Imperial Court of Mesogeia

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The Imperial Court of Mesogeia refers to the institution, which historically has been divided regionally into the Imperial Court of the North (Farsian: Darbār e Azam) and the Imperial Court of the South (Alcaenian: βασιλική αυλή), which are comprised of the domestic, military, and religious establishments and entourages of the Emperor of Mesogeia, which supports both the reigning sovereign and the members of the Imperial Family in the fulfillment of their duties.


The imperial court of Mesogeia originated as the court of the Alcaeids in the 11th century BC, which was synonymous with the imperial government, meaning that essentialy they were one in the same. Such court titles as Hazarapatis (Master of the Thousands), Visapatis (Marshal of the court), Databara (Master of laws), Ganzabara (Chief Treasurer), Arstibara (keeper of the Spear), Vacabara (keeper of the bow), and Azdakara (Chief Announcer), were all attested as having existed in the 5th century BC during the reign of Artaxerxes III. Of these ancient offices few survived into the present day, although the title of Hazarapatis is believed to have been the precursor for the mordern title of Megas Chilliarch, which is the most senior great officer of the empire.

Eventually following the hellenic overthrow of the old Alcaeid empire in the 4th century BC the new Aegaid dynasty began a process of hellenization. Although the Aegaid dynasty monarchs maintained royal courts at Azgartia in Ochran, they used the cities of Mithradat-Alcaeia, Chousa, Fasargadae, and Ecbatana in the Farsian regions of the empire; as wella as maintaining royal courts in the southern regions of modern Mesogeia particularly at their ancestral seats Aegai and Pella, effectively creating alternating court structures.

By the time the city of Ctesiphon was founded across the river Aranz from Mithradat-Alcaeia to serve as a garrison for northern troops in the early 2nd century BC, two seperate imperial courts existed at Mithradat-Alcaeia in the north and Pella in the south. The southern imperial court moved with the Emperor when the imperial capital was transfered to Parisia in 21 BC. The southern imperial court moved to Alexandropolis (the current national capital) in the 4th century AD; although the northern imperial court was maintained at Chrysopolis (a term referring to the tri-cities of Mithradat, Alcaeia, and Ctesiphon during the entirety of these centuries.

By the mid 4th century AD two established heads of the imperial courts were attested, a Darigansalar for the northern court and a Prokoitos for the southern court; both of which were given the honorific Megas (great), althohgh the Darigansalar no longer uses the honorifc.

The basic administrative structure of the Imperial court has existed in its present form largely unchanged for well over a thousand years. The Imperial court has historically been divided into the Imperial Court of the North and the Imperial Court of the South.

Structure and organization

The Imperial Court of Mesogeia is divided into two seperate establishments for the north and the south, known as the Imperial Courts of the North and the South. Since at least the 11th century there was a Grammateus ton oikeiakon for the administering of the southern court on the behalf of the Megas Prokoitos. It was not until the 16th century that the establisments of both regional imperial courts were centralized under a sole Imperial Court Ministy, although they continued to have nearly identical departments in some cases, with slight variations for several centuries further.

Great Offices of the courts

Imperial Court of the North

The Birûn

The Birûn or Outer Court of the north relates to the public section and exterior services of the court: which consists of public reception rooms, imperial secretariat, guards-house, palace kitchens, workshops, stables, the camp services, and the gardens and parks.

Public reception rooms refers to the public rooms, salons, banqueting rooms, audience halls and throne rooms, of the imperial palaces of the north, all of which fall under the sphere of the Ishik Aqasi bashi, as Grand Steward, who is assisted by the Piškašnevis (Chief gift registrar).

Imperial Secretariat of the North, with most of its duties and functions having been absorbed by the Great Imperial Chancellery or split off into related government ministries, it was once responsible for a number of functions in the northern regions of the empire including finance, land grants, collection of revenue, correspondence, language translation, imperial archives, military records, and the imperial seal of the north.

The Imperial Guardshouse or the Military establishment of the Northern Court refers to the military branch of the court, consisting of five regiments: the Qurchi Guards corps, Gholam Guards corps, Tupchi Guards corps, Tofangchi Guards Corps, and Qoroqči Guards Corps.

Palace Kitchens under the direction of Khvansalar (the chief caterer), is responsible for the provisioning of food, its preperation and table service within the palace. It is composed of provisions storehouses, bakery, buttery, pantry, coffeehouse, teahouse, brewery, waterhouse.

The Imperial Workshops refers to the section of the Imperial court of the north responsible for overseeing the manufacturing houses and workshops tasked with the upkeep, storage, and maintenance of all movable pieces within the palaces of the north, including but not limited to furniture, art, and manuscripts, and apartment furnishings.

The Imperial stables refers to the exterior section of the northern court's establishment responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the court's horses, mules (and for a time elephants and camals), lions, as well as the collection of litters, palanquins, carriages, holsters, and saddlery.

The Imperial Camp services is the section of the court of the north was at a time responsible for a variety of functions and taskes related to the outdoor and exterior services of the palace. Authority of this section of the court is overseen by the Farras-Bashi (as the chief carpet spreader) and Nasaqci-Bashi (Chief Discipliner): bearing the responsiblity for camp services, delivering of imperial commands, and punitive measures.

