The standard ranks of Nobility are:
- Emperor / Empress
- Archduke / Archduchess
- Duke / Duchess
- Count / Countess or Contessa
- Viscount / Viscountess
- Marquis / Marchioness or Marquesa
- Baron / Baroness
- Baronet / Baronetess
- Knight / Dame
Knights hold a special place within the nobility. As the nobles most often encountered by common citizens, and the one title a citizen can readily aspire to, Knights are often seen as the most immediate face and voice of the Imperium.
- The Vilani term for Knight is Kiduunuuzii.
- Retainer Knights are those named by a Subsector or Sector Duke to serve his or her interests and household.
- Imperial Knights are those recommended to and confirmed by the Office of the Emperor, often with the consultation of the Master of any Order to which they were recommended.
Every world in the Imperium, save those under interdict and worlds with no permanent populations, has an assigned Landed Knight. Such knights are usually (but not always) inducted into the Order of the Emperor's Guard. The specific title varies by region and the influence of Terran or other traditions.
Ceremonial Knights, on the other hand, have administrative duties as lesser functionaries within bureaucracies overseen by higher level Imperial nobles, sometimes serving as representatives of such nobles.
History & Background (Dossier)
The Ziru Sirka
The lowest noble rank in the Old Vilani Imperium was Kiduunuuzii (Vil. “holder of special privileges”), and corresponded roughly to the equivalent modern social position of knighthood. Kiduunuuzii held positions as lower level bureaucrats, judges, and administrators and did most of the day to day basic work for their bureau. Originally awarded only to individuals who had distinguished themselves in some administrative position, it eventually began to be awarded for distinguished military service, particularly for recipients with no other honorific.
After the establishment of the Rule of Man over the defeated Vilani Imperium, most of the old Vilani titles were rendered into rough Anglic equivalents, and Kiduunuuzii was translated as Knight, though its function within the Old Imperial social and political structure initially remained largely unchanged.
The Third Imperium
In the early years of the Imperium, Knights often served in minor positions throughout the majority of the Imperial government, and were often assigned to act as couriers or personal representatives of higher ranked nobles on critical missions.
Under the nobility structure of the Third Imperium, Knights are not members of the peerage and are therefore not subject to all protocols. Knights instead belong to Orders of Knighthood and are awarded privileges according to the order. Individual orders have their own particular codes (some lax, some stringent) and member knights are expected to abide by these codes. Several dozen orders of knighthood exist within the Imperium, and while all are technically equivalent in honor, they generally are considered to have a distinct order or precedence. Further, most orders also have an internal set of Ranks that are specific to each given Order of Knighthood.
- Knights of all three types of nobility, Ceremony, Honor, and Landed, exist within the Imperium; however, not all Knights are recognized by the Imperium as a whole. While most Knighthoods are non-hereditary and granted only for the life of the titleholder, Landed Knights are often an exception and often may pass their Title and Fief on to one child, subject to the same Imperial approval that affects higher Titles.
- Ceremony. Ceremonial Knights have administrative duties as lesser functionaries within bureaucracies overseen by higher level Imperial nobles, sometimes serving as representatives of such nobles.
- Honour. Honour Knighthoods are granted as rewards in recognition of achievement or service in some field of endeavor, and carry no duties or responsibilities other than the honor itself and its associated social distinctions and privileges.
- Landed. Every world in the Imperium, save those under interdict and worlds with no permanent populations, has an assigned Landed Knight. The specific title varies by region and the influence of Terran or other traditions. Most are members of the Order of the Emperor's Guard, but other Orders are represented. The specific role each Knight plays on his or her world varies considerably, from mere social gadfly, to a local administrative post such as Port Warden of the local starport . On lower population worlds, the knight may even be the local ruler. Due to the differing role played by Landed Knights as compared to the higher nobility, it is rare for Landed Knights to also hold higher title unless it is a Ceremonial or Honor title. A Landed Knight represents the Imperium to the inhabitants of his world, while the higher nobles typically represent the interests of their assigned worlds or regions to the rest of the Imperium. Since a Landed Knight will typically only rarely leave his or her world or system, Landed Knights are usually chosen from those Knights native to the world.
Typical Knight Ranks
The particular ranks within any given Order of Knighthood will vary from order to order, but some typical ranks include:
- Grand Master (senior-most Knight Grand Commander and head of the order)
- Knight Grand Commander
- Knight Commander
- Knight (Officer)
- Companion or Frater/Soror or Member
Orders of Knighthood
The most common Orders of Knighthood in the Imperium are (ranked in order of precedence):
- 1. The Order of Starship and Crown, established in 17. Knights of the order are ranked solely according to the date of their knighthoods.
- 2. The Order of the Emperor's Guard, established in 52 and originally limited to the Emperor's personal retainers but now of wide and diverse membership. Most (though not all) Landed Knights are inducted into the Order of the Emperor's Guard.
More exclusive orders have also been established:
- 3. The Order of the Arrow, (established in 62 by Emperor Artemsus, to recognize interstellar explorers.).
- 5. The Ancient Order of Vland.
- 6. The Order of Gateway.
- 7. The Order of Ilelish.
- 8. The Royal Order of Antares.
- 9. The Order of Sol.
- The Order of the Solomani Rim (Order of precedence not specified).
- 10. The Order of Deneb .
- The Order of the Spinward Marches (Order of precedence not specified).
Widespread Orders Additional Imperium-wide orders have also been established:
- The Order of The Cross of Arlea.
- The Order of the Iridium Throne.
- The Order of the Third Imperium.
- The Order of the Knights Imperial.
- The Order of the Empire.
- The Order of Gvadakoung (established to honor loyal Vargr citizens).
- The Order of Hlyuea (established to honor loyal Aslan citizens).
- The Order of Muan Gwi (established to honor loyal Vegan citizens).
- The Order of Eerynaaia (established to honor loyal Luriani citizens).
- The Order of Wampallally (established to honor loyal Bwap citizens).
References & Contributors / Sources
- GURPS Traveller: Nobles
- MegaTraveller Imperial Encyclopedia
- T4: Milieu 0
- Mongoose Traveller: Luriani
- Traveller 5th Core Rules
- Periodical: Imperiallines 7 (magazine)
- External Link: T5 Noble Patents List CotI