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Spain planned to invade Australia with an armada

History Blog - Wed, 2015-01-28 07:15

Documents discovered in the archives of the Spanish navy reveal that Spain planned to invade the nascent British colony in Australia in the mid-1790s. Chris Maxworthy, vice president of the Australian Association for Maritime History (AAMH), found the documents detailing a plan of attack approved by King Carlos IV to fire “hot shot” cannons, cannons that fired heated balls that could set wooden ships and buildings on fire as well as blow large holes in them, on Port Jackson, modern-day Sydney Harbour.

“The plan was to attack Sydney from the Spanish colonies in South America with a fleet of 100 medium-sized boats armed with cannons and ‘hot shot’,” [Maxworthy] told The Australian Financial Review.

“The goal was the complete surrender by the British and their expulsion from the Australian land mass … The effect [of the hot shot] would be to not only impact the targets ashore but also create multiple fires in the wooden buildings of that era in Sydney, particularly if the plans occurred during the hot summer months.”

Governor Arthur Phillip had established the first British colony on the continent at Port Jackson in January of 1788, 18 years after explorer James Cook landed there and named the harbour after Admiralty official Sir George Jackson. The convicts started coming right away, as the prisoner transport system to Britain’s colonies had been painfully cut off since 1776 by the Revolutionary War and subsequent independence. By 1792, there were more than 4,000 convicts populating Sydney, but since food was scarce and disease was rife, they would not have been able to put up much of a fight against a Spanish armada. Any Spanish victory would likely have been of short duration, however, as Britain had a much stronger navy and army and could have reclaimed the colony with minimal effort.

Spain’s concern was that a British colony in the Pacific would be a grave threat to the crown’s holdings in South America and the Philippines, a concern first articulated by Spanish naval officer Francisco Muñoz y San Clemente only months after the colony was founded. He reported that the convict colonists would be well positioned to act as privateers and harry Spanish shipping between the Philippines and the Americas. Once it had developed a full naval presence, the Australia colony would be able to launch a full-scale invasion of Spain’s holdings.

That same year, 1788, Italian nobleman, explorer and Spanish naval officer Alessandro Malaspina and José de Bustamante y Guerra proposed a Pacific expedition modeled after Cook’s. The government approved the expedition and each man had a corvette custom-built for the voyage. It also added a stop to the expedition’s itinerary: Port Jackson, so the explorers could see first hand how valid Muñoz’s concerns were.

Bustamante and Malaspina departed from Cadiz in 1789. Over the next five years, they traveled from the east coast of South America around Cape Horn to the west coast and up north to Mexico, then detoured to Alaska on orders to search yet again for the mythical Northwest Passage. From Alaska they went back to Mexico, then west to Manila and south to Doubtful Sound on New Zealand’s South Island. In March of 1793, the expedition landed at Port Jackson where they mapped the coast and studied the local flora and fauna.

Malaspina confirmed Muñoz’s impressions in his report to the crown. Port Jackson was indeed a danger to Spain’s overseas possessions because

with the greatest ease a crossing of two or three months through healthy climates, and a secure navigation, could bring to our defenceless coasts two or three thousand castaway bandits to serve interpolated with an excellent body of regular troops. It would not be surprising that in this case — the women also sharing the risks as well as the sensual pleasures of the men — the history of the invasions of the Huns and Alans in the most fertile provinces of Europe would be revived in our surprised colonies. … The pen trembles to record the image, however distant, of such disorders.

All those prostitutes, forgers and pickpockets wouldn’t just band up with the regular troops to make a formidable invasion force, but then they’d settle down and have lots of reproductive sex just like those German barbarian ancestors of the British monarch did.

Despite the trembling of his pen, Malaspina did not advocate a military response to this threat. He believed the worst case scenario could be prevented by opening trade between Chile, the Philippines and Sydney. Why fight lusty convicts when you can do business with them and make it very much in their interest not to interrupt the flow of Chilean beef and Philippine spices? Malaspina had witnessed firsthand how hard-scrabble an existence the colonists eked out. They had little livestock, pulled their own carts and plows, and rarely ate meat. Spanish products would prove addictive, he thought, and instead of spending money trying to squash the colony, the crown would profit handsomely while achieving its ultimate goal of defanging the Australian menace.

From Port Jackson, Malaspina and Bustamante made one last stop — Tonga — before returning to Cadiz in September of 1794. King Charles IV and Manuel de Godoy, the king’s prime minister and puppet master (and probably the queen’s lover), welcomed Malaspina back, promoting him to fleet-brigadier for his efforts. The good vibes didn’t last. In late 1795 Malaspina was caught conspiring to overthrow Godoy and the next year was tried for plotting against the state. Although the trial did not result in a conviction, in April of 1796 Charles IV stripped him of his naval rank and sent him to jail in the fortress of San Antón in La Coruña, Galicia, where he remained imprisoned until 1802.

Bustamante did not share in his colleague’s disgrace. He was promoted to navy brigadier after their return and remained in the crown’s good graces. In 1795, Spain was compelled to declare war on Great Britain by its ally France. Even if Malaspina hadn’t gotten on Godoy’s shitlist, his proposal for a mercantile approach to Australia wasn’t suited to the new circumstances. Instead, in 1796 Bustamante was appointed governor of Paraguay and Commander General of the fleet of Río de la Plata, in charge of the military defense of Spain’s South American colonies, and, as we now know, a pre-emptive military attack on Port Jackson.

The archival documents show that Jose de Bustamante y Guerra, the deputy commander of the Spanish expedition, subsequently proposed an invasion of the colony to King Carlos IV and his ministers. The government sent Bustamante to a new military post at Montevideo in Uruguay and he began to build a small fleet of attack vessels.

“As the military and naval commander, Bustamante was tasked to both defend South America from an anticipated British invasion, and to take the fight to the British in the Pacific,” Mr Maxworthy said.

Although Spain remained a French ally and enemy of Britain until the Battle of Trafalgar turned the tide on October 21st, 1805, neither side ever did get around to invading each others’ colonies. When Godoy switched allegiance to Great Britain after Trafalgar and then back to France after Napoleon’s defeat of Prussia in 1807, it made King Charles IV look like even more of a weakling than everyone (including court painter Francisco de Goya who consistently depicted him as a rotund, confused country squire better suited to hunting than absolute rule) already thought he was.

Charles’ son Ferdinand favored an alliance with Britain and after one attempted coup by the Crown Prince and several riots by his supporters, on March 19th, 1808, King Carlos IV abdicated in favor of his son who became King Ferdinand VII.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Announcement from the SCA, Inc. Board of Directors Regarding the February 2, 2015 Conference Call

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2015-01-27 19:10

The following message was sent out by the SCA, Inc. Board of Directors today, via the Announcements mailing list:

Due to the large amount of information surrounding the additional peerage matter, the Board of Directors has decided to participate in a conference call on February 2, 2015. This is not an unusual occurrence. Conference call meetings are regularly held to help facilitate communication, especially on important issues. This meeting was scheduled for further discussion of the results, reactions, and information that came forth after the last meeting’s failed vote on the peerage language change.

The Board would like to assure the membership that they are reading all the comments that have been sent to them so far on the issue. Anyone who would like their opinion heard is encouraged to write the Board at comments@sca.org.

Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas, CA 95036

You may also email comments@lists.sca.org.

This announcement is an official informational release by the Society for Creative Anachronism , Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce this announcement in its entirety in newsletters, websites and electronic mailing lists.

Filed under: Corporate, Official Notices Tagged: board of directors, BoD, bod meeting, corporate, SCA, sca inc

Board of Directors February 2 Conference Call

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-01-27 18:57

Due to the large amount of information surrounding the additional peerage matter, the Board of Directors has decided to participate in a conference call on February 2, 2015. This is not an unusual occurrence. Conference call meetings are regularly held to help facilitate communication, especially on important issues. This meeting was scheduled for further discussion of the results, reactions, and information that came forth after the last meeting’s failed vote on the peerage language change.

