December 17th, 2011

Where is Bohemia?

Posted by sasha in


The coat of arms of Bohemia

The King of Bohemia is Sherlock Holmes’ client in the case of, “A Scandal in Bohemia.” However, “Bohemia” no longer exists in modern times. Where is Bohemia?

Bohemia was what is now parts of Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany. At the time the story was written, there was no Kingdom of Bohemia. The area belonged to the House of Habsburg. By the time Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote this short story, the Bohemian monarchy had already ended.


Bohemia is green, in relation to modern day Czech Republic

Bohemia composed maybe 2/3 of what is now the Czech Republic. The King in, “A Scandal in Bohemia” is rather culturally ambiguous. We know that he is rich, overly-dressed, and carries himself as a king even when in disguise. Sherlock Holmes easily sees through him. It is very interesting that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle chose a real kingdom, though defunct, and portrayed it as wealthy and thriving through the characterization of the king. It makes it seem that, through a bit of a Freudian interpretation, that the importance of the king – of an actually defunct kingdom, throws off the importance of the photograph of the king and Irene Adler. Maybe it isn’t so important after all. In the end, she does leave another photograph for Holmes. (Please see the page, “Digital Humanities” for more on the photograph in the Victorian Era, for some more perspective on this particular photograph’s importance in the story.


The historical flag of Bohemia

As the Kingdom of Bohemia was once where parts of Poland is today, it’s interesting to note that the historical flag of Bohemia is the modern day flag of Poland.


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