Financial Advice from a Medieval Duke


I, Duke Chestmont, third lord of Chestmont, newly earl of Mt. Swethen, holder of the Teeth of Saint Jebben, have long been renowned as a leading knower of moneycraft. As a generous offering to the people of Chestmont, coinciding with the joyous Chestmont Market Faire taking place on the morrow, I have produced this small work. The town criers shall read it out thrice daily, and literate villagers may also obtain copies from the abbot before Sundown. May God bless this enterprise, and continue to keep Plague away from Chestmont. Amen.

  1. Inherit land: this tip often goes overlooked by the common folk, but it is one of the best ways to be wealthy. When you own the land, you do not need to pay rent on it; and if you inherit it, you do not have to pay to own it! It is a real money-saver. Please do not forget that your rents are due to me within the fortnight, lest you wish a day in the stocks.
  2. Take land by force: this is another that seems to escape the peasantry, but is very useful. What do you do when you own all the land you can, but want to own Mt. Swethen also, and Earl Hestrok will not sell it to you? Just conscript your able-bodied male serfs, call upon your vassals, and kill whomever owns it! Then, you will own it — and, if you are clever, you will make sure to pass it onto your heirs (see tip #1)!
  3. Murder your creditors: anyone can take advantage of this tip! If you borrow money from someone, and do not want to repay them, have them killed. It is best not to do it yourself; should you be caught, you will yourself be killed, for the crime of murder. If you hire an assassin to do the deed, or trick a jealous lover into a crime of passion, then they are the ones taking all the risk! Perfect!
  4. Build an opulent cathedral: this one may seem counter-intuitive. “My lord Duke!,” you shall say, “Is this not terribly expensive?” After I finish having you flogged for insubordination, perhaps you will realize the stupidity of your question. Once you have built an opulent cathedral, the local churchmen will be in your pocket, and God will have to forgive all your sins. For example, let us say you tricked Baron Ruel’s jealous lover into murdering him, after the enormous loan to finance the war against Earl Hestrok came due. If you build an opulent cathedral, and you say you are sorry about what you did, God will have to forgive you because you built Him a nice house! It sounds crazy, but it is true. So, your credit will increase, foes like the French will hesitate to use tip #2 on you for fear of offending God, and you can even force the priest into divulging secrets he learns during Confessional which you can then use as blackmail in your business dealings with Count Renaldo. The up-front costs can be extensive, but the long-term benefits are well worth the investment.
  5. Buy low, sell high

Well, I hope you find these tips as useful as I have. May Providence shine down on your business endeavors, and may the coming harvest be bountiful, or else! Amen.