Monday, February 10, 2014

Is it really "The Flanaess"?

"A catalogue of the land
of Flanaess..."
Sometimes things have been staring you in the face, literally for nearly thirty-five years, and you only notice them when they happen to catch your eye.

For as long as I've been aware, fans of the World of Greyhawk setting have referred to the northeastern portion of the continent of Oerik as "The Flanaess". With the definite article "the" always included.

"A catalogue of the
Land Flanaess, being..."
But when I look at the Guide to the World of Greyhawk, one of the two books in the original gold box set, I find that "Flanaess" is often used, conspicuously without the "the". We see the opposite in other places in the book, such as on p. 13, which uses "the Flanaess" regularly.

What to make of this?

Surely "Flanaess" would be analogous, linguistically, to "Europe". That would make a bunch of sense geographically as well, considering that Europe, as a continent abutting Asia, is analogous to Flanaess, a continent abutting Oerik.

"Characteristics of the races
inhabiting The Flanaess"
I can't think of a single instance in which someone would say "The Europe" and have it make any sense. It's simply an anomaly.

It's odd, the things that catch your eye after all that time. Did Gygax change from "Flanaess" (as a straight linguistic replacement of "Europe") to "The Flanaess" (to add a sense of the exotic)? I am unaware of any straight answer to that question - anyone know of one? Maybe a Q&A on some message board somewhere?