SCA news sites

Damaged crypts to be restored at Coventry Cathedral - Thu, 2015-03-05 22:13

Coventry Cathedral, a 14th-century Gothic church, was almost totally destroyed by German bombs in World War II. Now three of its medieval crypts are scheduled to be restored and opened to the public.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Æthelmearc Goes to Estrella

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2015-03-05 22:06

Photo by Countess Ian’ka Ivanova zhena P’trovitsa

A group from our Kingdom traveled to Estrella War last week. The intrepid invasion force consisted of Their Royal Majesties, King Titus and Queen Anna Leigh, Their Head of Court, Mistress Hilderun Hügelmann, Master Alaric MacConnal, THL Ishiyama Gen’tarou Yori’ie, and Lady Hara Kikumatsu. Quoth our Queen, “A small but mighty invasion!” A seventh companion, Baroness Elizabeth Arrowsmyth, was sadly claimed by the fierce Ice Dragon before the journey (she’ll be OK) and could not attend.

THL Ishiyama’s Kumihimo Display. Photo by Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann

Æthelmearc acquitted herself quite well in the War, staying busy with every type of activity. His Majesty, King Titus, took to both the heavy and rapier fields, and spent time visiting old friends. Master Alaric enjoyed shooting archery at some very inventive shoots. THL Ishiyama displayed his kumihimo braids at Friday’s A&S display. Lady Hara busied herself helping in camp, working as retinue, and creating kumihimo medallion cords for the gifts our Kingdom presented to Atenveldt.

Prize Scroll for Collar of Estate Category. Photo by Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann

Mistress Hilderun taught a class on Livery Collars, and won the Collars of State category in the A&S competition Saturday with her Lady’s Early 15th Century Livery Collar, receiving a lovely scroll by Lady Ponaria Apalosvna and Hanim Ari Usni, at Great Court. Says Hilda, “Well, there weren’t any other entries, but my scores were pretty good!” The Collar was worn by the Queen to Friday’s State Dinner.

Queen Anna Leigh models Hilda’s Livery Collar. Photo by Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann

Their Majesties of the East also presented Scrolls of Friendship to all Royalty present at Great Court. Æthelmearc’s scroll was illuminated by Mistress Eleanore MacCarthaigh, written by Teodora Bryennissa, and calligraphed by Lady Henna Sinclair.

Friendship Scroll from the East. Photo by Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann

Her Majesty, Queen Anna Leigh, and Her Majesty of the East enjoy the Queens’ Tea, Photo by Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann

Our charming Queen was the soul of diplomacy, attending the Queens’ Tea on Thursday, and arranging for both the Largesse gifts presented to Atenveldt at Friday night’s State Dinner, provided by the talented populace of our Kingdom and Her Majesty’s own hand, and the sewing kits presented to the World’s Queens. The sewing kit project was spearheaded by Countess Kallista Morganova, each consisting of an embroidered biscornu needle case, pin cushion and scissor fob, presented in a painted balsa wood box. Her Majesty reports that all gifts were very warmly received.

Largesse generously donated by the people of our Kingdom, given to Atendveldt. Photo by Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann

His Majesty Titus did his part for diplomacy as well, exhorting the assembled Crowns and crowd at Saturday’s Great Court to side with Æthelmearc against foreign invaders at the Great Pennsic War.

Photo by Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann

The Æthelmearcers were hosted most generously by the household Hrafnheim, of the Barony of Tir Ysgithr in Atenveldt. Hrafnheim provided friendship, tents, food, drink and bedding to our contingent, as well as adding Æthelmearc’s silk battle standard to the highest pole in their camp’s beautiful banner display. Their Majesties’ abode was provided and richly appointed by Count Thomas, and the retinue tent was provided by Lady Eyvor and Lord Domnall, and furnished by Viscountess Wander. One of the Heads of Household, Countess Ian’ka, also served as herald for our Kingdom during Great Court on Saturday, with a brag that would make our heralds proud. Lady Sigrid and Lord Keane of Hrafnheim served with the retinue during Great Court. Hrafnheim received gifts of thanks, as well.

Photo by Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann

Æthelmearc had a great time at Estrella War, and the companions will always remember the good times fondly and cherish new friendships made. We’ll be back!

Master Alaric’s Scores at the Archery Tourney. Photo by Master Alaric MacConnal

Categories: SCA news sites

Q&A: East Kingdom Brigantia Principal Herald

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2015-03-05 11:58

Master Ryan in action as a court herald. Photo by Baroness Cateline la Broderesse

This is one of a series of Q&A articles with East Kingdom Officers.  The Gazette thanks Master Ryan Mac Whyte, Brigantia Principal Herald of the Kingdom of the East, for answering our questions.

