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Social ordering of the Empire

Roman society, although being de facto a constitutional monarchy is strongly stratified, and, although it is possible to move from one rank to another it is rather difficult.  

The Emperor or Empress.

The most important rank is obviously the ruler, who is elected by the parliament at the death of the previous one. Although theoretically it is possible for a ruler to abdicate, in the new Empire it has not yet happened. Even if the ruler is formally subjected to the laws, so far it has never happened that the ruling sovereign was formally charged with something; however, there are two crimes specifically relating to the sovereign who are taken seriously and sometimes used: the inability to provide for the state and betrayal. The first is called into question in case the ruler proves unable to perform his functions, either for a disease of some kind or for congenital intellectual failings; the second one is invoked in the case there is a suspicion that a ruler wants to subvert the order of the state by non-legal means, such as a military coup or worse, under the counter agreements with foreign powers.  


The second rank by order of importance is the patriciate. Theoretically, anyone can be raised to the rank of patrician by the sovereign ruler for exceptional merits, but in practice rarely more than one or two families are raised every year, and sometimes none is elevated. Paradoxically it is much easier to lose the status of patrician, because exactly as it can elevate, the sovereign can put down, and it happened on several occasions that patrician families, who for some reason had fallen into disgrace with the ruling sovereign, were deprived of the title. However, it is a risky move, as these families often have connections in the political and economic worlds, and if infuriated they can make life very difficult for an impulsive ruler.  


The third rank, which is the most common, is the normal citizenship, to which about 90% of the population belongs. How it is easy to understand this is the rank with the greatest possible internal variety, since it belongs to both people who live on the margins of society and extremely wealthy individuals who, for one reason or another, do not have the rank of patrician. Despite the low individual political force of the members of this class it is also in many ways the most feared by politicians, especially those of profession. In fact, an ill-managed election can sweep away entire parties. The people have direct control of one of the three chambers of parliament, the Camera Populi, and, indirectly, also a voice in the third chamber, the Camera Militaris, as even if it is true that most of the senior officers are of patrician extraction there are many that come from the ranks of ordinary citizens, and therefore tend to approve more initiatives that help the common population.  


The last rank of the population consists of slaves, the last in importance from every point of view. Despite having some state protection they are often simply ignored when laws are to be passed, and their condition has not changed significantly in the last 2 centuries. Used mainly for heavy work that do not require specialist knowledge, a small part instead plays highly specialized roles in direct contact with their owners, and as such has a greater chance of being freed. However, it is likely that the situation will change in the coming decades, as the number of slaves available to the Empire is declining, albeit slowly, and soon a general reform of the Empire regarding this aspect of society will be needed.

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