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Branch-Names-art – 2/9/10


“How branches in the Known World were named” by Lord Domhnall na Moicheirghe.


NOTE: See also the files: placenames-msg, placenames2-msg, An-SCA-History-art, Award-Trivia-art, SCA-hist1-msg, SCA-stories1-msg, you-know-msg, Lochac-hist-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefans Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



This article was first published in the February 2010 issue of Stormscroll. the newsletter of the Barony of Stormhold.


How branches in the Known World were named

by Lord Domhnall na Moicheirghe


Part of the history of the Known World are the stories describing how Kingdoms, Principalities and smaller groups were named. For some branches, like Kingdom of the West, the reason behind the name is obvious. For others, it is less so.


Kingdoms and Principalities


I have listed Principalities and Kingdoms in chronological order of becoming a Principality.


West, East and Middle - The first three kingdoms of the Known World were named after their relative locations in North America.


Atenveldt - The name came from the combination of an Egyptian sun god, Aton, and the German word for land vel(d)t, to create the meaning “Land of the Sun” to describe the local climate.[1]


An Tir -  means ”The Land” in Gaelic. [2] One anecdote relates ”Tir” being chosen as the common word amongst a number of popular choices. [3]


Caid - Both an acronym of the four founding baronies (Califia, Angles, Isles, Dreibergen) and means “fortress” in Arabic. The crown prince of Caid is referred to as al-Caid which means “commander of the fortress”. [4]


Meridies - Derived from the word for “southern” in Latin (meridianus) and Old French (meridien). Refers to the Kingdom’s location in the Southern United States [4].


the Sun - This Principality reincorporated into the Kingdom of Atenveldt when the Principality of Artemisia became a Kingdom. Its name, like the name of its parent kingdom, describes the local climate of the area [4].


the Outlands - Prior to becoming a principality, this region was described as “the Outlands” (i.e. outlying areas) of the Kingdom of Atenveldt.

A Laurel King of Arms once asked “What is it ‘OUT’ of though?”. AElflaed of Duckford responded, ”The same thing the West is West of, the East is East of and the Middle’s in the Middle of.” [5]


Ansteorra - Old English for “singular” or “unique star”. Texas, the “Lone Star” State, forms the vast majority of the territory of this Kingdom.


the Mists - References the thick fog that often covers this Principality located in the San Francisco Bay Area. [4]


Cynagua - Derived from the Spanish sin agua ”no water” as this Principality is in California’s Central Valley, which is a desert.[4]


Drachenwald - German for “Dragon’s Forest” [4].


Atlantia - References the Kingdom’s location along the central Atlantic coast of North America. [4]


Calontir - Derived from the Welsh: calon ”heart” and tir  ”land”, meaning ”Heartland”, describing this Kingdom’s territory in the centre of North America. [3]


Trimaris - Latin for “three seas” referring to the three bodies of water that surround this Kingdom: the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and the Atlantic. [4]


Oertha – Various versions of the same story exist, telling how this name was taken from an article in an airline magazine by Sir Kylson Skyfyre, which said Oertha meant “guardian of the north” [4] or “the great land”, possibly in a native American or a Celtic language (since oer is Welsh for “cold”).


Lochac - Comes from the writings of Marco Polo, where he catalogs the lands to the south of continental Asia. Lochac is described as a land south of Java with a sovereign king. [6]


Artemisia - taken from the Latin term for sagebrush - Artemisia tridentata, a very common plant throughout this Kingdom. The Silver Sage also provides much inspiration for Artemisia’s awards, titles and newsletter names. [3]


Æthelmearc - Anglo-Saxon for “noble borderland.” Æthel = noble, Mearc = march or borderland, referring to Æthelmearc’s position as the borderland between the East and Middle Kingdoms and the site of the Pennsic War battlefields. [3]


Ealdormere - From Old English: ealdor = elder, ancestral; mere = sea, ocean, lake. References the Great Lakes that surround this Kingdom. [4]


Northshield - References the Kingdom’s location in the far north of North America and the “Canadian Shield”, a large geological area covering central and eastern Canada. [4]


the Summits - Refers to the mountains of southern Oregon in which this Principality is located. [4]


Avacal – This name was taken from a territory shown on late 16th century maps of North America, such as the 1562 Gutierrez map and the 1570 Ortelius atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.