Please describe your job responsibilities.
The responsibilities of the Brigantia Herald’s office are many and varied but the functions can be broken into three broad areas.

The First is the most visible, that of Court Heraldry. Through the Eastern Crown deputy’s office we organize and perform the ceremonial portions of our events. The Brigantia and Eastern Crown deputy work together on a week to week basis on arranging for court and organizing the scrolls on the day of the event and work together with the Shepherd’s Crook Herald to maintain the records of awards in what is called the Order of Precedence. The intricate dance which is Court takes a good portion of every day’s time for the Royalty and the Court Heralds. Most of the time ‘Court’ for the Heralds begins first thing in the morning when they get on site.

The Second broad category which the Herald’s office is broken into is Field Heraldry. Field heraldry includes calling for combatants to enter the lists during a tournament, crying announcements to the event site, and otherwise being Loud. The Troubadour Herald’s office arranges for the organization of heralds for Crown Tournament, K&Q Champions of Fencing, and K&Q Champions of Arms. Being a Field Herald is all about grabbing the attention of distracted people across the fields of a list and managing another dance between the heralds and the Ministers of the Lists and the Marshals in order to keep the tournament moving. There are several deputy heralds who assist the troubadour with the display of heraldry during the tournaments.

The third category of the Heralds’ office is the least visible, but the most intricate and arguably the most important. Book heraldry is broken into Armorial Heraldry, which concerns the regulation and development of coats of Arms, and Onomastics, which is the research of Names. Onomastics and Armory combine to give us a sense of who we are, and who we want to have been in the times we are recreating. They are the basis of our personae and there is a virtual mountain of research which has been done over the last 50 years. Book heralds are not only those who sit in consulting tables on the weekends and assist our members in designing heraldry and selecting names, but also those who during the week, in their spare time, research and document and confirm the authenticity of our heraldry and names. Book Heraldry is led by the Blue Tyger Herald and staff.
As Brigantia I manage the personnel who fall into these areas and ensure that the College of Heralds of the East continues to perform at its best. The Eastern College has been the leader of the Known World in heraldic research and heraldic performance for years and I can only hope that my leadership and management continue that tradition.

What do you enjoy about this activity?
I initially got involved with the College of Heralds when a friend of mine, Rowen Cloteworthy, noticed I could be REALLY loud on the archery range. He saw me at a Crown Tournament and he gave me, and my lady wife Kayleigh, the opportunity to cry the lists. I was hooked instantly. Within three years I had become the Troubadour Herald, in charge of running Crown Tournament’s Heralds. As a heavy fighter myself I really enjoyed having a front-row seat to watch the fights. Being able to watch the best fighters in the known world from close range is an amazing thing.

Soon after I began my foray into field heraldry I was introduced to Court Heraldry by Malcolm Bowman. He coached me through court procedures and, along with Alys Mackyntoich trained me in the finer points of running a Court. Again Rowen coached me and set a fine example for me to follow for running Coronations. But the greatest thing in enjoy about Court Heraldry, and the real reason I keep doing it, is being able to see the look on a recipient’s face when they get an Award. There is no greater joy in the SCA than seeing a person’s face light up when it happens.

I have long had a fascination with Armory. My family can trace its bloodline, on the fraternal side, back to the 1600s when they left Southern France for Canada. When I was little I used to enjoy seeing the Armory in the family tree, from back in history when it was recorded. When I began in the society I designed my own arms and immediately became fascinated with the rules and with the design elements. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Do you have a goal for your term?
My primary goals for my term were to get all the Kingdom’s awards registered, which is finally finished, and to get the Kingdom’s Order of Precedence repaired. The Challenges in both are many but, with one problem down, the Order of Precedence is going to take center stage this year. I can only hope I leave the College stronger than I found it.

What was your first event? And what made you stay?
My first event was Jack Frost Bite Me II. An informal archery event held in the dead of winter. It had to be 10 below zero, with blowing, biting wind held at a member’s home in the Barony Beyond the Mountain. I was brought by my long-time friend, new, at the time, girlfriend, and now, years later, wife Kayleigh Mac Whyte. She had joined the SCA the summer before and had brought me along on a date. A month later I had purchased my own bow and arrows, and a month after that I was a SCA member. I can say that it’s she who kept me in the SCA but it was really the community which we share in the SCA which keeps me coming back.

