Re: Sartar and nationhood

From: bethexton_at_...
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 14:29:30 -0000

Orlanthi leadership is build on
> persuasion, not compulsion. Perhaps, like the Irish High King,
> successors could call the tribes to war, but they *couldn't* compel
them to
> stay.

If you look at the evolution of various european countries following all the upheavals that accompanied the fall of Rome, it is actually pretty striking how poorly most of them held together. Not just Ireland but Poland, the "Holy Roman Empire" and others had the fiction of being one state with an over all king, but in most cases the next level down the power structure was pretty effective at retaining most of the real power. Essentially, they had more resources than the king did, so were free to flout the king's will.

Even in France, which at least was nominally a unified country for over a millenia, often the reach of the king didn't go much farther than a few days march from Paris. At one point or another most parts of the country had periods where they were clearly outside the control of the king. Louis the 14th finally half-bankrupt the country to build Versailles precisely because he knew that it would draw all the great men of the kingdom to it, and so put them within his reach.

England was a fairly notable exception, in that it unified early and was much more cohesive than most. This can probably be largely attributed to the fact that its two big conquering kings--Alfred and William--each made big strides in building an effective government. Often overlooked is the fact that from Alfred on down the anglo-saxon state actually had rather effective central bureaucracy, which helped hold the state together by gathering resources for the king, making working with the king generally more effective than working against him. William, of course, took this to even more impressive levels with the Domesday book and all that. (Of course, the great lords were still very powerful, but at least the king was never a negligible factor in their plots and ambitions).

Anyways, what little I know about the kingdom of Sartar suggests that that King has little in the way of resources. Oh, sure, the tribes all pay a certain amount of tribute, but that is never enough to let the king support forces even equivalent to a single tribes. The king usually has the support of his tribe, making them more powerful than most of the other tribes, but I doubt that the royal tribe could often over-match any two other random tribes.

So, combine weak central authority with the fact that there are always, everywhere, people who want as much power as they can get, and you will usually end up with tribes and even clans with little regard for central authority. So I think it normal that, while Sartarites might view themselves as one nation, they generally put local interests far in front of national ones. After all, what good can the king do for them, that they should make sacrifices for him?

(the answer in the Hero Wars, of course, is "unite the tribes to kick out the scum-sucking lunars.")


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