Arts & Sciences Research Paper #3. A Small Comparison of the Rapier Styles of Ridolfo Capo Ferro and Salvator Fabris
Our third A&S Research Paper comes to us from Master Donovan Shinnock, of the Shire of Quintavia, and is drawn from his study of the historical masters of rapier fighting. (Prospective future contributors, please check out our original Call for Papers.)
A Small Comparison of the Rapier Styles of Ridolfo Capo Ferro and Salvator Fabris
Salvator Fabris and Ridolfo Capo Ferro are two of the most recognizable names in Italian rapier. Fabris’ manual, “Lo Schermo, overo Scienza d’Arme” (“On Fencing, or Knowledge of Arms”) was printed in 1606, sponsored by the King of Denmark. Capo Ferro’s manual, “Gran Simulacro dell’Arte e dell’Uso della Scherma” (“Great Representation of the Art and Use of Fencing”) was published in 1610, in Siena, Tuscany. While Fabris and Capo Ferro both drew on the same basic underpinnings of Italian rapier theory and applied them to the same ends, the application of these principles looks very different. However, despite these visual and mechanical differences, the end results are similar. But even with the similarity of the end results, some interesting differences between the two masters can be found.
We can begin with examining examples of a basic guard stance from each master. Below is a guard from Capo Ferro.
This is what most people think of as a “standard” guard when using a rapier. It is upright with a firm stance, centered weight, and is well balanced. Looking deeper, we can note the backward lean of the torso and the weight shifting slightly backward in the legs. This allows the fighter to refuse a portion of the body in this case, the chest and head as reasonable opening targets for the opponent’s sword.
Below is an example of a guard from Fabris.
While at first glance this guard could not be more different than the one used by Capo Ferro, the core principles are the same. Bending at the hips rather than the back allows for smooth movement. The fighter’s weight is over the feet. Portions of the body are refused as initial targets, though Fabris prefers the lower torso rather than the upper torso.
Refusing areas of the body as initial targets is key to a successful guard; it can dramatically reduce the area that a fighter needs to cover with the weapon, making defense early in the bout much easier to do effectively. This is an important part of both masters’ theories on rapier, which is to say that you should always assure yourself of safety before you worry about attacking your opponent. Consider the overlapping images below:
In these images you can see how each fighter protects a portion of the body by placing it too far back for an initial attack to reasonably reach. While Capo Ferro and Fabris may have different thoughts on how best to accomplish this, and what other benefits may be gained by their stances, the core concept is the same.
At this point in our process, we can begin to see the differences that each master’s posture brings to the fight. Despite the core concepts being identical, the different body postures have their own advantages and disadvantages which will become obvious. Compare each master’s lunge:
Each fighter has fully extended their his arm, leaned his body forward, and taken a step towards his opponent with his right foot. Each fighter has moved his left arm to better facilitate completely profiling the shoulders to reduce available target area for the opponent to strike. Capo Ferro flings the left arm back, whereas Fabris rotates the elbow upwards. While each will accomplish the same primary goal that of bringing the body into profile Fabris’ method leaves the left hand by the face for emergencies, as well as making for a somewhat easier and faster recovery (as the elbow simply needs to be dropped), whereas Capo Ferro’s left arm must be brought from behind the body all the way to the front. That said, flinging the arm behind the body is a much more instinctive motion, and easier to use effectively.
Other key differences appear in the lunges. Below is an image which has Capo Ferro’s guard and lunge overlaid on each other for clarity:
You can see how when a lunge is performed from Capo Ferro’s guard, there is a loss of height, as indicated by the red lines. In sinking his legs into the lunge as well as moving the torso from leaning somewhat back to leaning deeply into the lunge, the fighter is a fair bit lower to the ground at the end of the lunge. This will cause a loss of power in the attack, as the motion is not driven purely in the direction of the opponent. Additionally, note the forearm and the bends in the joints. The wrist especially is not a particularly strong joint and bending it reduces the strength of the attack.
Compare this to Fabris’ guard and lunge.
There is no loss of height when the lunge is performed from Fabris’ guard. This is primarily due to the forwardleaning portion of the posture; in effect, Fabris is almost “prelunging,” which allows more of the force generated from the lunge to be directed into the opponent. This is also seen in the position of the right arm; there is no elbow or wrist bend in evidence, making a stronger foundation for the sword.
Both Capo Ferro and Fabris use the same core concepts of all Italian rapier the four Agrippan guards, defense before attack, measure, tempo, thrusting over cutting, et cetera. Each respective implementation of these concepts allows all of them to be used to the fullest, but the differences in how each master chooses to utilize them bring about important results. Capo Ferro is much more traditional in stance and concept. His learning curve can be much easier because of this, and the stance could even be applied more readily to other weapons or combat styles. While Fabris has a much steeper learning curve due to the postures he prefers, he has also heavily optimised how he fights to specifically use a rapier against opponents also using rapiers. He has, in effect, specialized his application of Italian rapier in a way that Capo Ferro has not. This does not in any way mean that he is necessarily better than Capo Ferro, but that for this specific application of combat, in many ways he is more efficient, with the more difficult postures allowing for smaller and tighter movements.
I must thank Lilias de Cheryngton for her assistance in preparing the illustrations for this paper.
Figures 2 and 6, and the images used to create Figure 8 were taken and modified from: Leoni, Tom. Art of Dueling. Highland Village, TX: Chivalry Bookshelf. 2005. Images used by kind permission of Freelance Academy Press; this particular book is out of print but FAP plans to reissue it in 2016.
Figures 1 and 5, and the images used to create Figure 7 were taken and modified from: Leoni, Tom. Ridolfo Capoferro’s The Art and Practice of Fencing. Wheaton, IL: Freelance Academy Press. 2011. Images used by kind permission of Freelance Academy Press; the book may be purchased here.
Figures 3 and 4 were created by using images from each book cited above.
