The Camarilla was a single covenant that held jurisdiction over all vampires in ancient Rome. It was created by Aulus Julius, and lasted for several centuries until its collapse in the fourth century A.D.
The Camarilla was created by Aulus Julius, sometime after he ousted the Striges and the unnamed clan from Rome. Known by many of the Propinqui as Senex for his age and wisdom, Julius founded the Camarilla at the base of the Tarpeian Rock as a mirror of the Senate above. Senex ruled the Camarilla similarly to the future emperors of Rome; he had no official role in the activities of the Camarilla, but he sat in every meeting and it became an unspoken rule to gain Senex's consent before passing any law. At the undead age of 300, Julius fell into torpor in a remote portion of Necropolis, and the name Senex passed on to the Ala Senecta.
Julius' contributions to the Kindred were felt for centuries to come, and were wholly welcomed after the egregious demands of the Striges. Among the various laws and administrations he set forth, Julius created the concept of Elysium in the center of Necropolis; here, no Kindred could perform any threats or acts of violence without severe ramifications.
As Rome entered its golden age under Augustus, so did the Camarilla. The infrastructure of Necropolis was a dark echo of the marble-lined streets above. The galleries of Necropolis were lined with busts of Propinqui leaders, and the undead filled the halls. With the Roman Republic dead, the Camarilla changed its interior workings to reflect the new empire; the Senate above dealt with the laws of the living, and the Camarilla below legislated the sin of the empire.
When the Great Fire consumed Rome, the Kindred below the surface flew into frenzy, losing their rationales and they utterly destroyed one another for five days. When the fire subsided, the Kindred began to rebuild, but it would be a decade-long task with much intrigue inbetween. After their reconstruction was complete, the Kindred discovered they were sharing the Necropolis with the persecuted Christians fleeing from the world above.
The end of the Camarilla came when the Christians seized Rome. With the number of Christian Kindred rising and the mortal Christians instituting theirs as the state religion, the Camarilla soon found itself weakening rapidly. The Lancea et Sanctum also began to grow, rapidly rendering the Camarilla obsolete with Christianity. When Rome was sacked by Alaric and his Goths in 410 A.D., the Camarilla finally collapsed and would not be rebuilt again. As the world around them reverted to barbarism, so too did the Kindred.
Out of the ashes of the old Camarilla, and the dark times that followed, grew new orders, the Covenants of modern times. It was not an easy or peaceful process. Many covenants and many ideas were tried. Many, if not most, failed. Indeed, there may still be some small remnants of those old covenants hidden in the less well-traveled parts of old Europe. Some of them may even have made their way to the new world, to the far east, or to darkest Africa only to grow or die or change.
In the present, only five covenants shape the Kindred world. Several more are known, and most of these, such as Belial's Brood, VII and their ilk are justly shunned. But the newest covenant, the Carthian Movement, shows that vampires need not be as hide-bound nor staid as might once have been presumed. Perhaps, in the nights of a new millennium, vampires will find a way to set aside their petty factionalism and a second great Camarilla of all vampires can be formed. Indeed, they may have no choice, for with the advance of human technology and civilization, it may soon be the case that vampires will find they can no longer hide themselves among the humans and the Masquerade will dissolve.
The Camarilla was the first complex governance for Kindred, and in the modern nights still inspires awe and reverence nearly two thousand years later. Under its rule, no vampire went unfed and they maintained peace amongst the vampires for hundreds of years.
The laws of the Camarilla extended from its three basic traditions. These traditions were:
- Dominion - Essentially, if a territory was apart of the civilized world, it was apt to be used by the Kindred. The Camarilla doled out territories to the vampires as areas where they were allowed to feed, and they just as easily could take away those rights if a vampire disrespected the Camarilla.
- Destruction - This tradition outlawed levying Final Death against any Camarilla Kindred without the consent of the Senex.
- Amaranth - The last tradition, this outlawed the act of diablerie against other vampires for fear of empowering the Camarilla's enemy, the Striges.
As the Camarilla was a large and complex machine, it divvied its responsibilities to different structures that each handled an aspect of Kindred life in the empire. These structures were referred to as the Wings of the Camarilla, and they were comprised of arguably five Wings: the Senex, the Legio Mortuum, the Cult of Augurs, the Peregrine Collegia, and the last was the Lancea et Sanctum, but it was constantly disputed as a Wing.
The Senex Edit
- Full article: Senex.
Known also as the Ala Senecta, the Wing of Ancients.
In the beginning, the Senex referred to Aulus Julius, the ancient Julii founder of the Camarilla. After he fell into torpor, the Senex became the ruling body of the Camarilla, the individuals at the very top of the organization.
The Senex after Julius was a dark reflection of the Senate above. It was an entire legislative body all its own, and from within Kindred life was directed by various laws and edicts. Its members talk of the bettering of Kindred society and ensuring the vampire populace does not collapse in on itself. The truth, however, is that the Senex is skewed to serve only the most elite within its design. The most powerful within the Senex are called the Invictus, and they are the dictators of the Camarilla, and are nearly unopposed.
While many vampires see the glaring faults of the Senex, its critics agree that the key to successfully running Necropolis depends on the Senex's operations. Many of the Kindred believe that it is better to adhere to the Senex's pompous aristocrats than return to the barbarism of before the Camarilla.
Many of the traditions of the Senex survived in the modern Invictus Covenant.
- Aedile - Members of the Senex responsible for maintaining Necropolis.
- Consul - Witnesses of the Senex, of which one must be present for any law to be passed.
- Magistrate - Representatives of the other Wings.
