Some Early History

From IBWiki

Jump to: navigation, search

Some Early History of the Ill Bethisad Project

Back in 2008 I put together some thoughts on the early years of the Project.

Ill Bethisad as an Extension of the Secret Vice

Conlanging -- the art and craft of creating languages -- has been refered to as the Secret Vice, on account of it being a relatively unknown art. Star Trek's Klingon and the movie versions of "Lord of the Rings" have brought the art of conlanging into the public awareness, but not many are much aware of it or those who engage in the art. Languages do not exist in vacuuo, and a natural companion to the art of conlanging is that of conculturing -- the art and craft of creating cultures. It is closely allied to world building and the whole D&D phenomenon, as well as the more 'acceptable' story telling arts of the novel or short story author.

Not all conlangers build cultures for their languages' speakers, but most recognise that culture is a strong informer of language and shapes how a language does its job. Not all conculturists bother to construct languages for their people, though most understand that language is a part of their cultures. It is certainly possible to do one without the other, but quite a number do both. Ill Bethisad is largely the story of a small number of folks interested in conlanging and conculturing and what they came up with.

The constructed langauge called Brithenig -- Latin brought through the same sound changes that otherwise produced Welsh *here* -- was created by Andrew Smith of Dunedin, New Zealand as a "thought experiment" some time in 1996 or thereabouts, having seen an article on how the Latin language might have sounded in the mouths of Celtic speaking Britons. It’s a historical consideration a number of conlangers have had over the years (and I’m certainly among that number, having already tried my hand at the horrific mixture of Old Irish and Latin), but Andrew not only offered the first public Romano-Celtic conlang, he made a truly skilled job of getting the historical bits and pieces in place. Whereas most conlangers aim for some basically aesthetic goal (I am definitely one of those!); Andrew’s aim was was to create a language that is historically plausible.

His experiment was simply to carry that initial idea forth and to bring it into being. Andrew used careful research and reconstruction techniques which yielded a wonderful masterpiece of conlang technique, bordering closely on the land of “reconstructed languages”, and has earned it a place as a well respected conlang.

The natural progression of taking up conlanging is asking the question of oneself: "What kind of people speak this language?"...


Lla Sessiwn

Andrew did a goodly bit of work on Brithenig speakers and prepared a web page for his language. In the Summer of 1997, I found it, liked what I saw, and began to ask him questions about the language. Over the course of a couple of months, this led to back-and-forth emails; and others were also interested in Andrew's creation. On 9 Oct 1997 the informal mails between various interested parties (John Cowan, Ray Brown, Peter Skye and myself) led to the creation of the Sessiwn , which is Brithenig for "session" or "gathering", between Andrew, myself in Washington and Peter C. Skye in New York for the purpose of "discuss[ing] and cultivat[ing] Brithenig language and culture."

Our principal interest in the Dream Time of those early days was in the Brithenig language itself. While Brithenig was pretty well planned out by the time the Sessiwn was initiated, there were still a number of questions that Andrew was still working on and our help and input were solicited. In short order, the Original Cadre of five Members -- Andrew Smith, Peter Skye, Padraic Brown, Ray Brown and John Schilke (who was involved with the Language Development List) -- was in place.

The first "Constitution" of how the Sessiwn works was devised by Ray in November: "But I think you, Padraic & I (and any one else) are more like advisors to a medieval monarch than participants in a modern democracy. It's Andrew language & we advise & make suggestions; the decision in the end must be his." Andrew ammended in thuswise: "His majesty is very amused. But I would think of Brithenig [the project] as a constitutional monarchy - an act of parliament is liable to have as much approval as any of my own decisions."

John Cowan set up the Sessiwn Archives which consists of the repository of all the early Brithenig related materials, including all the stuff from before he joined the group. After we moved from a private email list on to various public lists like Conlang, Celticonlang and Conculture, the old Archives were no longer updated.

