The honours system of the Central Galactic Union is a system of titles, orders, decorations, and medals as a means of rewarding individuals' personal bravery, achievement, or service to the Republic. All honours are conferred by acts of the Central Galactic Congress. The Congress, as the representative body of the people and the organ of popular sovereignty, is the sole fount of honour in the Republic.
The honours system falls under several distinct categories:
- Peerage, comprising the titled nobility of the Republic and its predecessor states, which was "ported over" during the transition in 3275. The peerage includes hereditary and life peers. Titles of nobility are generally conferred to recognise merit in terms of achievement and service.
- Knighthoods, comprising baronetcies and hereditary knights, orders of chivalry, and knights-bachelor.
- Decorations tend to recognise gallantry, bravery, or merit.
- Medals tend to recognise achievements, long or valuable service, or good conduct.
The modern system of honours was defined by the Honours and Peerages Act, promulgated 5 May 3275 by the provisional Central Galactic Congress. The specific arrangement of civil and military decorations and medals were outlined by Executive Order for the civil, uniformed, and armed and uniformed services.
Many ancient noble House Associations chartered as such by the Central Galactic Congress have the right to confer honours of their own in parallel with state-conferred honours. The Congress, in these instances, have delegated their authority to distribute honours to these associations, and as such they are also considered valid honours. These associations are limited to conferring medals, decorations, baccalaureate knighthoods, and membership to orders of knighthood, but may not grant peerages or baronetcies. The grant of such honours is often regulated to require the conferral of a state honour to which the House honour is equivalent.
Peerage of the Republic
The creation of titled nobility was established in the Central Galactic Constitution, in several articles. Particularly, in Article II established the principle that hereditary title was to be recognised by law, not custom. The Central Galactic Congress has the sole right to grant titles of honour and nobility.
The current form of the peerage of the Republic was established by law in the Honours and Peerages Act. It transferred all extant peerages from the Terran Empire, Empire of Orion, Empire of Sagittarius, Norman Empire, Federation of Cygnus, Despotate of Perseus, Kingdom of Crux, Principality of Andorra, Principality of Monaco, and the Papal State to the new Republic system of honours. New peerages have been granted by the Central Galactic Congress, particularly to officers of the government and armed forces for their meritorious service.
The transfer of existing peerages, and the constitutional inclusion of peers in the Congress, has allowed several individuals of the antebellum aristocracy to participate in federal politics by right of title and blood.
The peerage consists of titled nobility, some of which are hereditary and some of which hold their titles for life but do not pass them down to their heirs. Peerage exists in distinct ranks of noble titles, which have roots in Earth's middle ages and the divisions of feudal nobility into a hierarchy. Peers are of nine ranks, in descending order:
- Imperial titles are those of higher than royal rank, formerly sovereign titles pertaining to an Empire, with implications of supremacy in a monarchical institution. This includes Emperor/Empress, Kaiser, Imperator, Caesar, Huangdi, Hwangje, Hoang De, Tennō, Maharajah, Shahanshah, Padishah, King of Kings, Negusa Nagast, and Khagan.
- Royal titles are formerly sovereign monarchs who once ruled kingdoms. Such titles include King/Queen, Tsar, Malik, Shah, Vuong, Negus, Raja, and Wang. This rank also includes hereditary viceregal titles, such as Viceroy, Satrap, Palatine, and Khedive.
- Grand Ducal titles are of a sub-royal but higher than ducal rank, some of which were once sovereign. Such titles include Grand Duke, Elector, Archduke, Grand Prince, Grandee, Domnitor, Sultan, Pasha, Wali, Daegun, and Quoc-Cong.
- Ducal titles are high noble rank, sometimes previously sovereign, but often titular with territorial designations. Such titles include Duke/Duchess, Voivode, Magnate, Jagir, Ras, Kōshaku, Cong, Gong, and Kung.
- Princely titles are the lowest rung of the princely nobility, included titles that may include former sovereigns, as well as titular princes. Princes of the blood, however, are of a higher rank. Such titles include Prince/Princess, Fürst, Landgrave, Emir, Tavadi, Knyaz, Tywysong, Ō, and Bey.
- Martial titles are mid-ranking titles with territorial designations that were historically borderlands and frontiers, and had military significance. Such titles include Marquess/Marchioness, Margrave, Marquis, Count-Palatine, Ardalydd, and Hou.
