Postfest V, Part II: The Court of Array
Date: Tue, August 09, 2005
Topic: Peoples & Culture

The Courts of the Array are civic holidays that serve the military purpose of drilling the peasant militia and ensuring a minimal level of military prepardedness. After a day of inspections, drills and mock combats, the peasants of the militia are treated to a banquet at their lord's expense. It is a day of training but also a day of much camaraderie and good fellowship.

The Court of Array
By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

Date: 20th Flocktime (Varies)
Location: Furyondy, Veluna, Shield Lands, Perrenland, Nyrond, Pale, Almor, Medegia
Type: Civic

Standing armies make up only a small portion of the military forces of the Flanaess. Most states cannot afford the cost. Noble levies, typically knights and cavalry, make up only a slightly larger portion of the overall military force. Typically, it is the armed peasant or yeoman, pressed into service as part of a militia that forms the bulk of the army. Of course, the difficulty of relying upon such a force is obvious.

Militias must be drilled if they are to be effective in battle. They must also be properly equipped and their arms and armor must be maintained in serviceable condition. Time away from the fields for any of these activities is, of course, a problem if there is a need for agricultural labor. The Courts of Array attempt to address each of these difficulties. Generally held around the 20th of Flocktime, during a lull period on the agricultural calendar, the Courts of Array are intended to be a day of inspection and drill for local militias - the Array.

Every yeoman and peasant subject to military obligation must present themselves to the local knight or lord, or failing that, the local constable early on the morning of the 20th. With them they must bring their armor and weapon, usually some sort of pole arm or bow and quiver. Equipment is inspected for serviceability by the official in charge. Any peasant or yeoman found not to have maintained in good condition their arms or armor is subject to corporal punishment, fine, confiscation of property or indentured servitude or some combination thereof - hence the Court designation. Adequate military preparedness is taken variously serious, especially in border or frontier areas. Most yeomen or peasants recognize this and rarely need to be chastised on the matter.

After inspection, the remainder of the day is spent in military drills and the day ends with a mock combat. Yeoman and peasants displaying special vigor or enthusiasm are called out and recognized, usually with a small gift of silver. The evening ends with a banquet, at which beer flows freely, paid for by the local lord or baron. The Court of Array is a military holiday attended with much seriousness but also with much camaraderie.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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