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blog History for Fantasy Writers: Journeymen

Discussion in 'Research' started by Black Dragon, Oct 27, 2019.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    skip.knox submitted a new blog post:

    History for Fantasy Writers: Journeymen
    by E.L. Skip Knox

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    We often hear of apprentices in fantasy tales — Ray Feist's "Magician Apprentice" comes to mind first — but apprenticeship is only one step. This article is about the next step: the journeyman (they were always men; I know of no examples of female journeymen, although there were cases of women who became masters).

    Once a boy's apprenticeship was complete, he had to serve time as a journeyman. He left the service of his master and entered into a period during which he worked for other masters, normally in other towns. This was the Wanderjarhe, the years of wandering, of journeying. During this time, at least in theory, he was a master-in-training. No longer merely studying his craft, now he would be practicing it. The point of journeying was to expose the young man to other techniques and styles, but also to afford the next generation a chance to set up shop in a new place.

    The journeyman often had to pay a small fee for the privilege of working in a new town. He might stay there for a single job, or he might stay there for years. He could also return to the town of his birth; indeed, sons of masters might not truly journey at all, but merely serve a token year working for local masters. But that's not very interesting, so let's follow a true journeyman.

    After having paid his fee in the new town, he reported to the guild for work. This experience varied widely by trade. In some cases the...
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    Pemry Janes likes this.
  2. Pemry Janes

    Pemry Janes Sage

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    I feel a little silly for never having thought before why a journeyman is called that. It is obvious in hindsight.
     
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Thanks for the story. I like how it shows that there was far more to the apprenticeship system than mere economics. The social aspect was crucial. Apprenticeship and even journeying were important in maintaining a variety of levels of social relationships. And breaking that had real consequences. Gangs, btw, also had a social role, not least of which was providing a place for the displaced.
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    The list of things I've never thought about is long indeed!
     
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Did you have a system of apprentices? How about of journeymen? I can see a place for having a medium learning the trade going to different locations, not only to learn different methods and customs, but also how to deal with different kinds of people.
     
  6. Brianna Sharp

    Brianna Sharp Acolyte

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    Love learning new things like this! Very well written and informative.
     
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