1. taariya

    taariya Member

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    Buying titles of nobility

    Discussion in 'Research' started by taariya, Oct 25, 2016.

    To my understanding, the title "baron" could be earned by being of use to whoever had high enough authority to award titles of nobility within a nation or simply sucking up for long enough. I'm fairly certain this title could also be purchased, but I'm not sure what that process would actually be and need to know for my current WIP.

    Let's say a character's father was a baron but, in order to conceal his identity, the character changes his name and voids himself of all association with the family, thus forfeiting the right to the family estate and title. Some time later he wants to claim what should have been his to begin with (not the lands at this point, but at least the title). How can he do so?

    Keep in mind he's given up his family title, name, and holdings and basically started fresh in a new place. How would such a person ingratiate themselves to the ruler enough to be awarded a title? If they did not do this and they instead amassed some wealth and standing within the community, would they eventually conduct a straightforward exchange of their assets/wealth for the title with the ruler of the land, or how would the title actually be purchased?

    By the way, this takes place in the early industrial era (about mid-1800s) within Europe.
     
  2. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    I suppose part of it depends on how you want to go about this. (I don't know of the exact historical process for this, so take what I say with a salt-shaker)

    Would you consider having the main character reveal that he is the son to the baron, and then have to somehow prove this relationship? Perhaps with the help of the commoners there is a sort of uprising or challenge to authority (doesn't have to necessarily be violent)? Only reason I'm asking is because I'm not sure why he gave up his family name in the first place.

    Could involve some sort of trickery. This would have to be worked out within the rules and laws you set-up in your story.

    More related to your actual question, I do suppose that if one had enough wealth, they could use it to convince the baron to surrender his title. I don't know of any historical example, but I don't see why not. Except that this could lead to conflict with people that maybe don't want the baron to step-down for some "outsider" or person not blood-related, which again might be a good spot to include the MC convincing his relationship with the baron -- so long as it would work within the confines of your story.

    Hope this helped.
     
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  3. Necronox

    Necronox Contributor Contributor

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    A Baronny is a low-ranking noble, counts, dukes, viscounts, etc... are usually all ranking above. Typically speaking a baron is the owner of a single castle, town, or otherwise and any land that goes along with it. If for instance, a heir did not succeed to the baronny as typical, it often reverted back to his baronny's liege. However, sometimes, that liege's liege will step in. It becomes complicated very quickly depending on how valuable the land is. However, with any hereditary title, the are rules that dictate who is and isn't in line and in what order. If a the heir apparent did not want it, it would go to the next in line, and so on so forth until someone took it. With kingships there where often entire groups of people to make sure that the line of succession was correct, however, with baronnies there typically wasn't.

    In any case, if you gave up your inheritance and the baronny passed of to someone else, then there would be three primary ways to get it back.
    1) Buy it off the owner, this was suprisingly common especially if the owner had more important lands and simply selling it as a form to pay a debt, or quickly raise cash for one reason or another.
    2) Take it over by force. This was usually a last resort of and executed out of confidence in victory (or arrogance). For the most part, this was typically downlooked upon and disliked by other nobles as it made them weaker (in terms of society). This is because there where many laws and such that governend who and who could not own land. If anyone could take anything with enough force then a lot of powerful people would either wage war all the time (something the church tried to stop to quiet a lot, even banning waging war on certain days), or otherwise they would no longer be able to use the laws and all that to their own advantage and as a safety net. In other words, doing that could cause a social upheaval. Sometimes, other rulers would try and get ride of that person. Sometimes they would restore it to the rightful ruler, but usually they would either give it to someone with some legit claim over it that could further their own agenda, or they would simply claim it for themselves (sometimes causing the process to repeat itself).
    3) To claim it as the rightful ruler. Hardly ever happened because this usually ment appealing to someone more powerful to step in and pass the title over to you. This may happen in cases where the more powerful ruler thinks he can use you to his advantage or perhaps remove this one ruler and placing you in his stead is more of an advantage. Either way, this did not happen often (not to mention that if you gave up the title for a specific reason (e.g you became a monk), then the reason still applies and that would bare you from regaining it, thus voiding your claim to that title). Also, not to mention, if the baron was particularly powerful, arrogant, naive or otherwise then he may just refuse and then two things would typically happen, overlord backs down and nothing happens, or overlord presses the issue where two other possibilies happen - baron backs down or war.

    The problem with making this happen in the 1800s is that nobility is significantly less powerful and their own power over the land is not as absolute as it once was. So, depending on the place, the industrialisation of that country and all that, it might change a lot. In countries like england, where nobility was pretty much just a honorific title with no real porpose by that point, than it would change entirely (also there wouldn't be much point to pressing the issue). However, if this happens in a less industrialised and more feudal society than all the above cases could still apply.

    hope this helps.

    edit: also to note, typically speaking the more industrialised and "modern" the country in question becomes than the less power the nobles have (i.e it becomes a lot more centralised). This plays into account as if it a highly centralised state with local nobles and the likes having next to no power, then they may simply not be able to declare war between themselves or other forms of actions that excluded the suzerain, leader, or otherwise of the country in question.
     
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  4. taariya

    taariya Member

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    Sorry, I should have been more clear in my original post about the situation in my story.

    The character's father was executed for murder and became infamous in the town where he was caught as well as his own village while his son was very young. His mother with her young son moved back to her own family's estate and reclaimed her maiden name, changing her son's name as well. When the character gets older and realizes what happened to his father, he feels as if he were somehow deprived of the life he might have had. (If that makes sense?) I mean he goes back to the town where he was born, sees what used to belong to their family, and wants what should have been his. It's not that he wants power or just the estate (at this point he's by no means poor and, as others have pointed out, the baronny confers no real power in this time period). I don't know how to explain it exactly, and maybe that's a sign it doesn't make sense. But it's like how you might feel entitled to a family heirloom and get possessive over it even though in reality it doesn't really improve your life to have it.

    The character is afraid to reveal his real identity and lineage in case the crimes of his fathers might lead the residents of that town to turn against him. Since this guy was his father's only child, I'm not sure who else the baronny would have passed to once his mother moved and changed their names or if it would have been completely forfeit.
     
  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    If the barony was forfeit the crown would have reawarded it to someone else either as a reward for sterling service, or political maneuvering, or in return for a shedload of cash or both.
     
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  6. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    In The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas uses the gold trove he finds to buy himself a mansion and dubs himself a 'count' and everyone seems to accept it. Sure some suspicions arise out of it, but I feel like the same thing could be done in your situation. If your character can come up with enough money to gain some prestige, I can see it working the same-ish way. The novel was set in 1815-1839, so it even fits within your time period. You might take a look at the book or the movie for references.

    Hope this helps!
     
  7. taariya

    taariya Member

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    Yeah, I like this idea. I think it makes more sense for my character to do this rather than expending the effort to be declared a baron by someone in power or buying the title from someone else considering that the title wouldn't really benefit him in any tangible way. Plus, given that he moves around a lot and would be filthy rich by the time he took the title, it would be easy enough for someone to conclude that he/his family had gotten the title in another country some time ago without being able to prove otherwise. I don't know why I didn't think of this, as I earlier read TCMC and remember marvelling at how Dantes was able to get away with giving himself a title just because he was filthy rich.

    Thanks everyone who responded!
     

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