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Old 12-10-2012, 05:51 AM   #1
Mark Moore
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Mid-15th-Century Transylvania

I'm going to start work on a screenplay for a fan film based on a video game soon (LONG way away from actual filming). It takes place primarily in Transylvania in 1450 - with the beginning spanning around 1433 through the "present" to show the MC growing up.

I need as much info as possible on daily life for a girl in that place and at that time: any gender duties/restrictions, common chores, schooling (if any), diet (food and drink, alcoholic and otherwise, and also anything that she wouldn't possibly eat, due to it originating in the New World), religious denomination (and any restrictions based on these), languages spoken, technology (what's in use, and what hasn't been invented yet), etc.

Also, any "larger" issues (political climate, decrees from the Church, etc.) that might affect Our Hero in some way (particularly when investigating supposed "special powers") would be helpful.
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:33 PM   #2
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Is this girl from a noble family, merchant or peasant?

During this period Transylvania was semi-automonous part of the Kingdom of Hungary. There was extensive war with the Ottoman Empire, a major peasant revolt in 1437 and religious perseceution of Orthodox Christians by the Catholic Hungarians.

Sounds like plenty of conflict for your story.
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:48 PM   #3
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I need as much info as possible on daily life for a girl in that place
The best thing I can suggest is that you do the research yourself and maybe come back with specific questions.

I know there are books about daily life in ancient Rome. I can't imagine there wouldn't be similar books dealing with medieval Europe and the technology levels for Western and Eastern Europe won't be that much different.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:09 PM   #4
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Is this girl from a noble family, merchant or peasant?
Possibly peasant or merchant. Definitely not noble. However, the family has an old (and long-forgotten) history of being Crusaders.

The girl has a Russian first name (Sonia), which suggests Orthodoxy, but she also has the last name Belmont, which, from what I've read in different sources, could be French, Spanish, or Italian (but, nonetheless, Catholic).
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:55 PM   #5
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If the family were crusaders then they were most likely Catholic
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:49 PM   #6
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I'm going to start work on a screenplay for a fan film based on a video game soon (LONG way away from actual filming). It takes place primarily in Transylvania in 1450 - with the beginning spanning around 1433 through the "present" to show the MC growing up.
Does this video game happen to be Castlevania? I loved those games when I was a teen and were partly to blame with my obsession with vampires and Dracula (historical and fictional), and for Eastern Europe, mainly the Carpathian region.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:07 PM   #7
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Does this video game happen to be Castlevania? I loved those games when I was a teen and were partly to blame with my obsession with vampires and Dracula (historical and fictional), and for Eastern Europe, mainly the Carpathian region.
Yes, it's going to be based on "Castlevania: Legends", the third game in the series for the original Game Boy (and the first one, chronologically, until Koji Igarashi declared it non-canon, but, since he's no longer in charge in the series, and it's gone in an AU direction by a third-party company, I guess I can just declare it canon again, hehe).
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:54 AM   #8
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Possibly peasant or merchant. Definitely not noble. However, the family has an old (and long-forgotten) history of being Crusaders.

The girl has a Russian first name (Sonia), which suggests Orthodoxy, but she also has the last name Belmont, which, from what I've read in different sources, could be French, Spanish, or Italian (but, nonetheless, Catholic).
By 1094, Transylvania was part of the regions dominated by Christianity. Just to the east there was pagan territory and there was a crusade in the Baltic region which quite a distance from Transylvania.

Peasants certainly went crusading in the early waves to the Levant but the idea of a Frankish peasant or merchant having the surname Belmont and ending up in Transylvania and settling there and maintaining a surname is highly implausible.

http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Belmont

Another detail is that the bearers of the name Belmont or Beaumont would have considered themselves Norman rather than Frankish.

