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Prince

A prince claims this title by virtue of being able to demonstrate descent from the Alferovichi line. The Alferovichi is a family that originally came to the Land of Nor' from the Land of Birma - a peninsula on the Western Sea. The Alferovichi were a clan of Rovers - merchant-adventurers who used force, guile, diplomacy and marriage to move in on lucrative trades, especially in slaves and furs.   Originally, each Labdy tribe had its own prince. After the Alferovichi united the Land of Nor', all its princes had to be descendants of Ulf Silverfang. His brothers, and then their children took territories and cities of their own, but according to the laws of inheritance, the senior member of the dynasty controlled the capital - first Dubno, then Bogumil.   The ruling dynasty grew very numerous, such that there were insufficient territories to award to all who claimed princely blood. Non-ruling and impoverished princes had to enter the service of others. The only thing that differentiates most princes from boyars is their title, so they cling to it with all their might. Being able to recite one's genealogy, and prove it by existing documents is very important, all the moreso because the princes of Nor' lack a system of heraldry.   Throughout their history, the great princes have been very competitive with one another, engaged in struggles over territory, and the right to be called the Grand Prince - the first among equals. These divisions contributed to the conquest of Nor' by the Kochmaki - the princes could not unite to fight off the invaders.   Today, there are several claimants to the title of Grand Prince, but in the lands controlled by the Kochmaki, the Grand Prince is nominated to the position by the Kochmak Khan. The aspirant to the position must travel to the Khan's court once a year, kowtow to his or her overlord, and receive a charter to rule. The charter is highly coveted, because it gives the Grand Prince the right to collect tribute on the Khan's behalf, which creates great opportunities for enrichment and augmentation of power. Being Grand Prince is also dangerous, because one can always fall out of the Khan's favor.   A prince is not only the ruler of the territory he or she inherits or conquers, but also its de jure owner, administering justice, commanding loyalty from dependent troops, collecting taxes, and awarding land grants to followers. In practice, princes give lands in perpetuity to their most important followers, which effectively makes those lands the property of the latter. A few of the most powerful princes have toyed with minting their own coins, but generally, this is the prerogative of the Khan.   In most of Nor', princes must adhere to the True Confession.

Type
Nobility, Hereditary
Alternative Naming
Kniaz'
Source of Authority
Descent from the Alferovichi Dynasty or appointment by the Khan (for Grand Princes)
Length of Term
Life

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