Imperium (political theory)

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The Imperial Diadem
The Imperial Diadem of Austenasia, crown of the Emperors.

Imperium is the name given to the political ideology on which is based much of the political and cultural worldview of the Carshalton Nations. It is based on the concept that the holders of the title of Emperor are de jure successors of the Roman Emperors, with differing interpretations of what the implications of said concept are or should be.


On 10 January 2009, the Parliament of Austenasia passed Act 47 (The Imperial Family), "rebranding" the Emperor of Austenasia and his family as "imperial" as opposed to "royal." Prior to this legislation, relatives of the Emperor were known as the Royal Family and held the style of Royal Highness, in imitation of the British Royal Family - while no explicit claim to superiority was made, it was felt that there should be a clear distinction between an emperor or empress and a king or queen.

Acknowledging that historically, emperor had been seen as the highest ranking of all titles and was not simply assumed unilaterally, an effort began in November 2009 to justify the claim of Terry I of Austenasia to the title. From November 2009 to January 2010, an attempt was made to have Terry I elected Holy Roman Emperor by attempting to have the heirs to the Prince-Electors reply to letters addressing Terry I as "emperor", on the basis that for much of its history the Holy Roman Empire claimed that there could only be one true emperor in the world[1] - therefore, by addressing Terry I as such, the prince-electors would have been recognising him as such and "electing" him to the vacant position. This endeavour was not successful, and was abandoned after no replies were received.

With the outbreak of the Austenasian Civil War in March 2010 between Emperor Esmond III and Princess Caroline, a renewed effort was made to legitimise the claim of the Monarch to imperial rank so as to consolidate the position of Esmond III. On 15 March, this effort was formalised as Project Imperium, an official attempt by the Austenasian government to gain legitimacy for the claim of Esmond III to the title of Emperor.

The powers of the Austenasian Monarchy had been greatly limited under the constitution, with Terry I having been little more than a ceremonial figurehead. However, not only was Esmond III a far more proactive ruler than his predecessor, but the many new soldiers of the Austenasian Army recruited to support him in the civil war had little knowledge of Austenasian government; to them, the position of emperor conjured up images of autocratic glory and military prowess, not constitutional monarchy. Under Project Imperium, inspired by the earlier attempt of writing to the heirs of the prince-electors, letters were sent to the Emperor of Japan and the pretenders to several other imperial thrones (including the French and Austrian) attempting to have them reply addressing Esmond III as Emperor or Augustus. Despite no result arising from this, Esmond III began to be hailed as the "rightful Western Emperor" anyway by his troops,

Emperor Esmond III, August 2010.

said title arising from the view that the Emperor of Japan needed a counterweight of sorts in the west just as there had been an eastern and western emperor during the Tetrarchy, and that although Esmond III had not yet been recognised, he was de facto Western Emperor due to being the only claimant to the title in the west recognised by the Austenasian government as exercising sovereignty. The governmental victory in the civil war in May 2010 cemented Esmond's position as such.

Thus begun an identification of Esmond III as successor to the Western Roman Emperors, with him beginning to use the title Imperator Occidentis or Emperor of the West in various unofficial contexts. The most extreme form of the Imperium ideology, Esmondianism (see below), arose during this time, and Esmond III was looked to by the embryonic Orlian nation to bestow legitimacy on their government. From his victory in the Austenasian Civil War on 24 May 2010 until the outbreak of the War of the Orlian Reunification on 9 December later that year, Esmond III ruled as supreme head of the Carshalton Nations from his unofficial imperial court of self-proclaimed advisors and bodyguards at his high school, seen by its members as rightful ruler of the western world. He retained the massive influence he had gained over the Austenasian government during the civil war backed by his army. Support for the monarchy was the highest it had ever been, with Parliament even passing laws which gave the Monarch powers at their own expense.

