SCA news sites
hmmm… so it has been quite a long time and a crazy flashback to the past is here. You can check out our first podcast episode, when we were still trying to figure everything out. Hopefully getting these posted up will reinvigorate us to get back into posting new episodes and interviews.
Richard and Kith
Looking for a period way to cover your jars and containers to keep the contents in and the bugs out? Try the waxed linen jar covers featured this month in Across the Ages, a blog about life in the late 14th century.
Across the Ages is the blog of Bonnie McCarthy Martin, known in the Society as Baroness Laurencia of Carlisle, an Æthelmearc subject and an English woman of the late 14th/early 15th century.
The blog also features class handouts and a photo gallery. Take a trip Across the Ages today!
Baroness Theodora Brynnissa, called Treannah reporting:
For anyone who has a storage unit at Jim’s Self Storage –
Many of you may be aware that Jim had been very ill last year, sadly he has since passed away. He was a kind man who was always very good to his Pennsic customers, and he will be missed.
The new owner is named Brian, and is trying very hard to keep things moving along as smoothly as possible, however if your usual method of corresponding with Jim was email, he does not have access to the old email account and asked that you use his address moving forward.
Filed under: Pennsic
Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy & Gabrielle II, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Their Majesties’ Court at A Celebration of Rapier, 1 May Anno Societatis L, in the Shire of Herontir. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, with the assistance of Drotin Jorundr hinn Rotinn, Golden Alce Herald.
Duchess Dorinda Courtenay was invited before Their Majesties to answer the summons bestowed upon her. Duchess Líadain ní Dheirdre Chaomhánaigh recalled meeting Dorinda at her first event, before she had even earned the title of Lady Dorinda; even then she exuded nobility, and since then has been a champion of the ideals of the Society. Master Iago Benitez, who once sponsored Duchess Dorinda as his cadet, found himself unable to explain Her Grace’s service as one would be unable to explain what is good about sunshine. Duchess Anna Blackleaf expounded upon Her Grace’s dedication and worthiness, declaring them above question or reproach. Sir Kadan Chakhilghan Ger on Echen, who Dorinda appointed as Captain of her Guard during her first reign, credited her with the example that he followed on his path to the Chivalry. Being moved by such glorious testimonies, Their Majesties did create the Order of Defense in the Kingdom of Æthelmearc and created Duchess Dorinda its Principal Companion.
Their Majesties invited the Ladies of the Rose to present a livery collar of white, the regalia of the Order of Defense, that it might start its journey with Duchess Dorinda and be passed to each successive member of that Order made in Æthelmearc. Baron Fergus and Baroness Helene then came forward and presented another collar, from which hung a medallion bearing the badge of the Order, that Her Grace might bear once the ancestral collar had been passed to its next recipient. Countess Elena d’Artois and Lord Aaron the Swift draped a cloak about Her Grace’s shoulders. Proclaiming that a Mistress of Defense should not be unarmed, Their Majesties called for Don Po Silvertop, on behalf of the Order of the White Scarf, who presented Her Grace with a weapon appropriate to her new station: a pie server, which he then proudly proclaimed had been wielded by every companion of the Order of Defense of Æthelmearc..
Their Majesties next called for Don Anias Fenne, who bore into Their Court an item from Æthelmearc’s past: a rapier borne in the days when Æthelmearc was but a Principality. Given the nature of the Order of Defense, Their Majesties received Her Grace’s oath as a Mistress of Defense upon that historic blade. A scroll illuminated by Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin and calligraphed by Duchess Líadain ní Dheirdre Chaomhánaigh upon wording by Duchess Líadain, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai and THL Ursula of Rouen was read in proclamation of the Court business. Finally, Don Diego Miguel Munoz de Castilla was invited to present a gift to Duchess Dorinda on behalf of the newly created Order: a handmade book, blank but for one page emblazoned with Her Grace’s armory, the pages of which would be filled with the armory of future inductees.
There being no further business, Their Majesties’ Court was closed.
Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy & Gabrielle II, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Their Majesties’ Court at Crown Tournament, 2 May Anno Societatis L, in the Shire of Hartstone. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, assisted by Lady Ariane Desiree des Cedres called Cedar.
At the conclusion of the tournament:
Their Majesties called forth Their Excellencies, Count Sir Magnus Tindal and Countess Etain ingen Dalaig. Their Majesties congratulated His Excellency on his victory in the day’s tournament and crowned him Magnus Tindal, Prince of Æthelmearc. They then handed His Highness the Princess’s Coronet, which He placed upon Her Excellency’s head and crowned her Etain, Princess of Æthelmearc.
