East Kingdom Gazette
Covering the Eastern Realm of the SCA
Updated: 1 hour 1 min ago
The Gazette requested an interpretation of this Society Seneschal’s official announcement from one of our editors to assist our readers in understanding its implications to them. The original announcement sections are in italics and her interpretations are indicated below each section. Our thanks to Mistress Katherine Barr for taking on this task. The interpretation is not an official statement by the SCA.
Greetings from Mistress Katherine Barr, previous East Kingdom Seneschal. A formal communication from the Vice President of Operations, SCA Inc. (Society Seneschal) was issued concerning contracts for events/services and insurance issues.
In an effort to streamline the information to be more readily useful for the administration of our kingdom, I provide this interpretation.
Interpretation from Katherine Barr: The local seneschal of a group must review a contract for events or services within their respective group, be it a local group, barony, principality or kingdom. After review by the respective seneschal, the seneschal may then either sign the contract themselves, or designate the autocrat/steward (the recognized/authorized deputy Seneschal) to sign the contract. The designation to the autocrat/steward must be in writing and the autocrat/steward must hold a valid membership with the SCA. The Kingdom Seneschal must review all contracts for Kingdom events.
Interpretation from Katherine Barr: Contracts for events or services may have additional clauses for surety, indemnification, provision for repayment or action in furtherance of acting to bind the SCA Inc. to some known or unknown liability. In essence, this means that a clause is put into a contract that may make the SCA liable for known or unknown occurrences. If a contract proposes that the SCA accept any form of anticipated or not anticipated form of liability, acceptance of indemnification, offer of surety, or other responsibility beyond the usual “named insured” policy, then the contract must be forwarded for approval prior to being signed.
This section requires that the contract be sent to the Society Seneschal (V.P. of Operations), Renee Signorotti (V.P. of Corporate Operations) and the President of the SCA. However, as this communication appears to be written to the Kingdom Seneschals, it is unclear as to who should be forwarding the contract to these individuals. This is an issue for the Kingdoms. However, if I was a local seneschal and came across a contract issue of this nature, I would forward it to the regional seneschal for clarification of who would be responsible to send the contract for review. In any case, permission to sign the contact from the Society Seneschal (V.P. of Operations), Renee Signorotti (V.P. of Corporate Operations) and the President of the SCA must be received prior to signing the contract.
This portion of the communication does not apply to security deposits or the standard adding a “named insured” to the policy.
Interpretation from Katherine Barr: Whenever moveable items are rented from a third party, including but not limited to golf carts, rented trailers and/or rented trucks, insurance should be obtained from the renting agency. If a moveable item is stolen, it is not covered by the SCA’s insurance, and the cost of the stolen item will be the responsibility of the group hosting the event.
Interpretation from Katherine Barr: Equestrian insurance is required and must be obtained if there are any horses present at any event or demo, even if it is just one horse, and regardless of the reason the horse(s) is/are present at the event or demo. If equestrian insurance has not been obtained, horses are prohibited from entry to the event/demo.
Without the required equestrian insurance, the SCA will be liable for any damages caused by horses as under the law, they are considered inherently dangerous and strict liability will be applied.
At this time, I am not an officer of the SCA, and this is strictly my interpretation of the formal communication
Filed under: Corporate
The planned war points for this year’s Pennsic were changed slightly due to accessibility issues with the woods and the extreme heat index. Both woods battles were cancelled. A substitute heavy list battle was fought, but martial activities were canceled for the time when a substitute rapier battle would have been fought. Instead of the planned 28 points, there were a possible 27 points. The East took 24 of those points. A detailed chart of the war points follows.
Filed under: Pennsic Tagged: War Points
Members of Our Noble Orders:
As we mentioned at our order meetings at Pennsic, it has come to our attention that several recommendations were not picked up during our first polling. To fix this issue and to make sure everyone recommended is on the polls, here is what we are going to do.
In general, we will send out all recommendations that we receive in order to gain feedback on any candidate. We trust you, Our Orders of High Merit and Peerage to give us the feedback We need to make informed decisions.
Thanks you for your patience and participation. If you have any questions about this or any other matter, please feel free to contact us.
In Service to the East,
Filed under: Announcements Tagged: pollings
Editor’s Note: Since this article was published, Their Highnesses have announced a change in the polling schedule. Updated information is available here.
Polling Orders: Prince Brion and Princess Anna’s first polling of awards is due on the 22nd of August 2016. Please send Them your recommendations no later than this date, and, as always, early is better.
Filed under: Court, Law and Policy, Official Notices Tagged: award recommendations, awards, polling deadlines, polling orders, pollings
The East won all three armored field battles today.
The fencing field battles were split, with two won by the Mid and one by the East, giving the war point to the Midrealm.
Results are courtesy of Mistress Anastasia, HRH Brion, and Mistress Alys Mackintosh.
Filed under: Heavy List, Pennsic, Rapier Tagged: heavy list, Pennsic, Pennsic 45, pennsic war points, Rapier, War Points
The East won all three populace archery war points. Results for each shoot are below.
Results courtesy of Mistress Ygraine of Kellswood.
