The Scarlet Guard Inn is one of a small number of archery-themed events held in Æthelmearc throughout the year. When the Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais decided a few years ago that they would no longer run Will’s Revenge, the Companions of the Scarlet Guard, Æthelmearc’s grant-level archery order, persuaded the good folk of the Shire of Hornwood to fill the gap. This year’s third Scarlet Guard Inn was as much fun as ever, despite some occasional rain. A total of 57 archers participated in one or more of the shoots.
The event included camping from Friday night through Sunday for those who were interested, but the main activities were held on Saturday. Roving ranges, which required archers to walk through the woods and shoot at targets placed along the way, included one with archers shooting the damned souls of Dante’s Inferno, run by Lady Katherine Täntzel; another run by Alrekr Bergsson (who received his Award of Arms later that day) in which archers had to acquire the assistance of Mythic Heroes to kill the escaped Norse wolf, Fenrir; and a third in which Lady Marina Aragones de Navarre had archers take aim at natural objects like tree stumps, sometimes through tricky terrain.
There were also several stationary ranges. Master Robert the Grey once again ran his “skeet shoot” which had a wooden machine that Queen Gabrielle described as “looking like something out of da Vinci’s notebooks.” It tossed disks into the air that archers had two chances to hit using “flu-flu” arrows. Master Robert also ran a Popinjay shoot that required archers to shoot nearly vertical to knock a stuffed bird off a wire many feet above them.
The Kingdom Archery Marshal, Baron Edward Harbinger, ran a charity shoot in which gentles could pay $1 per arrow to shoot at targets of Pelicans, Laurel wreaths, Knights, and Puss in Boots (for the Order of Defense), each sponsored by a peer of the appropriate order. The sponsoring peers matched the arrows shot at their targets to a maximum of $10, and those who were present could also “defend” their targets by shooting them, with each hit removing a point scored by another archer. Some targets were shared by multiple peers, which led to the amusing scenario of one peer defending their target while simultaneously adding points to another peer’s tally, only to have the peer sharing the target return the favor. The shoot brought in $393 for the Kingdom Trailer fund.
A third range, in which archers took aim at characters from the Princess Bride movie, was run by Lord Ru Cavorst. In addition, THLord Juan Miguel ran a 100-yard clout shoot with a dragon at the center, and there was also a standard Royal Round range available for those wishing to improve their scores or receive advice from the members of the Scarlet Guard.
Many of the ranges had members of the Scarlet Guard available to offer training to those who desired it, and some classes were also offered under the pavilion where the cooks of Hornwood provided an all-day sideboard of bread, fruits, veggies, soups, sweets, and drinks.
King Timothy and Queen Gabrielle each took turns at the archery range. Her Majesty, who has previously held the rank of Master Bowman, was shy a string for Her crossbow, so THLord Juan Miguel graciously loaned Her his crossbow.
His Majesty shot a longbow, and despite His protestations of not being a very good archer, did a creditable job at the Royal Round targets. Their Majesties announced in court that night that They intend to arise early each day at Pennsic to participate in the populace shoot on all four days, to serve as an example to Their subjects and encourage everyone to shoot the Archery War Point. King Timothy has said several times that He believes this year the War may come down to the Archery War Point as the deciding competition.
Their Majesties chose the Inn as Their venue to select both the Kingdom Archery Champion and Their Thrown Weapons Champion. The outgoing Thrown Weapons Champion, THLord Gunther Grunbaum, ran the Thrown Weapons Tournament. The finalists were Master Tigernach mac Cathail, Baron Caleb Reynolds, Lady Aemelia Soteria, THLady Rois O’Faye (called Rosheen), and THLord Kenn the Just.
The rounds included a variety of targets, including ones where the objective was to not hit certain portions of the target. After a hard fought final round, the winner was Master Tigernach mac Cathail, who was invested as the new Kingdom Thrown Weapons Champion at the evening court.
The Kingdom Archery Champion’s Tournament was organized by the outgoing Champion, Lord Ichikiero Osoroshi. After a qualifying round, there were seven qualifying archers who were required to shoot six arrows alternating between the 20 and 30 yard targets, with speed as well as points a determining factor. After this round, the field was reduced to three: Lady Katherine Täntzel, Lord Ru Cavorst, and Lord Gawin Hawkseye. The semi-final round required the archers to perform the difficult task of hitting “snakes” that popped out of canisters when Lord Ichikiero pulled a string. It took at least six rounds but this then reduced the field to two finalists, Lady Katherine and Lord Ru.
In the final round, the archers were required to hit paper plates affixed to a mechanical device that made them spin at varying rates of speed, which was another difficult challenge. Both archers performed well, but the winner was Lord Ru Cavorst.
That evening, Their Majesties held court, bestowing awards on a number of deserving individuals in addition to investing Their new Archery and Thrown Weapons Champions. They also welcomed Their outgoing Archery Champion, Lord Ichikiero Osoroshi, to the ranks of both Ludicrous Bowman (with a royal round average over 120), and the Order of the Golden Alce.
THLord Juan Miguel announced the winner of the Scarlet Guard Challenge, which invited every Shire, Canton, College, Dominion, and Barony in the Kingdom or from other Kingdoms to send a champion to compete. Five groups sent a representative to this year’s Scarlet Guard Inn: the Debatable Lands, Rhydderich Hael, Steltonwald, Hunter’s Home and Delftwood. Since there were only five competitors, they all shot in both rounds of the competition. The first round consisted of shooting at the dragon in the clout range; each archer got 2 shots from 100 yards, 80 yards, 60 yards, and 40 yards. The second round was a timed shoot at the dragon from about 35 yards away, with the archers having to shoot through a castle window. At court, THLord Juan Miguel and his wife, Lady Marina, displayed the banner they had made, which features a white escarbuncle on red, the badge of the Scarlet Guard, and space to add the name of each group and its archer who wins the challenge going forward. This first year’s winner was Lord Takamatsu Gentarou Yoshitaka of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands.