In mid 1998, we discussed moving the Sessiwn from a private email distribution list over to a public forum called Celticonlang, out of Uni. of Colorado. The results were mixed, one Member flat out said "no" to the move, several of us were hesitant about the public nature of a listserv list. In the end, the Sessiwn ended up moving onto Celticonlang, but the old private email system was kept intact for those who did not wish to move. Any messages we wrote had to be CCed to individual Sessiwn members and often to the Conlang list as well if we hoped to get every Member involved.

1998 was brought to a close with 11 Members on the List, most of which were reasonably active. We also welcomed the many ideas and suggestions of other people on Conlang and Celticonlang.


Chrstomathy of Sessiwn Topics


I think it might be of interest to put together a consolidated and chronological presentation of the key topics we discussed in the early years.


1997-1998


One of our early cultural interests was religion, especially, the religion practiced in Kemr. As one might expect from a modern Western nation, it is a form of Christianity, Catholicism in fact. What might not be expected is that it is not Roman Catholicism which most people are familiar with. In stead, it is a uniate church, in doctrinal union with Rome but having its own traditions, hierarchy and some difference in practice. In December, Andrew noted on Conlang "In our history [*here*] the Celtic Church was absorbed into the Roman Church in the 7th and 8th centuries. But down the other [trouser] leg [of history] the Celtic Church had the patronage of the Princes of Kemr and preserved it as the Established Church of Kemr. By the 11th century the Celtic Church acknowledged the authority of the Pope and became known as the Cambriese Rite after that period. The spiritual head of the church in Kemr is the Abbot Patriarch of Glastonbury. Like all religions in European nations the Cambriese Rite is declining in numbers in the modern era as people seek out new forms of spirituality, the most popular being Rugby. The liturgy of the Cambriese Rite is based on the Stowe Missal, which, one day, I promise myself, I will translate into Brithenig."

Peter [and I] have always favoured a more "Celtic" Cambrian Rite Church. Peter made the stance plain: "On another front, I'm really sorry to note that the Church of Kemr capitulated to Roman suzerainty in 1100. There went any chance for substantive development of catholic doctrine and polity, particulary regarding (1) the exclusivity of Christ in the economy of salvation and (2) the role of women in the Church. I had been hoping for some real development here, but ah well."

Ray responded "I think one needs to be careful with religion. I know from bitter experience how easy it is to offend. I don't know (indeed, have no wish to know) the religious or other affiliations of list members; but I do know that there is at least one committed, practicing Catholic amongst them so that terms like 'capitulation' & 'Roman suzerainty' are not helpful.

"I think Andrew's account is the most plausible. In the upheavals following Saxon invasions, the Celts were severed somewhat from the mainstream western Church. When things settled & churches we[re] more in communication again then, as we know from 'real' history, there was a desire for uniformity. It affected _practice_, i.e. the Celts were still using a pre-Nicene method of calculating Easter, not doctrine which was much the same.

"As regards the role of women, they have always had a role, but it has differed at different times & in different places. There's no evidence that I know of that things were any different in the among the Celts than in other places. Remarkable women have played an important role in the Church right up till the present day, as we have seen with Mother Theresa.

"I think 'the exclusivity of Christ in the economy of salvation' opens up a can of worms; and four centuries of continued misrepresentation by different factions does not help.

"It seems to me very unlikely that any Celtic church would've different significantly from the doctrines & practice in the continental western Church & in the eastern Churches in this respect. I think it'd be very unwise to have the Kemr[ese] anticipating by some six centuries the doctrines of the later Protestant divines."

Then Peter again: "As for Ray's concern that I am retrofitting the Protestant Reformation into the Church of Kemr, I firmly believe that, given the warmer reception afforded to women of power in Celtic lands, the Church of Kemr could have evolved differently. Also, the dogma of the exclusivity of Christ has had its challengers within the Church throughout its history. I'd like to think that those who weren't burnt at the stake found refuge within Kemr."