Which people made an impact on you in the SCA and why?
I can not possibly do justice to a list on this topic because there have been so many. I’d have to say the first person to make an impact on me was Ragnar Two-Axe of the Reeking Swamp for being my mentor in archery and for teaching me that this IS a game and the first rule is to have fun. I’d have to say Duke Andreas von Ulm for being an example of chivalry and leadership to which i still strive to match. I’d have to say Duchess Anna of Tarragon for showing, by her example, how to still have fun with this game after all these years and for sharing with me her boundless energy and enthusiasm for the SCA. And lastly I’d have to say my Protegees, Raffaella, Donovan, Brighid, and Anastasia. Their faith in me inspires me to be better than I ever thought I could be.

Filed under: Interviews Tagged: brigantia, herald

Grimms now grimmer - Thu, 2015-03-05 07:41

There are no Disney endings for the fairy tales in a newly-released translation of Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jack Zipes, a professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota. The original stories, written in the early 19th century, have never been directly translated into English.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Period or Not…Names

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2015-03-04 19:01

This is a recurring series by Mistress Alys Mackyntoich on whether certain names currently can be documented to period based on existing evidence..  There are a lot of names that people think are medieval, but actually aren’t, and others which people think are modern, but in fact are found in the SCA’s period.  If you would like to suggest a name, send an email to the Gazette.

Today’s name is Kathleen.

Back in March 2002, the College of Arms ruled that, “[a]t this time, no documentation has been found that Kathleen was used in period.”[1]   Fortunately, Kathleen is one of the many names for which we have recently found better evidence, as more and more period records are becoming available on line.  Although the name is often associated with the Irish in modern times, Kathleen was used as a given name in England in the late 16th century.[2]   A related name, Cathalina, is found in Spain in 1598.[3]

[1]  March 2002 Cover Letter (

[2] Kathleen Matts; Female; Christening; 6 May 1571; Clungunford, Shropshire, England; Batch: C037382 (

[3]  Cathalina Abbad; Female; Marriage; 07 Oct 1598; San Andrés, Villanueva De Los Infantes, Ciudad Real, Spain; Batch: M86467-8 (

Filed under: Heraldry Tagged: heraldry, names

Fencing at Coronation

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-03-04 18:20

The Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais is deeply honored to once again host the Coronation of Prince Timothy of Arindale and Princess Gabrielle van Nijenrode to the throne of Æthelmearc on Saturday, April 11th, 2015. The event promises to be filled with the very best of what makes Æthelmearc such a shining gem.

To help make the day even better, Countess Doña Elena d’Artois and Doña Gabrielle de Winter will be hosting a White Scarf Meet and Beat. It will be a thrilling day of fencing as the crème de la crème of the rapier community take the field against all who would test their skill. Come join us as the White Scarves offer a day of fencing and one-on-one tutelage!

For complete information regarding the event, please go to the website here.

For questions about the fencing, please contact Lord Andreas Jager von Holstein at acholin (at) comcast (dot) net.


Categories: SCA news sites

Tower timbers found on Firth of Clyde - Wed, 2015-03-04 11:30

The west Scotland Firth of Clyde may have housed a 13th century harbor and large timber tower, according to archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology Coastal & Marine and members of the local community who have been studying the site since the destructive winter storms of early 2014. (photos, map)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Court Report: College of Three Ravens, February 21, A.S. XLIX

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-03-04 10:52

Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, Silver Buccle Principal Herald, has asked the Æthelmearc Gazette to share this court report with the populace.

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Titus and Anna Leigh, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of His Highness Timothy’s Regency Court at the College of 3 Ravens, 21 February Anno Societatis XLIX, in the Barony of Thescorre. As recorded by Mistress Othindisa Bykona, Fleur d’Æthelmearc Herald.

Hilaria Vistalia was Awarded Arms and inducted into the Order of the Keystone for being a presence at events with ambition to help wherever it is needed, working in the kitchen, helping to clean up event sites, and producing award scrolls for her Barony. Scroll by Mistress Matilda Bosvyle de Bella Acqua.

Hilaria Vistalia receiving her Keystone with AoA. Photo by Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann.

Baroness Nuzha bint Saleem was elevated to the Order of the Millrind for her years of service as cook, retainer, historian and deputy Baronial exchequer. Scroll by Lord Fridrich Flußmüllner.

Baroness Nuzha (Nezha) bint Saleem receiving her Millrind. Photo by Lord Simon Peregrine.

It was announced that Their Majesties conducted the following business at the Heavy Weapons Muster in the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands, 15 February Anno Societatis XLIX:

Angel of Gabriel’s Landing was Awarded Arms for her skill in baking, and for her enthusiasm in sharing the results on that skill with the Kingdom. Scroll by Duchess Liadain ni Dheirdre Chaomhanaigh.

