Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.
|Fan Fiction Other forums talk about Trek. We make it.|
|August 9 2014, 04:42 PM||#1|
A History of the Romulan Star Empire
Part 1). - Early Romulan History
Romulus and Remus are two of the hardest planets in the galaxy for a Federation citizen to visit, along with such other infamous worlds as Tholia or Breen. They are utterly cut off from Federation science by the Neutral Zone. Although no starship has crossed the border or even seen a Romulan in decades, Starfleet believes they are shielded by walls of heavily-armed border starbases, listening posts, minefields, sensor nets, garrisoned bases, and a silent fleet of cloaked vessels. This presents a significant challenge for historians, who must rely on old scholarship and trade with other worlds for historical literature.
The Romulan people, a Vulcanoid offshoot, can trace their ultimate origins to the harsh planet Vulcan. But this does not mean Romulan and Vulcan civilizations are at all alike. They are more removed from each other by time, language and cultural distance than the nations of England and the United States were in Earth's history - by an order of magnitude. The Romulan civilization was founded in the 5th century AD, and has persisted for almost 2,000 years since, isolated from it's parent culture.
The Romulans are a literate civilization, and so knew of their origins elsewhere in the galaxy. But where the United States and England share a common language and classical canon of literature, the Romulans spoke a mixture of some of Vulcan's many long-dead regional languages and dialects (which existed before the standardised Vulcan language emerged). Ironically, their language is actually more archaic in grammar and vocabulary than modern Vulcan for this reason. It also uses an entirely different written script baring no relation to any living system of writing found on Vulcan today.
When Romulan settlers arrived in their new star system, they found not one, but two M-Class planets within the habitable zone of the parent star. This is not unprecedented amongst interstellar civilizations, but granted the Romulans a significant advantage in resources at a time in galactic history when most civilizations inhabited a single world.
One planet, Romulus, was lush and fertile, possessing roughly the same level of vegetation and solar radiation as Earth, along with massive seas. The other, Remus, was less habitable but rich in resources such as Pergium, Uranium, Sirium, Platinum, Topaline, Borite and Dilithium. The first settlers of Romulus found an astonishing variety of terrain; vast green coastlines full of natural harbours, fjords and towering cliffs - tropical islands protected by huge barrier reefs - vast Volcanic plains full of towering granite formations - crimson rocky deserts ridden with caves - green mountain ranges effected by complex weather systems. Each region was promptly settled with planned towns and cities. The settlers of Remus found largely hard igneous rock and had only limited success with agriculture. Over time, the Reman population was complimented by criminals and rebels, both alien and domestic, as well as vanquished enemies subdued by the Romulan Legions. It's mines eventually came to occupy a position in Romulan society similar to the Byzantine mines of North Africa, i.e. a place to exile political prisoners and enemies of the state. Eventually, after an early period of experimentation in government, a warlord took power over the two worlds, creating the Romulan Star Empire as we know it today.
Formation of the Empire
Unlike in Klingon history, where imperialism was state policy from the outset, Romulan civilization had no standing objective of conquest; it merely followed a policy of opportunism. The first Romulan starships to leave their star system were merchants and pirates, interested in profit-making, and not always state-sanctioned. Like the isolated European kingdoms of old, the early Romulan state was a small power in a galaxy full of richer planets, who controlled established trade routes, or even sometimes small empires and criminal rackets. Although widespread warp civilization had largely collapsed after the fall of the Tkon Empire and Iconian Civilization (some 600,000 and 200,000 years ago respectively), some number of planets had once again mastered primitive warp technology, and others traded at impulse speeds. Romulan merchants sought trade in both refined goods, and both imported and exported raw resources - particularly in those minerals that Remus lacked. The merchant and pirate fleets provided Romulus with a militant tradition and ready supply of mercenaries.
Small skirmishes occasionally broke out between Romulan ships and rival planets, with the state hiring ex mercenaries to serve in the navy, and privateers to prey on rival shipping. Imperial policy was to capture lucrative trade routes, acquire new resources, and alien markets. Outposts and colonies were founded on small and remote planetoids, with varying success, in an attempt to extend supply lines and guard sources of rare materials.
