A margo (plural: margines, lat. for "border") is a polity bordering on the Celtic or Roman Empire and closely associated with an empire. The margo structure was a modernised version of earlier client kingdom or vassalage relations with empires. The first Roman margo was Tauris te Bosporos Kimmerikos, established in 386, while the first Celtic margo was Frisia (602).

Early margines (4th-9th centuries) were established only in the immediate proximity of either empire, i.e. in Europe and Northern Africa. They were established at the (often urgent) demand of the populations who would become marginal citizens, and often proved advantageous both for the empire and the margo. With the colonisation of Atlantis and parts of Caribia in the 2nd milennium AD, this changed. Atlantic margines were established by European settlers, without consultation of or regard for the interests of the indigenous population, and established zones economically and militarily dependent on the overseas imperial mainland, yet lacking the legal and institutional order and safety which had been established in the mainland.

Margines were established through state contracts. No two margo contracts were alike, as the status of margo allowed for various degrees of integration in several domains. A prototypiccal margo-empire relation looked like this:

  • The empire did not station its troops in the margo and did not guarantee the military protection of the margo, but it sent military equipment and trained the margo`s officers in the imperial military academies. Margo and empire exchanged military ambassadors and watched over each other`s military structures and actions. In the 1st milennium AD, there was not a single military conflict between a margo and its empire.
  • Some margines adopted the empire`s currency and measurements, while others wouldn`t.
  • Between the empire and the margo, people and goods often travelled freely and exempt from customs payments - but this often depended on the adaptation of specific economic legislation in the margo, and sometimes it was restricted to specific types of goods.
  • Some margines integrated their administration or parts of it into the Roman system of administration, which meant that the empire would provide the margo`s infrastructure (from roads over education to policing). In these cases, the margo usually had to adopt the Roman census system and provide the same amount of taxes as in the empire. In return, the population of the margo could elect senatores marginales, after the electoral modes defined in the constitution. These marginal senators had their seats in the Roman Senate along with the regular senators, but were only allowed to vote on such issues as were harmonised between the empire and the margo.

Established margines could be dissolved with mutual consent (e.g. in the case of Frisia 1388). Some of them later joined the respective Empire as provinces in their full rights. While some margines, like the new Ostrogothic Tauris, pursued very autonomous policies and used the Empire as a shield for their own purposes, others, especially later Atlantic margines, were instruments of imperial enrichment and power accumulation.

The margo system gradually came to replace not only the earlier concept of vassalage or client kingdoms, but also other relations of classical empires to their fringes, e.g. the emporia..

With the rise of nationalist and indigenous self-determiniation movements worldwide, "margines" fell out of fashion in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Roman Empire had the following margines:

  • Tauris te Bosporos Kimmerikos (est. 386; conquered by Chasars in ???)
  • Foederatio Pannoniae Transdanubensis (est. 521; joined the Empire in 652)
  • Foederatio Alemannorum (est. 528; joined the Empire in 1102)
  • Foederatio Baiuvarorum (est. 542; joined the Empire in 1093)
  • Slavonia (est. 588 - joined the Empire in 714)
  • Yara (est. 1299 - joined the Empire in 1499)
  • - to be continued)

The Celtic Empire had the following margines:

  • Frisia (est, 602 - declared independent in 1388)
  • Sørstad (est. 680 - conquered by the Olavists` Christian Republic of Norway in 1064)
  • Insulae Petrae (est. 602 - joined the Empire as part of the province "Glaciana" in 931)
  • Glaciana (est. 747 - joined the Empire in 931)
  • Polaris (est. 861 - joined the Empire in 1504)
  • Nova Hibernia (est. 902 - joined the Empire in 1502)
  • Wabanakiacum (est. 927 - joined the Empire as part of the province "Algonquia" in 1507)
  • Pauatana (est. 1089 - joined the Empire as part of the province "Algonquia" in 1507)
  • to be continued

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