SCA news sites

Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium is in Close-By Ealdormere!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-01-13 10:37

Greetings from Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton, co-steward for Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium 2015!

I am pleased to invite you to attend KWHSS in the canton of Eoforwic (Toronto, ON, Canada) this coming June 26 to 28.

The website and registration is now live!

To make it easier for our nonCanadian friends to attend and pay for the event, we have been approved to use ACCEPS for our registrations.

We would also like to extend an invitation to all heralds and scribes to teach at the symposium. The class proposal form is now live on the website as well. You may also send an email to if you would like more info or to propose a class.

Over the years, there has been an excellent relationship between the heralds and scribes of our two kingdoms, and we are very much hoping that many of our friends from across the border will make the trip to teach, share, and learn. We are very much hoping to see many of you this coming June!

Categories: SCA news sites

Former Æthelmearc Subjects Honored in An Tir

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-12 20:37

~ Submitted by Master Alaric MacConnal

At An Tir 12th Night, held on January 10th AS 49 in the Barony of Adiantum, two former Debatable Landers, Richenda du Jardin and Juliana de Luna, were inducted into the Order of the Pelican. Speakers from across the Known World, including Dame Elsbeth Anne Roth and Master Andrewe Bawldwyn, Laurel Sovereign of Arms, who sent words read by Dame Lillia de Vaux, Pelican Sovereign of Arms, praised their many years of service to the College of Heralds, not only in the Kingdom of An Tir but also to the Society. They both received the ancestral Pelican Heraldic medallion, also held in the past by Dame Elsbeth and Dame Margaret MacDubsidthe. In addition to Dame Elsbeth and Master Alaric MacConnal, former Debatable Lander Mistress Graidhne ni Ruadh also made the long trip to see her protégé, Richenda, elevated.  Vivant to these wonderful ladies!

Categories: SCA news sites

Pennsic Registration Office: Preregistration is live - Mon, 2015-01-12 20:18

The Pennsic Pre-reigistration Office reports that pre-registration for Pennsic 44 is now live

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Categories: SCA news sites

Æthelmearc History Facebook Page

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-12 09:51

A young Morgan Elandris and Elric of Erewhon.

Would you like to learn more about the history of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc? Want to hang out with people who are sharing their memories of our Kingdom?

 Well, then, you’re in luck because we live in an age with wondrous social media and electronic communication options that allow us to connect with each other over long distances. We can come together, share the pieces of our history that each of us hold, and stitch the pieces one by one to create a rich tapestry that tells our collective story.

 As the Æthelmearc Kingdom Historian, I’d like to invite all who read these words to join the quest to discover and document the history of our Sylvan Kingdom. Become a member of the Æthelmearc History page on Facebook. You can find the group here.

 Once there, browse through the posts and pictures to spark memories, learn something new, or share a favorite memory or two with the 500 plus members already there. Oh, and be sure to tell your friends about this group, too. The more people we can bring together, the more history we can discover.

 In Service,
THL Hrefna Ulfvarrinsdottir
Æthelmearc Kingdom Historian

Categories: SCA news sites

Pre-Register Soon for King’s & Queen’s Bardic Champions

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-12 09:00

Greetings fellow citizens! Please pray attend to this most important event update for King and Queen’s Bardic Champions.

1. The deadline for pre-registration draws near (1/17/2015) – you have the option of credit card via ACCEPS or snail mail. You may also, if you wish, attend EK 12th night and deliver your pre-registration to Lady Erlandr Nordenskald who will be happy to accept it.

2. After this event concludes, there will be a seamless and magical transformation into a DEMO. With such a critical mass of talents under one roof we could not resist. The Shire of Nordenfjord will offer a free concert of instrumental and vocal music to our town seniors. This is scheduled to run from 7 pm – 8:30 pm. Limited performance opportunities remain available and all are invited to participate. If interested, please contact Lady Erlandr Nordenskald as soon as possible – – (845) 358-7576.

In service,

Lord Æthelstan St. Maur, Co-Autocrat

Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Events Tagged: Bardic

An Open Letter to the Kingdom of Æthelmearc

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-01-11 18:01

Editor’s Note: There are moments that remind me why this Kingdom and this Society hold a dear place in my heart. And moments that remind me why the most important award that the Royalty give is the Award of Arms. This is one of these moments that does both as the newest Lord & Lady of Æthelmearc conveyed these heart felt words. I am grateful I call them friends. ~ Euriol of Lothian

From Lord Christian

You all make this society great.

Unto the populace who does reside in these most sacred Sylvan Lands of Æthelmearc, does one Lord Christian Goldenlok of House Sable Maul present greetings:

I am indeed humbled to be the newest member of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc to be merited the honor of an individual Award of Arms. In the youth of my privilege, I am moved to express again why I am so grateful to be among the blessed populace of Æthelmearc.

This is a special award to me. It is so because of the words of my Knight, Sir Gareth Kincaid, the talents of his lady, Mistress Julianna Delamere, and the writing of the lady who holds my heart; the scroll is personally touching.

It is also deeply meaningful because the act is made so by the hands of both my King and Queen. I now feel that besides a flexibility in political freedom, it’s a way for the Kingdom itself to include me in a blanket marked not just by where I live, geographically. The award gives me great confidence, because the path I have taken these past few years has now been officially encouraged by the Kingdom, itself. I feel more connected to my kingdom than ever because of the kind actions of those I am in fielty to.

I always speak highly of my Knight, his fine lady, my House, and my shire, the Shire of Misty Highlands. Time has solidified those bonds. In my heart, those bonds are sacred and meaningful. They are my beloved.

For a moment I take liberty to speak highly of my fellow subjects of Æthelmearc and its King and Queen. I do so because as I have strived to form relationships with you, I have been met in turn with overwhelming amounts of warmth, compassion, encouragement, largess, empathy, love, acceptance, bruises, and inclusion. The events of the entire day during our Twelfth Night celebration was shining examples of those qualities.

