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to what extend did the "dark ages" really suck?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post

    No, the definition of the onset of puberty in girls is first menstruation and in boys is first ejaculation. You can develop all of the secondary sexual characteristics that you want, but you do not reach puberty until you reach the milestone of either first menstruation or first ejaculation.

    i thought male puberty started with the first enlargement of the penis. or am i wrong?

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    • #32
      Originally posted by mark View Post
      forgive me for insisting on the last part(free labour vs slavery) but let's have this hypothetical comparison.

      let's say i am a very rich landowner. i have 2 hypothetical persons working for me.

      john and bob

      john is a literal slave. when im not raping/beating/humiliating him he works at the field obviously he eats a small amount of what he produces or else he becomes a corpse.
      but other than that i give him nothing. obviously there is only so much land that can be worked. but still he gets no surplus money/product/ no vacations etc.
      he is a willing worker because the alternative to giving 110% is a painful death.

      bob is a serf. he only gives me a relatively small amount of what he produces. i can't use him for anything else..
      so long as he pays me his dues(like a rent) ,doesn't move from the area, and gets my permission to marry.
      in fact due to my feudal obligations to him i have to protect him. i can't sell him(unless i sell the land he is tied to). i can'throw him away.
      and in practice i believe it's relatively easy for him to get away by going in a city for a year and a day. both our ties to another are renounced.

      oh and concerning obesity and body shape. can i assume that the average young man back then looked like a sculpture from the hellenistic era/?
      after all hard work makes hard bodies right? plus there is no chocolate no sugar(unless youre filthy rich) no chemicals in foods, few "weak" people making it do adulthood


      "You are not that much shorter -- that happens later "
      you mean the renaissance? why? if some maybe we ought to rethink the term?

      if you think about it.. religious fanaticism was at it's strongest in the 16 century. the witch hunt never actually existed before then...(local fanatics aside) renaissance men preferred art and culture to science..
      talk about how oil paint and statues of male nudes can inmprove an era's reputation
      Three things happen, here. First, John won't give you 110%. He will give you enough to minimize suffering. It isn't the same. He won't have any reason to try harder than necessary to satisfy you enough. And if you seem too hard to please, it's easier for him to give up on despair, or try to escape.

      Second, his 100% won't be the 100% of Bob. Being treated like this, John will be overall weaker, sicker, more tired and less motivated. No, pain isn't the most effective motivation, and there's a lot of research in psychology demonstrating this. Even if you succeed in driving John to work all he can, he won't produce more than Bob simply because he turned into a less productive worker.

      Finally, it all resumes to cost. To keep John you have costs. Beating him costs you, watch his work costs you, guard him against fleeing costs you, keeping his necessities observed costs you. And compensating the lack of productivity will cost you more, will cost you more slaves and all that again. Oh, and you still have to protect your slaves, worse it costs even more, because they can be attacked by pillagers, but also by slave traders or by people trying to free them. Some people can try to free your slaves just to hurt your business.

      On the other hand, Bob neither owes you little nor is likely to go away. Where Bob will go, after all? A villain can make a lot of money, but most won't. And it is more probable that if Bob was a serf, he won't be granted right to stay at the village as a villain. It is feasible while few people try it. You can heavily tax Bob, barely letting him with enough to live on, though it will probably not be the smartest idea to be too harsh, but lets say you are. So what? What will Bob do? Trade a safe, known life of hard work for a probable death of hunger in the wild? It isn't easy to live alone in the medieval times, without the protection of a lord. And it isn't likely to reach the land of another and plead loyalty. The next lord can be worse. The next lord can say no. If you left out of the blue the next lord will probably say no. The wild is full of predators, and every wild animal is property of the King.

      You can play this to a lot of drama, actually. IRL being too harsh is rarely so lucrative, but in the WoD, instead of assuming slavery as better, you can take the most of a false sense of freedom, where the serf is "free" to leave, but actually leaving the lord and his monstrous laws is a death sentence for most.

      About body shape, most people were not Greek sculpture, of course. But almost no one was fat, much less obese. People had to do a lot more exercise just for the daily chores of your own life, and food was far less fat. Saving food was a necessity, since a harsh winter could eventually be deadly, so gluttony wasn't something the others would deal with lightly. Some could afford to ignore most of this, mainly at the church, and even then, less than most people think. Fatness could occur, of course. But it wasn't likely. Actually, obesity is increasing in society fairly recently, so it isn't at all that surprising. Until the 80s not so many people were fat, that's why fat people stood so much. And for the record, I'm not saying a little chubby, I'm saying fat. A little chubby was probable fairly achievable and common, at least when food was plenty.

      Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
      No, the definition of the onset of puberty in girls is first menstruation and in boys is first ejaculation. You can develop all of the secondary sexual characteristics that you want, but you do not reach puberty until you reach the milestone of either first menstruation or first ejaculation.
      Nope. The onset of puberty definitely isn't the first ejaculation on boys. Simply not, seriously.