Filed under: A&S Research Papers, Arts and Sciences, Uncategorized Tagged: a&s, Arts and Sciences, rapier
Master Alaric MacConnal, Seneschal of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands, has announced the final list of candidates for Baron and Baroness. Ballots will be mailed to eligible voters in September, and the votes will be tallied at the Harvest Barony Meeting on November 8th.
Good Populace of the Barony-Marche … I am pleased to announce that the candidates for the Baronial Election AS 50 are as follows:
Lord Robert pour Maintenant and Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope
Come and meet the candidates at the upcoming Barony Meeting on September 20th at 1:30pm!
"Ranvaick a kistu thasa" or in English, "Ranvaik (a female name) owns this casket" reads a runic inscription on the base of a jeweled, Irish reliquary on display in the Danish National Museum. While the casket dates to the 8th century, the inscription was added two centuries later, demonstrating one small effect of Viking raids. (photo)
The new season of Drunk History premieres on Comedy Central tonight at 10:30 EST. I’ve been a loyal viewer since it was on YouTube and while the transition to television was a little awkward — a sketch on the short-lived Funny or Die HBO show — it has found its footing on Comedy Central and is now heading into its third season.
In the first two seasons of the Comedy Central show, each episode revolved around a city as a unifying theme. Three comedians told a story each about, say, Detroit or New York City of Nashville, and it worked because hometown yarns are always good fun, and anyway history is so dense and rich that there’s no chance of so broad a range as an entire city feeling limited. Still, I missed the theme shows of the olden days, so I was delighted to see a few of them in season two (First Ladies, American Music) and they’re back this season. The first episode has a theme, in fact, the history of science, one of my favorite subtopics.
If you haven’t seen it before, I envy you, because you can watch every episode of the first two seasons on Comedy Central’s website with enthralled new eyes. The episodes are just over 20 minutes long, so you can totally marathon through all 18 of them in less than seven hours. I’m not saying you should call in sick, but you should probably call in sick. Priorities, man.
Drunk History co-creators Derek Waters and Jeremy Connor, were on a panel at this year’ Comic-Con. Waters talks about the inception of the show — Otis Redding was involved — and how it took off, the processes of narration and reenactment, topics they thought would work but turned out to be buzzkills, ie, the Donner Party and serial killer H.H. Holmes. Fun fact: the first season they made narrators tell two stories which means they were drunk non-stop from 3:00 in the afternoon until after the wee hours of the next morning. Oh, and the narrators have to blow in a breathalyzer regularly throughout filming to ensure they are efficiently but not dangerously wasted. Guest stars this season include Octavia Spenser, Parker Posey, Will Ferrel, Josh Hartnett and Maya Rudolph.
If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll wish the panel video were longer. More showing how the sausage is made!
** Embed removed due to stupid autoplay. Have a nice, quiet link instead. **
The follow-up Q&A is, alas, very brief, but it still manages to cover a couple of key questions I’ve been curious about, most significantly how are the stories chosen and by whom.
** Second embed also removed due to stupid autoplay. Link. **
Combatants should bring their weapons of choice until the semi-finals
4 pools organized by descending precedence. 4 combatants will advance from each pool.
The 16 will be a double elimination tournament. Entrants will be seeded based on their performance in the pools. Ties in seeding will be settled by precedence.
The semi-finals will be 2 combatants from the winner’s list, each facing a combatant from the loser’s list. Combatants from the winner’s list will need to win once to advance. Combatants from the loser’s list will need to win twice to advance. Weapons form will be matched and alternating (if necessary). First choice of weapons will be given to the combatant from the winner’s list.
Finals will be best of 5, with matched weapons forms. All previous losses will be forgiven in the finals. Weapons forms will be alternating choice, with 1st choice going to the combatant of lower precedence. Weapons forms may not repeat until the 5th fight (if necessary). The fifth bout will be combatant’s choice, and need not match.
There are no additional restrictions on weapons or shields.
In Service to the East,
Salutations à tous,
Les combattants devraient emmener leur arme préférée pour utiliser jusqu’aux 4 groupes semi-finaux organisés par préséance inversée.
Quatre combattants avanceront à la prochaine étape parmi chaque groupe.
Les 16 seront un tournoi de double élimination. Les compétiteurs seront classés selon leur performance dans les 4 groupes initiaux. Les égalités de classement seront départagées selon la préséance.
Les demi-finales seront deux combattants provenant de la liste des gagnants, chacun affrontant un combattant de la liste des perdants. Les combattants de la liste des gagnants devront obtenir une victoire pour avancer à la prochaine étape. Les combattants de la liste des perdants devront obtenir deux victoires pour avancer à la prochaine étape. Les armes seront identiques pour les deux combattants et alternées (si nécessaire). Le premier choix des armes sera donné au combattant provenant de la liste des gagnants.
La finale sera un meilleur de cinq, avec des armes identiques pour les combattants. Toutes les défaites précédentes seront oubliées au moment de la finale. Le choix des armes sera fait en alternance, avec le premier choix allant au combattant de moindre préséance. Les armes ne pourront être répétées avant le cinquième combat (si nécessaire). Le cinquième combat sera fait avec armes au choix des combattants, et n’ont pas besoin d’être identiques.
Il n’y a aucune restriction additionnelle concernant les armes ou les boucliers.
Au Service de l’Est,
Filed under: En français, Heavy List, Official Notices, Tidings
Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope reports on the happenings at the Iron Comet event.
On August 29, A.S. 50, the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands held its Iron Comet event. The theme of the event was “The Hunt,” including all things martial with a side of Arts and Sciences. There were tournaments for Equestrian, Rattan, Rapier, Youth Combat, Archery, and Thrown Weapons. To become the Iron Comet Champion, adult participants had to enter the Rattan, Rapier, Archery, and Thrown Weapons tournaments, along with an Arts and Sciences competition. Youth competitors only had to enter three of Archery, Thrown Weapons, Youth Combat, and Rapier, as well as the A&S competition.
