The Broddring Empire, or simply The Empire, was the name used by the inhabitants of Alagaësia to refer to the territory under the rule of Galbatorix. Although "The Empire" was officially a continuation of the Broddring Kingdom, most of those living under Galbatorix's scepter were unaware that such a kingdom ever existed.
The Broddring Empire extended over most of western Alagaësia. It spanned from the far reaches of the Hadarac Desert in the east to the mountains of the Spine in the west. In the south, it started at the city of Aroughs and continued all the way to Ceunon in the north. During Eldest and Brisingr the Varden and the elves conquered a large part of the Broddring Empire: Carvahall, Ceunon, Aroughs, Feinster, and Gil'ead, changing the borders of the Broddring Empire. By the end of the Rider War, the imperial structure of Galbatorix had ceased to exist as a political entity, although there were occasional rebellions in its name after Galbatorix's death.
The Broddring Empire's authority was dogged by poverty, corruption, and dissension. Many of the people from more remote villages, such as Carvahall, resented Galbatorix's rule, as the Broddring Empire had never lifted a hand to aid them in fending off Urgals or other troubles. In addition, several of Galbatorix's minions were known embezzlers, even while their subjects lived in want. In addition, slavery was also legal. The Broddring Empire was despised by many of its citizens, though not all hated it and a substantial number were resistant to the Varden's efforts to end Galbatorix's reign.
The Broddring Empire maintained a standing army. King Galbatorix's knowledge of the ancient language allowed him to force underlings to swear permanent allegiance to him, ensuring obedience and all but eliminating the chance of desertion or rebellion. The army was used to enforce law and order, quelling rebellion and hunting down fugitives and outlaws. After the Battle under Farthen Dûr, a company of Imperial soldiers was sent to Carvahall, along with the Ra'zac, in search of Roran. A larger force was dispatched by Galbatorix to The Burning Plains to confront the Varden.
Galbatorix forged a temporary alliance between the Broddring Empire and the Urgal tribes. This alliance was broken when Eragon killed Durza (who was using magic to control them) in Farthen Dûr. Galbatorix's plan was to join forces with the Urgals for as long as he needed them, then wipe them out as soon as they outlived their usefulness.
The Broddring Empire also kept a strong navy. Made up of ships like the Dragon Wing, the navy was used to protect the Imperial coast from pirates and mercenary ships employed by the Varden. They were occasionally ordered to fight giant Sea snakes (Nïdhwal).
Dissatisfied with the state of events under Galbatorix's rule, Brom and a group of rebels established the Varden about a century before Eragon's discovery of Saphira's egg. Many people sympathized with the Varden's goals, but few were willing to admit it openly. Nevertheless, the Varden grew in number and were able to defeat the Broddring Empire in three battles: the Battle under Farthen Dûr, Battle of The Burning Plains and the Battle of Feinster. In the last two, they were assisted by forces from Surda, as well as Roran's group of refugees from Carvahall.
Surda, on the southwestern border of the Broddring Empire, broke off from the Broddring Empire and became an independent nation. Its leader, King Orrin, openly supported the Varden. Galbatorix considered Surda a minor threat and consequently did not devote the time or resources to bring it under his control.
The elven capital, Ellesméra, was located in Du Weldenvarden, far to the north. Though the elves developed an established civilization long before the creation of the Broddring Empire, they were nevertheless considered a rebellion in that they resisted Galbatorix's rule. They fought bitterly against Galbatorix, but they could not prevail. They retreated into the deepest corners of Du Weldenvarden. During the Rider War they again fought bitterly against Galbatorix, taking the cities of Ceunon and Gil'ead.
King Hrothgar, clan chief of Dûrgrimst Ingeitum and king of the dwarves, gave supplies and warriors to the Varden when they were based in Farthen Dûr: the Varden would not have endured if not for Hrothgar's generosity. After Hrothgars death, Orik was elected king by the clan chiefs and he chose to continue to help the Varden defeat the Broddring Empire.
After realising they were nothing but pawns to be manipulated by Galbatorix, the Urgals united under Nar Garzhvog, a Kull, who then defected to the Varden for vengeance, however later it was revealed that Garzhvog did this out of necessity knowing that if Galbatorix were to seize complete control of Alagaësia he would exterminate the entire race of Urgals. There was much controversy among the Varden when this happened, due to the fact that Urgals were known for attacking settlements for seemingly no reason and senselessly slaughtering anyone they can find, which almost lead to King Orrin breaking off his alliance with the Varden. However, the Urgals had strict codes of honor even regarding things such as vengeance, and would respect the strength of people who showed great prowess on the battlefield and give them titles.
While Eragon considered the Broddring Empire an evil institution, Murtagh maintained that the system was sound, even if the ruler was himself corrupt. When the Broddring Empire was created by Galbatorix, it was largely ungoverned: Galbatorix was busy gaining control of the Eldunarí. Forty years later, Galbatorix started regaining control over the shattered Broddring Empire, starting to govern it better and regain his control over the lands.