Aranwyth Economics

From: Peter Nordstrand <>
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 06:30:58 +0200 (CEST)

A brief discussion on the Hero Wars list, triggered my latent interest for the Aranwyth tribe. I have decided to post the following speculations here, however.

I do not now much about iron age economy, and would appreciate comments and critizism from those more knowledgeable than I. Well, I would appreciate it from anybody, actually.

The Aranwyth tribal lands can be divided into the northern highlands in the Forloss Hills, and the lowlands in the south and southwest. The highlands, with its wooded groves and copses in the vales, and grassy ridges are the tribal pastures.

Haunted Ruins describes the tribe as semi-nomadic, which indicates more than just sending shepherds with the clan sheep to the hilltops during summer (which I assume that all clans do, BTW). Instead I take this to mean that the clans live in the lowlands during winter, moving into their highland settlements with their herds during spring and summer, only to return again in late Earth Season.

Sheep are the by far most common livestock, and every clan owns thousands of them. Raiding by both Telmori and Sazdorf hunters are common, and can have a major economic impact if not taken seriously. Thus, the lonly shepherd boy is a rare occurrence. Instead shepherds travel in groups, moving systematically from one grazing area to another. Feuds between clans about grazing rights are not uncommon.

Deer are hunted during Fire Season, when they move into the mountains. Sable and impala can be found grazing the eastern valleys in Fire and Earth Seasons. Many species of bird can be found in the Six Sisters area.

Because of the unfavourable soil and climate, rye is the main crop. It is sown in early SeaSeason in the highland valleys, and is harvested late Fire or Early Earth Season. It is also common as a winter crop, and is then sown when the clans return to the lowlands in Earth Season. Oats are produced as well, as it is the preferred grain for horses. Oat is also used to make the famous Toena pudding.

Trade is extremely important to these people, since their own natural resources are so scarce.

Wool is the most important natural resource for the Aranwyth. It is easy to transport, and does not perish easily. It is traded after the sheep are sheared in Sea Season. In fact, the route from the Aranwyth lands to Swenstown is called the Wool Trail by other tribes.

Lambs are usually dropped in mid Storm Season, and sold at markets in Sea and Fire Seasons.

Horses have many uses among the Aranwyth, and they keep several different breeds. The battle trained White Stallions are a saught after commodity among warriors in Sartar. Products made from horsehide are sold as luxury articles in Swenstown and Boldhome. Horsemeat can be eaten, but rarely is, except under extreme circumstances such as to prevent starvation, or for ritual purposes.

Major imports are wheat and barley, as are bronze and, to some extent, iron. Iron trading is closely regulated by the lunars, and I believe that lunar merchants have a monopoly on iron trade. Salt is imported in Earth Season, but during the summer the clans live mainly on milk and roasted meat, so that its natural salts are not lost.

It is not uncommon for young men of the tribe to gain 'employment' in other parts of Sartar during harvest. This takes the burden of supporting them off their clans, and is at the same time often welcome and cheap labour for the surrounding tribes.

Finally, a few notes on deities. Nevala and Redalda are popular among women. Elmal is the main wargod, surpassing even Orlanth Adventurous in importance. Although a temple to Humakt is mentioned in Haunted Ruins, the Humakti are probably a minor group, possibly connected to a single clan, or perhaps the king's household. There is probably a hero cult of some sort (Old Aranwyth himself?) focusing on the horse aspect of Elmal (or perhaps adding one to Orlanth Allfather).


/Peter Nordstrand

"I do not have to be led into temptation, I can walk on my own."

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