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Old 05-20-2016, 09:06 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 14,208
Originally Posted by Blue Blistering Barnacle View Post
In "A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous 14th Century" by Barbara Tuchman

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the author often describe the riches in material goods which would be sent off with nobles on their foreign military adventures. The valuable plates and silverware, etc was usually pawned when the expedition "hit the rocks", as it almost always did. IIRC she expressed the opinion that this was in fact a secondary purpose for hauling this stuff along.
An excellent book!

I also had the chance to listen to a lecture by L. E. Modessit, a fantasy writer with an economist background. Basically he said that most writers (Game of Thones?) did not consider this problem, everyone seemed to travel with an unlimited American Express card. The problem was, unless you had connections in the distant land, (letters of credit and all that) you had to carry a large bag of coin or similar valuables . This made you a prime target for robbery - so you needed to take a company of knights with you... which meant you had to feed all them, too - so you needed an even bigger chest of coins and valuables -and a cart hauling food, clothes, supplies, and the chest of money. Basically, anyone of any importance needed to travel with a large retinue and a large amount of valuables. Travel was rare and difficult.

Once you got to the next foreign capital, if you had connections (your neighbour lord's daughter had married viscount de Whatever's son) they put you up. but, the road was dangerous, and despite medieval fantasy to the contrary, very few major voyages were done in a day or three.

Robin Hood made a convenient living off of passing lords, usually by outnumbering their entourage.

Or, like the Canterbury pilgrims, the poorer people travelled in packs. The only question was, could you trust your fellow travellers? And were there enough able young men to fight off the robber gangs? Remember too, that medieval fantasies aside, most inns were communal events. Only the rich got their own room (which again marked you as a target - you have money), usually everyone bunked down in one of the main rooms; better sleep on top of your purse.

Last edited by md2000; 05-20-2016 at 09:08 AM.