A Lonesome Fragrance Waiting to be Appreciated – Reference

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In my attempt to romanise the different ranks of the Gu Fang hierarchy, I have used various words from the peerage system and then updated them. Others, such as the servant hierarchy is common knowledge. I do try to romanise the language as much as possible, while keeping the basic meaning to avoid confusion. If you still get lost in the midst of the rank naming, just get into this story (this part can serve as a reference). Hopefully it’ll all clear out later.

Nobility Ranks

  • King (part of the “Royal House”, lives in the “Royal Residence”)
  • Prince: It seems that usually only the inheritor(s) of the throne will be called the Prince in this novel. (Part of the “Royal House”, lives in the “Royal Residence.”) There’s a princess too…
  • Duke: Similar in rank to Prince, may or may not have royal blood connections. In other words, dukes may be princes or people from recognised families. Being called a “duke” seems to give more military advantage. This is replacing the “wang” prefix and suffix, e.g Jing Anwang = Duke of Jing- An; Wangye = Duke. He lives in a “…Ducal Residence”. People of similar lineage (i.e his sons and daughters) can be grouped as “House of…” (The Chinese for this is the same, but it doesn’t make sense in English if only one is used)
  • The wife of the duke (formerly “wangfei”) will be the Duchess.
  • The duke’s son(s) will be given his father’s subsidiary titles, e.g. “marquess” or “earl” etc.
  • Scholar: Not really nobility. Usually a commoner/peasant who has gotten the King’s respect due to high placing in national exam. Supposedly all men, but in fiction and probably history, there have been women who cross dress to study and earn these titles. Top scholars tend to be awarded an “official” rank and often became governors of small provinces or military commanders. Sort of like the “count” role in the peerage system.
  • Official: All of the above, except women (e.g duchess) and the King. Basically, they can all serve in court. The royal court seems to generally be divided into two wings – the left and the right… (But that’s not really important to the story right now)

Military Ranks

  • [Military] General: The strongest warrior(s) and/or main commander(s) of the war. This person may go to the front lines and fight. There is also sometimes a “Main General.”
  • [Military] Advisor: Someone who doesn’t usually go to fight (but may go to battlefield if needed). Basically someone who thinks of all the tactics to use and does the planning etc. I’m using the word “advisor” to cover both strategists and tacticians.
  • [Military] Commander: A person who commands an army or part of it, to war when needed.
  • Warrior: A soldier who is recognised for his strength in battle.
  • Soldier: A fighter in the war.
    **The King is supposed to have absolute control over the military. In Gu Fang, the term “military” is used synonymously to “army”.

Servant Ranks

  • Upper Servants: Housekeeper, Lady’s Maid, Valet
  • Senior Servants (Middle/Lower upper, requires some skill): Nurse, Cook, Seamstress
  • Under Servants (manual labour): Housemaids (e.g. Kitchenmaid, Chamber Maid, Laundry Maid), Footmen, Eunuchs

Addressing Others (if not by name/politer form)

  • The Master and Mistress of any Residence or owners of shops will be addressed as “Sir” and/or “My Lady”. (Sir ~ and Lady ~ /Madam ~) Their sons and daughters would be addressed as “Mister” and “My Lady”.
  • The direct master of any servant may be addressed as “Master” or “My Lady”.
  • All guests will be greeted as “Mister”/“Sir” or “Miss”/“Madam”/“My Lady” or by title. (less polite/more polite)
  • Housekeepers will be acknowledged as “Mrs ~” regardless of marital status. In Gu Fang, the housekeeper usually takes on the name of the Residence or House, e.g. “Hua Housekeeper” (literal translation). She will be acknowledged as “Mrs Hua”.
  • The nurse will be acknowledged as “Mother ~”. Sometimes older (under) maids may also be acknowledged as a “mother”.
  • Important maids may be addressed as “Sis ~” by younger maids, or as “Miss ~” by older maids.
  • When referring by third person, not by title, after all (possessive) pronouns or articles must be capitalised, i.e “the Lady” (specifically referring a lady), “his Master” etc.
  • Contrary to proper peerage address, the King is still often addressed as “King” instead of “Sire” or “Your Majesty”, while the Queen is still often addressed as “Queen”. Likewise, “Duke”, “Duchess”, “Princess” etc.

*Servants often inherit their master’s family name.

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