User:Elton Robb / Daily Life of Peasants in Anuire

This article is Fan Fiction
The contents herein are entirely player made and in no way represent official Birthright lore or history.
The characters and events listed are of an independent nature and are applied for roleplaying purposes only.
It is important to know the daily life in Anuire for a peasant and a Noble. Most of this information comes from the Web, as well as David Chart's book \'\'Heirs to Merlin\'\'. Although there are other texts on Daily Life in England, such as \'\'Daily Life of Chaucer\'s England\'\', David Chart's book for Ars Magica is the most accessible for hobbyists.

[top]The Peasants

The typical peasant in Anuire lives a life of humility. However, when their Sovereign Lord, whether he is the Archduke of Boeruine or the Count of Ilien, calls for War he is often caught up in the middle of things. The peasant is the one that has to purchase quilted armor and serve as the foot soldier in the light infantry.
The Peasant usually rents or owns a small plot of ground from his Sovereign Lord. They work in the countryside, helping to keep the domain running on its stomach. In Anuire, the peasant generally makes up the Agricultural workforce because Anuire is pre-industrial. Despite the Masetians' advances in Mathematics and Technology before the Battle of Mount Deismarr, the conditions for Industrialization did not arise. After the Battle and during the Empire, there was no Black Plague and the Anuirean Empire was heavily decentralized despite its resources and it's colonization of Aduria. When the Empire fell, the condition worsened for the peasants. The Emperor was killed by the Gorgon and the whole of Anuire is still threatening to fall into a darker age than what existed before Roele.

[top]Classes of Peasants

thumb|simple Anuirean peasants|right
There are four broad classes of peasants, all of which cut across the distinction between the Free and the Villein. The top rank, where most commoner (unblooded) adventurers come from, are those that farm a yardland (which is 30 acres) or more. The next 20% farm about 15 acres of land. The third group, which equals about 40%, work only ten acres or less of farmland, and need to find paid employment as they cannot live off of their land. The last 20% have no land and may not own more than the clothes on their back.
The typical Anuirean village varies in size between a couple of families, with an average of 5 people each, up to around a hundred. They will take a variety of forms, and will not always have a church. Depending on the organization of a Temple like the Impregnable Heart of Haelyn, a local parish might cover several hundred villages. While in Medoere, there is a parish church of Ruornil's Celestial Spell for every 3 to five villages. As for streets, its a rule of thumb that a village has one street for every two hundred inhabitants. The various classes of commoner and peasant will be found in most villages, although the smaller ones tend to be found on poorer land; so they contain poorer peasants.
The classes of Peasant include:
  • Yeoman -- the top 20% are known as yeomen, which are an emergent middle class. Yeomen are often prosperous enough to go into business for themselves, whether they are blooded or not. Such businesses are local and depend on the Trade Guilds owned by a Rogue Regent or Guilder Regent for international trade. An Yeoman would operate the local winery or brewery, for instance; but exportation of his goods will depend on the Domain's guild regent.
  • Laborers -- the 40% without land are known as laborers, and may or may not be under villeinage. They often work for the Yeoman or their lord.
  • Peasant Farmers -- Are freeborn men who work smaller landholdings. Those in the range of 10 acres of land or less.
  • Villeins -- Villeins or serfs, comprise the lowest strata of peasant classes.

[top]Diet and Property

Breads and cereals provide about 90% of the caloric diet of a typical peasant. This is mostly in the form of bread. Such breads in Anuire are made from wheat, barley, or spelt (all three grains are indigenous to Aduria). Recently, peasants have tried to grow buckwheat and Amaranth, pseudo-cereals indigenous to Cerilia. This is supplemented with a small amount of Dairy produce (which is often cheese, because it keeps). They also supplement their diet with eggs, fish (especially herring and sardines), pulse which includes beans and peas; which are made into porridge or baked in breads. Also, the peasants do eat meat. This is mostly pork bacon and beef cut from cattle that are too old to work. Mutton is also consumed, usually from sheep too old to give wool.
Peasants who maintain hamlets grow vegetables on a large scale: which include onions, carrots, garlic, and cabbage -- which were indigenous to Aduria. Recently they added leaks, which are indigenous to Cerilia. These vegetables are also grown in cottage gardens. Anuireans along the southern coast of Anuire also practice Oleiculture -- that is -- the growing of olives, which are indigenous to both Aduria and Djaper. The olives are used to make olive oil. Apples, pears, and some Cerilian berries (raspberries and blueberries) are also cultivated in cottage gardens. Some peasants on the Southern Coast, Central Anuire, and the West Coast and the East grow wine grapes in large vineyards. Poorer peasants depend on wheat bread, and less on meat and dairy produce. In bad years, or if particularly poor, peasants turn to water. This is because beer has less nutritional value when brewed.
Most peasants do not brew their own ale, as the equipment needed is expensive. Instead, it is brewed by ale-wives in each village --- an occupation that is almost exclusively filled by women. However Boeruine, Dhoesone, and Taeghas ale-wives have been brewing beer since hops are indigenous to Boeruine and they grow well in northern Taeghas and Dhoesone. Ale-wives are usually the wives of the more prosperous peasants, although in Boeruine and in Avanil, ale and beer brewing businesses have been started by Boeruine and Avanilese Yeomen four generations ago. Bread, however, is baked in the household. Peasants will use their own hearth or a communal oven, but in the larger cities bakers sell bread.
thumb|Anuirean peasants brewing beer|left
A perfectly good peasant house is built on a low stone wall, which support large wooden beams. Walls of wattle and daub (which is interwoven sticks covered with mud and straw) or cob (which is earth) are topped with thatch, or for the richest, slates. The houses are about twice as long as they are wide. The typical Anuirean peasant cottage is between thirty feet wide and sixty feet long. A barn is built separate from the house and is built at a right angle to the house. This forms a open yard. The buildings are single story, and their doors are found in the long sides and two or three small, unglazed windows. Poorer peasants have smaller houses. Poorer peasants can't afford the stone course, which means that the wooden posts rot and have to be replaced.


