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Old August 18 2012, 07:31 AM   #1
The Overlord
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Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 years?

Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 years? It doesn't seem like the position was abolished through a popular uprising, the Chancellor and the High Council still seem autocratic. The best thing I can assume is after a very incompetent or unstable Emperor came to power 300 years in the past, the Chancellor started a palace coup, had the Emperor killed and abolished the position of Emperor. Since the Emperor in question was extremely unpopular, very few choose to argue against this move.

So instead of being ruled by a hereditary monarch, like an Emperor, the power shifted more directed to the great houses, with the most powerful member of the council being named Chancellor and thus become the head of state.
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Old August 18 2012, 09:10 AM   #2
The Castellan
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

Probably a sort of checks and balances, so the Chancellor won't try to play god, in theory, anyhow.
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Old August 18 2012, 02:25 PM   #3
Timo
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

For all we know, the Empire did have an Emperor or a dozen during those 300 years; they were just bad enough to be erased from history. Conversely, there may have been several periods during which no Emperor reigned, or there were six simultaneously on the throne, and Klingon history glosses over those, too.

Not that we would need to believe in an Emperor during the specified 300 years, not in canon terms. But we do know the Klingon form of governing evolved somewhat during that time, as a woman could not serve in the Council during Azetbuhr's time, yet Gowron was offering a Council seat to K'Ehleyr a bit less than a century later, and didn't appear to be sarcastic in his choice of bribe. Probably the form of government is what the governors make it to be, as long as certain ancient customs are observed - and those customs might be more ancient than the form of government, and largely irrelevant to the day-to-day practices of governing.

Note that in "Sword of Kahless" we learn of the First Empire, and in "Til Death Do Us Part" of the Second Empire, in a way that suggests that Klingons have moved past that form of government, too. Perhaps these various Empires are separated by interregnums of which this three-century period is but one example, and the Kahless Clone has now inaugurated the Seventh Empire or whatnot.

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Old August 18 2012, 04:27 PM   #4
Christopher
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

The Overlord wrote: View Post
Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 years? It doesn't seem like the position was abolished through a popular uprising, the Chancellor and the High Council still seem autocratic.
Uprisings aren't always populist. Sometimes the nobility gets tired of the monarchy telling them what to do and kicks it out so they can run things themselves. It's not about serving the public, just about serving the self-interest of the noble classes.

I figure it was probably something like the English Civil War, where the Parliamentarians kicked out the Royalists for a while and Oliver Cromwell ruled England. In this case, the warrior-class nobility among the Klingons overthrew the emperor and formed the High Council so they, the nobles, could run the show. And the common people probably noticed little difference in their lives, as is usually the case with revolutions throughout history.
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Old August 18 2012, 05:24 PM   #5
The Librarian
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

Timo wrote: View Post
Not that we would need to believe in an Emperor during the specified 300 years, not in canon terms. But we do know the Klingon form of governing evolved somewhat during that time, as a woman could not serve in the Council during Azetbuhr's time, yet Gowron was offering a Council seat to K'Ehleyr a bit less than a century later, and didn't appear to be sarcastic in his choice of bribe. Probably the form of government is what the governors make it to be, as long as certain ancient customs are observed - and those customs might be more ancient than the form of government, and largely irrelevant to the day-to-day practices of governing.
I think you're wrong about Azetbuhr - she was, after all, chancellor and no one seemed to object even though it could have been used to further undermine the peace initiative. It'd be very odd if she could lead the high council but not be on it. It was Lursa and B'etor who weren't allowed to take their brother's place on the council. Maybe the issue is something to do with Klingon noble inheritance/succession law rather than being a strict no-women clause, although clearly the result seems to be an all-male council.
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Old August 18 2012, 05:33 PM   #6
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

According to the Lost Era novels, the ban on women serving on the High Council was instituted after Azetbur's death as a reaction to her rule, to prevent a woman from becoming chancellor again.

Although TNG is inconsistent about whether women can serve on the Council; in "Reunion," Gowron offers K'Ehleyr a seat on the Council if she'll back his claim to leadership. The ban was only introduced later in "Redemption."
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Old August 18 2012, 10:09 PM   #7
MacLeod
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

Christopher wrote: View Post
The Overlord wrote: View Post
Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 years? It doesn't seem like the position was abolished through a popular uprising, the Chancellor and the High Council still seem autocratic.
Uprisings aren't always populist. Sometimes the nobility gets tired of the monarchy telling them what to do and kicks it out so they can run things themselves. It's not about serving the public, just about serving the self-interest of the noble classes.