Under its umbrella were the aides-de camp (Yasāvolān-e ṣoḥbat), and stewards of the imperial camp of the north and all those bearing the distinction of being a riding companion to the monarch.

Other sections affiliated with the Imperial Camp Serivces include the Imperial Hunting Office responsible the organizing of hunts as well as forests and nature reserves.

The Imperial gardens and parks refers to the pleasure gardens and palace parks attached to the court of the north. Under its supervision falls the Bagban-Bashi (Imperial Gardener), and the Moqanni-Bashi (Chief of Irrigation). In the present the gardens and parks are under the admnistration of the Maintenance and Construction Department of the Imperial Court Ministry.

The Andarûn

The Andarûn or Inner Court is composed of the private audience halls, page apartments, eunuch apartments the imperial enclosure, the Women's apartments, and the domestic staff.

The Private audience halls refers to the antechambers between the imperial apartments where the emperor would receive guests in "semi-private" audience setting during such ceremonies as the morning private audiencse, meetings of the councils, reception of vassal kings, grandees and high dignitaries warranting the right to a private audience.

The Apartments of the Pages refers to the section of the court traditionaly entrusted with the care and management of the young male servants, collectively called pages; whose primary duties were to serve in the private apartments of the sovereign and imperial family. The Gholām-bačča-bāšī (Chief Page of Honour), responsible for supervising the page boys attached to the Court of the north

While historically a good portion of the palace pages were drawn from enslaved or captured children a portion did come from elite families looking to better their positions. The Page school of the North originated from the Apartments of the Pages.

The Eunuch apartments is the section responsible for the eunuch courtiers attached to the imperial court of the north. It is overseen by the Khwaja-Bashi (Chief Eunuch of the Gate), and the Raʾīs-e Safid (Chief Eunuch of the Harem), who are responsible for the Khwaja-sarāyān (eunuch staff).

The Imperial Enclosure or (ḵalwat-e ḵāṣṣa) refers to the private inner service of the imperial court of the north. It is headed by the Wazīr-e ḥożūr-e homāyūn (Minister of imperial attendance), who oversees all the court functionaries bearing the distinction of being personal attendants in waiting (ʿamala-ye ḥożūr) to the imperial enclousure or apartments of the sovereign, which includes the Nāẓem-e ḵalwat, Pīš-ḵedmat-bāšī, Pīš-ḵedmat-e ḥożūr, and the Farrāš-e ḵalwat.

The Women's apartments of the northern court were fully integrated into the main women's apartments in the chief imperial palace in Alexandropolis, although some remnents of its former role can be seen within the modern establishment.

Domestic staff or Housekeepers apartments relates to the domestic staff of the imperial court of the north. It consists of (doorkeepers (qāpūčīs), ushers ((īšīk-āqāsīs), and housekeepers (sarāydārān), which are under the sphere of the Saraydār-bāšhī, as chief Housekeeper of the palace.

Imperial Court of the South

The Basilikon Andronitis

The Basilikon Andronitis or Outer Court chambers of the south relates to the public section and exterior services of the imperial court of the south: it consists of various public reception rooms which includes the parade apartments, audience halls, banquet halls, council chambers; in adddition to various historic institutions connected to the monarch in the perfomance of official duties such as the Imperial Stables, Imperial Camp, and the attached gardens and parks of southern imperial palaces.

The Basilikon Thálamos

The Basilikon Thálamos or Inner Court chambers refers to private sections of the imperial palace as well as the personal retinue attached to the Mesogeian sovereign in their role as Emperor of the southern regions. The inner court chambers consist of the imperial apartments of the monarch and imperial family (which historically consisted of the rooms of the emperor, his family, and his wives and concubines), as well as the domestic staff of the palaces, chamberlains, eunuchs, page and so forth.

Its senior offices include the Parakoimomenos tou Koitonos, Parakoimomenos tes sphendones, Arcithyroros.

While subordinate staff consist of the Koitonarioi, Prokathemenoi, and Basilikoi Paidopouloi.

The Women's Court

The Women's Court refers to the seperate establishment within the imperial court which defines the hierarchy of the women of the court, including the empress, imperial consorts, imperial princesses and their respective entourages and staff. The Women's court is divided into southern and northern branches although it is run from Alexandropolis.

Traditionally speaking the senior Empress Dowager functions as the overall head of the Women's court on behalf of the sovereign. However since the death of the last Empress Dowager based on seniority her Imperial Highness, Dowager Imperial Consort Theophano serves unofficially serves head of the Women's court without the title.

Imperial Consort Theopano being the step mother of the reigning Empress Elena II ranks directly below the Empress regnant being the only surviving consort to the late Emperor Constantine XXII..

There are two groups of women, within the imperial court of Mesogeia: the first group being Women of the Harem and Ladies of the Court. Women of the Harem or Women of the Court (as they were sometimes called) refers to the empress, imperial consorts, imperial princesses, concubines and all other female relatives of the Mesogeian sovereign.