The Board would like to assure the membership that they are reading all the comments that have been sent to them so far on the issue. Anyone who would like their opinion heard is encouraged to write the Board at comments@sca.org.

Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA, Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas, CA 95036

You may also email comments@lists.sca.org.

This announcement is an official informational release by the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce this announcement in its entirety in newsletters, websites and electronic mailing lists.

Categories: SCA news sites

Calling All Warranted Chirurgeons!

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2015-01-27 16:07

Estrella War is near, and we are looking for those who are willing to assist in keeping our event safe.  If you are a warranted Chirurgeon within your Kingdom and are interested in volunteering at either Chirurgeon Point or during Battles, please contact Lady Rowan.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Letter from the Earl Marshal

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2015-01-27 15:26

The following letter was written by Baron Jibril al-Dakhil, East Kingdom Earl Marshal, and is being posted by the Gazette at his request.

Greetings unto the East Kingdom:

A complaint has been brought to the office of the Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom regarding this past Crown Tournament dated November 1, 2014 for violations of the list. Upon due investigation and consideration the following shall be the official and final ruling of the Office of the Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom:

East Kingdom Earl Marshal’s Response Regarding a Complaint Filed from Fall Crown 2014:

At the outset, any rule that purports to say a complaint shall not be made against the Royalty cannot apply to Crown Tournament. No Royalty fights in Crown Tournament by express decree of EK law. Secondly, it is nearly impossible to bring a written complaint against a combatant in a tournament before completion of the tournament. Therefore, the rule is clearly meant to apply to SITTING Royalty and not someone who becomes Royalty after the action that gives rise to the complaint. To construe the rules in any other way would defy common sense and logic. While January 2014 Curia’s rule change to EK law amends the language to Crown from Royalty it is a change that merely clarifies language and not content.

It is with this understanding that I move forward in my capacity as Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom in accepting a complaint against His Grace Omega Aurelius Serpentius for conduct in the list of the Fall 2014 Crown Tournament of the East Kingdom. Both of the Finalists know that I have spoken with the combatants in finals, various marshals present during finals, various members of the Chivalry, His Majesty Edward, and former Earl Marshal Oskgar of the Woods. In addition, I have read various emails and extensive social media commentary from spectators who are among the Peerage and Populace alike. Until this complaint was made, neither Baron Sir Oskgar nor myself could take action despite our discussions about how best to proceed in the best interest of the Kingdom and Marshallate.

A complaint was made that during the finals Duke Omega (a) called a head shot good, did not die and continued to fight after Duke Omega called a second shot low, and; (b) threw down his polearm so as to be helpless and therefore invulnerable to attack by his adversary.

There were several additional allegations that spoke to the final blow of the tournament that stuck Duke Omega in the head but was not accepted as a killing blow as well as Duke Omega backing up into the crowd to avoid defeat.

In the responses that I received to my solicitation from marshals present, it was also raised that Duke Kenric (a) may not have accepted solid blows, and; (b) lost his composure, threw down his weapons and stormed out of the list.

The following are the applicable sections of the rules:

Pt. 1, Sec. F. Combatants shall behave in a knightly and chivalrous manner, and shall fight according to the appropriate Society and Kingdom Conventions of Combat.

CC1. The legal target areas are defined as the whole torso, head and limbs, with the exception of the lower legs beginning one inch above the top of the kneecap, and the hand from one inch above the wrist.

CC4. Judging the effects of blows is left to the honor of the combatants, unless they relinquish this responsibility, with the exception of clear violations of the Rules of the Lists or the Conventions of Combat.

CC7. A helpless opponent shall not be struck, and a “hold” must be called. An opponent is helpless if he has slipped or is falling, or has struck the ground, or if he has dropped or broken his weapon. Blows begun before the cause of the hold shall be counted. If a combatant either drops his weapon, or slips and falls without being pushed three times, the combatant will be warned that on the next occurrence he will be considered to be held at sword’s point and be forced to yield.

I will first address the issues for which there lay no possible sanction. There was no clear list and backing up into the crowd to avoid defeat cannot be construed as a violation. This was an error manifest by the weather conditions and environment. While unfortunate and should be avoided at all costs in the future, even if a list must be made of kneeling fighters behinds their shields, this is not conduct that calls for sanction. Calibration questions were raised by Duke Omega against Duke Kenric during the finals. Duke Kenrick answered them and the bouts continued. To the extent that Duke Omega was unsatisfied with the answer and continued to fight, this is not conduct that calls for sanctions. Fighters must trust their adversaries honor as they wish their own to be trusted or seek guidance from the marshals if the question remains. This was not done. This is not the fault of Duke Kenric and no sanction is warranted.

Duke Omega was struck with the blow that ended the tournament. Duke Kenric chose to withdraw (discussed below) rather than question the call or seek guidance from the marshallate. This blow has been the result of great controversy, as it seems to spectators that the prior Earl Marshal and King were finally approaching the combatants to intervene and address the issue. The blow was not addressed within the confines of the rules as Duke Kenric chose to withdraw at this point. Duke Kenric’s withdrawal from the tournament precluded further discussion in the moment as was sorely needed. I will not issue a sanction against Duke Omega for making call of calibration that was not properly questioned by Duke Kenric. Regardless of how the blow looked, this was not the fault of Duke Omega as the rules expressly make Duke Omega the sole judge of the effects of the blow and Duke Kenric did not question the blow or call in the marshals.

I will say that this particular blow will result in a change to the EK Marshal’s rules, which will allow marshals to notify fighters of the angle and appearance of shots that the fighter may not otherwise be aware of without waiting to be invited by the fighters to speak. This is NOT a rule that allows marshals to call fighters dead but simply to provide information so that the fighter has all possible information when judging a blow. Sir Oskgar and I discussed this at great length and I humbly thank Sir Oskgar for his assistance in putting forth a solution that maintains our culture of honoring the fighter’s integrity but strengthens the marshal’s role in tournament.

Turning now to the actions for which a sanction will be issued I begin with Duke Omega calling a head shot good, then a low shot, then continuing to fight. Upon a declaration of being struck in the head with a good shot, a combatant is dead. These are our rules. In my first Crown Tournament, I called a head shot good against Baron Sir Manfred Van Halstern. After leaving the field I was overhead to say to my knight, Sir Stephen von Dresen, that the shot was light and I should not have taken it. Baron Sir Manfred was informed of my whimpering and came to me to offer to refight. I declined to refight because I called the shot good, I did not immediately communicate to Baron Sir Manfred that I wasn’t sure or ask the marshal. Instead, I made a call and let it stand. That is similar to the action that happened here. Duke Omega made a call, did not discuss it, but instead resumed fighting. This blow landed on a legal target and was judged by Duke Omega to be good. At this point, Duke Omega must either yield the fight or immediately explain why he wished to continue. Duke Omega did not and as such the conduct violates the rules of the list.

Next, Duke Omega threw down his pole arm. On one occasion the pole was clearly trapped against Duke Kenric’s body and Duke Omega stated as much. Next, Duke Omega, while backing up into the crowd, threw down his pole arm to avoid being struck. This happened directly in my line of sight and was clearly done to avoid a shot that could not be blocked. This violates the rules of comportment on the list. It did not occur three times and does not require Duke Omega to yield.

Finally, Duke Kenric threw down his weapons and stormed off the list because Duke Kenric struck Duke Omega with a blow Duke Kenric felt was a killing blow. This was not Duke Kenric’s call to make by operation of the rules. Moreover, it violates the rules of comportment on the list.

Revenge and justice are not the same. Revenge is an emotional response to a wrong, while justice is the reasoned response to a wrong. A Knight must do justice in the name of his King, not seek revenge. A Marshal must be fair in the application of the rules. There is no room for revenge in the marshallate. Thus, when the Earl Marshal metes out sanctions it must be must be an appropriate, reasoned response to a wrong.

