Feature article/25

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A ship arriving at Pentos

Pentos is the westernmost of the Free Cities. Originally founded by Valyrian smallfolk as a trading outpost, Pentos is a port city surrounded by high thick walls. Despite its walls, however, it is also often regarded as the most vulnerable of the Free Cities.

Wealth means power in Pentos. The city is ruled by a council of magisters and the Prince of Pentos, although the latter’s function is mostly ceremonial. In case of famine or a lost war, the magisters can decide to sacrifice the prince, and elect a new one from forty families. Because of the dangers that accompany the office of prince, not all nobles of Pentos are eager to be chosen, and some are known to have refused the honor, most recently in 262 AC.

For a large part of its history, Pentos practiced slavery. However, during the past two centuries Pentos went to war against Braavos six times over slavery and ownership of the lands and waters between the two cities. The Pentoshi lost four of those wars, and since the conclusion of the last one in 209 AC, the Braavosi have forced Pentos to abolish slavery and placed restrictions on the military forces of Pentos. Despite the restrictions, however, the Pentoshi are still involved in slave trade, and Pentoshi nobles like Illyrio Mopatis have “free bond servants”, who are slaves in all but name, collared and branded like slaves elsewhere. Read more...