Pratchett's Countries

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Pratchett's Countries

Postby captainmeme » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:08 pm

I've been thinking about the countries in the Discworld, and how they link to our own, and I saw that most of the Disc countries have a parallel one here, or a religion, or region, etc. Let me show you:

XXXX is Australia. (obvious)
Agetean Empire is China/Japan. (also obvious)
Djelibebi is Egypt. (obviouser)
Omnia seems to be Catholicism in the Middle Ages.
Ephebe is Greece, and therefore Tsort is Troy.
The Ramtops seem to be Tibet, or somewhere in the Himalayas.
Klatch is a bit like Arabia, or the Islamic religion on the whole.
Uberwald may be Romania, or somewhere near, possibly Transylvania.
Borogravia and Zlobenia are part of a large amount of small countries, possibly the Stans? (Uzbakistan, Afganistan etc.) I dont really know that one.
Ankh-Morpork is the Medieval representation of New York.
Quirm is France.
Genua is self-explanatory.

One thing I am stuck on; what are the cities on the Sto Plain? Sto Lat and the others. I thought they may be Italy, because it is a lot of city states, as was Italy in the middle ages, but I'm not sure. Anyone think they know?

If you do see one I've got wrong or missed out, please comment.
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Postby rockershovel » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:41 pm

Uberwald is a cod-German version of Transylvania, which is in turn Latin for "beyond the forest". It's a sort of Hammer-horror version of the Carpathians and Central Europe generally.

Slobenia and Borogravia are the minor, perpetually warring states of the Balkans.

The Circle Sea is approximately the Mediterranean, and the countries around it are the Mediterranean states, more-or-less.

Ankh-Morpork is a generic European Renaissance-era city-state in the early books, although its later descriptions are increasingly Victorian in some ways. The jokes about US police depts ( "FABRICATI DEUS PUNC.. " "protect and serve" ) are just that, jokes.

the joke about the Agatean Empire being also known as Auriental = "where the gold comes from" is also a cod-Latin joke, "gold" in Latin being "aurum"

Lancre is a combination of Appalachia with strong Olde-Englishe elements - thatched cottages, morris dancers, stone circles etc etc. plus the proverbial in-breeding, witches, lusty-lads-and-merry-maids, bizarre names, minimal education and general "rude mechanicals" fol-de-rol dating back to Shakespeare and before ( note that when the Lancre villagers are doing their cod-Twelfth Night theatricals, they respond to being described as "rude mechanicals" with an almost-Flanders and Swann response of belly! bum! drawers! )


Unseen University, at least the non-magical parts, is the same sort of caricature of Oxbridge as the Tom Sharpe book "Porterhouse Blue". Hex etc is a sort of "Manhattan Project" scenario.
Last edited by rockershovel on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pratchett's Countries

Postby The Mad Collector » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:44 pm

captainmeme wrote:Ankh-Morpork is the Medieval representation of New York.


I agree with some of these but there isn't such a thing as a mediaeval New York, besides when you read most of the books set there and look at the map it is clearly based on an amalgam of several of the English cities at that time.

The Ramtops are not the Himalayas or Tibet, they are more like the Pyrenees crossed with Alpine towns and villages if anywhere. The Himalayas are represented by the homes of the various monks mentioned in the books.

As for the Sto Plains, yes the Italian city states are a possible model but go back a few hundred years and this was a far more common position than you might imagine. What we now know as Germany for instance was well over a hundred city and provincial kingdoms, principalities and states.
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Postby MongoGutman » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:50 pm

I always thought Ankh Morpork was London
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Postby The Mad Collector » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:52 pm

If you read the introduction to the map of the city Stephen Briggs explains that he started with chunks of London, York, Chester etc and mixed them up until he could actually map what Terry had written. Terry says he had no city in mind when he wrote the books.
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Postby Teppic » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:58 pm

rockershovel wrote:Uberwald is a cod-German version of Transylvania, which is in turn Latin for "beyond the forest". It's a sort of Hammer-horror version of the Carpathians and Central Europe generally.

Slobenia and Borogravia are the minor, perpetually warring states of the Balkans.

The Circle Sea is approximately the Mediterranean, and the countries around it are the Meditarranean states, more-or-less.