Later that afternoon, accompanied by Their Highnesses:
The children of the Kingdom were called forth, and sent with Lady Mairin O’Cadhla to amuse themselves during Court.
The Ladies of the Rose were invited into Court to expound upon the admirable displays of chivalry shown upon the field, and after much discussion and deliberation, they had decided to honor THL Blue Star to bear the Shield of Chivalry. THL Beatrix Krieger, the bearer of the Shield, gave her advice to Blue Star regarding what she had learned while carrying the Shield about what it truly meant, then passed it to him.
The Ladies of the Rose, however, could not contain their praise to one individual. They further called THL Marek Viacheldrago and Torstein Vigdisson and commended them for their extremely chivalrous and honorable behavior upon the field, and especially Torstein’s bravery in his first Crown Tournament.
Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, Silver Buccle Principal Herald, asked for a moment in Their Majesties’ Court to discuss the contest that had taken place during the Procession that morning. Baron Robert O’Connor, Sycamore Herald, joined Silver Buccle, and the two of them proudly announced that Mistress Mathilde Bosvyle de Bella Acqua, White Conye Herald, was most impressive while announcing Their Excellencies, Sir Maghnus de Cnoc an Iora and Brehres Gwendolyn the Graceful. She was presented with a mug engraved with the date and event. Silver Buccle and Sycamore thanked Lady Lasairfhiona, the day’s autocrat, who had suggested the idea, and they hoped that it would be repeated in future Crown Tournaments.
While he was in Their Majesties’ Court, Kameshima- kyō reminded Their Majesties that his term as Silver Buccle was ended as of that day. He then begged Their Majesties to return the title and responsibilities of Silver Buccle Principal Herald, that he might continue to serve the Kingdom for another two years. Their Majesties agreed and reinstated him as Silver Buccle. He then addressed the populace and informed them that the Silent Heraldry program in Æthelmearc was restarted, and Lady Ariane Desiree des Cedres, called Cedar, had been formally appointed the Silent Heraldry deputy for the Kingdom.
Corrina Tender was Awarded Arms for her unending enthusiasm and devotion to the Society, including traveling several hours to serve the populace and guard the royalty, and encouraging fencing within the College of Cour d’Or. Scroll by THL Eleanore Godwin.
Lord Aidan Ransford was Granted Arms and created a Baron of the Court for his decades of dedication to the Barony of Delftwood, often serving as its “Army of One” on the field, assisting Their Excellencies with any project that requires it, and being a constant force for the Barony. Scroll by Baroness Helene al-Zarqa.
Their Majesties invited Duke Sir Titus Scipio Germanicus and Countess Anna Leigh before Them, that they might assist in the completion of a piece of business left from their reign. They then asked Her Highness, Princess Etain, to attend Them, and presented Her with the scroll commemorating her elevation to the station of Countess, induction into the Order of the Rose, and awarding of Arms by Letters Patent. Scroll by Mistress Sthurrim Caithness.
Her Majesty then called forth Sir Wulfstan Huscarl and all those who had assisted in the creation of the list barriers that had been created for the day’s tournament. She shared with them the appreciation of the populace, thanked them for their many, many hours of labor in the name of the Kingdom, and declared them all to be Her inspiration for the day. She presented a token of inspiration to Sir Wulfstan, with a promise that more would be collected and distributed to each person who had worked so hard to make Their Crown Tournament the day of pageantry They had hoped it to be.
Those scribes who had contributed efforts to the day’s scrolls were asked to stand and be recognized.
Lady Gwendolyn of Hartstone was elevated to the Order of the Keystone for being a driving force for support for her Shire, organizing demos, workshops and practices, arranging practice sites, and tirelessly recruiting new members with boundless reserves of patience. Scroll by Meisterin Felicitas Flußmüllnerin.
There being no further business, Their Majesties’ Court was closed.
We bring you five articles from the last couple of days about the Middle Ages. Do you like this format?
New evidence supports Margery Kempe's accountSome scholars have suspected that Margery Kempe's account of her religious life and pilgrimages were made up, but a letter from her son has just been uncovered...
