Hand drawn Westeros

‘Have you seen the others in your fires?’ he [Tyrion] asked warily.

‘Only their shadows,’ Moqorro said. ‘One most of all. A tall and twisted thing with one black eye and ten long arms, sailing on a sea of blood.’

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Map of the region of Muzotara


Map of Southwestern Modhiakomor, depicting the regions of Muzotara, and its capital Naviton, and the region of Amplara marsh and its capital Estford.


Naviton is a modern city with an old town centre and infrequent large mansions and estates scattered amongst the newly built houses of the fast expanding working class population.

Naviton may be centuries old, but not as old as Meonis, the capital of the former Vaismannic empire, which was a city founded when the world was young and newly thawed. Naviton was founded when the mighty empire was already into its decline. Because the region of Muzotara was considered not worthwhile it was not conquered, and once Naviton became a power the empire was in no position to subjugate it.

The city is large, larger in size than any other, including Meonis, but not in population for Meonis is very dense, with apartments and tenements, while those are rare in Naviton. The Muzotaran city instead is built outward. It retains expansive streets lined with verdant green trees. Beside the streets lay houses in rows, all alongside one another, with occasional gaps to allow alleyways. Occasionally can be found open green areas reserved by the council in Naviton. These relatively flat spaces are for the people to take time away. Nothing is grown on them nor animals reared, they are left grassed, and are the property of the city.

In the centre of Naviton there stands a great clock tower. Among the local people it is known as Antigon. The tower has faces pointing around the points of a compass. It can be seen from all locations in the city, peeking between walls or over roofs. Antigon is maintained by a council of wealthy business owners in the city. Inside the tower is a bell named Chulus.

Naviton is a city of workmen. Around the city lie fields of farmland, but inside its gates it is a city of manufacturing. Here in Naviton steel is worked unlike anywhere else. Here wood is carved on a grand scale. More tapestries and weavings are sewn than anywhere in the world. Navitonian locksmiths are the best in the world, their lamp makers and cup makers and tin shapers and potters are supreme. But their greatest achievement is the cannon.

It was in Naviton the principle of the cannon was put to its first practical use. The design emerged from Dor-Xodoyan’s palaces of thought. The two cities have surprisingly close ties, for Naviton trades freely with the Mayun-Kashvarese. Dor-Xodoyanic scholars noted that when crushed fire vetch seeds seemed to burst with an almighty pop, like thunder. They then calculated the power exerted by the pop and what caused it. They found that a carefully ground powder of fire vetch seeds when ignited by a heat source exert enough force to move a sizeable object. With enough fire powder a large lump of stone or iron can be hurled considerable distances, with greater velocity than a catapult or ballista even.

But it was in Naviton, where the ironsmiths have the technology to make a chamber for this process that a true cannon was first developed. In Navitor, an ironsmith workshop owner by the name of Cabacito set about putting together the first cannons. These early designs were extremely large with iron walls a foot thick. By his death the designs were sleeker, but still basic. Naviton continues to improve its designs, but has still a long way to go before the cannon will overtake the catapult, or even the sword and spear and shield.

Among the city streets for the workmen, who travel on regular horse carriages that take routes to and from the workshops and the residential streets, are canals. Naviton has miles upon miles of canals leading from the workshops to the riverside. This separation of roles means the streets are largely empty and people moving around are unobstructed by commercial traffic, and the canals are largely clear, unobstructed by foot traffic. The canal boats themselves are mostly barges; flat bottomed and horse drawn.

These canals in Naviton occasionally are dug right through hills, to save going around them, and are known to also be built on stilts over valleys. The architectural skill of the Navitonian is exceptional.

For the workmen of Naviton schools are also provided by benefactors in the city. For younger children there are classrooms providing lessons in writing and arithmetic. For older men and women there are open libraries and museums they can visit. These museums showcase records of old Navitonian artifacts, as well as a few Kashvarese items, and some items from the Vaismannic empire.

