The Terran Overlord Government was established by New Roman Republic Caesar Ivanolo Buntari in 6681 AD with the creation of the Overlord class, effectively taking ultimate power from the Illustrus Senate. Along with its vassal states, it encompasses over half of the Milky Way Galaxy.
Although the Caesar is the ultimate authority, TOG is still functionally a democracy, with various layers of Senate and bureaucracy.
Officially, the structure of the Terran Overlord Government (TOG) mirrors that of the ancient Roman Empire. In practice, however, the two are quite different. There are many reasons for this, but the foremost is the vastness of today's Empire. With quadrillions of people scattered across billions of worlds, representative government does not work - despite claims from idealists that it might function given a chance. The TOG structure, then, is the most workable model for efficient government.
The Caesar holds the highest office and one of absolute power. Unlike the old Roman Empire, TOG's Caesar is elected or confirmed by the Senate instead of inherited by one bloodline. In practical terms, the choice of Caesar is often decided by political maneuvering, assassination, bribery and extortion. More than once the battle has been won only after bloody clashes between various Praetorian Guards. The Senate, practically minded as ever, sees fit to confirm the winner in these struggles. The Caesar rules without open question - his word is law and the Overlords carry out his laws. His personal bodyguard consists of 20 Praetorians, and he is the commander of all Praetorians. The Praetorians are notorious in their devotion to the Caesar, but they have not been above removing an Emperor when they deem it best for the Empire itself. (Ivanolo Buntari is an example of this concern for Empire before Emperor.)
While the Caesar never faces public opposition from others in power, it is a foolish and soon dead Caesar who chooses to be ignorant of the political games played within the Empire. Toward this end the Overlords and Lictor keep him fully apprised of who is doing what to whom. Various people refer to the Caesar as "Argus," in an allusion to a never-sleeping mythological creature with a thousand eyes, and anyone who does not realize that is a gross underestimation will soon have his scheming head handed to him on a platter.
The Imperial Warlord, if one is appointed, is second in command to the Caesar for military affairs. He answers only to the Caesar and, technically, is next in line in case the Caesar is unable to fulfill his term of office. Practically speaking, being the head of all armed forces and answerable only to the Caesar puts the Warlord in an excellent position to take power when the Caesar is called away to the gods.
The Imperial Consuls serve the Caesar as a Cabinet of sorts. There are ten Imperial Consuls (more or less). Seven (one for each district) advise the Caesar on regional matters. Three other Consuls usually handle internal, external and economic affairs, but their duties vary. In the past, the Consuls have been very powerful, but their power has waned recently. Now their role is almost ceremonial because the Caesar has invested so much power in his Overlords. Under Caesar Julianus they are little more than information sources and officials to preside at minor public ceremonies. (The true sign of their weakness is that even the Renegades have not considered them worthy assassination targets.)
The Imperial Senate is divided into three classes of Senators. Ivanolo Buntari's Patria Potestas has barred women from becoming Senators. Aliens are allowed to become Senators, but their number and power is well below their percentage of the population. Senators are ranked by the scope of their electorate: by world, by province (about 40 or 50 worlds), or by prefecture (12 to 30 provinces). Prefectures are divided into a total of seven districts empire-wide.
Clarissimi Senators represent one World and are elected by the populace. They attend the Provincial Senate once very 4 years by VLCA. While each planet does have a Governor, the Clarissimi Senator of that world may overrule him. To avoid problems with this sort of power brokering, the Prefect of the local Legion often finds himself very much in the Senator's favor and can often profit enormously by using his troops to back one side or another in political skirmishes.
One Spectabiles Senator is elected per province; he is the TOG ruler of that province. The provinces themselves are gathered into prefectures and all Spectabiles Senators from within a prefecture meet twice a year to pass laws and conduct hearings. The site of these meetings varies yearly from province to province, with the usual circuit taking anywhere from 12 to 30 years. At least twice yearly there is also a VLCA conference to discuss business and, on rare occasions, a major problem will result in an emergency VLCA meeting being convened.
One Illustrus Senator is elected per prefecture by the Prefecture Senate, but the Caesar or Illustrus Senate may reject a candidate if they find him wanting for any of a number of reasons. For all intents and purposes the Illustrus Senator is the ruler of his Prefecture and is often more feared than the Caesar, because he is much closer to the people than is a single man on Terra. Only an Overlord may overrule the Illustrus Senator, and that might not occur without a fight.
At least once every four years each Illustrus Senator must physically attend a session on Terra. Otherwise, Senators attend meetings via VLCA, but most try to be present on Terra more often. The map shows the various districts and the number of Prefectures (and thus Illustrus Senators) from each.