Pursuant to the EK Marshal’s Rules His Grace Kenric aet Essex shall be censured for his lack of comportment and unseemly withdrawal from the list at Fall Crown Tournament November 1, 2014. Because Duke Kenric immediately apologized and showed contrition, no greater sanction is warranted.

Pursuant to the EK Marshal’s Rules His Grace Omega Aurelius Serpentius shall be censured for refusing to yield after acknowledging a good blow and for intentionally disarming himself to gain tactical advantage and avoid a loss. Because Duke Omega has expressly committed to the Chivalry and the Populace that he never again enter a Crown Tournament, no greater sanction is warranted.

Some may feel this is insufficient sanction against Duke Omega as Duke Omega was declared the victor and named Prince. Here is where revenge must give way to reason and justice. Duke Omega has publically stated that he will never fight in Crown and this self-imposed sanction exceeds any punishment allowed by EK law and one that would otherwise be reserved for the Board of Directors. No King should ever accept a letter of intent from Duke Omega again without dishonoring the foundation of our Society – that we are men of our word. No Earl Marshal should ever allow Duke Omega to fight in Crown Tournament even if allowed by a King, as the very entry into the list of Crown Tournament would be a violation of Duke Omega’s own word and unequivocal evidence that he cannot comport himself in a knightly and chivalric manner as required by the rules of the East Kingdom. This is rational and reasoned justice and a heavy self-imposed sanction that cannot be undone.

For those who wish to hear Duke Omega apologize and beg forgiveness, I say your position is unreasonable and unhealthy for the Kingdom. What fighter drops his guard when under attack? Where is the sense in expecting Duke Omega to say, “I did wrong” when it will be thrown in his face and used against him rather than accepted as contrition? It was Duke Kenric’s withdrawal that ended the tournament and King Edward’s acceptance of the withdrawal that made Duke Omega our Prince. Had Duke Kenric not withdrawn the fight could have continued or been refought. This is why we have a marshallate and the lesson to be learned here is to turn to the marshallate and demand that issues are addressed IN THE MOMENT. I stand resolutely in support of my Prince Omega because he has chosen a path of unequivocal, self-imposed punishment that could only have been done by the Board of Directors.

Let this begin what I hope is a very short list of sanctions recorded against fighters in the East Kingdom. Let these examples of conduct signal the importance of communication between fighters and the importance of adherence to rules of the list. Most importantly, let this begin to truly heal the Kingdom.

Yours in Service,
Baron Sir Jibril al-Dakhil
Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom

Filed under: Heavy List, Official Notices

Birka Tournament Results

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2015-01-27 12:51

The following tournament results are available from the oxhide bear-pit style tournaments traditionally held at A Market Day at Birka.

Heavy list comtat at A Market Day at Birka. Photo courtesy of Countess Caoilfhionn.

130 heavy list (rattan) fighters entered the lists, fighting a total of 3,252 bouts. The overall top finisher was Sir Douglas Henry. The top unbelted finisher was Hrafn the Bonesetter.

Complete Birka heavy list tournament results are available by clicking here.

69 rapier fighters entered the lists at A Market Day at Birka, and fought 1,164 bouts in total. The top finisher was Remy Delemontagne de Gascogne with 150 points.

Complete Birka rapier combat tournament results are available by clicking here.

Rapier Combat at A Market Day at Birka. Photo courtesy of Countess Caoilfhionn.




Filed under: Fencing, Heavy List Tagged: a market day at birka, birka, Tournament Results, Tourney Results

Cry Heralds needed for Gulf Wars

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2015-01-27 12:28

Gulf War is on the horizon, and the Clarion Calls go throughout the land for volunteers to help make Gulf Wars XXIV "the best of the best."

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Categories: SCA news sites

Event Report: St. Swithin’s Bog Twelfth Night

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-01-27 09:41

Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope reports on the Bog Twelfth Night event.

St. Swithin’s Bog Twelfth Night included a wide array of activities, including martial tourneys as well as the usual feasting and arts. It was held at a new site with more space than the traditional site, which permitted the addition of fighting and fencing.

The rapier tourney had an unusual format. Fencers were each given a pin with five ribbons. They were then required to challenge other fencers to a bout with any conditions to which both would agree: best of three fights for one ribbon, first to win five fights for two ribbons, and so on. Some of the fencers and their consorts even bet ribbons on the outcome of certain bouts. It made for an interesting tournament with a good bit of amusement on the part of fencers and spectators alike.

Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

The heavy weapons bear pit tournament was dominated for a while by the chivalry, with Sir Alric of the Mists and Prince Timothy holding the field for long stretches, but in the end the winner was THLord Arnthor inn Sterki. All of the fighters enjoyed themselves, and good humor dominated the low-key list.

Photo by Arianna

Over the course of the day, spectators and combatants alike were encouraged to vote for the most chivalrous fighter in both lists. For the heavy weapons list, Lady Svava of St. Swithin’s Bog was chosen most chivalrous, not only for her honorable combat, but also for her spirit. She later received a Golden Alce from Their Majesties. On the rapier list, Lord Gunnar UlfrBani not only won the tourney but was also chosen most chivalrous, then capped off the day by receiving both the Bog’s martial award and an Award of Arms from the King and Queen.

Lord Gunnar with his Baronial award scroll for martial skill. Photo by Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann.

While the combatants were having their fun, Baron Iago and Baroness Emelia of St. Swithin’s Bog were faced with the daunting task of choosing their next Baronial Arts & Sciences Champion. Among the many lovely entries, they selected the painted mask made by Master Caoinleán Seanchaidh, called Tower, as the best item, and duly named him their A&S Champion, further enjoining him to enter the Seven Pearls A&S Competition at Ice Dragon.

Mask by Master Caoinleán Seanchaidh, called Tower. Photo by Arianna

Baronial award medallions in glass, entered by Lady Rachel Dalicieux. Photo by Arianna.

Pouch entered by Lord Ian Campbell of Glen Mor. Photo by Mistress Hilda

Embroidered pin cushion entered by Dame Vivienne Marie de Beauvais. Photo by Arianna

Beaded gown entered by Lady Andree of Snow Rose. Photo by Arianna

There was also a silent auction of donated items, as well as a 50/50 raffle, both to benefit the Bog’s coffers.

THLord Sionn the Lost ran dancing throughout the afternoon, with many gentles including Her Majesty and the Prince and Princess enjoying a mix of bransles and English Country dances.

Photo by Mistress Hilda.

Late in the afternoon, Master Duncan Blackwater arrived with one of his birds of prey in hand. As always, he was then surrounded by a delighted crowd eager to see the bird and hear about how Master Duncan raised and trained it. Prince Timothy and Princess Gabrielle’s children were especially enthralled.

Photo by Arianna

Lady of Misrule Grace of Steltonwald. Photo by Arianna.

Shortly before court, the Monarch of Misrule was chosen by means of tickets which had been distributed to all of the non-peers as they checked in at troll. The gentle thus selected was Grace of Steltonwald, who then processed into court with the royalty, Baron and Baroness, and was given a throne on which to sit through Court. At one point during royal court, Their Majesties explained to Grace that, as Lady of Misrule, she should encourage “shenanigans,” and His Majesty went on to demonstrate how it is done by seizing several hapless gentles from the audience (including Grace’s own Lord Magnus Bastiano di Vigo) and joining them on the dais in a rendition of the can-can. This was only Grace’s second event.

Photo by Arianna

A tasty lunch and the well-seasoned evening feast were created by a crew led by THLady Rosheen Rois O’Faye, who was awarded a Sycamore by Their Majesties for her skill in cooking and scribal arts. With His usual sense of mischief, King Titus silently beckoned the populace to tiptoe into the kitchen with Him to bestow this award on Her Ladyship there, rather than take her away from her feast preparations.

