Monday, December 10, 2018

Religious Recap

Religion is probably the area White gets the most outlandish, and most satirical. It's also the map with the largest variety of buttons, which makes sense as America was settled by disparate religious misfits. Despite this variety, two religions  between them have over 80% of the land and population. It seems Christianity largely dominates the continent, but we get a little more esoteric once we hit the west. Islam, Hinduism and the Orthodox Church don't seem to have any real stronghold, probably because practitioners were largely in now dissipated urban areas, and those communities would not have a lifeline to places where those religions hold the majority. Pretty much no extant Protestant religion, originating in Europe or the U.S. seems to be prevalent.

I've summed up the religion as succinctly as I can, and once again, primary sticking with facts. (It's much easier and some cases than others) Any conjecture is quick, and largely based on confirmed history.

American Non-Denominational Church: White's own invention, dominant east of the Mississippi, basically a cross between the medieval Catholic Church and the federal government.

New Israelite: Practiced by the plainsmen, it's probably a mistake to think of them as "Jewish", just simply Christian fundamentalism taken to its natural conclusion.

Catholicism: Most prominent just outside the former U.S. borders. In colonial days, the Church was rare in the States, but the largest landowner In Mexico, and the major civic power in Quebec. It may return to that in the new Middle Ages, as White has stated its resumed importance in Europe.

Prominent just outside the former U.S. borders. In colonial days, the Church was rare in the U.S., but the largest landowner in Mexico, and ran much of Quebec's civil functions. That may return in the new Middle Ages, as White has stated the Church's resumed importance in Europe.

Voodoo: Voodoo is a highly syncretic religion, most commonly found in places on the Gulf Coast like Louisiana and Haiti. Louisiana Voodoo has also given women prominent positions, which could easily coalesce with the local gender dynamics, explaining its prominence in Secretarial States.

Mormonism: The State religion of Deseret (Utah). Its isolation, desert living, and the harshness of medieval world probably means it has facets of its 1800's beginnings as well as its fringe offshoots (The returns of polygamy is in fact confirmed).  Nearly exterminated 100 years aqo.

Buddhism:The main religion of the Pacific Northwest, which was never of Buddhist majority--however White may been inspired the region's relative Churchlessness, and easier access to Asian than European cultures. The bar does have crosses, so elements of Christianity may seep in at times.

Scientology In modern days, a very controversial, and to be honest, declining cult. May have been different if White started it today, but it seems to illustrate the West coast's eccentricities, penchant for self-help and cults, and what can happen with an autocratic isolated desert fiefdom.

 New Age: We know the least about this, due to New Age not really being codified in real life, as well as White not covering much about New Mexico. From what we can tell about its location and hints here and there, it may combine Indigenous beliefs, Ufology, and maybe a hint of Egyptology.

Judaism: Does not seem to have a territory, but this map shows good-sized cities have Jewish communities. May exist much as they have in the old Middle Ages, the disbursement and persecution a drill they're acquainted with. Might not be as mad due to America's religious pluralism.

East and West Heresy: There's two "heresy" pages White never completed, and the one on the east even has its own link on the front page map (Near West Virginia). It could really be anything--Evangelical Baptists, Snake-Handlers, Jedis...may not even be actual religions, just respective exile-zones.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Preserving Hollywood

Obviously, in Medieval America, there are no movies. But literature, theater, and of course, oral tradition would still persist. Theater is one of those things that would be more prevalent than the historical medieval world, as it's one of those low tech things where you can't "unring the bell". The artform does exist. The major obstacle would be religious authorities and that agrarian society might not be able sustain to much theater going. But determining which films inspired stories people will keep wanting to tell for a thousand years can be tough. Mostly Halloween and Christmas movies? The subordinating big three of Braveheart, Gladiator, and 300? Who knows, but I decided to give us a ballpark.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Government and Warfare.

Once again, keeping a tabs on what we know is officially established. I do a little more theorizing for the pages that haven't been covered, but mostly by looking at historical medieval examples, as well as references to America's early days. For the most part, the type of troop that dominate roughly correspond to how they're governed--monarchies and warlords use knights, republics use pikemen, and tribes use horse archers, but exceptions are made here and there.

Secretarial States: White's own invention, found in the Caribbean island and adjacent continental territories, where women run the civil government and households.

Hydraulic Empires: Not necessarily invented by White, but sort of theoretical. Desert-based absolute monarchies (and ultimately theocracies) that capitalize on water monopolies.

Tribalism: This was probably the default for North America thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers, and favored by denizens of the continent's center, due to their nomadic lifestyle. The American are strictly pastoral, but some Hunter/Gatherer types look to exist in Canada (and likely Alaska). Although the Cowboys are a distinct Anglo culture, some tricks learned from Native Americans (as well as small pockets of genuine tribes) means their government probably isn't too different from the Comanche and other Indigenous Equestrians that were around a mere two or so centuries ago. One major difference is White briefly mentions writing implements, which means they have more than just an oral tradition.

