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A Newcomer’s Guide to Pennsic, Part 1 of 3

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-06-24 19:35

About to attend her 38th Pennsic, Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope has compiled an array of tips and ideas on how to have the best possible experience at the War. In part one, she’ll list some things you can do now to prepare for Pennsic, including what to bring along and how to ensure that you’re ready.

Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Pre-Pennsic Things to Do

  • Walk. Get used to it beforehand because you’ll do a lot of walking at Pennsic. A WHOLE lot. Walk at lunch or before/after work, and wear the shoes (you do have at least 2 pair, right?) that you’ll be wearing at Pennsic so you get them well broken in. Blisters do not a happy camper make.

We’re walking, we’re walking…. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato

  • Make lists. Keep a running list of the things you need to do, make and pack. You’d be surprised at the things you forget at first that pop up later, and you’ll need those lists to ensure that you have everything at packing time.
  • Sew. Concentrate on light-weight simple underclothes (shirts, shifts) of breathable, natural fabric, preferably linen or silk, though cotton will do. Make as many as you can (one for every day you’ll be at Pennsic, if you don’t want/plan to do laundry). Overtunics/gowns can be worn more than once if you have underclothes to soak up the perspiration. You can get cheap cotton at those Wal-Marts that still sell fabric or from the bargain racks at JoAnn Fabrics.
  • New fighters and fencers: authorize on time. If you are a fighter or fencer and are not yet authorized, you must get your authorization in at least one weapons form by Wednesday, July 15. If you are already authorized in at least one form, you can authorize in additional forms at Pennsic as long as an Æthelmearc Marshal is available with the appropriate paperwork. You may not use a weapons form in which you are not authorized in any Pennsic tournament or battle.

Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

  • Repair any damaged gear. If you’ve been in the SCA long enough for your armor, weapons, clothing, or other equipment to have some wear, check it for any needed repairs and then make them. Don’t wait until you get to Pennsic to discover that the buckle on your cuisses needs to be replaced or there’s a seam coming apart in your favorite gown. While you’re at it, set your tent up in the back yard and check it for any issues. If you’ve just bought a new tent, set it up at home in daylight and good weather so you know how it goes together. This will make it far easier if (when) you have to set it up in the dark and/or rain when you get to Pennsic.

Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato

  • Shop wisely. To avoid spending a fortune, keep an eye out for sales and/or shop at thrift stores and dollar stores.
    • Photo by Lady Aine ny Allane

      Thrift stores: candles, goblets/tankards and other feast gear, baskets, bedding, sometimes even camp stoves, bota bags, candle lanterns and hats.

    • Dollar stores: plastic totes, candles, sunscreen, toiletries, flashlights, canned and vacuum-sealed food items, small plastic tables for your tent, towel racks and sometimes folding chairs.
    • Some items become cheaper in late July, like folding camp chairs, while others become hard to find, like small propane canisters or inflatable wading pools.
    • Some things should not be economized on:
      • Buy a good sleeping bag or you may freeze if (when!) it gets really cold at night.
      • Get heavy tent stakes – not those rinky-dink little plastic ones, but long ones, preferably metal, so your tent doesn’t go rolling across the field in a strong wind.
      • Buy sturdy leather shoes and break them in before Pennsic, though flip-flops or crocs for midnight porta-john runs or showering are useful too.
      • Get a wool cloak. It will stay warm even when it’s wet. To economize, you can buy a big wool blanket or two at the thrift store and make it into a cloak.
  • Pack as much as you can as far in advance as you can. Don’t make yourself crazy packing at the last minute. As soon as you’ve attended your last pre-Pennsic event, pack the items you won’t use again until Pennsic in a tote and stick it in a corner until it’s time to load the car. Then check those items off your list. That way you won’t be wondering later whether you packed something or not.
  • Pre-register. It’s too late now, so if you haven’t pre-registered with a group, you will have to find a single-camping space. Single camper space is not for “single” (unmarried) people, it’s for people who did not pre-register with a group. For next year, I strongly recommend camping with a group like your household, shire or barony. Camping with a group often gives you access to amenities like an in-camp hot shower, a communal canopy and a fire pit, as well as neighbors who can lend a hand when needed. Random Scadians usually help each other in emergencies or when they see a need, but when you’re not feeling well or need a small favor, it’s easier to get assistance when you’re part of a group.
  • Pick your campmates very carefully. This is your time off, do not spend it with people who will annoy you.
  • Check the Pennsic website, www.pennsicwar.org. Look at it frequently, because its content changes over time! Study the map of the campground. Read the schedules, lists of activities, and classes. Create your own schedule (or even day planner) listing the events and activities you want to attend. There will be too many things to do, and it will be easy to forget the ones you want most if you don’t write them down.

  • Budget. Save ahead of time for Pennsic, remembering that you can apply grocery and entertainment money that you would have spent back home. Decide how much you are willing/able to spend on Pennsic, and stick to your budget or you will be paying for Pennsic until Christmas! Consider all the costs: entry fee, meals, drinks, gas, entertainment, and shopping. Decide what one or two big purchases you want to make AT Pennsic (A sword? Armor? A new gown or tunic? A particular book? A musical instrument?), and save up for them.

Helms for sale at Pennsic. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato

  • Waterproof. This includes your tent, the hem of your cloak, and your shoes. Even in the unlikely event that it doesn’t rain, there’s always dew. Scotchguard and Mink Oil are your friends. Pack socks and undies in ziplock bags, line all suitcases with plastic bags or use those plastic totes. Leave a full change of clothing, both warm and cold, locked in your car in case of monsoons.

Photo by THLord Juan Miguel Cezar

  • Protect yourself from your own stupidity. Almost every first-timer overspends. Leave enough money for gas/food to get you home locked in the glove compartment of your car, or make sure you have a credit card with room on it.
  • Trim your fingernails short immediately before leaving. They’ll probably get broken and dirty anyway, especially during set up/tear down of your tent. If you can’t bear the thought, ladies apply a thick coat of polish and/or acrylic nails to protect them.

What to Bring

  • Lots of people have packing lists, and they will vary widely from person to person. There’s a pretty good one at www.Pennsic.net.
  • Don’t stress too much about little stuff. The Cooper’s store carries batteries, rope, tent pegs, sunscreen, bug spray etc. along with food, drink, bottled water, propane. and ice. They even charge reasonable prices instead of gouging like a tourist trap.

The Coopers’ Store. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato

  • Bring drinking water. Pennsic water is safe to drink (don’t believe people who tell you otherwise; it’s been tested) but it is filled with a lot of minerals, especially iron, so it doesn’t taste good, doesn’t look appetizing as it turns orange in the sun when the iron precipitates out, and could upset your stomach if you’re sensitive. To save money, save up empty water jugs before Pennsic and fill them from the tap at home, but make sure they’re tightly capped to prevent spillage en route. Don’t try to clean milk jugs – it’s almost impossible to get them clean enough to avoid the sour milk smell and taste. Note that the Coopers are adding filtration to the water system but it hasn’t made it to all regions of the campground yet, and it may not do much for the iron issue.
  • Group your packing list by type of object, to make it easier to avoid missing items. I use the following categories:
    • Shelter (tent, tarp, dining fly, ropes, poles, stakes, hammer, etc.) It doesn’t need to be a pretty medieval pavilion; a modern nylon tent will do.
    • Bedding (air mattress or cot, sleeping bag, pillow, blankets, sheets)
    • Clothes (garb, modern clothes, hats, shoes, fans, and other accessories)
    • Cooking equipment (pots, pans, camp stove, dish detergent, feast gear including a mug on a strap to hang from your belt)
    • Food (cooler items including fruit, veggies and cold cuts, boxed/canned non-perishables, drinks including water and alcohol). The camp store has real food – fruits and veggies, bread, pastries, even some meat and dairy, and there’s a Super Wal-Mart about 20 minutes from the site, so don’t bring a week’s worth – it’ll only spoil in the heat and rain anyway. And yes, you can eat at the food court instead of cooking, but it will cost a lot more than making it yourself.

The food court at Pennsic. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

    • Toiletries (soap & shampoo, towels, medications, 1st aid kit, bug spray, sunscreen, earplugs for light sleepers, safety pins, plastic trash bags, clothes pins to hang wet clothes, tissues)
    • Misc. (basket or tote bag, blank book or note book with a pen/pencil, folding table, candles, flashlight, batteries, banner, book to read and/or board games, plastic basin for washing your clothes, dishes and feet!)
    • “Toys” (armor & weapons, scribal supplies, musical instruments, embroidery, archery equipment, throwing weapons, etc.)
  • Leave room for the stuff you’ll buy at Pennsic to come home! If possible, come with your suitcases/totes about 1/4 empty – even if you don’t buy much, stuff never packs as tightly going home as it did getting there.

Yes, you can buy socks at Pennsic, in every color of the rainbow. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato

  • Ladies, expect your monthly cycle to get out of whack, so bring supplies even if you’re not expecting to need them.

In the next installment, we’ll discuss what you should do once you arrive at Pennsic.


Categories: SCA news sites

Elaborate clothing found in Ming Dynasty tomb

SCAtoday.net - Wed, 2015-06-24 16:14

Ornately-decorated, well-preserved clothing was among the treasures found in a husband and wife tomb dating to the 16th century, in Taizhou City, China. The tomb is believed to belong to the Wang family of the Ming Dynasty. (photo)

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Bronze Age gold sun disc on display for first time

History Blog - Wed, 2015-06-24 11:36

A gold sun disc discovered in an early Bronze Age grave in 1947 went on public display Friday for the first time in its history. The Wiltshire Museum in Devizes celebrated the Summer Solstice by adding the gold circle about the size of a penny that represents the sun to its permanent exhibition of prehistoric artifacts.

The sun disc is one of only six of its kind ever found in Britain. It was unearthed from a burial mound at Monkton Farleigh in 1947 along with some flint arrowheads, a pottery beaker and pieces of the skeletal remains of an adult male. The grave was discovered by dowser and author Guy Underwood who believed dowsing could be used to locate archaeologically significant sites and whose studies of the alignment of prehistoric British sites evolved into theories about earth energy patterns that would be published after his death in The Pattern of the Past.

