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Pen vs. Sword IV Needs Teachers!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2016-02-22 12:03

Good Gentles!

Pen vs Sword IV is fast approaching, and we are looking for teachers! The event is April 30 in the Shire of Angels Keep.

If you are interested in teaching anything connected to Rapier, or the Scribal Arts, please, come and join us. You can contact either Felice de Thornton at feliceofyork@gmail.com, or myself, at moniczkap@verizon.net. Both of us can also be found on Facebook.

Thanks in advance for offering to share your knowledge!

Moniczka Poznanska

The event announcement can be found here.

Categories: SCA news sites

Hoards of Cheshire go on display in Liverpool

History Blog - Mon, 2016-02-22 00:19

Two hoards of Iron Age and Roman coins and jewelry discovered in 2012 and 2014 have gone on display for the first time at the Museum of Liverpool. The Museum of Liverpool and the Congleton Museum secured a £65,400 ($93,400) grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to acquire both hoards and create an exhibition that can tour the area. That exhibition is now up and running and will be shared between the institutions. It moves to the Congleton Museum in July.

The Malpas Hoard was discovered at a metal detecting rally on January 9th, 2014, near Malpas, Cheshire. It’s a group of 35 coins, seven Iron Age British gold coins and 28 early Roman coins. The British coins are gold staters struck between 20 and 50 A.D., three of them of the western regional series inscribed “EISV” and four of the northeastern series inscribed “VEP CORF.” This is remarkable because western coins circulated in Gloucestershire and surrounding counties where the Dobunni tribe lived, significantly to the south of Malpas, while northeastern coins circulated in Corieltavi territory of Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, significantly to the east of Malpas. Individual coins in the series have been found in the northwest, but this is the first hoard. It’s also very unusual to find a split of regions in a single hoard.

The Roman coins are silver denarii, most of them from the Republican period. The earliest was struck in 134 B.C. by the moneyer Augurinus in Rome. The most recent were struck in the reign of Tiberius Caesar (14-37 A.D.). This group is typical of the kind of money introduced to Britain from the time of the Roman conquest in 43 A.D. Experts believe the hoard was buried shortly thereafter, in the 40s or 50s A.D., because the Tiberius coins are in very good condition and show few signs of wear so they can’t have been in circulation long.

The Knutsford Hoard was first discovered by a metal detectorist Alan Bates in May of 2012. He and archaeologists from the National Museums Liverpool and Cheshire Archaeological Advisory Service returned to the find site in June and removed a soil block containing many more coins for excavation in the lab. The final tally is 101 silver denarii, two sestertii, three gilded silver trumpet brooches and two silver finger rings. There was also a group of pottery fragments, including 21 from an orange-ware vessel. The earliest coin is a denarius issued by Mark Antony around 32-31 B.C.; the latest a denarius from the reign of Commodus dating to 190-191 A.D. That suggest the hoard was buried in the late second century.

Trumpet brooches, so named because their open ends and tubes look like trumpets, were a popular style in the 2nd century and appear to be associated with the Roman army. These are heavy, expensive examples, made in a mould and decorated with British-style scrolls and curvilinear designs. They are parcel-gilt: the background of the scrollwork is gilded while the scrolls themselves are left in silver.

The finger rings are silver with intaglio carnelian stones. One of the carnelians has been engraved with a winged figure, possibly Mercury or Victory, facing left with one arm raised. The carving on the other stone is no longer visible. It appears to have been file away. They’re very small, just 25 and 26 millimeters wife, so they may have been women’s jewelry. On the other hand, intaglio rings were often used to stamp wax seals which was more of a man’s game at the time, so it’s possibly they might have been intended for a man to wear on his pinky.

Liz Stewart, curator of Archaeology and the Historic Environment at the Museum of Liverpool said: “These two hoards provide fascinating evidence about the wealth, trade, lifestyles and identities of people in the North West in the early Roman period.

“It’s very special to be able to acquire and display these items for the region and to explore the long history of the area with our visitors.”

To celebrate the new exhibition, the Museum of Liverpool will host a conference on February 27th from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM that will be open to the public and free of charge. Experts from all over the country will discuss the hoards, their historical context and what they can tell us about life in first and second century northwest England.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

On Target: The Spinning Ninja

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2016-02-21 18:40

This month’s installment of On Target is about building a spinning ninja.

One day as I was shopping in a video store, I found a beat-up cardboard ninja. I took it home and used it as a stencil.

I zip-tied together some white foam board and a plastic political sign, traced, and then cut out the ninja.

Next, I colored in the ninja on the white side (you may recognize Storm Shadow from the GI Joe movies) and on the plastic political sign I used camouflage tape.

Next, I drilled a hole at the top center and bottom center, tying a length of masonry cord to it so the masonry cord goes from top to bottom.

On the bottom, add a piece of rope tie and some rubber bands to use as a shock absorber. That way, when the arrow strikes the target, the target will bounce and not break.

The ninja will rotate from front to back. If you strike him on the white side you score, but if you strike him on the camouflage side he has dodged the arrow.

I don’t recommend this target for competition, just for fun.

This month’s safety tip: start checking your arrows and making sure the tips, the fletchings, and the nocks are all in good condition, then check your bowstring to make sure it’s not frayed.

Also, put the spring archery muster at Their Highnesses’ castle on April 10 on your calendar! We’re going to be repelling an invasion. Their Highnesses will have been crowned King and Queen the day before the muster, and we may never again get the opportunity to defend Their Majesties’ castle.

‘Til next month, in service,

Deryk Archer

Categories: SCA news sites

Regional Fight Practice at April A&S Faire

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2016-02-21 10:54

Come see the Arts, stay for the fighting!

Please join the Shire of Hartstone for a weekend of everything excellent the Kingdom of Æthelmearc has to offer.

Saturday, April 23rd, we host the inaugural Kingdom A&S Faire in Wellsville, and Sunday, April 24th we are happy to host our glorious army for a Regional Fight Practice in Hornell, NY. Fighting starts at noon and will run until dusk or 5-6 pm, whichever happens first. The official event announcement can be found here.

We are hoping for excellent weather so this can be at one of the local parks; but if the weather turns inclement, as it’s wont to do, we will be inside at the Hornell Elk’s Lodge-3rd floor. This is the same indoor venue as our regular practices and last year’s Regional fight practice. We will determine which park we choose based on ground conditions as it gets closer to the  time of the practice.  (Please check out the event page on Facebook for more details as they become clear, and we will endeavor to update the Gazette and the announcements list as well.)

Both Fencers and Heavy fighters are welcome and encouraged to attend. The Shire will have refreshments available for you as you learn from, and train with some of the best fighters this Kingdom has to offer.

In Service,
Lasairfhiona inghean Aindriasa
Shire of Hartstone

Categories: SCA news sites

Martha Brown, the real Tess of the D’Urbevilles

History Blog - Sun, 2016-02-21 00:17

Saturday, August 9th, 1856, Elizabeth Martha Brown was hanged in front of Dorchester Gaol. A month earlier she had killed her husband John with multiple hatchet blows to the head. The marriage, needless to say, had not been a happy one. She was a housekeeper, he a servant at Blackmanston Farm. She was said to be a handsome woman with a beautiful head of thick, curly hair, but she was 20 years older than her husband and it was generally thought that he married her for money. Her £50 savings allowed the couple to move to Birdsmoorgate in the Marshwood Vale and open a shop. Soon she suspected him of having an affair with a younger woman, Mary Davis, who ran a shop near theirs, and according to Martha, he became verbally and physically abusive towards her. One night he got home in the wee hours and by morning he was dead.

At first she denied having murdered him. She claimed he’d been kicked in the head by a horse 200 yards away from the house and somehow made his way home where he expired. A doctor found that there was no way he could have walked home with the injuries he’d suffered. Martha stuck to her story but the jury at the Dorchester Crown Court were not persuaded and she was condemned to hang. It was widely believed that her insistence on sticking to her patently false cover story sealed her doom, that if she had confessed and repented, her life would have been spared. On top of the horse kick lie, her calm demeanor at the trial was interpreted as callousness.

Just before she was executed, Martha Brown signed a full confession.

“My husband, John Anthony Brown, deceased, came home on Sunday morning, the 6th of July, at two o’clock, in liquour, and was sick. He had no hat on. I asked him what he had done with his hat. He abused me, and said, ‘What is it to you, d–n you.’ He then asked for some cold tea. I said that I had none, but would make some warm. He replied, ‘Drink that yourself, and be d—d.’ I then said, ‘What makes you so cross? Have you been at Mary Davis’s?’ He then kicked out the bottom of the chair upon which I had been sitting.

We continued quarrelling until about three o’clock, when he struck me a severe blow on the side of my head, which confused me so much that I was obliged to sit down. Supper was on the table, and he said, ‘Eat it yourself, and be d—d.’ At the same time he reached down from the mantelpiece a heavy horse-whip, with a plain end, and struck me across the shoulders with it three times. Each time I screamed out.

I said, ‘If you strike me again I will cry, Murder.’ He retorted, ‘If you do, I will kick your brains out through the window.’ He also added, ‘I hope I shall find you dead in the morning.’ He then kicked me on the left side, which caused me much pain, and he immediately stooped down to untie his boots.

I was much enraged, and in an ungovernable passion, on being so abused and struck, I directly seized a hatchet which was lying close to where I sat, and which I had been using to break coal with to keep up the fire and keep his summer warm, and with it (the hatchet) I struck him several violent blows on the head. I could not say how many.

He fell at the first blow on his head, with his face towards the fireplace. He never spoke or moved afterwards. As soon as I had done it, I wished I had not, and would have given the world not to have done it. I had never struck him before, after all his ill treatment, but, when he hit me so hard at this time, I was almost out of my senses and hardly knew what I was doing.

By all accounts, Martha was composed and calm as she climbed the scaffold. Her attendants and the chaplain were more upset than she. The hangman tied a rope around her dress at the ankles to prevent her gown from flying up and exposing her during the drop. A white hood was placed over her head. The Reading Mercury of August 16th, 1856, reported that “the wretched woman fell with great force, and after a few struggles ceased to exist.”

Martha Brown was the last woman to be publicly hanged in Dorset. Dorchester, which had a centuries-long history of exceptionally brutal public executions, hadn’t had a hanging in 26 years and people flocked to see this woman breathe her last. Close to 4,000 people filled North Square for the revival of what had once been called “hang fairs.” One of the spectators was a 16-year-old apprentice architect named Thomas Hardy. The hanging of Martha Brown made an indelible impression on the young man, so much so that 35 years later he would write a novel about a tragic heroine who staves in the head of the abuser who ruined her life and is hanged for it.

