>> In most real-world hunter-gatherer cultures, women bring in most of
>> the food. Men bring in higher-status food. (I don't recall that Blood
>> Over Gold gets into this much detail on the Wenelians.)
>And saying that the Wenelians are hunter gatherers is very much
>overstating the case.
It was a way of briefly indicating the difference between them and the better known Orlanthi of Sartar. Without a decent grain crop they will inevitably be a greater reliance on gathering uncultivated foodstuffs. From that I would expect a magical tradition to support gathering. Oak Woman would appear to be it except that she's also the healer and general woman's spirit. We don't get farming or hunting as a bit tacked onto the default male god/saint/spirit so why is gathering treated as just part of the default female. If it's a key part of the economy there'll be a specialist.
>If anything, I felt they were something like
>"Orlanthi by way of the Iroquois" but with a strong riff on the
>Balkans. I suspect there's a strong matriarchal bent to many of the
Well that doesn't come across in the book - only one of the six clans in the Wenelian league is headed by a woman. Indeed that one priestess of Wenela the Queen is the only indication of female authority in the section.
I don't get the Balkan similarity either - the Balkans have been the battleground for three major groups (Roman Catholic Christians, Greek Orthodox Christians and Muslims) for several hundred years leaving a mixed but unintegrated population.
>There is far more cultural variance among the Wenelians than
>found among the Heortlings, Esrolians, or (I suspect) the Ralians.
>Wenelia is filled with lots of little remnant cultures reduced to a
>few clans and that one one last valley that is all that remains of
>their once hugely important and self-evidently wonderful folk.
The impression I get is that they are more similar than they think and lots of petty differences have been magnified by separation and feuds into a "We're the only true heirs of the glory that was Wenelia" mindset.
>Personally, I think its a nasty place and needs some serious
>Lightbringer action, a resurgence and rethinking of the Trader
>Princes and their role, or some revival in kingship practices.
Agreed. Though attempts to do so are likely to make things worse.
-- Donald Oddy http://www.grove.demon.co.uk/
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