“Life in the Divinarium isn't that bad... you get used to people disappearing.”
- - Aethnaim Nazaré, Radeon immigrant, citizen of the Draconid Imperium (later disappeared under unknown circumstances)
Compared to the two other Andromedan Galactic Commonwealth founder empires, the Draconid Imperium and the Brood of War, the Divinarium's culture is notably less diverse, with all of its species, from mollusk-like Fyrvrtha to gigantic Stalkies, adopting a similar (though not identical) lifestyle. As one of the most technologically advanced superpowers in Andromeda, the Divinarium is a post-scarcity society and because of extensive use of robots and artificial intelligences, the need for physical labour has been eliminated completely. Thanks to this, as well as its education system (considered to be one of the best in the galaxy) and traditional emphasis on studies native to Radeon culture, the Divinarium's subjects are often stereotyped as scholarly (if somewhat narrow-minded) intellectuals.
However, this stereotype hardly summarises the Divinarium's culture, for there are far more facets to it, not all of them quite pleasant. The Divinarium is a theocratic police state, devoted to maintaining the law of the Clericarchs, a 17 thousand years old dynasty of lordly high priests of Masaari faith, and its subjects are taught from the young age to follow their words without question. Its government has eyes everywhere, and there is no place in their realm (and some say in the entire Commonwealth space) that is outside its constant survelliance. As much as the Divinarium is a nation of scholars, it is a nation of fanatics.
The most distinctive feature of the Divinarium's society is its peculiar system of social stratification, called the Amis'taar, which, in one way or another, has remained in the Radeon society for millenia. The Amis'taar is commonly referred to as a caste system, but although it is similar in some ways to the varnas of ancient Terra (in that one cannot change one's amis freely, for example), it actually can't be classified as one for it is not hereditary. Instead, a caste (called an amis in Radessic) is determined by the talents one shows as a child.
As time passed, the Amis'taar complexity grew, and as of now it includes well over 4,000 castes who all play various roles in the Divinarium's vast and advanced society. A sense of fraternity among the members of one caste is quite strong, to the point that even one's species is considered to be less important, and families are also usually intra-caste. However, inter-caste relationships also exist (Quendor Telnhao, a child of an admiral and a science officer - though still part of the military, still considered to be a part of the Veracitor Overcaste), and while seen as abnormal by the majority of the Divinarium's population, they are neverthless legal and relatively widespread.
Outside the Divinarium, in such nations as the Draconid Imperium and the Galactic Empire of Cyrannus, Radeon immigrants and, in some cases, Masaari followers still maintain a facsimile of the Amis'taar, however simplified, in their daily life. This leads to numerous problems related to finding work, as getting a job befitting your amis is quite diffucult in alien societies. As a result, Radeon and Masaari diasporas go on great lengths to protect their members, even resorting to bribes and blackmailing if necessary.
These are the most prominent castes and overcastes in the Divinarium:
- Theosophian Caste - the undisputed rulers of the Divinarium, the Theosophians (Radessic: Amis'taezatare) are the priest-kings whose words of wisdom keep the Holy Empire together. Keen philosophers and politicians, they are meant to be both highly loyal to the Divinarium's doctrine and also open-minded enough to ensure that it won't stagnate. Few in number, they are rarely seen and treated by the rest of the population with reverie.
- Judicial Overcaste - bureaucrats, judges, diplomats and administrators, the Judicial Castes (Radessic: Amisa'geelae) represent the secular part of the Divinarium's government. Although their lower-ranked members are little more than mere clerks, those Judicials who have managed, through the Holy Empire's examination system, to ascend to positions of high importance, wield great power comparable to the Theosophians, and, in human terms, control a great deal of the Divinarium goverment's executive branch.
- Militant Overcaste - also known as the Dei'Ar Order, the Militant overcaste is the caste that an alien is the most likely to run into. Maintaining the Divinarium's law within and without, it incorporates the Divinarium's fleet, army, and law enforcement agency.
- Divaricator Caste - determines the caste a child is assigned to. Its members use technology, psychology and telepathy common to Radeon species to ensure that only the most skilled will serve the Divinarium; since they are highly important to the functioning of the Holy Empire's society, they are under constant suprvision of the Judicial Overcaste's Survelliants, and any prejudice or incompetence when assignging a caste is strictly punished.
- Veracitor Overcaste - composed of scientists and engineers, both military and civil.