Archaeological finds at Littlemore Priory
Update on the Mass Grave discovered in ParisThe total number of human remains uncovered in the basement of a Paris supermarket reaches 316 according to an update from the New York Times
Local media on the 50th International Congress on Medieval StudiesTime again for the congress! Will you be there?Yes, Ill be there!No, I'm not going
Photo by Denis Gliksman/Inrap
Waiver Policy for all Marshal Activities / Politique de formulaires de décharge pour toutes les Activités Martiales
It has come to my attention that we do not sign waivers at practices across the Kingdom. This is not acceptable. It must be done at EVERY practice. Below is the waiver policy and the waiver form.
I expected this to be adhered to strictly. Should any practice not follow the waiver policy, henceforth, the unbelted marshals shall be subject to having their warrants removed and chivalry sanctioned via suspension of fighting privileges (because I do not have the authority to suspend the marshal power of the chivalry).
I apologize if this appears heavy handed. It is a serious insurance issue and cannot be ignored.
The procedure is as follows for ALL practices falling under the Earl Marshal and must be done at each practice: Blue cards should be checked by the Marshal in Charge and the number logged with the SCA name and mundane name. Anyone who does not have a blue card must sign a waiver at each practice. You may use individual forms or a roster waiver at your leisure. The waivers should be held for the Waiver Deputy and not sent in to the office of the Earl Marshal.
The Kingdom waiver policy can be found here: http://seneschal.eastkingdom.org/docs/waiverpolicy.php
Waiver forms can be found here:
Yours In Service,
Il est venu a mon attention que nous ne signons pas de formulaires de décharge aux pratiques au travers du Royaume. Cette situation n’es pas acceptable. Il faut que ce soit fait à CHAQUE pratique. La politique des formulaire de décharge et les formulaires sont disponibles ci-dessous.
Je m’attendais à ce que l’on adhère strictement à cette politique. Dans le cas où une pratique ne suivrait pas les politiques établies, les maréchaux n’étant pas élevés aux rangs de la chevalerie verront leurs certifications révoquées et la chevalerie sera sanctionné par la suspension de leurs privilèges de combat (parce que je n’ai pas l’autorité de suspendre le maréchalat des membres de la chevalerie).
Je m’excuse si ceci apparaît comme étant sévère. Cela représente un sérieux problème vis-à-vis de nos assurances, et de fait, ne peut être ignoré.
La procédure va comme suit pour TOUTES les pratiques ayant lieu sous l’autorité du Earl Marshal et doit être complétée à chaque pratique: Le Maréchal en Charge doit vérifier toutes les Cartes Bleues et noter le numéro avec le nom mondain et SCA du participant. N’importe qui n’ayant pas une Carte Bleue doit signer un formulaire de décharge à chaque pratique. Il est possible d’utiliser des formulaires individuels ou un formulaire avec une liste, selon votre préférence. Les formulaires de décharge doivent être conservés par le Député aux Formulaires de décharge et ne doivent pas être envoyés au bureau du Earl Marshal.
La politique de formulaires de décharge du Royaume est disponible ici (en anglais) : http://seneschal.eastkingdom.org/docs/waiverpolicy.php
Les formulaires de décharge sont disponibles ici: http://www.sca.org/docs/waivers.html
Filed under: Announcements, Fencing, Heavy List
Countess Brekke Franksdottir and Sir Michael of York recorded their memories of Pennsic IV, famous for its mud and rain, at the request of the Gazette. Comments have been turned on for this article so others may add their own memories.
As I recall, the site was a field on the side of a hill, with parking below on flat ground, near the road. The top of the hill was relatively flat, and that’s where we were camping, with woods behind the encampment, a fairly long hike to the cars, and the plains below for field battles. I vaguely recall the porta-pottie being essentially a large truck with two sides: Men, and Women, and only one private stall, at least on the Ladies’ side.
It was, however, a lovely evening and night, and we continued west to our destination after breakfast in the morning. We arrived on site, found a camp site on the hilltop, and dropped off our gear. The Mid had set aside an area for Royals to camp. The Mid royalty and I camped there. I set up my very modern, bright blue nylon tepee and started a fire. Asbjorn arrived later and camped with friends a little way down the hill. Flieg and Lynn set up their canvas tent – very shortly thereafter named “DON’T TOUCH!” It was canvas and would leak anywhere anything came in contact with the canvas.
Duke Akbar and Duchess Khadijah had sent their infant son to “Camp Grandma”, a decision I’m sure they NEVER regretted, and set up camp – a large tent with a long entry way and a brazier which contained one of the few fires I saw on site. I asked how he had managed to start it, and he replied, “I poured a libation to the Gods over the coals and applied a fire stick to it. You have to appease the gods.” It was a memorable reply.