I have always been in favour of a Cambriese Rite married priesthood and even possibly an ordained female priesthood as well. For my part, I offered: "I quite agree with the 'capitulate to the suzerainty' bit. That is 100% accurate. In my opinion, the Pope, and indeed the whole Church would like nothing more than to see all of Christendom 'capitulate'. The Triple Crown and St. Peter's Seat aren't empty symbols -- they are signs of ultimate authority, and, undoubtedly, continuing reminders of the want of this authority in reality. [...] With respect to the 'warmer reception of women of power' bit, I think it very likely that, given Kemr's peculiar culture, the church there would or could be different, even if slightly. I think a good, if imperfect, analogy would be the position of homosexuals in the US w/r to churches. Recently, all sorts of churches have been stumbling all over themselves in the rush to welcome gays and even allow them to be ministers, marry _and_ be open about their sexuality. (Of course, the CC was not one of them.) The point, of course, is that culture affects religion."

Andrew weighed in: "The Church in Kemr is based on reading that I have been doing for a long time now in the field of so-called Celtic Spirituality or Celtic Christianity. Celtic Christianity always identified itself with the universal (catholic) church, but where the universal church inovated in practices the Celtic church, out of communication with the rest of the church, did not. The tensions this caused was resolved by the Roman practices rendering the Celtic practices by sheer dominance. The Synod of Whitby played an important role in this by giving Roman practices royal patronage in northern England. Slide over into Kemrese history during this period and you will find a Kemrese/Mercian coalition dominant in northern England up until the eve of the Viking raids. The question of when to celebrate Easter never occured because everyone observed Celtic practice. But in a more communicable age both Rome and Glastonbury sought to restore/create the unity of Christendom. The model they chose was based on the Council of Florence, an attempt to avoid schism between Rome and Constantinople, the Kemrese acknowledged the Patriarchy of Rome, but continued in their own practices, including their own spiritual government at Glastonbury. They avoided some of the excesses of the Catholic church, but not all, this is the history of the Kemrese, not the history of best of all worlds.

"The Kemrese have been in contact with the Eastern Orthodox for a very long time. The princes of Kemr always acknowledged the Emperor in Constantinople their overlord after the end of the western empire. Most social fringe groups do not take any hopes of the restoration of the imperial throne of the east seriously any more. Orthodox historians see Celtic Christianity as an example of 'Western Orthodoxy' in its pre-Whitby form. Some modern Celtic Christian groups indentify themselves as Orthodox. I don't know what the Orthodox would think of the Cambriese Rite. Most likely the Orthodox church was too remote to consider serious union with it, and Catholicism too immediate.

"I suspect the Reformation had a weaker impact on the British in Kemrese history. If Kemr and England remained seperate the Plantagenet dynasty may have remained in power and not broken with Rome. Nonconformity/Lollardism would exist but not the Anglican Communion. The Wars of Religion on the continent may have been acted out in Britain also."

These questions were not satisfactorily explored at the time, but some work was done much later by myself. Probably a little more in the direction of Peter's desire than Ray's, but I think within the framework first proffered by Andrew.


The next cultural controversy was the flag of Kemr. Many design ideas were introduced, and we decided on a representation of "Ill Dragun Rhys" -- the Red Dragon. Part and parcel with the decision in favour the Red Dragon was the notion of Romanitas -- the early Kemrese considered themselves to be Romans. This is an idea that has always been in the background of Kemr, but has never been very firmly stated except by Ray when voting in favour of the Red Dragon design.


Early in 1998, Peter brought to light something that has never really been discussed or satisfactorily resolved even until now, some seven years after he wrote it, namely the existence of some kind of "European Community" in IB and the Federated Kingdom's part therein: "I have been greatly troubled by the simmering identity crisis which finally boiled over when Kemr was approached by the European Community. Television, newspapers, pubs, even the traditionally apolitical Church were rocked for the first time by anything other than a rugby victory when the question was asked: are we Latins and therefore oriented towards the Mediterranean? or are we Celts and should be champions of the Atlantic? Is it sound national policy or just habit that we continue to play the English off against the French? and do we have more in common with Romania than we'd like to think? I find the flag issue quite emblematic of the times!"


