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Sociology

History of Trantor

Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V Part VI

The Fall of First Galactic Empire

 

At the height of Empire 12000 G.E., Trantor commanded all the stars of the Galaxy. It was only in the last fifty years in which this could be said. Trantor was already experiencing the problems of long rule in 5000 G.E., when the Viceroy of the Nebular region attacked with full force in rebellion. The Navy crushed the rebellion, with the threat of siege rather than the actual loss of life. This was hailed by all involved as a victory for Imperial diplomacy, yet the point that was hammered home, was that the Empire had just suffered its first civil war. Small in scale, diplomatically handled and with no loss of life were points in the Empire's favour, which also bolstered the might of the Navy and Marines. Yet there was still the taint of the affair. The Viceroy had managed to bring his piffling revolt into the open. Trantor had not all the control she once had.

Over the centuries, this tendency was exacerbated . within 5000 years of the first civil war, the Empire was not unfamiliar. As noted by the Siwennese scholar, Onum Barr, every space captain assumed to attempt for the Viceregal robes, and every Viceroy for the Imperial purple. For by now, at least 12 emperors had assumed their mantles from humbler Viceregal robes. Imperial policy atrophied under these small men, although it must be noted that Trantor remained the prize, and the only thing that these rebellious Viceroys guarded once in power. Imperial policy literally did degenerate into the guarding of Trantor's jugular vein of ships taking all the needs of a world in excess of 40 billions, as she was at her height.

All of Trantor was covered by domes, and only the Imperial Gardens stood open to the sky. Trantor's last years of true stability were under Cleon I.   This was the last time the Empire was united as a single realm. Much is made of the fact that Hari Seldon was First Minister, and doubtless he and the much lambasted Eto Demerzel had a strong hand in Trantor's stability throughout much of their lifetimes. Trantor did not begin the path to her Fall until the assassination of the mild Cleon, by Mandell Gruber, of the outer worlds. After this, Seldon resigned as First Minister to return to his Project at the Galactic University and Library, which was to reach culmination at the creation of the First Foundation at Seldon's death. Meanwhile, a military junta held power on Trantor for 27 years until a new Emperor could be found in the form of Agis XIV, a distant relative of Cleon I.

At this time, a new force in Trantorian politics came into being that had a direct factor in the Fall of the Empire: The Commission of Public Safety, which rose to power soon after the assassination of Cleon I. Under control of the high families of the Chens and Divarts, they had a tremendous impact on the Fall. By obstructing activities, they caused ruin in parts of the galaxy not directly involved with Trantor. At the Inquest of Hari Seldon, their powers were unchecked throughout their sphere. The arrival of Gaal Dornick to the Seldon Project allowed the forming Second Foundation to perform its first psychohistorical manipulation; the placement of the First Foundation on Terminus. The Commission lost power slowly after this, as public opinion on Trantor shifted back to Empire under the manipulation of the new, secretive Second Foundation. Only at the accession of the last strong Emperor, Cleon II, did they finally lose all forms of power.

Trantor had already cast off the outer prefectures of the Empire, which formed the new Kingdoms, soon aptly labeled barbarian. The Fall thus truly began in the fifty years surrounding 12000 G.E., though it was over a century later that it was recognised by many.

 

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