Life In Landscape

Being, visions of the Far Place, the gors and the gallt, with notes various on flora and fauna, hunting, herding, agriculture, food and matters diverse.

With thanks to Ian Cooper and Darren Sims for their contributions on beer and ale.

Odayla, First Hunter,
You have shown favour.
You have given us some of your beasts, some of your deer.
Thank You Odayla.
Thank You Deer Mother.
We give of our bounty at your shrine.
We know the Gifting Way.
Count your herd: two are missing.
They are the ones we caught, to feed our clan.
You gave them to us.

Song of the Life Spear (Tovtaros Hunters’ Chant).
Far Point, 1624.

“Tonight we will eat tubers. The deer did not want to die.”

Danwyr Can’t-Be-Moved, Cholanti River, 1623.

The following essay was first put together in 1996 as background for my ‘Snakepipe’s Edge’ campaign set in Ironspike and the upland wilderness of northern Far Point. It is based upon research into Euro-siberian ecologies and Neolithic, Celtic, Germanic and medieval English farming and hunting techniques, with obvious changes and modifications to reflect Gloranthan reality.

A Note Before Beginning

Any project such as this is necessarily incomplete, occasionally inaccurate and sometimes (given the age of some of my notebooks) contradictory. Doubly so in this case, because, unlike most of the Glorantha Tribe, the ‘northern hemisphere’ flora and fauna described herein is almost entirely alien to me. (Marsupials and eucalypts; them I can handle).

My notes are primarily based upon European ecosystems, in particular the Euro-Siberian Province as described by Wilfred T. Neill in The Geography of Life. (Until reading Neill I did not realise just how much flora and fauna was common to both Euro-Siberia and North America).

The listings started as sources for totems, and from a need to refer to a consistent background in modules and stories. In design terms, my aim for Far Point has been to produce a detailed vision of a Heortling cultural area that is similar to Sartar and Tarsh but has a number of distinct and unique features.


The essay is presented here in seven parts:

  1. Crops, Farming and Herding

  2. Animals of the Stead

  3. Of Food and Drink

  4. Flora and Fauna

  5. Environments

  6. Wilderness Resources

  7. Imports and Exports

Main References

Apart from the standard encyclopedias and flora/fauna references, each of the following were particularly helpful.

Anonymous, Njal’s Saga. (trans. M. Magnusson & H. Palsson). Penguin Classics. London 1983.

T. Butcher, Country Life (Past-Into-Present Series). Batsford Ltd. London. 1970.

J. Carcopino, Daily Life In Ancient Rome. Trans. E. O. Laviner. Penguin. London. (1941) 1972.

G. Caselli, History of Everyday Things: The First Civilisations. MacDonald & Co. London, 1983.

J. Clutton-Brock, A Natural History of Domesticated Mammals. CUP. 1987.

I. Dawson, Food & Feasts in the Middle Ages. Zoe Books. Winchester. 1994.

B. Vesay FitzGerald, Portrait of the New Forest. Robert Hale. London. 1966.

Gerald of Wales, The History and Topography of Ireland. (trans. J. OMeara). Penguin Classics. Ringwood. 1982.

Gerald of Wales, The Journey Through Wales / The Description of Wales. (trans. L. Thorpe). Penguin Classics. Ringwood. 1980.

J. Goode & C. Wilson, Fruit and Vegetables of the World. Lothian. Melbourne. 1987.

M. J. Green (Ed), The Celtic World. Routledge. London. 1995.

W. O. Hassall, How They Lived. Basil Blackwell. Oxford. 1965.

P. Knudtson & D. Suzuki, Wisdom of the Elders. Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1992.

R. Lacey & D. Danziger, The Year 1000. Abacus. London. 1999.

G. Masefield, M. Wallis et al, The Oxford Book of Food Plants. OUP. London. 1969.

W. T. Neill, The Geography of Life. Columbia University Press, NY, 1969.

I. O. Peate, Tradition and Folk Life: A Welsh View. Faber & Faber. London. 1972.

Pliny the Elder, Natural History A Selection (trans by J. Healy). Penguin Classics. Ringwood. 1991.

N. J. G. Pounds, An Economic History of Medieval Europe. Longman. London. 1974.

M. M. Postan (Ed), The Cambridge Economic History of Europe: Volume 1 The Agrarian Life of the Middle Ages. CUP. Cambridge. 1966.

Sturluson, Snorri, Egil’s Saga. (trans. H. Palsson and P. Edwards). Penguin Classics. Harmondsworth. 1976.

Time-Life History of the World: The Domestic World. Time-Life Books. 1991.

Theocritus, The Idylls (trans. R. Wells). Penguin Classics. London. 1999.

R. Thomas, The Brecon Beacons National Park. The Countryside Commission / Webb & Bower. London. 1987.

M. Todd, Everyday Life of the Barbarians – Goths, Franks and Vandals. Betsford, London, 1972.

Various, Hrafnkel’s Saga and Other Stories (trans. by H. Palsson). Penguin Classics. London. 1985.

M. Visser, Much Depends On Dinner. Grove Press. NY. 1986.

M. Welch, English Heritage Book of Anglo-Saxon England. B. T. Batsford Ltd/English Heritage. London, 1992.

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