SCA news sites

Performance Arts at SCA 50 Year

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2016-03-10 10:47

This article was originally posted at the Midrealm Gazette and is reprinted here in full.

Singers, storytellers, bards and buskers: Want to perform at 50 Year?

Please fill out this Google Form: Click here to submit your application to perform on the outdoor stage, tavern, busking area, or indoor stage. Please note: the application is NOT required for any Bardic Circle. The deadline for applying to perform is May 1.

The staff will be filling slots as we go, so the earlier you submit your application, the better selection of performance opportunities you’ll have.

A note about material in Performing Arts:
The site for SCA 50 Year does not have a performance license; accordingly, the event staff requests that all performers restrict their repertoire to original pieces for which you own the copyright, pieces which you have permission to perform, and pieces in the public domain. Any questions regarding what material can be performed at this event can be directed to the Performing Arts Lead, Lady Sophia the Orange via

Opportunities for every level of performer are available at this event, and the Performing Arts Staff will assist any performer who submits an application by recommending resources for you. Our crack Performing Arts Team is bringing you a Performers’ Evening Tavern, Bardic Circles, Indoor and Outdoor Stages, Busking areas, and a special Performing Arts Day
Want to know more? Email:

Filed under: Events Tagged: Bardic, SCA 50 Year

Pre-Register for the Pent Today!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2016-03-10 09:49

The Pent Room. Photo by Arianna.

The Ice Dragon Pentathlon is fast approaching and we know you are all busily working on projects. Visit the website for information on everything Pent, as well as information on Princess Ariella’s Favors.

Take a minute to pre-register. Pre-registration has changed slightly for this year in that you do not have to list our your projects, only your personal registration information and the approximate number of entries you will be bringing. It’s easy and will only take a short time to do. Thanks to all of you who have already registered; it will speed up your time on the morning of the event! Pre-registration is open until March 15.

We are still looking for judges. Please visit the judging page here and sign up today; judging will take less time this year so you will still have the day to enjoy Ice Dragon.

We are looking forward to seeing beautiful works from all of Æthelmearc’s artisans!



Categories: SCA news sites

Æthelmearc Coronation on April 9th

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-03-09 10:08

Photo by Master Alaxandair o Conchobhair.

Oyez! Oyez! The Kingdom of Æthelmearc as well as the rest of the Known World is cordially invited to witness the Coronation of Their Highnesses, Prince Thomas Byron of Haverford and Princess Ariella of Thornbury. This celebration will be hosted by the Shire of Gryffyn’s Keep on April 9th, 2016 with permission in the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands.

Æthelmearc will be celebrating new heirs to the Kingdom, and Æthelmearc pride is the theme for the day. Banners, standards, and Æthelmearc colors are all welcomed and encouraged. There will be an arts & sciences competition, a bardic competition, heavy fighting, fencing, and thrown weapons to keep all busy throughout the day.

A sideboard lunch and amazing feast will be prepared by Maestra Tomasia da Collivento that will surely delight all who attend. Lunch is included in the site fee for all attendees, and an evening feast will be provided at a cost of $12.00 for adults, $6 for children ages 6 to 17, and children 5 and under eat for free. Please contact Maestra Tomasia (Tammy Crawford), maestratomasia at gmail dot com or 412-983-0446, with any dietary concerns. Seating for the feast is limited to 80 individuals so reserve early if you plan to attend. Please remember, the only valid reservation is a paid reservation.

This event will be held at the Unity Community Church, 215 Unity Center Road, Plum Borough, PA 15239 on Saturday April 9, 2016. The site opens at 9:00 am and will close at 9:00 pm. Troll will be open for business from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm. To help speed up everyone’s check-in, reservations are strongly encouraged and should be sent ASAP to the Head Troll, Lady Alime bint Yorgi (Barbara Castellion) 408 Murrysville Road, Trafford, PA 15085. Questions on reservations can also call 412-337-5147. Site fees are Adults $8.00, Children (6 to 17) $4.00, and Children under 5 are free. (family cap is $24) A non-member surcharge of $5.00 will be added for non-SCA members. Please make checks payable to SCA-PA, Inc. – Shire of Gryffyn’s Keep.

This is a dry site, no pets are allowed (registered service dogs are permitted with documentation but please let us know you are attending), smoking is permitted in DESIGNATED OUTSIDE AREAS ONLY. Open flames are not permitted. This is a handicapped-accessible site, however any individuals who may need assistance are strongly encouraged to please plan to preregister and inform us at that time of your condition so we may make any necessary arrangements for your comfort.

Contact the autocrat for the day, Lord Thomas Lestrange (Tom Butts) thomas.t.butts at gmail dot com or 412-398-3808, 4655 Marjorie Drive, Murrysville, PA 15668, with any questions.

