World Building – Governments

A few weeks ago, we discussed the types of kingdoms that may exist in your fantasy world. Today, let’s branch out a bit and discuss some other governments that could exist in your fantasy world.

In our own history, kingdoms tended to be the most common type of governing body in the Medieval period, but a few stand-out examples did exist. One of the most famous was the Republic of Venice, situated in northern Italy. Founded in the wake of the fall of Rome, the Republic lasted for 1100 years, longer than even the Roman Republic, which was the original inspiration. In both of these republics, the citizens of the republic voted on issues, and the chief executive, the Doge in Venice, or the Consuls of Rome carried out the wishes of the citizens as best they could. In both of these cases, the republics waxed and waned based on who was in charge, sometimes falling to an authoritarian rule.

Related: World Building – Origins of the Knight

Another unique state to exist during this time was the Papal States, the land of Medieval Italy ruled directly by the Pope from Rome. While not a perfect example, this is an easy way to base a Theocracy or Hierocracy, or rule by a church or religious organization. Basically, use a find and replace tool on a kingdom, and replace most uses of King with church or god. Usually, in a Theocracy, the distinction between church and state is non-existent, with religious institutions performing the direct role of government, with the spiritual leader as the head. In a way, the Realm of Mordor in Lord of the Rings is an example of this government type, with Sauron as the spiritual leader of the country.

While these are several more examples of alternative methods of ruling a kingdom, it is by no means an exhaustive list. Please share other examples of fantasy governments that exist in your worlds in the comments!

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