Filed under: Archery, Pennsic Tagged: archery, Pennsic, Pennsic 45, pennsic war points, War Points
Baron Mael Eoin and Baroness Ysmay of Bhakail bought a themed chess set a few years ago and sought a purpose for the set. Realizing that one of their populace had moved from the Barony of Flaming Gryphon in the Midrealm, their Excellencies of Bhakail issued a challenge. At Pennsic 43, Baron Dafydd of Flaming Gryphon sat across the table from Baron Mael Eoin, accompanied by three of Baron Dafydd’s kegs. Three and half hours later, the Midrealm emerged victorious.
Bhakail then sought a contender from the East for a rematch at Pennsic 44. Baron Jean Paul of Concordia of the Snows pointed out the bout was fire against fire, with flaming Salamander fighting the flaming Gryphon, and suggested a different tack. Baron met Baron once more the following year and, fierce though it was, the match once again saw Flaming Gryphon victorious.
This year, Flaming Gryphon sat once more against Bhakail. Baron Mael Eoin met the newly invested Baron Edward of Flaming Gryphon as numerous Barons and Baronesses of the Middle and Eastern realms attended Bhakail’s annual Period Games and Bardic Night during War week. Despite a worrying opening, Bhakail rallied for a strong middle game. Ultimately, however, the Flaming Gryphon proved victorious and the East succumbed once more to the might of the Midrealm over the Game of Kings.
Looking forward, Bhakail encourages all Eastern and Midrealm Baronies to consider finding gaming Champions to join in the tradition; we will of course continue to foster friendship and entertainment between our Landed Barons and Baronesses through the traditional match but will hope to see exhibition matches between numerous Champions, if we may.
Here’s to more gaming and next year, we hope to bring the chess set back to the East!
Baron Mael Eoin mac Echuid, OP
Submitted by Baron Bhakail, Mael Eoin mac Echuid, OP; edited by Efeilian ferch Owain
Filed under: Pennsic
Today’s Arts & Sciences war point featured displays from 30 artisans from around the known world. The East’s artisans showed their work with furniture, casting, clothing, metalwork, glass beads, calligraphy and illumination, and a medieval fiber study by the Princess of Acre (who was selected for the war point as a citizen of the East).
The final point tally was 527 points for the East and 445 points for the Middle, giving the war point to the East. Participants in the judging consisted of individuals with a Kingdom-level arts and sciences award, and the participants came largely from the Midrealm (110), Atlantia (73), East (72), Aethelmearc (50), and Ealdormere (26).
Stefan of Silverforge displayed his work with furniture and metalcasting.
Elena Hylton showed a 1480’s Florentine Woman’s Ensemble.
Ulfgeirr Ragnarsson the Nice displayed his metalwork.
Elysabeth Underhill displayed her work with glass beads.
Lada Monguligin displayed her scroll work, including both calligraphy and illumination.
Vivian de Dunbar, Princess of the Kingdom of Acre, displayed a medieval fiber study.
Reporting by Mistress Anastasia and Mistress A’isha bint Jamil, photos by Mistress Anastasia.
Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Pennsic Tagged: Arts and Sciences, Pennsic, Pennsic 45, pennsic war points
With martial activities halted due to heat, please stop by the Great Hall to support the artisans competing in the A&S War Point. From 9-3, anyone with a kingdom-level A&S award may vote on the displays, and from 3-4, artisans will be available to discuss their works. Results will be announced at 4.
Filed under: Pennsic Tagged: a&s, Pennsic, Pennsic 45, War Points
All martial activities at Pennsic have been halted until dusk due to heat.
Filed under: Pennsic
The archery champions of the East defeated the Mid today, taking 2 of the 3 shoots. Complete results are below.
10 station roving range
Long Distance Walk Up
Results provided by Mistress Ygraine of Kellswood.
Edited Aug. 12, 2016 to clarify the outcome.
Filed under: Archery, Pennsic Tagged: archery, Pennsic, Pennsic 45, pennsic champions
The East emerged victorious in today’s Thrown Weapons Champions war point, with a final score of 163 to 161.
Champions represented nine kingdoms, and since the Mid was unable to field a full 12 champions, other throwers were allowed to step in to complete the team.
Trystan der Fackeltrayer of the Mid had the highest score, at 24 points. There was a three-way tie between William, Breccan Cu, and Bubba of Wolfhou for the second highest score, with 21 points each.
It should also be reported that Princess Anna of the East was seen departing the championship with an arm full of throwing axes and a fiercely maniacal giggle. The Gazette sends its best hopes to Prince Brion.
This report is courtesy of Jarl Thorson. The Gazette thanks him for his contribution.
Filed under: Pennsic, Thrown Weapons Tagged: Pennsic, Pennsic 45, pennsic champions, thrown weapons
Pennsic 45 Archery Champions Team
The 10 alternates are:
Names reported by Mistress Ygraine of Kellswood
Edited Aug.12, 2016 by Ygraine to add an alternate.
Filed under: Archery, Pennsic Tagged: archery champions team, Pennsic 45, pennsic champions
Allied Champions Battle (1 point)
Unbelted Champions Battle (1 point)
Belted Champions Battle (1 point)
Heroic Champions Battle (1 point)
Rapier Melee Champions Battle (1 point)
Rapier Heroic Champions Battle (1 point)
Photos by Mistress Leonete D’angely.