Feudalism: Feudalism is almost synonymous with "Medieval", particularly Europe, and commonly used to describe pre-modernized Japan. It's somewhat new to America, although people have invoked the word to describe the Patroon system of New Amsterdam, the seigneurial system of Quebec, and the Antebellum South. In fact, the Old South's ideal of an agrarian, decentralized, but strictly hierarchical society might take well to de jure feudalism, and it's very possible White would have shown us something that splits the difference between manors and plantations. Plantations are said to be found throughout America, although maps show the Yankees tend to grow grain instead of cash crops. The difference between Medieval feudalism, and colonial America's semi-feudal states would be prevalence of a warrior culture.

Republic: Of what White has shown us, in Medieval America, republics exist almost exclusively in the northern (but not most northern) part of the continent, generally in places that are considered reliable voting blocs for Democrats in modern America. Republics are have declined, but the U.S.'s own history makes them relatively prevalent for the medieval world. Past models include the Rome, the Italian City States, the Swiss cantons, and various Scandinavian colonies. The current U.S.A. and the Pacific Northwest probably more likely resemble the Italian city states, while New England, with its more modest cities probably take a cue from the cantons, as well as its own very early assembly halls from colonial times.

Unlike Government and Religion, it appears none of the Military units have been invented, or even creatively subverted by White.

Horse Archers: The only one of the four pages for Warfare that White created, which is somewhat curious as it's the closest type of medieval warfare to have actually existed on American soil. Associated with the tribal cultures, on the great plains and the desert scrubland.

Lancers: From White's illustration, the knights seem to resemble those of Easter Europe and Asia minor more than Western European knights, though the profile also hints at something akin to the conquistadors and armored soldiers of the Colonial era. White makes a reference to sabers, which may be the primary type of blade--considering it was the sword most often used in America's history, (though mostly for ceremonial purposes) as well as the sword of choice for eastern Europeans--who's climate is most similar to the American Midwest. Knights largely dominate feudal states, but can also be found in the hydraulic empires (Where, if soldiers are ostensibly supposed to be celibate, evokes the Templars of the Crusades). Knights also seem to be dominant on the Delmarva peninsula, and the core of the United States's population. This would be interesting, as the U.S. has a different approach to class than the Feudal Core.

Pikemen: Pikes, which are usually distinguishable from spears and other polearm type weapons, were the favorite medieval weapon of armies from places like the Italian City States, the Swiss Alps, and the Scottish Highlands--all areas with Medieval American counterparts like New England, the Appalachian Mountains, and the Pacific Northwest. In the "trying to resemble early America as much as the Middle Ages" trend, it's possible White's version of Pikes might be similar to bayonets. Pikemen also seem to be the main force in New Jersey, which a feudal state, but part of the urbanized, pike-using Northeast.

Navy: It seems that the United States of America (which as a political unit, is more a successor to the U.S. Navy than anything) is the supreme naval power of Medieval America, and has all but a monopoly on the east coast. Charleston, South Carolina seems to be the only major east coast city not under its control. (Though that may also include Boston) The Great Lakes would also see more military action than its previously peaceful borders are used to. While Naval battles are not new to the continent, the Medieval way of boat-ramming would be a little more unknown territory. and to fill the void left by canons or missiles might tempt them be cockier with fiery arrows.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Locations


Once again, going over a soft refresh.


On the front page, on the main map, clicking on it will take you to one of 19 pages. Of these 19, only five were completed. For the most part, these are specific locations. You can also access most of these locations by clicking on flags on one White's various section maps, divided into the following sections: The Northeast, the Feudal Core, The Plains, and the Desert. There is also a "Cascadia" sectional in the index, although it's not found on any of the site's finished pages. Most of these pages come with a flag, and some kind of map of the state's borders.

Some locations are countries or nations with their own pages, White having covered four of them. They're usually, but not always, states that have retained, or even expanded, their original size and exists as a single political unit. However, in some cases, they're divided, usually a parcel of land to give a religious institution autonomy.  There doesn't seem to be any correlation to a nation getting its own page and size, though most of these seem to be in the "million" range or so. These nations include

Iowa: Includes what was Illinois. A sizeable kingdom forged by barbarians going native Straddles the line between herdsmen and Non-Denominational culture.

Deseret: Most of Utah and Idaho. A Hydraulic Empire, practices Mormon. Salt Lake City is an important trading city.

California: Split between a so-called republic, and some kind administrative polity for the head of the Church of Scientology.

The United States: The former US Navy now exists as a sea-faring, dominating the coasts and islands of the Northeast, it has something a little different than the usual border maps.

