Empires are the highest level of landed titles in CKII, above kingdoms. The portraits of emperors have thick gold borders with purple gems. (Old icon: )
Empires are very large and difficult to form. However, their ability to employ kings as vassals makes management of large realms considerably easier. Catholic emperors can hold the Papacy as a vassal after successfully pressing an antipope's claim. Additionally, independent dukes within the de jure empire are more likely to accept diplomatic vassalization if offered.
In the 1066 start date, only the Holy Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire are in existence. The HRE exists for all start dates after 1066; the Byzantine Empire for all start dates. In 867, the Arabian Empire is under the control of the collapsing Abbasids; the Holy Roman Empire does not exist, but may be formed by decision. In 769, the Abbasids have only recently taken power and are on the ascent; the Holy Roman Empire can likewise be formed by decision. In 1186 the Empire of Rajastan appears. The Latin Empire exists between 1204 and 1261. The Mongol Empire appears on the map when starting after 1206. It can also spawn as a horde from 1210. The Mongol successor Empires of the Golden Horde, Ilkhanate and Chagatai Empire appear at the end of 1227. The Deccan Empire appears only in the last possible start date.
If Horse Lords is active, many more empires are available as Nomads have an Empire tier title and will form titular Empires when settling.
There are two additional mechanics available to Emperors not afforded to lower-tier rulers, tied to the Legalism technology: Imperial Administration, which grants free revocation of Duchy-level titles; and a substantial increase to vassal limit, and, with the Charlemagne DLC, Viceroyalties, which are lifetime-only title grants that revert to the emperor upon death. Both are demesne laws, with the Administration law being either Feudal or Imperial, and Viceroyalties allowing none, kingdoms, or both duchies and kingdoms. The Byzantine Empire begins with both Imperial Administration and Duchy-level viceroyalties. To create or usurp an empire, you need:
- to control at least 80% of its de jure land.
- to hold either two kingdom titles, or an empire-level title.
- to meet specific religious and/or cultural conditions (since patch 2.0 most conditions only apply to the AI).
If the Horse Lords DLC is active, all independent nomad rulers have a titular empire title.
With the Charlemagne DLC, rulers can create a custom de jure empire. This decision is available to independent kings with 8000 prestige as well as either 180 holdings in their realms, or else 3 kingdom titles. Custom empires are named after, and take the color of, their creator's primary kingdom (although they can be renamed with the customizer DLC). When formed, all kingdoms either held or entirely controlled by their creator become de jure vassals of the new empire, so long as their original de jure empire does not exist.
List of empires
|De Jure Empires|
|CoA||Empire||Capital||De Jure Kingdoms||Requirements||AI additional requirements||ID|
|Holy Roman Empire||Jülich (90)||769: None
All other starts: Frisia, Lotharingia, Bavaria, Germany (& The Hansa)
Additionally from 15 September 1066 on: Bohemia
|Can only be created by decision.
867 on: requires Catholic or Fraticelli religion, German or Dutch culture, neither the HRE nor Francia exists, the ruler be adult, not a prisoner, not Incapable, 1000 Prestige, 180 Realm Size, Kingdom of Germany and one other Kingdom title, and 2 years of wealth
769: requires Catholic or Fraticelli religion, not holding the Byzantine Empire, the ruler be adult, not a prisoner, not Incapable, 1000 Prestige, 220 Realm Size, holding the Kingdom of Italy or Empire of Italia, a Kingdom or Empire title within Francia, Germania, Britannia, or Hispania, no Christian holder of Francia, Germania, Britannia, or Hispania other than the ruler, 100 opinion with your religious head, and 2 years of wealth.