The paths became a quagmire very quickly. One young lady lost a “paten” (it was a Dr. Scholl’s sandal) in the muck, and neither of us could dig deeply or widely enough to find it. (She told me of the incident years later – THE QUEEN tried to help her find her missing shoe! I have no memory of it, only of her telling me about it years later. Someday, an archeologist is going to wonder about the strange object he found in a field in Ohio…)
At the start of the battle, the King of the Mid exited in one direction. Asbjorn, not usually one to avoid a good battle, went directly opposite – taking with him the best fighters of the East.
I can’t remember whether it was a specific war point, but there actually was an Arts-and-Sciences exhibit. I remember watching Duke Cariadoc in a clean, dry, long white Arab robe and turban dance a galliard in the mud. The judges gathered round to watch his footwork. In the middle of his demonstration, he fell backwards into the mud, bounced right back up onto his feet and kept going. It was just what you did – fall over – get muddy and get up and keep going.
By the afternoon of the second day, people were bored with the mud and the rain. Asjborn was worried people would get cranky so had me organize crowd-entertainment. All we could find was a long rope, so an impromptu tug-of-war was waged. Everybody got muddy – the losers slightly more muddy than the winners. Someone provided more humor by obtaining Asjborn’s loin cloth and hanging it like a pennant from the top of Duchess Diana’s tent.
To be honest, the rain was never really drenching – it was just relentless. And the mud got everywhere and the rain washed it off – so that only your legs were covered all the time. I can’t figure out how we managed to eat without getting everything covered with mud. I can’t figure how we had hot meals – fires were hard to keep burning and yet there was food and drink and good humor all around despite a gloomy acceptance of being covered in mud.
As I was arriving at the lot to get Asjborn’s van towed out, I came across a very dispirited Laeghaire (later made a knight, later King of the East) standing in a muddy puddle up to his knees and clearly wearing what was his last set of clean clothes. He was completely bespattered with mud all over the front side – his car had sprayed mud, lurched and he’d fallen face first into the mire.
When I got our car to the parking area little while later (it was a gas-station about 1/2 mile away), I found Laeghaire standing there – squeaky clean – wearing the same clothes – and steam was rising off him. He pointed to the self-service car-wash and shouted gleefully “All the hot water and soap you want for 25 cents!” He got into his car with three others, and the windows steamed up and they drove off.
Pennsic IV may not have been the wettest or the stormiest or most dramatic Pennsic, but it was the most muddy. Everyone had some story about the mud, some story about the rain, some story about a tent collapse, some story about how everyone helped everyone else. Because of the people, it was a lot of fun – and I remember it fondly.
Filed under: History Tagged: Pennsic, Pennsic IV
Join us on Saturday, May 23, 2015 10am ’til 6pm at Emmanuel United Church Of Christ, 326 Market St New Berlin, PA 17855
Come and spend the day sewing, silk screening and painting banners, baldrics & favors.
Sewing and crafting held at the Church.
From the North, East and South – Make your best way to the intersection of PA Route 45 and U.S. Route 15 in Lewisburg; at this intersection, head west on Route 45, approximately 5 miles, towards Mifflinburg and State College. Turn left onto Dreisbach Church Road. Look for the big church sign. Continue traveling into New Berlin to the intersection of Market& Vine Streets (only stop sign in town). The UCC Church is directly across the street.
OR Turn Right at the intersection, follow Market St. for one block, turn Left onto Union St. Travel 2 blocks south to the corner of Union & Water Streets.
From the West – Follow Route 45E towards Lewisburg. Turn Right onto Dreisbach Church Road. Look for the big church sign. Continue traveling into New Berlin to the intersection of Market & Vine Streets (only stop sign in town). The UCC Church is directly across the street.
OR Turn Right at the intersection, follow Market St. for one block, turn Left onto Union St. Travel 2 blocks south to the corner of Union & Water Streets.
Gunther Canon reports that at Their recent Rowany Festival, Their Majesties Kinggiyadai Khagan and Altani Khalighu Yeke of the Kingdom of Lochac honored a number of Their Subjects by offering them entry in the various Orders of the Peerage.
On May 1, Anno Societatis 50, Æthelmearc saw the birth of a new peerage as Duchess Dorinda Courtenay was made the first Æthelmearc Mistress of Defense.