Lady Angel of Gabriel’s Landing receives her AoA scroll from Their Majesties. Photo by Baron Uilliam Mac-an-tSaoir .

Alfr was Awarded Arms in recognition of his training with the Æthelmearc Army and skill as a shieldman, as well as volunteering his time assisting the Staff of the Great Pennsic War in preparing the classroom tents. Scroll by Pani Zofia Kowalewska.

Gierfinnr Saleingr Spjot was Awarded Arms and inducted into the Order of the Golden Alce for continuing the training that he began in the Youth Combat program through into his adulthood, where he serves the Kingdom of Æthelmearc as a spearman in the Royal Army. Scroll illuminatedby Lady Isabel Fleuretan and calligraphed by Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai.

There being no further business, His Highness’s Regency Court was closed.

In Honor and Service,

Kameshima Zentarō Umakai
Silver Buccle Principal Herald, Kingdom of Æthelmearc

Categories: SCA news sites

We’re back….

PainBank - Wed, 2015-03-04 00:51

OMG.  2006 was SOOOOO long ago.  Lots of changes since then, but we are motivated to get started with this again.  A few podcasts have arisen since then, but none (IMO) as true successors to what we created a long, long time ago.  The original audio files and blog posts are still around, so we have those and of course we know the format to create new shows.  Plus lots of changes in the world of the SCA, steel fighting and more.  Lots to talk about and lots to learn.  Lets get it on then!


Kith and Richard

The Pain Bank Podcast

Categories: SCA news sites

Shetland's Up Helly Aa never fails to please - Tue, 2015-03-03 16:55

Winter in Scotland's Shetland Islands can be cold and bleak, but you would never know when the annual Up Helly Aa fire festival lights up the night. (photos)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Hello world!

PainBank - Tue, 2015-03-03 16:42

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Categories: SCA news sites

Laurel and Maunche Meetings

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2015-03-03 10:34

Photo courtesy of Baroness Cateline la Broderesse

The following message is posted at the request of Her Highness, Princess Etheldreda

Greetings! There will be both a Laurel and Maunche meeting at A&S Championships this weekend. Both will be held in the Game Room. The Maunche meeting will be from 3-3:30 and the Laurel meeting from 3:30-4 pm.

In Service to the East,
Princess Etheldreda

Filed under: Announcements, Arts and Sciences Tagged: Laurel, Maunche

The history of the beard - Tue, 2015-03-03 08:49

Clean-shaven, mustachioed or heavy-bearded, the fashion of men's facial hair has come and gone over the centuries. In a feature article for the Telegraph, Lucinda Hawksley looks at the fashion from Roman times to the Middle Ages.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Quivers and Quarrels: the Known World Archery Newsletter

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-03-03 08:42

When you access your Kingdom newsletter on the SCA website, you’ll see a folder for Quivers & Quarrels, the Archery Community Newsletter. Q&Q is also freely available for all on the official SCA Q&Q website. The website also hosts several inter-kingdom archery competitions and individual Kingdom Royal Rounds score pages. If you participate in SCA archery, this is the publication and website for you! We interviewed both the founder of the newsletter, Sir Jon Fitz-Rauf, and the current editor, Sayako Enoki.

Sir Jon FitzRauf, photo courtesy of Sir Jon.

Sir Jon, how did the newsletter get started?
When the BoD first announced that the kingdom newsletters could be published in electronic format, I thought that it would useful for the archers of the SCA to have a Society wide archery newsletter that might help to make us a more cohesive group. Therefore, I asked the BoD if newsletters for SCA activities could also be published this way. At the next BoD meeting, they gave permission for the creation of electronic newsletters for SCA activities.

I then contacted the Society Publications Manager to learn what was needed to set up an electronic archery newsletter. After doing that, I sent out posts to some of the SCA archery email groups to find volunteers to edit and run the publication. Since I had absolutely no background in publishing anything, I knew I needed to find people with the proper background.

Our first editor for Quivers and Quarrels was LindaRose Meyers of Caid who said that she had the necessary background. I started putting out requests for articles from my various Society wide archery contacts. We had a good response and the first issue came out in Spring of 2013. LindaRose was the editor until the Fall issue of 2013. The position was taken over by Linda Tsubaki of AnTir with the Summer edition of 2014.

I would like to thank all those that submitted articles to Quivers and Quarrels. And I would request that anyone who has an archery-related article that they would like to see published send it in to Quivers and Quarrels.