THLord Juan Miguel also offered a challenge for all archers to complete all nine stations and roving ranges over the course of the day. As the archers completed each shoot, the marshal in charge gave them a sticker to place on a scorecard. Those who accumulated stickers for every shoot received a gray “Iron Tassel” crafted by THLord Juan Miguel, which included a small cast pewter rendition of a tassel as well as an actual yarn archery tassel. Quite a few archers accomplished this feat, with a few others coming very close. THLord Juan Miguel lists the following archers who received Iron Tassels:
His Lordship says, “I’m already making plans for next year’s Iron Tassel, thinking of adding another range or having the archers attend a class.”
Saturday evening ended with gentles enjoying potables and good food around campfires. Despite the intermittent rain, which made it necessary for a few vehicles to be pushed out of the mud, everyone had a great time. Lady Katherine Täntzel said, “I can’t wait until next year!”
All photos not otherwise credited are by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.
In 1981, the skeleton of a dog was discovered among human remains on the Tudor flagship Mary Rose. Since then, the dog, nicknamed "Hatch," was identified as a female, but new research shows that the remains are that of a "young male dog, most closely related to modern Jack Russell terriers, with a brown coat."
The peace treaty that has gone down in history as Magna Carta was negotiated over 10 days at Runnymede in June of 1215. The rebel barons and King John came to an agreement on terms on June 15th, 1215, which is why yesterday we celebrated the 800th anniversary of the Great Charter even though the formal copies were issued on June 19th. Only four of those original 1215 copies, called exemplifications, are known to have survived. Two of them are in the collection of the British Library; one belongs to Salisbury Cathedral and the last to Lincoln Cathedral.
As part of a project of extensive study of Magna Carta in anticipation of the 800th anniversary, scholars from the University of East Anglia and King’s College London compared the handwriting of the original copies. They have identified the scribe who wrote the Lincoln charter and probably the one who wrote the Salisbury charter as well. They were not scribes of the royal chancery, as long thought.
The Lincoln charter was written by a scribe who produced several other documents for the Bishop of Lincoln. The Salisbury charter was probably produced by a scribe working for the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury.
It makes sense that Magna Carta would be copied by cathedral scribes rather than the royal ones because the bishops, led by Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton, were in favor of the charter which guaranteed their rights as well as the barons’, while John had to be forced into it and had no real intention of living up to the agreement. If it had been up to John, Magna Carta would never have gotten nation-wide distribution.
A recent study of one of the British Library’s two copies, Cotton Charter XIII 31A, which was damaged in a 1731 fire and then damaged even harder by a botched restoration attempt a century later, has found that it too had an ecclesiastical origin. Multispectral imaging has made it possible to view text invisible to the naked eye and comparison of the charter text with transcriptions in a cartulary (a manuscript of transcribed documents relating to the foundation and rights of the church) from Canterbury Cathedral found that this exemplification was the one sent to the cathedral for its records in 1215. Since Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton played a pivotal role in the Runnymede negotiations, the discovery of a Canterbury Magna Carta that may well have passed through his hands is of major historical import.
King’s College London professor of medieval history David Carpenter:
“We now know, therefore, that three of the four surviving originals of the charter went to cathedrals: Lincoln, Salisbury and Canterbury. Probably cathedrals were the destination for the great majority of the other original charters issued in 1215.
“This overturns the old view that the charters were sent to the sheriffs in charge of the counties. That would have been fatal since the sheriffs were the very people under attack in the charter. They would have quickly consigned Magna Carta to their castle furnaces.
“The church, therefore, was central to the production, preservation and proclamation of Magna Carta. The cathedrals were like a beacon from which the light of the charter shone round the country, thus beginning the process by which it became central to national life.”
We know later reissues of Magna Carta were sent to cities and counties as well as churches, even more extensively than first realized, as the recent discovery of the Kent copy indicates, but by then the reissuing of Magna Carta was almost a given. Every king for 75 years did it whenever he got into disputes over taxes and forests and whatnot. It’s those original 1215 iterations that appear to have been primarily supported and preserved by church authorities. Church officials wrote them, distributed them, kept them safe in their archives.
Because nothing is ever simple, the Church in the person of the Pope was no fan of Magna Carta. After clashes over the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury led to his excommunication, King John had submitted to Pope Innocent III in 1213 and become his vassal. This secured him the pope’s consistent political support against enemies foreign (France) and domestic (the barons, the bishops) and, just 10 weeks after Runnymede, garnered him a Papal Bull annulling Magna Carta as “illegal, unjust, harmful to royal rights and shameful to the English people.” The result was the First Baron’s War.
There are piles of events and resources out there right now because of the anniversary. The British Library has put together an excellent website dedicated to Magna Carta. There are articles, a zoomable image and translation of one of the original 1215 exemplifications and more than 150 other artifacts related to Magna Carta and King John in the library’s collection. If you can get to the library in person, they have a rich exhibition on the history of the charter and its evolution in meaning from a treaty between warring factions whose terms were regularly ignored by all parties to the foundations of democratic principles like trial by jury and due process.
One of the more unusual objects on display is entirely modern, an artwork by Cornelia Parker called Magna Carta (An Embroidery). It is a 13 meter-long embroidery of the Magna Carta Wikipedia page as it was last year on June 15th. More than 200 people were involved in this project, from lawyers to barons to 40 prisoners who embroidered the word “freedom.” Every color, image, table, bullet point, reference and footnote is duplicated in embroidery.
