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8-10-2010 @ 9:47PM
Jarl is likely a reference to the Scandinavian word, which is where the title 'Earl' came from, a title of peerage regarded as roughly equivalent/subordinate to a Count. A Jarl was a trusted, loyal and well-known peer to a Scandinavian/Nordic lord who had risen above the rank of Huscarl (house man - roughly equivalent to a member of a lord's court) to be entrusted with running a town or hamlet as a chieftain in the lord's stead. Becoming a Jarl was mark of high distinction, since a Jarl was likely a young, popular, honored and respected warrior who could conceivably overthrow the aging local lord whose time of glory was past. Entrusting such a warrior with ruling in the lord's stead was dangerous as it put them a half-step away from declaring themselves lord of the land as they were also charged with raising and keeping a hird (armed band) for defense of the town. Less trusted warriors would receive individual tokens of reward or would be taken in as Huscarls.
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