All of the rapier and heavy weapons competitions were decided by bear pit tournaments, which rewarded endurance as well as skill.
In the rattan bear-pit tournament organized by Lord Robert Pour Maintenant, each fighter received two points for a win and one point for a loss. Nine heavy fighters competed, with THLord Jussie Laplein proving victorious with 45 points. Lord Robert noted that the levels of both ferocity and courtesy in the list were impressive.
In the rapier tournament, Sir Kadan Chákhilgan Ger on Echen was the winner in a field of 13 fencers. The tournament, marshaled by Doña Gabrielle de Winter, gave fencers 3 points for a “clean” kill (without taking any of their opponent’s limbs), but if the winning fencer took one of their opponent’s limbs, they received 2 points, and if they took two limbs before besting their opponent, then they received only 1 point for the victory. It was noted that this resulted in an interesting change of fighting style since it was counter-productive to go for an opponent’s hands or legs. After the tournament, Doña Gabrielle took Lady Ragna Hakonardottir as her cadet, to the vivats of the assembled fencers.
The thrown weapons tournament, organized by Lady Melodia Beaupel, used standard targets with an unusual scoring system. There were four sets of targets: at the first target, throwers had one axe and one knife, and scored 3-2-1-0 from center of the target outward. At the second target, they had the same options as the first target, but the scoring was reversed, so the outer ring was worth 3 points while the inner ring was worth nothing. Both of those targets were thrown from a distance of 10 feet, while the third target was at 20 feet, with throwers using any two weapons and the scoring the same as the first target. The final target was javelins thrown at a distance of 15 feet, receiving 1 point for hitting the cardboard and 2 points for hitting anywhere on the bullseye target. Lord Robert MacEwin of Thornhill won the Thrown Weapons tournament.
Maistir Brandubh o Donnghaile’s archery tournament featured pictures of small woodland creatures that archers had to shoot. Archers could use up to 30 arrows (5 flights of 6) to shoot two turkeys, two squirrels, two rabbits, two swallows, and a duck. Archers received one point for each “critter” they shot, and another point for every arrow of the 30 left unshot after they hit all nine critters. Lady Ghaliya bint Jusef won the competition with a score of 25 points.
The youth combat bear pit tournament, organized by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope, included six participants, most of them Division 1 fighters. Jay, a brand new youth fighter who was attending his first SCA event and authorized that day, proved victorious. For his prize, Jay received a small wood box with a carved wooden castle. Sarah, who placed second, received a suede pouch, while Karl received a token from the marshal for his enthusiasm and chivalry.
The equestrian competition was held in a ring down the road from the other martial activities. Organized by Lady Aaliz de Gant, it was based on “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” THLord Morien MacBain said, “Competitors jumped a shrubbery, cut heads off the Knights Who Say “Ni” and the uppity taunting Frenchmen, and threw javelins and ultimately the Holy Hand grenade of Antioch at the Killer Rabbit.” In addition, Lady Aaliz conducted training sessions with 5 authorizations, so there are 5 new riders of AEthelmearc! The morning run was won by THLord Morien riding Lady Rowena’s Halflinger war pony Mira, and the afternoon run was won by Mistress Tora Shoshido Gozen on her Arabian, Rex, but when the scores were totaled, the overall winner was THL Morien MacBain by one point. THL Rhiannon Elandris traveled all the way from the Rhydderich Hael to assist the equestrians by groundcrewing for the day, along with Lady Husung who recently moved to the Debatable Lands from Thescorre.
The Arts and Sciences competition organized by Ishiyama-roku-i Gentarou Yori-ie featured entries ranging from cooking to painting to spinning and cord-making to performing arts. Event-goers received two tokens to bestow on entries: one for the entry they liked best, and one for the entry they felt best embodied the event theme of “the Hunt.” Mistress Aleea Baga won the competition with a medallion for the Order of the White Horn.
Two gentles competed for the overall adult Iron Comet championship, while three children entered the youth division. The adult competition was closely contested with Lord Robert MacEwin of Thornhill winning by one point over Wulfgar Ronaldson, while Otto Brandulfarsson won the youth division competing against Ian Dalicieux and Carl Brandulfarsson. Their Excellencies noted that Lord Robert won the Youth Iron Comet Championship the last time the event was held, about 2½ years ago.
Throughout the afternoon, a light repast of chicken, rabbit, roast beef, fruit, bread, mixed beans, and salad was provided by THLady Elss of Augsburg with assistance from Mistess Katla úlfheþinn and Mistress Mahin Banu Tabrizi. The sideboard ended with cupcakes in various flavors.
That evening at baronial court, in addition to recognizing the various tourney winners, Their Excellencies Liam and Constance, Baron and Baroness of the Debatable Lands, bestowed a Blue-Silver Comet for arts on Lady Ceindrech verch Elidir for her skill in fiber arts and choral singing, and conveyed completed backlog Blue-Silver Comet scrolls to Master Kameshima Zentarou Umakai and Lady Rivka bat Daniyel.
Their Excellencies also bestowed the baronial youth award, the Purple Comet, on Otto Brandulfarsson and Carl Brandulfarsson, and a Red Comet for martial skill on Lord Robert MacEwin of Thornhill.
There was also a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Barony, which was won by THLord Deryk Archer.
In all, it was a pleasant event at a lovely site, with beautiful weather. Congratulations to the autocrat, Baroness Elizabeth Arrowsmyth, and her staff.
As the Fall comes upon us and we prepare for the onset of Winter, Æthelmearc will be choosing her new Arts & Sciences Champion in October. The Kingdom A&S Champions event will be held in the Shire of Angelskeep on October 31st. The event announcement appears in this month’s ÆSTEL and can be found on-line here.
