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Notes from the April 18 Board Meeting

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-04-21 17:03

Master William de Montegilt attended the April 18 Board Meeting and has submitted the following notes to the Gazette.

If you’ve never been to a Board of Directors meeting, you might want to attend one. The ceremonies are very impressive. The directors are carried in, each on his or her own palanquin, to the central meeting table laden with gold plate and jeweled cups, where they are greeted by cheering members of the populace…..

OK, fine. It’s not like that at all. This is a corporate board meeting. The directors and officers wear suits or other formal business attire. The meetings are run according to the Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure by Alice Sturgis. Meetings are held quarterly, and the Saturday session, which is a working meeting, is open to the public.

At the April meeting, the corporation was represented by the directors, the newest director-elect (who gets to watch, but not vote), several corporate officers, and about a dozen members of the populace. The guests get to speak and ask questions at the discretion of the Chair. Everyone is addressed by their modern names.

Dr. Scott Berk, the Chair, opened the meeting by asking all present to introduce themselves, and to tell everyone what their alternate persona would be if they could start over. There were lots of interesting choices, and the majority seemed to be driven by clothing. A new director-elect, Chele Martines (Sabine de Rouen) was announced, and she will be present at the next meeting. Directors serve for 3 ½ years, and typically one is replaced at every other meeting.

Standard business included recognizing new groups, approving group advances in status, approving bank accounts, and approving a new affiliate corporation in the Netherlands (the Shire of Polderslot). The member in charge of Board recruiting noted there were currently 40 nominees out of roughly 35,000 members. That is very nearly an all-time high. Five of these are from Æthelmearc. The Board likes diversity of geography and fields of interest when choosing among new candidates. It requires the approval of all seven members to elect a new member. The Saturday meeting also covers correspondence. There was NO written correspondence this quarter, which I found interesting. Everything (and there was a lot) came in electronically. Each director has to read a lot of correspondence before each meeting. Twenty years ago, this worked out to about a 4-5 inch binder. There is a deadline for consideration, which is generally the first day of the month in which the meeting is held. Anything later may likely not be considered until the next meeting, so plan accordingly.

There was no Old Business this time. There were three New Business items. One was Polderslot which got covered earlier. The second was a resignation from the Peerage (you have to write to the Board, or it doesn’t count). The last one was the proposal for the Omnibus Peerage.

The proposal was presented by Tessa Williams (Duchess Tessa the Huntress). This was the longest single item of the meeting, and discussion took almost two hours. When asked what she would like the Board to do, she asked them to approve the proposal. This was not possible, as it would require a change to Corpora, which must be put out to the membership for comment. Generally, the directors were in favor of the concept, but made it very clear that they were going to take the time to get it right, recognizing that whatever action is taken (or not), there will be some folks who won’t be happy.

Seven other guests spoke about the proposal, and the audience was included in the general discussion that followed. (Editorial note:  Folks who consider the Board to be a monolithic hive-mind really need to see one of these discussions. They will be…enlightened). There was discussion of timing and whether it is too much too fast for the Kingdoms to handle?  Build on the Order of Defense?  Include this in the Order of Defense?  Another consideration was that future martial activities be included in this new peerage so that the process would not need to start over yet again. Fairness, inclusion, and paths to mastery for everyone, and the ensuing benefits to the membership were also considered major factors. Opinions both pro and con were aired on the proposal. Eventually, the Board decided to take the following actions: First, a conference call will be held with the Board, certain officers, and the Crowns of each Kingdom, to get their thoughts. Second, a proposal with a variety of alternatives will be put out as a membership survey. Some of these are:  1) The Omnibus proposal as written 2) Similar, but for all martial activities not included in the Orders of Chivalry and Defense (the Omnibus proposal only covers martial activities, present and future, that fall under the purview of the Society Earl Marshal) 3) Inclusion in the Order of Defense 4) Do nothing at this time. There may be other alternatives depending on the feedback from the Crowns. The target for reconsideration of the proposal and its alternatives is the October meeting.

