The Melcene Empire was an empire which acted as an autonomous region of the Mallorean Empire.
During the Cracking of the World, many of the Melcene Islands sank, leaving the country overpopulated. Due to this, the bureaucratic Melcene government formed a commitee to review the problem. As reported by Belmakor to his brother Disciples of Aldur, the reports, which had taken 10 years to make, boiled down, stated that the empire "needed more land". It went on to suggest that the empire expand into mainland Mallorea. The Melcene Emperor sent emissaries to the Dallish kingdoms of Rengel and Celanta to show them the advantages of being part of the same empire, and the disadvantages of refusing. However, Belmakor stated that the emissaries did not issue threats, but "did manage to convey the notion that the emperor would be terribly dissapointed if he didn't get what he wanted". The Melcene Empire then went on to annex the kingdoms of Pallia and Darshiva, however the Kingdom of Gandahar was more of a struggle for the empire as the Gandaharese had managed to train elephant cavalry. The Melcene Empire did eventually overpower Gandahar, however, and the same elephant cavalry created, along with Melcena's own war chariots, one of the most militaristically superior armies in the world. However, the Melcene expansion halted when they encountered the mystical Dals to the southwest, and the demon-worshipping Karands to the north.
The later expansionism of the Angaraks posed the most concern, but the methodical planning of the Melcenes countered the ferocity of the Angaraks, and eventually the leaders of both sides saw that a union of some kind would be in the best interests of both empires, so it became the case that the children of the bureaucrats of the Melcene Empire would be brought up by Mallorean Angarak generals, and vice-verca. Toward the end of the fourth millenium, Kallath, the son of a Mallorean Angarak general, brought up in Melcene by the Imperial Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was a close friend of the Mallorean Emperor, Molvan. Kallath became friendly with Emperor Molvan's daughter, the Princess Danera, but had to return to Mal Zeth to begin his military career. Kallath rose through the ranks, becoming Govenor-General of the District of Rakuth and youngest person ever to reach the ranks of General Staff. After a year, he returned to Melcene, and married Danera, eventually having seven children with her. In 3829, Emperor Molvan died, and by 3830 Kallath managed to have himself declared the Melcene Emperor; though there were other heirs to the throne, these mostly died under suspicious circumstances. The Angarak military governors of eastern Karanda swore allegiance to Kallath, and he marched the Melcene army to the border of Delchin. He used these, as well as the army of the District of Rakuth, to force the Mallorean Angarak High Command to have him declared OverGeneral and Commander-in-Chief of the Mallorean Angarak armies, and for these to be hereditary titles using the same rules as the title of Melcene Emperor. The Melcenes' bureaucratic government proved to be more effective than the Angarak's military administration, and within a few hundred years, Melcene bureaus based in Mal Zeth with power over both states of the personal union gained power over almost every aspect of life in Mallorea. The titles of both of the positions, Melcene Emperor and Commander-in-Chief of the Mallorean Angarak armies, gradually fell out of colliquial usage, replaced by the title Mallorean Emperor (due to Melcene officials usually addressing things to "the Emperor"), though this was not formalised until after the Battle of Vo Mimbre.
The Grolim church was never able to gain the same amount of worship from the Melcenes as they had from the Angaraks; though they did worship Torak, they did so because of political motivations, and not because of any real conviction. In 4850, however, Torak emerged after eons at Ashaba, to the shock of the Melcenes, Karands, and Dals, who had thought him to be mythical, set aside the emperor, and declared himself "Kal" - King and God over all Angarak. In 4852, a council of war was held at Mal Zeth, with representatives from Cthol Murgos, Mishrak ac Thull, and Gar og Nadrak, and was lead by Torak, who did not speak except to issue commands, and his three Disciples Ctuchik, Urvon, and Zedar. Secular Mallorean society was overthrown and was replaced by the old forms of Grolim worship. The Mallorean war against the West which ended with the disastrous Battle of Vo Mimbre wiped out a vast chunk of the Mallorean population, left most of the population believing Torak had died at the hands of the Rivan Warder, and the Grolims lost control. The old emperor re-emerged as leader of Mallorea, but Mallorean society had begun to fracture into the areas of Karanda, Zamad, Voresbo, the Melcene Empire, Gandahar, Dalasia, and Perivor. When Korzeth, the old emperor's last surviving son, was fourteen, he deposed of his father, causing the regions, whose leaders were fooled by his youth, to declare independance from the empire. Korzeth led the Mallorean Empire against these revolutions, eventually re-absorbing them into it. Before the war against the West, Mallorea had been ruled by the bureaus, with the emperor as a figurehead, but Korzeth's descendants took absolute control. This caused the various functions of government to often plot against each other, which the emperors encouraged as, if they were always bickering amongst themselves, they wouldn't have time to challenge the imperial throne.
As the Melcene Empire was never formally abolished, it continued to fuction as an autonomous area within the Mallorean Empire.
People from the Melcene Empire were known as "Melcenes" and were, in general, very urbane and cultured, and not given much to religious concerns. One of Aldurs disciples, Belmakor, was a Melcene. He was described as an urbane and civilised man, who argued extensively over philosophy with Beldin, before committing suicide with sorcery after falling into a depression.
The Melcene Empire was the only place Silk used his title "Prince Kheldar", as people without titles in the empire were not taken seriously. Silk pointed out to Belgarion that, because of this, Prince Kheldar was almost as much a fiction as his other aliases Ambar of Kotu and Radek of Boktor.