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The question of female knights


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6 hours ago, Alex said:

Status I can see, but which freedoms in particular?  Are we going to have warrior women in Phase 2, and pedestals and gilded cages in phase 4?  Or something more like the opposite?

"Freedoms" was probably the wrong word. I was thinking specifically of stuff like inheritance laws changing to the detriment of widows and such.

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1 hour ago, Leingod said:

"Freedoms" was probably the wrong word. I was thinking specifically of stuff like inheritance laws changing to the detriment of widows and such.

Gotcha.  I'm not up on the ins and outs of how that plays out through the historical H and L MEs, but I can see how that might work narratively in terms of the Arthurian arc, seen as (supposedly!) benevolent gendered paternalism.  Not necessarily a cheerful one, but could work...

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14 hours ago, Alex said:

I'm not up on the ins and outs of how that plays out through the historical H and L MEs, but I can see how that might work narratively in terms of the Arthurian arc, seen as (supposedly!) benevolent gendered paternalism. 

Don't forget that, as early posts there shows, both H/L MAs and Arthurian literature had female knights. Just not as many as would be in more conservatively "dark age" culture.

Edited by Oleksandr
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Another interesting question is, in GPC, in one of the "gossip" sections, court ladys was shocked and horrified that Morgan is literate... Nowadays it's accepted by historians that people in MA was more literate than was previously believed. It seems that even some peasants was literate. In fact, wikipedia list quite a bit of female writers from EMAs, admittedly, mostly nuns. However, we know that Anna of Kyev, queen of France at the time of norman conquest, was literate (proximity of her homeland to ERE could be a factor though). Among medieval letters that archaeologists digged in Nowgorod (local soil are particularly good at preserving birch bark, which was used as cheep writing medium) was correspondence between middle class women. This was wealthy merchant city, but it's unlikely to be unique case. There was also episod from viking saga when dying poet ask his daughter to write down his last verse. (some other examples 1, 2, 3)

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5 hours ago, Oleksandr said:

Another interesting question is, in GPC, in one of the "gossip" sections, court ladys was shocked and horrified that Morgan is literate... Nowadays it's accepted by historians that people in MA was more literate than was previously believed. It seems that even some peasants was literate. In fact, wikipedia list quite a bit of female writers from EMAs, admittedly, mostly nuns. However, we know that Anna of Kyev, queen of France at the time of norman conquest, was literate (proximity of her homeland to ERE could be a factor though). Among medieval letters that archaeologists digged in Nowgorod (local soil are particularly good at preserving birch bark, which was used as cheep writing medium) was correspondence between middle class women. This was wealthy merchant city, but it's unlikely to be unique case. There was also episod from viking saga when dying poet ask his daughter to write down his last verse. (some other examples 1, 2, 3)

An interesting point is that the ability to read does not automatically mean the ability to write, especially amongst women.

In multiple letter collections you will find lines such as "I read your letter when I had a moment of privacy", then at the end in the signature line you find the ladies name with the words "dictated by", or "written by my own hand".

Insofar as who could and could not read/write, there are collections of letters written by women of various social classes, with a number of letters that were written by peasants to the judicial system or to their lords which were collected and kept as part of the manorial records, and which still survive to this day.

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On 11/5/2021 at 3:24 PM, SirUkpyr said:

In multiple letter collections you will find lines such as "I read your letter when I had a moment of privacy", then at the end in the signature line you find the ladies name with the words "dictated by", or "written by my own hand".

Does the former indicate inability to?  Or simply "why keep a dog and bark yourself"?  A lady of the upper nobility will have a number of ladies-in-waiting, precisely the sort of person to whom you'd farm out the laborious part while you compose your thoughts.  Also the latest in online editing and realtime informal feedback technology!

 

On 11/5/2021 at 9:35 AM, Oleksandr said:

Another interesting question is, in GPC, in one of the "gossip" sections, court ladys was shocked and horrified that Morgan is literate...

Greg used a variation on that gag on at least on other occasion.  In the Salisbury setting local heiress Lady Madule has a vast collection of books...  five of them!  So naturally the gossip is that she's a sorceress.

 

On 11/5/2021 at 8:41 AM, Oleksandr said:

Don't forget that, as early posts there shows, both H/L MAs and Arthurian literature had female knights. Just not as many as would be in more conservatively "dark age" culture.

Personally as a campaign narrative that sounds wildly anticlimactic to me, over and above any possible concerns I might have had about neither part of that being historically supported.  Though in truth I don't, unless I was pitching it as such for some very particular reason.  But different folks, different strokes!

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On 11/5/2021 at 10:24 AM, SirUkpyr said:

In multiple letter collections you will find lines such as "I read your letter when I had a moment of privacy", then at the end in the signature line you find the ladies name with the words "dictated by", or "written by my own hand".

