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After consideration and commentary, the Board of SCA Ltd (the corporate body in Australia) welcomes two new Board Members for the next three years, commencing at the AGM on Friday, 3 April 2015.
Mistress Illadore de Bedagrayne has been summoned by the Crown of the West to be put on vigil as one of their premiere members of the Order of Defence. Her elevation will occur on May 1st.
Mistress Illadore originally hails from the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands, which she once served as seneschale. She received her White Scarf from Malcolm and Tessa at Pennsic XXXV and a Court Barony from Christopher and Morgen in 2007. She was elevated to the Order of the Laurel for her cooking by Isenwulf and Rosalinda in 2011. She served as 12th and 27th Queen’s Rapier Champion of Æthelmearc, as well as commander of the Southern Watch. She is also a past Rapier Champion in the West Kingdom.
Due to her real-life work, Mistress Illadore has moved around a lot since 2007, living in Atlantia and the West Kingdom (twice) where she was instrumental in bringing Rapier to prominence. However, she has always called Æthelmearc home, in proof of which she served as camp cook for the Æthelmearc royalty and entourage at Gulf Wars two weeks ago.
The inaugural edition of the Knowne World Bardcast, featuring performances and panel discussion from bards scattered across the SCA, is now available on Soundcloud. Versions formatted for iTunes and other podcasting services will be available in the near future.
COURT OF EDWARD III AND THYRA II AT KING’S AND QUEEN’S ARTS AND SCIENCES CHAMPIONS AND BARONIAL INVESTITURE
On March 7, in the forty-ninth year of the Society, Their Majesties Edward and Thyra held Court in the Barony of l’Ile du Dragon Dormant, and conducted the following business:
Item. Their Majesties thanked Angus McHaley and Tadea Isabetta di Bruno for their Court service as Baron and Baroness. As tokens of their thanks, they created Angus a Baron of the Court, with scroll by Mergriet van Wijenhorst, and Tadea a Baroness of the Court, with scroll by Shadiyah al-Zhara.
Item. Their Majesties invested Jeanne de Robin as the new Baroness. Her scroll was illuminated by Eleanore MacCarthaigh, calligraphed by Nest verch Tangwistel, with words by Shadiyah al-Zahra.
Item. Their Majesties invested Genovefa Clerica as the new Baronne, with a scroll authored by Shadiyah al-Zahra, and calligraphed and illuminated by Nest verch Tangwistel.
Item. Their Majesties accepted the fealty of the new Baroness and Baronne of l’Ile du Dragon Dormant.
Item. Their Majesties gave tokens of welcome to newcomers to the Society.
Item. Elysabeth Underhill and Rosina von Schaffhausen were given Awards of the Golden Lyre.
Item. Their Majesties made gifts of toys to the children of the East.
Item. Their Majesties Awarded Arms to Tiberius Sergius Valens. His scroll was illuminated Bella De LaBerge and calligraphed by Nest verch Tangwistel.
Item. Their Majesties Awarded Arms to Bella De LaBerge. Her scroll was illuminated by Melina al Andalusiyya and calligraphed by Robin dit Dessaint.
Item. Their Majesties presented Guthfrith Yrlingsson with his backlog Silver Rapier scroll, created by Fiona O Maille.
Item. Their Majesties presented Tiberius Iulius Rufus with his backlog Pelican scroll, created by Jan Janowicz Bogdanski.
Item. Their Highnesses were presented with appliquéd tabbards for the Tir Maran Archery Champions, created by Yuri Mayuki.
Item. Their Majesties Awarded Arms to Cacht Mhór inghean Mhic an Mhadaidh.
Item. Their Majesties Awarded Arms to Kazmer of House Al’Karakal, with a scroll created by Elena O Sirideain.
Item. Their Majesties inducted Barnabus O’Pheylan into the Order of the Silver Crescent. He was given a scroll illuminated by Anna of the Middle and calligraphed by Constance de St. Denis.
Item. Their Majesties thanked the musicians who had played for the Courts.
The heralds for this Court were Martyn de Halliwell, Constance de St. Denis, Kirsa Oyutai, Eginhard d’Aix la Chapelle, Simona bat Leone, and Ernst Nuss von Kitzingen.
With thanks to Mistress Alys Mackyntoich for the report, and Mór of Kilkenny for the translation. Photos courtesy Baron William LanctonEn français
Le 7 mars en l’année quarante-neuf de la société, leur majestés Edward et Thyra ont tenu la cour en la baronnie de l’Île du Dragon Dormant, et ont accompli les affaires suivantes:
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont remercié Angus MacHaley et Tadea Isabetta di Bruno pour leur service à la cour en tant que baron et baronne. En guise de remerciment ils ont établi Angus baron de leur cour, parchemin par Mergriet Van Wijenhorst, et Tadea baronne de leur cour, parchemin par Shadiyah al-Zahra.
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont investi Jeanne de Robin en tant que nouvelle baronne. Son parchemin a été illuminé par Eleanore MacCarthaith, calligraphié par Nest verch Tangwistel, mots par Shadiyah al-Zahra.
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont investi Genovefa Clerica en tant que nouvelle baronne avec parchemin par Shadiyah al-Zarah, calligraphie et illumination par Nest verch Tangwistel.
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont accepté les voeux de fidélité des nouvelles baronnes de l’Île du Dragon Dormant.