Given what you've asked in your OP, it seems that you want this to be as realistic as possible. If that's the case, you're going to have to do lot and lots of research.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:07 AM   #9
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But if it's based in Dracula, wouldn't that be Wallachia, rather than Transylvania?
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:01 AM   #10
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The real Dracula was born in Transylvania, but he ruled Wallachia. He lived there during his early childhood, but when his father became voivode of Wallachia, he and his younger brother Radu were taken to Tirgoviste, the capitol of Wallachia of the time.
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:14 AM   #11
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:16 AM   #12
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But if it's based in Dracula, wouldn't that be Wallachia, rather than Transylvania?
Well, it'd be dealing with Dracula the vampire. In the Castlevania game series, Dracula was eventually revealed to have originated in the 11th century as a man named Matthias, who eventually became a sorcerer and gained immortality. It's likely that neither the game developers (nor Bram Stoker) intended for Count Dracula to be the historical Dracula. I'm going to deal with the issue in the story by having the villagers be confused and speculating as to whether they're the same person or not.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:26 AM   #13
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By 1094, Transylvania was part of the regions dominated by Christianity. Just to the east there was pagan territory and there was a crusade in the Baltic region which quite a distance from Transylvania.

Peasants certainly went crusading in the early waves to the Levant but the idea of a Frankish peasant or merchant having the surname Belmont and ending up in Transylvania and settling there and maintaining a surname is highly implausible.

http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Belmont

Another detail is that the bearers of the name Belmont or Beaumont would have considered themselves Norman rather than Frankish.

Given what you've asked in your OP, it seems that you want this to be as realistic as possible. If that's the case, you're going to have to do lot and lots of research.
One of the difficulties in my approach is trying to add as much realism as possible while also including what the game provides, and that means trying to come up with a plausible reason for why a girl named Sonia Belmont was raised in Transylvania.

Maybe I can have her father be Norman and her mother be Russian, and she could officially be Catholic while also getting some Orthodox teachings while growing up.

There is one piece of information that I'm ignoring. In the third game for the NES, known in North American as "Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse", the storyline in the instruction manual (which occurs in 1476, just 26 years after Legends, and I've decided the backstory occurs pretty much simultaneously with Legends' backstory), it's mentioned that the Pope is involved in finding vampire hunters to defeat Dracula, but it also mentioned the East Orthodox Church, which suggests the Japanese developers made an error. I'm going to treat the Orthodox Church as being somewhat involved, but Sonia is going to get the final approval to go forth on her quest from the Catholic Church.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:24 AM   #14
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If the family were crusaders then they were most likely Catholic
And nobility. The crusaders didn't let just anyone in.

You had to be noble to be a knight.

You could of course have someone be a houndsman, or a stable-hand, in an order - but being orders they would very likely just use their members for those, in acts of humility.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:51 AM   #15
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I wish you the best of luck, Mark. You definitely have your work cut out for you trying to tie historical truth with the messed up history of the game. It is fantasy, after all, and I guess the programmers were not at all concerned with any kind of historical accuracy, which is cool. It is just a video game. But I can see where you're trying to go with it.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:17 AM   #16
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What's wrong with making this stuff up? The games are fiction so why get too hung up on a dose of realism now?

1450's merchant's daughter? An awesome prize for any up and coming lad. Score one of these and you've got it made because it's an immediate in with her father's business. Plus, she'll have a hell of a dowry. Thing is, you have to make sure you aren't some lowlife scum to be courting such a girl. If your family is already firmly middle class and you're the firstborn son then you might just get permission to marry this girl. After that, it's babymaking time and learning her father's business so that you can one day take over. Your wife? Huh? Oh, I suppose she has a name but this is 1450, it's more important to look at what the men are doing because those are the ones who are busy getting things done and making decisions and women can just keep their damn traps shut if they know what's good for them.

Or, you could move out into the woods a bit. Rural life was hard, brutish and relatively short due to accident and disease. Mucking about on a farm or tending animals isn't particularly glorious and your Sonia is going to get a rich education in how to fetch water, how to groom and care for a milking cow and she'll probably be a whiz at boiling up turnips and rabbits to make a stew for the male farmhands and rest of the family. She'll be expected to keep an eye on the younger kids and help out around the house and generally be invisible while the menfolk are gathered and talking business.