Filed under: Pennsic Tagged: Pennsic, pennsic war points, War Points
Armored Bridge Battles (2 points)
Rapier Stronghold Battle (1 point)
Filed under: Pennsic Tagged: Pennsic, pennsic war points, War Points
Armored MOAB (2 points)
Rapier Ruins Battle (1 point)
Filed under: Pennsic Tagged: Pennsic, pennsic war points, War Points
As Corpora is the primary guide to all SCA rules and procedures and the sanction guide is subordinate to the Seneschals Handbook in terms of precedence, a change to Corpora is being considered by the Board of Directors, i.e. deleting references to the Sanction Guide in Corpora. This change clearly reasserts that Corpora is the primary guide to SCA rules and procedures, reduces confusion and eliminates any appearance that Corpora is subordinate to the Sanction guide.
In order to facilitate this change, the Board is presenting a proposal to the membership for commentary for removal of the following portions of Corpora dealing with references to the Sanction Guide:
Chapter I, Section F, subsection 4
Chapter X, Section C, subsections 1(b), 2(b) and 3(b).
For ease of reference a copy of the Governing Documents (Corpora) can be found here:
Commentary can be sent to email@example.com . Please place the term Sanction Guide – Corpora Changes in the subject line. The deadline for commentary is October 1, 2016.
Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This announcement is an official informational release by the Society for Creative Anachronism , Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce this announcement in its entirety in newsletters, websites and electronic mailing lists.
Filed under: Announcements, Corporate, Official Notices
Arts & Sciences Research Paper #11: Jewish Carolingian Fighters: The Jewish Fighting Freeholders of Carolingian Southern France
Our eleventh A&S Research Paper comes to us from Lord Gideon ha-Khazar, until very recently of the Barony of Dragonship Haven and now of the Barony of the Middle Marches, and who did most of this research while he was a citizen of our fair kingdom. He examines the history of a group of people many of us know very little about – European Jewish freeholders who fought in battles alongside their non-Jewish counterparts – and provides fascinating historical support for medieval Jewish fighting personae. (Prospective future contributors, please check out our original Call for Papers.)
Jewish Carolingian Fighters: The Jewish Fighting Freeholders of Carolingian Southern France
“Quapropter sumus dolore tacti, usque ad mortem anxiati, cum cognovissemus per teipsum, quod plebs Judaica … infra fines at territoria Christianorum allodia haereditatum in villis et suburbanis, quasi incolae Christianorum, possideant per quaedam regum Francorum praecepta.” (Migne vol. 129 p.857 and Jaffe 288)
“Therefore we are struck with sorrow, anxious to death, since we have learned through you that the Jews … possess allodial lands within Christendom in towns and outside them, like Christians, through certain grants of the kings of the Franks” (Chazan 188)
In 768 Pepin, Carolingian King of the Franks, recognized Jews’ rights to own land in what is now southern France. Since the lands were held in allod (owned outright instead of feudally) and in Frankish law all allodial landholders had to fight when called, Jewish fighters took part in Carolingian wars (including Charlemagne’s Roncesvalles campaign) and helped garrison lands taken from the Muslims.
Thus SCAdians have documented historical bases for having openly Jewish fighting freeholder personae from Carolingian (8th-9th century) southern France and its Spanish March. Furthermore, the region was on Radanite Jewish trade routes extending all the way to China and Narbonne was a center for scholarship, so one could historically justify having fighter-traveler or fighter-scholar personae from those periods as well.
After the fall of Rome some European Jews formed a series of “troops for tolerance” alliances, fighting for non-Jewish tribes or kings who were religiously tolerant.
The first troops-for-tolerance alliance was with the Arian Christian Goths of what are now Spain, Italy, and southern France. After Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great’s 493 pronouncement that “We can not command religion, for no man can be compelled to believe anything against his conscience” (Graetz, 30), Jewish troops helped defend the city walls of Arles during Frankish King Clovis’ 507-8 siege and of Naples when it was attacked in 537 by Byzantine and Frankish forces. In his eyewitness account of the attack on Naples, the Byzantine historian Procopius wrote “But on the side of the circuit-wall that faces the sea, where the forces on guard were not barbarians, but Jews, the [attacking] soldiers were unable to either use the ladders or to scale the wall … [the Jews] kept fighting stubbornly, although they could see the city had already been captured, and held out beyond all expectation against the assaults of their opponents” (Procopius, Book V, paragraphs 100-101).
In 554 Ostrogoth Italy fell to the Byzantines and in 589 the Visigothic kings of Spain began passing increasingly harsh anti-Jewish decrees, but in Visigothic Septimania – the region around Narbonne in what is now southern France – the Jewish-Gothic alliance continued for over two centuries after King Theodoric’s pronouncement. In Septimania it was the fiercely independent Visigothic nobles who ruled, not the distant and often short-reigned kings over the mountains in Spain, and the local nobles found the Jews too useful to change the arrangement. Between the difficulty of enforcing royal decrees in Septimania and the royal dependence on Jewish troops’ helping defend the frontier (Graetz, 45) the Visigothic crown often explicitly exempted the Jews of Septimania from the harsh decrees they imposed on the Jews in Spain itself.
