The role of the church

Indeed, the church had a habit in sticking it’s nose where it didn’t belong back then. But then again that’s to be expected when most big families had a third son or whatnot who joined the cloth as he wasn’t a direct heir and would be expected to contribute to the family power by becoming a Bishop or an Archbishop.

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I don’t know. If done right, it would be great to be able to show those nitwits who’s the boss. I don’t know if you know the great book and movie Witches’ Hammer (you probably don’t unless you’re czech), but it always leaves me with a great urge to kick some inquisitor’s butt :wink:

EDIT: In case anyone’s wondering, I just looked over IMDB for the movie I mentioned and found some horrible abomination from 2006. This is the right one: and the user review sums it up pretty well.

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The Church played indeed a central role in the daily lives of Middle age society. Aside from the purely religious stuff, I would like to see the church facilities in game to be used for several “realistic” functions that can be used organically for quest purposes:

  1. Place of storage of books, scrolls and knowledge. We are in the period of handwritten books. These couldn’t be found in the normal houses but only in monasteries or nobleman castles. Where else could our hero copy a map or find the knowledge about healing herbs.
  2. Reading and translations - our hero is just a son of blacksmith and is almost certainly illiterate and definitely doesn’t speak Latin. It would be nice if he has to take an acquired scroll to the church/monastery to ask a priest/monk for a translation
  3. Place of gathering - pretty much everybody will be in church for a mass on Sunday and the city will be empty. This can be a specific setting for some quests - have free access in the city or to speak to the whole city at once
  4. Social functions - There was often an orphanage, hospital or other related activities done by monasteries. That can be used for quest purposes - finding a parent for a lost child or help to cure a disease that is threatening the folks in nearby village.
  5. Treasure hunting / stolen treasure - the monasteries and churches often had quite impressive treasures from offerings of the people and nobility. Player could help to retrieve / steal (major sin warning!) some of them.
  6. Some religious celebration as a unique moment in the story + a county fair next to the church
  7. Search of catacombs / tombs / crypt beneath the church

Honestly, I believe we can have a ton of fun around churches and monasteries in the game without even touching on religion - rebellion against catholic church, selling of forgiveness, church taxes etc.

Let’s hope the authors will use just some of them


[quote=“th_om, post:4, topic:9076, full:true”]
Last thing I want is hardcore evangelical nitwits haunting my every waking moment.
[/quote]Toss them a coin and they’ll go away…for a little while anyhow.

[quote=“Morcar, post:5, topic:9076, full:true”]
Indeed, the church had a habit in sticking it’s nose where it didn’t belong back then.
[/quote]It still does and will continue to do so in the future too.


Eh, wrong. The secular authorities could and did execute people by burning at the stake. Such was the fate of Alice of Wheatley, a 13th century Englishwoman found guilty of murdering her husband. Also, ecclesiastical authorities could not themselves conduct an execution, as they were, after all, clergymen, forbidden from shedding blood; as such, executions were handled by the secular authorities.


I’d like the game to be as realistic as possible. But I don’t want to have virtual missionaries. Because the church is also corrupt and selfish(as somewhat seen in the live stream) it would make for a good power as oppossed to your liege lord. Also maybe some crafting could be “considered magic” and you get burned for it if someone sees you make a good health posion or something.

Whoa, didn’t know that, thanks. Seems hardly practical or justifiable to execute someone by burning if they commited a secular crime, but I guess they had their reasons.
However while executions were always conducted by secular authorities, they were performed on a recommendation and with blessings of the church. And everyone knew that ignoring or refusing the churches wish to have someone burned would place them in a very unfavorable position.


The particularly gruesome nature of medieval executions had a lot to do with deterrence. Put simply, killing someone itself as punishment wasn’t the only goal; making sure that people knew that crime resulted in a truly horrible fate was thought to help demonstrate the power and authority of the law and the consequences for violating it. If you want a good book on the subject, I’d recommend Sean McGlynn’s “By Sword and Fire”; its mostly concerned with atrocities committed on the battlefield, but he has a very good opening chapter on crime and punishment that I think is a very good introduction to the subject:

Contrary to popular belief, Inquisitors weren’t particularly interested hunting down people for mixing medicine. Their job was trying heretics, not acting as medical police. Getting burned for mixing some herbs (which was an incredibly commonplace and respectable form of medical treatment) would be more fantastic than realistic.


