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In the Lycaeum

Situated on the northwestern part of Verity Isle, the Lycaeum has long been symbolic of the Principle of Truth, and acts as the major repository of Brittanian knowledge and scholarly research. At various times in its history is has housed a vast library, an observatory and even a magical oracle, and it regularly attracts scholars and magicians seeking to decipher the mysteries of the world surrounding them. It has also housed both the Flame and Book of Truth: two magically imbued emblems of the Principle it seeks to foster.


Age of Enlightenment[edit]

The Lycaeum was established at some point after the defeat of Exodus, as part of Lord British's campaign to unite the newly christened Britannia under the banner of the Eight Virtues. Originally constructed in a manner similar to a military fortress, the Keep of Truth had the trappings of a medieval castle, and sported fortifications and a small company of guards. Ruled jointly by the Lord Robert Frasier and his Lady Beth, the Lycaeum was home to both a modest library and a small observatory. During the Stranger's days as a pilgrim on the road to Avatarhood, the hero came here to learn a part of the the tripartite Word of Passage and to claim the mystic Book of Truth from amidst the castle's numerous tomes.

Years after the raising of the Codex from the abyss the Lycaeum was visited by a shrouded girl, carrying a glass scrying ball. Seeking an audience with Lord Shalineth, then lord of the keep, the child gave a series of ominous prophecies regarding the coming conflict between a hero and abominations of unliving Evil, which the nobleman recorded. After her augury was complete, the young girl's bauble, which had served to illustrate her visions, exploded, killing her in the process. Shalineth recorded her disturbing visions, and such documents may have proven useful in the Avatar's eventual quest against Blackthorn and the Shadowlords.[1]

During the reign of the dark lord which did indeed follow the girl's prophecies, the keep stood alongside Empath Abbey and Serpent's Hold as a bastion of resistance against the Oppression, with the Flame of Truth serving to ward off the intrusions of the Shadowlords. Mariah, a prior companion of the Avatar, was granted sanctuary here after she was wounded by one of the dark wraiths' magical bolts, and despite her injuries would gladly accompany the returned hero should they seek her. Eventually, it was within the Lycaeum that Faulinei, the lord of Falsehood, met its end, being dispelled as the Avatar cast the shard of Mondain's gem which birthed it into the fires of Truth.

In the decades which followed Lord British's return and Blackthorn's exile, the Lycaeum's fortifications were dismantled and the buildings housing the institution's collections slowly came to merge into the city of Moonglow. By the time of the Gargoyle Wars, the Keep of Truth had no formal ruler, and appeared to have its affairs managed by a loosely defined council of wizards, with the scholar Thariand acting as the head of its libraries. Mariah, now a new initiate of the Council, could still be found in the area, and proved crucial in the Avatar's quest, being able to decipher the silver tablet which held the key to the Gargish language.

Age of Armageddon[edit]

Over the next two hundred years, Moonglow and the Lyceaum continued to grow around one another. The Observatory, which had long been housed within the Lycaeum's environs, eventually came to occupy a separate building from the Lycaeum proper, which now consisted almost entirely of a library. By the time of the Avatar's adventures concerning the Black Gate, the institution was headed by Nelson, whose twin brother, Brion saw to the operations of the Observatory. Tragically, however, Nelson was slain during the Guardian's assault on Castle Britannia a year later, leaving the operations of the Lycaeum in unknown hands.

Whatever course the Lycaeum took in the interim years, by the time of the Avatar's last visitation to Britannia, it had changed drastically. Having been refashioned into a small floating chamber above the city of Moonglow, its once grand holdings had diminished to a small handful of volumes. Within it rested an enigmatic construct known as the Oracle, which returned the Book of Truth to the re-arrived hero, but only once they confessed to their responsibility for the ravages of the Guardian.


In the northeastern part of Britannia lies Verity Isle, famed as the home of the Lycaeum. This pillar of higher learning constitutes the centre for the sharpening of the finest minds in Britannia. The Lycaeum's observatory provides Lord British with valuable information about the course of the heavens and provides a vantage point to watch the happenings within his realm.
In the northwestern corner of Verity Isle, ever searching the skies, the observatory tower that crowns Britannia's centre of learning, can be seen from many leagues across the ocean. Libraries and laboratories, writing desks and discussion rooms, and every known tool for the discerning of Truth are housed here.
The world's greatest storehouse of knowledge and wisdom is contained within the walls that form the Lycaeum. Poised upon the northwestern slopes of Verity Isle, the Lycaeum's libraries, laboratories and academies of learning are a haven for the seeker of Truth. Four times each year the Inner Circle of Mages congregates within the labyrinthine chambers to exchange esoteric secrets. Whilst in the area, do not fail to visit the observatory where astronomers create many fine lenses through which to view the heavens.
Moonglow is the City of Honesty and sits upon the southern tip of Verity Isle. It is where the Lycaeum, the great storehouse of knowledge and wisdom, is located. Nearby, the traveller will also find the Observatory, which contains an orrery. An active branch of The Fellowship also operates in Moonglow.