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont distribué des insignes de bienvenue aux nouveaux venus.
Itème. Sa Majesté Edward a annoncé la nomination de Naomi Avraham comme nouvelle championne des arts et sciences du roi. Son parchemin a été créé par Vettorio Antonello.
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont donné des jouets aux enfants du Royaume de l’Est.
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont adjugé des armoiries à Tiberius Sergius Valens. Son parchemin a été illuminé par Bella De LaBerge, calligraphie par Nest verch Tangwistel.
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont adjugé des armoiries à Bella De LaBerge. Son parchemin a été illuminé par Melina al Andalusiyya, caligraphie par Robin dit Dessaint.
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont présenté un parchemin à Guthfrith Yrlingsson pour le Silver Rapier qu’il avait reçu ultérieurement.
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont présenté un parchemin à Tiberivs Ivlivs Rvfvs Primvs pour le Pelican reçu ultérieurement. Le parchemin a été créé par Jan Janowicz Bogdanski.
Itème. Leurs Altesses ont reçu des tabards appliqués for les Champions du tir à l’arc de Tir Mara, créé par Yuri Mayuki.
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont attribué des armoiries à Cacht Mhór inghean Mhic an Mhadaidh.
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont accordé des armoiries à Kazmer of House Al’Kalrakal avec parchemin créé par Elena O Sirideain.
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont intronisé Barnabus O’Pheylan dans lordre du Silver Crescent. Un parchemin illuminé par Anna of the Middle et calligraphié par Constance de St-Denis.
Itème. Leurs Majestés ont remercié les musiciens que ont joué durant leur cour.
Les hérauts pour cette cour étaient Martyn de Halliwell, Constance de St-Denis, Kirsa Oyutai, Eginhard d’Aix la Chapelle, Simona bat Leone et Ernst Nuss von Kitzingen.
Translation by Mór of Kilkenny
Traduit par Mór of Kilkenny
Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Court, En français Tagged: a&s, champions, IDD, Investiture
A common thread among SCA members is our fascination with the idea of Knighthood. Many of us got our first taste of the medieval world reading about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, or the exploits of Richard the Lionheart, or maybe the tragic but noble self-sacrifice of the Song of Roland. Even the least martial among us has probably thought about what it means to be a knight. Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope interviewed several members of Æthelmearc’s Order of Chivalry to find out how they view their role as Knights of the Society.
The Chivalric Virtues
When asked what being a knight meant to them, many of the knights of Æthelmearc referenced the Chivalric Virtues. Curiously, there is no real agreement, even in the scholarly world, as to what those virtues are.
The tale Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, written around 1400, has Sir Gawain bearing a shield with a pentangle representing five knightly virtues. Duke Guillaume de la Belgique of the Kingdom of Caid, who writes frequently on chivalric topics, lists a set of six chivalric virtues. Count Sir Garick von Kopke of the Kingdom of the Outlands wrote an essay on chivalric virtues in which he lists eight knightly virtues from Le Ordene de Chevalrie, The Ordination of Knighthood, a 12th or 13th century anonymous French poem, and the 13th century work by Raymon Lull, Libre del Orde de Cauayleria, The Book of the Order of Chivalry. Most comprehensively, the Midrealm’s Middle Wiki states:
The Seven Knightly Virtues are much written about and there is no one authoritative list of them. Some historic accounts have four virtues, others have six. Even for those that list seven, those seven differ greatly. As Knights and Chivalry are important to the SCA, so does Chivalric Virtue play a part in our Society. Some of the commonly referenced Knightly Virtues are:
It might be agreed that these virtues can be used to describe a person who is good and noble. But beyond that, what does it mean to be a knight in the SCA, where our Chivalry are not called upon to literally spill their blood in defense of the realm?
Duke Malcolm Duncan MacEoghainn, who was knighted by Æthelmearc in 2000, put it this way: “The short answer is it means I am expected to be everyone’s exemplar of the ideal at all times. You see, everyone has a visceral, almost instinctive concept of “Knight.” Our culture is inundated with the imagery and we all grow up hearing stories of King Arthur and Knights in Shining Armor. I would venture to say that there is no one that you could interview anywhere that does not have SOME concept of “Knight” and what a knight is supposed to be or how they’re supposed to behave. Our culture has created such a mythos around “Knight” that the word has come to be more of a concept of behavior rather than just a man.”
Duke Malcolm noted that there are a lot of expectations placed on the Knights of the Society. “When I put on my belt, everyone who looks upon me has an expectation of me: that I am a great fighter, that I am Noble, that I am Chivalrous (which also has an incredibly diverse definition) – that I am all these things, and many others, all the time. Along with this, any time anyone sees me that knows me as a Knight, expects that, not just in the context of the SCA world, but also in all their dealings and in all their interactions with me. Those of us who identify as Knights are held to that standard and are subject to the internal judgment of all we encounter.”
Duke Maynard von dem Steine, who was knighted by Æthelmearc in 2000, had a similar attitude. “To me, being a knight means putting others’ needs before your own. As a Knight, you represent the Crown and the Kingdom as well as the Society, so when you put that white belt on, you have to remember that you’re expected to live up to every kid’s expectations of what a Knight is, keeping the seven Chivalric virtues in mind at all times. A knight is the hand of the King, doing the King’s justice and following his word.”