Writing Tess of the d’Urbervilles couldn’t exorcise the memory of Martha Brown. Seventy years later in 1925 Thomas Hardy found himself in Martha’s old stomping grounds when he visited the estate of Racedown in the Marshwood Vale where Wordsworth and Coleridge had once stayed. He asked Racedown’s owner, Lady Hester Pinney, to find out more about Martha Brown. In correspondence with Lady Hester he explained his personal connection to the case.

“I am ashamed to say I saw her hanged, my only excuse being that I was but a youth and had to be in the town at that time for other reasons… I remember what a fine figure she showed against the sky as she hung in the misty rain, and how the tight black silk gown set off her shape as she wheeled half-round and back.

The hanging itself did not move me at all. But I sat on after the others went away, not thinking, but look at the figure… turning slowly round on the rope. And then it began to rain, and then I saw they had put a cloth over the face how as the cloth got wet, her features came through it. That was extraordinary. A boy had climbed up into a tree nearby, and when she dropped he came down in a faint like an apple dropping from a tree. It was curious the two dropping together.”

Hardy’s second wife Florence also wrote to Lady Pinney: “Of course the account TH gives of the hanging is vivid and terrible. What a pity that a boy of sixteen should have been permitted to see such a sight. It may have given a tinge of bitterness and gloom to his life’s work.”

A little more than a tinge, I’d say. The next year Lady Pinney visited Hardy and they talked about Tess and Martha “whose stories have much in common, just as if they were in the next room. His sympathy for these unhappy women was wonderful.”

The Dorchester prison was closed in 2013 and developers plan to build homes on the site. An archaeological survey found human remains, not in the prison burial ground but outside consecrated ground. This was not unexpected. The dead of Dorchester Gaol were buried in a cemetery on the grounds and outside of it. The remains were left in situ and any that will be disturbed by future construction will be removed and reburied.

The thing is, one of those buried individuals may be Martha Brown, and there are a lot of Thomas Hardy fans who want this possibility explored.

Nick Gilbey, a Dorset-based film-maker and Hardy fan, said: “I don’t think it would be too difficult to establish if any of the remains are those of a woman. If they are, they are almost certain to be the remains of Martha.”

He said a full examination of the prison site should take place. “I think more work needs to be done, and we need to make sure that whatever remains are found there are given a proper, decent burial. Martha is an important historical figure because of the Hardy connection.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

From Brigantia – 10-day reporting warning – March 2016

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2016-02-20 15:13

With the required quarterly reports becoming more and more irregular over the last year The College of Heralds is taking a new tack on reporting. This is your 10-day warning and this warning is being  doubled to Social Media to attempt to reach non-reponsive heralds.

Pursuivant reports are required on a quarterly basis. The next reports are due March 1st. Any groups who have not reported to the regional deputies by 12:01 AM on March 2nd will be forwarded to the Kingdom Seneschal as non-compliant to East Kingdom Law.

Remember, Heralds are Required Officers for the continued existence of Baronies and Provinces, and are one of the optional officers for the third required officer for Shires, Colleges, Strongholds, Ports, Cantons, and Ridings.

Reports are required to include the following information, at the minimum:

  • Mundane Name:
  • Society Name:
  • Membership Number:
  • Expiration Date:

The form on the East Kingdom College of Heralds website can help you add more information to your reports if you choose: http://herald.eastkingdom.org/

Southern Region Reports are to be emailed to Baroness Treannah at terpsichore@eastkingdom.org

Central Region Reports are to be emailed to Master Donovan at Golden.Rapier@eastkingdom.org

Northern Region Reports are to be emailed to Lord Conall at Blue.Talbot@eastkingdom.org

Tir Mara Region Reports are to be emailed to Lord Díarmaid at badger@tirmara.eastkingdom.org

Francophone Heralds can also report to Lord Eginhard at hibou.blanc@tirmara.eastkingdom.org

If you have already reported to me instead of your Regional Herald, as some of you have, please re-send the email to your regional herald.

Ryan, Brigantia

Filed under: Heraldry Tagged: brigantia

Tarkhan Dress confirmed as world’s oldest woven garment

History Blog - Sat, 2016-02-20 00:53

The Tarkhan Dress isn’t really a dress. It’s a linen chemise nowadays, although when it was new it may have been longer. The hem is gone so there’s no way of knowing. The garment was discovered during Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie’s 1913 excavation of a 1st Dynasty tomb in a 5,000-year-old cemetery at Tarkhan, Egypt, 30 miles south of Cairo, only neither Flinders Petrie nor anybody else realized they had found it. Sixty-four years would pass before somebody did.

The mud-brick niched tomb had been extensively looted in antiquity. There was little left inside besides a set of alabaster jars, two wooden tool handles and pottery (which is why they dated the tomb to around 2,800 B.C.), and what Flinders Petrie described as a “great pile of linen cloth.” The pile of dirty linen went to University College London whose modest collection of Egyptian artifacts would expand by orders of magnitude when they bought Flinders Petrie’s enormous collection in 1913. The university museum is now the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology.

In 1977, the pile of “funerary rags” was sent to the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Textile Conservation Workshop for cleaning and conservation. The conservators discovered the Tarkhan Dress buried between 17 different kinds of textiles. At first they thought it was just another rag, but when they followed one seam they found another rag stitched to it, and then another. That’s when they realized those three rags were in fact a tunic with two sleeves. It was inside out and showed signs of wear, namely creases at the elbows and armpits. The v-neck linen shirt with tiny pleats on the bodice and sleeves was in excellent condition, considering its age. Conservators stitched it onto Crepeline silk so it could be placed on a dress form and displayed the way it was worn thousands of years ago.

Because of the age of the tomb in which it was discovered, the garment was hailed as Egypt’s oldest garment and the oldest woven garment in the world, but because the tomb was not intact and the linens from the burial chamber had been jumbled and dumped by looters, its context couldn’t provide a reliable date. Radiocarbon dating the garment was out of the question in 1977 because back then the test required a sample the size of a handkerchief. Some of the linen in the pile was analyzed in the early 1980s by the then-new technology of accelerator mass spectrometry carbon dating which dated it to the late third-millennium B.C., but the results were too broad to satisfy and the samples weren’t taken from the dress itself.

Last year, a tiny 2.24 milligram sample of fabric was taken from the Tarkhan Dress and radiocarbon dated at the University of Oxford. The testing found there was a 95% probability that the garment was made between 3,482 and 3,102 B.C. Modern AMS dating is usually more precise than that, but the tininess of the sample made a wider range necessary. As the 1st Dynasty is thought to have begun around 3,100 B.C., there’s a good chance the Tarkhan Dress pre-dates the Early Dynastic period and the first pharaohs to rule over a unified Egypt.

Textile fragments made of flax (Linum usitatissimum) are known from at least Egyptian Neolithic times, while weaving on horizontal looms is evidenced from at least the early fourth millennium BC. Iconographic representations in Second Dynasty Egyptian tombs at Helwan (in Greater Cairo) show the deceased wearing similar types of garments to the Tarkhan Dress, indicating that the depiction of clothing was based upon contemporary fashions rather than idealised. [...]

The Tarkhan Dress … remains the earliest extant example of complex woven clothing, that is, a cut, fitted and tailored garment as opposed to one that was draped or wrapped. Along with other textile remains from Egypt, it has the potential to provide further insights into craft specialisation and the organisation of textile manufacture during the development of the world’s first territorial state

For all you sewers out there, the Petrie Museum has patterns and instructions on how to create your own Tarkhan Dress. It assumes a basic grasp of skills (like how to pleat) and terminology (what is this whip stitch you speak of?) so it’s not for beginners. Should you take the plunge, I am in a position to guarantee you one glowing blog review and probably at least a good dozen comments.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report: Debatable Lands Investiture

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2016-02-19 14:44

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Magnus Tindal and Etain II, basileos kai basilissa Æthelmearc: the Business of Their Court at Baronial Investiture, 13 February Anno Societatis L, in the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands, accompanied by Their Highnesses Byron and Ariella, Prince and Princess of Æthelmearc. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, with the assistance of THL Sophie Davenport.

In the morning, accompanied by Their Excellencies Uilliam and Constance, Baron and Baroness of the Debatable Lands:

Baroness Rhiannon of Ravenglas was inducted into the Order of the Millrind for her service to the Pennsic Wars, serving on the Watch, as Land Agent, and as Pennsic Staff. Scroll by Vivienne of Yardley.

The Imperatori presented gifts to Their Excellencies, then granted them leave to conduct their final business.

Their Excellencies were called before the Imperatori, for They had heard tell that Their Excellencies wished to retire to their country estates. Sadly agreeing that it was so, Their Excellencies asked to be relieved of their post to return to their estates and affairs. The
Imperatori granted this request and divested the Baron and Baroness of their coronets.

Baron Liam and Baroness Constance are relieved of the Debatable Lands Baronial Coronets. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.

Maistir Uilliam mac an tSaoir and THL Constance Glyn Dŵr were created Baron and Baroness of the Court for their service as the Baron and Baroness of the Debatable Lands. Scrolls by Master Alaric MacConnal.

The Comet Thrones being empty, the Imperatori sought words from the Seneschal of the Debatable Lands, Master Alaric MacConnal. Master Alaric confirmed that the people of the Debatable Lands had conducted an election in keeping with Society, Kingdom and Baronial Law and Policy, and presented a petition from the people asking the Imperatori to install Maistir Brandubh O’Donnghile and Mistress Hilderun Hugelman as the 8th Baron and Baroness of  the Debatable Lands. The Imperatori then called for Maistir Brandubh and Mistress Hilderun, invested them with the Baronial Coronets of the Debatable Lands and named them Baron and Baroness.

Brandubh O Donghaile and Hilderun Hugelmann are invested as Baron and Baroness. Photo by Lady Silence de Cherbourg.

In the evening, accompanied by Their Excellencies Brandubh and Hilderun, Baron and Baroness of the Debatable Lands:

The children of the kingdom were invited to entertain themselves with activities and toys under the supervision of Don Clewin Kupferhelbelinc the adults conducted the business of the Court.

The Imperatori gave Their Excellencies leave to conduct the business of their Baronial Court and presented them with gifts of welcome and well-wishing for their time upon the Baronial thrones.

THL Kieran MacRae and Lord Markus Skalpr Grimsson were presented with Sigils of Æthelmearc for their service as Imperial Guards.

THLord Kieran MacRae and Lord Markus Skalpr Grimsson receive Sigils. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

The Imperatori then received Duke Adhemar and convened the Imperial Council of Chivalry. His Grace, having previously surrendered his belt and title of Knight, now felt himself worthy and ready to rejoin his brothers and sisters of the Council, but under other circumstances from previous. He was presented with a white baldric, which he donned, and Duke Master Adhemar was welcomed back into the Council by the Imperator and the Companions of the Council there present.