Ultima IV[edit]

Map of the Lycaeum in Ultima IV


Ultima V[edit]

U5 Lycaeum(1).png U5 Lycaeum(2).png U5 Lycaeum(3).png
The Lycaeum levels 1, 2, and 3 in Ultima V
Ultima V: Lazarus[edit]
Lycaeum - Ultima V: Lazarus Map

Ultima VI[edit]

Map of the Lycaeum in Ultima VI

The Ultima VI Project[edit]

Lycaeum - Ultima 6 Project Map

Ultima VII[edit]

Also, Frank the Fox resides just outside the Lycaeum.

Runes of Virtue II[edit]


Ultima IV[edit]

Ultima V[edit]


The Lycaeum in the manga
  • The name "Lycaeum" in an old, Latin spelling of the word "Lyceum". The Lyceum was originally a place of learning in Ancient Greece, most famous for its association with Aristotle, and is said to have been an important early milestone in the development of Western science and philosophy.
  • In a fan-made dialogue patch for Ultima IX, the Lycaeum of Moonglow is renamed, given how dissimilar it is from other iterations of the building.
  • The Lycaeum appears in Yoko Tanaka's manga re-telling of Ultima IV, where it resembles a mountain temple. It is here that Deane, consults Father Antos, looking for information about his lost brother Shiva and hearing tell of the Skull of Mondain, which is needed in the comic to enter the Abyss.[2]
  • The name of the arcane stronghold is consistently misspelled as "Lyceum" in Lynn Abbey's Ultima Saga.
  • In the SNES version of Runes of Virtue II the name of the arcane stronghold is also misspelled. On a sign it is written as "Lyceum".
  • In The Forge of Virtue, a common greeting between mages at the Lycaeum is "Vas Wis?", which is answered "Kal Wis."[3]

Digital Lycaeum on the Ultima Codex[edit]

The Digital Lycaeum is a sister site to this Codex of Ultima Wisdom, established by Withstand the Fury Dragon as a repository for Ultima fan project developers. The Lycaeum is a place for hosting assets, including art, models and music, as well as reviews of existing projects, articles about game development, and discussion.


  1. Lord Shalineth. Paths of Destiny: A Guide to the Mysteries of Ultima V (Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1988. Page 68-69.
  2. Tanaka, Yuko. Quest of the Avatar (Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar). JICC: August 29, 1989. Pages 143-144.
  3. Abbey, Lynn. The Forge of Virtue. Questar Fantasy: 1991. Page 301.

Cities YewMinocSkara BraeBritainNew MaginciaMoonglowJhelomTrinsicMagincia
Castles Castle BritanniaEmpath AbbeyLycaeumSerpent's Hold
Towns BritannysBuccaneer's DenCoveDawnPawsTerfinVesper
Shrines CompassionHonestyHonorHumilityJusticeSacrificeValorSpiritualityShrine of the Codex
Dungeons The AbyssCovetousDeceitDespiseDestardDoomHythlothShameWrong
Lighthouses FogsbaneGreyhavenStormcrowWaveguide
Caves Ant MoundBee CaveBuccaneer's CaveCyclops CaveDesert DungeonHeftimus CaveHeroes' HoleMoonglow CatacombsSpirit TunnelsSpider CaveSwamp CaveVesper Mines
Islands AmbrosiaIsle of the AvatarDagger IsleDeadman's IslandIsle of Deeds
Isle of FireJanus IslandMarsor's IsleSpektranValarian IslandsValorian IslesVerity Isle
Lakes Lake GenerosityLock LakeLost Lake
Major Areas Bloody PlainsBog of DesolationBritanny BayCape of HeroesDeep ForestDrylandsFens of the DeadHigh SteppesLost Hope BayRealm of the GargoylesSerpent's SpineSpiritwoodUnderworld
Serpent Isle
Cities FawnMonitorMoonshade
Settlements Inn of the Sleeping BullIsles of the Mad MageMonk Isle
Dungeons SkullcrusherSpinebreakerFurnaceKnight's TestMountains of Freedom
Ruins Shamino's CastleCastle of the White DragonShrine of BalanceTemple of DisciplineTemple of EmotionTemple of EnthusiasmTemple of EthicalityTemple of LogicTemple of Tolerance
Islands ClawIsle of CryptsGwani Death TempleIce Dragon's Lair
Isles of the Mad MageMonk IslePenguin IslandSunrise Isle
Interesting Areas Gorlab SwampGreat Northern ForestIce PlainsKnight's ForestSerpent Isle Guard TowersWestern Forest
Settlements Argentrock IsleDaemon's CragTenebrae
Other Carthax LakeCatacombsCemeteryFishermen's ReefHall of the Mountain KingHerdsman's ValleyPlateauShrine of the Ancient OnesStone CoveTreasure CoveVengeance Bay