For a cool look at the history of Magna Carta scholarship, check out the English Historical Review‘s special online Magna Carta issue which is available for free on its website. It’s a selection of articles about the charter published in the EHR over its 130 history, which makes it as interesting from a historiographical perspective as it is a study of Magna Carta.
This video is a nice overview of the history and significance of Magna Carta featuring experts from King’s College London.
This past Friday our Society lost a true treasure, Master Fiachra Bonesetter, of the Shire of Port Oasis, the Kingdom of Æthelmearc. In his honor we will be holding a Memorial at our upcoming event, Day of Tournaments, being held this weekend, June 19-20th, 2015, in the Shire of Port Oasis (more information can be found here).
There will be a memorial set up in his honor where you may come pay your last respects and leave a personal message in a journal to be given to his family as a token of our respect and love for him. There will be a memorial service held after the feast at the fire circle later that evening.
The site fee for this event is being waived for all attendees as the Shire will be donating the cost of the site in his honor. Anyone who wishes to attend the feast will be required to pay a $10 feast fee, and this is limited to the first 60 attendees.
Yours In Service
Baroness Ygraine of Kellswood, East Kingdom Archery Scorekeeper, reported the following to the Gazette.
I am delighted to report that Master Rupert the Unbalanced has this day
Shooting a recurve handbow, his 3 qualifying Royal Round scores are: 122 on
Based on the reports of achievements that have reached me (there may be
Filed under: Archery
By Don William Parris.
This will be the first in a series of interviews with peers of the rapier world, throughout the Society. I have spoken with representatives of the Order of the Laurel and the Order of Defense, digging into their experiences and perspectives on the evolution of the fencing world. While there is an admirable company of these respected individuals in our Kingdom of Ӕthelmearc, I have approached several more from our neighbors in the Midrealm, Atlantia, and the East. I hope these interviews offer an interesting look through the eyes of rapier fighters that have risen to the prestigious rank of Peer of the Realm.
Maestro Dante di Pietro
Credentials and History: Your titles, places you lived, accomplishments. Who made you a Laurel? (Basically, who are you?)
Oh, wow. I’m going to start out with a huge cheat and link you to my precedence page: here. Ha! That just saved me about 10 minutes. Mumble mumble handwave something about a smaller tempo metaphor.
In terms of accomplishments unrelated to my awards list, I’ve been a Queen’s Champion and King’s Champion, Atlantia’s Deputy Minister of Arts and Sciences for Historic Martial Arts, and am presently the Society Deputy Minister of Arts and Sciences for Historic Combat Studies. I’ve won a bunch of tournaments, some at Pennsic, but most of those won’t mean much to people outside of my own kingdom.
I also published this recently, which I suppose has more of “who I am” in it than anything else I could offer: On Historical Fencing with the Rapier and Dagger
Maestro Dante has since been issued a writ to consider elevation to the Order of Defense, to sit vigil on June 20 at the Stierbach Baronial Birthday in Atlantia.
Focus of Study: What style or master have you researched and trained in? Is it one particular style, or a family of them?
Broadly speaking, my focus is in Italian rapier as taught by the Big Three of Fabris, Capoferro, and Giganti. I specialize in and teach Capoferro, though Fabris has been a huge source of understanding for theory.
This is a little embarrassing, but the honest truth is that when I started to have an interest, Kirby had already translated Capoferro and Leoni had just translated Fabris, and I have an Italian persona… so essentially I went with what was available at the time. By the time the Thibault translation, or any of the other perfectly wonderful options came out, I was 2 years into my research and didn’t want to change horses midstream. I went with the Italians because they were what I could order on Amazon.
At the start, I really just wanted to be a better fencer and win more, and more decisively. The Fabris manual came out at about the same time that Atlantia’s White Scarves got hit by a wave of injuries, real life job stuff, World of Warcraft, and newborn children, and I was only four years in and eager to learn more. I decided that taking over and learning independently was my best option, and read that book cover-to-cover 4 or 5 times, and then started looking at every available resource I could find to supplement it. I settled on Capoferro because I conceived of it as “Fabris, but upright” and have some hip problems that make Fabris prohibitive. Capoferro is not really just “Fabris, but upright”, and I’ve since added a layer or two of “Dante’s personal strategic preferences”, but I set out to be as much of a purist as possible.
I eventually started teaching classes and pushing the message for HMA pretty hard once I realized just how effective this stuff is, and how few people were doing anything with it. I thought of it like a real-life version of Tekken or Street Fighter (bear with me here, this works, I promise), where most of us were button mashing, some of us had figured out which buttons to mash to do certain things, and here are these guides to the full moves list that most people were just not bothering to read. The real world is more nuanced than that, but really, if you’re a new fencer, you can skip literal years of trial and error by going straight to these resources.
What challenges did you face/ overcome to be at a place worthy of recognition by the Laurels? Do you still feel those challenges?
In terms of research and knowledge, the biggest challenge was never
Outside of that, I’m really, really good at compartmentalizing and grew up in Connecticut, which means that navigating Southern culture has been a challenge. I’m from a part of the country where shouting during an argument doesn’t actually mean you’re angry, and just because the argument is heated doesn’t mean we can’t go right back to normal 5 minutes from now when it’s over. That does not work that way down here, even a little bit. When in Rome, and all that.
Once I ended up as the HMA Deputy, I had a lot more interaction with the administrative side of things. There are plenty of Laurels who fence, so it wasn’t too tough getting exposure. It was important to not only know my stuff, but to make it abundantly clear that I know my stuff. For example, I taught a 6 hour long Capoferro seminar at our Kingdom Arts and Sciences Festival. Several Laurels came by to observe for a bit, so it probably helped my case. I mention this because one trend I have noticed in the A&S polling orders I am in is that a lot of people don’t understand that they have to market their skills. Renown doesn’t just happen on its own, and I could go back through my email archives for the last 7 years and probably find three dozen examples of people who don’t display, don’t have a website, don’t teach classes, and don’t do these things despite direct suggestions. The bottom line is that if you want the recognition, you have to be recognizable.
