This is more complicated… Sir Radzig was a burgrave of Skalitz, not the owner (the king). I don´t know which competencies sir Radzig had…
Correct. But in the feudal relationship the king is always the ultimate owner, so technically nobody in a kingdom owns the land except the king, but it doesn’t deprive sir Radzig of his vassal rights towards the fief he is granted. In the HRE, a burgrave would most likely hold the title of a count (graf in German).
> I don´t know which competencies sir Radzig had…
Like you said, according to the story in the game, he is a burgrave. A burgrave had judicial power over the assigned domain and command over military forces. This goes in close correspondence with the fact that sir Radzig is also called a royal hetman in the game, and a hetman is essentially a commander of the army.
In the game mechanics, guards appear to be classified as lowborn
Sir Radzig it just a landlord. I guess he’s a slum lord now lol
Exactly. It is said that he is THE royal hetman which basically means he is the commander of the king’s troops.
It was a little more complex within the Holy Roman Empire, as legally speaking even most baronies were allodial. Vassals to that level did technically own the land, but swore fealty to their liege, and were required to join them in war - as well as pay taxes.
Beyond being burgrave, Radzig was also the King’s Hetman - which is the equivalent title to a Count. It’s a bit unclear as to what lands Radzig actually owns, but we do get indications that he does in the lore - which shows that after the story, the King allows him to build his own castle on his lands.
As far as the assertion of Ritters (Knights) having to come from noble birth, this is incorrect. While the title was hereditary within the Holy Roman Empire, there were often new Ritters made from commanders who had provided invaluable service. Ritters died and left no heirs on occasion. Additionally, new land was often cleared for use. Similarly, the rank of Edler, along with the associated fief, would often be granted to those who provided valuable administrative service. Usually these titles would not be granted to children of upper nobility, and it was a mechanism to allow some avenue into the nobility through meritocracy. Ritters and Edlers weren’t enormously rare, and provided the bulk of administration for small towns and villages across the Empire.
That said, Imperial Ritters were rather rare - being granted Knighthood from the Imperial lands - which were sparse, especially at this time.
So, nobility wasn’t ossified in the HRE (as in other medieval societies), and Henry has prospects (at least in theory)
Separately, Czech serfdom wasn’t as harsh as let’s say Russia’s (so I’ve read), but the game seems too egalitarian or should I say not stratified enough in NPC interactions. I don’t want to sound cliche and say it breaks immersion but something feels off about social dynamics. Lowborn doesn’t appear to have any consequences
Henry has prospects solely by being the son of a Count and Burgrave - assuming that Radzig formally recognizes him as his heir.
But yes, he could become a Ritter (Knight) otherwise - and given his contribution to the war effort (probably by killing anywhere from 500-1000 men single-handedly and uncovering/disrupting a couple conspiracies) this would be pretty much a given. There are two potential fiefs on the map itself that are ungoverned - Vranik and Pribyslavitz, though they’re a bit small and poor for an actual Knights fief.
Stagnation of the classes only really set in later, as Barons split their land over and over into smaller chunks, and didn’t have much in the way to sublet. Ritters and Barons eventually became of the same social status, and new Ritters and Edlers weren’t particularly needed. This kind of calcified the upper and lower classes.
The burgher tension alluded to in codex to me is little present to absent. Everyone’s an NPC
The executioner (sabotage) quest touches on the disparity, and Capon’s abusive language in the beginning is certainly reflective of social disparity. Guess to me it’s like this… when I walked down the streets in Asia, S America, N America, and Europe, I could get a sense of the people and their social system/dynamics by how they behaved. Not seeing that. Yes, I know this is just a game. Still, that sense is missing
Well, even at this point in history, Central Europe wasn’t hugely developed. By the mid 1300s, a fair amount of the forests had been cleared for use, but it would only be around 1500 or so where the amount of new land became difficult to find and old baronies started becoming smaller. By the 1600s the process was pretty much complete.
Holy Roman Empire was a bit strange, as there were a number of quasi independent republics (often city states) and theocracies within. Sometimes tensions flared, particularly when the Holy Roman Empire desired to exercise more control over the Imperial Free Cities, but most were governed to some extent by nobility of some station - and overthrowing a lord was fairly rare. Stratification in the HRE was a bit complex, and even historians alive during that period had a difficult time figuring it out. Nevertheless, it did exist.
And, yes - I’m not sure that the stratification of society is depicted well in the game, particularly as it’s hard to determine why you’re calling everyone “sir”, and have to really dig to find out what titles they might actually hold. All the nobles appear to be the same rank in conversation, which is not the case. As far as Henry can tell, everyone is either a peasant, or a “sir”, when in reality it was more complex than that - and people were quite aware of the social stations of others.
In medieval Japan, Korea and elsewhere, it’s crystal clear… even after setting aside body language (bowing, etc), the use of language markers is obvious. For Japanese and Korean, it’s elaborated well beyond the tu-vous distinction. Does/did Czech employ something akin to tu-vous, something more, something less? Perhaps, English has denuded the contrast
A good point, and even in English it was considered improper to address someone as “Thou” when speaking to nobility. You would use “Thou, Thy, Thine” and other terms when speaking to family, friends, and inferiors. “You” would be for your betters. “My Lord/Lady”, “your Grace”, “Your highness”, and “Your majesty” would be appropriate per Count/Duke/King/Emperor respectively. “Sir” was used for Knights only. (edit: woops, accidentally flipped the terms you and thou).
I don’t know Czech, but I’d be surprised if there weren’t specific language honorifics within it. We also don’t see Henry do a whole lot of medieval courtesies such as kneeling or bowing to nobility. When he does bow, it’s to a level that might have been considered a bit offensive at the time.
Can you, please, explain this in a bit more detail? What you’re saying is very interesting and I’m curious how a proper bow would look like and what exactly might have been considered offensive in his bows in the game.
In England or France, if you were presented to someone the level of a Count, or visited them after an absence, you would most definitely perform a bow and scrape, which typically involved some form of 45 degree lean of the body and a drawing back of the leg. If one was presented to a King or Emperor, one might be expected to kneel briefly. Styles of this varied in Europe, and I’m not entirely sure on the specifics of what it might be in Bohemia or the Holy Roman Empire during this time period. Giving a nod, which is what Henry commonly does, would probably be a bit too minimal for typical European courtesies given the social rank of the nobility he addresses.
Thank you very much! Can you, please, recommend some good reading on the subject?
He’s not got much personality, has he, poor old 'Enry?
He’s quite a boring cunt.
I found the book “Medieval Life: Manners, Custom, and Dress During the Middle Ages” by Paul Lacroix to be interesting and informative, though some might find it a bit overwhelming. Just checked on Amazon, and it’s $2.99 on Kindle.
A couple additional suggestions for reading:
Henry is kinda like Sir Radzig’s repo man lol.
In the game mechanics, guards appear to be classified as lowborn
That’s what I meant. Sorry, I should’ve clarified further. Thank you for putting it into words for me though.