Interregnum: Wikis

  
  

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An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity of a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next (coming from Latin inter-, "between" + rēgnum, "reign" [from rex, rēgis, "king"]), and the concepts of interregnum and regency therefore overlap. An interregnum can simplistically be thought of as a "gap", although the idea of an interregnum emphasizes the relationship to what comes before and to what comes after in a sequence. This contrasts with a near synonym like gap, which may be random, encompassing neither connotation of interjacency in a sequence nor formal interrelation.

Examples of interregna are periods between monarchs, between popes, between emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, between kings in an elective monarchy, or between consuls of the Roman Republic. The term can also refer to the period between the pastorates of ministers in some Protestant churches.

In Roman law, interregnum was usually accompanied by the proclamation of justitium (or state of exception, as Giorgio Agamben demonstrated in his 2005 book of this name). This is not surprising, as when a sovereign died - or when the Pope died - tumultus (upheavals) usually followed upon the news being made public. Progressively, justitium came to signify the public mourning of the sovereign, and not anymore justitium, auctoritas being (mythically) attached to the physical body of the sovereign.

The term is also applied to the period of time between the election of a new President of the United States and his or her inauguration, during which the outgoing president remains in power, but as a lame duck.[1]

Contents

Historical periods of interregnum

Particular historical periods known as interregna include:

In some monarchies, such as the United Kingdom, an interregnum is usually avoided due to a rule described as "The King is dead. Long live the King", i.e. the heir to the throne becomes a new monarch immediately on his predecessor's death or abdication. This famous phrase signifies the continuity of sovereignty, attached to a personal form of power named Auctoritas. This is not so in other monarchies where the new monarch's reign begins only with coronation or some other formal or traditional event. In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for instance, kings were elected, which often led to relatively long interregna. During that time it was the Polish primate who served as an interrex (ruler between kings).

Pope's interregnum (or sede vacante)

An interregnum occurs also upon the death of the Pope, though this is generally known as a sede vacante (vacant seat). The interregnum ends immediately upon election of the new Pope by the College of Cardinals.

Japanese era names

The Japanese era name or nengō system which was introduced in reign of Emperor Kōtoku was abandoned at the end of his reign; and the nengō was not updated for a quite some time, except for very brief re-occurrence near the close of Emperor Temmu's reign.

During the nearly half-century after Emperor Kōtoku, the reigning sovereigns were

  • Saimei-tennō (斉明天皇)
  • Tenji-tennō (天智天皇)
  • Kōbun-tennō (弘文天皇)
  • Temmu-tennō (天武天皇)
  • Jitō-tennō (持統天皇)
  • Mommu-tennō (文武天皇).

The first year of Emperor Mommu's rule (文武天皇元年; 686) could be arguably abbreviated as "the first year of Mommu" (文武元年; 686), but this is nowhere understood as a true nengō. The reigns of Japanese emperors and empresses are not nengō, nor were the two considered to be the same until Meiji came on the scene.

References to the emperors of Japan who ruled during this period are properly written as, for example, "the 3rd year of Emperor Mommu" (文武天皇3年), and not "the 3rd year of Mommu" (文武3年).

Nengō were abolished during the interregnum years between Hakuchi and Shuchō, and again between Shuchō and Taihō. Near the mid-point of his reign, Emperor Mommu caused the now-conventional nengō chronologic system to be reinstated, and it has continued uninterrupted through today.

  • The two interregnum periods in the pre-Tahiō years are:
External Timeline A graphical timeline is available at
Timeline of Japanese era names

The broader utility of the Japanese nengō system is demonstrated by the use of a congruent device to parse non-nengō periods, including these late 7th century interregnum years between Taika and Taihō.

As an illustration: In the initial paragraph of its web page introduction to the history of Japanese calendars, the Japanese National Diet Library explains that "Japan organized its first calendar in the 12th year of Suiko (604)." See web site of the National Diet Library, "The Japanese Calendar" -- link to historical overview plus illustrative images from library's collection.

Interregnum in Fiction

The events of Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy take place during the galactic interregnum in his Foundation Universe, taking place in the 25th millenium. Foundation begins at the end of the Galactic Empire and notes in the novels from the Encyclopedia Galactica imply that a Second Galactic Empire follows the 1000 year interregnum.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst?docId=5000477723

References


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

INTERREGNUM (Lat. inter, between, and regnum, reign), strictly a period during which the normal constituted authority is in abeyance, and government is carried on by a temporary authority specially appointed. Though originally and specifically confined to the sphere of sovereign authority, the term is commonly used by analogy in other connexions for any suspension of authority, during which affairs are carried on by specially appointed persons. The term originated in Rome during the regal period when an interrex was appointed (traditionally by the senate) to carry on the government between the death of one king and the election of his successor (see Rome: History, ad init.). It was subsequently used in Republican times of an officer appointed to hold the comitia for the election of the consuls when for some reason the retiring consuls had not done so. In the regal period when the senate, instead of appointing a king, decided to appoint interreges, it divided itself into ten decuries from each of which one senator was selected. Each of these ten acted as king for five days, and if, at the end of fifty days, no king had been elected, the rotation was renewed. It was their duty to nominate a king, whose appointment was then ratified or refused by the curiae. Under the Republic similarly interreges acted for five days each. When the first consuls were elected (according to Dionysius iv. 84 and Livy i. 60), Spurius Lucretius held the comitia as interrex, and from that time down to the Second Punic War such officers were from time to time appointed. Thenceforward there is no record of the office till 82 B.C., when the senate appointed an interrex to hold the comitia which made yh, Sulla dictator (Appian, Bell. civ. i. 98). In 55, 53 and 52 interreges are again found, the last-mentioned being on the occasion when Pompey was elected sole consul.

The most noteworthy use of the term "Interregnum" in post-classical times is that of the Great Interregnum in German history between the death of Conrad IV. (1254) and the election of Rudolf of Habsburg (1273). See GERMANY: History.


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Simple English

An interregnum is a period between monarchs, between popes of the Roman Catholic Church, emperors of Holy Roman Empire, Polish kings (elective monarchy) or between consuls of the Roman Republic. It can also refer any gap in the continuity of a government, organization, or social order.

In some monarchies, such as the United Kingdom, an interregnum is usually avoided due to a rule described as "the king is dead, long live the King", i.e. the heir to the throne becomes a new monarch immediately on his predecessor's death or abdication. This famous phrase signifies the continuity of sovereignty. This is not so in other monarchies where the new monarch's reign begins only with coronation or some other formal or traditional event.

Pope's interregnum (or sede vacante)

An interregnum occurs also upon the death of the Roman Catholic Pope, though this is generally known as a sede vacante (vacant seat). The interregnum ends immediately upon election of the new Pope by the College of Cardinals.

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