Ohio: Composed of Ohio, Indiana, and large pieces of both Kentucky and West Virginia, and by far has the largest population of any nation in America. It's also home to eight sizable cities, and Cincinnati if a candidate for the continent's biggest city overall. In its borders are four former state capitals, which in White's World, means four supervisors for the American Non-Denominational Church. While it has access to the Great Lakes, it seems most of the action is by the Ohio River.

New Jersey: Borders have expanded to now include Philadelphia, one of Medieval America's biggest cities. Something of an outlier, as it is a feudal kingdom when most countries on the northern coasts are maritime republics or city states. This may have something to do with it being more agrarian, as the trade map infers it's the only place east of the Appalachians that has a surplus of grain.

Louisiana: A counterpart, and perhaps rival, to the United States of America, like the US, it has two separate click points on the front page map. Louisiana has shifted its borders away from its historically inland parts , and now holds non-contiguous parts of the Gulf Coast. Here is where Voodoo is practiced, and it seems to the most "Caribbean" part of North America. It has New Orleans, which may be the continent's biggest city.

New Mexico: A desert empire in the southwest, most of its population living on the Gila or Rio Grande. They practice a yet undisclosed religion known as New Age. There are a few references to Ancient Egypt, but it's likely Native Americans would be a large part of their ancestry.

Columbia: So named for its place on the Columbia River,situated between the Cascadian and Rocky Mountains (and White seems to call it the "District of Columbia", presumably as a joke to torture those who get Washington D.C. and State mixed up.) Is the only feudal kingdom to exist in Western America, though it apparently shares some culture with its western neighbors. Its flag appears on the hidden Cascadia section page, but you cannot access it through the front page map.

Quebec: There's no section map with which to access Quebec, nor does White have a map showing its full borders, as while he likes giving hints here and there of Canada, the most information is about the United States itself. What we can surmise is that some of its outer borders have been chipped away at, but the Quebec along the St. Lawrence largely remains intact. It's a typical feudal nation, although unlike Anglo North America, it seems to be largely Catholic. Quebec City seems to be an important religious center-though we don't quite know what became of Montreal.

New York: Curiously, most of the nation states White deemed giving their own page places that remained largely intact in size, or have even grown, but political New York seems to now be a rump state--The State of New York, with Syracuse its only manjor city. The NYC area and Long Island are now under the control of the United States, and western New York seems to be largely a Lakes nation now. White apparently felt Central new York was worth writing about, as the area is the gateway between the Atlantic and the Lakes. In general, it's been divvied up into sections that have merged with broken up  parts of other states, with the exception of  what was historically the Capital District (Albany and surroundings), and it may act as something like an ecclesial fiefdom.

There's also Tennessy [sic]: This also a state that has been broken up, although it's possible white uses "Tennessy" to distinguish it as a region, as opposed to the state, which still calls itself "Tennessee". It's probably Balkanized due to geography, with the deep south subtropical west compared to the mountainous east. The Iowa page also mentions that Missouri had been annihilated by barbarians, but now merchants from the Tennessee area are now rebuilding it, so even though it's divided politically, on a cultural level it's expanding.

These are the multi-nation, more informal region pages that clicking on the map will take you to. Besides the Plains, which is a special case, White never finished a page for any of these entries, so we don't know what they would be like. Most do have political border maps, though. Here's where I'm starting to throw in a little more conjecture.

The Plains: Basically clicking anywhere on the Great Plains will take you to the lifestyle map, as they're nomadic an don't really have states. It does seem some larger tribes have claimed land of their own, and one of the tribes, the Andersons, have their own flags.

New England: Where once was six states, there's something like ten or so, depending on what is still considered "New England" (maybe Albany), and most are similar in geographic size, although Massachusetts (the only state White has given a flag to) probably has most of the population, absorbing most of Rhode Island and Connecticut, With the United States taking the rest (not to mention a piece of Massachusetts itself). In fact, the relationship between Massachusetts and the US would be interesting, as White hasn't made it clear who New England's two biggest cities, Boston and Providence, belong to. (If Mass isn't a client state of the U.S. itself) With the exception of the Lake Champlain area, New Englanders tend to form republics, probably similar to the town councils dating back to the colonial era.

Lakes: A collection of decent-seized fiefdoms on the Great Lakes, consisting of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, and western Pennsylvania and New York, with Michigan being the most populated. Chicago and Toledo are major cities on the Lakes, but their respective countries seem to focused on more inland matters. Like USA and Louisiana, the Lakes page has two separate click points, although they don't seem to be as maritime-based. The combination of rich farmland, snowy winters, and peninsulas would probably create an interesting, dualistic, amphibious culture. Also, the Lakes would be a more important fulcrum of trade, as well as a theater of war, as has not been any military action there since 1812.

Piedmont: Named after the plateau between the Appalachians and the swampy tidewaters, Piedmont refers to Virginia and the Carolinas, this is some of the oldest colonized land in America, and may most closely resemble a turning back of the clock, as opposed to something new. The warfare map seems to also indicate the area is relatively relaxed.