After the Fall of Wrythe, the dominant figure in Austenasian politics became Emperor Declan I. Although he did not specifically denounce any of the Imperium theory, he was not so attached to its principles as Esmond III, seeing Austenasia almost as a colonial holding of his native country of Wilcsland. However, it was during the reign of Declan I that Project Imperium finally succeeded. Sebastian Linden, a descendant of the House of Hohenzollern, asserted control over a part of Germany and claimed the title German Emperor on 28 May 2011, effectively re-establishing the German Empire (albeit over only a tiny part of its territories) due to his ability as a relation of Wilhelm II to claim the throne[2] and the contested legality[3][4][5][6][7] of the post-Second World War government of Germany. Linden, taking the regnal name of Sebastian I, issued a decree on 4 June the following month recognising Declan I (and Esmond III, who at that time was still nominally joint Emperor) as holding the title Emperor of Austenasia.[8] This was accepted by the Austenasian government as validating the legitimacy of the claim of the Austenasian Throne to imperial rank, establishing beyond a doubt the position of the Monarch as an Emperor. Sebastian I continued to be recognised by the Austenasian government as German Emperor until 16 July later that year, when he relinquished sovereignty over the land he controlled and ceded authority over it to the Nemkhav Federation - he was thereafter recognised simply as the rightful claimant to the title, until he renounced his claim altogether on 17 September 2013.

The reign of Declan I also saw the principles of the Imperium ideology passed into official law for the first time. The Seventh Imperial Decree of Declan I, issued on 24 March 2012, declared:

as an official stance and policy of the Austenasian Government that the Emperor of Austenasia is, through the principle of translatio imperii, the successor in dignity to the Western Roman Emperors, and as such holds rightful precedence over all other rulers of the western world.[9]

The Definitions and Interpretations Act 2012, passed the following month, defined "translatio imperii" and "Western Emperor" as:

the doctrine that imperium (the condition of being the Western or Eastern Emperor) has been transferred through a linear succession of Emperors since the reign of Augustus from the Roman Empire ultimately to the Emperors of Austenasia in the West and the Emperors of Japan in the East... [and] the legitimate successor in dignity to the Western Roman Emperors, holding rightful authority over all the lands of the Western Roman Empire and diplomatic precedence over all other rulers in the West[, respectively].[10]

Jonathan I and Taeglan I shake hands after signing the Treaty of Wrythe.

After the abdication of Declan I in January 2013, his incumbent successor Jonathan I adopted the titles "Romanorum Imperator Occidentalis" and "Basileus kai Autokratōr Rhōmaíōn" as part of his official full style, the former meaning "Western Emperor of the Romans" and the latter "Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans" (the title used by the Eastern Roman Emperors from the ninth century onwards), claiming them due to his "succession to the Western Imperial Majesty, as successor to the dignity of the Roman Emperors in the West".[11] Despite stressing the Roman aspect of his imperial title, Jonathan I actually made a significant change by using the word occidentalis ("western") instead of occidentis ("of the west", used by Esmond III and Declan I), subtly lowering the tone of his throne's claims; an emperor from the west, not necessarily of the west, although still allowing for the latter interpretation. A momentous occasion took place during the coronation of Jonathan I the following month, when Taeglan I Nihilus of the Reylan Imperial Triumvirate visited Wrythe for the occasion. Taeglan I had claimed the title of emperor since 2005, but had not been recognised by the Austenasian government as holding that specific rank. Shortly after the coronation, the two monarchs signed the Treaty of Wrythe, establishing mutual recognition of the imperial rank of the other.[12] From the signing of the treaty, Taeglan I was considered joint Western Emperor alongside Jonathan I, with legislation referring to the present as being "during the imperium of Akihito, ... [Jonathan I], and Taeglan I Nihilus."[13][14] The Austenasian claim to be a specifically western emperor was dropped on 29 October 2015 upon the annexation of Imperia.[15]

On 21 September 2016, Jonathan I and Taeglan I both recognized Quentin I of Wyvern as the Emperor of a restored Holy Roman Empire, with Quentin recognizing the imperial rank of the other two emperors.[16] Recognition of the full imperial rank of Taeglan I was later rescinded (with his permission) by Jonathan I and Quentin I on 1 October 2019, after the activity and presence of Reyla on the international stage significantly declined; the holder of the Reylan throne has henceforth been recognised as a Caesar rather than as an Augustus.[17] Recognition of the full imperial rank of the Adammic and Imvrassian monarchs took place on 1 January and 23 October 2020, respectively.[18][19]

Tenets and schools of thought

Main concepts

Several "schools" of the Imperium ideology can be distinguished (see below), but all share some common tenets:

  • The title of Emperor is the highest in diplomatic rank.
  • Emperors can be classified as western, eastern, or both, depending on the location of their empire.
  • Due to being the highest in diplomatic rank, the title of Emperor cannot simply be unilaterally assumed. It can only be legitimately held by somebody who:
    • a) is the legitimate successor to an emperor under the laws of that empire and exercises sovereignty over at least part of that empire; or
    • b) claims the title of emperor of land over which they exercise sovereignty and has been recognised by another emperor as holding said title.
  • All emperors are successors of the Roman Emperors in that they can trace their predecessors back to Rome through a line of succession and recognition. For example, Lothair III was the nineteenth Holy Roman Emperor after Charlemagne, who was recognised as emperor by Roman Emperor Michael I Rangabe. The Holy Roman Emperors and all they recognised as emperors could therefore trace their imperium back to Rome through a succession of emperors.
  • All empires ruled by legitimate emperors are technically continuations of the one undivided Roman Empire. As with the Western and Eastern empires,[20] they are a single entity, geographically divided into sovereign states ruled by different emperors.
  • All emperors, by virtue of being emperors, hold imperium; a special authority not held by other monarchs. The way in which imperium actually manifests itself is the main point of contention between the different schools of thought.


The oldest (and most "extreme") form of the Imperium theory has come to be known as Esmondianism (not to be confused with Esmondism), currently held by many in the Carshalton Nations, particularly in Orly. This developed within the context of the imperial court of Esmond III, and holds a highly elevated view of the emperor. All legitimate authority in the western/eastern world is seen as being derived from the throne of the western/eastern emperor or emperors. Similarly to the ancient Chinese principle of tianxia, the emperors hold rightful sovereignty over all the world, with other rulers being imperial vassals. Although Austenasia was seen as a sovereign state equal to all others, Esmond III was regarded as holding equal authority over both Austenasia and all other countries in the western world, but as having delegated authority to monarchs (or, in the case of republics, electorates) to govern those other countries - for example, Elizabeth II was viewed as being his lieutenant ruling on his behalf in the United Kingdom, whereas he personally ruled Austenasia directly. When Orly was founded at the start of July 2010, its people requested Esmond III to grant their leader, Calum, authority to rule them, going by the principle that declaring independence from Elizabeth II without the emperor's permission would be rebellion against his lieutenant.

Imperium is seen as being the universal authority of the emperors. As they are incapable (even if simply for logistic reasons) of personally exercising sovereignty over the entirety of the world, the emperors rule directly over a certain state (regarded in 2010 as Austenasia in the West and Japan in the East), authorising lesser-ranked monarchs to rule over either the east or west (depending on where their personally ruled state is located) on their behalf. Emperors are seen as having literally universal authority - the east is considered to start at the Ionian Sea and continue on to the Bering Strait, and the west is considered to start at the Bering Strait and continue on to the Ionian Sea.

Despite the term "Esmondian" being adopted by the supporters of Esmond III during the Austenasian Civil War, it should not be assumed that all of them - although most did - adhered to what would become known as the Imperium theory of his authority. Despite its prevalence in the military and growing popularity amongst Austenasian residents, the worldview was not de facto adopted by the Austenasian government until early June 2010, several days after the conclusion of the war, and by-and-large remained the view of the Austenasian government until mid-2012.


Precedentism (a retrospective term) is a historical form of the Imperium theory which significantly downplayed the position of the emperor compared to Esmondianism. Although accepting the main concepts outlined above, it saw imperium as nothing more than a state of outranking other monarchs. Emperors are afforded diplomatic precedence over others out of respect for their status as successors to the Roman Emperors, but hold no inherent authority over other states. This was a minority view within the Austenasian Army during the Austenasian Civil War, which died out in favour of Esmondianism after the governmental victory. Precedentism was later officially supported by the Conservative Party of Austenasia until Party leader Lord Clarke rejected it on 12 July 2015.


Romanitism, held by many in the Carshalton Nations, is the form of the Imperium theory which is held by Emperor Jonathan I, and is somewhat of a middle way between the universal authority given to the emperors by Esmondianism and the titular precedence given to them by Precedentism. Although sharing similarities with Esmondianism, it does not ascribe emperors authority over the entire world, but only over those lands which have previously been part of the Roman Empire and subsequent recognised empires due to the succession of emperors from Rome. Such lands are considered rightfully Roman and (as with Esmondianism) currently ruled by lieutenants of the emperors on their behalf. The emperors hold no right to any authority in other lands, although are still considered the highest in diplomatic rank. Imperium is viewed as the rightful authority an emperor holds over the western and/or eastern empires.

