How would one raise a king?


It was very common for sons of nobles and kings to be fostered out to the house of another noble, usually with their maternal kin. Fosterage usually occurred bewteen the ages of seven to fourteen. During fosterage, it was expected that a noble boy would be taught how to hunt, swim, settle disputes and learn military tactics. During fosterage, girls were expected to be taught how to sew, cook, and run a household. Fosterage also occurred for the lower classes, but they were taught skillls that corresponded to their rank.

For an agreement of fosterage to occur, the birth parents were required to pay a fee to the fosterage parents for the upbrining of their child, which is recorded in the law code of fosterage called Cáin Íarraith. In addition, the law codes also provides information on who is responsible should the child get into trouble or be injured during fosterage. However, the hildren of nobles were usually exempt from punishment when they got into trouble because of their high status. When a child is injured, the law codes specify that the injuree must pay a fine of 2/3 of the child's honor price to the birth father and 1/3 of the child's honor price to the foster father. During this time in the child's life his honor price is 1/2 that of his father's. For more information on Fosterage, please visit the Fosterage page on this wiki here.

Military tactics were vital to the skills required for kinship and were often learned either through board games called fidchell and brandub, or through mock war games of various levels of difficulty and danger, which is recorded in a text called Mellbretha. There were three levels of games tht could be played. The first level was called Ruidlescluichi and were harmless. The second level was called Fíancluichi and were more dangerous. The third level of games was called Colcluichi, or gulity games, and the children had to decide to play at their own risk, because no sick maitenence wold be provided to them is they were injured. The skills learned in fosterage would often be put to use when a boy left fosterage at fourteen and moved on to the next stage of his upbringing when he joined a fían.

A fían is a warrior band made up of sons of nobles bewteen the ages of fourteen and twenty. The fían lives on the edges of their tuatha and could hunt, plunder other territoties, engage in atheletic competitions, or sleep with women without consequences. The nobles in this group are called éclann, which means a man without a family and one who has cut legal ties with his family temporarily while in this transitional age between being a child and an adult. The fían provides a place for young men to exist who don't yet have adult status nor the property that comes with status, so that they can be kept away forem influencing youg families. Older men who never leave a fían, provide leadership for the young noblemen and teach them military skills, the art of war fare, and raising horses. For more information on a fían please visit the fían page here. In medieval literature the fían people tend to get described as wolves or dogs, and also as delinquents by men of the Church, which is discussed in Werewolves, Cyclopes, Díberga and Fíanna: Juvenile Delinquency in Early Ireland by Kim R. McCone (University of Cambridge, 1986). For more information on men of the Church in this age please visit the Churchmen page here.