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  1. #1
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Education in Anuire

    It occurred to me recently that I'd made an assumption in BR that was invalid. I'd just assumed that nobles were taught by private tutors - an idea with limited game potential so readily overlooked in play.

    However in England we had private schools Winchester (1382) and Eton (1440) and universities like Cambridge Uni (1284) and Oxford (1598) a fair while ago.

    While these schools/univeristies had religious starts, an education was often seen as a religious issue in medieval times, Anuirean religion would be based on Haelynite philosophy / the entire pantheon so very different to our education.

    If wealthy young nobles get educated at colleges then you can have unlikely rivals/bands of brothers based on common schooling, opposed schools, plots involving mass attacks on youths, etc. an approach with far more gaming potential than 'tutor X is a depraved sadist' and so on.

    Schools provide prestige to their patron/realm - Diemed may be a shadow of its former self, but it could easily have a major school / university dating back to when it was the center of Anuirean religion - that could have game-play options for the regent of Diemed, i.e. diplomacy on the school could influence regents of later realms, the regent could lean on the school to accept this child / bar another, etc.

    The City of Anuire is another obvious site for a school/university, Boeruine might have more of a military academy (Sandhurst only opened recently but given Haelyn's martial aspect an equivalent is not unrealistic), Avanil might have an academy of arts, etc.

    Mostly an interesting bit of fluff for a campaign but I figure some adventures could come of such a location.

    Any ideas?

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    If Haelyn's churches are running schools for nobles/scions, then I assume the Avani-ites will have their own, too, and so on for at least some other churches.

    You'll want to address the question why wizards only have the one college, though. Maybe so that really dangerous magic could be monitored by the Empire, I suppose.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I would image the College of Sorcery is only the most prestigious of the schools for wizards.

    The Renaissance is also the time when the Church lost its monopoly as humanists began to start schools with a curriculum that alternately appealed to the merchant class (more math overall and more arithmetic and less geometry specifically) and the noble classes (rhetoric usurped the dominance of logic in the trivium, more history, more biography, more classical works).

    Given the assumed curriculum of a religious school, there are probably one or two alternative curriculum schools as well. If we include a pre-magical or magical curriculum, we might get as far as one to three alternatives.

    While schooling was rising in the renaissance, the climb is very slow.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Military academies opened mostly to serve the mathematics involved in artillery.

    There are already mention of some universities on the wiki.

    A school of Haelyn would almost certainly be about law and government, not warfare. War didn't become an academic subject in Germany until the 19th century, and in places like America and Britain until the 20th.

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    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    The BR wiki gives reference (I think) to the Royal/Imperial College of Sorcery/Magic in Anuire, an ex-college of Magic in Ciliene and I think a magical college in Khinasi.

    IMC we played with a Conservatory/Bardic College near Cariele and I imagine there to be more in Anuire and maybe Brechtur. (cf User:Trevyr/Bardic Colleges, White Hall Bardic College).

    As for old real-world institute, don't forget the Universite de Paris. It started around 1257 and had faculties and nations. The faculties were Arts, Medicine, Law, and Theology. The nations were institutionalised divisions of students, according to their "area of origin" - French, English (later German), Normans, and Picard. And not surprisingly, there was great rivalry and fighting between groups. I can see something similar happening at the University of Anuire.

    The BR wiki also mentions a College of Dhoesone, Avanese College of Heralds (probably not educational), Imperial War College, temple of Grimsay in the College of Justice, and probably more. I suspect some of these are campaign specific and need expanding.

    Sorontar

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Haelyn is god of just war - not just law, in RL christian schools were at least notionally following a religion dedicated to peace - I'd expect Haelynite teachings to be more aimed at directing students into 'just wars' than to peaceful pursuits.

    Another point is that the empire was forged long ago so schools would have been about rulership and other imperial matters with the intent of producing students who could become governors and civil servants, etc.

    Could be quite a varied curriculum

    Once you have a few early 'core' schools you then et the copies - I wonder what the schools run by Cureacen teach about war?

    I can see Khinasi universities being very prestigious - possibly even gaining a few rare students from Anuire.

    Wizards incidentally are probably rare enough that they only need the one school, interestingly we know about the school in Anuire and maybe Khinasi (temple of Rilni?) but have nothing on a mage school in Brechtur which I would expect to be all over education.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    The problem is that war is really only learned by doing. Even today, armies that spend a generation without a war see a serious decline in readiness.