Duke Eliahu ben Itzhak, who was knighted by the Midrealm in 1983, agrees that knighthood is not something one can put on or take off. “Most knights don’t consider themselves only knights on weekends, they don’t take it off with their garb, chain and belt. It’s inside, part of who they are. There are some exceptions who wear the accoutrements of the knight but I would not call them a knight because it’s not inside them, not part of who they are.”
His Grace continued, “For me, Knighthood as a concept is the single best embodiment of the virtues I was raised with. I’m Jewish by background; I was raised with virtues of courage, honesty, and service, so chivalric virtues were the cultural ones I grew up with. My models were biblical stories of Hebrew warriors, and tales of knights. In many ways, those were the same thing.”
“My father said, to be a mensch, you need chutzpah and rachmones (courage and compassion). For me, that’s a knight. Knights may be admired for their prowess, but they are loved for their kindness. I’ve heard it said of a lot of knights, “Wow, that guy can fight, but he’s a real ass…” I prefer “Yes, that fellow can fight, but he’s a really nice guy.” People remember the knights who take the time to be kind, teach people things, be gracious. I may have had memorable exploits of prowess that I and other knights recall, but what most people remember is when I was generous with my time, kind, helpful, or compassionate.”
Sir Thorgrim Skullsplitter, who was knighted by Æthelmearc in 2009, also feels that being a knight is not something you do only at SCA events. When considering candidates for the Chivalry, he said he looks for people who are chivalrous both in and out of garb. “I like to see how candidates for the chivalry behave in their real lives, not just in the SCA when they think people are watching. Do they live up to those virtues 24/7?”
Being a knight is not about how hard you can hit, but about whether you stand up for people who need protection, who are being bullied or treated with discourtesy. – Sir Thorgrim
Sir Thorgrim continues, “The Knightly Virtues align well with the Boy Scouts’ creed, which I very much hold to. Prowess is not as important as being a good person. Without those other virtues, a fighter is just another thug.”
While every knight interviewed espoused the ideals of chivalry, they also acknowledged that it can be a struggle sometimes to maintain those levels of behavior every day. Duke Malcolm said, “To be a Knight is to strive to be that, and understand that it’s a sysiphic ordeal. Each day you awake and each day you rededicate to the purpose. Each day you do your best to be the best influence you can on those you encounter. No matter how hard you train, you can always train harder. No matter how much kindness you show, you can always show more. No matter how supportive you are, you can always give more. “
Viscount Bear the Wallsbane, knighted by the East Kingdom in 1989, agreed. “Of course we fail; we’re human. But true Chivalry get back up, dust themselves off, and try again and again.”
Aspiring to the Chivalry
There are, seemingly, as many opinions about what it takes to become a member of the Chivalry as there are knights and masters at arms. Interestingly, none of the Chivalry interviewed talked about technique or even general skill level. Instead, their emphasis was on commitment to fighting, but also on participating in all aspects of the Society.
Viscount Bear said “If you want to be a knight in the SCA, you have to dedicate your life to the pursuit of that white belt. Hit every SCA event you can, and fight as often as you can, not just to gain in prowess, but also to become known among the Chivalry. The Knights want newer fighters to hunt them and challenge them. I was disappointed to see several big name Dukes at the Delftwood Muster in February just standing around waiting for someone to challenge them, but hardly anyone did. I had to urge the younger fighters to go after them.”
His Excellency continued, “As far as candidates for the Chivalry, prowess is the most important element to me.” When asked about melee combat vs. tournament fighting, Sir Bear said, “That’s an area of disagreement within the Chivalry: whether a fighter’s primary skill area has to be tourney fighting. We’ve made knights whose abilities were primarily in melee combat, but I go by Corpora which explicitly says that a prospective Knight must be the equal of his or her peers in tournament combat. On the other hand, we’ve had some knights who started as primarily melee fighters but then improved their tournament skills over time.”
Duke Maynard looks for people who are persistent and work hard. “In candidates for the Knighthood, I look for people who are hungry, who are trying to learn. Anyone can be a knight. When I began in the SCA, I never imagined myself achieving everything I have accomplished. I had a couple of friends who had much more natural talent than I did as fighters, but I kept working at it while they dropped out. In my opinion, those who have to work hard to become good fighters are often better knights than those who have natural talent, because they’ve had to not only analyze their technique, but also maintain a certain work ethic that they can then pass along to other fighters.”
His Grace also stressed the importance of having the right attitude. “When I was squired to Duke Christopher of York, he didn’t really teach me specific shots so much as a way of thinking about fighting, including having the confidence that I could win fights. I teach my own squires that same mental preparation, including analyzing both their opponents’ fighting and their own, but also believing in themselves. So much of fighting is mental rather than physical.”
Duchess Rowan de la Garnison, who in 1998 became the first woman knighted by Æthelmearc, agrees that perseverance is key. “When I joined the SCA, I had this wench persona and was kind of a party girl. But as a kid I used to play knight errant and attack things with sticks, beating up all the boys so I could be Queen, so I guess it was kind of natural that I took up fighting. It took me three tries to qualify as a fighter, but I just kept plugging away at it. I only got serious about fighting a few years later, when I started going to more tourneys and to practices 3 times a week.”