After a lunch break, the meeting reconvened. There was a very nice presentation from the 50-Year Celebration committee. They are expecting attendance in the 3-5000 range. It will be in the Midrealm, in June of 2016, near Indianapolis. There are 19 large buildings, mostly climate controlled, including horse barns, and large outside areas. They believe this will be the largest equestrian event in the history of the Society. There are about 75 merchants and over 200 classes arranged thus far, and these numbers will increase. There will be themed balls for the dancers every night. There will be a period encampment area. The local area is supportive. There will be 5000 gift packets from the local chamber of commerce. The Baroness of Sternfeld sent a letter making it very clear that the RFRA was modified to prevent discrimination by gender identity, and that attendees would find themselves very welcome by the folks in the area. Other accommodations:  handicapped and mobility services will be available, as well as docents for non-SCA folk who show up. There will be a display area with the history of each of the kingdoms, including a YouTube presentation for each on a big screen. It is expected that the one from Avacal will be fairly short.

Next were officer reports, and here are a few highlights. The Society Seneschal (Vice-president for Operations) noted that commentary on the Chirurgeonate is open until July 1. The Vice-President for Corporate Operations mentioned that a survey on electronic communications will be pushed to the e-newsletters. Sign in if you want to respond. Also, the SCA, Inc. passed a fairly rigorous audit by the State of California with flying colors. The Minister for A&S had 39 pages of ongoing activities and commended the A&S community for being awesome. The Chair of the Grand Council commended a number of people, including Æthelmearc’s Arianna of Wynthrope!

Officer changes:  A new director was elected (Chele Martines) as mentioned above. The new Society Marshall will be Alan Smith (Alan Gravesend). Interestingly, he will be one of the premier Masters of Defense from Atlantia. Applications for Society Chronicler will be accepted until May 15th.  There were various tributes to Lisa May, who is stepping down after this meeting, and she was given the traditional privilege of adjourning the meeting.

The October 2015 meeting will be held in Pittsburgh at the Embassy Suites by the airport. I encourage as many as possible to attend, and get a better idea of how the administration behind our hobby/lifestyle is run.


Categories: SCA news sites

Auckland Castle Trust buys Binchester Roman Town

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2015-04-21 16:23

Plans are afoot for the revamping of the Binchester Roman Town in County Durham, England, with the purchase of the archaeological site by the owners of nearby Auckland Castle. Among those announced are the construction of a glass walkway over the dig, and a visitors' center.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Higgins Armor Collection sale catalog online

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2015-04-21 10:17

On May 7, 2014, the armor collection of the Higgins Museum was sold by Thomas Del Mar Ltd at Southby's Auction House in London. The catalog from the sale is available online in PDF format.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Conserving a boat made of cloves

History Blog - Tue, 2015-04-21 08:30

British Museum organics conservator Verena Kotonski was tasked with a unique assignment last November: conserving a model boat made of cloves. The museum doesn’t know much about the boat’s history. They think it was made in Indonesia anywhere from 18th to the early 20th century, probably in the middle of that range. It entered the collection in 1972 but there are no records nothing how it made its way to the museum, who made it where and when, whether it was donated, purchased, etc. It’s such a rare and intriguing piece that despite the many questions attending its history the clove boat is the cover model for the British Museum’s Connecting continents: Indian Ocean trade and exchange exhibition which is on now and runs through May 31st.

The boat is slim and long with a central canopy and a raised openwork prow and stern. Rowers with long paddles stand on both sides, back and front, and the canopy is topped with a pennant. A drawing of the boat made when it first arrived at the British Museum indicate there was a second pennant at one point as well. The boat is made of dried cloves strung together on threads or threaded together with thin wooden pins. The hull is formed of layered strands of cloves tied together. Charmingly, even after at least a century and probably two it still smells like cloves. The conservator said as soon as she opened the crate she was overwhelmed by the scent of cloves.

The artifact has never been on display before because of its condition issues. Already in the 1970s there were detached pieces kept in a box with it, and by the time Kotonski received it there were 14 detached elements, plus evidence on the boat that there were more pieces missing. It was also veritably caked in dust which she had to clean painstakingly with a brush, a vacuum to suction off the dust and conservation-grade rubber to extract the more deeply embedded particles.

Once the boat was clean, the damaged areas needed to be fixed and detached pieces reattached. The thorniest issue was puzzling out where everything should go. Out of the 14 detached pieces — five torsos, one standing figure, two pairs of arms and paddles (these were made as one piece and then attached to torsos), one long paddle (possibly a rudder), one pennant without its pole, three round objects of indeterminate nature — the standing figure, two of the torsos and their matching arms and paddles could be immediately identified as fitting vacant spots on the boat.

Having reinstated the standing figure and two rowers, I was still left with three torsos and two drum shaped elements as well as the pennant. Although the Museum’s records, which include a rather vague historic drawing, hinted at the possibility that some figures could have been on top of the cabin including a second pennant, the exact location of figures and pennant remained difficult to establish.

