Three Orders

From: Nick Brooke (
Date: Thu 08 Jun 1995 - 11:25:50 EEST

AJ Behan writes:

> The four orders in the Middle Ages were the serfs, the burgers, the
> nobility and the clergy.

Sez who? And when? The mediaeval thinkers I'm familiar with said the three orders were "those who labour, those who fight, and those who pray" - equivalent to the first three Malkioni orders (peasant, knight, wizard). Cf. Georges Duby, "The Three Orders: Feudal Society Imagined" for loads of useable Malkioni quotes and philosophies based around this.

What seems to happen in Glorantha is that the Malkioni castes could be divided up in two ways:

        (i) (ii)

	Peasant		---
	Knight		Knight
	Wizard		Wizard
	---		Lord

Version (i) is more "functional" - equates to the RW mediaeval paradigm. Lords could be an add-on to the other three castes; I was experimenting with a Safelstran system where Lordship was the top of any of the three systems: Merchant Princes, Warrior Princes, and Princes of the Church. (The nod to Machiavelli is entirely intentional). The Chaosium "Cult of the Invisible God" write-up (published in Tales #13) divides Lords up into civilian, military, and religious branches. All in all, this is the paradigm I would normally use.

Version (ii) is how the ur-Malkioni of Seshneg, and my own Carmanians, saw their society: the indigenous peasants aren't really part of "our people" (different mother/deities, even if their descent is traced to Malkion). The Loskalmi go some way towards this, in that "simple Farmers" who haven't set out on Hrestol's path can be looked down upon (patronisingly, of course) by the higher classes: soldiers, knights, wizards and lords.

"Burghers" are, in any case, just the top tier of the Peasant caste. Though in Safelster, Nolos, Pasos, etc. such folk could probably buy their way into the upper classes: compare with the civic knighthood awarded to notables in the Italian city-republics (or the equestrian order of ancient Rome).


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