Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Order of the Ancient Spoonbill

The Order of the Ancient Spoonbill is an order of chivalry within the gift of the Grand Prince, and is conferred for academic, diplomatic or military achievement in the service of Velikye Byelgorodniya.

The Order of the Ancient Spoonbill can also be granted to friends and allies of the Principality, and may be conferred upon foreign heads of state as a token of the Grand Prince's high regard for a brother Sovereign.

The Order takes its name from the magnificent bird which, legend relates, led the Byelgar people to their new land centuries ago. In the Heraldry of our great nation, the Ancient Spoonbill represents fidelity, steadfastness of purpose, and an assiduousness in sifting truth from falsehood.

"Let Our Friends Take Heart and Our Enemies Tremble!"

Die Reihenfolge vom Vergoldeten Herzog awarded to King Ivan of Syldavia

The Herzog Mikhail Johann von Hollerenschaut IV of Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz is most pleased to award the very first Reihenfolge vom Vergoldeten Herzog to King Ivan of Syldavia.

His majesty's victory over Hassan Muhtar Pasha west of Klow displayed cunning use of terrain, stoic defence, selfless courage and the inevitable triumph to which these attributes lead. The outcome represents the very essence of the order and it is the Herzog's greatest pleasure to make the award in due course.

Given the evident military prowess of King Ivan, the Herzog wishes to enquire if the exchange of military advisers would be possible, thus ensuring the ongoing improvement of tactical studies within both great nations. Stabshauptmann Gerhard von Blomphfart is ready to depart from Bad Übersetzung this very minute should His Majesty King Ivan agree to the exchange.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Velikye Byelgorodniya - Foundation to Consolidation

The Historian, Academician and Chronicler, Baron Pyotr Afanasyovich Bibliotekhsky, Librarian to the Grand Prince, humbly presents his historical researches into the foundations of our Great Realm to the Committee of the Novi Byelgorod Academy, suitably annotated throughout, as a gift to the Committee's Chairman, our Most Noble Ruler, Grand Prince Dmitry IV Dmitrovich.

Let all who read do so with a circumspect eye, as some of these sources are less than completely accurate. Thankfully, Pyotr Afanasyovich has provided helpful clarifications and footnotes to assist the reader in sifting the grain of truth from the chaff of falsehood.

The summary of the Baron's most diligent studies are presented in the attached dossier for the approval of the Committee and Chairman.

In the words of our nation's motto, "Let our friends take heart and our enemies tremble!"

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Die Werkbank

The Herzog Mikhail Johann von Hollerenschaut IV is pleased to announce that the raising of troops for the impending conflict with Velikye Byelgorodniya is progressing well ahead of schedule.

Generaloberst Ferdinand von Guus-Steppe has confirmed that the following regiments will soon be exiting the workbench and in a state to take the field against the old enemy:
  • IR Nr. II Herzogin Genoveva
  • IR Nr. III von Klink
  • IR Nr. V von Gnapper
  • IR Nr. VI von Wahlpaper-Rohl
  • IR Nr. X von Blazny (Grenzer)

Mustering of the army proceeds apace!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Gazetteer of Velikye Byelgorodniya Grows Apace!

Noted traveller and diplomat-at-large Count Pavel Romanovich Peripatenko humbly submits for your edification and enjoyment his latest delineation of the places and peoples of our Illustrious Grand Prince's magnificent realm, now with added information on the Northern Provinces, in The Gazetteer of Velikye Byelgorodniya.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A first military order for Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz

Die Reihenfolge vom Vergoldeten Herzog
Fired with optimism over the impending conflict with his Northern foe, Herzog Mikhail has commissioned the creation of the Grand Duchy's first military order.

Die Reihenfolge vom Vergoldeten Herzog (or Order of the Gilded Herzog) is a military order, reserved for general officers and men of quality. It is awarded for exemplary conduct on the battlefield (i.e. winning and winning BIG) and may only be awarded to an individual once in their lifetime.

There is no restriction on origin of the recipient as the Herzog intends that it should become a preeminent military honour within Europe, sought after by all who command men in war.

The award is styled after his own (imagined) military prowess despite the fact that the Herzog has never actually commanded men in battle. His military endeavours to date have been restricted to Kriegspiels upon the floor of his staterooms fighting mock battles against his general staff, many of whom believe the Herzog is well meaning but suffers from a potentially fatal case of mistaking ambition for ability.

Who will be the first recipient? Only time will tell...

Velikye Byelgorodniya - An Introduction

The Principality of Velikye (Greater) Byelgorodniya was once a backward and inward-looking land, described by one commentator as “a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a conundrum wrapped in a cabbage leaf with a greasy minced lamb and onion stuffing”.

But times change, and Velikye Byelgorodniya is now a dynamic and modern nation-state, where a merchant may prosper as long as he displays due deference to his betters and to the tax collector, and where the serfs may breathe free, at least until tax rates for air are calculated.

Greater Byelgorodniya is ruled by Grand Prince Dmitry IV Dmitrovich of the House of Mikhailov, Duke of Kapusta Zemlya, Count of Novi Byelgorod, Hereditary Hetman of the Cassock Horde, and Grand Master of the Order of the Golden Cockerel.

