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What control did the nobles had on on production during the medieval era

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

During medieval times, nobles ruled territories and the population was composed of rought : Merchant, artisan, farmer, peasants, etc. depending on countries.

What control did nobles have over their population considering that:

1) many of those caste are not paid because they serve. So nobles cannot chose to spend more money in Farming than crafting for example.
2) Many of them cannot change job on the fly. A merchant will not suddenly become an artisan because the priorities of the kingdom changed.

So how did they control the production of the kingdom.

I Will Never Gr...
I Will Never Grow Up Gaming's picture
Joined: 04/23/2015
The Feudal System was very complex..

This page has a lot of great info about it;

Some excerpts relating to production:

(TL;DR - To increase production the Lord of a manor would demand an increase in taxation or fees. If the populace was unwilling or unable to do so they would typically face punishment at the whims of the Lord.

In game terms, we have to abstract some of this because, as you said, one could not simply switch from Farming to Merchant to Blacksmith on a whim. How this is abstracted can vary wildly.)

Traditionally, manors were at least the equivalent of one knight’s fee (the resources required to house, outfit and maintain one knight to serve as needed by the Kingdom). Originally they were formed of single village communities, but over time, as pieces of land were given away here and acquired there, many manors came to be scattered through several neighbouring villages; the corollary of this was that villages were often divided amongst more than one manor. Alternatively they could be lumped together with other villages into a large manor (of several knight’s fees).

The defining feature of a manor was that it was “held in the hand” (the word manor comes from the Latin for “hand”) by a lord. This lord could be a secular lord like a knight or a baron, or an ecclesiastical lord like a bishop, church or monastery. Whoever or whatever the lord was, he or it had control over the land and people of the manor. This power involved economic, judicial/administrative and military power: the lord had a right to a share in his people’s labour or income; the people of the manor were subject to the manorial court, presided over by the lord or his official, which ordered their lives; and the men of he manor were liable to be chosen to follow their lord to war, fighting under his orders.

A manor usually consisted of three parts:

1. demesne land, directly under the control of the lord and his officials, the purpose of which was to support him and his household;

2. dependent land, which carried obligations to the lord, usually mainly labour service but often including contributions in kind, or even money gifts – this land was farmed by serfs; and

3. free lands, for which peasants paid money rent – this land was farmed by free peasants.

Dependant land was farmed by “serfs”: peasants who were bound to the manor on an hereditary basis, and had hereditary obligations to the lord. These usually involving working on his demesne land for a set number of days per week, and giving him gifts in kind or money on certain days. Serfs were not allowed to leave the manor without the lord’s permission. Nor were they allowed to marry without his permission; they usually had to pay a “fine” (or tax) for permission to marry. When a son inherited land from his father he also had to pay a fine, and most punishments in the manorial court were dealt out as fines (hence our association of the word “fine” with punishment).

The balance between demesne, dependent and free land varied from manor to manor, and more so from region to region (for example, there tended to be many more free peasants in southern Europe, whereas it has been estimated that serfs made up 90% of the peasants in 12th century England and northern France). It also varied over time, as a lord took more land into his demesne, or divided demesne land amongst his serfs and free peasants.

As well as labour services and rents in kind or money, lords could usually extract fees for the use of the manor’s mill, bakery or wine press.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I found that in european

I found that in european medieval system had 3 "production" caste:

Merchants, Artisans and Farmers

So I thought I could use a mechanism like in Master of orion where you can shift population between those 3 job. Still thematically, it does not make sense to move people around. I was wondering if there was other levers the player could use to influence the production of the city.

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