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Reader comment on item: Uncovering Early Islam
in response to reader comment: journeyman?

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Jun 21, 2012 at 08:35

the Grand Infidel of Kaffiristan wrote :

"So why does 'journeyman' mean a peasant? I don't follow . Wiki's definition is 'A journeyman is someone who has completed an apprenticeship and is fully educated in a trade or craft, but not yet a master. '. So when saying someone is a journeyman - I would have taken that to mean a skilled tradesperson - or 'tradie' as we say here. There is no inherent association with poverty."

To grasp the meaning of "journeyman" you have to go back in time up to the 14th century and beyond when English peasantry had not been destroyed (or "eaten up" by sheep and/or greedy noblemen and landlords as Thomas More put it) as a social class yet .


The origins of "journeyman" are found in the Old French jornee meaning "a day, the length of a day" and "a day's work." Jornee also came to mean "a day's travel" and then "trip" leading to the English word "journey." In the fourteenth century, "journeyman" referred to "a daily worker," that is, someone who worked for another for daily wages. The journeyman was distinguished from the apprentice who was learning the trade and the master artisan who worked for himself."

As you see the Wikipedia definition is not reliable enough. There is a good French and German equivalent of the term as both in France and Germany peasantry somehow managed to escape the teeth of the ugly social cannibalsim for which Britain has been so notorious. In Britain e.g. even beggars had to have a "licence" before they could start begging !

In French we have "journalier" ("Travailleur payé à la journée, souvent dans l'agriculture." ) while in German it is "Tagelöhner". "Village labourer" could also describe what I meant if you can imagine what "a village labourer's" life was like in poverty-stricken villages of Eastern Europe where all land and privileges belonged to the predatory and haughty class of nobility.


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