Re: Heortling social structure and wergeld confusion - a clarification

From: donald_at_qth6sp-u_87HCCgKe9HqdirdyqjxVlPCpSQg7W64UEf4yIxeKR9YKfWHmDeLnGpxw3CA5
Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2007 18:44:03 GMT

In message <> "Greg Stafford" writes:

>I am not sure what you mean by "significantly different lifestyle,"
>but I would say that thanes and cottars DO have significantly
>different lifestyles far beyond the belt buckles.
>Thanes are leaders, and their primary responsibility is not in hard
>labor. They are leaders, organizers, communicators and decision

Agreed they are the decision makers but it's definitely "hands on" management. Given that a typical stead has about 60-70 adults (half women) and two thanes (a married couple) they are more like foremen than managers. The way I see it a thane is a successful carl who is respected by the clansfolk. He's rewarded by a few luxuries and various items of status such as a box bed rather than a pile of furs on a bench.

I have a query over the thane's wife automatically being the leader of the women. Marrying a competent man doesn't necessarily mean she is competent herself. Maybe the thane's wife has the title but not necessarily the authority.

>Cotters, especially, have a difficult life of gardening to feed their
>families (no plows for these guys), manual labor, etc.

I'm not sure the cotter's work is any harder than the carl's, it is just less productive and possibly less valued.

>> All Orlanthi are fighters so they
>> don't need protecting by a warrior nobility. The huscarls the
>> chief appoints and supports are the few full time warriors but
>> don't have any special status because of this.
>I disagree. See my other post, but these guys are weaponthanes--a
>VERY special status.

Except that there are *more* huscarls than there are other thanes even using your figures (below). It makes for a very militaristic society if all full time warriors have equal status to the leaders of the farmers. However if "thane" translates as "leader" then "weaponthane" will be that subset of huscarls who have proved their ability to lead as well as fight.  

>> Since a typical clan is about 1200 including children you are
>> talking about supporting maybe 50-60 full time warriors.
>At maximum! 10% warrior class is pretty high. I would suggest a 10%
>of all non-laboring people, of which half would be warriors. The
>others are specialists, priests, leaders, etc. So I'd say 25-30 full
>time warriors in a clan.

It is possible for a society to support up to 10% of the population as warriors although that may be beyond the magic/technology level of the Heortlings which is why I went for half that. It assumes a rather militaristic society but that's not incompatable with the Orlanthi and does provide the numbers to fight the Lunars.

Donald Oddy


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