Her Grace echoed Viscount Bear’s thoughts about hunting the Chivalry, both to improve and to become better known. “I was told to always challenge the Knights if I wanted to get better. When they beat me, I asked them to show me the shots they used to kill me so I could learn how to throw them myself. That’s what up and coming fighters need to do: show that you want it. Target the Chivalry, get on the field early, stay late, then ask for feedback from those you fight so you can learn.”
Duchess Rowan had the same experience as Duke Maynard, in not being the most naturally talented fighter but achieving a white belt through perseverance. “I had been a fighter for over ten years when I was knighted, so my path was always about persistence, about plugging away and figuring out how to improve. Once I got serious about my fighting I started working out, and learned the body mechanics that would allow me to increase the power in my shots so people would take them. As a woman with less upper body strength than the male fighters, I couldn’t just use brute force, so good technique was vital.”
Some women have trouble being aggressive, but those who get past that can be just as good as the men. – Duchess Rowan
She also had some advice on what fighters can expect as they improve. “The way the Chivalry fight you will change over time. When you’re new, you might be happy to be able to block a few shots before they kill you. As you get better, you might start to kill a knight or two, but when they get to know you and take you seriously as a threat, they’ll bring their “A” game against you. At that point, you will actually start losing more often against the chivalry. Don’t get discouraged – everyone hits plateaus, so it’s important to keep learning everything you can. At some point, eventually something will just “click” and your fighting will go up a level, sometimes quite suddenly.”
As the first female knight in the Kingdom, Duchess Rowan remembers that it was tough breaking through some barriers. “When I started fighting (in the 1980s), there was some discrimination against women. Some Kingdoms, like the Midrealm, even had rules forbidding women from fighting as late as the mid to late 1970s, and there were male fighters who refused to fight women because they felt it was unchivalrous to hit a woman. Other men refused to take our blows because they weren’t willing to admit that a woman could hit them hard enough to kill. These days there’s a lot less bias against female fighters – they’re not coddled but more accepted as equals.”
Her Grace continued with some advice specifically for female fighters who seek the accolade. “Duchess Elina of Beckenham, who was knighted about a year ago by the Midrealm, wrote a terrific book called The Armored Rose that explains the differences not only in body mechanics, but also in mindset between men and women in the martial arts. Duchess Elina’s book offers great advice for women on how to add power to their blows using their own natural movement styles. There are so many issues that women fighters face which men do not, beginning with the fact that women are trained from childhood to be nurturing and not to hurt other people. Just getting past their concern about injuring their opponents is a big hurdle for some women. In addition, women are more likely to have to take breaks in training, whether because of issues with their menstrual cycles, or because they get pregnant and have children.”
I think the most important attribute for a knight is ethics. – Sir Thorgrim
Sir Thorgrim prefers to focus on character rather that skill. “To me, prowess is not all. Of all the knightly virtues, I believe only prowess can be learned as an adult. All the others, you acquire as a child from your parents. Call them your moral compass.” He continued, “I will take a fighter as a dependent in a heartbeat if they possess the other knightly virtues; I can always teach them prowess. Some in the Chivalry may feel that prowess is the most important thing, but I do not.”
When asked about the path to knighthood, Duke Eliahu also was less interested in talking about the fighting itself than in the philosophy he wants to see in candidates for the Chivalry. “I tell people there’s a difference between wanting to be knighted and wanting to be a knight; wanting to receive the accolade and wanting to be worthy of the accolade; wanting to be seen as a knight and wanting to live as a knight.“
He continued, “It’s appropriate to have the goal of becoming a knight, of living as a knight, being on the path of knighthood. Goals can be way points or end points. If the knighthood is seen as an end point, that’s not appropriate – they don’t understand what knighthood is.”
His Grace went on to explain how fighting is more about a process than a product. “I’m an adjunct professor of design and marketing. I teach both fighters and design students to work the process to get a good outcome. If you focus on the result, you’re less likely to get a good product. Art, design, fighting, whatever – work the process. “
He also emphasized the importance of individualized training. “The way I teach is to try to make it as individual as possible, see where someone is in their knowledge and ability, and help them find a path to success and improvement. What are their strengths and weaknesses? I push people to get better at their weaknesses rather than work on their strengths. I wouldn’t give someone advice until I understood where they are and what they need. I may give technical fighting advice to start if they aren’t getting it, thinking and strategy and movement. But being a knight takes too much work and has too many challenges for someone who doesn’t love fighting. If they want to be there, I won’t be able to stop them.”
Duke Malcolm similarly emphasized the soul-searching that aspirants to knighthood should do. “What advice would I give a fighter who seeks to become a Knight? That honestly would depend on who is doing the asking, but if it were being asked by someone whom I’d never met and knew nothing about, my first bit of advice would be to ask “why?” Why does she/he seek the white belt? Does she want to be that good of a fighter? Does he want to be acknowledged as one of the best fighters? These are the two most common responses, but in all truth, my advice is to sit down and think very long and hard about exactly *what* it is they seek, and why. If they truly have determined that they want to be a “Knight” and not just “the kick-butt” fighter, then the advice alters to guide them there. If they really want to be a Knight, then the advice is for the person to know to their core what being a Knight is – to them – and live it. It is said that you have to be a knight before you become a Knight. It’s true. Once you live it, you’re already there.”
