: fantasy monarchies

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at imperial.ac.uk
Wed Feb 5 06:18:18 EST 2003


Robyn wrote:
> but whole countries without mass 
> communications 
> have to be ruled from a top-down heirarchy (which is more or less 
> educated), because otherwise they would just be anarchies. 

I agree that countries without mass communications have been monarchies, but
I can think of scenarios in which they wouldn't necessarily be- in, say,
Saxon times in England you didn't really need mass communication so much-
most things would be made in your own village or traded with nearby ones,
and a few things traded for at a big fair once a year with merchants from
Away. There were kings (small ones), because they had armies who could
control local lords if they got out of hand. But they could have been
overthrown, and I can see it splitting up into small districts each with a
lord rather than a king, or even ruled by the local monastery, or the
council of the local city controlling some countryside as well. It would
have been unstable, I could see a country going back and forth between
kingship and no kingship. In a sense it might have been anarchy, but not in
the sense of chaos- each district could still have run smoothly by customary
law, without a top boss. Really, lack of communications could work against a
king as well as for him- by the time the message that there is trouble
somewhere has got to the capital, who knows what might have happened?
Jennifer
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