Monkton Farleigh is 24 miles or so northwest of Stonehenge and the sun disc dates to around 2,400 B.C. which is about the time when the great sarsen stones were arranged in a circle at Stonehenge (between 2,600-2,400 B.C.). Both the stone circle and the sun disc are connected to ancient solar worship.

The sun-disk is a thin embossed sheet of gold with a cross at the centre, surrounded by a circle. Between the lines of both the cross and the circle are fine dots which glint in sunlight. The disc is pierced by two holes that may have been used to sew the disc to a piece of clothing or a head-dress, and may have been used in pairs.

After its discovery in the 1940s, the sun disc was kept by the property owner (that sort of thing wouldn’t fly today because ancient precious metals would be considered treasure and by law property of the Crown) Dr. Denis Whitehead. After almost 70 years squirreled away — it wasn’t shown to an actual archaeologist until 2013 — the sun disc was donated to the Wiltshire Museum in memory of Dr. Whitehead.

The Wiltshire Museum has a new Prehistoric Wiltshire gallery that includes the gold artifacts unearthed in 1808 from a grave at Bush Barrow one kilometer (.6 miles) south of Stonehenge, most famously a lozenge-shaped sheet of gold about seven inches long incised with geometric decorations that was found on the breastbone of the deceased. The Bush Barrow artifacts — a gold belt buckle, a second much smaller gold lozenge, three copper daggers, a bronze ax, a bronze spearhead, a stone mace with bronze fittings, the remains of a shield, a bone scepter — were on display before at the Wiltshire Museum in the 19th century but security concerns spurred the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society to lend the Bush Barrow gold to the British Museum. After a disastrous restoration in 1985 that irreversibly altered the large lozenge’s shape, the society took the pieces back. Now they and the Monkton Farleigh sun disc are on display together in the new gallery, an exceptional collection of Bronze Age gold.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Event Report: Æthelwald Proving Ground, June 20, A.S. 50, Shire of Sunderoak

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-06-24 07:35

Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope attended the Æthelwald Proving Ground event in the Shire of Sunderoak on June 20, A.S. 50, and reports on the activities held there.

This was the Shire of Sunderoak’s second Æthelwald Proving Ground, which is focused primarily on martial activities. Despite some rain that began in the late morning and persisted for much of the afternoon, the gentles in attendance got a lot of good, fun practice in their respective areas.

Heavy Weapons

Sir Alonzio of the Peacemakers ran a class on spear, and then worked the fighters through a strategy he calls “Piggly Wiggly.” Why? “I’d been working on this strategy for a few years, and people told me I had to give it a name. I thought Piggly Wiggly would be memorable, and it kind of fits since I tend to be dancing around as I demonstrate the technique,” Sir Alonzio said.

Fighters executing the “Piggly Wiggly” strategy.

The Piggly Wiggly strategy is useful in a mixed line of spears and shields, as in a bridge or gate battle. The idea is that as the spears are fencing with each other, a shieldman who spots a weak point in the opposing line can charge through it and create a hole for his team to follow.

Heavy fighters spent the morning working on this technique using a resurrection bridge battle, and then took a break for lunch, returning to work on shield techniques and practice melees using that shieldwork. Sir Steffan Ulfkellson, the Kingdom Warlord, oversaw the heavy muster.

Rapier

After some individual warmup bouts, Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta, Kingdom Rapier Warlord, had the fencers focus on small unit techniques, and in particular how to fend off larger numbers. There were rounds of 2-on-1 and 3-on-1 fights, as well as a line battle in which each side’s goal was to push the other backward over a line across the center of the field in order to control that line. Lord Robert MacEwin described it as “kind of like tug of war but with stabbing instead of ropes.”

Countess Elena d’Artois, Lord Cyrus Augur, and Lord Jacob of Dunmore practicing 2-on-1 melees

After each round of fencing, Maestro Orlando had the fencers analyze and discuss what had happened and how to do better, then repeat the exercise so they could learn from the experience.

Maestro Orlando oversees the fencers practicing melee techniques

Youth Combat

Five youth fighters, all Division 1 (ages 6-9), armored up, three of them for their first time. Lady Ceindrech verch Elidir and Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope ran the kids through the rules and showed them how to throw blows and block with shields or weapons, then held an informal bear pit with assistance from Lord Weasel, so each fighter got plenty of bouts in.

New youth fighters learning the rules from Lady Ceindrech

Their spirits undampened by the rain, the youth fighters then fought a series of open field melees with teams in various combinations, including a final melee which was, by the fighters’ request, girls vs. boys. Youth fighting ended with brownies for the combatants and marshals. After removing their armor, the youth fighters announced that they were all friends now, and spent the rest of the afternoon playing together in cheerful camaraderie.

Youth fighter melee

Equestrian

THLady Meadhbh inghean ui Bhaoghill, current King’s Equestrian Champion, organized the equestrian activities, designing and running the morning competition that mirrored the planned Kingdom Equestrian Champion’s course. Mistress Shoshido Tora Gozen commented, “It was a challenge course based on the Devonshire Tapestry, which depicts various hunting scenes through the woods, hunting swans, boars, etc. It included numerous obstacles as well as the traditional tests of skills like the rings and quintain. Riders were allotted a certain amount of time to complete the course, with penalties for going over and points gained for successful completion of each test.” Mistress Gozen won the competition while Lady Tommasa Isolana won the award for the most improvement between rounds one and two.

Mistress Shoshido Tora Gozen and THLady Meadhbh inghean ui Bhaoghill. Photo by Kathleen of Sunderoak.

Unfortunately, the rain caused footing to become treacherous, curtailing the planned afternoon training activities in Mounted to Ground Combat. After the equestrians broke down the course, THL Meadhbh then took Lady Tommasa as her Equerry, or equestrian student, under the Golden Lance.

Lady Maeve ni Siurtain and Mistress Gozen. Photo by Kathleen of Sunderoak.

Cooking

The other big activities of the day were all food-related. The lady Jerngerd from Sunderoak provided a very tasty lunch consisting of mushroom pastries, honeyed chicken, beef stew, lemon cakes, ginger cake, bread, borscht, salt potatoes, various pickled veggies, and cucumbers. Anyone who went home hungry had only themselves to blame as the food was both delicious and plentiful.

In addition, Master Creador Twinedragon ran Creador’s Summer Cooking Challenge, a cooking competition to judge the best dish using summer ingredients based on a medieval recipe. There were two entrants, Rachel MacMichael and THLady Elss of Augsburg. THL Elss won with her Tart of Strawberye, found in Pleyn Delit, which did an excellent job of representing the summer theme. Elss won the prize of a day of service from Master Creador in the kitchen or otherwise. However, Master Creador was also impressed with the three Hungarian dishes of Chicken Paprikash, Nokedli, and Haluski that Rachel entered, so he decided to award her an unannounced prize of a consultation with him on an entry, menu, or research. “I look forward to working with both of them in the future,” said Master Creador.

Despite the rain, the autocrat, Sir Thorgrim Skullsplitter, was pleased with the event. “Everyone had fun, so I’m happy,” he said.

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


Categories: SCA news sites

From the Midrealm Gazette: Pennsic Position Open

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2015-06-23 16:40

Not a combatant, but looking for a way to help out around the battlefield at Pennsic this year?

Baron Nicholas of Windreach, also known as “Signal 1″ or the guy in the castle tower with the flags and the official battle time, is looking for recruits to learn his position.

If you are interested in this challenging and important position at Pennsic, please feel free to contact Nicholas directly at PSCsignal1@gmail.com

Thanks,
Gregoire, Midrealm Kingdom Earl Marshal

With thanks,

(http://www.midrealmgazette.org/2015/06/22/pennsic-position-open/)


Filed under: Uncategorized

Fetus found in coffin of mummified 17th c. bishop

History Blog - Tue, 2015-06-23 13:01

The mummified body of Peder Winstrup, Bishop of Lund from 1638 until his death in 1679, is being studied by researchers from Lund University who have discovered that not only are his remains extraordinarily well-preserved, they are not alone in the coffin. Underneath the bishop’s feet are the skeletal remains of a four or five-month-old fetus.

Peder Pedersen Winstrup was born in Copenhagen in 1605, the son of theologian, professor and Bishop of Sjaelland Peder Jensen Winstrup. (They were Lutheran bishops, not Catholics, obviously.) The young Peder followed in his father’s footsteps, studying theology at university. After graduating from the University of Copenhagen in 1633, Peder quickly rose through the clerical ranks. He was appointed royal chaplain to King Christian IV in 1635; three years later he was appointed Bishop of Lund. He remained in the position after the transfer of the province Scania from the Denmark–Norway empire to Sweden in 1658, even though there were doubts as to his loyalty to his new monarch King Charles X Gustav. He repeatedly encouraged the king to found a university at Lund which was finally done in 1666, eight years after Winstrup’s first letter to King Charles suggesting he establish a university. Winstrup presided over the university’s inaugural ceremonies and was appointed its chancellor in 1671.

When the good bishop died, his body was entombed in the family grave in Lund Cathedral. During an extensive program of restoration under architect Axel Nyström in 1833, the Winstrup tombs had to be moved. The exceptional condition of Peder Winstrup’s remains was noted at the time and documented by an artist. They were moved again several times during the 19th century until in 1875 all of the Winstrup family coffins were buried together in the cemetery with the exception of Bishop Peder Winstrup’s. The fine condition of his remains and the fact that he had no other marker in the cathedral inspired officials to keep his tomb in the church crypt.

In 2012, officials decided to relocate Winstrup’s tomb in Lund Cathedral to make space for the increasing numbers of visitors. At the same time, researchers at the Lund University Historical Museum found an old photograph of the bishop’s remains taken when the coffin was opened in 1923. His clothes, including a velvet cape and leather gloves, were perfectly intact and his body was in such good condition that his face, while shrunken, was still entirely recognizable from portraits. Since his rest was to be disturbed anyway, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Lund University was assembled to study the bishop’s mummified remains.

