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 Post subject: Yes, but everyone was armed really -- weren't they?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 8:49 pm 
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In Taveruun, rapiers are out. We're talking 1350s civil code. No citizen carries a weapon within the city nor are they armoured -- there is no need. Citizens are permitted to carry the tools of their craft -- and this can include a variety of knives and batons -- but only a soldier or a member of the guet would actually carry weapons designed to kill.


simon burling wrote:
Ian, I am assuming that Daggers are exempt from this...


No, daggers are not exempt. If your profession used a knife as a tool of the trade then you could carry a knife. So if you were a butcher or a tanner then yes, you could carry a knife. However, just because you work in an industry that uses a knife doesn't mean you can carry any knife. The fishmonger who walks around with an elaborate dagger designed to slip between the ribs of a person rather than strip the scales and bones from a fish would be arrested.

I understand this is a difficult concept to grasp. In 1350s Lyon the city had between 12 and 24 sergeants of the court -- the equivalent of a policeman today. 12 sergeants was the norm and it rose to 24 during the time of a fair, when there were large numbers of itinerant people in the city participating in the tax-free trade. The city itself held somewhere between twelve and twenty thousand tax-paying citizens. Murder -- which the courts deemed to mean one Christian killing another, regardless of any mitigating circumstances -- was a rare crime. For more details read the section on The Law.

Rochegrande is a law-abiding place. Things are a little different in the countryside but in the cities of Taveruun law and order is the norm. So people don't carry blades as a matter of course. Rather, in a crowd at any particular moment there will be some number of people carrying a weapon or improvised weapon because it is a tool of their profession. The exception to this are soldiers and members of the guet, those citizens responsible for manning the gates during the day and patrolling the streets at night.

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 Post subject: Re: Yes, but everyone was armed really -- weren't they?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:15 pm 
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Are nobles citizens?

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 Post subject: Re: Yes, but everyone was armed really -- weren't they?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:05 pm 
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higgins wrote:
Are nobles citizens?


From nobleman through patrician to guildsman and on down to workman -- nobody simply carries weapons of war as they wander around the streets of the city on their daily business. At this time weaponry is neither a fashionable accessory nor a symbol of status. The right to bear arms doesn't represent a method for getting around the pesky civil code. So rather than individuals thinking, "Hmmm, how can I ensure that I am allowed to wear a sword as I walk around the streets?" they are far more likely to say "Oh look at that tosser, he's wearing a sword -- where's the big battle you wanker!"

With this change in mindset there comes a responsibility from the referee. When the PCs are wandering the streets like normal citizens you don't assault them with a group of thugs armed to the teeth. Criminals armed with blades know that if caught they are likely to be executed -- regardless of whether they are known to have killed someone. The intent was there in the assault. This isn't to say that non-lethal assault was uncommon -- it wasn't -- but armed brigands on the streets of the city? Simply unheard of.

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 Post subject: Re: Yes, but everyone was armed really -- weren't they?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:58 pm 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
"Oh look at that tosser, he's wearing a sword -- where's the big battle you wanker!"

This sound very odd considering all the information that you gave on insults in your law pdf... Especially considering that unless the swordsman is beaking some laws, he must be a noble (others weren't allowed to carry swords, unless I've mistaken), but I get the point you were trying to deliver. :)

But my question still stands really... Are nobles citizens? ... I guess what I'm trying to say (aside from clearing out the details in carrying of arms) is that... I think we'd need a lexicon of terms that looks something like this -- a blunt and to the point explanations of core differences in medieval mindset. I've found that blog entry extremely useful and I often read that to remind me of these key differences I have to deal with in-game. Many players are not prone of reading tons of stuff even if the materials are avalable... Long paragraphs of texts tend to be forgotten... so, I see this method as an excellent way to provide fast, blunt and easy framework for medieval mindset. I believe it would help to improve game experience if everybody have clear vision of what kind of mindset the gaming environment has.

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 Post subject: Re: Yes, but everyone was armed really -- weren't they?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:25 pm 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
"Oh look at that tosser, he's wearing a sword -- where's the big battle you wanker!"


higgins wrote:
This sound very odd considering all the information that you gave on insults in your law pdf... Especially considering that unless the swordsman is beaking some laws, he must be a noble (others weren't allowed to carry swords, unless I've mistaken), but I get the point you were trying to deliver. :)


:? Poetic license...

In Lyon the guet or city watch is made up of members of the guilds and has responsibility for manning the gates during the day, patrolling the streets at night, and during rioting there is a general call to arms. These people are not noble nor are they uniformed as we would understand it -- the very fact that they are armed and armoured (to some small extent) sets them apart, thus no need for a uniform. The guet itself is composed of three parts -- the rear-guet being made up of patricians and their people, that is the nobility. The rear-guet's formation and deployment is a rarity -- when the city is threatened, externally or through rioting/rebellion. I guess all I'm saying here is don't get too hooked up on the nobility = arms thing. It doesn't really apply at this time, in this culture.

higgins wrote:
But my question still stands really... Are nobles citizens?