At an event beginning in the early afternoon, she met all challengers to prove herself worthy, as commanded by Their Majesties:
“BE IT KNOWN to all that profess arms that We, Timothy and Gabrielle, by right of Arms, King and Queen of Sylvan Æthelmearc, do honor and invite all to whom these words come – that We commend Dorinda Courtenay, Member of the Order of the White Scarf, Duchess of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, and Vigilant for the Society’s Order of Defense to play her Master’s Prize against all who might wield the Rapier in its subtile mysterie at these weapons, viz:
rapier, rapier and dagger, rapier and parry item, case of rapier or longsword. Each Gentle being offered three passes of their choice. We would also provide gaming challenges for those who are not able to meet Her Grace on the rapier listfield. These words are to give notice that Our said Vigilant will be present beginning at 3:00 p.m. on the First day of May, at the appropriately entitled ‘Celebration of the Art of the Rapier’ to perform and do her utter most for the achievement and bearing away of the prize.”
Duchess Dorinda did indeed meet all comers, to the satisfaction of Their Majesties. There was much fencing, and then the populace repaired to a wondrous sideboard prepared by THL Ian Kennoven, with the centerpiece being a sugar paste rapier with escarbuncle guard.
Their Majesties processed into court and addressed the populace. King Timothy proclaimed, “From the day We won Crown, We had hoped the Board would make this decision, the right decision, and We are thrilled to be able to do this today.”
A video of the entire elevation can be seen here:
The oath, based on the London School of Defense Masters Oaths:
I, Dorinda Courtenay, do swear to be true to my Kingdom, to be a loyal subject to my Crown, and to serve my Queen with life and property.
I pledge to work with other Masters to further the rapier community, and to refrain from teaching suspect peoples including murderers, thieves, drunkards and quarrelers.
I promise that in any game, prize or play at weapons to give true judgement without favor or hatred, and to be merciful when I have the upper hand except in self-defense or in service to the Crown.
I pledge to give aid, strength and help to all masters, provosts and scholars, and to consult all Masters to advance others so that this Order, the fencing community, and the Kingdom may prosper.
Thus I do swear.
The cheers that rose in Court were soon to be echoed around the Known World as many Kingdoms created their first Masters and Mistresses of Defense and a new peerage was born in the Society.
Above, THL Fiora d’Artusio, Don William Parris (Gazette Fencing Editor) and Mistress Irene von Schmetterling at the event. Don William said “In a historic time, with worthies being chosen all over the Society, Æthelmearc set a high bar with Her Grace, Dorinda.”
The scroll was illuminated by Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin and calligraphed by Duchess Liadain ni Dheirdre Chaomhanaigh with wordsmithing by THL Ursula of Rouen, Duchess Liadain and Kameshima Zentaro Umakai.
Cian Triton, Principal Herald, reports that Their Majesties Logan and Esa of the Kingdom of Atlantia announced the kingdom Premieres of the Order of Defense at Their April 11, 2015 Coronation. Those chosen were Master Aedan Aylwyn, Master Alan of Gravesend, and Master Giacomo Vincenti.
Please describe your job responsibilities. The job responsibilities of the Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer encompass several areas. The most obvious is the managing of the kingdom funds and financial reporting of those funds. Working to ensure all the groups in the kingdom are in compliance with the Society and East Kingdom policy, procedures and laws is another large responsibility. Of course there is always the need to respond to an assortment of inquiries and requests from the various groups, individuals and from Society. There are many responsibilities that fall within the very broad areas listed above. I will not bore everyone with those details.
What do you enjoy about this activity? I enjoy working with numbers and with puzzles, so digging in a report to find the reason it is not adding up correctly is fun and rewarding. These is a logic to numbers that is always consistent and predictable, two things I tend to favor. I like having a reason to meet people from different groups and having a common footing area of focus to start conversations. I also find I do like to fill a need when there is a need, and the exchequer positions are an absolute need, for without them we would no longer exist.
Do you have a goal for your term? My biggest goal right now is simple. I would like to have all the groups in the East doing complete and consistent reporting each quarter. There are several things that can help make that happen, like having more training available and having several more deputies to work with the various groups to help me ensure we are staying in compliance. I would also encourage more people to show appreciation to the exchequers in the local groups, they do amazing amounts of work that no one ever sees, so we all can enjoy our hobby of living history.