These decrees, such as King Egica’s 694 order that all Jewish children aged seven and older be taken from their parents and raised as Christians (Dubnov, vol. II, 526), led directly to the second troops-for-tolerance alliance: with the Muslims who in 711 CE invaded and quickly conquered Catholic Visigothic Iberia. Many of the invading troops were Jewish refugees from Spain serving under their general Kaulan al-Yehudi (Wolkoff, 25) and Muslim commanders often used them to garrison conquered cities, freeing up their own forces for more glorious field operations. The 17th-century Arab historian Al-Makkari specifically mentioned Cordoba, Toledo, and the citadel of Elvira as garrisoned by Jews, writing “Whenever the Moslems conquered a town, it was left in the custody of the Jews, with only a few Moslems, the rest of the army proceeding to new conquests; and where the Jews were deficient a proportionately greater body of Moslems was left in charge” (Al-Makkari, 280-282). This alliance helped create three centuries of mostly peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Jews, the Golden Age of Jewish culture in Spain (al-Andalus).
Carolingian Frankish King Pepin thus built on a long history when he allied with the Jews of southern France, and like the other alliances his was based on a need for more troops and loyal supporters. Although Pepin’s father Charles Martel had stopped the Muslim advance in 732, the Aquitaine and much of the southern coast were held by either Muslims or independent Christian rulers — some of whom like Maurontus, Duke of Provence, had allied with the Muslims against the Carolingians (Rogers, “Avignon, Siege Of”). In 759 Pepin managed to take the coastal city of Narbonne, but only after a seven-year siege. King Pepin sought to make better progress, and to do so he promised the Jews of Narbonne and the surrounding areas that he would reverse the old Merovingian Frankish dynasty’s anti-Jewish policies and grant Jews rights – including the right to own their own land — in return for Jewish support.
No text of the promise itself survives. We do not even know for certain the year it was made. Professor Arthur Zuckerman, in his book A Jewish Princedom in Feudal France, suggests that Muslim Narbonne had a Jewish garrison that surrendered the city to Pepin after seven years of siege in return for Pepin’s promise of Jewish rights. The timing is right, the suggestion is consistent with both Muslim and Gothic use of Jewish troops, and Zuckerman points out that French medieval histories such as the 13th-century Karoli Magni ad Carcassonam et Narbonnam explicitly say it was the Jews who handed Narbonne to Pepin.
What we do know for certain is that in 768 CE, one year after he conquered the Aquitaine using Narbonne as a base of operations, King Pepin kept his promise – and that Pope Stephen III immediately and unsuccessfully demanded that King Pepin break it. The Pope’s demand, which has survived, also said that the Jewish lands were allodial, a statement with significant legal implications.
Frankish law recognized three kinds of landholding. One was the benefice or fief, what we recognize as the standard feudal arrangement wherein the king owns all the land but “temporarily” gifts portions to vassals in return for services rendered. The second was tributary, in which the cultivator actually didn’t own the land he worked but paid rent to the one who did.
Allodial lands, in contrast, were independently owned – in its purest theoretical form without any obligations of taxation or service to higher authority whatsoever. Franks who had conquered what is now France and received allodial lands as a reward were free from taxes and all obligations except one: to personally bear arms and march against the enemy when summoned. “So stringent was the law of military service, that even the holders of ecclesiastical property were originally not exempt from it” (Jervis, 130). Non-Frankish inhabitants who held allodial lands (usually from Roman times) had the same arrangement, except that up to later Merovingian times they still had to pay the land tax (impot foncier).
Thus Carolingian allodial landholding implies military service, and indeed after the 768 decree we see Jewish fighters in Carolingian armies. In 778 the Count of Narbonne, whose troops included Jewish allodial freeholders, joined Charlemagne in his first attack on Spain – the campaign featured in the medieval epic The Song of Roland. Although the rearguard was defeated at Roncesvalles and as a result Charlemagne removed nine counts, the Jewish troops must have performed well because the Count of Narbonne kept his job and Charlemagne would use Narbonnaise levies again for his 802-803 campaign against Barcelona. Then in 805 Count Burrellus of Vich (aka Vic or Ausona, 20 miles north of Barcelona) helped lead the Carolingian attack on Tortosa using the Jewish freeholding troops he’d colonized and garrisoned Vich with eight years before. (Bachrach 1993, 15-18, and Bachrach 1977, 68-70).
In 1245 Rabbi Meir b. Simeon would remind the French king of this military service, writing “[Charlemagne] and his successors conquered many lands all with the help of the Israelites who were with them in fidelity with person and property so that they themselves entered into the thick of battle and sacrificed their lives to rescue kings and princes who were with them” (Zuckerman, 65-66).
Both Carolingian support for Jews and senior Church opposition continued after Pepin and Charlemagne, even as the Carolingian Empire began to break up. In 846 a Church council gave King Charles the Bald a series of proposed laws that would have taken Jewish children from their families to be raised by Christians, banned Jews from holding any governmental office or pleading their cases in Christian courts, and prevented Christians from dining with, working for, or buying from Jews. King Charles rejected all these proposals, declaring that Jews were to be treated as any other free person (Bachrach 1977, 106-111).
