Friday, April 6, 2007

Real-world equivalents in GE: part 1/4

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

True story: when I first looked at the map of Granado Espada, the first thing I noticed was the name of the ship dungeon located outside the Port of Coimbra. And when I read that name out loud, I got myself a bad case of the munchies.

Portobello mushrooms [Agaricus bisporus] are the really dark, really old, really big grown-up versions of the button mushroom. This might just be the most commonly eaten form of fungus in the whole world.

We commonly find this type of mushroom as a young'un, canned in slightly salted water in the grocery stores. When it gets older and loses the white coloration, though, it becomes the portobello, which can grow almost as big as a hand, and is terrific on top of a piece of toast, or as another type of ingredient in pasta sauces. [California Pizza Kitchen, anyone?]

And if you think that Porto Bello is the only name that Granado Espada derived from the real world, read on. Today I'm talking about the real-world equivalents of some of the other place names that we find in our own in-game New World.

In this thread on the forums, poster "ge7812" explains that Granado means "pomegranate", and Espada, of course, means "sword". The poster goes on to elaborate on the in-game meaning of the title, saying that the New World's name was derived from those of the two explorers who found it: Gilberto Granado, and Ferruccio Espada.

Oporuto, which was the actual first nation to discover and attempt to exploit this New World, derives its name from those of Porto, the second city of Portugal, and from that country's name as well. It seems that in old times the city of Porto was referred to as Oporto, providing the closest possible real-world origin for Oporuto's name.

The name of the country of Vespanola can be derived from the following sources: Espana, which is what the Spanish call their own country; Hispania, which was the name given by the ancient Romans to the whole Iberian Peninsula [where modern-day Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar are located]; and Hispaniola, the name of the island on which Christopher Columbus founded the first Spanish colony in the Western Hemisphere. This island is now occupied by the countries of Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

[On a side note, I'm wondering if there's anyone in the game hierarchy with a thing for Vespas, the popular brand of stylish Italian scooter? Perhaps Kim Hakkyu might have the answer to that. ^^]

It was a little harder to find a derivation for the name Targa, the country that Najib Sharif hails from. As with everyone else in the game, I'm assuming that this country is their equivalent of India, Pakistan, or Sri Lanka, owing to Najib's appearance and manner of dress.

Actually, the word "targa" comes from the Old Franconian language, and evolved into the Old English word "targe", which means "shield" - or, in terms of usage, "buckler". The Scottish Highlanders made extensive use of the targe as a means of defense, and larger versions of it were used in the sport of jousting.

All of this ties in rather neatly with the in-game profile of Targa, which is renowned for making wonderful firearms, and for having a warlike outlook.

The fact that Targa lies between Vespanola and Katai also speaks in its favor as the game's equivalent of India, for reasons explained below.

The country of Illier, renowned for fine swords, high fashion, and good food, dervies its name from a location in France called Illiers-Combray. Originally, this village was simply called "Illiers", but after the world-renowned author Marcel Proust described it under the name of "Combray" at the beginning of his great novel Remembrance of Things Past [in French, A la recherche du temps perdu], the village honored him by changing its name to the current compound.

Ilier claimed a central position on the continent of Orpesia, in much the same way as France does on the European continent, and we can probably assume that Ilier does indeed serve as the game's stand-in for France.

The in-game country of Brestia takes its name from the place-name Brest. There are four places in Europe which share this name: one in France, one in Germany, one in Belarus, and one in Slovenia.

It's rather difficult to assign a real-world equivalent to Brest, as aspects of its description could apply to different European nations. Germany did indeed ascend to become a formidable power in Europe, but Spain's traditional rivals have been France and England.

Furthermore, the Spanish Armada was sent to England, and was roundly defeated by superior English artillery; rather similar to how the Vespanolan Red Navy won out against the superior numbers of the Brestian fleet.

Now Katai is much easier to place in our real world. Its name is derived from "Cathay", the old term for China. The fact that nearly all the Orpesian nations were searching for routes to Katai's resources gives us a further clue, as history shows many voyages towards the Far East to claim the many riches that were thought to be there.

And then we come to Absinia, home to fierce warriors and magic-users like M'Boma. And what do you know - "Absinia" is currently known to us as the African country of Ethiopia!

A quick glance at Greek mythology shows that even the ancients were aware of the existence of Ethiopia. It is also known today as the "Cradle of Humanity", because of the peerlessly ancient traces of humanity that have been found there.

There are also records of a European contact with Ethiopia, as Aragon, one of the kingdoms that was incorporated into modern Spain, had received two Ethiopian emissaries as diplomats.


In the next entries, please look out for my discussions of the cities/safe zones in GE and their real-world equivalents, as well as the possible derivations of some of our favorite RNPCs.


Anonymous said...


NineMoons Family said...

hey, welcome to this blog!

and if you liked this post, please read the second one, and wait till i finish the series, too ^^

hope to hear from you again.

Anonymous said...

I believe Targa is taken from Turk which are the native people of Turkey because Najib Sharif does look like a person from that region of the world.