Although there are, as was previously mentioned four principle rituals in TFA (Wirdskapon, Fîringa, Offron and Drenken), there is however a fifth that is specific to the role of the Siniskalk – or – of a Gravio of a region under the given leave of the Siniskalk to do so. This ritual, known as the Gevol, which in its simplest terms is a form of tribute paid to the Kuning on behalf of the Rîktuom and the constituent Civitas as well as the various Hêmahêto. It should also be mentioned that a Civitas may be granted immunity for a number of reasons, namely through Frankaumoyne, which is a religious service in time/labour or capital dedicated to the upkeep of sacred and holy places within the Civitas. These places may be shrines or places of a natural and numinous character which serves as a place of religious sanction. It is also understood that the various religious concepts of Hêl, Sâl, Gawinnan, Mâro, Wald, Reht, Mund, Niud… all pass through the character of the Kuning, although ultimately belong to the agency of the Hêlen.
Gevol is related to the OE gafol, meaning “tribute” (usury, offering, rent, debt) and has as its root the PGmc *gabulą (tribute) and is further related to the Latin Latin habeō (“to own, possess, have”). The parent PIE *gheb(h)- meant to “give, possess or transfer”
Frankaumoyne is from Norman-French and means “frank alms” or rather “free alms” and was a duty upon a religious community in Christian times to pray for their lord’s well being, give orison and piety:
Tomas de Littleton – 1470 – “And they which hold in frank-almoign are bound of right before God to make orisons, prayers, masses, and other divine services, for the souls of their grantor or feoffor, and for the souls of their ancestors which are dead, and for the prosperity and good life and good health of their heirs, which are alive. And therefore they shall do no fealty to their lord … because, that this divine service is better for them before God, than any doing of fealty; and also because that these words (frank-almoign) exclude the lord to have any earthly or temporal service, but to have only divine and spiritual service to be done for him, &c.”
That said, in TFA, as the Kuning is in fact Hêlen (of the holy ones), as well as perceivable in our world, such as was the genius of the Roman Emperor, the tribute given is more in line and function with the cultus offered to the Emperor’s household for the commonwealth of the Roman Empire. The cult of the genius of the Emperor was well established in the Three Gauls and along the Rhineland at the time of the inclusion of the Franks into the Empire as federates. The establishment of the Imperial Cult in Lugdunum by Drusus would have been no doubt a formidable show of Roman religious and secular might. Although Drusus waged war against future Frankish tribal units, such as the Sicambri, Chauci, Chatti, Usipetes and others in the early decades of the 1st century CE… many of these future Frankish leaders who crossed the Rhine rose quickly to ranks of note in the Roman military. There is little doubt that the effect of the Imperial Cult on their customs would have informed their native cultic behaviors.
As such, and as is evinced by later developments, it can be demonstrated that the Franks believed that holy and pious kings held within their person a divine regency. This divine regency could have been developed over the centuries from the auctoritas awarded by the divine Roman Emperors or from some inherently Gallo-Germanic indigenous belief. I will not expound upon the concept of Sacral Kingship here much beyond that, whether this divine leadership was pre- or post conversion, it was no doubt a firm belief of the nobility.
In TFA, the Kuning is the divine heroic personage, known by various contemporary authors as Merovech (Mârowîg: Famed in Battle). It is the belief in TFA that Mârowîg was at one time conflated with the god Ing (a common theonymic for male Merovingians prior to conversion) and that the title of Merohingi (the descendants of Mâro) can be understood as Mâro-Ing. Fredegar in his chronicles leaves us with a tale which describes the patriarch of the Frankish people as descendant of a human mother and a father who is “bistea Neptuni Quinotauri similis eam adpetisset” or a sea-beast which is in the likeness of a “Quinotaur”. Without going much further into the subject, the belief is that, as with other known hero-cults in the Classical world, Mâro-Ing is both of human and divine substance. There are many more instances of Frankish kings and queens enjoying the burden of divine substance, but there is far too much to add here.
To return to the Gevol, the ritual is one very similar to the Wirdskapon and as such I will not go much into that here. Where it differs is that, unlike the Wirdskapon which is a banquet held by the Hêmahêto for the benefit of the Hêlagugest (or other Hêlen as determined by the officiant), it is for the Kuning proper. It is also not held in the home of the attendant, rather it is held outside at the court of the Kuning. Anyone familiar with the Song of Roland will note that the kings, such as Charlemagne (mythic version) sits upon his dais in the open near a tree. The courtiers come to him. Louis the Pious was also said to hold court under a tree, where he pronounced judgements. These were the well-known “open air” courts. As such, it is viewed that if the Kuning were to visit an estate, they would set up their encampment upon the land of the noble and be attended to.
