Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 years?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by The Overlord, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    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.
     
  2. The Castellan

    The Castellan Commodore Commodore

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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.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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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.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

    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.
     
  5. The Librarian

    The Librarian Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

    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.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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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."
     
  7. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

    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.
     
  8. Drago-Kazov

    Drago-Kazov Fleet Captain

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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?
     
  9. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

    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.
     
  10. Hando

    Hando Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

    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.

    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.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

    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).
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    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.
     
  13. Hando

    Hando Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

    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.
     
  14. The Castellan

    The Castellan Commodore Commodore

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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?
     
  15. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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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.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

    But if it were as simple as that, then said chancellor would've probably just declared himself emperor. There would have to be some reason why the High Council chose to eliminate the actual position of a single autocratic ruler.

    I would think they elevated the Council to the highest position in government as a way to prevent any single individual or dynasty from holding absolute power. I can see that serving a practical function; Klingons wouldn't like to be ruled over, so if just one dynasty/house ruled everyone, then everyone else would be constantly battling it to try to take over, and the unending warfare would've devastated the society and economy. By replacing a single emperor with a ruling council representing all the major noble families, and with a system of succession to the chancellorship that gives any sufficiently strong warrior the chance to claim it, you'd allow the noble families to feel they had sufficient status and reputation that they wouldn't need to be trying to overthrow the government all the time and said government could actually get some work done.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

    On the other hand, we don't know whether the previous Emperor position was a hereditary one, and whether it would have been any more complicated to "elect" a new Emperor by duel or assassination than it is to "elect" a new Chancellor that way. Somehow, I don't see Klingons suffering a hereditary ruler for any length of time - or bothering with the position of Chancellor when the position of Emperor existed. Perhaps the only thing that changed three centuries prior to "Rightful Heir" was the name of the throne-related job?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

    Kahlest made the interesting statement in "Sins of the Father" that Mogh had a great deal of loyalty to the Emperor, despite Gowron's later claim in "Rightful Heir" that the position hadn't existed politically for three centuries.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

    Well, to me it's only interesting in that it shows they were making up new things as they went and not letting past throwaway lines keep them from telling the stories they wanted to tell. "Heart of Glory" implied that "Kling" was the name of the Klingon homeworld, but then TUC ignored that and called it Kronos (which Mark Okrand later Klingonized as Qo'noS), and that took precedence because it was a bigger story and a clearer reference, and to some extent simply because it came later.

    Considering what I said earlier about the common people seeing little difference in who rules them, it's possible that commoners like Kahlest don't see much difference between the old emperors and the current chancellors, and thus use the labels somewhat interchangeably.

    Of course, we do know that Gowron likes to rewrite Klingon history to suit his agendas, so we can't necessarily trust his claim that there hasn't been an emperor in 300 years. It could be that the emperorship was temporarily re-established at some more recent point, but Gowron or his predecessors have expunged those emperors from the histories, or at least dismissed the legitimacy of their claims to the throne.
     
  20. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Why did the Klingons get rid of the position of Emperor for 300 ye

    Where is a Klingon? On Kling.

    Yeah, that's pretty weak.