It’s Not Just About the Fighting
Sir Thorgrim emphasized the importance of service and relationships in the SCA. “At one point I trained with fighters who had prowess as their goal, but over time I found that service to the fighting community was a better path for me. Originally I was squired to Duke Rurik Longsword, and I learned most of my technique from him. Later, I squired to Sir Kadan Chákhilgan Ger on Echen. Obviously, he and I have very different body types, so our relationship wasn’t so much about him teaching me technique (except some footwork) as it was about having the right attitude and philosophy about fighting. In particular, he taught me about the importance of family and friendships within the SCA, and I’ve tried to foster those kinds of relationships with my own dependents.”
Duke Maynard also felt that relationships are key. “It’s important not to take the SCA and rank within it too seriously. When the regalia comes off, we’re all equals and the titles don’t matter. Friendship is really the foundation of the Society for me.” That said, His Grace did not feel that a fighter must be a squire to become a knight, though it can help. “Your Knight can be an advocate for you in the order, and can also push you to practice when you might not feel like it.”
His Grace also wants to see candidates for the Chivalry who are well-rounded participants in the Society as a whole. “As a general rule, those who aspire to Knighthood should also take an active role in their shire or barony – be involved in service, get to know people who are not fighters. You can’t be a peer of any type if you don’t have at least a basic understanding of all the elements that make up the SCA: garb, heraldry, history, and so on.”
Having a diverse background and knowledge of all aspects of the SCA makes me a better peer and a better knight. – Duke Maynard
Duchess Rowan also felt that knowing more than just fighting is important. “We especially want to see service – go wash dishes, mop an event hall, help take down list ropes, marshal and train other fighters. When we discuss candidates, it’s really common for people to ask “What else does he do besides fight?” Pick up an art. Many fighters get into armoring, brewing, leatherwork, or blacksmithing. You can be knighted for being a hot stick as long as you’re reasonably well-rounded, but a solidly competent fighter who isn’t spectacular on the field can also be knighted if they have a really complete package of service, arts, and courtesy.”
She also likes to see fighters who can lead troops on the field or generate enthusiasm among the fighters in their area. “Because we choose our Kings and Queens by combat, we expect our Chivalry to be leaders, not only good individual fighters. You need to prove that you can be a leader on the field of battle, and learn to be at least a little charismatic so others will follow you. We look to the next generation of Chivalry to bring others into fighting, to build enthusiasm in their fighting communities.”
After You’ve Been Knighted – Continuing on the Path
Once you do receive the accolade, the journey continues with new responsibilities.
Sir Mord Hrutson the Green, who was knighted by the East Kingdom in 1993, commented from Gulf Wars, “We all try to be chivalrous; we all succeed in one form for a brief moment. We all fail in another – sometimes for longer times. For instance, I am sore and tired today. I don’t feel too much like fighting. Yet, my king will be on the field today. Fealty, oaths, chivalry require that I be there.”
Sir Thorgrim explained how his approach to fighting has changed since he was knighted. “Since becoming a knight, I’ve felt much less urgency about fighting in tournaments. I don’t have a huge desire to be King, and I believe I’ve proven myself in the list field. My primary interest now is in training new fighters and helping to build Æthelmearc’s army through melee work. I can have a greater impact that way, building enthusiasm among younger fighters. When I became a regional commander, I went from being responsible for training 20 people to 120 people. I love seeing these younger fighters’ passion.”
Sir Bear’s focus has also changed since he is now medically prohibited from fighting. “I consider my role to serve as an inspiration and to teach, not just my squires, but everyone who’s interested. I also try to instill the chivalric values in my squires, including support of the Kingdom. Right now some of them are annoyed with me because I’ve told them they all need to take up archery so they can shoot in the Pennsic War Point. This Pennsic in particular, Æthelmearc will need all the war points it can get, and our job is to support the Kingdom in every way we can.”
Duke Maynard talked about how the SCA has changed his life outside the Society. “I found that the SCA, and especially being a knight as well as having been King, made me a better person in real life. I’m a better manager and a better public speaker. I’m more confident. As a knight in the SCA, I feel responsible for helping others. As a group, the Society has the ideal of what everyone should be – chivalrous and courteous – and that ideal carries through to real life, so I find myself more courteous to the people I work with, too.”
Duke Eliahu feels that one of the roles of the Chivalry is to be, like all peers, the problem-solvers in the Society. “Every organization has people with institutional memory, people who know how to get things done. In the SCA that’s the peers and the officers. The peers can fix social problems, hopefully recognizing them before they become big problems and blow up. The best servants of the Crown and Society get things done in a way that is professional, without causing additional drama.”
His Grace also mused on the issues faced by Chivalry as they age. “Being a knight and getting older is increasingly a challenge for a lot of people. A knight who was physically gifted but not very technical will see their ability decline, and if they don’t replace that with strategy, technique, and wisdom, eventually they can’t do what they did when they were younger. Some of them stop fighting and drop out of the SCA, which is a shame.”
SCA fighters need to understand that the real fight is about controlling the bout, not about a trick or technique. – Duke Eliahu
Duke Eliahu recounted how he realized 15 years ago that his fighting style had not kept pace with developments in the field. After some consideration, he went to some of the best technical fighters he knew and asked them to help him start over. “I worked with Duke Ragnvaldr and Duke Brannos (of the Midrealm) to relearn how to fight. They taught me how to stand, move, breathe, throw blows, everything. I practiced once or twice per week plus some pell work to make the new style automatic. If I hadn’t done that, I would no longer have been on the path, I would have been sitting down on the path.” Eliahu says he also organized what he learned from them into a teaching methodology so he could pass it along to others. “It was frustrating sometimes, but also exciting because at every practice I was learning something new,” His Grace said.