Yes. In fact they are the original citizens, the patricians or old nobility being the first and foremost citizens.

higgins wrote:
... I guess what I'm trying to say (aside from clearing out the details in carrying of arms) is that... I think we'd need a lexicon of terms that looks something like this -- a blunt and to the point explanations of core differences in medieval mindset. I've found that blog entry extremely useful and I often read that to remind me of these key differences I have to deal with in-game. Many players are not prone of reading tons of stuff even if the materials are avalable... Long paragraphs of texts tend to be forgotten... so, I see this method as an excellent way to provide fast, blunt and easy framework for medieval mindset. I believe it would help to improve game experience if everybody have clear vision of what kind of mindset the gaming environment has.


I agree wholeheartedly. You will get a French -- English -- Definition lexicon in due time for Taveruun.

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 Post subject: Re: Yes, but everyone was armed really -- weren't they?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:13 pm 
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I've been trying to model these principles in the terms of carrying arms for the past couple of years and the whole city environment indeed seems much more natural and makes more sense.

However, now I'm reading a well researched book about medieval Tallinn (with footnotes and all), and I stumble upon quite astonishing set laws. Every household is required to have a crossbow and a hundred arrows. Every household is required to have an armour. Failure to meet these requirements results in a 3 mark fine. That seems HUGE for an ordinary town citizen. It should be well over a month's wages. Also, if your wife wears gold jewelry, you're required to have a full-set of armour. ;)

In summary, I was astonished by the amount of weaponry the medieval Tallinn must have consisted, and in the hands of civilians, no less. How were things in Lyon compared to Tallinn?

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 Post subject: Re: Yes, but everyone was armed really -- weren't they?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:14 am 
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higgins wrote:
In summary, I was astonished by the amount of weaponry the medieval Tallinn must have consisted, and in the hands of civilians, no less. How were things in Lyon compared to Tallinn?


The one constant in medieval research as far as I am concerned is that there are no universal principles. Universalisation requires standardisation, standardisation requires a strong central government backed by an extensive civil bureaucracy. None of these exist in the medieval period -- which is, after all, what makes it so much fun to do the research!

In Lyon we have a city that has known vast stretches of peace interrupted infrequently by war. This makes it quite unusual and indeed the opposite of most of France during the period of the 100 Years War. It is also a wealthy city controlled by members of the church -- the Archbishop of Lyon and the Canons of St Jean.

In Lyon the guet, or city watch, manned the gates of the city. They carried mallots or batons as their weapon rather than blades. In Lyon during the 14th century if a Christian killed another Christian with intent they were tried for murder -- with no concept of "self defense" or "intent to injure rather than kill." This I think goes hand-in-hand with the lack of evidence of wearing a blade.

I have never heard of a statute requiring the citizens of Lyon to own arms or armour. On the other hand I'm only interested in the 14th century so maybe it was a requirement earlier or later. In Lyon bearing arms was definitely only for the military -- unless the city itself was under threat (as it was when the Tard-Venus captured the nearby town of Anse), or the city was in rebellion (which happened a couple of times).

In the end the only thing that the French nobility feared more than the English was an armed citizenry. While the English model was clearly superior to the English, the French never copied it even though they had nearly 100 years of fighting the English in which to do so.

Nevertheless I'm sure Tallinn was completely different (and sounds more like the Germanic/Swiss model).

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Yes, but everyone was armed really -- weren't they?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:29 pm 
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Long time, no see. :)

higgins wrote:
However, now I'm reading a well researched book about medieval Tallinn (with footnotes and all), and I stumble upon quite astonishing set laws. Every household is required to have a crossbow and a hundred arrows. Every household is required to have an armour.

Like Ian already said, "the" Middle Ages were very different at different times and places. In the case of Tallinn, I suspect that the local laws may possibly have something to do with medieval Tallinn's character as something of a frontier town. There are the Danish and Teutonic Knights overlords and the Danish and German settlers on the one han, and then there are the still totally to slightly pagan and largely tribal/clannish natives on the other hand. Tallinn, as one of the foreigners' main strongholds, may have expected possibe trouble with the natives at any time and therefore require its citizens to be prepared to take up arms against the "hostile primitives".

No such need to guard against sudden attacks from the surrounding countryside would have existed in 14th-century Lyon.

But then I have not checked any of my facts on Tallinn, I am just offering a possible explanation that pops up in my head from what I know about medieval Estonia - so don't just take it for granted it without checking up on it for yourself.

In any case, in medieval times, laws and customs of the kind of Lyon would have been the norm, and those of Tallinn the exeception - and normally never exist without a good reason.

In te Swiss towns Ian mentions the reason was that the Swiss, more egalitarian and much less feudal than their neighbours had to be prepared to face German and later Burgundian agressors. In Germany, many of the so-called "free" towns (i.e. towns beholden only to the emperor and no intermediate noble liege lord) would require their citizens to be prepared to come to the town's defence against any neighbouring great lord - who were frequently trying to get control upon the lucrative trade and commerece of the towns. And in the towns and city-states of late medieval Italy the citizens were also required to fight for their towns, and so they were required to keep arms and to turn up for regular military training.

