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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Fri 23 May, 2008 5:20 am    Post subject: Article on ranks of Nobility.         Reply with quote

It's short, but is it reliable?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A2791929%C2%A0

M.

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Ed Toton




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PostPosted: Fri 23 May, 2008 7:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't vouch for all of the information in it, but it seems OK as a broad generalization. However, I think they underestimate the commoners. Yes, serfs were basically similar to indentured laborers, but someone in a higher station killing a commoner was still considered murder and would be treated harshly. They weren't completely without rights and respect within the system. They were the foundation of society, after all.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 23 May, 2008 7:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd agree with Ed--a fair introduction overall, but a number of details seem off. For example, I'm not sure that the German Fursten (princes) were really higher than dukes (can anybody help clarify this for me)? Baron, too, was not always the lowest title available since I recall hearing that it's one of the highest titles of peerage in Spain and Portugal. And of course, like so many other lay articles, it thoroughly confuses the social aspects of knighthood (the rank of "Sir" or "Dame" proper) and its military aspects (the role of "man-at-arms," which--depending on the time and place--didn't always require its bearer to be a full knight).
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 23 May, 2008 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It would not make sense to abuse serfs when you depended on their welfare and productivity for your own quality of living. Despite that, some did. Aristocracy did not develop to the same extremes in all regions. In some cases it was appalling. A recent T.V. series about historical basis for vampires discussed how a certain Duchess recruited young girls from near by villages, slaughtered them, and bathed in their blood to preserve her own youth. This was tolerated for over 20 years. She was finally arrested by king's orders when she started trying to recruit daughters of nobility.

The feudal system did "move around" and seem to be used across most of NW Europe between 8th and 11th century. If it was ever close to the article's portrait (knights making up the bulk of the army) it may have been around 11th century England-France. "Emperor" was used in the German / Holy Roman Empire (Frederick Barbarosa.) Being a knight in his army was usually a reward. Bondsman serfs (taken from church owned farm lands with no say so in the matter) formed the bulk of his army. I don't know if the serf-solders were actually called "knechts" in actual period writing or not. Charles of Sayne came directly from Barbarosa's personal mesnie, sucessfully retired from a tournament career, and is a canonized saint. I have never seen him referred to as anything other than "soldier."

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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Fri 23 May, 2008 4:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The British nobility was a bit simpler than the continental variety. For an explanation of who's who in that part of the world, visit the Baronage Press web site and read their article called, "Are You Being Conned". The article deals with the phony title business that is becoming rampant world wide but it does a nice job of explaining the ranks of nobility in the British Isles.
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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