Sunday, December 1, 2019

Seasonal Figures

Between ancient myth and modern pop-culture and urban folkore are the sort of fanciful mythical figures, often associated with children's stories and holidays. They're a mishmash of pagan beliefs, Victorian mores, and greeting card mascots.Various media like The Santa Clause, The Guardians of Childhood and various Rankin Bass specials have established something of a pantheon, and these codified versions would be most familiar to Americans.

There's Santa Claus, maybe the most well-known legendary being . Consumerism had diminished in Medieval America, but stockings will still occasionally be stuffed. He's a little more mercenary, and the gift-giving transactual, so that the better treats you leave out, the more impressive gifts you get.

The Easter Bunny is the springtime counterpart to Santa, and although chocolate is now a luxury, eggs are relatively easy to come by, and actually, one of the more common snack foods.

The Tooth Fairy is the third member of the gift-giving triumvirate. Of course, children aren't going to get legal tender just for losing a tooth. In fact, for many peasant families, they usually don't even have money per se, and live on a barter system. They are told to plant a tooth for good luck.

With Father Time, and Mother Nature, you have two personifications (And old man with a scythe and hourglass, or a woman decked in foliage) that show up in a great deal of Neo-Medieval art and stories. That is, a character may plead with them for favors, and run afoul and get their comeuppance. Jack Frost, a relatively recent personification of winter, is also fairly well known. It's quite possible a specific embodiment of autumn may appear in Medieval America, as the seasons in the Northeast in particular are very distinct. The Sandman survive as a good excuse as to why we wake up with crust in our eyes. There's also Death, or the Grim Reaper.

The two beings from classical mythology that remain the most iconic outside of the context of Greek or Roman settings are Cupid and Neptune. Their associations with the Pagan past are, if not forgotten, somewhat dissociated with the general layman. Cupid is seen a cherub who is responsible for the tender passions, and maybe even an excuse for sexual improprieties.  Neptune is a somewhat revered/feared figure for sailors, and the father of all mermaids.

There's also the legend of the stork, as well as the groundhog. Everyone knows there's a groundhog, and works like the movie Groundhog Day has probably given the creature a mystic power, though it's unlikely the name Punxsutawney Phil has really stuck.

And of course, there's Uncle Sam, the personification of America, which is now divided, but in the non-Denominational Church he's exists as a saint and rugged warrior. Both Saint Patrick and Saint George, Merlin and King Arthur. He's the patron for the 4th and July, and a nostalgic, wistful icon of what was.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Halloween Monsters

How has modern "Halloween" influenced the neo-Medieval's view of the superstitious villagers who came up with legends to begin with? Especially  after a century of codification and then subversion?


Vampires have certainly undergone different permutations from ghastly to sexy, but nowadays they definitely take the most cues from Dracula, as sort of the landed class of monsters. Their classic Hollywood weaknesses like crucifixes, garlic, and sunlight are brought up, and while most Europeans have forgotten turning into a bat lore, the New World vampire bat figures greatly into their legends. The story of Dracula is very popular, due to the character's ubiquity, and that an honest-to-God Texan features in the original novel!


The humanoid, bipedal werewolf is more common than the "just turns into a wolf" type, and very interestingly, "werewolf" is more or less synonymous with a local translation for "beast".


The kingdom of New Mexico did their best to emulate Ancient Egypt (and to a certain extent, the great pre-Columbian empires), which includes God emperors, pyramids, and of course mummification. For their part, Easterners like to spin yarns of explorers venturing into the deserts and coming across Mummy cults. On the one hand, this has the positive effect of discouraging the idea of defiling the tombs of indigenous folks, but on the other, they're somewhat put off by more sanitary embalming methods.


Unlike a lot of monsters,  Frankenstein's monster is not really a "species" per se, but his legend has captivated people for generations, especially since the story resonates in a world that vaguely knows mankind paid some kind of price  for growing too proud. The story of Frankenstein probably encourages a Luddite sensibility in the population, almost a polar opposite to witchcraft.