The Kuning has come for his tribute. This tribute, known as Gevol (gafol, gavel, gavelkind, etc.) was for usury of lands under the “mund” or protection of the king and was of a particular nature as it was paid by those who “owned” land which was inheritable and dividable by their heirs. This form of land tenure was particularly known as a Salic (Law) custom and, although the most well-known uses of Gevol are found in Kent (England), the system came from the Normans who had adapted it from their earlier Capetian/Carolingian/Merovingian antecedents. A note on the gafol (East Anglia and the Danelaw , R.H.C Davis, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Vol. 5 (1955), pp. 23-39)
“Fortunately, the evidence derived from the Kalendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds enables us to see how both interpretations could be right. For the Kalendar sets out in detail the financial dues paid by the tenants of socage land and shows how they look like rents and are paid as rents, although they are in origin regalian rights or the tribute due to the king. Moreover, the details of the payments reveal the surprising fact that tenure by socage in Suffolk had its nearest parallel with tenure by gavel- kind in Kent. In both cases the tenure was free and the inheritance partible; in both cases the most prominent money-payment, whether called hidage or gafol, was paid, not to the lord of a manor, but to the lord of the hundred”
As noted above, and most other sources written on the subject agree, the gafol (TFA Gevol) was paid as per it was a “regalian right”. This right, which was not exacted equally and universally among all tenants, was used to finance larger enterprises undertaken by the crown. Most often, these were to finance the very necessary militaristic endeavors of the kingdom.
The amount which was due varied immensely from time and place. As mentioned earlier it was possible that various Civitas were immune from the exacting of the tribute-tax, most often due to the holy works done by the pious towards their god (in our case the sum of all Hêlen). Gregory of Tours mentiones this episode in his histories:
“King Childebert at the invitation of Bishop Maroveus sent assessors to Poitiers, namely, Florientian, the queen’s majordomo, and Romulf, count of the palace, to make new tax lists in order that the people might pay the taxes they had paid in his father’s time. For many of them were dead and the weight of the tribute came on widows and orphans and the weak. And they made an orderly examination and released the poor and sick and subjected to the public tax those who should justly pay. And so they came to Tours. But when they wished to impose the payment of taxes on the people, saying they had the book in their hands, showing how they had paid in the time of previous kings, I answered saying: “It is well known that the city of Tours was assessed in the time of king Clothar and those books were taken to the presence of the king, but the king was stricken with fear of the holy bishop Martin and they were burned. After king Clothar’s death this people swore allegiance to king Charibert and he likewise swore that he would not impose new laws or customs on the people but would thereafter maintain them in the status in which they lived in his father’s reign, and he promised that he would not impose any new ordinance which would tend to despoil them. And count Gaiso in the same time began to exact tribute, following a capitulary which we have said was written at a more ancient time. But being stopped by bishop Euphronius he went with the little he had collected to the king’s presence and pointed to the capitulary in which the tributes were contained. But the king uttered a groan and fearing the power of Saint Martin he had it burned, and sent back the gold coins that had been collected to the church of Saint Martin, asserting that no one of the people of Tours should pay tribute. After his death king Sigibert ruled this city and did not lay upon it the weight of any tribute. Moreover in the fourteen years of his reign from his father’s death up to now Childebert has demanded nothing, and this city has not groaned with the burden of tribute. It is now for your decision whether to assess tribute or not; but be careful lest you do some harm if you plan to go against his oath.” When I had said this they answered: “Behold, we have the book in our hands in which a tax was imposed on this people.” But I said: “This book was not brought from the king’s treasury and it has had no authority for many years. it is no wonder, considering the enmities among these citizens, if it has been kept in some one’s house. God will give judgment on those who have brought out this book after so long a time to despoil our citizens.” And while this was going on the son of Audinus, who had brought out the book, was seized with a fever on the very day and died three days after. We then sent messengers to the king asking him to send his commands on this matter. And they at once sent a letter ordering that out of respect for Saint Martin the people of Tours should not be assessed. Upon receipt of the letter the men who had come for this purpose returned home.”