This form of the Imperium worldview is that which has been de facto assumed by both Austenasia and the Holy Roman Empire during their interactions with each other. This can be seen, for example, in the signing of a treaty on 18 June 2017 between Jonathan I and Quentin I in which both emperors agreed upon spheres of influence for each other in the western world, but limited the scope of the treaty to those lands which had previously fallen under imperial rule.[21]

Basis in history

East-west divide

Due to the difficulties in administering the huge Roman Empire, Diocletian instituted a system of collegiate rule, with two emperors - Augusti - ruling different halves of the empire, one in the east and another in the west, each appointing a Caesar to serve as their deputy and heir. Although Diocletian's plan did not unfurl quite how he envisaged, with emperors going to war with each other over matters of succession, the principle of territorial division for administrative purposes survived, and the system of co-Emperors was commonly employed. Despite division into east and west, the conception of imperial unity was maintained; there were not two empires, but one, divided into two halves, each under the control of a different emperor.[22]

Settlers in the former lands of the Western Empire

All but the Precedentist schools of the Imperium theory regard emperors as having authority over the lands of what was the Roman Empire. This principle has a historic precedent. Ostrogorsky wrote that in the sixth century, the "conception of the unity of the Empire firmly persisted... the universality of Roman rule persisted equally firmly, even in the face of the Germanic conquests in the West. The Roman Emperor was still regarded as the head of the orbis romanus and the Christian oikoumene. The lands which had once belonged to the Roman Empire were held to belong to her inalienably and in perpetuity, even though they were under the actual control of the Germanic kings."[23]

In the 400s, barbarian kings whose nations had settled in the crumbling Western Roman Empire saw the emperors as the legitimate holders of sovereignty over those lands[24], and sometimes sought marital connections with the imperial family to legitimise their power - for example, King Genseric of the Vandals sought to marry his son Huneric to Eudocia (daughter of Emperor Valentinian III), and King Ataulf of the Visigoths married Galla Placidia (half-sister of Emperor Honorius).[25]

The Burgundians which settled in eastern Gaul c. 443 saw themselves, and were seen by others, as part of the Empire. Their rulers were given offices and titles within the imperial hierarchy (continuing even after the line of western emperors ended in 476) and took part in the numerous conflicts between different factions within the western empire in the mid-400s. King Sigismund of Burgundy wrote to Emperor Anastasius I that the land he ruled “is of your world”, and that he was “nothing other than your soldier”, also describing his late father King Gundobad as having been “most devoted and most faithful” to the emperor. Furthermore, Burgundian coins did not feature the portrait of the king but merely his monogram - the portrait was of the emperor, copied from eastern coins. Similarly, King Ataulf of the Visigoths and his successors considered themselves in the service of the empire, governing in a way similar to Roman magistrates or nobility the land they had been given to settle in. Likewise, up until the Fourth Crusade the Venetians considered themselves “the servants of the Emperors of the Romans” (i.e., those in Constantinople).[26][27]

Contemporary documents portray King Clovis I of the Franks and his ancestors as administrating the Roman province of Belgica II. Clovis received a consulate from Emperor Anastasius I which he celebrated lavishly, and his grave goods include a brooch of the sort usually worn by high-ranking imperial officials as well as a signet ring bearing an image of him wearing Roman military dress. This all implies that Clovis was seen by himself and others as being part of the Roman Empire, subordinate in some way to the emperor. Clovis’ successors as king continued to recognise imperial suzerainty over Gaul; the most obvious expression of this is that, with the sole exception of King Theodebert I (r. 533-548), Frankish coins did not bear the portraits of the kings but of the emperors, up until after the reign of Emperor Justin II (r. 565-578). Even Theodebert I, the exception to this rule, minted coins which followed Roman designs, and addressed the emperor by the respectful title pater (“father” - friendly kings usually addressed each other as “brother”).[28]

The Vandals, on the other hand, quickly expanded out of the land in North Africa they had been grudgingly granted by the imperial government, and remained generally hostile to the Empire until they were conquered in 533. However, even they showed some respect for Roman traditions, with royal documents referring to their land as a group of “provinces” rather than a “kingdom”, and their coins featuring the portraits both of the king and of the emperor,[29] despite which Gibbon[30] asserted that the people of Africa preferred the "lawful sovereignty" of the emperors to the "usurpation" of the Vandals.

