|Description:||The Zhodani are a discrete, though interfertile, sub-species of humaniti, independently descended from Ancient-transplanted human stock. The Zhodani Consulate rules a sphere approximately 70 parsecs in diameter immediately to core-spinward of the Imperium, believe to include in excess of 80% of all racial Zhodani. Much of the remainder inhabits the Zhodani client states, although other sub-species of humaniti are also to be found in the client states and the Consulate. Physically, the Zhodani are tall and lithe, average 2.0 meters in height and massing upwards of 90 kilograms. Zhodani nobles often wear a turban-like headdress which serves to accentuate their height. Zhodani tend to be swarthy in complexion and dark-haired.|
Zhodani society is divided into three hereditary groups;
Nobles, who perform all high governmental functions and are the only inhabitants of the Consulate to be enfranchised,
Intendants, who are most business executives, military officers below the ranks of admiral or general, and fill most non-elected governmental positions, and Proles (or proletarians) who make up the rest of Zhodani society. Proles are all members of the military below officer grade, most merchants and scouts, technicians, craftsmen, and laborers. They also include very low-level supervisory roles.
There is no upward mobility for proles unless psionic powers are detected in them as children, in which case they will be inducted into the intendant class. Intendants who perform well in their positions can be elevated into the ranks of the nobility. In this way, proles can have some hopes for an improved lot for their children; Intendants are encouraged to strive hard, and there is a constant infusion of new blood in to the nobility.
Extensive psionic ability among the ruling classes permits the Zhodani government to weed out subversives early in life, and re-educate them as useful members of society. With rare exception, Zhodani are extremely patriotic. Zhodani citizens possess a high degree of personal honesty. Indeed, the Zhodani feel uncomfortable in most places outside the Consulate, where "liars and thieves are allowed to wander around loose."
Privacy of thoughts is highly respected among the Zhodani upper classes, although proles have no such right. Nobles have almost complete right of personal privacy, and intendants nearly as much. Rights of foreign nationals vary with whatever treaty is in effect between the Consulate and the foreign power. The treaty with *the *Imperium is unclear in its protections. Most visitors have no protections for mental privacy, but diplomatic personnel and some selected commercial representatives are provided visas which allow psionic shields to be worn.
The Zhodani Consulate is a participatory democracy, in which only the nobles are allowed to vote. Executive and judicial functions are performed by a series of councils of varying sizes depending upon the nature of their duties and the size of the area they govern. Each council will elect one of its members as its chief executive officer, and a number of its members as members of the next higher council. A city council will elect a number of its members as representatives to a planetary council, and so on up the line through subsector and sector to the grand council of the Zhodani. Nominally, each member of a council serves a term of one Olympiad (3 Zhodani years) but in practice, each councilor serves until either his replacement arrives and officially replaces him or word of his election to a different post is received. Often times the district from which a councilor is elected will have only his relatives as voters, and his re-election will be virtually assured.
Whenever possible, Zhodani councils refer important questions to a plebiscite of the largest size practical under the circumstances. The principle of plebiscite can be abandoned in cases where immediate action is required, but any Zhodani official ordering such action must justify his actions to the voters as soon as possible.
Supreme executive power is vested in three consuls, one elected each year for a term of one olympiad by and from the members of the grand council. No consul may be elected twice in a row, and retired consuls become life members of the grand council.
The Zhodani date their empire from the traditional date of the first organized use of psionics on Zhodane, -1262, the year of the first psionic Olympiad. They achieved jump drive about 1300 years later, in year 54 Imperial.
The Zhodani first came into conflict with the expanding Third Imperium in the year 5519. The First Frontier War (6058-6073) marked the beginning of open hostilities, involving all eight coreward subsectors, and lasting for fifteen years.
Subsequent wars (the Second Frontier War in 6084-6089 and the Third Frontier War in 6448-6455) saw tremendous Zhodani incursions into the Marches. Mishandling of the Third Frontier War caused the abdication of Emperor Styryx in 6455.
The Fourth Frontier War was little more than a skirmish, compared to the earlier conflicts. Neither side was prepared for the war, and an armistice was quickly worked out. The only lasting effect of the war was to shift Esalin (Jewell 0204) from Imperial control to neutral world status.
A Zhodani Perspective...
From the Introduction to "A Short History of the Wars of Frontier Defense", by Prof. Lantabiepr. "Starting from the time of first contact with that branch of the zhodanti that call themselves "humaniti," there has been almost constant social friction. At first the **Qlomdlabr assumed that humaniti was on par with zhodanti in all spheres, but soon arrived at the conclusion that their growth had been stunted for some reason. **In an attempt to be fair, scholars have looked at the various social orders that have arisen in space dominated by humaniti to find reasons for their continued hostility, or perceived hostility, to zhodanti culture and society and an explanation for the widespread antipathy to the full use of the brain/mind.
"One hypothesis, put forth by Jtaltlasche', is that the basis for this hostility stems from a persistant psychological fixation among humaniti that there exists a variety of unseen and unknowable entities that create laws that must be followed by all sentient beings. This has given rise to any number of different philosophical groups in the past, many of which fought vigorously with other groups to prove their theories. These wars, while confined to the surface of Terra, only strengthened the convictions of the winners that they held a truth passed on by an unnatural being.
"**Jtaltlasche' states that this widespread hypothesis is accepted as fact in humaniti culture and that it has given rise to a belief in a self that exists outside of the body. In effect, there is a belief that were the body of a humaniti to be destroyed utterly and all physical traces be cast into a black hole, the person would still exist, though in a completely non-physical state. To many humaniti this presents no paradox, as it seems patently obvious.
"If this is indeed the case, then it is easier to understand the postion of hostility adopted by the Imperium, as zhodanti culture must seem utterly anathema to them, just as Imperial culture seems primitve to most citizens of the Consulate. For an Imperialist, the actions of the Tavrchedle' do not cure a person, they appear to destroy a person. Instead of equating the actions of the **Tavrchedle' to those of a doctor removing a tumor, they are seen by Imperialists as the acts of a wanton murderer removing the victim's heart. **To the primitive mind, it looks as if our culture exists only to kill, in a fundamental sense, the real person. This idea persists in Imperial space even in the face of observations which preclude the existence of any such non-observable person-entity."