The Praetor of the Romulan Star Empire is the head of government for the Romulan state. Officially, the Praetor is third in rank in the Empire behind the Emperor and the Emperor's Legate. In reality the Praetor is often the true power of the Empire, with the Emperor and his Legate fulfilling mainly ceremonial roles. (TOS novel: Probe)
In theory, the Praetor serves as the effective leader of the Star Empire and is the very embodiment of the Romulan ideals of honor, accomplishment, discipline, and most importantly, D'era, the destiny of the Romulan people to spread and conquer the stars. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of D'era: The Romulan Star Empire)
History and specifics
The Praetor of the Romulan Empire is confirmed by the members of the Romulan Continuing Committee. (DS9 episode: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges".) In order to become Praetor, a candidate must be able to win the support of enough senators to ensure his, or her election. The candidate must be a full-blooded Romulan. The Praetor represents the Empire and the Romulan people, and no alien can possibly do so. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of D'era: The Romulan Star Empire)
Role of the Praetor
The Praetor presides over sessions of the Imperial Senate and of the Continuing Committee, controls the Romulan Imperial Fleet and, to a lesser extent, the Tal Shiar. Romulan politics is a notoriously dangerous field, however, and it is not uncommon for praetors to suffer abbreviated terms of office in comparison to other heads of government.
Originally, one person held supreme power and led the Romulan Star Empire. Often this figure was from a prominent Romulan family and rose to power by outwitting or overpowering all opposition standing between them and the throne. Thus, Romulan monarchs ruled by virtue of being the strongest, most cunning and more capable candidate. This arrangement originally suited the warlike nature of the Romulans, but under successive rulers Romulan territory expanded haphazardly. The Romulans found themselves spread thinly, and it became increasingly difficult to hold on to territory seized. Meanwhile, the Romulan people lacked a voice in their government, leading to popular uprising against unpopular leaders and further destabilizing Romulan society. The Civil War begun in 935 replaced this system with a formal Empire, and Admiral Valkis proclaimed himself Emperor Valkis I in 938.
Valkis originally established the Romulan Senate to advise him. The position of Senator initially went to the Admirals who had supported Valkis and to the leaders of the prominent Romulan families, particularly landowners since the Emperor needed their support and the support of the people they represented. At first, the Senate held no political power of its own. It could advise the Emperor, but did not make decisions. As the Empire grew in size and complexity, and Romulan civilization coalesced into something beginning to resemble the modern Empire, the Emperor invested the Senate with more authority to handle many day-to-day affairs.
Over time, the power of the Senate waxed and the power of the Emperor waned. To the Romulan way of thinking, the Senate provided a more reliable and stable means of governing the expanding Empire. No matter how capable, no one person could administer an Empire the size the Romulan one was becoming. The Senate provided a forum for debate, discussion and innovation sometimes lacking under individual emperors. More and more, the Senate' responsibilities increased. The Emperor was a popular figurehead but the senators controlled their own provinces, their own houses and, eventually, their own private armies.
After the failure of the Vulcan War and the desuetude of the rebuilding period, the Senate replaced the Emperor. Using their political influence at home, and marshaling their private armies, the senators convinced the Emperor to accept a lesser role, in much the same way Earth's ancient English Parliament forced the English king to accept a constitutional monarchy. The senators did not wish to dispense with a central executive. They realized that, although they governed the Empire more effectively, the Romulan people still needed a single figure they could look to for leadership and guidance; someone who embodied the Romulan ideal and inspired the loyalty of the populace while the Senate quietly ran the government and acted as the power behind the throne, humble servants of the Empire. That person was the Praetor. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of D'era: The Romulan Star Empire)
Prior to 2276, the office of Praetor (Fvillha in Rihannsu) was not entirely held by a single individual. The Praetorate was one of the houses of the Tricameron, together with the Senate (which was counted as two houses). At any given time, there were a dozen or so Praetors, a system which was established after the fall of the Ruling Queen T'Rehu. In the 2270s, most of the power fell into the hands of "The Three," the most cunning of the Praetors who had allied themselves. (TOS novels: The Romulan Way, The Pandora Principle, Swordhunt)
During the period of the empires isolation from galactic affairs, Dralath served as Praetor and was noted as being one of the most bloodthirsty of leaders who was responsible for ordering the destruction of the Klingon Empire colony on Narendra III. (TOS novel: Vulcan's Heart)
Sometime before 2377, Neral had become Praetor and was part of the Federation Alliance against the Dominion during the Dominion War until he was assassinated by Senator Hiren who had coveted the position. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of D'era: The Romulan Star Empire, TOS novel: Exiles)
In 2379, Hiren along with the members of the Romulan Senate were murdered by Shinzon of Remus who was assisted in this endeavor by Senator Tal'Aura. The mad Shinzon took command of the empire as Praetor until his death in the same year. (TNG movie: Star Trek: Nemesis)
In the aftermath of his death, Tal'Aura ascended to the rank of Praetor though her hold on the position was unstable due to various factions attempting to dominate the empire after Shinzon's death. (TTN novel: Taking Wing)
Upon the murder of Tal'Aura, many highly ranking members of the government sought to become Praetor, including Sela. However, in 2385, former Empress Donatra decided to propel the noble Senator Chulan of the Line of Tellus to the Praetorship. After the events of the Hobus star crisis, Chulan was killed by the vengeful miner Nero. (ST website: The Path to 2409)
First Splinter timeline
|Praetors of the Romulan Star Empire|
|Pontilus • Sartorix • Colius • Comilius • D'deridex • Gileus I • Varus III • Karzan • Vrax • Gaius • Aratenik • Dralath • Darok • Narviat • Neral • Hiren • Shinzon • Tal'Aura • Gell Kamemor • Chulan • Taris • Sela|
|the Praetorate||Eveh tr'Anierh • Hloal t’Illialhlae • Ahrm’n tr‘Kiell • Urellh tr'Maehhli • Gurrhim tr'Siedhri|
|judiciary praetor||Hloal t'Illialhlae|
|Romulan Star Empire
|Bervas • Decius|