We hope that this grand competition will draw many entrants. It will feature face-to-face judging, in which each entrant will be visited by a small team of judges who will engage the entrant in conversation. Because of this, all entrants MUST be present at the event. No proxy entries will be allowed. We also strongly suggest that entrants complete the short and easy registration form prior to the event.
We will need judges for the competition and we are urgently requesting that any companions of the Fleur and the Laurel who do not choose to enter the competition join us as judges. You will get to meet several excellent artisans and discuss their entries with them at some length. It is a great way to teach AND learn.
The rules for the entrants are as follows:
1. All entrants must be present. No proxy entries.
2. Entrants may enter up to three pieces, all in the same category.
3. Entries may be completed items or items in progress.
4. Because the site is dry, no alcoholic beverages may be entered. However, brewers may enter a work in progress, so long as it does not include alcohol (no fermentation).
5. “Performance” entries may be recorded in advance. Decisions of whether or not to allow this will be made on a case-by-case basis.
6. Entrants are strongly encouraged to pre-register their entries. Registration forms will be available on Facebook, Google+, the Kingdom A&S website, and the Kingdom e-mail list.
7.The populace will be offered the opportunity to vote on their favorite entry.
8. Entries will be judged on the following criteria:
a. Research and Project Planning
We sincerely invite the people of Æthelmearc and her neighbors to attend this excellent event!
In service to Æthelmearc and the Arts & Sciences,
Retired electrician Pierre Le Guennec and his wife Danielle have been convicted of possessing stolen goods, namely 271 drawings, collages and paintings by Pablo Picasso. The trove of previously unknown works came to light in September of 2010 when Pierre Le Guennec carried a suitcase full of them to the Picasso Administration to have them authenticated. His story was that either Picasso himself or his wife Jacqueline gave the art to Pierre as a gift for having installed a security system and done some other work around the Côte d’Azur estate.
Picasso’s son Claude found this account unbelievable because while the artist was generous with his prolific work, he routinely signed and dated a piece before giving it to someone. There was certainly no precedent for Picasso handing over hundreds of random, unsigned pieces at one time. Claude pressed charges against the Le Guennecs for receipt of stolen goods.
Pierre and Danielle gave different accounts of how they had acquired this multi-million dollar treasure.
[On the stand Pierre] recalled that one day, in a corridor, Jacqueline Picasso had handed him a closed box containing the works, saying: “Here, it’s for you. Take it home.” He said: “Thank you, madame” and they never discussed it again. During the inquiry, Danielle Le Guennec had separately recalled a different version: that her husband came home with a stuffed rubbish bag, and told her Picasso had given the works to him when tidying his studio.
The Picasso heirs’ lawyer had suggested in court that the couple might have been manipulated by an art smuggling ring. Pierre Le Guennec had claimed that, despite knowing nothing about art, he had personally used books about Picasso to draw up an inventory that was found with the cache of 180 lithographs, collages and paintings and 91 drawings. But in court, lawyers cast doubt over whether he wrote the inventory himself. It contained a note about a similarity to a Picasso work at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. But in court, Pierre Le Guennec seemed not to have ever heard of MoMA.
The couple are in the 70s now and won’t be going to jail. They were given a two-year suspended sentence and the collection will be returned to Picasso’s heirs. The court made no determination as to who was responsible for the theft.
Their Royal Highnesses Prince Magnus Tindal and Princess Etain ingen Dalaig invite the archers of Æthelmearc to aim their arrows in a tournament to decide the next Kingdom Archery Champion. This Tournament Shoot will take place at 3pm on Saturday, September 5th at Shoote in the Wyldwood in the Barony of Delftwood. Come and show your pride for your Kingdom and earn your place among the Champions!
If you have any questions about this or any of the things happening at Wyldwood please feel free to contact Aleidis Lanen, the event steward! There are SO many archery ranges you could shoot all day and not do the same range twice! Thrown weapons will also be in full swing! For the full schedule of events please visit the event page at www.delftwood.org.
Their Majesties held both a morning and afternoon court at Equestrian and Thrown Weapons Champions. The Gazette thanks Master Ernst for the following report:
Arnulf Tête de Laine d’ Saint Aubin was inducted into the Order of the Gawain.
Leon d’ Saint Aubin was inducted into the Order of the Gawain. Scroll by Constance de St. Denis
Rodulf d’ Saint Aubin was inducted into the Order of the Gawain. Scroll by Sorcha Dhocair inghean Uí Ruairc.
Ysabella DeCoventry received her Award of Arms. Scroll by Aaradyn Ghyoot.
Tiernan Shepard was awarded a Burdened Tyger. Scroll by Aesa Lokabrenna Sturladottir.
Wynefryd Bredhers was awarded a Burdened Tyger. Calligraphy by Mari Clock van Hoorne.
Jared of Sarisberry was inducted into the Queen’s Order of Courtesy. Scroll by: Jan Janowicz Bogdanski
Brenden Crane was inducted into the Queen’s Order of Courtesy.
The following Gentles received the award of the Golden Lyre:
Nejla Hatice Saime Dogan was granted a Court Barony.
Anna Dokeianina Syrakousina was granted a Court Barony. Scroll by: Nest verch Tangwistel
Wentliana Benegrek was granted a Court Barony. Scroll by: Leonete d’Angely
Nest verch Tangwistel was directed to Augment her arms. Scroll by Jon Blaecstan
Colin MacKenzie stepped down as EK Thrown Weapons Marshal, and Leon the Navigator stepped into the position.
Magnus DeLondres was declared the Queen’s Thrown Weapon Champion. Scroll by Charis Accipiter.
Kazimerz was declared the King’s Thrown Weapon Champion. Scroll by Jonathan Blaecstan.
Randal of the Dark was declared King’s Equestrian Champion. Scroll by Kayleigh Mac Whyte.