I am ailed with beloved pride for my kingdom, but I am also grateful for having made friendships with so many of its subjects.

Although you may have read my words through your computer screen previously, it was always my intention to occasionally travel and personally reach out to you from my home in Misty Highlands. In the months that followed, every single one of the relationships I have formed with you is important to me. Every move of friendship returned has been overwhelmingly inspiring to both me and my love, Lady Adelyn Idesborn. You enhance the quality of my life.

In conclusion, to those who call my Sylvan Lands home, as the newest Lord of Æthelmearc I declare that it is my supreme honor to help hold high the torch of this fine society. I will carry, with instruction from my mentors, the flame of our kingdom proudly so as others may see the light of our Kingdom’s goodness and feel the warmth of its inclusion.

I am humbled to be the next generation of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc. The witnessed examples shown by my Knight, his household, and your participation in this great Kingdom have rooted in me a deep love and sense of wonder. I am inspired to be among you, and I am proud to proclaim that we are alive, we are well, and we are thriving.

In Glorias,
Lord Christian Goldenlok

From Lady Adelyn

I would like to take the time to genuinely thank and praise each person who attended the Twelfth Night celebration on January 10 who made me feel so warm, welcome, and at ease. I randomly saw people doing a type of weaving I had never seen before, and so they went out of their way to show me what they were doing, explain what it was, and tell me the history of it.

I had friendly acquaintances drop everything to include me in conversations and provide me with a loaner goblet and loaner feastware. Daniel Rufus, thank you again! I was asked to stand guard to the queen, where I was then included in conversation and was humbled by how kind and thoughtful so many members of our society are–both lowest and highest ranking. Thanks to Gabrielle de Winter for asking me to guard!

I was given delicious samples of mead, cordial, ale, and scotch by some of the best Brewers in Æthemaerc. Thanks to Rauðbjorn Loðbrok for not just watering us on site, but for sending us home with your award winning brew!

Lastly, I attended the most interesting and fun court I’ve ever been to where there was interpretive dance, genuine gratitude expressed to and by so many people, and above all, my Lord Christian Goldenlok and I were recognized by the kingdom and awarded arms. Gareth Kincaid and Juliana Delamere — Christian was overwhelmed by your words and artwork, I am grateful for having been included in the planing of his scroll! I cannot express how thankful I am to all those who made this possible. Anna Leigh and Titus Germanicus certainly are worthy and gracious leaders to our Sylvan Lands and I am beyond honored to have been recognized by them.

I also finally met face to face many people who up till now I have only interacted with online. What a blessing it was! Here, though, I would also like to apologize. The time was short at this event, and I did not get to talk to everyone Id like to have gotten to know better. Also, this is the first event I’ve been to where I did get to meet and talk to so many people who I don’t generally get to see in person. Being a person who is just naturally shy the first few times I talk to someone new, I struggled quite a bit to be as open and candid as I find it easy to be online. I wish to apologize to anyone who wanted to talk who I did not find the time to meet with personally, and I apologize to anyone who I did find time to talk to if I was a little clammy and introverted–each time I meet you in person my shyness melts away and I fear for you all the day I run through events blabbering to each of you without cease.

I would like to close by telling everyone in house, shire, region, and kingdom, I appreciate you all, for your kindness, your inclusion, your support, your largess, and how each of you has invested in making me a better person. I hope to honor each and every one of you with my actions and words as I move forward as a lady of these Sylvan Lands of Æthemaerc.

In glorias!

Yours truly,
Lady Adelyn Idesborn

Categories: SCA news sites

Early Stories of the East from Count Jehan de la Marche, Part II

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-01-11 13:01
This is the second part of a two-part article
re-printed from our friends at the East Kingdom Gazette.

The East Kingdom Gazette asked Count Jehan de la Marche, eighth King of the East, for memories of some of his early SCA experiences. This is the second installment he sent, which covered his memories of his reign.

King Jehan de la Marche, wearing the ancient crown of the East. The crown had a Velcro attachment so it could be resized for each wearer.

The next event I recall was my coronation, which was also the next Crown Tourney, which was supposed to be the tradition at the time, though observed irregularly. (I believe it fell in late September or early October 1972.) It was held on a site in Beyond the Mountain which was basically an unmown field –the owner of the site had told the autocrat that it would be mowed in advance of the event, but it was not, so the field was covered in grass two or three feet high. Oddly enough, I have no distinct recollection of the moment that Cariadoc put the crown on my head, though I know the ceremony was very simple by later standards. I believe we used a version of the Archenlandish oath from C. S. Lewis’s The Horse and His Boy (”This is what it means to be a king: to be first in every desperate attack and last in every desperate retreat, and when there’s famine in the land, as must be sometimes, to wear finer clothes and laugh louder over a scantier meal than any man in your kingdom.”) However, that belief is based on what I recall of the practice of the time, not direct memory of hearing it. The one moment I distinctly recall is that when I kissed my queen after crowning her, her crown fell off.

There was also the episode of the Queen’s Piper. Sometime before the coronation, I was walking through Wolsey Hall at Yale and heard a man playing a bagpipe alone in an empty auditorium. I had invited him to the coronation, and since there was already a King’s Piper (Sir Eyolf) I appointed this one (whose name I do not recall), the Queen’s Piper, whereupon Lauryon said “All right, now play.” Someone said “The queen has issued her first command,” and he played.

I recall asking Duke Cariadoc and Duke Akbar to serve as my guards. We had a lot of byplay in those days over our personas’ religions (nowadays it might be more sensitive). I said approximately that although I was a Christian king I had found Saracen dukes very reliable.

There was a very small crown tourney –I believe there were five fighters entered (the minimum under SCA law at the time) and I asked Duke Akbar to enter so we would have even numbers for the first round. He did and ended by winning the crown, defeating Sir Finnvarr de Taahe, who had lately moved to the East from the Middle Kingdom (Barony of North Woods).