|Germania||Nassau (121)||769: Saxony, Bavaria, Germany, Bohemia (& The Hansa)
All other starts: None
|Saxon culture or Central Germanic culture group||e_germany|
|Byzantine Empire||Constantinople (496)||Greece, Anatolia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Sicily, Georgia, Venice (& Cyprus, Saruhan, Trinacria, Tekke, Trebizond, Ottoman Turks, Rum, Mentese, Karaman, Germiyan, Eretnid, Aydin, Candar, )||Roman Empire does not exist.||e_byzantium|
|Italia||Rome (333)||Italy (& Genoa, Pisa, Naples)||Holds Kingdoms of Italy, Sicily, and 1 additional kingdom title other than Italy and Sicily||Italian culture||e_italy|
|Scandinavia||Uppland (290)||Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland||North Germanic culture group or Finnish culture||e_scandinavia|
|Wendish Empire||Krakow (527)||All start dates: Poland, Pomerania, Lithuania
Additionally at only 867 start: Great Moravia, Bohemia
|West Slavic or Baltic culture groups||e_wendish_empire|
|Russia||Kiev (547)||Rus, Ruthenia, Perm||East Slavic, North Germanic or Finno-Ugric culture groups||e_russia|
|Tartaria||Sarkel (594)||Mongolia, Khotan, Cumania, Volga Bulgaria, Taurica, Alania, Turkestan (& Magyar, Khazaria)||Altaic culture group||e_tartaria|
|Persian Empire||Esfahan (646)||Persia, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Khiva, Mesopotamia||Iranian culture group||e_persia|
|Carpathia||Pest (522)||Wallachia, Hungary||e_carpathia|
|Francia||Paris (112)||All starts: France, Aquitaine, Brittany, Burgundy
Additionally in 769: Frisia, Lotharingia
|One kingdom title other than France, Aquitaine, Brittany, or Burgundy||French, Norman, or Occitan culture||e_france|
|Hispania||Toledo (197)||All starts: Castille, Aragon, Navarra, Asturias, Galicia, Portugal, Andalusia
Additionally in 769 and 867: Asturias
Additionally in all other starts: León
|Arabian Empire||Damascus (728)||Arabia, Egypt, Jerusalem, Syria, Mauretania, Africa, Israel||Arabian culture group||e_arabia|
|Abyssinia||Gondar (883)||Abyssinia, Nubia||King of Egypt, Nubia and Abyssinia||East African culture group||e_abyssinia|
|Britannia||Middlesex (32)||England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland||English, Anglo-Saxon, or Norman culture, or Celtic or North Germanic culture group||e_britannia|
|Mali||Timbuktu (911)||Mali||King of Mali, Mauretania and another kingdom||West African culture group||e_mali|
|Rajastan||Kanyakubja (1356)||Sindh, Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajputana, Malwa, Kosala||Empire of India does not exist.||e_rajastan|
|Bengal Empire||Laksmanavati (1151)||Gondwana, Bengal, Kamarupa, Orissa, Bihar||Empire of India does not exist.||e_bengal|
|Deccan Empire||Manyakheta (1210)||Maharastra, Karnata, Tamilakam, Andhra, Telingana, Lanka||Empire of India does not exist.||e_deccan|
|CoA||Empire||Capital||De Jure Kingdoms||Requirements||AI additional requirements||ID|
|Golden Horde||Saray (619)||N/A||Impossible to create. Always exists once activated. Exists if you start after 1227.||Never||e_golden_horde|
|Ilkhanate||Esfahan (646)||N/A||Impossible to create. Always exists once activated. Exists if you start after 1227.||Never||e_il-khanate|
|Mongol Empire||Kara-khorum (1457)||N/A||Can only be created by decision when Ruler is nomadic Mongol and has 30 Countries under his rule. Always exists once activated. Exists if you start between year 1206 and 1227. Almost certainly arrives in Mongolia between 1210 and 1218, if it doesn't already exist.||Never||e_mongol_empire|
|Chagatai||Samarkand (903)||N/A||Impossible to create. Exists if you start after 1227.||Never||e_chagatai|
|Timurids||Esfahan (646)||N/A||Impossible to create. Timur can appear between 1350 and 1370, and if he is successful, forms this empire.||Never||e_timurids|
|Roman Empire||Rome (333)||N/A (inherits de jure land of player's main title when formed)||Can only be created by decision for Byzantine Emperor. Requires Legacy of Rome DLC, the ruler be adult, not a prisoner, not Incapable, Christian religion, 3000 Prestige, and full control of duchies of Latium, Venice, Ferrara, Sicily, Genoa, Capua, Apulia, Thrace, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Athens, Tunisia and Croatia.||Never||e_roman_empire|
|Latin Empire||Constantinople (496)||N/A||Catholic religion or Catholic heresy. Neither Byzantine Empire nor Roman Empire exists. Control Kaliopolis and Thrake.||e_latin_empire|
|Aztec Empire||None||N/A||Impossible to create. Always exists once activated. If the Sunset Invasion DLC is active, it can show up somewhere on the Atlantic Coast between 1250 and 1350.||Never||e_mexikha|
|India||None||N/A (Inherits everything in India region when formed)||Rajastan, Bengal Empire, and Deccan Empire either do not exist or are held by you. Completely control the India region. 500 gold, 1000 prestige.||Never||e_india|