Sayako Enoki with her son Nicholas on the archery range.

Sayako, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I don’t have much of an SCA past to speak of. I went to my first event in 1992, and it was a magical experience that captured me. I began my journey into the Dream in the then-Shire of Dragon’s Lair (which later became a Barony) in An Tir. For many years, the SCA was a hobby to pour creative energy into with my friends, and to escape the modern world for weekends here and there. There were a handful of years where the demands of life meant that I didn’t play at all, though the SCA was always a part of me. My adult life has been very, very dominated by modern pursuits and obligations, so I have not had the opportunity to earnestly give in service until recently. My SCA resume is completely bare. I have no awards. I still can’t make it out to many SCA things, but I can sure use my laptop and the internet to give in service to the Known World. The internet is a wonderful, flexible thing.

Beyond archery in the SCA, which I have been doing off and on for about 20 years, I am pretty wicked with a sewing machine. One of my favorite things is introducing newcomers to the idea of learning to make stuff instead of buying it. I am also a lifelong horseperson. I own two horses and dabble with mounted archery. I have enjoyed playing with thrown weapons, I am exploring new skills with leather crafting, and I love to introduce the Dream to those who have never heard of the SCA. Combat archery is at the top of my list of new things to start doing, and I look forward to raising my children in the SCA. Both of them will be in youth armored combat this summer. My daughter will turn six in a few months, and will be a force to reckon with on the eric once she armors up. She’s pretty darn fearless about clobbering the snot out of her older brother. I also bought my eight year-old son his first bow last summer. We haven’t had much opportunity for him to practice, but we have a little archery range in our basement, and summer break is coming.

Tell us about taking over the Q&Q Editor’s position.
I took over as the Chronicler for Quivers & Quarrels in the summer of 2014. It was still a very new publication, having only had three previous issues. I was hesitant at first to apply for the position. I worked on the production side of yellow pages for several years, and I have done volunteer freelance graphic design and technical writing for nonprofit programs. I knew how very time consuming creating a digital magazine would be, but two things really excited me about Quivers & Quarrels. The first was that it is the only free, SCA-wide recurring publication for an entire martial community, and the second was that I would have the freedom to have full creative control. It is rare to find opportunities with such unlimited potential. Putting an edition of Quivers & Quarrels together often drives me insane, but seeing glimpses of its impact on the community is very gratifying, and is its own reward.

I have always struggled with the reality that communities in the SCA tend to be decentralized and disconnected from each other. It’s just the nature of the game that we play, and coordinating a global game through the efforts of volunteers with little funding is necessarily limited. Most of these communities were also established well before the internet and social media became important communication tools. Our communities are most vigorous in local pockets. However, we miss the opportunities that engaging with other local communities can offer because we have had limited means to connect with them. Quivers & Quarrels can help to fill that gap for the archery community. It has quite a ways to go before it is able to touch every archer in the Society, but the potential for Quivers & Quarrels to do a world of constructive good is enormous. It’s that potential that excites me. Strong kinship grows our capacity as a community, and it grows our ability to gain and share knowledge and skills as archers. A publication for the entire archery community can be a powerful and enriching tool, and it is our tool to use as freely and widely as we wish.

We have three main feature sections, and we like to feature each section in every issue as much as possible. We recruit articles for technical knowledge, historical knowledge, and profiles of archers in our local communities who make or have made outstanding contributions to SCA archery programs. We also have sections for editorials and other news, local events, Society-wide competitions, archery challenges, local practices, and photos from the populace of the period items in their kits. When there are enough contributions around a certain genre, we will create a special edition around one topic, like the recent arrow-building special edition. I have discussed merchant listings with our publications manager, and hope to be able to add a merchant section later this year. We also would love to feature photographers and the works of other SCA artisans as they connect their art with the archery community.

We have an active group on Facebook at, where all of the back issues are available in the “files” section. The files section also contains a host of great archery resources, including a reading list. Outside of the Facebook group, Sir Jon Fitz-Rauf and I post each edition as far and wide as possible, including every SCA-archery Facebook group that I have been able to find, and every SCA-archery internet discussion group that Sir Jon has been able to find. It is also available in the newsletters section of, and from We strongly encourage archers to share each edition with their local groups so that we can eventually reach everyone. No permission needed. Please share as much as you’d like to, and please let me know if I can assist.

To all who read and support Quivers & Quarrels, thank you! If you’ve never heard of us, welcome! Happy shooting, and I am looking forward to the future.