Duke Adhemar is made a Master at Arms. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

Kattera Doperlerin was Awarded Arms for her enthusiasm and devotion to the areas of fencing and sewing, as well as serving the Kingdom through work such as in the kitchens. Scroll by THL Sophie Davenport.

Kattera Dopplerin receives an Award of Arms. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

Sanada Masamoto Kenshin O’no Kuma was Awarded Arms for his service to the Kingdom, as well as his skill as a fighter, archer and thrower, and as a thrown weapons marshal. Scroll by THL Isabel Fleuretan upon wording by Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai.

Lord Magnus Bastiano de Vigo was inducted to the Order of the Golden Alce for his prowess on the fencing field, his study of the ancient fencing masters, and his teaching of such skills and knowledge to others. Scroll forthcoming.

Lord Magnus Bastiano di Vigo is admitted to the Golden Alce. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

Wulfgar Ronaldson was Awarded Arms and elevated to the Order of the Golden Alce in absentia for his quiet and courteous service and prowess on both the heavy weapons and fencing lists. Scroll by THL Ælric Ravenshaw.

Lord Stefan Einarson was created a Companion of the Golden Alce in absentia for his long tenure and skill upon the heavy weapons field. Scroll by THL Ælric Ravenshaw.

Mistress Irene von Schmetterling was named to the Order of the Golden Stirrup for her meticulous attention to the creation of period fencing attire, most especially her skill as a haberdasher. Scroll by Meisterin Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen.

Lord Alrekr Bergsson was inducted into the Order of the Keystone for running archery ranges, making archery targets, working in the kitchens, and generally being among the first to arrive at events and the last to leave. Scroll by Mistress Una de Saint Luc, medallion from the hand of THL Juan Miguel Cezar.

Lady Alethea Cowle was granted admission to the Order of the Keystone for her cheerful and exuberant service to the Kingdom, mainly in the distribution of scroll cases during Court. Scroll illuminated by THL Fiora d’Artusio and calligraphed by Kameshima-kyō.

Lady Alethea Cowle is inducted into the Order of the Keystone. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

Anora was Awarded Arms and welcomed into the Order of the Keystone for her service on the archery range, as well as work in the kitchens and at the tollner’s gate, mainly at Æthelmearc War Practice. Scroll by Lady Vivienne of Yardley.

Lady Anora receives a Keystone. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

Lord Ffynthcor o Fyndham and Rowan ni Naradhaigh were elevated to the Order of the Keystone, with Rowan also being Awarded Arms, for their service as gatekeepers of the day’s site through this and many other events, helping not only to coordinate the events occurring but also helping set up and tear down the events. Scrolls by Master Caleb Reynolds.

Lord Ffynthcor o Fyndham and Rowan ni Naradhaigh receive Keystones. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

Baroness Katerina Macgilledoroughe was named to the Order of the Keystone for her service at Pennsic, mostly among the Watch. Scroll illuminated by Viscountess Lucilla Theresa de Courtenay and calligraphed by THL Madoc Arundel.

Baroness Katerina receives a Keystone. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.

THL Anlaith ingen Trena was elevated to the Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc for her incredible skill at both weaving and scribal arts. Scroll by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova.

Lord Madison Morai was Granted Arms and created a Companion of the Gage for his skill in heavy combat melees and his service as unit commander. Scroll by Helena Mitzhasenin.

Lord Madison Morai is inducted into the Gage. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

Lord Eoin mac Padraig was Granted Arms and inducted into the Order of the Gage for his long-standing skill at heavy weapons. Scroll by Lady Edana the Red.

Lord Eoin MacPadraig is inducted into the Gage. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

THL Darri inn Valski was presented with the scroll honoring his elevation to the Order of the Gage upon the field of Pennsic 43. Scroll by Master Caleb Reynolds.

THLord Darri in Valski receives his Gage scroll. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

The Imperata presented Countess Alexandra of Clan Donald with her token of inspiration for Her Excellency’s graciousness and service as Royalty Liaison of the day.

Countess Alexandra of Clan Donald. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

The Imperatori thanked all scribes and medallion wrights who had contributed their talents and largesse to enhance the Court’s proceedings.

There being no further business, the Imperial Court was closed.

In Honor and Service,

Kameshima Zentarō Umakai
Silver Buccle Principal Herald, Kingdom of Æthelmearc

Categories: SCA news sites

7,000-year-old upright burial found in Germany

History Blog - Fri, 2016-02-19 00:54

In 1962, construction workers in Groß Fredenwalde in Brandenburg, northeastern Germany, accidentally discovered human bones. An excavation unearthed the skeletal remains of six people dating to around 6,000 B.C. when the area was populated by the hunter-fisher-gatherers of the Mesolithic period. The site was re-excavated between 2012 and 2014, and archaeologists unearthed three more burials, these dating to between 6,400 and 4,900 B.C. All told, nine individuals were found in at least four graves, which makes this the oldest known cemetery in Germany and one of the oldest in Europe.

Mesolithic finds tend to be stone tools. Graves are rare and cemeteries are far rarer. This one is on the top of a hill. Archaeologists believe this was deliberate, that the Mesolithic people who buried their dead there over thousands of years chose the spot because it was so prominent in the landscape. In addition to whatever spiritual value the hilltop might have held, from a purely practical perspective it is easy to find, an important feature for a cemetery in use for 1,500 years. Also the area is replete with lakes, which made it resource-rich for a forager cultures.

One of the burials discovered during the recent excavation is exceptional: it’s a young man who was buried standing upright about 7,000 years ago. The burial process was done in several phases. First the young man was placed into a vertical pit five feet deep, his back leaning against the wall of the pit. The pit was then filled with sand to a point above his knees which ensured the body would remain standing. The grave was then either left open or only cursorily covered. Scavengers helped themselves, leaving bite marks on some of the arm bones. Once the body was thoroughly decayed and the upper body had fallen apart into the pit, the grave was filled all the way to the top. A fire was then lit on top of the tomb.

This is an unprecedented find in Central Europe, although there may be comparable burials in the Olenij Ostrov cemetery in Karelia, northwest Russia.

“The burial is unique in central Europe and therefore it is difficult to find a specific reasons for such treatment,” [excavation director at the Lower Saxony Department of Historic Preservation Thomas] Terberger told Discovery News.

“The young man also received grave goods and this is indicating an unusual, but honorable treatment of the body,” he added. “On this background, I see no good argument to interpret the burial as a kind of punishment.”

Another exceptional grave found near the standing burial is an infant burial in which ocher powder was scattered for ritual purposes. The entire grave was excavated in a solid soil block and transported to the University of Applied Sciences Berlin. The remains are in excellent condition, a very rare circumstance with infant remains because there wee, soft bones disintegrate easily. This is easily the best-preserved infant burial every discovered in Germany.

All of the remains found in this cemetery are so well preserved that researchers are optimistic they will able to determine people’s diet using stable isotope analysis. They also hope to recover viable DNA that will allow them to map the genome of the last hunter-gatherers in Brandenburg during the transition to farming. (The first farmers reached Central Europe from Southeast Europe about 7,500 years ago, so these remains date to both before and after that pivotal point.)

The study of the vertical burial has been published in the current issue of the journal Quaternary.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Going to 50 Year? Join the AE FB Page!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2016-02-18 23:26

If you plan to go to the SCA 50 Year Celebration, we invite you to join the Æthelmearc Goes to SCA 50 Year Facebook page to keep up with all the latest news on our foray into the Middle Kingdom!

You can find the page here.

Categories: SCA news sites

Eastern Results on the December 2015 LoAR

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2016-02-18 18:15

The Society College of Heralds runs on monthly cycles and letters.  Each month, the College processes name and armory submissions from all of the Kingdoms.  Final decisions on submissions are made at the monthly meetings of the Pelican Queen of Arms (names) and the Wreath Queen of Arms (armory).  Pelican and Wreath then write up their decisions in a Letter of Acceptances and Return (LoAR).  After review and proofreading, LoARs generally are released two months after the meeting where the decisions are made.

An “acceptance” indicates that the item(s) listed are now registered with the Society.  A “return” indicates that the item is returned to the submitter for additional work.  Most items are registered without comments.  Sometimes, the LoAR will address specific issues about the name or armory or will praise the submitter/herald on putting together a very nice historically accurate item.

The following results are from the December 2015 Wreath and Pelican meetings; these items were submitted to the East Kingdom in or about June 2015.

EAST acceptances

* Alesone Gray of Cranlegh. Alternate name Rogue Panda. Rogue is an attested given name and Panda an attested by name from Spain in the FamilySearch Historical Records.

* Alesone Gray of Cranlegh. Alternate name Wendye Layde. The submitter has been awarded Arms, so is entitled to use a form of “Lady” as a byname.

* Allaster del Blair. Name and device. Or, a chevron engrailed gules between two jambes erased sable and a fox’s mask gules.

 * Anne de Basillon. Name and device. Argent, on a pale azure between a talbot and a domestic cat combattant sable a rapier argent. Nice late period French name!

* Anton LaFlamme de Saint Aubin. Badge. (Fieldless) On a flame Or an ant azure.

* Arnóra Bjólfsdóttir. Name and device. Sable, a sun and on a chief Or two bees sable.

* Arnulf de Saint-Aubin dit le Crespe. Name and device. Sable, a ram’s head cabossed and on a chief Or three mullets pierced azure. We note that the place name included the hyphen in the article cited in the Letter of Intent (Aryanhwy merch Catmael, “DRAFT: Names in the 1292 Census of Paris “; http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/french/1292paris.pdf). Although such place names are typically not hyphenated in our period, hyphenation does occur by the end of our period. In addition, the byname de Saint-Aubin is also found in “Personal names found in the Armorial du dénombrement de la Comté de Clermont en Beauvaisis 1373-1376: some names from Picardy in the 14th century” by Brunissende Dragonette.

* Astrid Olafsdotter. Name change from holding name Astrid of Eisental. This name does not conflict with the registered name Astrith Ulfsdottir. A syllable has been removed from the byname, so this name is clear under PN3C2 of SENA.

* Ástriðr Læknir. Name change from Caterina di Luca. The submitter’s previous name, Caterina di Luca, is retained as an alternate name.

* `Aziza al-Shiraziyya. Name. This name does not conflict with the registered name Azza al-Shiraziyya. A syllable has been added to the given name/ism, so the name is different in sound, and the letters ayn and i have been added, so the name is also different in appearance. Therefore, this name is clear under PN3C1 of SENA.

* Charitye Dale. Alternate name Agneis Dale. Nice 15th century English name!