What they found is a veritable time capsule of 17th century life, albeit a very privileged one. Winstrup was not embalmed or deliberately mummified. His internal organs are still in place and identifiable in CT scans. The preservation of his remains was a natural process, the result of copious quantities of plant materials occupying fully half of the space in the casket, constant air flow, his death in December and burial in January and centuries passed inside the dry, cool family crypt. Another factor in his unusual preservation may have been his long final decline which left him very thin, a key step in the self-mummification process.

Peder Winstrup was 74 years old when he died, and his remains show the tell-tale signs of it. He had osteoarthritis in his knee and hip joints and was missing several teeth. Cavities found in his remaining teeth suggest he enjoyed sugary foods, an indication of high status since most people couldn’t afford much sugar in their diets.

The first results show dried fluid and mucus in the sinuses, indicating that Winstrup had been bedridden for a long period before he died. Calcifications in the lung could indicate both tuberculosis and pneumonia. Plaque was also found in the left coronary artery of the heart, the aorta and the carotid artery, indicating that the bishop suffered from atherosclerosis.

“The gall bladder also has several gallstones, which could indicate a high consumption of fatty food”, says Caroline Ahlström Arcini, an osteologist working on the project.

Researchers also found he had an injured tendon in his right shoulder that likely limited his mobility to the point that common tasks like putting on a shirt or combing his hair would have been painful.

It was the CT scan of the bishop’s coffin that revealed the biggest surprise of the study: the tiny baby tucked under his feet. Nobody knew it was there because it’s hidden by the plant matter in the casket and by Peder Winstrup’s voluminous robes. Researchers believe that it was miscarried or prematurely delivered and hidden in the bishop’s coffin by a member of his family or staff, or perhaps someone involved in the preparation of his body for entombment.

According to Dr. Per Karsten, director of the Historical Museum at Lund University, there was a tradition in 17th century Scandinavia of mothers bribing cemetery workers to inter babies who had died before they could be baptized in the coffins of other people so that the little ones would be laid to rest in consecrated ground. There are instances of babies being buried in the very church walls for this same reason. As Winstrup died on December 7th, 1679, and wasn’t buried until January 27th, 1680, there would have been plenty of time for someone with access to hide the baby in the bishop’s coffin without the family’s or his staff’s knowledge.

“You can only speculate as to whether it was one of Winstrup’s next of kin, or whether someone else took the opportunity while preparing the coffin. But we hope to be able to clarify any kinship through a DNA test”, says Per Karsten.

The next step will be investigations into the textiles in the coffin, as well as further study of the body. Tissue samples from the internal organs are to be removed, among other things. In addition, the extensive plant material in the coffin will be investigated.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

How Pennsic Champions are Chosen

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-06-23 08:00

Photo by Lord Darter the Chronicler.

Pennsic is coming up soon! Her Majesty, Queen Gabrielle, has been hard at work making baldrics for the gentles who will be chosen as Æthelmearc’s Champions in each of the War Points. Because our allies will also contribute Champions, Their Majesties don’t know yet exactly how many gentles from Æthelmearc will be participating, but there will be teams of skilled and inspirational gentles filling the following slots.

Heavy Weapons

His Majesty, King Timothy, says that He is working with Sir Stefan Ulfkellson, Kingdom Warlord, to choose fighters for the three Heavy Weapons Champion Battles. “Prowess alone will not get you a slot on the team,” His Majesty said. “Attendance matters. I’m looking for the people who put their heart and soul into going to every muster and really care about being on the team. I want the fighters who will be thrilled to receive a champion’s baldric and cherish it for the rest of their lives. There is no “entitlement” – being a hot stick won’t get you a slot on a Champions team if you don’t put in the effort to show up and work hard.” The three heavy weapons champions’ teams are listed below:

    • Unbelted Champions: the first War Point of Pennsic 44, this battle held immediately after Opening Ceremonies features a total of 40 fighters per side, none of whom may be Knights or Masters at Arms.
    • Belted Champions: immediately after the Unbelted Champions battle, it features 30 fighters per side, all of whom are either Knights or Masters at Arms.
    • Matched Champions: immediately after the Belted Champions battle, it features 30 fighters from each side who have not fought in either the belted or unbelted tournaments. In this battle, fighters are sent out in small groups of 1-5 fighters, with numbers matched by the opposing side.

Photo by Lady Valentina de la Volpe.

Arts and Sciences:

This war point will be held on Wednesday of War week throughout the day, and features 14 artisans per side. The A&S Champions may not be Laurels. Queen Gabrielle says “We are trying to showcase artisans from the more remote parts of the Kingdom who don’t have as much opportunity to have their work seen, although we also want to showcase some well-known artisans and challenge them to come up with something really special and unique.” To help Their Majesties find such skilled but lesser known artisans, the Kingdom A&S Ministers, Master Fridrikr Tomasson and Mistress Orianna Fridrikskona have been hosting A&S Displays at events around the kingdom, where artisans are encouraged to enter works in progress and seek feedback from other artisans and the populace. Her Majesty notes, “Rather than spending six months working on something and then find out that you could have done something different at the beginning, we thought it would be helpful for artisans to get feedback during the process of creating something. Master Fridrikr and Mistress Orianna printed up booklets for comments that We and they have been sharing with those who want to have their work displayed.” Mistress Euriol of Lothian, who is coordinating the A&S Champions for Pennsic, set up a Facebook page for the A&S Champions, where the artisans who have been selected so far are sharing their research, discussing their efforts to create or purchase supplies, equipment, tools, and ingredients for their projects, and generally encouraging each other.

Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Archery Champions

There will be 30 Archery Champions per side, with the shoot held on Wednesday of War week. King Timothy has appointed THLord Juan Miguel Cézar as Captain of the Archery Champion’s Team, and tasked him with choosing the members of the team. His Lordship says, “Enthusiasm is definitely one of the criteria that His Majesty impressed upon me that he feels is an important attribute for each member of the Archery Champion’s team to have. The chance to shoot with some of the best archers in the Known World is both daunting and exhilarating at the same time, and can really make a huge impact on a person and their relationship with the SCA. An experience like this has a chance to take a blossoming archer and give them a long lasting sense of belonging in the archery community. That does not mean that skill and prowess are to be thrown out the window, it just means that such things are a secondary criterion. Also being considered is the disposition of the archer. We want to avoid people who are sore losers or cannot get along with the other archers. Often the champions shoot takes 6 to 8 hours to complete and that can be trying on anyone.” THL Juan Miguel also noted that the kinds of shoots that archers encounter in the Champion’s Tournament challenge archers in unusual ways. “One might think that Royal Round scores would serve as a good metric, but I have found that more often than not it is an untrue measure of skill. The Champions’ shoot tests an archer in ways a Royal Round never can. Once we have a list of potential archers, we will have them come out to the range one or two nights for some practice to be better able to gauge their aptitude for this type of competition. After that comes the hard part of choosing the candidates that have the best combination of spirit and skill to add to the team, and of course negotiating with our allies, who will also contribute archery champions.”

Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Rapier

As Rapier Warlord, Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta will recommend the fencers who should represent Æthelmearc to Their Majesties. As with the other champions, Their Majesties have asked him to find people with enthusiasm and passion as well as skill. Maestro Orlando says, “I will be recommending individuals who demonstrate prowess as well as dedication to the rapier community through their participation and activity. Simply winning a particular tournament does not guarantee that a recommendation will follow, or that one will be named to the team. Additionally, Their Majesties and I will be looking at who would represent Æthelmearc well on the field; meaning a fencer who is very honorable in combat, comports themselves well on the field, and fights well.” There are two Rapier Champions’ Tournaments:

  • Rapier Champions: 20 fencers will represent each side in this battle, to be held on Wednesday at 11 am.
  • Rapier Heroic Champions: 12 fencers from each side will compete one-on-one in this War Point, with at least one of the bouts to be Cut & Thrust. It will be held immediately after the Rapier Champions Battle on Wednesday.

Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Thrown Weapons

Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato will lead the Thrown Weapons team, choosing those throwers whose commitment as well as skill exemplifies the best of Æthelmearc and its allies. Twelve throwers from each side will compete in this war point to be held on Wednesday of War week from 3:00-6:00 pm. Master Giuseppe has contacted the Thrown Weapons Marshals of the Allied Kingdoms and asked them to send him a list of their all of their throwers who are going to Pennsic so he can reach out to them. He will be hosting a series of try-outs in the evenings early in the War. These try-outs will be open to everyone from Æthelmearc and our allied kingdoms. Throwers who are interested in trying out should look for a note regarding days and times at the Thrown Weapons tent. The prospective Champions will throw for a couple of hours at each try-out so they can be observed by the allied marshals. Master Giuseppe says they “will be looking for people who embody their Kingdoms down to their soul.” They want people who teach, work well with others, and learn from each other as well as exhibiting skill. He will choose the top 12 throwers plus three or four alternates for the Champion’s team. Master Giuseppe notes that three years ago, which was the last time Pennsic pitted Æthelmearc against the combined forces of the East and Middle, Æthelmearc and our allies outscored the other side by more than double. He is very proud of that, and expects our team to do equally well this year.

Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope wrote this article with contributions from Their Majesties, King Timothy and Queen Gabrielle, THLord Juan Miguel Cezar, Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta, Master Fridrikr Tomasson, and Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.


Categories: SCA news sites

Officer Profile: The Kingdom Historian and Plans for Pennsic

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-06-22 17:01

This is the first in a series of Kingdom Officer profiles. These dedicated people are often working behind the scenes, helping the Kingdom run smoothly. We’ll let them tell us more about what they do.

Name/Title: THL Hrefna Ulvarinnsdottir, Æthelmearc Kingdom Historian

What exactly does the Kingdom Historian’s office do? From policy: The Office of the Kingdom Historian shall be responsible for overseeing the compilation, preservation, and maintenance of historical information pertaining to the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, and facilitate means, including working in coordination with other Kingdom Officers and their duly designated deputies, of making said information accessible to the public. The Office shall also coordinate, promote, and foster Kingdom related research, projects, events, and displays at the Kingdom, Regional and Local levels.