Are you currently looking for any deputies?Yes, I would like several more deputies. Aside from the regional deputies that do reviews of the reports as they come in, training deputies would be very helpful. The Tir Mara region is one area that a deputy would be a big help, especially since I do not speak any French. Some of the regions are very large, so for those regions a second deputy would be very welcome. Training deputies – I would like a couple of those as well. There is always a new exchequer that wants training or an experienced exchequer looking to understand something more than they currently do. Training materials are always in need of updating, so that is also in the shadows waiting for someone to take it on. I recently took on an administrative deputy, his first project is to organize the exchequer warranting process and files, and then he is also working on the book review scheduling.
What was your first event? And what made you stay?My very first event, was Bjorn’s Ceilidh, in Concordia of the Snows. The local members made an effort to interact with people they did not know (or recognize as I later discovered). They were so willing to talk about the things they did and showed a lot of enthusiasm when talking about it. The effort people put into engaging in conversation went a long way in getting me to come back at the beginning. That quickly changed to seeing friends and learning or teaching new things.
Which people made an impact on you in the SCA and why? I have to say that Baron Emerson G. True was one of the first people that had an impact on me. I was on the group’s discussion list and had attended only one A&S meeting and one event. Fabric was needed for the next meeting so I said I was willing to go to the store or meet someone there in order that we have it for the meeting. Emerson was the person that I met up with for that outing. He encouraged the pomp and circumstance, and was the reason I became the Baronial herald shortly after joining the group. Baroness Lucia and Baron Baltasar (then he was Soichero) both encouraged me to try a variety of different things and they both took me under their wings as I did that. The first event I was a steward for, was their investiture. Which lead to my running many more events over the years.
Could you share with us a moment – or several moments – that describe what makes the SCA special for you?There was one particular year at Pennsic when My lord and 3 of our ‘sons’ were all actually fighting. We were on the fighting field with 2 of our ‘daughters’ sending the men off to war. It was one of those moments when it feels like you are really there in that place and time. I was giving each of them a piece of my clothing (not an entire sleeve) to remind them of my love and telling them to stay safe and come back to me. Knowing that they would be with a dearly beloved Knight, the Baron and the King meant they would be in the company of proven warriors but also that they would be in the deepest of the fray. I have had many very personally special moments over the years. Some that make my heart truly sing, have been those times I have created a scroll for someone dear to me, and the personal touches and research done show so completely when they see it. Knowing that the person is so touched by what you have created for them, not for the courts or for the kudos, but simply for what it means to them personally. Most recently, in my current position, I was very touched after doing an online training session with an exchequer. The session started with the person feeling like they could not manage the spreadsheet we use; they were very confused, and the stress was apparent in the voice. By the end of the 1.5 hour session I could hear the confidence in the voice and knew the exchequer was feeling very capable of dealing with the position. Of course there were profuse thank you’s but it really was they change in the voice and the confidence that made the entire thing very special for me.
In service to the keeping of the coffers. Ignacia
Filed under: Interviews Tagged: Exchequer
The May issue of New Hampshire Magazine offers an interview with Evan Ringo, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a competitor in the Armored Combat League, and a new member of USA Knights. Rick Broussard conducted the interview.
Milk was an important ingredient in medieval cookery. The problem with animal milk (milk from cows, goats, and sheep) was that it had a very limited shelf life. Also, the taste and quality of milk changed with the seasons and with the feed of the animals. Add to that the fact that animal milk was prohibited on fast and lean days. To get around these issues, medieval cooks turned to other sources for milk. Almonds, as well as hazelnuts and walnuts, can be turned into a milk-like substance.
Like animal milk, almond milk can by churned into butter, can thicken sauces and carry fat soluble flavors. Since it contains no animal products, almond milk could be enjoyed on fast and lean days and during Lent. Almond milk also had a more consistent flavor than animal milk and does not spoil easily. It could be made as needed and any excess could be stored for several weeks. While it was an ingredient in many dishes, almond milk was also consumed just like animal milk; by the glass. It was recommended, by physicians, as “blessed with qualities that were very close to the healthy human temperament”  and was prescribed for those who were sick or had digestive problems.