It was during this period that the newly formed Romulan state discovered the existence of two very important planets; Debrune and Garid. The planet Garid was inhabited by the Garidians, who were an existing but previously unrecorded Vulcanoid colony, with a separate culture to Romulus. Through a series of treaties, they became a protectorate, and then full member of the Romulan state. While remaining a separate people, they world be incorporated into Romulan society; serving in Romulus's legions and fleets.
The Debrune however were an already well-known offshoot of the Romulan colonist fleet who had settled an earlier, less inhabitable world. Their rulers had no interest in being incorporated into Romulan society, and possessed a powerful military. It quickly became apparent to both states, that there would be a battle to the death between the two rivals, with one emerging to dominate the local region of space. Romulus embarked on it's first interstellar war, and a battle for it's very survival, that would necessitate the re-organisation of the state into a military power.
After a long struggle which is still written in the Romulan psyche and popular imagination, Romulus overcame it's great rival. Triumphs were held for the returning legions, generals and starship captains. The number of planets in the Romulan Empire had doubled, and it was now the sole great power in the eastern Beta Quadrant of the galaxy. It was also the first large empire in space since the fall of the Tkon over half a million years before. As the Romulan state expanded, on many worlds, it found the remnants of past outposts of the Iconians, Tkon and Chodak; many of these old ruins can be found amongst Romulan colonies today, and are subject to considerable interest to scholars. Meanwhile, the empire continued to found towns and cities on new worlds.
Part 2). - The Expansion Period
The Empire's Sophistication Increases
The Romulan people were for the most part educated and literate, as one might expect from a civilization that had from the very beginning had access to advanced technology and systems of organisation. They also possessed a senate, which at varying times in history, wielded different degrees of power over policy. Most citizens were inclined to only embark on costly and bloody trade wars or planetary occupations if there were clear reasons and gains to be made. Rebellions or riots, especially over price inflation, corruption, alien immigration into Romulan colonies from subject worlds, class differences, and other domestic factors were not uncommon, but were put down through a combination of subversion, negotiation and force of arms by the legions. Romulan citizens and alien subjects were offered the chance to expand their personal fortune via service in the legions, which also encouraged increased Romulanisation of alien servicemen, who would return to their planets with an increased sense of understanding and accomplishment within the structures of the empire. The system was almost identical to the Roman Empire's system of Foederati, which allowed Iberians, Germans, Gauls and other subject peoples to serve as auxiliaries or soldiers in the Roman legions, or the British Empire's employment of groups like the Rajputs and Gurkhas. Conquest was slow, opportunistic, piecemeal and met the needs of the time.
Just as in many other examples of imperial democracy or one-party democracy, the Romulan Star Empire required public justification and polemical propaganda in order to motivate the general populace to support or decline expansion of the Empire through military action. It could not simply issue commands to the population and expect uncritical support. This led to a sophisticated system of politics, revolving around the manipulation of the civic population, as well as appeals to their reason and self-interest. This was coupled with the power struggles amongst the elite classes of Romulan society such as landowners, military families, political families, and the royal court of the Emperor. The military, now re-structured into a far more professional and egalitarian force, provided an escape valve for all sections of society to change their social position.
State supported and public philosophy was often concerned with providing reasoning and intellectual justification for the existence and defence of the empire. Bringing stability and safety to the galaxy, facilitating cultural exchange, science and common were popular reasons for defence of the empire's institutions, while enemy targets were assessed in terms of their threat to social order, safety, and their potential for generating terrorism, invasion and piracy. Entertainment and literature was also produced at a startling volume each year; plays, operas, novels and info-visual drama for the billions of citizens engaged in labour, administration or mercantile activities employment across the empire. For those who could not find employment, a state stipend was allocated. They provided a source of friction, but also potential soldiers.
One of the most famous incidents of justification of war came in the form of the capture of a warbird commander by anti-Romulan militants in the 12th century A.D., in an episode still widely depicted in Romulan art and public monuments. Cartix was a famous and prolific architect of several military campaigns, having subdued a dozen rebellions and pirate groups. An organisation of aliens, gathered from amongst races dissatisfied with Romulan hegemony, or whose worlds had been subjugated, attacked and boarded the commander's ship, torturing and executing her in a move designed to humiliate the Romulan people, and gain back prestige for their planets.