On 11/5/2021 at 12:05 PM, Alex said:

Does the former indicate inability to?  Or simply "why keep a dog and bark yourself"?  A lady of the upper nobility will have a number of ladies-in-waiting, precisely the sort of person to whom you'd farm out the laborious part while you compose your thoughts.  Also the latest in online editing and realtime informal feedback technology!

In the various letter collections - you rarely will see a lady that is able to write who does not do so, outside of letters which contain specialized terms (legal ones come to mind).

A number of very good examples include:

The Paston Letters, Magdalena and Balthasar : An Intimate Portrait of Life in 16th Century Europe Revealed in the Letters of a Nuremberg Husband and Wife, Women Letter-Writers in Tudor England, and A Corresponding Renaissance: Letters Written by Italian Women, 1375-1650.

 

(I am in the SCA, and medieval/renaissance letter writing is one of my many "topics of interest".)

(don't even get me started on heraldry or brick-stitch embroidery - grins)

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1 hour ago, SirUkpyr said:
In the various letter collections - you rarely will see a lady that is able to write who does not do so, outside of letters which contain specialized terms (legal ones come to mind).

I might just be being dense, but I don't quite follow what you're saying is the evidence for this.  Isn't this a lot like absence of evidence, rather than evidence of absence?

Hildegard von Bingen (now perhaps a slightly different category, being in Holy Orders) was apparently a big ol' dictator, and I'm not sure there are any remaining works in her own hand.  But is it plausible she was entirely unable to write?

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34 minutes ago, Alex said:

I might just be being dense, but I don't quite follow what you're saying is the evidence for this.  Isn't this a lot like absence of evidence, rather than evidence of absence?

Hildegard von Bingen (now perhaps a slightly different category, being in Holy Orders) was apparently a big ol' dictator, and I'm not sure there are any remaining works in her own hand.  But is it plausible she was entirely unable to write?

It is highly doubtful that she was unable to write. The point I was making is that when a woman could write, she did so, baring being unable to do so due to needing the specialized knowledge provided by a lawyer or doctor etc.

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2 minutes ago, SirUkpyr said:

It is highly doubtful that she was unable to write. The point I was making is that when a woman could write, she did so, baring being unable to do so due to needing the specialized knowledge provided by a lawyer or doctor etc.

Apologies, but I'm as wise as before.  Are you saying Hildegard is an exceptional case?  And again, what's the nature of the evidence for this?

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On 11/5/2021 at 1:05 PM, Alex said:

Greg used a variation on that gag on at least on other occasional.  In the Salisbury setting local heiress Lady Madule has a vast collection of books...  five of them!  So naturally the gossip is that she's a sorceress.

this is the difference between literate West and literate East, for sure; the production of early print books in Asia was so much earlier that actual book collections existed; woodblock printing was invented in China sometime after the Han dynasty (when it was used already on fabric) and before the Tang, roughly 400-500 CE (the Koreans invented movable type about 1230, but woodblock printing was extremely prolific) and papermaking was very productive, meaning that thousands of books were in circulation within the Empire within a century, from religious works to the equivalent of early manga/manhwa. I've actually been to Mogao Caves in Gansu, which is the site of the oldest known printed work with a print date, a scroll of the Diamond Sutra dated to 680. We think there are slightly older surviving print works based on the date of internment, however.

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On 11/5/2021 at 5:24 PM, SirUkpyr said:

An interesting point is that the ability to read does not automatically mean the ability to write, especially amongst women.

To be honest, it hard to believe that somebody who able to read could be unable to write...

On 11/5/2021 at 7:05 PM, Alex said:

Personally as a campaign narrative that sounds wildly anticlimactic to me, over and above any possible concerns I might have had about neither part of that being historically supported.

Well, whole GPC is somewhat anticlimactic to begin with ūüėÖ.¬†Besides, it depend on what atmosphere desired. When female knights are rare, any woman with a sword are unique, and considered as virtual war goddess by default ūüėé. Many would prefer this to situation when female knights are usual and commonplace.

On 11/6/2021 at 10:56 PM, Qizilbashwoman said:

the production of early print books in Asia was so much earlier that actual book collections existed;

Well, technically, book collections existed in medieval Europe too. Monks produced quite a lot of books, though libraries was mostly confined to monasteries... However, father of aforementioned queen Anna reportedly had vast library, supposedly more than 1000 books (probably exaggeration)

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On 11/4/2021 at 4:12 PM, SirUkpyr said:

Oh no - it was very true of the Kuge and Buke families.

For a great source (which I don't have handy) - look at Osprey Publishing's "Samurai Women 1184-1877"

That doesn't fit my understanding of the division between Buke and Kuge families.

In my understanding, Kuge were courtly houses descending from the original noble houses, who progressively abandoned warfare to their fighting servants, who became known as samurai and formed the vast majority of the members of Buke families.