The next event I recall was a tourney in the Barony of Myrkwood (Baltimore), then led by Begum Sita of Oudh. The main point I remember was the tourney destroyed four swords (all those available in the barony at the time). I believe Middle-trained fighters tended to hit harder than Eastern ones (on average) –there were some exceptions, such as Shlomo and Garanhir. Sir Finnvarr and I met in the final, and I won. I believe one of the other fighters was Alain du Rocher.

I believe the next event was the Carolingian Yule Revel –the ancestor of the masked ball, though I am not sure it was masked at that time. All I recollect distinctly was that there was some elegant dancing and that I ended the event (or at least the formal part) with a quotation from Shakespeare “Our revels now are ended.”

During my reign, I did issue the first code of laws for the East Kingdom, all or nearly all of which have since been superseded. They included an attempt to have a representative of the Crown in each group to encourage communication –which was never implemented –and a law advocating (as it could not be required) that subjects who could not attend the wars should contribute to the costs of those who served (scutage). Although this was never enforceable, and has not been law for many years, I was told lately that one lady in the East still abided by it and contributed to her friends’ costs of going to war. My recollection is that I circulated these laws by postal mail (there being no email in those days) rather than discussing them in a live council.

I also reorganized the kingdom order of merit – as I understand the situation (it was before my time), Duke Akbar in one of his earlier reigns had created the Order of the Silver Crescent, and then Shogun Rakkurai had created an equivalent Order of the Golden Dragon . I merged the two orders into the one Order of the Silver Crescent (all members of the Golden Dragon becoming members of the SIlver Crescent). At that time, I believe that order was the only order beneath peerage level in the kingdom.

The last major event of my reign was Twelfth Night held in the Barony of Myrkwood. My queen Lauryon was unable to attend due to illness, and so I asked Countess Abrizhade al-Medina O.L. (who had been queen to Franz von Blickend-Lichten, second king of the Middle) to serve as my ceremonial consort, which she graciously did.

A recent photo of Count Jehan de la Marche.

The guests at the event included members of the Maryland Medieval Mercenary Militia (later Markland) who contributed considerably to the liveliness of the occasion. Two of them staged a mock dagger fight (with steel daggers) and rolled around my feet as I was sitting at the feast. There was also an episode I never fully understood in which I remarked my drink tasted odd and one of the MMMM shouted “The king has been poisoned.” I am not sure whether someone had actually put something in the drink or it was just an improvised response.

More seriously, I did (as I mentioned before) knight Asbjorn the Fairhaired, chiefly for his valor at the First Pennsic War. Since he was squire to Duke (at the time Prince) Akbar, I asked Akbar if he would prefer to actually dub Asbjorn, but he replied that he wished me to do it, so I did. This was the only peerage granted in my reign.

Afterward I did crown Akbar as king (his third and last reign), and his lady Duchess Khadijah was crowned queen. Oddly enough, I do not recall the ceremony at all. There was no ceremony making me a count –I think the title was only developed a little later, though Atenveldt had Crown Barons and I believe Franz von Blickend-Lichten had been made a baron after serving as king of the Middle.

I do remember that the next morning El of the Two Knives asked me how it felt to be a duke, and I replied I was not a duke as I had only been king once. In fact, I never became a duke – I sometimes like to say “I only made one mistake” – though in fact I fought hard in several later crowns

Categories: SCA news sites

Stefan's Florilegium files for December 2014 - Sun, 2015-01-11 12:28

THLord Stefan li Rous provides updates to Stefan's Florilegium for December 2014.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Committee Formed to Explore Two Handed Swords in Rapier

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2015-01-10 22:49

Unto the Kingdom of the East do I, Don Frasier MacLeod send greetings,

First and foremost, Happy New Year! Second, I have been asking for resumes to put together a committee to formulate a set of rules for 2 Handed Swords in Rapier, and I am pleased to announce that I have selected that committee. This group of individuals will, over the next few weeks, work out a set of rules for 2 Handers that will be usable and accommodating. The following gentles will form the 2 Hander committee:

Sir Antonio Patrasso
Master Matthaus Plattnersohn
Baroness Alesone Gray of Cranlegh
Baron Malcolm Bowman
THL Owynn Greenwood
Don Griffith Davion
Don Thomas of Effingham
Lord William Deth
Lord Yehuda ben Moshe
Lord Cedric of the Floppy Hat

In addition to these gentles, the Regional Marshals will also have a say on this committee. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to speak to any of the people listed, any of my Regional Marshals, or myself. We look forward to working out a set of rules that most everyone can be happy with and will keep 2 Handers safe and fun.

In Service,
Don Frasier MacLeod, KRM, East

Filed under: Fencing

Schedule Change for Twelfth Night

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2015-01-10 22:43

The time of first court at Twelfth Night has been moved back to 11:30 am.

Filed under: Events Tagged: Twelfth Ni

Keeping Time: Calendars and Clocks Through the Middle Ages

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2015-01-10 09:32

Detail of the Zygtlogge Tower in Berne, Switzerland. Photo source:

Hallo everyone, and happy New Year. Will your new year be tropical or solar? Will it be Julian or perhaps Gregorian? Will you keep standard time, or will you update that extra second that scientists now say our current Greenwich mean time lacks? Does anybody really know what time it is?

Our period of study is to blame for much of the over-scheduling of lives we currently… I want to say enjoy, but that might be too strong a word. Think about it. Starting with Stonehenge and moving to the Gregorian calendar and the Astronomical (and simultaneously astrological) clock in Prague, we as a race have experienced a timekeeping renaissance.

