1. BruMeister
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    BruMeister Member

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    Medieval City Districts

    Discussion in 'Research' started by BruMeister, Feb 4, 2011.

    This is a simple question and I'd like some opinions.

    I've created a basic outline for this medieval city in my fantasy world. Now I realize there weren't many cities back in the middle/dark ages, but this is fiction so bare with me!

    I have 6 noticeable key areas in this city right now: Noble Quarters, the Slums, Trade District, the Barracks, the Stockade, and the Sage Quarters (sages are wizards, basically).

    I'm struggling to decide if I should have the Barracks near the Stockades and then the Sage Quarters near the Slums, or if I should have the Barracks near the Slums and the Stockades near the Sage Quarters.

    I can't decide because i feel like the Barracks would be good to have near the Stockade because the soldiers and guards are the one's who keep order, but then again i feel like the Sage's are too prestigious to be near the Slums. But I also feel that having the Slums and the Stockades near each other would be too crime ridden and filthy and lack of order.
     
  2. Lostro
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    Lostro Member

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    Noble Quarters next to the Trade District, then Slums and Stockade flanking the Barracks. Sage Quarters next to the Stockade.
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    What if you have the Sage city, then the Stockades and Barracks on the outskirts of it, then the Trade District linked nearby,with outwardly extending suburb-equivalents that grow more and more shabby the further out you go until you get your Slum. :)
     
  4. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    The noble quarters are the seat of political power, and thus will be prominently centralized and luxurious. The city's prestige is embodied in its seat of power, so all the wealth and power of the city will be showcased with elaborated statuary, monuments and stately buildings.

    Money, is the life blood of any civilization or city. Thus, the trade district is always adjacent to the ruling class (noble district). However, since the ruling elite always insist on demonstrating that they are above the daily hustle and bustle of commerce, the noble district will be elevated on higher ground, looking down on the merchant quarter, or separated by a walled gate and armed guards.

    The soldiery is the method by which the nobility enforce their rule and sustain their power, thus the barracks will be near the noble district (close enough to respond with military force in seconds, yet far enough away to be out of sight and out of mind [nobles prefer to maintain the illusion that they rule with the love and adoration of the populace, not because they have the most armed men]). Likewise, the barracks must also be adjoining the merchant quarter, in order to ensure armed security for all the traders and merchants. If the city is larger than your average town, it historically is not uncommon to have more than one barracks distributing soldiers to different parts of the city (very similar to how police precincts distribute police throughout a city in modern times).

    The stockade, historically, falls into a few different places, depending on the mindset of the ruling class. Petty nobles who rule like little tyrants tend to have stockade facilities in a basement dungeon, under their primary castle or fortress (where the quartered soldiery serve as guards). More affluent and civilized nobles tend to want the stockade inside a walled compound with one of the barracks (out of sight and out of mind of the local populace, where the nobles aren't directly connected with the dirty business of punishing the guilty - appointed magistrates that answer to the nobles handle that).

    The Sage Quarter, the seat of higher learning and academia, is a very desirable trait for the noble classes to associate themselves with in civilized society. Thus the sages and oracles would be located adjacent to the noble quarter, and likewise being "above" the common muck of human commerce, they also would be walled off from the trade district.

    Slums are not something which are made for the riff raff to inhabit. All slums and ghettos begin as simple residential housing, that over time, becomes the rickety old buildings and rat infested warrens of the poor, the sickly, the criminal element and the outcasts. They evolve due to the nature of the people living there and tend to form in areas further away from the barracks and security forces. Look for them to sprout up around the back gates, the outlying reaches, in the villages outside the main walls, along the wharfs where the sailors unload their cargo and traffic with gamblers, prostitutes and dealers in stolen or contraband goods.

    Just my two coppers.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    from the centre out:
    1. Nobles
    2. Trade and Sage
    3.Stockade and Barracks
    4. Slums

    It is to do with protection - those in the centre are better protected than those on the outside.
     
  6. BruMeister
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    BruMeister Member

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    Did merchants and salesman live in their shops?
     
  7. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends on how successful the merchant was. The more successful ones would possibly own a mansion and several warehouses in addition to his shop. The not as successful merchants would either live in the back of the shop or in an apartment above it if the building had a second floor.

    ----------------

    Another district you might want to add as a hidden area, might be the sewers. They would be useful for getting around the city unseen, smugglers could use them to ship in contraband, and who is to say a thieves guild wouldn't make their HQ down there? :)
     

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