a) real-life modern Germany and its history (the cities more or less look like modern Germany 20 Minutes Into the Future)
b) The Roman Empire (a major inspiration for ranks, titles, uniforms and even army organisation. Latin is also still widely taught at school)
c) Switzerland and Israel (specifically the military readiness, especially for self-defense)
d) the Galactic Empire from StarWars (this is where what the Imperium strives to become technologically and maybe also militarily)
Culture of the Leonistisches Imperium
It is imperative to understand the history of the Imperium to decipher the many cultural influences on its people and how they resulted in the contemporary culture of Leonism.
In antiquity, the area that is now the Imperium was settled by several dozen Germanic tribes, who regularly fought wars of domination against each other. While their culture was broadly similar, they spoke distinct dialects of Old German, an ancient precedessor of the Modern German language that is nowadays spoken in Leonism.
The tribes only united when faced with a common external enemy, an Empire of Latin-speaking peoples called Römer (Romans) in the language of Leonism. Despite their unity in the war against these invaders, the old tribes were defeated in the Battle of the Hasenberger Forest in the year 9 CE, resulting in their surrender to the Römer, who then ruled over Leonism for several hundred years.
The Römer retreated from Leonism in the 5th century CE, facing an internal collapse of their Empire due to decadence, religious strife and barbarian migrations. The old tribes of Leonism awoke from their slumber and once again began fighting for dominance. After over 100 years of constant tribal warfare, one tribe emerged dominant that had taken their inspiration from emulating the Römer as closely as possible. They called themselves Kinder der Römer (children of the Romans), which was later shortened to Kinderrömer and eventually often reduced to the abbreviation "KR", which also became their insignia. The Kinderrömer crowned an "Imperator" (Emperor) who ruled over approximately half of the modern territory of Leonism, the rest still under control from various smaller tribes and remnants of the now defunct Römer-Empire.
The "KR" lasted for 800 years, during which they slowly expanded via conquests and treaties to about 75% of the Imperium's modern area. Christianity became the dominant religion from the 10th century onwards. Cities began to boom in the 11th to 13th centuries, attracting ever greater populations and the majority of intellectual and economic resources in the country. In 1413 the "KR"-Emperor died without a heir, during a battle against a rebellious city, the city of Blaumeisehaven. This lead to a large scale uprising, called the Bauernkrieg (peasant's war) during which the poor rural population rose up in many provinces of the "KR", eventually ending KR control in all but a few core provinces around what is now Leestcheck, the modern capital of the Imperium. A new dynasty rose to power in the "KR", called the Leester after their ancestral seat of Leeste.
To regain control of the lost provinces, the new "Emperor" (now only controlling a very small country) abolished the old estates and established the first vestiges of a constitutional monarchy with democratic checks and balances. Male landowners were given the right to vote on Präfekt, the local ruler of their province. In turn, the local Präfekten assembled once every 10 years or after the death of the Emperor to elect or relect a new Emperor. This setup calmed any remaining rebellious spirit in the "KR" remnant Empire and led to several newly independent provinces re-joining the "KR" over time. By the 16th century, the "KR" had regained all of its former provinces and was now a fully-flegeded constitutional monarchy, still ruled by the Leester dynasty. They founded the new capital of Leestcheck in 1619.
In 1640, a civil war broke out between two twin brothers from the Leester dynasty, Reinhard and Leonhard, both of which claimed to be the rightful heir to the "KR". From the ashes of 5 years of civil war, Leonhard emerged victorious. He renamed the realm to Leonistisches Reich and expanded its borders further. He was also a great protector of science and culture. Under his reign, research, education, technology and industry all blossomed. By the end of his 40 year long reign, in 1685, the Reich had become one of the wealthiest and most modern states in Avalon.
(to be continued...)
All native Imperials are white people, descendant from either Germanic or Roman people, mostly a mix of both. The Germanic traits of tall, blonde and blue or green eyes people is dominating. Red hair is also not uncommon, while dark hair and brown eyes are less common. Slavery or colonisation did not feature in Imperial history, thus the country retains its homogenous ethnicity and has no darker skinned population or descendants of former slaves or colonists. Immigration was banned with few exceptions until very recently.
Christianity used to be the dominating religion of the Imperium, since it supplanted Roman and Germanic paganism in the 5th to 10th centuries. Since the 20th century Leonism has been increasingly atheist, with atheism rates reaching 97% in current times. Those who do still practice a religion must do so in the privacy of their homes, since public practice of religion is forbidden.