How did you feel when you were asked to join the Laurels? Were you surprised?
It’s a very powerful and moving experience in that it is a final step that is really the beginning of a new set of responsibilities. I have often said that you have to earn the awards, and then you have to deserve them. That’s usually more work than earning them.
I am usually not “surprised” by awards. I don’t mean that I know they’re coming, but just that when I am called in to court I have a pretty good idea as to why. The only exception was my Pearl, which I received only a couple of months after my Coral Branch, so going from an Order of Merit (AoA) to Order of High Merit (GoA) so quickly was a surprise.
The only real change is that if I ever have any apprentices, I have a pretty solid plan in place for them to follow and would have the expectation that they do so. No takers, so far. Ha! I am a horrible taskmaster.
This next bit is something that you might not believe and won’t fully understand if you’re not a peer: peerage changes everything. All of the peers reading this just nodded. I would need a whole essay on how much that changes your role and interactions. It’s everything.
What advice would you give those interested in, or are already involved with historic combat?
Read the manual and then do what it says. Don’t argue with it. Trust the system you’ve chosen and follow it, utterly and completely.
I think all of those groups are dependent more on the individual’s abilities rather than titles. If you get into any system that has credentialing and ranks and whatever, you realize pretty quickly that they mean certain things and not other things. A black belt doesn’t mean you’re an awesome fighter, but it probably means that you have a
Nope. I love that there’s finally a step up for the people who exceed the White Scarf, but HMA (historical martial arts) are not a requirement for the Order of Defense.
What was long identified as a burial mound near Vadstena, Sweden has been determined to be a huge building, probably a feasting hall, measuring almost 50 metres in length.
Construction workers building a new apartment complex in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, have discovered the remains of two medieval ships. Workers were digging the foundations on May 22nd when the bucket of the excavator encountered large pieces of very old wood. The construction company stopped work and alerted the National Heritage Board (NHB) who sent experts to examine the find. On May 26th the crew unearthed another shipwreck at the other end of the construction site. The area was then scanned with ground-penetrating radar and a third likely shipwreck was located.
Construction has been suspended and this week NHB archaeologists began excavating the first shipwreck. The bones of the ship are now clearly visible and can be seen by members of the public who care to glance down. It’s 15 meters (50 feet) long, four meters (13 feet) wide and 1.5 meters (five feet) deep at the deepest point. Archaeologists tentatively date it to between the 14th to 17th century.
It was found close to four meters below modern ground level, in the sediments of what was once the seabed. Although the site is 200 meters (ca. 220 yards) from the water today, for centuries it was a port. In the late 1930s the area was infilled with ash and household refuse. It’s not clear if the ships sank there are were gradually buried over time by siltification, or if they were deliberately sunk after reaching the end of their natural lives. They were certainly stripped of all usable parts — metal fittings, rigging and masts — before being abandoned.
Estonian Maritime Museum archeologist Vello Mässi believes it was a short-haul transport vessel, used to move cargo from the shore to the large ships in the deeper waters of the bay. Archaeologists are excited to have the opportunity to study such old ships in detail. This is the first time multiple historic wrecks have been found so close together. The last time the remains of a wreck were found in Tallinn was 2009 when road construction unearthed a 13th century ship. They are keen to examine these finds to learn about how they were built and when and what wood was used.
Archaeologist Priit Lahi admits the find was an important discovery to shed light on possible shipbuilding methods from centuries before.
“At the time, shipbuilders used their own methods — it wasn’t very scientific. There weren’t project drawings like we have today,” he told the Associated Press.
Excavations are scheduled to continue at least through July 8th. While the developers building the apartment complex have expressed interest in display the find in some way, construction won’t be delayed much longer or halted. It would be too expensive and time-consuming to keep the wrecks in situ, so they will be raised, documented and studied before their ultimate disposition is decided. They may be reburied in sand at another location for their own preservation, which would allow future examination of the wrecks by scholars and make them easy to retrieve for future conservation and display.
In a few short weeks it will be Pennsic. The forces of the East and the Middle have marshalled their troops, and have decided to split Our Kingdom amongst themselves. Many amongst us have done what we could to rally others to our cause, and We have allies of Our own who will stand by Our side as we struggle to remain free. Atlantia, Ealdormere, Northshield, Ansteorra, Caid, the Tuchux, House Clovenshield and others will support us.
We are eternally grateful for all their assistance, but even with their help, we will have our hands full. These are our lands. It is time for us to step up to the plate. We have been amazed at the efforts of people throughout our Kingdom stepping up during these last few months. Fighters and fencers have been traveling throughout the Kingdom making muster after muster. People are authorizing in record numbers. Our ranks are swelling with new fighters, fencers and combat archers. Shires, Baronies and Households are having workshops (here’s looking at you Sable Maul) to equip more of our troops for the war.
It is deeply inspiring. With their Highnesses at our side, We will do everything in Our power to try and rally Our Kingdom to victory. His Majesty will be in armor, or under mask for every battle. Her Majesty will be joining the fencers for their battles, and both of Us will be shooting war points early each and every morning. If you want to meet Us at the range, it is Our intent to be at the range every day at 8:00AM. Several of Our marshals have agreed to open the range early so that We may have the opportunity to shoot alongside Our troops. It may turn out that the populace archery shoots decide the eventual outcome of the war. If you can, make the effort to not just shoot once or twice at the war, but pick up your bow once or twice before the war, and attend your local archery practice. Knock the rust off.
Æthelmearc, We are inspired by your efforts, and look to return the favor during this push for war.
Timothy and Gabrielle
Greetings to the Kingdom of the East from Queen Etheldreda and King Omega!