A similar boat in the Kew Gardens Economic Botany Collection helped fill in some of the blanks. It has three figures on the roof of the canopy with round objects, most likely drums, in front of them. Kotonski examined the round objects under a microscope and was able to match the break edges of one of them to one of the torsos. It still wasn’t clear where the drummers and their drums were placed atop of the canopy. There are multiple holes allowing for any number of arrangements. The conservation team debated whether they should even reinstall the drummers without being certain about the original placement.

We decided in favour of installing the figures on the roof. We felt that the figures (drummers) are a key part of the object and therefore vital for the interpretation of this artefact. Furthermore, it is possible to install the figures securely without using any adhesive which means they can easily be removed and repositioned if further evidence on their original position should emerge. Knowing that the figures on the roof were meant to depict drummers certainly helped to find a sensible arrangement of the figures on the roof.

They made the opposite decision when it came to the long paddle, the pennant and one drum with an attached pole. In order to reattach these pieces to the model, they would have had to reconstruct significant missing parts. Since they couldn’t know their original positions nor what the lost parts looked like, the reconstruction and reattachment would have entailed more guesswork than they were comfortable with. The pieces were returned to the boat’s storage box.

They did reconstruct one piece: a teeny tiny little retaining collar that was important for the boat’s stability. These collars fit on top of posts on each corner of the canopy, keeping the roof from gradually inching upwards and coming off its poles. The replacement collar was made of Japanese tissue paper, one of the modern conservator’s best friends, to distinguish it from its clove-wrought brethren.

Because conservators are magical (and because the model is small), the entire process took just 34 hours. The boat is now on display, but conservation isn’t over yet. Verena Kotonski would like anyone with any information that might help them suss out the original positions of the detached pieces to email the team at conservation@britishmuseum.org.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Crypto-What-Now? Decoding Medieval Manuscripts: A Research Guide

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-04-20 19:34

Good Evening, my happy family of medievalists! I recently went to look at a manuscript as a primary source. I know, it’s a never ending exercise in frustration. When you pull out a manuscript (or more likely, photos of the pages) it sometimes seems like you are staring at another language even when it is written in English. Guess what? Chances are good that it IS written in another language. Today’s Links list will educate you on the whys and hows of Medieval Cryptology, a past time that originated in the need to write quickly and condense a complicated language down to its essentials. This ancient basis for modern shorthand marks is the very reason your eyes get so tired attempting to decipher those medieval marks on the page. Read on (thankfully, in modern English), and learn how to cheat, and look like a pro at cryptology!

(All images come from the links preceding them in the text except where noted)

Cheers!

Aoife

Dame Aoife Finn (m/k/a author Lis Gelatt), writing from sunny Endless Hills in Æthelmearc.

Image source:Reading Medieval Script

English Language and Usage: How did 7 become the abbreviation for ‘and’ in Old English? Did you ever wonder how some abbreviations or shorthand characters came to be? The link above details how a common modern shorthand character found frequent usage.

The mark that resembles a modern number seven usually means “and,” is shorthand for the latin word “et.” It has survived into the modern Irish language, used in signs and other places where brevity is important.

Reading Medieval Script in Three Not-So-Easy Steps. Often, when we sit down to do research into a given subject we are confronted with several difficulties in period sources. This author addresses those difficulties so that you, the scholar, don’t end up looking like the fellow pictured after a day of primary source reading. Arundel 490, fol. 81

How to Read Medieval Handwriting. There are many difficulties to medieval handwriting, not the least of which are the many “fonts.”  Find out how to adjust yourself to these puzzling language characters at this link.

Medieval Abbreviations (I). Origin. Where did this peculiar need to abbreviate meaning in written word originate? At this link you will find out how and why medieval shorthand began. Yes, it is for the same reason we use shorthand today. You won’t believe how old shorthand really is, though.

Medieval Abbreviations (II). Medieval Period. Shorthand and abbreviations took a turn for the more complicated in the Medieval period. In a way, monks and scholars were hoarding information for themselves by creating and using this “secret language” known only to the initiated. Here’s how to crack that code for yourself.

Here we see a document in Latin from the Medieval Period rife with abbreviations known only to those who know the language and it’s clerical abbreviations.

The Ciphers of the Monks—A forgotten number notation of the middle ages. Yes, this is another secret language from the middle ages. And you thought the number system for referencing passages in the Bible was convoluted!