The  concept of the "Witch Hunt" is a pejorative in American culture, but in a reversion, people are going to go back to the superstitious ways. Especially since even modern Americans seem to have the meaning of a witch hunt backwards. New England probably resembles its colonial era more than any other region, so hysteria is going to happen. For its part, the top brass Non-Denominational Church denies the existence of witches, but The United States needs some kind of justification for warring against the Voodoo practitioners of the Secretarial States...Some retelling of TheWizard of Oz explain away Glinda as more of a "fairy" then a witch.


Showbiz folk are not trusted in the more God-fearing Medieval America, and doubly so as, in the new Middle Ages, performers are more likely to wear a face-covering mask than mere makeup. In fact, in some languages, "clown" basically translates to "colorful, disguised brigand" more than "Jolly entertainer".


Once upon a time, "Cowboy" was considered as American as something gets, but now they have an unsavory reputation as barbaric apostates. Their raids and foreign religion have certainly not endeared them to the Midwesterner, but the red-state vs blue state mentality of the Northeast, and the South being almost completely composed of those we would consider "people of color"has given the East a sort of bad "ancestral memory" of those who don the cowboy hat.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Population Density

This tiny little picture showed up when talking about "red" voting blocks vs "blue", and how the red covers a great swath of geographical area, despite having a smaller population. It's interesting to compare it to White's population map For the most part, both largely correspond in terms of where people live, (New York is almost eerie) it's just that the the major Urban centers, particularly those of the Mid-Atlantic, the Southwest, and Chicagoland. The Northeast has an urban sprawl impossible to maintain outside industrialization, and California owes its smaller population to scarcity of roads and water. Given that Ohio and Indiana are  reasonably populated, it seems possible White conjured up the Bailey invasion for the explicit purpose of keeping the Midwest in check.

Florida of course, has seen a huge population plunge. This might be the result of thin soil and hurricanes, or perhaps White had another barbarian invasion.

Anyways, these areas that are the most rural and isolated (as long as they're attached to arable farmland) would be the least changed by the medieval regression, and their values would most likely Medieval American values. pockets of relative progressiveness would most thrive the best in less urbanized areas that still lean left like Maine, Vermont and Minnesota.

Sunday, September 1, 2019


Most of the continent tends to braid their hair when possible. It keeps it from getting messy, it keeps the oil out of your face, and it's good for doing labor. The stigma of women wearing their hair out is less common than the European middle ages, but it's still not encouraged. Even in the south, where women are given more status, you're likely to see hair wrapped up, but it's not so much because they're hiding their hair, as they have no hair to hide.

In the south it is extremely common to shave one's head, or at least crop it so close that it resembles a mixture of the U.S. Army crew cut, and the kind worn by Medieval Normans. There are both practical and social reasons. From a practical standpoint, once you get into the subtropical regions, hair can be rather uncomfortable, as well as prone to lice and infection. From a social standpoint, the racial mixture of the south meant that the wide variety of hair textures made catch-all means of treatment rather difficult, so the custom was to cut it as short as possible. During the times of blood quantums, it was also a way for Warlords to drop the question of lineage. It was also popular for members of the Non-Denominational church, as it helped unite all the Churchmen into one identity, as well give them a sense of anonymity when they're moved around from district to district.

Interestingly, as you go further and further south, the hair actually becomes somewhat longer and more elaborate. This is because the nobility of the deep south has taken to wearing wigs over their completely shaved heads. They favor lighter, even outright white hair for their wigs, but they're not powdered--they're usually made from livestock. They're also not the overly elaborate periwigs of the 17th and 18th centuries, but relatively simple--sometimes braided, but more common in the "Dutch page" cut, but bangs definitely feature heavily.

As you go out West however, it can be very common to wear one's hair long, but nobles and merchant cities favor a haved/braided combination not unlike the style of Native Americans, or the Chinese Queue, owing to both the Native and Asian influences that become much stronger past the Mississippi. The great plains will see long hair and and long mustaches, which would be evocative of a Hell's Angel.

