Yeomanry and Yokels in the Sea of Stars (A to Z)

29 April, 2021

The Sea of Stars is quite urbanized given its level of technology, with perhaps just under one in four people living in cities, that still leaves the vast majority of people living the rural life which primarily means farming (though there are no lack of nomads and herders, they are a subject for another time).

Vineyards too.Without farmers, the cities starve but the city folk are not always pleased by that fact and most places have a city and country rivalry, with the city people usually considering the country folk to be ill-educated bumpkins who smell, and the county people tend to think the city folk are snobbish stuck ups who have never done a day’s honest labor in their lives.  While there is some truth to this and some states are better at reconciling their urban and rural populaces (such as the very small city-states where the farmers live the the city and go out to work the fields, so they are both rural and urban).  But there is a continuing tension between what benefits the city and what benefits those who work the land, which naturally spill over into other relationships as well.

Farmers come in many, many types ranging from enslaved worker on huge latifundia-style estates to the brave yeoman farmer on their freehold of land.  Equally, the number of things farmed is equally wide ranging though cereal crops are one of the most widely grown, ranging from wet paddy farming (mostly of rice) to various types of terrace farming and field farming ranging from slash and burn to systematic crop rotation models.  Only the largest, export focused farms manage anything approaching modern mono-culture farming, most raise one or two primary crops and a wide variety of smaller crops for personal consumption.  But without the farmers, much of the Sea of Stars would starve and even the dragons have been forced to accept how important their are to the foundations of the societies.

Recruits drawn from the yeomanry forms the infantry component of many an army, they are universally known as being hardy but their weaponry and combat style vary widely by culture, but all will fight with great resolve to defend their homes.  While the fighting skills of the yeoman may be overstated by song and story, they are tough people, used to hardship and hard work and they are underestimated at one’s peril.  Yeoman usually provide their own weapons and kit, which is good when you need to raise an army in a hurry or a posse to pursue bandits, but not so good when they decide not to obey their supposed superiors.

Though when the landless peasants, sharecroppers, serfs and enslaved persons are occasionally pressed into military service, they are often found to be good at digging but not very good on the battlefield, but their numbers can look impressive.  However, when things go wrong in combat, these poorly equipped and trained troops are usually killed in vast numbers.

City folk may not want the farmer tromping through their shops, but they certainly want their labor and their military service.  Country folk do not like the patronizing attitudes of the city people, but they like their money and the good they can by.  Sometime they realized that they are better working together to build a better state but usually what they are seeking for their ideal of a good like is too divergent for real cooperation to emerge but when it does, so much can be accomplished.

Notes:  Y is another a challenging letter but I am happy that two Y words referred to rural peoples.  The rural and urban split far predates the modern day.  As I like cities and city based adventures, so the Sea of Stars is fairly urbanized.

Image, “Castello di Amorosa Winery, Napa Valley, California, USA” by jimg944 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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