      Regardless of that, though, another no. By the very definition of what is puberty in human development, you can't develop any secondary sexual characteristic without puberty. It is more probable that your friends went through the first menstruation and for any reason didn't noticed or didn't talk about it. A lot of things can affect how the menstruation occurs, specially in the first years after comencing puberty. It is even possible, though extremely unlikely, that puberty comences without the first menstruation. But the very definition of puberty isn't "when the first menstruation comes", but "the period of hormonal transformation that causes the development of secondary sexual characteristics".
      Last edited by monteparnas; 12-26-2016, 03:12 AM.


      Eu prefiro ser essa metamorfose ambulante,
      Do que ter aquela velha opinião formada sobre tudo,
      Sobre o que é o amor, sobre que eu nem sei quem sou.
      É chato chegar a um objetivo num instante,
      Eu prefiro ser essa metamorfose ambulante.

      Comment


      • #33
        i just remembered that a "little chubby" may on occasion had been seen as desirable. even pretty. after all it show that youre relatively wealthy. especially if that chubbiness is combined with a bit muscle.

        i admit i never gave any serious thought to the economics of slavery. if all of that is true( and it makes sense to me) then what is the practical reason that so many societies had slaves?
        even if they treated them better than my example(which admittedly they usually did).


        other than the aforementioned raping them or having them fight as gladiators.

        one thing tough
        " And it is more probable that if Bob was a serf, he won't be granted right to stay at the village as a villain"
        that's not quite so. simply because a villain/villein IS a serf he just owns more land than a bordar or cottar i think.
        what you are describing it free farmer or a tenant farmer. that is, someone who just pays a rent for his land. not sure if they could be throw away though.
        finally(although it commonly belonged to the church and not free non noblemen)there was allodial land not tied to the feudal system. essentially it belonged to someone or an institution since longer than anyone could care to remember

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        • #34
          Slaves were investments. By the time of the American Civil War, one-third of the capital of the South was in slaves. People in states and nations that forbade slavery could invest in special bonds that were backed by the value of groups of slaves.

          The desirability of slaves come from the desire for power and social status. Slaves owners have utter power over slaves, so their slaves have no choice but to fawn over them and to serve their every depraved desire. You could also prove your wealth and status by using your slaves as visible signs of both. A man in the American South with 1,000 slaves was a man for everyone to fear because he not only had wealth and power, but he had enough of each to keep 1,000 people in slavery.

          Comment


          • #35
            mark, I thought so about chubbiness, that's why I took the care to differentiate. Actually, chubbiness was considered desirable until very recently. Marilyn Monroe, taken as an example of beauty, was a little chubby herself (though just a little). But it should be pointed, sometimes through history being chubby wasn't easy. Either way, what was really rare was unhealthy levels of fattiness. Instead, we had unhealthy levels of slimness, but due to hungry when they happened, instead of anorexia. Or someone with metabolic tendency to be slim, a desirable trait today, but deadly back them, because you could get sick or die when the times were bad. Sometimes even the nobles and royalty had to take care with food, since overexerting the land and the subjects could have worse results at the long run.

            Slavery is a far more complex question than most people think, it wasn't always as it was in the Americas. Actually it was a very uncommon period on the history of slavery. Sometimes slavery was necessary because of labor that no one else would realize. At the beginning, the European colonies all over the continent had to bring a lot of workers for the farms, and free labor just wasn't enough. The symbolic aspects highlighted by Aya Tari also played a role.

            But I recommend a research into ancient laws about slavery, and the place of slaves in society. In the Roman Empire at the 3rd century, as an example, slaves had a lot of rights that common people didn't had in most of the modern world at the 19th century, including the right for a payment for service and to personal money and possessions, most were meant for services of high learning, like tutoring and accounting, there were clear limits to how the owner could punish the slave, and even laws for retirement of a slave. Gladiators, by the way, were almost always free men at the time, and for a slave it was a dream career, since it also wasn't anything like most people think. Battles weren't to death, and most good gladiators would retire with a decent wealth at the end of some years of work, they were essentially professional athletes (though not the most rich and popular, those are the car racers). Slavery isn't an uniform affair through history, and it changes a lot the complex logistics of it. What I said, though, is valid for the common idea of slavery, and on the context of medieval labor, where a competent work at the fields during the time of work was more important than quantity.

            The villain isn't an owner of land, that is what defines him. To be a villain is to be granted right to live in town, and thus so under the protection of the lord, without working the land. The villain have to find other ways to make a living. To have land and work it for a tax is what means to be a serf. Medieval communities aren't under our modern idea of freedom of movement, you do need permission to enter or live at any town. If you don't contribute in any way, the lord have very little reason to grant such permission. If your choice pisses him, he can simply revoke the permission altogether. Some lords can go as far as to exile you from the domain with a whim. In the Middle Ages there was no such a thing as a right for state protection and public spaces by principle. To be exempt of ties was pretty much to be thrown away in the wild.


