Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 2 17:11:44 EST 2003


--- rohina at shaw.ca wrote:
> 
> > > Not to speak of happy slave races, but there
> *are* people who love to serve
> > > others. That's the way they define themselves.
> If forced to stop, they are
> > > as much enslaved as a non-server would be if
> forced to serve.
> >
> >The difference between a servant and a slave is
> that a servant can quit.
> 
> I don't think it is as simple as that. Historically,
> a lot of servants had 
> no options - they had to work to eat, and quitting
> would mean they had no 
> income and no way of securing another job. Very few
> servants would be hired 
> without a good 'character' from an employer, and
> servants who quit would be 
> unlikely to secure good references.

And if one looks at medieval societies, serfs were
legally required to work for their master and no-one
else. In parts of Europe this institution survived
until 150 years ago. If you didn't like being a serf
your options were limited, outlawry was one option,
not nearly as romantic as in Robin Hood - as an outlaw
you were literally outside the protection of the law -
and would have absolutely no rights. If you had a
skill then you could make for a city, after a year and
a day in a city you were a freeman and your former
master couldn't touch you. "City air is free air".
However despite the image in many fantasy novels
begging probably wasn't an option - the city folk
would simply kick you out, but prostitution probably
was (it has been estimated that as many as 1 in 10
people in some medieval cities were prostitutes - in
Rome the figure may have been 1 in 5!!). The third
option was joining up and becoming a soldier, only
really viable if there was a really violent war going
on as armies were private and lords usually only
recruited their own folk. This at least gives a source
of cannon (magic fire??) fodder for the Vast Hordes of
Evil (OMT).

Jon Noble

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