There were strong practical reasons for Charles’ decision. A general policy of tolerance had given the Empire the support of more groups than just the Jews: in 768, the year Pepin kept his promise, he also declared a Capitulary giving all denizens of newly conquered Aquitaine the right to live by their own laws (Zuckerman, 44). After that declaration, the Carolingians would keep their hold on the Aquitaine. And Charlemagne’s 778 Spanish campaign was sparked by the Muslim wali of Barcelona’s offer of submission while remaining Muslim in return for protection from the Muslim Umayyad emirate ruling most of Spain. So yes, Jews filled vital roles in the Empire from international trade to minting coins – but the freedom letting them do so came from a wider Carolingian approach to governance.
Carolingian policy was not unique in this regard. Consistently, the medieval rulers who offered troops-for-tolerance deals to Jews offered improved opportunities to other religions or to lower classes as well. When Christian Spain and Portugal needed more troops for the Reconquista and offered increased social status to Jews who fought mounted and armored for the Crown, they also offered the status of “commoner-knight” to commoners who did the same (ha-Khazar, 7-8). In 1398 when Lithuania settled almost 400 Karaite Jewish families to reinforce its border with the Teutonic Order (Baron, 8-9), it also still kept full rights for its pagans despite having officially converted to Catholicism just twelve years before. The Dutch who supported Jewish privateers attacking Spain (Kritzler, 73-77) had also proclaimed freedom of religion as part of their nation’s founding document – the 1579 Union of Utrecht.
This does not mean that such rulers were willing to treat all other religions or the lower classes as full equals. Charlemagne had Jewish troops and allied with the Muslim Abbasid Caliphate against the Muslim Umayyads of Spain but still fought long, bloody wars against the pagan Saxons. The Iberian “commoner-knights” were given social and tax benefits but still remained commoners, below the noble knights in status. Jews and Christians in Golden Age al-Andalus reached prominent positions while keeping their own religion but were still subject to limitations as dhimmis – non-Muslims living under Muslim rule.
It does mean, however, that whether through simple human decency or calculated self-interest some medieval rulers – more than are commonly realized – offered opportunities beyond the medieval norm to religious minorities or to lower classes who could strengthen their realms in return. The Carolingians were such rulers, the Jews of Carolingian southern France were a minority willing to provide soldiers, and thus the Jewish-Carolingian troops-for-tolerance alliance was forged.
As the Carolingian Empire aged and broke up, mention of military Jews in southern France simply stopped.
This is odd because no decree made allodial Jews stop serving or kept them from bearing arms. Furthermore, while Jewish allodial lands shrank as the post-Carolingian French monarchs expanded their reach and took more and more lands for themselves or for the Church, and while the Carolingians lost Vich during the Catalan revolt of 826-828 (Lewis, 46, 93), many Jewish allods remained. In 1173 – four centuries after Pepin’s decree – the traveler Benjamin of Tudela recorded that the Narbonne Jewish community’s head “possesses hereditaments and lands given him by the ruler of the city, of which no man can forcibly dispossess him” (Tudela, 2). A viscountal decree confirms this still existed in 1217 (Zuckerman, 170). Religious tolerance by medieval standards had also continued: when the Bishop of Toulouse asked in 1207 why Cathars and other non-Catholic sects were not expelled from the region, Sir Pons Adhemar of Roudeille replied “We cannot: we were brought up with them, there are many of our relatives amongst them, and we can see that their way of life is a virtuous one” (Puylaurens, 25).
The most likely explanation can be found in changes in Carolingian law. Throughout the Carolingian period numerous laws gave allodial landholders increasing ways to exempt themselves from the “personal military service” requirement – a modern equivalent would be the way many Vietnam-era American college students from well-connected families legally avoided being sent overseas to a combat zone. By the time of Charles the Bald, freeholders could only be mustered in case of foreign invasion (Jervis, 130).
This mattered to Jews because when the Empire ended the social environment also changed. Allodial Jewish lands belonged to neither king nor Church, and not coincidentally the message began being spread how Jews were an “other” and thus a legitimate target. The 11th-century epic poem The Song of Roland, for example, re-painted Charlemagne as an avenger of Muslim atrocities (even though the actual ambushers at Roncesvalles were Christian Basques, not Muslims) who forcibly mass-converted Jews in stanza 266 (something Charlemagne never did) – actions all lauded by the poem’s author.
In such an environment, taking the field meant having your back to armed people who saw you as the enemy – indeed, Crusaders often killed European Jews before going on to kill Middle Eastern Muslims. Given a choice between “serve and probably be fragged” or “take the exemption” one can understand very quietly choosing the latter.
The fighting freeholders’ descendants may have carried on their ancestors’ legacy in a small but fascinating way.
Tosafot (aka Tosafos) were legal rulings and commentaries on the Talmud dating from 12th– and early 13th-century France. In discussing roughhouse games during celebrations, Tosafot Sukkah 45a says “From here we can learn that when the young people ride on horses to greet the groom and bride and joust [for sport] and sometimes tear each others’ clothing or damage the horse, there is no requirement to reimburse because this is the commonly accepted way to celebrate at a wedding.” (Flug, 2)
This does not mean French Jews commonly celebrated with fully armored full-contact jousting – that certainly would have been noticed and mentioned elsewhere. Another “mental picture” is therefore in order.
