When Uruk was first founded, the city acted as a City-State within Shem. Like many cities in the land, its laws only governed as far as the walls which contained them. Countless wars have been fought to unite the city-states to no avail, for the deserts of Shem are relentless and merciless adversaries to any standing army.
At first, the rulers of the city were dynastic in nature. All it took was for one man to proclaim himself king, then to pass the crown down to his son and their sons after him. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and as Uruk gained wealth and population, the masses grew uncomfortable with their aristocratic overlords. A rebellion was staged, mansions burned in the dead of night, and a dynasty came to its end with the death of nearly every member. All but three, that is.
Three daughters of the last King of Uruk had been married to wealthy merchants - one in each of the popular trades of the city: Textiles, Pottery, and Spices. Be it by design or mere destiny, these three households became the ruling aristocracy of the city, with one major change - It was no longer dynastic. Rulers would not pass down their titles to their children. Some say it was a treaty that was agreed upon after the rebellion, others say it was all a ploy by the priests and priestesses to seize more power. Whatever the truth behind it is, the method of choosing the Trade Prince is most commonly done by the High Priest or Priestess.
There are many components that are comprised in choosing a Trade Prince - chief among them is their popularity with the people. The most common way of gaining that notoriety has been the arena. Prospective political candidates often purchase a gladiator to represent them. The better the gladiator does, the more their sponsor's name is repeated. This mutually beneficial relationship is the groundwork for the city's economics. Others achieve fame (or infamy) through more nefarious deeds - hiring thugs to do their dirty work in bribery or assassinations are not uncommon among the three families.
But once the title of Trade Prince is achieved, it must be maintained. If the people, or the religious leaders lose faith in a leader, he or she is commonly deposed. Maintaining power is not something any one man or woman can do alone. Commonly the Trade Prince is chosen from one of the three families, however, there is no law that prohibits the High Priest from choosing anyone at all who is native to Uruk.
For more information and a list of current characters see the featured roles page.