Duncan Kerr was declared Queen’s Equestrian Champion. Scroll by Kayleigh Mac Whyte.
Eleanor Fitzpatrick and Katherine Stanhope were made the Premiers of the Order of the Golden Lance of the East. Eleanor’s Scroll by Vettorio Antonello, Katherine’s scroll forthcoming
Isabella Natale was Awarded Arms. Illumination by Lorita de Siena, calligraphy by Nest verch Tangwistel
Terren of Tir was inducted into the Order of the Laurel. Scroll by: Heather rose De Gordoun
Maria Pagini was inducted into the Order of the Pelican Illumination by Harold von Auerbach calligraphy by Aud Lifsdottir
Juan Lazaro Ramirez Xavier was inducted into the Order of the Pelican. Scroll by Eleanore MacCarthaigh.
Siubhan Wallace was inducted into the Order of the Pelican Illumination by Lisabetta Medaglia Calligraphy by: Eleanor Catlyng.
Filed under: Equestrian, Thrown Weapons Tagged: champions, court, equestrian, thrown weapons
The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History has a collection of beautiful Belgian laces made during World War I at the behest of future President of the United States Herbert Hoover. Hoover’s name is nowadays most commonly associated with the lack of relief for the destitute of the Great Depression — the notorious tent cities of the homeless and poverty-stricken were famously called Hoovervilles — but before he was president Herbert Hoover was actively involved in relief efforts. As head of the Food Administration under Woodrow Wilson, Hoover was in charge of the administration’s food and fuel conservation programs during the war, but before that, when war first broke out in 1914, Hoover ran the Committee for Relief in Belgium (CRB) which organized the distribution of food supplies to ten million people in occupied Belgium.
Hoover wasn’t in government at the time. He wasn’t even in the United States. He was living in London, a wealthy mining engineer and investor who translated Renaissance mining tracts with his wife Lou in his spare time. That translation is considered the standard for its clarity of language and extensive scholarly footnotes and is still in print today. He was drawn into relief work after World War I broke out and tens of thousands of American citizens suddenly found themselves stranded in London. Hoover organized a committee to get them back home and was so effective that in October of 1914 the U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James asked Hoover to take on a far more onerous job: keep all of Belgium from starving to death.
Belgium had been invaded by Germany at the start of the war and famine immediately became a very real prospect. The small country only produced enough food to supply 20-25% of the population, but whatever food was available was requisitioned by the occupiers to supply the troops. Britain put Germany and the occupied countries under blockade making food imports nigh on impossible.
That was the Gordian knot Hoover had to cut through. He was able to arrange for the relief supplies to be shipped to Belgium where the CRB monitored their distribution by the Comité National de Secours et d’Alimentation (CNSA), the Belgian organization dedicated to famine relief. The CRB personnel weren’t just passing the time of the day. They had to be involved in every step of the distribution process because as occupied Belgians, CNSA personnel were legally bound to follow German orders. The primarily British and American CRB staff was under no such obligation. Their job was to ensure the food made it to Belgian plates and they did it well. The CRB raised funds, shipped 5.7 million tons of donated food past Germany’s unrestricted U-boat warfare and then literally fed Belgium from 1914 through 1919.
Hoover’s concern wasn’t just to keep Belgians from mass starvation. He also arranged for thread to be distributed to Belgian lace makers and for the sale of their finished lace to buyers in Allied countries. Belgium had been famous for its delicate handmade laces since the 17th century, and while industrialization and mass-production had hobbled the traditional craft, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium instituted promotional and improvement programs had helped spur a revival of interest in handmade lace just before World War I.
The Belgian lace committees worked closely with the “Commission for Relief of Belgium” as the work on behalf of the lace makers became even more important during World War One. Several famous Belgian artists were enlisted to make new designs. Among them were Isidore de Rudder, his sister Maria de Rudder, Charles Michel, and Juliette Wytsman, who designed some of the War Laces that are now part of the collection at the National Museum of American History.
World War One laces often included names of people, places, inscriptions, and dates; a characteristic not usually found in other lace work. The lace often incorporates the coats-of-arms or national symbols of the Allied Nations as well as the nine Belgian provinces in recognition of the help received. It was hoped that these distinguishing elements would appeal to generous people around the world who might buy these laces in support of the Belgian people.
Sometimes the appeal was even more direct. This exquisite banner panel features a pair of cupids holding a banner inscribed “Augusta-Virginia,” the name of the mother of the Vicomtesse de Beughem. The Vicomtesse, an American married to a Belgian aristocrat, was one of four women in charge of the Lace Committee. It is believed she commissioned the banner in honor of her mother, Augusta Virginia Mitchell. One of the other three women, Mrs. Brand Whitlock, wife of the US ambassador to Belgium, commissioned this table cloth with the seals of the United States, Belgium and the Whitlock family crest.
The program ultimately kept 50,000 lace makers in Belgium working from 1914 through 1919.
The war laces in the Smithsonian collection are not on public display, but they have been digitized and can be viewed online. It’s a gasp-generating browse, even though I dearly wish the pictures were larger. I know, I know… I always wish the pictures were larger, but the minute details of this lace just beg to be viewed in extreme closeup. It’s a little awkward to navigate, but you can feast your eyes on the minutiae by clicking on the name of the object. This takes you the catalogue entry. Scroll down to the bottom for additional images. Those are detail images, so while you can’t see the whole piece zoomed all the way in to the stitching, you can explore the a section of the lacework in satisfying detail.