News will travel slowly but if she's in the areas close to where the Ottomans invaded then she'll likely be living under a cloud of fear. Where the hell will they go? What will they do when these monsters invade their lands?


I urge you to consider just making it up as you go. The realities of day-to-day life for a young lady of good reputation are pretty strange and limited compared to what we see today. Women had a rough time of things back then and I don't think it will help your movie or story in any way to portray historic reality.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:29 AM   #17
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Possibly peasant or merchant. Definitely not noble. However, the family has an old (and long-forgotten) history of being Crusaders.

The girl has a Russian first name (Sonia), which suggests Orthodoxy, but she also has the last name Belmont, which, from what I've read in different sources, could be French, Spanish, or Italian (but, nonetheless, Catholic).

Does it say in the canon that she is of Russian ethnicity? Could you have her mother be Bulgarian instead?
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:22 PM   #18
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Could her Norman ancestor have been a mercenary knight or man-at-arms? The Normans certainly got around and there were enough wars going on in that part of the Balkans. I think it might be profitable to have a look at the 4th crusade that took Constantinople. Many French/Norman knights took part in this as did the Kingdom of Hungary.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:29 PM   #19
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And nobility. The crusaders didn't let just anyone in.

You had to be noble to be a knight.

You could of course have someone be a houndsman, or a stable-hand, in an order - but being orders they would very likely just use their members for those, in acts of humility.
That is certainly true of the crusading orders such as the Templars or Hospitallers but many ordinary people went on, for example, the 2nd crusade - most of them didn't make it back.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:09 PM   #20
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Could her Norman ancestor have been a mercenary knight or man-at-arms? The Normans certainly got around and there were enough wars going on in that part of the Balkans. I think it might be profitable to have a look at the 4th crusade that took Constantinople. Many French/Norman knights took part in this as did the Kingdom of Hungary.
Actually now, that's a truly cunning plan. The Normans did get around and there were those crusades in the Baltic region against pagans.

A second or third son of a family of Norman nobles could easily have the surname required. He would have had military training, horse and armour etc. He might have helped loot Constantinople in the fourth crusade and then gone north to the Carpathians to make a buck fighting pagans for the Holy Church.

Meets a nice local girl...settles down...and presto!

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One of the difficulties in my approach is trying to add as much realism as possible while also including what the game provides, and that means trying to come up with a plausible reason for why a girl named Sonia Belmont was raised in Transylvania.
Now you've got a plausible reason.

As Waylander points out, knights and men-at-arms did travel.

Given the fact of primogeniture among the Normans, there were always extra sons trained in combat who weren't going to stay at home to run the dukedom, earldom or whateverdom.

Make her ancestor a knight and you've solved that problem.

Quote:
Maybe I can have her father be Norman and her mother be Russian, and she could officially be Catholic while also getting some Orthodox teachings while growing up.

There is one piece of information that I'm ignoring. In the third game for the NES, known in North American as "Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse", the storyline in the instruction manual (which occurs in 1476, just 26 years after Legends, and I've decided the backstory occurs pretty much simultaneously with Legends' backstory), it's mentioned that the Pope is involved in finding vampire hunters to defeat Dracula, but it also mentioned the East Orthodox Church, which suggests the Japanese developers made an error. I'm going to treat the Orthodox Church as being somewhat involved, but Sonia is going to get the final approval to go forth on her quest from the Catholic Church.
Have you checked Wikipedia? It's a worth a look if you haven't.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romania_in_the_Middle_Ages
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Romania
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Romania
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:17 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Rufus Coppertop View Post
Actually now, that's a truly cunning plan. The Normans did get around and there were those crusades in the Baltic region against pagans.

A second or third son of a family of Norman nobles could easily have the surname required. He would have had military training, horse and armour etc. He might have helped loot Constantinople in the fourth crusade and then gone north to the Carpathians to make a buck fighting pagans for the Holy Church.

Meets a nice local girl...settles down...and presto!
He might even have been given a parcel of land up that way as part of the share-out of the loot. The family might subsequently have lost the land as most of it was reconquered which could account for their reduced circumstances. Worth remembering that the Mongols laid waste to a lot of that area about 35 years after the 4th crusade.
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Last edited by waylander; 12-11-2012 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:29 PM   #22
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He might even have been given a parcel of land up that way as part of the share-out of the loot. The family might subsequently have lost the land as most of it was reconquered which could account for their reduced circumstances.
Yeah. That's absolutely plausible.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:32 PM   #23
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Does it say in the canon that she is of Russian ethnicity? Could you have her mother be Bulgarian instead?
As far as I know, none of the games say squat about the family's ethnicity.

Is the spelling Sonia also used in Bulgaria?
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:15 PM   #24
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Could her Norman ancestor have been a mercenary knight or man-at-arms? The Normans certainly got around and there were enough wars going on in that part of the Balkans. I think it might be profitable to have a look at the 4th crusade that took Constantinople. Many French/Norman knights took part in this as did the Kingdom of Hungary.
According to "Castlevania: Lament of Innocence" for the PS2, in 1094, Leon Belmont was a former baron that goes to rescue his fiancee, Sara Trantoul, from the vampire Walter Berhard. Leon rescues Sara, but she slowly becomes a vampire. Honoring Sara's request, she is sacrificed, and her soul is infused into Leon's whip, which is henceforth known as the Vampire Killer, the Belmont family's ancestral whip. Leon goes and defeats Walter, but it's revealed that his close friend. Mathias Cronqvist, orchestrated the entire thing in order to gain immortality (albeit as a vampire) in order to curse God for taking away his beloved wife. Leon vows the Belmonts will hunt down Mathias, who is revealed in the epilogue to become Dracula.

Now, that's all backstory. Legends (and thus my fan film) occurs 356 years later (there are no games that occur between the two). What we know of Sonia Belmont is she was born with special powers in a remote area of Transylvania, and she was constantly told while growing up that her powers were meant for a greater purpose. She's trained to use a whip by her grandfather. In 1450, at 17 (or in her seventeenth year), she meets Adrian Fahrenheit Tepes, also known as Alucard, Dracula's son. He's trying to stop Dracula from destroying humanity. The game suggests Alucard also trains Sonia and that they're perhaps lovers (although it's vague). In the "best ending" epilogue, it's revealed that, sometime later, Sonia has a child that will also have an adventure. Due to the way that it's worded, it's seemingly implied that this child is Trevor Belmont, the hero of "Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse" for the NES (which occurs in 1476, 26 years later), and Alucard is supposedly his father (and thus Dracula is his grandfather), but, again, it's vague.

Legends was removed from the series' official canon some years later by the series' then-producer, Koji Igarashi. It's been assumed by fans that he removed it due to it seemingly conflicting with the backstories in Dracula's Curse and Symphony of the Night (supposedly, Dracula began his war against humanity only in revenge for his second wife, Lisa (Alucard's mother), being tried for witchcraft and burned at the stake, which was assigned a year conveniently after Legends' 1450, but I honestly have not yet found out where the specific years mentioned in any of the games came from, since no specific years are mentioned in the early Japanese instruction manuals), although the only reason that Igarashi ever seemed to give was purely sexist.

So, yeah, I'm working from a "noncanonical" game (although, since the original universe seems to have been abandoned, at least temporarily, in order to let a Spanish company make a reboot series, the first game of which is already out, I suppose worrying about the game's canonical status is moot).
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:24 PM   #25
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Don't make any decisions about the characters based on the spelling of their names. In the 15c people didn't even spell their own names the same way twice. (Plus, since Bulgarian & Russian both use the Cyrillic alphabet, you have transliteration issues on top.)
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