Prime Minister of Themiclesia
|Type||head of government|
|Member of||Council of Correspondence|
|Reports to||The Emperor|
|Seat||Court Hall (Themiclesia)|
|Nominator||Ministry of Administration|
Council of Protonotaries
|Constituting instrument||Standing Order of Administrators (吏令)|
|Deputy||Right 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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
- 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.
|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|
- 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.