That Name's Taken! You can be "Emirates"...

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Deranged Nasat, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    We mustn't forget both the Majoris Congeries and the Vela Congeries (both mentioned in passing, in Diane Duane's The Wounded Sky)
     
  2. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This always reminds me of B5, where it seems such a massive coincidence that all five major races have different names for their governments: Earth ALLIANCE, Minbari FEDERATION, Narn REGIME :lol:, Centauri REPUBLIC, Vorlon EMPIRE.

    (And what brought that last one on, BTW? Vorlon society, from what little we know of it, has no resemblance to anything even remotely empire-like. If anything, the Centauri should have been called an Empire, because that's exactly what they were!)

    Given how the Danteri enslaved the Xenexians, I don't see how that's possible. Surely slavery would be absolutely forbidden under Federation law?
     
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    A barely visible screen graphic in Into Darkness gives the name "Orion Union"
     
  4. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Is that really how we spelled "Kshatriyan"? Wonder how we messed that up. Looking at Corona (on Google Books, anyway), it looks like the Kshatriyan God's Endowment might actually be the name of their polity. (Also, interestingly, in response to a comment that they're from the same "basic stock" as Spock, Uhura replies, "They're part of the third octant Dakhrian migrations, if that's what you mean. The Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons and Kshatriyans are all related if you go back far enough.")

    Spock's World refers to the "the 'non-aligned' planets of the southern Orion Congeries" (as do other Duane novels). That's from the time of the Vulcan Enlightenment, though; I don't think anyone has used that term in the 23rd/24th centuries. (The Congeries destroyed the Inshai Compact.)
     
  5. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    That's one of the things we discussed last time, actually. :)

    On the one hand, I completely agree with you that the name is rather random (and was probably just pulled out of a hat as something different to the other nations). That said, because I like trying to justify things:

    I think we could make a case that the Vorlons' subject peoples actually consist of all the younger species in the setting; Minbari, human, Narn, Centauri, League races, etc. The Vorlons take responsibility for these peoples, guide and command and manipulate them, and apparently view them as component cogs in the smooth running of an orderly galaxy. The Vorlons are wise, stern, commanding, lawful, and convinced they have the right and duty to claim the other races as pawns. They're not a territorial empire, but they are, quite arguably, a hegemonic empire. In fact, we might make the case that the current galactic order, whatever it is and whatever form it takes, is the Vorlon Empire. The other races just don't realize that they're considered part of it.

    That said, I agree it's probably just a thoughtless name.

    I have no defence of the Centauri, though. I guess it's because they're the obligatory Rome In Space culture, though they never seemed to have a republican period - their history suggests the first emperor was the first leader of their society, and I too don't know why they don't just call it the Centauri Empire. It can't be for appearances sake - who would they be trying to impress? The only people whose perspective they could possibly have cared about were the Minbari, but the Minbari wouldn't care themselves.
     
  6. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Interesting. I didn't actually know that. :)
     
  7. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Also: it's interesting to note that "Cardassian Union" was only used in four episodes (both parts of "Chain of Command," "Strange Bedfellows," and "The Dogs of War"*), whereas "Cardassian Empire" was used over a dozen times on screen. All of the references to the Union seem to be to the government itself, not the state. Damar and Broca are both called "head of the Cardassian Union"; Jellico talks about negotiating with the Union.

    Similarly, though "Romulan Star Empire" appears on the map in "Balance of Terror," it's actually not said aloud until "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"! And only one further time, in Enterprise. Fans seem to have latched onto these terms far more than the writers actually did.

    * Going by a search of the Chakoteya transcripts.
     
  8. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Hmm, that's very interesting (and rather surprising!).
     
  9. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Alternate possibility:

    Putting it in spoilers in case it's too close to a story idea:

    The planet now known as Orion, and the state it controls, was not the original homeworld of the Orions, and its state not their original state? Perhaps the modern Orions are a diaspora, and the planet referred to as "Orion Prime" that we see in Rise of the Federation, Cold Equations, and The Light Fantastic is actually the world the Orions resettled to after their original ancient homeworld was destroyed or depopulated? Perhaps it was related to the early first millennium CE wars the Orions were involved in, which Diane Duane establishes to have occurred around the time of the Sundering of Vulcan?

    Quite possible. It's pretty clear that the early intent was for the Danteri Empire to be a Federation Member State whose agenda didn't always match up with the Federation proper's, but that later books portrayed them as so villainous that it's implausible for it to be seen as a Federation Member State. Your retcon -- that it was never in the Federation, and its ambassadors just engaging in hyperbole to manipulate the UFP -- is quite good. Another possibility is that the Danteri Empire had recently joined the UFP in 2373 when New Frontier begins, and that it had either seceded or been expelled soon afterwards.