* Cristina Volpina. Name change from Cristina la Zingara and device. Bendy argent and gules, on a chief Or a capital letter V sable. Nice 16th century Italian name! The submitter’s previous name, Cristina la Zingara, is released.

* Cristina Volpina. Household name House of Lucky Stars and badge. Purpure, three mullets of seven points one and two Or. We note that this household name follows the pattern of House of [full name of owner].

* Donovan Shinnock. Alternate name Rogue Espada. Rogue is an attested given name from Spain in the FamilySearch Historical Records.

* Egill Illugason. Name and device. Argent, a gurges azure and a bordure gules bezanty.

* Ellynor Redpath. Name and device. Sable, on a bend enarched between two thistles argent three roses gules.

* Guenivere Katherine of Trail’s End. Reblazon of device. Purpure, a chevron couched from dexter braced with a chevron couched from sinister between in cross four cat’s paw prints argent. Registered in February of 1987 as Purpure, two chevrons couched and braced between four cat’s paw prints, all argent, we are adjusting the blazon to current practice.

* Halldóra Sviðbalki. Name and device. Or, a peacock in his pride proper and a bordure engrailed vert. Submitted as Halldóra Sviðbalka, the byname is a noun form rather than an adjective, so the ending would not change when borne by a woman. Therefore, we have changed the byname to Sviðbalki to register this name.

* Jocelyn Wolf le Queynte. Name and device. Paly azure and argent, two increscents and issuant from base a demi-sun Or. Nice 13th century English name!

* Kay of Wynterset. Name and device. Or, a wolf passant contourny sable and in chief a sun azure. Wynterset is the registered name of an SCA branch. The submitter had wanted the name Kaydia bint Kadr, but no evidence was found prior to submission to support this name. Commenters were similarly unable to find documentation for this name, so we are unable to change the name to the preferred form.

* Marie D’Agincourt. Name and device. Per pall argent, purpure, and azure, a cinquefoil vert and two icosahedra argent. Although the typical form of the byname is d’Agincourt, capitalization of articles and prepositions varied in French bynames in our period. Therefore, we can register this name as submitted.  Nice 15th century French name! The use of icosahedra is a step from period practice.

* Mikkel Bíldr. Device. Sable, in pale a mannaz rune and a mastless drakkar, an orle argent.

* N{a-}{s,}ir ibn Makk{i-}. Name and device. Per chevron inverted azure and sable, a triquetra inverted and in chief a reremouse argent. Please advise the submitter to draw the triquetra more centered on the field and the bat slightly larger.

* Nicola Pavone. Name and device. Per chevron vert and azure, two peacock feathers Or and a hand mirror Or glassed argent. 

* Norðfj{o,}rðr, Shire of. Branch name and device. Azure, two mountains couped and a Viking longship, on a chief argent three laurel wreaths vert. Originally submitted as Shire of Nordenfjord, the substantive element Nordenfjord could not be documented. The name was changed in kingdom to Shire of Norðfj{o,}rðr, using an Old Icelandic place name from “Place-Names in Landnámabók” by Talan Gwynek. This form means “north fjord”.

The shire requested authenticity for 11th-13th century Iceland. The place name is authentic for 9th-10th century Iceland, but we note that it would not be used with the English Shire of. However, Shire is a standard designator allowed by Appendix E of SENA, so the name is registerable.

* Odo Sosnin. Name. Nice 16th century Russian name!

* Robert Langeschwert. Name and device. Gules, two bear’s paws couped addorsed sable. This design was documented as an Individually Attested Pattern in late period German armory. The submitter provided enough evidence of two sable charges on a gules field.

* Sorcha inghean Uí Néill. Household name Silver Cat House and badge. Azure, a domestic cat sejant argent within an annulet Or hurty.

* Thobiasz Bogdanowicz. Device. Per pale sable and gules, a camel statant argent and a bordure argent charged in dexter with pellets and in sinister with torteaux.

 * Þorbi{o,}rn Ormsson. Name and device. Per fess sable and vert, a lightning bolt fesswise and a bear’s head affronty erased argent. Nice 9th century Icelandic name! There is a step from period practice for the use of a lightning bolt not as part of a thunderbolt.

* Torfi Járnhnefi. Name and device. Argent, in saltire two axes, on a point pointed purpure a clenched sinister gauntlet Or and on a chief purpure three Thor’s hammers Or.

EAST returns

* Cristina Volpina. Badge for Shimazu Akame. Gules, a Norse sun cross Or. This badge is returned for conflict with the device of László Rózsa: Per fess azure and gules, a wheel Or. As we do not grant difference for the number of spokes in a wheel, there is no DC between the primary charges. The only DC is for changing the field.

* Sorcha inghean Uí Néill. Device. Azure, in pale a garb Or between two escallops argent, within two pallets all between two sea-horses respectant Or. This device is returned for lack of documentation of the arrangement of charge groups on the field. Blazoned as a pale azure fimbriated Or with charges on the pale and secondaries around it, in period and today this design must be understood as two pallets Or with four types of charges on the field. The most likely way to understand this is with all those charges as a single primary charge group. Central charges are usually deemed primary, and the sea-horses are at least as prominent as the central charges, which makes them a single group of primaries, and the pallets secondaries. Having three different types of charges in the same group runs afoul of SENA A3D2a, for having “slot machine” armory, more than two types of charge in the same group. Redrawing it with the sea-horses clearly secondary creates a different problem: documentation would have to be provided for a primary group of non-ordinary charges, and two second charge groups, one of ordinary charges and the other non-ordinary charges.

Filed under: Heraldry, Uncategorized

Help with Silva Vulcani St. George Day Demo!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2016-02-18 11:21

On Tuesday, April 5th, 2016 there will be a Saint George Celebration here at California University of PA (Silva Vulcani). It is the second most important National Feast in Spain, where the day is known as La Diada de Sant Jordi, and it is traditional to give a rose and a book to a loved one. 

It takes place from 11:00-3:00 at the library.  Unfortunately it is a Tuesday, but if anyone is able to come, Silva Vulcani would be grateful.

Our hosts are looking for pretty much anything, including classes on crafts, displays, or just people adding to the ambiance with their costumes.

Sionn the lost has already graciously agreed to come down and teach dancing. We will have a display of fencing, as well.

The tagline is “A day of Books and Roses” – they are concentrating on books and would love to have book binding. Mistress Fredeburg has volunteered some of her print making work to enrich the display. Anyone who wants to display or create scribal art would also be welcome, and I know calligraphy is also a draw.

They want food; they figure the students and community will be drawn by the promise of free food. They would like people to come and walk around in garb and be part of the spectacle, so anyone who wanted to could join in the dancing, fighting, or sitting around creating art.

I am hoping to make this into an opportunity for us to reach out to the university and community (it is open to the public) and recruit, as well as to show the university what we offer. (It’s nice to remind them.)

If you can do anything, please let me know. You can reach me here.

~ THL Gabrielle de Winter

Categories: SCA news sites

French police tackle 103-year-old cold case

History Blog - Thu, 2016-02-18 00:28

In December of 1913, workers looking to dig a cellar under a sharecropper’s house adjoining the Château of Montcigoux in the town of Saint-Pierre-de-Frugie in Dordogne, southwestern France, made a grisly discovery: human skeletal remains. The bones were buried in a shallow grave — the skull was just 10 inches beneath the surface — under the floor near the fireplace. There was no clothing or objects of any kind that might help identify the deceased. There was no sign of decomposition in the soil and the bones were bleached white.

The discovery of the skeleton made the news at the time, but the authorities had no interest in pursuing a death investigation. In 1933, local newspaper Le Courrier du Centre did an investigation of their own and published a series of stories claiming to have solved the mystery. And a truly lurid solution it was. According to the paper, the bones belonged to one Ernest de Fontaubert who in 1850 had left France with his sister Ernestine to make his fortune in the California Gold Rush. They were more than just brother and sister, the story alleged. They were incestuous lovers who lived as a couple in the manor house while their younger brother Arthur, who they hated, was forced to live in the small sharecropper’s house. Over the course of their unholy relationship, they had five still-born children who they surreptitiously buried on the estate.

When they returned from California, Arthur killed Ernest with a hatchet blow to the head and buried his brother under the floorboards of his room. He then slaughtered two bullocks at the entrance to the manor so the stench of their decomposition would mask Ernest’s. When she realized her brother/husband was missing, Ernestine went mad and Arthur locked her in the tower.

This very juicy story got a foothold in the local lore, and soon it was being recited as fact. Author Robert Margerit wrote a novel based on the account in 1958 which became a bestseller in Dordogne. In 1987 a documentary was filmed about the purported murder. In 1989 Bertran Visage wrote another novel inspired by the 1933 news articles. The result was a renewed interest in the bones and their context. Tourists queued up to visit Ernest’s remains and the town took full advantage of its notorious boney resident, promoting the château and hosting all kinds of Ernest-related events and tours.

The boost was significant, because while the Château of Montcigoux is lovely, it’s a comparatively modest manor house, not the kind of palatial mansion that people think of when they think of châteaux in, say, the Loire Valley. The first Montcigoux castle was built in the 12th century, but only a single round tower survives from the medieval château. (That’s where Arthur was supposed to have imprisoned Ernestine.) The manor that stands now dates to the 17th century. It was the seat of the Rolle family from 1540 until 1826 when the château was acquired by Pierre Paignon de Fontaubert. Pierre’s son Francois Ernest was the Ernest of skeleton fame. His other son Francois Arthure was the alleged fratricide.

In 2011, Bernard-Jean Aumasson visited Montcigoux and took a tour of locations from the story. A retired mineral expert for a geophysics company, Aumasson was immediately skeptical of the Ernest-Ernestine-Arthur story. He decided to see if he could find any answers himself, and spent the next two years combing through archives in France and the United States for clues about what really happened. He discovered that Ernest was murdered, but not in the Château of Montcigoux, and not by his brother.

Ernest had indeed caught the gold bug and emigrated to California in 1850, as the story said. Like all wise 49ers, he focused on selling things to the masses hoping to strike it rich, not on panning for gold himself. Apparently he was quite successful and respected, but these were dangerous times and on February 26th, 1862, Ernest was found dead in Cave City, Calaveras county.

In Calveras county records Aumasson found that Ernest’s sister gave a statement to an investigating judge. She said her brother had left the day before at nine in the morning carrying 2.6 kilos (5.7 pounds) in gold. His body was found by a neighbor just half a mile from his Cave City home. The gold was gone. The next morning his horse returned home alone.

The murder got a blurb in the Stockton Daily Independent newspaper.