Once, folks knew what time it was from the position of the sun. Modern medievalists might be hard pressed to accurately guess the time based on sun placement in the sky. Your personae, during the actual middle ages, might know by the tolling of church bells announcing the time in sound code, what they should be doing. Today, most modern municipalities consider that type of ringing to be sound pollution. I say most because I was privileged to hear a call to prayer piped into the Grand Bazaar via loud speaker (the call was in voice, not bells) in modern Istanbul this past July. It was lovely to witness the city workers suddenly stop, and redirect themselves to their individual mosques. The Turks, though more than 90% Moslem, are very respectful of other religions in general and have taken beautiful care of the land marks and iconic historic buildings of other faiths in their care.

I hope you enjoy this timely column. Wouldn’t it make a terrific subject for a term paper? Here’s your research, already accomplished! I invite you to share this column wherever it will find an interested audience.

Dame Aoife Finn, m/k/a Lisbeth Gelatt
~from the cold and wintry wilds of the Barony of the Endless Hills, an Eastern highpoint in the snow-capped woodlands of the Sylvan Kingdom of Æthelmearc.

Ancient Wisdom. Stonehenge. Retrieved 01/07/2015.
There are many sites dedicated to Stonehenge on the web. Whatever religious or metaphysical purposes these various websites ascribe to this ancient monument, nearly everyone agrees that part of the purpose of the giant stone circle is to track the various positions of the sun throughout a solar year. Stonehenge, at its most basic, is one of mankind’s earliest calendars. To the right is one of several positions that would mark the sun’s rise between the pillars on cloudy days such as the one pictured.

Bettelheim, Matthew. Nature’s laboratory: What’s a Sundial in the Shade? Retrieved 01/06/2015.
This article, in .pdf format, is about the development and history of the Aquitaine, arguably the first “pocket watch.” Named after Eleanor of Aquitaine, it provided an advantage to those who were able to schedule their lives tightly and accurately. It might be worth learning how to work an Aquitaine, so that if it should make an appearance again as a Pennsic token, (as it was for Pennsic XXV) you will be prepared.

Time and Date. From the Julian to the Gregorian Calendars. Retrieved 01/06/2015. This site will explain in layman’s terms why the most common method of time keeping was changed, and how the change made it more accurate to measure time. However, not everyone agrees with those changes, and some folks still follow the Julian calendar.

About. The Invention of Clocks and Calendars: Part 1: Ancient Calendars – Aztec, Egyptian, and Sumerian Calendars – Stonehenge. Retrieved 12/27/2014. Although I usually hesitate to recommend because of its terse treatment of any given subject, this particular page is well connected to leads for further study. See the emnu boxes to the right of the article to find further reading to a good number of related articles.

Miklos, Vincze. I09: Astronomical Clocks Were a Wonder of the Medieval World. Retrieved 12/31/2014.
Please ignore the sidebar, which trends titles to some NSFW articles from the web. It will be easy to do so when you load the terrific photographs of astronomical clocks from Europe. How did I live without seeing these wonders? If you think your life is regimented, imagine living by the many religious cues these clocks produce! This beautiful cobalt colored timepiece, left, graces the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy, and was built from 1496 to 1499.


New York Carver. Medieval Inventions: The Clock. Retrieved 01/03/2015.
New York Carver has done it again with a great article on how the medieval clock came to be, and how it developed to its current state of magnificence. Did you know a former pope is credited with the invention of the gear driven mechanical clock? His clock rang bells on the hours, ushering in the age of town clocks regulating the lives of everyone within hearing distance. The photo, right, graces the article.

Medievaljo1 of Winchester University’s student history blog. On Medieval clocks. Retrieved 01/03/2015.
Note the feature “historicalish” hand-drawn image is NSFW and features suspiciously perky mammaries. Regardless of the image, however, this is a terrific scholarly article on the medieval development of clocks brought to you by the history department of Winchester University. Be sure to check out the reference section if you want more quality sources.

Murphy, Trevor. How tower clocks work. Retrieved 01/04/2015.
|The title says it all. Watch this video to see behind the scenes of tower clocks. This is an informational and instructional video, not somebody’s holiday video. There are two further updates listed on individual bits of the mechanisms, for the diehard clockworks fan.

Claytonav. Medieval Clock in Berne Switzerland. Retrieved 01/03/2015.
In contrast to the above video, this video from May 2nd 2008 is actually home video from someone’s vacation. Please watch the first bit, as it is the best, being fascinating footage of the striking jester and hurrying mechanical townspeople.

GypsyNester. Astronomical Clock of Prague. Retrieved 01/02/2015.
When this astronomical clock strikes every hour, the deadly sins make an appearance. Pictured left is the dial of the piece from the above link Astronomical Clocks Were a Wonder of the Medieval World.

Categories: SCA news sites

Period or Not…Names

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2015-01-09 16:30

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 Kira:

I’ve been asked by a Gazette reader to talk about period names that sound like “Kira.” This set of sounds appears in several languages in period, although not necessarily in the ones that people expect.

The name Kira appears as a female name in Russian, dated to c. 1202.[1] It also appears as a surname in 14th century Japan.[2]

In very late period German, we find the female given name Kyrra, which *may* be pronounced like “Kira.”[3]

In Gaelic, Cera was the name of at least three Irish saints who lived prior to c. 1200 CE.[4] The post-1200 spelling of the same name is Ceara, which is also registerable as a saint’s name.[5] Note that this name is probably pronounced more like “Kara” or “Kera” than “Kira.” However, there are also the period Gaelic women’s names Ciar and Ciarnat, which are pronounced with a long ‘i’ sound.[6] The name Ciara appears to be a wholly modern form, based on current evidence.

For a person looking for an English name that sounds like “Kira,” we have to resort to the rule I’ve discussed before, where 16th century English surnames can be used as if they were English given names. Based on a quick bit of research, that gets us the spellings Kyrre[7] and Keyre[8], which are close to but not exactly like “Kira.”

All in all, for someone who wants the sound of “Kira,” there are a couple of options for time, place and culture.
[1] “Russian Names Database” by Paul Wickenden of Thanet (

[2] Nostrand, Barbara. Name Construction in Mediaeval Japan (1999) lists Kira as a historical surname dated to 1332.

