Homines Liberi

Homines liberi, usually abbreviated to liberi, is a freemann class in the Kingdom of Valyria. Freemenn are in a special position in Valyrian society because of the kingdom’s feudal system; freemenn do not have direct bonds of fealty or vassalage to any liege lord and also do not take vassals of their own. Freemenn are commoners. Though they are still counted as subjects of the Crown, their “free” status exempts them from certain responsibilities, but also certain benefits. [1] As members of Valyrian society, freemenn are typically the merchants, traders, adventurers, and townspeople. When they work in government, they are administrators, experts and ministers.

One identifying feature of free families is that they lack coats of arms. Freemenn rank one step below armigers in Valyria’s order of precedence. During the prerelease of Chronicles of Elyria, Soulbound Studios sold pledge packages for fundraising. “Bloodline” was the lowest level pledge package that offered a coat of arms, and it was the first in the “gentry” tier. For this reason, Valyria considers players with pledge packages below “Bloodline” to be freemenn, at least by default. This will also include all new players who come at release with basic copies of the game.

Although freemenn have no direct liege lord, it is still one of the principles of Valyrian feudal society that “every man has a lord.” A typical arrangement is that freemenn congregate into chartered areas called boroughs or incorporated cities. Then, as a collective entity, their settlement itself becomes the vassal holding a contract with the suzerain, and the freemenn become either burgesses or citizens, respectively. Other freemen work in the various feudal courts as yeomenn, which are hired officials. Still others manage to find plots of land in remote areas, where they may either farm or run a business as franklins.

Entry into the freeman class from above is impossible short of a name change, as merely holding land and possessing family heraldry will always mark a character and his descendants as at least gentlemenn. The Great Charter of Valyria does make one stipulation for coloni, the social class that ranks below freemenn, to enter the freemann class and break their oaths of fealty. If a colonus character can establish a residence in a boroughs and maintain it unbeknownst to his liege lord for one Elyrian year and one day (a real life week), the character will be excused from serfdom and counted as a homo liberus. 

 

References:

  1. The Great Charter of Valyria, section 7, outlining the privileges of freemenn and nobility. Oct 26, 2018