- Comital titles are counts and related ranks of nobility. Such titles include Count/Countess, Earl, Jarl, Iarll, Thane, Mormaer, Graf, Comte, Sheik, Sardar, Baekjak, Bo, and Hakushaku.
- Vice-Comital titles are of lower-middle rank, originally the deputy to a Count. Such titles include Viscount/Viscountess. Vicomte, Burgrave, Tu, Zijue, and Shishaku.
- Baronial titles are the lower rank of nobility and lordship; the vast majority of life peers are baronial, and a considerable number of hereditary nobles are barons as well. Such titles include Baron/Baroness, Lord, Chief, Freiherr, Landmann, Boyar, Damapati, Nam-tuoc, Namjak, Nanjue, Danshaku, and Daimyō.
The peerage has a selective right to sit in the Central Galactic Congress. The Constitution lays out the limitations on the number of hereditary peers that hold seats in the Congress. The Constitution also indicates that the Tribunate has the right to select which peers will have a seat in the legislature.
Peerage does not grant the privileges, rights, and immunities it did under the predecessor empires. Peers are no longer tried under special courts, do not have special access to the head of state, and do not have immunity from civil arrest. They do, however, have the right to bear certain devices on heraldic arms and have the privilege of place in the order of precedence. Peers whom are members of the Congress are subject to Parliamentary privilege, but this is separate and legally distinct from the privileges of social rank.
A knighthood is a title of honour granted for service or achievement, and comprise the lowest grouping of nobility. Knights and their related titles are not peerages; under the legal distinctions of social class in force under the pedecessor states, knights were "noble commoners" or "titled gentry", non-peers of aristocratic rank and station. Knighthood falls into several classes: baronetcy, hereditary knighthood, fraternal orders of knighthood, and knights-bachelor.
Baronetcy and Hereditary knighthood
A baronetcy is a heritable title, ranking above all other knighthoods but below the peerage. Unlike ordinary knighthoods, baronets are conferred the title by grant of letters patent, rather than through accolade. The position of baronets has been ambiguous, in that it is not quite knighthood but clearly not peerage. The term originates from the British Isles, as a title of honour for landed gentry. In ancient times, baronets paid for the upkeep of a retinue and swore to raise their retainers on order of the Crown. This devolved in the advent of modern statehood to it simply being a low-ranked noble title; however, the development of neo-feudalism in the Terran dominions reversed this trend and baronetcies became a widespread way for the Terran Crown to acquire the loyalty of the landed gentry and maintaining a military presence by proxy. As the feudal system of the Terran Empire and its allies was dismantled in the 30th and 31st centuries, baronetcies regained their honorary role.
Hereditary knighthoods exist as well, being equivalent to baronetcies and entitled to the same styling. The primary difference is that the institution of baronetcies derives from British and North American tradition, while hereditary knighthoods are customary in Continental European, Asian, African, and South American cultures. The human empires which preceded the Republic were of culturally blended origins, and both titles came to be used to honour individuals for their service or deeds.
Knights-Bachelor are knight who do not derive their knighthood from heredity or from membership to any order of chivalry or order of merit. Baccalaureate knighthoods are often conferred for public service, particularly to all judges and to retiring civil servants. By custom, most members of a chivalric or meritorious order below the rank of knight are made a Knight-Bachelor.
Orders of Knighthood
Knighthood is conferred by four State orders of chivalry and five orders of merit. State orders carry with them the right to bear post-nominal letters indicating membership and rank in the order. Not all ranks in an order confer knighthood; some only confer membership. In order that confer only one rank, that rank is considered a knighthood even if it is not denominated as such.
Knighthood is also conferred by one of 45 dynastic orders of chivalry. Dynastic orders are also allowed to be listed in post-nominal letters. These orders are conferred by one or more dynastic associations, who each have their own charter prescribing the numbers of members and the conditions of being conferred knighthood.
