Monday, February 25, 2008

Except from A Methodist on the Continent by Mr. David Gorman esq.

The Castle at Zenda.
(Aquatint after a watercolour by Van Klomp)

Ruritania; a small kingdom of perhaps three million soul and is the hereditary seat of the House of Elfberg. Situated on the Adriatric and bordered by the Austrian Empire to the north and the Ottomans to the east, Ruritania has maintained its independence by implacable resistance to both of its larger neighbours in every period of its history.

It is a fertile and well ordered land and is administered by a German speaking Junker class, though the common people are more properly considered Slavic. This admixture is a result of the conquest by the Teutonic Orders in the late 13th century of the heathen chieftains that ruled the kingdom at the that time, who lived in a very rude state. Thus the Slavic population were ruled over for a time by a class of Teutonic overlords, who were eventually assimilated into the whole.

The Ruritanian may therefore be considered ethnically a Slav, but German in his manners and tastes. Though in many ways a backward kingdom, much attached to superstition and Popery, the Ruritanians are both a brave and a friendly people and less given to irrational prejudice than the typical run of their continental co-religionists.

They are also to be commended for having never once treated with the French during the late war against Bonaparte. Though occupied for a time, they fought on both in the guerilla (little war) as was done in Spain and in the service of King George as part of the King’s German Legion.

Except from A Methodist on the Continent by Mr. David Gorman esq. (The Gentleman’s Magazine, 1827)


  1. Hmmm,

    Personally I had always envisioned Ruritania to be much farther north than this . . . of course my only knowledge is from "The Prisoner of Zenda" and "Rupert of Hentzau".

    -- Jeff

  2. That both entirely understandable and forgiveable Sir.

    The vile lies of that wretched calumniator "Sir" Anthony Hope have misled many about our beautiful Kingdom. A thriced damned liar, and a danger to both children and livestock, he would have it believed that a rail line between Dresden and Prague passes through Streslau.

    Such ignorance of elementary geography, coupled with the scurrilous lies that he has spread about the House of Elfberg, should dispel any doubts as to the character and veracity of the man.

    Your servant,

    Captain Johann Sapt
    1st Foot Guards

  3. Taking Hope's account seriously suggests that Ruritania could be located in the Bílina (Biela) River valley, in territory also claimed by Bohemia.

    I may have to map it.

  4. Very enjoyable blog. I hope to hear more about Ruritania in the future, along with illustrations.