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Re: Homage and Fealty

Poster: clevin@rci.ripco.com (Craig Levin)


>I am still but an egg in this regard, and much beholden to Pedro de Alcazar for
> sharing what he knows...

<blush> I'm just a garden-variety <herald|grad student>. It's

> But, what I have found in my experience, is that by and large, fealty was
> almost a contractual agreement: but homage was a degree of personal loyalty
> foreign to most modern Americans.

One thing we _moderni_ have a problem in examining these issues
is just how devout the average mediaeval person was. Once you put
your hand on the Scriptures, you'd put your soul into doing what
you were swearing to do-literally! This is one of the reasons why
the Courts Christian <the courts maintained all over Europe by
the Church of Rome> had authority over certain aspects of
contract law. Even fealty had its aspects of devotion-if for no
better reason than fear of hellfire.

> No self-respecting Society Squire would, say, call their Knight a rude name in
> public, and storm off.  Nor would any person in fealty act counter to the best
> interests of their liege: they tend to act, well, Loyal.

There are, as it turns out, plenty of great chansons de geste-
still untranslated from the Vulgar Latin/Old French, mostly-that
tell the story of a man who was so offended by his lord's actions
done to him and some of that lord's other retainers that he
withdrew his allegiance, as per the customary escape clauses in
these oaths <which, I note, Littleton neglected to include-ask me
for what the clauses generally included, if you want>, and
declared war on him!

> Now, perhaps I misunderstand period.  Perhaps (although less likely) I
> misunderstand Society fealty relationships (despite some direct experience).
> But it is the element of intense personal loyalty that we feel in the Society
> when we take our oaths, that leads me to think of them more as homage than
> fealty.
> Am I making sense?  Am I making an error?

It's very close to homage, IMO. The kneeling that the subordinate
performs in the ceremony of a Peer taking on someone and the
kneeling that the barons perform while making their oaths to the
new monarchs certainly are signs of homage. 

Pedro de Alcazar, AoA
Barony of Storvik, Atlantia
Cornet & Junior Minion
Or, six castles Vert within a bordure Gules semy of roundels Or
Craig Levin
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