Alexios VII of Thraysia
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|Emperor and Autocrat of the Thraysians|
|Thraysian Emperor |
|Reign||17 January 2001 – present|
|Coronation||20 January 2001|
|Predecessor||Justin IV Gregoras|
|Heir apparent||Basil Gregoras|
|Born||25 July 1976|
Imperial Square, Konstantinopolis, Thraysia
Catella Sphrantze (m. 1996)
|Father||Justin IV Gregoras|
Alexios VII (b. 25 July 1976) is the current reigning Emperor of the Thraysian Empire.
He was born in the Imperial Square of Konstantinopolis as the 6th child to the former Emperor, Justin IV of Thraysia, and Anastasia Gregoras. He was educated at the Nazareth Academy since birth, a prestigious high school in the capital. He went to the University of Konstantinopolis and graduated in 3 years, after which he went on to briefly serve the Imperial Thraysian Forces as an Officer of the Army. He married Catella Sphrantze in 1996, firstborn to the then Governor of Ampheia.
Despite being the 3rd born son of the former Emperor, Alexios had demonstrated an exceptional level of virtue and industriousness to earn the throne. Additionally, the first son of Justin, Phillipicus, was known for mildly scandalous behavior. His brother, Serafim, had went to live a monastic life. As a result, he had inherited the succession of the Thraysian throne.
Alexios's rule has been characterized by a strengthening of Imperial absolutism and autocratic rule in contrast to the mild decentralizing and democratizing policies by his father. His economic policies have involved strengthening the role of the state and increasing economic planning. Socially, press censorship and dissent laws have been strengthened. The disappearance of many state actors, journalists, and political activitists has been partly or directly contributed to assassination plots by Alexios.
Alexios began education in the Nazarene Academy of Konstantinpolis, a pretigious K-12 Academy. At the time, half of the Academy's student body included children born from Thraysian imperial officials. In High School, Alexios maintained straight A's, excluding freshman year. His father, maintaining a tradition of the Gregorian dynasty, strongly encouraged Alexios to maintain a secret identity for reasons of security, humility, and avoidance of attention or paparazzi. Throughout school, he was known as "Dimitris" to his peers. Socially, he is reported to have been bullied in his youth for reasons not made public.
Typical for many Imperial elites from the capital, Alexios attended the oldest and most prestigious Thraysian institution of higher education: the University of Konstantinopolis. He majored in politics and government while being active in the Officer Training Program. Througout his school and college life, he was known for his deep scholarly fascinations of history, sociology, literature, and theology. In college, he published several books and poems under his secret identity as Dimitris.
The eldest son of Justin IV, Phillipicus, was known for being involved in mild corruption scandals. In his personal life, his performance in school was poor at times. He had frequently displayed careless and reckless behavior. His mannerisms sometimes contradicted the rigid social norms and honor codes of the Thraysian upper class. The second eldest son, Phillipicus, had renounced the luxury of Imperial life to become an monk. With the well-displayed character of Alexios, he naturally obtained the succession from Justin IV. As Justin IV grew to be ill from cardiovascular disease, Alexios VII had unofficially taken several tasks of the Emperor to assist his father. The hospitalization of Justin IV led to the official coronation of Alexios VII on January 20th, 2001.
The beginning of Alexios's reign was faced with illegal protests in the capital, which rose up on the 18th of January. The protests arose from a Thraysian political faction known as the "radical reformists," a faction known for being staunchly opposed to centralization and believing the reforms of Justin IV to be far too moderate. Initially, the Emperor saught to allow the protests in a peaceful, diplomatic manner. Several leaders of the radical reformists were invited to the Imperial Palace for debate and negotiations. Alexios and the radical reformists agreed to reach certain agreements, though the protesters believed that the leaders were bribed and began initiating riots as a result. As tensions grew to be more violent and several buildings in the capital were burned down or destroyed, Alexios ordered the Imperial Police to fire at will and use "whatever force is necessary."
It is believed that the riots of 2001 marked a significant shift in the character and personality of Alexios. He allegedly grew to be more paranoid and distrustful, while ideologically leaning towards more absolutism and centralization over the ungratefulness of the rioters who were not appreciative of his father's reforms.
Alexios had courted with Catella Sphrantze in a ballroom dance during the summer after his graduation from Nazarene Academy. She was the daughter to a prominent noble, Michael Ducas, the then Governor of Ampheia. They maintained a friendship, were engaged a year after meeting, and had married after Alexios completed the second year of his education. Due to the nature of the marriage with its publicity, selection of Alexios as the heir, words spread in their social circles, Alexios's secret identity as Dimitros had finally been revealed.
Alexios and Catella are currently parents to nine children.