Deep South: Funny enough, on the main site, the "Deep South" is the heading for the page for southern lifestyle, though the address says "Dixie", which makes one wonder if White was going to switch things around. It's also interesting that "Deep South"'s click range is irregular-shaped, just like the Plains, which is also a lifestyle page. In any case, the mini-nations include Georgia and an expanded Mississippi. Between the lifestyle page, and the race page, we probably have a good idea on what it's like there, but what's especially interesting is that each of the Deep South's two "big kingdoms"each have these castle icons called "major fortress", and this page might be the place that what a major fortress actually is.

"South Front": Possibly called "Southern Frontier". Made up of a reduced Arkansas and a new nation called "Red River" territory, which includes parts of Texas, remaining bits of Arkansas and Mainland Louisiana. A real patchwork nation. This seems to be at the very edges of the "Non-Denominational World", with the herdsmen to to the west, and the Voodoo to the south. In fact, Red River may indeed practice some Secretarial government.

Pacific Northwest: Clicking on the uppermost left of the map with bring you to this page, which has the same address as the section map; Pac NW, though the map itself calls itself "Cascadia", and it seems White never actually claimed the domain name. From White's various map, we can surmise is a collection of sizable, but independent city states. They generally practice Buddhism, and are a little more belligerent than the region has a rep for being today.

If you click on a certain point in the Appalachian range, you're led to something called "eheresy", which you can also access on one of White's religion maps. I generally have no idea what that involves--if I had to guess, something to do with either Elvis or the Mothman or snake-handling, but I can't really be sure.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Churches

America is vast, with a variety of people, climates, and resources. Also, in their early years, the Non-Denominational Church tried to appeal to many localities, usually with their own identities religious majorities. Trying to appeal to such a disparate group, the various Church buildings can have their own distinct flavor.

Ohio: Veering towards the imposing but austere, Ohio's major cathedrals and Church centers are made of limewashed granite with wide open rooms and angular figures, while the churches themselves tend to have rounded roofs. The windows are sizable, but largely geometric in their imagery. Pulpits are often in the center.

Iowa: Many Iowan Non-Denoms are recent converts, and the New Israelite ancestry means the Churches are kept very low key. They're made of lumber, and there's very little imagery besides simple crosses.

The Gulf Coast: Being on the rosary belt, and with a diverse and Carribean-descended population, any Non-Denom presence in places like Florida is infused with a good deal of syncretism, including frescas full of creatures from Voodoo mythology. While Madonnas are generally more popular here than in other churches in the Non-Denom world.

Piedmont: The most gilded imagery you'll find anywhere east of California, Churches in Piedmont are also very fond of using marble columns. These guys like to employ top sculptures, and flaunt their mineral wealth.

New England: Due to New England's revolving door history of Puritanism to Catholics to Secularism, the religious imagery and architecture can be quite contradictory. The the most part they've settled into simple unassuming masonry with the iconic white pointy roofs. However, the carpentry can be quite elaborate, with stained glass widows being an art unto themselves. Being the backyard of the Non-Denominational Church, capital cities like Boston and Providence can also have larger cathedrals for offices higher on the ladder.

New Jersey: New Jerseyans had to be talked very hard out of their Catholic faith, and most Non-Denom Churches in New Jersey don't look too indistinguishable from their Catholic counterparts.

Friday, October 19, 2018

I might try doing some articles about this on Wordpress. In the mean time, I tried to sum up White's vision of Medieval America down to its simplest and easiest to explain components, using only the facts--no conjecture or own additions, simply what we know White laid down here. Twitter-sized summaries, trying to avoid any redundancies or jargon (if White invented the term, I didn't use it.)

The Great Plains

The great plains are dominated by nomadic cattlers which combine aspects of Huns or Mongols with the Old West. They use all aspects of the cow for food and material. Though Christian, they tend to have a fundamentalist, Old Testament orthodoxy and make pilgrimages to Rushmore.

The Deep South

Below the Mason Dixon line, races have mixed to a blur. Women hold relatively higher status--running administrations and households. They eat spicy food and wear little garb. Some practice Voodoo. Their subsistence and commercial agriculture is a diverse array of New World crops.

The United States

The US government has morphed into something similar to the Catholic Church, only headed by the Supreme Court, and based in former National and state capitals. They offer salvation and social services. The US Navy is a maritime republic composed of the Northeast coastal cities.

The Desert

The Rulers of the American desert have absolute power, due to intensive building necessary for irrigation. They have harems, eunuchs and (theoretically) celibate soldiers, and build most of Medieval America's monuments. Burro-riding shepherds and goatherds cling to the outskirts.

Western Religions

The western communities, isolated between mountains, have turned to more diverse and esoteric religions. California is Scientologist, the Pacific Northwest is Buddhist, and New Mexico, some kind of New Age religion. The Church of Latter Days saints has also carved out a nation.