The Divinarium's government, although usually considered a theocracy, has certain meritocratic elements, mostly because of its caste system. Each Divinarium amis is hierarchical in nature, and incorporates over 20 ranks. Much like with castes, there is no shame in belonging to a lower rank, and goods and services are distributed almost completely evenly between all citizen of the Holy Empire, from lowly clerks to lordly Exarchs; the Path of Masaari proclaims that every faithful is of equal service to the Divinarium, no matter where does he or she serve. After all, not everyone is born to be a prodigy or a leader.
At the head of the state is the Clericarch, the head of the Theosophian caste, meant to be the wisest among her or his peers as well as the most well-versed in tenets of Masaari faith; the Clericarch issues laws, declares war and forms alliances. This position is currently held by Iovera Eolania Menoraim. Directly under the Clericarch is the Conclave, the convocation of the highest-ranked Theosophians (called Exarchs); its head, the Lord Exarch, is officialy one of the three heads of government of the Divinarium. The Lord Exarch has the power to initiate a veto or even a vote of no confidence against the current head of state, although he or she requires the consent of the majority of the Conclave, the Judicator Concilium and the Synedrion in order for this vote to actually pass. Should the Clericarch die or be stripped of her or his status, the Lord Exarch will replace her or him until a new head of state can be chosen by the Conclave. The current Lord Exarch is Karsin Lanar, a Sacrenar Zazane.
The second head of government is the Judicator Supreme (currently Frthroni), the head of the Judicial Overcaste which is chosen by in a similar fashion to the Clericarch. In comparison to the Lord Exarch, whose face is public and is often seen on holoscreens, the Judicator Supreme is an obscure figure, but he or she is actually far more vital to the Divinarium's functioning, for the Judicial Caste is directly involved in the Holy Empire's administration and effectively functions as the executive branch of its government. As such, the Judicator Supreme enjoys the same powers and priviliges as the Lord Exarch.
Finally, the last important part in the Divinarium's government (although, because of anti-democratic beliefs common among its population, often looked over) is the Synedrion, the closest thing the Holy Empire has to a parliament. However, it has some major differences to human democratic systems. Every Divinarium citizen technically has two votes: representatives are sent both from each sector (as in most Gigaquadrantic societies) and from each amis, as a mean to alleviate inter-caste struggle. The Synedrion thus is quite large, incorporating well over 2000 members referred to as Autarchs. Since most Divinarium species are quite long-living, Autarch terms are quite long (15 years, to be precise). Every five decades, one of the Autarchs is (re)elected to become the Supreme Autarch (a title currently held by Andorrus Anarath), who functions as the Divinarium's third head of government (and thus wields the powers described above).
Law & Order
In terms of law harshness and obsession with order, the Divinarium rivals even the more severe of the Gigaquadrant's nations such as the Indoctrinate Collective and the Delpha Coalition of Planets. The judicial power of the Holy Empire is vested in the Surveillant Caste, a part of the Judicial Overcaste, which answers directly to the Clericarch as well as to the Judicator Supreme. The official motto of the Surveillant Caste is "Raan chira'on", which can be loosely translated as "Destroy before it [crime] takes root". As such, the most important part of the Divinarium's law structure is surveillance.
The Holy Empire's advanced and omnipresent technology allows the Surveillant Caste to spy on its citizen almost everywhere, gathering information from heptasensors hidden within buildings, machinery and even clothes. As most, if not all, of the Divinarium's technology is created from the same nanomachine material, surveillance is easy to maintain: all of the Divinarium nanobots are programmed, if working in large groups, to collect relevant data about their surroundings in order to react like a living organism would. For the citizen of the Divinarium, there is no place to hide from the prying eyes of the Surveillants, nor would they disagree; after all, the media says that all this surveillance is done for the common good of all.
They do have a point. Crime rate in the Divinarium is indeed quite low to the point of nonexistence, and those few who dare to even think of breaking the law are usually arrested even before the crime they think about is committed, for the Divinarium, being an empire founded by a species of telepaths, is fully capable of piercing the veil that conceals the innermost workings of a mind. Fortunately, when it comes to punishment, the Surveillant Caste is nowhere as severe. The Divinarium has no prisons to think of and few are executed. Most of the criminals merely undergo forced reeducation - one of the Divinarium's scientists' more recent inventions, this technopsychic procedure subtly alters a criminal's mind in order to make him fit in the society's norms. Although forced reeducation is painless, the prospect of having your very mind pried open and altered is a horrifying thought to many; because of this, an alternative is often given to those whose crimes are not too severe (such as non-radical political criminals): exile. The Brood of War, Coalition and Neutral Zone Radeon diasporas are largely formed out of such dissidents.