    Given that there are armies in being, its just much easier to train nobles by service as ensigns and then junior officers in actual armies doing real military activities than it is to put them in a school and read about how such and such is done.

    Likewise with crafts. We can imagine schools for shoemaking. But its actually easier to apprentice as a shoemaker than it is to study the craft and then start fresh as a shoemaker.

    So it is with war. Machiavelli, himself quite bookish, describes the ideal training of officers in his treatise on war, and its an extension of the natural noble lifestyle: "when on the hunt, consider if an enemy detachment emerged there, what would be the best response,"

    Right off, if tutors didn't teach it, neither will schools. If instead there was a program of apprenticeship, this method will be used. When it comes to Haelyn, I would go even further, and say that the Haelynite ideal of nobility is knighthood, and knighthood its a classical apprenticeship program in which one is first a page in one noble's house and then a squire in a second noble's house.

    As for a means to develop conflict, the school by its nature, diminishes the old conflicts of family on family and replaces them with other rivalries, and I don't think that's a desirable move. On the other hand, the apprenticeship model allows for the continuation of ancient grudges and factions, because the same faction of nobles passes their children around within their group as pages and squires.

    Who went to schools in the late middle ages? Almost entirely people destined for clergy. This need not apply directly in Birthright, but its not going to be practical people who do things, but bookish people who advise. In the Renaissance, new people started going to school, but it still wasn't men of action, like regents or sub-regents, but people of a lower sort who began to displace the great men in the service of the king. Men from the gentry or even the middle class, might, through schooling, become a great officer of the king. Nobles became displaced from politics.

    The medieval model takes great nobles and puts them into the direct household service of the regent. You are steward (and serve my food), or chamberlain (and make my bed) or boutalliere (and serve my drinks) and because I know and trust you, can you run the state as well.

    Switching from these relationships to schools, undermines the personal ties of dependence and replaces them with expertise through education. We have started down the road in which merit replaces birthright as a claim to office. This concerns me because it clashes with the spirit of the setting.

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    Senior Member ryancaveney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    The problem is that war is really only learned by doing. Even today, armies that spend a generation without a war see a serious decline in readiness.
    And, as you said with respect to artillery, the sorts of things one can most profitably study about war in the classroom are things of little relevance in the BR era. The one exception is history, but stories of famous battles are as likely to lead you into mistakes as out of them, if you lack practical experience to guide your interpretation of their meaning.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    Likewise with crafts. We can imagine schools for shoemaking. But its actually easier to apprentice as a shoemaker than it is to study the craft and then start fresh as a shoemaker.
    This is still true today, even in highly technical academic subjects -- graduate school seemed an awful lot like apprenticeship for esoteric scholars. Sure, you can learn the technical background from books, but in order to get good at using it (even if just to write more books that only other specialists will read), you need to be shepherded by those who are already good at it. I love education, but the assembly line is a terrible model for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    Who went to schools in the late middle ages? Almost entirely people destined for clergy. This need not apply directly in Birthright, but its not going to be practical people who do things, but bookish people who advise.
    Yes. In BR, regents shouldn't brag about the school they attended -- they should brag about the schools their advisers attended. That said, school ties, rivalries and formal education could well be important to characters in the campaign who are (and, due to deficient social position, will remain) lieutenants rather than regents themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    The medieval model takes great nobles and puts them into the direct household service of the regent. You are steward (and serve my food), or chamberlain (and make my bed) or boutalliere (and serve my drinks) and because I know and trust you, can you run the state as well.
    The ancient model is similar. Roman state officials were elected, but the "qualifications" (in the mind of the voters) for holding office -- whether military, legal, religious or financial -- were largely the same as for being a good husband: a trustworthy, temperate man of good family who would mind his responsibilities, particularly showing proper respect for his betters and proper moral guidance to those who follow him. They were all educated, but that education was strictly limited to literature, rhetoric and philosophy -- it would have been considered demeaning for an aristocrat to actually study anything modern readers would deem useful to his job, in part because it would demean him to admit having a job, rather than a hobby practiced part-time as a favor to his friends and relatives. One of these days I'm going to have to write a long BR article based on an excellent book I've been reading about the psychological operation of the Roman Empire, which has the most detailed descriptions I've ever seen of what spending Regency Points might actually look like in day to day life.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    We have started down the road in which merit replaces birthright as a claim to office. This concerns me because it clashes with the spirit of the setting.
    Hear, hear! Still, I can't resist a "however". The thread title is specific to Anuire, but I'd like to contrast their view with those of the other cultures in Cerilia. The best opportunities I can see for formal schooling are among the Khinasi and the Dwarves. For paladins of Avani, such as the Prince of Ariya, formal schooling is probably a religious requirement as well as a social one; since he has the single highest social standing in all the khir-aften el-Arrasi, many other nobles will compete with each other to be more like him, so they actually will brag about their schooling. If there is one semi-modern engineering school anywhere in Cerilia, it is in Baruk-Azhik; sure, the dwarves are very clan-conscious, but they are also so deliberate and so task-obsessed that I can easily see them spurning any shoemaker who doesn't have a PhD in shoemaking from the top shoemaking school in the land. Brechtur is generally considered the most Renaissance of the cultures, but I put it behind the Khinasi and the Dwarves for formal education, because they don't have the same social motivation for it. Among the Rjurik, a Jarl with a university degree is possible only in one or two of the most Anuire-ified realms, and even then he will be an object of derision by the traditional, non-city types. Among the Vos or goblins, nerds like me just get beaten up and sacrificed at ritual bloodlettings (unless they're priestesses of Kriesha, but no sane person would attend a hypothetical Winter Witch University). Among the Sidhelien, nerds are everywhere, but almost no one is formal about anything unless they're currently experimenting with formality for a quick century or two just to mess with people's heads.