Thursday, August 1, 2019


The technology levels are generally speaking, limited to no later than than the 15th century. Gunpowder, electricity, and combustion engines simply aren't, as is mass industrialization. (Once you lose the infrastructure to mass produce, it can be hard to bring it back.) But some things aren't so much technological advancements, as refinement of low tech. And some things just seem like a neat idea, but have been confined to things like toys or coats of arms. Even the umbrella or monocole is occasionally used. Here are some later technologies that remain as symbols or flights of fancy. Not all--nobody has really tried to do anything with the cotton gin.


Any train tracks or train stations have long been gobbled up, but they lasted much longer than asphalt roads, which made them much easier to travel on for a generation or two. The train also featured heavily in the mythology of the western, and various Christmas stories, and of vintage America in general. As a result

Technically, people can make bicycles. But it does require so much precision materials as to make it exorbitantly expensive, and roads, as well as most medieval fashions, don't make it very useful to ride. But if one looks at medieval toys, it was very common to see toy knights attached to horses, in turn, attached to wheels. Toymakers sometimes cut out the middleman and depict figures riding a bike, simply because the design of being upright and rolling works too well.


Cannons could be found in plenty of parks and memorial sites, and generally stood as points of pride for various towns, so they tended be melted for scrap much later than automobiles and the like. As a result, cannons retained something of a powerful symbolism, and it shown up as a heraldic charge or in a few tapestries. (To the the point old-fashioned cannons shows up depictions of things like Pearl Harbor)

Bullets stopped being a thing, but squirt guns, nerf guns, and most commonly pop guns still works, and so rifles still live on in toy form. Otherwise, they are somewhat forgotten, and when statues or pictures of people holding guns show up, it's assumed they're holding pikes where the end came off. Thus, restoration projects tend to "fix it", and turn their firearms into polearms.


Fun fact, one can technically make an approximation of a telephone using a string and two cups. Nobody ever really has use of it, but once again, it shows up as a toy or piece of craftsmanship to encrust jewels or carvings into, with superfluous dials, and the ability to use telephones is one of the symbols of the lost Golden Age of civilization.

Traffic lights are sometimes approximated--making lanterns of red or green tinted glass, usually at places where people have to pay a toll, or to open or close markets.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Sigils and Heraldlry

Sigils and coats of arms are certainly very popular in America. Besides the practical purposes of distinguishing soldiers on the battlefield in feudal zones, they're just appealing to a country raised on sports teams and advertising mascots.

It should come as no surprise some of the most ubiquitous charges unique to America include the bald eagle, Lady Liberty and the Liberty Bell, and the coonskin cap associated with Davy Crockett. Denizens from America's own bestiary like Bigfoot and Jackelope can also be found.

The Big Four from Game of Thrones are very popular charges, as it became popular in Industrial times to evoke the main Houses from the show, even on generic medieval paraphernalia.

The lion (or "lion", as Americans have largely conflated just about every larger-sized cats) is about as emblematic of a coat of arms beast as you can get, though the the continent doesn't have quite the attachment, due to wanting to distance itself from symbols of monarchy for the first couple of centuries. The stag however, is quintessentially American, associated with everything from hunts to Native American mythology.The wolf was certainly no stranger to European coats of arms, but it saw an upgrade, due to its status as one of the continent's apex predators, that House Stark is among the most sympathetic characters in George Martin's epic, and perhaps most importantly, the animal being the entry level badge for the cub scouts. As a result, it's one of the few heraldic beasts to more often being depicted by just its head.

Dragons are of course, very popular, but the Eastern version is actually more common, perhaps not to have it confused with the Jersey Devil, and because the ruins of Chinese restaurants left more of an impression on generations.

Creatures native to the America are largely the most frequently found, including the bison, the alligator, the raccoon, the bald eagle, and the rattlesnake. Old world animals which are arguably more prominent in America are the moose, the turtle, with bears and owls more or less being as frequent.

