Re: Barntar: Son of Orlanth?

From: donald_at_QwA_DYuxI4py9sEbcwKxZHdGG_Yv7hRln4XcGst58auCxD_lQBTUZpkl8OL_AedaJlHTf
Date: Thu, 10 May 2007 00:50:06 GMT

In message <> "parental_unit_2" writes:
>> Now the reason both Orlanthcarl and Barntar are minority cults
>> is that they are cults for Carls. Their strongest magic is to
>> do with handling the plough team, something which is entirely
>> useless to the majority of men.
>I thought one of the characteristic features of a farming carl was
>that he had his own plow team. Obviously, there are other ways to get
>carl social status (for example, marry a carl, or be a particularly
>successful crafter), but the way for a male head of a farming
>household to become a carl, I thought, was behind his own plow.

An Orlanthi all Heortlings are farmers. Only a minority of farmers are carls. In a typical clan carls will make up between 10 & 20% of the male population. In poor clans there could be no carls at all.

On the basis of what's been published I infer a typical clan economy works something like this:

About 50% of food comes from grain either as bread or beer. Another 10% comes from meat, 10% from collected fruits and the remainder from cultivated fruit and vegetables.

To produce grain in quantity requires stretches of level fertile land that can be irrigated. It also requires a plough and ox team which is expensive. So expensive that bloodlines often share that cost between them with one contributing the plough and two others half a team of oxen. Now the only way to justify such an investment is for it to be far more productive than alternative methods of cultivation. So that 50% of food comes from the work of 15% of the men (the carls).

Meat is less efficent because a proportion of the livestock has to be fed over winter which involves making and storing hay and grain. ISTR producing 1Kg of meat requires about 10Kg of vegetable matter, granted much will involve no more work than supervising the herd grazing but there's a lot of work in the rest. So we've probably got another 15% of men producing food for and caring for livestock.

Collecting wild fruit is an activity done by mothers with their children.

If we assume about 10% of men are primarily warriors, craftsmen and other non-farming activities that leaves 60% producing the 30% of food from cultivated vegetables. This is subsistance level farming, they can live on what they grow but there's little or no surplus.

In practice most cottars will do a mixture of cultivating vegetables, looking after livestock and helping out the carls.

So why don't clans increase their production of grain at the expense of vegetables? Mainly because suitable land for ploughing is scarce in Sartar. The land a clan has will determine the maximum number of carls.

Before anyone jumps on these figures, they're all out of my head and are an attempt to explain how the clan economy works. I believe they are consistant with all the main publications and socially workable. I'm sure there are other numbers that would work just as well.

>> My view is that a few specialists in each clan are enough to
>> provide all the magic required in normal circumstances.
>This makes some sense, and would explain why the default Orlanth cult
>Durev deals mostly with family life and managing a household, not
>exercising an occupation. It doesn't align with the definition of carl
>just above, but that might not really apply to Sartar; it could just
>be a sterotype.

Durev is still a farmer, it's just the tasks he does are so varied that he doesn't have specific magic for them. Nor is he usually a carl, this is the cult for cottars.

Donald Oddy


Powered by hypermail