One of my favorites is Table Mat With English Scene which has an unbelievable allegorical depiction of the coronation of British King George V in 1911. The image started out as a cartoon by Bernard Partridge published in Punch Magazine which was the converted into lace using the Point de Gaze technique. The Isidore de Rudder Designed Pillow Top goes in a completely different direction, commemorating the battle at the Yzer River with a glorious sea creature design in Point de Venise needle lace. I love the Monogrammed Fan Leaf with Designer’s Name because while it has the monograms of Belgian King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth writ large on either side of the Belgian Lion, it also has the names of designer Juliette Wytsman and the manufacturer Maison Daimeries-Petitjean in very petite cursive under the monogrammed initials. It’s incredible to me that it’s even possible to write your name so small and clear in Point de Gaze needle lace. Oh, and here’s one for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Collar with Peace Doves.
Never let it be said that there is nothing to do in Æthelmearc! This next weekend brings you three great events all around the Kingdom.
The Shire of Sunderoak invites you to join us as we spend the weekend of September 4 – September 6 creating a Fireside Feast at Breakneck Campground (1757 Cheeseman Road, Portersville, PA. 16051).
Saturday will be filled with the opportunity to take open air cooking classes. Any wishing to join us for the evening meal may bring supplies and prepare their own dish over an open fire or bring a prepared dish from home. Modern fare as well as period food is welcome. Fire pits and wood will be provided for those cooking on site, please contact Raven to reserve a spot. Saturday’s evening meal will be served buffet style. There is no feast hall on site, so bring your own table & chairs or eat picnic style. All offerings will be provided by attendees. In years past we have been amazed at the bounty that is put before our guests here at Fireside. In the spirit of the event we will be holding a canned food drive benefiting Butler Area Food Cupboards!
Site opens Friday at 6 pm and closes Sunday at 2pm. It is a damp site – no glass containers please. Site is pet friendly ALL animals must be on a leash at ALL times – failure to do so will result in a warning followed by removal from site. Owners are expected to police their animals waste.
A Shoote in the Wyldwood
Come join the Barony of Delftwood for our annual Shoote in the Wyldwood! Camp with us for the weekend (we have lots of room!) or come enjoy a day. There will be archery, thrown weapons and atl atl happening through out the weekend. Come and enjoy some of our many open ranges! Its a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the end of summer!
Returning features: – Archery, thrown weapons, and atl atl – Merchants – A heavy list for pick up practice – The Embroidery Challenge – Camping and fun! – Yes we have a HOT shower on site!
Largess Dirty Dozen Derby We will be holding the Lord Jarrah Memorial Largess Derby at Shoote in the Wyldwood. It is a friendly competition where each entrant makes 12 items for largess and displays them at the event. There will be prizes for populous vote (Lord Jarrah won last year) and a judges choice winner. Everyone goes home with a prize just for entering! All items will be donated to the Barony largess. If you have any questions please contact: Lady Wylde Wysse (nwent514-AT-gmail-DOTcom).
The event location is: Wildwood Sports Center 5740 Fikes Road Elbridge NY 13112
Birthday Battle & Ball
The Shire of Nithgaard is turning 38, and we will be celebrating with heavy fighting, fencing, music & dance, Arts & Sciences, games, and various other diversions. The entertainments will be accompanied by an excellent feast planned by our Shire’s chief cook! Please come to our Birthday Battle & Ball!
Early registration pricing: $8.00 base (includes dayboard) + $10.00 for the feast At-the-door pricing: $8.00 base + $12.00 for the feast Surcharge for non-SCA members: $5 (does not apply to discounted minors) Minors 5-17 are half price; children under 5 are free. Please make checks payable to “SCA PA, Inc. – Shire of Nithgaard” and mail to the shire exchequer: Mistress Phiala O’Ceallaigh (mka: Sarah Goslee)m 1336 Old Boalsburg Rd., State College, PA 16801 (phone: 814-769-9300).
If you have any accessibility concerns or requests about the event or site, please contact the event steward Oribe Tsukime at email@example.com or 814-574-2220. For information related to food allergies and dietary restrictions, please contact our Head Cook THL Henry of Maldon as soon as possible.
In 2012, archaeologists discovered the remains of 27 Anglo-Saxon warriors and their grave goods at Barrow Clump in Salisbury, England. Recently experts used an army field hospital x-ray machine to examine a 6th century sword found at the site. (photos)
A hoard of Viking-era silver ingots and coins discovered in Wales has been officially declared treasure at a coroner’s inquest. The hoard was found in March by metal detectorist Walter Hanks in a field in Llandwrog, north-west Wales. Consisting of fewer than 20 coins and coin fragments, three complete ingots and one partial, it’s a small trove of outsized historical significance because of its age and rarity.
Fourteen of the coins are silver pennies minted in Dublin under the reign of the Hiberno-Norse King of Dublin Sihtric Anlafsson, aka Sigtrygg Silkbeard (r. 989-1036). Eight of them date to 995 A.D.; the other six, three of which are fragments, were minted in 1018 A.D. Sihtric’s coins are very rare discoveries on the British mainland. There are also fragments of three or four silver pennies from the reign of Cnut the Great, the Danish King of England who reigned from 985 or 995 through 1035. The Cnut coins were probably produced in the mint at Chester.
Archaeologists believe the hoard was lost or buried between 1020 and 1030. The Bryn Maelgwyn hoard, unearthed in 1979 near Llandudno in Conwy, north Wales, was buried around that time — after 1024 — and it too contains coins minted by Cnut and Sihtric: 203 Cnut silver pennies and just two Sihtric silver pennies. The Bryn Maelgwyn coins are thought to have been Viking booty rather than a savings account, however, unlike the Llandwrog hoard. The weight of the ingots is 115.09 grams out of a total hoard weight of 127.77 grams. That means fully 90% of the weight of the hoard is in the ingots which suggests the hoard’s main role was silver storage.
Dr Mark Redknap, Head of Collections and Research in the Department of History and Archaeology at the National Museum Wales said the find will help historians to form a picture of the eleventh century Gwynedd economy.
He said: “There are three complete finger-shaped ingots and one fragmentary finger-shaped metal ingot. Nicking on the sides of the ingots is an intervention sometimes undertaken in ancient times to test purity, and evidence that they had been used in commercial transactions before burial.
