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Kingdom of Tortall
Tortallan Universe place
Location Coast, borders Scanra, Galla, Tusaine, and Tyra
Terrain Mountainous, desertland, fertile fields
Climate Humid continental climate (very cold in winter, very hot in summer)
Main Industry Fishing, agriculture, mining
Location information
Residents The Tortallans, the Bazhir
Capital Corus
Government Feudal monarchy
Head of State King Jonathan & Queen Thayet (co-rulers)
Bibliographical information
First mentioned '
First appeared Alanna: The First Adventure
Last appeared '
Latest appearance Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales
Tortall 1

Tortall and Surrounding Kingdoms

Tortall is a large country in the Tortallan Universe.


Location and climate

Tortall is a country in the Eastern Lands. It has a humid continental climate, for the most part, and is hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

It borders the Emerald Ocean at the western border, and the Great Inland Sea on its southern border. This gives it many miles of coastline, but also many contentious borders.

Landforms and bodies of water

Tortall hosts a number of landforms and bodies of water

Rivers & Lakes

Mountain ranges

A mountain range forms the northern border between Tortall and Scanra. Apart from this, Tortall is flat in the north, and some of the the south contains the Great Southern Desert, home to the Bazhir tribes. The far south, on the coast, is mountainous and hilly.

Other landforms



The current ruling family of Tortall is House Conté. Tortall is a constitutional feudal monarchy and is ruled by a king and/or queen, although there are no known Conté queens who have ruled in their own right. It currently is ruled by Jonathan IV of Conté and Queen Thayet, who are joint rulers of Tortall. Tortall has a prime minister and several councils. The Council of Lords, the Council of Commons[1], and the king's private council. The monarch has a significant amount of power, but they must listen to their councils and their prime minister. The monarch does not have absolute power, and thus is not autocratic. During the reign of King Jonathan IV, Sir Gareth serves as the king's prime minister and chief adviser.

Laws and justice

Law enforcement

The law in Tortall is kept and upheld by the Provost's Guard, which was founded in the second century of the Human Era. Lawbreakers are subjected to a trial in front of a magistrate to decide punishment. It is unknown how much punishments differed in the 5th century from the 3rd century for specific crimes.

Known punishments:
During the 3rd century

  • sentenced counterfeiter was boiled in oil
  • someone who knowingly kept counterfeits in circulation had his or her hand lopped off.[2]
  • punishment was very strict when a guardsman or guardswoman was attacked or if children were harmed


Slavery and the slave trade

Slavery was prohibited in the 3rd century by decree of King Roger II, after his son was was kidnapped and enslaved[3]. Before the ban, slavery was completely legal, although there were already progressive inclinations to ban it and to forbid illegal slave auctions—which were only illegal because they didn't pay the demanded taxes to the Crown. People holding slaves were responsible for their doings and could be imprisoned when their "vicious slaves" did any harm[4]. After the ban, it is unknown what the punishment for slave trading was, but it is presumably quite high.

Women's rights

Tortall exemplifies the fluctuation of women's rights. In the third century and prior to that, women were able to enter the workforce. Noblewomen also had the prerogative to become knights. There was still a high amount of misogyny and sexism that was rampant, but women were able to work in occupations that were dominated by men later. By the 5th century HE, women had lost those rights. In many places, women were considered the veritable property of male members of their family. Noblewomen could inherit land, but not titles, and were passed over if they had male siblings. They could not become knights, and no woman could enter the military or the Provost's Guard. In the mid-5th century, King Jonathan and Queen Thayet did what they could to ameliorate life for women. In the 450s HE, there was a large amount of activism, mostly on the part of the temples of the Great Mother Goddess, to end violence against women in Tortall. There were still quite a lot of problems in cases involving noblemen and commoner women, as the courts automatically swung in the favor of the nobleman.


The nobility wields a large amount of power throughout the kingdom. They are allowed to call upon noble privileges, which have political power as well as cultural power. With noble privileges, aristocrats cannot be arrested when they have sanctuary on their own property, they can get away with more in terms of crime, etc.

They wield considerable power over their own property and the tenants who live on that property.

Ruling Monarchs of Tortall

The following is a list of known rulers of Tortall:

Of course, the amount of rulers is probably far larger than this. Unlike Queen Lianne, Thayet was mentioned because she is co-ruler of Tortall with her husband and shares equal power, as opposed to just the wife of the ruler of the country.

The Conté family had been ruling Tortall for centuries, yet it is unknown when and how they came to power.


