WOSSNAME -- FEBRUARY 2004 -- PART 2 OF 3 (continued)
THE SEVEN AGES OF DISCWORLD (continued)
THE THIRD AGE -- EARLY HISTORY
This Age covers all those historical events referred to in the chronicles
which took place before the first of our surviving Morporkian history
chronicles, The Colour of Magic. Naturally, this is a pretty busy Age,
so those events presented here are edited highlights.
The beginning of the Third Age is marked by the birth of Brutha,
supreme prophet of the Omnian church. The church had gone a little --
well, a lot -- wrong and despite (or perhaps because of) the efforts of
the Quisition, the Great God Om was down to just one true believer --
Brutha the novice (Small Gods). However, after a series of events led
to Om manifesting himself in front of several thousand people and
personally appointing Brutha Cenobiarch, belief in Om was reinvigorated
and evangelism reformed into a more peaceful approach involving explanatory
At the same time, two important academic developments took place.
The Great Library of Ephebe was burned down, possibly by its own
librarian, the philosopher Didactylos, and all books contained therein
are believed (possibly incorrectly) to have been lost (Small Gods).
Meanwhile, in Ankh-Morpork, the Disc's premier college of wizardry,
the Unseen University, was founded by Alberto Malich (Mort). One can
only presume that the two events are unconnected. Shortly before his
appointed death, Alberto Malich mysteriously disappeared. A statue was
erected in his memory, but is no longer available for viewing by the general
At around 500 AB, the Scone of Stone was established as the seat of the
Low King of the dwarfs (The Fifth Elephant). At an unspecified date some
centuries later, the Battle of Koom Valley took place between a group of
dwarfs and a group of trolls, the only known battle in history in which both
sides ambushed each other (Men At Arms).
At a disputed date c.1700 AB, the Ankh-Morpork Civil War took place,
against the background of a Worlde Gone Madde!!!!! (Moving Pictures)
While the precise year is in doubt, the actual time of the war is well known,
it having taken place between 8.42pm Grune 3 and 10.45am Grune 4.
'Stoneface' Vimes beheaded the last king of Ankh-Morpork, King Lorenzo
the Kind and ruled the city for six months afterwards with his 'Ironheads'.
He was later hanged and buried in five graves, the people having voted
against democracy (Men At Arms). The monarchy, however, was gone,
replaced by the Patricians, who rule according to the principle of One Man,
One Vote. The Patrician is the Man and he has the Vote.
On 25th May c.1970 AB, the Glorious Revolution against Homicidal
Lord Winder took place, led by Sergeant John Keel of the city Night Watch.
Unfortunately, Lord Winder was replaced by Mad Lord Snapcase. It was
to be some years yet before the ascendancy of Lord Havelock Vetinari,
and the dawning of the Fourth Age.
THE FOURTH AGE - EARLY MEDIEVAL
Lord Vetinari has completely changed the face of Ankh-Morpork, legitimising
all the City's Guilds (he himself was a student of the Assassin's Guild) and
introducing a period of relative political stability, despite regular
usurp or assassinate him. The Fourth Age is the first to be covered by the
surviving history chronicles of Ankh-Morpork, and includes the following;
The Colour of Magic
The Light Fantastic
At this point is becomes necessary to mention a peculiar feature of
Discworld history. Although the First to Third Ages span many hundreds
or even thousands of years, the Fourth to Seventh Ages span a few
decades at the most, often only a few years. We can only assume
that the density of the Disc's standing magical field has such an effect
on minds like Leonard of Quirm that a certain speeding up of the
evolutionary process is inevitable.
These early chronicles are characterised by a very medieval setting
and heavy use of magic, but only by wizards -- everyday tools like
picture-boxes have not yet been invented. Some of the last vestiges
of the Age of Myth disappeared as Dios vanished from the Kingdom
of Djelibeybi, pyramid-building came to an end and plumbing was
introduced under Queen Ptraci I (Pyramids). It was during the Fourth
Age that Death adopted a daughter and took on an apprentice (Mort),
leading ultimately to the birth of a granddaughter, Susan Sto Helit,
which was eventually to have an interesting effect of some performances
of the Rite of Ashk-Ente. Unseen University admitted its first,
to date only, female student, but it should be noted that this occurred
under special circumstances (Equal Rites). University life was
disrupted by the appearance of the Sourcerer Coin, but following his
defeat, returned to as close to normal as the University ever gets
The kingdom of Lancre, closely tied to Ankh-Morpork in many ways,
experienced something of a historical blip at this point. Following the
death of King Verence I, it appears that fifteen years passed in the
outside world while Lancre was under a spell (Wyrd Sisters). This event
was closely followed by the coronation of the current monarch, King Verence
THE FIFTH AGE -- LATER MEDIEVAL
Lords and Ladies
The beginning of the Fifth Age is marked by Mustrum Ridcully's
arrival as the new Archchancellor of Unseen University (Moving Pictures).
