From the Archives: Annexation of the Southern Marches

When the Middle Kingdom was created in 1969, the borders between kingdoms do not seem to have been precisely drawn, but it appears that all of the seaboard states continued to be part of the East.

I’m not sure exactly what folks at the time had in mind, but I think it was something like this:

The borders of the East remained this way through 1972, by which time branches had been founded in Florida and Georgia.

However, a new kingdom of Atenveldt was established within a portion of the West Kingdom in 1971, and in a series of actions over the next year or so it was granted the southern portions of the Middle Kingdom and then the East.

This action was not well-received in the East, where the King issued a challenge to the Board to fight in single combat for control over these lands. Although the Board toyed with the notion, it was ultimately dismissed, and these divisions remained in force.

Diana told the Board about King Cariadoc’s reaction to the transfer of the Southern Marches. Part of the problem was due to postal lag, but it was agreed that it would have been more courteous to inform him well in advance. Diana was instructed to tell him so, and ask him to prepare three copies of his challenge so that the Board can answer it. She was also instructed to explain about the lapse of the previous barony, the delay in communication from Sir Funem, and the fact that the senior barony in Fla. is being founded in Tampa by someone else. It was suggested that the Electors hold a tourney open to fighters from Atenveldt and the West to choose their champion.

Board Minutes, October 1972

Cariadoc’s challenge to the BOD was formally recieved. xx Don recommends sending a jewel as an apology. Eliot is de jure BOD ambassador in the East. David feels that risking the challenge would be better. Tabled.

Board Minutes, December 1972

A letter from Duke Cariodoc of the Bow was read: he wishes action on his challenge to the Board of several months ago. The Board has a Champion (Duke Richard of Montroyal), but Diana suggested we write to Cariodoc exclaining that the decision of the Board is not truly open to challenge by combat, though the two Dukes may certainly fight if they wish. This will be done.

Board Minutes, July 1973

[Update, May 29:] The West Kingdom’s history site includes scanned pages from the records of Wilhelm von Schlüssel (an influential early peer and herald) that date this change to November 1972, although it seems this might have already happened a few months earlier.

The same collection also shows the dividing lines between the first four kingdoms as of the mid-1970s. (Sadly the upper edge of this page is missing from the scans.)

I found it surprising that the borders were defined by zip codes this early!

Leading-digit zip code map from

This entry in the Middle Wiki suggests the key driver was a shared Southern identity:

The territory that became Meridies *was* briefly assigned to the East for administrative purposes, but was moved to Atenveldt due to difficulties communicating with the PTB in the East. One source of the early confusion was that no one outside the area known as the southlands, later called Meridies, seemed to realize that the folk in Louisiana and the folk in Georgia and Alabama were working more or less together, and had no intention of being divided between Atenveldt and the East.

Meridies entry in Middle Wiki, by user KevinE, November 2, 2006

[Update, May 29:] The Meridies Wiki has even more detail:

The loosely structured groups banded together in approximately AS IV and named the region now known as Meridies and Trimaris the Southern Marches. At this time, more serious efforts were made to communicate with the East Kingdom, to whom the Southern Marches were officially assigned. …

Communication difficulties and distance factors culminated in a letter to the Board of Directors from the Southern Marches for the region to be transferred from the East Kingdom to Atenveldt. Although the East Kingdom appeared to be the closest kingdom to the Southern Marches, as the shortest distance between an active kingdom group and an active region group was Washington DC (Storvik) to Atlanta (South Downs), the greatest population density of the Southern Marches was in the Louisiana area, which was on the Atenveldt Border and far distant from the East Kingdom.

Apparently the petition engendered a furor in the East Kingdom as all of the details were being worked out. The Board notification was sent to Sven in South Downs. However, since Sven had moved between the time the Board received the petition and the time they acted on it, and his former roommate didn’t forward it to him for several months, the people of the Southern Marches were unaware of all of the hoopla.