Andrew next turned to some geographical elements of Kemr, leading to the discovery of many place names; and then to a first glimpse at the political system. We found that the king isn't just a king, but Ill Teruin, the Lord of the Land.


A period of minor discussions followed: Arthurian legend as the basis for modern day Kemrese Pagan revivalism, calendar systems in Kemr, Kemrese foodways - recipes, matters of ethnicities within Kemr, the flag of Kemr again, "O Little Town of Pluifairllagunblancoryllentiostillrhebiddgurypluitysiliocafurnrys", folkloristic goblins and bogeys, onomastics.


A short discussion on the dating of Easter in Kemr is of interest:

[Padraic:] Which Easter the Kemrese have: the Western (today) or the Eastern (next week)? If the Cambrian Rite is supposed to be somewhat oriented towards Constantinople, then the later date could be argued; but the fact that the Roman church is rather more at hand, the Cambrian could have changed the date along with Rome or at some later time.

[John Schilke:] I should think that the Cambrian Rite would have retained the original formula and date, and I mean not to be chauvinistic at all. The problem in the British [forgive the term!] Isles was that there was no commonly accepted date (through all of Christendom) and the impact of Rome was to settle things in its favor. There is abundant evidence of connection between [at least] North Africa and the Celtic churches, and the method of dating would have been either entirely local or Byzantine by the time of the Schism. The exact history is somewhat involved, but it seems to me that a better argument exists for the Eastern date, given the quasihistorical foundation of the Kemrese.

[Andrew:] My own thoughts toward which Easter the Kemrese observe might turn out to be neither. The pre-Whitby Celtic Church preserved an older calculation than that used by Rome and possibly Constantinople. I think it had an eighty year cycle rather than the nineteen year cycle that is universally accepted. The Cambriese rite still adheres to that anachronism, although the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar in the early modern period may have confused this difference further. If anyone knows the method for calculating the Celtic Church Easter I would be glad to know it.

[Ray:] What happened at Whitby was not that Rome pushed its own method on the Celtic Church; the main argument that persuaded the Celts to change was that the _whole_ of Christendom celebrated it on a common date, except the Celts. [...] At Whitby the Celts who had adhered to one of the pre-Nicene methods, accepted the Nicene method used universally elsewhere. It seems to me very unlikely that any Cambrian church would not also have adopted the Nicene date.

[One problem with this is that Whitby never happened *there*...]

Further discussions ensued on the Federated Kingdoms, VID/SIDA - HIV/AIDS, what happened in North America - is there a USA or not?, the British Empire, War of the Roses, Ray Brown's "Plea in Favour of the Gael", existence of the Brzhona in Little Britain - and thus a horizon beyond the edge of the British Isles (threads entitled "Modern History and the Brzhona" et sim.), foreshadowing of the Arvorec Isles, notions of direction and orientation in Kemr and the terms pertaining, Salic Law and the survival of the petty kingdoms of pre-Cambrian Britain, FF-words and other vulgarisms, Kemrese proverbs, Kemrese storytelling, royal lineages, Kemrese philately and monetary issues, the North American League and Covenant, musical instrument names, animal names, and Christmas and holiday activities.


1999


A fine and weighty New Year’s message from Andrew: “Brithenig speakers are luckier than some since at any time I could be working on their grammar and history, Padraic updates the Kernu language in Dunein province, John Cowan suggested the Solemn League of North America, and Ray contributes suggestions to the grammar as well as several others sit in on our lively if erratic discussions. So when I turn off the "television" the Chomro don't disappear. They are out there living in their dysfunctional families in their imperfect Western society. Because they have their own alternative history they have reality, but they must hate it when I revise the grammar or change a date - it would be like starting from scratch every time. Perhaps they never notice that God is fallible.”