A French merchant named De Fontambert, who has for years done business at Cave City in Calaveras county, was early last week murdered by some ruffians for $1,500 in gold dust which he was carrying to San Andreas for exchange. This is the second time within two years that Mr. De Fontambert’s life was attempted by robbers. He was a most estimable gentleman, highly educated, polished in his manners and a member of a distinguished French family.

Aumasson also found that Ernest was married, a fact entirely elided in favor of the incest angle. He’d been married to Thérese de Tessieres for 10 years before he left for California. Thérese stayed behind and helped manage the estate when Ernest was gone. Ernestine corresponded with her regularly. One letter from 1855 survives and it’s apparently very affectionate. Thérese died in 1860, two years before her long-distance husband was murdered. It would have been exceptionally challenging for Ernest to have knocked up his sister five times in the active presence of his wife and other siblings. Besides Aumasson checked the local records and found five babies born to the family had died of natural causes and been buried on the estate in an entirely above-board fashion. Oh, and her name wasn’t Ernestine. It was Catherine.

Catherine stayed in California another three years after her brother’s death. When she returned to France in 1865, she had a significant sum of 600 francs on her and seemed fine at first. Her sister Hortense welcomed her warmly and she stayed with her in Paris before returning to Montcigoux. Then things went awry. Catherine decided she would go to Paris, but when she missed the train to Limoges, she decided to just walk the 300 miles to the capital. She was found 100 miles away in Chateauroux. In 1866, the family were granted guardianship of their unstable sister. She died the next year.

Aumasson’s research bummed out the locals who love their lore and their skeleton which is kept in a glass-topped box almost like a relic of a saint, but it also inspired the authorities to finally take a look at the bones. On Monday, police packed up the whole box and transported the remains the Institute for Criminal Research of the national police of Cergy-Pontoise. There the bones will be examined forensically in an attempt to determine the individual’s age, sex and possible cause of death.

Gilbert Chabaud, who has owned the Montcigoux manor since 1977 and is the mayor of the hamlet of some 400 inhabitants, said he was sad to say goodbye to “Ernest”.

But Chabrol reassured the townsfolk: “As soon as he has had these little tests, he will return to his place. We will return him to the village.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Event Report: Debatable Lands’ Baronial Investiture

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-02-17 20:08

Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope reports on the Debatable Lands’ Baronial Investiture.

Though the temperatures were bitterly cold outside and some gentles who traveled from northern climes like the Rhydderich Hael, Thescorre, Delftwood, and Coppertree battled snow squalls on their way, the warmth and friendship in the hall at the Investiture of Maistir Brandubh Ó Donnghaile and Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann as 8th Baron and Baroness of the Debatable Lands on February 13, A.S. L, more than made up for the weather.

The day began with Their Excellencies, Baron Uilliam mac an t’Saoir and Baroness Constance Glyn Dŵr, holding their last court. After bestowing Comets for service, arts, and martial skill on various gentles, they inducted THLord Jorundr hinn Rotinn into the Order of Copernicus, the Debatable Lands’ order for extraordinary service, in recognition of Jorundr’s diverse works as a cook, pursuivant, fencing marshal, archery marshal, and thrown weapons marshal. They then gave heartfelt thanks to the people of their barony for supporting them as Baron and Baroness, to which their populace responded with a standing ovation.

Baron Liam and Baroness Constance thank their people at their last court. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.

After praising their service, the Imperatori, Tindal Augustus and Etain Augusta, divested Liam and Constance of the Debatable Lands’ baronial coronets and bestowed Court Baronies upon them, with coronets made by THLady Summaya al Ghaziya and Don Anais Fenne.

Then, finding Their Barony-Marche lacking leaders, the Imperatori called forth the Seneschal of the Debatable Lands, Master Alaric MacConnal. He presented a petition, calligraphed by THLord Kieran MacRae and signed by a host of the Barony’s citizens, imploring the Crown to appoint Maistir Brandubh Ó Donnghaile and Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann as their new Baron and Baroness.

Finding the petition in order and the will of the populace clear, Their Majesties called the Baron- and Baroness-elect forth.

Maistir Brandubh and Mistress Hilderun processed in and swore their fealty on the sword of state. Their oath:

We Brandubh et Hilderun, eighth in the line of succession of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands, do hereby swear to you, Tindal et Etain Augustus et Augusta Aethelmearcorum:

To serve and protect this Barony and its peoples, as stewards appointed by the Crown, and selected by its members; to represent the words of the Crown to the people of this Barony, its Canton and College; and to mobilize it to the defense and enrichment of the Kingdom.

We also swear to represent the populace to Crown, to voice their concerns, to praise their works, and to ensure that their rights and traditions are upheld.  Hic sumus quia credunt. For we are here because they believe.

All of the past Barons of the Debatable Lands who were present, which included Prince Byron and Princess Ariella, gathered to witness as the Imperatori then crowned Brandubh and Hilderun as eighth Baron and Baroness of the Debatable Lands, to the cheers of the populace.

Brandubh and Hilderun are invested as 8th Baron and Baroness of the Debatable Lands. Photo by Lady Silence de Cherbourg.

With royal court then suspended, gentles went in search of games, companionship, and the luncheon sideboard provided by THLady Cassandra Matis and her crew. There was a display of baronial history, an embroidery round table, order meetings for the Fleur and Millrind, and the Baronial Arts and Sciences Champion competition, which attracted many fine entries. Some of those entries are shown below.

Finnish spiral embroidery by Duchess Siobhán inghean uí Liatháin. Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Court Barony scrolls for Liam and Constance, illumination by Master Alaric MacConnal, calligraphy by THLady Rachel Dalicieux. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Alfajores de Medina Sidonia (Spanish sweets) by Lady Luceta di Cosimo. Photo by Lady Valentina de la Volpe.

Embroidered cloak made by Mistress Irene von Schmetterling. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Calligraphed scroll on parchment by THLord Kieran MacRae. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Pewter casting by Lady Edana the Red. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Illuminated borders by Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Kumihimo by THLady Hara Kikumatsu. Photo by Lady Valentina.

Rings made by Lord O’no Kuma. Photo by Lady Valentina.

Banner made by THLord Ishiyama Gen’tarou Yori’ie. Photo by Lady Valentina.

Headdress made by Lady Dominique Von Weissenthurn. Photo by Lady Valentina.

Norse Embroidery by Hrefna fruthikona Thorgrimsdottir. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson (cropped)

– Illumination by THLady Anlaith ingen Trena. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Scroll by Lady Edana the Red. Photo by Lady Valentina.

Knitted glove in progress by Mistress Irene von Schmetterling. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Performance of John Downland’s “Say Love” by the Debatable Choir, video by Lord Robert Pour Maintenant.

Later, all of the Debatable Lands’ Barons who were present gathered for a portrait. Baron Brandubh wore a cloak owned by Baron Leonard the Younger, who could not attend, while Baroness Hilderun’s necklace included some beads that had belonged to the late Baroness Tatyana the Kushka.

Former and current Barons of the Debatable Lands: Back row: Baron Liam and Baroness Constance, Baron Langdon and Baroness Ardis. Front row: Prince Byron and Princess Ariella, Baron Brandubh and Baroness Hilderun, Baron Alonzio, and Countess Genevieve. Photo by Mistress Ts’vee’a.

Their Excellencies sat in state for much of the afternoon. Over the course of the day, there was also a raffle for various objects made or donated by members of the Barony, with numerous items ranging from hand woven trim to baskets of edible goodies to a massage. The raffle was organized by Lady Abbatissa of Banbury and Lady Alimé bint Yorgi.

The Debatable Choir performed a short concert of renaissance music, and afternoon court began with the new Baron and Baroness being granted leave by Their Majesties to hold their court.

Baron Brandubh and Baroness Hilderun gave Comets to various deserving gentles, and announced slight changes to the names of the baronial awards, as is traditional in the Debatable Lands when new Barons are invested. The arts award is now the Silver Comet, the martial award is now the Iron Comet, and the Green Comet given to friends of the barony is reverting to its old name of Cometis Amicus (though all three will retain their traditional colors of blue and silver, red, and green). The Gold Comet, for service, will continue with no change. As Their Excellencies gave each type of award, they had members of the populace who engaged in that area stand, and then presented them to the Crown as proof of the might, artistic talent, and service of the Debatable Lands.

Master William Parris and members of the Academy of Defense came forward, and with the sponsorship of Master Will, Mistress Irene von Schmetterling, and Don Corwyn Montgomery, they named Sir Kadan Chákhilgan Ger on Echen a Free Scholar of the Academy for his great skill and scholarship in rapier combat.

Sir Kadan is made a Free Scholar of the Academy of Defense. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

Their Excellencies then called Lady Hara Kikumatsu, their Baronial Arts and Sciences Champion, to discuss the competition to choose a new A&S Champion. They announced that the populace choice went to Duchess Siobhán inghean uí Liatháin for her Finnish spiral embroidery. Her Excellency was most impressed by the extensive documentation Her Grace included with her entry, and asked her to serve as alternate Baronial A&S Champion. The Baron and Baroness then announced that their choice as Champion: THLord Kieran MacRae, whose amazingly tiny calligraphed entry also included detailed documentation. His Lordship will represent the Barony in the Seven Pearls Champions’ Inter-Baronial competition in St. Swithin’s Bog in August.

Lady Hara, Duchess Siobhán, and THLord Kieran. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Excellencies next requested the presence of the members of the Chivalry and Order of Defense from the Debatable Lands. Noting that they are the first non-combatant couple to rule the Barony-Marche, Brandubh and Hilderun asked the Knights and Master if they would advise Their Excellencies in matters of fighting and war, and also fight with the baronial unit in at least one battle at Pennsic, if they were able. They readily agreed, and were sung out of court by the choir’s performance of the new Baronial “Fight Song,” Marce Baroniae, with words in Latin by Lord Robert MacEwin of Thornhill.

Tokens given to the scribes in honor of Countess Aidan.

Their Excellencies then called the Order of the Copernicus before them, to note with sadness that the person they wished to induct was no longer with us. Baroness Hilda explained that Countess Aidan ni Leir, who passed away last September, had not only been a pillar of their Canton of Steltonwald, and a proud member of the Barony, but also a prolific scribe. She reported that just in the past decade, over 400 scrolls had been given by the Barons and Baronesses of the Debatable Lands, and out of those, fully 1/5 had been crafted by Countess Aidan, with many more created for the Kingdom as well. To commemorate her induction into the Order of Copernicus, Their Excellencies called forth the scribes who had made scrolls for the day’s court, and Baroness Hilda bestowed upon them tokens for each scroll the scribe had made, a chain and a small letter A for Aidan, hung upon a comet-shaped wire hanger, made by Duchess Siobhán. Their Excellencies announced that they would be recognizing their scribes thus for the duration of their reign, in honor of Countess Aidan’s memory.