Photo by Arianna

The highlight of the feast was the beautifully decorated individual pies served as the final remove, with diners receiving their choice of blueberry or cherry.

Photo by Arianna

The evening ended with more dancing, again led by THLord Sionn. Though the weather outside had turned to freezing drizzle, all made their way safely home, pleased with their day spent with good friends, good food, and good fun.

Categories: SCA news sites

Samuel Morse the artist

History Blog - Tue, 2015-01-27 05:17

Before Samuel Morse developed the code that bears his name and patented the electromagnetic telegraph, he was a painter and a successful one at that. His teacher, Washington Allston, known today primarily for his Romantic landscapes, took the 20-year-old Samuel to study painting in England in 1811. In London he was admitted to the Royal Academy of Arts where instruction was focused on copying the works of the Renaissance Old Masters, drawing casts of ancient sculptures and live figure drawing. Morse’s works from this period were heavily influenced by the likes of Michelangelo and Raphael and were often mythological in theme, like 1812′s Dying Hercules.

Morse and Allston spent four years in England as the War of 1812 raged. When Morse returned to the United States in 1815, he made a name for himself as a portrait painter, receiving commissions from wealthy socialites and dignitaries like former President John Adams and Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette. He hit the road again in 1830, traveling through Italy, Switzerland and France to learn from observing the original works of the Old Masters he had studied copies of in London.

When he was in Paris in September of 1831, Morse conceived a monumental painting of the Salon Carré in the Louvre that would include dozens of the museum’s masterpieces. The works aren’t actually arranged in the one room when he painted them; this was a gallery picture, a fantasy arrangement of art in a single scene. Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre is the only major example of a gallery picture in American art history.

He squeezed 38 paintings and two sculptures from the Louvre collection into the six-by-nine-foot canvas, plus additional figures of museum visitors and copyists. Anthony Van Dyck and Titian have the most works on display with four apiece. Other artists represented are Tintoretto, Veronese, Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens, Poussin, Raphael, Rembrandt, Reni, Watteau, Correggio and Caravaggio. Click here (pdf) for a complete key to all the works and people in the painting.

He worked assiduously between September of 1831 and August of 1832 to copy the works he wished to include, some of which were positioned high on the walls. He built a moveable scaffold and lugged it around the vast halls of the Louvre so he could be at eye level with his subjects. Morse painting on his scaffold became something of a tourist draw in its own right. He also had to do a fair amount of math in composing this work. He had to calculate the proper scale and to figure out how they should be arranged on the canvas.

Then he had to put shoutouts to his people among the visitors. The trio in the back left corner are Morse’s good friend James Fenimore Cooper (who he hoped would buy the completed work) and Cooper’s wife and daughter. The woman sketching an art work in the center of the composition is Morse’s daughter, Susan Walker Morse. The man behind her giving her pointers is Morse himself. That sweet scene was symbolic of his purpose in creating this piece: to teach American artists and audiences about the important works of European art. He was also underscoring the value of a great public museum of art to artists and regular people, an institution that the United States lacked.

(Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was founded in 1805 by artist and collector Charles Willson Peale, among others, but its collection at the time was casts of ancient sculptures. Coincidentally, the first major acquisition of the museum was a work by none other than Washington Allston: his monumental 1816 work The Dead Man Restored to Life by Touching the Bones of the Prophet Elisha. They had to mortgage the building to buy it.

The first public art museum in the United States was the Wadsworth Atheneum, founded in 1842 by Daniel Wadsworth, a great patrons of the arts, who seeded the new museum with many works from his personal collection.)

When the Louvre closed its doors for its yearly August vacation, Morse rolled up the canvas and packed it until his return to the United States in late 1832. He applied the finishing touches to the painting in late 1833 and exhibited the finished work in New York and New Haven. Morse hoped it would be a sensation, drawing huge crowds to pay the price of admission and securing him a much-desired commission for a painting in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. It was not. The exhibitions lost money, and within a few years Morse had given up painting to focus on the telegraph.

It was purchased for much less than Morse had hoped in 1834 by George Hyde Clarke for his neoclassical mansion Hyde Hall in Ostego County, New York. After Clarke’s death, Gallery of the Louvre was purchased by former mayor of Albany John Townsend. From him it passed to his daughter Julia Townsend Munroe of Syracuse, New York. She loaned it to Syracuse University in 1884 and then donated it to the university in 1892. Ninety years later, Morse’s dream finally came true. Chicago businessman, art collector and founder of the Terra Foundation for American Art museum, Daniel J. Terra, Ronald Reagan’s Ambassador at Large for Cultural Affairs, bought Gallery of the Louvre from Syracuse University for $3.25 million, at that time the highest price ever paid for a piece of American art. It’s been at the Terra Foundation ever since.

In 2010 Gallery of the Louvre underwent a six-month conservation by experts in American painting restoration Lance Mayer and Gay Myers. They discovered that Morse was as inventive in his painting as he was in communication technology, sometimes to their chagrin. He mixed varnish and oil paint together instead of painting with oils and then sealing the canvas with varnish. This was problematic for the conservators because varnish discolors. When it’s a layer on top of the paint, it can be removed with appropriate solvents that won’t damage the oil paint beneath. When conservators did a solvent test on Gallery of the Louvre, they found that all of them damaged the combined varnish and paint.

The Terra Foundation documented the conservation with a video, A New Look: Samuel F. B. Morse’s “Gallery of the Louvre”, which is not available online in its entirety but there are six clips from it below.

The conservation was successful, bringing out details that had become obscured over time. After it was complete, the painting was subject of three symposia — at the Yale University Art Gallery in April of 2011, the National Gallery in April of 2012 and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in April of 2013 — which generated scholarly essays on the work by art historians, professors, curators and conservators. Those essays have been published in a book that is a companion piece to a new traveling exhibition of the painting, Samuel F. B. Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre and the Art of Invention.

The exhibition opened Saturday at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. It will be there until April before moving on to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas (May 23rd, 2015 – September 7th, 2015), the Seattle Art Museum (September 22nd, 2015 – January 10th, 2016), the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas (January 2016 – April 2016), the Detroit Institute of Arts (June 2016 – September 2016), the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts (October 2016 – January 2017), the Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (February 2017 – June 2017), the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut (June 2017 – October 2017), and finally the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University in Stanford, California (November 2017 – January 2018).

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

A Question of Peerage: Your Opinion Matters

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-26 22:02

As a result of the First Quarter Director’s Meeting, interest in the Additional Peerage Proposal has soared, with postings on the subject proliferating in social media venues.

The Gazette has compiled a list of useful links and deadlines so that you can access pertinent information from one page.

Comments to the Board of Directors
As noted in Their Majesties’ letter, published by the Gazette this morning, the SCA Board of Directors will be having an Executive Session on February 2nd to discuss the issue. Comments from the populace are strongly encouraged, and may be sent to comments@sca.org.

According to the Board, they received commentary from less than 2% of the membership over the entire three year exploratory process and all requests for comments on the rapier peerage issue. The Directors do read the emails, and you do not need to be a paid member to send your comments. If you do not write, your voice will not be heard; it is that simple.

Since they have already rejected the proposal for a rapier-only peerage, that option is not on the table at this time. One of the options they are considering is an Omnibus peerage for all non-rattan martial arts – not only rapier, but also archery, thrown weapons, equestrian, siege, combat archery, etc. If you would like to send your opinions to the Board of Directors, please write to them this week, before the Feb. 2nd Executive Session, at comments@sca.org. ~ from Their Majesties’ letter

Unofficial Additional Peerage Survey
Mistress Euriol of Lothian of Æthelmearc and Baron Antonio di Rienzo Ruspoli of Drachenwald have privately funded an unofficial survey on the additional peerage question. The survey is set to record a single response per IP address. The goal is to collect 2000 responses, which makes for a good statistical sampling. The polling results will be sent to the Board of Directors before the February 2nd Executive Session. It is their hope that people will share the link as widely as possible over the next few days. More than 500 responses have been received so far.