The Brithenig Project was introduced on the newly created Conculture list on 19 February. Pablo Flores asked: “This is interesting. I don't think you have told us about the Kemrese. I gather the conworld is an alternate one maybe. Please tell us more!” I responded…

The Kemrese are simply the Brithenig speakers, who make occasional appearances on Conlang. It is indeed an alternate world; and one where the Latin language survives in Britain after the Romans retreated.

The intervening centuries have seen the political consolidation of the Kemrese state, and the amalgamation of Roman and Celtic culture. They've got a constitutional monarchy and most of the doodads associated with (reasonably) modern society. Some differences to note between *there* and *here*: long distance travel is accomplished by means of zeppelins, since aeroplanes are relegated to military use; life is a little slower-paced on the whole and technology isn't quite as advanced (though is probably more advanced in some areas): motorcars are not seen with the same high frequency, and indeed, many country roads are unpaved; trains play a significant role in land transport. The "metric system" is relegated to history books as a mad scheme adopted by the First French Republic, but was shortly abandoned; the whole world doesn't speak English (I think it may be safe to say that Brithenig, French and Spanish are strong contenders in the West); the money is not decimal (pounds/shillings/pence in much of western Europe; escudos/reales/maravedis (or similar) in Spain and Latin America).

Culturally, the Kemrese consider themselves "Romans" and therefore aligned somewhat with the Latin world; but still have a firm Celtic root. There is some sort of clan system in effect (though I don't know much about it); loud bagpipes and clarinets, jigs and contradances, town brass bands and harp wielding bards figure prominently in the musical end of things; pubs, ale, football (_not_ US style!), rugby, horseracing, and vocal political discourse (often in conjunction with the aforementioned ale in pubs) round out daily life fairly well.

John Cowan can probably sort out some of the politics and history better than me; and if the Mastermind of this whole project (Andrew Smith) joins up, he can certainly shed more light on things.”


The discovery of a new folksong, the Riddle Song as well as the first development of one of Kemr’s great bards, Kemper the Rover: “Having dredged deeply into Comroig musicology, I've found this little ditty: the Riddle Song. (I can't do the notes in ASCII satisfactorily, so must leave them off.) It's a rather popular song throughout Europe, and this is a Cambrian version from Dr. Widgery's Collection of Kemper the Rover's Repertoire.

Kemper was a wandering bard who travelled Britain, Ireland and France; stopping off at cottage and castle alike to play for his bread and frequently composed tunes inspired by members of the household ("Sal Smith's Lament", "The Governess' Peculiar Twitch", "Mrs. Widgery's Border", "Jocko's Hapenny Nag", etc.). In such situations, the fiddle was his instrument of preference; but he was also quite handy with the harp, and took away more than one prize from local contests and fairs. Dr. Widgery credits Kemper with composing this version of the song; but it's likely that he simply adapted it to the Brithenig language from French. In any event, it's the oldest extant version in Cambria, being of the late 16th century, while the others date from the early 17th century on.”

This led to a long and productive discussion on Brithenig plurals, Celtic month names, some monetary issues and Sally getting a new car.


Several small discussions ensued. We learned about Calen Marth and the eating of leeks and wearing of daffodils ensued, thus setting the stage for the Kemrese revels on St. David’s day. Andrew described early Kemrese slavery; we learned about the general makeup of a typical Kemrese town and heard about the publication of the first bilingual Brithenig-English dictionary (1547).

Kemr ceased being a Principtad and became a Rheon – quite a surprise was that!

A little more work was done on the Kemrese church. We settled how priests and bishops are related to the monestaries and how they are subordinated to the abbots thereof. We first heard about Queen Diana (of England-Scotland) as well.