What this boils down to is that the Kingdom Historian looks for ways to research, document, and preserve our Kingdom’s history. So far, I have established an Æthelmearc History group on Facebook along with an Æthelmearc history web site, I host Historian’s Points at events where I display artifacts and relics from our past, and I’ve started a written history of our group with the help of many, many kind gentles along the way. I’m always looking for new suggestions on how to research and document our history.

We understand big plans are afoot for Pennsic – fill us in!

The Silva Vulcani Shrine

A couple years ago Maynard III and Liadain II, hosted the Pilgrimage of Æthelmearc which encouraged every group in the kingdom holding events during Their reign to put together a historical display at their events and to supply fun facts on quarter page cards so we all would have the opportunity to learn a little more about the history of our kingdom. That project also included a display at Pennsic.

Recently, Her Majesty Gabrielle shared with me how much she enjoyed showing the Pennsic display to her children that year and has requested that I put together another one for this year’s Pennsic. The previous display was put together with items provided by many gentles from around the Kingdom. During my tenure as historian, I have amassed a small collection of artifacts, but I want to ask the populace of the Kingdom to loan items to this year’s display. Items do not have to be just Kingdom related things. Anything that illustrates the history of our local groups is most welcomed. Consider typing up a brief statement about what the item is and why it has historical value to your group. If you have something you might want to put in this display but are unsure if would be a good fit, email me at ae.historian@aethelmearc.org to discuss it.

Where can people find resources on Æthelmearc’s history? The AEthelmearc History group on Facebook can be found here. It is a great community of people interested in discussing and sharing our history with each other that is 530 members strong now. Come join us!

There is also an Æthelmearc History web site here that my web minister, THL Grimolfr Ormalfrson, and I have been slowly adding content to. I would love to have more articles, stories, songs, etc. to add to this site. One of my cherished project ideas is to start a book of remembrance section on the web site to honor and remember those we have lost. If anyone is interested in helping with this project, please contact me.

What kinds of things would the office like to have people donate or send?

Steltonwald Display

Anything that helps to illustrate our history. Right now, I have the Giant Spoon of Æthelmearc, coins commemorating the Coronation of Yngvar and Caryl, maps showing the changes and growth of our Kingdom, old photos and newsletters, the original Kingdom MOL banner, the tourney trees going back to Coronet I, and more.

All of these objects represent a piece of our history, and I believe that we all hold a piece of that history from the newest member to the long time players. When we bring those pieces together, we create a tapestry that tells our unique story. Again, if you have something you would like to put on loan or give to the Historian’s office but aren’t sure about, contact me.

What do you like best about your office? Oh, that’s a tough one! I love the interactions I have with people I would otherwise never have met who are sharing their stories that help fill in the details of our history and that moment when they say “Oh, I didn’t know that!” when I share something with them. I also love the research aspect and watching the story of our kingdom grow a little more with each detail unearthed. This job has given me a unique perspective on the development of our Kingdom, and I am honored to be bringing her story to the populace.

What do you have planned for the future beyond the Pennsic display? Over the next several months, I will be working with Countess Anna Leigh on the SCA 50th Display Committee for Æthelmearc and on a special project for the anniversary event.

I also plan to keep working on the history of Æthelmearc paper for the anniversary event. I am very near the 10,000 word limit that those papers are allotted, but I will continue my research and expand upon that paper to continue documenting our history.

I will also continue to look for new and fun ways to engage the populace and to carry on the quest for documenting our history.

How long have you been in the SCA, and what is one of your favorite moments? I have been in the SCA since 1998. One of my favorite moments was watching my lord husband, Grimolfr Ormalfrson, receive his Millrind at Pennsic 43 and getting to welcome him to the Order.

Are you looking for deputies? Always. During my tenure as Historian, I’ve had several promising discussions with gentles about becoming deputies but none of them have panned out. There’s a lot of years of history to track down and help would be greatly appreciated. I would especially like to find deputies to help with scanning and digitize the boxes and boxes of hard copies I now have and to search through them for historical details. If there is a group of people out there who would be willing to form a scanning guild, please let me know.

And then anything else you might think of! This year at Pennsic, I will be hosting a Known World Historians Meet and Greet on Tuesday, August 3, 2015 at 1 pm in Pennsic University Tent #12 in the hopes of connecting with other historians to compare notes on how they are going about the job of collecting and preserving history. I invite any reading this article with an interest in our history to join us.

If anyone reading this article has modern world experience as a historian, I would love to have the opportunity to discuss how the professionals go about their research, and I welcome suggestions from anyone who might have ideas on how to grow and move the Historian’s Office forward.


Categories: SCA news sites

Want to be Signal 1 at Pennsic?

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-06-22 08:59

Not a combatant, but looking for a way to help out around the battlefield at Pennsic this year?

Baron Nicholas of Windreach, also known as “Signal 1″ or the guy in the castle tower with the flags and the official battle time, is looking for recruits to learn his position.

If you are interested in this challenging and important position at Pennsic, please feel free to contact Nicholas directly at PSCsignal1@gmail.com.

Thanks,
Gregoire, Midrealm Kingdom Earl Marshal


Categories: SCA news sites

Napoleon’s last gift to his son: wee dueling pistols

History Blog - Mon, 2015-06-22 07:22

Napoleon was by all reports a loving father to his only child, his son with Marie Louise of Austria Napoleon François Charles Joseph Bonaparte, styled at birth the King of Rome, a modified version of the traditional title, King of the Romans, granted to all heirs apparent of the Holy Roman Empire. The last time Napoleon saw his little King of Rome was in the middle of the night of January 24th, 1814, at the palace of Saint Cloud. He said his goodbyes to his wife and son before heading to the north of France to fight the encroaching Allied forces.

If the Roi de Rome received a goodbye present from his father, it may well have been a present his father commissioned for his son’s upcoming third birthday in March. Napoleon ordered a pair of bespoke dueling pistols from gunsmith to the French monarchs Jean Le Page. Made of blue steel with walnut and ebony stocks and inlaid with gold, the guns were custom-made to fit a young boy’s hands. Engraved on the lock of the pistols is the fateful production date, Janv. (January) 1814.

Whether the Roi de Rome received his last present from his father is not known. The pistols remained behind as Napoleon’s empire fell completely apart in a matter of weeks and he was compelled to abdicate under pressure from the Allies, first in favor of his son, and then in favor of nobody. Technically the King of Rome’s pistols were now the property of the newly restored Bourbon King of France Louis XVIII, but the new king wasn’t all that keen to keep a tight grip on the previous throne-holder’s stuff. People who wanted to buy a piece of Napoleon, and there were many such people, could do so easily on the streets of Paris. One of those people was William Bullock.

Bullock began as a jeweler and silversmith by profession, living and working in Liverpool. Conveniently located in a port city that was a trade capital of the empire, Bullock was able to acquire specimens and artifacts from sailors who had traveled all over the world. He opened his first museum of curiosities in Liverpool in 1795. He was a dedicated naturalist, an elected member of several exclusive natural history societies, an interest reflected in his collection and which gave its display an educational purpose as well. Bullock was the first in England to arrange exhibits in habitat groups, displaying specimens in some semblance of their natural surroundings.

In 1809 he moved to London and opened the Liverpool Museum at 22 Piccadilly. It was an immediate hit, welcoming more than 22,000 visitors its first month, and 80,000 in its first six. In April of 1811, one of the visitors was the 35-year-old Jane Austen who wrote to her sister Cassandra that she and her cousin Mary Cooke “after disposing of her father and mother, went to the Liverpool Museum and the British Gallery, and I had some amusement at each, though my preference for men and women always inclines me to attend more to the company than the sight.”

By then Bullock had already begun construction of a new building to house his museum at the south end of Piccadilly (today street numbers 170-173). Designed by architect Peter Frederick Robinson who was inspired by the engravings in Description de l’Egypte, the building was the first building in England constructed entirely in Egyptian style, interior and exterior, since Egyptomania had swept Europe after Napoleon’s 1798 campaign in Egypt. The new building had a vast grand hall modeled after the Temple of Dendera that allowed exhibitions of large scale art and artifacts.

In A Companion to Mr. Bullock’s London Museum and Pantherion, a brochure with descriptions of many of the thousands of specimens in the museum, makes it clear that when it opened in 1812, Bullock’s museum on Piccadilly was almost entirely focused on natural history. Animals dominate, with more than 100 pages dedicated to specimens from stuffed giraffes to porpoise jaws. Artifacts were mainly garments, jewelry and use objects from the South Seas, Africa, North and South America, although there is a 16-page chapter dedicated to the museum’s armoury most of which had been acquired from the estate of Dr. Richard Greene’s, a surgeon who a few decades earlier had exhibited his own museum of curiosities in two rooms of his Lichfield home.

The Egyptian Hall’s capacity was put to test in 1816 when Bullock exhibited Napoleonic artifacts while Waterloo was still fresh in the public mind. The centerpiece of the show was Napoleon’s bullet-proof travelling carriage which he had used as a home away from home during his campaigns all over Europe and which had been captured by the Prussian army after the Battle of Waterloo. In October of 1815, General Blücher arranged for the carriage to be presented to the Prince Regent who, terminally in need of money, turned around and sold it to William Bullock for around £2,500. That price won bought the carriage, its contents — Napoleon’s personal belongings including his folding camp bed and his travelling kit with 100 solid gold pieces and a million francs in diamonds stashed inside — and two of the deposed emperor’s horses.

The Napoleon exhibition ran from January to August 1816 and drew massive crowds of up to 10,000 visitors a day. They crowded the Egyptian Hall, climbing all over Napoleon’s carriage and pawing through his stuff. In the final tally, about 220,000 visitors saw the Napoleon show in London and more than 800,000 people saw the carriage and associated exhibition on its traveling tour of England, Scotland and Ireland. From his initial outlay of £2,500 for the carriage, Bullock made £35,000.

With visions of even sugarier plums dancing in his head, Bullock decided to open the Museum Napoleon to make even more money from the public fascination with the fallen foe. To add to the exhibition, he went to Paris in January of 1816 and purchased a myriad Napoleonic knick-knacks from the Emperor’s servants, friends and his imperial residences of Malmaison and St. Cloud. It was probably at one of the palaces where Bullock acquired the Roi de Rome’s dueling pistols.