The moral above was not that the tribute-tax (Gevol, gafol) was unnecessary, but that it was a burden and that each district fought to set their own burden. Obviously the king would not want to over-burden his folk as they could rise up against his “regalian right”. For this same reason, the Gevol produced on behalf of the Civitas Ottavaiorum is one which is logical, manageable and not “over-burdensome”. The assessment is fair and reasonable.
One of the principle means by which a Civitas in the Regnum Francorum Novum may hope to stay in check, is by ensuring that the Gevol is tied to the size and population of the territory. In this way, no one Gravio may claim an exuberant “religious/cultic” land-holding. The price being set based on known census metrics and informed by historical precedents makes it improbably for a Gravio in TFA to hold more than his or her personal wealth can afford them. In time, with growth in one’s expendable resources, the Civitas may grow and the bounty of the Kuning may swell as well.
The things which the Kuning is concerned with within any given Civitas can be found in part through the polyptyques of the Franks. These were formal documents which kept records of the rents and services owed to the lords of a manor. Again, as ours is a system with a Kuning who is Hêlen, the Gevol is offered to the furthering of the Civic Cultus under the protection of the genius of the Regnum Francorum Novum. One such source, the Capitulare de Villis, which includes those things which are expected of the lords or counts and it is for each Civitas to judge for themselves what they may extrapolate from those records to their own purpose.
Four important features of the Gevol ritual, beyond the banquet, are:
Panegyrics: In the age of the early Frankish kings, it was important to declare panegyrics to the glory of the king’s person. This perhaps may have found two fonts of development, one being the Germanic love of heroic oration/song and the other based in the formal Latin tradition of elaborately entreating the heroic qualities of the Emperor. In either case, in TFA it is good form to regale the Kuning with formal orations on the mythical great deeds of the early Franks. In time, members of a given Civitas may feel brave and comfortable to insert themselves in these mythic regalings as inheritors of that Frankish prowess.
Munera: It is of tremendous importance that one declare before the Kuning those things they have done for the benefit of the citizens of their Civitas, which are living within the bounds of that territory. Public works were deemed essential in ancient Roman and later Gallic society and could take on a variety of forms. The Kuning wants to know that the Civitas, which is under his mund, is being maintained efficaciously in his itinerancy.
Denarii: It is important that of the portion of the Kuning’s Gevol which is for the fisc (royal treasury), should be converted into silver coins. That, just as the foodstuffs, as per the Wirdskapon, be made hale, the funds to be ceremoniously placed within the treasury of the Kuning should be of pleasant silver coins (quarters being fittingly emblematic of the denarii) and presented with overt formality to the Kuning, being pleasing to him. As a note, the Gevol due to the Kuning should be in two portions, one half to the fisc and the other half redistributed to the folk. This distribution may be done in the means being fit to the Franks of that Civitas under the Gravio. The portion reserved for the fisc is for the furtherance of those holy places/endeavors being undertaken by members of the Farbond.
Wald: The Kuning is the principle “wielder” of his folk. It is important to remember that, as though an axe lobbed at a deserving target, we as Franks are to be honed and “well wielded” by the Kuning and the Hêlen. The Kuning is also of a martial character and as such, appreciates those things which appeal to a martial lord. To please and entreat his presence, it is important to make the holy setting inviting to one who appreciates such things in life.
Please note that the Gevol is not a compulsory form of ritual undertaking for any and all pursuant of TFA. Rather it is a formal ritual undertaken as an extreme obligation on the part of the Siniskalk and those delegated to perform the rite in their own Civitas, to the benefit of all Franks and Walaleodi alike. As noted elsewhere, the Siniskalk is the “Senior Attendant/Servant” of the Kuning’s hailago and therefore is the most bound and un-free in the whole of the Frabond and the Regnum Francorum Novum in whole.
It is also expressed and understood that all devout religious practitioners, for the most part, dedicate an excessive amount of time and personal wealth into the maintaining of their cults. This cannot be understated. That said, the Gevol formalizes this process and places the holy work into a sacral narrative where mutual recognition, between cultivator and Kuning, is highlighted. The goal is to take the already ambitious and munificent Frank and offer them a unique and glorious platform to enhance their obligations to the Hêlen and the folk of their Hêm, Civitas and Rîktuom.