July 19th, 2005

Not Quite Gypsies / Medieval Army

I've got two questions about a story I'm writing. The setting is purely fictional, but is quite definitely based on Medieval Europe (probably around 1400s or so), but I wanted to clarify a few things for believability's sake.

1) I plan on having a group of nomadic people that somewhat resemble gypsies, and I want them recognizable as such, but since the term gypsy can be racially offensive, I was thinking of calling the people as tinkers instead. Does that term carry any similar offensive tone to it? Is it reasonable to use it in a fictional sense without conjuring up offensive imagery?

2) Would having the 'falling sickness' be something that would keep a young male from being drafted into a militia or an army, if it was a well-known fact that he had it? Assuming that he was still pretty sound of body and mind otherwise (although perhaps kind of 'wimpy' in terms of spirit), would something like the falling sickness still be considered enough of a liability that he wouldn't be rounded up?