Population 

61 million people or so live in North America. The Ohio River Valley is home to the largest population, and is both a breadbasket and foundry. The Largest cities and trade hubs are New Orleans, Cincinnati, Portland, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Salt Lake City.

Government

Despite reverting to feudalism and monarchies, rulers still hold historically democratic American titles like "President", "Governor", "Colonel", etc. Likewise, realms are designated things like "State", "Territory" or "Commonwealth." Slavery has returned, but is evidently not by our standards race-based. They appear to be gained through conquering nations.

Warfare

For the most part, horse archers rule the deserts and grasslands, mountains and coastal city-states use pikemen and knights dominate the Heartland. However, heavy cavalry is used by the desert empires and U.S. army. The largest fortresses are in Macon, Meridian, and Rock Island.

Canada

Most Canadians have blurred with their neighbors across the dissolved American borders. Buddhist city states in British Columbia, cowboys in the prairies, and Maritimes conquered by the U.S. Quebec remains distinct and Roman Catholic. Also, hunter tribes dwell in the far north.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Quick World Tour and Monarchies

In the opening for Atlas Medieval America, the words include

"In most of the world, the New Middle Ages were merely a rerun of the Old Middle Ages. "

One question is...how does it go back to being a rerun? The reversion to medievalism is ostensibly organic; People aren't looking to LARP on purpose. So one has to rationalize the steps to everything repeating itself. Would we have the same nation states as the Middle Ages? In places the nationality more or less existed in the Middle Ages, I would say "yes". I also propose something like a hundred year "grace period". For instance, the unification of the Iberian peninsula is considered to be one of the things that ended the Middle Ages, but I think we can consider a relatively whole kingdom of Spain to be part of the New Middle Ages, largely because it has a current monarchy that might be a little tough to divide into sub-kingdoms. (Though chunks would probably be bitten off here and there. Maybe a modern day Grenada as a haven for European Muslims)

Much simpler to define are nations with present day monarchies and rough medieval equivalents would be two countries the White mentioned; England and Japan. They have established royal bloodlines, and a history of monarchies. There's also Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Monaco, and Morocco. One could also expand the scope of the Vatican. Most other monarchies (especially outside Europe) postdate the Middle Ages, so there's no "need" to reestablish them. The trickiest one is perhaps the Netherlands. As a kingdom, it's relatively modern, though it has been a de facto monarchy throughout its somewhat modern history. However, there was more or less a Netherlands ruled by a House of Orange in the 1500's, so we can maybe make an allowance for that. But it may also be swallowed up some new version of the Holy Roman Empire.

 The Holy Roman Empire itself is some kind of mishmash misnomer, but with the Catholic Church returning to dominance in the politics of Europe, and Germany as an economic power that's falling but doesn't quite want to do the "conquering thing", one could see them kind of joining forces as something they insist is a "loose confederation", but most outsiders and mapmakers are like "Yeah, it's the Holy Roman Empire". Likewise, there's the Byzantine Empire, which would not actually reform, but any Orthodox practicing Baltic states forming into any larger entity would be called a new "Byzantine Empire" by observers, especially as they never really called themselves "Byzantines". (They thought of themselves as Romans) As to whether they would take back their capital city--perhaps, although it Istanbul could remain in Turkish hands and still fall under the "grace period" rule. But a defining aspect of the Middle Ages was that Constantinople was THE biggest city in Europe.

As for nations that more or less existed in the Middle Ages, and might revert to monarchies when they currently don't have any, like France, Hungary Poland--it might be hard to picture how France could establish a new royal family, since one would think there might be some lingering hard feelings about and very little monarchies. But France was THE monarchy of the Middle Ages. The best way to handwave is that France devolved into a bunch of feudal states, and the top strongman would marry into another royal family for alliance/power, which would mean France now has a reigning monarch. Largely the best way to establish kings in nations that had done away with the concept.

Many of the nation states in places like Africa and the Muslim world were established by colonial European powers, so it's very easy to see them washed away by the tides of war and new regimes. The major exceptions being the aforementioned Morocco, Mali, Ethiopia, and Egypt. Most geographic regions were established by ruling dynasties and tribes, and that would probably be the case now, but there would almost certainly be an concentrated attempt to wash off Colonialist history.

But now we come to the Americas. Now, "America" is sometimes used to refer the United States, sometimes both the North and South American continents. How much is the Middle Ages a "new experience" in America as a whole? Well, let's just say a good chunk of Brazil, the Amazon, and a few interior deserts have almost reverted completely to tribalism, if not wilderness. Very distant cities probably can't sustain themselves, quite possibly a third of South America's geographic area does in fact resemble the pre-Columbian era. Then you have the Andes and Mesoamerica. These fall into "the grace period" of the 1500's. We would not see the return of Incan or Aztec Empires, but something akin to a Latin overclass ruling a people with indigenous ancestry who are ostensibly Christian but speak their own tongues and practice their own local folk beliefs. This would would especially be true for the Andeans, who were able to weather the European cultures compared to other natives.