In terms of plantlife, the oak and its acorn is common pick, but olives and pomegranates are somewhat rare compared to pines and apples (and for that matter, the pineapple). The Fleur De Lis, with its connections to Quebec, Louisiana, and scouting organizations, will also tend to show up. Of course, the native maples and cacti are frequent charges on the frontiers of the feudal core. Shamrocks aren't unheard of, due to the large Irish ancestry, but mot Irish descended people live in the republics, and  not courtly families. New world crops are also common, particularly corn and tobacco.

Speaking of which, some of the man-made items that are fairly new feudal heraldry include the smoking pipe, the tomahawk, and the umbrella. (What a way to show your family is always prepared) It's also not uncommon to use astronomical phenomenon like comets or Saturn's rings. America's temperatures can be a lot more extreme, and depictions of tornadoes and hurricanes are up there with thunderbolts. Finally, it's not unheard of for a family to use musical notes as a sigil--to display culture, and to indicate they descend from someone famous--Elvis or the like.

In terms of symbols from American industrial and popular culture, they're not super frequent, but the Captain America shield can be found in some family or another from just about any major country. The five-pointed star surrounded by three rings will often use the red white and blue to indicate piety by way of the Non-Denominational Church, or may use colors found on the national flag. The Death' Head, reminiscent of the Punisher, is a carryover from its informal popularity with law enforcement. And of course, while the bat is animal found in actual medieval heraldry, the popularity of Batman probably kicked it up a notch.

To a cynic, perhaps nothing symbolizes America like McDonald's, and its relationship to feudalism isn't too far off (Ray Kroc famously franchised the brand by being a landlord, as opposed to claiming the IP). No, knights who use the charge aren't descended from former franchise owners, who used a Mickey D's as fortress, but it does serve as something of latter day version of the Horn of Plenty.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Game of States

Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire is arguably the medieval/ancient world setting most familiar to Americans, and what's more, is one of the few iconic fantasy series written by an American (and one who's always had an affection for comic books). To a certain extent, the series is very much Medieval Europe through an American's perspective in the same way Biblical stories and and 1001 Nights are the Eastern world through the view of a European.

I think the franchise fills a lot of the check boxes for a piece of popular culture that would endure in a Medieval American culture--it's homegrown, its setting is pre-Industrial (so no "scientist=wizard" metaphors that I would like overdo) and it is just about as iconic as anything that has become popular in the last ten years. Its major hurdle, one supposes, is that the large array of characters and plot points might be a little dense for a world with limited resources and literacy, but I would definitely keep that near the top.

It might be a little fun to think about the various aspects and compare and contrast them to Medieval America.

Martin has gone back and forth on how long the continent of Westeros is, but the general agreement is that the Seven Kingdoms runs about 3,000 miles longway, which isn't too different from the length of the United States (about 2,6000). If you cut off the North (Which, spoilers), and then the area west of the Mississippi, you have two areas of comparative size, and according to some estimates, a comparable population. (The Seven Kingdoms is estimated to have something between 25 and 50 million, a smaller density than the Eastern United States, which makes sense, as the American Heartland has less mountains, desert,  etc) If you get in the the Western U.S. you get a more diverse climate, and biomes that are also found on the continent of Essos. This will be important in a bit.

Urban-wise, the continent of Westeros has five major cities. America has " a big seven", although both the below-the-neck area and the American heartland respectively, have four, which is an interesting coincidence. However, no Game of Thrones lore makes any population figures for any urban settlement besides King's Landing, which is about 500,000. (Which is probably larger than city in Medieval America.) The map has many spots for "towns", while White looks to be staying away from showing settlements smaller than 25,000. (The United States, despite being a mercantile republic, does not seem to have any of the largest cities) So it's hard to compare the two on that front, but America is clearly more urbanized. It should be said that the 7 Kingdoms are almost completely feudal, while America has a wider variety of governments, especially out west.

