The Alienage
All Things Relating to Trade, Shipping, and Commodities

Land's Effects on Society within Northwestern Lýthia

The Land

The Importance of Social Status and Wealth within Northwestern Lýthian Society

Social Status:
No matter the individual, everyone within Northwestern Lýthia is born into a specific social class. Within some cultures class structure is closed and there is no means of moving up into a higher social class. Other cultures have a more open class structure and with some difficulty an individual can move up within that structure. For the most part however, most individuals will find themselves confined to their original social class throughout their lives.
Each individual within a social class has some kind of standing among their peers, this being an individuals social status. Once social status is based on your occupation, the importance of your clan, the prestige you have accumulated over time, and your wealth.
Since you cannot affect your clan's importance to any extent, its usually a collective aggregate of all its members and not just the standing of a solitary individual for the most part. There are exceptions though, if a member of a clan becomes king through conquest or other means this would definitely lift his clan's standing.
Occupation is usually a family affair also, the son following the father. However, an individual can still buck the system and enter a new occupation or may be enticed to do so if their are too many other siblings competing for the family's trade. This is especially true for rural populations.
Prestige is a measure of how an individual conducts himself within the community and/or clan. An individual's prestige can be increased or decreased depending on how others view their actions.
Finally their is wealth. The more wealth an individual has the higher their standing. However, possessing wealth is not enough, an individual needs to show their wealth. This means spending the wealth on appearance, quarters, family, and others. In some circles it is known as living a lavish lifestyle. While in rural settlements craftsmen and merchants earn wealth through the work of their hands and in trade, they are in the minority. The majority of the inhabitants of Northwestern Lýthia obtain their wealth through the control of land.

Lands Place in Social Standing:
As mentioned on the wealth page, land is a sign of wealth. When an individual owns land he has a means by which he can acquire wealth on a continual basis. This is because the land's produce provides the owner a means by which to feed himself and his household. The surplus in turn can be sold or bartered for other goods that are needed. The more land an individual holds the more wealth they can accumulate and use to bolster their social standing.
The more land an individual holds is also a sign of higher standing in that he has others indebted to him for support either through the granting of land for services or rent for the lower classes or in return for military and judicial support for the upper classes. This can be done through feudalism or patronage, depending on the culture of the involved individuals. Such arrangements give the primary land holder the power and prestige of their holding and their ability to provide those they have granted land with their military support which they receive in return from individuals who have sworn to support them in return for their lands. Thus the more land an individual or a clan holds the better his standing within his own social class.