Ankh-Morpork
 
This is the oldest city-state pertaining to Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. Its first appearance was in 1983's The Colour of Magic, which was the series' earliest book. It is located on the Sto Plains, which are the rough analogue to Western Europe on the Discworld’s unnamed main continent (where most of the books are set). Although they have been an empire in the past, the Sto Plains currently exist as a loose collection of independent city-states, ruled over by a close-knit (and probably interrelated) ruling class. The Sto Plains could be thought of as being similar to Germany prior to the unification of the states into the German Empire, with no overall authority. The largest/principal city of the Sto Plains is Ankh-Morpork, and while it doesn't exert any political power over its neighbors, its economic domination of the region has meant that the smaller cities around it are essentially its satellites. The large cosmopolitan burg, which is also the mercantile capital, is divided in two by the fictional world's most polluted body of water, the River Ankh. On one side of this waterway (which is so thick with silt from the plains that it should really be considered a walkway instead) there is Ankh (the affluent half); separated on the other side there is Morpork (the penurious half, which includes the slum area known as “the Shades”). Ankh-morpork, a quasi-medieval melting pot, is “so carefully described” by its author that “it could be considered a character in its own right.” As for the Discworld, it is a flat, disc-shaped planet resting on the backs of four gargantuan elephants, who in turn are standing atop an even more gigantic turtle as it slowly swims through intergalactic space.
The city of Ankh-Morpork has experienced various forms of government over the millennia, but there hasn't been a king in Ankh-Morpork for 300 years, since Lorenzo the Kind (the last and possibly nastiest one), was executed during the Ankh-Morpork Civil War of 1688 (based on the University Calendar, which began with the founding of the Unseen University, a center of magical learning). Thus, the Ankh-Morporkian monarchy was overthrown. The rule of Patricians commenced in 1689, immediately after the people voted away their democratic rights. The current political system appears to be a sort of crude/specialized “One Man, One Vote” form of democracy: the Patrician (who tends to enter into office by lies, trickery and deceit) is the Man, and he has the Vote. The current holder of this particular office throughout the Discworld chronicles is Lord Havelock Vetinari. In his youth, he reputedly trained and graduated with full honors from the Guild of Assassins. Strangely enough, this somewhat benevolent dictator has no lust for omnipotence. Unlike previous unelected heads of Ankh-Morpork (figures who were not wholly pleasant or well-balanced and who soon met their ends; succession occurs either by assassination or revolution), Vetinari is not motivated by personal gain or vanity. He is fiercely loyal to his busy metropolis, and though this level of devotion has led him to carry out many surreptitious schemes, he truly strives to make sure that its public services are functioning properly. As an example of the adaptability which has kept this supreme ruler in office, one of Vetinari's earliest and most innovative actions was to legalize and organize the city's Guilds (such as those of the Thieves or the “Seamstresses”, which had been active but outlawed for years). He encouraged the growth of these power-wielding syndicates, of which there are now some 300. Their leaders even became esteemed members of society, and their members insured and licensed. Vetinari appears to have survived by being equally distrusted and disliked by all of the interest groups in the city (who are always plotting, quarrelling, conniving, and forming alliances amongst themselves). In the middle of this vociferous municipal maelstrom stands the shrewd statesman, quietly doing things his own way, carefully conducting himself in such a way so as to not become as unpopular to the Guilds as they themselves are to one another. The result, in political terms, is stability achieved by equal tension in all directions. In Ankh-Morpork, it might seem as if laws, in the modern sense, have gone out of fashion in the last several hundred years. But contrary to appearances, the city is not a completely lawless place. No one in particular has absolute command over the affairs of the city, but power is to some degree shared between the Patrician, the kingpins of the many Guilds (they, who enforce their own brand of justice, are the ones who unofficially elect him in the first place), and the surviving nobility. After all, the greatly influential merchant families of Ankh, who had a stranglehold over the city either as kings or Patricians for the last twenty centuries, were not likely to relinquish any of their real authority; they were too accustomed to a situation that basically resembled a non-hereditary oligarchy in which they played the role of ruthless tyrants. In essence, Ankh-Morpork is governed by this complex interplay of various pressure groups, which form a “city council” of sorts, even though the Patrician has the only vote at meetings.
 
 
Ankh-Morpork's initial coin is a pewter Half Dollar from circa 1990-95, made by Bernard Pearson (The Cunning Artificer), formerly of Clarecraft (a British company he founded which manufactured collectible sculptures and figurines). Clarecraft, which operated from 1980-2005, ran a large fan-club called The Discworld Collectors' Guild. The Half Dollar piece was available to Guild members as their “2nd annual renewal gift”. The obverse shows a coat-of-arms, in which the heraldic devices are flanked by two standing hippos. According to legend, the first city of Ankh-Morpork was founded thousands of years ago by twin brothers who were raised by a hippopotamus (an allusion to the Roman myth of Romulus and Remus). It is in memory of this snippet of folklore that the amphibious mammal became the royal animal of Ankh. On the reverse, there is a depiction of “Havelock Lord Vetinari Vrbi et Disci”. This coin is 29mm in diameter with 4mm in depth.
 
There are was One Penny piece, from circa 2003-04. It is made from “pot metal” and also features Ankh-Morpork’s official coat-of-arms — though this time it is accompanied by the perfectly legible motto “Quanti canicula ille in fenestra” (How much is that small dog in the window?) — along with a much finer rendering of “Vetinari”.
Also there is One Shilling piece, featuring the Duchess Annagovia (of Borogravia, a fictional country on the Discworld’s unnamed continent) along with the Latin phrase Aliquid Ardet (Something’s Burning). These Duchess Shillings, mentioned in Monstrous Regiment, were used as prizes during the Clarecraft Discworld Event 2005 (the tenth and final Clarecraft event), and they could only be obtained by entrants in the “Maskerade” or the “Paint Your Own” competitions.
In the end I would like to thanks Mr. Eric Victor McCrea for the above information on Ankh-Morpork.
 

 
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