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Citizenship

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With the Nords there probably really isn't any sort of census or anything like that.

But like others say, contribute to Nordic society and you probably are welcomed. Nords have hospitality, but take advantage of it and offer nothing in return at your own peril. I've always imagined that even a Nord native to Skyrim would be treated harshly if his reputation was a lazy layabout. If you're an outsider/foreigner and you take advantage of the hospitality and contribute nothing in return, you're probably treated far far worse, especially if you're from a country where you would be considered the enemy.

I do think each Hold probably has their eye on whose coming into their region as well. Even though - in the case of ESO - there's not much emphasis on Jarl and Hold loyalty (because let's face it, vanilla depictions of Skyrim are pretty shallow compared to TES V) - I'd say the Jarls and their stewards and the like *probably* try and keep an eye on who lives in their domain. Nothing crazy official like the Imperials, but they definitely would want to know whose paying taxes/contributing.
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Posted Jan 11, 18
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Posted Jan 12, 18 · OP
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I would venture to say that some form of citizenship does exist within the context of Tamriel for one very specific reason: the Empire. The very nature of an empire, especially within the context of the Elder Scrolls universe, involves assimilating dissimilar cultures into a larger, more cohesive body. It follows, then, that an imperial identity would be promoted and adopted; especially after the several centuries of the Reman Empire. Any land held in vassalage to an empire, with some exceptions, for such an extended period almost always ends up adopting the imperial identity and culture to some degree. The United Kingdom is a pretty good example of this, with Ireland serving as a convenient microcosmic perspective on imperial relationships.

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For the insanely long reasons analyzed above, I think the people of Tamriel have absolutely adopted ideas of citizenship. It began under the Reman Empire and continues to this day as they try to figure out who they are, and why. The Empire gave the people an identity, and as that political body died, so too did this sense of how one fits into the larger picture.

People are killing, dying, starving, begging, stealing, burning, praying, and fleeing toward the answer of "what do I do now?"
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Posted Jan 12, 18 · Last edited Jan 12, 18
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The Nords, in perhaps a parallel to the Normans in their conquest of Britain and the Domesday book, actually DO perform censuses of conquered territories and presumably their own. A known example of this is the Book of Life, written following the Nordic invasion of High Rock, categorizing the local population and the locations of cities. It is mentioned in this book: http://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:A_History_of_Daggerfall

However, this Book of Life seems to focus zero emphasis on the races of the individuals inhabiting these places, instead focusing on their sex if adult or simply ambiguous 'children' if they are not of age. To me, this indicates that, as others have suggested, Nords don't really care WHO you are but what your place is in society and how much you contribute. Note the Stormcloaks of the 4th Era, who are notably bigoted against Elves and the Beast Races, are willing to allow a non-Nord PC of these or other races join them so long as they are willing to put their life on the line. Becoming someone who is a 'refugee' would be just living there, without being a part of the community. Buying a house, helping the locals, regularly visiting a meadhall to share in stories, drink, and political machinations would likely be the route to citizenship. Participation, nothing more. An example of this is Arcadia in Whiterun, who is an Imperial that has lived in Whiterun for 20 years and is largely accepted by the Nords...though, she is rejected by the Stormcloaks due to her race following their conquest. But this, in theory, could be temporary given that Nords are slow to trust at times but can come around.

That's my perception, anyway, based on in-universe lore.
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Posted Jan 12, 18
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It is a pity there is so little lore regarding "citizenship" in Tamriel, if for no other reason than that historically it was extremely important in ways that might make for a very interesting RP storyline.

In our times we tend to think of "citizenship" as a mere rubber-stamp... a thing one receives allowing one to vote, collect the dole if need be and do other humdrum stuff. More high-minded folk might also think of it as an ideal, something like the French revolutionary idea of the "citoyen". In former times however it could literally be a matter of life and death.

Others have mentioned the Roman institution of citizenship as a possible model, at least perhaps in Cyrodiil. In some ways this resembled citizenship as we know it: one could hold public offices, appeal to the Emperor over wrongs done, own property and stuff. More important though was what citizenship protected one from. As a citizen, one could only be imprisoned, beaten or killed by an authority with "praetorian" powers, i.e. an actual "praetor" or someone acting on their behalf; a "propraetor" and their officials. (In line with this, the preatorian guard could, of course, do anyone they damm well pleased... but one digresses.) As a non-citizen one had no such protection and were pretty much at the mercy of anyone powerful who took a dislike to you. In addition a citizen had access to the law and the courts, could make a will, and enforce a contract... a non-citizen?... well, folk could cheat you all day long.

Probably though, something more like the Medieval notion of citizenship is what would apply in Tamrielic Skyrim. Properly, this applied only to residents of towns and cities, everyone else was simply a "subject". As a citizen, one usually was immune to the arbitrary law of Lords, having the right to be tried by fellow-citizens, rather than simply be slung in a dungeon (in those pre-Habeus-Corpus days) on the whim of anyone with a horse and a fancy hat. One also had the right to carry-on a trade through membership in one of the town's guilds, trade in the market without paying enormous tolls, and generally get-on with life without someone saying "Hey you!... Dig my turnips!"

So, if one imagines whatever settlement the OP's character has attached themselves to up in the snowy North as a "town", what sort of stories could result in it becoming a "citizen"? Figure this could happen in a number of ways:

- Perhaps, like Venice and some other Italian cities, citizenship is restricted to a certain number of families, so marriage into or adoption by these could be an option.
-One could also complete an apprenticeship and become a "Master" within one of the local guilds.
-Naturally, many towns would allow one to buy citizenship with a hefty pile of gold... but that would be a bit dull, no?
-Many independant towns in Flanders and Northern Germany (which are sort of "Nordic" one supposes) granted citizenship to those serving in the local militia, so... fight your way to it?
-Although having "rights", most Medieval towns were usually subject to a "Lord", "Bishop" or sometimes a "King". These could grant citizenship. This'd probably require some sort of "arse-kissing the local Thane" story-line however... not very pleasant.
-Finally, there is long-residency. This however did not usually bring full citizenship, just escape from serfdom... also, just sitting there for a while would hardly make for a ripping tale this one figures.

Anyway, hope this lady-Breton and Nords work something out. Likesaid, "citizenship" could provide motivation (anything from avoiding persecution to wanting to trade fur "duty-free") and direction for a neat little story.
Posted Feb 5, 18 · Last edited Feb 5, 18
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