A nice discussion on racism / nationality ensued: “There have always been two or three communities in Cambria where the English population outnumbered the Chomro, despite the fact they have always Kemrese patriots. But for nearly two hundred years Cambria has had an open border with England, and not all the visitors have gone home again. This causes some resentment among the Chomro which has lead to violence. Not all Kemrese citizens support such activity, which is seen as caused by an ultra-nationalist minority. // Lies! Government Propaganda! Bloody Saxons...mumble mumble. The Comro shall rise up and drive the bloody Saxon from their shores! Then it'll be up the long ladder and hi for the good old days!!”

We had our first forays into the English of Ill Bethisad: “It seems from perusing the Kernu Grammar that English *there* is a tad archaic by the standards of *here*, which is not too surprising. In particular, "thou" and "thee" have been preserved, though their matching verb forms have been assimilated to the regular form: "thou were", "thou have", and presumably "thou are". The collapse of "ye" into "you" appears to be complete, however.” And our first look at Cummrian (English spoken with a Brithenig accent): "...Tyan charver ho sais: 'Wos fannen ye laddes then, eh?' An tyether he sais: 'Weill, we're lowpen ower yon yat, laik.' 'Calles thou yon a yat? I calles yon a lil wecket.' Or, thers nowt worse then callen a chores yat "lil" or "wee". Sais Jocko, 'Or deek here, pal ...'" [Smith, 1966. "Folklore of England. Volume 5: Cumbria"]

The new version of the Kerno Grammar was published, an expanded, corrected and updated version of the previous book. It came with a warning about the earlier edition: “WARNING! The book entitled "Kernu Grammar" is, in the opinion of Conlang Saftey Bureau (CSB), hopelessly out of date. Close all copies of this book immediatley, bind with chain and dispose of properly! The Verbal and Nominal Paradigms contained therein are known to be unstable and could spontaneously Conjugate and/or Decline without notice! This is your final warning -- flee the vicinity now, and take shelter under the nearest Dangling Participle; this is the only known way to survive the highly reactive Grimm-Verner particles. WARNING!”

John C. gave us our first look at the Brithenig spoken in the NAL-SLC: “The American dialect of Brithenig is orthographically just like the standard language, but has differences in phonology (which I will discuss) and lexis (which I will not). It comes in a Northern flavor spoken in the province of New Castreleon, and a smaller Southern flavor spoken in the province of Ter Mair. This discussion is pan-dialectal.

American Brithenig (AmBr) has "the same" phonology as American English (which is not the same as American English *here*, of course). Therefore, ll and rh are pronounced like l and r respectively. (I believe this is also characteristic of Brithenig in Ill Paes?) Ae oe are pronounced the same as ai oi. The non-English diphthongs ew iw/yw are both pronounced [ju], so "New" in "New Castreleon" is the same in both AmBr and AmEng: [nju].

All three languages (English, Brithenig, Scots) have in the New World adopted the "r grasseye" (uvular r). This is generally believed to be due to heavy French immigration in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This is the distinguishing mark of the "American accent" and was memorably described by the Britophile novelist of the City of New Castreleon, Enrhig James, as "a morose grinding of the back teeth". Final consonants which are dropped in Standard Brithenig are carefully preserved in AmBr, including -f everywhere, -r on infinitives, and -t on participles. This is thought to be due to immigrant influence; those who learned the language from book-grammars did not drop final consonants.

All educated Americans are at least bilingual, and many are trilingual, so the languages have influenced one another in various ways. Most AmEng speakers are rhotic, and the pure vowels [e] [o] of Scots have displaced the English [ej] [@w]. The English tend to believe as a result that American English is really Scots, but grammatically and lexically it is clearly English. American Scots is conservative by the homeland's standards, but I do not have details.

Note that English "gh" is still [x] *there*; this is not a point of difference between Britain and America.”


Some Other Tidbits of Early IB History

Ray Brown's "Plea in Favour of the Gael"

“Interesting tho the recent threads on the 'British' Empire & the Federated Kingdoms may be, as a Celtophile I urge you not to overlook one basic fact: the existence of Brithenig & Padraic's Kerno mean that yet another group of Celtic languages were killed off.

