Powers of State and Curia
The Crusader State of Akko has a very weak central government headed by the Guardian, who is the sovereign. Centuries of tradition have meant that the Guardian has ceded most of his powers to two great officers, the Constable - who serves as a sort of prime minister - and the Chancellor - who serves as a sort of interior minister. The other meaningful feudal officers are the castellans, who are the line commander of most of Akko's desmense forces. The officers of state exercise judicial powers over knights, freemen, and lesser lords within Akko's desmense in devolved municipal courts, the Castellan Courts, or the Chancery Court.
The Constable and Chancellor, as the two ministers of state, are checked in many things by the Curia, which is the great counterbalance to the executive powers of the State. The Curia appoints its own officers - captains-general and captains-major - as either complements or rivals to the officers of state. The Curia also exercises judicial powers over the peers of the realm.
- 1 Powers of the State
- 2 Powers of the Curia
Powers of the State
The Crusader State has a number of clear powers available to it, exercises by officers of state such as the Constable, the Chancellor, or the castellans.
Direct Military Action
The city of Akko and its desmenses raises a military force larger than any count's; Akko's navy is large, and because the State is an Imperial vassal most void support comes through the auspices of the State. These direct military forces are controlled by the nine Castellans, reporting to the Constable, with a small force in the hands of the Constable for emergency action.
All of the counts are vassals of the Crusader State, and so the State nominally has the power to raise their soldiers as a feudal levy, just as the counts can raise the soldiers of their barons. In practice, this levy is rarely raised - generally, the armies of the whole state fight because they agree to a commitment, instead of because they are forced to do so. Still, this in an important reserve power for the Constable or Guardian, even if it has not been excersized since the Statute of 4925 and the creation of the modern Crusader State. Lesser 'emergency levies' have been called by the Constable when the Curia cannot be summoned to meet, however.
Sinecures & the Power of the Purse
The Chancellor controls the budget of the Crusader State, which gives tens of thousands of firebirds in direct payments to most of the counties - far more than the counties pay in feudal aid. There are also hundreds of thousands in payments for sinecure offices or stipends controlled by the Chancellor, and the distribution of theese funds is an important power that can enrich lords and guilders of many stripes.
Exigencies of War
The Constable can override decisions of the Curia and Chancellor by citing to the exigencies of war.
The Chancery and Castellan courts try knights, baronets, and freemen accused of crimes, and have the power of high and low justice. Punishments include fines, enslavement, or execution. Some military matters are instead tried in courts of arms, headed by military officers.
Powers of the Curia
Judicial Power & Curial Censure
The Curia is the court of last resort for peers of the realm, who are tried before it. In extreme cases, execution or attainder (the forfeiture of lands) might be ordered, but the most common punishments are fines or 'curial censure', an official gesture of disapproval.
A lord who has been censured by the Curia for noncompliance with some edict essentially has been disavowed by the Curia; his neighbors have a casus belli against him to force him to follow the edict of the Curia or in extreme cases even take his land. As a consequence, censure represents the peerage policing itself.
Confirmation of Officers of State
The officers of state must be confirmed by the Curia, either officially or by tradition. Castellans must be officially confirmed by the Curia or their offices are not in force; the Constable and Chancellor do not need to be confirmed by the Curia, but they traditionally refuse to serve unless they have the Curia's confidence.
Just as the Constable can summon Akko's feudal levies, the Curia can also voluntarily mobilize itself towards some end - and in fact, curial mobilizations are much more common than raising the feudal levies, having served as the basis for most joint campaigns. Failure of a peer to mobilize after the Curia calls for war is the most common cause for curial censure, and mobilization is sometimes done concurrently with the election of a captain-general to command Curial forces. This sometimes gives the elected commander the right and often the duty to call on the peers of the Curia for men and materiel.
Election of Captains
The Curia elects captains-general and captains-major to lead the armies of the state, generally armies raised either truly by volunteers or through mobilization. When the state is running smoothly, the captains-general are sort of complementary officers to the castellans; when it is running poorly, they are rivals to the castellans and even the Constable.
Assent to War
The Curia must give its assent to war; in practice, this means that if a major feudal levy is to be raised, the Curia must give its blessing. At various times, individual lords of the Curia have argued that assent must be given even for a substantial deployment of desmense troops, though that is largely ignored by the State.
Finally, any peer can ask the entire Curia to consider some act of the Constable or Chancellor they disagree with. It is not clear that subjecting some act of state to Curial scrutiny has binding power, but it sends a powerful message. When the Curia has considered and then condemned some act by one of the officers of state, the officer has generally reconsidered or soon left their post.