The military includes a standing army, the King's Own, the Queen's Riders, semi-independent knights, and troops levied from local lords. Bandit raids are a problem throughout the kingdom, and border-raids from Scanra are common. Wars have occurred such as The Immortals War, the Scanran War, and the Tusaine War.


Farming and fishing along the coastlines, are the main sources of food and wealth in Tortall. Corus and Port Legann are also trading centers. Tortall is considered to be a prosperous nation, even with its various poor.


The main units of currency in Tortall are the gold crown, gold noble, with gold bits, silver nobles, copper nobles, and copper bits as lower denominations.


240s HE

  • In the 240s HE a gold noble valued ten silver nobles and a hundred copper nobles. Four gold bits also made up a gold noble.[5]
  • A gold bit equalled two silver and ten copper nobles[6].
  • One copper noble equalled ten coppers while ten copper nobles made up one silver noble.[5]

In 247 HE, fresh bread cost two coppers before the Bread Riot and three coppers each after the riot.[7] The baker Garnett took a bribe of five copper nobles from the customers who had accidentally paid him with false coins.[8]

In the third century of the Human Era the profile of King Roger was on the front of the silver noble coins, with the country's emblem, a sword with a crown, on its back[9]. The coin's appearance probably changed throughout the years to match the current ruler of the realm.

In 247 HE a large amount of counterfeit silver coins were in circulation, being produced by Pearl Skinner, with Hansevor Remy as the silver provider. Before the counterfeiting caused the value of silver to drop, ten silver nobles equalled a gold noble and ten copper nobles equalled one silver noble[10].

400s HE

Some currency values from the 400s HE in Tortall:

  • A top-quality horse—Upwards of 30 gold nobles[11]
  • Wage of a maid in the Royal Palace—One silver noble per month (plus room and board)[12]
  • Wage of the assistant horsemistress of the Queen's Riders—Two coppers per day (plus room and board)[13]

Note that the value of the coins probably dropped due to some sort of inflation, so we cannot assume that the same value from the 200s apply to the value of the 400s.


Known cities and towns


Most Tortallans worship primarily Mithros and the Goddess, along with any of the other Greater and Lesser Gods. Mithran priests are trained in the City of the Gods.

See List of Tortallan Gods for more information about religion in Tortall.


Tortallans primarily speak Common, the language of the Eastern Lands. The Bazhir have their own language, but they also speak Common.


Women's fashion

During the 420s in the royal court, women wore pastel colors that did not stand out[14]. Once Delia of Eldorne set the fashion for more bolder colors, women were more daring.

In the 450s HE, many of the trends set for women at court were set by Queen Thayet. In one instance, Thayet wore a deep black gown studded with jewels and silver embroidery, which was made by Lalasa Isran. The queen was known for being incredibly daring with her clothing.


Ancient history

Originally Tortall was only a state in the Thanic Empire. It became a sovereign nation 630 years before Alanna the Lioness's time, e.g. around 211 years before the year count of the Human Era began, the same time when the Tortallan Books of Nobility were begun.[15]

100s HE

200s HE

  • Treasonous plot to overthrow King Roger II, ends in the king's favor. King Roger ends slavery[16].
  • The Gentle Mother cult grows in power and influence

300s HE

  • Women lose all prior rights due to the cult of the Gentle Mother
  • Jasson I of Conté ascends the throne. King Jasson begins his conquests of neighboring territories.

In 378 HE the nation of Barzun was conquered[17]. Various other wars of conquests were also conduction around this time.

400s HE

During the mid 400s, the university of Corus was founded by Harailt of Aili. The university would later rival the Carthaki University in its expertise.


  1. LK, Chp 6
  2. Bloodhound, September 7, 247 (p. 11)
  3. Mastiff, final chapters
  4. Bloodhound, September 8, 247 (p. 50)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Bloodhound, Glossary
  6. Bloodhound, September 15, 247 (p. 203; Random House hardcover)
  7. Bloodhound, September 9, 247 II (p. 79)
  8. Bloodhound, September 8, 247 (p. 36)
  9. Bloodhound, September 19, 247 II (p. 429)
  10. Bloodhound, Glossary (terms "gold noble" and "silver noble")
  11. ATFA, Chp 5
  12. Page, Chp 1
  13. WM, Chp 1
  14. In the Hand of the Goddess
  15. Random Buzz; "Random Tortall Questions..."; April 22, 2009
  16. Mastiff
  17. Tortallan timeline
  18. Squire

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