North and West: Take I-76 E / PA TURNPIKE toward PITTSBURGH. Take EXIT 48 toward PA-28 / NEW KENSINGTON / PITTSBURGH.  Turn right and merge onto FREEPORT RD.  Go 1.4 miles and turn LEFT onto HULTON BRIDGE / YELLOW BELT. Continue to follow YELLOW BELT for 1.8 miles and turn RIGHT at the fork to go on HULTON RD / YELLOW BELT.  Go 2.1 miles and stay STRAIGHT onto MILLTOWN RD.  Go 1.0 mile until MILLTOWN RD becomes LEECHBURG RD.  Go an additional 0.3 mile and turn RIGHT onto UNITY CENTER ROAD.  Go 0.2 miles. Site is on your left

South and East: Take I-76 W / PA TURNPIKE to EXIT 57, toward MONROEVILLE / PITTSBURGH.  Stay straight and merge onto I-376 W / US-22 W toward PITTSBURGH.  Go 3.1 miles and take first exit RODI RD via EXIT 81 toward PENN HILLS.  Go 2.0 miles and turn RIGHT onto PA-380 / FRANKSTOWN RD / YELLOW BELT.  Go 1.5 miles and turn RIGHT onto PA-380 / SALTSBURG RD.  Go 50 yards and turn SLIGHT LEFT onto LEECHBURG RD. Go 1.8 miles and turn RIGHT to stay on LEECHBURG RD.  Go 0.3 miles turn RIGHT onto UNITY CENTER RD.  Go 0.2 miles Site is on your left.

Categories: SCA news sites

Unofficial Court Report: Estrella War

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2016-03-08 14:56

The following items were presented at the Court of Their Majesties Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri held on February 23-29, A.S. L (2016) in the Kingdom of Atenveldt at Estrella War XXXII.

Company of the Pennon:
Master Joel the Brewer (West, with permission of TRM West)
Baroness Elisheva bint Sitt al-Sitt (West, with permission of TRM West)
Syr Culann mac Cianain
Sir Luis de Castilla
Lord Antonii Machinevik (previously Antonius)
Lord Bric James Beech
Lord Ryouko’jin of Iron Skies
Lord Martin Wasserspier
Lady Brynhildr Ansvarsdottir
Lord Bjorn inn Kvensami
Lord Indrakshi Aravinda
Lady Ciar of Skye

His Majesty has explained, “The Company of the Pennon is given for exceptional martial prowess or work as support staff at an event in a foreign Kingdom. The Eastern Expeditionary Force was small, but ferocious on the field. They garnered glory and victory against strong and numerically superior foes in several battles.” He went to to mention the gracious hosting by the West Kingdom, particularly Master Joel and Baroness Elisheva, providing the Eastern Contingent with a camp, food, lodging, and all manner of hospitality which allowed the EEF to focus on their duties, and so these two gentles were duly acknowledged for their hospitality.

Order of Valor:
Lady Ciar of Skye
Lord Ryouko’jin of Iron Skies
These two gentles showed outstanding prowess and leadership, on the tourney and melee fields

Lastly the gift Estrella Scrolls were presented to the following kingdoms:

Court Heralds: Baron Mael Eoin mac Echuid (Great Court)
Reporting Herald: King Brennan Ri, Master Malcolm Bowman

Filed under: Court

Unofficial Court Report: King’s & Queen’s Bardic

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2016-03-07 19:10

Their Majesties Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri, as well as Her Highness Avelina, did visit the Shire of Owlsherst on 5 March AS L, to attend the occasion of the King’s and Queen’s Bardic Championship.

The day began with a short court to send Jamilia al-Suba al-Hadid min Bhakail al-Sheikha and Magnus Hvalmagi to sit vigil to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Pelican and Order of the Laurel respectively.

There were many fine bardic performances for two rounds, when the third round was reached with four finalists.  Drake Oranwood, Sol la Cantor, Alys Mackyntoich and Æthelflied Brewbane.

Not long after these final four performances, on the topic of Valor in a manner chosen by His Majesty Brennan, were complete, Their Majesties did open their court.

The Queen’s Bardic Champion, William the Alchemist, was called forward.  He was thanked for his service.  Her Majesty invited her new champion, Alys Mackyntoich.  Alys was presented with the regalia of her championship, a scroll by Ysemay Sterling, and attended Her Majesty in court.

The King’s Bardic Champion, Ysemay Sterling, was called forward.  She was thanked for her service.  His Majesty invited his new champion, Æthelflied Brewbane.  Æthelflied was presented with the regalia of her championship, a scroll by Ysemay Sterling, and attended His Majesty in court.

All four finalists received tokens from Their Majesties for their entertaining performances.

The Princess Royal, Courtney Rose, did wish to present a scroll of her making to a bard she chose as her champion.  Thus it was that Lianor de Matos was invited into court to receive her accolade.

King Brennan and Queen Caoilfhionn invited representatives of the Shire of Owlsherst to attend court.  They were thus presented with fine gifts, and Their Majesties thanks their hosts for their hospitality.

Next did Their Majesties invite into their court Ben the Rat Catcher.  Though a youth of the Kingdom, they spoke well of his service, and named him a Page to their Court.  The Order of the Tygers’ Cub were called forth.  Ben received a medallion, and a scroll by Harold von Auerbach.

