5
$\begingroup$

What would be a good title for someone who works closely with an emperor, is skilled in diplomacy, deals with different factions and individuals in the Empire's capital city to resolve issues, while also negotiating with other nations on behalf of the Emperor?

Setting: Fantasy world loosely based in renaissance times. The Emperor's court consists of titles/persons such as: a commander of war, a Vaultmaster, a high priest, city patrol commander, etc.

For the person in question, I was thinking of the title of Ambassador, but an ambassador doesn't deal with domestic issues, do they? The term Diplomat comes to mind, but is there a higher ranking——and cooler sounding——title that I could give to this person?

Examples of what this person does on a regular day:

  1. The poor in the slum districts of the capital are protesting, so our person/diplomat helps appease the district leaders by listening to their issues and coming up with solutions

  2. A king from another nation is coming to speak of a potential alliance. This person/diplomat has to help the Emperor and said king to come to terms.

$\endgroup$

put on hold as primarily opinion-based by AlexP, Morris The Cat, Cyn, a CVn Jul 12 at 7:12

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Names are just conventions. As such it is all a matter of opinion. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jul 11 at 15:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is a logistical problem here. Someone dealing with foreign nations (an envoy) needs time to travel there and back again. Which means it's impossible to deal with several nations at once, and on top of that with domestic issues. However, with the help of magic or handwaving (think Varys) this can be ignored. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Jul 11 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander i see your reasoning. I'm thinking that this person will be in charge of training ambassadors and diplomats to do the traveling and negotiating. This way the person could stay in the capital to deal with domestic issues. $\endgroup$ – Ebi Jul 11 at 16:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If you write an answer, the idea is worth an upvote! $\endgroup$ – Willk Jul 11 at 20:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There are a lot of such terms, but the answers could be narrowed down a lot if you answered a few questions. Does this person have to be nobility? Do they hold a military rank? Are part of law enforcement and/or the judicial system? Do they hold authority over the nation's coffers? $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Jul 11 at 21:41

10 Answers 10

7
$\begingroup$

Historically, these kinds of duties would likely fall to the Vizier or Chancellor or Prime Minister.

Looks like you'll be wanting to come with some title names other than, e.g. "commander of war". Given your constraints, Chancellor might work well. Or alternatively, Viceroy.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I was thinking Chancellor as well, though Minister seems more of a Swiss army knife kind of role that I'm looking for. Any idea of what other titles Ministers were called in the past? For example, an advisor can be called Hand of the King...what could a minister be called? $\endgroup$ – Ebi Jul 11 at 16:41
5
$\begingroup$

Have you considered such titles as:

  • Plenipotentiary
  • Legate
  • Deputy
  • Arbitrator
  • Consul
  • Proconsul
  • Nuncio
  • Internuncio
  • Attaché
  • Premier
  • Factotum
  • Procurator
  • Proctor
$\endgroup$
5
$\begingroup$

In the Holy Roman Empire, the Prince Electors, the highest after the emperor, held the titles: Arch-Steward (or Arch-Seneschal), Arch-Chamberlain, Arch-Marshal, and Arch-Butler. These all originate in the offices of a royal household, but all save the Butler have since lost most of their connotations with domesticity and could fill in for a title of a sort of prime minister.

The Steward was originally head of all household staff, but this consummate manager could, over time, start to oversee more and more of the Emperor’s lieutenants in the realms of economy and statecraft.

The Chamberlain was in charge of the Emperor’s wardrobe and bedchamber, which seems trivial in modern times, but this meant very close access to the Emperor’s person. Only someone trusted should have access to where you sleep! In the Byzantine Empire, the keeper of the wardrobe (known as the Vestiarion) eventually came to control the entire treasury in a great example of scope creep.

The Marshal was in charge of the Emperor’s horses, and from there it’s not a stretch to oversee the cavalry and soon the whole military.

The Butler or ‘bottler’ was in charge of wine specifically and the kitchen more generally. This one seems especially silly to modern audiences, but could actually be kind of cool if you take the time to explain it. Being in charge of food and drink means you’re the Emperor’s first line of defense against poisoning, which is also why a Cup Bearer was so important in the Middle Ages. You could show how the Butler came to control security of the Emperor’s person more generally, and from there to ever more vast responsibilities.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ The Steward would take charge of daily court activities, those that the king once did, but is now beneath the emperor $\endgroup$ – Sonvar Jul 11 at 23:47
4
$\begingroup$

Shogun or Regent

The problem with this arrangement is that such position involves an enormous amount of power, eclipsing the power of Emperor himself. Anyone who has an authority to negotiate on behalf of an empire has special powers. Anyone who is the primary authority for all negotiations, both domestic and international becomes the primary authority of this empire. Why talk to the Emperor if you can talk to his master of negotiations?