Click here to take the Additional Peerage Poll.

It should be noted that this survey should not be taken in lieu of sending private emails to the Board; indeed, the survey encourages comments and also gives the SCA email at the end.

Letter from Their Majesties
Their Majesties’ letter to the Æthelmearc populace can be found here.

Letter from Their Highnesses
Their Highnesses’ letter can be found here.

Official Board Announcement
An official statement from the Board of Directors can be found here.

Information on the Original Additional Peerage Exploratory Committee
You can find information on the original Additional Peerage Exploratory Committee (APEC) and a link to the original committee report here.

Second Quarter Board Meeting
The Second Quarter 2015 Board Meeting will be taking place in the Middle Kingdom on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at the Embassy Suites Cincinnati – River Center 10 East Rivercenter Boulevard, Covington Kentucky, 41011. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend.

Categories: SCA news sites

Land procedure changes for Pennsic this year.

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2015-01-26 14:55

There will be significant changes to Pennsic Land procedures for Pennsic War 44, including new "early in" and block seniority rules.

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Call for Applicants - Society Chronicler

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2015-01-26 11:30

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is seeking candidates for the position of Society Chronicler. The Interim Society Chronicler’s warrant ends in August 2015. In order to ensure a smooth transition, applications for the position of Society Chronicler are now being accepted.

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

An Announcement from Their Majesties of Æthelmearc on the Additional Peerage

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-26 08:30

Unto the good populace of Æthelmearc do Titus, Rex, and Anna Leigh, Regina, give greetings!

As you are all aware, there has been a great deal of emotional and passionate discussion over the past week regarding the SCA Board of Directors’ decision not to implement a rapier peerage. The confusion over whether or not the BoD was advocating the knighting of fencers added further heat to the SCA community’s concerns.

We would like to share with you what has taken place among the Crowns of the Known World over the past week, and what possibilities We anticipate over the coming weeks and months.

First, we would like to thank David Keen (Master David of Caithness), our Kingdom Ombudsman on the Board, who has done his best to keep Us informed of the Board’s plans and thought processes. The Board has been flooded with letters from gentles all over the Known World, and is well aware of the sense of urgency felt by SCA members regarding resolution of this issue. They will be holding an executive session on Monday, Feb. 2, to discuss possible options. Since they have already rejected the proposal for a rapier-only peerage, that option is not on the table at this time. One of the options they are considering is an Omnibus peerage for all non-rattan martial arts – not only rapier, but also archery, thrown weapons, equestrian, siege, combat archery, etc. If you would like to send your opinions to the Board of Directors, please write to them this week, before the Feb. 2nd Executive Session, at comments@sca.org.

In the meantime, the Crowns of the Known World have also been discussing the issue. As you might imagine, getting 19 couples from all over North America, Australia, and Europe to come to agreement on a subject this controversial is not an easy task. One thing We are agreed upon is that all endeavors in the Society deserve a path to peerage. There is also a general consensus that if the BoD does not act on this matter very soon, then the Crowns may take the matter into Their own hands.

One of the barriers to knighting rapier fighters is the 1999 Seneschal’s ruling, referenced by the BoD in their announcement of Monday, January 19, barring the knighting of non-rattan fighters. We are hoping that the Board and Society Seneschal will not sanction any Crowns who choose to ignore that ruling. We know how contentious knighting someone for fencing would be, and it is not Our first choice. That said, the Crowns of at least four Kingdoms have indicated that they are prepared to take that step if the Board cannot come to agreement on a solution to this issue. We can only wait and see what the Board chooses to do, continue discussions with the other Crowns, and then make Our own decisions accordingly. We are talking to the Chivalry and White Scarves of Æthelmearc, and may poll them regarding their opinions on this matter since they are the ones who would be most directly affected.

We appreciate thoughtful, impassioned, and courteous discussions of this issue. Know that We are listening and want to find the best solution for all concerned.

In service,

Titus Scipio Germanicus and Anna Leigh
King and Queen of Æthelmearc

Categories: SCA news sites

Were Cervantes’ bones under piles of old books?

History Blog - Mon, 2015-01-26 05:53

Last April, the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in Madrid, burial place of Miguel de Cervantes, author of The Adventures of the Ingenious Nobleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, one the most important books in the Western literary canon, was scanned with ground-penetrating radar in the first phase of a search for the iconic writer’s body. Cervantes was buried in the convent in 1616, and while the location of the grave was known at the time, when the convent was enlarged in 1673 the burials were left unmarked. Hoping to be able to provide a memorial marker worthy of Spain’s greatest writer and a locus for literary pilgrims to pay their respects, historian Fernando de Prado raised funds from the city of Madrid and private donors to sweep the convent for possible burial sites.

The initial GPR sweeps detected anomalies consistent with graves in three spots in the crypt under the transept of the convent church. Historical records indicate there were at least two other people buried in the same area where Cervantes was interred, making the discovery of three graves particularly noteworthy. In a poetic twist, the space had been rented to a publishing company for years, so before the team could examine it they had to remove piles of old books and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

Now a team of archaeologists and forensic anthropologists has broken ground in the crypt. The small crypt has been turned into a lab for the time being, with up to 20 experts working in it at the same time (there are 30 people in the team). They will examine the human skeletal remains for evidence that points to Cervantes.

Because Cervantes has no living descendants, even if DNA is recoverable from the skeletal remains, comparisons will be tricky if not impossible. His sister Luisa de Cervantes was buried in a marked grave in a convent 20 miles out of Madrid so there’s a chance her remains might provide a means for comparative DNA analysis, but there’s no guarantee the convent will allow her bones to be exhumed and even if it does, there’s no guarantee a testable sample of 400-year-old DNA can be extracted.

Researchers will most likely have to rely on physical evidence like the marks of wounds he received while fighting aboard the galley Marquesa during the Battle of Lepanto on October 7th, 1571. He was shot twice in the chest and once in the left arm. The bullet to his arm broke both radius and ulna and severed a nerve. He was a young man of 24 when he was wounded; he never used his left hand again. Should they find a left arm bearing signs of having been shot, broken and atrophied from 45 years of disuse, this will be strong evidence that they’ve found the remains of the author.

Cervantes asked to be buried in the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians because he had a profound connection to them. The convent’s order, the Order of the Most Holy Trinity for the Redemption of the Captives, was founded in the 12th century to help ransom Christians taken captive during the crusades or by non-Christian pirates. When Cervantes and his younger brother were captured by Algerian pirates in 1575, the Order of the Most Holy Trinity helped his family raise the ransom to free them after five years of slavery in Algiers.

Since the convent was a small, poor one, few people chose to be buried there. Cervantes’ debt of gratitude to the order inspired his choice. Given the small number of burials, what are the odds there will be the remains of a completely different person, also an adult male of around 70 years old at time of death, with the same injuries? Last year the figures bandied about were a dozen to 15 people buried in the convent, but the crypt has about 36 burial niches in the wall. That corresponds to the number of chaplains the convent has had over the centuries before the niches in the north wall were plastered over. The thin layer of plaster, already peeling, will be removed. Any writing on the niche doors identifying who was buried there will be documented and endoscopic cameras will be threaded through holes to examine the remains.

The real hope is in the three grave sites under the terracotta tile floor, but if they prove fruitless, there are four other possible locations about two meters under the floor of the church that the GPR sweep indicated as possible grave sites.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Curia Report

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2015-01-25 22:57

Their Majesties Edward and Thyra convened East Kingdom Curia in Stonemarche on Sunday, January 25 after Market Day at Birka ended. Their Highnesses had to leave early due to the impending snowstorm, which forced them to reschedule modern business travel plans.