Little rivers and streams run through Naviton. Often roads are built over them, and their waters are used to feed the canal system. Some workshops have placed water wheels beside them to harness their energy. Though this is rare.

Naviton is often called the city a thousand trades. It makes things. It buys objects and raw material from the world and creates wonderful items to sell on to the world. But it does not exclusively sell to the wealthiest. Many of its businesses produce goods cheaply enough that they can be priced so that the workers of the city themselves can afford them. So even the poor in Naviton find they have better education and standards of living than many people in other parts of the world. Meonis is said to be the city of forever, but for those who have seen Naviton: Meonis is the city of the past, and Naviton is the city of the future.


Naviton gains its name from a great victory of its people over the Vaismannic empire. Shortly into its rapid growth as a city the navy of Muzotara was on an expeditionary mission to Nebhullant, in the far north west, seeking to open trade routes to the distant continent. Nebhullant previously had only traded with the western cities of the empire, mainly Peonmuth. The empire caught wind of the expedition and sent its navy around from Bukhrod in the great bay to meet them as they came around the Srinwan peninsula. The two fleets came upon one another at Vapakunic in the year 2105 since the founding of the city of Meonis.

Prior to being renamed Naviton the city had been known as Lugenton. The significance of the defeat of the Vaismannic navy, which had dominated the western sea from Muzotara was extraordinary. Nothing could equal the jubilation felt by the people. For the first time the empire had suffered a major blow, been proved to be weak, and relinquished its iron grip on trade to the lucrative west.

In the battle around Vapakunic the twenty seven pavarels, long sleek light ships with four triangular sails built for long journeys in good time, from Muzotara came upon thirty three raccacks of the empire. A raccack is a triple square masted short ship, not made for speed. The Muzotaran ships were arranged in a column parallel to the coast, for speed of travel, while the raccacks were arranged in a long single line perpendicular to the coast. At first the two fleets exchanged communications. Neither side was formally at war, and so the Muzotarans questioned the Vaismanns what their intention was. The Vaismanns replied that they were ordered to prevent the Muzotarans from returning home.

The naval commander of the Muzotarans, Kamchulus, from the rural eastern part of Muzotara, ordered the column to split in two. His pavarels would lead the first column straight into the middle of the enemy, while the other would circle around the flank, and hit just on the inside of the edge. Any prospect of a peaceful solution was gone.

The flagship of Kamchulus, called the Wiket, had been built in Dunthira. As the expedition had ventured up the western coast of Modhiakomor they had begun to gather more men, and so needed more ships, and Kamchulus had purchased in Deakspurva a first rate pavarel from a local shipwright at great expense. The Wiket had then sailed to Nebhullant with the rest of the Muzotara fleet.

The first column of Muzotarans came upon the line of Vaismannic raccacks, and the Muzotaran archers fired rounds of arrows in to the sails of the ships beside them, coming under heavy fire themselves. The second column soon after met the line at its end as well, and as the Wiket passed behind the line of Vaismannic ships it swung around away from the coast to meet up with the second line. The two columns now formed a ring around the seaward end of the Vaismannic ships. The hail of arrow fire from the Muzotarans made great slaughter among the Vaismanns, and many of the raccacks were taken completely intact.

By this time the shoreward side of the Vaismannic column had tried to come round itself to flank the Muzotarans from behind, but Kamchulus had a plan for that. Among his many ships one was carrying a prototype bombard from the foundries of Lugenton. This one single cannon was loaded with an iron ball packed with fire seed powder, and designed to shatter upon impact. It only took one hit directly into a Vaismannic raccack to obliterate its wooden hull.  The central beam running down the length of the hull was shattered, and the hit ship – the Gheora ­– sank almost instantly, with many lives lost. But in the confusion a stray arrow found Kamchulus, and he was sorely wounded. Some men took him below deck where he died soon after. But the battle raged on.