[3] Kyrra Sranis; Female; Marriage; 02 Jan 1629; Evangelisch, Schotten, Oberhessen, Hesse-Darmstadt; Batch: M92548-1

[4] O Corrain, Donnchadh and Fidelma Maguire, Irish Names (Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 1990), s.n. Cera

[5] Martyrology of Donegal (, at p. 375.

[6] O Corrain & Maguire, s.n.n. Ciar, Ciarnat

[7] John Kyrre; Male; Burial; 24 Dec 1585; Cranbrook, Kent, England; Batch: B02880-3

[8] Mergery Keyre; Female; Marriage; 13 Aug 1576; Cranbrook, Kent, England; Batch: M01834-4


Filed under: Heraldry

Artisans Village makes Artisan Challenge!

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2015-01-09 15:42

(Submitted by Lissa Underhill)

Artisans Village will take place on June 5-7, 2015 in the Shire of Hartshorn-dale.

Instead of a traditional A&S competition, the event will feature an Artisans Challenge.

Members of the populace have until March 31st, 2015 to issue a challenge related to an SCA-period art or science. Anyone is welcome to submit a challenge, and all are encouraged to take up challenges. Please be aware that challenges take time to complete, so please try to issue your challenge as soon as possible

Challenges will be listed on the event website as they come in, and after the deadline a full list of challenges will be announced throughout the kingdom. Artisans will then have a couple of months to complete these challenges before the event.

Please submit challenges or questions about the challenge to Lady Elysabeth Underhill

Ideas for Challenges:
In the past we have had a wide array of challenges. For example, artisans have been asked to create a period bow string or to create a scroll blank and donate it to the kingdom. For more examples of past challenges, please go to the following website.

Feedback and Assessment of Challenges:
There will be a time allotted in the schedule for people who have completed a challenge to get face-to-face feedback from their challenger. Conversation between challengers and those who take up a challenge is also encouraged both before and after the event. The goal of the Artisans Challenge is to create a friendly and supportive environment for artisans to increase their skill, or to try something new.

A Few Thoughts on Offering a Challenge:
Challengers will be responsible for determining the rules for their individual challenges. Please be as specific as possible when issuing your challenge. Please also provide contact information that can be posted online for people to contact you with questions. It is up to the individual challenger to decide if there will be one “winner,” or if everyone who completes or attempts the challenge will be acknowledged. The awarding of prizes is also up to the challenger, and not required (though some token of acknowledgement should be considered).

Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Events

"Magical mud" of Novgorod reveals treasures - Fri, 2015-01-09 12:58

“Send me a shirt, towel, trousers, reins, and, for my sister, send fabric. If I am alive, I will pay for it,” wrote a 14th century father, Onus, to his son, Danilo, in the block letters of Old Novgorod language on a birch bark scroll. The note, among a dozen others, was discovered recently in the "magicial mud" of Veliky Novgorod, Russia.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Early Stories of the East from Count Jehan de la Marche

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2015-01-09 09:05
This is the first part of a two-part article
re-printed from our friends at the East Kingdom Gazette.

The East Kingdom Gazette asked Count Jehan de la Marche, eighth King of the East, for memories of some of his early SCA experiences. He sent us this first installment with the note that it is written from memory and others may well remember events differently.

Count Jehan fighting in a Freon can helm, soft basketball elbow and knee pads, and hockey gloves. He is using a mace nicknamed “Feather” which was made by Duke Andrew of Seldom Rest from a hickory axe handle and a roll of toilet paper plus lots of tape. It weighed between 4.5 and 5 pounds.

I witnessed the beginning of the Pennsic Wars (which has often been retold wrongly). Cariadoc had moved to the East and been named the Ambassador to the East by the reigning Middle King Iriel of Branoch. At MK Twelfth Night, Cariadoc came back and recited a long poem of his own composition inciting war with the East — I recall he mentioned that the border barons (meaning me) wanted war, and the poem ended with “My word is war.” and we all banged out tankards on the table and shouted “War, War, War!” and King Iriel gave the War Arrow to Duke Cariadoc to take to Rakkurai, who was Shogun of the East at that time.

I was not present for the reception of the arrow in the East, but I understand Rakkurai duly received and broke it to accept the challenge. Cariadoc stepped up and won the East Kingdom Spring Crown Tourney. (In those days there were no limitations on how long one had to have lived in a kingdom before competing for the Crown).

I did not come to the East until the summer of 1972, when I moved to New Haven, CT to enter Yale Graduate School (working for a Ph.D. in medieval studies, naturally). My first official event was a tournament in the Barony Beyond the Mountain (which at the time was responsible for all of Connecticut), and led by Baron Balin the Fairhaired (later one of the first Eastern Pelicans). I recall that it looked like rain and Mistress Elfrida recited a Norse prayer for rain which she said worked in reverse for her, and apparently it did. The rain held off long enough to get in the tourney fighting. All I really remember of the fighting was that I lost a fight to Garanhir of Ness who was later knighted, and is now the second senior-most knight in Æthelmearc after me.

The next event I recall was the summer Crown Tourney (in those days there were supposed to be three Crown Tourneys a year, though the actual sequence was somewhat irregular). As I said, there were no residency limitations on fighting for the Crown and Cariadoc encouraged me to enter. It was a small field, essentially an 8-man single elimination tourney, I believe. My first round I defeated Garanhir (benefiting from having fought him before). My second round I met a very active young warrior from Duke Akbar’s household (I think the future Sir Ismael). He came out very fast and nearly got me, but I was able to take him after a very brisk fight. The third and final round, I met Shlomo ben Shlomo, whose persona was a Palestinian mercenary of Roman times — he fought Roman-style, with a shield and short-sword. In those days, I always fought mace and shield, so we had a very active fight at close quarters. At one point he narrowly grazed my groin cup, and Cariadoc, who was marshaling, ruled I was still alive though perhaps without the prospect of progeny. I think as the rules are interpreted nowadays, I would have been dead. Then I came charging in — Shlomo went for my leg and got a very hard stroke on my knee as I came in; knowing it was knee, I kept coming and got him a solid blow in the side with my mace. He agreed that my blow was a killing blow, but wondered whether he had gotten my leg first, so the current Seneschal of the East, El of the Two Knives (another of the first Pelicans later), took me into men’s room and examined my leg. I had a very obvious purple bruise on my knee (in those days the only leg armor I wore was a soft basketball knee pad) and he said to me in effect “You’re the Prince of the East, and you’d better get some ice on that leg.”