The major "new experience" would be for the Southern Cone. Much more like the U.S., in that they were colonized relatively late, and with a less indigenous-descended population. The land and number of people would be a mirror for Northern America, but with less than half the land area and population. In general, the medieval USA would be truly be unique in its scope.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Expanded Marvel Universe

As I've mentioned before, when The Collapse happened, culturally, people tended to retreat into different spheres--the Middle American culture that favored faith-based content, westerns, and odes to the U.S. Military. Then there was the High Culture that is favored by whatever passed for the aristocracy--stuff like Masterpiece Theater, Opera, and the occasional modern artistic endeavors. Stuff that thrived in late stage capitalism, particularly "geek culture" definitely took a big hit.

That said, a corporate and cultural behemoth like Marvel didn't completely disappear. Spider-Man is not unfamiliar to most people, and Marvel's depiction of Thor and other characters from Norse mythology have ended up creating a sort of symbiosis, with Thor sticking around as both a piece of historical and modern popular culture.

Marvel comics have also created a group of characters that, while not public domain, have namesakes and connections that have been absorbed into Marvel's mythology. Basically, I looked for iconic Marvel characters who are usually not the first that come up in the google image searches, have connections in fantasy fiction.

White Queen/Hellfire Club: besides the White Queen featured in "Alice in Wonderland" (who in turn featured in the recent Disney movies), there's the novels and television mini-series about Elizabeth Woodville--curiously written by Emma Frost, the name of the Marvel character.

The Hellfire Club is a real organization, once including Benjamin Franklin in their ranks, and has been the subject of many conspiracy theories.

Black Knight: The Black Knight is a mantle held by numerous Marvel characters, the most prominent being a member of the Avengers during some of the team's largest battles. "Black Knight" as a concept has featured numerously throughout fiction, most notably "Ivanhoe". It's also quite possible in some regions, the character/archetype has been conflated with Batman.

Beast: A longstanding member of the X-Men, who's appeared frequently throughout its media (funny enough as a usual latecomer that becomes a staple due to the character's "mascotability" and scientific acumen). "Beast" would also be known from the "Beauty and the Beast" story, which Disney has depicted twice to great success.

Fly: Occasionally Spider-Man has tangled with this character. But Most people know "The Fly" as the 1958 sci-fi chiller, as well as its 1986 remake. The Fly is a more explicitly science-fiction monster, but it's still included in many collections of monsters. Spider-Man doesn't hurt for archenemies that would fit in a medieval setting (To wit: The Green Goblin), but the natural animosity of predator and prey makes for good stories.

Destroyer: A very generic name--several Marvel characters have had that name, as well as a series of 1970's paperback novels. "Destroyer" is also sometimes used to reference the villain in "Ghostbusters". There's also the name of battleships. Also this combined funnels into the "character" from Thor's comics and movies--an animate suit of armor.

Enchantress: Another Thor adversary with a somewhat generic name, Marvel's Enchantress has been recently overshadowed by the one from "Suicide Squad" due to the movie--there's also a possibly less malevolent Enchantress from "Beauty and the Beast". Copyright laws generally lapsing over the centuries, however, stories conflated all three figures.

Firelord: One of Marvel's more obscure characters, though trading blows with the likes of Spider-Man and Thor, the concept of a "Fire Lord" exists throughout various iterations of fantasy fiction and gaming. Because "Fire character" is pretty common throughout comics, this catch-all name made him the most prominent.

Ghost Rider: A Marvel character with a pair of movies, and the subject of an old-timey Western song, "Ghost Rider" has become a generic enough concept that various sports teams have used the name. In fact, there's a Hockey team that evokes the Marvel image as much as possible without infringing on the trademark.

Hawkeye: The name of the Avengers character (and sometimes butt of jokes--though an Archer would certainly have a warm place in Neo-medieval stories), "Hawkeye" is also the smart-alecky lead of M*A*S*H*, and the nickname of "Last of the Mohican"'s Natty Bumpo.  To say nothing of Iowa being named "The Hawkeye" state. It's easy to see how all these elements conflated into one character--a character who fought alongside Thor, among others.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Ninja

The strange anachronism of the new Middle Ages in America means cowboys, pirates, and knights all coexist, sometimes interacting. Often mentioned in these schoolyard debates, but somewhat way off in the distance, is the ninja. In feudal Japan, they were assassins--not the mystical, black shroud beings of video games, but spies, who's fabled "invisibility" comes from their tendency to blend in with the lower classes in hierarchical societies.