Nordmark - Swedish for “Northern Marches”, which is doubly appropriate given this Principality is located in Sweden, in the north of Drachenwald. [4]


Gleann Abhann - Gaelic for “River Valley”, as this Kingdom centres around the valley of the Mississippi River. [7]


Tir Rígh - Gaelic for “the Land of the King” [8], and presumably also a reference to An Tir, the Kingdom in which this Principality is located.



Territorial Branches of Lochac


I have only included groups with registered names, so some incipient Cantons are not included.


Abertridwr - Welsh meaning “the meeting of three waters”. [9]


Adora – originally submitted as “Colles Ardorum” meaning “Hills of Flame” in Latin, the similar sounding Adora was documented as the name of a small town in Palestine. [10]


Agaricus –  Agaricus is a genus of mushroom and in Latin, was the name of a tree-fungus used in Roman medicine.


Aneala – “An eala” is Gaelic for swan, the emblem of Western Australia and the name of the river that runs through Perth.


Arrowsreach - registered as Arrowreach which is “the raised strip of land on the river Arrow” in Middle English [11]. The name was chosen as a reference to the founders who included many of the best combat archers in Lochac at that time.


Bacchus Wood – Named after the Roman god of wine and intoxication as several founding members of the original Canton of Riverhaven were avid vintners and brewers.


Bosenberg – registered as Bosenberg, with no umlaut, although it is often written as Boesenberg or Bösenberg. The original proposed name was Böseneck, after a town in Germany named for a “bad corner” where travellers were waylaid by a bandit gang.


Bordescros – Refers to this shire’s position on the state borders between Victoria and New South Wales.  Originally submitted as “Borders Crossing”.


Burnfield - Old English meaning “open land by a stream”. [12]  This name has multiple references: the canton is located in the Burnett region around the Burnett River; there are many small streams or “burns” in this canton; and the major crop is sugar so the fields are burned back every year after harvest.


Cairnfell – Taken from a Scottish place name meaning “a mountain with a cairn on it”, from Gaelic cairn = pile of stones used as a boundary or grave marker, and Norse fell or fjell = hill or mountain. [13]


Castellum Montanum – Latin for “Castle of the Mountains”.


Cluain - Irish Gaelic meaning “meadows”, referring to the local countryside. [14]


Darton – Registered as Darton when the original proposal, Darchester, was returned for being too similar to the mundane English town, Dorchester.


Dismal Fogs - Refers to fog over the Blue Mountains.


Ildhafn - means “fire harbour” in Old Danish, referring to the geography of the region. Auckland is built
on an active volcanic field and is known as “the city of sails” for its two harbours.


Innilgard – The name was taken from the roleplaying game hosted by the founding Baron and played by many of the founders of this Barony.


Krae Glas – From the Gwenedeg dialect of Breton [15] meaning “Blue Strand”, referring to the shire’s location along the southeastern coast of Victoria.


Mordenvale – This name was developed from a description of the local area as a “dark valley”, referring to the coal found throughout the region. The eventual name was derived from the Old English morđor “murder, violence” and Middle English vale.


Politarchopolis - Greek for “city of governors” (i.e. politicians). Originally submitted as “Politikopolis”. [16]


River Haven – Named after the Brisbane River that originally ran through the centre of this Barony and now forms its southern border.


Rowany – Rowany was named after Mistress Rowan Perigrynne, for her efforts in founding the SCA in Australia. [17]


Southron Gaard – Derived from Old Norse for “Southern City”, which is appropriate given it is the southern most Barony in the Known World. [18]


St Florian de la Riviere – Heavy fighting was one of the focuses of the founders of this barony and they wanted a name that represented this. Saint Florian was chosen as he was a Roman imperial army commander and is the patron saint of firefighters. Anecdotally, the original idea for St Florian is said to have come from a founder’s crush on a gentleman named Florian.


