In elder Frankish times, the Litus was a particularily complex social moniker ascribed to a very loose group of individuals which repeatedly fail to be categorized in a well defined social ranked system. They were a “class” of people somewhere between the servile and manumitted or free Franks and beyond applications of certain werguild or leodis to their person, the duties and responsibilities remain murky. It seems at best that the term Litus was a vestige of Roman Civil Law that was being applied on a case-by-case scenario at the discretion of local lawmakers.
That said, we do know that the Litus was not wholly free and was equally not wholly enslaved, thus those categorized as such could clearly not aspire to be granted a comital nor a ducate. Neither would they have been reduced to a form of wanton chattel to be bought or sold at the whim of their lord. We do know as well that they were “tied” to the landholdings of their lords and did not specifically travel with the domain of said lord upon moving to another local. This provides us with enough information that we can determine that the Litus was in an obligatory bond to the Kuning, protected by the local official and worked the land of his lord and enjoyed a life that was closer to that of the tenant farmer/craftsman. It would also seem, from legal evidence that the Litus was responsible with the fulfilling of local obligations to the Kuning (or at one time the Bishop) through the fulfillment of the polyptychs such as the related classifications of Coloni, Tributari or Censuales.
In our own religious pursuit of Thia Frankisk Aldsido, the Litus is understood as being a person of intrinsic worth to their region. They are intimately familiar with the local geo-socio-econo-political environment. As being a person of intrinsic worth, it is understood that in the reaffirmation of the Declaration of Reversion and the swearing fealty to their lord, they are aligning their worth to that of the Farbond and to that of the Kuning as a whole.
The Litus receives a festuca (an alder rod) which is rough, denuded and of no beauty save its utility in convening the real share they have in the allodium francorum. The festuca is cut from a member of the alnus family and is to be cut the length of their lord’s cubit. The Litus, has a minor share in the tradition, but cannot impart further instruction or improvement upon that tradition beyond agreeing to protect what already is. In our noble parlance, they are : “as though a thrown axe, well wielded and furthermore as though a shield, well defending of foreign blows against this inheritance.”
The Litus cannot affect the allodium as they have not obtained their “kwik”. Kwiknussi, or liveliness does not convey the actual “life-force” of a Frank, rather it is the “executive force” through right that allows what one decrees and does to be accepted by the Farbond as “true”. To simplify, one has a dividend in the tradition, based upon their investment, but lack a deciding vote until their worth is agreed to be in line with that of the rest of the Farbond (by their lord, be they Gravio or Dux).
There is recorded a formal phrase in the older sources by which a Litus is made “(full) free”:
“Matho thi afrio lito” (To you I say, you are free (litus))
There is another formula which has been recorded which demonstrates manumission by a thrown denarius:
“Because the illustrious man X freed his slave named Y by his hand in our presence, by throwing a denarius according to the Salic Law, we confirm his manumission by our present charter. And we order that from now on, in the same way as the other tenants known to have been freed from the yoke of servitude in the presence of princes by this legal title, the said Y with full confirmation in God’s name by our order, without anyone making claims against him, may be able to remain free and secure for all time by God’s grace and ours.”
As noted above the Litus is not a slave, but the title above seems to make the distinction between the slave and the half-free somewhat confused. At any rate, with regards to TFA in our age, the half-free Litus equally shall enjoy their full freedom by way of their festuca being elevated to that of an aureum when that time comes (as decided together, by way of the lord).
On the duties of the Litus in TFA:
Litus is derived from a Vulgar Latin form of the OFrk *lât (serf) and is further derived from the PGmc *lētaz (bondsman). The PGmc is in turn ultimately from the PIE *leh₁d- (to let go, release). As such it appears that although the word itself means to have something bound to another, it is intrinsically identified as being a temporary affair and such a bond is to be allowed leave.
In a TFA perspective, the bond between the Litus and the Gravio/Dux, although temporary, gives way to the deeper, if not freer bond given up to the Kuning, which forms the foundation of the Regnum Francorum Novum as a lawful civic tradition.