The order was not complete, however.  Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri called into their court Spencer Oranwood.  He was made a Page to their Court and inducted into the Order.  Spencer received a medallion and a scroll featuring calligraphy by Leonete d’Angely, illumination by Tola Knyttir and words by Alys Mackyntoich.

Next did Their Majesties call into their court Sarah-Grace Blakeslee.  Though she was not herself present, they presented for her the garter of the Order of Gawain, and a scroll with calligraphy by Aleksei Dmitriev and illumination by Isa of Ruantallan.

Her Majesty called forward all those children who had participated in Her Service Initiative.  They received tokens for their service.

All of the children present were invited before the court.  The toybox was run, and as per usual there was much laughter at the joy of the children.

Their Majesties next called into their court Emerald Unudottir.  They made her a Lady of the Court.  She was Awarded Arms, and received a scroll by Elsa de Lyon.

Their Majesties invited into court all those attending their first, second or third event.  They were thanked for attending, and presented tokens to remember the day by.

Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri next called into their court Jamilia al-Suba al-Hadid min Bhakail al-Sheikha.  She answered in the affirmative that she would join the Order, and so the Order of the Pelican was called forth.  Suba was elevated to the order, receiving a medallion, robe and hat and a scroll by Saerlaith ingen Chennetig with words by Sabine de Kaerbriant.

Their Majesties next called into their court Siobhan Nic Ghadhra.  They made her a Lady of the Court.  She was Awarded Arms, and received a scroll by Marietta Charay.

Their Majesties invited Hashiji Morikatsu into their court.  They spoke of his combat prowess, presenting him with a medallion and thus inducted him into the Order of the Silver Tyger.

The Order not yet complete, Their Majesties called into court Seamus Mac Neachtain.  His prowess well regarded, he was presented with a medallion and inducted into the Order of the Silver Tyger.

Their Majesties called into court the companions of the Order of the Silver Wheel.  Next was Josceline le esqurel called before Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri.  For his service he was inducted into the Order of the Silver Wheel, receiving a medallion and a scroll by þóra Eiríksdóttir with words in French by Brunissende Dragonette de Brocéliande.

The Order still incomplete, Their Majesties invited before them Robert the Tall.  For his service he was made a member of the Order of the Silver Wheel, presented with a medallion and a scroll by Onóra ingheann Uí Rauirc.

Next did Their Majesties invite into their court Donnchadh Lochlain.  He was Awarded Arms and made a Lord of the Court, and further presented with a scroll by Sorcha Dhocair inghean Uí Ruairc with words by Ulrich Reinhart.

Their Majesties invited into court Drake Oranwood.  Impressed with his performance overall, they named him a companion of the Order of the Silver Brooch.  He would be presented with a medallion of the order after court.

Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri next called into their court Magnus Hvalmagi.  He answered in the affirmative that he would join the Order, and so the Order of the Laurel was called forth.  Magnus was elevated to the order, receiving a medallion, coat and hat and a scroll by Vettorio Antonello, as well as a drinking horn by Frigga with words by Toki Redbeard and Norse poem by Fridrikr Tomasson av Knusslig Hamn.

As Their Majesties went to close their Court, Ruslan Novgorodcev demanded a boon.  So it was he offered to Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri his fealty.

There being no further business, the court of Their Majesties was closed.  Long live the King and Queen!  Long live the Prince and Princess!  Long live the Kingdom of the East!


Malcolm Bowman, Eastern Crown Herald.

A thank you to the Heralds for the court.  Ysemay Sterling, William the Alchemist, Sabine de Kerbriant, Alys Mackyntoich, and Colin Ursell.

Filed under: Court Tagged: Bardic, champions, court report

New King’s and Queen’s Bardic Champions

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2016-03-05 19:05

The King’s and Queen’s Bardic Champions were announced today at the event held in the Shire of Owlsherst.  The finalists were Lady Aethelfeid Flied Brewbane, Mistress Alys Mackyntoich, Lord Drake Oranwood, and Mistress Sol la Cantor.  Queen’s Champion is Mistress Alys Mackyntoich. King’s Champion is Lady Aethelfleid Brewbane.

Filed under: Arts and Sciences Tagged: bardic champions

Heraldic Display Competition: Mudthaw 2016

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2016-03-05 17:43

The following detailed information on the Heraldic Display Competition at Mudthaw was provided by Mistress Alys Mackyntoich.

This competition is intended to encourage period and period-style heraldic display. “Heraldic display” is not limited to banners. In period, a person’s armory was placed on any number of personal ad useful items, including household objects and clothing.

There will be multiple categories for entries: Youth (ages 12 and under), Teen (ages 13-17), Novice, Journeyman and Craftsman. Criteria for each category are explained below. Youth and Teens may, at their choice, enter in one of the other categories instead. Prizes will be given for every category in which there are entries. The Baron and Baroness of Settmour Swamp will also be giving out a prize to the artisan(s) of their choice.

