Butterfly Symbology

Nobilis uses a Peerage system of ranking. Some time ago, it occurred to me that there should be something between an Imperator (i.e., Emperor, a ruler of multiple domains) and a Noble … something akin to a King (i.e., ruler of a single domain).

For similar reasons, I was not a fan of the Blanks'Regal title for the highest domain rank, nor the "True King" rank of Realm. To me, the analogy to the peerage suggested that the Ymera were the Regals and Kings; using such titles for Nobles seemed presumptuous on their part.

A discussion about this spun off into several changes that I make to the setting. This is mostly comprised of altered rank titles for Domain and Realm, and a new type of Ymera.

I also like to use alternate symbols for Nobilis from time to time. One such idea comes from the fact that Flowers represent Estates in Nobilis' Heaven. But there are also personifications of those Estates (Nobles and their Imperators) — one might say these are animal versions of the Estates. In Heaven, the animal equivalents of Flowers are Butterflies. So I generally include lepidopterous symbols for each domain rank and class of being.


There are two types of beings that empower Nobles (not counting Excrucian Mimics):

  • Sovereigns (aka Royals, Kings, Queens) are Ymera that possess only a single estate. Some Sovereigns have the ability to form a Line (a Familia where each member shares the same estate), while others simply rely on one Noble to manage their Estate. Should a Sovereign become an Imperator (e.g., the Red Tooth Rite), they will lose the ability to form a Line. This will very likely have dire consequences for the Line. The symbols of the Sovereigns as a class are the Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia) and the Lesser Purple Emperor (Apatura ilia)
  • Imperators are Ymera with at least two estates. Otherwise they are as described in Nobilis. The symbols of the Imperators as a class are the Tawny Emperor Butterfly (Asterocampa clyton) and the Purple Emperor (Apatura iris)

There is no discernable difference in rank or influence between Sovereigns and Imperators as far as Nobles are concerned, but Sovereigns tend to be more personable or at least more available. This may be due to decreased responsibilities in the Valde Bellum.

Collectively, Sovereigns and Imperators are known as Monarchs. Their symbol is, of course, the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

("Ymerae" technically includes other types of beings besides Imperators and Sovereigns — e.g., Excrucians, Megalith Wasps from Unlikely Flowerings. Thus, "Monarch" is a more specific term for the beings that create Nobles and Chancels.)


  • The symbol of Nobles as a class is the Viceroy (Limenitis archippus), which looks similar to a Monarch butterfly, but isn't as poisonous).

Domain Titles

I use the following list of Domain titles instead of the canon titles. Also listed are the butterflies that symbolize each rank

0 - Pawn or Knight - Grey Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
1 - Baron/Baroness - Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
2 - Viscount/Viscountess - (American) White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)
3 - Count/Countess (also Earl, Comte, Graf, etc.) - Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
4 - Marquis/Marchessa - Peacock (Inachis io)
5 - Duke/Duchess - Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina)

Realm Titles

0 - Citizen
1 - Ephemeron - One who controls the superficial
2 - Prefect (aka Monitor) - One who watches over
3 - Warden - One who preserves the status quo
4 - Preceptor - One who writes the rules
5 - Tempest - One who unmakes


Though the Excrucians do not have a symbology of their own, those of Creation have assigned some:

Symbols used for Hollyhock Gods, Cneph, etc are:


  • In my conception, Blanks' Regal is just the honorary title of the Monarch who holds a particular estate. The Imperator of Blood, Ornaments, and Dancing would be known as Ornaments' Regal (and Blood's Regal, and Dancing's Regal)
  • Regnant (exercising royal authority) is what happens when a Monarch lacks a Noble for one or more Estates and must handle it directly themselves, a fairly rare condition during the war. The period itself is called an Interregnum.
  • Viceroy is the capacity that a Noble is acting in when exercising his authority over his estate, e.g., "Viceroy to monarch so-and-so"
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License