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Shadowkat678

Information for the Founders era

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Shadowkat678

The founders lived during the 10th century, possibly back early 9th. All four come from different regions of the british isles. Rowena from Scotland, Godric where England is, Helga from Wales, and Salazar from Ireland. For those of us who don't live over in the region, we hardly know much about what it is all like today, let alone that long ago. 

I thought it'd be nice to start a place where relevant information could be collected for use in Founders Era stories people here may write. Things like political problems going on. Belief systems and how they express themselves. The different groups in the area and how they interacted with each other. Notable historic events that may have made a big enough impact to influence even the Founder's and gain their attention, how the boundaries between different areas were set, cultural norms, social status (Like how borons, earls, dukes, and thanes would work in their areas.). Anything like that. 

I think a big part of what makes this era intimidating is how much people don't know, and some gathering of info that people wouldn't be required to scour the internet for bits and pieces of would go a long way to help. :)

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Margaret

I know a reasonable amount about Ireland at the time. Salazar being Irish seems odd as his name is definitely not Irish and there isn't even a "z" in the Irish alphabet.

There was a major battle in Ireland in 1014. It is one of the really well-known events in Irish history, though many people would only know the propaganda version, where Brian Boru chased the Vikings from Ireland. That is not the full story. In reality, Brian was in a battle for the high kingship of Ireland. His main opponent was the king of Leinster - Brian was king of Munster. The Viking city of Dublin was (and is) in Leinster so the Vikings of Dublin took the side of the Leinstermen. They also contacted allies abroad. Brian and his Munstermen won the battle, the Battle of Clontarf, but while the allied Vikings were fleeing, they came across Brian in his tent and killed him. So in the end, nobody won, really. 

Kingship in Ireland at the time was quite limited anyway. A king was neither a lawmaker nor a law enforcer. The laws came from the traditions of the people and were codified by judges - Brehons - and lawyers. If you want to know about Ireland at the time, google Brehon Law. It lasted nearly 2,000 years so not all will be relevant to the period around 1,000, but if you google both Brehon Law and Brian Boru, you should get a general idea of the period.

You really need to throw out all your preconceptions about the Middle Ages if you are not Irish and are writing about Ireland at this time as most people think of feudalism when they think of the Middle Ages and obviously, Ireland was not a feudal society. Never having been part of the Roman Empire, it remained Celtic. This is before even the Norman invasion, so it is simply a Celtic society.

For that reason, obviously, there aren't going to be barons, earls or dukes, all of which are feudal. Instead, Irish society is structured with the king at the top, though more as a figurehead. Ireland also has no concept of primogeniture. Being the king's son does not mean you will be the next king. In fact, we do not know how the Celts chose their kings. Weirdly, it is about the only thing Brehon Law doesn't record. My best guess is that the king probably appointed his successor from the Derbfine. The Derbfine was the king's extended family, up to his second cousins and it did happen that nephews, cousins and uncles succeeded rather than sons. I will add that there were 150 kingdoms or tuatha in Ireland, each with its own king or chieftian.

Below the Derbfine, you had the Aos Dana. These were the professional class. The doctors and craftsmen and monks and teachers and poets. And obviously judges and lawyers. These people were highly respected. Around the 600s, Ireland had a huge reputation for scholarship. And of course, there is no "Dark Ages" in Irish history (though of course the concept of a Dark Age is rather discredited anyway). At one point, it was considered that anybody who knew Latin or Greek must be Irish.

Ireland was Christian at this time. I'm not entirely sure about how much Ireland had retained its distinctive Celtic Christianity to this point and how much it had become influenced by Rome. Most of my information about religion in Ireland comes from either an earlier or a later period.

The society was very tribal and justice was very much restorative. A crime was something that hurt another person and generally, the punishment was to pay compensation to the victim. Law codes were written so a king could not just decide to enforce his own rules.

I would definitely avoid the term "British Isles" as that comes from the era in which Britain ruled Ireland. In the era of the founders, Ireland has no connection with Britain and in fact, England has probably more in common with other countries that had been part of the Roman Empire than it had with Ireland. 

Obviously, this is very much an overview. Most of what I've written here is stuff I would be teaching to 1st year classes (12/13 year olds) and some of it is primary school stuff. Feel free to pm me if anybody wants more information. I'm not an expert or anything but I am a history teacher in Ireland and do have an interest in the period. It is just so Irish! 

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Aphoride

Salazar Slytherin is described in canon as being 'from fen', which is almost certainly a reference to the fens in the east of England - East Anglia, near Cambridge and Norfolk. East Anglia was originally it's own kingdom before being absorbed into England in the 900s - so before Salazar's time and the creation of Hogwarts. However, it's likely that he may well have had a fair bit of Viking or Danish ancestry a generation or two back as East Anglia was settled by the Anglo-Saxons (before any other part of England), and then the Danes as well - prior to their becoming part of England in the 900s. 

Godric Gryffindor is mentioned as being 'from moor', which could be either the moors down in the West Country (Dartmoor, Exmoor, etc. - in Devon), or the moors up near Yorkshire. I believe it's generally considered more likely to be the West Country moors. This would put him and Salazar, ancestrally, on the opposite sides of a battle: Wessex v East Anglia, which was eventually won by Wessex when East Anglia submitted and the country of England was created in the 900s. (I believe.) Since they would have been born - being adults when they created Hogwarts in the latter half of the 10th century - about 50-70 years after this and witches and wizards are meant to live longer than muggles, it's possible that their parents/grandparents would have fought against each other in the war and some residual resentment over the loss of East Anglia's independence might have remained. 

As Margaret has said, Ireland was a completely separate country and incredibly different from England and Wales at this time, as was Scotland - which had never been conquered by the Romans and so equally was doing its own thing. 

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Shadowkat678

I had googled and that's where it said they were all from, but if I can narrow it down to less areas I don't know much about that helps me at least, and probably some others. Good to know. So both of them would be from England? Are Rowena and Helga in the right places? Google failed me.

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sapphicsunrise

i strongly suspect that whoever decided that the four founders were representative of england, ireland, scotland and wales didn't have a clue what they were talking about. it sounds like a piece of fanon to me that has gained a lot of currency. 

given her name, Helga is certainly of Danish ancestry. the tenth century saw mass Danish (viking) invasion and settlement in Britain. you could write her as immigrating from Denmark herself, or perhaps being born in England to Danish parents. relations between the Danes and the Anglo-Saxons are pretty turbulent (the st brice's day massacre in 1002 is a pretty good example of this) which is something else to consider when writing - certainly being a foreigner would contribute to what we know about her in canon about wanting to welcome everyone and 'teach them the same'.

JKR is not a medievalist. none of the founders' names are medieval ones so as far as i'm concerned the foundations provided by canon are pretty poor. a first name-last name format would not have existed in tenth-century Britain (or tenth-century anywhere). Names in the historical record tend to be first name + 'of [place name] (eg. Henry of Huntingdon) or first name + epithet (Edward the Confessor, Bede the Venerable). 

HP wiki claims a foundation date for Hogwarts of 990 AD. this puts it during the reign of the Anglo-Saxon king Æthelred (known as 'Æthelred the Unready' - history has not remembered him kindly) and a particularly severe period of Danish raiding. 

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Shadowkat678

I wish I'd known all of this before starting and I would have tweaked stuff more. I'm trying not to dive too deep into historical stuff because I know I'm not from the area and that'd give more of a chance to mess it up, but at the same time there are at least some simple things that I could have done.

 

Edited by Shadowkat678

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