Duke Malcolm summed it up: “Knighthood is more than just a meaningless word that references some particular achievement in a 45+ year-long running social organization. To me, being a Knight means making a commitment to a way of life. The Code of Chivalry isn’t a checklist or even something that is the same from one moment to the next. Like the Zen concept of Beginner’s mind, it is by its very nature unable to be specified beyond ‘Doing what is right.’ The hard part is defining that ‘right’ and living up to it.”
Archaeologists working on a dig in St John's Street in Northampton, England have found two medieval chess pieces dating to the middle to late 12th century. The pieces, made of antler, show evidence of the demand for "leisure products." (photos)
The recent interest in Cuba has renewed a discussion of the Muslim faith in America, including a claim that Muslim sailors discovered the continent in the 12th century.
We begin with a selection of news stories about the reinterment of Richard III, some serious and some odd, from media around the world.
[View the story "How Richard III is being covered around the world, and more medieval news" on Storify]
The A.S. XLIX Festival of the Passing of the Ice Dragon has come and gone. For those who missed it, your ever-vigilant Gazette reporters have the scoop on all that went on at the event, held on March 21 in the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael.
The day began with a morning court at which the most notable piece of business was the surprise Their Majesties had in store for Mistress Shishido Tora Gozen: a perfect Laurel ambush.
Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin, who headed team G, reports: “When their Majesties let the Laurels know that they planned to give Gozen a writ during their reign, I asked if we could do a surprise vigil for her at Ice Dragon. They graciously gave permission and the Secret Laurel for G team sprang into action. Between a secret Facebook group, her household (who took her off the email list just long enough to notify people), and all the Æthelmearc equestrians, it is a testament to honor that no one spilled the beans.
“We set the stage by telling all the equestrians that we had been allotted a special space at Ice Dragon since I had “forgotten” to reserve our normal equestrian salon space, and everyone was encouraged to bring their equestrian works of art to display (thus neatly solving the problem of having her works there for the vigil). Her protégé and equerry made vigil favors of Master Huon’s cookys in linen bags with horse charms, a tooled leather vigil book with Japanese horse was ordered from abroad, and a Pelican/Laurel brooch was commissioned from Crafty Celts. The problem remained of how to get her into morning court without raising suspicion. Luckily, I had not been able to finish her Pelican hitatare (Japanese coat) for her last elevation, so that provided the perfect excuse – she was told that it was finally finished and their Majesties had agreed to present it in court. All was ready.
“Then came the heart-stopping moment when she emailed after having driven 20-odd hours back from Gulf Wars to let me know that she was tired and might not drive up until the morning of the event. “No problem,” I replied, thinking precisely the opposite, “Just make sure to be there for morning court, since their Majesties wanted to do the hitatare presentation then since it was not quite ‘important enough’ for the main court at night.” Thankfully, arrive she did.
“The “Equestrian Encampment” looked beautiful, and being riders with hearty appetites, it never occurred to her to question the plethora of food we had set out. She worked hard to set up the displays, still not suspecting.
“We sat together through court, me with the folded hitatare under my arm. We were called up together, and I asked leave to address the populace. I explained that her “backlog hitatare” was finally finished and held it out to their Majesties, with the embroidery toward them, asking them to do the honor of putting it on. His Majesty played his part to perfection, and circled slowly, revealing to the audience that the pelican was encircled with a laurel wreath. Oohs and cheers began to rise, the Laurels crept stealthily toward the front at a gesture from his Majesty, and Gozen began to look puzzled as this was all going on behind her back.
“Gozen,” said his Majesty, “perhaps you would like to see your hitatare.” She turned around then and the look on her face when she realized just what was happening was worth the entire two months of planning (as was the smack she gave me when I whispered, “You realize we just had you set up your own Laurel vigil”). Of course the hitatare was then whisked away since she could not wear it with the Laurel wreath until after the elevation at second court. The members of the Order of the Laurel then escorted Gozen to her vigil area.”
After morning Court, gentles scattered to the many activities that Ice Dragon offers.
Ice Dragon’s usual rattan bear pit attracted an array of enthusiastic fighters from novices to knights. Lord Horatius as marshal-in-charge was assisted by numerous other marshals overseeing bouts and directing traffic into each of the four lists.
Duke Maynard von dem Steine was the victor, but it was noted that he was most gracious about the bouts he lost, making the day for many of the less experienced fighters.
The rapier list featured two tournaments, a single elimination and a reverse bear pit, where the loser stayed on the field after each bout. The rapier combat was marshaled by Lord Wolfgang Starcke (who also served as Deputy Autocrat for the overall event), with Lady Aemelia Soteria as MOL.
His Excellency Don Benedict Fergus atte Mede defeated Lord Michael Gladwyne to win the single elimination, wounds-retained tournament with forty people participating, and Lord Jacob of Dunmore beat out second-place finisher Lady Fiora d’Artusio to win the reverse bear pit, which had fifty participants. There were about ten White Scarves fencing, including Duchess Dorinda Courtenay, who was the first recipient in Æthelmearc of a Writ for the Order of Defence. According to Don Will Parris, every battle was hard fought.
