Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Terms of the Sargaĺk Tribute to the Bryatesle Empire

During the Ćwarmin expansion, the tribal warlords (sarku-tal, order-chieftain) often made agreements with conquered tribes with regards to the tribute they were expected to pay. As soon as literacy became a thing, most sarkutluwu (pl.indef) saw fit to have scribes record these agreements.

The Sargaĺk 'treaty' was originally agreed to by the village Marərki, one of the previously mainland Sargaĺk settlements. Instead of renegotiating the terms for each village, most other village's elders' councils agreed to having all of the Sargaĺk area enter into a similar deal, but simply changing the numbers.

The treaty was originally given in both Sargaĺk and Ćwarmin and preserved in oral form, with a large image carved into a rock, with three large images, separated by empty areas: the largest image depicting horse-carried soldiers, and villagers handing them sheep, fish and slaves, and a large depiction of Sarkutal Molčur, who led the expedition. The second 'image' consists of stylized pictures of different types of arctic livestock, boats, skin pelts, tents, all with very basic numbers underneath (unary notation, basically), and finally, a third similar image with a smaller number of fish types, a boat, a few types of livestock, a woman, a soldier, and a slave; each of these have numbers by them, but by the woman, the soldier and by the slave is also a second number crossed by a line, like so: II IIIII. Some numbers are circled - this signifies a number multiplied by 20. One circle contains the string IIII, signifying seventy, i.e. 3.5 * 20. (For those with screen-readers, the fourth I in the string is half as tall as the rest.)

These are basically pictures meant to help the communities remember what their obligations are. The first picture thus describes their submission to the Ćwarmin leader Molčur. The second picture describes the tribute Molčur exacted as an initial payment. The third picture depicts later, regular tributes. Most of the ones are paid yearly - the ones with only one number, that is. However, numbers like IIIII signifies every n:th year. This notation carried over to the written forms of the treaty. Only the yearly payments are part of the written treaty. 

Here are some samples of the text:
sargəsa mil cəwarta pehite Molčur u simiar u simižar  t'ošni-k-sud
sarg-plur we cəwar-peg chieftain Molčur and oldest sons and oldest living sons confirm-1pl-reflexive
'we, the sarg, confirm our allegiance to the chieftain Molčur and his oldest living male descendants'

mil-ta cəwar kŕder ops-ək-rus-olar
we-peg ćwar tax give-1pl-fut-hab

kŕder k'iva
tax is-3sg.fem ≃ (tax is (as follows):)

IIIII karaŋ
(5 boat)

(III) IIIII iknur
(65 seal skin jacket)

(IIIII) ĺpa
100 musk ox

(IIII) jajra garəc
70 measure whale_oil

II III mirluk asi IIIII III kosdo
two three soldier or five three slave
(two soldiers every third year or five slaves every third year)

I IIIIII miv-tat pehite-ta tame k'ilp tamu minu-m-əl-u-an
1 / 6 village-plur.peg.fem chieftain-peg(gen) son full daughter wife-caus.passive.ptcpl-caus_II-III.sg-pegative
the villages give a son of the chieftain an (adult) woman for a wife once in six years
Neither the Sargaĺk nor the Ćwarmin care particularly much about virginity. As the same arrangement was passed on to the Bryatesle empire, the recipient of the deal was the Bryatesle governor. Bryatesle culture, however, is very concerned with the virginity of brides. Since the deal was granted a rather solemn status, however, the Bryatesle governor cannot do anything to add a condition regarding the virginity of the brides. Some Sarg women see the bride-tribute as an opportunity to climb socially and get away from a relatively poor and harsh environment, other Sarg see it as an opportunity to cause considerable embarassment to the son of a governor. Some governors, or their sons, have in fact refused to abide by that term of the contract for this particular reason, which is something that does not particularly bother the Sarg. The Sarg sometimes point to such violations on the part of the Bryatesle as a justification for not paying some other part of the tribute. Thus, sometimes, only people found to be criminals in the eyes of the Sargaĺk are sent as soldiers or slaves, depending on their crime.

A Ćwarmin and a Bryatesle version of these text snippets will appear later.

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