The Prince of Sartar is a priest-king of the most important Orlanth Rex cult in Dragon Pass. The Prince serves as a high priest, supreme warlord, and chief judge for the member tribes and cities. The Prince receives revenues from such sources as tolls on roads; tariffs; excise duties; contributions from the tribes, temples, and cities; minting coins; royal herds; as well as plunder and tribute through war. The kingdom of Sartar is personal to the person of the Prince – it is the Prince and his family that unite the cities and tribes into one kingdom. Without a Prince, there is no kingdom, only quarrelling tribes and autonomous cities.
As an aside, it is impossible to understand the Kingdom of Sartar without looking carefully at the role of the Prince and his family have in uniting the tribes and cities. And it is also important to remember that people don’t call themselves Heortlings – they call themselves SARTARITES.
It is also impossible to understand the situation in Sartar after the Dragonrise without paying attention to the following two facts:
- It is the person of the Prince that holds the Kingdom of Sartar together and ONLY a descendent of Sartar can be Prince.
- There are only two known descendants of Sartar: Kallyr Starbrow (who is childless) and Argrath (who has lived in exile his entire life and has an army of nomads).
There likely are some additional unknown descendants of Sartar. But only two are known.
Now if this seems different in emphasis from the presentation of “the Quivini” in the Hero Wars material or in the fine computer game “King of Dragon Pass” – you are correct. Those games were set during periods that there was no Prince. Now there is a Prince again, and we are entering the promised setting of White Bear & Red Moon.
As an aside there is a reason the Colymar in 1613 went looking for a candidate with a stronger connection to Sartar than Kallyr Starbrow. And equally so, there is a reason Fazzur was willing to acknowledge Temertain’s claim to be Prince.
Remember that Sartar himself is present and engaged in the process of acclaiming a Prince. And he knows his own.
As for the comparison with the Lunars – they’ve only had the one Red Emperor for the last several centuries. Although the Red Emperor certainly has worn many masks, he’s always been the same Red Emperor.
Sartar didn’t do anything to change how tribes chose their leaders. And the cities were ruled by councils headed up by his representatives. But the principality was about his person, and before his apotheosis he had his son Saronil acclaimed as his heir and successor, the. His family became his priests, and they spoke with him at the Flame.Temertain was accepted as prince purely based on his hereditary claims. And most Sartarites accepted Temertain as prince.
Tolls are actually described in the Sartar book: The royal roads belong to the Prince and travelers and their property are under the protection of the Prince while they are on the road. Tolls on goods moving along the road are collected at various points, this is largest source of revenue for the Prince. For much of Sartar’s history, such revenues made the Prince richer than most Lunar satraps. At the entrance to each city and a few other toll stations (such as at Roadend and Dangerford), scribes and their guards assess a toll on the caravan. These tolls are sizeable (typically 5% of the value of the goods) but ensures that the caravan can travel along the road without interference from the local tribes.
This was the situation prior to 1602. Under the Lunar Occupation, the tolls were increased, but also banditry of caravans increased, especially after 1621. With the liberation, the new Prince Kallyr likely tried to reassert her authority, but got very districted by her LBQ and its failure, and may not have managed to get control over the roads and tolls.During the interregnum, I suspect this became anarchic, with tribes and cities imposing their own tolls. I suspect this is one of the first things Prince Argrath rectifies in 1627.