Prime Minister of Themiclesia

Prime Minister
尚書令
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Incumbent
Lja Le (徐貽)

since 2016
Typehead of government
Member ofCouncil of Correspondence
Reports toThe Emperor
ResidenceCouncil Residences
SeatCourt Hall (Themiclesia)
NominatorMinistry of Administration
Council of Protonotaries
AppointerThe Emperor
Term lengthunlimited
Constituting instrumentStanding Order of Administrators (吏令)
Customary usage
Formationc. 550
DeputyRight Minister, Left Minister

The Prime Minister of Themiclesia (震旦相, tjelh-tanh-sjangh) of Themiclesia is the head of the Themiclesian government. Historically, the head of government was the most powerful individual or individuals holding authority in the name of the monarch and over all his possessions. Several offices have been in this position, but the current is the President of Correspondence (尚書令, ′djang′-st′ja-ringh). The incumbent is Lja Le, who assumed office in 2018 after the retirement of St′ang Krugh.

Terminology

The term smjangh (相; Old Menghean: *s- prefix from 望 *mang-s) that is translated as "prime minister" is a general appellation of the most powerful advisor or executive of the monarch. While it is derived from the word sjangh-prong "chancellor", the prime minister is not always the chancellor. Instead, the position of prime minister shifted to different offices several times in Themiclesian history as the government structure changed to respond to political realities at court. This is not to say that the monarch was free to many any official his prime minister: existing hierarchies were, for the most part, respected by the crown, as they represented accumulated administrative experience and were buttressed by aristocratic interests.

History

Development outside Themiclesia

The institution of the Council of Correspondence can be traced to Menghe in the Warring States, when a trend to centralize administration necessitated a secretariat to handle the monarch's state papers; however, policies were most often made by a chancellor, leaving the monarch a limited role in government. Chancellors were often talented individuals who could, over their careers, serve in multiple courts; as a result, monarchs usually wished to retain a final check on the chancellor's actions, though active policy-making would still be done by the latter. It is understood that the monarch's secretariat, titled "managers of correspondence", handled communications between the chancellor, which led what could be called a government, and the monarch. In this period, the managers of correspondence were effectively secretaries to a passive monarch. This arrangement of power was to continue after Menghe was unified by the eponymous Meng dynasty in 192 BCE, which was the principal influence on perambulating Themiclesian political structures during the Hexarchy.

However, ambitious monarchs soon took a more active role in policy-making than the existing arrangement permitted. The Chancery was reduced from government to an administrative body that interpreted the policies that the Meng emperor and his closer courtiers made, and the managers of correspondence, who controlled communication between the monarch and chancery, grew to represent the emperor's will. The most senior secretary was called the president of correspondence, though he had no formal powers over the other secretaries, that the channels of communication were not constricted. The power of the secretaries was reflected in many social institutions. Though not high-ranking, virtually all other ministers were expected to yield and bow to a secretary when he passed, including the chancellor. The shift from chancellory to secretarial government is thought to have occurred in Menghe, gradually, between 150 BCE and 50 BCE. The same shift was slower to occur in Themiclesia, as monarchs there were more willing to yield power to talented administrators, who could defect if the ruler was impossible.

Domestic development

During the late Hexarchy, the Tsjinh state disestablished most of its fiefdoms (內諸侯, nubh-tja-go) to enlarge the demesne land (縣官, gwenh-kwal), directly controlled and taxed by the ruler; this enlarged the jurisdiction of the Chancellor of Tsjinh. Following the Treaty of Five Kings, the Tsjinh monarch acquired primacy over the other four states and sought to influence their courts, but in reality every court sought to influence another, through marriage alliances and secret diplomacy. The chancellor thus sometimes became suspect, since he could be a very well-regarded and able administrator but have connections to other states. Additionally, the Tsjinh monarch actively encouraged the vassals of the other princes to defect (外諸侯, ngwadh-tja-go), sometimes permitting them autonomy beyond the chancellor's jurisdiction. Titles were offered to courtiers for their prolonged support, if a hostile court offered competitive terms. What had been a relatively unitray state in the 2nd century became pluralistic by the early 5th as it expanded without resorting to force. The jurisdiction of the Chancellor of Tsjinh thus fragmented, and active monarchs dealt with several autonomous leaders.