Entries in all categories will be judged based on the following criteria:

(1) Heraldic style: Points will be given for the use of SCA-registered or period armory. Extra points will be given if the armory being displayed is good heraldic style. If you are using SCA-registered armory, please be sure to include a note stating to whom it is registered and when.

(2) Period display method: Is this the kind of item that people put heraldry on in period? Is the heraldry displayed on the item in the way period people did it? More points will be awarded for more period methods and motifs.

(3) Artistic merit: Is the item pleasing to the eye? Items that convey a good medieval or Renaissance feel will be assigned more points.

(4) Use of period materials and techniques: As this is an SCA arts and sciences competition, the use of period materials and techniques (or modern techniques replicating period techniques where reasonable) is expected. The more period your techniques and materials, the more points will be awarded.

As to each individual category:

  • Youth (ages 12 and under): Entrants will be judged against other Youth in the same age group. Documentation is not expected. Use of reasonable modern equivalents for period materials and techniques is permitted.
  • Teen (ages 13-17): Entrants will be judged against other Teens in the same age group. Documentation is not required. Use of reasonable modern equivalents for period materials and techniques is permitted.
  • Novice: The Novice category is open to people who have been practicing their art for less than 3 years and have never won an A&S competition in heraldic display. Laurels, Maunches and Silver Brooches (or the equivalent) in heraldry or heraldic display are not eligible for the Novice category. Documentation is not required. The use of reasonable modern equivalents for period materials and techniques is permitted.
  • Journeyman: The Journeyman category is intended for people who have been practicing their art for 3 or more years. Laurels and Maunches (or the equivalent) in heraldry are not eligible for the Journeyman category. Journeyman entries must have documentation. Period materials and techniques are strongly encouraged.
  • The Craftsman category is intended for people who are Laurels or Maunches (or the equivalent) in heraldry or heraldic display or people who have won an A&S competition in heraldry or the art being presented. (For example, Gendulphe won a competition for pottery, and is entering heraldic pottery today, therefore Gendulphe is a Craftsman. Hextilda won a competition for brewing, but is presenting a heraldic surcoat today; Hextilda does not have to enter in the Craftsman category). Craftsman entries must have documentation. Period materials and techniques are expected.

Please note that documentation is required for Journeyman and Craftsman level entries. Even for the categories where documentation is not required, documentation is strongly encouraged and will make the judges very happy. Documentation assistance is available at Mistress Alys’ blog (

Documentation for this competition should address the following issues:

  • Is the device or badge registered by the SCA College of Heralds? If so, to whom? If not, is it actual period armory? If actual period armory, where did you find it?
  • Did medieval/Renaissance people use this method to display heraldry? (For example, is there evidence of heraldry on clothing?)
  • Do you have any examples of this kind of display being done in the way you have done it? (Copies of pictures, woodcuts and the like are strongly encouraged)
  • What techniques did you use to create the display?
  • What materials did you use to create the display?
  • Assume the judges know nothing about your art. What are the most important things for the judges to know about your materials, techniques and methods?
  • What sources did you consult in creating your display?

There is no page limit for documentation.

Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Heraldry

Class Schedule for Hrim Schola

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2016-03-02 19:35

The Finalized Class Schedule for Hrim Schola which is taking place on March 19th in the Barony of Dragonship Haven (Meriden, CT) has been posted to the event listing on the East Kingdom website.


Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Events Tagged: Arts and Sciences, classes, Hrim Schola

Spring Crown Tournament Letters of Intent/ Tournoi de la Couronne – Lettres d’Intention

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2016-03-02 18:24
En Français Greetings unto all those intending to enter Spring Crown Tournament, Please be aware that both the combatant and the consort must submit a letter of intent, either through the following link (preferred) or by email to TRH Prince Kenric and Princess Avelina with a copy to the Kingdom Seneschal. If by email, a joint email is preferred. The Letter of Intent must be received by Coronation, April 9, 2016. If using email, the letters of intent must include all of the following information for both combatant and consort: Society name, legal name, address, telephone number, years of residency and be accompanied by proof of membership with membership number & expiration date that is valid at least thirty days after Crown. If both entrants are combatants, then that should be clearly indicated. TRHs also request that combatants bring heraldic shields for the list trees. In Service to the East, I remain Dueña Mercedes Vera de Calafia

En Français:


À tous ceux souhaitant participer au prochain Tournoi de la Couronne.
Soyez avisé(e) que le(la) combattant(e) et son(sa) consort doivent présenter une lettre d’intention, soit en utilisant le lien suivant (ce que nous favorisons) soit par courriel à Leurs Altesses, le Prince Kenric et la Princesse Avelina et en plaçant en copie la Sénéchale du Royaume

Les lettres d’intention devront être reçues avant le Couronnement du 9 avril prochain. Si vous choisissez le courriel, il devra contenir les informations suivantes à propos du(de la) combattant(e) et de son(sa) consort : Nom SCA, nom mondain, adresse, numéro de téléphone, nombre d’années de résidence dans le Royaume et une preuve de membre SCA avec le numéro et la date d’expiration.

