Bloodline stuff, etc.

From: Donald R. Oddy <>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2000 21:47:03 GMT

Donald Oddy

>I think that may be the answer, a person living with
their spouses
>clan will _defend_ the clan and tula even against
their relatives
>but will not get involved in _attacks_ on their own

I would suspect that more of an issue that bilateral kin and affines while not recognised in law according to KoS are certainly those you would try to settle instead of fight with. I'm not sure we need to denote clan membership as much as kniship here. That is why marriages between clans are used to promote alliances, they create individuals who will have an interest in seeing a peaceful resoloution to conflict. Practical and legal kniship are different.

I still see distinguishing between the legal definition of a clan - the patrilineal line and the practical notion of who comprises it - both the patrilineal bloodline (the legal clan) and the women who are its wives, mothers, unmarried daughters as being the way out of this Gordian know we have tied. Going back to what I said earlier where clans are patrilineal a woman's vested interest is her husband/father/son's. It iscreates trust in her participation in the clan's afairs.

(As an aside one thought on the exogamy debate is that bloodlines are prescriptively exogamous (you must marry outside your bloodline) and clans are permissively exogamous (that person may be from another clan). Maybe the writer of KoS just failed to make this clear.

>But you do use the same type of land for growing
grain and fattening
>cattle. Indeed prior to modern fertilisers you rotate
crops to
>maintain a decent yield.

Cattle manure is an important fertiliser in this period and an important product of livestock farming. Transhumance is probably practiced to keep cattle off arable land during the growing season.

>However the third or forth son of a Carl is unlikely
>to get enough wealth together to be a Carl himself
but a well off
>cottar may get a chance to buy a share of an ox team
becoming a
>Half-Carl even though his eldest son has to learn how
to use it
>from another clan member. So changes in status
usually occur
>gradually over generations by which time the
bloodlines have

Depends a bit on the model for inheritance (another debate we have had here). AFAIK the Icelandic model divided the intheritance between the sons.

For example consider this model:

A bacheleor is given a share of those resources his father has surplus (for argument's sake one-level below his own i.e. cottars for half-carls, half-carls for carls, carls for thanes). If his father had sufficient resources or had few dependants he might have remained at his father's stead ; if not he will form part of the labour pool at another stead (quite possibly within the same bloodline). He would gain more at marriage from his bride. Again marriage might lead to him leaving the stead of his father or might not . If he leaves the stead it may not be to a stead where he is a carl or even half-carl (prhaps with his brothers) but a cottar, or a labourer. Steads often include the labouring classes families as well as the owners families. When dad dies his sons get the inheritance. The brothers may simply keep running the family's traditional stead without dividing the goods,the 'household head' would probably be an 'informal' position for one of those brothers. If dad himself runs no stead but is part of the labour pool then they will probably take his last be,ongings and depart to their own residences. Maybe they have done well and earned enough that everyone is up to dad's social level or better. Maybe only a few rise enough in status to reach his level. Maybe the family falls on hard times, and lives in the steads of other carls, with their families, or becomes stickpickers.

Note that the stead holds an extended family from a bloodline and labourers from that or other bloodlines with their families; that a person may be rsident in more than one stead during their lifetime and that issues such as who runs the stead are very much down to resolving the complexities of relationships within a stead and not law.

>I was using trade to refer to all sorts of exchanges
between steads
>rather than just straight forward buying, selling and
barter. In a
>society which places a high value on hospitality and
gifting such
>things become a matter of correctly balancing
obligations - in
>effect a form of trade.

i.e. it is not trade but gifting. In this kind of social context, 'trade' only takes place at a neutral marketplace i.e. there is no social obligation or status transfer involved in the transaction.

>There may be some 'stead property' used by everyone
but I think it will
>only be trivial items.

If we all inherit dad's plough it belongs to the bloodline (us brothers). Of course if you don't like that you could cut it up and give everyone a part , but that is the start of kinstrife.

>Certainly there will be a stead leader but she (or
he) isn't a manager with authority, more
>a person who's experience other defer to. It probably
isn't even the
>same person on all matters.

Agreed the leadership of the stead probably varies amidst the carl(s) depending on the rise and fall of fortunes. Remember honour is important to these people, they are engaged constant struggles for social recognition and pre-eminance.


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