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Showing posts from January, 2010

History of Syldavia, Chpt. 2. The Fall of the Kingdom of Muskar I

Brother Demetrios of Travunje, in his biographical chronicle Vita Moscari,De Principio Regis Sildavinae, gives us a description of King Muskar in his later years : “The dread King, despite having occupied the throne for a score of years, remained in great health and resembled a young man in his vigour and his sharp instincts.  Always a great and strong man, he towered over most of his knights.  He was blessed with the bearing and the voice of command with which he cowed the young nobles of court, many of whom had known no other sovereign.” 
Even while his sixties and venerable for his times, King Muskar cut a terrifying political figure and managed to keep the restive nobles obedient through his charismatic leadership and his rapport with the common folk.  Undoubtedly, his readiness to mete out swift and severe retribution in the face of opposition, demonstrated on several occasions, helped to dull some noble’s instincts for rebellion.  The Vita Moscari relates that King Muskar faced …

History of Syldavia Pt. 1

Part of what fired my imagination upon reading King Ottokar’s Sceptre as a child was that Syldavia seemed like it could have been a real place, just somehow overlooked by time and the modern world. It reminded me of the history books I devoured and the museums I visited, except that it had a plot. Hergé accomplished this sense of plausibility with some smoke and mirrors, I think. He sketched out only a bare skeleton of a historical context (it is a comic book after all) and he relied on liberal doses of charismatic props like renaissance uniforms, invented dialects, castles, archaic dynastic law, coup d’états built around dynastic artifacts and the hinted-at historical presence of Islam to convey a sense of history and of the exotic. He then let our imaginations do the rest. This stuff was Mother’s milk to me back then and I lapped it up. I suspect that I am not the only one around here with this story, however (n’est-ce pas, Jean-Louis?). I had a model castle, a small squad of…

Books and a Pocket Geography of Syldavia

Greetings to all, and before it is quite too late, my very best wishes for 2010. Winter has descended on the highlands of Syldavia, whose people (on the Orthodox calendar) are still in the festive season. They are a happy lot, making merry while we are at work! Come to think of it, maybe all the Syldavians do is make merry, plot and fight! A permanent wargamer's holiday.

While I haven't too active on this blog the last two months, I have finally managed to finish a post to submit today. I have also been reading quite a bit as I have had some time with little else to do but sit in a chair and hold the baby as she hasn't been sleeping too well lately and because my uninvited H1N1 guest decided to outstay its welcome. I managed to read for the first time Savory's wonderful history of the Hannover campaign, which I found to be a very lively and informative narrative. Savory wrote very well and he managed to a take an instructive critical perspective on the campaign …