Malkioni Lords

From: mr happy (
Date: Fri 09 Jun 1995 - 14:13:50 EEST

  Nick Brooke wrote
> 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).

Theoretically there were three orders, burghers were considered an aberation. Some later (medieval) writers regarded them as a seperate order, cf Christopher Dyer "Standards of Living in the Later Middle Ages." Also the Indian caste system distinguishes free commoners from indentured serfs; there's a big difference between a cottar and a merchant whether or not they are both commoners.
> 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.

My big problem is n't with the serfs or burghers but with the Lord caste. If the West is going to be treated as a direct translation of medieval Europe to Glorantha there is absolutely no need for them. The terms "knight" and "noble" were synonomous. The gentry (including nuns and monks) represented 2% of the population of 15th century England. Lords represent the same in Carmania and the Carmania gentry represent 15% of the population. There were never more than 5000 knights in England.

I am n't in favour of dumping the Lord caste, however I think that they should n't be treated as 'knights, except more so'. I prefer ideas like the Carmanos merchant-prince or the Talars which distinguish fighting prowess from leadership; after all the Malkioni are supposed to be civilized. IMHO the Lords have the same sorts of priviliges with respect to to property that wizards have with respect to sorcery. Commoners can only hold land as serfs or as part of a commune. Wizards and knights can hold land in fief but only nobles can -own- land. In Safelster a Lord's vassals would mostly be communes, for example. Patrimony and palatinate powers often went hand in hand in the Middle Ages so I would imagine that Lords have full legal and juridical powers within their allodial lands.

Obviously a powerful king could make his Lords do homage for their lands: which is what appears to be happening in Seshnela, but this does n't have to be the case. In Capetian France the king was the king more because he could cure scrofula by his touch than because of any military predominance. (Or at least that was the way it was until the time of Philip Augustus.)After Charles IV the Holy Roman Emperor was also a straw man. A weak king would be no more than an agreed arbitratror for legal disputes between Lordships, the highest court in the land (but with no power, and perhaps no desire, to enforce it's judgements.) - ------
Andrew Behan

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