Encyclopaedia Maxima Mundi, created by Effenberg and Talbot, is a multi-volume work detailing many notable people and occurrences throughout the history of the continent and the world in general. Fragments of this fictional book are sometimes used as introductions to stories or chapters in Sapkowski's works. It was generally considered to be a piece of Nilfgaardian propaganda and the information in it is highly selective, subjective and not particularly scientifically rigorous. Those fragments have, so far, apparently featured the following:
Kerack, a city in the northern kingdom of Cidaris, at the mouth of the River Adalatte. Once the capital of the independent kingdom of K., which, as the result of inept governments and the extinction of the royal line, fell into decline, lost its significance and became parcelled up by its neighbours and incorporated into them. It has a port, several factories, a lighthouse and roughly two thousand residents.
Effenberg and Talbot, Encyclopaedia Maxima Mundi, vol. VIII
Congreve, Estella or Stella, the daughter of Baron Otto de Congreve, espoused to the Count of Liddertal, managed his estates extremely judiciously following his early death, owing to which she amassed a considerable fortune. Enjoying the great estimation of Emperor Emhyr var Emreis (q.v.), she was a greatly important personage at his court. Although she held no position, it was known that the emperor was always in the habit of gracing her voice and opinion with his attention and consideration. Owing to her great affection for the young Empress Cirilla Fiona (see also), whom she loved like her own daughter, she was jokingly called the 'empress mother'. Having survived both the emperor and the empress, she died in 1331, and her immense estate was left in her will to distant relatives, a side branch of the Liddertals called the White Liddertals. They, however, being careless and giddy-headed people, utterly squandered it.
Effenberg and Talbot, Encyclopaedia Maxima Mundi, vol. III
Evertsen, Peter, b. 1234, confidant of Emperor Emhyr Deithwen and one of the true authors of the Empire's might. The chief chamberlain of the army during the time of the Northern Wars (q.v.), from 1290 imperial treasurer of the crown. In the final period of Emhyr's rule, he was raised to the rank of coadjutor of the Empire. During the rule of Emperor Morvran Voor he was falsely accused of misappropriation of funds, found guilty, imprisoned and died in 1301 in Winneburg Castle. Postumously rehabilitated by Emperor Jan Calveit in 1328.
Effenberg and Talbot, Encyclopaedia Maxima Mundi, Volume V
Houvenaghel, Dominik Bombastus, b. 1239, became rich in Ebbing conducting trade on a great scale and settled in Nilfgaard; respected by previous emperors, he was appointed burgrave and director of mines in Venendal by Emperor Jan Calveit, and as reward for services rendered was given the office of mayor of Neveugen. A faithful imperial advisor, H. had the emperor's favour and also participated in many public affairs. d. 1301. While still in Ebbing, H. was engaged in numerous charitable works, supported the needy and impoverished, and founded orphanages, hospitals and nurseries, putting up plentiful sums for them. A great enthusiast of the fine arts and sport, he founded a comedic theatre and stadium in the capital, both of which bore his name. He was regarded as a model of probity, honesty and mercantile decency.
Effenberg and Talbot, Encyclopaedia Maxima Mundi, Volume VII
Ithlina, actually Ithlinne Aegli: daughter of Aevenien, the legendary elven healer, astrologist and soothsayer, famous for her predictions and prophesies, of which Aen Ithlinnespeath, Ithlina'a Prophesy, is the best known. It has been written down many times and published in numerous forms. The prophesy enjoyed great popularity at certain moments, and the commentaries, clues and clarifications appended to it adapted the text to contemporary events, which strengthened convictions about its great clairvoyance. In particular, it is believed I. predicted the Northern Wars (1239–1268), the Great Plagues (1268, 1272 and 1294), the bloody War of the Two Unicorns (1309–1318) and the Haak Invasion (1350). I. was also supposed to have prophesied the climactic changes observed from the end of the thirteenth century, known as the Great Frost, which superstition always claimed was a sign of the end of the word and linked to the prophesied coming of the Destroyer (q.v.). This passage from I.'s Prophecy gave rise to the infamous witch hunts (1272–76) and contributed to the deaths of many women and unfortunate girls mistaken for the incarnation of the Destroyer. Today, I. is regarded by many scholars as a legendary figure and her 'prophesies' as very recently fabricated apocrypha, and a running literary fraud.
Effenberg and Talbot, Encyclopaedia Maxima Mundi, Volume X
Mandrake, or Love Apple, is a class of plant from the Mandragora or nightshade family, a group including herbaceous, stemless plants with parsnip-like roots, in which a similarity to the human form may be observed; the leaves are arranged in a rosette. M.autumnalis or officinalis, is cultivated on a small scale in Vicovaro, Rowan and Ymlac, rarely found in the wild. Its berries, which are green and later turn yellow, are eaten with vinegar and pepper, while its leaves are consumed raw. The root of the m., which is a valued ingredient in medicine and herb lore, long ago had great import in superstitions, particularly among the Nordlings; human effigies (called alruniks or alrunes) were carved from it and kept in homes as revered talismans. They were believed to offer protection from illnesses, to bring good fortune during trials, and to ensure fertility and uncomplicated births. The effigies were clad in dresses which were changed at each new moon. M. roots were bought and sold, with prices reaching as much as sixty florins. Bryony roots (q.v.) were used as substitutes. According to superstition, m. was used for making spells, magical philtres and poisons. This belief returned during the period of the witch hunts. The charge of the criminal use of m. was made, for example, during the trial of Lucretia Vigo (q.v). The legendary Philippa Alhard (q.v) was also said to have used m. as a poison.
Effenberg and Talbot, Encyclopaedia Maxima Mundi, Volume IX
Vedymins, called witchers among the Nordlings (q.v.), a mysterious and elite caste of warrior-priests, probably an offshoot of the druids (q.v.). In the folk consciousness, they are endowed with magical powers and superhuman abilities; v. were said to fight evil spirits, monsters and all manner of dark forces. In reality, since they were unparalleled in their ability to wield weapons, v. were used by the rules of the north in the tribal fighting they waged with each other. In combat v. fell into a trance, brought on, it is believed, by autohypnosis or intoxicating substances, and fought with pure energy, being utterly invulnerable to pain, or even grave wounds, which reinforced the superstitions about their superhuman powers. The theory, according to which v. were said to have been the products of mutation or genetic engineering, has not found confirmation. V. are the heroes of numerous Nordling tales (cf. F. Delannoy, Myths and Legends of the Nordlings).
Effenberg and Talbot Encyclopaedia Maxima Mundi, Vol. XV