Let us now turn to the station of Gravio (variously spelled grafio and graphio, meaning “count”) within the Farbond of Thia Frankisk Aldsido. It can be said that the Gravio is the natural progression of the Litus, once they have been awarded their Kwik and Aureus. As explained previously, Kwiknussi or “quickness” is the recognition and ability for a modern Frank to affect executive change in council to the development of TFA. Prior to this the Litus is bound to work within the established usages and customs of the tradition without the ability to legitimately cause improvements. The Aureus or “golden/beautiful thing” is the process the festuca undergoes to become a symbol of the rights and privileges of the station. After a predetermined period, between the Litus and their lord, they may be granted the station of Gravio and their festuca is returned to their lord for the embellishments and soon after, with a new charter, returned to them. These embellishments are cryptic in nature and only those instructed in their meaning may fully appreciate the importance of their aureus. Most importantly is the seal which is granted to the Gravio which we will discuss further below. It must also be stated that the Gravio must maintain their duties as ascribed them in their state of Litus.
Historically the station of the Gravio is confused by a vast array of difficult to interpret sources. What is known to some degree of certainty is that the Gravio and Comes (count) were at one time separate stations which progressively became confounded and in time equated. In the South of Gaul the Comes was the natural title, while in the North the title of Gravio was preferred. The Gravio (and Comes) were magnates or Antrustiones of the Kuning and were appointed to a given territory to oversee the administrative duties of the kingdom on behalf of the royal court. These duties related to levies and taxation as well as the administering of justice and the collection of fines. In TFA however, since the civil administration is conducted by various local officials, the Gravio is responsible for the administering of religious duties to the benefit of the tradition in their region.
The territory of the Gravio was known variously as a Civitas (in the South), Pagus or Gau (in the North). It was comprised of a principle city/large town and the surrounding land fell under the purview of that Civitas. In TFA, the Civitas is the designated term for the territory of a Gravio and the Pagus are lands which are related to the Civitas, but not directly attended to in their duties. Made simpler, the Civitas is the whole district, but the Pagus is held for future religious development as places of significant interest to the Gravio. In elder times the Pagus and Civitas could be directly administered by a Centenarius or Thunginus (under the Count), but until such time as the current Civitates of the Regnum Francorum Novum become larger and more difficult to manage these duties fall under the scope of the Gravio proper.
The modern Civitas is to be travelled and religiously administered by the Gravio, each constituent territory, on a yearly basis. If a Gravio enjoys a dozen sub-districts, they must visit these places and offer cultus at a significant place deemed holy at least once a year. Another important aspect of the Gravio is that they are responsible to provide munera (munificence, gifts) to the territory at an established sum pre-determined by the Kuning (via the Siniskalk). This sum is divided in two parts, one half to the fisc and the other to the populace as charity. The fisc portion does not go to the Kuning via the Siniskalk (no money transferred), but rather it is offered through a ritual tribute or the Gevol to the benefit of progressing the tradition in the Gravio’s Civitas. This may be in procuring ritual items or the maintenance of their Scriptorium (stationary), Heiligduom (temples) or other such things which bring glory to the Kuning and TFA. The second charitable portion may be in the form of funds to a local charity or labour for the betterment of the Civitas’ populace. An example of current Civitates can be viewed here: Civitas Ottavaiorum and Civitas Luzerneorum.
As part of establishing the Civitas, the Gravio is to make principle offerings to determined local holy sites in the form of coins or other riches (included in the overall munera) in a form of “land-taking”. In this ritual the beginning of the gifting cycle with that land is established and a mutual recognition is commenced between the Gravio and the Hêlen, including the Kuning and the Gêstos.
The munera-sum is calculated using a formula which takes into consider a number of factors, but namely the population of Walaleodi (non-Franks, general citizenry) over the given territory. Due to this formula and the need to travel and commit cultic services as well as charity, the natural size of the Civitas will be reasonable. In this way none can legitimately claim an exorbitant land for their personal ego. It must also be mentioned that as the Kuning grants the rights and privileges of a Gravio, the same can be revoked or changes can be brought to the nature of the Civitas by the Kuning (through the Siniskalk) to ensure no abuse or dereliction of duties are the result. This same ability to amend and rescind status has historical precedent.