The reaction on Romulus was predictable; almost the entire population demanded blood, and were stirred up by government populists and provocateurs. The full might of the Romulan Empire was brought to bear against fourteen worlds, in a campaign of orbital bombardment and mass execution, that devastated the populations of several alien colony planets, and left a lingering hatred of the Romulans amongst survivors. The episode is considered excessive by some of the more liberal elements in the Romulan establishment, but is a point of nationalistic pride amongst many Romulans.
The Anlishang Rebellion
One of the most bloody wars in galactic history by numbers of casualties, the Anlishang Rebellion of the 14th century was a mass uprising against the Romulan state, sometimes characterised as a Civil War due to it's religious component - the aggressors did not want to destroy the empire, but instead turn it into a theocracy.
The Romulan state had never had a official state religion, aside from a general civic sense of belief in the sanctity of Romulus and the government. However a cult known as Anlishang had been spreading through several subject worlds, and had even attracted some Romulan believers amongst the disaffected. It's tenets were that the four founding members were avatars of the universe's will, and the true Romulan emperors. They mandated the foundation of an empire in which all humanoid species would practice a spiritual discipline known as Anlishang. This involved total obeyance of the four avatars, and the destruction of all forms of art and drama, which were seen as distortions of the underlying reality of the universe.
As the rebellion spread, almost every Foederati legion or auxillary force was torn between supporters of Anlishang and Romulan loyalists, with mass purges being enacted by whichever faction gained power. The Romulan military had been pre-occupied by raids by a nomadic group of warp-capable pirates on their southern galactic boundary (some scholars believe these may have been the same Hur'q who raided the Klingon homeworld in this period). Now, they had to fight an expensive war of attrition against a foe spread across almost every colony of the empire, slowly re-taking outposts in a massive crusade where battles over a single planetoid could take weeks or months.
The instability of this period weakened the empire and destroyed large parts of the economy. By this time in Romulan history, the imperial royal family were largely consigned to being figureheads. All the real power lay in the office of Praetor, at the head of the senate. A position somewhere between Prime Minister and Dictator, akin to the Shogun of ancient Japan, the strengthening of the Praetorship represented a general shift away from the moribund institutions of the past and toward a modernised bureaucracy and civil service, where noble families would wield much less power, and civil servants would once again come from all strata of society.
Part 3). - The Late Romulan Star Empire
The Rise of the Klingon Empire
The continued rise of another much larger empire in the Beta Quadrant came as an unwelcome surprise to the Romulan leadership over the 21st century, and posed the question of whether Romulus could continue to operate as a resource-driven colonial empire, or should start thinking in terms of capturing strategic positions in preparation for war, as it had done in times past, when there had been genuine rivals to Romulan power. There was widespread disatisafaction amongst the people and military leadership about the way in which auxiliaries were making up a larger and larger part of the Romulan military, and how the iron rule of making sure Foederati never gained more power than Romulans in the military structure was beginning to break down due to apathy.
This led to the rise of a series of populist absolute dictators, who, to some extent, are still in power on Romulus to this day (much to the concern of justice and rights groups across the Alpha Quadrant, who remember the atrocities of this period). The new highly nationalistic ideology was to assert military dominance over the galaxy at any cost, up to and including genocide. A campaign of fanatical propaganda and recruitment was engaged in, and the empire prepared for total war against the known galaxy by building a fleet on an unprecedented scale.
The Earth-Romulan War
The Romulan senate watched as several scientifically powerful planets in the Alpha Quadrant including Vulcan, began to form closer-and-closer trade and diplomatic ties. Intelligence services were sent into the region to attempt to disrupt the emerging union, but failed to incite open hostilities between the two most powerful militaries in the region, Andor and Vulcan. Finally, it was decided to attack first, and not wait for the emergence of another rival. The planet Coridan was destroyed in a kamikaze attack by a Romulan starship, and shipyards amongst the allies were hit without warning.
The Great Period of Isolationism
TO BE CONTINUED (WHEN I HAVE TIME)
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.