Whereas his predecessors tended not to last very long due to their habit
of killing each other off, Ridcully has brought with him a new era of
relative stability and is able to liase with other prominent members of
the community, such as his brother Hughnon, the Chief Priest of Blind Io
The Fifth Age was short, occasionally sweet, filled with promise.
During the Age, some new inventions started to appear, but for
one reason or another (usually involving terrible Things from the
Dungeon Dimensions) they never lasted.
Towards the end of the Age, Magrat Garlick was crowned Queen
of Lancre, and took her first steps towards leaving the 'maiden' role
in the witches coven behind her.
The chronicle Small Gods appears to have fallen through some kind
of hole in Time from the Third Age and has ended up here, among
much later events. We can only presume that there has been some
kind of mix up deep in the realms of L-Space.
THE SIXTH AGE -- THE RENAISSANCE
Men At Arms
Feet of Clay
The Last Continent
The beginning of the Sixth Age is marked by the integration of
the Day Watch and Night Watch in Ankh-Morpork to form a
new City Watch under Commander Vimes (Men At Arms).
This heralds a new beginning in Ankh-Morpork, with the
introduction of detectives (the Cable Street Particulars,
Masquerade), forensics (the introduction of Cheery Littlebottom,
Feet of Clay) and traffic control (Sergeant Colon and Corporal
Nobbs' new duties, Jingo).
Changes also began to occur within Discworld societies, as
female dwarfs started to fight for the right to wear skirts and
the Watch was asked to recruit minorities from the troll, dwarf
and undead communities. However, new inventions and crazes
still demonstrated a lack of longevity, and occasionally
disappeared from the timeline all together (Soul Music).
A number of attempts were made to usurp Lord Vetinari during
these years, all failures. It is rumoured that Captain Carrot of the
City Watch is, in fact, the true heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork,
being possessed not only of the traditional sword, but a crown-shaped
birthmark as well, not to mention almost supernatural charisma
(Men At Arms). However, no solid evidence has yet been brought to light.
The suggestion that the heir to the throne is actually Corporal Nobbs
of the Watch is not considered seriously by anyone other than, possibly,
Corporal Nobbs himself, though this has not stopped the unscrupulous
from using it to their advantage (Feet Of Clay).
As regards foreign relations, Ankh-Morpork narrowly avoided war with
Klatch, and it seems that diplomacy is increasingly becoming an
important aspect of the city's foreign policy (Jingo). Our only real
information concerning the Counterweight Continent is recorded here;
it seems one Cohen the Barbarian became Emperor of the Agatean
Empire, possibly with the help of Rincewind the wizard (Interesting Times),
who went on to make some important first connection with the mysterious
continent of Fourecks (The Last Continent).
In Lancre, Queen Magrat finally learned about the birds and the
bees and gave birth to a daughter and heir (Carpe Jugulum).
THE SEVENTH AGE -- THE MODERN AGE
The Fifth Elephant
Thief of Time
In these most recent chronicles, the Discworld has entered the
Modern Age, only a few years after it left the Early Medieval Period (!).
The beginning of this Modern Age is marked by the invention of the
clacks machines, recorded in The Fifth Elephant. These do not
attract terrible Things from the Dungeon Dimensions, nor are they
a magically induced moment of hysteria. They are here to stay and
they will change the world. They lead to the introduction of newspapers
and the invention of the printing press recorded in The Truth and
Ankh-Morpork's involvement in the Borogravian War recorded in
Even Commander His Grace the Duke Sir Samuel Vimes of the
Ever-Increasing Titles has produced offspring and the feminist
revolution is starting to make its way into places like Borogravia,
one of the tiniest backwaters of the Discworld (so tiny and
unimportant that in twenty-seven novels we've hardly ever heard
of them before). Truly, the Modern Age has arrived.
Acknowledgments: The New Discworld Companion by Stephen Briggs and Terry
Pratchett, and The Pocket Essential Terry Pratchett by Andrew M. Butler have been
invaluable in the writing of this article. Go buy them. They're great.
-- Juliette Harrisson
(Editor's Note: As you can see, a magnificent job! If you have comments,
corrections, or suggestions, please send them in to me:
Joe Schaumburger, jschaum111@...
and we will be delighted
to publish them.)
If you did not get all 3 parts, write: jschaum111@...
End of Part 2, says my computer -- continued on Part 3 of 3
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