Great Council

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The Council in session

The Great Council is the primary governing body of the Britannian government, after the kingdom's sovereign Lord British. Established shortly after the Stranger obtained Avatarhood, the council was an early attempt to move the realm toward a more representative political system, comparable to ones popular on the king's homeworld of Earth.


Age of Enlightenment[edit]

This experiment in constitutional monarchy was first attempted shortly after the events of Ultima IV, when Lord British first sought to establish a cabinet of eight councilors through personal appointment, hoping eventually to eventually fill such posts through popular elections in later years. This first Council labored to produce a constitutional document outlining the parameters of power for both the king and the assembly - requiring the monarch to attempt to work out disagreements with the representatives whenever they should occur, but still allowing the king definitive rule through the power of veto. With such agreements chartered, the councilors agreed to meet quarterly, on the natural equinoxes and solstices of the Britannian calendar.

In its infancy, the Great Council made a number of landmark decisions which would have lasting ramifications for Britannia, most notably the sealing of the eight dungeons and the raising of the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom from the Abyss - resulting in the formation of the Underworld and eventually to the gargoyle wars. Before this latter eventuality, however, the disappearance of Lord British and the resultant reign of his regent Lord Blackthorn forced the Great Council into disbandment, with the tyrannical Dark Lord publicly persecuting all who served upon it - presumably for their knowledge of the Words of Power.

Age of Armageddon[edit]

With the kingdom disrupted by the years of the Oppression and after them, the gargoyle wars, the Great Council did not fully regain its standing until decades later - and the Avatar of legend did not see the assembly acting again until over two centuries had elapsed since British and Draxinusom's historic accord. In these days of the early Age of Armageddon, the Council was addressing issues of environmental protection in light of increased pollution due to mining, as well as attempting to tackle the difficult issue of institutional racism against the newly integrated gargish race - which now had two members of its people acting as councilors.[1]

Immediately after the events of Ultima VII, the Great Council also took a leading role in the Reconstruction, as it came to light that the country had endured widespread political corruption, labor abuses, and other societal ills during the prominence of the Fellowship - a cultic organization headed by the invading Guardian.

While this movement toward reform enjoyed moderate successes within its first year, the eventual toll of the cosmic Imbalance and the red titan's continued assaults on the realm appear to have eventually taken their toll on the Council, and by the day of the Avatars final journeys in Ultima IX, the governmental body appeared to have been dismantled, leaving the country solely in the hands of its aging monarch.

Council Members[edit]

The council discusses about raising the codex

Ultima V[edit]

Ultima VII[edit]


Under Lord British, Britannia has undergone a great transformation from totalitarian monarchy to representative democracy in what is called a monarchic republic. Instead of the single rule of the king, Lord British, Britannia is ruled by a combination of Lord British and a council comprised of representatives from each of the eight major cities. Although his intent for the future was that each towne elect its representative to the council, the first council was deter-mined by appointment. British traveled to each towne, spending long hours with its leaders to determine the right choice for the first council.

The historic first meeting of the Great Council consisted of two parts. First, Lord British met with the council members and outlined his vision of participatory government. It was as follows:

This council and Lord British would begin to build a document, based on nature and reality, that set forth those rights of the people that should never be usurped. British believed that the eight virtues of the Avatar would play a major role in the nature of the document. Once adopted, the document would be binding on everyone, including Lord British himself.

Each year, a council member would be elected by each towne. That council member would conduct towne meetings at regular intervals to determine problems in the towne and to become acquainted with the needs and interests of the people. Several times a year, at regular intervals, the council member would travel to Britain to sit on the Great Council in Castle Britannia. The council would ponder problems that occurred in Britannia and decide if the problems were in the purview of government. If so, they would determine the course of action government should take, perhaps writing a law, perhaps repealing a law, perhaps altering ways and means.

Council recommendations would then be presented to British, and he could accept them or object to them. If he objected, his own rules would require him to sit with the council to try to work out solutions acceptable to all. Nevertheless, Lord British reserved to himself the power of veto in the event that agreement could not be reached.

At that first gathering of the council, Lord British withdrew from the meeting after presenting his plan, directing the council to discuss the ideas and his rule in general.

After several days, the council was ready to present its findings. Its members were unanimously in favor of the new government plan Lord British had presented, and so it was enacted. The first meeting continued for one month. Half the time was spent pounding out the new constitution and half the time was spent discussing affairs in what was to become normal council fashion. Since that time the council meets for two weeks four times a year, beginning on the solstices and the equinoxes.

Ultima Saga[edit]

This article or section is about the Ultima Saga series of novels. The information within may not apply to Ultima V or other Ultima games.

In Lynn Abbey's Ultima Saga, the Great Council is known as the Great Council of Magicians, and is composed entirely of mages.[2]


  1. InwisloklemUnderworld Dragon's Ultima VII TranscriptUltima VII. "job".
  2. Abbey, Lynn. The Forge of Virtue. Questar Fantasy: 1991. Pages 24-25.