Il est à noter que votre membership doit être valide pour au moins 30 jours après la date du Tournoi. Il est important de spécifier si les deux participants(tes) sont des combattants(tes). Leurs Altesses demandent que les combattants(tes) apportent un Écu armorié pour le présentoir de la lice.

Au Service de l’Est, je demeure
Dueña Mercedes Vera de Calafia

Filed under: En français, Events, Official Notices Tagged: Crown Tournament, Letter of Intent, spring crown

Non-Member Surcharge Wording Changes

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2016-03-02 16:50

From the Seneschal and Exchequer’s offices:

Greetings from Mercedes and Ignatia,

We recently attended the Known World Kingdom Exchequer and Seneschal Symposium in Trimaris where the Society Exchequer announced a change in the wording of event announcements. Many people do not like the way that the non-member surcharge has had to be listed in event announcements as it is a bit off-putting. Society recently related an alternate method for listing the fees to address this.  In the East Kingdom, an event fee will now be referred to in announcements as the REGISTRATION FEE, it should no longer be referred to as a gate fee, site fee, door fee or entry fee in announcements or event calendars.

It is important that all Seneschals, Exchequers and Autocrats comply with this new wording on all event announcement, including ones on platforms other than the calendar. The EK Calendar is being updated to reflect this language.
A discount for minors must be listed or you will be required to collect NMS from non-member minors.  A discount on any ‘group/category of adults’ does not avoid the NMS fee requirement if that person is not a member.  In addition, you may NOT ‘comp’ any non-member to attend an event, ever. This includes paying the NMS out of group funds.  The non-member fees will still be referred to as Non-member surcharges outside of the announcements and will still continue to be reported as NMS.   Feast Fees and/or Day Board Fees are still listed separately.

Below are examples of how you may list your event registration fees so that you can avoid the NMS wording that people find distasteful.  For the purposes of the example below X=$10, which represents the cost of the event fee per person (prior to any NMS amount).
Event Registration Fees Pricing:
1.    Adult(18+):    $X+5=  $15  Member:   $X=  $10      Minor(<18): $X-.50=   $9.50
2.    Non-member:    $X+5=  $15  Member:   $X=  $10      Minor(<18): $X-.50=   $9.50
3.    Registration Fee: $X+5=  $15  Minor(<18): $X-5-.50=   $9.50
Adult Members receive a $5.00 discount on the registration fee with proof of membership. ($10)
4.  I am sure someone will come up with another option for stating the fee structure for an event.

Remember these are only examples – the ‘minor’ prices are normally broken into several categories for most groups.

In Service,
Maestra Ignacia la Ciega,
East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer


Mercedes Vera de Calafia
East Kingdom Seneschal

Filed under: Law and Policy, Official Notices Tagged: Exchequer, NMS

Going to Gulf Wars? Beware of I-75 Closure

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2016-03-01 14:45

This article was originally posted on the Midrealm Gazette.

For those of you planning your sojourn to Gulf Wars, please choose an alternate other than I-75. I-75 is closed in Tennessee close to the Kentucky border (north and southbound lanes) for the next several weeks due to rock slides.

Master Aylwin Watkyns
Kingdom Seneschal, Meridies

Filed under: Announcements Tagged: Gulf War

Arts & Sciences Research Paper #7: Life Before Toilet Paper

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2016-03-01 09:00

Our seventh A&S Research Paper comes to us from Baroness Charitye Dale, of the Barony of Settmour Swamp. She examines a question that would have affected our personas practically every single day – how did people manage before toilet paper? (Prospective future contributors, please check out our original Call for Papers.)

Life Before Toilet Paper

Ancient public toilets in Ephesus

There are some things in our society that are so basic, so integral to our lives that we cannot imagine going without.  Toilet paper is one of these items.  Since 1857, when toilet paper first became commercially available, we have used it to cleanse after using the bathroom.  This begs the question; what did people use to clean themselves before toilet paper?  This work will provide an overview of what people used to cleanse themselves after defecating in Rome, China, Japan, India, the Islamic states and various areas of Europe between 400 C.E. and 1600 C.E.

Buddhist Precepts for Monks in India
Islamic Precepts for Worshippers
Western Europe

We begin in Rome, in the communal toilets adjacent to the city’s bathhouses.  These communal bathrooms were semi-circular or rectangular rooms containing long benches along the walls, with individual round spaces carved into them.  Running water flowed underneath them to wash away the waste.  According to William E. Dunstan in his book Ancient Rome, “Public latrines, though often lavishly decorated with statuary and singing fountains, proved dimly lit and poorly ventilated.  They became overcrowded retreats for the unprivileged living in multistory tenements lacking toilets.” [1]

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, in his series of letters known as Moral Letters to Lucilius references a sponge affixed to a stick as being used for cleansing after defecating.  In his 70th letter, he relates a tale of suicide in which this implement, commonly referred to by scholars as a spongia, played a pivotal role.  “A captured German, who was making ready for the morning exhibition, withdrew in order to relieve himself, the only thing he was allowed to do in secret and without the presence of a guard.  While so engaged, he seized the stick of wood, tipped with a sponge, which was devoted to the vilest uses, and stuffed it, just as it was, down his throat…”[2]  To date, there appears to be no other specific reference to the spongia in ancient text.

