Robert Silverberg's Majipoor: Government

Majipoor | Sources | History | Government | Technology
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While there do not seem to be formal prohibitions of the non-human races in Majipoor's governance, humans certainly dominate. As far as we know, all of the rulers in the planet's history have been human, though many of them have had members of the other races as advisors. Certain bureaucratic functions seem to be frequently performed by individuals of certain species, as befits their general talents and inclinations. We have very few examples of women in leadership roles — virtually all power rests in the hands of human males.

The overall structure of Majipoor's government is a non-hereditary dual monarchy supported by a complex semi-feudal system of lords, counts, dukes, and so on. Of course, there are a number of twists that differentiate the system from a mere recreation of medieval Europe. Democracy seems to be virtually unknown on any level, but the leaders, whether they be hereditary or appointed, are apparently competent (or at least not too corrupt) enough to not arouse the ire of the people. Much of Majipoor's government seems to be based on long-standing customs rather than codified laws. The overall form of the government is believed to have originated during the time of Lord Stiamot.

Crime rates are extremely low, there is no threat of outside attack, and the planet's infrastructure has been around for millennia, so there is not really a lot for the government to do by today's Earthly standards. Droughts and other natural disasters can prompt government relief efforts.


Pontifex

The senior monarch is called the Pontifex, and the position is always filled by the ruling Coronal upon the death of the previous Pontifex. Upon ascension to the rank of Pontifex, the ruler names his successor. The Pontifex holds court in the underground city called the Labyrinth, south of Castle Mount on the continent of Alhanroel.

The duties of the Pontifex are less concrete than those of the Coronal. He is said to be the Father of Majipoor, a sort of spiritual guide, but he is not expected to interfere with the rule of the Coronal in worldly matters.

Many a Pontifex appears to have regarded this station as a kind of prison. He is not expected to leave the Labyrinth during his tenure.


Coronal

The junior monarch is called the Coronal, and the position is filled by appointment from the previous Coronal. Although there are no strict laws regarding the succession, custom dictates that a Coronal not choose his own son. Though Coronals usually come from the aristocracy of Castle Mount, there are cases where commoners have ascended to the throne. Lord Hissune, the successor of Lord Valentine, is one such case.

The Coronal oversees the day-to-day governance of the planet from Castle Mount on Alhanroel. Each Coronal is expected to make a Grand Processional and visit at least some of the cities of the planet, giving the people the sense that the Coronal is not just some distant figure. Given the size of the continents of Majipoor, this trip can take several years. Coronals who have had unusually long reigns have been known to make more than one Grand Processional.

Upon the death of the Pontifex, the sitting Coronal retires to the Labyrinth to become the new Pontifex, appointing the next Coronal as he does so. Of course this method of transfer is not without its risks, as a Coronal may die without appointing a successor.


The Lady of the Isle of Sleep

The Lady is the benevolent spiritual comforter of the people. She lives on the Isle of Sleep surrounded by a coterie of priestesses and supervises the great machines there. These machines allow her and her staff to send dreams to people as they sleep.

The Lady is appointed by the Coronal upon his ascension, and is generally his mother. If a new Coronal's mother is no longer living or is unable to fulfill the duties of the post, a close female relative is chosen. In one legendary case (as told in Calintane Explains), a Coronal appointed himself to the position.


The King of Dreams

The King of Dreams is a relatively recent position of power, dating from the time of Lord Prestimion. His function is basically to act as a foil to the Lady – where she provides comfort in people's dreams, he supplies fear. The King of Dreams is based on the continent of Suvrael, and is not known to travel, except for visits to Castle Mount on important occasions, such as the ascension of a new Coronal.

Nothing is known about the succession of the King of Dreams, though the position seems to reside in the Barjazid family.


The Danipiur

Presumably the Piurivar have always had their own system of government, with its own long history, but it was not until Lord Valentine's time that their leader was reckoned among the Powers of Majipoor.


Advisors & counselors

As in any monarchy, the leaders are attended and advised by many others.


Aristocracy

A wide variety of lords, counts, dukes and so on handle the governance of various regions. Presumably these positions are inherited within a family.

Most cities have a mayor (or equivalent).


Police & the law

Given the influences of the Lady of Sleep and the King of Dreams, crime is extremely uncommon on Majipoor.


Economy

The economy is basically capitalistic, and very free by American standards, though there do not seem to be any large corporations. At least in some cities, thieves are regarded as an essential part of the economy, as long as they don't get out of hand.


Majipoor | Sources | History | Government | Technology
Inhabitants | Geography & Geology | Flora & Fauna