From Du fait de cuisine:
From Le Viandier de Taillevent:
The redaction from A Boke of Gode Cookery
The redaction from Medieval Cookery
My method is as follows:
By following this method you will end up with something with the taste and consistency of almond-flavored skim milk, and while it can thicken a sauce like milk or cream, it doesn’t do it as well or as quickly. Also, the almond flavor doesn’t cook out. Further, almonds have no sugar, so almond milk isn’t sweet like cow or goat milk. Modern, mass-produced almond milk is not the same thing as our period product: they are vitamin fortified, with extra fat, sugar and emulsifiers added to give them the flavor, and mouth-feel, of cow milk.
A purely modern method would be to put a cup of blanched almonds in a bar blender with two cups of hot water and blend until smooth. The bar blender will whip air into the mixture and pulverize the almonds, releasing more of the drupe’s natural emulsifiers, thickening the liquid. Like modern almond milk, the bar-blender method would give you almond milk closer in mouth feel to cow milk than what you would attain with hand grinding the almonds.
You can use the same method to make milk from hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans, but I do not know of any documentation for pecan milk before the American revolution.
 Master Chiquart, Du Fait du Cuisine
Chiquart, Maistre. Du fait de cuisine. Translated by Elizabeth Cook.
Le Viandier De Taillevent: 14th Century Cookery, Based on the Vatican Library Manuscript. Authors Taillevent, James Prescott. Translated by James Prescott. Contributor Biblioteca apostolica vaticana. Edition 2, illustrated. Alfarhaugr Pub. Society, 1989.
Medieval Cookery, Almond Milk Daniel Myers, 9/15/2006.
Scully, D. Eleanor, Scully, Terence. Early French Cookery: Sources, History, Original Recipes and Modern Adaptations. University of Michigan Press, May 7, 2002
Scully, Terence. The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1995.
Scully, Terence, ed. Le Viandier de Taillevent. An Edition of all Extant Manuscripts. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1988.
There is a new Facebook group available for those who would like to retain for TRM Timothy and Gabrielle for the remainder of Their reign, titled Royal Retainers Reign 36. If you would like to be added to the group, please contact Lady Rowena Moore aka Sue Klinger O’Donovan (email@example.com) or Her Excellency Dame Bronwyn aka Joann Witcoski (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that you may be added to the group and the list of Retainers. The direct link to the group can be found here.
Since the late 1980s, Astrida and Stephen Schaeffer of North Berwick, Maine have lived parallel lives: modern careers and family life and the life of a 14th century family as members of the Society for Creative Anachronism. The Schaeffers discussed the SCA with Jeanne McCartin of Fosters.com. (photos)
Cet article est maintenant disponible en Français. Veuillez cliquer sur le lien ci-dessous.
(English Translation: The following article is now available in French. Please click on the link below.)
Filed under: Announcements, En français, Fencing
Information importante pour ceux qui vont à Pennsic et qui prennent des médicaments devant demeurer au froid.
Cet article est maintenant disponible en Français. Veuillez cliquer sur le lien ci-dessous.
(English Translation: The following article is now available in French. Please click on the link below.)
Filed under: Announcements, En français, Pennsic
Salutation aux Escrimeurs de l’Est!
Filed under: Announcements, En français, Pennsic Tagged: a&s
by Gwendolyn the Graceful, Brehyres
In my article about the different types of bardic music found in the SCA, I touched on contrefait, and said I would devote an entire article to the topic. This is a complex and often controversial issue within the SCA bardic community, particularly the sub-category known (some would say incorrectly) as “filk.”
First, some definitions:
Contrefait (contrafactum, or contra facta) is the period term for the practice of taking an existing tune and writing new lyrics to it. In period, the source tunes were often church music, since what was sung in the church was known to everyone, but secular tunes were used, too.
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 Star-Spangled Banner” is one of the most famous Broadsides in the U.S…..) Broadsides were also a product of the world after the invention of the printing press, when it was easier to distribute music and lyrics.
Filk is used in the SCA to mean the same thing as a contrafactum, with one big difference: In the SCA, specifically, filk almost always refers to the use of a modern tune with lyrics that make little to no attempt at sounding period. They are often highly self-reflexive commentaries that poke directly at the “Anachronism” part of “SCA.”
For that reason, among others, 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 prejudicial and derogatory term. I believe the other major reason it is viewed as pejorative 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. They are almost always set to popular or well-known modern songs. Very few of them are really “about” historical topics, or if they are, they often address those topics in self-consciously modern terms. Because of all that, the perception over time has been to think that filk music is somehow “lesser” than original music or even lyrics set to period tunes.
