Re: is the lunar empire an empire?

From: Graham Robinson <>
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2001 10:33:05 +0000 (GMT)

Gareth Martin wrote :

> Well, ARE they from a civilised state? I mean, they do not appear to
> be from a
> state at all - they appear to be a federation of states rather than "a
> state".

They are a federation of states with a strong central control, based in Glamour. Even with magic, moonboats, etc. most communication is limited by the speed of horse or boat, and thus the outlying regions NEED a certain degree of autonomy. Never the less, this would seem to be pretty much the definition of "empire".

> The difference between Rome and the Lunar Empire, as I currently see
> it, is that
> one is a state with allied states, the other is socio-religious layer atop a
> functional federacy. It occurs to me that I never meant that ALL Lunar
> troops
> would be identically equipped - the Char-Un, frex. But Rome per se
> does have a
> signature, central military unit around which the combined arms army
> is sculpted
> - - the legion. The legion serves as the reliable core of the Roman military
> machine. The best analogy for the Legion is the Dara Happan phalanx,
> and I had
> previously made the error of treating Dara Happa as the geographic home
> of the
> Empire - but this is false. Dara Happa does not appear to fulfill the
> same role
> vis a vis the Lunar Empire that Rome filled for the Roman empire.

The heartland regiments will tend to be more uniform than the provincials. They are from a more uniform culture, have been lunarised longer, and so forth. Having completely uniform regiments doesn't seem a requirement for Empire, or we'd have to discount the British Empire, Genghis Khan, etc.

> HW says that each unit is raised locally, outfitted and trained locally,
> worships local gods and practices local techniques. I find it very
> difficult, under these circumstances, to understand what is

>"imperial" about the army.  It has no Lunar units proper; it has muliple

> and various loyalties; all it appears to have are an officer class with
> a unified strategy and ideology. The magical colleges are much more
> empire-like, in that they have a clear shared sense of purpose. The
> army appears to lack this ideological unity - indeed, one would
> expect most members of a Lunar army NOT to be Lunar citizens!

Most Roman legions, certainly by the time of the Empire, were raised locally. Many of them used local tactics and equipment, although over time they certainly tended to adopt the generally superior Roman tactics and equipment. The Roman legions were certainly NEVER uniform. That's a myth perpetuated by reading too much Asterix. Each had their own standards, religions, and traditions. The mix of troops, equipment and training varied widely, and there are a number of accounts of particular legions being used one way or another because of their strengths (or political leanings). The bulk of warriors in a Roman legion were often not citizens - - one way to earn citzenship was to serve in the army.

> The analogy with Victorian Britain is interesting, but flawed I think. The
> British Empire was MUCH more centralised than the Lunar Empire.

The colonial governors were pretty much free to do as they wished. They had certain requirements to fulfil in terms of supplying troops and tribute - sorry, taxes - to the centre, but the only real control over them was that they could be replaced. Glamour serves a very similar purpose in the Lunar Empire to London in the British. The Lunars also have the heartland regiments, the spoken word, the unspoken word, and a number of religious orders to maintain control.

> Secondly, such separatism appears much more likely under the LE than under Rome,
> and thats in the light of the fact that Rome suffered continual switches of
> allied, even subject, allegiance. But as mentioned previously, Rome has a
> powerful army all of its own,

The main reason the regions stayed Roman, was they became culturally Roman. They desired luxuries from Rome, and depended on Roman markets for their exports. Roman Britain was in the main only lightly garrisoned, and that primarily in the North to control the non-Roman outsiders. There was never a Roman army strong enough to control the entire region. Their tactics for maintaining the empire were social and religious. Indeed their tactic of marrying and adopting suitable foreign deities into their pantheon has strong parallels to the Lunar Empire's approach.

> which is and remains the dominant striking power
> of the Empire - until the might of the Legions is SO profound that they
> become the arbiters of the imperial purple.

The legions always were. Augustus only ascended the throne because of the military backing he received.

> In the LE by contrast, there is no powerful central core to the Lunar
> empire to encourage consistancy, but merely the factionalism of
> territorial armies.

Consistency of arms is not necessary, and indeed has been absent from every empire I'm aware of. As for factionalism, the Roman Legions were perhaps the worst example in real world history - certainly far worse than the Lunar equivalents.

> It is not hard to imagine the Lunar armies, in effect, deciding who
> the Red Emperor should be, or supporting their
> pretender to the throne. All you need is a sufficiently juicy heresy as
> rationale, and you're away.

Let's not get back into the Red Emperor debate again. However, this does seem to contradict your previous statements. If the Lunar armies are strong and united enough to decide the succession of the Red Emperor, how does this differ from the Roman Legions deciding the Roman Emperor you mentioned above?

In the end, if you are looking for a single real world analogy for the Lunars, there isn't one. Rome gas a number of parallels, but in many ways the politics are more similar to the British Empire. If nothing else, that lets us get the old Carry On jokes in... Personally, I've never been that convinced by the Soviet analogy - it seems a little obvious with the Red colour. I prefer viewing it as America... However, I really can't see the Lunars as anything other than an Empire. Certainly a federation implies far more freedom than the provinces really have, at least in areas of interest to the Lunars - tax, military, religion, foreign policy, etc.


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