Ankh-Morpork is a generic European Renaissance-era city-state in the early books, although its later descriptions are increasingly Victorian in some ways. The jokes about US police depts ( "FABRICATI DEVS PUNC.. " "protect and serve" ) are just that, jokes.

the joke about the Agatean Empire being also known as Auriental = "where the gold comes from" is also a cod-Latin joke, "gold" in Latin being "aurum"


Agreed. Always seen Ankh-Morpork as a version of London; I wonder whether that's because I'm from London and everyone sees their own city in it, or whether the similarities are actually there.

Slobenia and Borogravia are obviously modelled on the Balkans, though the armies fighting seem more to be more English Civil War.

The two I can think of off the top of my head that the opening post missed out are Llamedos, which is obviously a Discworld Wales full of male singers and harp players, and Howondaland, Discworld's Congo.
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Postby rockershovel » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:58 pm

If anywhere, Ankh-Morpork reminds me of York, with its narrow mediaeval streets, wide silty river and city walls. In which case the surrounding area with its plains of cabbages are ( up to a point ) the Vale of York, but I wouldn't press the point. It could just as easily be the Norwich - Peterborough area.

Really they are just the adjoining city-states which the general scenario requires.
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Postby rockershovel » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:09 pm

re the Slobenian and Borogravian armies, and Discworld armies generally, there is a sort of continuity trap there.

For plotting purposes there are no firearms on the Disc ( well, apart from the "gonne" and the Agatean "barking dogs" ) so any army has to be a sort of late-medieval, slightly pre-Civil War pike-and-sword army. The Watch wear armour and carry edged weapons, and no-one thinks this unusual.

Fred Colon's descriptions of mass formation warfare ( leaving aside the jokes about arrows on maps ) could be any army from the Marian Roman legions to Wellington's at Waterloo.

The Ankh-Morpork aristocracy ( in Jingo ) include a running joke about the famous ball before Waterloo, and the uniforms ( as far as they are described ) appear to date from that era, as do the Borogravian ones, which appear to include red coats, white facings and shakoes. The jokes about respective scientific development in Klatch ( telescope etc ) are late-medieval.
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Postby rockershovel » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:15 pm

there are also Tezumen, which is a generic Meso-American state of the Atzec-Inca type; The Chalk, which is clearly Wiltshire; Muntab, which is actually a real place-name ( a city in India which marked the limit of Alexander's venturing and was in ancient times a proverbial name used in the same way as my mum used to refer to Timbuctoo, as the ultimately remote and incomprehensible place.. se also the Discworld's " Muntab Question" - "where's Muntab?" )
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:41 pm

rockershovel wrote:Ankh-Morpork is a generic European Renaissance-era city-state in the early books, although its later descriptions are increasingly Victorian in some ways. The jokes about US police depts ( "FABRICATI DEUS PUNC.. " "protect and serve" ) are just that, jokes.

That's: Fabricati Diem Pvnk - roughly 'Make My Day Punk'. :lol:

I think there's a danger of thinking these are direct referrences though, as sometimes the rules don't work.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:43 pm

Brindisi is also mentioned in the DW books as being a sort of version of Italy. However, there really is a place called Brindisi in Italy. :D
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Postby captainmeme » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:30 pm

With Ankh-Morpork, it has reminded me of London too; but it is described as 'The Big Wahoonie' in one or more of the books, so I think it is a play on 'The Big Apple' i.e. New York. It seems like a medieval version of the hustle we know of the city today.
Also, I think you're right with Zlobenia and Borogravia being the Balkans; that didn't occur to me.
I missed out the Brown Islands; I think these are either Indonesia or the Caribbean (more likely the former, as they end in XXXX, or Australia).
I also noticed that, apart from Ankh Morpork (which is debatable) there is no reference to the continent of America. This might be because, on a disc, America wouldn't exist?
Anyway, thanks everyone.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:35 pm

Don't you think that Genua is a bit like New Orleans? Maybe a cross between New Orleans and Walt Disney World. :wink:

And as was pointed out, The Tezumen race in Eric is very like Central and South America.
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Postby DaveC » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:41 pm

Tonyblack wrote:Don't you think that Genua is a bit like New Orleans? Maybe a cross between New Orleans and Walt Disney World. :wink:


Great description! Filtered slightly through a Tim Burton sensibility I felt in Witch Abroad?
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Postby captainmeme » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:54 pm

Oh, yes. Sorry, I skim read all the above. Eric does have a link to America, but that's the only one that does (in my opinion). There's a place in Italy called Genua, I think that's what Pratchett based it on.
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