    It's the One Steve Limit!

    More seriously, though, one thing to consider is that the official name a state uses for itself in its native language might not quite match up with the official English translation. For instance, the full formal name of the Japan in Japanese (transliterated into English characters) is Nippon-koku, which itself translates to State of Japan. But, according to both Wikipedia and the CIA World Fact Book, the full formal name of the Japanese state in English is simply Japan. (Similarly, the full title of the leader of Israel in Hebrew transliterates as Rosh HaMemshala, which literally translates as Head of the Government, but the State of Israel has designated Prime Minister to be the official English translation of the title.)

    So one of the questions we have to ask is, is the English name of an alien state a literal translation of the full formal name of that state in their native language? Or is the full formal name in English different from the full formal name in the native language? (The English full formal name may have been deliberately chosen by that alien state, or it may have been given to/(possibly reluctantly) accepted by that alien state.)

    I don't really have a problem with the Vorlons calling themselves an empire. For all we know, the existing Vorlon state may have arisen after a faction within their race conquered all the others -- thus, it's an empire of Vorlons, not an empire where the Vorlons conquer and dominate other worlds per se.

    The Centauri thing suggests the possibility of it being a quirk of language and/or politics. If they're like the Romans, perhaps they insist that their state is a republic, even though it clearly isn't, in the same way that the ancient Romans insisted that their state was a republic, even though Caesar and Augustus clearly put an end to the republican era.

    Indeed, to the ancient Romans, there was no such thing as an emperor. We today call the ruler of the post-Augustus-era Roman state emperor, but that's because we have concluded that the Romans were clinging to a legal fiction, that their leader was an emperor in all but name. But to the Romans, their leader was not an emperor -- there was no formal monarchy for the leader to hold. Rather, the leader gained power through the accumulation of several different offices of the republican era that were originally held by separate people -- sort of the equivalent of if we were to claim that there is no King of America, merely a person who is simultaneously President of the United States, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mayor of the District of Columbia, Mayor of the City of New York, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Exxon-Mobile Corporation, Chief Executive Officer of Apple, Inc., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Chief Executive Officer of the New York Stock Exchange, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Google, Inc., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Ford Motor Company, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and President of the Rabbinical Council of America.

    Perhaps it's similar to the Centauri Emperor. Maybe the Emperor is not an emperor in the legal sense, just in the reality sense -- someone who holds absolute power over the Centauri state by holding multiple offices that used to be held by separate persons in a genuinely republican era. Maybe his real titles would be, "Presiding Officer of the Centaurum, High Commander of the Space Navy, Supreme Pontiff of the Church of the Great Maker, Chief Magistrate of All Centauri," etc. And perhaps when we hear him called "Emperor," we're hearing an English translation decided upon by political scientists and linguists from the Earth Alliance, who said, "Um, yeah, he's an emperor. We're just gonna call him that, thanks."

    Possibly a simpler explanation: Maybe a better translation would be Vorlon Realm, but the Vorlon term for realm and empire is the same -- you know, sort of the way the German word for both realm and empire is reich? (Godwin'ed!)

    I don't agree that the references to the Cardassian Union were references to the government rather than the state. Indeed, there's no reference to the Cardassian government having any distinct name. In particular, references to the Cardassian Union in "Chain of Command" almost makes it impossible for it not to be the name of the state itself, since that episode dealt with relations between the Cardassian and Federation states.

    Meanwhile, most of the references to the Cardassian empire seem to be quite informal. To make a comparison: The full formal name of the British state was never the British Empire. From 1707 to 1801, the British state's full name was the Kingdom of Great Britain; from 1801 to 1927, it was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (even though the Irish Free State had been established in 1922); and from 1927, it's been the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Yet the fact remains that throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was often called the British Empire, in reference to the vast network of colonies and conquered territories the British state controlled. Such an informal name is entirely plausible for the Cardassians.
     
  10. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    As ever, I'm glad for your input on these matters, Sci. I guess it was a bit silly of me not to consider the all-important translation issues in my posts above. As you say, we must (presumably) assume that we're hearing translated titles that might not reflect the truth of the situation but simply how human observers of a certain dominant human culture interpret what they're seeing or being told of an alien political role.

    On that note, did we ever hear a Vorlon refer to their own state as the Vorlon Empire? They don't seem to mind being called that, and I think the B5 Council recognises them as such, but mostly it was just humans calling it that. And they likely wouldn't care what they were called so long as nobody was going into it uninvited.

    Human: "So, what's the name of your state? We do actually need to know".

    Vorlon: "... ...."

    Human: "No, seriously. We can't complete this until we have it".

    Vorlon: ".... We are Vorlon".

    Human: "What is your territory called?"

    Vorlon: "... ..."

