November 7th, 2012


What *is* a Sovereign Princess?

I'm working on a retelling of Swan Lake, and came across a cast list that named Siegfried's mother as a "Sovereign Princess." I've also seen productions with a king and queen, but having a single female ruler makes it easier for me so I'd like to go with that.

Only problem is, I can't figure out what a sovereign princess is. I've read up on the ruling family of Monaco, but nothing has explained what the title means (and Sovereign Princess there seems to be a tradition thing?). I have friends who know more about royalty than I do who've said it could be like a princess consort who succeeds after the King's death, but aren't sure.

If it helps, my story is set around 1250 - 1300 in fantasy Germany-- not to specific because I'm trying to keep it in fairy tale-ese, and Tchaikovsky wasn't exactly specific to begin with.

Bonus question: what on earth is the term of address for a Sovereign Princess? Just "Your Highness"? I've seen in Monaco it's "Serene Highness" but that could be for when/if Caroline becomes Sovereign Princess and not a long-standing title?

I've gotten a lot of hits about horses, alpaca wool, and Swan Lake has shown up a few times. I can easily change her to a regent, but I really like the sound of "Sovereign Princess," so I'd like to use it if it suits my purposes.

Searched: "sovereign princess," "what is a sovereign princess," "sovereign princess" + royalty, and other permutations. Google Scholar isn't very helpful either.
SGA atlantis postcard

building maintenance in a fantasy world

I’m writing a fantasy novel in which two of my MCs initially work as maintenance at a university of magic. It’s 1700s or 1800s-ish socially, but there’s no strict technological analogue, as magic has taken the place of a lot of technology, and some areas may be more advanced—and others, less- than the equivalent era. In this world, magic is pattern-based; you write/engrave designs on objects in order to cause your desired effect.

I have two questions:

a) Unfortunately, I have no real clear idea what exactly is it that building maintenance does on a day to day basis. I've googled 'what does a maintenance man do', 'building maintenance,' etc, but I haven't been able to get a good idea of what a daily schedule would look like. It's a university of about 500-600 people, if that makes a difference. I'd like one of my MCs take the other on a tour of what his new duties will be, as he's just starting out.

b) Related to that: I’m also having trouble coming up with specific ways in which magic could replace/assist regular household technologies (not just in maintenance areas, but also in everyday life). I’ve got things like spells (patterns) of preservation in pantries to keep food fresh, and ovens that run on magic rather than firewood, but, uh, past that I am coming up fairly blank. No idea what to google for this one. Any ideas?


Yiddish diminutives, a very short question

I'm looking for Yiddish diminutives of "Yitzhak" and "Elisheba". I've tried:

- googling
- baby name site (utterly useless)
- looking up this presentation, which, while very useful, did not contain diminutives for either name I need

I found the diminutive "Sekel" for Yitzhak, but googling it brought up only surnames, so I'm unsure how accurate that is.

Thank you in advance!

[ANSWERED] Driving in Germany Circa 1970s

Hi all,

Yup, back for a few more, just to be sure I have everything I need:

Background: My MC has a mother who lived in Frankfurt am Main from the 50s-80s.


1. I know these days the legal driving age is 18 in Germany, but was it the same in the 70s? I also know requirements to drive in Germany are a lot stricter than in the US; I just need that one last age detail for the time period I'm looking at.

Googled: German driving age history, Germany legal driving age 1970

Edited to add: I asked a couple questions about DAAD and around what age my MC's mother would have been when she completed all of her schooling and second state exam when the time abroad's factored in, in case it affects around what age she could have begun teaching, still looking for some answers there. Thanks!

I also wondered if the myth of 'coffee stunts your growth' was also a wives' tale in Germany as it is in the US?