I figure it was probably something like the English Civil War, where the Parliamentarians kicked out the Royalists for a while and Oliver Cromwell ruled England. In this case, the warrior-class nobility among the Klingons overthrew the emperor and formed the High Council so they, the nobles, could run the show. And the common people probably noticed little difference in their lives, as is usually the case with revolutions throughout history.
Though as you point out England actually reverted back, to something similiar to what it had before Cromwell's rule. But this was no doubt in part due to changes he made which impacted somewhat negatively on the population due to his Puritan beliefs., as well as High taxes. As you say if people see little or no difference or even a positive benefit to the new regime they are more willing to support it.
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Old August 19 2012, 01:34 PM   #8
Drago-Kazov
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

By the way how does a lowly born klingon become a noble? Was that ever shown movie, episode or book?
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Old August 19 2012, 02:08 PM   #9
marksound
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

Drago-Kazov wrote: View Post
By the way how does a lowly born klingon become a noble? Was that ever shown movie, episode or book?
It's been a while, but I think the "Left Hand of Destiny" books said that Martok was born to a poor family and had earned his 'nobility' -- first in promotion through the KDF ranks to General, then as Chancellor (which he didn't really earn but was meant to be).

Could be wrong, but like I said it's been a while.
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Old August 19 2012, 03:26 PM   #10
Hando
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

Christopher wrote: View Post
According to the Lost Era novels, the ban on women serving on the High Council was instituted after Azetbur's death as a reaction to her rule, to prevent a woman from becoming chancellor again.

Although TNG is inconsistent about whether women can serve on the Council; in "Reunion," Gowron offers K'Ehleyr a seat on the Council if she'll back his claim to leadership. The ban was only introduced later in "Redemption."
This doesn't have to be an inconsistency. After all, what one ruler proclaims can be revoked by another.
Once Gowron becomes Chancellor, he can say that this law is no longer valid and put K'Ehleyr on the Council.

Carcazoid wrote: View Post
Drago-Kazov wrote: View Post
By the way how does a lowly born klingon become a noble? Was that ever shown movie, episode or book?
It's been a while, but I think the "Left Hand of Destiny" books said that Martok was born to a poor family and had earned his 'nobility' -- first in promotion through the KDF ranks to General, then as Chancellor (which he didn't really earn but was meant to be).

Could be wrong, but like I said it's been a while.
Yes, he is - or better said, started - a peasant.
I believe that he gained his Great House by marring Sirella, she was after all "royality". And an officer with potential could have been seen in a good light for a Great House without an heir.
- just my conjecture.
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Old August 19 2012, 04:41 PM   #11
Christopher
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

Hando wrote: View Post
This doesn't have to be an inconsistency. After all, what one ruler proclaims can be revoked by another.
Once Gowron becomes Chancellor, he can say that this law is no longer valid and put K'Ehleyr on the Council.
Or it could be that, despite what the novels said, the ban was put in place sometime in the months between those two episodes. Either way, the point is that Timo was incorrect to assume that women weren't allowed on the Council in Azetbur's time. Both in reality and canonically in-universe, there's no evidence that the ban goes that far back. There was one novel, Sarek by A.C. Crispin, that portrayed traditionalist, sexist Klingons reacting as though Azetbur's chancellorship was shocking, but that's all (and I don't think the Lost Era novels are compatible with that one).
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Old August 19 2012, 05:15 PM   #12
BillJ
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

Because they needed an empty position to stick Kahless in.
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Old August 19 2012, 06:01 PM   #13
Hando
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

Christopher wrote: View Post
Hando wrote: View Post
This doesn't have to be an inconsistency. After all, what one ruler proclaims can be revoked by another.
Once Gowron becomes Chancellor, he can say that this law is no longer valid and put K'Ehleyr on the Council.
Or it could be that, despite what the novels said, the ban was put in place sometime in the months between those two episodes. Either way, the point is that Timo was incorrect to assume that women weren't allowed on the Council in Azetbur's time. Both in reality and canonically in-universe, there's no evidence that the ban goes that far back. There was one novel, Sarek by A.C. Crispin, that portrayed traditionalist, sexist Klingons reacting as though Azetbur's chancellorship was shocking, but that's all (and I don't think the Lost Era novels are compatible with that one).
Right.
I just looked on some passages of Sarek and it is a bit contradictory. I did not read it, but there are ways to make it confirm: Azetbur could very well have been the first and only female Chancellor; the Klingon viewpoint can be subjective, some houses can be more progressive than others; well you get my meaning...

But thats neither here nor there.
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Old August 19 2012, 09:40 PM   #14
The Castellan
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

If a commoner in Klingon society challenges a nobel to combat to the death, and wins, can that make him/her a nobel?
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Old August 19 2012, 10:24 PM   #15
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

Klingon politicians never seem to be very honourable. There was probably a point when one Chancellor wanted more power and managed to remove the Emperor and his family from the picture, then seized ultimate control.
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