The generosity of the East Kingdom is without renown. We ask for a bit of that generosity now so we may continue to give small tokens in court to newcomers to our society. This is an important tradition in which newcomers are called into court and given a small token to thank them for their attendance and give them something to remember the event. We have been blessed with many new faces this reign, with each event having no less than 6 new people at Our Courts! This means that our supply of newcomer tokens is running low.
The tokens range from veil pins to small boxes. They are simply meant to say ‘Welcome’ and should not be large, expensive gifts, but rather small mementos of things useful to a new SCAdian.
We also have a lack of Burdened Tyger medallions and Tyger’s Cub medallions. We have a plethora of all other medallions but could use both of these types of medallions. The medallions can be painted, embroidered, carved from leather, or made of metal.
Finally, our toy chest coordinator has already placed a call out for more toys so we can continue to bring joy in court to the smallest members of our populace.
Thank you so much for your generosity! We truly appreciate those who donate time, skills and materials so worthy gentles can continue to be recognized!
In Service to the East,
King Omega and Queen Etheldreda
Filed under: Announcements
Archaeologists excavating the oldest cemetery in Ribe, southwestern Denmark, have discovered an intact Merovingian-era pitcher. It is the only vessel of its type ever found in Denmark and because Ribe, founded in the early 8th century, is not only the oldest extant city in Denmark, but the oldest in Scandinavia, this teapot-sized jug is of disproportionately large historical significance.
The pitcher was found underneath a large upside-down vessel which was cracked and broken. It may have been deliberately placed over the little treasure to protect it, but if it wasn’t, it performed that function anyway, keeping the jug from being damaged or broken over the centuries. When the archaeologists removed the pieces on top of it, they immediately saw they had something special. Danish pottery from the early Middle Ages is black, brown or red. The bright color of this ceramic marked it as imported. When they excavated it fully they were amazed to find a complete piece of such high quality and great age.
Unsure of what exactly they had unearthed, the team consulted with experts who identified it from its features — the clover leaf spout, the shape of the handle — as a trefoil pitcher made during the Merovingian dynasty (circa 450-750 A.D.) in France or Belgium. Unlike domestic ceramics, this pitcher was made on a turntable and fired in a kiln.
Merovingian vessels have also been found in the late 8th century trading settlement of Hedeby, also on the Jutland peninsula but today just across the border in Germany about 80 miles south of Ribe. They are very rare. Out of 2,000 graves excavated in Hedeby, only three of them included Frankish pitchers, none of them of the trefoil type.
“It is a unique find,” said Morten Søvsø, the head of archaeology at Sydvestjyske Museum.
“The pitcher is an example of the finest pottery produced in northern Europe at the time, and it has never been seen before in Denmark. The vessel reveals information about the vast trading network that put Ribe on the map during the Viking era.” [...]
“The jug is a masterpiece from the French or Belgian workshops, and its elegant form is a direct legacy from ancient Roman potters. No pottery at home could technically produce such a thing at the time,” said Søvsø.
Archaeologists couldn’t narrow down the precise date it was made or when it was buried. It was certainly interred more than 1,000 years ago and most likely when Ribe was still new. Archaeologists have long thought that Ribe grew gradually into a city of import, but the discovery of the pitcher suggests there were early connections with the Franks. It could have been traded or the person with whom it was buried was of Frankish origin. According to lead archaeologist Søren Sindbæk, the grave goods found in its cemetery are useful objects that had meaning to the people buried with them, not exotic objects like this pitcher would have been to someone native to the area. If he was a Frank, he must have been well-enough known in Ribe society to garner a formal burial in the cemetery.
The archaeological team is hoping to be able to answer some of the questions about the origin of the pitcher and the person whose grave it adorned by studying the bones found in the grave. Stable isotope analysis of the teeth and bones can narrow down where someone lived in early childhood.
The burial ground has a wide variety of graves from different periods: pre-Christian cremation burials, urn burials, boat burials, Christian inhumations, animal burials. Last year the team unearthed the unique grave of a fully outfitted warhorse and rider from the earliest days of the city. Elite mounted warrior burials have been found before, but they date to the 10th century, the end of the Viking period, while this grave is from the early 8th century almost a hundred years before the first Viking raid on Lindisfarne (793 A.D.).
The third article in our series of Gazette editor interviews.
What made you want to join the Gazette staff?
What do you like most about being on the Gazette staff?
How has the Gazette been received in your area?
What kinds of articles would you like to encourage people to submit?
The Gazette has published some excellent articles that introduce and explore a topic (such as the bardic arts) or offer step-by-step instructions on how to get involved in something (like building inexpensive archery targets).
Being a research geek, I completely and eagerly encourage gentles to share their advanced exploration of and research on a food topic or recipe — I’d love to see explanations of the humoral theory, redactions of recipes, diaries of building that elaborate subtlety — but I also want to see a variety of introductory, hands-on, practical articles on effective food preparation to encourage MORE gentles to cook delicious period food.
What are some of the articles you’ve done so far?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our submission guidelines here.
The most famous and best-preserved portrait of composer Johann Sebastian Bach has returned home to Leipzig after an absence of at least more than a century, possibly two. It was painted in Leipzig by Elias Gottlob Haussmann in 1748, the second of two virtually identical portraits he made of the Baroque composer. The first iteration, painted in 1746 and now in the Stadtgeschichtlichen Museum Leipzig, was damaged by excessive cleaning and overpainting particularly on the face. With the exception of a small overpainted area of the background, the 1748 Haussmann portrait is entirely original. The colors are vibrant and rich. The difference is so pronounced that the 1748 portrait is considered to be the sole authentic depiction of Bach’s facial features.
