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Old 09-25-2017, 07:30 AM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: historically becoming landed as a small fry

Originally Posted by a humble lich View Post
It also depends on what you mean by owning land.
This is a major issue. "Owning" something is a legal relationship, how it works, or if it is even considered possible, varies a lot. For most places and most of history, it *isn't* possible to "own" land as an individual, and indeed even in the modern Western model it's still hedged with a vast range of restrictions on what you can do with it, and requirements to pay a regular fee (which we now generally label "property tax") to retain your "ownership".

One significant feature is that a lot of medieval places will have different kinds of land, much of it right next to some kind governed by entirely different laws. Some of it will be allodal, some held by feudal oaths, some rented, some "rented" on terms fixed for longer than anybody will be alive, some held by villages but assigned to the same family for generations, some saleable but only to certain people (e.g. you can sell, but only to other members of your family or clan), or on certain terms (you can sell, but only if the rest of the village approves the buyer), some of it theoretically private property but entailed so it cannot be "sold", but nevertheless administered by somebody else for generations since it was put up as collateral for a "loan" that hasn't been repaid.... It's a complicated subject. By and large if you have money and want to be a farmer, somebody will sell you the right to do so, but you may not necessarily "own" the land you will be farming for the rest of your life, and you probably *will* need to enter into a long-term social relationship, whether that's an oath of fealty or just proving to the other villagers you can be trusted to be a decent neighbor.
MA Lloyd
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