A peasant's possessions were utilitarian. All peasants owned one set of clothes, which comprised of an undergarment, shoes, and a tunic. Possibly an over tunic and hose were also worn. Peasant tunics often reached the ankles for men and women. This set typically needed replacing every year, although the richest yoemen often owned a dozen sets. Farmers owned carts, with tires crafted of iron if they were prosperous that year. They also owned a plough, spades, and such.
Cast bronze cooking pots are the most valued household items; although the poorer folk depended on riveted copper pots. In the more prosperous domains (such as the Free City of Ilien, Mhoried, Boeruine, and Avanil) ceramics are quite common place on the peasant table; while in poorer domains the people had to make do with wooden tableware. Furniture is often crafted of wood and included a table, a chair for the head of the household, benches, and a chest or two for storage. Beds rarely have wooden frames, consisting of simple mattresses with pillows, linen sheets, and quilted blankets.


[top]Anuirean Money

When Roele Andu established the Empire, he built a coinage system that was accepted around the world. This coinage system, based on the Anuirean silver dinarius, was based on a decimal system. 10 copper mites to the dinar, ten dinars to the gold crown, and 10 crowns to the platinum sovereign. However, run away inflation at the end of the Empire had caused all prices to be based on the gold crown (or gold piece).
With the fall of the Empire, all the individual baronies, duchies, and realms began minting their own money. However, presently the coin that is the most stable in Anuire is the Boeruine silver penny, minted by the Archduke of Boeruine. The coin contains over 90% silver. The coins are very thin: people commonly vow a particular penny to a god like Haelyn, or a saint like Szareh Bruh or to the Emperor Roele himself by bending the coin in half being their thumb and their fingers.
The hapenny (half of a penny) and farthing (quarter of a penny) are made by cutting the pennies up. Twelve pennies (12d) make a shilling, and twenty shillings (20s) make a pound (£1), which consists of a pound of silver. 20 pounds of silver (£20) consist of a Gold Bar (4,800d). 13s 4d make an Anuirean mark, which is two thirds of a pound. The half mark (6s 8d) and the mark are common amounts for fines or taxation. Boeruine does not mint pounds and marks, and money can be converted into a gold bar and vice versa quite easily. Instead, the money is weighed, rather than counted.
The other realms have stable currencies as well. In Brechtur, the most stable coin is the Muden Mark, in Khinasi its the Ariyan Dinar, while people in both Rjurik and Vosgaard depend on bartering. Although in Rjurik, the Stjordvikan Kroner is quickly becoming the most stable currency; and everyone in Vosgaard is slowly accepting the Raven's Ruble.

[top]Peasant Income

It costs roughly £2 per year to support an average peasant family, unless you grow your own food. If a peasant does have to purchase food, the cost fluctuates wildly with the harvest. Only the Yeomen are likely to have much in the way of a cash surplus for other expenses, and only then around £1 per year. Laborers live hand to mouth, and the middle strata of peasants can only make a surplus in the best years.

[top]DM's Option: the Old English Penny

As an option in order to simulate a stronger Anuirean economy, a DM can use the Old English Penny as the base for his Birthright game's pricing system rather than the standard D&D coin system. A basic price chart is given below to simulate actual prices in Anuire. More elaborate price charts exist, most likely in the products Hârn World and HârnMaster by Columbia Games.
1 bushel of wheat6d
1 bushel of barley4d
1 ox7s
1 sheep1s
An average house£1
cart with iron tires3s
Spinning wheel2d
Brass pot1s
Copper pan4d
Pottery utensil1/4d
Wooden utensil1/8d
Linen undergarment4d
Woolen tunic1s 6d
Cheep sword2d
A bushel of wheat is enough to provide for one person per a month; a bushel of barley would, malted, provide ale for one person for the same period.

[top]Further Viewing and Reading

Life in a Medieval Village shows how peasants ate and lived.

The Middle Ages this shows the creation of Courtly love.

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