The agenda for Curia, which can be viewed on the East Kingdom Seneschal’s web site (http://seneschal.eastkingdom.org/curia.php), was lengthy and time constraints resulted in some items being tabled for a second Curia at Mudthaw. Details are still being worked out and will be posted on the East Kingdom Seneschal’s page as soon as they are available.

The agenda included name changes to four East Kingdom Awards (the Queen’s Honor of Distinction, the King’s Esteem of Merit, The Tyger of Valor, and the Gift of the Golden Lyre). His Majesty, with the assistance of Mistress Alys Mackyntoich, explained that they were necessary because Corpora requires that our awards be registered with the Society College of Arm. The College has specific rules for award names, with which these four awards were not compatible. His Majesty was at pains to assure the populace that they had consulted with the Royal Peers who had instituted the awards in question to be certain that they understood the intent of the award and were choosing name corrections which were as close as possible to conveying that intent while still meeting the requirements of the Society College of Arm. Master Ryan MacWhyte, Brigantia Herald, has been working on bringing all of the Kingdom Awards in line for the past 2 years, and with this set, the job is complete.

Someone in the populace inquired as to whether this requirement also applied to Baronial level awards. Brigantia indicated that it did and that most were already in compliance. He indicated that he would be offering assistance to those groups which would need to make changes, once the Kingdom level changes were settled.

The agenda included changes to several sections of law relating to Baronial selection procedures. Their Majesties stated more than once that their intent was not to make any material changes to the way things work, but only to clarify points, and remove duplication where the same procedure is currently described in multiple places in Law. The list of dates when specific baronies are due to be polled is also being removed, as it was needed only while the term limits were being phased in. Now that all groups have new Barons and/or Baronesses chosen since the laws regarding term limits were enacted, it was felt that the schedule of which groups were due for elections would be best maintained by the Kingdom Seneschal rather than listed in Kingdom Law.

Language will also be added clarifying the procedure for notifying local groups of Their Majesties’ decisions regarding their pollings, as this has been a source of some confusion in the past. The new text also specifies that while the decision made by a reign is binding, the investiture may take place in a subsequent reign, if it’s not possible to schedule one between the date of the decision and the next Coronation.

Language was proposed for adding a Thrown Weapons Championship Tourney to the list of East Kingdom Champions Tourneys, and allowing throwers to be included in the Queen’s Guard. Their Majesties expressed strong support for the Thrown Weapons community, but also expressed considerable concern that adding another required Royal Progress would make an already challenging schedule even more difficult. In some reigns the required championship events and other Kingdom events such as Twelfth Night, in combination with Baronial Investitures, threatens their ability to attend non-mandated events. Their Majesties would like to hear commentary from the Kingdom regarding creative solutions to the problem. Mistress Mercedes, the Kingdom Seneschal, will be receiving the commentary. An announcement of a dedicated email address for it will be forthcoming shortly.

The question of making Thrown Weapons one of the Kingdom Champions Tourneys was tabled for a future Curia. The item making them eligible for inclusion in the Queen’s Guard was passed with strong support from the assembled Curia.

A proposed change to the Law section governing groups holding events outside their borders was approved with minor language changes.

A revision to the Kingdom’s complaints procedure was approved as proposed by Their Majesties. His Majesty explained that under the current Law, if someone wishes to make any kind of complaint against the heirs, or against any territorial prince/princess, should the East have a principality at some point in the future, he cannot utilize the current Complaint Procedure to provide any kind of due process at the kingdom level. He can only rule unilaterally on the matter, which would then probably be taken to the Board of Directors by whichever party fell short of their desired outcome. Their Majesties wish to afford future royalty the opportunity to deal with such matters in the context of the Kingdom’s resolution process, so that everyone involved can have the benefit of due process. Their Majesties did specify that the complaint procedure would not be retroactive.

The proposed change to Kingdom Law to allow persons who do not live within the geographic boundaries of a group to serve as officers or autocrats for that group, if local policies permit, was tabled for the follow-up Curia at Mudthaw, as the time period for which the room had been rented was exhausted.

Filed under: Law and Policy Tagged: curia

Sterlynge Schola: A Mocking Good Court and a Gallery of Classes

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-01-25 20:45

Please enjoy these photos of Sterlynge Schola, held January 17th in Sterlynge Vayle. Scroll to the end to enjoy a link to the first video on the Gazette’s new YouTube channel!

Viking Bling, as worked on by Othindissa.

Her Highness, industriously making Lucet cord during an arts discussion.

Svanna demonstrates some particularly fine drop-spindle technique.

Fiona the prepared, with the Gaston Phoebus volumes she uses to discuss hounds coursing.

Don Orlando, on how and why to keep a journal for fight and fence improvement.

The Kingdom Arts Champion, THLady Christine inghean Grioghair, displays one of her beautiful pieces.

….Goldwork, with pearls, were featured at the Beginning Goldwork Embroidery class.

Her Excellency of Delftwood poses for a quick portrait during her Beginning Illumination class.

Samples of the Introduction to Illumination class, geared for those who usually draw with stick figures!

The processional for Mock Court at Sterlynge Schola. This clip shows the point of Mock court, a learning opportunity, with explanations for who sits where. Starring TRHs Timothy and Gabrielle standing in as the monarchs, and Master Fridrikr from Thescorre as the officiating Herald.

You can find the link to the Mock Court video here on the Gazette’s new YouTube channel!

Categories: SCA news sites

Understanding SCA Jargon

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2015-01-25 18:23

The following article is graciously provided by Countess Marguerite inghean Lachlainn.

26+ SCA Phrases you may need to explain to Newcomers.