English is sometimes portrayed as the "big baddie" that killed off Celtic langs. Not so - the greatest 'killer' was spoken Latin. There was a time when north Italy was Celtic speaking, together with northern Spain, the whole of Gaul/France and parts of what is now Belgium, as well as, of course, the British isles. Throughout this large area all the Celtic langs eventually gave way to Latin & then the modern Romance langs. Now Andrew & Padraic have spread this to Britannia & Brittonic Celtic has given way to Romance langs. If any RomanoBritish fled to Amorica to escape either Saxon or, what is now thought much more likely, Irish depredations, they'd have taken their celticized Romance with them - hence no Breton (I suspect the Romance they took would've soon be absorbed into the Romance dialects already being spoken in the region [Not so, given the existence of Brehonecq and the possible existence of Brzhona.]).

Although as a linguist I find the Brithenig project intriguing and think Andrew has blended the Celtic substrate influence with the 'hard core' Romance of the language in a very skillful way, I bewail a world without Brittonic Celtic. *There* the _only_ survivals of the once widespread Celtic langs will be the Gaelic langs!

Please, whatever you do with your alternative history, please ensure the Gaels are treated more kindly *there* than they have been *here*. Can you avoid depopulating the Highlands & let the Irish keep their own language? It's a small request to compensate for the loss of Welsh, Cornish & Breton.”

And indeed the Irish were largely left to their own devices and bogs. To the extent that many traditional institutions, such as the ancient kingship, bards and et r. are still fairly intact.


John Cowan devised the first Brithenig folk song, sung to the tune "My Bonnie Lies Oer the Ocean":

Mew badr coenoscef Gris-Geory, Gris-Geory coenoscef mew bad'; Mew badr coenoscef Gris-Geory, Gris-Geory coenoscef mew bad'; Lâ - lâ, lâ - lâ, Gris-Geory coenoscef mew bad', mew bad'; Lâ - lâ, lâ - lâ, Gris-Geory coenoscef mew bad'.


John Cowan came up with the NAL-SLC in 1998

I have figured out the names and affiliations of the colonies in North America as of the end of the Seven Years' War:

Newfoundland (English) New Scotland (Scottish) Canada (English/Kemrese joint administration; 95% speak French) [now called Ontario] [The French speaking bit was calved off to become the independent country of New France. Ontario is largely English and Native speaking.] Massachusetts Bay (English) Connecticut (English) New Hampshire (English) Rhode Island (English, many other nationalities) Castreleon New (Kemrese, many Dutch and English) The Jerseys (English) [now known to be Kent and Oxbridge, the latter being Scottish] Pennsylvaania (English/Kemrese joint administration; Pennsylvaanisch is also an official language, spoken by 40%; colony is called "Pennsylvaanien" in German/Pennsylvaanisch). New Sweden (English) [now affiliated with the SR] Ter lla Fair (Kemrese; most inhabitants are Guddelic) Virginia (English) Carolina (English) Hendrica (English; many other nationalities) [later called Jacobia]

Other provinces have since come to light.

Fearing an outbreak of anti-Protestant repression on the part of the home countries, especially England, and resisting taxation by the home Parliaments on constitutional grounds, representatives of all of these except Canada met in 1803 to issue the Solemn League and Convenant, declaring that the mediaeval doctrine of *cuius regio, eius religio* was a dead letter, and that "these colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States subject only to Their Majesties"; independent, that is, of the home Parliaments.

The Solemn League was eventually, if reluctantly, approved by Costentin IX for Kemr, and Charlotte I for England and Scotland. The war against Napoleon was expensive enough without going to war in North America as well, which had not been paying its taxes since 1774 anyway, when a local tax revolt in Boston spread to the other states.

Andrew later mentioned that the GM's house is not white and that the first GM could be Andrew Jackson. [Later turned out to be Richard Whittington.]