  9. #9
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    OK, so a college would be for advisors not for actual regents (except for wizards). You could still use it to justify some odd (and possibly perverse from the regent's perspective) alliances and feuds amongst the court, particularly if the regent takes the court ofr granted or plays favourites - maybe a courtier for Alam owes a Tuornese adviser a favour, or has a particular hatred for a Ghoerean general...

    I see the Khinasi as fairly impractical - lots of philosophy and art, not much engineering and the like. That should still be fine for advisors and give similar possibilities as Anuire, although I can see regents boasting of having taken a few classes of the appropriate class (with the potential for intrigue if the famous professor refuses to take 'some rich ignoramous', or if the failing student needs to impress their tutor / the tutor needs to be inspired by 'the sight of true savagery', etc)

    Dwarves are in my view the opposite to the Khinasi in terms of emphasis on 'practical' subjects but that may inlcude some fairly 'soft' subjects given their confined living space - social science may be surprisingly advanced. The downside with dwarves is that I can't see any non-dwarf being allowed to attend.

    The elves may suffer from their immortality school-wise - why work with others when you can resolve the theory on your own in another few decades? As such I'd expect elven schools to be a few students and only a single master - possibly a handful but certainly not the numbers needed for a human style school.

  10. #10
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    I see the Khinasi as fairly impractical - lots of philosophy and art, not much engineering and the like.
    I would guess this would be like Alexander and Aristotle. No one took Alexander for a philosopher, but what a mark of status to say my tutor was Rashidi the Brilliant.

    Ah yes, Rashidi the Brilliant, astrologer to the court, tutor of the prince, advisor to Sultan.

    Or what Frederick the great did. While a prince, he undertook a correspondence with Voltaire. Nobles have no need to go to the scholars, they hold court for the very purpose of bringing important people to them.

    At some point we have nobles too small, their courts too little to attract the really great scholars. Having second rank courts, they can choose to either attract second rank scholars, or attempt to place their children in the courts that have the first rank scholars and then approach said scholar and offer to support their work, if they could but care to oversee the reading choices of their son, recently made a Gentlemen of Horse in the Duke's court.

    Scholars are always looking for patrons. If the boy is a typical noble, more interested in the fair sex and hunting than study, the scholar will take the noble's money and tell the boy what to read, and perhaps what to think about what he read. If the boy seem curious, intelligent, and worth the effort, the scholar might discuss things with the young man, and take the time to really sharpen the boy's wits. Who knows, the boy could be the Duke's Chamberlain one day and be in a position to return the favor a dozen times over in gifts, stipends, and appointments.

    Sometimes, there are no such courts friendly enough to get your son placed. Where your paying the resident scholar won't be considered fine (and another 500 gp the Duke doesn't have to pay him to keep him here) but rather as the bribe of a hostile noble. What does a count or lord do in that circumstance? The noble must go to the scholar. In one form or another, school.

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