Let’s see … medieval-type fighting for fun? Check. Weapons solid enough to cause occasional damage but not (usually) serious injuries? Check. Skill required? Check – just ask any SCAdian equestrian if she would lend her horse to a totally unskilled partier.
Medieval Jewish SCAdians, anyone?
After the Carolingian Empire fell, southern France escaped for a while the horrors of religious-based war. During the First and Second Crusades there were massacres in Jewish communities throughout the Holy Roman Empire and Northern France but not in southern France. How much that was due to protection by the still-pro-Jewish southern counts and whether there was any quiet deterrence by the freeholders’ descendants’ ability to defend themselves are intriguing questions worthy of further research.
However, four centuries after the Jewish freeholding fighters faded from the battlefield record, the Albigensian Crusade hit southern France. In 1210 the Bishop of Toulouse formed a Grand White Brotherhood to raid the homes of the city’s Jews and Cathars. William of Puylaurens, who served in the Bishop’s entourage, recorded in his Chronicle that the surrounding areas then raised a force (called the Black Brotherhood) to fight the White Brotherhood, “with standards raised and the use of armoured horses” (Puylaurens, pp. 35-37).
Puylaurens does not indicate either the presence or absence of Jews in the Black Brotherhood, though he does say that Jews fortified and defended their homes against the White Brotherhood’s attacks. Still, one can reasonably argue that when other southern landholders armored up to protect their neighbors’ homes, at least some descendants of the Carolingian freeholding fighters may have traded their sport swords for real ones and ridden out with them.
As can be seen from the above, Jewish freeholding fighter personae are solidly historically supportable during Carolingian times and plausible through the early 1200s. During these periods, one can also historically justify personae who are not just fighters but world travelers and/or scholars as well.
The Fighter-Traveler Persona: Some SCAdians want personae who visited many far-flung countries. Fortunately, Carolingian France was on the trade routes of the Radanites, Jewish merchants whose routes extended west to Morocco and east to India and China. Obaidallah ibn Khordadhbeh, whose 817 CE Book of Ways and Kingdoms detailed these routes, wrote “These merchants speak Arabic, Persian, Roman [i.e. Greek and Latin], the Frank, Spanish, and Slav languages … On their return from China … [some] go to the palace of the King of the Franks to place their goods” (Adler, 2-3). Such merchants had an obvious use for fighters.
The Fighter-Scholar Persona: Charlemagne encouraged learning in his Empire, founding schools and ordering that his children be educated even though he himself never learned to write. Narbonne benefitted from this effort – Ibn Daud’s 1161 Book of Tradition recorded that at Charlemagne’s request Caliph Harun al-Rashid had sent a noted Babylonian scholar to Narbonne, and by the 12th century Narbonne had become a major center of Jewish scholarship and science. Thus a fighter-scholar persona – following both the Jewish tradition of learning and Charlemagne’s own lead – would have been eminently plausible.
Throughout the Middle Ages a series of rulers offered Jews rights and received Jewish support in return – sometimes including military support. In 768 CE King Pepin became one of these, granting the Jews of what is now southern France the right to own land allodially – i.e. as freeholds – in return for their being required to provide personal armed service when called. These freeholders served in Carolingian armies, joining Charlemagne in his Spanish campaigns and helping to garrison cities against the Muslims.
Under the Carolingians trade and learning grew, giving SCAdians historical support for Jewish fighter personae who are not merely fighters but travelers or scholars as well.
As the Carolingian Empire aged and fell, records of Jewish allodial fighters simply stop – yet most Jewish freeholding continued and the fighters were not disarmed. I am still searching for proof, but given the spread at the time of popular stories painting Jews as targets I think that the freeholders just quietly took advantage of the draft exemptions and joined many of their fellow landholders in retiring from the battlefield.
By then they had made a lasting difference. Almost 80 years after Narbonne helped Pepin win the Aquitaine, a Carolingian king kept faith with his predecessors’ troops and quashed the Church’s attempt to take Jewish children from their parents. Over two centuries after Pepin, First and Second Crusaders would massacre Jewish communities in northern France and Germany — but not in southern France where the allods still existed. And four centuries after Pepin, Jews could still sport-fight for fun where their ancestors had had to fight for real.
The Jewish-Carolingian troops-for-tolerance alliance had worked.
Original Latin text from Jacques Paul Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus. Series Latina. Volume CXXIX, col. 857. For the English I used Chazan’s translation (Chazan, 188) for all sections he translated, Zuckerman’s translation (Zuckerman, 72) for the greeting, then translated the remaining sections myself.Original Latin English Translation Translator AD ARIBERTUM NARBONNENSEM ARCHIEPISCOPUM.
