Lodovico di Gonzaga
Lodovico di Gonzaga (Classical Archadian: Ludovicus de Gonzaga; 844 - 901 AIC) was the count of Pontica, member of the Consilium Basileii and one of the founding fathers of the Second Archadian Empire. His son Enrico founded the Garantius-Gonzaga line, seen as the rightful heirs of the Empire by the Legitimist movement.
Lodovico was born to Federico di Gonzaga, the first count of Pontica. His father was one of the first members of the so-called Imperial Nobility, families given rank by Emperor István Nagy during his reign. To overcome the suspicion with which they were looked upon by Archadians, in 855 AIC Lodovico was sent to Archadia to study under his father's friend, Ottavio Makesini. Eventually, the two families agreed to a marriage to cement the ties between Archadia and Pontica and Lodovico was betrothed to Ottavio's only child, Lucrezia. In 859 AIC, Federico feared of the growing threat of the Nicolovian Civil War and Lodovico was called back home. As such, neither man could protest when in 860 AIC, after István Nagy was assassinated and Ottavio became the new Emperor, the betrothal to Lucrezia was broken as her future marriage suddenly became a matter of state. The family ties however were not forgotten and in 866 AIC Lodovico married Ottavio's cousin, Maria. They had one son, Enrico.
In 871 AIC, Federico di Gonzaga died and Lodovico inherited the title, as well as the membership of the Consilium Basileii, the Imperial Parliament. Ottavio then took Lodovico under his wings, tutoring him on the matters of politics, rulership and Archadian traditions, which Ottavio considered more important than even the Empire. As the ageing Emperor feared the ideals of his son-in-law and heir, Baldassare Velisario, he hoped to groom Lodovico into his heir politically, if not dynastically. To ensure that Lodovico would have the necessary authority to outweigh Baldassare, Ottavio named him Procurator Basileii in 872 AIC, the Emperor's representative and deputy should his health deteriorate. In 874 AIC, Baldassare visited Urbs Archadia with the whole Imperial family to visit the now dying Emperor one last time. On his death bed, Ottavio wanted to remedy the old insult of breaking Lodovico's betrothal and asked Baldassare to have Lodovico's son Enrico betrothed to Baldassare's youngest daughter (and thus Ottavio's granddaughter), Irulan.
Following Ottavio's death in 874 AIC, the new Emperor Baldassare decided to move the capital to Garantinopolis and named Lodovico Procurator Archadiae, his deputy in the old capital, whose task was to oversee the many reconstruction projects undergoing in the city. It is likely that Baldassare named Lodovico not only because of his loyalty, but also to limit the power of the Curia, as Lodovico remained a foreigner in Archadia. For 4 years Lodovico carefully manoeuvred between his duties to the Empire and his belief that the Curia should rule supreme in the city. Following the death of the Heliarch Antonius Pius in 873 AIC and with the growing tension between Omnicans and Sotirans, Baldassare called the Council of Vissegrad in 878 AIC, a joint meeting of the Consilim and the College of Cardinals to discuss and solve various issues of faith. However, the Council ended with Baldassare's assassination, which plunged the Empire into chaos.
Regency and Civil War
As Baldassare's oldest child, princess Berenike Garantina immediately assumed regency for her minor brother, Nicodemos, and then for Cleon after Nicodemos' disappearance. Lodovico assumed an official leadership of the Consilium, with his main goals being to ensure the continuing reign of the Consilium in the Empire as it was under Ottavio and Baldassare, as well preventing a civil war should the Consilium and Regency become too opposite in their views, preferring a compromise. Lodovico managed forge an uneasy alliance with the Regency, mainly with the assistance of Vincenzo della Rovere, one of Archadia's Archons, and Joseph von Wallenstein, the Duke of Krachenmehr. The conflict between the two religions, while becoming more and more bloody, was moved to the background as Lodovico's primary concern became the continuation of the peace between the two factions.
The relations between the two quickly soured in 881 AIC when Cleon was crowned the new Emperor and was wed to his own sister, the former regent Berenike. The Consilium accused Berenike of trying to usurp absolute power. To ensure more efficient ways of communicating with the Throne, Lodovico was elected the Praetor Consilii, Consilium's speaker before the Emperor. When Cleon suddenly died the next year, Berenike assumed autocracy and declared war on all Sotirans. In an act of defiance, Archadia and Nicoloviana legalised Sotiranity, following the rules of Baldassare's Edict of Vissegrad. Berenike branded them all traitors and ordered the Imperial armies against the forces of the Consilium. Lodovico stayed loyal to the ideals of Archadia and joined the forces of Consilium.
Following the short, but bloody war, Berenike was defeated in 883 AIC and her lost brother Nicodemos, returning from exile, took the throne under the name Jahangir. He accused Archadia of creating chaos and instability in the Empire and decided to punish the city by granting it independence (or, in his word, exiling it from the Empire forever). Lodovico, with the help of Joseph von Wallenstein and Lorenzo Makesini of Archadia managed to keep a large part of the Hasperian part of the Empire together, creating the Second Archadian Empire.
Lodovico returned to Archadia with his soon to be daughter-in-law, Irulan, now the crown princess of the Empire. Endless discussions then went on in the Curia and the remnant of the Consilium on how the Empire should continue, with many arguing that Irulan should be crowned Empress. However, the Curia feared the power of Lodovico, who was seen as just one step from becoming an autocrat himself. In the end, Nicodemos was acknowledged as the rightful ruler, as the Curia did not want the throne to be controlled by Lodovico. On Lorenzo's advice, who feared that Lodovico might be assassinated soon, Lodovico then resigned from all his political positions (though he remained the count of Pontica) and returned to his hometown along with Irulan, who did not want to stay in Archadia. There Irulan and Enrico married in 884 AIC.
Despite Lodovico's retirement, he often spoke in both the Curia and Consilium as a guest speaker, advising against relying on passing new written laws. His stance can best be summarised by his speech to the Curia from 892 AIC: "The only true law is the constant search for justice. By writing a codex, you only serve the tyrant you so fear, for no one else knows better how to abuse a letter."
Lodovico passed away peacefully in Pontica in 901 AIC.