May 16, 2004

Titles in Amber

Amber, from the top:
King Random

Queen Vialle; she has more authority than any queen since Clarissa

(Crown Prince or Princess -- the designated heir, none at present)

Prince or Princess, other children of Oberon or Random who have sworn fealty

Duke or Duchess of Kolvir, children of Princes who have sworn fealty (Merlin, Tyler, Thera)

Lord or Lady, potential princes or dukes who have not sworn fealty (Delwin & Sand, if they're still alive, Martin, Jade, Melisandre); Martin's position is special as he is the King's acknowleged son, expected to swear fealty eventually and on good terms with both the King and Queen. Merlin is Crown Prince of faraway Argent. Melisandre is almost the head of state of Amber's nearest and most important neighbor -- and bastard daughter of Prince Corwin/King Corwin of faraway Argent. (Illegitimacy is not a legal concept in matriarchal Rebma.)

non-royals: Titles are attached to land. Although most great families derive their fortunes from trade, pride led them to purchase titles from impoverished country nobles. Occasionally a new title will be created by the King as a reward for some great service -- never for direct sale. Actual prestige is more a function of real wealth and power than title, but formal precedence attatches to titles. A noble's control over his fief is limited, and he or she dispenses justice in the King's name according to the King's laws, not their own.

Marquis or Marchioness, holds multiple counties
Count or Countess, holds a county or multiple baronies
Baron or Baroness, holds a barony
Lord or Lady, noble without land

Military rank,
A royal's military rank has no effect on his or her social standing, theoretically. In practice and vis a vis the non-royals, the Prince Marshall (Benedict) ranks everybody but the King and Queen, the admirals rank their siblings, and active Colonel Thera is half a step above inactive Commander Tyler (and both of them get more respect from having been, effectively, a general and an admiral during the Regency) and both would rank a new cousin who lacked a military command.

A General or Admiral ranks just below a Count, a Colonel or Commander just below a Baron, a Captain just below a Lord. All known generals and admirals, and most commanders and colonels, have been knights.

Knighthoods: Sir or (rarely) Dame, an honor granted strictly for outstanding military service to the Crown, nominated by a royal or another knight. A knight is considered to be noble.

Knights rank half a level higher than they would otherwise, starting just above a (nonroyal) Lord. That is, Baron Sir Somebody outranks Baron Whosit and Sir Ex-Commoner (a knight is no longer a commoner) is equal to Sir Lord.

Royal policy is to reward military service above wealth. Wealth rewards itself.

non-noble titles,
Magnate, meaning rich, powerful and formally acknowleged as such by their peers. There is a Council of Magnates with a couple hundred members, too large a group to get much of anything done. Occasionally the council would refuse to recognize a new, resented family that obviously qualified. Oberon would have the heads of such families (if cooperative with and useful to the Crown) invited to attend a royal function and announced as Magnates. That settled it.

Various things like Guildmaster, Doctor, Professor, etc.

Posted by randy at May 16, 2004 12:51 PM | TrackBack