Sources speculate that the spongia would be stored in either a bucket of salt water, or would be placed in front of the public toilet in a stream of running water that ran in front of the commode in communal bathrooms.  These spongia were used by everyone who utilized the public toilets.

The Roman elite used chamber pots or toilets within their own homes instead of using the communal commodes whenever possible.  Instead of the spongia, it is conjectured that they cleansed with rosewater and soft wool while in their homes.[3]
Back to Top

Buddhist Precepts for Monks in India
We move from Rome to India, where Buddhist monks were fastidious about cleanliness.  So fastidious, in fact, that they had very particular rules regarding the use of the bathroom.  These rules are outlined, in detail, in early versions of the Vinaya Pitaka, the Buddhist canonical for monks.  Each of the seventeen rules were to be followed each time one used the toilet facility.

  1. One should not defecate outside of the cesspool.
  2. While standing outside, one should clear his throat.
  3. Anyone sitting inside should also clear his throat.
  4. Having put aside the (upper) robe on a bamboo pole or a cord, one should enter the place properly and unhurriedly.
  5. One should not pull up one’s lower robe before entering.
  6. One should pull up one’s lower robe while standing on the toilet shoes.
  7. If the place is splattered it should be washed.
  8. One should not groan or grunt while defecating.
  9. One should not wipe oneself with a rough stick.
  10. One should not drop the wiping stick into the cesspool.
  11. If the basket for wiping sticks is full, the wiping sticks should be thrown away.
  12. One should then cover oneself (with one’s lower robe) while standing on the toilet shoes.
  13. One should not leave hurriedly.
  14. One should not leave with one’s lower robe pulled up.
  15. One should pull it up while standing on the rinsing-room shoes.
  16. One shouldn’t make a smacking sound while rinsing.
  17. One should not leave any water remaining in the rinse vessel.[4]

Further evidence to the Buddhist doctrine of cleansing after defecation is found in an anecdote within their guidelines for monks which tells a story of the consequences of not rinsing oneself after defecating:

“Now at that time a certain bhikkhu, a brahman by birth, didn’t want to rinse himself after defecating, (thinking,) ‘Who would touch this vile, stinking stuff?’ A worm took up residence in his anus. So he told this matter to the bhikkhus. ‘You mean you don’t rinse yourself after defecating?’ (they asked). ‘That’s right, my friends.’ Those bhikkhus who were of few wants … criticized and complained and spread it about, ‘How can a bhikkhu not rinse himself after defecating?’  They reported this matter to the Blessed One…”[5]

The monks utilized what they referred to as a wiping stick to scrape feces after defecating.  The stick was smooth and slightly rounded, and was used to remove large pieces of feces before the monks rinsed themselves with water.
Back to Top

Islamic Precepts for Worshippers
Buddhism is not the only religion that has strict rules about personal hygiene.  Worshippers of Islam had similarly stringent requirements for cleanliness.  The Qur’an is adamant about personal hygiene, which is why it is not surprising that Muslims also had very specific rules when it came to cleansing after defecation.  Abu Hureyrah, companion to the prophet Muhammad, narrated many edicts to the followers of Islam; cleansing after defecation included, between 590 and Muhammad’s death in 632 C.E.  “When any one of you goes to the Gha’it (toilet to defecate), let him take with him three stones and clean himself with them, for that will suffice him.”[6] He also stated, “I never saw the Messenger of Allah come out of the toilet without first (cleansing himself) with water.”[7]

Rules, based on the narrations of Abu Hureyah, are outlined in Qadaa’ Al Haajah.  A redacted set of these rules is itemized below.

  1. When entering the toilet, one should say the A’udhu (isti’adha) and Basmala and then recite a prayer.
  2. When entering the toilet, one should not have in one’s hand anything on which the name of Allahu ta’ala or any verse of the Qur’an al-karim is written.
  3. One should enter the toilet with one’s left foot and exit with one’s right foot.
  4. One should recite the prayer “Alhamdu-lil-laa-hil-la-dhi adh-haba ‘a-nil a-dhaa wa ‘a-faa-ni” when exiting the toilet.
  5. After cleaning one’s private parts, one should cover them immediately.
  6. One should neither face the Qibla nor turn one’s back toward it while urinating or defecating.
  7. One should remove the feces on one’s anus with one’s finger and wash one’s hand. If there are still traces of filth, one should wash them with water.
  8. One should dry one’s private parts with a cloth after washing them.
  9. One should not look at one’s private parts or spit into the toilet.
  10. One must not urinate into any water, on a wall of a mosque, in a cemetery, or on a road.
  11. Cleaning the private parts with stones and similar materials is an acceptable substitute for cleaning them with water.[8]

One will note that the process of cleaning oneself after defecating is specifically addressed.  The utilization of one’s own hand appears to be the preferred method, followed by rinsing and washing the hand.

