Etymology of the word "Vanth"
Though admittedly a topic of minor importance following the collapse of the sector navigation grid, the origin and applicability of the name “Vanth” has recently become a source of much controversy amongst Vanthian scholars. A search through the remains of the God City memory banks has been able to shed little light on the matter; however, one tantalizing communique from the Medieval Rim Cartographicalogical Instritute does pose this very question to the leader of the first Vulkin expedition to the planet. Commander Spardox succinctly replies, “Who cares?”
Etymologist of dubious credentials Effuivius Vox pontificates:
The peoples of the current Realm of Vanth (the area on the map) claim that Vanth was the name of the dominant culture in ages long agone, which arose in this very area, and its peoples spread their wise and benevolent rule across the planet. The planet was christened “Vanth” in their honor at a ceremony presided over by the Go-Go Goddess of Xan-Adoo and Huron the Oathsome, God of Being a Very Mighty God.
Vanthropologists, however, suspect that the word ‘Vanth’ is actually a corruption of the word “blurtch”, which was the term used by a pre-agricultural culture known as the Kaluba’dung, located 12, 762 kilometers to the west of the current Realm, in the Valley of Gwangi. The term originally applied to the ceremonial dungheaps which were the centers of all tribal life. Though the Kaluba’dung civilization perished from contagion-born diseases after only a few generations, the term was passed along through oral tradition (mostly jokes at the expense of the Kaluba’dung), transformed bit by bit over the millenia, until it assumed its present form and meaning.
Notorious philololologian Fasciitis Necrosis opines:
My colleague (if I may dignify him by the extremely imprecise usage of the term) has once again proven that his grasp of Vanthian topics is weak and trembling, a sign of his advancing senility and/or depravities. True Vanthropologists (unlike the boozy streetcorner reprobates he prefers to consult) know that the term “Vanth”, as applied to the planet and the Realm, are recent usages that do not predate the coming of the Vulkins. True, the term did originate in the distant past, and was associated with dungheap fertility rituals, and is known in numerous cultures in numerous variant forms. Unfortunately, his derivation from the Kaluna’dung term “blurtch” is wholly erroneous, for this word is specifically associated with unheaped dung.
In fact, when the first Vulkin explorers landed on the planet, and made contact with the natives (possibly Hoblings), they were unable to communicate with them, since this predates the days of the Omniversal Translinguatron. Pointing at the nearby village, the Vulkins asked their hosts, over a dinner of roast goatbeast, what the name of the town was. The hoblings assumed that they Vulkins were interested in their unusually large and pungent dungheap and proudly replied, “Vanth!”. The Vulkins erroneously deduced that this was the name of the village itself, but soon encountered it in other cultures, even ones far-removed from the initial site of contact. The leader of the Expedition, Spardox, thus concluded that the name of the entire planet was “Vanth”, and so noted it in his reports.
Later, the natives were greatly puzzled and a bit insulted when the ‘Gods’ (Vulkins) started referring to the planet and the initial site of contact (now known as the “Realm of Vanth”) as a “dungheap”. However, when offered nigh-miraculous treasures (such as plastic whistle-rings, surplus Mardi Gras necklaces, and factory-reject Swiss Army knives (with missing toothpicks), for such reasonable prices (enough gold to fill a Type VII Transport), these proto-entrepreneurial folk quickly decided that the Gods could call the place anything they wanted to as long as they kept bringing the goods.Some tribal wag made up the story about the ancient, world-wide civilization of Vanth and the divine christening ceremony in order to impress the tourists. This has resulted in many hastily-contrived native dances, amateur theatricals, and Rotary Club speeches purporting to explain the local community’s place in “The Epic of Vanth”.