In contrast the Ladies of the Court refers to the ladies in waiting and female attending staff attached to the entourages of the women of the court.

Women of the Court ranks:

  1. Empress Dowager: The senior rank of the entire female establishment is that of the woman bearing the status of empress mother by virtue of being the widow or biological/adoptive mother of a reiging or past reigning monarch. The Empress Dowager officially uses the titles Mahd-e Olyā ("Sublime Cradle" or "Highest Ranked Lady"), Basilometor ("Empress Mother), and Basilissa ("Empress").
  2. Empress Consort: The second-highest rank in the women's court is reserved for the chief consort or empress of a reigning sovereign. The Empress consort officially uses the titles of Padishah Begum ("First Lady"), and Basilissa interchangabaly.
  3. Imperial Consorts: The secondary wives of an emperor were entitled to be styled as Shahbanu ("Lady of the Emperor"). Historically speaking the Mesogeian church allowed for the Emperor to have 1 empress, 4 consorts, and numerous concubines.
  4. Despotissa of Morea: is the official title reserved for the wife of the Despot of the Morea (the heir apparant). It is equivalent to the position of Crown Princess, and is generally believed to supersede that of Grand Princess.
  5. Kyria Despoina: (literally "Lady Mistress") is a title specifically created for the eldest daughter of the reigning monarch. The position is held for life when available.
  6. Sebastokratoria: Is a title reserved for the wife of the Emperor's brother.
  7. Grand Princesss: A title reserved for the daughters, male-line grand-daughters of reigning monarchs. Officially called Megas Basilopoula ("Great Princess") or Shahdokht ("Imperial Princess"). All princes and princesses of imperial blood in the male line are entitled to be have the style Shahzada affixed to their names.
  8. Anassa A title equivalent to Queen, also less commonly referred to as Banu as the wife of a constituent king or Hypotelis-Princes (Vassal Princes) ranked between the immediate imperial family and princes of the blood imperial.
  9. Princess: The title of a Princess of the blood Imperial, that is reserved for the female descendants (that is the great-grand daughters) of the younger sons of the emperor and his brothers and those in the female line to the third-degree. They are collectively entitled to use Sebaste.
  10. Igemonis: A rank reserved for the legitimized daughters of concubines.
  11. Concubine.: Given their status as not legal wives, concubines ranked behind all other senior "women at court" and were divided into four classes overall. The highest ranking concubine was entitled to be styled as Chief Hetaira ("Chief courtesan").
    1. Begum: reserved for concubines possessing imperial blood, or royal vassal blood and having entered the harem; although most would become Consorts or empresses.
    2. Khanum: reserved for concubines belonging to the Mesogeian nobility having entered the harem
    3. Khatun: reserved for women entering the harem from the lower classes of society.
    4. Kaniz: officially defunct, it refers to the women who were captured or purchased specifically for the harem in historic times, literally slave concubines.
  12. Noblewomen: Although not apart of the Imperial Harem system, noblewomen are generally believed to rank behind the female relations of the sovereign, princesses of the blood imperial, consorts of subordinate kings, legitimized natural imperial daughters, and imperial concubines. This rank is further divided into:
    1. Female Grandees/Wives of Grandees (Wuzurgan) holding the rank of Duke, Prince, and or Marquess.
    2. Female Peers/Wives of Peers (Hetairoi) or (Azadan), those not possessing grandeeships.
    3. Untitled noblewomen/wives of untitled nobles (Pronoiars) or (Dehqan)
    4. Appointed noblewomen (non hereditary nobles)

Ladies of the Court ranks:

  • Chief Mahaldar: the lifetime post of Grand Mistress or Superintendant of the Court Ladies. The seniormost female attendant at court is responsible for financial and organizational matters of the women's Court, as as oversight of the female attendants. Special functions included reporting to the sovereign about harem matters. In earlier times this office was called Kyria Potnia (Lady Mistress).
  • Chief Khanadar: Second in command of the Ladies of the court. She is responsible for overseeing the travels, furnishings and supply of linen, lace, silk, furniture to the apartments of the empress and of the other women of the court and court ladies.
  • Protovestria: The Mistress of the Wardrobe, the thrid highest Lady of the court rank is responsible for the daily preparing of the empress' wardrobe (her undergarments, riding dress, and public and leisurely attire)
  • Mahaldar: A Superintendant of female attendants. In the present each female relative of the immediate imperial family has a Mahaldar who reports to the Chief Mahaldar and peferoms the duties of Lady of Honour to her female charges. Historically when princes were allowed multiple wives each of their establisments contained Mahaldars.
  • Khanadar: A lady in waiting responsible for a host of functions in relation to their imperial charges; including wardrobe and travel matters
  • Daroga: A term for a high-middle ranking lady in waiting at court. The post is divided into the Daroga of the Chamber and Daroga of the Court; while the former performed mostly ceremonial functions, the latter were responsible for regular attendance on their female charges.
  • Vestria: A position junior to that of lady-in-waiting, these maidens were drawn from the nobility and upper echelons and entered court service at a young age often to attend the Court Ladies School and contract a good marriage.

Court Ranks and honorifics

Court etiquette

See also