The capital is Hamborg, and the population is 3.2 million.
In the course of the 3rd and 4th century, a distinct and homogeneous Saxon culture develops in Northern Germany, which was never occupied by the Roman Empire. The invasion of the Huns does not affect Saxony directly, either.
Like other Northern Germanic societies, early Saxon society was highly hierarchical, yet not centralised. Military and religious leadership was held by "ethelinga"; their power was mythically cloaked, but actually rested on how many followers they had among the free peasantry ("frilinga") and half-free craftsmen and service providers ("lide"). Local ethelinga acted together across Saxony, but never chose a king in these first centuries. Like their Scandinavian and Frisian neighbours, groups of Saxons participated in raiding parties aimed at the Gallo-Roman coasts of Britannia and Batavia.
In 436/7, the Gallo-Roman Empire retaliates with the Anglo-Saxon Campaign. Saxons become vassals of the Gallo-Roman Empire: their ethelinga now officially receive their titles from the Caesar in Lugdunum and his censorial magistrates, who also collect tribute "in exchange". Naval bases and castra are erected along the coastline and the Saxon rivers.
A very charismatic friling named Widukind knitted an alliance with peasants from many parts of Saxony in the 540s, initially perhaps aimed at organising a peasant revolt like those of the Celtic Bagaudae. As the Celtic Empire entered a severe political crisis, a few courageous and insubordinate ethelinga joined his side. Widukind, although not of noble descent, was chosen as the first King of Saxony in a secret Thing.
Widukind forged an alliance with the Danish petty King Ragnar of Gudme. Their alliance catches a Celtic force aiming at conquering Denmark by surprise and defeats it. In the ensuing war, Widukind`s forces manage to eradicate both Celtic military presence on the Saxon mainland and about two thirds of the Celtic-loyal ethelinga.
Widukind installs a centralised royal government around his court in Hamburg, concludes a peace treaty with the newly established Celtic Republic, and invites Norse syndicates to Hamburg and Bremen, formerly Celtic castra, which he manages to develop into Saxony`s first modern towns, and Danish groups who control a part of the Kattegat trade and related piracy to Traveborg, which he transforms from a fishing village to Saxony's main port town and naval base on the Baltic Sea. The connections to the North bring technological innovations, commercial relations and improved military equipment to Saxony.
But at Widukind`s death in 582, this new order falls apart. His son, Witelrik, claims the throne, but a majority of ethelinga and their clients refuse. They want to restore the old, pre-Celtic order. Witelrik considers to renounce, but is encouraged by the crews of the Saxon royal navy's ships and by his magistrates, who would all lose their jobs or at least their power, to take up the fight.
Years of civil war devastate Saxony. The cities of Hamburg and Bremen are loyal to Witelrik; they are supported by Sørstad troops. The majority of the ethelinga have their powerbase in the rural South and South-East and in the Eastern border lands.
The Saxon Civil War ends with a relative victory of the anti-royalist faction. The monarchy is discontinued and the court and government in Hamburg are dissolved. The ethelinga resume military and fiscal control, the Thing's powers are fully restored. Hamburg, Bremen and Traveborg may only send a fixed number of representatives.
After the war, Hamburg and Bremen practically secede from Saxony and Frisianise. Traveborg and other settlements along the Baltic Sea seek and forge an alliance with the Western Danes of Gudme. By the 9th century, they have effectively become a part of Denmark, which they have remained until today.
Rural Saxony preserves its traditional structures for a long while. Without central administration, Saxony does not develop a viable infrastructure and relies almost exclusively on its rivers as transport corridors. Militarily, Saxony relies on its ethelinga-led cavalry, who attempt to relieve the population pressure by conquering lands in the South and East. Both attempts fail in the 7th century: in the South, the Alemannic Empire defends hitherto unaligned tribes in Central Germany and swallows them into their Empire. In the East, Vineta and its Veletian allies manage to hold off Saxony's Eastward expansion.
Encroached by expansions of the Danish Jom and the independently acting harbour towns of Hamburg and Bremen, Saxon ethelinga finally unite themselves under King Einar in 916, who leaves regional and local structures mostly untouched, though, and concentrates on building a common military force. To support it, a part of the land is converted into royal property and rented out.
