Kingdoms of the Known World, by Ailith Mackintosh

This article was written by Ailith Mackintosh in 1996, and there have been a couple of new kingdoms added since then which are not included here. Still an excellent article, though. Enjoy!   -- Justin


Good day my friends. Have you ever wondered where the names for the kingdoms and some of the principalities in the Society came from? Here is a list compiled from various letters from the Rialto.*

West: Obvious-from the location in the Western United States.

East: Also obvious. However, to add a little spice, notice that the badge of the East, "A tyger passant azure," was chosen because the tyger is a symbol of good luck in Japan (the Far East) and blue is a color associated with good luck in the Middle East.

Middle: Obvious. China was also called "the Middle Kingdom." This was the motivation for the dragon in their arms.

Atenveldt: Aten is an Egyptian god of the Sun. "Veldt" is the Afrikaans word for an arid grassland. This name has the distinction of being the only one derived from a language that did not exist in our period!

Meridies: Latin for South. Apt for a kingdom in the deep South.

Caid: An anacronym for the names of the four founding baronies: Calafia, Angles, Isles, and Dreiburgen. Supposedly also an Arabic word meaning fortress. The crescents and the bordure embattled in their arms refer to this derivation.

Ansteorra: Old English meaning "One Star." Reference to the Lone Star State

Atlantia: A play on the Word "Atlantic." The kingdom is primarily the central Atlantic states.

An Tir: Irish for "the Land."

Calontir: Welsh for "Heartland." The kingdom is in the middle of the US.

Trimaris: Latin for "Three Seas." Florida is bounded by the Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Outlands: Originally "Utanwayard." When that was disallowed, they changed it to "Outlands."

Drachenwald: German for "dragon wood."

And the Principalities:

AEthelmearc: Old English, "noble border." This area was previously known as the Western Marches.

Artemisia: When searching for a name, they tried to find one indigenous lifeform existing in Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. The most obvious one: the sagebrush, whose Latin name includes "artemesia."

Avacal: unknown

Cynagua: A pun on Spanish for "without water." The principality is in California's central valley, which is a desert.

Ealdormere: Possibly Old English for "ancient sea/lake." This area is bordered by the Great Lakes.

Lochac: A late period map shows an island with this name in the general area of Australia.

Mists: Obvious to anyone who has seen the Bay Area fog.

Nordmark: Swedish (or any of several other related languages) for "northern marche."

Northshield: Refers to the geological land formation known as the Canadian Shield or the Cambrian Shield and also refers to the principality being the "shield" of the Midrealm against possible invaders from the north.

Oertha: A variant spelling (or possible misreading) of the Anglo-Saxon word "eorthe" (earth). It is joked that Oertha is pronounced "where the", as in "where the hell are we?"

Summits: Southern Oregon has lots of mountains.

Sun: The Climate.

My thanks to original writers of these letters: Arval d'Espas Nord, Lady Tireachan, Dorothea of Caer-Myddin, Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn, Nicolaa de Bracton and comments from Master Talan Gwynek.

* the Rialto is the SCA Newsgroup on the Internet. (rec.org.sca)

Copyright © 1996 by Kate Soehnlen. All Rights Reserved. Republished by permission of the author.