In fact, one can compare the western half of America to the continent of Essos, which is much more rife with city states. If one doesn't want to cheat too much, one might include the Free Cities as part of whole "area" as comparable with the U.S. (Basically quantifying "The North" and beyond as the equivalent to Canada and Alaska) you have a lucky 13 cities, which as it turns out is the exact number of the larger urban centers on this map here. Should one want to split the difference between the Seven Kingdoms and the Valyrian Freehold, you would get five cities, which is, interestingly, the number of THE most important cities according to the trade maps.

One thing that George R.R. Martin, and many cartographically -inclined fans focus on, is the fancy castles. White does have a few "major fortresses" on his map, but much, much fewer than any Game of Thrones maps. It should be said this is possibly a difference in world-building, as Martin gets a little more into the fantastical, creating many expansive fortifications that stretch credibility, or are found on geological structures that simply don't exist in America. (It's possible the U.S. terrain isn't especially suited to castle building, but we'll never know) In Martin's world, castles are seats of power unto themselves, and capitals are less often than not part of the larger mercantile areas. On the subject of capitals, the one thing White has that's unique to the Medieval American world are the District Supervisors, which are located in former capital cities, and get marked on the map regardless of size. How Supervisor cities differ from other settlements in terms of infrastructure is up for conjecture.

On another note, somebody came up with a few trade maps of their own, which varies a little bit in terms of resources, but there are similarities as well.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

American Myths recap

Very little on White's official page has covered folklore and mythology that might be found in Medieval America. We know there are roughly five spots on a "Here be Monsters" map, indicating Cryptids and their ilks.

The Jackelope is the only page White has written. Jackalopes aren't "cryptids" in the usual sense, in that they are not truly the subject of hunts for real life monsters, but they are a fanciful creature exclusive to Americana.

Bigfoot: The most famous creature in American folklore, and perhaps a top 10 iconic monster period.

Jersey Devil


Ufo: This is where it gets particularly interesting, as UFOs are strictly a high tech phenomenon more at home in science fiction than a culture that believes in magic

Elvis: Not strictly a monster (though modern day people are starting to find his behavior in life appalling), but definitely a subject of urban legends and supermarket tabloids.

Wizard of Oz is the platonic ideal of an American Legend.

What's also interesting is two of the biggest pheneomenons of the 2010's--Game of Thrones and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's seen as rather fitting that both are concluding their "sagas" within the same month in the last year of the decade.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Roads and Retails

A popular game in Medieval America, "Roads and Retail", which approximates the epic warriors of the Industrial Age. They race each other on roads, and hunt for treasure in the sunless labyrinths known as "malls".

Character  classes include

Highway Patrol: Kind of the Paladin/Ranger of game.

Paramedic: The Healer--every party tries to have one.

Fireman: Definitely one of the more popular classes--you get to wield elemental power AND an axe. For game balance, they can only fight the elements, not other cars.

Biker: Leather clad and fights with a chain and sometimes crowbar. The best class for those who want to fight melee.

Exterminator: Medieval Americans can't get their heads around the amount of vermin that existed in the industrial world, and it's probably reached a level of mythologizing. Exterminators are specialists in fighting vermin.

Bulldozer: With their burly physiques, and even burlier vehicle, they're Barbarian of the industrial world.

Taxi: Something of a gestalt of everything Medieval Americans believe about 20th Century Middle Easterners, and sometimes Native Americans. Medieval Americans are rather ignorant.

Ice Cream Man: Uses ice magic to give energy and healing to his allies, and headaches to his foes. Has a wooden staff with riddles.

Nascar: The druidic priest of the road--they covered in incantations beseeching countless lesser Gods.

Friday, March 1, 2019


In medieval times, horse racing served a largely utilitarian purpose. Knights were always looking for best steeds, and sellers/breeders showed them off at the track in order to get the best prices. This is largely how it works across America in the new Middle Ages.