Saxony has 3.2 million inhabitants. The birth rate is moderate (1.5; 91 % natural births) and the life expectancy is 73 years.
Only 1.9 million Saxons (36 %) live in towns and cities.
Saxon is the official language of the kingdom. It is a West Germanic (Ingvaeonic) language, which did not undergo the second sound shift. In comparison to OTL Lower German, it bears more Norse and Latin influences. It is written in the Runic alphabet.
Saxony is an explicit class society - both socially and politically.
Historically and socially, there are three classes: edelinga (nobles), frilinga (yeomen) and lide (indentured servants).
Politically, indentured servitude is officially abolished and only edelinga and frilinga are distinguished. 38,000 citizens (0.7 %) are registered as edelinga, the rest are frilinga. Nobility can be inherited (children of one edeling parent are edelinga, too) or awarded by the king. It can be revoked by the First Chamber of the Thing. Marriages between edelinga and commoners are no longer forbidden, but a friling married to an edeling does not automatically become an edeling.
The existence of lide is still a social reality, though. Saxon laws and labour jurisdiction have brought forth temporally fixed, but binding and legally enforced employment contracts based on advance payments with only minimal permanent payment in kind. Estimates about the number of lide range from 400,000 (almost 8 %) to 900,000 (over 17 %) Saxons.
Constitution, politics and conflicts
Saxony is the most conservative and hierarchical country among the Germanic nations
King and Thing
The King of Saxony is not a mere figurehead like in Burgundy. He can dismiss the Erste Minister (head of government) and veto laws in certain domains. As commander in chief of the armed forces, he can overrule the Defense Secretary and appoint and dismiss generals and admirals. As the "primus inter pares" among the Saxon nobility, he can award citizens with nobilitation.
The Saxon parliament is modelled after the Germanic Thing tradition (as its name states), not after the model of the Roman Senate. I.e. its members are not elected for a legislative period of three years, which begins with a constituting session followed by plenary sessions which are all basically equally important and prepared by specialised committees. Instead, its (common, frilinga) members remain unchanged until a) one tenth of the voting population supports a contending candidate with their signatures, after which an election between incumbent and contender must take place within 30 days, or b) the incumbent dies or is convicted of a felony, after which an open election is held within 90 days. Within the Thing year, there is one major session, where the budget and any constitutional changes must be discussed, but also other laws can be passed without prior consideration in committees, and which is televised and widely followed by the population, Other sessions throughout the year are often attended only by a small percentage of Thing members and practically pass less than 50 % of all laws, often simply discussing motions which are to be decided in the main annual session.
The Saxon Thing is the only one in the Germanic world which still has separate chambers for the noble and the common.
The first chamber represents the edelinga. Every edeling can attend its Thing meetings, but there must not be more than one edeling from each family (i.e. if a member of the first chamber has already signed in, no first, second, third or fourth-degree relative of his or hers may join the session). The first chamber elects the king, should a king die without heirs. It can revoke the status of edeling of any Saxon and, more importantly, it can temporarily veto laws passed by the minor sessions of the second chamber and defer them to the main annual session.
The second chamber, whose members are elected by Saxons over the age of 21 and who must be at least 28 years of age, is the centre of political power. It is dominated by two major Saxony-wide parties plus regionalist Anglian and Thuringian parties. The two major Saxon parties are
- the Saxon National Party (conservative, right-wing, royalist, anti-secessionist, for a strong military, against Germanic unification) and
- the Democratic Party (centre-left, socially liberal, moderately republican, economically moderately egalitarian and pro-welfare, tolerant against Anglian and Thuringian claims for independence, for educational reform and Germanic unification).
Beyond these two major parties, there are small, moderate regionalist parties for Anglia and Thuringia, and even smaller radical factions, which call for secession, the introduction of a republic, ample economic restructuring and wealth redistribution etc., and which are often in danger of being forbidden and having their members removed from the Thing through manipulated judicial trials.
Even the judiciary is separate for the two classes: edelinga are judged by juries of 12 fellow noblemen selected in meetings of the first chamber of the Thing and can appeal to the King for revision, while frilinga are judged by juries of 12 fellow commoners drawn by lot and supervised by a professional judge appointed by the Minister of Justice. Frilinga courts are divided into three levels; the highest (national) level is the last instance of appeal for commoners.