Person who is responsible for running an event. Although the dictionary definition of autocrat means an absolute ruler or dictator, in reality an autocrat for an event has the ultimate responsibility but sometimes limited control over all aspects of the day, especially if the event is a Royal Progress. In conversation the term is slowly being replaced by the more accurate “event steward”, but official SCA and East Kingdom documents still use the word autocrat.
Awards or “Award System”
Awards are given by the King and Queen or by landed Barons and Baronesses to acknowledge the excellence of one of their subjects. The Award System is used to describe the entire process that culminates in giving an award.  Everything from writing someone in for the award, to the additional advising of the Crown for a polled order, to the decision by the Royalty or Landed Baronials to bestow one.
A casual word used to describe the insignia of the awards which a person has received in the SCA.  Commonly anyone who has received an award will wear the medallion or token or symbolism of that award on their person, especially when attending court. The chest that the King and Queen store award medallions and other insignia is sometimes called the ‘bling box’
Combat Archery
Chiv or The Chiv
The Order of the Chivalry.
Cookie or “a cookie” or “the cookie”
A slang noun used to describe an award that someone is actively and obviously working toward.  It is almost exclusively used in a derogatory manner, as in “He is only taking on that work “for the cookie”.
The Dark Side
  The sport of crossbow shooting.
An abbreviation of the rapier phrase “Death from behind.” Death From Behind is an alteration of the rules of engagement that allows the the combatants to remove opponent from a melee combat by (safely) sneaking up behind them in a melee and delivering a killing blow.  It is a phrase often used to confirm understanding of the rules of the engagement (“Are we doing DFB in this battle?”).  It can also be used as slang verb to describe clever and sneaky action.  (“I flanked the line and DFBed 2 or 3 guys before they took me out.  It was epic!”)
The Dream
This ancient and loaded phrase has been used to describe the SCA itself, and also the activity of providing a medieval experience to others.  This, of course, means that “The Dream” has very personal definitions for anyone who holds it. Because debate on the definition of the term has lasted so long and has varied so widely, it is often said that the problem with using “The Dream” is the inclusion of the word “The”. 
4th Peerage
A catch all noun used to describe a potential new peerage created by the SCA Board of Directors. In some kingdoms there is already a 4th peerage, the Rose, and some kingdoms assert the Royal Peers are the 4th peerage, so this term is sometimes factually inaccurate. The discussion about the creation of a new Rapier peerage is occasionally referred to as the debate about the 4th Peerage.  The other 3 Peerages are the Chivalry, the Laurel and the Pelican.
A token or a small gift understood to be a mark of the bestower’s high esteem of the person receiving the token.  In the romantic tradition of the SCA it is often assumed to be a gift of a lady to her lord, or a fighter to their consort, although that that is by no means a hard and fast rule.  Additionally, the Queen is expected to bestow her favor (generally a piece of cloth embroidered with her symbol) to members of the populace who impress her or whom she wishes to inspire.
The person who is responsible for producing the feast and/or day-board at an event.  This word is derived from the term “autocrat”.
Heavy or Heavy List
The Showcase sport of the SCA. Often described as “hitting your friends with sticks”. Other kingdoms refer to this same type of sport as “Chivalric Combat”. Sometimes the term “Heavies” is used to describe the people who participate in that sport. In order to become the ruling monarch, you must be able to win the twice annual Crown Tournament which is a Heavy List tournament.
An abbreviation of the phrase “King’s and Queen’s”. There are several events a year that start with the phrase Kings and Queens, Championship events where the two winners are named as the Champions of the King and Queen for the following year.  Example: Kings and Queens Bardic Champions, Kings and Queens Equestrian Champs, etc.
Lists or “The Lists”
This noun has two different meanings  Depending on context it can either refer to email lists (The lists were particularly active today) or the tournament field. (‘I will meet you on the lists and we will go a round or two.”)
Derived from the use of the word “Mundania” in Piers Anthony’s Xanth series to describe a non magical world, “mundane” is used to describe anything that is not part of the SCA.  It can be used as an adjective (“In my mundane job I am an IT consultant”) or as a noun, (“My parents are mundanes.”)
Newcomer.  Someone who has been participating in the SCA for 6 months or less.
Order of Precedence. The master list of who got what award and in what order they got them, and therefore who out-ranks who. This list matters in The East most when lining up combatants for Crown Tournament, otherwise the impact of the OP on day to day interaction is limited to individual reactions to perceived rank. A duke outranks a count, but in practice most people treat them both as royal peers if you met them talking together in a hallway. The East Kingdom Order of Precedence is maintained by the Shepard’s Crook Herald.
Peer Fear
The sometimes irrational fear that Peers of the Realm are more intimidating, and harder to talk to or interact with than non peers. This is a condition that particularly afflicts newcomers, apprentices and protegees, but it is not limited to them.
The work that is done behind the scenes to make the other aspects of the society function. In order for there to be combat, marshals must provide their service marshaling. In order for us to have an event, someone must provide the service of checking people in at the gate, running the event, or keeping the books. People whose enjoyment of the Society is in performing that type of service are sometimes said to be “on the service track” or described as “service junkies” if they are particularly fervent.  Ant. Toxic Service is service that leaves the society in a worse state than if it had not been done, either because the service is bad/unneeded or because it is done in such a way that it drives others away, and prevents others from providing service. – Hat tip to David Lockhart for that definition.
A Heavy List fighter. This term is often used to describe a member of the Northern Army of the East Kingdom, (“I am a Northern Army Thug”) but it can be used to describe a soldier of the East Kingdom.
The sport of thrown weapons.  Named because of the sound of a successful stick into the target.
Tin Hat
A semi-derogatory term used to describe a group of people who wear coronets. (“I don’t want to go to that party, all the Tin Hats will be there.”)  It can also be used as a self mocking term by the Dukes, Countesses and Barons/esses who wear the coronets to remind themselves not to take themselves too seriously. (“I’m just a pipe-fitter from Jersey in a Tin Hat” -Attributed to Prince Omega)
A small bauble given as a gift to a performer or artisan in thanks for excellence in sharing their art.  These tokens are often hand made, and may represent some aspect of the heraldry of the person gifting the token. These small gifts are greatly valued and are more important to the people who receive them than the value of the actual gift.  They are often saved and put into one place, so that when the artist is having a crisis of faith in their own work they can be pulled out to remind the artist that they have accomplished good work in the past and will do so again.
The table at the front of events that takes your money, makes sure you have a signed waiver and gives you a site token.  Related: To “Troll in” means to go through the process of checking in at the front desk of the event.  Use of this phrase is slowing falling out of favor (as it implies that the people working the desk are “troll like”) and many autocrats now refer to this as “Gate.”
A heavy List fighter who is not yet a member of the Chivalry.  Curiously, this term is not usually used to mean a generic fighter who presumably does not wear a colored belt, but more specifically someone who is squired to a member of the Chivalry and who has received a red belt from their Knight/Master but who has not yet been elevated to a white belt/baldric.  It can also refer to the team of people who will be fighting in the “Unbelted Champions Battle” at the Pennsic War,   Related: “Belts” or “Belted” means a member of the Order of the Chivalry.
Pennsic War.  Although the East Kingdom hosts many events that have a subtitle that contains the word “war” (Great North Eastern War, Southern Region War Camp) In the East Kingdom use of the phrase “Are you going to War?” always refers to Pennsic.  It is a mark of how important that event is in the minds of the Eastern populace.

NB: Some elements of this article were crowd sourced from a post from Facebook. The author is grateful for the assistance of her friends in the SCA.

Filed under: Tidings Tagged: jargon

Æthelmearc Signs the Treaty of the Golden Lance

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-01-25 12:30

On the 27th day of July Anno Societatis XLVIII, Æthelmearc joined with the Kingdoms of Ansteorra, Caid, Trimaris and Atlantia in recognizing equestrians within their kingdoms with a Grant level award by signing the Treaty of the Golden Lance.

During the reign of Count Isenwulf Thorolfssone and Countess Rosalinda of Castile, it was decided that The Order of the White Horn would no longer be used to recognize all those martial disciplines other than Heavy fighting (Rattan). This Order would be designated for those skilled in Thrown Weapons alone and that other Orders would be designated for Combat Archery, Siege, and Equestrian. At that time, it was decided that Æthelmearc would join other Kingdoms in the use of the Order of the Golden Lance in order to recognize its equestrians. After determining the procedures necessary, this original plan came to fruition during the reign of Duke Maynard von dem Steine and Duchess Liadain ni Dheirdre Chaomhanaigh. Through their efforts, the Treaty was signed at Pennsic in 2013.

Shishido Tora (Gozen), the current Kingdom Equestrian Officer, contacted the appropriate people to determine the process which needed to be fulfilled in order that Æthelmearc could enter into the Treaty with the other Kingdoms. This involved creating a document which would be signed, coordinating with the other Royalty members to ensure their attendance at Pennsic along with their Principal Heralds, and setting a date and place for the Treaty to be signed. Under the direction of the Crown, these details were “ironed out” and it was determined that the Treaty would be signed immediately after Opening Ceremony during the Known World Party.

After the Opening Ceremonies were completed, the members of the Royalty retired to the East Kingdom’s pavilion on the field, where the Known World Party was set to begin. Initially the Treaty was laid upon the tables designated for the use of Æthelmearc so that they could share their food and wine with the attendees. Due to the congestion in this area, the Treaty was later moved to a central area away from any liquids which could endanger the paper upon which the Treaty was drawn. After a short time, all the parties had signed the Treaty.

With the signing of the Treaty and inclusion of the Order in Kingdom Law, equestrians of the Kingdom can now be recognized by this Order for their skills in the equestrian arts as well as service to the equestrian community. Companions of the Order are entitled to wear a badge of the Order and/or a ribbon “Sable edged Or charged with a lance Or” worn on either the calf or above the elbow, or as a pennon bearing the badge of the Order on their Tournament lance. Additionally, when traveling throughout the Known World, they are recognized by these other Kingdoms for their rank which is retained if they relocate.

