Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Pericles

Braavos: More Equal then Westeros?

Recommended Posts

I was watching E6 (again) and it struck me that Tycho Nestoris refuses to be called Lord. As a student of history, and of the Ancient and Medieval City States, this interests me. Is this evidence that Braavos is more socially and politically equal then the Seven Kingdoms?



I say this because GOT is an expy of Medieval Europe, and there were several non-feudal/republican societies in existence at the time; the Old Swiss Confederacy, the Maritime Republics of Italy, etc.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The nine Free Cities are based on the city-states of Medieval Italy. They're the last remnants of the ancient Valyrian Freehold, which is an analogue to the real-world Roman Republic/Roman Empire. They're not feudal societies like the Seven Kingdoms, they're democratic city-states with elected leaders. They also place a greater value on trade, commerce, and economic power than on military power, in contrast to the martial culture of Westeros (though Braavos has the largest navy in the world, and all nine Free Cities have mercenary armies in their service).


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slavery may be a problem, though. Not that it matters, since it is pointless judging a different society using modern standards.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Iron Bank is the equivalent of the mob. Simple.

I'd say it's like East India Company India crossed with Venice and Ancient Athens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While Venice, Florence, etc. may have been "republican" they could hardly be considered bastions of equality. The Franchise was quite limited in the Italian city states and real power was concentrated in the hands of a few powerful families. The leasders of these city states may have been merchants put they were Merchant Princes whose power in their own cities riveled they power of even the greatest fuedal kings. It would be quite inaccurate to equate the "republican city states with liberal democracies of modern day.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think the call can be made by modern standards. By asoiaf standards? Maybe, in some ways. But they're pretty equal in their atrocities as far as I'm concerned and I wouldn't want to be a woman in either place.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think the call can be made by modern standards. By asoiaf standards? Maybe, in some ways. But they're pretty equal in their atrocities as far as I'm concerned and I wouldn't want to be a woman in either place.

Can't stand that gender stuff anymore. Trianna was returned 4 times as Triarch of Volantis, so what? We don't know of any law forbidding women to run for Sealord of Braavos. Since the use of knives seems to be normal in the chosing process, Arya might stand a fair chance of being elected!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't stand that gender stuff anymore. Trianna was returned 4 times as Triarch of Volantis, so what? We don't know of any law forbidding women to run for Sealord of Braavos. Since the use of knives seems to be normal in the chosing process, Arya might stand a fair chance of being elected!

Is there somewhere in ASoIaF where George lays down the law about succession? (For any kingdom in Westeros?

For instance seeming there were no sole Tagaryen Queens.

(None did like Elisabeth I , who, seemingly, never married because she did not want to be second fiddle to a King. Or a Catherine the Great who just flat, as far as we know, just pulled a coup d'├ętat on her husband Peter III , who was an idiot.

I don't know Robert was a usurper and could have made new laws for Westeros...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While Venice, Florence, etc. may have been "republican" they could hardly be considered bastions of equality. The Franchise was quite limited in the Italian city states and real power was concentrated in the hands of a few powerful families. The leasders of these city states may have been merchants put they were Merchant Princes whose power in their own cities riveled they power of even the greatest fuedal kings. It would be quite inaccurate to equate the "republican city states with liberal democracies of modern day.

Exactly. The common people of these republican City-States are just as expendable and oppressed as their Westorosi brethren. They just serve a wealth based aristocracy instead of a land based one. They also have slaves to look upon with pity or scorn. Historically, slavery has been a deterrent to unrest among the lower class freemen.

:commie: :commie: :commie:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there somewhere in ASoIaF where George lays down the law about succession? (For any kingdom in Westeros?

For instance seeming there were no sole Tagaryen Queens.

(None did like Elisabeth I , who, seemingly, never married because she did not want to be second fiddle to a King. Or a Catherine the Great who just flat, as far as we know, just pulled a coup d'├ętat on her husband Peter III , who was an idiot.

I don't know Robert was a usurper and could have made new laws for Westeros...

Male priority seems to be the rule, so it should be Bran, Rickon, (Benjen, but he's NW), Sansa and Arya. In Dorne, it's pure seniority, Arianne is the heiress, not Quentin. May be the female succession of Dorne is a remnant of Nymeria's conquest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • For Everyone not in Dorne or on the Iron Throne

  1. 1st-born son>2nd-born son>3rd-born son>etc.

1st-born daughter >2nd-born daughter>3rd born daughter>etc.

Eldest brother>2nd Eldest brother>3rd Eldest brother>etc..

Eldest sister>2nd Eldest sister>3rd Eldest sister>etc.

  • For Dorne

  1. 1st-born child>2nd-born child> 3rd-born child>etc.

Eldest sibling>2nd Eldest sibling>3rd Eldest sibling>etc.

  • For the Iron Throne(based upon Targaryen edict following the Dance of Dragons, not confirmed whether this continues under the present Baratheon Dynasty)

  1. 1st-born son>2nd-born son>3rd-born son>etc.

Eldest brother>2nd Eldest brother>3rd Eldest brother>etc..

Sons of 1st-Born Daughter>Sons of 2nd-Born Daughter>Sons of 3rd-Born Daughter>etc..

Sons of Eldest Sister>Sons of 2nd Eldest Sister>Sons of 3rd Eldest Sister>etc.