The Haussmann portraits are the only surviving images of Bach painted during his lifetime. They are also the only portraits commissioned by Bach. They depict him in a serious, formal pose wearing his Sunday coat and peruke and holding a sheet of music entitled “Canon triplex à 6 Voc[ibus]” (triple canon for six voices) signed “by J. S. Bach.” Bach chose not to be painted with a keyboard instrument or with a conductor’s baton, but with one of his counterpoint canons. He wanted to be immortalized as a composer, even though during his lifetime he was better known for his playing.
Before he died in 1750, Johann Sebastian gave the 1748 portrait to his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Carl died in 1788. We know the painting was still in the possession of his widow two years later because it is described in detail in a 1790 inventory of Carl’s estate. After that it’s unclear where the painting went until the 19th century when it was in the possession of the Jenke family of Breslau (present-day Wrocław, western Poland), Silesia. The family was Jewish, so in 1936 descendant Walter Jenke hastened out of Germany to Dorset where Rolf Gardiner, an old friend from their days together at a German youth camp, had a country estate. When war broke out Jenke was interned as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man; the painting stayed in Dorset out of harm’s way.
After the war, the Walter reclaimed the painting but soon had to sell it to support his family. In 1952 it was put up for auction. The buyer was oil baron, collector, philanthropist and accomplished Bach Scholar William H. Scheide who kept it in his Princeton, New Jersey, home for more than 60 years. When Scheide died at a venerable 100 years of age on November 14th, 2014, he bequeathed the painting to the Leipzig Bach Archive.
As coincidence, fate or inspiration would have it, Rolf Gardiner’s son John Eliot, who grew up under the gaze of the Haussmann portrait, would become one of the preeminent musicians and conductors of our time, renown for his performances of Baroque music on original instruments. He has published a biography of Johann Sebastian Bach and is today the president of the Leipzig Bach Archive.
On June 12th, the opening of Leipzig’s Bach Festival, the portrait was unveiled in St. Nicholas Church by Leipzig’s mayor Burkhard Jung, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Mr. Scheide’s widow Judith and daughter Barbara. Hundreds of dignitaries attended the event which was broadcast live on a huge screen in the city’s market square. The choir of St. Thomas Church, where Bach served as cantor for 27 years, sang to mark the joyous homecoming.
As of today, the portrait is in the Bach Archive Museum’s Treasure Room along with the only known surviving painting of Johann Sebastian’s father Johann Ambrosius Bach. In the archive’s historic 16th century building across from St. Thomas Church, the 1748 Haussmann portrait is now on permanent public display for the first time in 267 years.
THLord Thomas the Green recently created a survey he calls the “SCA Diffusion Study,” in which he is attempting to determine how the Society has spread over its 50 years. You can contribute to the survey here. Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope interviewed His Lordship about the project.
When did you join the SCA? Where are you from?
I joined the SCA in 1993 at the Shire of Dernehealde, Barony of the Middle Marches, Midrealm, in Athens Ohio, (Ohio University). Oddly enough, I’ve always lived in the Midrealm.
What sorts of activities do you like to do in the SCA?
Over the years I have been a group Seneschal for the Shire of Drakelaw, in Ashland, KY, a group Herald (same), a Herald at Large within the North and South Oaken region of the Midrealm, and a Silent Herald. I’ve also been a Fencing Marshal and the baronial fencing Champion for the Barony of the Middle Marches, as well as a heavy weapon spearman. Principally, though, I’m a scribe. I’m apprenticed to Mistress Katarina Helene von Schoenborn. So I’ve been pushing ink / graphite / lead for … nearly 15 years or so. It’s part of my monastic persona.
What do you do in the real world?
In real life I’m a doctoral student in sociology at Kent State University. Before enrolling here, I was a full-time instructor of sociology at Shawnee State University for the past 8 years (which seems sort of backwards, but it’s a long story).
What made you decide to do the SCA Diffusion Study?
The idea for the SCA Diffusion Study is one of those “No kidding, there I was” stories. Like many things in the SCA, it all began with a road trip. I was on the road with a good friend of mine who is also a Scadian. Mundanely she’s Dr. Amy Rock, Humboldt State University Department of Geography; in the SCA she’s Lady Catriona MacRath. Originally from the Middle Marches and the Midrealm like me – we met back in college – now she’s a transplant out to the West Kingdom. Her big focus both within and outside of the SCA is cartography so it’s a natural fit to ask for her help in the project. We were talking about how we’re now in A.S. 50, and I commented about how the SCA spread around the country and the world. Both of us knew the stories that the Society started in California and then moved around as people relocated either to or from universities or military bases. But, being a doctoral student, I came up with the idea of actually studying the process as a measure of cultural diffusion; how an idea, like the SCA, moves throughout society. Since Catriona is a cultural geographer and I’m a cultural sociologist., between the two of us we basically came up with the idea of putting the data (when groups were founded) on a map to track how the idea of the SCA spread.
I’ve done on-line research before and after a quick survey of what was available on sites like Midrealm Wiki, I figured that the best way to collect the data was to let SCAdians help me out. There’s enough “living history” out there that someone would be most likely to know when a group, barony, principality, etc. was formed. Once the form was completed on Google Docs, it was a simple matter of getting it out into the SCAdian hive-mind.
Other than social media, how are you distributing this study?
Currently the survey form is being sent around through social media like Facebook, with email sent to a few people I knew in other kingdoms who could spread it on their end, since I’m only a member of the Midrealm and SCA Facebook groups.
Have you thought about how to find information on defunct groups?
The topic of defunct groups is why, specifically, I hit social media. I can dig through records like Gandalf in Minas Tirith but it seemed logical and efficient to ask the SCAdian population at large to help identify which groups are no longer in operation. I would have no idea where to even look for groups who aren’t currently reporting – especially groups that may have formed and gone cold twenty or thirty years ago.