The fever for all things Napoleon couldn’t and didn’t last. By 1818, Bullock was actively looking for buyers, universities and museums, to acquire his entire collection. When the University of Edinburgh and the British Museum turned him down, he took matters into his own hands. In 1819, Bullock sold his collection, by then composed of more than 32,000 objects, in an auction that lasted 26 days and netted him £9,974. Napoleon’s carriage was sold to a coachmaker for £168. In 1843 it was bought by Madame Tussaud’s where it remained on display until it was destroyed in a fire that devastated the waxworks in 1925.

The Roi de Rome Pistols were bought at the great 1819 auction by someone identified in the documents only as “Levery.” They likely passed through several hands before they made their next appearance in the historical record in the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900 where they were put on display by gunmakers James Purdey & Sons. The pistols soon thereafter found a home with Cora, Countess of Strafford, the rich widow of soap magnate Samuel Colgate and model for the character of Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, in Downton Abbey. In the 40s the pistols were acquired by William Keith Neal for his renown collection of arms and his descendants have decided to sell.

The toddler king’s wee pistols will be put on the auction block at Sotheby’s Treasures sale on July 8th. The presale estimate is £800,000-1,200,000 ($1,251,844 – 1,877,856).

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

On Target: Improving Store-Bought Archery Targets

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-06-21 16:24

This is the third in THL Derk Archer’s series on making archery targets.

Here we have a 3D target of a chipmunk, made of a self-sealing foam. You can buy many different targets of animals like this one at Pennsic. The problem is, he is only 5 inches tall, hides in tall grass, if you miss you might lose your arrow, and when you hit ” chipy” he will tumble and break your arrow.

Here’s what you need to make him better:

  • Styrofoam sheet 12×12 inch
  • Camouflage duct tape
  • 2-inch wide self-adhesive Velcro
  • Plastic vines from the dollar store
  • A smaller piece of styrofoam 3×5 inches
  • Brown duct tape
  • Green string
  • 2 tent stakes
  • And, of course, you need “chipy”

First, tape the 12×12 foam sheet with the camouflage tape.

Then, cover the 3×5 piece of foam with the brown duct tape. You now have a small tree stump.

Cut the Velcro into two pieces. Attach one side of the first piece of Velcro to the tree stump and the other to the camo background. Attach one side of the second piece to Chipy’s back, and the other to the Camo-taped foam background.

Next, add the plastic vines to the foam background to make the target more outdoor-like.

Now tape a line of green string to the bottom of the back of the camo-taped foam, and spike the ends of the line into the ground with the tent stakes.

With the target secured to the ground, it will only fall straight back. Now you have to walk up to the target to see if you hit “chipy,” because when the target falls backward it’s as if he ran away when you hit the background.

Using mounted targets of a variety of different foam animals like the ones shown below, you can do a walk-through range of a hunting trip. Scoring can be 3 points for the background and 5 points for hitting the chipmunk, rabbit, turkey, and so on.

As always, I would like to hear from the archery community for feedback. You can contact me on Facebook.

My next installment will be on safety.

‘Til next time, be safe, have fun, shoot often.

Deryk

All photos by THLord Deryk.


Categories: SCA news sites

Millions of Freedmen’s Bureau records digitized

History Blog - Sun, 2015-06-21 14:02

When African Americans research their genealogy, they often hit what is known as the wall: no records to be found before the 1870 United States Federal Census which was the first to enumerate former slaves. Before that number of slaves he owned was noted under the master’s entry, but it was purely statistical. There were no individual names listed. The first federal census since emancipation recorded the name, location, age, birthplace, familial relationships, marital status, occupation, ability to read and write, the total value of a person’s estate and more. That’s rich information, but it doesn’t link former slaves to their past so it’s usually a dead end for genealogists.

There is one other federal source for precious information on formerly enslaved Americans that predates 1870: the records of the Freedmen’s Bureau. The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands was a federal agency created in March of 1865 with the end of the Civil War in sight to help the freed slaves in the 11 states of the Confederacy (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia), border states Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, Missouri and the District of Columbia. With four million people free but destitute, the Freedmen’s Bureau ran a relief operation providing food, clothing, medical care and temporary housing in camps. Over the course of its seven years of operation, the Bureau helped freedmen locate family members separated by war and the sale of human beings, founded and supported schools, performed marriages (slave marriages were illegal so the Bureau often solemnized and legalized couples who had been de facto married for years), provided jobs and banking, oversaw labor contracts between former slave owners and former slaves, resettled freedmen on abandoned lands, represented former slaves in court, helped soldiers and sailors secure their back pay and future pensions.

The records generated by the Freedmen’s Bureau therefore cover an immense amount of ground. They include key information like the name of former masters and plantations that would allow genealogists to delve into the pre-Civil War history of African American families. The National Archives has preserved FB records on microfilm and made them available to researchers at the National Archives building in Washington, DC, and at regional archives in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington State. Some of the microfilm records have been digitized, but only a fraction of them and without name indexing which would allow people to look up individual family members and pull all their records.

FamilySearch, a non-profit genealogy organization run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has already digitized some of the Freedman’s Bureau records — 460,000 records of the Freedmen’s Bank, 800,000 records from Virginia — but on Friday, the 150th Juneteenth, it announced a major initiative to digitize and index the names of freedmen recorded in 1.5 million Bureau records. In collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and the California African American Museum, the project seeks to mine raw records for names of freedmen and refugees and make the searchable database available for free online.

In order to complete so vast project, FamilySearch is enlisting the power of the crowd. There’s a dedicated website, Discover Freedmen, where volunteers can learn more about the digitization project. If you would like to help digitize the Freedman’s Bureau records, you must first download FamilySearch’s dedicated indexing program and then register an account. A quick introductory video explains how to use the program, but it’s fairly intuitive and user friendly. Once you’re registered and the software is up and running, click the Download Batch button, click Show All Projects and scroll down to US – Freedmen’s Bureau projects. Here’s a list of all the FB batches. There are labor contracts, education records, court records, hospital records, land records, records of complaints, employment, military service claims and rations issued. Only the indexing of the medical records is close to completion; most of the batches have barely been touched.

After you’ve selected a batch, the image of a record will appear in your software. Your job is to scour it for name of anyone who is not a Bureau official and enter any names you find in the appropriate data entry fields. If you have any difficulty reading handwriting, you can view the next and previous documents which might have associated information written more legibly. You can also use the Share Batch feature to enlist the aid of other indexers. If you just can’t make heads or tails of it, you can Return Batch to give it to other indexers.

To get started, download the indexing program here. When you open it up after installation, it will prompt you to register. After that, wade into the records of your choice. If all goes well, the project is expected to take a year after which the records will be exhibited at the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in late 2016. You can search by ancestor name right now on the Discover Freedmen website (click Discover in the header menu), although of course there are many fewer names in the database than there will be next year.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Gazette Editor Profile: Magnus de Lyons

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2015-06-20 21:15

The fifth in a series of Gazette editor profiles.

Staff Member: Lord Magnus de Lyons
Staff Title:  Region 4 (Western NY) and scheduling.

What made you want to join the Gazette staff?
The moment I heard about the project I wanted to be a part of it. To keep the SCA alive and vital we need a constant influx of new people and attracting these people in 2015 (and beyond) requires that the SCA keeps pace with modern technology. As the Chronicler for my local Barony I constantly struggle with getting information out to people in a timely fashion. In the hour I spend writing an event report for a monthly newsletter that same information has already hit social media and reached hundreds of people. The Gazette provides a modern user friendly gateway for information. The stories are up to the minute, fast paced, and visually exciting. It is the future and I am excited to be a part of it.

So what do you do for the Gazette?
Primarily I am the scheduler and make up the monthly schedule for the daily editors. Once a month I shoot out a message to the team asking the editors if they have any concerns, issues, conflicts, or days that can’t work. I also scan event calendars and plan the schedule around larger events (in multiple Kingdoms). Early on we set up a system for Holidays and “Event Holidays”. On these days we don’t schedule a daily editor to give the staff a chance to enjoy their families and events. Even with this system I don’t think we have missed a day (holiday or otherwise). The editors are a hard working bunch and often work during events, holidays, and multiple days during the month. I am also the editor for Region 4 (Western NY). Honestly the daily editors do such a great job covering the Kingdom as a whole I have not put this job title to much use.

What do you like most about being on the Gazette staff?
I like being surrounded by such a hardworking and involved group of people. They have a true love for what they are doing and it shows in their work. There is such a diverse set of skills and experience in the group you can’t help but learn from them. The Gazette staff is just another wonderful addition to my SCA family.

How has the Gazette been received in your area?
Honestly pretty seamlessly. My local group is a strong mix of tech savvy and newer people and they took to the idea of the Gazette really well and I don’t think this is unique to my area. Leading up to the formation of the Gazette there was already strong push to include social media in the SCA and the Gazette was just a natural progression of that change. The Gazette was well received because it was long overdue and people welcomed its arrival.

What kinds of articles would you like to encourage people to submit?
If I had to pick just one subject I would like to see more of it would be interest pieces on day to day life hacks for the SCA. Bits and pieces of information geared towards new people to help them grow and survive in the SCA. Subjects like what to do (and not do) in court, at a feast, or when attending certain types of tournaments. There are tons of little tricks and tips that many of us take for granted but might prove useful to others.

Interested in submitting articles to the Gazette, suggesting blogs to feature, or to be put on our roster of photographers whose work we have permission to use? Email us at aethgazette@gmail.com. Check out our submission guidelines here.


Categories: SCA news sites

Lavau noble buried wearing 1.28-pound gold torc

History Blog - Sat, 2015-06-20 12:15

The excavation of the princely tomb from the early 5th c. B.C. unearthed at Lavau in France’s Champagne region was completed a few days ago. Archaeologists from France’s National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) have now published more about what they found in the richly appointed grave.

