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jonirenicus1002

About noble hierarchy in the lore

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Been reading the lore until the game comes out at 3/26, the guys at Obsidian sure did a great job building up the world and culture from scratch and thumbs up to them. But I'm all confused by the noble ranks described in the in-game books - all these erls, thayns, gréf, ducs, something like that.

Since I live in asia and is not familiar with european noble hierarchy, also I tried reading the wiki page about noble ranks but still can't get a picture of it.

Is anyone kind enough to give it a quick description?  ;)

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I don't know about the setting, but all of those are vaguely distorted European titles:

 

earls, thanes, grafen, dukes

 

That said, most of those are not in the same hierarchy.

 

Graf is German for Count. Earl is like an English Count. Dukes are above Counts. Thanes are ... not in the same system, but it's a bit like a Scottish or German Pagan count. Duc is also French for Duke.

 

Basically, it goes like this:

 

Emperor / Pope

King

Duke

Count

Baron

 

But there aren't really any single system either. You might notice one of the country is called a Palatinate, which is a land ruled by a free prince. Which is something that was found in Germany (indeed, one of the Bündesländer of the German federation is call the Rhenish Palatinate in English.)

 

I guess what I'm trying to say  is ... it's understandable you don't understand this mess because there isn't a single system. Each region had its own ideas and the idea of a unified system is more or less people trying to force order unto a disordered system.

 

In PoE, if I had to guess, the distinction for many of these are cultural. Most of these titles just translate to "leader" anyhow. If someone has a title they might be in charge of the settlement they live in, unless there is someone with a higher title.

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I don't know about the setting, but all of those are vaguely distorted European titles:

 

earls, thanes, grafen, dukes

 

That said, most of those are not in the same hierarchy.

 

Graf is German for Count. Earl is like an English Count. Dukes are above Counts. Thanes are ... not in the same system, but it's a bit like a Scottish or German Pagan count. Duc is also French for Duke.

 

Basically, it goes like this:

 

Emperor / Pope

King

Duke

Count

Baron

 

But there aren't really any single system either. You might notice one of the country is called a Palatinate, which is a land ruled by a free prince. Which is something that was found in Germany (indeed, one of the Bündesländer of the German federation is call the Rhenish Palatinate in English.)

 

I guess what I'm trying to say  is ... it's understandable you don't understand this mess because there isn't a single system. Each region had its own ideas and the idea of a unified system is more or less people trying to force order unto a disordered system.

 

In PoE, if I had to guess, the distinction for many of these are cultural. Most of these titles just translate to "leader" anyhow. If someone has a title they might be in charge of the settlement they live in, unless there is someone with a higher title.

So everyone is count/dukes then!

Kind of getting the picture. Seems we can only make it up for ourselves.

Thanks anyway!

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In the Aedyr Empire I got the impression it was

 

Emperor

Erls

Thayns

 

The Grafens being semi-autonomous rulers of colonial possessions of the Empire.  They are basically equivalent to Erls.  Really big colonial rulers get to be Grafen Palatinate and control their own Erls.

 

In the Dyrwood the Grafen Palatinate became a Duc but besides that it is basically the same.

 

Don't know enough about Valia and the rest yet.

Edited by Valmy
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The titles are confusing because it's a reflection on the fact that during *actual* colonial times it was just as confusing. Titles came to mean different things to different people, some fell to the common folk (gentleman, for instance), and some nobles adopted words from the native tongues to serve as "fad" titles. This happened cross-culture as well, as colonial nations often had a mixture of people from different lands, and every language tended to have a basketload of names for their own tiers of nobility (which did not necessarily always line up with those from other lands as far as prestige or duty). 

Edited by Havelok

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I don't know how it works in game but I'm going to assume its basically equivalent to its real world version. Of course the real world is complicated but heres the basic idea.

 

Erls/Earls: Comes from the Anglo/Saxon Jarl which you might recognise from Skyrim. Back in the day a jarl was a chieftain or a petty king but in the middle ages it became a lesser rank. It's about equivalent to a count in terms of rank.

 

Thayn/Thane/Thegn: Another you might know from Skyrim. Its an Old English word meaning "servant, attendant, retainer", "one who serves", etc etc. Usually describes an aristocratic retainer of a king or nobleman.

 

Gréf/Graf: A Germanic title which can be compared to the English Count. Generally grafs ruled a territory known as a Grafschaft (same as counts ruling a county.) As I said before this title is about the same rank as an earl.

 

Duc/Duke: Comes from French duc, which comes from the Latin "dux" meaning leader. Can either be a monarch ruling over a duchy or a member of the nobility of highest rank below the king/emperor.

 

If you just want a basic rank chart then:

 

Emperor

King

Duc

Count/Erl/Gref

Thayn

 

Theres more titles in between these but I"m just going off the ones you asked about.

Edited by Diogenes
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I don't know how it works in game but I'm going to assume its basically equivalent to its real world version. Of course the real world is complicated but heres the basic idea.

 

Erls/Earls: Comes from the Anglo/Saxon Jarl which you might recognise from Skyrim. Back in the day a jarl was a chieftain or a petty king but in the middle ages it became a lesser rank. It's about equivalent to a count in terms of rank.

 

Thayn/Thane/Thegn: Another you might know from Skyrim. Its an Old English word meaning "servant, attendant, retainer", "one who serves", etc etc. Usually describes an aristocratic retainer of a king or nobleman.

 

Gréf/Graf: A Germanic title which can be compared to the English Count. Generally grafs ruled a territory known as a Grafschaft (same as counts ruling a county.) As I said before this title is about the same rank as an earl.

 

Duc/Duke: Comes from French duc, which comes from the Latin "dux" meaning leader. Can either be a monarch ruling over a duchy or a member of the nobility of highest rank below the king/emperor.