Categories: SCA news sites

The search for King Harold continues - Mon, 2015-03-02 22:14

Cousins Terry Muff and Kevin McKenzie, who claim King Harold, of Hastings fame, as an ancestor, believe that the remains of the Saxon monarch lie beneath an ancient church in Hertforshire. Ellie Zolfagharifard of the Daily Mail has a feature story. (photos)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Around the Society, the Order of Defence Grows

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-03-01 20:33

by William Parris.

Only just recently did Their Royal Majesties announce the premier member of the Æthelmearc Order of Defence, Duchess Dorinda Courtenay. Now, around the Society, new members are being announced and placed on vigil.

Three were named at Estrella War for the Atenveldt Order of Defence: THL Takago, Master Malise, and Duchess Elzbieta. All shall stand vigil at Atenveldt’s Coronation on May 2nd.

Photo by The Virtual Herald

In Northshield, three were also chosen to serve as the premier members; Don Niccolo, Don Ambrose, and Don Piero.

Photo by Wesley Adama

As May 1st draws near, other Kingdoms may reveal their choices as the newest peerage takes firm rooting in the Society.

Categories: SCA news sites

Judging the Pent: An Interview with Baroness Alexandra dei Campagnella

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-03-01 13:16

Baroness Alex, Pent Judge Coordinator

This month features one of the biggest events held in Æthelmearc, The Grand Festival of the Passing of the Ice Dragon. Whether you go for the fighting, the fencing, the shopping, or just chilling out with friends, there is one thing that sets this event apart from all others: The Arts & Sciences Pentathlon, or the Pent.

For those interested in the arts and sciences of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, a visit to the Pent is a fantastic way to see what folks are interested in and how they’ve made use of what they’ve discovered. Those who enter the Pent know that their documentation, together with their creations, serves as a way to teach others about their areas of interest. But most people don’t take advantage of one of the best opportunities to teach and learn at Ice Dragon: judging!

The Gazette asked the Pent Judge Coordinator, Baroness Alexandra dei Campagnella, a few questions about judging at the Pent.

What qualifications do you need to be a judge? Anyone can be a judge. When looking for “quality judges” I look for people who can do the following: have an understanding of the item being judged and be able to understand the rubrics for that item or the general rubric for those items that do not currently have one. You need to be able to give clear thoughts and reasons for the scores you are marking and constructive comments if there is an area for improvement. Nothing hurts an entrant more than negative comments put poorly. When writing, think about how you would want someone to speak to you. Please take the time to write comments and not just numbers, it helps the entrant understand what number you picked and what they can do to improve upon that area. It is very helpful to have entered A&S before or to be active in A&S, but selection of Judges is not award-based.

What is a Rubric? A rubric is by definition: a guide listing specific criteria for grading or scoring academic papers, projects, or tests ( In the context that we use it there is a set number of areas the Judge looks at and a defined score for how the item ranks in each of these areas. To see the current rubrics, go here, and scroll down to the Kingdom of Æthelmearc A&S Rubrics.

Do you have to be a Laurel to judge? No you do not have to be a Laurel; however if you are one, please seriously consider judging, It is always nice for the entrants to have comments from the highest caliber in the arts and sciences that our Kingdom offers.

Is there a way for someone with less experience to be matched with a more experienced judge? Yes there is! We have a “shadow” a judge program, where you can be work with a Judge and go over along with them what each of the elements on the judge’s sheet is and what is important for that area. This enables a new person to ask a lot of questions and get a feel for what the Judge does and why.

How much time does it take to judge a category and just what is involved? There is no set time to allot time to allot per entry. Personally, I start with a quick look at the item, then read the documentation. After I’m done reading I compare the item to the documentation and the Rubric and start scoring on the judge’s sheet and writing comments. Some entries I go straight down the sheet, with other items I will jump around scoring the areas that strike me most. On average I spend about 15-20 minutes on an item. Some people will spend more or less depending on the documentation and item.

What is the timing/schedule? The timing is set by the Pent-coordinator and posted on the Ice Dragon Website. At this time there is a tentative schedule, but it may change depending on the number of entries, judges and space.

Why judge? I judge because I like to see what people are doing… what are the Kingdom Artisans up to? I have learned a lot from documentation that I wasn’t aware of; I’ve seen some really amazing processes for making an item; tasted some very yummy food and knock-your-socks-off beverages. The most memorable item I judged was period white face paint. I don’t remember the details of it, just that someone did it and that it was a very “wow” moment for me. The other reason I judge is to encourage people to keep going, keep digging into the documentation out there, keep digging into themselves for more ideas and to perfect what they’ve started. In my view there is no endpoint for art, it just keeps getting better and better.

