bloodline)
Brosengae - Duke (this claim is tenuous - he's little more than a Count)

Diemed - (Arch)Duke (and Baron of Aerele)
Endier - Count
Medoere - Baron
Ilien - Count
Roesone - Baron (no ties to the Empire - self-assumed title)
Aerenwe - Queen (no ties to the Empire), formerly (Arch)Duke

Ghieste - Duke (dubious claim to old Ghiestan Dukes)
Tornilen - Duchess (no ties to the Emire - self-assumed title)
Avanil - Prince and (Arch)Duke
Tuornen - Duchess (same bloodlines as House Alam)
Alamie - (Arch)Duke (now Alam Duke would use the Arch prefix until Tuornen is back in the fold)
Mhoried - Mhor ({Arch}Duke equivalent)

Osoerde - (Arch)Duke (the use of Arch is considered somewhat presumptuous)
Elinie - Patriarch (Duke-equivalent)
Coeranys - Baron (although the Baron's wife is of Cariele - ducal - blood)

Mieres - Governor (Mieres was a Principality back in the day, ruled by someone of Imperial blood, but overseen by a Governor)

Cariele - Duchess (another dubious claim; Cariele might be a Duchy, but the current bloodline is Countess material)
Dhoesone - Baron


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