Girl Genius


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Heidelberg (in circle) in relation to the rest of the German lands. Transylvania is a good distance east-southeast from here.

Heidelberg is a city on the Neckar River in the Pfalzgrafschaft bei Rhein. It is a site of extremely ancient settlement, and in our history, is significant for its involvement in the Thirty Years' War and religio-political struggles in German lands (see also: Martin Luther).

However, it is best known for its university, founded in the late 1300s (at least in our timeline), and even more so, university life. Heidelberg has a reputation for both brilliant scholars split between the 'hard' sciences, and theology, jurisprudence and humanism; and for the student corps, although Othar Tryggvassen makes reference to a "Greek" sorority as well.

The corps are best known for their practice of mensur, or "academic fencing", a style of swordplay which involves sharpened blades and a desire to be scarred to prove one's character - no flinching allowed. Having a Schmiß on one's face from Heidelberg is nearly a trope of Germanic student life in the late 19th/early 20th centuries.

When Othar visits the city in the desolate future documented in his journal, he finds a campus weekly newspaper, "The Student Prints"[1], archived far enough back to help him fill in what happened to Europa while he was out of contact.


  1. This is a meta reference to a famous operetta, The Student Prince, based on a play called Alt Heidelberg (Old Heidelberg) by Wilhelm Meyer-Förster. Briefly, it tells of the heir to a gloomy principality being allowed one year at university, where he learns to enjoy life and falls in love, before his hopes for his future are dashed by his suddenly-assumed responsibilities to his land. Several of the songs from the operetta have become absorbed into cultural consciousness.

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