Count Jehan doing boffer fighting at Pennsic with a member of House Sable Maul, which is led by his former Squire Sir Gareth Kincaid. Count Jehan retired from heavy combat in 2009.

At the feast that night, I toasted Shlomo’s valor and we had a long celebration. I recall a lady singing “Follow the Bonnets of Bonny Dundee” — not quite period, but lively.  So we had the curious situation that both the King and the Prince of the East were from the Middle, but we were committed to war with the Middle.

By that time the King of the Middle was Andrew of Seldom Rest and the Prince was Sir Bearengaer hin Raudi (who went on to be a sovereign Prince of Drachenwald when it was a principality, and died some years ago as the senior knight of Æthelmearc).

The “war” itself consisted of a woods battle. The East was badly outnumbered, despite the aid of the Dark Horde led by Yang the Nauseating/Robert Asprin. The battle was a timed event (I think one hour) and so the Eastern strategy was to go into the woods, find a hidden defensible position (largely protected by fallen trees) and hope to hold it till the end of the hour. It nearly worked, as it took most of the hour for the Middle to find us, but the Middle found us with about ten minutes to go. A partly fallen tree formed a sort of natural gateway to the Eastern position, which Asbjorn the Fairhaired held very gallantly for a long time (for which I later knighted him; he went on to become a Duke). Andrew of Seldom Rest speared King Cariadoc and called out “The King is dead!” and I shouted “The King is dead, long live the King” and three Middle knights came over me in a wave, so that was the end of my fight. The last Eastern fighter standing was Alain du Rocher of the barony of Myrkwood (Baltimore) — a large man who fought mace and buckler. He got up on a little mound and held the Middle off as long as he could, but finally fell, and the Middle had won the war. It had rained, so we then spent a long time digging the cars out of the mud.

(to be continued….)

Categories: SCA news sites

Memorable Bits of Eastern History by Duke Akbar

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2015-01-08 20:21

His Grace Akbar and Her Grace Khadijah in a modern yet historic setting

The Gazette asked Duke Akbar ibn Murad al-ben ibn Hakim, third King of the East, for memories of the early days of the East Kingdom.  The following are his words. 

The Memorable Bits
by Duke Akbar

There is a wonderful lampoon of British history called 1066 and All That which is dedicated to the proposition that history is what is memorable.  These are (some of) my memorable bits:

If this were a traditional old East Kingdom war story it would begin thus: No shit, there we were…  in a small conference room at the American Museum of Natural History at the monthly meeting of the New York chapter of the National Speleological Society,  Count Murad, Sir Aeiolf, Sir Rakkurai, Sir Koppel and myself.  Of course, we had not acquired those names and titles yet.  (While I suppose it is generally known that the EK formed after Marion Zimmer Bradley (Lady Elfrida) moved from the west coast to Staten Island and recruited mainly from science fiction fandom, but it is probably less well known that five of the first six EK knights were spelunkers.)   I think it was the summer of 1968 that my father and I learned from our friends Barry and Kenny (hereafter refered to as Rakkurai and Koppel) about this medieval group that was just starting up and after about six months spent making clothing, weapons, and rudimentary armor, we and my best friend (later known as Sir Ismael) showed up at the first EK Twelfth Night feast, at an apartment somewhere in the vicinity of Hacketstown, New Jersey, about a hundred mile drive from our hometown on Long Island.  Bruce of Cloves was King, the first to be elected by combat.  The three of us, having arrived in matching gear, were appointed the king’s own janissarys and my father Murad made captain of the guard. Ismael and myself were about sixteen  then.  Later that night Aeiolf and Rakkurai were knighted by King Bruce who had himself been knighted while visiting the West Kingdom.  John of Brook Lynn was the Herald.  Frederic Feolyldwyn (called the Silent) recited a poem the subject of which I cannot recall with certainty but probably described Bruce’s crown tourney with all his usual flourishes.  I cannot recall whether Frederic was made baron at this event or later that year  (the rules were somewhat different then).

I recall attending a meeting of the Aulic Council later that year.  This was the precursor to the curia regis, or king’s council.  I don’t know what the custom is now, but at that time anyone could attend and everyone had a vote, even the king.  It took a very long time for most people to start thinking and acting in medieval terms.  Even then, there were many different ideas as to what the SCA was  and what it should become.  I suspect the situation hasn’t changed much.

That summer, the second EK Crown Tourney was held in Rumsen, NJ.  I recall besting Maragorn, who had been appointed the first King of the East without a crown tourney (yes, the rules were quite different then) but losing to Alpin MacGregor, who won the crown.  Murad won the archery competition.  Khadijah, whom I had not yet met, performed with a troupe of puppeteers.  Vardak of Iloi and his troupe of actors performed the final scene from Hamlet without introduction, so it was rather startling until everyone recognized it.  Vardak was later made a count (yes, yes i know). In those days, it was the custom to hold a grand procession where everyone would be presented to their Majesties, in order of precedence.  This took a great deal of time and argument to establish and to run and within the next half dozen reigns became totally unwieldy,  but was great fun while it lasted.