 

If you just want a basic rank chart then:

 

Megatron

Emperor

King

Duc

Count/Erl/Gref

Thayn

 

Theres more titles in between these but I"m just going off the ones you asked about.

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In the setting Aedyr noble hierarchy is:


  • King/Emperor (Same position, changed after the kingdom colonized the Eastren Reaches and became an Empire )
  • Duc / Gref plantaine / Gref - In dyrwood its the same position, manged the whole colony. Only initially the Gref had no real authority, and eventually a Duc was elected.
  • Erl - manage the Erldoms. There are 7 of them. (were 9 before the revolution)
  • Thayn - lower nobility bellow an erl.

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"Graf" is possibly more close to some mix between viceroy and margrave, considering the colonial aspect.


"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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I don't believe social hierarchy in the middle ages was that different in Europe than in Asia tbh. Usually a noble had a title which differed depending on where in Europe he was, that doesen't mean much other than he has a rulership over an area. Usually only a king or an emperor was higher to the rest of the nobility to the point that they pledged loyalty to him. Loyalties shifted, of course, when different rulers fought over a crown. So, the feudal systems were mostly based on words and vows while empires were more stable with a more centralised authority. These in general.

Edited by Sedrefilos

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"This is my stick and my soldiers will beat you with it really, really hard if you don't do as I say".


t50aJUd.jpg

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This may be useful if you're curious about titles. Obviously, as others have mentioned, all of that mattered less as the transitions into mercantilism and then capitalism took place, but it bears noting that landed gentry in many parts of Europe had (or have, horrifically) additional rights under the law of the land.

 

I don't believe social hierarchy in the middle ages was that different in Europe than in Asia tbh.

 

That's a pretty broad statement, considering that Asia is roughly four times the size of Europe, and at least as diverse.


If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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That's a pretty broad statement, considering that Asia is roughly four times the size of Europe, and at least as diverse.

 

I think he was saying that political systems involving agricultural economies in this era tended to have similar characteristics than a slur on any particular continents.

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That's a pretty broad statement, considering that Asia is roughly four times the size of Europe, and at least as diverse.

 

I think he was saying that political systems involving agricultural economies in this era tended to have similar characteristics than a slur on any particular continents.

 

 

I didn't take it as a slur, so much as I took it as the kind of thing that works anthropologists up into a frothing-at-the-mouth rage.

 

"Feudalism existed all over the world," as a statement, is sort of like saying, "cereal grains are a staple crop all over the world," or, "people all over the world need air to metabolize."


If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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I didn't take it as a slur, so much as I took it as the kind of thing that works anthropologists up into a frothing-at-the-mouth rage.

 

"Feudalism existed all over the world," as a statement, is sort of like saying, "cereal grains are a staple crop all over the world," or, "people all over the world need air to metabolize."

 

 

Probably so. To a lot of us though the 'somebody owns the land and somebody else is socially obligated to work it' thing seems to be pretty widespread regardless of what you call it. Now granted that probably falls apart the more detailed you get.

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In both Europe and Asia, in the middle ages, there was always a supreme ruler over an extensive territory, with smaller rulers in his domain that were loyal to him (through law if they were appointed by him or through word if they were more independent). Below them were the common people and maybe, in cases, some local rulers like mayors, chiefs etc but they were not royalty. What the nobles were called doesen't matter; their function was the same.

 

What I wanted to say to the OP, is that the names of the nobles in Pillars have similarities with real world middle ages european noble titles, but there is no need to know who is over whom, because, unless they are a king or an emperor or whatever a supreme ruler is called in Pillars, they are of equal "rank". So no need to learn those title by heart :p

Edited by Sedrefilos
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On a related note, does the 'Free palatine of Dyrwood' is an independent Duchy?

Edited by Tort

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On a related note, does the 'Free palatine of Dyrwood' is an independent Duchy?

 

A Palatinate is a semi-autonomous colony of the Aedyr Empire ruled by a Grafen Palatinate. When Dyrwood became independent it began calling itself a 'Free Palatinate'.

 

The elected ruler of Dyrwood (probably elected by the nobles) is no longer called the Grafen Palatinate but adopted the Valian title of 'Duc' instead, which indicates sovereignty.

Edited by Valmy
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A Palatinate is a semi-autonomous colony of the Aedyr Empire ruled by a Grafen Palatinate. When Dyrwood became independent it began calling itself a 'Free Palatinate'.

 

The elected ruler of Dyrwood (probably elected by the nobles) is no longer called the Grafen Palatinate but adopted the Valian title of 'Duc' instead, which indicates sovereignty.

So Palatinate it is, or maybe duchy palatinate :| I suppose the confusion\problem lays with me, since I have never heard of this term before (all the other ones in this thread are easy, they are the same-ish in my language) so i'd probably just stick with plain 'independent country'.

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A Palatinate is a semi-autonomous colony of the Aedyr Empire ruled by a Grafen Palatinate. When Dyrwood became independent it began calling itself a 'Free Palatinate'.

 

The elected ruler of Dyrwood (probably elected by the nobles) is no longer called the Grafen Palatinate but adopted the Valian title of 'Duc' instead, which indicates sovereignty.

So Palatinate it is, or maybe duchy palatinate :| I suppose the confusion\problem lays with me, since I have never heard of this term before (all the other ones in this thread are easy, they are the same-ish in my language) so i'd probably just stick with plain 'independent country'.

 

 

I have no idea what the term means historically, when somebody says 'Palatinate' to me I think of the German Rhineland. I am just saying what it means in this world, to the best of my understanding.

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I got that and found your post useful, but still the term leaves a sour taste in my mouth, reminds me the time when I discovered that shire also means county.. not just silly name for place where hobbits live.

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