Manuscript abbreviations in Latin and English. Use this handy guide as you read your source documents. It will prove invaluable in deciphering those abbreviations.

A Dictionary of Abbreviations in Medieval Manuscripts Here is another dictionary of words found abbreviated in medieval manuscripts. You’re welcome. I’m glad to have this on tap, myself!

Medieval Manuscript Manual. Originating as a class reference, this site has become a European scholarly site for references on all sorts of manuscript ephemera, and features manuscripts in many languages. The site itself is available in several languages to boot.

Cracking Codes in Medieval Books. This, it turns out, is quite a hobby in itself. If you want to research certain manuscripts, however, this will be an invaluable tool. Some scriptorium preferred certain symbols and abbreviations over others.

Tironian Notes. Socrates had a scribe whose family name was Tiro. Tiro devised a system for rapid note-taking, and Tironian notes (the first known shorthand) was born. Still in use by the late middle ages, Tironian notes allowed scholars to rapidly write spoken word as well as to write all over source material in a secret language, summing up the contents for themselves. These margin notes are fascinating to modern scholars. On this site, we see some of the system, which became incredibly complex, in action as well as several translation tables and examples of the marks in situ.

Medieval Cryptology–Aethelmearc’s own Mistress Phiala has a site dedicated to Medieval Cryptology, noting many ways medieval scribes made knowledge harder for modern scholars to interpret. This site is the Pennsic University basis for her class on the subject.

Decrypting the Most Mysterious Book in the World. If you thought any of the above was difficult, you should see the Voynich manuscript, a 600 year old book that NO ONE but the author understood. Until now….

One of the most mysterious books in the world, The Voynich Manuscript has been complete gibberish from start to finish, until a professor cracked the code for some 10 words and 14 symbols in the text.


Categories: SCA news sites

Another Announcement on the ACCEPS Program

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-04-20 17:09

A further announcement from the Society Seneschal on the ACCEPS program.

The Seneschal of the Society sends greetings to my fellow SCA members and participants,

Based upon the fact that ACCEPS has now shut down, the need to remain silent to ensure the security of everyone’s credit card information on ACCEPS is no longer a concern and as such, I am able to divulge the following factual basis for the SCA’s ending of its relationship with ACCEPS in terms of all future events.

Please know that it was the Board of Directors and the Corporate Officers’ intention to allow ACCEPS to continue to serve the Kingdoms and the local groups in terms of those events that were currently being handled through ACCEPS and that the immediate shutting down of all ACCEPS activities was not anticipated by the Board of Directors or the Corporate Officers.  The immediate termination of ACCEPS was a decision made solely by the ACCEPS staff.

Furthermore, I did not anticipate that my official memorandum to the Kingdom Seneschals (the same email was sent by the Corporate Treasurer to the Kingdom Exchequers) would be disseminated in whole or in part on Social Media feeds and as such, I feel that the following points need to be made.

1. It was reported to the Board of Directors that ACCEPS’ security structure could be compromised and that ACCEPS’s security must be updated; when this was reported to ACCEPS, the creator of the ACCEPS program refused to bolster and update security and make the necessary modifications to ACCEPS to protect participants and the SCA.

2. In an attempt to protect the members and participants of the SCA using ACCEPS, the Board of Directors decided, in conjunction with the President, Society Seneschal (i.e. myself) and Corporate Treasurer, decided to remove the SCA’s authorization to use ACCEPS in terms of any future events.

3. All Kingdom and local group events currently being served through ACCEPS would be allowed to continue to participate as active ACCEPS participants; however, it was determined by the Board of Directors, in conjunction with Corporate Officers, that no new events will be allowed to register with ACCEPS due to the financial risk to the SCA and its participants.

4. The Board of Directors and Corporate Officers determined that it was most prudent to protect the individuals who are still being served by ACCEPS by not drawing attention to the security weakness inherent in ACCEPS; to do so would have been to place the participants and their credit card information at risk in terms of credit card fraud.

5. The Society Seneschal and Corporate Treasurer drafted an official letter to Kingdom Seneschals and Kingdom Exchequers to not use ACCEPS in the future, that to violate this rule would result in a suspended warrant (i.e. there was a real consequence to not following this directive) and that those events that were currently being served by ACCEPS may continue, but not be extended.  The potential sanction for any Seneschal and Exchequer not following this directive was commensurate with putting the SCA’s membership at risk.