Upon seeing the destruction of the Gheora and the loss of the encircled ships the remaining Vaismannic raccacks turned and fled, some headed East to try to return to Vuyokunic, some carried on Westward to head to Manesprota. But the lighter faster pavarels of Muzotara caught up with them. Some surrendered, some fought. In the fighting many more ships were captured, till at the end of the day the Muzotarans had taken twenty of the original thirty. Two Vaismannic ships had been sunk, the Gheora and the enormous Dviaroksho. The captured ships and the victorious navy sailed into Lugenton some weeks later to jubilation. Kamchulus was given full funerary honours and a statue in the city. The captured prisoners were paraded through the streets, as did the sailors of the fleet to cheers and cries. The city was renamed in honour of the unbelievable victory.

The empire was furious. It sent diplomats to Naviton to demand the return of its men and ships, as well as reparations for war crimes. Naviton replied that it was the Vaismannic fleet that had engaged them, without a formal declaration of war, and Xodoyanic diplomats supported Naviton. The empire could not oppose both, and so retreated in disgrace.




Government: word origin

Government, meaning the official body that controls a country and enforces law. The state. The word derives from French, governer meaning to guide or steer, which is from the Latin guberno meaning to pilot a ship, but also to manage and govern.

The Latin word’s origins are unknown. It is definitely not Indo-European, and likely from a Mediterranean language, since Ancient Greek has a cognate κυβερνάω (kubernáō). The sense of a ship being likened to government is attested in the Ancient world. In Sophocles’ Antigone the king of Thebes Creon likens the city to a ship which he must steer. Here in Sir Richard C. Jebb’s 1900 translation

Nor would I ever make a man who is hostile to my country a friend to myself, because I know this, that our country is the ship that bears us safe, and that only when [190] we sail her on a straight course can we make true friends.

The suffix of government, the –ment is also from Latin, and is used to form nouns from verbs, often an action resulting from the verb. The Latin -mentum is derived from the PIE  *-mn̥teh₂ (*-mn̥ + *-teh₂). This root has attested other descendants across the Indo-European world including Sanskrit’s -ता (-tā) suffix, and Ancient Greek’s -μα (-ma).

Lady: word origin

Much like lord, as covered before, lady has connotations with bread. Lady is derived from loaf maid –  hlāf, dīġe.

Dīġe is related to dæge, meaning maker of dough, giving the word Lady a double bread-y origin. This dæge root is also the source of the first part of dairy. It comes from Proto-Germanic *daigjon, meaning a female servant or maid, source of Swedish deja meaning a dairy maid. Ultimately this derives from the PIE *dheigh- meaning to form or build.

This PIE root is attested through the Sanskrit word for body – dehah – literally that which is formed.

A lord then is the keeper or warden of the bread, while a lady is the kneader, or former, of the bread.

Lord: word origin

Lord in English comes from the sense of keeper of bread. Old English hlaford, from hlafweard, which is formed from hlaf and weard, meaning ‘bread’ and ‘keeper’.

Loaf is a Germanic word, and its root is uncertain, likely the Proto-Germanic *hlaibaz, but that is reconstructed. Words for loaf are common across the Germanic languages: luffe in Frisian, Laib in German, hleifur in Icelandic, leivur in Faroese, lev in Swedish. Slavic also borrows from the Proto-Germanic giving Russian хлеб (xleb), Ukrainian: хліб (xlib), Czech: chleba, Polish: chleb and Slovak: chlieb.

Ward is also Germanic, from the Proto-Germanic *wardō, meaning protection. This is an extension of *wara- meaning attentive, source of English wary and beware. This root is from the PIE *wer- (to cover). This root also gives the English guard via French. Other words derived from this root include garnish also via French.


Geek: etymology

It is often hard to find etymologies for slang. Geek is an exception. The word is older than you might expect, coming from an old English dialect geek or geck meaning a fool or freak, which is attested as early as the 1510s.

This word is descended from the Middle Low German Geck, which likely comes from an imitation of croak. Danish still retains the root word, with the adjective noun gek meaning a crazy person. Old Norse had gikkr meaning a rude person or jester.

