The Valley Cities

And what of the people’s cities?  The focal point for every City is the Temple facing on to a blessed market place where sacrifices can be brought (as well as alms and blessings where the local Church is more corrupt.) Backing onto the Temple will the City forum which is the true commercial heart of the City it’s general market place, never far from the docks if on the canal or a river. Whatever the local government (oligarchy, republic, theocracy, dictatorship etc;) it’s seat will tend to be on the opposite side of the Forum to the Temple.  Every town or city will have a small professional city guard of paramilitary police. Professional as in their full time their actual quality may vary enormously. The actual defence of the city will form in the main to a general militia of those citizens rich enough to afford arms and armour (and politically reliable enough to be allowed them,) which will take a number of days to mobilise. The City guard may share premises with Gendarmerie, rural patrolling troops/police or the Gendarmes might be based outside the town. City walls that exist are not very sophisticated being a ditch and mud rampart. Sieges aren’t popular – the Valley People fight damn it.

Middle class houses will consist of a cluster of flat roofed buildings around a courtyard often with a well and/or hearth, while working class urban dwelling will be teeming 2-3 story tenements built among the same lines with a water barrel if they are lucky. Even the villas of the wealthy follow the same basic design though they might feature a number of mini-courtyards within their precincts.  Slavery is illegal amongst the people however foreign slaves (especially from the backwoodsmen stock) exist, are generally legal though frowned upon. Rural poor live in basic flat roofed huts. .

The diet of people follows Mediterranean lines – plenty of vegetables, fruit, olives (and olive oil used for everything), cheese s (goat, Ewe, Cow)* and occasional meat, supplemented by fish if by the canal or a river. Diet is subject to restriction by various sects and their chosen holy books from various ritual cleanliness prohibitions, to out and out vegetarianism or even veganism.  This can make dining out in mixed company or hosting a business meal a bit of a gamble.

Militarily The People have a number of set forms. The respectable form armoured and relatively disciplined hoplite formations to fight it out on the valley(s) floor(s). The lower classes armed with bows, slings and axes form skirmishers on the flanks or when phalanxes are locked skirmish from the rear sending missiles over the heads of their comrades.  Ranchers, Gendarmarie and loyal VCs provide skirmishing cavalry and small mobile forces for raiding and hunting down annoying backwoodsmen bandits.  If someone comes up with the Marian legion their going to kick some behind but these tactics deal with the Norse with their shield walls and the lightly armoured River-huggers and their Chariots relatively well. Backwoodsmen have become experts as guerrilla warfare and are a constant thorn in the side of land commerce (and therefore another raison d’etre for the VCs!)

* Yes cheese design! An essential part of world building. Tell a lot about a world by its cheese.

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Published on May 1, 2011 at 7:18 am  Leave a Comment  

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