When did you initiate the survey, and how many responses have you received to date? How has it been received?
So far people have been fairly curious about the project and I’ve received a lot of comments from people who were trying to pull in some of those ‘living history’ members who would know the history of the SCA within their region. So far I’ve received 40 responses and the project has only been live for 24 hours (since June 10 at 9 a.m.). I’m going to be tracking the progress on a weekly basis by kingdom, so if I know the total number of active groups (shires, baronies, etc.) within a given kingdom, I can measure how close I am to having data on all of the current groups for each kingdom. I already have responses from Middle, East, Caid, Calontir, Atlantia, and Ansteorra to just name a few, so the word is definitely getting out.
Have you contacted anyone at the Society level to gain additional data?
There was a post on one of the Facebook pages from someone mentioning that I should review the Board meeting minutes since any new group’s origin would be listed in them as an official point of business. I have no idea how to access those minutes but they would be a great resource. I’ll probably use them to fill in the gaps as needed and serve as a comparison between what was reported.
The Board minutes would only indicate when the group became official. That could be years after its founding. However, they would also list any groups that had been dissolved.
Right. Defunct groups will be plugged in as we get them. That may be what I look for in the Board’s minutes – to find where groups did exist but have gone dormant. There may be pockets of a kingdom’s territory that may have been active at one time but are now generally quiet.
You’ll probably also find groups that spring up and then die over and over again in the same location. Small towns and college groups are prone to that.
Yup. which hopefully we can track. What began as a brain teaser of “I wonder how the SCA spread around the world” will probably turn into a much larger project once I start digging through the responses and putting the information in order.
What sort of information do you expect or hope to learn from it, besides the obvious of how the SCA spread over time?
The study of diffusion is a lengthy one. I’m basically tracking an idea. This method only tracks the path the idea took, which is not exactly the same thing as the process. Many people have already told me stories of how one principality was founded when Duke-Sir-Someone broke down on the road and was helped by some people. They asked about the medieval stuff in his car and voila… the idea is passed from person to person.
What do you plan to do with the information you gain?
The idea is to take all of the information on the form (group’s name, area, first year, etc.) and plug it into a GIS (Geographical Information Systems) program. This is where my friend Lady Catriona, the Cultural Geographer, comes in. We can then plot, by year, where certain areas (probably by county) ‘went active’. Since we have 50 years of the SCA, I’d have 50 layers of map, and each one would show which counties light up (are active) or fade (go inactive) over that time period. There will most likely be various iterations of this mapping project where we track active groups over the years and then compare that information to the location of college campuses and military bases around the country/world.
Do you see this information as having a practical application? Or is it mostly of historical / social interest?
As far as practical applications for the research, there are a few things that we’re playing with. An interesting feature of GIS is that we can use existing trends (the spread of a cultural trend like the SCA) not only to see where the trend has come from but also to predict where it will most likely originate next. And that’s the really interesting stuff. Basically, this project will help shed light on questions like: “What is necessary to facilitate the creation of an SCA group?”
So could have predictive value?
I’m not as clear on how that part works, that’s where Catriona’s work in Cultural Geography kicks in. You would assume that SCA groups are formed in proximity to other SCA groups; so that you could have some degree of mentoring.
A lot of people have expressed concern that the Society is shrinking. The numbers I’ve seen on the Society’s membership levels seem to indicate that it’s increasing slightly in the past few months, with some kingdoms stronger than others. I wonder how your study results might correlate with that?
That’s also what I was curious about as well. With the economy being as it is – how much can people afford to “live the dream”? When I helped found the shire of Drakelaw in Ashland KY, we were across the river from an existing group in Ohio and only 30 minutes away from a group in Æthelmearc (Port Oasis). So we had a lot of other SCAdians around to help us build the idea of what the SCA was.
To participate in the survey, click here. If you have any questions about the survey, please email THLord Thomas. His Lordship has promised to update the Gazette once he has the data crunched from the survey. To see regular updates on the status of the study, you can Like its Facebook page.
Pharmaceutical magnate Henry Wellcome was a passionate collector of medicalia, amassing more than one million books, artworks and artifacts by the time of his death in 1936. He dispatched purchasing agents to acquire objects of interest for his collection. One of them, Captain Peter Johnson-Saint, bought 300 tattooed human skins from a certain Dr. La Valette at the Rue de l’Ecole de Medecine in Paris in June 1929.
La Valette claimed to have collected and cured all of the skins himself, using a dry preparation method of his own invention which modern testing indicates may have involved dangerous chemicals mercuric chloride and/or arsenic trioxide. That was almost certainly an exaggeration, since Johnson-Saint noted that the skins dated from the first quarter of the 19th century through the 1920s, so at least some of them must have been preserved before La Valette was born. Also, there are several specimens that were roughly cut off the body so that parts of the tattoos are missing. This may have been by necessity — because of an injury or decomposition, for example, that broke up the tattoo — or they may have been harvested hastily by people hoping to be able to sell them to, say, a Parisian doctor.
The ones that he did harvest and prepare himself were probably taken from the corpses of French sailors and soldiers. La Valette worked in several military hospitals over the course of his career, which gave him access to a concentration of tattooed bodies that a doctor in general practice would not have.
It was sailors, the crew of James Cook’s ship Endeavour, who brought the new fashion for tattoos back to Europe from Australia and New Zealand in 1771. By the 19th century Western iconography — religious figures, female nudes, florals — and military symbols — anchors, weapons, men in uniform — were well established in European tattoo culture, but tattooing’s roots among the so-called “savages” of the Pacific islands suggested to some scholars that people who chose to adorn their bodies with tattoos were themselves primitives, throwbacks with criminal and degenerate tendencies.