Unknown if more distant males, such as 2nd cousins would come before more directly related females. The word of the law saws they would but logic says otherwise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My friend asked me yesterday where I'd want to live and from the viewpoint of a woman of color, I answered Dorne (primogeniture, more lax attitude toward sexuality for women) or Braavos (no slaves, and we see some women in positions of power). Both have a history of independence/resistance to being conquered, which indicates a decent chance of a stable life.



Also, Braavos and its constant fog reminds me a little of San Francisco. :D



A lot of the other Free Cities trade in or practice slavery. Lys is famed for its pleasure slaves, Volantis has The Widow of the Waterfront illustrating that only freeborn people can live within walls and she had to get the tear tattoos cut off, Pentos doesn't have slavery but the servants under Illyrio don't appear to have many rights, etc.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't there something about having the blood of old Valeria as a requirement for standing for election in the free cities?



As for women surely Dorne should be a prime contender. But also what about the wildlings and the hill tribesman of the vale? Chella daughter of..... I forget was chief of the..... black ears (iirc). When we first meet them in the book Tyrion is aghast that all of the tribe get to have a say in the tribes decisions, "even the women!". Succession is also based on merit from what I gather. With the burned men deciding succession on who can achieve the greatest self mutilation.



For me I think the hill tribesmen definitely deserve to be in for a shout of most equal society. Apologies if I've messed up the names of the clans.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly. The common people of these republican City-States are just as expendable and oppressed as their Westorosi brethren. They just serve a wealth based aristocracy instead of a land based one. They also have slaves to look upon with pity or scorn. Historically, slavery has been a deterrent to unrest among the lower class freemen.

:commie: :commie: :commie:

I wouldn't say it's exactly the same, since wealth-based societies at least allow for some degree of social mobility. In the mercantilist city states, a poor person could potentially gain power if he became rich enough. In the feudal kingdoms of Westeros, a lowborn merchant who becomes rich is still considered lowborn. There's not really any way for a peasant to become a noble, except by the decree of a King or Lord Paramount. Even then, an upjumped commoner would be considered the lowest of the nobility, and wouldn't be treated with respect (see Littlefinger, Davos Seaworth, Janos Slynt, Halleyne, and so forth).

That said, some of the Free Cities practice slavery, which is outlawed in Westeros (and unlike real-life medieval Europe, there are no serfs in Westeros, unless you count the Ironborn's thralls). In that regard, Westeros could be considered more egalitarian than those Free Cities. However, as I mentioned earlier, slavery is illegal in Braavos.

Basically, if I was poor and lowborn, I'd much rather live in one of the Free Cities than in Westeros. However, I'd much rather be a commoner in Westeros than a slave in one of the Free Cities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't say it's exactly the same, since wealth-based societies at least allow for some degree of social mobility. In the mercantilist city states, a poor person could potentially gain power if he became rich enough. In the feudal kingdoms of Westeros, a lowborn merchant who becomes rich is still considered lowborn. There's not really any way for a peasant to become a noble, except by the decree of a King or Lord Paramount. Even then, an upjumped commoner would be considered the lowest of the nobility, and wouldn't be treated with respect (see Littlefinger, Davos Seaworth, Janos Slynt, Halleyne, and so forth).

That said, some of the Free Cities practice slavery, which is outlawed in Westeros (and unlike real-life medieval Europe, there are no serfs in Westeros, unless you count the Ironborn's thralls). In that regard, Westeros could be considered more egalitarian than those Free Cities. However, as I mentioned earlier, slavery is illegal in Braavos.

Basically, if I was poor and lowborn, I'd much rather live in one of the Free Cities than in Westeros. However, I'd much rather be a commoner in Westeros than a slave in one of the Free Cities.

Not exactly the same. Practically it is though. Your chances of becoming a fabulously wealthy merchant in the Free Cities are very low. Rags-to-Riches stories are 1 in a million.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't there something about having the blood of old Valeria as a requirement for standing for election in the free cities?

As for women surely Dorne should be a prime contender. But also what about the wildlings and the hill tribesman of the vale? Chella daughter of..... I forget was chief of the..... black ears (iirc). When we first meet them in the book Tyrion is aghast that all of the tribe get to have a say in the tribes decisions, "even the women!". Succession is also based on merit from what I gather. With the burned men deciding succession on who can achieve the greatest self mutilation.

For me I think the hill tribesmen definitely deserve to be in for a shout of most equal society. Apologies if I've messed up the names of the clans.

Why would women want to live in societies based upon rape?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why would women want to live in societies based upon rape?

Based upon rape? That sounds a little bit of an over statement. To say that a society is based upon rape. I don't even know how that could work. But I suppose you could easily say that of the rest of westeros or even our own society if you believe the 33% of college students are victims of rape while studying. Even 50% I've read. But anyway in the hill clans at least everyone is near enough politically equal. Everyone regardless of age or gender gets to have a say in the decisions of the tribe. You could say it's more democratic than our own society in that regard. The only higher station someone can achieve is through merit. Not through birth right. Nobody owns anyone else (within the group) nor are they obliged to give others their labour. If you're looking for equality the Hill tribes win in my book. It's just a shame they have no industry to speak of forcing them into a particularly brutal lifestyle.

I'm interested to hear your definition of a society based on rape and why you think that ANY place in Westeros or Essos would be significantly better. Or would not fit your definition of a society based on rape.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...