THLady Zoe Akropolitina marshaled the youth list with assistance from the Kingdom Youth Marshal, Sir Thorgrim Skullsplitter.
Seven youth fighters competed in the tournament, which was won by Olf from Stormsport.
THLady Govindi Dera Ghazi Khan organized the Salons, which were held in the upper level balcony areas. They ranged from baronial salons (Delftwood) to households (Yama Kaminari) to the Kingdom History display, to salons for particular activities and guilds (scribes, heralds, and brewers). Many of them offered food or arts displays.
The event featured numerous merchants with such wares as fiber, weapons, fabric, soap, jewelry, garb, and leatherworking supplies. Lady Miriel du Lac served as merchant liaison to keep all of the merchants organized.
The tavern was ably run by Lord Bovi Davidson, with entertainment organized by Master Dagonell Collingwood of Emerald Lake. Lord Bovi received the Order of the Keystone at morning court for his service to the Rhydderich Hael.
The sideboard offered drumsticks marinated in Goya Mojo sauce, BBQ pork chunks, and roasted root vegetables, plus cheese, pickles, oranges, hard boiled eggs, and rolls. Lord Bovi said he chose simple modern fare since the kitchen would be expected to serve 600 gentles and he had found the period turnovers he did two years ago to be really good but too much work. He focused this year on simple and portable: “Brown, hot, and plenty of it!” he joked with one of his “most amazing crew,” who he credited for the meal’s success.
Ice Dragon Pentathlon
As always, the Arts and Sciences Pentathlon was a big draw with entries in categories like embroidery, brewing, scribal, woodwork, and costuming. Tiarna Padraig O’Branduibh was the Pent Coordinator, with Baroness Alexanda dei Campagnella organizing the judges, of which there were many.
There were entries in individual categories, as well as some groups and individuals who entered the Pentathlon, which required them to compete in at least five different categories. Entries were judged on Documentation, Authenticity, Creativity, Workmanship, Complexity, and Aesthetics.
Overall Pentathlon Winners
Group: The Shire of Silva Vulcani
As the day wound down, Royal Court was held in a different room from usual at the front of the second floor.
At the start of Royal Court, Their Majesties welcomed Prince Steinnar of Ealdormere. His Highness was pleased to announce that the Lupine Kingdom will ally itself with Æthelmearc at the coming Pennsic War, to the great joy of Their Highnesses Timothy and Gabrielle as well as the populace.
Numerous gentles received recognition from the Crown. The highlights included five talented artisans who were inducted into the Fleur d‘Æthelmearc:
There were two Writs given for the Order of the Pelican, with elevations to be at a future date to be determined:
Their Majesties then inducted Mistress Shishido Tora Gozen into the Order of the Laurel for her skill in making equestrian accoutrements. Mistress Gozen’s many virtues were recounted by Master Tigernach mac Cathail for the Pelicans, THLord Rhiannon Elandris for the Order of the Golden Lance, Prince Timothy of Arindale for the Royal Peers, Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin read a letter from Viscount Alexander Caithnes for the Laurels, and Sir Bear the Wallsbane for the Chivalry. Mistress Gozen, now a double peer, was presented with a brooch from the equestrian community, and finally… she was able to wear her hitatare. Her scroll, based on the Tale of Genji, was illuminated by Mistress Una de St. Luc and calligraphed by Mistress Daedez of the Moritu.
Royal Court culminated in the bestowing of this reign’s Jewel of Æthelmearc on Mistress Cori Ghora, Kingdom Seneschale, as the populace roared their approval of Their Majesties’ choice.
Rhydderich Hael’s Baronial Court followed with several local awards, and culminated in the announcements of the tournament and Pentathlon winners as noted above.
Congratulations to the event autocrat, Lord Magnus de Lyons, and his staff on another successful Passing of the Ice Dragon enjoyed by over 600 gentles. May the Ice Dragon die swiftly and spring arrive with haste!
This report was written with contributions from Don Will Parris, Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin, THLady Zoe Akropolitina, Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina, Tiarna Padraig O’Branduibh, and Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.
COURT OF THEIR MAJESTIES EDWARD III AND THYRA II AT GULF WAR
The Court of our most excellent prince and lord, Edward, by right of arms most illustrious King of the East, third of that name, and Thyra, his Queen by agency of that same right, second of that name, held upon 19 March in the forty-ninth year of the Society upon the fields of Gulf War; on which day were called all and sundry the lords of the realm to hear the following publicly proclaimed:
Item. Their Majesties thanked their Rapier General, Remy Delemontagne de Gascogne, and all of the combatants who took the rapier field to fight on behalf of the East Kingdom;
Item. His Majesty then endowed Remy Delemontagne de Gascogne with the King’s Award of Esteem.
Item. Their Majesties elevated and inducted the following persons into the Company of the Pennon of the East:
Item. Their Majesties extended their gratitude to Samuel Peter Bump, Aife ingen Chonchobair in Derthaige, and Donovan Shinnock for their aid and good service at Gulf War.
I, Donovan Shinnock, Golden Rapier Herald, wrote this to memorialize and make certain all such things that were done and caused to be done as above stated.
Filed under: Court, Events Tagged: court report, Gulf War
Zorikh Lequidre, known in the SCA as Lord Ervald the Optimistic, is set to make a video documentary of USA Knights, America's original full-combat armored combat team, at the International Medieval Combat Federation world championships this Spring in Malbork Poland. The new video is to be titled “American Knights.”