Alpin, I believe, was attending MIT in pre-Carolingia Boston and appeared at only one or two events after that.  As a result of his absence it was a whole year before the next crown tourney was organized.  It was at this time, I believe, that Sir Rakkurai became kingdom seneschal and Koppel became brigantia herald.  There were a number of smaller tourneys as well as fighting practices and feasts at Green Walls, Lady Elfrida’s home on Staten Island, that year.  It was at one of theses events that King Alpin decided to test his court by challenging each of his officers and the captain of his guard.  Only Murad defeated his majesty.

In those days the only armor requirement for SCA combat was a helm.  Most helm designs were pretty sketchy.  Some looked like erector set projects gone awry.  Then Rakkurai found out someone in the West was making helms from propane tanks, which were good but quite heavy.  Murad got the idea of using freon tanks, which at 16 guage, were a bit lighter.  These became very popular until actual period armoring techniques were worked out.  It was a consequence of breaking my thumb at a training session that gauntlets became required, I learned not to drop my shield, Rakkurai stopped training with a hardwood boken, and rattan swords became the standard.

After one of these events at Green Walls, a group was traveling homeward via public transport while still dressed in SCA garb, when they were attacked by a local gang.  They were trapped at the end of a fenced in train platform.  While one gentleman hoisted the ladies over the fence, Koppel, armed only with courage and a very flimsy letter opener, held the platform against the gang.  Although he sustained numerous injuries, the rest escaped safely.  As a result, traveling in garb was made illegal and Koppel was knighted.

In the late summer or fall of that year the world science fiction convention was held in St. Louis, and it was determined that a number of people from both the East and West Kingdoms as well as the principality of the Middle would attend.  King Alpen attended, as well as a dozen or so people from the East.  Ismael and myself represented House Hakkim and served, as was becoming traditional, as the royal guards.  I remenber seeing Sir Bela of Eastmarch, his wife Lady Karina (who was the senior herald present), Master Edwin Bersark (Lady Elfrida’s brother) among others from the West.  Also present was Sir Caridoc of the Bow, who had recently won the tournament making him reigning prince of the Principality Under the Mountain, part of the EK.  As the BoD had recently seen fit to elevate the principality to kingdom status,  Sir Cariadoc was to be elevated to King without benefit of a further crown tourney, (thereby setting no precedent whatever).  This was accomplished at the WorldCon when King Alpin (of the East) crowned Sir Cariadoc king of the Middle Kingdom.

The third crown tourney was held on Staten Island.  I finaled against Sir Aeiolf, and quite surprisingly, won.  I was seventeen then.  The East Kingdom in theory spanned almost half the US, but in fact the membership really was mostly in the NY/NJ area.  The next crown was won by my father Murad and I took over as captain of the guard and also began serving as the deputy earl marshall under Count Vardak.  During Murad’s reign we began negotiations with the Middle to set up what would become the Pennsic war.  At the Tolkien conference in Cleveland that year, we sat down with the Middle marshallate who I recall included Andrew of Seldom Rest (not yet knighted), Sir Franz von Blinkend-lichten, and Prince Cariadoc (now awaiting his second coronation). I  think everyone knows how Duke Cariadoc moved to the east coast, carried the war arrow to the court of Rakkurai, won the next eastern crown tourney (the seventh) and was King of the East for what was later called Pennsic I.

Filed under: History Tagged: Crown Tourney, Duke Akbar, Pennsic

Pennsic Registration is Open

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2015-01-08 20:02

Registration for Pennsic 44 is now open.

Mail-in registration closes May 25, online paid registration closes June 17, and online unpaid registration closes July 10.

Visit the Pennsic War website or the Pennsic Registration Office page for more information.

Categories: SCA news sites

From Magna Carta to Monty Python: Medieval News Roundup - Thu, 2015-01-08 12:46
A few great news pieces and blog posts we came across in the last couple of weeks, including two historians writing about the Magna Carta...

[View the story "From Magna Carta to Monty Python: Medieval News Roundup" on Storify]

Categories: History, SCA news sites

Staffordshire Hoard teaches lesson in Anglo-Saxon metallurgy - Thu, 2015-01-08 11:04

Gold was believed to have magical powers in Anglo-Saxon society, which may have led to discovery of special processes to make the metal appear "more golden than gold." These findings are part of a new study of the Staffordshire Hoard which "showed goldsmiths knew how to remove alloyed metals such as copper and silver from the surface of objects."

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Categories: SCA news sites

Rhydderich Hael Celebrates 12th Night

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2015-01-08 07:49

The Barony of the Rhydderich Hael celebrated their annual Twelfth Night this past Tuesday, January 6th, which ironically occurred on 12th Night. The celebration was held at the Elks Club of Lancaster, where the Barony holds its officer meetings and practices. Some fifty members of the Hael were in attendance for a night of friendship, gifts, food and good cheer. A good time was had by all.

That concludes the version my Communications professor from back in the day would have liked. My Business communications professor would have been nodding her head in agreement, but all the while my Marketing professor would have been shouting, “Sell the sizzle man, sell the sizzle.” And as usual I stared blankly into the abyss and grinned that mischievous grin that panics my wife and thrills those who know me better. You took the time to click on this link. You deserve better than just the traditional answering of the standard seven “W”s.

What do I love about Baronial 12th Night? It’s all about the Barony baby. Now, I loved being your Happy Go-Lucky Get Down Tonight Kingdom Chronicler, and getting to see and report what was going on all over these most awesome Sylvan Lands, but my heart is in the Hael. The most common phrase I used for two years was that I looked forward to spending more time involved in the Hael. I love yelling out “Hael Yeah!” I love heralding my Baron and Baroness in to large courts. I love Ice Dragon. I love the Green and Black and most of all I love the people and my friends there. Baronial 12th Night is that night that we all get together and break bread and enjoy each others’ company without every one running all over the place being official. This is the core of a Hael 12th Night.