The Autocrat of the event, THLady Isabel Fleuretan, came forward to thank her staff and make a few announcements including the names of the winners of the raffle. The populace gasped and cheered when Her Ladyship further announced that the raffle had brought in over $900 for the barony’s coffers.

Lady Alethea Cowle receives a Keystone. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.

Baronial Court being ended, Their Majesties Tindal and Etain held Their Royal Court, bestowing awards on numerous worthy gentles. Notable among those was a Keystone given to Lady Alethea Cowle, age 13, who gives out scroll cases to award recipients at courts and helps in kitchens, having done so since she was very small.

They also called forth Duke Adhemar (formerly Duc Henri d’Artois), who had given up his Knight’s belt at Pennsic. After expressing contrition for acts he deemed unworthy, Duke Adhemar accepted the baldric of a Master at Arms and was re-admitted to the Order  of Chivalry.

The Imperatori also recognized Lord Madison Morai and Lord Eoin MacPadraig as members of the Order of the Gage for their skill in rattan combat, and bestowed a belated scroll on THLord Darian Valski for the Gage he received at Pennsic in A.S. XLVIIII.

After Court, as some gentles headed out into the cold and snow for their treks home, many others remained to partake of the splendid feast cooked by THLady Cassandra Matis and her staff, which featured various smoked meats, spätzle, root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, and pizzelles served with homemade marmalade and mascarpone cream.

Vivant to the new Baron and Baroness of the Debatable Lands, Brandubh and Hilderun!

Baron Brandubh and Baroness Hilderun. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.


Categories: SCA news sites

Unofficial Court Report: Schola in the Shire

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2016-02-17 18:15

On a cold Saturday Their Majesties Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri did pay a visit to their Shire of Caer Adamant, and attended the Schola in the Shire on 13 February AS L.

In the afternoon they did hold court, joined by Her Highness Avelina.

Their Majesties invited into their court Their Highnesses Alexandre and Eularia, Prince and Princess of Insulae Draconis, a Principality of the far off Kingdom of Drachenwald.  Their Highnesses presented gifts to Their Majesties and joined them in their court.

Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri invited into their court Myles of Caer Adamant.  They named him a Page of the Court, inducting him into the Order of the Tygers Cub.  He received a medallion and a scroll by Mari clock van Hoorne.

The order not yet complete, Their Majesties invited into court Henry of Caer Adamant.  They named him a Page of the Court, inducted him into the Order and presented him with a medallion.

Still incomplete, Their Majesties called forth Maeve O’Morain.  She was named a Page of the Court, inducted into the Order of the Tygers Cub, presented a medallion and a scroll by Brangwyne of Wentworth

Her Majesty Caoilfhionn called forth the children who participated in her Service Initiative.  They were presented with a token.

Then did Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri call before them all of the children in attendance.  His Majesty invited Thorson to come take-up the toybox, and the children gave chase to the great delight of all in attendance.

Their Majesties welcomed into their court Valentina Amore.  She was thus made a Lady of the Court and Awarded Arms.  She received a scroll featuring calligraphy and illumination by Wulfgar Silfraharr and words by Theodora Bryennisa, called Treannah.

Next did Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri invite into court representatives of the Shire of Caer Adamant.  Their Majesties received several gifts, and expressed to the Shire members their gratitude for their excellent hospitality and generosity.

Their Majesties called forth the companions of the Order of the Silver Wheel.  The order still new and incomplete, they invited into their court Xanthippe Ouranina.  She was inducted into the Order of the Silver Wheel, presented with a medallion and received a scroll by Aaradyn Ghyoot.

To further the order, Their Majesties invited Lianor de Matos into their court.  She was inducted into the Order of the Silver Wheel, and received a medallion and a scroll by Nest verch Tangwistel.

Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri called before them Elizabet Marshall.  They had business on behalf of Her Majesty Thorkatla of Meridies.  In her name they presented Elizabet with a Meridian Majesty, a token from Queen Thorkatla and a scroll by Caterina Coeur Noir Meridies.

Next Their Majesties welcomed all the newcomers attending their first, second or third ever event.  They received a token to remember the day by, and thanked for joining the Kingdom.

Their Majesties invited before them Shoshana Gryffyth.  The spoke of her long service to the Kingdom, and then called forth the Order of the Silver Crescent.  She was inducted into the order, and received a medallion.

As this Order is never complete, next did Their Majesties call forward Veronica Rosso.  The inducted her into the Order of the Silver Crescent, presenting her a medallion and a scroll by Magdalena Lantfarerin.

The Order as yet incomplete, Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri called into their court Hassanah bint al-Khalil ibn Habib.  They inducted her into the Order, presented her with a medallion and a scroll with illumination by Kis Maria, called Mika, calligraphy by Jonathan Blaecstan and words by Dietrich Schwelgengräber.

Still was the order incomplete.  Their Majesties invited into their court Livia Petralia.  She was thus inducted into the Order of the Silver Crescent, presented with a medallion and a scroll featuring illumination by Ellesbeth Donofrey, calligraphy by Jonathan Blaecstan and words by Antonii Machinevik.

At the start of the day Their Majesties had called forward Mael Eoin mac Echuid.  At Yule at the Palazzo they had presented him with a writ to consider joining the Order of the Pelican.  Having sat vigil during the day, the called him into court to present his answer.  He answered in the affirmative.  The Order came forward, and thus was Mael Eoin inducted into the Order of the Pelican.  He received several medallions, a cap and coat, and a scroll by Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova with words by Alexandre Lerot d’Avigne.

The day of revelry and classes complete, The Court of Their Majesties Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri was closed.


Malcolm Bowman – Eastern Crown Herald

A Thank You to the additional heralds for court – Elizabeth Eleanore Lovell and Yehuda ben Moshe.

Special Addendum:  The words for Mathias Grunwald’s Queen’s Order of Courtesy, given at 12th Night, were composed by Lucien de Pontivy and Aildreda de Tamworthe.

Filed under: Court Tagged: court report

Historian Needs Help with Æthelmearc 50 Year Display!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-02-17 10:46

Greetings unto the populace of sylvan Æthelmearc from Dame Hrefna Ulfvarinnsdottir, the Kingdom Historian.

As you may know, the SCA has turned 50, and there is a large event, the 50 Year Celebration, coming up in June 17-27, 2016 in the Kingdom of the Middle to celebrate this milestone. A big part of this celebration includes a History Hall. The event organizers have asked each Kingdom to create a display to be featured in this hall so we can come together and learn about the Kingdoms that make up our great Society.

Their Highnesses Byron and Ariella have charged me with putting together this display, and I am asking the populace to help with this project. I’m looking for the following:

  • Suggestions on what this display should include.
  • Volunteers to help design the display.
  • People to transport display items to and from the event.
  • Individuals who can help set up and tear down the display.
  • Possibly volunteers to man the display to answer questions about our kingdom.
  • Setting up drop off points for items people wish to loan to the display.

I would also like to get an idea of who is planning to attend 50 Year. To help out with this, please join us on Facebook in the group, Æthelmearc Goes to 50 Year Celebration!, which can be found here. This group will allow us to organize our presence through the sharing of information and the making of travel plans. Invite your friends to join today.

The event staff is planning to have volunteers on hand for loading/unloading as well and they will staff the History Hall with docents to help keep an eye on the displays. We are still waiting on some final details from the organizers such as the number and size of tables we will have but we do know that we will have a 20’x10’ space. I have included a FAQ sheet with the information that has been provided so far. It is divided into three sections: What the event organizers are asking for, what they recommend, and what they are providing.

FAQ Sheet (this will also be posted as a document and updated as more info is validated):

Each Kingdom will be allotted a 20 (length) x 10’ (Depth) space located in the Hendricks Power Exposition Hall.

We are asking that all displays include the following:
o A banner or sign displaying the name of the Kingdom
o A large Kingdom device displaying the arms of the Kingdom
o King and Queen Lineage on a large easily readable display
o Pictures or items that are a part of the Kingdom’s history (example: coronets, gowns, casting molds from important items, mantles, old armor, new armor etc.)
o A 10 minute video on the history and traditions of the Kingdom (Please keep videos positive and uplifting, use proper SCA photo release forms and send digital copies of forms to Kelly Magill at questrix@gmail.com)

Recommended but not required:
o Any written Kingdom histories
o Peerage Lineage
o Displays of Kingdom traditions
o Kingdom songs recorded or written for viewing and listening
o Lists and depictions of Kingdom level awards
o Maps of territories, baronies, shires etc.
o All the things that make your Kingdom unique!!

What will be provided by the event staff:
-Half of a jewelry case: 18″ width x 26″ long and 13″ high
-1 or 2 sides of a large poster holder that fits 18 poster board (22×24 in) up to 2 inch depth frames, posters or other items. Because of the placement of kingdoms around the building your kingdom may have 1 or 2 sides available. When our floor diagram is done we will let each kingdom know.
-1 roll of duct tape
-3 ladders will be on site, we will have to share as these are personal ladders.
-2-4 electrical outlets depending on location.

You can reach me at ae.historian@aethelmearc.org or call me at 304-886-1234. I look forward to hearing your suggestions for this project. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

In Service,
Dame Hrefna Ulfvarinnsdottir
Æthelmearc Kingdom Historian

Categories: SCA news sites

Lost cantata by Mozart and Salieri found in Prague

History Blog - Wed, 2016-02-17 00:19

A long-lost composition co-written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri has been rediscovered in the Czech National Museum in Prague. German musicologist and composer Timo Jouko Herrmann found the piece last month while doing research on Antonio Salieri in the collection of the Czech Museum of Music. It’s a libretto written by Lorenzo Da Ponte, a Venetian priest and poet who wrote the librettos for three of Mozarts most beloved operas — Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and Così fan tutte — and published by printer to the Imperial court in Vienna Joseph von Kurzböck. Very unusually for a libretto, this one includes the sheet music in a simple piano arrangement. Mozart and Salieri’s names do not appear anywhere in the pamphlet, only their initials in the musical notation identifying which measures were written by which composer. There is also a third composer credited, one Cornetti, who is unknown under that name.

The piece is entitled Per la Ricuperata Salute di Ofelia (“For the recovered health of Ophelia”) and was written in 1785. The Ophelia in question was Nancy Storace, an English coloratura soprano who was friends with and muse to both Mozart and Salieri. The daughter of Stefano Storace, an Italian double bass player and composer who would become the musical director of Vauxhall Gardens in London, and Elizabeth Trusler, daughter of the owner of the concert venue Marylebone Gardens, Nancy was a musical prodigy from a very young age. She gave her first public performance when she was eight years old and debuted at London’s Haymarket Theatre the next year. Her older brother Stephen was also a child prodigy, taught by his father to play violin so expertly that by the age of 10 he was performing the most complex, difficult pieces of the time.