The Gravio is said to establish or make claim to the powers of the Frankish Hêlen in that territory. The Goda, Wîhta and the Kuning are granted the ability to bring their will into effect over the land, to the benefit of all residing there. Thus, the Gravio is the intercessor who enters into a do ut des relationship with those powers. As a civic tradition TFA does not look to consolidate the favour of the Hêlen to its members to the exclusion of Walaleodi, rather the success of all citizens is the principle goal. The Gravio therefore entreats these divinities and local powers to look favorably upon their own deeds to bring about effective benefits to the land and people.
Within the charter of the Gravio, beyond the definition of their duties and the description of their Civitas, they are awarded two additional functionary titles: Magister Officiorum and Comes Sacrarum Largitionum. The first was historically an office created under Diocletian and refined by Constantine I as an office which handled and produced official correspondence and documents as well as established missions to foreign courts. The purpose here in TFA is that the Gravio, charged with a seal, is permitted to administer the affairs of their region and establish edicts which may be necessary to progress the tradition. The second which was also largely established in the Eastern Empire, provided the authority to administer territory on behalf of the Emperor as well as take responsibility in matters of fiscal and judiciary import. In TFA this is the real responsibility for the Gravio to ensure they are committed to fulfill their obligations with regards to the Civitas as a whole. It should be clear that these privileges are in fact sacred duties and any edict/charter or munera must be compliant to the spirit of the Kuning and the tradition.
Once the Litus has transitioned to Gravio, their charter will be granted to such an effect and inscribed therein will be an awarded personal Frankish name. The purpose of the name is to reflect their commitment to the tradition and their Kwiknussi within it. The Frankish name is imbued with powerful symbolism and an inherent reflection of attained nobless. Metaphysically speaking, the name conjoins their person to the sacral societal bonds shared between fellow Franks and the Kuning. The name is crafted by their bonded lord with the assistance of historical precedence and a hint of divinatory art. Similar to the baptismal name of the new Catholic convert, as was common and conferred by the godparent in elder times, the name is a manifestation of the Declaration of Reversion inculcated within.
The Gravio may, once they feel ready and a candidate has presented themselves, take on the duties of a lord to a Litus. They will then be responsible, through their Scriptorium, for drafting a charter in the established form and to cut a festuca from a local alnus source (If no alnus is present, then another betulacae species) to the measurement of their cubit. They will then see to their education and are to be responsible for their development. The charter, sealed by the lord is to be sent to the Siniskalk for the seal of the Regnum Francorum Novum, or Rîksaiel. When the time comes for the Litus to attain greater heights on their own, their lord will propose them to the Siniskalk (and the Kuning in ritual) for favour. Although the festuca is cut and the name granted by the Gravio (or Dux, if such is the case), the aureus is completed by the Siniskalk through the appropriate ritual form. As such, a Litus may be said to be of a certain Gravio, but a Gravio is said to be of the Kuning.
To surmise, the Gravio is granted a territory to administer the affairs of the Kuning and Thia Frankisk Aldsido in a way reflective of their particular region. This gives each Civitas its own distinct sacral terroir, best developed by the Gravio who is also a product of that place. The sacred stones, waterways, trees and crossroads of the Civitas are determined by the Gravio and cultic practices are to be realized there. A special relationship is also developed between the members of the Farbond under the aegis of the Kuning. The scriptorium is essential to the Gravio as it is their means to make formal declarations and record the histories of the tradition in their lands. On a yearly basis, the Siniskalk collects the various Gesta (records of deeds) for each Civitas and conjoins them into a general chronicle of the Regnum Francorum Novum for posterity. It can be said that the life of the Gravio is one devoted to resacralizing the civic arena to the glory of the Kuning and the grandeur of the Hêlen and Farbond as a whole.
Duties of the Gravio in TFA:
Gravio (grafio, graphio) is the Frankish equivalent gloss for the Latin comes. It is derived from Gravio is derived from the OFrk *grâvo or “count, earl”, ultimately from the Greek γραφεύς meaning “scribe”.