At how many events do you really get to spend significant amounts of time with all your friends? In the Hael the average local event is spent with every one running in different directions to various competitions, meetings, event tasks and work, work, work. After a full day of that, where you rarely get to see everyone, you then have to do break down, while everyone else leaves the event as fast as they can. Sometimes I think they hold Court to keep 75% of the people from leaving after their activity is done, and that Feast helps keep the other 40% that didn’t leave right after Court and the other 10% are still there at the end to help clean up. I like 12th Night because I get to hang out for three hours with everyone.

I remember when the Barony shifted the format of the usual Monthly Officer Slash Business Meeting from focusing on the officers to focusing on food and cheer. If you want to introduce a new person to the SCA do not invite them to an Officer Slash Business Meeting, as they may want to slash something else ten minutes in. Opt for the food and cheer every time. It’s been over ten years sine this celebration replaced the traditional meeting and it has been a success ever since.

Rhydderich Hael Twelfth Night was announced to start at six thirty. Now many of you may be saying that if proper “SCA-dian Time” is applied the celebration might have doors open at six, but start time might actually be closer to seven. Do not be fooled. Always remember to “never get involved in a land war in Asia” and “SCA-dian time is always trumped by potluck”. I was running a little late, by about 12 minutes. Coincidence? I think not. Fate has a funny way of amusing me, or at least it gives me the opportunity to laugh when I would rather cry.

I walked into a well-attended hall and placed my two packages of warm fried chicken on the nearly full five tables lined up end to end to hold the celebratory bounty. Being a veteran of such things I did do a quick look at the table to see the flow of the types of food from appetizers to desserts and then parallel parked the chicken in front of a row crock pots and pizza\wing boxes. When over fifty people stock a potluck, the diversity is most awesome. Who ever brought the box of tacos, you are a genius. That box was empty in no time as were the two boxes of fried chicken I brought. You can’t go wrong with fried chicken at a potluck.

Having set up my food contribution, I took care of the next important Baronial 12th Night task. I went to the bar and bought a pitcher of pop and a pitcher of beer and a number of glasses. 12th Night is all about sharing. Beverages taken care of, I joined my fellow Haelies for food, drink and laughs. The room was packed. People love a good local get together that involves food. If you want to enhance the cameraderie and well-being of your local group, do not underestimate the power of the potluck. I suggest you have them quarterly and outlaw all practicing, meetings and projects. Save those for other times.

There is a not a strict agenda to the evening. In early days, a quick meeting was held immediately with all officers called upon by the Seneschal and then quickly declining to give reports as to get to the celebration as fast as possible, Imagine a Seneschal standing in between a grand pot luck buffet and a room full of people looking past him hungrily. Seeing that most Seneschals do have good survival instinct to make up for the insanity that led them to wanting such an office, ours realized that they should get themselves out of the line of fire and allow the Barony to eat first. Not only that, but our Seneschal Padraig O’Branduibh was wise enough to announce the Buffet was open while standing at a safe distance. Not that such an announcement was necessary, as the first container had been opened maybe 12 minutes before. Yes, he may have been operating on SCA-dian time by announcing potluck open, but he that was trumped 12 minutes before. Why? Because “Put Luck always trumps SCA-dian time”

Gift giving began after the first servings. I was late to the line so I was happily eating, drinking and laughing, as I am prone to do while fellow members of the Hael were delivering little gifts. The tradition of bringing a little gift goes back beyond my being a member. I did not know about it my first year which was a bit embarrassing as people handed me candies, candles, tea bags, knick knacks and the like and I didn’t have anything to return in exchange. Lesson learned. It’s a joy to watch people wander about like merchants opening their small sacks to distribute the treasures to others.. All in all it is fun and light-hearted. Things get tough when people give larger gifts. That still takes me by surprise and I am never prepared. I have received some very well thought out little gifts over the years. Some of my favorites are tree ornaments. I enjoy decorating the tree and having great memories of my SCA-dian friends who gave them to us at 12th Night.

Eventually, a short business meeting was held. Our Seneschal Padraig O’Branduibh continued to show his wisdom by acknowledging that a meeting should happen, but that Baron Carolus and Baroness Isolda were still handing out gifts to guards, retainers and Champions so he decided the meeting could wait. And we did, which allowed for some more gifts, seconds on main courses and runs at the ever-growing dessert table. I knew Their Excellencies wanted to distribute these gifts while the recipients were still in the hall. You don’t want to make your Baron and Baroness have to track down people at a years’ worth of practices and events to hand out stockings full of now stale or wrinkled 12th Night joy.

Business was kept to a minimum with Padraig calling for some event bids including a small event called “Ice Dragon” and mentioning that Baronial elections would be coming soon. Many of us shook in fear and then comforted ourselves with drink and pastry. The Baron and Baroness thanked everyone for all the help they have received over the last two years and welcomed people to run for their office as they are in their last year. They also presented nice gifts to officers who had finished their terms over the past year. The gifts were so nice many current officers tried to quit. They were informed no gifts for quitters and kept their offices begrudgingly. The Baron and Baroness also reminded everyone of the on-going tradition of the “It’s your 1st Event” token given by the B-n-B. The person who receives this token because it is their first event then gives it to whomever they felt was the most helpful to them at said event. The meeting ended quickly without much incident other than the comical scolding of an imaginary heckler fictionally hidden behind a non-imaginary screen. Let it be noted that since everyone was giddy from food, beverage, gifts and good company that Padraig could mention “Ice Dragon bids” and “Elections” without risk of people fleeing the hall in sheer terror.

Eating, drinking and good cheer continued until the time limit on use of the room expired. Reports seen on trendy social networking sites supported allegations of a good time had by all. In conclusion, no one was hurt by Rollos being hurled about the hall as trivia prizes and I look forward to using the Pink Himalayan Sea Salt that “Not So Evil” Jill gifted me as well as the home made Polish Pastry Zosia gave me. Till Next 12th Night my friends, “Hael Yeah”

~submitted by That Guy Phil



Categories: SCA news sites