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3 hours ago, Oleksandr said:

Well, technically, book collections existed in medieval Europe too. Monks produced quite a lot of books, though libraries was mostly confined to monasteries...

in contrast, average people in East Asia owned print works. And the codex was introduced in 900 in the Tang capital and immediately replaced all other forms of bound materials, so they had books in their homes, including popular operas and short novelas.

Just to clarify the difference: the Tripitaka Koreana was finished in 1087; it was recarved in 1237 after a fire destroyed the originals and these are the 81,258 woodblocks used to print it, weighing about 250 tons. Printing was a massive industry.

image.png.25af91c3c3efa156f42b2c2b9accd7e5.png

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
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3 hours ago, Mugen said:

In my understanding, Kuge were courtly houses descending from the original noble houses, who progressively abandoned warfare to their fighting servants, who became known as samurai and formed the vast majority of the members of Buke families.

An easy way to think of it is that the Kuge were those who directly worked for the Emperor and Shogun, but they were still members of the Buke families/class. Somewhat like "high noble" vs "noble". 

It was not so much that a whole house or family was Kuge, but individuals were, and their direct descendants could also be, as they followed their father in direct service to the Emperor. But while one man could be a Kuge in the Emperor's court, his brother could be a Samurai general and would be considered Buke.

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9 hours ago, SirUkpyr said:

An easy way to think of it is that the Kuge were those who directly worked for the Emperor and Shogun, but they were still members of the Buke families/class. Somewhat like "high noble" vs "noble". 

It was not so much that a whole house or family was Kuge, but individuals were, and their direct descendants could also be, as they followed their father in direct service to the Emperor. But while one man could be a Kuge in the Emperor's court, his brother could be a Samurai general and would be considered Buke.

Well, we're going far off-topic, so let's agree to disagree. :)

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2 hours ago, SirUkpyr said:

It was not so much that a whole house or family was Kuge, but individuals were, and their direct descendants could also be, as they followed their father in direct service to the Emperor. But while one man could be a Kuge in the Emperor's court, his brother could be a Samurai general and would be considered Buke.

Then why would¬†they consistently described as "families", "clans", "houses", and indeed a "class", were they strictly a particular set of appointments?¬† The usual term for the latter is¬†KugyŇć, as I understand it.

There may be a risk here of generalising too sweepingly over very different time periods:  the concept existed for over a thousand years.  In the Heian period, they were the real nobility deal, and the samurai class held a very different place than in the shogunate.  Then in the Meiji period, the upper echelons of the two are entirely merged to form the Kazoku.

 

9 hours ago, Mugen said:

Well, we're going far off-topic, so let's agree to disagree. ūüôā

Can't argue with that!  Off-subforum even, unless we're going to have a Bushido in Pendragon discussion -- fun as that might be...

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3 hours ago, Mugen said:

Wasn't there a project similar to Paladin, set in Heian Japan ?

With some google-grade research, a while ago there was Genpei, which @Ian Absentia seems to have been working on, which is indeed set in the Heian period, and more recently David Larkins, who I'm not sure is summonable via the dire @-incantation, mentioned something called Samurai being in development, which is... also Heian period!  Very crowded, (not all that) suddenly.

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My Genpei project dated back to the early '00s independently (rooted firmly in the 4e), then '04-'06 with Greg during the 5e Arthaus days.  Another approach came later with a Japanese author, but ultimately not near publication.  More recently, David (@sirlarkins) has been working on a separate approach.  All based in the Heian period, which is very "Arthurian" in nature (and less crowded in terms of RPG treatments).

!i!

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carbon copy logo smallest.jpg  ...developer of White Rabbit Green

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Oh, and to keep the discussion on-topic, there are plenty of examples in Japanese literature (because when we consider KAP, we're taking a literary approach) of warrior princesses.  Sometimes anachronistically, sometimes fabulously, but that never stopped anyone in Arthurian literature.

!i!

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There is a lot of great info on the Waring States Period on line but I prefer the Osprey books mentioned above, many by Turnbull have really great source material. At the Battle of Shizugatake in 1583, there was record of some 200 women musketeers. You could imagine the fury of the samurai charging their ranks only to be raked by the volley fire of female fired harquebus' and then to add insult to their masculinity, the wounded get skewered by females wielding naginatas!? 

I've been to Aizu a few times where there were supposedly some female samurai to die at the hands of the Mejii Forces during the Boshin War. There is nothing on site that I saw (limited Japanese I confess) which displays women fighting there but Niijima Yae who evidently lived through the battle was called the ‚ÄúBakumatsu Joan of Arc‚ÄĚ. The late 1860's is a bit late to be calling them "female knights" albeit they were "onna-bugeisha" (female samurai)?

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