Stefano sent Stephen to Naples to study composition and in 1778 Nancy and her parents joined him there. Nancy traveled to Venice to take voice lessons from composer Antonio Sacchini and began getting professional gigs, rapidly rising from minor parts to leads and becoming something of a sensation. While still a teenager in 1782 she performed the role of Dorina in the Milan premiere of Giuseppe Sarti’s opera Fra I Due Litiganti Il Terzo Gode, a part that Sarti wrote specifically for her, to great acclaim.

When in 1783 Austrian Emperor Joseph II decided to put together a company dedicated to performances of Italian opera buffa (comic opera), he snapped up the 18-year-old Nancy Storace for his prima donna. Her brother Stephen came on as a composer. The inaugural production of the emperor’s new Italian Opera company was La Scuola de’ Gelosi by Antonio Salieri. Nancy played the lead role of the Countess. She enchanted audiences and composers alike with her talent and beauty.

Stefano Storace had died in 1780 or 1781, so Nancy’s mother Elizabeth went with her children to Vienna in 1783. Elizabeth arranged for her daughter to marry composer John Abraham Fisher who was 22 years her senior, more than double her age. It was an unmitigated disaster. Within months after their wedding on March 24th, 1784, rumors were flying around Vienna that Fisher was physically abusing Nancy. Emperor Joseph banished Fisher from the city and that was the end of the marriage, but the consequences of this ill-fated match far outlasted it.

In June of 1785, Stephen Storace’s first opera, Gli Sposi Malcontenti premiered with Nancy in the lead. Suddenly, in the middle of an aria, Nancy lost her voice. The performance had to be cut short. A few weeks later she gave birth to a daughter, Josepha Fisher. Elizabeth Storace wanted nothing to do with the child. She left her with a foundling hospital and reportedly announced that neither she nor Nancy cared if Josepha lived or died. The baby girl only lived a month.

It took Nancy five months for her voice to recover enough for her to be able to perform again. On October 12th, 1785, she returned to the stage singing the part of Ofelia in Salieri’s opera La Grotta di Trofonio. To celebrate her return, Mozart, Salieri and the mysterious Cornetti (possibly Nancy’s brother Stephen) composed Per la Ricuperata Salute di Ofelia. Unfortunately Nancy’s health was not fully recovered. It’s a testament to how beloved she was that Mozart and Salieri both tweaked their operas to accommodate her new vocal limitations. Mozart worked with her on the music for The Marriage of Figaro which debuted on May 1st, 1786, with Nancy as Susanna. He had to lower the pitch of certain parts to ensure Nancy’s voice would hold up.

Less than a year later, Nancy left Vienna to return to London. Mozart wrote the aria Ch’io mi scordi di te? (“You ask that I forget you?”) for her farewell concert in Vienna on February 23rd, 1787. Nancy Storace went on to have a very successful career in London, but her voice never was the same.

We know from period newspaper ads that copies of Per la Ricuperata Salute di Ofelia were printed and distributed in Vienna by music publishers Artaria & Co., but none were known to survive. Not even the text of Da Ponte’s libretto, a 30 stanza pastoral poem, could be found. The rediscovery of Per la Ricuperata Salute di Ofelia underscores that Mozart and Salieri were on good terms in 1785, even though a few years earlier Mozart had written in letters to his father of his frustration with the Italian cabal at the Viennese court. He thought Salieri, Da Ponte and other Italians who had the ear of the Emperor were blocking his ascent, but by 1785 Mozart was well-established and was working closely with said Italians. Salieri would go out of his way to express approval of Mozart’s work, even directing performances of several of his compositions.

Nonetheless, decades after Mozart’s premature death rumors were rife that Salieri had poisoned his rival. The rumor was immortalized in art when, six years after Salieri’s 1825 death, revered Russian poet Alexander Pushkin wrote a verse drama Mozart and Salieri that posited Salieri as the bitterly jealous poisoner of the greater man. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov set the play to music in the opera Mozart and Salieri, and playwright Peter Shaffer based his 1979 play Amadeus on Pushkin’s drama. That in turn was adapted for film in the Oscar-winning movie of the same name directed by Miloš Forman. So now when people think of Mozart and Salieri they think of a rivalry unto the death, when in fact the two men were on quite good terms. When it came to Nancy Storace, they were even collaborators.

And now, possibly for the first time and certainly for the first time in centuries, here is Per la Ricuperata Salute di Ofelia by Wolfgang Mozart and Antonio Salieri, played on the harpsichord by Lukas Vendl.

I can’t speak Czech and there are no functioning English subtitles, so I have no idea what this Czech National Museum curator is saying, but she flips through the pages of the rediscovered work very slowly and the quality of the film is good enough that you can get an excellent look at the libretto and the fold-out music.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report: Feast of the Seven Deadly Sins, Barony of Delftwood

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2016-02-16 18:09

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Magnus Tindal and Etain II, basileos kai basilissa Æthelmearc: the Business of Their Court at Baronial Investiture and the Feast of the 7 Deadly Sins, 6 February Anno Societatis L, in the Barony of Delftwood. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, and Gwendolyn the Graceful, Brehyres, with the assistance of THL Sophie Davenport, Seedling Pursuivant, THL Gytha Oggesdottir, Silent Herald, and Marcellus Titus Cincinnatus.

In the morning, accompanied by Their Excellencies Fergus and Helene, Baron and Baroness of Delftwood, as recorded by Kameshima Silver Buccle:

Lord Rundwulf was awarded the Sigil of Æthelmearc for his service as guard to the Empress.

Photo by Master Fridrikr

THL Gytha Oggesdottir was granted an Award of Excellence for the example that she sets to all those she meets, especially newcomers, and for her service as a silent herald. Scroll by Lady Vivienne of Yardley.

Baroness Anastasie de l’Amoure came forward to announce all those who had earned recognition as part of the recent Archery challenge, and presented tokens to Abiorn of Delftwood, Alaric MacConnal,

Photo by Michele Vicchito

Alexander of Delftwood, Anastasie de l’Amoure, Arianna of Wynthrope, Artimis Magnus, Aurelio Baldasare, Beth of Delftwood, Boris Dragonsbane, Brandubh O’Donnghaille, Connal MacAodh, Corwin Templeton, Edward Harbinger, Eoin MacCogadhain, Floki of Angel’s Keep, Hrolfr Fjarfell, Katheryn Tantzel, Seamus Rogan, Takamatsu Yoshitaka and Ulfgrima Tannadotter.

The Imperatori presented gifts to Their Excellencies, then granted them leave to conduct their final business.

Their Excellencies presented themselves to the Imperatori, for Her Excellency had been having many bad dreams, and they wished to consult the Oracle of Delftwood for guidance. The Oracle was summoned, and interpreted Her Excellency’s dreams, informing them that His Excellency was required to quest far from home to slay a great beast. Her Excellency stated that she would stay by his side through his quest, but both Their Excellencies were concerned what would become of their dear Delftwood without its Baron and Baroness. They petitioned the Imperatori to appoint such good people in their stead that would guide the Barony after Their Excellencies had left. The Imperatori granted this request and divested the Baron and Baroness of their coronets.

Photo by Master Fridrikr

Master Benedict Fergus atte Mede and THL Helene al-Zar’qa were created Baron and Baroness of the Court for their service as the Baron and Baroness of Delftwood. Scrolls by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova.

The Windmill Thrones being empty, the Imperatori sought counsel and news from the Seneschale of Delftwood, Meisterin Felicitas Flußmüllnerin. Meisterin Felicitas confirmed that the people of Delftwood had made their voices heard in an election in keeping with Society, Kingdom and Baronial Law and Policy, and had selected two from among their number to lead them. The Imperatori then called for THL Marcus Claudius Cincinnatus and Dame Desiderata Drake, invested them with the Baronial Coronets of Delftwood and named them Proprietarii of the Barony.

Photo by Master Fridrikr

In the evening, accompanied by Their Excellencies Marcus and Desiderata, Baron and Baroness of Delftwood, as reported by Gwendolyn:

Photo by Master Fridrikr

Their Majesties inducted Fela Flußmüllerin into Their Order of the Silver Buccle. Scroll by Lady Maria Adriane.

The children of the kingdom were invited to entertain themselves with activities and toys under the supervision of Baroness Clarice Roan while the adults conducted the business of the Court.

Their Majesties gave leave to the Baron and Baroness of Delftwood to conduct their Baronial Court.

The Honorable Lord Ruslan Igorovich Voronov was presented with the scroll commemorating his induction into Their Order of the Gage, previously awarded to him. Scroll by Lady Mary Elizabeth Clason.

Baron Malcolm Fitzwilliam was given an Award of Excellence for his continued support to the Crown. Scroll by Juliana of Angel’s Keep.

Baroness Susanna Thornton was given an Award of Excellence for her continued support to the Crown. Scroll by Lady Amalie Reinhardt.

Catherine O’Herlihy was given a Queen’s Award of Excellence for her industry and service since returning to the kingdom. Scroll forthcoming.

Their Majesties called before them Baroness Anastasia de l’Amoure, Baron Edward Harbinger, Joan Madison, Lady Kalishka, THL Matheus Hundamaðr, THL Ruslan Igorovich Voronov, Lord Sigurdr Issolfsson, THL Úlfr hinn svarti Júzki, and Lady Zinovia Ivanova, and bestowed upon them Sigils of Æthelmearc in thanks for their service to the reign.

Lady Aledis Lanen was made a Companion of the Order of the Golden Alce in absentia, for her skill with thrown weapons and service as a Thrown Weapons Marshal. Mistress Oðindisa Býkona accepted the award on her behalf and promised to convey meaningful words from the Emperor. Scroll by Master Caleb Reynolds.

Lord Corwin Alexander Templeton was created a Companion of the Order of the Golden Alce for his service as Archery Champion to the Barony of Delftwood, as well as his skill with rapier. Scroll will be forthcoming.

Ixac ben Simone was awarded Arms for his many acts of service. Scroll by Lady Vivienne of Yardley.

Lady Amalie Reinhardt was inducted into the Order of the Sycamore for her many works of calligraphy and illumination, bardic arts, cooking, brewing, jewelry making, and the making of largesse rings. Scroll in progress by The Honorable Lady Renata Rouge.

The Imperatori then awarded Lady Amalie a Sigil of Æthelmearc in thanks for her service as the web minister for Their website.