    Human: "The Vorlon.... Federation? Alliance? Empire?"

    Vorlon: "Yes".

    Human: "Empire? The Vorlon Empire?"

    Vorlon: "... ... ... The cheesecake crumbles, unless it is a Thursday".

    Human: "... ... Okay, we're writing down Empire".

    That was always my understanding; that Cardassian Empire was an informal usage.
     
  11. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    :guffaw:

    Trying to get a straight answer out of Kosh...not fun.

    Although maybe this means that Vorlons are really good at Fizzbin?
     
  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Too kind. Thank you!

    Or, for that matter, we may be hearing translated titles that far more accurately reflect the truth of the situation than the interpretations of the dominant alien culture! ;)

    :rofl:

    :rommie: :guffaw: :rommie: :guffaw:

    Excellent! As far as I'm concerned, that's my new headcanon!

    And actually, that is a legit possibility. The Vorlons might literally not have any sort of name for their state that is translatable into Human language, and "Vorlon Empire" could well be a Human (or Centauri, then translated into English) term.
     
  13. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There's one more with a unique name, the Delta Quadrant state Krowtonan Guard.

    Other than that, we get the Delta Coalition (MyrU: "Places of Exile"), Romulan Republic (STO), Romulan Republic (mirror) [Shattered Universe], Borg Collective, etc.

    Only some of the Federation member states are on record. A great mystery is what the Trill call theirs.

    Btw, has there ever been a reference to the Nausicaan or Lethean states? Do they have any? (I also wonder whether the Letheans' homeworld would be Lethe or Lethea).
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The Borg Collective isn't a government, though. It's a single individual.
     
  15. dodge

    dodge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The name could have just stuck, like people still refer to the original 13 states of the USA as the Thirteen Colonies.

    Or like in BSG with The Twelve Colonies of Kobol, where the original place that colonized everything doesn't exist anymore.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The point is that that's just a nickname for a portion of the country, not the official name of the entire country.


    Well, I suppose if they built a lot of their identity on being offshoots of the mother culture, they might choose that name, but it's an anomalous usage.
     
  17. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    So, I just went over Wikipedia's lists of sovereign states and former sovereign states. And from this list, I think I've put together a decent list of sovereign state titles not yet taken in ST (not counting Federation Member States), along with some adjectival modifiers:

    State Titles

    Chiefdom (of)
    Commonwealth (of)
    Confederacy (of)
    Confederation (of)
    Despotate (of)
    Duchy (of)
    Dynasty (of)
    Emirates (of)
    Federacy (of)
    Kingdom (of)
    Lordship (of)
    Nation (of)
    Prince-Bishopric (of)
    Principality (of)
    Provinces (of)
    State (of)
    States (of)
    Sultanate (of)
    Territory (of)
    Tsardom (of)
    Union (of)

    Side-notes: The formation "(Adjective) Republic of" is untaken, though the Talarian Republic has taken the "(Adjective) Republic" formation. The formation "Dominion of (Name)" is untaken, though the Dominion has taken the formation of, well, "the Dominion."

    Open adjectives: "Islamic;" "People's Democratic;" "People's Republic;" "Plurinational;" ", Abode of Peace;" "Republic of the Union of;" "Democratic People's Republic;" "Democratic;" "Arab;" "Federal Democratic;" "Federal;" "Co-operative;" "Hashemite;" "People's Democratic;" "Independent;" "Democratic Socialist;" "United;" "Oriental;" "Bolivarian;" "Socialist;" "Federated;" "Grand;" "Most Serene;" "Free;" "Soviet;" "Workers';" "Holy Roman;" "Sovereign;" "Military;" "Papal;" "Autonomous;" "State Union;" "People's Socialist;" "Federative;" "Democratic Federative;" "Great;" "Princely"
     
  18. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    The answer to the Trill question must lie in there somewhere.

    I propose: The People's Most Serene Great United Socialist Democratic Co-Operative Federative Sovereign State Union of Trill.

    Every time a new president is elected, he or she is permitted to add another word, just as a new host adds something to the existing Joined lineage. There's terrible unrest over whether Durghan gets to add a word, rather than Maz having already covered it.

    Durghan is considering adding a "Really", reportedly. Quite where she'll place it and what she's implying there, is up for debate.
     
  19. dodge

    dodge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Anomalous usage is not an uncommon thing in Star Trek. ;)

    Dominion is not a dominion, United Federation of Planets is technically more of a confederacy, Breen are by everything seen and written much more likely to be a unitary state than a confederacy, and none of the major empires have an actual emperor...
     
  20. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I swore I remembered a reference to the Republic of Trill somewhere, but I couldn't find anything about it on Memory Beta, and nobody here has mentioned it, so I might be mistaken.