- The Invictus - The highest of the high in the Senex, these are Kindred with near-absolute power. After the collapse of the Camarilla, they reorganized themselves into the Covenant that inherited their name.
The Legio Mortuum Edit
- Full article: Legio Mortuum.
Known also as the Legion of the Dead.
The Legio Mortuum is the militant arm of the Camarilla, their soldiers and guards. They enforce the laws of the Senex and fight against its enemies as well. Without the Legio Mortuum, the Camarilla would fail. The members of the Legio Mortuum are embraced from the best of Rome's soldiers, its most fierce killers.
The Legio Mortuum is constantly beset from all manner of threat, the barbarian undead and Striges the most prominent, but the threat without is only half of the Legion's battles. Policing and patrolling the Necropolis is the other half of the Legion's duties, and at times it stretches the Legion thin. For all their troubles, the Legion uses the hardships and battles to better themselves to be efficient and protect the Camarilla.
Because of their duties, it's not uncommon to find a legionnaire who views the lower half of the Camarilla with disdain. To those outside of the Legion, the militant arm of the Camarilla are viewed as nothing more than the dogs of the Senex, bloodthirsty and looking to fight. However, the Legio Mortuum are the only ones who stand between the Camarilla and the rapaciousness of uncivilized life, and they frequently put themselves in harm's way to protect the Camarilla.
- Virgatore - The soldiers of the Legio Mortuum, of which there are many.
- Centurion - The Legio Mortuum's officers. They mirror the centurions of Rome.
- Equestrian - The tacticians of the Legion.
- Praetor - The commander of an entire domain of Legio Mortuum. There responsibility is to ensure both the efficiency of the Legion and good relations with the Senex.
The Cult of Augurs Edit
- Full article: Cult of Augurs.
Known also as the Ala Vaticinium, the Wing of Prophets.
This Wing contains the Kindred who talk to the gods, the prophets and seers, or rather used to contain. As a whole, the Cult of Augurs contains more fakes and con artists rather than legitimate seers anymore. With its unique placement in the Camarilla, the Cult of Augurs flexes extensive influence over Kindred society.
The Cult's is a peculiar existence; they fear the Senex and the retributions they could impose if the Augur's prophecies are not in line with what the Senex want, so in turn the Cult must appease the Senex with false auguries in order to survive. On the other side, the Cult of Augurs uses this position to their advantage, and have learned that carefully planned prophecies can cause the Senex to move in ways that the Cult wishes.
The Cult is loathe to reveal that all is not well within its domain; rumours of black magic pushing the boundaries of what the Senex allows grow, but as long as the wealth flows, the auguries promising fortuitous news will not cease.
- Vaticinator - A title belonging to every member of the Cult of Augurs. Used by those outside the Cult to describe seers.
- Scholar - An elevated vaticinator, whose responsibility is to teach and maintain the Cult's libraries.
- Epulones - The supervisors of ritual sacrifices.
- Rex Sacrorum - The leader of the Cult of Augurs in a domain. Called Regina Sacrorum if the leader is female, the name means King/Queen of Rituals.
The Peregrine Collegia Edit
- Full article: Peregrine Collegia.
Known also as the Ala Hospitia, the Wing of Strangers.
The Peregrine Collegia is the catch-all Wing of the Camarilla, and houses the lowest caste of Kindred: immigrant Kindred, felons, slaves, the disabled, and whores. They provide many services to the rest of the Camarilla, the ones too unseemly for the upper echelons to be seen doing.
The members of the Collegia are split; some think that the upper-echelons of the Camarilla only exist because the Wing of Strangers is willing to commit crimes and distasteful acts for the Senex, while the other side believe they are trod upon by the Senex and unrightfully kept in poverty and despair purposefully. Those who have the latter belief are often brought into strife with the Legio Mortuum, who try to keep the Strangers from asserting any real freedoms. As such, the two have a history of striking back against one another through the Camarilla's history.
Regardless of belief, one thing is sure; when the Collegia is oppressed, the Camarilla is the worse for it, and when they are satisfied, the Collegia is wont to exercise their unique set of skills for the desires of the Camarilla.
- Band - The official designations that groups of Kindred are known by.
- Tribune - The individual elected by a band to represent them to the Wing's magistrates and the Legio Mortuum.
- Governor - A single vampire chosen by an assembly of tribunes to rule over a domain. Governors are also most likely to be magistrates of the Senex as well.
The Lancea et Sanctum Edit
- Full article: Lancea et Sanctum.
Known also as the Chapel and the Spear.
The fifth Wing of the Camarilla, the Lancea et Sanctum was repeatedly disputed as to whether or not it was an official Wing. It was populated by vampires of Christian faith, and serves as a religious offshoot of the Peregrine Collegia.
The members of the Lancea et Sanctum follow the teachings of Longinus, and are propelled by the influx of Christian Kindred that flow into the fray of the Camarilla. Their teachings and rituals are incompatible with the Camarilla, and as a result the two are usually polarized against each other. Eerily similar to the mortal Christian martyrs, the Lancea et Sanctum is at a peak of power. For every cell the Legio Mortuum strikes down, another takes its place and becomes stronger than the last.
To the Camarilla, the Chapel and Spear are hated and shunned, but also represent the very real possibility of the fall of the Camarilla to the Christians. Indeed, as both Rome and the Camarilla start to fail, Christianity and the Lancea et Sanctum grow more powerful every day.
- Missionary - An instructor of the malleable Longian doctrine. They are also de facto rulers over their followers.
- Martyr - Any Kindred of the Lancea et Sanctum who has swore an oath to sacrifice themselves for their religion.