Judging from the preview at Amazon, the book looks like a great read, but I will probably pass. Reading english is too tiresome for comfort and it seems some of what is inside already found it’s way into the work of Bernard Cornwell, one of my favourite authors, whose books fortunately get translated into czech. Thanks for the tip nevertheless!

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I believe that the church would make a significant contribution to the story and setting of the game.
As your friend or foe.


And please, don´t forget beer!!! :wink:


I was pleased to see in the livestream where the local religious authority piped up about Henry’s parents going to purgatory and then the lords proceeding to verbally bat him around a little. The role of religion and the church in society should be a part of the living world this game is creating. Whether you like it or not, the church was a cornerstone of society in those times and therefore should included.


To my knowledge, was the main period of witch-hunting in later years (1500-1700) only sporadically earlier and more in Spain, Germany and Austria. This heretic was the main goal, less herbalists and healers.
For fear and superstition, the Church, however, has always been taken care of, the basis for such practices and a lucrative source of income.

Knowledge is power. the church knew this of course and was able to keep so long control over Europe because it was THE collector and censor for all kind of classic scrolls and writings from other parts of the world.

Besides that many couldn’t afford books anyway not had use for them as there was no school system. Books were incredibly expensive and very often represented one or several peoples life and devotion in those leather bound treasures which often enough got owned by some noble like today a person keeps a Ferrari, meaning they owned the book but no necessarily could read it like modern day collectors hording things but having no time or knowledge to actually put them to use.

The church outlawed many books and antique scrolls and the few copies which existed. Monasteries and Convents were islands of knowledge and their libraries were often enough the most precious treasure you could imagine.
There’s a good reason why the church feared Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press as that was the beginning of the industrialization of books like many centuries later organized industry and technology industrialized firearms by introducing standardization of production, calibers and single ammunition pieces.
(A post from me about early gunpowder weapons

So yes, as this game is all about historical accuracy the clerics must be part of the game world even most players will very likely never interact with anything higher then a monk or nun as the higher clergy was power oriented and just dealt with those nobles which they needed for their interests.
Basically a ‘state’ in many other ‘states’, rounding every patchwork of ruled land from barony up to kingdoms as ‘state’ in this example.
There will be no people trying to convert you in the game or other more modern nonsense which we remember from the missionary phase centuries later.


You can hardly claim in all seriousness that the Roman Catholic Church controlled Europe. In the right hands it could possess a formidable amount of religious and political clout, but this does not constitute the same thing as control, and indeed in the right hands a state could survive and even thrive despite the Papacy’s wrath. Certainly (in but one example) the inhabitants of the Holy Roman Empire during the reign’s of both Frederick I Barbarossa and his grandson Frederick II would be surprised to hear that the Roman pontiff enjoyed much control over the Reich.

But more importantly, the Roman Church was responsible not only for preserving and collecting books (as you rightly say), but also for making these works accessible to a larger audience. Secular aristocrats, middle-class burghers and lay clerks (to name but a few non-ecclesiastical sections of society - more on that later) often prided themselves on their literacy and their skills were highly sought after and prized.

Actually, this is the era when we first see the rise of systematized education. Indeed, the first universities like those of Bologna, Paris, Oxford, Salerno, Montpellier and Padua all emerged in this era and ensured the spread of knowledge far beyond anything that had been seen in the days of the Roman empire. Likewise, smaller grammar schools (often attached to parishes) helped contribute to a growing literate middle-class. Again, its not nearly so expansive as the reach of education is these days, but it was a whole lot bigger than anything that had existed in the Roman empire.

Books were certainly harder to manufacture in the days before the printing press, yet that hardly justifies this sweeping generalization. Not all books were massively thick and carefully illuminated tomes; such expensive projects were indeed difficult to create and a comparative rarity, but they are hardly representative of the majority of books produced during the period. Knights frequently read (and even composed) books on subjects like combat, horsemanship, hunting and poetry, whilst masons and other engineers had to be familiar with the geometry of Euclid, which was essential knowledge for designing everything from castles to Gothic cathedrals to siege engines; navigators the geography of Ptolemy; clerks, mathematics and philosophy; doctors, the medical works of Galen and Hippocrates. Even poor, isolated hermits (such as the 12th century English hermitess Christina of Marykate) could often be found in possession of at the very least a psalter. Literacy and access to knowledge may not have been nearly as widespread as they are today, but they were certianly not the sole purview of the Church and it was a skill that was greatly valued in medieval society by both clergy and laymen.