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 Post subject: Re: Yes, but everyone was armed really -- weren't they?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:11 pm 
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Glad to see you around. :)

Grettir wrote:
In the case of Tallinn, I suspect that the local laws may possibly have something to do with medieval Tallinn's character as something of a frontier town.
Ah, that indeed puts things into perspective.

Grettir wrote:
And in the towns and city-states of late medieval Italy the citizens were also required to fight for their towns, and so they were required to keep arms and to turn up for regular military training.
While I don't know about the regular training, that was also the case in medieval Tallinn.

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 Post subject: Re: Yes, but everyone was armed really -- weren't they?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:42 pm 
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Grettir wrote:
In the case of Tallinn, I suspect that the local laws may possibly have something to do with medieval Tallinn's character as something of a frontier town.
higgins wrote:
Ah, that indeed puts things into perspective.

If I were to give it a quick breakdown from the top of my hat:

In societies with military systems employing largely armies of paid professional soldiers (i.e. much of later 15th and 16th century Europe), one should expect rather strict limitations on what arms can be carried by non-aristocrats. The high number of out-of-work mercenary bands lingering about the land during certain times of this era opens up lot of opportunities for ruffians to carry arms anyway, though.

In societies with late feudal military systems (i.e. increasing importance of standing or semi-standing bodies professional soldiers), one should also expect rather strict limitations on what arms can be carried by non-aristocrats.

In societies with a classical medieval military system (i.e. noble warriors with their retinues and small bodies of professional soldiers), one should expect extremely strict limitations on what arms can be carried by non-aristocrats. This is the age of the down-trodden commoner.

In societies with a proto-feudal military system (not easy to outline but applying to most of early medieval Europe up to and including at least the time of Charlemagne, to England to about the turn of the millennium and to Scandinavia until at least 1100 AD), one should expect next to no limitations on what arms can be carried by a free man – the early feudal nobleman was at that time only emerging as a cleary distinct hereditary class and not yet socially so very high above the common freeman.

In societies with citizen armies (e.g. late medieval Swiss or Italian citystates), freemen would actually be required to own (though not carry around) military kit and probably also be required to show up for regular military drill. The exact requirements what equipment they had to own might well be keyed to their wealth.

Special local circumstances can always alter this picture of course. As I suspect for Tallinn – kind of a Wild West frontier town, with the Estonian and Lithuanian tribal nations of the swamps and forests serving as a kind of more formidable Indians.

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 Post subject: Re: Yes, but everyone was armed really -- weren't they?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:40 am 
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Damn! The more I hear from you, the more I covet the knowledge from your experience and profession! :lol: Makes me almost wish I'd gone for a history degree. If only the schools would teach the history in the general terms! All that dates-dates-dates really put me off.

Also, the comparison of our native tribes with indians was something I've never heard before, but I guess it applies rather well.

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 Post subject: Re: Yes, but everyone was armed really -- weren't they?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:32 pm 
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higgins wrote:
If only the schools would teach the history in the general terms! All that dates-dates-dates really put me off.[/higgins]
It's a bit of a dilemma, really. You need the dates, at least roughly to the quarter-century or so, to get yourself a working frame of reference. But with schools having to teach all matter of other stuff there is usually very little time for history classes to convey anything but those bare and tedious bones - unfortunately leaving aside all the juicy, meaty bits. :(

higgins wrote:
Also, the comparison of our native tribes with indians was something I've never heard before, but I guess it applies rather well.

Well, I don’t mean it to be taken to literally (and I know much too little about the Baltic tribes to be speaking with any authority anyway). As with any comparison, it’s evocative but by no means to be taken too literally. I just imagine that (at least culturally) largely German or Danish Baltic townsmen would have viewed the native tribesmen as the American settlers the Indians – as very dangerous dangerous and often alien sub-human savages to be displaced, eradicated or thoroughly subjugated. And to guard against with a handy Winchester. Or bow and arrow.

But so as not to derail this Taveruun-thread I’d say that the thing to take away from the discussion about the right to carry arms in a fantasy world is that if there is a clear and well-entrenched noble class, and if this class is furthermore also a military class, it will usually do what it can to keep any weapons out of the hands of commoners, entitling them at the very most to carry a short and ahrmless eating-knife, if that. If a designer wants weapons to be more common, he needs either a different society (more egalitarian, or with a non-martial noble class), or special circumstances requiring the arming of the commoners.

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 Post subject: Re: Yes, but everyone was armed really -- weren't they?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:28 pm 
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Grettir wrote:
Well, I don’t mean it to be taken to literally
Yes. Yes, of course, but it's an interesting parallel nonetheless.

Grettir wrote:
and if this class is furthermore also a military class, it will usually do what it can to keep any weapons out of the hands of commoners, entitling them at the very most to carry a short and harmless eating-knife
If I recall correctly, this is the very reason Finnish handicraft knives have such great renown. They had a similar law and to have the best weapon/tool possible, knife smithing went to a whole different level there, and the knives were carried with pride.

Grettir wrote:
If a designer wants weapons to be more common, he needs either a different society (more egalitarian, or with a non-martial noble class), or special circumstances requiring the arming of the commoners.
Special circumstance was how I handled it lately, but the non-martial nobles is an interesting one as well. :)

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