Since technically my novel is set during the medieval period, I included numerous characters, which reflect the makeup of society during that time.
Now, I want to make a comment about stereotyping a period of history into a generalization. Imagine the Middle Ages (or any time) as a forest. Each tree in this forest represents a separate country or area. Now, by defining and describing the entire forest, you will need to ignore the characteristics and uniqueness of individual trees. This is the way we sometimes have to describe history; we must look at the big picture and make a generalization, and ignore small nuances or differences of this generalization from local communities or areas.
So my characters in my book are a snapshot of the typical lives in medieval Europe. Some of these people you are familiar with, others might not be. Each person in medieval times was born into that class structure, and was limited to that social class level for the rest of their lives.
Feudalism was the basis of law and sovereignty in the middle ages. It was believed that the land itself was owned by God, and he appointed Kings to rule over it. These Kings ruled by divine right and managed the land and the people who lived on it as they thought fit.
Even though they ruled by divine right, these kings needed help running their country. They developed a class of nobles and knights to assist them in this endeavor. Nobles were responsible for many everyday decisions in ruling a kingdom and also created an army that was available for use by the King. The knights were members of that army, who sometimes were granted a section of the noble’s land for their loyalty and service. Each of these members pledged loyalty to the king, and the nobles assigned above them.
In the past I have written much about the knights, so we will continue with other people and their jobs in the medieval world.
In the kingdom an established order was created to administer the king’s orders and also to maintain the daily duties and ensure they were completed. This command structure was not only for the whole kingdom, but used for the castle itself. I mentioned many of these titles of this order in my novel:
Seneschal- Someone in charge of the domestic arrangements and administration of the servants who served in the castle.
Herald- Originally in medieval Europe they were messengers. They could convey important documents or orders from the royalty to others. Later, they would document the lineage of a king or important historical events.
At the Battle of Agincourt, it was the heralds from both England and France who had witnessed the battle who declared England the victor, allowing Henry V the right to name the battle.
Marshal- This is a term which meant someone who was in charge of the castle stables. Since the horse was the main form of transportation in medieval times, this was a major position during that time.
The marshal in my novel, is not only responsible for the horses and maintenance of the stables, he is a wise sage who helps teach the young protagonist about life.
The Clergy were an important part of the social life in medieval Europe. If the king had a divine right, then he must be approved by the Catholic Church to have that right, and in doing so, be obligated to the church. This was a thin line that many rulers had to walk to keep their power. The Catholic Church needed the rulers to promote and maintain the church’s power over the people; this became a symbiotic relationship which although was maintained, was severed over different periods of time.
I describe many members of the church in my novel; the following is a brief description of them:
Bishop-He was a leader of the church, who ruled under the Pope. He administered and supervised church properties and land.
Priest- Were responsible for the spiritual training and the affairs of a local church or diocese.
Friar-Although, I did not mention any friars in my novel, I did want to describe who they were. Basically, a friar was a preacher who did not associate or was assigned to any specific location or church. They would travel, giving lectures, or preaching across the country. Since, they had no true home, they would rely on the good will of the people of the communities to feed and house them.
Monk-Were men who gave up their possessions to love a life in a monastery or church. They could serve as doctors or other highly trained and specific trades.
I mentioned in my novel many books or diagrams used to teach the pages. In medieval Europe, before the invention of the printing press, these books were created by scribes. Many scribes were monks who were trained in copying literature, religious works or manuscripts. It was a long and painstaking task; some works could take years or decades to complete. I am sure when they completed something ahead of time; someone said “It’s a miracle.” Those of you, who are old enough, will remember this reference to a Xerox commercial.
Scribes could be educated, studying Latin and penmanship as their precursor to them starting their careers. Sometimes, this was not the case; many scribes at one point could not read. They knew how to copy the characters from the original, but did not know what it said. This limitation was by design, as it ensured a correct copy of the original without any interpretation made by the scribe.
Next time we will continue with the social classes described in my novel.
My novel is available for the kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MNKNI9U/
I may have some excited news soon concerning my book and its availability.