A solidus struck under King Odoacer featuring the portrait and name of Emperor Zeno, testifying to the formal submission of the former to the latter.

Rome itself, and all Italy, came under the rule of the German military officer Odoacer, who forced Romulus Augustulus to abdicate in 476 - an event taken by many historians to signify the end of the Western Roman Empire. However, upon the abdication of Romulus, the Senate of Rome sent a deputation to the Eastern Emperor Zeno, declaring that the West no longer required an emperor of its own and that “one monarch sufficed for the world”, asking him to appoint Odoacer with the administration of Italy. Legally, therefore, the Western Empire did not come to an end but rather become reunited with the East; statues of Zeno as reigning Emperor were set up in Rome, whose suzerainty Odoacer loyally and openly reigned under in Italy.[31][32] Odoacer was replaced with the Ostrogoth king Theodoric in 493, who also respected the supremacy of the emperor;[33] he passed edicta instead of leges, in the manner of a highly ranking Roman official,[34] and he wrote to Anastasius I: "Our royalty is an imitation of yours, modelled on your good purpose, a copy of the only Empire; and insofar as we follow you do we excel all other nations."[35] Theodoric's successors - Athalaric, Amalasuintha, and Theodahad - all (the latter unsuccessfully, precipitating the Gothic War of 535-554) sought legitimisation for their rule over Italy from the Emperors Justin I and Justinian I.[36] Theodoric maintained Roman systems of governance while he controlled Italy, and the coins of his successors showed the image of the emperor, with only the name of the king. During the Gothic War, even at the height of his victories Totila continued to request from the emperor that there be peace and that he serve the empire like his predecessors.[37]

Universal authority claimed by the Holy Roman Emperors

The Holy Roman Empire (HRE) had a political theory which was in many respects very similar to Esmondianism, and which in some respects makes even Romanitism look positively modest. The Emperor was seen as holding the headship of the world, regardless of where he reigned from; indeed, the separate coronations of Holy Roman Emperors as kings of Germany, Italy, and Burgundy were as a result of the fact that "the imperial office was conceived of as something different in kind from the regal, and as carrying with it not the immediate government of any particular kingdom, but a general suzerainty over and right of controlling all." In the 14th century, the jurist Bartolus argued that "the universal authority of the Roman Emperor" would not be lost over territory even if it changed hands between different states. The HRE was seen as the direct continuation of the Roman Empire, considered by the medieval world to be "an institution divine and necessary, having its foundations in the very nature and order of things." Indeed, it was commonly believed that the Roman Empire would only end along with the world itself.[38][39][40][41][42]

Even those countries which were not a part of the HRE recognised the universal rule of its emperor. The efforts of Alfonso X of Castile to be elected emperor in 1257 implies that he considered his kingdom part of the empire; Richard I of England voted as a prince of the HRE at the election of Emperor Frederick II, and according to the 12th-century English chronicler Roger of Hoveden recognised the Emperor as "Lord of the World"; and the Senchas Már (a work of Brehon law) declared the High King of Ireland to be subordinate to the Holy Roman Emperor.[43] Furthermore, Alfonso V of Aragon wrote to Emperor Frederick III that "kings must all honour the Emperor as the supreme ruler, who is head and leader of kings", and Francis I of France, when discussing a proposed joint expedition against the Turks, said that Emperor Maximilian I would hold overall command simply by virtue of his office.[44]

The Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Emperors.

The Holy Roman Emperor was seen as not only excelling the dignity of kings, but as being the source of their authority. For example, Svend III, King of Denmark, received his crown from Emperor Frederick I, who had been asked as suzerain to settle a dispute over the succession of the Danish throne.[45] Furthermore, the Holy Roman Emperor was considered to be the only person other than the Pope who was able to legitimately create new kings. For example, Stephen I - the first King of Hungary - sought and received the blessing of Emperor Otto III before his coronation; likewise, Ottokar I - the first King of Bohemia - sought recognition of his new royal title from Emperor Otto IV in return for supporting him in a civil war, and later had it confirmed by Emperor Frederick II; and Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, sought to be crowned King by Emperor Frederick III, and when the Emperor refused had to go back to Burgundy with the crown and sceptre he had made for the occasion.[46]

