A Noble Youth’s Martial Soul Made Him a Poor Businessman

August 29, 2019

Montagu’s Harrier. Photo by José Antonio Lagier Martin.

The youthful Hervis of Metz bore a striking resemblance to Vivien, and they vainly endeavored to make him a merchant. His blood revolted at it, his nobility revealed itself to him. His employers conceived the unfortunate idea of sending Hervis to the fair at Provins, and there he purchased for three thousand marks* (paid on the nail, if you please), a charger [a war horse], a falcon, and a harrier.

A falcon. Photo by Magnus Manske.

They were expensive. Ah, how the barons of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries laughed as they listened to these recitals of incidents which were so entirely in conformity with their most cherished habits and tastes!

León Gautier, Chivalry, trans. Henry Frith (London: George Routledge and Sons, Ltd., 1891), 145.

 

* The mark was a medieval, often 8-ounce, coin that could be minted from either silver or gold. At today’s prices, 3,000 8-ounce silver marks would be worth USD $364,320!

 

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 689

 

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