Queritur factam esse Judaeis potestatem allodia possidendi. TO ARIBERT, ARCHBISHOP OF NARBONNE
Protesting the Jews’ acquiring the power to hold allodial lands Author STEPHANUS papo ARIBERTO archiepiscopo Narbonae, et omnibus potentatibus Septimae et Hispaniae salutem. Pope Stephen To Aribert Archbishop of Narbonne, and to all magnates of Septimania and Hispania. Zuckerman Convenit nobis, qui clavem coelestis horrei vicibus apostolicis suscepimus, etiam omni pestilentiae gregis divini fidei medicinam porrigere: quod si non possumus modios tritici, at saltem cestarium [sextarium] valeamus impendere. It comes to us, we who have undertaken our turn with the apostolic key to the heavenly storehouse, also to extend the medicine to all plagues of the divine flock of the faith: because if we are unable [to extend] pecks of wheat, at least we may be strong enough to extend at least a pint. Author Quapropter sumus dolore tacti, usque ad mortem anxiati, cum cognovissemus per teipsum, quod plebs Judaica Deo semper rebellis, et nostris derogans caeremoniis infra fines at territoria Christianorum allodia haereditatum in villis et suburbanis, quasi incolae Christianorum, possideant per quaedam regum Francorum praecepta: Therefore we are struck with sorrow, anxious to death, since we have learned through you that the Jews – ever rebellious to God and disparaging of our practices – possess allodial lands within Christendom in towns and outside them, like Christians, through certain grants of the kings of the Franks: Chazan quia ipsi inimici Domini quae … sunt, ei periculose mercati sunt: Because the enemies of the Lord themselves which… they are, they have dangerously traded: Author Et quod vineas et agros illorum Christiani homines excolant: et infra civitates et extra, masculi et feminae Christianorum cum eisdem praevaricatoribus habitantes, diu noctuque verbis blasphemiae maculantur, et cuncta obsequia quae dici aut excogitari possunt, miseri miseraeve praenotatis canibus indesinenter exhibeant: praesertim cum huiusmodi patribus Hebraeorum promissa ab electo iurislatore illorum Mose, et successore eius Iosue, his conclusa et terminata finibus, ab ipso Domino iurata et tradita istis incredulis, et patribus eorum sceleratis, pro ultione crucifixi Salvatoris merito sint ablata. Et revera praeceptor Ecclesiae gregibus orthodoxis significat inquiens: Quae societas luci et tenebris? quae conventio Christi ad Belial? aut quis consensus templo Dei cum idolis? (II Cor. VI.) Et summi consiliarius verbi admonet, dicens: Si quis dixerit ei Ave (II Ioan. XI), etc. and that these miserable men and women must exhibit continually to the aforesaid dogs every allegiance which can be formulated and devised: particularly since promises concluded and defined for the Jews’ ancestors by their chosen leader Moses and his successor Joshua and sworn to and transmitted by God Himself to these unbelievers and their wicked ancestors should properly be negated in punishment for the crucifixion of the Savior. Indeed the teacher indicates to the flocks of the orthodox Church, saying: “Can light consort with darkness? Can Christ agree with Belial, or a believer join hands with an unbeliever? Can there be a compact between the temple of God and the idols of the heathen?” (II Cor. 6:4-16) and the counselor of the sublime word admonishes, saying: “Anyone who gives him a greeting is an accomplice in his wicked deeds.” (II John 11), etc. Chazan Desunt caetera. The others are failing/abandoned. Author
Primary Sources (including collections of primary source documents)
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Al-Makkari, Ahmed ibn Mohammed. The History of Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain. 1629; translated from originals in the British Library by Pascual de Gayangos, (W.H. Allen and Co., London, 1840). Print.
ibn Daud, Abraham. Sefer ha-Quabbalah – The Book of Tradition. 1161. Gerson D. Cohen (trans.), The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, 1967. Print.
Jaffe, Philippus (ed). Regesta pontificum romanorum ab condita ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Vol 1. Catholic Church. Print and online.
Marcus, Jacob Rader. The Jew in the Medieval World – A Source Book: 315-1791, Revised Edition. New York: Hebrew Union College Press, 1990. Print.
Migne, Jacques-Paul. Patrologia Latina. Paris: Imprimerie Catholique, 1841-1855. Print and online.
Procopius of Caesaria. History of the Wars, 550 CE. H.B. Dewing trans., Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1914. Print and online.
Puylaurens, William. The Chronicle of William of Puylaurens: The Albigensian Crusade and its Aftermath. 1275. W.A. and M.D. Sibly (Trans), The Boydell Press, Woodbridge (in Suffolk, UK), 2003. Print.
Tudela, Benjamin of. The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela. 1175 CE. Marcus Nathan Adler trans. New York: Philipp Feldheim, 1907. Print and online.
Bachrach, Bernard S. “On the Role of the Jews in the Establishment of the Spanish March (768-814)”. Essay XV in Armies and Politics in the Early Medieval West. Surrey: Ashgate Variorum, 1993. Print and Online.
Bachrach, Bernard S. Early Medieval Jewish Policy in Western Europe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1977. Print.
Baron, Salo Wittmayer. A Social and Religious History of the Jews, Second Edition, Vol. XVI. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983. Print.
Chazan, Robert. Jewish Social Studies, vol. 37, no. 2. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975. Print and online.
Dubnov, Simon. History of the Jews from the Roman Empire to the Early Medieval Period. 4th Definitive Revised edition: Moshe Spigel (trans.), New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1968. Print.