Despite the other monarchs of Europe increasingly recognising themselves as independent from the authority of the HRE from 1300 onwards, they generally recognised all rulers other than themselves to be subject to the emperor - upon the imperial coronation of Emperor Henry VII in 1312, he sent an encyclical to all the monarchs of western Europe stressing the universal power of the Empire; Edward II of England replied with a polite letter which did not challenge these claims, and Philip IV of France set only the exception of his own kingdom against them. A widely held notion was that "Imperator non est hodie super omnes reges et super omnes nations, sed esse debet" - "the Emperor does not rule over all kings and all nations today, but he should do." Even after 1400, the idea of the universal authority of the Holy Roman Empire was still a widely held concept. Nicholas of Cusa (1401 - 1464) regarded the Emperor as ruler of the world and God’s representative on earth, and Emperor Sigismund (r. 1433-1437) asserted that he had been called to the government of the whole world.[47]

Recognition of empires

A coin of Charlemagne, recognised as Emperor in 812.

After his coronation as Emperor by the Pope in 800, Charlemagne sought recognition of his claim to the imperial rank from the Roman Emperor at Constantinople, without which his title was considered legally invalid.[48] Just as usurpers such as the western Constantine III became legitimate co-emperors after recognition from the reigning monarch, recognition from the Emperor was considered the means of legitimising a claim to imperial rank.

The following is a list of occasions when a monarch holding a throne which had not previously been imperial was recognised by a legitimate emperor as holding imperial rank, thus legitimising the claims of themselves and their successors to the title of Emperor:

  • Charlemagne was crowned Emperor in 800. In 812, Michael I sent ambassadors to him to recognise him as emperor.[49][50][51][52][53] The realm ruled by Charlemagne, the Carolingian Empire, eventually became the Holy Roman Empire. While some argue against direct continuity between these two polities, the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire proper, Otto I, also received recognition from Constantinople (John I Tzimisces recognised his imperial rank in 972, and gave Otto's son his niece in marriage as a sign of alliance),[54][55][56][57] giving his successors legitimacy as emperors regardless.
  • In 913, Prince Simeon of Bulgaria attacked Constantinople, and demanded the title of Emperor from the Roman government. The Patriarch of Constantinople, regent for the young Emperor Constantine VII, acknowledged Simeon to be Emperor of the Bulgarians and may even have crowned him as such, but the government soon repudiated this recognition, which due to the emperor's young age (8 years old) had clearly been done without his consent. However, on 9 September 924 a meeting took place between Simeon and Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos, during which the latter definitively recognised him as Emperor of the Bulgars in return for peace. After Simeon's death, his son Peter I was also recognised by Constantinople as holding the title of Emperor.[58][59][60]
  • In 1204, Alexios I took over Trebizond and declared himself its emperor, using the traditional Roman/"Byzantine" style of "Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans". John II was persuaded in 1282 to stop using this style by Michael VIII Palaiologos, the Emperor at Constantinople. John II was instead recognised as holding the title "Emperor and Autocrat of all the East, the Iberians, and the Transmarine Provinces", in return for which he was given the daughter of Michael VIII in marriage.[61][62]
The Kangxi Emperor, whose imperial rank was recognised by the Tsars of Russia in 1689.
  • King Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia began to use the title "Emperor of the Serbs and Romans" in November or December 1345, and was crowned as such by the Serbian Patriarch on 16 April 1346. In a document dating to July 1351, Emperor John V Palailogos addressed him as "most illustrious Emperor of Serbia", recognising his claim to imperial status.[63][64]
  • Grand Prince Ivan III of Muscovy was using the title tsar by 1484 at the latest. Despite being later thought of by western Europeans as only equivalent to king, or as somewhat in between a royal and imperial rank, this title was used by the Grand Princes of Moscow (before being adopted as their primary style in 1547) with the intention of claiming supreme imperial rank and being equivalent to Emperor. His son and successor, Vasili III, was addressed in German as Kayser unnd Herrscher aller Russen ("emperor and ruler of all the Russias") in a letter dated 4 August 1514 from Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and Maximilian’s successor Charles V also recognised Vasili III to be an emperor.[65][66][67]
  • The Sultans of the Ottoman Empire claimed to be emperors; after the 1453 Fall of Constantinople, they claimed the title Kayser-i Rûm, "Caesar (Emperor) of Rome".[68][69][70] On 22 July 1533, by the Treaty of Constantinople, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V recognised Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I as an Emperor; this recognition would be reciprocated in 1606 with the Peace of Zsitvatorok.[71][72][73]
Francis II (I), last Holy Roman Emperor and first Emperor of Austria.
  • The Kangxi Emperor of Qing China was recognised by Peter I and Ivan V, Tsars of Russia (whose throne by this point had already been recognised as imperial - see above), as holding equal status to them under the Treaty of Nerchinsk, signed on 27 August 1689. The Latin version, accepted as the definitive authoritative translation of the treaty by both parties, styles Kangxi the Sancti Sinarum Imperatoris ("Holy Emperor of the Chinese").[74][75][76]
  • Holy Roman Emperor Francis II declared himself to be Emperor of Austria on 10 August 1804, while still Holy Roman Emperor. He continued to hold both titles until the Holy Roman Empire became defunct.[77]
  • Napoleon I was recognised as holding the rank of Emperor by Ottoman Sultan Selim III in February 1806, having crowned himself Emperor of the French on 2 December 1804.[78]
  • Emperor Kōmei of Japan was addressed as "Sa Majesté l'Empereur du Japon" on 9 October 1858 in a treaty signed on behalf of Emperor Napoleon III of the French.[79]
  • Maximilian I was declared Emperor of Mexico on 10 April 1864 after signing a treaty with Emperor Napoleon III of the French, who had effectively installed him as such.[80][81][82]
  • Indian 1878
  • German 1881
  • King Gojong declared himself Emperor Gwangmu of the Great Korean Empire on 12 October 1897, and was recognised as such by the Meiji Emperor of Japan in the preamble to a treaty signed between the two countries on 23 February 1904.[83][84][85]
  • Puyi received on 21 January 1934 the official blessing of Japanese Emperor Shōwa to become Emperor of the Great Manchu Empire, being enthroned as the Kangde Emperor on 28 February later that year and starting his reign the following day, on 1 March 1934.[86]
  • Italian King Victor Emmanuel III declared himself Emperor of Ethiopia on 9 May 1936 after conquering the country, and was recognised as such by Japanese Emperor Shōwa on 18 November later that year.[87]

