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Thyatian Honorific Titlesby James Ruhland
Thyatis has no hereditary landed nobility per se, however it does have an aristocracy of sorts. How one becomes a member of this patrician class is somewhat vague, but everyone knows who belongs and who doesn't. Most of the factors that bring a family into the ranks of the Dynatoi are "informal".
Membership in this aristocracy is to a great degree dependant upon wealth, but also on learning. Wealthy parvenu's may in time gain acceptance (or at least their children might), if they are well read, and able to speak (and more importantly yet, write) classic Thyatian.
To be a man (or woman) of honour, and a membership in an honourable family, also requires station, and this is the formal aspect. A wealthy, even scholarly person who does not involve themselves in civic/public affairs is not a member of the aristocratic class.
To achieve status one can acquire a position within the Senate (either Imperial or local), rank in the military hierarchy, and/or station within the civil service (note that there are rivalries between "senatorial", "military", and "civil" families). Status is formalised through the bestowal of honorific titles, and their is a hierarchy of ranks.
These titles can be bestowed due to service, deed, or even (and often) purchase. In fact, except in extreme cases (or at the upper ranks, where they are bestowed upon intimates of the Emperor), they all require a "price". This could, and often is (especially by outsiders) looked upon as a form of corruption. But, to some extent, it is little different from Darokin's system of bestowing status upon those with the most gold.
The very important difference is that the "purchase" of the title is a symbolic act, representing a commitment to the civic welfare by the "buyer". It also forms a sort of "threshold" for each title. Cynical outsiders may wonder why powerful Thyatians are so willing to part with hard-earned gold in exchange for an "empty" title, but this is largely because they fail to understand the symbolic importance and honour attached to these titles. Ranked persons are individuals of great respect, and the "poor" are considered poor not so much based on lack of wealth (some tradesmen who lack title are very wealthy), but because they are "poor" in civic rank and regard.
Thyatian Titles include:
Sevastokrator (deputy Emperor; person most trusted by the Emperor).
Sevastos (August One, a title given to those who have made great contributions to the Thyatian state, usually reserved for relatives of the Emperor).
Nobilissimos (Most Noble One, a title largely restricted to the oldest families).
Magestros/Magestrix (A title bestowed upon supreme Imperial agents).
Hypatos (A member of the consular order of the Senate).
Patrikios (literally, "Patrician")
The last several, below Patrikios, are functionally titles of "Lordship", and can be considered analogous to the title "Lord" used in Dawn of the Emperors. Each title comes with a set of privileges, among the most important of which may be the right to "Senatorial" trial, and the right to direct audience with the Emperor.
I'll leave the "cost" of each title undefined for now.