The deceased is laid out in the center of the tomb, head oriented south, with his two-wheeled chariot. The prince wears a torc in solid gold weighing 580 grams (1.28 pounds), significantly heavier that 480-gram 24-carat gold torc in the Lady of Vix grave discovered in 1953 about 40 miles south of Lavau. This rigid neck ring is richly decorated in a double motif of winged monster, extended by pear-shaped stamps. On his wrists are gold bracelets while his bicep is encircled by an lignite armlet. Near the nape of his neck are several finely worked amber beads, the remains of a necklace or hair ornament. There are also very rare surviving organic remains from his clothing. Archaeologists found two iron and coral hooks attached to fragments of leather and a row of rivets — remnants of the collar from his top — bodkins and bronze hooks from his shoes.

The largest and most elaborately decorated find — the bronze cauldron three feet in diameter adorned with four circular handles attached to the head of Greek river-god Achelous and eight lion heads around the rim — is part of a wine set that includes the Attic black figure ceramic oinochoe, perforated spoon and smaller bronze vessels found inside the cauldron. It’s Greco-Latin in manufacture and was probably the centerpiece of an aristocratic Celtic banquet.

The Lavau burial has several elements in common with the Lady of Vix, including the huge and hugely fancy banquetware. It dates to around 500 B.C., on the cusp between the end of the Hallstatt and the beginning of the La Tène period. She too was buried with exceptionally rich grave goods of Greek and Celtic extraction: a bronze volute krater of immense size — 5’4″ high, 290 gallon capacity, 450 lbs total weight including base and lid — which is the largest metal vessel from Classical antiquity known to survive, an oinochoe wine jug (although the Vix one was bronze while Lavau’s is black figure ceramic with a gilded rim and foot) a two-wheeled chariot, a heavy gold torc and jewelry with amber beads.

Another slightly later tomb (mid-4th century B.C.), that of the Princess of Reinheim, unearthed near Saargemünd, Germany, just across the border with Lorraine, also has similar grave goods: a gold torc around her neck and gold bangles on each wrist, amber beads by her side (once held in a long-decayed wooden jewelry box, perhaps), and an expensive beverage set composed of a large bronze flagon (1’8″ high), other bronze basins and the remains of gold fixtures thought to be from drinking horns.

The Lady of Vix’s remains were almost completely decomposed. She was deemed a lady because even with all the priceless treasures interred with her none of them are weapons. The same conclusion was drawn from the lack of a weapon in the grave goods of the Princess of Reinheim whose skeletal remains were annihilated by the acidic soil, but modern archaeology is reluctant to draw firm conclusions on sex based on the nature of the grave goods. A knife still in its sheath was found in the Lavau grave, but Celtic women were known to have fought, so we can’t assume the prince is not a princess. The bones that have survived are in very poor condition so it’s not possible to determine the deceased’s sex just by observation. Unlike with the Lady of Vix who was unearthed in 1953, modern archaeology may be able to make the determination by other means (DNA testing, stable isotope analysis).

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

From The Æthelmearc Gazette: Paladin’s Pantry Plans for Pennsic!

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2015-06-19 19:07

Paladin’s Pantry as reprinted from the Æthelmearc Gazette

An interview with Morien MacBain, the founder of Paladin’s Pantry. The Pantry is a charity rapidly having an effect across the Known World, providing donations for food banks at the ends of larger (and now smaller) SCA events.

Who are you?

Wow, tough one—right for the existential throat! I’m Morien MacBain, and like many Scadians, I tend to define myself through my associations and my activities. I have the honor to serve some very worthy gentles; I am squire to Count Sir Jehan de La Marche, now fostered to Baron Sir Graedwynn mab Teyrnon, I’m also protege to Her Grace Mistress Tessa the Huntress, and Equerry to Mistress Shishido Tora Gozen (that’s like a squire, but for mounted combat). I also have the honor to be the captain of the White Company, and the founder of Paladin’s Pantry. I am also a man richly blest with the women in his life.

What is Paladin’s Pantry?
It’s a charity based around three inescapable truths: SCAdians tend to be generous and open-hearted people, we tend to massively overbuy for camping events, and our stuff expands dramatically during events, making it more difficult to pack! We operate food drives at events which allow people to contribute their extra foodstuffs to local food banks (usually the one closest to the site). It’s a simple idea, but it’s really taken off.

When/How did it get started?
A few years ago we were packing to leave Pennsic, and we were trying to figure out what to do with our camp’s large amount of cans, boxes, jars, and  bottles of unopened pantrylogocomestibles, and casting wild surmises about who among us had even bought some of the items in the first place. I had run food drives at my school for years, so we wound up throwing it in the trailer and taking it back to donate. Leaving camp, we passed the Pennsic dumpsters, and saw the huge amounts of castoffs. On the way home, it occurred to me that it might be possible to reclaim some of that stuff for people in need. The next year, we got it off the ground. Most of the donations came from three groups from Aethelmearc and Atlantia (BMDL, the Chalk Man Pub, and the Lusty Wench Tavern). We only got about a trunk full, but it was a good proof of concept. The next year we started advertising, and got increasingly savvy about using social media to get the word out. Last Pennsic we collected an estimated four to five TONS of food and camping supplies. It’s just amazing! We’re the largest single donor the Portersville food bank has (including the government), and I know we can do even better! Last year, we spread our operations to Lilies War in Calontir, and this year we’ve had them at Gulf Wars, Blackstone Raids, and Lilies War, and of course we’ll be having them at Pennsic and War of the Wings in Atlantia as well. The idea really seems to resonate with people.

How does it work?
We usually contact an established food bank near the site, and arrange to have them send a pickup on a given day. Then as the event gets closer we do a full-court media press including Facebook, the on-site newpaper, if one exists, the cry heralds, flyers on the message boards, an ad in the site booklet, if one can be arranged–anything we can think of, really! We tend to post a list of donation sites, but we also provide a number which people can call or text to schedule a pick-up. We also have volunteers who go from camp to camp dragging armor carts and collecting face to face (Her Excellency Constance Glyn Dwr of the BMDL has had astounding success the last two years doing that). Then the driver arrives, I hop in the cab, and navigate him around to our various collection/staging areas around site. (We had eight last year.) We load everything up until the truck is full, then go unload at the food bank, and come back for more! Our volunteers are the best. It’s a great team effort!

What’s the deal for Pennsic this year?
This year we’ll be trying to break last years record, of course. We’ll be utilizing multiple drop-off points and plan to expand our number of camp-to-camp cart collectors. The number to schedule a pick up will remain the same (304-283-5640), although I’m going to try to delegate the phone-answering/pick-up scheduling job to someone else during battles and whatnot. We can accept all sorts of canned goods and non-perishables, but can also take relatively shelf-stable items like fresh fruit, eggs, cheese, cakes, pies, bread, and cured meats like ham or bacon. We also gladly collect still-serviceable tents, sleeping bags, rain gear, cots, flashlights, lighters, EZ-Logs, jackets and coats, and pretty much anything else that might help a homeless person out. Toiletries are a huge boon: toothbrushes, shampoo, toilet paper, paper towels, soaps and detergents, baby wipes, you name it! Pretty much the only things we don’t accept are alcohol, cash, and propane canisters.

What have some of the results been in the past?
As I mentioned, we collected over three pickup truck loads at Pennsic last year, which the staff at the food bank estimated at four to five tons.

Master Brandubh O Donnghaile ran the drive at Gulf Wars this year. He reported “This year was the first time that Palladin’s Pantry was active at Gulf Wars; though Morien couldn’t attend he made contact with the autocrats, publication staff and local food pantry for the food drive. The week started slow with a few bumps, but once camps started to tear down, donations poured in. The local food pantry filled up their pickup truck twice with all the donations, and were very pleased with the donations not just of food items, but also of camping gear.”

We’ve gotten some odd donations (macrame lemons spring to mind–no idea what those were in aid of), and some astonishing feats of generosity as well. I remember a 22-lb Virginia ham; I wonder who went home from the food bank with that monster? Overall, I’m always sure it’s going to be a disaster, and then the gentles of the SCA just rain down largesse, and we end up with mountains of charity. It’s quite a moving and hopeful sign, and never ceases to astonish.

Food Bano volunteers holding signs saying “Thank You Pennsic!”

Do you need volunteer help? How should people contact you?
We ALWAYS need help, and we’ll need more than ever this year to beat last year’s record! We’re also hoping to expand operations to Estrella War, Battle Moor, the Great Western War, and the Fifty-Year Celebration in 2016. Anyone who will be going to those events and wants to help out would be welcome. To get in touch, please feel free to call me at (304) 283-5640, email me at: svandevander@gmail.com and/or join the Paladin’s Pantry Food Drive group of Facebook.

Do you have a favorite story about the Pantry?
Last year there was so much that the food and flats of water and so on overflowed the shelves and covered the floor at the Portersville facility. We had to make little paths through it to allow access to the fridges and freezers, and it was still piling up in the parking bay. When Cindy Burns, the director of the food bank, saw it all she burst into tears. (They had been very close to a bare cupboard before Pennsic.) That place provides help to over seventy households in the area. Everyone thinks to donate around the holidays, but summer is a low time for donations usually. It was the largest one-day donation they had ever seen, by far. Pennsic made a huge difference in the quality of life for scores of families who never set foot on site!

Anything else you can think of?
It occurs to me that if each person at Pennsic donate just one pound of food, we’d be looking at over SIX tons! We’ve just begun to see what this sort of drive can do. Helping those in need is part of chivalrous behavior (in addition to one facet of basic human decency), and SCAdians are great at it! People we will never meet are hungry and need our help. Paladin’s Pantry to the rescue!

I also want to add a sincere vote of thanks to the most noble populace of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands, especially their illustrious Excellencies Constance and Liam, who have been the cornerstone of the drive since its inception. Vivat!

Baroness Constance Glyn Dwr has enjoyed working with the Pantry. “The first year Morien told me what he was doing, I was all in from that moment on.” she says. “I knew how busy everyone is during pack up at Pennsic and figured people couldn’t spare the time to drag their extras to a location point that might be far from them. So I grabbed our armor wagon and just started walking around calling out for donations. I don’t know how many trips I made that first year but I we were overwhelmed with people’s generosity. A lot of people hadn’t heard what we were doing until I went by calling it out, so it helped get the word out for the next year. The second year we did it, which was lastlast year, several members of our camp helped out with the wagon collections, people were so excited to get to help it was really awesome to see.