“At least four hoards on the Isle of Man indicate that bullion retained an active role in the Manx economy from the 1030s to 1060s, and the mixed nature of the Llandwrog hoard falls into the same category. As such it amplifies the picture we are building up of the wealth and economy operating in the kingdom of Gwynedd in the eleventh century.”
The National Museum Wales is hoping to secure the hoard. The Bryn Maelgwyn hoard is at the Cardiff branch of the Nation Museum, so it would be in excellent company. First the valuation committee must decide the fair market value of the hoard. The museum will then try to raise the price, ideally through a Lottery Fund grant, which will be divided between the finder and the landowner.
Fall Crown Tournament – Call for Letters of Intent / Tournois de la couronne – des lettres d’intentions
Please be aware that both the combatant and the consort must submit a letter of intent, either through the following link (preferred) or by email to TRH Prince Brennan and Princess Caoifhionn with a copy to the Kingdom Seneschal. If by email, a joint email is preferred.
The Letter of Intent must be received by Coronation, October 3, 2015.
If using email, the letters of intent must include all of the following information for both combatant and consort:
If both entrants are combatants, then that should be clearly indicated.
TRHs also request that combatants bring heraldic shields for the list trees.
In Service to the East, I remain
Dueña Mercedes Vera de Calafia
Salutations à tous ceux qui désire participer au Tournois de la couronne de L’automne.
La lettre d’intentions doivent être reçues par la Couronne avant le 3 Octobre 2015.
Si les lettres sont envoyées par courriel, elles doivent inclure les informations suivantes pour le combattant ainsi que pour son /sa consort :
Si les deux candidats sont des combattants, cela doit être mentionné de façon explicite.
Le Altesses Royales demandent également aux combattants d’amener leurs écus d’armoiries pour l’arbre de la liste.
Au service de l’Est, je demeure
Dueña Mercedes Vera de Calafia
Filed under: Announcements, En français, Heavy List
A new restoration of Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli (1470-5) by Sandro Botticelli has redeemed the reputation of a much later artist, Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The Lucille Ball hue of Smeralda’s hair was long thought to be an alteration done by Rossetti after he bought the painting in 1867. Experts at the V&A conserving the work for next year’s
It was Rossetti’s own words which placed him under scrutiny. In a letter dated three days after he bought the painting, Rossetti told his secretary “I have been restoring the headdress, but don’t mean to tell.” The hair was thought to have suffered the brunt of Rossetti’s sneaky intervention, but when V&A conservators removed the top layer of discolored varnish, they saw that there were fewer layers of paint than they expected to find. Analysis of the paint confirmed it was tempera and that the red pigment of the hair was applied by Botticelli’s hand. The only areas Rossetti appears to have retouched were some areas of the face and the cap.
Infrared reflectography revealed interesting details about Botticelli’s process. He drew incised lines on architectural features like the pillars, window framing and door which add depth and precision and help ensure the perspective looks accurate. For Smeralda’s garment, Botticelli first used liquid sketching to rough out the clothing before covering it in a wash of paint with high carbon content to enhance the shading.
When Rossetti acquired the painting from a Christie’s auction, Botticelli’s genius wasn’t as widely recognized as it had been during his lifetime. The 19th century saw a gradual revival of appreciation for the Renaissance master, and the pre-Raphaelites played an important role in the reevaluation of Botticelli’s significance. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin and Edward Burne-Jones collected Botticelli paintings and drawings, which goes to show how different the market was for his work back then. Rossetti paid £20 for Smeralda Bandinelli (plus £4 to have it professionally cleaned). When he sold it to collector Constantine Alexander Ionides just 15 years later, the sale price had leapt to £315. It hasn’t been sold since and isn’t likely to be ever again — Ionides included it in his bequest of 82 paintings to the V&A in 1901 — but Botticelli’s Rockefeller Madonna set a record for the artist when it sold at auction for $10,442,500 in 2013.
The upcoming exhibition looks at Botticelli’s work, how it was seen in his time and how, after three long centuries of obscurity, it came back to prominence through the work of artists influenced by him. There are more than 50 original works by Botticelli in the exhibition. Pre-Raphaelite reimaginings of Botticelli like Rossetti’s La Ghirlandata and Burne-Jones’ The Mill: Girls Dancing to Music by a River will be on display alongside works by Botticelli-inspired artists as diverse as Andy Warhol, Rene Magritte, and designer Elsa Schiaparelli.
It’s a joint exhibition with the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin which has eight paintings and 86 drawings by the Renaissance master in its permanent collection. The show opens in Berlin on September 24th of this year and closes on January 24th. It opens at the V&A on March 5th, 2016.
We have noticed that you have skills to teach to others that may improve their game in the SCA! Please consider coming to the Shire of Riversedge on Saturday, November 14, 2015, for the Fall Æthelmearc Æcademy.
The event will be held at the French Creek Valley Campus (420 North Street, Saegertown PA 16433); we will welcome everyone starting at 9 am. Doors will close at 7 pm. The campus is laid all one level and we welcome those that need assistance to attend.
Living in History is the focus of Fall Æcademy. Looking to take your persona to the next level? Then this academy is for YOU! Some examples of classes we are hoping to see include mending, cooking (with an outdoor fire ready and waiting including a bread oven for classes), fiber arts, blacksmithing, pottery, wood working, bee keeping, animal husbandry, food preservation, medicinals, dyeing, ink making, C&I, knot tying, basketry, hound coursing, customs and manners, grooming, games, costuming, leather working and so much more!
