Anatolia and Onward
The Theban Tribunal is a curiosity in the Order of Hermes. As an organization it predates the founding of the Order, albeit in a very different form than today. It was originally much larger, but early in the Order’s history split in two, to form the Transylvanian and (modern) Theban Tribunals. Most distinct is its political system, which departs radically from that found in the rest of the Order. The Theban Tribunal is occasionally depicted as a model Tribunal, where magi live and work towards a common goal rather than being riven with strife and political bickering. More often, however, it is seen as an interesting anomaly rather than a model for the rest of the Order to follow.
Recent History through to 1220- Fall of Constantinople
Many Theban magi avoided the entire imbroglio of the League of Advisors, concentrating on their own interests and participating in the Tribunal’s culture and political responsibilities. Some paid no attention at all, until 1204 when Constantinople fell to the Italian and French forces of the Fourth Crusade. Once boasting three covenants, the fall of the mighty City of the East saw the end of them all. Thermakopolis was destroyed utterly, and its only survivor, Mathieus, is in self-imposed exile (see The Lion and the Lily, page 87). Moero’s Garden, a covenant more concerned with poetics than politics, relocated to Nicaea, following the exodus of many Greek nobles. Xylinites became more insular and closed its walls to outsiders. In the aftermath, accusations flew as rapidly as arrows. House Tremere was blamed, as was House Jerbiton. The League of Advisors, which had lost many of its members with the fall of Thermakopolis, couldn’t weather allegations of interference with mundanes, and disbanded. Although the Theban Tribunal failed to secure a conviction against members of the former league, House Tremere has appealed to the Grand Tribunal of 1228 for the case against the two surviving magi to be reconsidered. Should this appeal be successful, it could have important consequences for the autonomy of Tribunals in general and the Theban polity in particular. The reorganizing of the Byzantine Empire into smaller empires has forced some covenants to adapt to the changing political landscape that results from new rulers, but others have been left untouched. Every Theban magus has an opinion on the current situation, but not all are willing to commit to the various leagues that have formed as a response (see The Leagues of Thebes, later). Not all believe that the situation threatens the supernatural balance that existed, but the majority does. It has been just 16 years since the fall of Constantinople, and while Frankish magi have followed the mundanes eastwards, they have not settled in sufficiently large numbers to have a noticeable impact on the Tribunal’s practices. However, some have already rebelled against the Theban polity, and the Tribunal of 1221 promises to be an interesting one as they seek to make changes to their adopted home.