Thursday, 16 May 2013

An A to Z of Ruritania

I have read Anthony Hope’s PRISONER OF ZENDA and RUPERT OF HENZAU several times, and as a result I have built-up an A to Z of the places and characters mentioned in the books.

I thought that these might be of interest to some of my regular blog readers, so here they are.

  • Elphberg, Royal House of: Ruling family of Ruritania
  • Hentzau: Estate and title held by Rupert, Count of Hentzau
  • Strelsau: Capital city of Ruritania
  • Tarlenheim, Chateau of: Five miles from Zenda
  • Zenda, Castle of: Fifty miles from Strelsau and ten miles from the border.
  • Zenda, Forest of
  • Zenda, Hunting Lodge
  • Bauer: Swiss supporter of Rupert, Count of Hentzau
  • Bersonin: Mercenary in the service of Duke Michael of Zenda
  • De Gautet: Mercenary in the service of Duke Michael of Zenda
  • Detchard: Mercenary in the service of Duke Michael of Zenda
  • Elphberg, Flavia, Princess (later Queen) of Ruritania
  • Elphberg, Rudolf, King of Ruritania
  • Helsing, Baron: Chancellor of Ruritania
  • Helsing, Baroness: Wife of Baron Helsing
  • Helsing, Miss: Daughter of Baron Helsing
  • Hentzau, Rupert, Count of
  • Herbert: Huntsman and brother of Simon
  • Holf, Johan: Duke Michael of Zenda’s gamekeeper
  • Holf, Max: Supporter of Duke Michael of Zenda
  • Holf, Mistress: Mother of Johan Holf and housekeeper at Duke Michael of Zenda's hunting-lodge in Zenda. Three years after the death of Duke Michael of Zenda, she was running a food shop and lodging house at 19 Königstraße, Strelsau.
  • Holf, Rosa: Sister of Johan Holf
  • James: Servant of Rudolf Rassendyll
  • Joseph: Servant at the Zenda Hunting Lodge
  • Krafstein: Supporter of Duke Michael of Zenda
  • Lauengram: Supporter of Duke Michael of Zenda
  • Luzau-Rischenheim, Count of: Cousin of Rupert of Henzau
  • Rassendyll, Rudolf: Distant cousin of Rudolf (Elphberg), King of Ruritania
  • Sapt, Colonel: Later Constable of Zenda
  • Simon: King’s Huntsman and brother of Herbert
  • Strakencz, Marshal: Commander of the Ruritanian Army
  • Strelsau, Cardinal/Archbishop of: Archbishop of Strelsau and the senior Roman Catholic prelate in Ruritania
  • Strelsau, Michael, Duke of: (Black Michael)
  • Von Bernenstein: Guards officer
  • Von Strofzin, Anton: Cousin of Helga, Countess von Tarlenheim
  • Von Tarlenheim, Fritz, Count of
  • Von Tarlenheim, Helga, Countess of
  • Von Tarlenheim, Stanislas, Count of: Owner of Chateau of Tarlenheim


  1. The film version Prisoner of Zena (1937) is probably the best treatment of the book, although I have to admit the send-up in The Great Race (1965) was pretty good as well. From a wargame standpoint, one can hypothesize what a civil war in Ruritania might look like rule-wise, with obsolete equipment in the original publication date of 1894. If one adds in the possibility of the Central Powers or the UK intervening, you could enjoy a campaign.

    BTW, a free download of Anthony Hope’s original The Prisoner of Zenda and the sequel Rupert of Hentzau is available on Project Gutenberg, along with other of his works.

  2. CoastConFan,

    I agree that the 1937 film version of the story is the best I have seen.

    Had Black Michael lived it would have provided an interesting background for a small but savage civil war between his supporters and those of the Rudolf/Flavia faction. I suspect that the Ruritanian Army would have split 50/50 between the two sides, and that outside intervention by the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires would have been inevitable.

    I have both books on my Kindle, along with quite a lot of other late 19th century literature.

    All the best,


  3. Oh no Bob I fear another game potentiality rearing its head....

  4. Tradgardmastare,

    I was thinking that it would fit in well with my PORTABLE WARGAME rules, especially as I already have some German/Prussian and Austro-Hungarian 15mm-scale armies.

    On the other hand, it would also be a very nice 40mm or 54mm-scale FLW project.

    So many choices!

    All the best,


  5. On one side you have the staunch monarchists fighting to maintain the status quo of King Rupert’s regime and on the other a huge spectrum of well meaning reformers, people tired of the corruption and waste, anarchists, neo Charterists, agents of the Tsar, republicans, mobs, and reactionaries. It stats to look a bit like the Spanish Civil War in that case. I see a lot of foreign intrigue and possible intervention. Then again a quick resolution would be in best interest of both sides since there is no telling how the international community might react. Let off the bomb of a possible phony King Rupert and it might end up in a Balkan War scenario. Sound impossible? Royal pretenders have caused more than one civil war in the past centuries. The Wikipedia article of Ruritania doesn’t paint a pretty picture of the government and a suspiciously homogenous ethnic population.

  6. CoastConFan,

    A very interesting perspective. I can see the possibilities of a civil war in Ruritania turning into a rehearsal for World War I ... and as the basis for a great wargame campaign that combines elements of diplomacy, roleplay, and conventional battles.

    If I had the time (and the figures) I might well pursue this idea further ... but for the moment I have one or two other matters to deal with first.

    All the best,