As a sport unto itself, it's most prominent along the Ohio River, where the relativity high urbanization allows for  relatively more infrastructure and specialization, and the location of Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby, the most prestigious equestrian event in the U.S. (That Indianapolis is so close to the Ohio River Valley means some elements of racing culture makes it in, but more along the lines Indycar than NASCAR. The South is far too decentralized to build stadiums and a middle class.) This is where the best horses in the Eastern U.S. are bred, and when people sell horses, they're not just selling horses, but their entire lines. This is where horse racing can be an actual profession. In the industrial era, jockeys were slight of build to give the horse an edge, but that's not the case here since the ability to carry weight is extremely important in a horse.

Chariot racing has not really caught on because it died out in the western world before the Medieval Era ever really started, and Americans try and breed the largest possible horses, which can be cumbersome when tied to chariots. A few Emperors in California and even Mexico have experimented with reintroducing chariots, but there is no real continuity with chariot-building cultures, so they're not particularly refined.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Climate Cousins

This was posted on the Facebook group @amazingmaps, and it's a very good study reference point when trying to avoid making Medieval America strictly based on the Middle Ages of Western Europe, despite the culture of the United States and maybe especially Canada coming from a particularly Anglo-Eurocentric basis. As White stated on the climate page, cultures in pre-Industrial societies are subordinate to natural phenomenon of the world around them.

In general, it's important to look at the states' Old World counterparts in the pre-Industrial societies--what they ate, what they wore, and how they waged war. Once again, it's not always a one-on-one comparison. Below the Mason Dixon line would be a lot less centralized than China, even during its Three Kingdsom phase, and conversely, Feudal Japan was a lot less centralized and maritime than the East coast. But it's still fun to compare, and always important to keep in mind. Funny enough, there's no region that matches Italy--home to the iconic medieval republics. Because Africa is not considered, they don't make one on comparison to place like Egypt and and Morocco, which probably more closely match the southwest than India, and that White himself name-dropped.

I would say when imagining life in Medieval America, there's four things to consider; These four things would meld into kind of a gestalt, and there you have you Med-American countries.

-The cultures of the old world with most similar climates.
-The cultures of the Indigenous people that preceded European settlement.
- The way of life post-settlement for its first generation or so, or at least until mass industrialization.
-And perhaps least significantly, but not to be forgotten, the ethnic makeup and memory of that places right before the relapse.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Lions, Tigers, and Panthers Oh My

In the modern anglosphere, a good way of pointing out how smart you are is pointing out that monkeys and apes are two different things-but the distinction between the two is fairly recent--most species of ape not being officially discovered until after the middle ages, (Gorillas weren't discovered until 1902!) and romance languages do not have a separate word for the two. The word "leopard" is a compound word of leo (lion) and pard (panther), as people in the middle ages thought the the leopard was a hybrid beats of the two--not realizing panthers are not even a species in their own right, but a phenotype for big cats.

When society collapsed, several beasts escaped from zoos, preserves, and private collections. A great deal died out, or were hunted to death, but in the fringes, a few of the big cats lasted long enough to leave impressions in people's minds. Due to rare sightings, and perhaps even the occasional cross-breeding, the line between the big cats have blurred a little. The general rule of thumb is that "lion", or its equivalent, may refer to tawny cats found in the arid west. These may include the African lion which has found a home in the Baja peninsula, or more commonly, the "mountain lion", or cougar, In fact, the layman may assume the two are the same animal, and cougars are merely the mates or children of the "king of beasts". Meanwhile the "tiger" is applied to cats with very visible patterns--and can be applied to actual tigers, bobcats, ocelots, and even jaguars. "Panther", of course, still refers to large black cats, though they're almost never seen in America.

In the former U.S., lion imagery is much more popular in the west, due to presence of outright monarchies, and that cougars are a visible part of the landscape. In the East, however, tiger imagery is favored, as Warlords don't want to evoke regality so much as power. The flag of Ohio is probably technically a liger or a tigon, and the rules will use the words interchangeably as needed. Panthers tend to pop in heraldry in places with historically large black populations.