The truly expensive and hard-to-get books were the massive and delicately illuminated Bibles. Such works were indeed incredibly time and resource consuming, but when completed they were the pride and joy of any collection. Those kept in the great cathedrals and monasteries were often put on public display on a special lectern where their beauty could be appreciated; after all, what point was there in going to such effort to create works of inspiring religious beauty if none could see them?

Eh, I’m guessing you’re thinking of the ban on Aristotle’s works of natural philosophy at the University of Paris in the 13th century, a ban which was short-lived and which had no authority beyond the confines of that single institution. Other, similar bans were occasionally enacted, but often had little effect and were often rescinded in short order. In general, however, the clerics of the Roman Catholic church was perfectly happy to translate and preserve the works of pagan philosophers and later Arabic commentators; after all, had not St. Augustine called such writings “the gold of the Egyptians”, something to be valued by Christians? Indeed, so highly valued were the works of Greek philosophers that it was not an uncommon sight to see them depicted prominently on the edifices of churches (see this portrait of Aristotle from Chartres Cathedral, for example: The works of writers like William of Conches, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, John de Sacrobosco (to name but a few) were all informed by the works of the ancient Greek philosophers and were widely read and discussed and nobody tried to ban their efforts to find a synthesis between the knowledge of the ancient philosophers and Christian theology. We should also consider that post-Reformation Protestants were every bit as capable of issuing indexes of banned books and repressing printing presses during tumultuous times; it is hardly fair to act as if such occurrences were solely a Catholic trait.


It’s also hardly fair to go medieval on my tail for such a complex topic as I just picked some examples and struggled with my limited English…If someone sees those as universal then that is their good right if they want to but of course not very smart. It’s very difficult to comment something in a forum without simplifying a bit some points or it would be most difficult to finish a posting. My point was simply to express it how it was seen from the pope and his clergy.

You obviously got much deeper into the matter and I appreciate the good contribution to shed more light on the topic. Sure, they needed educated people as you can’t rule with illiterate people. For centuries they tried to balance to control the knowledge taught but with time it was unavoidable that they could not forever choose what the people to think.

Every ruler faced the issue that he needed educated people to rule but faced the same issues as in m y example where I was just focusing on the cath. church and its higher clergy.

Love it. I hope the church is not always portrayed in bad light in the game as in actuality it was not completely or even mostly bad. There’s another topic on this that was posted a week or so ago that has a lot more discussion on it.

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Wow, what a competent community! Great!
Think the “lower ranks” of the clergy were already mostly good and hardworking people, especially the female. Who so brews good beer, can not be all bad;) That the sun revolves around the earth and the earth is a disc - against my better judgment and calculations already from the ancient world - would be to forgive yes, if it was not killed people would. It was this obstinacy and duplicity, greed for wealth and power, coupled with the monopoly of information (before Gutenberg) that has shaped the reputation of an institution that nothing sells as “faith,” There is always the purpose which justifies the means …

Wau, was für eine kompetente Community ! Großartig!
Denke, die “unteren Ränge” des Klerus waren schon meist gute und fleißige Menschen, speziell die weiblichen. Wer so gutes Bier braut, kann nicht ganz schlecht sein, :wink: Das sich die Sonne um die Erde dreht und die Erde eine Scheibe ist - wider besseres Wissen und Berechnungen schon aus der Antike - wäre ja zu verzeihen, wenn dafür nicht Menschen umgebracht worden wären. Es war diese Verbohrtheit und Doppelzüngigkeit, die Gier nach Reichtum und Macht gepaart mit dem Monopol an Information (vor Gutenberg), die den Ruf einer Institution geprägt hat, die weiter nichts verkauft als “Glauben” Es ist immer der Zweck, der die Mittel heiligt…