Kemrese Philately, courtesy of Dave Joll

“I'm still trying to work out Kemrese postal rates and have come up with a few basic ideas. For the purposes of this discussion I will use traditional British pounds (£), shillings (/) and pence (d) as I don't know the Brithenig equivalents. [We know now they are llifr, sollt and kenig.]

I have been thinking that there should be a greater differential between rates for various foreign countries than there is currently in the UK - historically postal rates overseas had been considerably higher than inland rates, but this differential lessened as international transport got cheaper.

Working on the assumption of a 6d rate for a basic two ounce internal letter I have come up with the following…


The Lay of Magan Lav, King of Brittany


Sally Caves, one of our early compatriots and insatiable Asker of Questions, asked a number of questions about the early culture of Kemr: “What do you do with beloved Arthur? Is there a Taliesin? any other ancient Cambrian bards?”

One quite famous bard of the 12th or 13th century was a fellow called Samorigos. He is most famous for "la canta dell Magan Lav", the Utterly Romantic tale of a Dumnonian warrior, Artomoros, who "came into" the kingship of a wee patch in Brittany and was married to, besides his wife Daccobena, his new realm. He spends many stanzas reminiscing about the good old days and mourning the separation of himself from his beloved Dunein, saying things like "Truly am I miserable, in my lordly hall, yet torn from my beloved native land!"

Near the end of the piece, Samorigos makes a dramatic entrance and Artomoros retains him. The King asks him if he knows even one Dumnonian song; to which the Bard replies that he knows not one, but indeed he knows at least 15, and as many as 21. Needless to say, this makes Artomoros very happy, and Samorigos very famous.

It was the first text written in Kerno, and only consists of two verses, from near the end of the song:

Ay yn rex in Bretonterre, do li ill nom 'ill Magan lav'. a le ce bardh gwadev. ys fu ill rex di Bretonterre, mas fu yn nomm de Kernoterre, yn fil yn Kemran gwen. 'donam-ti lla mbenwenid,' dichev li ill Magan Lav; 'canti a Bhardh, sis plech!' do le mbardh ay chantou mhult; d'Iwru, Alpu i Bretu. 'nun na-sabz Kerno?' 'nay yn mbard dol castre-l me, nay nyn nomm a chantarmi; nay lla chant Cherno! 'gwerment yo ham afelich, in ma ngastre doumnorich, ke dist dim terr am'u!' 'a mha rhex da nGomroterre, ki nabiz ne in nderre am'u, eo ist asdechu: eo na-sabu ngante nun, mays eo sabu pymp-i-theck, i ply do tri-de-naw!' 'gwerment felich ym fachet', a ki thristes seirur fu! yn fest bendit avra!' avra dy moches casstues, avra dy vins i cerves freid, i alch di chante Cherno!'

One possible tune:

Ac dc dc ec fc dc em | eq fc fq ec eq fc Ac dm Rq | Aq Bc Bq Cc Cq dc Ac Rcq || (dq ec Aq dm)

[key in the neighbourhood of D, set your drones accordingly; q = quaver; c = crotchet; m = minim; R = rest; the four note coda is optional for the fa-la-la-la folks]


St. Perran the Navigator

St. Perran, one of Dumnonia’s most popular saints, was accounted a great Navigator of the Church on account of his many sea voyages.

St. Perran's numerous voyages across the sea in a coracle, on an altar stone, in a whale’s rib cage, in a woven basket, suspended from a bladder, etc. certainly rival Ireland’s own Navigator, St. Brendan. Adventures and episodes like "St. Perran and the Isle of One Thousand Warrior Women", "St. Perran and the Great Whalefish", "St. Perren in the Land of Breasil", “St. Perran in the Land of Promise” etc. almost sound like a string of mid XX century fantasy movies...but there is a considerable probability that they are based on real events and places.

Several of those modes of transport are probably reminiscences of ancient boat building technologies. Modern exponents of “Reconstructive Paleo-Anthropology” have done some work on building boats based on the old accounts; generally to astonishing levels of success.


And that's that!

Personal tools
discussion