Exciting things are about to happen in the office of the webminister. We are ready to launch the brand new Kingdom of Æthelmearc website that we have been working on for quite a while. This new site will fix the things that broke a while ago with an update at our hosting company. During this transition time we ask you all to be patient since with all new things we will experience some growing pains.
We welcome your suggestions on the site improvements and if you catch any bugs in the system please let us know by emailing email@example.com. Also if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me.
With this new site we hope to bring more of a face to our various officers as well as organize the content a little bit better. We will also feature new sections such as social media links both for official groups and various interest groups around the kingdom and the knowne world. We also will feature a section for graphics that can be used for your creations such as machine embroidery files for the escarbuncle and other emblems and badges in the kingdom. Another new feature will be a searchable archive of past documents and policies as well as current ones for those who need them.
Again thank you for you patience and suggestions.
Sincerely The Honorable Lady Phelippe “Pippi” Ulfsdotter
Over the centuries, Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia has been a Byzantine church, a mosque, a Catholic church and a museum, but changing politics may take a toll on the glorious 6th century edifice. Stuart Williams of Art Daily has the story. (photo)
On Saturday March 22, 2015, in a surprisingly quick reversal, Their Majesties Macarius and Izabella of Drachenwald changed a decision barring their subjects Hi Lady Hilkka Susinen & Lady Leonet de Covenham from entering their Crown Lists.
Gentles wishing to make favors or other items for Her Highness Gabrielle to give as gifts during Her reign are invited to use the information below, sent to the Gazette by Dame Bronwyn MacFhionghuin.
Embroidery Pattern For Her Highness Gabrielle
Use this embroidery design when making items for soon-to-be Queen Gabrielle to officially gift. Place this design on anything you wish: belt favors, pouches, needle cases, pin cushions, drink covers, etc. Use whatever materials you like (linen, silk, wool, cotton), red background with white & gold threads. Reduce or enlarge the design as needed. The pattern is designed to use a chain stitch for escarbuncle and crown, and stem stitch for parfume drop.
Before you start, I suggest washing the fabric – red has a tendency to bleed.
Then do some test stitching to determine stitch size, how many strands of floss, etc. I counted stitches, but the number of stitches may change if you reduce or enlarge the pattern.
Do the escarbuncle first; then finagle the placement of the crown and drop if need be.
The completed Escarbuncle & Crown with Parfume Drop can be stitched directly onto the fabric for your finished piece, or cut into a rondel & appliquéd onto anything you want.
If you want, you could add a bead or pearl in the center.
For the base of the crown, make 2 rows of chains, slightly curved per the pattern, just above the escarbuncle. At each end, there are 3 chains up with a horizontal chain toward the center from the second chain. In the very center there are 3 chains up with 2 horizontal chains from the second chain. Between the end & the center on each side, place just one chain at the halfway point.
Surround the Escarbuncle & Crown with a stem-stitched Parfume Drop.
At this year’s Spring Æthelmearc Æcademy, we’re moving classes OUTSIDE! Classes will be held under covered picnic pavilions or in rented tents, so you can make it loud … make it dirty … make it FUN!
Teacher registration is now open; please register your class here.
The event will be held on Saturday, JULY 4th, and will be hosted by the Shire of Stormsport in conjunction with their Annual Army Muster and TRM’s Equestrian Championship Tournament. (Which means that in addition to classes a-plenty, there will also be as much heavy fighting, archery, fencing, thrown weapons, youth combat and equestrian activities as one might wish!)
Additional information can be found on the Kingdom website as well as on the Æcademy website here.
Toby Martin, of the University of Oxford, has published a series of abstrats on papers and presentations on his university blog pertaining to Anglo Saxon dress and jewelry. PDFs are available on request.
Historian Charles Freeman believes the Shroud of Turin was created in the 14th century for Easter rituals. Freeman presents his theory in the article The Origins of the Shroud of Turin in the November 2014 issue of History Today. Charlotte Higgins of the Guardian discusses the theory.
War Practice will be here in less than two monthes, and one of our best activities is we have to offer to the people of Æthelmearc and our guests is an excellent roster ot classes.
There are many talented teachers and artisans in the kingdom who have a great deal to share. If you’ve ever wanted to teach a class, or if you’d like to do a trial run before Pennsic or the next Æcademy, here’s your chance.
If you would like to teach a class, please send me the following information for the website and site booklet:
Name of Teacher
Students learning Book Binding from Master Michael Alewright
Please include your legal name and e-mail address, and your preferred time for your class, as well as any special requirements you may have. The schedule will be filled on a first-come, first- served basis, so the earlier you volunteer, the more likely it will be that I can accomodate you.
Space is available from 9am-8pm on Friday and 9am-6pm on Saturday in one of three large tents (with tables and chairs), the upper bathhouse (also with tables and chairs, plus electricity and access to water), and the Great Hall.
Please send your request to me by 30 April:
Thanks in advance for you generous offers, and feel free to cross-post this announcement anywhere you think there may be interest.
-Aidan ni Leir
The auction of around 1500 letters of famous women, including Catherine of Aragon's plea to Pope Clement VII to block her divorce from Henry VIII, took place in November 2014 in Paris. The auction, whose book was entitled Women: Letters and Signed Manuscripts, brought a total of EU 794,173. (photo)