In 420, the Tsjinh was overthrown by King Mjen of Sungh. Having himself been Chancellor of Tsjinh, Mjen left the office vacant in case a usurper imitated his rise to power. In its stead, the two Vice Chancellors, Right (右丞相, gwrje′-djeng-sjangh) and Left (左丞相, dzar-djeng-sjangh), became collegiate ministers.[1] The Right Vice Chancellor was regarded as the more senior, but the two were co-equals in power and access to the monarch. Only during very brief periods was a full chancellor appointed over them. During the final decades of the Sungh dynasty, the Council of Correspondence emerged as a keystone department to administer the many types of resource towards warfare, working in the name of the king. While this was only done during warfare initially, the Council's power grew in the absence of an active monarch.

The Council of Correspondence emerged at the royal court as a measure to replace the Chancellor of Tsjinh as the monarch's prime minister. The former had an important advantage over the latter: since it was outside of the ordinary bureaucratic structure and a collegiate office, the monarch could freely appoint his supporters without worrying that they hold too much responsibility.


Modernization

Peerage problem

In many dynasties, it was customary for the prime minister to be a peer, ensuring that the head of the government be a figure agreeable to the peers. Peers were frequently from generations of counsellors to the monarchy and therefore enjoyed preferrment to the crown. While peers do not always form a political party, the monarch usually strived to maintain a working relationship with them if for nothing more than a check on the power of the civil service. If the throne was strong, prime ministers were automatically made peers; if not, the prime minister was usually selected from the ranks of the peers. The wider court usually agreed with this arrangement, as peers were a conservative influence on the court, while bureaucrats could be more eager for achievements. The benefit of stability was also conferred by having a peer in charge, since other peers effectively formed his council; drastic policies were made less likely.

Following the Great Settlement, the peers behaved as a political party and gained an upper hand at court against the pro-war civil service. The crown attempted without success to wrest power from the peers on several occasions; as a response, the peers made it a legal requirement that the President of Correspondence must be a peer in 1801. In the previous century's continuous warfare, many commoners have distinguished themselves and become the emperor's prime minister. The peers in the 18th century were weary that the balance of power was shifting to the military or bureaucrats supported it; they enacted measures to keep commoners from the higher ranks in the forces. While the military has become a tool of social mobility to some extent, ministers were still chosen from bureaucrats with a long family history of public service; the "self-made" men were still considered far too callow to be trusted with higher dignities.

While the peers' party was popular for the first two decades of the 19th century, the negative effects of disarmament were beginning to manifest on merchants. Without a strong navy, Themiclesian ships were frequently damaged or raided by foreign forces. This sentiment combined with Camian successes with democracy

List of positions

  • Tsjinh and before (to 420): chancellor
  • Early to mid-Sungh (420 – 465): vice chancellors
  • Late Sungh (465 – 491): president of correspondence
  • Rjang (491 – 542): president of correspondence
  • Mrangh (542 – 752): president of correspondence
  • Early Dzi (752 – 945): president of protonotaries
  • Late Dzi (945 – 1080): council of peers
  • Drjen (1080 – 1210): council of peers
  • Ngwrjedh (1210 – 1464): president of correspondence
  • Tsjinh (1464 – 1800): president of correspondence
  • Modern period (1800 – now): president of correspondence

List of holders

Before 1800

  • Lord of Nja-nem, Ghwjang Lu′ (汝南侯王道), fl. 255? – 270, prime minister and Chancellor of Tsjinh; negotiated the Treaty of Five Kings that nominally unified Themiclesia.
  • Lord of Kaw-nêng, Tsaw Groh (高寧侯曹冓), fl. 430s, prime minister during the Sungh dynasty.