            Eu prefiro ser essa metamorfose ambulante,
            Do que ter aquela velha opinião formada sobre tudo,
            Sobre o que é o amor, sobre que eu nem sei quem sou.
            É chato chegar a um objetivo num instante,
            Eu prefiro ser essa metamorfose ambulante.

            Comment


            • #36
              so slaves were friends with benefits just joking but i got it alright.
              funny though that as i read more and more about history it seems that economics rathen than ideas usually played the most important role. guess karl marx was up to something
              anyway uhm for now at least i do have a lot of food for thought so thanks to everyone for your info!

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              • #37
                It's also worth noting the difference between a Slave and an Indentured Servant. I know that how the Bible talks about slaves and the proper treatment thereof is, in fact, talking about Indentured Servants, as it speaks of debts and time periods spent working them off.


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                • #38
                  Originally posted by mark View Post
                  so slaves were friends with benefits just joking but i got it alright.
                  funny though that as i read more and more about history it seems that economics rathen than ideas usually played the most important role. guess karl marx was up to something
                  anyway uhm for now at least i do have a lot of food for thought so thanks to everyone for your info!
                  Not really. Economics makes sense as an explanation to us because we think it's REALLY important. And that preconceived notion has been expanding rather recently. It's THE issue that creeps in whenever the "Syndicate First" ideas that really took hold after the Syndicate 2nd book are trotted out.

                  BUT, that doesn't mean that our economic ideas really had any reality in the context of how the Middle Ages actually worked as a consistent system. Much of what drives modern economics just isn't present. Most of it falls apart at the granular level. This is a localized subsistence. There are times we identify issues of "long distance trade" that are actually anything BUT trade. They are objects showing up far away from their origins but the mechanisms that caused the displacement don't have anything to do with profitable exchange. For example, when something moves from it's point of origin to its final location due to a pilgrimage, that has nothing to do with economics. Even it's put to use in some fashion at the end. A lot of things moved around for religious reasons that may seem like trade, but that's us grafting our notions onto something by trying to make sense of what happened THEN by making an imperfect analogy to the way that a similar thing would be most likely to happen now... This is a problem interpreting the past across the board. Coins during the Roman Empire were more political markers than ways to buy things.

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                  • #39
                    So I found out why concrete was 'lost' with the fall of the Roman empire. They couldn't actually make the ingredients. There's an important ingredient of cement called pozzolan, which is the part that reacts with water to form cementing compounds. It is named after Pozzuoli, a region near Naples where the Romans got most of the stuff. Once they withdrew to the east there was no one to ship that ingredient all around Europe, so only those people who lived near a source and knew about it could still make concrete.


                    Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
                      So I found out why concrete was 'lost' with the fall of the Roman empire. They couldn't actually make the ingredients. There's an important ingredient of cement called pozzolan, which is the part that reacts with water to form cementing compounds. It is named after Pozzuoli, a region near Naples where the Romans got most of the stuff. Once they withdrew to the east there was no one to ship that ingredient all around Europe, so only those people who lived near a source and knew about it could still make concrete.

                      i thought that the romans also mixed animal blood with concrete and the church saw this as to pagan.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by mark View Post


                        i thought that the romans also mixed animal blood with concrete and the church saw this as to pagan.
                        If the church did, they were over it by the time of Charlemagne (9th century). That's the point that De Architectura was widely copied and we have a few writings from the time that indicate they knew what was in it.* I'm not finding any references to catholic objections to concrete or cement either, and as far as I can tell blood was an optional ingredient that frost proofed the concrete. It would certainly fit the feel of Dark Age Mage if the catholic church did ban concrete, but it doesn't look like they even had the opportunity to until much later.

                        *As opposed to just copying something they didn't understand as an act of reverence, which happened a lot.
                        Last edited by Ramnesis; 01-03-2017, 10:49 AM.


                        Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                        • #42
                          i was reading kindred of the ebony kingdom again and found something i had forgotten. african mundane magic. there are mundane(that is even vampires can do them) magic that protects against diseases that heals diseases,damage(better than modern medicine) and even blindness!

                          granted it's not exactly commonplace but most people in the usa today aren't doctors either.
                          so..if you take aids out of the equation.. then life back then(or now even in a few areas) may not have been that bad at all

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                          • #43
                            In Wraith there are rituals to protect against Wraith that mortals can use with nothing but their willpower.
                            Anyone can summon Demon demons with the right ritual. Mortal mystic magic it's a thing in WoD even without getting in Sorcery Paths.

                            The thing one can't prove so easily it's that this "mundane magic" works because the Consensus says so. Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom doesn't say if this magic works only in traditional places of Africa, it never says that this rituals are going to stop working if you send the "mage" to a place that doesn't share african beliefs. (this thread was about that, wasn't it?)

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                            • #44
                              well.kindred of the ebony kingdom isn't a mage book though. in mage it's quite clear that "science" works because the consensus says it does.
                              also we also have a mage book :lost paths,where science fails in place like the empty quarter.

                              by the way do you remember in which wraith book(s) i can find these rituals?-

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                              • #45
                                I think they're in the Basic, near to the end, but don't remember exactly where.

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