The first reforms of Alexios involved mass purges in the government and bureaucracy and a crackdown upon political opponents, activists, and journalists. Opposing political factions, such as the Federalists and Radical reformists, were cast out of the government - leading to a near-monopoly of the Statist faction. This had a particular effect on the Vardanan regions of Thraysia, where several local leaders were replaced by officials from the capital. Under Alexios, censorship and freedom of speech has become increasingly poorer than it was under Justin IV. Thraysia has faced considerably more international scrutiny over the decrease of political freedom and possible human rights abuses. Many influential political figures, journalists, and activists have mysteriously disappeared, likely attributed to secret assassinations. Regardless of the abuses and violations of political freedom, the centralizing reforms of Alexios have partly resulted in an impressive cleanup of corruption, inefficiency, and red-tape in the government.
Socially, Alexios has further reinforced religiously-based social conservatism and patriotism though propaganda campaigns and political changes. A prominent change was when he issued edicts strengthening the enforcement of behavioral codes and etiquette for the upper class in 2004. His appointments to the Education Ministry have promoted curriculums emphasizing said social values, especially in promoting the historical lenses of nationalist scholars. As a devout Orthodox Christian, he has collaborated with the Church and stressed its importance to government officials. With directives by his wife, prostitution was cracked down, punishing brothels and cracking down on sex-trafficking, and women's protections against domestic violence were strengthened.
As part of Alexios's social policy, Imperial oversight of the internet was formally established by Alexios in 2002 with the Thraysian Internet Control Agency (TICA). A firewall was created to enforce censorship. Surveillance of social media was setup. Laws against pornography were strengthened to close loopholes enabled by the internet; all pornographic production in Thraysia was severely punished while social stigmas were reinforced through propaganda. Additionally, pro-government propaganda, cyber harassment, and disinformation campaigns have been promoted by TICA through bots, trolls, and memes. There have also been reports by whistleblowers and conspiracy theorists that TICA played a role in establishing Thraysia as a hotbed of piracy (pertaining to non-Thraysian media), scamming, and hacking/cyberwarfare. While many are aware of TICA's scandalous activity on the internet, the extent of it is very unclear, especially with its secretive nature.
Economically, the guild system was re-organized and much of its autonomy was revoked. Many CEOs and officials of top companies were replaced with economic professionals from the capital. There has been several complaints among industry leaders for the guild system increasingly neglecting their needs while attempting to serve Imperial interests above all else. In addition to guild reforms, a series of nationalizations has took place throughout the early reign of Alexios. Many economic initiatives such as the rapid expansion of Thraysia's infrastructure and heavy investment into nuclear power have been led under Alexios. The Thraysian subway system was heavily modernized and expanded upon, becoming one of the best in the world. He has also shown mild support for environmentalism, accomplishing things such as curtailning carbon emissions and increasing wildlife preservation efforts, though more radical environmentalists have been critical of his increases in subsidization and expansion of coal mining. While Thraysia's energy reliance on coal has reduced, its exports have accelerated. On more negative sidenotes, Thraysia's economy has faced increasing prices and inflation which some attribute to his more protectionist trade policy.
Geopolitically, Alexios continued the policies of the previous Gregorian Emperors in continuing the policy of "balance and neutrality" while partaking in whatever means necessary to increase Thraysia's influence abroad. A markable change has been the deterioration of relations with the western-monarchies, especially with the Emperor's comments on the ongoing Gran Aligonian crisis of 2019-20. Protectionist policies have led to mild diplomatic strains with neighboring Uluujol.
Titles, Honors, Styles, and Arms
Alexios VII's reception varies by different demographics and social classes in Thraysia. His precise reception is somewhat difficult to assess over his rigid censorship and social control.
The overall characteristic of Alexios VII's reign has been a sharp contrast from his father, Justin IV. Justin IV, while an Emperor characteristic of Thraysian absolutism, had introduced reforms of decentralization and is said to have planted the seeds of democratic institutions in Thraysia. His approach to rule was characterized as "soft power" and "domestic diplomacy." Alexios VII's approach has been characterized with "hard power" and brute force. He has been likened as a milder version of the infamous historical Emperor, Theodosios V. He is extremely unpopular from many foreign scholars for his reactionary politics, abuse of human rights, and promotion of every negative stereotype and complaints about Thraysian society as strange, reactionary, and absolute.
Within Thraysia, his support is strong among some of the poor over his expansion of government charity/welfare programs and state opportunities to the poor, along with his image of a strong ruler cracking down upon corrupt officials. However, his gradual removal of workplace democracy has lead to some unpopularity among a large portion of the working class. He is especially popular among the youth for his mild cult of personality and athleticism. Religious leaders appraise his piety and devotion but are moderately appalled at his constant use of brute force and secret assassinations. Most of his domestic critics have stemmed from certain factions among the upper class, Vardanan minorities desiring greater autonomy, business leaders, and other leaders of local governments for his restraint upon their power and influence in favor of tighter Imperial control.
Alexios VII has been perceived among his peers to be ambiverted, humorous, and caring. On a negative note, he is reported to have trust isssues and paranoia over being backstabbed several times by his peers in school, being a prime victim of bullying in his youth, and the Riots of 2001.