In real life, such authority would become a "power behind the throne", with real Emperor withdrawn from politics and decision making - either voluntary, or deliberately restricted to a ceremonial role.

P.S. This is different from a "trusted advisor" scenario, in which Emperor is calling the shots, and dispatches his advisor to conduct negotiations on case-by-case basis. "Trusted advisor" has little permanent powers except having his master's trust.

$\endgroup$
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ A regent is the person who runs the kingdom or empire while an underage heir grows to majority. $\endgroup$ – Brythan Jul 11 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ The shogun's were military rulers. Feudal Japan was effectively a junta ruled by the head of the military, or at least the most powerful military organization at the time. $\endgroup$ – Sonvar Jul 11 at 23:41
4
$\begingroup$

Your official who represents the concerns of the citizenry can be an ombudsman.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ombudsman

The typical duties of an ombudsman are to investigate complaints and attempt to resolve them, usually through recommendations (binding or not) or mediation... At the national level, most ombudsmen have a wide mandate to deal with the entire public sector, and sometimes also elements of the private sector (for example, contracted service providers). In some cases, there is a more restricted mandate, for example with particular sectors of society.

And I love to say "ombudsman". Try it!

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ won't lie, I said "ombudsman" out loud at least three times. $\endgroup$ – Ebi Jul 11 at 21:50
1
$\begingroup$

In the modern age, I doubt there is a single individual who would handle both foreign and domestic diplomacy, however what you are really describing is a person who can act on the King's behalf in the King's absence.

The word for such a person is... "Proxy"

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$
  • Councillors, especially Privy Councillors.
    These are persons who regularly confer with the ruler in confidence, and who can be expected to both speak the ruler's mind and carry messages back directly to the ruler.
  • Agents, especially Agentes in Rebus.
    These are persons who have been designated by the ruler to "look into matters" -- whatever matters the ruler thinks need looking into.
  • Princes and Princesses.
    Relatives of the ruler. When they speak, they speak as members of the ruling dynasty, and the ruler couldn't repudiate their promises without dishonoring his own blood.
  • Dukes, or Counts.
    If the Empire has an Emperor, it is probably not a democracy. Persons who are nobles in their own right can make weighty statements.
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

When Cardinal Richelieu was "first minister" or "chief minister" of France, he delegated specific duties (of the sort described in the original post) to intendants.

Envoys, consuls, and ambassadors are also possibilities. In the Roman Republic, the two consuls were normally the highest officials. Ambassadors plenipotentiary are theoretically the most trusted of ambassadors.

In Lois Bujold's Vorkosigan series, "Auditors" are trouble-shooters who "speak with the voice of the Emperor". The books Memory, Komarr, and Diplomatic Immunity feature Miles Vorkosigan as an Auditor.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

As you said, 'Diplomat' is good, but it's kind of a catch-all for anyone who does this type of work. There are apparently ranks within the general designation of Diplomat though, including Ambassador, Minister, High Commissioner, Counsellor and Envoy. (found on wikipedia here)

If you're looking for something a little less real world I'd suggest Negotiator or Peacemaker.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Imperial China had the title of "Grand Secretary". They replaced the earlier position of chancellor. Basically a Secretaries job was to screen which documents/papers from the different ministries where sent to the Empreror. This gave them tremendous power since they could selectively pick which documents to send to the Emperor or draft their own.

You could have a role very similar to this and call them something like "Grand Chancellor" you could have them be a position above the rest of the kinds cabinet who's job is to delegate which domestic issues have to be solved personally and which he can hand down to one of his own official. Think of it as a bureaucracy that's above the rest of the bureaucracy.

I'd also suggest giving him Powys that let him "borrow" materials from the other cabinet members. Ex: a riot in the slum so he borrows a company from the guard.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The Grand Secretariat was an instution, not a person. The people heading the Grand Secretariat were titled Grand Secretaries, their leader being the Senior Grand Secretary. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jul 11 at 22:04

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.