In America, "Ninjas" is largely a catch-all term for fighters trained in Eastern-style martial arts, with modicum of armor or weapons. Ninja is used to refer to anyone who is expertly trained in hand-to-hand combat, which is usually a mishmash of kung-fu, karate, jujistsu, even non-Asian arts like Capoeira. Anyone who trained at a dojo is called a ninja, and anywhere a ninja trains is called a dojo. Dojos aren't particularly common in the Heartland--they're mostly found in the coasts, particularly the Pacific Coast, where they have much of of a connection to East Asia, and where the upper classes who don't engage in the feudal order might want to prove their fighting bona fides.

For the most part, "Ninja" is an honorary, and in America, much more style than substance. However, they are orders of undetectable assassins who sometimes pretend to be the more conspicuous ninjas. it's much easier to surprise people who think you're actually playing by the rules.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Ten/Fifteen Years Later

This week, fifteen years ago, Matthew White first created his Medieval America page. While the ten year mark is a little further for this blog, I thought it'd be interesting to reflect on the way the U.S. has changed, or historic events that have occurred, since the very idea was conjured up. Fifteen years is nothing compared to the near millennia of the future history, but speculative fiction is often about where we live now.

In 2003, White proposed New Orleans would be one of, perhaps the largest city in North America. A couple of year later, Hurricane Katrina would do major damage to the city, seeing it depopulated. Granted, cities are much smaller under medieval limits, and perhaps its place as the geographic center of trade might mean it wouldn't matter, but it's interesting to think about what effect Katrina would have in White's overall plan, if any.

Perhaps the biggest, where the U.S. is concerned, is the election of two historic presidents. At the time of the blog, the president was George W. Bush, who's administration and policy was along the typical neoconservative lines, and as a born-again, second generation president, which certainly evoked dynastic rule, and a revival of the Crusades at that.

About five years after AoMA was created, and a couple of months before this blog, Barack Obama was elected as the 44th president. A charismatic but collected figure, Obama was the first president of African descent. Very historic, and likely to be remembered even a thousand years later, although in the 30th century, with the pool found around the Chesapeake, it probably wouldn't be unusual for Presidents to look like Obama. He might be a popular figure in the Non-Denominational world, lessso in the lands west of the Mississippi. Interestingly, a Conan-style comic was published depicting Barack Obama as a Barbarian hero--rather interesting because the archetype of Obama comes across as a less martial, more brainy, statesmen. Although, he did come from Hawaii, which in in Medieval America probably comes across as more foreign than ever.

Obama was momentous for People of Color, (which would which now constitute roughly half of what was the eastern U.S.), but his election also galvanized the white supremacist aspect of the U.S., particularly the white, rural, low-government right wing types who would be largely influential on the Feudal Core. In 2016, they threw in their lot with Donald Trump, who in many ways is both a throwback, and in others unprecedented. He gives off the image of a latter-day Nero, and is both obessed with heraldry and installing a "court" composed of offspring and retainers. But his demeanor and aesthetic are so undeniably post-Industrial. For the record, there is a twitter account depicting a medieval version of him. In any case, we have recently seen a manifestation of openly white supremacist groups, and believe me, I have thought about "Ku Klux Klan" knights, and while the Atlas is not necessarily about depicting a utopia, this blog is supposed to be fun, so I have no plans to dwell on that too much.

Maybe the biggest story in popular culture has been the huge explosion of the superhero genre, and Marvel in particular. At the time of the writing, Spider-Man, and to a lesser extent, the X-Men, were rather popular in the large cultural consciousness, but the buzz went largely to fantasy franchises like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings (Which might have been what inspired White). When I started the blog, Iron Man was a big breakout, but Avengers/Infinity Stone movies have become particularly dominant. Admittedly, it's not bad fit to medievalize the Avengers, with knights, wizards, and even the thunder god, Thor.

Another pop culture phenomenon has been Game of Thrones, based George R.R. Martin's novels. Thrones has become the byword for "medieval" in the current culture, and as Martin is an American author, weaned on comic books himself, it's certainly easy to imagine the occasional de-fictionalization of tropes from the series come into wider society--just little things here and there; A Kingsguard, "Khaleesi" as a description for any warrior woman, and the tendency for royal families to adopt sigils (Flags already being a big part of White's project).

Most recently has been a trend in the popularity of horror--particularly PG-rated, broad-appealing horror. A lot of like The Conjuring and Slender Man have been about real-life or urban legend type horrors (elaborated as it all may be), or social commentary like Get Out or The Purge.  Generally, the kind of stuff that makes for great campfire stories. (I'm largely of the stance that of all movie monsters--your Freddys, your Jasons, even your Predators, would probably endure the most in the slide to Medievalism)

Around the time White's page was created, Scientology was certainly not looked at fondly, but it was much more mysterious. Since then, documentaries and tell-all books have broken through the mystery, and many of the big-time Hollywood stars who served as spokesmen have since waned in their careers. White it's conceivable some kind of loopy cult would emerge and take over California, Scientology has probably lost its window.