Photo by Michele Vicchitto

The Imperatori also called Meißterin Felicity Flüßmüllerin, Lord Finnr Jafnkollr, THL Fridrich Flüßmüllnerin, Barnoness Helene al-Zarqá, Lady Lijsbet de Keukere, Lady Katerina Beckerin, Lady Margaret Grace, and Lady Saskia Feldmeyrin into Their Presence and introduced them as members of the Guild of Saint Lucy’s, a sewing guild. These gentles were awarded Sigils of Æthelmearc for the garb that they provided to the Imperatori during Their reign.

The Empress also announced that the Guild had helped Her make favors, and that She would be distributing favors after Court to the accompaniment of Delftwood’s Baronial Bard.

Ghita Rinaldi de Amici was created a Companion of the Order of the Keystone and Awarded Arms for her commitment to assisting at the Pennsic troll, as well as other service. Scroll by Lady Rozalia Krawczkowia.

Lady Wylde Wysse was also inducted into the Order of the Keystone for her tireless work on raffles within the Barony of Delftwood, as well as other donations of time, talent, and largesse. She was presented with a scroll bearing the illumination and calligraphy of THL Ismay Ponde, text by Count Jehan de la Marche.

Photo by Michele Vicchitto

Countess Caryl Olesdattir and Earl Sir Yngvar the Dismal were awarded Sigils of Æthelmearc for their service to the Imperatori. It was further made known to the populace that all the Sigils which the Imperatori distributed at the day’s Court had been made by the hand of Countess Caryl.

The Imperatori summoned Their Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc into Their presence and there awaited the reappearance of Lady Lijsbet de Keukere from the kitchens, at which time, They elevated her to Companionship in that Order and Granted her Arms. She was presented with a medallion from Meesteress Odriana vander Brugghe. Scroll by Lady Vivienne of Yardley.

The Empress Etain then recognized several throughout the day who had inspired Her.

The Emperor Magnus Tindal thanked all scribes and medallion wrights who had contributed their talents and largesse to enhance the Court’s proceedings.

There being no further business, the Court of the Imperatori was closed.

Photo by Master Fridrikr

Categories: SCA news sites

Astronaut graffiti found in Apollo 11 command module

History Blog - Tue, 2016-02-16 00:05

Smithsonian staff have discovered graffiti written on the inside walls of the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia. The command module, the only part of the Apollo 11 spacecraft to return to Earth after Neil Armstrong took that giant step for mankind on July 20th, 1969, was transferred to the National Air and Space Museum in 1970. It is on display in the Milestones of Flight Hall but visitors and scholars can only see the outside of it. To allow people to explore the inside of the historic vessel, experts with the Smithsonian’s 3D Digitization Program have been 3D scanning the command module. It was during the scanning process that the notes left by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins during the first manned lunar landing voyage were seen for the first time in 50 years.

The writings include numerical calculations, a calendar, labels and notes. One panel to left of the sextant and telescope has figures and other notes copied from Houston mission control audio transmissions. Researchers will compare the notes to recordings and transcripts of the voice transmissions to determine who took the notes, when and what the figures mean. Initial comparisons have already found that the notes on the right side of the lower panel are coordinates sent from mission control that were estimates (inaccurate ones, as it happens) of the Lunar Module’s location on the Moon. The main control panel is also peppered with notes, mainly numbers, which will also be compared to mission control records in order to figure out their meaning and author.

Some of the notes show how the astronauts had to think on their feet and improvise a little once they were in space. NASA had detailed lists of where everything was to be stored and there are stowage maps on the walls of the command module. The astronauts took liberties with the plans, however, and wrote their own labels on several of the lockers. One of the stowage lockers, for example, was meant to store equipment related to the waste management system, but the astronauts repurposed it to hold filled urine bags from launch day before the waste disposal system was operational. They wisely labeled the locker with its contents so there would be no nasty surprises.

The calendar is my favorite because it captures the very human excitement of the moment. It’s a small rectangle with two rows of seven boxes. Nine of the boxes have dates in them, the dates of the mission, July 16th through 24th. All of the dates are crossed out except for the last one. Splashdown day never did get crossed off.

“As curator of what is arguably one of the most iconic artifacts in the entire Smithsonian collection, it’s thrilling to know that we can still learn new things about Columbia,” said Allan Needell, curator of space history at the museum. “This isn’t just a piece of machinery, it’s a living artifact.”

Laser scanning the interior and exterior of this living artifact has not been an easy task. Made primarily of aluminum alloy, stainless steel and titanium, the Apollo 11 command module is one big reflective surface which the scanners have difficulty reading. Add to that the complexity of the dashboards with their multiple small, delicate switches and indicators and buttons and the standard 3D capture tools weren’t going to cut it.

Because of the complicated nature of this scan, the Smithsonian 3D team brought in its technology partner, Autodesk Inc. Autodesk, a leader in cloud-based design and engineering software, deployed specially designed equipment to scan the artifact, and its advanced Memento software was able to process complex data from multiple 3-D capture devices to create one highly detailed and accurate model.

The model is a work in progress at the moment. It’s scheduled to be completed in June when it will be uploaded to the Smithsonian’s excellent 3d.si.edu site. That same month a major renovation of the Milestones of Flight Hall will be finished and the Apollo 11 Command Module will be temporarily taken off view. It will go back on display in 2020 in the museum’s new, state-of-the-art Destination Moon exhibition. The 3D model will be used to create an interactive display for the new exhibition.

Here is an early preview of the 3D model still in progress.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Valentine’s Day Muster Report

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2016-02-15 15:53

On February 14, A.S. L, Prince Byron and Princess Ariella hosted a heavy weapons muster in the Debatable Lands. 63 fighters came to do battle. The first two hours featured a round robin tourney for unbelted fighters, plenty of pickup fights, and youth combat with a dozen adult fighters taking the opportunity to acquire or renew their warrants as youth sparring marshals.

Photo by Lady Maggie Ru

Then Imperator Magnus Tindal, who Prince Byron and Princess Ariella announced last fall will serve as their Warlord for Pennsic 45, gathered the fighters together to discuss the plans for the day. He began by recognizing two fighters who had been absent when they received awards at the previous day’s Debatable Lands Baronial Investiture but were present at the muster: Wulfgar Ronaldsson and Lord Steffan Einarsson were inducted into the Order of the Golden Alce for their rattan combat skills, with Wulfgar also being Awarded Arms.

Then the melee practices began. First, fighters lined up in two roughly equal teams facing each other. Emperor Tindal counted down from 10, and the melee began. As each battle was completed, fighters were given 30 seconds to return to their line and begin the next melee. The Imperator explained that the goal was to give fighters a limited amount of time to discuss their plans for the next fight rather than rehash what they had just done. Prince Byron noted that while negotiations with other Kingdoms are ongoing, one of the plans for next Pennsic is to have shorter breaks between repetitions of each battle, so the fighters spend less time waiting and more time in combat.

After several rounds of open field melees, the King had fighters count off to seven, and then each of the seven numbered groups formed a small unit. This forced combatants to fight with unfamiliar teammates and commanders, so they learned formations and command language without being able to rely on their normal units and leaders. King Tindal explained that it’s very common for fighters to end up fighting with an unfamiliar unit during a resurrection battle, so it’s important to know how to work with any unit. Each unit took the center of the room and fought every other unit once, then the next unit took the center and fought every other unit, until all of the units had their turn in the center of the room.

For the final exercise, the Warlord created a bridge of orange cones and divided the fighters into two groups to fight a 3/4 speed bridge battle with resurrections. The commanders were not in the battle, but stood along the edge of the bridge and used the slowed down fighting to analyze where fighters were having difficulty with spacing and placement, to prevent crowding and move shields and spears into and out of the kill zone on the bridge. This gave both the fighters and the commanders experience in adjusting their forces as the battle progressed. They also employed pulse charges to work on disrupting the opposing line and see how the fighters handled changing strategies and configurations.

The practice ended with His Majesty bestowing the Order of the Gage on Lord Nikolas the Bastard, to the enthusiastic cheers of the assembled fighters. He noted that the award would be unofficial until it could be read into the record at the next official Court of the Imperatori.

Overall, King Tindal and Their Highnesses were very pleased with the practice. The Warlord explained that since this is the first muster of the season, the primary goals were to familiarize the units with their commanders and with the command structure, as well as to ensure that all fighters understand and use a consistent language of commands. The Augustus said, “This cold month of February is a good time to train in the basics, so that by summer our army will be honing a blade they have already forged.”

Prince Byron believes this muster was more successful than in previous years, almost certainly due to the great work done over the previous year by last Pennsic’s warlord, Sir Steffan Ulfkelson, and then-King Timothy. “Because of the progress made last year, fighters were able to enact plans consistently and follow commands well, especially in the bridge battles, which was great to see,” His Highness said. He also commented that he was pleased to see Mistress Hilderun, the new Baroness of the Debatable Lands, attending the practice as an observer and supporting the troops.

Their Highnesses want to take what was established at the Valentine’s Day Muster and build on it at musters throughout the Kingdom. Prince Byron noted, “Each region needs to learn the same techniques. Reforming of groups after the initial engagement is one area of emphasis, which we’re doing with more and more success.” To that end, he encourages local groups to sponsor musters, especially on Sundays so they don’t conflict with events. “As more musters appear on the calendar, we hope to attend them,” he said.

The Prince and Princess pointed out that a lot of the major heavy weapons events like Blackstone Raids are essentially a form of muster for that region, so they look forward to working on melee training at those events as well as specialty musters.

The Imperator, Princess Ariella, regional commander Sir Arnthor, and Mistress Alex oversee the fighting

In the mean time, King Tindal says he will be attending the Regional Fight Practice in Sterlynge Vayle on March 6th and another muster at the Donnan Party in Ballachlagan on March 26th. The Imperator is also looking forward to attending Estrella War later this month, and fielding a force of about 30 Æthelmearc fighters at Gulf Wars in mid-March.

Prince Byron noted that the Valentines’ Day muster was confined heavy weapons only because the site wasn’t large enough to accommodate rapier as well. However, a series of fencing musters are being coordinated by the Rapier Warlord, Master Donnan, with the next one being hosted by Doña Gabrielle de Winter on March 6 in the Shire of Silva Vulcani. Their Highnesses have been working on their rapier skills for the past month or two and look forward to attending a lot of those fencing musters.

As far as Pennsic is concerned, negotiations are not yet complete, but one major new War Point will be a Populace Thrown Weapons competition in addition to the Thrown Weapons Champions’ Tourney. Their Highnesses will be using the Æthelmearc Thrown Weapons Facebook group for communication on that topic along with email blasts on the Æthelmearc Discussion list and announcements in Æstel and the Gazette.

All photos and video not otherwise credited are by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.


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