The main language of Leonism is Deutsch, a variant of German. There are strong influences of Latin in the language, and language is still widely taught at secondary schools despite no longer being a spoken language anywhere in the borders.
Local dialects are well and alive, and are not generally looked down at. The most famous dialect is the Frisian spoken in South Frisia, in and around Blaumeisehaven. It is stereotypically associated with seamen and maritime life in the rest of Leonism. The mountainous regions of the North have dialects more akin to Bavarian, while the "purest" Deutsch is spoken in and around the capital, Leestcheck.
Education is a key focus for the Imperial government and his heavily funded. Mandatory Kindergarten starts at age 3. At age 6, all children enter the Grundschule (primary school) and stay there until age 12. In the 7th grade, children are distributed according to their talents, into either Gymnasium (prepares for an academic qualification) or Oberschule (prepares for a vocational qualification). Mandatory school ends at age 18 (12th grade). All school leavers are automatically drafted into mandatory military education, completing the basic training and a specialist training of their choice within 1 year of minimum military training.
Students who finished the Gymnasium go on to study at a university, with another four years of study at minimum (five or six for more complicated courses such as law or medicine). Students who finished the Oberschule go to a vocational school, where they recieve duale Ausbildung dual vocational training, which mixes lessons in vocational school with on-the-job training in companies. A lot of vocational training is also offered by the military.
Those desiring to enter a military career as professional soldiers must finish either a university course or a duale Ausbildung vocational training course.
The military is an integral part of Imperial life. All citizens who are physically able serve at least a minumum one year of basic training and remain as reservists with at least 2 weeks of refresher training each year until they turn 60. Conscientious objection is not possible. At least 4 billion of the over 7 billion strong Imperial population are able to serve in times of war, making the nation highly capable to defend itself in case of external attack.
Barracks exist in almost any small town, often staffed by a core crew of only a handful of professional soldiers (who make up about 1 percent of the population) who are assisted by swarms of reservists as needed. A regional militia exists in each such town which is the focal point of mobilisation in case of external attack or a decleration of war.
After basic training, citizens are allowed to carry their issued service weapon(s) back home to increase readiness in case of war, although this rule has recently come under attack after decades of peace. Many citizens opt out of this rule, as their local barracks are often very close anyways and they thus don't see the need to take their service weapons home.
Apart from service rifles kept at home, weapon ownership in the Imperium is rather low. Crime is extremly rare thanks to the well funded and omnipresent police force, so very few people see a need to be able to defend themselves, and if they do they typically take up various hand-to-hand combat courses rather than arming themselves. Gun laws do allow for private gun ownership, although all guns and owners need to be registered and undergo a criminal background check.
The most common use for private guns is taking part in competition shooting, followed by hunting, especially in the rural regions. Many sports shooters do not have own guns however, instead relying on the club-owned weapons at their local rifle club.
Imperial citizens prefer their regional cuisine, which variess strongly from region to region. The southern coastal provinces are known for their preference for seafood, while the Northern provinces prefer sausages and pork. Potatoes are well liked all over the Imperium and used in a majority of dishes, both as the main course and as a side dish. Meat is generally eaten by the vast majority of the population, with vegetarianism being almost unheard of. It is not eaten on a daily basis and is expensive, as meat production is low due to the focus on quality and sustainability, as well as animal welfare.
Imperials prefer cats over dogs by a wide margin as favourite pets. Rodents are also used as pets but less often. Singing birds may not be allowed to be held as pets. The Blaumeise (blue tit), a small songbird with characteristic blue feathers on his head and back, is the national animal of the country. Similarly sized songbirds such as the Spatz (sparrow) or the Rotkehlchen (robin) are also very highly regarded. This often leads to headaches for the cat owners of the nation, as cats like to kill exactly these smalls bird species.
Fussball (football) is the favourite sport of the country. As the name says, players are only allowed to touch the ball with their feet, except for the goalkeepers. A league competition with both national ("Imperiumsliga") and lower tier regional leagues exists, with almost every province or city having their local team of choice on some level.
The second most liked sport is competition shooting. Each town and citiy has at least one, often multiple Schützenvereine rifle clubs who also compete with each other in local, provincial and nationwide league competitions.
Other familiar sports, although vastly less popular than the two above, are Handball, Volleyball, Hockey, Basketball, Golf, Tennis and Athletics. All these sports are usually organised into and done in clubs.