Geek developed its modern meaning from US carnival slang. In the 50s Webster’s dictionary defined geek as a “wild man” act, normally involving biting off the head of a snake or chicken. By the 70s this definition remained the only one given in the American Heritage Dictionary. Quite how it obtained its modern meaning is hard to say, but the word was certainly used derogatorily to associate tech literate people with freak shows performers.

Immune: Word origin

Immune normally in English means an inability to develop a disease, normally due to inoculation. But the word did not always carry this meaning, and far predates vaccination.

In 15th Century to 17th Century the sense of the word meant ‘free from liability’. The word entered English from Middle French, and the word immun, which is from the Latin immunis. 

The Latin word meant free from taxation or public service, and is formed from: the prefix -in which is the source of the English prefix that gives words like inability or inaction; the word munus meaning a duty or service or obligation, which itself is derived from the PIE root *moy-nós meaning to change or exchange, which is also the root of words such as municipality.

Goods exchange is crucial to the existence of early societies, and so the word for exchange of goods came to mean a conformation to society. From the PIE through a Germanic root (*gamainiz,) Old English gets the word gemæne meaning common or mutual, which is the origin of the English word mean with the sense of lowly or inferior, selfishness or without dignity.


Shibboleth: Word origin

Shibboleth is an unusual sounding word, in English it means a test to distinguish someone as an outsider, belonging to a different profession, class or country. It has also come to mean a belief associated with a particular group.

This meaning has a biblical origin. In the book of Judges chapter 12 the Gileadites, under Jepthah, defeat the Hebrew tribe of Ephraim in a battle. Following the battle some of the Ephraimites escape, and the Gileadites, in order to identify them ask to say “Shibboleth”, the word for a flood, or ear of corn. Because Gileadites and Ephraimites speak a different dialect of Hebrew the Ephraimites said “sibboleth”.

This sense of shibboleth as a watchword was first recorded in 1630, and by the 1860s it had evolved to an outdated belief belonging to a group.

Shibboleth itself in Hebrew (שיבולת) is from the root ש־ב־ל (sh-b-l), which is a cognate of Akkadian šubulta and Aramaic šubbaltā. Aramaic is a middle eastern language part of the same language group as Hebrew that became the lingua franca of the Assyrian empire, Babylonian empire, Achaemenid empire and the Parthian and Sasanian empires in the first millennium BC. Aramaic was the language spoken by Jesus. Akkadian is the oldest  attested semitic language of ancient mesopotamia and used a cuneiform writing system. It is named after the city of Akkad, but precedes the founding of the city.

Parsnip: Word Origin

Parsnip is a surprisingly interesting word for its humble meaning. It comes to English from the Old French pasnaie, which is from the Latin pastinare, meaning ‘to dig up the ground’. The verb pastinare is derived from the Latin pastinum meaning a hoed field, or the action of hoeing, or a two pronged dibble tool.

The end of parsnip is different from pasnaie because it was merged with the older English neep, which was used for turnips, and is derived from another Latin word, napus, meaning turnip or rapeseed. The Latin napus itself comes from the Ancient Greek νᾶπυ (nâpu), which meant mustard, and probably came from Ancient Egyptian.

By comparison a turnip gets its turn- from the shape, as though it had been turned on a lathe.

Bachelor: Word Origin

Bachelor now carries the sense of an unmarried man but in Middle English, when it first entered the language, it had the meaning of a young knight serving under another’s banner because he was not old or wealthy enough to have his own followers.

The modern sense emerged at least by Chaucer’s time, in the 14th Century, for he uses it in that meaning.

The Old French word, bacheler, derives from the Italian baccalare, but from there it is uncertain. One theory is it comes via the Late Latin baccalarius, a vassal farmer. A baccalaria is a field belonging to a lord, which is likely related to vacca, meaning cow. Another theory understands that the word is related to the Latin baculum meaning ‘stick’, due to young knights training with sticks.

By the 14th Century bachelor had come to mean guild members, young monks, or students at universities. From this we obtain the sense of a bachelor’s degree.