The House of Mikhailov ascended the throne 77 years ago, when Grand Prince Boris VI Alexeyevich (known to history as 'The Mad') caused a succession crisis by nominating a sable fur hat as his successor.

The Hetman Dmitry, Captain of the Cassock Guard (these horsemen of the steppe were known for their ferocity in battle and their long coats, whence they derived their name), seized power from the insane and incompetent Grand Prince Boris in a palace coup in 1683. It had become apparent that Boris’ decision would have meant utter chaos, if only because every hat shop contained a potential army of pretenders.

Hetman Dmitry, now installed as Grand Prince, solved the succession crisis by outlawing sable hats, and decided to engage more closely with the outside world, if only to ensure a reliable supply of fine wines for his table. He is regarded as the father of his country in every possible sense of the word, emphatically ensuring the succession through legitimate and illegitimate means. Dmitry I built a new capital on the seacoast, Novi Byelgorod, and offered incentives for immigration of technical specialists from the more developed nations of Europe. The old capital, Staraya Byelgorod, is still the seat of the ecclesiastical authorities.

The economy of Velikye Byelgorodniya is firmly tied to the soil, as are the peasantry, although a substantial merchant class has now arisen in the larger towns and cities. It was the policy of Dmitry III to encourage the immigration of foreign merchants to nominated centres, and it is this perhaps overly-generous initiative which has led indirectly to the present crisis in Nizhny Bublik. The provincial capital, Blechnya, has become a hotbed of sedition, where the ungrateful and rebellious Saxe-Coburnski mercantile community has instigated a revolt.

The placement of a sable hat atop a flagpole in the market place is an unendurable insult to the House of Mikhailov; since the reign of Dmitry I, the sable hat has operated as a kind of seditionary shorthand for "anyone but the Mikhailovs".

To rub further salt into the wound, an exiled collateral relative of Mad Prince Boris VI, Markgraf Boris Ivanovich, is rumoured to be installed as ruler of Nizhny Bublik by his shadowy Saxe-Coburnski masters. This affront to the dignity of the Grand Prince will not stand, and a formal protest has been lodged with the Saxe-Coburnski ambassador.

Unless Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz keeps its spoon out of Velikye Byelgorodniya's borscht pot, the saucepan of turmoil will boil over into the spillage of war and besmirch the kitchen floor of peace, leaving generations as yet unborn to scrape off the burnt bits and dispose of them sensibly so as not to encourage houshold vermin.

In the words of Velikye Byelgorodniya's most illustrious folk poet, Yevgeny Semyonovich the Wise,

Whither Velikye Byelgorodniya?
And how, when and with whom?
The lamps are going out all over the borderlands.
We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime,
unless one of us goes down to the shops
to fetch more oil,
or at least buy a candle or something.
No, you go,
I went last time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The currency of Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz

The national currency of Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz is the lead Pfnard. Loathed by all and especially by tax collectors, the Pfnard is often melted down to make musket balls, fishing weights and ship's ballast. This typically improves the value.

There are a range of other coins in circulation of varying compositions and values. Men of quality rarely carry cash and when they do it is only the golden Herzog-phlegm. The following table provides rough conversions within the Duchy. Conversion beyond the borders is near impossible and most transactions are carried out in foreign currency.

Currency conversion table
1 Herzog-phlegm (Ag) = 2 Plönken
1 Plönk (Ag) = 4 Gimpen
1 Gimp (Au) = 98 Smeggen
1 Smegg (Cu) = 29 Pfnarden
1 Björk (Cu) = 67 Pfnarden
1 Pfnard (Pb) = base unit

Thus 1 Herzog-Phlegm equates to 47,603½ Pfnarden, or 423 Schuzbutt in old money.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Update to the Gazetteer of Buchholz

Cartographer at large Franz Gruber has been hard at work and has finished compiling the entries for the Buchholz province of Katze-und-Hundheim.

Learn all about the local pet food trade, preferred beverage of the populace and much, much more. Read all about it in the Gazetteer of Buchholz.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Infantry Colour of Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz

The infantry regiments of the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz carry two colours into battle, the regimental or Inhaber's colour and the ducal colour.

Here we see the regimental or Inhaber's colour, bordered in the national colours of royal blue and gold. The colour is 5 feet square. The material is raw champagne coloured silk, embroidered with the ducal eagle and surrounded by golden wreaths. At bottom is the regiment number and Inhaber's name.

Regimental or Inhaber's colour

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Ducal Colour of Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz

The infantry regiments of the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz carry two colours into battle, the regimental or Inhaber's colour and the ducal colour.

Here we see the ducal colour, graced by the elegant countenances of Herzog Mikhail Johann von Hollerenschaut on the obverse and Herzogin Genoveva Annalisa Elizabetha on the reverse. The colour is 5 feet square. The material is raw champagne coloured silk, embroidered with laurel wreaths and surrounded by quadruple crowns.

The ducal colour of Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Gazetteer of Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz

Be it know by decree that Franz Gruber, cartographer, is hereby commissioned by the Herzog Mikhail Johann von Hollerenschaut IV to compile the first ever Gazetteer of Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz.

All state and provincial officials are to assist Herr Gruber in whatever capacity is required to ensure the completion of his work. Let the Gazetteer stand as a monument to the great landscape, culture and peoples of the Grand Duchy and be a true and accurate record of the all the land.