|Name||Ranks and post-nominal letters||Awarded for|
|Most Excellent Order of Union and the Republic||Knight Grand Star (GSU)|
Knight Grand Cross (GCU)
Knight Commander (KCU)
|Outstanding or exemplary service to the Republic.|
|Most Illustrious Order of St. Mary of Terra||Knight Grand Cross (GCMT)|
Knight Commander (KCMT)
|Senior officers who have displayed exemplary service to the Republic or humanity, and who have already been conferred knighthood.|
|Most Noble Military Order of St. Michael||Knight Grand Cross (GCSM)|
Knight Commander (KCSM)
|Officers who have displayed excellent and meritorious service to the Republic or humanity.|
|Most Honourable Order of the Galactic Eagle||Knight Grand Cross (GCGE)|
Knight Commander (KCGE)
|Exemplary service to the Republic or humanity.|
|Order of the Iron Cross||Knight Grand Star (GSIC)|
Knight Grand Cross (GCIC)
Knight Commander (KIC)
|Conspicuous bravery and valour or excellence in leadership on the field of battle. Must have already been awarded the Iron Cross for valour.|
|Order of Victory||Member (OV)||Generals and Marshals whose outstanding military leadership led to an exceptional victory in war.|
|Order of Merit||Member (OM)||Civil or military officers who have displayed conspicuous merit. Meritorious achievement in the arts and sciences.|
|War Merit Order||Knight Commander (CWM)|
|Meritorious military service and have already been awarded the War Merit Cross.|
|Order of the Red Cross||Knight Grand Cross (GCRC)|
Knight Commander (KCRC)
|Meritorious service in the saving of lives through medicine or surgery. Meritorious achievement in public health administration.|
Decorations and medals
Decorations reward particular deeds of a meritorious, valourous, or brave nature. They are, in order of wear:
|Name||Ribbon and medal||Awarded for|
|Hero of the Republic||Heroic bravery in service of the Republic.|
|Hero of Labour||Conspicuous and illustrious service in progress of industry, science, technology, or the arts.|
|Iron Cross||Conspicuous gallantry and valor on the field of battle above and beyond the call of duty.|
|Diplomatic Cross||Meritorious service in diplomacy and statecraft.|
|Distinguished Service Cross||Extraordinary and meritorious action on the field of battle for Army and Air Force personnel.|
|Distinguished Intelligence Cross||Conspicuous courage and intrepidity in the course of an intelligence operation.|
|Navy Cross||Extraordinary and meritorious action for Navy, Space Force, Coast Guard, or Marine Corps personnel.|
|Security Service Cross||Extraordinary and meritorious action by State Security personnel in the course of a security operation.|
|Police Cross||Extraordinary and meritorious action by Police personnel in the course of a police operation.|
|War Merit Cross||Exceptional or meritorious service in a non-combat capacity.|
|Distinguished Command Cross||Extraordinary and meritorious leadership in an area of great responsibility.|
|Silver Star Medal||Conspicuous gallantry on the field of battle.|
|Bronze Star Medal||Gallantry on the field of battle.|
|Intelligence Star Medal||Valorous service in the course of an intelligence operation.|
|State Honor Award||Civil servants who have displayed honor and merit. Has four grades: Honor Award, Meritorious Honor Award, Superior Honor Award, and Distinguished Honor Award.|
Medals and badges are awarded for long or valuable service, particularly combat service, for achievements, and for good conduct.
|Name||Ribbon and medal||Awarded for|
|Air Assault Badge||Participation in ten combat parachute jumps or ten air assaults. Awarded in four grades: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Black.|
|Infantry Assault Badge||Participation in at least three infantry assaults or at least three armed reconnaissance operations while assigned as infantry. Awarded in four grades: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Black.|
|Tank Assault Badge||Participation in at least three armoured assault or at least three armoured reconnaissance operations while assigned as armour or cavalry. Awarded in four grades: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Black.|
|Combat Assault Badge||Participation in at least five combat actions in support of an infantry attack while assigned to any unit other than infantry. Awarded in four grades: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Black.|
|Combat Medical Badge||Performing medical duties in support of at least five combat actions while assigned as a combat medic.|
|Close Combat Badge||Achievement in close quarters action, by way of confirmed killing or disabling of the enemy while engaged in close combat. Awarded in four grades: Bronze for 15 confirmed kills, Silver for 25, Gold for 50, and Black for 100 or more.|
|Wound Badge||Death or wounds sustained in action against an enemy of the Republic. Awarded in four grades: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Black. Loss of a hand, foot, or eye, or loss of hearing automatically earns the Silver grade; loss of limb, total blindness, or severe brain damage automatically earns the Gold grade. Death in action automatically earns the Black grade.|
|Good Conduct Medal||Five years of honourable and outstanding conduct in an Armed and Uniformed, Uniformed, or Civil Service.|
|Armed Service Medal||Five years of continuous service in an Armed and Uniformed Service.|
|Civil Service Medal||Ten years of service in a Uniformed or Civil Service.|