Since 1800

Party Prime minister Shinasthana Appointed Dismissed Seat
C Lord of Gar-lang 河陽侯 Oct. 2, 1800 Jan. 14, 1814 Council of Peers
Ind. Lord Kjalh-djeng 建成君 Feb. 5, 1814 Nov. 27, 1817 Council of Peers
C Lord of Mjenh-lang 文陽侯 Dec. 1, 1817 May 22, 1819 Council of Peers
Imp. Lord Sghjang 庠君 May 22, 1819 Jul. 29, 1821 Council of Peers
C Lord of Mjenh-lang 文陽侯 Jul. 31, 1821 Oct. 12, 1825 Council of Peers
C Lord Hrus-mrjang 孝明君 Nov. 10, 1825 Apr. 2, 1826 Council of Peers
C Lord of Tubh 薱侯 Apr. 21, 1826 Sep. 30, 1833 Council of Peers
Ind. Lord of Ran 闌侯 Oct. 5, 1833 Feb. 22, 1838 Council of Peers
C Lord Hrus-mjen 孝文君 Mar. 10, 1838 Dec. 5, 1838 Council of Peers
Ind. Lord of Stsrungh 淙侯 Dec. 5, 1838 Nov. 1, 1839 Council of Peers
Ind. Lord of Ran 闌侯 Nov. 1, 1839 Apr. 27, 1845 Council of Peers
L Lord of Rjai-lang 漓陽侯 Apr. 29, 1845 Jun. 10, 1859 House of Lords
C Lord of Ghwal 桓侯 Jun. 14, 1859 Feb. 4, 1861 House of Lords
L Lord of Sng'rja 楚侯 Feb. 11, 1861 Nov. 30, 1866 House of Lords
C Lord of Nja-'rjum 女陰侯 Nov. 30, 1866 Mar. 5, 1869 House of Lords
L Lord of Sng'rja 楚侯 Mar. 7, 1869 Dec. 1, 1873 House of Lords
L Lord T'jang-mjen 昌文君 Dec. 1, 1873 Mar. 22, 1878 Kien-k'ang West
C Lord of M'i 迷侯 May 15, 1878 Jul. 21, 1880 House of Lords
L Lord L'ong-mjen 通文君 Jul. 22, 1880 Nov. 25, 1886 Sng'rja
C Lord of M'i 迷侯 Nov. 25, 1886 Jan. 22, 1889 House of Lords
L Lord L'ong-mjen 通文君 Jan. 27, 1889 Feb. 4, 1891 Sng'rja
C Lord of Snul-lang 綏陽侯 Feb. 4, 1891 Oct. 5, 1894 House of Lords
C Lord of Krungh 洚侯 Oct. 6, 1894 May 10, 1909 House of Lords
C Lord of Rjem-'an 臨安侯 May 12, 1909 Mar. 10, 1910 House of Lords
L Lord of Mik 邲侯 Mar. 22, 1910 Jan. 15, 1912 House of Lords
L Goh Mjanh-krje 冓萬基 Jan. 15, 1912 Nov. 22, 1915 Gwreng
L Lord of Mik 眉澈侯 Nov. 22, 1915 Apr. 30, 1916 House of Lords
L Goh Mjanh-krje 冓萬基 Apr. 30, 1916 Dec. 6, 1918 Gwreng
L Rjuk Mjo 陸敄 Dec. 6, 1918 Jun. 29, 1919 Sgjon-gwra
C Lord of Sloi 隨侯 Jul. 13, 1919 Oct. 7, 1921 House of Lords

Notes

  1. In situations where two similar things require differentiation, opposite descriptors were frequently used; the words "right" and "left" have no physical relevance, except to provide a contrast.

See also