The History of Meridies, 2nd edition, by Rebecca of Twywn, a class taught at the Demanding Collegium Meridies July, AS XXI

[Update, May 29:] And a first-hand account from Cariadoc:

“There was, you see, a time once long ago when a branch was trying to form somewhere in the southeastern United States, and they had some of the same problems you’re having. The East Kingdom was for some reason unable to attend to them, so they wrote to the other Kingdoms (all three of them) for help. Atenveldt immediately wrote back with bushels of helpful documents and outpourings of advice. The BoD recognized the fait accompli and granted the whole southern U.S. (what is now Meridies, Ansteorra, and Trimaris) to Atenveldt.” (Dorothea)

This is a somewhat misleading description of what happened. There were at least two existing groups, both already formed and (as I remember) having existed for a while, in the area in question–one in Florida and one in Georgia (Wyvernwood and South Downs). Both were part of the East Kingdom. Someone (or more than one) in the Georgia group wrote the board expressing a preference for being in Atenveldt.

The Board did not consult the King of the East. The board did not ask for the opinions of other people in the area. The board did not inform the King of the East that it was considering transfering a large part of his kingdom to Atenveldt. The board did not even inform the King of the East after the transfer that it had occurred. The King of the East first discovered that a sizable chunk of his kingdom had been given to Atenveldt as a result of a passing mention in a letter from a Society official some months later! The result was a challenge by the then King of the East to the Board of Directors for dishonorable behavior, which the board declined to accept, apparently in the belief that as a mundane institution it had no obligation to act honorably. I could probably dig a copy out of my files if I looked long enough. The whole incident was one of the reasons, although probably not the first, that many people in the East Kingdom regarded the national organization with considerable distrust.

Incidentally, the area in question was not “what is now Meridies, Ansteorra, and Trimaris.” What is now the barony of Axemoor (New Orleans) was transferred to Atenveldt from the Middle Kingdom, not from the East, more than a year earlier. That transfer was done properly–by the King of the Middle at the request of the people in the area. Ansteorra was never a part of the East Kingdom; I do not know when it became part of Antenveldt, but since it lies between the original Aten lands and the area granted to Atenveldt by the Middle, I assume it happened before the incidents Dorothea is describing. The original East/West boundary, as I remember, was the Mississippi; the East ceded its western lands and the West some of its Eastern to the Middle when the Middle was created.

Cariadoc of the Bow, sometime King of the Middle, sometime King of the East

Posted to (“the Rialto”), 28 Oct 1991, archived at

[Update, July 2:] Thanks to Lyn Whitewolfe for highlighting this bit from Wilhelm von Schlüssel’s history, discussing Atenveldt’s first crown tourney in January 1971:

Duke Henrik presented Sir Richard with the Crown of Atenveldt, along with the title of the Principality of Atenveldt, the Barony of Caerthe, the Barony of New Mexico, and all lands between the West and the East and below the Middle. 

Also relevant is this passage from “Atenveldt… As I Remember It” by Arthur of Lockehaven, describing the same event:

The Kingdom had fewer than two hundred members at the time, but it stretched from Mexico to Montana and from California to Florida. Baronies were growing in Las Cruces (started by Duke Richard Montroyal), Denver, Prescott and Tucson.

Both of these descriptions suggest that Atenveldt at its founding included the Gulf Coast states “below the Middle,” but did not include Florida (or presumably Georgia) which remained part of the East.

Lyn Whitewolfe also shared her own memory of Atenveldt’s early growth:

The southern states were a part of Atenveldt from the time I joined in 1971, or at least as I became more aware of the administration of the kingdom in 1972. There were groups in NY, Chicago and San Francisco. The West wanted all new groups to start as part of it, but really wasn’t prepared to deal with the administration of little splinter groups, so they held on to Southern California and made everything that wasn’t East, West or Middle a part of the wild, unincorporated territory that was the Principality of Atenveldt. Montana, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee, all had little start ups. Michael of Moria, Atenveldt’s founder and seneschal, brought us together as a kingdom.

[Update, August 16:] At Pennsic, I mentioned this incident to Duke Cariadoc, who noted that the challenge ignored by the Board had independently been accepted by Richard the Short. Additional details appear in an old message on the Rialto:

About twenty years ago, when the then board transferred a substantial chunk of the East Kingdom (most of current Meridies) to Atenveldt without asking the crown of the East for permission, telling the East they were doing it, or consulting the general membership in the affected area, I accused them of base and dishonorable behavior and asked them to name a champion. They refused. Richard Montroyal (miscalled Richard the Short–he’s taller than I am) volunteered to champion them (without their permission or endorsement–the board’s position, then as now, was that it is outside of the medieval framework) and beat me.

Posted to (“the Rialto”), 25 Jan 1994, archived at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *