Jack Vance's Lyonesse trilogy includes some detailed worldbuilding of the island of Hybras (a.k.a. Atlantis), located off the Bay of Biscay and, at least at the time the story starts, divided into ten kingdoms (Lyonesse, Dahaut, Troicinet, Dascinet, North Ulfland, South Ulfland, Godelia, Pomperol, Blaloc, Caduz). The geographic worldbuilding is very detailed, including not only countries but cities, landmarks, habitats, and roads. One of the major roads on the island is called the Icnield Way - a name which, for anyone familiar with the ancient history of England, will be familiar.

Obviously, from the out-of-universe perspective the fictional road was inspired by the real one. But it's not silly to think about the in-universe perspective too. In many other ways, the fictional land of Hybras is designed to be consistent with histories of real places in western Europe: for example, the round table of Cairbra an Meadhan, in the story, later inspired King Arthur's Round Table, and Arthur himself was a descendant of refugees from Hybras. Is there a similar "backstory" behind the similarity in road names?

How did a road in ancient Hybras and an ancient road in England come to have the same name, in-universe? Was one of them named after the other? Were they both named after the same thing?

  • NB: the spelling is correct; it's Icnield in Hybras and Icknield in England.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jun 9, 2020 at 21:47


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