There seems to be a misperception that you have to commit your entire day if you sign up to judge, and that it will all be very confusing. Don’t let the idea of judging (or entering for that matter) scare you! You are looking at each piece based on the Rubric and the documentation, you are not judging it against anything else on the table. You can also bounce thoughts off your fellow judges in the category.

If you know that you have a limited time, you can request to have only a couple items to look at, and always feel free to ask questions! I will be there all day for the judges and look forward to a fun and successful day.

This year, there are more than 20 categories.  Many judges — preferably, at least 3 per category — are needed. Having so many judges per category ensures that entrants are more likely to receive meaningful commentary on their items.  It also reduces the risk of burn-out by limiting the number of entries that have to be judged in the available timeframe. So consider signing up to judge the Pent – it will be a fun learning experience!

To volunteer to judge, use the judging registration form found here.  A list of Pent categories can be found here.

General event details can be found here.

Categories: SCA news sites

Staffordshire Hoard gallery as never seen before - Sun, 2015-03-01 12:40

The discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard is undoubtedly some of the greatest news in archaeology in the past decade. The incredible collection of Anglo-Saxon gold is on display at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Now you can watch a time-lapse video of the construction of the exhibit.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Gladiator combat "less about bloodshed and more about drama" - Sat, 2015-02-28 12:13

Ancient history expert Prof. Garrett Fagan of Pennsylvania State University knows a lot about gladiators and shared some of his knowledge at a 2014 conference. Included in the discussion was his research on Roman gladiatorial combat, more spectacle than blood bath, he found.

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Categories: SCA news sites

A Brief Survey of SCA Bardic Music

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2015-02-28 11:22

by Gwendolyn the Graceful, Brehyres.

In my previous article, I touched on the observation that so-called “SCA Bardic music” contains a preponderance of modern music in various forms. There have been countless classes and round tables at Pennsic and elsewhere devoted to discussions of the “types” of songs found within the SCAdian repertoire, which ones are and aren’t “period,” and what the difference is among “Period,” “Perioid,” “Traditional,” “Folk,” “Filk,” and “Original” music in the SCA.

This article is another brief discussion of that topic.

Curiously, a similar discussion broke out recently on the SCA Bards Facebook group (period vs. non-period). While it was presented as a choice, most all the participants took a “yes, and, both” approach to the question. Though there was a huge amount of variation in terms of what people thought enhanced the SCA experience and what people thought detracted.

This is not a discussion of what’s preferable or which types of pieces are appropriate for various settings. That’s topic for another day. This is more of a survey of the sorts of music one can find being performed within the SCA bardic community these days.

Clearly, any music extant from within the scope of the SCA. Period music is diverse, rich, and if performed well or in the right context, accessible to a modern audience. Sometimes venues for period music are harder to find, though for ambient music, it’s almost always appropriate and a pleasant enhancement to a hall. Period music is relatively easy to find, but sometimes it takes a little research to verify that the version you’ve found is documented all the way back to period! Often only the lyrics have survived, so setting them to appropriate music can also be a challenge.

There’s no single term that has been coined for this type of music. Essentially what I mean here is music or songs that “pass” for period, done in a period style, or that we can’t prove were from period but we have reason to believe may be that old. For scholars of period music, these pieces “sound” right or at least evoke the right feeling in their presentation. Near-period can also refer to something that is partly documented, and partly not, or something that is just outside of a period style but is otherwise inoffensive. A lot of broadsides and other extant music qualify within this category, as does the case where someone has created contrefait with a period or near-period tune, or has written a tune for period lyrics. Some also call this “perioid” but that term also gets used for other subsets of original music.

Traditional music is one of the widest practiced and oddly, least accurately presented types of music. It could be thought of as “gateway” music, especially since it’s music that lots of SCAdians learned growing up or in early adulthood, and they are often highly misinformed about its authenticity. Lots of different music from the early 1700s up through the mid-20th-century has been labeled “traditional” because the names of its authors have been lost, or because it got collected by song collectors who did not get attributions, or because it has passed into public domain, or because the singers learned “a version” somewhere and don’t actually know the song’s provenance. The thing about traditional music is that a lot of it is really fun, singable, easy to learn, and easily accessed, so it’s prevalent and often well-received. However, it’s also fairly recognizable. Lots of traditional music also has enormous clues that it’s well post-period. Most Irish and Scottish “traditional” music is quite clearly in this category.

