Posted by Lewis on April 26, 2004
In Reply to: The King always takes his ransom REDUX posted by ESC on April 24, 2004
: : What do you think it means in this context?
: : Michael Powell: "But, we should think twice before allowing the government the discretion to filter information to us as they see fit, for the King always takes his ransom."
: My guess: The government, because of its self-protecting nature, will feed information to serve its purposes.
Becomes clearer from context - the Government always gets first crack of the assets and can use its information to get to assets first before general creditors. Thus as in ye olden days when ransoming anybody who looked vaguely wealthy was much more lucrative than killing them on the battlefield - the King always gets his ransom i.e. a levy would be made before the others could redeem their relations with whatever they had left. An example form history - Richard II was ransomed, but it took some time to raise it - I think because the admin was left to King John who was not highly motivated.
If a noble offered surrender - he had to be careful because if he surrendered to peasants, their liege lords would be likely to keep the ransom, so they might as well kill the nob and take what they could and flog it (hence the difficulty of identifying who was slain in some battles - without the expensive armour, one mangled corpse looks much like another) - the trick was to find another knight, who would get at least some of the ransom and would keep you fed until you were redeeemed.