The pictures below show the Royalty and Principal Heralds of the Kingdoms of Ansteorra, Caid, Trimaris, Atlantia and Æthelmearc signing the Treaty. (Note that titles are not included, as the persons are identified by their offices at the time of signing. ) The Treaty, which was created by Shishido Tora, is also shown below after signing.  Note that the descriptions appear above the relative photograph.

The first to sign the Treaty was the King of Trimaris, Kurn O’Farrell of Ulster. The second picture shows the Triskele Herald, Posadnik Sasha Gregor’evich Vilanov, signing the Treaty. (My apologies as I was unable to capture the image of Queen Eridani Aureus signing the Treaty.)


The Queen of Ansteorra, Gwen verch Cynwrig de Ynys Mon signed for both herself and her King (Lochlan Dunn).  Avery Shaw, Proxy to the Star Principal Herald, Andrewe Baldwyn, signing the Treaty.

The King and Queen of Atlantia, Amos and Ysabella.  (My apologies as I was unable to capture the image of the Queen actually signing the Treaty.) 

 The Triton Herald, Gisela vom Kreuzbach, signing the Treaty.







The King of Caid, Sven Örfhendur and Quuen Cassandra Zoë Paganel, sign the Treaty.










The Crescent Principal Herald, Cormac Mor signs as the King of Æthelmearc looks on.


The Queens of Æthelmearc and Caid confer at the Treaty signing prior to Æthelmearc signing.  The King of Æthelmearc, Maynard von dem Steine signs the Treaty for Æthelmearc.




The Queen of Æthelmearc, Liadain ni Dheirdre Chaomhanaigh, signing the Treaty.


Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima Zentarou Umakai, signing the Treaty.


Signed Treaty of the Golden Lance and the artist and author of this article, Mistress Shishido Tora (Gozen). The original is maintained by Æthelmearc and the four signing Kingdoms each received a copy of the Treaty.

This article was originally published in the newsletter for the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, the Æstel.




Categories: SCA news sites

Mons Meg leaves Edinburgh Castle for tune-up

History Blog - Sun, 2015-01-25 05:19

Mons Meg, the six-ton 15th century cannon that guards the parapets of Edinburgh Castle, has left her post for the first time in 30 years. Before dawn on Monday, January 19th, a crew of specialists strapped Meg up so she could be gingerly lifted out of her carriage by a crane, loaded onto a flatbed truck and transported to an off-site facility where Historic Scotland experts will give her a thorough examination and do necessary conservation work. The oak and iron carriage that has been supporting her since 1934 also went along for the ride.

Here’s a neat timelapse of Mons Meg being lifted off her carriage while dawn breaks:

Richard Welander, Head of Collections for Historic Scotland said: “Mons Meg undergoes regular ‘health checks’ each year and is lifted off its carriage every five years for a closer inspection.

“This time it’s getting a major service, which means it must leave the castle for the first time for 30 years. The last time Mons Meg left was in March 1985, when she went to the Royal Armouries research establishment in Kent for a short technical examination.

“We’ll be using state-of-the-art equipment to examine the cannon and carriage inside and out, to assess their condition. Then we’ll commence with treatment and restoration, which is a delicate and specialist task.”

There have been a great many technological advances since the last time Mons Meg got the full treatment. Historic Scotland conservators will laser-scan the cannon and create a 3D model to reveal issues not visible to the naked eye. The current paint will be stripped using a pressure wash system and bead blasting. That will expose the iron surface for proper conservation. Once Meg is cleaned and dried, she will be re-coated in protective paint.

Historic Scotland is hoping their conservation analysis will also shed some light on the history of the cannon. Much legend has grown up around her over the centuries, so this is an exciting opportunity to fill in a few blanks. Mons Meg was made in 1449 for Phillip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, to present as a gift to King James II of Scotland, Phillip’s grand-nephew by marriage. (James’ queen consort was Mary of Guelders, daughter of Catherine of Cleves, whose mother Marie of Burgundy was Phillip’s elder sister.) It was constructed by Phillip’s artillery master Jehan Cambier in Mons, County of Hainaut (modern-day Belgium), out of iron staves clamped together by iron hoops. Its massive 20-inch barrel, still one of the largest cannon calibre in the world, could fire 330-pound balls up to two miles.

James II took delivery of Mons Meg, known at the time just by variants of “Mons,” in 1454. Sixteen years later, he had the giant cannon transported 50 miles south to aid in the siege of Roxburgh Castle, one of the last remaining English strongholds in Scotland. The Scottish forces were successful — they ultimately took the castle once and for all — but James was killed in action when one of his own bombards (not Meg) exploded. His wife Mary ordered Roxburgh Castle razed.

The records of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland note an expenditure of 18 shillings on July 10th, 1489, to have “Monss” carried by command of King James IV, James II’s grandson, to besiege Dumbarton. There James IV deployed Meg’s might against an insurrection led by Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox, and Robert Lyle, Lord Lyle. That venture was less successful. The siege was broken by a negotiated surrender of the rebellious lords on condition that a new Parliament be convened.

James used Mons Meg again in 1497 at the siege of Norham Castle in northern England. Meg did her part — the castle took a lot of damage — but the two-week siege ended when English reinforcements arrived.

Meg was kept in fighting condition for a few more decades. Her last military service was in James V’s navy, after which, from the 1540s or so, she was retired from active engagement but was fired on important ceremonial occasions like the signing of the treaty of marriage between five-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, and three-year-old Francis, Dauphin of France, in July 1558. She was fired for the last time on October 14th, 1681. Here’s a description of the event from the Domestic Annals of Scotland (1859) by Robert Chambers. The quote within the quote is from Historical Notices of Scottish Affairs (1848) by Sir John Lauder of Fountainhall.

The Duke of York paying a visit to the Castle of Edinburgh, the huge cannon called Mons Meg was fired in his honour. The charge, which was done by an English cannoneer, had probably been too large, for it caused the piece to burst. This “some foolishly called a bad omen. The Scots resented it extremely, thinking the Englishman might of malice have done it purposely, they having no cannon in all England so big as she.”

I am trying really hard not to snicker at the obvious phallic competition inherent in this struggle. Trying and failing.

With the burst hoop exposing her internal staves, Mons Meg could never be fired again. She still starred in several tugs of war between England and Scotland, though. In the wake of the Jacobite rebellion, in 1754 Mons Meg, now rusted, busted and sitting on the ground without even the dignity of a carriage, was confiscated along with other weapons to keep them out of reach of potential rebels. She was moved to the Tower of London, but she didn’t go quietly. The Tower records list a demand for compensation from the owner of the ship that brought her to London for damage to the vessel and mooring rope.

In 1829, George IV had Mons Meg returned to Edinburgh as a result of a campaign by Sir Walter Scott and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Scott believed fervently in a legendary Galloway origin story for Mons Meg.

When James the Second arrived with an army at Carlingwark, to besiege the Castle of Threave, the McLellans presented him with the piece of ordnance now called ‘Mons Meg.’ The first discharge of this great gun is said to have consisted of a peck of powder and a granite ball nearly as heavy as a Galloway cow. This ball is believed, in its course through the Castle of Threave, to have carried away the hand of Margaret de Douglas, commonly called the Fair Maid of Galloway, as she sat at table with her lord, and was in the act of raising the wine-cup to her lips. Old people still maintain that the vengeance of God was thereby evidently manifested, in destroying the hand which had been given in wedlock to two brothers, and that even while the lawful spouse of the first was alive.

Even without having amputated Margaret de Douglas’ hand, Mons Meg was and is still beloved. She was escorted back to Edinburgh Castle in 1829 by three cavalry troops and a regiment of foot, and remains today a great favorite with visitors to Edinburgh Castle.

The conservation is expected to be complete and Mons Meg back in place outside St. Margaret’s Chapel by the end of February.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

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