Japanese wiping sticks. This Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons image is from the user Chris 73 and is freely available at // under the creative commons cc-by-sa 3.0 license.

Back to Top

The Japanese, like the Indian Buddhists, used sticks to clean themselves after defecating.  Flat, rounded sticks, called chu-gi, were uncovered in ancient cisterns dating as far back as 750 in the ancient Japanese capital of Nara.  During what is called the Nara Period, between 710 and 784, the capital had 10-15cm trenches dug and water diverted through them, making a drainage system.  Citizens would squat over these trenches, with a foot on each bank of the trench to urinate and defecate; the waste being washed away from the city.  The dirty sticks would be washed in the running water, and retained for future use, or dropped in the trench for disposal.[9]
Back to Top

Western Europe
In Western Europe, materials available for sanitation varied based on your wealth and social standing.  It is conjectured that rags were used throughout Europe and were the most common materials used for anal cleansing.  Ronald H. Blumer states his work entitled Wiped:  The Curious History of Toilet Paper that clothing too threadbare to be worn would be utilized for anal cleansing repeatedly until it was no longer fit for that purpose as well.[10]  Archeological digs under monasteries in Europe have found remnants of the tattered, holey rags used by monks and nuns for toilet purposes.  Finer wools and linens worn by the elite were used for their sanitary needs once they were no longer suitable to be worn as clothing.

Not everyone used rags, however.  In the household records of Duc de Berry in 1400, for example, there is reference to quantities of flax and hemp being purchased in a raw, unspun state for the express purpose of anal cleansing.[11]  And though few household records like these have survived, literature has.  Toilet humor–also known as scatological humor–is not a wholly modern notion.  La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel, written by François Rabelais between 1532 and 1564, was full of scatological humor.  Chapter 1.XIII, “How Gargantua’s wonderful understanding became known to his father Grangousier, by the invention of a torchecul or wipebreech” is a perfect example.  This chapter of the famous work is solely dedicated to the discussion of anal wiping:

“I have, answered Gargantua, by a long and curious experience, found out a means to wipe my bum, the most lordly, the most excellent, and the most convenient that was ever seen.  What is that? said Grangousier, how is it?  I will tell you by-and-by, said Gargantua.  Once I did wipe me with a gentle-woman’s velvet mask, and found it to be good; for the softness of the silk was very voluptuous and pleasant to my fundament.  Another time with one of their hoods, and in like manner that was comfortable.  At another time with a lady’s neckerchief, and after that I wiped me with some ear-pieces of hers made of crimson satin, but there was such a number of golden spangles in them (turdy round things, a pox take them) that they fetched away all the skin of my tail with a vengeance.  Now I wish St. Antony’s fire burn the bum-gut of the goldsmith that made them, and of her that wore them!  This hurt I cured by wiping myself with a page’s cap, garnished with a feather in the Switzers’ fashion.

“Afterwards, in dunging behind a bush, I found a March-cat, and with it I wiped my breech, but her claws were so sharp that they scratched and exulcerated all my perinee.  Of this I recovered the next morning thereafter, by wiping myself with my mother’s gloves, of a most excellent perfume and scent of the Arabian Benin.  After that I wiped me with sage, with fennel, with anet, with marjoram, with roses, with goud-leaves, with beets, with colewort, with leaves of the vine tree, with mallows, wool-blade, which is a tail-scarlet, with lettuce and with spinach leaves.”[12]

By the end of his diatribe, there is seemingly nothing that the young man won’t use.  In fact, when he comes to wiping with paper, he has this to say, “Who his foul tail with paper wipes, Shall at his ballocks leave some chips.”[13]

Though a humorous work of fiction, it does provide insight to what might have been used for anal cleansing.  The author is clearly utilizing the absurd in the name of his art, but it is not unreasonable to take grains of truth from the document.  It is quite likely that leaves, moss, straw, discarded pieces of clothing, etc. would have been utilized by all walks of life depending upon their region and the materials available to them.

