The Hêm is the “home” where a free Frank lives, has their principle domicile and engages in familial life. It is the smallest indivisible territory within the society of TFA, a subdivision of the Civitas and contained within the greater Rîki. In the mundane sense, this is your residence. However, in a more elevated understanding, the Hêm is the “court of the household lord” known as the Hêmahêto. It is the duty of the Hêmahêto to:
- Look to the financial and physical security of the homestead and those who live upon and benefit from it.
- Engage with the land and living quarters in a way that is emblematic of the values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of the elder Franks.
- Establish a holy place within the home to be the principle place of communion with the gêstos (ghosts) and forthira (ancestors), particular to one’s family.
- To be an exemplary host and to celebrate often with guests who should visit.
Hêm is derived from OFrk *haim “house, village”. In turn “haim” is from the PGmc *haimaz of the same meaning. Kern sees in this word the meaning of Lat “partum, pascuum” or in ModE “meadow, grazing land” and further that the terminology implies an enclosed space.
Hêmahêto is derived from the above with an appended OFrk *hêt meaning “command(er)”. Kern understands the Hêmahêto as being the “commander of the pasture(/court)” as a sub-agent of the king. As each Hêm was found within the territory of a Civitas, the Hêmahêto is thus subject of the Kuning through the Gravio.
In TFA, as all are ultimately subject to the Kuning, the Hêl and Sâl of the household Hêlen flows into the realm of the Hêm through the efforts (religious and mundane) of the Hêmahêto.
It should be noted that in TFA the “household lord” need not be concerned with gender. The role may also, given our modern social division of labours in the home, appear to be shared between the primary adults of a household. The negotiation of the mantle of Hêmahêto is left up to the practicality and customs of that Hêm.