Food collected at Blackstone Raids.

“This year it was my husband’s Baron Liam’s idea to take it to Blackstone Raids, where we also had a wonderful turn out.

“It’s so very heartwarming, to see some SCAdians who themselves don’t have a lot sometimes, chasing me down to give me items for the pantry. I have heard so many times ‘I’ve been there, and want to give back.’ It’s things like that, that keep me going, pulling that wagon around.

“We’ll be collecting at the BMDL camp again this year, so look for our device which is a green field with two white crossed swords with an apple chief.”

Paladin’s Pantry is the embodiment of what we are as SCAdians! Plan to help us – and others – at Pennsic this year.


Filed under: Pennsic, Tidings

Paladin’s Pantry Plans for Pennsic!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2015-06-19 17:38

An interview with Morien MacBain, the founder of Paladin’s Pantry. The Pantry is a charity rapidly having an effect across the Known World, providing donations for food banks at the ends of larger (and now smaller) SCA events.

Who are you?

Wow, tough one—right for the existential throat! I’m Morien MacBain, and like many Scadians, I tend to define myself through my associations and my activities. I have the honor to serve some very worthy gentles; I am squire to Count Sir Jehan de La Marche, now fostered to Baron Sir Graedwyn mab Teyrnon, I’m also protege to Her Grace Mistress Tessa the Huntress, and Equerry to Mistress Shishido Tora Gozen (that’s like a squire, but for mounted combat). I also have the honor to be the captain of the White Company, and the founder of Paladin’s Pantry. I am also a man richly blest with the women in his life.

What is Paladin’s Pantry?
It’s a charity based around three inescapable truths: SCAdians tend to be generous and open-hearted people, we tend to massively overbuy for camping events, and our stuff expands dramatically during events, making it more difficult to pack! We operate food drives at events which allow people to contribute their extra foodstuffs to local food banks (usually the one closest to the site). It’s a simple idea, but it’s really taken off.

When/How did it get started?
A few years ago we were packing to leave Pennsic, and we were trying to figure out what to do with our camp’s large amount of cans, boxes, jars, and bottles of unopened comestibles, and casting wild surmises about who among us had even bought some of the items in the first place. I had run food drives at my school for years, so we wound up throwing it in the trailer and taking it back to donate. Leaving camp, we passed the Pennsic dumpsters, and saw the huge amounts of castoffs. On the way home, it occurred to me that it might be possible to reclaim some of that stuff for people in need. The next year, we got it off the ground. Most of the donations came from three groups from Æthelmearc and Atlantia (Debatable Lands, the Chalk Man Pub, and the Lusty Wench Tavern). We only got about a trunk full, but it was a good proof of concept. The next year we started advertising, and got increasingly savvy about using social media to get the word out. Last Pennsic we collected an estimated four to five TONS of food and camping supplies. It’s just amazing! We’re the largest single donor the Portersville food bank has (including the government), and I know we can do even better! Last year, we spread our operations to Lilies War in Calontir, and this year we’ve had them at Gulf Wars, Blackstone Raids, and Lilies War, and of course we’ll be having them at Pennsic and War of the Wings in Atlantia as well. The idea really seems to resonate with people.

How does it work?
We usually contact an established food bank near the site, and arrange to have them send a pickup on a given day. Then as the event gets closer we do a full-court media press including Facebook, the on-site newpaper, if one exists, the cry heralds, flyers on the message boards, an ad in the site booklet, if one can be arranged–anything we can think of, really! We tend to post a list of donation sites, but we also provide a number which people can call or text to schedule a pick-up. We also have volunteers who go from camp to camp dragging armor carts and collecting face to face (Her Excellency Constance Glyn Dwr of the Debatable Lands has had astounding success the last two years doing that). Then the driver arrives, I hop in the cab, and navigate him around to our various collection/staging areas around site. (We had eight last year.) We load everything up until the truck is full, then go unload at the food bank, and come back for more! Our volunteers are the best. It’s a great team effort!

What’s the deal for Pennsic this year?
This year we’ll be trying to break last years record, of course. We’ll be utilizing multiple drop-off points and plan to expand our number of camp-to-camp cart collectors. The number to schedule a pick up will remain the same (304-283-5640), although I’m going to try to delegate the phone-answering/pick-up scheduling job to someone else during battles and whatnot. We can accept all sorts of canned goods and non-perishables, but can also take relatively shelf-stable items like fresh fruit, eggs, cheese, cakes, pies, bread, and cured meats like ham or bacon. We also gladly collect still-serviceable tents, sleeping bags, rain gear, cots, flashlights, lighters, EZ-Logs,  jackets and coats, and pretty much anything else that might help a homeless person out. Toiletries are a huge boon: toothbrushes, shampoo, toilet paper, paper towels,  soaps and detergents, baby wipes, you name it! Pretty much the only things we don’t accept are alcohol, cash, and propane canisters.

What have some of the results been in the past?
As I mentioned, we collected over three pickup truck loads at Pennsic last year, which the staff at the food bank estimated at four to five tons.

Master Brandubh O Donnghaile ran the drive at Gulf Wars this year. He reported, “This year was the first time that Paladin’s Pantry was active at Gulf Wars; though Morien couldn’t attend he made contact with the autocrats, publication staff and local food pantry for the food drive. The week started slow with a few bumps, but once camps started to tear down, donations poured in. The local food pantry filled up their pickup truck twice with all the donations, and were very pleased with the donations not just of food items, but also of camping gear.” 

We’ve gotten some odd donations (macrame lemons spring to mind–no idea what those were in aid of), and some astonishing feats of generosity as well. I remember a 22-lb Virginia ham; I wonder who went home from the food bank with that monster? Overall, I’m always sure it’s going to be a disaster, and then the gentles of the SCA just rain down largesse, and we end up with mountains of  charity. It’s quite a moving and hopeful sign, and never ceases to astonish.

Do you need volunteer help? How should people contact you?
We ALWAYS need help, and we’ll need more than ever this year to beat last year’s record!  We’re also hoping to expand operations to Estrella War, Battle Moor, the Great Western War, and the Fifty-Year Celebration in 2016. Anyone who will be going to those events and wants to help out would be welcome. To get in touch, please feel free to call me at (304) 283-5640, email me at: svandevander@gmail.com and/or join the Paladin’s Pantry Food Drive group of Facebook.

Food Bano volunteers holding signs saying “Thank You Pennsic!”

Do you have a favorite story about the Pantry?
Last year there was so much that the food and flats of water and so on overflowed the shelves and covered the floor at the Portersville facility. We had to make little paths through it to allow access to the fridges and freezers, and it was still piling up in the parking bay. When Cindy Burns, the director of the food bank, saw it all she burst into tears. (They had been very close to a bare cupboard before Pennsic.) That place provides help to  over seventy households in the area. Everyone thinks to donate around the holidays, but summer is a low time for donations usually. It was the largest one-day donation they had ever seen, by far. Pennsic made a huge difference in the quality of life for scores of families who never set foot on site!

Anything else you can think of?
It occurs to me that if each person at Pennsic donate just one pound of food, we’d be looking at over SIX tons! We’ve just begun to see what this sort of drive can do. Helping those in need is part of chivalrous behavior (in addition to one facet of basic human decency), and SCAdians are great at it! People we will never meet are hungry and need our help. Paladin’s Pantry to the rescue!

I also want to add a sincere vote of thanks to the most noble populace of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands, especially their illustrious Excellencies Constance and Liam, who have been the cornerstone of the drive since its inception. Vivant!

Baroness Constance Glyn Dwr has enjoyed working with the Pantry. “The first year Morien told me what he was doing, I was all in from that moment on.” she says.  “I knew how busy everyone is during pack up at Pennsic and figured people couldn’t spare the time to drag their extras to a location point that might be far from them. So I grabbed our armor wagon and just started walking around calling out for donations.  I don’t know how many trips I made that first year but we were overwhelmed with people’s generosity. A lot of people hadn’t heard what we were doing until I went by calling it out, so it helped get the word out for the next year. The second year we did it, which was last year, several members of our camp helped out with the wagon collections, people were so excited to get to help it was really awesome to see.

Food collected at Blackstone Raids.

“This year it was my husband, Baron Liam’s, idea to take it to Blackstone Raids, where we also had a wonderful turn out.

“It’s so very heartwarming, to see some SCAdians who themselves don’t have a lot sometimes, chasing me down to give me items for the pantry. I have heard so many times ‘I’ve been there, and want to give back.’ It’s things like that, that keep me going, pulling that wagon around.

“We’ll be collecting at the Debatable Lands camp again this year (in N10), so look for the Paladin’s Pantry device, which is a green field with two white crossed swords with an apple chief.”

Paladin’s Pantry is the embodiment of what we are as SCAdians! Plan to help us – and others – at Pennsic this year.


Categories: SCA news sites

Getty acquires rediscovered papal bust by Bernini

History Blog - Fri, 2015-06-19 11:53

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has acquired the recently rediscovered Bust of Pope Paul V carved in 1621 by Baroque master Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The bust was known to art historians from an 1893 photograph, a bronze copy now in the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen that was cast by Sebastiano Sebastiani right after the marble original was sculpted, and from Vatican archives detailing the commission of the marble and bronze versions, but it had been secreted in unknown private collections since the 19th century. It recently resurfaced in a private collection and the Getty was contacted by Sotheby’s to arrange a private sale. Obviously the museum was more than interested and since it has an enormous endowment, money was no object. We don’t know what they paid for it, but it was certainly multiple millions of dollars.

The work was one of pair of busts commissioned by Paul V’s nephew and an important early patron of Bernini’s, Cardinal Scipione Borghese.Paul V, a patron in his own right who employed Pietro Bernini, Gian Lorenzo’s father, is said to have seen some drawings done by Gian Lorenzo when he was a boy and declared “This boy will be the Michelangelo of his age.” The other bust in the pair was of Paul V’s successor Pope Gregory XV who was actually pope when Bernini carved both busts. It is now in the private collection of Joseph M. and Toby Tanenbaum. You can see how similar they are in the dignified demeanor of the popes and in the decorative carving of their garments.

