The Eldest, also known as "the Old Man", is the head of the Assamite Clan in Haqim's absence. The office dates back to the Second City, when the eldest of Haqim's childer would be in charge of his affairs when the Antediluvian would embark on one of his extended journeys.
During those times when no fourth generation Child of Haqim was available to take the Black Throne, the du'at chose one of their number as Eldest, with the two council members who did not become Eldest choosing the Eldest's replacement. The Eldest can be deposed by a unanimous challenge from all three du'at members, though this has happened only once in the clan's recorded history. As defined, the Eldest is the supreme leader of the Assamites, answerable only to Haqim. Throughout the centuries, though, most have recognized the impossibility of exerting "control" over all their "subjects". Only a few have tried to bring the dispossessed to heel, and these met with universally dismal ends.
The most recent Eldest was Jamal, a warrior who held the Black Throne from 1494 to 1998. When ur-Shulgi arose, the ancient chose to test the Children's loyalty from the top down. Ur-Shulgi claims that Jamal refused to renounce Allah and was thus "sent... to meet his young god." Jamal was the first Assamite to die in such a fashion, and many schismatic warriors consider him a martyr. Ur-Shulgi refuses to take the mantle of Eldest, referring to Haqim himself by that title.