An Emerstarian clan (Emerstarian: Slektenskegruppe) is a social group in Emerstari, associated with a particular region (usually a county or a duchy), based on common descent, typically from the person for which the clan is named, such as in the case of the Hrudolfung Clan, which the Emerstarian king is the High Chieftain of. All the members of the Hrudolfung Clan share descent from Hrudolf, who established the first settlements in the Duchy of Flodland, the ancestrial lands of the tribe. Hrudolf had three brothers, each of whom also had a clan named for them: the Ullerung Clan, the Hervalding Clan, and the Heggenling Clan. These are the first four clans, according to Emerstarian tradition, and all other present clans descend from them. Thus, all Emerstarians may claim descent from the father of the four brothers, Emer, who is said to have been the great grandson of Noah and have led the first migration into Emerstari.
Each of the Emerstarian clans has a High Chieftain (Emerstarian: Hogtskemann) who is most often a nobleman of some sort from the land which the clan inhabits; more often than not, the High Chieftain is the duke of the duchy to which the clan is associated with or earl in the case of a smaller clan, though, this is not necessarily always the case. In cases where the duke or earl are not members of the clan to which the duchy or earldom they rule over is associated with, a lesser nobleman may be the High Chieftain. The office of High Chieftain is only inheritable by males and is typically inherited by the previous officeholder's eldest son, but there are several examples in which the High Chieftain is elected by the members of the tribe through an Emerstarian form of tanistry known as slektentilsogening that has historically even been used to select a monarch at times. The High Chieftain is legally accorded with mostly ceremonial responsibilities including organizing events members of the clan may partake in as well as keeping clan history and traditions in order. A High Chieftain may also have some influence over local government, churches, and schools. A High Chieftain commonly may appoint lesser Chiefs to act for him in one particular city or county.
Many clans identify with a badge of some sort, usually one that is to some extent based off the armourial achievement of its High Chieftain. As most Emerstarians, even ones with very little connection to the nobility, have an armourial achievement of a simple sort, these armourial achievements typically have some elements of the clan's badge on them. The Kuingskehus fur Riketts Heraldikt åg Hvede that keeps records on heraldry, lines of successions, and ancestry stated that of the 51 clans, 49 of them officially recognize a clan badge. Forty clans officially recognize a motto.
Clan membership is based solely on patrillineal ancestry. As a result of this, Emerstarians who lack Emerstarian ancestry either completely or on their father's side typically are not members of any clan. The Rikes Folkrekningshus estimates clanless individuals account for 0.6% of the population.
According to Emerstarian tradition, the four sons of Emer, Hrudolf, Uller, Hervalde, and Hegge, settled in Flodland, Verni, Sjostrand, and Whentii respectively. There, they established the first four Emerstarian clans from which all clans descend from. Historically, there has sometimes been debate on which clan another clan hails from. In general, however, most clans in Valpersien, Marland, and the Halleran and the Northern Islands descend from the Hrudolfung Clan; most clans in Nordhƿentii, Sydhƿentii, Yoerk, and Sjomark descend from the Heggenling Clan; most clans in Vernien, Vastraskevernien, Eje̊rien, Knůrien, and Ålampien descend from the Ullerung Clan; and most clans in Kjorien, Osterkjorien, Kjormark, Pallsejn, and Onørkien desend from the Hervalding Clan.
Clans served as, until the sixth century, one of the only bodies of governance in Emerstari besides the Church. Therefore, while some issues were allotted to the Church to handle, most issues, tasks, and disputes were handled by the High Chieftain as well as, sometimes, a council composed of lesser chiefs. Thus, clans would sometimes go to war against each other as a result of conflicting beliefs between High Chieftains. Territorial disputes were relatively uncommon between established clans, but there are numerous cases of High Chieftains going to war against a divergent clan to reclaim de jure land. Around the sixth century, larger clans began to create duchies by their own right while smaller clans began to create duchies either diplomatically (often through marriage) or through conquest. Perhaps most famous is the case of Kveldur, a High Chieftain of the Hrudolfung Clan from whom the House of Eirikr descends from, who created the Duchy of Flodland. This consolidation of land, though, did not cause clans to lose their significance in daily life; most people would have still identified with their clan even if it was a part of a multi-clan duchy. In the case that multiple clans dwelt in the same duchy, a single clan often formed a county within that duchy which the High Chieftain was the count of.
Clans historically played an important role militarily, in the Emerstarian allotment system. As each county had to supply a regiment of at least 500 men and most inhabitants of a county were all of the same clan, it was not uncommon for a regiment to be named after a specific clan or for a regiment to hold its own unique conventions. For example, many of the regiments of the Halleran Islands wear kilts as a part of their uniform. In the new allotment system, which recruits from the duchy-level as opposed to the county-level, a single clan may play less of a role, but clans as a whole nonetheless do still play a role.
List of clans
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|Clan name||Badge||Blazon of crest & motto within clan badge||Clan High Chieftain;
and clan seat
|Akselling||Crest: Per chevron gules argent and on chief azure three bears guardant proper.
Motto: Som det tider så.
|High Chieftain: Olaf Karl Stenning, Earl of Inhavn|
Seat: Stranddal Hus
|Heggenling||Crest: Azure, three lions guardant Or and chief potent.
Motto: Jeg trør.
|High Chieftain: Georg Simeon Leijonhuvud, Duke of Whentii
|Clan of the Houses of Leijonhuvud and Uppenholm.|
|Hrudolfung||Crest: Per bend gules argent, a stag lodged proper and on chief azure fretty and a lion guardant Or.
Motto: Av God, med Slekte.
|High Chieftain: Erik XII Georg
|Clan of the Emerstarian royal family: the House of Eirikr and its several of its cadet branches.|