From: Peter Larsen <plarsen_at_mail.utexas.edu>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 18:17:24 -0800

Peter Metcalfe says:

>There is a difference between reading a book and copying it.
>If I was making a copy of a grimoire, it would be sufficiently
>distinct from reading it to require a separate skill for
>dramatic purposes. IMO anyway.

        I guess I would count this as a separate skill, anyway. I would think that copying a grimoire would require calligraphy, drafting, painting, probably preparation of the parchment (or whatever), ink, as well as all sorts of rules like "start each page at dawn." Your explaination is as good as any I can come up with, though.

>I would consider understanding these to fall under Kralori culture
>rather than read kralori.

        I was thinking of levels of literacy within Glorantha, as opposed to game mechanics. Your suggestion is a good one, though, and it makes the culture skills more useful. Culture tells you not only about your customs, but general knowledge about farming methods, mathematics, common symbols (even in a pre-literate society), typical trade arrangements, etc.

David Cake says to

>> Not if the ancient precedents are part of the oral record. A lawspeaker
>>will be able to recite from memory all fixed laws of the culture, tribe,
>>clan, and (in the case of Sartar) nation. All important permutations and
>>interpretations will also be available, in more detail as the situation
>>gets more local. Jurors will also know much of this.
> My impression was that precedent was persuasive, but not
>necessarily binding, in Heortling law. So while I agree that a
>lawspeaker will know all the major laws and be able to quote them, I
>think an ability to quote many many precedents is an advantage in
>arguing or judging a legal case. Much legal argument consists of
>quoting judgements that are similar to your case, and favour your
> I am sure that the LM cult record all judgements.

        Well, yes to all your points, but that doesn't change the idea that all that information can be held orally. If, as Greg says, LM cultists are the only Heortlings at all likely to be able to read, the written word is not going to have much authority -- it's just a weird power of the Marks on Bark. Useful but not necessarily authoritative.

> Given that we have Tradetalk, I think its pretty
>straightforward to assume its used by merchants. I am sure there are
>differences in each merchants record keeping, but I also think that
>as they all know Tradetalk they probably use it - written Tradetalk
>probably started as a mercantile record keeping system.
> And yes, the vast majority of contracts are verbal. But some
>probably aren't.

        I've never been really fond of Tradetalk myself, but I suppose we're stuck with it. However, the Issaries write up in HW does not have "Read and Write Tradetalk," so a written form doesn not necessarily exist. Does anyone on the list know of a trade language (not very common in the RW, as I understand it) that had a written form? Anyway, in a non-literate society, who's going to believe your scratching? "It says here you owe me a cow." "Oh yeah, my brother and I say we don't. And so does our clan."

>purposes, public inscriptions, etc). A noble of Glamour might still,
>for example, put large written inscriptions on public monuments - the
>wider populace might not understand, but the political classes that
>he cares about impressing by and large will.

        I don't have much complaint with this, but I think it's important to remember that our literature-heavy society would be completely alien to Gloranthans -- there is no place where this much written information is held. Gloranthans, for the most part, do not communicate with writing. Assuming that any information is transmitted or stored by writing is unlikely, especially in non-urban areas of Dragon Pass.

Peter Larsen

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