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Septon Barth and the educaton of priest(esse)s


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#1 Ser Lepus

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 07:37 PM

I'm fascinated by the character of Septon Barth, the son of a blacksmith who joined the Faith, met Old King Jaehaerys I in the Red Keep's Library and so greatly impressed the king that he made him his Hand.

Septon Barth gave the realm forty years of peace and plenty, and wrote "Dragons, Wyrms, and Wyverns: Their Unnatural History", the greatest book about dragons ever written.

The guy obviously had not only great natural intelligence, he was also well educated, which leads me to ask:

Has the Faith the means to give at least a few of its priests an education as good as that of a maester? Do they teach medicine, maths, literature, history?

It seems that the Faith had the monopoly of culture and learning before the maesters came to be (they wrote the first history books of Westeros, for example), and it seems strange to me that they let the Citadel to take it from them without even trying to compete.

Edited by Ser Lepus, 02 December 2012 - 07:38 PM.


#2 Gurkhal

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 03:42 PM

I'm fascinated by the character of Septon Barth, the son of a blacksmith who joined the Faith, met Old King Jaehaerys I in the Red Keep's Library and so greatly impressed the king that he made him his Hand.

Septon Barth gave the realm forty years of peace and plenty, and wrote "Dragons, Wyrms, and Wyverns: Their Unnatural History", the greatest book about dragons ever written.

The guy obviously had not only great natural intelligence, he was also well educated, which leads me to ask:

Has the Faith the means to give at least a few of its priests an education as good as that of a maester? Do they teach medicine, maths, literature, history?

It seems that the Faith had the monopoly of culture and learning before the maesters came to be (they wrote the first history books of Westeros, for example), and it seems strange to me that they let the Citadel to take it from them without even trying to compete.


Before the maesters there were still pyromancers and those guys, as well as I would imagine that hedge wizards etc. held some degree of influence thanks to their magical capabilities when magic was stronger. The Faith's position is thus clearly different from that of the real Middle Ages as far as I can understand. You may however be right in that in some times past the Faith was the real font of knowledge in Westeros.

#3 Cregan Quagg

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:24 PM

Interesting question. It's often possible to draw parallels between medieval Europe and Westeros, but the existence of maesters muddies up any comparisons I could make.

Have we heard of other very learned septons? I'm not sure how much contact there is between the Knights of the Mind and the Brown Brothers, but there may exist some overlap between some of their respective areas of study. The Wiki entry for the Faith doesn't specify any scholarly pursuits, though.

Edited by Cregan Quagg, 03 December 2012 - 04:32 PM.