See above for details of all subsequent recognitions.

  • Esmond III and Declan I of Austenasia were both recognised as emperors by an edict promulgated on 4 June 2011 by German Emperor Sebastian I.
  • Taeglan I Nihilus of the Reylan Imperial Triumvirate was recognised as an emperor by Emperor Jonathan I of Austenasia in a treaty signed on 23 February 2013, having claimed the imperial rank since 2005.
  • Quentin I of the restored Holy Roman Empire was recognised as Holy Roman Emperor by Jonathan I of Austenasia (with the approval of Reylan Emperor Taeglan I, who also recognised Quentin I) in a treaty signed on 21 September 2016, having claimed the imperial rank since 2014.
  • Adam I of the Empire of Adammia was recognised as an emperor by Jonathan I of Austenasia (with the approval of Holy Roman Emperor Quentin I, who also recognised Adam I) in a treaty which entered into force on 1 January 2020, having claimed the imperial rank since Adammia's foundation in 2013.
  • Aikaterini I and Stamatios I of the Empire of Imvrassia were recognised as empress and emperor respectively by Jonathan I and Quentin I (with the consent of Adam I) in a treaty signed on 23 October 2020, having claimed the imperial rank since January that year.


  1. Bryce, J. (1864) The Holy Roman Empire, Oxford: T. & G. Shrimpton. p. 84
  2. "...the Reichsthronfolgegesetz ["Imperial Succession Act"], noting the fact that other royal houses had gone extinct due to the lack of a sufficiently close and sufficiently patrilineal relative, decided to grant, in the case that there was no active claimant to the throne of Germany, the right to any relation of the last Emperor to claim the throne until a closer relative had expressed that they are claiming the throne. However since the direct-lineage Hohenzollerns don't actually claim the German throne, merely the title "Prince of Hohenzollern", they don't count." Sir Sebastian Linden IKA KPP, 23 January 2013
  3. Frowein, J. (1974) "Legal Problems of the German Ostpolitik", International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 23 (1), p. 123
  4. (20 February 1951) 'US-Gericht: Deutsches Reich besteht noch', Bonner Rundschau
  5. Linden, S., (2011) Germany doesn't exist, [YouTube]
  6. Herrmann, P., (2001) The Staggering Truth About Germany. Accessed 26 February 2014.
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