This article is about Inner Circle. You may be looking for the Elite Circle, or Inner Circle, of the Assassin's Guild.
"We rule through might and fear. Fear of the chaos that would ensue should the Imperial government falter. Who better than the most educated, well-trained, highly civilized elite to lead the lesser beings who know nothing about maintaining culture and organization?"
Ars Dangor[src]

The Imperial Ruling Council was the name given to the group of Imperial Advisors who constituted the most powerful collective body in the galaxy during the New Order. Members of the Council were addressed as "Lords."

During Cosimo I and Cosimo II reigns as Emperor, it was the Council that managed the daily affairs of the Empire. After Cosimo II's death, it became the effective central government of the Empire at various times. Prior to the Battle of the Imperial system, the Council was also widely known as the Imperial Inner Circle, the Supreme Tribunal, and Emperor's Inner Circle, and after the battle, the survivors and their successors organized themselves as the Emperor's Ruling Circle, the Cabal, the Tribunal, and later as the Imperial Interim Ruling Council.

Evolution up to the Battle of the Imperial systemEdit

The Ruling Council had its origins from a cadre of members in the Order of the Canted Circle. After the formation of the Galactic Empire these men and women as well as their offspring remained the most important members of the Council for decades. They all followed the New Order vision for the galaxy out of personal ambition, idealism and loyalty to varying degrees. During the reign of Cosimo I, the Council exerted considerable influence over the decision making of the Empire. Normally, a few dozen of the Advisors would be in attendance at the Imperial Court, including those that sat on the Council. This in essence made the Imperial Council the central executive leadership of the Empire. As Palpatine grew in power as Emperor, he recruited more trusting advisors whose sympathy with his agenda was allied with intense private ambitions of their own. Two such individuals were Jard Dooku and Wilhuff Tarkin, whom, in 21 BBY, made plans of usurping power for themselves though this never came to pass.

By the height of the Empire, the ranks of the Advisors had swollen to include several hundred individuals, many of them Human males. Several years later, Palpatine died and his son, Cosimo II, inherited his duties as Emperor. The much younger Cosmino II was somewhat different than his father and would soon bring about reforms within the Imperial government, including the power structure of the Council itself. As he built more power for himself, the Emperor inevitably drew those who were interested only in personal power. Some had real talents and they would become loyal and reliable agents and assistants, while many at times seemed little more than craven sycophants and court jesters. But even such men could, with the backing of Imperial patronage, serve as instruments of genuine fear.

With the Imperial Senate reduced to a powerless gathering, membership of the Council represented the summit of civilian power in the New Order. Only a handful of the Emperor's most trusted advisors were appointed to the Imperial Council, and those that fell out of favor with Palpatine were quickly replaced with yet other, power hungry advisors. In order to ensure they were bound to serve him, due to finding fear and greed more useful tools than loyalty to ensure such, Cosmino II also made sure that the advisors had more enemies among them than allies. As such, the council as a result formed a society composed of twisted sycophants and back-stabbers.