This is an article for the open-air zoo also known as The Hexarchy. Click here for directions to the nearest dragon pit.

Naming Conventions Act of 1694

From MicrasWiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

The Naming Conventions Act of 1694 was a legal action passed by The Hexarchy's legislature and the Council of Six to address the lack of surnames in the country's population, as well as address the diplomatic issues being caused by such matters. Surnames did not exist at all in the culture. The closest one could get was indicating one's home town, and then it was highly unreliable as an indicator of what family they came from, or even who they were, as names would change very frequently throughout a person's life. The law exempted foreigners and citizens that were permanent residents in different countries, thus avoiding an onerous legal burden that would have greatly inhibited trade between the Hexarchy and other countries. Additionally, those with official surnames already set into official records were also exempt, in an effort to prevent the law from punishing those who had already established a long-term personal, unique identity through their name.

Foreseeing the national identity crisis slowly unfolding in the wake of an exploding population, increasing trade, and rapid modernization, the central government saw fit to address the matter by introducing the requirement for a static, unchanging set of names to be used from one's birth, coming of age, marriage, and even past the end of their lives in terms of recording their deeds on historical documents. In short, the law called for a static first name that could be changed upon adulthood or marriage, and two surnames with various indicators of status, place of orgin, etc., and freedom for any middle name(s) that could change over time during one's life that could also be used as a mark for signatures, unique name identifiers, and related necessities of a modern world.

Notable provisions followed a set of notable themes throughout the law's text:

First Names

All persons must choose a static given name for them to use. In respect to tribal traditions, a person may change this name once upon coming of age and/or upon marriage, regardless of gender. Afterwards, this name remains on official documents for the rest of their life, with indications written as to their previous (childhood) names.

Family Relations

All persons were then strongly encouraged (and, in some localities, required) to record a parent and grandparent as their first surname. This would not change during the life of this person. They would pass their own name, or that of their spouse, to their children in this fashion. For example, a son of This and grandson of That would have the name of This-Pilthat, with the additive "pil" indicating a filial relationship with a grandparent in most of the Hexarchy. This was to become a universal standard after 1694, with options for peasants to forego this and slowly allow their children to pick up more independent family names on their own. This was to be the first of two middle names.

"Middle" Names

The law gives free rein to changeable names of any nature, so long as the rest of the law's text is followed. Recognizing that one's identity changes throughout life, concessions in the law were made to have whatever additional names a person may wish to record on official documents... to the limit (usually based on character count) allowed on a case-by-case basis. Usually, the only names appearing on official passport documents and the like include only a single middle name a person chooses to put down at that time, in addition to their first name and their two official surnames.


According to the law, most were obliged to pick two of any five types of surnames available to permanently affix to official records as their set identity, with a set of restrictions levied for each one. If they were part of a clan or had a strong affiliation with a place, then they could choose such a combination of surnames. This would pass to their children. If they had a family trade for at least two generations, this would also be an option. Additionally, a religious surname could be used, if a person was of high enough social status to forego any of the former. (One very notable example is that of Sargon Gilgamesh-Pilagga Azulpolassar.) If one was of strong enough social status or were a noble from a different country, they could enshrine their family name for future generations in this fashion... if they had the documentation and/or trusted (mostly government-affiliated) witnesses to verify this. Or, if one were a native from deep in the interior, they could instead present themselves as an official member of a recognized tribe... so long as they put something further to identify themselves and their descendants apart from others of their group.


There were three different standards for a surname the government would accept, in any combination. One was a place name, preceded by a social indicator. Commoners had to make do with the combination of "Arad-"place. Strictly translated, the word "Arad" means "servant." However, in wider context the word indicates that the bearer of whatever name is a commoner from a given city or region. This combination is accepted on government documents so long as they were either born there or have proof of residence. Those landowners of any respectable social status could adopt the "Bel-" prefix. Those of high nobility, local royalty, or from the Praetorian Family could use "U-".

Usually, this surname was also used in conjunction with a trade name or clan name, if possible. The only primary alternative to a place name was to indicate a recognized tribe, or (if a member of the clergy) to indicate that instead.


If a family had no surname(s) and they could prove they engaged in the same generational business that handed itself down without exhaustive effort, then this was an option. Notably, this resulted in many former dragon riders naming themselves after their type of mount (with many calling themselves a variant of fire, scale, etc.), or simply "Hunter" in the local language. They also needed to adopt an additional surname indicating their place, clan, or tribe of origin. An example name as a result of this translate into something like "John Doe Hunter of Azul'an."

Tribal Affiliations

With tribal affiliations also at play, there were concerns that cultures could be inadvertently suppressed without the option of reflecting one's tribal affiliations on official documents. Additionally, the nomadic nature of many tribesmen (especially in Pyrax) meant that place-related surnames would be an impediment to keeping cultural ties intact. Thus, the option of adding one's tribal status to their name either in addition to or instead of a city or territory name was enacted. This provision was taken advantage of the most by natives of deep-interior territories such as Arumen, Pyrax, and Suza. Since certain tribes as the Kadesh were quite large, social modifiers were also placed onto their name to indicate their relative rank in said tribe, similarly to strictures on place.

(Noble) Clan Status

The concept of royal or dynastic families was still a new concept in the Hexarchy by the time the Act was introduced. The notion of a single, unbroken line of leaders strong enough to hold their positions for more than a few short generations was simply unheard of until they began educating themselves on foreign ruling families such as those found in Jingdao, Shireroth, or Natopia. This being the third generation of the current Praetor's family to hold significant (and growing) power thus portended the concept of a rising and solidifying nobility in the country.


In some cases, one had social status to give themselves religious surnames and include it on official documents as a way to establish a name for a dynastic (or clerical) house of sorts. In other cases, one had such faith in their god (or gods) that they wished to reflect this in their very name, as a way of identifying themselves to the world as a man (or woman) of true faith. Much of the time, this was allowed so long as one also indicated their place of birth or residence in a second surname, or their trade. If one was a certified member of the clergy, then it was permissible for them to adopt a single surname that was solely religious in nature, so long as it indicated the religion they belonged to. In such cases, the law created such strictly standardized usage that it was usually convenient to merely have a place-related second surname, with the first being used as an official statement of one's religious belief.

If one were of sufficiently high status to do so, they could adopt a family name by using a religious name. Local lords, their scions, their immediate relatives, or members of the Praetorian family were allowed to do such a thing. Most of the time, however, they saw fit to use a place and a social indicator rather than a religious name, reserving space in their official name for more personal uses later in life.