Social unrest, armed forces, foreign policy
Social unrest is widespread in Saxony. In the past, rural revolts calling for land reform were omnipresent; the intensive industrialisation of Saxon agriculture has brought an end to this. Now, ill-paid and laid-off workers in Saxon`s industrial sector lead the protests, which often turn into wild strikes and violent encounters with security forces.
Saxony has both an oversized domestic security force (with anti-riot police and counter-insurgency units) and a generous military budget sponsoring the largest armed forces in all of Germania.
Saxony`s foreign policy, in which this military preponderence is influential, has only maintained stable and friendly relationships with Sweden and Frisia. Denmark and Venedia are Saxony`s arch-enemies, and the relations to Franconia and the powerful Celtic Empire are not exactly relaxed either.
Economy and societyPronounced inequality characterises Saxon`s socio-economic system and has proven an obstacle for economic development.
|GDP||25,600 DN p.c.p.a.|
|unemployment rate||8.9 %|
|trade balance||excess exports 0.3 % of GDP|
|tertiary education||23.9 %|
|agriculture||18.1 % of GDP (17.7 % of workforce)|
|industry||30.3 % of GDP (28.8 % of workforce)|
|services||51.6 % of GDP (53.5 % of workforce)|
Saxon agriculture is highly industrialised. Most land is owned by a handful of edelinga, who pursue capital-intensive production. Saxony produces huge quantities of pork, beef, lamb and dairy products as well as wheat, rye and potatoes, which it exports to a great degree. Due to massive use of chemical fertilisers, unscrupulous experiments with genetic engineering and massive infringements on animal rights, Saxony´s agro-combinates and meat factories have a very bad press. The current Democratic governments attempts to coerce the agro-business to comply with ecological standards - with partial success so far.
Saxony`s industry produces ships, bicycles, simple industrial machinery and petrochemical semi-finished and finished goods. It is owned capitalistically - either by Saxon edelinga, or by Celtic, Frisian or other foreign investors. Frequent strikes reduce its productivity, which is hindered by an under-educated workforce anyway, even further.
Road, railroad and waterway infrastructure is acceptable.
Stark inequality leads to the existence of an impoverished peri-urban underclass, the likes of which cannot be found anywhere else in Europe. Poverty has bred not only crime and unrest, but also caused the bad (but justified) reputation of Saxony`s larger coastal towns (Hamburg, Bremen) as big brothels and eldorados for sex tourists from the Celtic Empire to China and from Sheba to Liberia.
Saxony is a very traditional and conservative Germanic society. Its socio-cultural fabric is apparently damaged by the frequency and amount of violence in Saxon society.
Large families - deserving to be called "clans" - are the microstructure of Saxon society; they reproduce cultural models and provide help and support where the incomplete welfare state fails. Violence between clans had been considered a thing of the distant past already, but due to frequent proletarian uprisings and revolutions, military counterinsurgency and wars and skirmishes with its neighbours, even these forms of conflicts have reappeared.
Traditional Germanic cult has the status of Saxony`s official religion. Its priests are paid by the Saxon state; the majority of them are orthodox Odinists, whose doctrine comes into conflict with a rural common population which prefers the Nerthus-oriented cult in the Lausai tradition fashionable elsewhere in Germania, but which is only practised by a minority of priests.
Other religions are strictly regulated and only tolerated in certain areas under certain circumstances - this applies to the Celtic Church, which operates three monasteries at the North Sea Coast, as well as to Roman Catholicism and Judaism practised by some citizens of Hamburg and Bremen.
The educational system is controlled by the state. In Saxony, four years of compulsory elementary education are followed by five years of compulsory secondary education in schools which are differentiated into three tiers, two of which only prepare for vocational training or immediate integration into the (more or less qualified) workforce. Further secondary education is pursued by 41 % of Saxons, tertiary education only by 24 %. Tuition fees, which are due not only for university studies, but also for higher secondary schools, aggravate this problem.
Edelinga are exempt from compulsory schooling and most often home-schooled. Undergraduate studies are undertaken by over 80 % of edelinga, and approximately 40 % even pursue postgraduate studies.