Bernini’s portrait of Paul V depicts the pope almost bareheaded, his hair cut in the “tonsure of St. Peter,” which signified the renunciation of worldly fashion, and dressed in traditional pontifical vestments. The thick cope covering his shoulders is richly decorated with embroideries of the Apostles Peter and Paul – the saintly patrons of Rome – with borders of plant motifs. The cope is fastened in the middle of the chest by a complex brooch called a morse, composed of a gemstone set in an elaborate metallic frame. Underneath the cope is a surplice in thin fabric with small vertical pleats on the chest, an embroidered upper edge and a very fine, delicately carved, lace border at the neck.

Bust of Pope Paul V exemplifies Bernini’s precocious mastery in capturing his sitters’ characters and in conveying a powerful liveliness of expression,” said Anne-Lise Desmas, head of Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Getty Museum. “Beyond its extraordinary naturalism, the sculpture manages to combine a gravitas appropriate to the Pope’s status with an air of kindness and approachability. In addition, the rich embroidery decoration of the cope is technically a tour de force in low-relief carving. Remarkably, the portrait survived through all these centuries in perfect condition.”

The bust was in the Borghese family’s enormous art collection until 1893 when it was sold to a non-Italian private collector at an auction of antiquities and artworks at the Villa Borghese in Rome. At the time of the sale the bust was mistakenly attributed to Alessandro Algardi, a sculptor who would become a rival of Bernini’s 15 years or so later, but who didn’t get to Rome until 1625 and even then only worked restoring ancient sculptures for Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi (Gregory XV’s beloved nephew) for a year or so. The Bust of Paul V was re-attributed to Bernini by Rome’s Inspector of Monuments Antonio Muñoz in a 1916 art journal article. I doubt the Borghese family would have ever sold it had they known it was a Bernini. Another bust of Paul V by Gian Lorenzo Bernini is still in Rome’s Galleria Borghese museum today.

Bernini was hugely famous and successful in his lifetime. He had a large studio and much of his work after he hit the big time was physically made by his assistants. When he was very young he collaborated on sculptures with his father. A work like this bust, therefore, that predates the studio but postdates his cooperative works with Pietro, is extremely significant because it was carved by his hand only.

Sculptures by Bernini are very rare in US museums. The Getty has another one — Boy with a Dragon — but it wasn’t made by Bernini alone; his father Pietro collaborated with his then-teenaged son in its execution. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has another father-son Bernini collaboration, the sculptural group Bacchanal: A Faun Teased by Children, made when Gian Lorenzo was just 18 years old. The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, has a pair of terracotta models of angels and the terracotta model for the Fountain of the Moor in Piazza Navona both by Gian Lorenzo. National Gallery of Art in Washington has one of only two other busts in the country, Monsignor Francesco Barberini. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) acquired the other, Portrait of a Gentleman, just this March.

With the Getty’s acquisition of Paul V, Los Angeles is now the proud host of two-thirds of the Bernini busts in the US. The bust went on display yesterday for the first time since Gian Lorenzo Bernini put chisel to marble almost 400 years ago.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

PENNSIC: Paid Pre-Reg deadline extended until midnight Saturday!

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2015-06-19 09:17

Paid pre-registration for Pennsic 44 will REMAIN OPEN until 11:59pm on Saturday, June 20th!

Pré-inscriptions payées pour Pennsic 44 va rester ouvert jusqu’à 23:59 le samedi 20 juin !


Filed under: En français, Pennsic, Tidings

Pennsic Pre-Registration Deadline Extended

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2015-06-19 08:59

Photo Credit: Lord Darter the Chronicler

The paid Pennsic pre-registration deadline, originally Wednesday,

June 17, 2015, has been extended until 11:59pm on Saturday, June 20, 2015.

You can pre-register on the Official Site of the Pennsic Registration Office.


Categories: SCA news sites

Wellington’s cloak from Waterloo for sale

History Blog - Thu, 2015-06-18 09:36

The cloak worn by the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo is being offered for sale for the first time in 200 years. Wellington was a practical fellow when it came to his wardrobe, as evinced by his invention of that most sensible of boots. He eschewed the showy military outfits that were popular in his day (shout out to Joachim Murat), and this simple navy blue worsted cloak with purple velvet collar and plain gilt buttons is a fine example of his utilitarian style.

It also has a splendidly juicy ownership history. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was a highly accomplished swordsman in more ways than one. He cut a swath through the fine ladies, married or not, and courtesans of Regency England, and his conquests in the bedroom figured prominently in society gossip, courtesan memoirs (the famous phrase “Publish and be damned” was his response to the publisher of Harriette Wilson’s memoirs when they offered to keep the Duke’s name out of her scandalous book for a fee), satirical cartoons and divorce court documents. Count Molé, who met Wellington after Waterloo, described him as having “a taste for women, continual amours of extreme ardour and equally extreme frivolity, all the habits of a man of the world and a thirst for the pettiest amusements.”

After Napoleon’s final defeat, abdication and exile, Wellington went to France where he enjoyed an active social life in the packed salons, ballrooms and theaters of Bourbon Restoration Paris. As the greatest military hero on the winning side, Wellington had his pick of the noble groupies that flocked to him. One of them was Lady Caroline Lamb who was then two years out of her scandalous affair with Lord Byron and its even more scandalous aftermath in which she stalked him with violently unhinged dedication.

She and her poor, benighted husband William Lamb, went to Paris in August of 1815 for some R&R after she had spent a month helping nurse her brother Frederic back to health. Colonel Frederic Ponsonby, commander of the 12th Light Dragoons, was a great favorite of Wellington’s who had been so seriously wounded at Waterloo that it’s hard to believe he survived. Leading a cavalry charge, he was shot in both arms. Then he took a sabre blow to the head which knocked him unconscious and off his horse. When he came to, he raised his head only to be spotted by a French lancer who stabbed him with said lance in the back, puncturing a lung. Unable to move, he was roughly searched for plunder at least three times by soldiers on both sides and was unintentionally trampled by Prussian cavalry.

Finally, after languishing 18 hours on the field, the morning of June 19th Ponsonby was rescued and carted to nearby farmhouse where his wounds were tended to. Sort of. Here’s his description of his medical treatment as told to Wellington’s great friend (and lover, of course) Lady Frances Shelley: “I had received seven wounds; a surgeon slept in my room, and I was saved by continual bleeding — 120 ounces in two days, besides a great loss of blood on the field.” So yeah, first he survived getting shot, stabbed and trampled at Waterloo, and then he survived his surgeon tapping his veins like a keg.

Wellington visited Ponsonby on June 20th, missing Lady Caroline and William who arrived in Brussels in early July and stayed with Frederick until he was well enough to go back home. When they moved on Paris, Caroline was ready to party. English novelist Frances Burney, aka Madame d’Arblay, described Caroline in her diary after seeing her in Paris:

“I just missed meeting the famous Lady Caroline Lamb who had been there at [Madame de la Tour du Pin's] dinner, and whom I saw, however, crossing the Place Royale, from Mme de la Tour du Pin’s to the Grand Hotel ; dressed or rather not dressed, so as to excite universal attention and authorise every boldness of staring from the general to the lowest solider among the military groups then constantly parading the Place — for she had one shoulder, half her back and all her throat and neck displayed as if the call of some statuary for modelling a heathen goddess.”

Lady Caroline’s first cousin, Lady Harriet Granville, daughter of the 5th Duke of Devonshire and the famously unconventional Duchess Georgiana, was also in Paris at that time. She wrote in her diary:

“Nothing is more agissant [agitating] but Lady Caroline William Lamb in a purple riding habit, tormenting everybody, but I am convinced she is ready primed for an attack upon the Duke of Wellington and I have no doubt but that she will to a certain extent succeed, as no dose of flattery is too strong for him to swallow or her to administer. Poor William Lamb hides in a small room while she assembles lovers and tradespeople in another. He looks worn to the bone. The D of W talked a great deal about Caroline William. I see she amuses him to the greatest degree especially her accidents which is the charitable term he gives to all her sorties.”

There are no extant letters that conclusively show the Duke of Wellington and Lady Caroline Lamb had an affair, but they were into each other for it to be noticed in public. American writer Washington Irving saw Wellington at a party in Paris paying the men little men as he was “quite engaged by Lady Caroline Lamb.” The news of their mutual interest soon grapevined its way back to London where Harriette Wilson, in a letter to her lover Richard William Meyler, wrote this finely crafted double-burn: “My old beau Wellington … has made I understand a desperate conquest of Lady Caroline Lamb, but then her ladyship was never very particular.”

It’s during this period that the Duke apparently gave Lady Caroline a cloak he had worn at Waterloo as a memento. The only source we have for this gift is the cloak’s first documented owner: Grosvenor Charles Bedford. He got it in 1823 from anatomist Anthony Carlisle who told him he had been given the cloak by Lady Caroline who received it from the Duke.

From the Sotheby’s lot notes:

The appearance and characteristics of the cloak itself, together with its provenance, leave little doubt that this was a cloak worn by Wellington during the Waterloo campaign, but it remains impossible to be sure whether he wore it on 18 June 1815. It is almost certain that that he took more than one cloak on campaign; at least one other Waterloo campaign cloak candidate once existed in the hands of Wellington’s friend John Wilson Croker, although that cloak has been lost since 1824. Croker tells the story of how Wellington had given him the cloak worn at Waterloo, but that he lent it to Sir Thomas Lawrence when he was commissioned to paint Wellington for Sir Robert Peel …, and when he asked for it back Lawrence admitted that he had given it – with the Duke’s permission – to a lady, whom Croker declines to identify (The Croker Papers: Volume 3 (1888) p.279). In 1853 Croker wrote to Bedford’s niece, then owner of the present cloak, confirming that her cloak was not the one he had once owned and that Caroline Lamb was not the lady to whom his cloak had been given. This is unsurprising since Lamb’s cloak had already passed to Bedford when Croker lent his cloak to Lawrence.

The cloak, still splattered with mud from the battlefield, will be auctioned on July 14th. The presale estimate is £20,000 – 30,000 ($30,840 – 46,260).

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History