It is suggested in numerous works on the subject that leaves, moss, shells, and the like would have been used for cleaning after defecation, though none of these works have been able to provide evidence to support their assertions.  It is not unreasonable, however, to make such a conjecture.  A soft leaf, unspun wool, and straw would have proved to be useful if no other means of cleansing were available.
Back to Top

While their Western counterparts were using leaves, rags, or sponges soaked in saltwater, and other areas of Asia were using sticks to clean their anuses, the Chinese were manufacturing paper to address their sanitary needs.  There is little written on the invention, manufacture, and use of the predecessor to the modern toilet paper, but there is mention of paper being used in the eliminatory process as far back as the first century.  Joseph Needham, in his collection of works entitled The Science and Civilisation of China, cited that the Chinese used paper made from rice straw for sanitary purposes.  Chinese scholar Yan Zhitu stated in 589 that “paper on which there are quotations or commentaries from Five Classics or the names of sages, I dare not use for toilet purposes.”  Additionally, an Arab explorer during the Tang Dynasty, is noted as having stated “They [the Chinese] are not careful about cleanliness, and they do not wash themselves with water after they have done their necessities, but they only wipe themselves with paper” in his memoirs detailing his travels to China.[14]

The Chinese eventually began manufacturing a specific type of paper to use after defecation, known as tshao chih.  According to Chinese records maintained by the Imperial Bureau of Supplies, over 720,000 sheets of tshao chih were manufactured in 1393 alone.   The imperial family, however, received “…15,000 sheets, three inches square, light yellow, thick but soft, and perfumed.”[15]  In fact, the use of tshao chih was so prevalent, Zhejiang Province (aka Chekiang Province) alone used ten million packages of 1,000 to 10,000 sheets in 1393 for its population of 2,138,225.[16]

Until the 19th century, paper was made exclusively by hand, and therefore, was more expensive to procure.  It would have been more cost effective to use materials that were readily available, such as leaves and old rags instead of paper.  As paper became easier and less expensive to manufacture, its use for cleansing after defecating became more common and eventually took its place as the preferred method for cleaning in most parts of the known world.  Today it is estimated that modern Americans use approximately 100 rolls of toilet paper per year.  With nearly 390,000,000 people in the US, Americans use 39,000,000,000 rolls of toilet paper each year.
Back to Top


Bennett, Howard. “EVER WONDERED about the history of toilet paper?” The Washington Post (2009): 1-2.  Accessed 10/27/2014.

Bhikkhu, Thannissaro, ed.,  The Buddhist Monastic Code II. Thanissaro Bhikkhu, 2001.

Blumer, Ronald, H. Wiped:  The Curious History of Toilet Paper.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2nd edition, 2013

Chavez, Amy “From the ditches of nara to the Otohime, a lav story” The Japan Times (2014): Accessed 12/27/2015

Dunstan, William E. Ancient Rome. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2011.

Guanglin Liu, William. The Chinese Market Economy, 1000-1500.  Albany, NY: State University of New York Press (2015).

My Religion Islamic. “Islamic Toilet Etiquette” (2015):  Accessed 12/28/2015

Needham, Joseph. Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 5, Part 1:  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1954.

Rabelais, Francois; Translation by Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty. Gargantua et de Pantagruel: 1653

Schofield, Hugh. “Filthy secrets of medieval toilets” BBC News (2003):  Accessed 10/27/2014

Seneca, Lucius Annaeus. “Moral letters to Lucilius” Letter 70 :  Accessed 02/15/2016

“The Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad at Your Fingertips”: Accessed 02/15/2016

“Islamic Toilet Etiquette“: Accessed 02/15/2016
Back to Top


[1] Dunstan, William E. Ancient Rome, pg 359.

[2] “Moral letters to Lucilius/Letter 70”

[3] Dunstan, 359

[4]Bhikkhu, Thannissaro, ed.,  The Buddhist Monastic Code II, pg. 108

[5] Ibid, pg. 107.

[6] Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 44 

[7] Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 354

[8] “Islamic Toilet Etiquette“ 

[9] Chavez, Amy “From the ditches of Nara to the Otohime, a lav story” The Japan Times

[10] Blumer, Ronald, H. Wiped:  The Curious History of Toilet Paper

[11] Ibid

[12] Rabelais, Francois, La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel Chapter 1.XIII

[13] Ibid, pg 78.

[14] Needham, Joseph Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 5, Part 1

[15] Needham, 123

[16] Guanglin Liu, William The Chinese Market Economy, 1000-1500, p 13 Appendix A
Back to Top

Filed under: A&S Research Papers, Arts and Sciences Tagged: a&s, Arts and Sciences

Pennsic Choir Registration

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2016-03-01 08:30

The following article appeared in the The Æthelmearc Gazette yesterday and is reposted with their permission.  Our thanks to them for sharing this wonderful article.

Greetings, choral singers!

Lady Tangwystl verch Gruffydd of the Barony of Northwoods in the Middle Kingdom has graciously volunteered to serve as Director of a Known World Choir at the upcoming SCA 50 Year Celebration event in June!

If you are interested in participating in the KWC performance at this event, please join the group Known World Choir at 50 Year Celebration for updates and information. You can also get updates on the Known World Choir website.

Please also follow this link to fill out a short registration form.

The earlier you register, the better the Director will be able to plan for the 50 Year setlist and the performance itself. You can change/adjust answers later if needed, so please don’t hesitate to sign up today!

Additionally, those who register by March 22nd* will have an opportunity to suggest pieces for our 50 Year Celebration performance.

*Registration will continue after March 22nd, but after that point setlist will be finalized.

Filed under: Announcements, Arts and Sciences, Pennsic Tagged: choir, Music, singing