This year’s Æcademy will be filled with exciting new additions including a track of classes taught by and for our Kingdom’s youth artisans! Duchess Ilish had the idea for a track of classes for youth, and the Æcademy staff enthusiastically agreed. She is looking for hands on, make and take, or simple beginner classes. The Youth Track will welcome not just arts and sciences but youth fighting and fencing classes as well. Some ideas for classes include cooking, C&I, sewing, period dancing, games, animal husbandry, and weaving. To help foster families participate in the event, children 17 and under are admitted free into the event but encouraged to pre-register for food planning purposes.
For more information about the Youth Track, to recommend a youth instructor, or if you wish to teach a youth track class, please contact Duchess Ilish O’Donovan by email. It is everyone’s hope that the Youth Track will become an ongoing part of future Æcademies.
Those of you who wish to teach with the War College have ample outdoor space for fighting, fencing, thrown weapons, youth fighting and fencing. If the weather is inclement, fencing and youth fighting can be held indoors in the gym.
We have something special lined up for the heavy weapons community, too! A Golden Chain day of learning and Tourney will be coordinated by Duke Duncan von Halstern and Syr Stefan Ulfkelsson. Classes taught by members of the Order of Chivalry will help you hone your skills, and a Golden Chain Tourney will let you put those skills to the test.
What else do we have for you? The shire will also host a sideboard lunch filling your plates with meats, soups and breads of the harvest season, created by our very own Lord Calean O’Rurik and his wonderful staff. Lunch sideboard will be included with the site fee we do ask to please send in your reservations in advance to so the kitchen make sure there is an abundance for everyone.
If cost is a concern, do not delay, for the cost of this event is just $10 for those 18 and older; attendees 17 and under are our guests and pay no fee (other than the NMS, if applicable). See the full event announcement at www.aecademy.net or http://www.shireofriversedge.com/shireevents.htm.
Archaeologists working on the site of road construction in the Hague, Netherlands were surprised to discover a treasure hoard in a Roman pot. The extent of the treasure was revealed recently at the annual De Reuvensdagen archaeological conference. (photo)
A marble slab inscribed with Roman-era water laws has been unearthed in the ancient city of Laodicea in western Turkey. The highly detailed law law was written by the Laodicea Assembly in 114 A.D. and approved by Aulus Vicirius Martialis, proconsul of the Roman Asia province, in the provincial capital at Ephesus. It was carved on a slab and erected in the city to put fear in the heart of all water scofflaws.
The Roman affinity for practical engineering ensured cities had access to public water. Aqueducts carried enormous quantities of water from nearby sources to the urbs where it was split up into lead pipes and reservoirs supplying the fountains, baths and drinking water throughout the city. Keeping people from illegally tapping into the pipes to supply their own homes was a constant struggle. If too many people helped themselves, not only would the water flow be disrupted for their neighbors, but the sewer system tied into the water system suffered as well since it required regular flushing. Backed up sewers and low water supply make for uncomfortable and dangerously unsanitary conditions in any city.
Water management was thus an essential aspect of city administration and violators of the common water good were subject to heavy penalties. In Laodicea, anyone caught polluting the water, damaging the pipes and channels, opening sealed pipes or stealing the city water for private use would have to pay fines as high as 12,500 denarii. A legionary was paid 300 denarii a year in the early second century A.D., so fines in the thousands would be complete disasters for regular people. Many of the most egregious public water thieves were quite wealthy since they had homes into which city water could be easily and discretely diverted, so it was important that the fines be large if they were to act as any kind of deterrent.
[Excavations head Professor Celal Şimşek of Pamukkale University] said the 1,900-year-old rules to prevent water pollution had a very special place, adding, “The fine for damaging the water channel or polluting the water is 5,000 denarius, nearly 50,000 Turkish Liras. The fine is the same for those who break the seal and attempt illegal use. Also, there are penalties for senior staff that overlook the illegal use of water. They pay 12,500 denarius. Those who denounce the polluters are given one-eighth of the penalty as a reward, according to the rules.”
A translation from the Greek of one section of the inscription:
“Those who divide the water for his personal use, should pay 5,000 denarius to the imperial treasury; it is forbidden to use the city water for free or grant it to private individuals; those who buy the water cannot violate the Vespasian Edict; those who damage water pipes should pay 5,000 denarius; protective roofs should be established for the water depots and water pipes in the city; the governor’s office [will] appoint two citizens as curators every year to ensure the safety of the water resource; nobody who has farms close to the water channels can use this water for agriculture.”
Founded in the 3rd century B.C., Laodicea was part of the Kingdom of Pergamon when its last king Attalus III bequeathed it to Rome in 133 B.C. Laodicea was hard hit during the two decades of war between Rome and Mithridates VI, King of Pontus, and it was only after the end of the last Mithraditic War (75-63 B.C.) that the sleepy town grew into prosperous city under Roman rule. Strabo, who was himself a native of Amasya, Pontus, (now Turkey) and whose family held important positions under Mithridates VI, describes the rise Laodicea in Book XII, Chapter 8.16 of his Geography:
Laodiceia, though formerly small, grew large in our time and in that of our fathers, even though it had been damaged by siege in the time of Mithridates Eupator. However, it was the fertility of its territory and the prosperity of certain of its citizens that made it great: at first Hieron, who left to the people an inheritance of more than two thousand talents and adorned the city with many dedicated offerings, and later Zeno the rhetorician and his son Polemon, the latter of whom, because of his bravery and honesty, was thought worthy even of a kingdom, at first by Antony and later by Augustus. The country round Laodiceia produces sheep that are excellent, not only for the softness of their wool, in which they surpass even the Milesian wool, but also for its raven-black colour, so that the Laodiceians derive splendid revenue from it[.]
Meet Triskel, the Trimarian cart pony, and his faithful canine companion, Toby.
Triskel was hard at work this past Pennsic every day pulling his mistress, Lynn Kitzman of Florida, on her daily rounds.
Kudos to Ms. Kitzman for her delightful equine disguise of a modern necessity, the accessibility scooter, and to the unwavering patience of Toby, who braved the Pennsic heat as her assistance animal.