Criminologists and forensic scientists in the late 19th century studied tattoos extensively, looking for some pattern that would explain the criminal psyche that drove men to ink. French criminologist Alexandre Lacassagne recorded thousands of tattoos, tracing precise copies of them from the bodies of prison inmates. By 1881 he had 1,600 drawings of tattoos in his collection, accompanied by detailed notes about where the tattoos were located on the body. He created a taxonomy of tattoos, arranging them by design and location, in the hope of cracking the code of criminal character. He called them “speaking scars,” which is both poetic and literal, especially since many of the tattoos included text.
Lacassagne’s contemporary, Italian criminologist Cesar Lombroso, believed that tattoos were as much indicators of born criminals as congenital physiological characteristics like a sloping forehead, long arms and big ears. While tattoos are obviously consciously acquired rather than innate, Lombroso believed they were symptoms of another feature inherent to the criminal body: insensibility to pain.
English doctor Havelock Ellis in his 1890 book The Criminal dedicates a chapter to tattooing. He cites Lombroso’s studies of juvenile criminals, Lacassagne’s studies of convict soldiers and other sources for statistical evidence of the high percentage of tattoos in criminal populations, far higher than the general public and even higher than the non-convicted military population.
The greater number of tattooed criminals are naturally found among recidivists and instinctive criminals, especially those who have committed crimes against the person. The fewest are found among swindlers and forgers, the most intelligent class of criminals.
With so much attention in the medical literature paid to tattooed bodies, it’s little wonder that Henry Wellcome approved heartily of Johnson-Saint’s acquisition of Dr. La Valette’s specimens. Wellcome noted in the margin one of Johnson-Saint’s reports that the skins were “of great interest to us for certain section” of the medical museum he was planning to house his vast collection. His plans for a “Museum of Man” did not come to fruition before his death, and the 300 pieces of tattooed human skin were stored out of view. Some of his collection went on display at London’s Science Museum starting in 1976, and that’s where the tattoo collection has been stored.
A few individual pieces have gone on display since then. Two are on display in the permanent exhibition Medicine Man at the Wellcome Collection museum in London, and seven were part of its 2010 Skin exhibtion, but the collection as a whole has yet to see the light of day. It hasn’t even seen the light of the scanner. Only a small selection of tattooed skins are in the huge Wellcome Images database.
They are haunting, macabre and fascinating, from rudimentary pinups to beautifully drawn elegant ladies, from melancholy inscriptions to travel souvenirs. Some of them have the scalloped edges and puncture marks that are the result of the drying process. Others are neatly trimmed to look more like illustrations on parchment, possibly done to make them look less like skin stripped off of human beings in preparation for display.
That’s what they are, though, and here are three pictures that bring that reality very much home. The first is a photograph taken of prisoner Fromain on July 24th, 1901, at an unknown prison, next to two pictures of what’s left of his chest in the Wellcome Collection.
Greetings Everyone – The wonderful tradition of giving toys to the children during Royal Court is something we all look forward to. The generosity of the people of The East has kept the toy chest overflowing for our children. In celebration of the alliance between The East and The Midrealm I would like to fill the toy chest with tigers and dragons!! Please feel free to contact me about donations! In Service…Lady Tysha z Kieva – Toy Chest Coordinator
(The Keeper of the Toys!!) Facebook contact – Patricia Saklas
Filed under: Uncategorized
Next in our continuing series on our Gazette Editorial Staff.
Name: Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope
What made you want to join the Gazette staff:
What do you like most about being on the Gazette staff?
But that’s ok because I can choose my topics and work on my own schedule. I really enjoy both the process of writing the articles and the pleasure others tell me they get from reading them. In particular, I’ve learned a lot from the interviews I’ve done, which kind of surprised me — I’ve been in the SCA for 38 years and I thought I knew most of what the SCA is about and how it operates. I guess there’s always something new to learn.
How has the Gazette been received in your area?
What kinds of articles would you like to encourage people to submit?
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 email@example.com. Check out our submission guidelines here.
This past weekend the shire of Hartshorn-dale hosted its first Artisans’ Village, a weekend long camping event dedicated to showcasing, promoting, and supporting the arts and sciences of our fair kingdom. The site was split into different artists areas, with similar arts located together. There were areas for glass bead making, metalworking (including blacksmithing and casting), confectionary science, paper arts (including scribal arts, bookbinding, and printing), plaster casting, historic combat, fiber (including spinning and weaving), and period brewing.
Attendees were free to wander through different village areas at the event, where artisans spent the day demonstrating and teaching their crafts to all. Many attendees chose instead to spend most of their day working and learning in only one of the village areas. This allowed people to learn new arts or to continue to build skills they already had, developing a more in-depth understanding of their art by working closely with other artisans.
While there was no overall arts and science competition, there were still many chances for those who chose to be competitive to show off their skills. A fleece to shawl competition was held at the event, pitting two teams of spinners and weavers against each other to complete a project. In a twist on the typical A&S competition, the populace was also invited to issue arts and science challenges a few months prior to the event. This allowed anyone to take up a challenge and display the fruits of their labor at the event for all to see. An hour was then set aside to allow challengers and the artisans who took up their challenges to discuss their works.
Photos by Mistress Rainillt de Bello Marisco and Lissa Underhill
**The event organizers are grateful to the East Kingdom University for sponsoring and supporting this event**
Filed under: Events Tagged: a&s, events
We are pleased to announce the start of two rapier experimental weapon programs.
The first program is Fleeting Body Contact, run by Master Donovan
The second program is Blade Grabbing, run by Baroness Alesone Gray of
For this experiment:
With both programs:
If there are any questions, please feel free to contact me
Filed under: Fencing
As a reminder, paid pre-registration for Pennsic 44 closes on Wednesday June 17th. For more information, please see the Pennsic Registration Website.
Filed under: Pennsic