Flug, Joshua. “Practical Jokes and Their Consequences”, Shabbat Table Discussions, Issue #20. New York: Yeshiva University, 2013. Print and Online.
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ha-Khazar, Gideon. “Jewish Near-Knights, or Why Were These Knights Different From All Other Knights?”, Tournaments Illuminated #196. Milpitas: The Society for Creative Anachronism, 2015. Print.
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Kritzler, Edward. Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean. New York: Anchor Books, 2008. Print.
Lewis, Archibald. The Development of Southern French and Catalan Society 718-1050. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1965. Print and online.
Rogers, Clifford J. (editor). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print and online.
Wolkoff, Lew. The Compleat Anachronist #110: An SCA Guide to Jewish Persona. Milpitas: The Society for Creative Anachronism, 2001. Print.
Zuckerman, Arthur. A Jewish Princedom in Feudal France, 768-900. New York: Columbia University Press, 1972. Print.
Filed under: A&S Research Papers, Arts and Sciences Tagged: a&s, Arts and Sciences
Last year we announced that we would be able to accept Heraldic submissions from Tir Mara in Canadian dollars. We, at the time, were under the impression that a bank account for the Tir Mara College of Heralds would be an easy thing to have created and we could begin this process quickly.
Despite a year of trying to get this arranged, due to several complications both in the Canadian Banking system and the US and Canadian requirements for a 503(c) non-profit organization, we have been unable to open the required account. The Tir Maran regional heralds, the Kingdom, regional and Society Exchequers, and members of the Heraldic Senior Staff have poured weeks and months into this endeavor only to get stymied by the requirements of the Society and Canadian Banking system.
Unfortunately I have to suspend the Acceptance of cheques in Canadian Dollars starting now, and until further notice. Once a Tir Maran bank account is established we will revisit this endeavor. The submissions heralds of both the Kingdom and Tir Mara have worked around the problems, hand delivering checks to each other. To Mistress Alys and Baroness Jeanne, you have my continuing and eternal thanks for all the hours you have both sunk into this endeavor to try to make it work.
To the populace of Tir Mara, I can only say that we will continue to endeavor to make it as easy for you to make a heraldic submission as it is for the other three regions of the Kingdom. We will continue to work on this problem.
Salutation de Ryan Brigantia, héraut principal du Royaume de l’Est.
L’an passé nous avions annoncé que nous allions accepter les soumissions héraldique des citoyens de Tir Mara en argent canadien. À ce moment nous étions sous l’impression que la création d’un compte de banque pour le Collège des Hérauts de Tir Mara allait être facile.
Après un an de travail acharné et dù à plusieurs complications avec les systèmes bancaire canadien et américain ainsi que les éléments requis pour les organismes à but non lucratif 503 (c) nous avons été dans l’incapacité d’ouvrir le compte requis. Le héraut régional, celui du Royaume, les échiquiers régional et de la SCA inc. ansi que les membre séniors du College des Hérauts ont travaillés d’arrache pied durant des semaines et des mois pour répondre au exigences des systèmes bancaires canadien ainsi que de la SCA inc., malheureusement ce fut un échec.
Malheureusement je me dois de suspendre l’acceptation de chèque en argent canadien à ce moment et ce jusqu’à avis contraire. Quand Tir Mara sera munis d’un compte de banque nous pourrons revisiter cette avenue. Les hérauts responsable des soumissions ont travaillé durant l’année en contournant le problème en délivrant les chèques en main propre. À Mistress Alys et à Baronne Jeanne, vous avez mes remerciements continue et éternel pour toute les heures que vous avez placés dans ce projet tentant de le faire fonctionner.
À la population de Tir Mara, nous continuerons de travailler pour faire que les soumissions héraldique soit le plus facile possible comme il en est pour les trois autres régions du Royaume. Nous continuons à travailler sur le problème
Filed under: Announcements, En français, Heraldry Tagged: brigantia, heraldric submissions, Tir Mara
There are Medieval Heraldic Beasts at Pennsic. Don’t count on your electronics to catch them, though. Some of you may have seen earlier posts about this, and it is indeed true. Beasts and Monsters are coming to Pennsic! Actual beasts you can see and touch.
The medieval & analogue fix for avid Pokemon hunters (and those who just enjoy a good challenge) is coming to Pennsic during War Week. Pensimon Go: The Menagerie Quest will run from 9 AM Mon morning on August 8th through noon on Wed August 11th, is intended for all ages, and will have you finding public places at war you may never have visited.
Supplies are slightly limited (privately funded and free to participate), but sharing is allowed. Participants will collect sightings of magical creatures hidden in public spaces (please leave the critters where you find them). Prizes will be awarded for both over age 12 and under age 12 players. Results will be tallied and the winners announced in the Independent after the contest closes. Come by the offices of the Pennsic Independent Monday morning to pick up your very own Pensidex! Tour Pennsic’s public spaces, aided by location clues, to catch them all.
An online printable Pensidex, for those with electronic wizardry skills, will also be available soon. This project is sponsored in part by Viceroy Gui avec Cheval.
Filed under: Announcements Tagged: Pennsic