Now, I think it’s unfair to paint all “filk” with the same brush. I prefer to invoke Sturgeon’s Law when it comes to this sort of thing. It’s not that all filk is frivolous or scans poorly or doesn’t sufficiently change the source material as to count as new; it’s not that all filk uses aggressively modern music or that it is always self-reflexive or self-indulgent. I think it’s as simple as this: there’s a lot of it, and 90% of everything is crap.
There are different sub-genres of “filk,” according to the type of original source material, the topic of the lyrics, and other factors. I actually take my definition of filk in both SF con and SCA contexts one step further, by saying that a truly great “filk” really does at least one of these two things, and usually both:
To my thinking, this differentiates “filk” from “contrefait” for our purposes because for the most part, using a period melody does not presuppose a familiarity with the original song (though it did, in period), whereas “filks” that take modern tunes usually do rely on that exposure.
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 twist of some kind into the new lyrics. The catch is that that’s often easier said than done. One of the criticisms of SCA bardic performance in general is that there’s a low bar to entry. “Filk” gets its own unfairly poor reputation as one of the “lowest” bars for songwriting, because you’ve already got a tune, and you’ve already got a basis for the lyrics, depending on what prompted your choice. On the other hand, it can be deceptively difficult to do artfully.
The best way I can discuss this is with some examples. I’ll use my own work, simply because I have the right to reproduce it. All the songs I’ll be talking about have melodies that should be well-known to the reader, or are easily available if you’re unfamiliar with the tune.
My first example is a filk that uses audience familiarity with an original (modern) song to inform both the new lyrics and the subject matter in the song (point #1 above). Compare the original lyrics (left) to the rewritten ones (right):
Oh, they built the ship Titanic Oh, the jester came into the hall
It was sad when the great ship went down. It was sad when the jester lost
Obviously, they share the same scansion and rhyme scheme, and the verse and chorus share the same structure. Several lines of the chorus aren’t different at all. But that’s about all they share. However, if a listening audience member knows the Titanic song, they’ll automatically know how to participate in the chorus.
Lines or lyrical phrases that remain the least changed from the original source to the “filked” lyric are often referred to as “hooks.” In a lot of filks, it’s clear or at least relatively obvious which lines may have been the hook — in other words, which lines struck the filk lyricist as a reason to use the song as a platform for the new sentiment. Here’s one that I wrote years ago with really obvious “hooks”:
You must remember this You must remember this,
And when two lovers woo And when two armies fight,
Moonlight and love songs, Bardics with filk songs
It’s still the same old story, It’s still the same old story
Once again, the original lyrics provide the rhyme scheme, the scansion, the structure, and in this case, some key lyrical “hooks” that twist the original song and give it a different context and meaning. However, this song also introduces an element of Filk Objective #2: It discusses a topic which is of significance to members who are already part of the subculture. I would say that this filk doesn’t completely fulfill that objective, because while it’s more meaningful to members of the SCA who have experienced Pennsic, it’s not impenetrable to people who have not. Unfortunately, it’s also not very good, so it fails in the cleverness department, in my opinion. It’s a fairly trivial song that doesn’t really deepen either the original or the new lyric.
My final example is one that is not an SCA song, per se, but one that really exemplifies the properties of an effective filk song. The tune to this is “Something There” from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast:
There’s something sweet There’s something here
She glanced this way It came this way
New, and a bit alarming Ew, this is so disgusting!
Well, who’d have thought? I’ll get away
We’ll wait and see We’re not alone
First, this definitely presupposes a familiarity with the original song and the context of the original song as a montage of Belle and the Beast starting to fancy one another. The new lyrics then use that bouncy melody to relate the plot of a movie that could not be further from Beauty and the Beast. Note also that this lyric never explicitly mentions what it’s about. It relies on the listener catching on. Thus, listeners who are unfamiliar with Beauty and the Beast or the plotline of Alien might be able to appreciate the clever lyric, but certainly won’t get much out of the song.
As you can imagine, it’s deceptively difficult to write a contrefait of this type that really hits home on all levels. The downfalls of filk are many, but some of the most common problems include:
As with any performance, the usual principles apply:
Without these factors, it doesn’t matter if the tune is “new” or “used” or the lyrics are clever or banal.
As for using (modern) contrefait, it’s absolutely valid, depending on the venue and purpose of the performance. In my opinion, they’re more appropriate for small gatherings, post-revels, late nights, or if you really know your audience wants that kind of contribution. It’s merely a question of the right selection for the right occasion!
More on that…in another article!