Imperial Court of the Hellenic Empire
The Imperial Court of the Hellenic Empire is the official title for the primary method in which the Emperor of the Hellenic Empire exercises executive power over the nation. Court is held four times a year, or once per quarter, for a period of one month. During this time nobility of proper rank, foreign ambassadors, dignitaries, favored commoners, war heroes, decorated soldiers, members of certain orders, and other foreign dignitaries and guests gather and reside in the Argios Palace. Those who are offered Imperial Apartments within the palace are automatically allowed to attend court no matter their rank. Food and entertainment are provided for free to all of the guests for the duration of the month.
History and etiquette
The first Court of the Hellenic Empire was held shortly after Arga I was crowned in 956. Initially started as a party for the nobility, the court began to be more focused as the years passed. By the rule of the Belator Dynasty, court had become a significant part of the governance of the realm. Traditionally when court is not in session, the emperor is not regularly approached or petitioned except for emergency situations. This rule of etiquette was established early on even for foreign ambassadors from differing realms. Only for certain situations are exceptions made to this rule. During one court session a year, the custom eventually emerged to allow a select number of commoners to petition the emperor on their behalf as well. This remains a popular event today.
Court follows a fairly regimented procedure with little deviation in the 1062 years since the practice was established. On the first day of the month, dignitaries arrive and are shown to the various apartments of the palace. That night, a feast is held to commemorate the opening of the court. Foreign ambassadors, special guests, and other foreign guests are greeted first followed by honored commoners and other local honored guests. Following the feast, the sitting emperor gives a speech commemorating the opening of the court and laying out the main issues that are to be addressed for the month long session. The successive weeks are divided up into threes with a communal meal held in the grand feasting hall each evening. Three days of feasting and entertainment are followed by three days of business and petitions before the cycle starts over. There is a docket that is managed by the Kanikleios, or master of scribes, in which issues are brought before the emperor. Historically, this was done in the throne room but several emperors have broken the trend sometimes taking petitions outside, in the palace library, and even in their own personal study. Arbitration agreements between parties can also be brought before the emperor provided neither party wishes to go through the courts. Each foreign ambassador in attendance is also permitted time to negotiate and present diplomatic entreaties before the monarch. Traditionally, court has also been used by other nobility to arrange marriages and conduct their own business with other members of the aristocracy and the public. At the end of a session of court, another feast is held in which the emperor officially declares court to be over and issues invitations and summons for the next court in two months time. Periodically throughout history, the monarch may choose to cancel a session of court due to some circumstance and may do so at his discretion.
There are four court sessions a year with each lasting for one month and a two month break in between each. The courts are named, Court of Winter, Court of New Life, Court of Goodwill, and the Court of the End. Despite the differing names, there are no major differences between the courts except for the Court of Goodwill where the emperor will generally listen to more petitions from commoners than the other three courts.