Citizenship in Ancient Sillas
Citizenship in Ancient Sillas refers to the exclusive legal status afforded to those of either full or partial Sillenic descent, with definitions for the latter varying depending on the time period. Later on, however, only Anystesseans (and a few select groups, such as Ulmians) were allowed citizenship. Citizens enjoyed numerous institutionalized privileges – most notably, enfranchisement and ability to participate in local assemblies. In addition, Sillenic citizens residing within the various commanderies and the vassals of the Empire (which lacked representation in the People's Assembly), often enjoyed a substantially higher social status than non-citizens – though there were exceptions to this rule.
Sillenic citizenship – at least in its full form – was bestowed to those of verifiable Sillenic descent, and following the establishment of the Sillenic Empire (also called the Empire of the Anystesseans), during the reign of Ignesca the Builder, only those who had either practiced or converted into Anystesseanism. As such, most Sillenes attain their citizenship through birth-right, with any individual with at least one parent who is a citizen being eligible for citizenship. As a result, it was independent of social status, with both rich and poor alike being represented within the citizen pool, and likewise (at least theoretically) being allowed to participate in society politically. The lesser degrees of citizenship, in which they lack political participation but are guaranteed basic rights, are given to allies such as the nobility of subjugated peoples. These people, however, can complete their citizenship through partaking in civil examinations, and (if not already) gaining fluency in the Sillenic tongue.
The definition of "Sillene" varied widely depending on the time period. According to the last edition of the Bamboo Annals, the term "Sillenic" was conservative and strictly applied to those living within the territorial borders of Sillas Minor. This expanded to include Sillenized Olmacs and Makuku, though only for the convenience of hastening and incentivizing assimilation, thus pacifying the native population. Awareness of common ancestry (based on linguistic similarities) led to the enfrachisement of all Makuku, Teninukalese, Kalomans, and later even distantly-related groups such as Qerans (whose language comprise a sister branch to the Sillenic languages), and the Exhulans.
Rights and degrees of citizenship
Sillenic citizens were given a wide set of rights. The rights common to the two degrees of citizens, as well as non-citizens, are:
- The recognition of legal personhood
- The right to a lawful marriage
- The right to make legal contracts
- The right to hold property
- The right to engage in commerce
- The right to commute sentences involving death and corporeal punishment to fines or indentured servitude (depending on severity)
The first right mentioned above (the recognition of legal personhood) was written in response to the issue of slavery – which, while present in the early stage of Sillenic society (particularly during the pre-Tsinic period), was never as extensive as contemporary societies and was readily abolished. However, this failed to eliminate the complex system of debt labor that had flourished during the Archaic period; this remained preserved in two ways: through wage labor (with regulations set forth by contracts) and penal labor. During the later Sillenistic period, as demand for produce soared in Sillas proper, many land-owners in the peripheral regions sought to exploit this loophole while lobbying for the establishment of institutions remniscient of serfdom; as a result, many non-citizens had lost mobility due to the desire to fix the scarce labor to the abundant land. The last right (the ability to commute sentences involving death and corporeal punishment to fines or indentured servitude) was implemented for similar reasons (e.g., the necessity for laborers), as well as being under the influence of Anystessean virtues such as benevolence. The other laws were believed to have stemmed from the common laws used between the cities of late Neolithic Sillas, with civil codes dating from the period seemingly incentivizing residing within the cities compared to the countryside – hence why many of the respective rights are concerned with economic rights.
The rights common to the two degrees of citizens (aka, full citizens and those of the Exhulan-rite) mainly pivot around the administration of criminal law, with Sillenic citizens being granted leniency. However, later members of the Anystessean clergy could exercise the exclusive right to represent a non-citizen in court; Anystesseans in general also gained the right to request leniency during the later period. The full list of rights that are common to the two aforemention groups are:
- The right to confer citizenship to children
- The right to mobility
- The right to sue in courts, and the right to be sued
- The right to have a legal trial (to appear before a proper court and to defend oneself)
- The right to appeal the decisions of magistrate(s), and to appeal the decisions of lower courts
There were two sub-classes of citizens. However, they were not recognized as distinct degrees, as classification into either had a meritocratic basis (and those non-hereditary) as it was determined on the acquisition of academic degrees and participation in civil service. The following rights are held by full citizens, with the rights marked by asterisks held only by the scholar–gentry.
- The right to vote in local assemblies
- The right to elect local officials
- The right to stand for, and hold public office*
- The right to elect the Empress*
Citizenship was a pre-requisite to enlist in the Sillenic army, though paid non-citizen mercenaries were often used as auxiliaries. However, this requirement was struck down to increase the amount of troops, especially within the peripheral commanderies. Many provincials joined, thus attaining a moderate degree of respect and prestige (as well as a government salary). Despite this, the highest and most prestigious positions in the military was reserved solely to citizens, and both non-citizens and citizens could be subject to beatings related to discipline.
- income tax
- tax on demerit goods
- sales tax
- charity tax (later)
- tax law for non-citizens were different (based on irregular but sometimes high levies on grain or corvée)
- political participation (local level)
- general assemblies
- emergency meetings
- participation in census
- deliberate evasion = punishable offense
- war-time duties
- conscription (men)
- procurement of certain goods (women)
- law between cities
- class struggles
- meritocratic ideal
- conflict w/ caste system
- synthesis w/ meritocracy
Early Sillenistic period
Importance in Sillenization*