Like “Traditional” music, “folk” music is a frequent gateway to the SCA. These are classic sing-a-longs, some of which really are anonymous, most of which are public domain, many of which were specifically written to be performed anywhere, anytime. But nearly all “folk” music is not more than 200 years old, and, also like its buddy Trad. Folk usually has hallmarks that indicate it’s well post-period. By some definitions, “folk” music is specifically music that arose out of the population of a given region, race, or culture, with no author or, if there is an attributed author, that author “gave” the music to the people (such as Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger). In the case of world folk music, frequently these pieces have been filtered and “Americanized.”

This is the period term for the practice of taking an existing tune and writing new lyrics to it. Broadsides were also composed the same way: by writing lyrics that could be set to popular music of the day (and sometimes more than one tune. It was not unusual for a broadside to list a number of “excellent tunes” to which one might sing the words). The SCA has, somewhat incorrectly, adopted the term “filk” for this practice. There are a number of reasons the term “filk” is controversial, and in fact, offensive, to some.

“Filk” was supposedly a typo once upon a once, when someone trying to put a “folk music circle” into a con program misspelled it. The misspelling stuck. So “filk” as it is used outside of the SCA is not confined to rewritten lyrics to an existing tune. In the Sci-Fi-Fantasy Convention circuit, “Filk” is a catchall term meant to include any and all music of interest to the subculture. But in the SCA, “filk” is also considered by many to be a pejorative term. I believe the major reason it elicits that reaction is that “filk” in the SCA has become synonymous with works that are not as serious, or not as appropriate, or that otherwise “break” the medieval experience for other listeners. I think it’s unfair to paint all “filk” with the same brush, but I’ll cover that another time.

Whatever it’s called, however, the essence of a contrefait is that it takes a tune someone else wrote and rewrites the lyrics. Songs like this are often humorous and fall under the heading of parody, but not all are meant to be funny. However, almost all contrefait with a modern melody do pick the original tune for some reason that puts an ironic or meaningful twist of some kind into the new lyrics. (And that’s often easier said than done.)

I will have a whole article on contrefaits and filk and such at a later date. For now, suffice to say, contrefaits can be “period” if they borrow a tune from period, but since it’s always new lyrics, those are always going to be post-period, but might be perioid.

Original (Historical) / Perioid
There are two segments of original music which have always been around in the SCA, but which continue to grow and change the bardic repertoire. The first of these is the “Historically-inspired” original song. These songs take their topics from period sources, but have been reinterpreted by an SCA artist and repackaged in an original tune. Some also refer to this type of music as “Perioid” – meaning that for most audiences, it “passes” for period even though it was written recently. Many of those tunes are themselves “perioid” in the sense that they evoke the right “feeling,” even if they are not written in a Medieval or Renaissance mode (more on modes in another article!). Sometimes the music and lyrics are more impressionistic, such as a song written from the point-of-view of an historical or legendary figure, and sometimes they tell the story of the original source material in the artist’s own way. These are new songs on old themes, entirely appropriate to the SCA’s area of study.

Original (SCA)
The final type of music is original songs written for and about the SCA’s people, life, culture, and so on. Patriotic songs about kingdoms or local groups, songs that uphold SCA traditions such as Crown Tourney, songs that venerate a particular person (for example on the occasion of a peerage) – these are an act of preserving the history of the SCA itself. As with the historially-inspired songs, they are being written currently, almost always in very basic, singable modes, rather than in courtly or church modes. These songs add to the fabric of the SCA and often help to create the illusion of the “Current Middle Ages” in that they provide a pride of place and character intrinsic to the conceit that “AEthelmearc,” “The East,” “The Midrealm,” and so on, are just as “real” as New York or the United States.

Sylvan Bard,

Without making value judgments as to which type of music is “more” appropriate, since all of them have appropriate places, uses, and audiences, it’s easy to see why so much bardic music “feels” modern. However, consider that original music of both historial or SCA subject matter can be “perioid” – if it’s done well, it can almost pass for period. At the very least, it doesn’t “jar” one out of a medieval context. Some contrefait can be written to actual period tunes, leaving only the lyrics to alert the listener to modern use of language (and again, depending on the lyrics, that may be indistinguishable, too). So the types of music one can encounter really can intermingle.

And regardless of the choice of piece, the three key elements to success for any bard are these:

  1. The material chosen must speak to some emotional grip on the audience;
  2. The performance must move the audience to that emotional place;
  3. The audience must be able to see, hear, and understand the performance.

Without those three things, it doesn’t matter whether the piece is period, perioid, or written last week. And it’s those considerations that dictate the appropriateness of a specific piece for a specific venue.

More on that… in another article

Categories: SCA news sites