Perhaps the biggest change since the the Atlas was created, is the proliferation of social media--which has changed how we talk, interact, and pick up news. This would clearly dissipate in a world with no internet--it's interesting to speculate what might remain. OKCupid and Twitter in particular, evoke Roman Gods and messenger birds, respectively, so they might remain in the lexicon. Also funny that the 2001 fairy tale parody Shrek features banners that look like medieval versions of the Facebook logo. Funny enough, de facto social network nations exist much along the same lines as the urbans clusters found in the city maps.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter

Easter traditions in the Non-Denominational world can vary somewhat, due to the gaps between wealth, and the harvest season gradients. Like most holidays, Easter dinner is  a communal effort shared by the entire village or estate. Master and servant don't quite switch places, as this is a reverent holiday and competence is demanded, but the lord of the manor is definitely expected to "help out" with the grunt work. Feasting is where the divide between Northern and Southern cuisine is starkest--with the mutton and grains of the north vs the ham and greens of the south. In fact, Northerners try and shoot for something more resembling a Brunch--a lot of breakfast foods and pastries, because they'e composed of edibles that have been preserved over the winter. (raisins, jams, eggs, and fats)

The lack of feasts for Northerners is somewhat made up for in the Northern, coastal cities having more access to chocolate, which is a rarity for Easter sweets. Candy bunnies are usual made up of marzipan, or something else more flour-based. Eggs are still boiled and dyed, of course, but green eggs are not common because it's hard to make a non-toxic green dye. Easter egg hunts can be done with dyed eggs, or for more well to do families, small gifts may be hid in painted wooden eggs.

This is most likely the day people will be awarded new clothes, as much for practical purposes as vanity, since this is the time of the year people will start wearing thinner linens, and not huddle in front of the fireplace for weeks on end. Not necessarily bonnets, but something important and nice-looking.

In some remote locations, villagers may try and capture a rabbit, name it that year's "Easter Bunny", and care for it in the hopes of a good farming year. The fate of the rabbit may depend on how well the harvest turns out, or the temper of the villagers.

Passion plays are also extremely popular, and a large enough of a cultural hub may even do a week of shows depicting various stories from the Bible. (The story of Moses generally being the second-most popular), and a well coordinated collection of acting troupes will specialize in their own productions. In fact, despite their general aversion to drama, even New Israelites, especially in settled communities like Iowa and Texas, will hold passion plays, although they will try their best to avoid depicting jesus Christ himself.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Rainbow Girls

Pueveyors of Medieval American girly art have some pretty strange tastes.

One of the things men missed most with the collapse was pornography--the driving force of most technology. Sure, some magazines here and there stuck around, although weathered, they would in turn transform into unusual purple, green, or yellow hues. But coming up with new erotic images meant having to draw or paint them. This would be the reliable source of income for artists, in a world that didn't have much of an economy for the arts. The women would sometimes be drawn with skin tones not found in nature, for several reasons. One, because painters would use whatever they had on hand. Two, because by drawing them as mermaids or cat ladies allowed them to make the image more distinct, without having to draw new faces. Third, it offset the uncanny valley. And fourth, because it allowed models a degree of anonymity.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Beverages

Libations are the cornerstone of any civilization, and especially in time periods where drinking the water is not always safe or possible.

In the Industrial age, beer was the drink of choices for Americans, and that's still largely true in Medieval America, where there's enough wheat and barley surplus enough for fermentation. Grain beers are specialized enough in the midwest that they actually make beer, where in most of the country, grains are used quickly and haphazardly made into ale.

Wine: Wine is by far the most popular drink on the west coast, with the rich Nappa Valley the home of countless vineyards, to the point it's more common to drink wine in the grain-growing parts of the Pacific Northwest. There's also vineyards in the Great Lakes region, where the lake effects creates its own distinctive wine flavor. While more or less a drink more for the upper crusts than the peasantry, a great deal of wine is exported to Catholic Quebec.

Cider: Cider was originally the drink of choice for early American colonists--apples being much easier to grow on the east coast than grain or grapes. Cider fell out of favor in the early 20th century due to prohibition, but with the localization of goods, the dependence on fermented apples ranging from Maine to North Carolina saw them make a comeback. It's also a more popular rustic drink in Columbia.

Rum: In the deep south, where warm beers are less palatable, and wine has never really caught on, the denizens tend to drink spirits, especially rum, as it's versatile and easy to come by as a byproduct of sugar cane. It's very common to mix rum with citrus fruits and creams

The Mormons of Deseret are not allowed alcoholic beverages, so they tend to drink tea, which is made from boiled water. In general, Mormons don't have to worry about the perils of unhygienic water, it's much drinking water actually comes from wells and aqueducts from the mountains.