Stormhold – Refers to the extremely variable weather that Melbourne is renowned for.


Stowe on the Wowld - Middle English for ‘an inhabitated place in a woodland’. [19] Originally submitted as “Stowe on the Wald”. [20]


Torlyon – from the Scottish tor “a sharp hill” and lyon, a period spelling of lion. Refers to the branch newsletter “Heard from a Black Lion” and the mountain on the Crossroads Co-op property, the site of the Rowany Festival for 5 years.


Willoughby Vale – A constructed English place name. This canton was previously known as Parvus Portus, Latin for “Poor Port”. [21]


Ynys Fawr - Welsh for “Big Island”, an apt description of Tasmania.



Shires, Provinces and Baronies from across the Known World


Here is a small selection of some of the more original methods of choosing branch names from outside Lochac:



Please note that many of the names listed above were created many years ago. For some, the historical documentation needed to register similar names today would be difficult, if not impossible to find.



Thank you to everyone from around the Known World who sent helpful emails or posted to the Shambles, SCAHRLDS or the SCA_IKA community on LiveJournal in response to my queries on this topic.


Where I found stories in online documents, the sources are noted below:


[1] http://www.atenveldt.org/Portals/0/articles/history%20of%20aten%202009.pdf">http://www.atenveldt.org/Portals/0//articles/history%20of%20aten%202009.pdf

[2] http://medievalscotland.org/postings/antiradj.shtml

[3] http://www.goldenstag.net/MiscSCA/glossary.htm">http://www.goldenstag.net/MiscSCA/glossary.htm

[4] http://www.florilegium.org/files/STORIES/placenames-msg.html">http://www.florilegium.org/files/STORIES/placenames-msg.html

[5] http://www.florilegium.org/files/STORIES/Outl-hist-msg.html">http://www.florilegium.org/files/STORIES/Outl-hist-msg.html

[6] http://cunnan.sca.org.au/wiki/Lochac

[7] http://www.kingdomofgleannabhann.org/Documents/Forms/Historian/GAHistory.html">http://www.kingdomofgleannabhann.org/Documents/Forms/Historian/GAHistory.html

[8] http://heraldry.sca.org/loar/2002/11/02-11lar.html">http://heraldry.sca.org/loar/2002/11/02-11lar.html

[9] http://www.sca.org.au/abertridwr/WebMain.html">http://www.sca.org.au/abertridwr/WebMain.html

[10] http://oscar.sca.org/index.php?action=145&;id=3808

[11] http://www.sca.org.au/herald/camel/1999/12/camel99_12.html">http://www.sca.org.au/herald/camel/1999/12/camel99_12.html

[12] http://www.sca.org.au/herald/camel/2004/04/camel2004_04.html">http://www.sca.org.au/herald/camel/2004/04/camel2004_04.html

[13] http://www.sca.org.au/herald/camel/2006/02/camel2006_02.shtml">http://www.sca.org.au/herald/camel/2006/02/camel2006_02.shtml

[14] http://www.sca.org.au/herald/camel/2003/11/camel2003_11.html">http://www.sca.org.au/herald/camel/2003/11/camel2003_11.html

[15] http://heraldry.sca.org/loar/1995/10/err.html

[16] http://heraldry.sca.org/loar/1988/10/lar.html">http://heraldry.sca.org/loar/1988/10/lar.html

[17] http://cunnan.sca.org.au/wiki/Barony_of_Rowany">http://cunnan.sca.org.au/wiki/Barony_of_Rowany

[18] http://sg.sca.org.nz/about.htm

[19] http://www.sca.org.au/herald/camel/2002/06/camel2002_06.html">http://www.sca.org.au/herald/camel/2002/06/camel2002_06.html

[20] http://heraldry.sca.org/loar/2002/10/02-10lar.txt">http://heraldry.sca.org/loar/2002/10/02-10lar.txt

[21] http://www.sca.org.au/herald/camel/2000/11/camel2000_11.html">http://www.sca.org.au/herald/camel/2000/11/camel2000_11.html


Copyright 2009 by Donald Campbell. <actrealdon at hotmail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org