[Ansteorra] Ducal Perogative

robert segrest aumbob at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 9 22:22:53 PST 2007

I have been intrigued by the ducal perogative ever since I came to Ansteorra.  To the best of my understanding, we are the only kingdom to have this provision.  As a student of government, I find this variation on our autocratic traditions to be very interesting as it seems to replace rule by the strongest, with a sort of semi-oligarchy wherein dukes have the ability to alter the selection process without necessarily obligating themselves to reign.  Where most, if not all kingdoms have a provision that fighters must be acceptable to the crown, we seem to forego using that tool in favor of ducal eliminations.  I suppose that this provides an undesired fighter the opportunity to beat an array of dukes and therefore take the throne in a sort of trial by combat.  I'm not sure whether this is better or worse than simply forbidding a fighter from entering in the first place, although I suppose there is a small element of democracy introduced.  At any rate, I
 am continually amazed that a system of governance that theoretically should be one of the worst possible methods for choosing leaders seems to usually produce high quality administration, not only from our monarchs, but also from the officers they appoint.  So much for the benefits of democracy.

As far as technical issues, I believe that the difference between a duke's perogative and an ordinary fighters ability to withdraw during a list is not entirely based on honor.  A duke may fight a round, soundly trounce his opponent and then 'ducal out' allowing said opponent to proceed.  I believe that an ordinary fighter who withdrew after winning a round would simply be removed from the next round, without providing any benefit to the defeated opponent.  

It is also my understanding that nobody, including dukes, may withdraw in the semi-final and final rounds.  So whatever influence the dukes may be able to exert is somewhat limited when it becomes most important.  Any successful aspirant to the crown will have to defeat at least two opponents after all ducal perogatives have been exercised.

I would love to hear from some of our older fighters/marshalls who may know more about the history and thinking that led to this unusual custom.

Lord Fatthiopap Laszlo

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