6. A courtesy copy of these official letters (to Kingdom Seneschals and Exchequers) were sent to ACCEPS. As such, ACCEPS was informed that the SCA was terminating its relationship ACCEPS in terms of any new events; however, it was clear from the letter that the SCA would continue to allow the Kingdoms and local group to maintain all current events handled by ACCEPS.

7. The treasurer of ACCEPS contacted the Corporate Treasurer on the evening of April 18, 2015 which was the genesis of a conference call between the treasurer for ACCEPS, the President of the SCA, the Corporate Treasurer and I (as Society Seneschal), immediately after receiving the courtesy copy of the official email sent to all Kingdom Seneschals and Exchequers. The terms of the SCA’s response to ACCEPS were reviewed orally during this phone call, i.e. that the current events already being handled on ACCEPS would be allowed to proceed until fruition, but there would be no further events handled on ACCEPS.

8. Not only did ACCEPS refuse, previous to this past weekend’s Board of Director’s Meeting, to take steps to protect individuals which forced the hand of the Board of Directors and Corporate Officers, but later that evening, after the Board Meeting and after the conference call with Corporate Officers, ACCEPS chose to terminate their services to each Kingdom and local group in terms of all of the current events being handled by ACCEPS.

9. Later that evening, statements were made on Social Media quoting portions of the official communication to SCA Seneschals and Exchequers and this generated a great deal of negative comments in terms of the Board of Director’s and Corporate Officers; however, the Board of Directors and Corporate Officers were unable to comment on these until this opportunity.  To do otherwise would be to expose the weaknesses in security in terms of the ACCEPS system and put the credit card information of the members and participants at risk.   This posting is a response to all of those comments.  A number of comments received by the Board of Directors and Corporate Officers and I will be responding to each of these now that ACCEPS has been shut down.

10. PayPal is currently being utilized by several test Kingdoms and while the vast majority of the other Kingdoms are not currently ready to employ PayPal; however, the Board and Corporate Officers were compelled to act swiftly to minimize the opportunity for fraud in view of the refusal by ACCEPS’ owner/creator to make proper updates and enhancements to protect credit card information. I believe that we all understood that this would be inconvenient to Kingdoms and local groups, but in view of the world wide threat of credit card fraud and identity theft, the Board acted to protect individual participants who could be compromised by utilizing ACCEPS in the future.

If anyone has any questions regarding this matter, I can be reached at seneschal@sca.org.  I am unable to participate in Social Media due to the nature of my mundane employment; as such, if you are interested in actually discussing this matter, I invite you to send me an email.

Regards,
A.J. Pongratz, Esq.
Society Seneschal/Vice President of Operations, SCA Inc.


Categories: SCA news sites

ACCEPS Update from SCA Corporate

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2015-04-20 16:44

The following was posted today to the Society Seneschal’s webpage.  The original can be found here.

The Seneschal of the Society sends greetings to my fellow SCA members and participants,

Based upon the fact that ACCEPS has now shut down, the need to remain silent to ensure the security of everyone’s credit card information on ACCEPS is no longer a concern and as such, I am able to divulge the following factual basis for the SCA’s ending of its relationship with ACCEPS in terms of all future events.

Please know that it was the Board of Directors and the Corporate Officers’ intention to allow ACCEPS to continue to serve the Kingdoms and the local groups in terms of those events that were currently being handled through ACCEPS and that the immediate shutting down of all ACCEPS activities was not anticipated by the Board of Directors or the Corporate Officers.  The immediate termination of ACCEPS was a decision made solely by the ACCEPS staff.

Furthermore, I did not anticipate that my official memorandum to the Kingdom Seneschals (the same email was sent by the Corporate Treasurer to the Kingdom Exchequers) would be disseminated in whole or in part on Social Media feeds and as such, I feel that the following points need to be made.

1. It was reported to the Board of Directors that ACCEPS’ security structure could be compromised and that ACCEPS’s security must be updated; when this was reported to ACCEPS, the creator of the ACCEPS program refused to bolster and update security and make the necessary modifications to ACCEPS to protect participants and the SCA.

2. In an attempt to protect the members and participants of the SCA using ACCEPS, the Board of Directors decided, in conjunction with the President, Society Seneschal (i.e. myself) and Corporate Treasurer, decided to remove the SCA’s authorization to use ACCEPS in terms of any future events.

3. All Kingdom and local group events currently being served through ACCEPS would be allowed to continue to participate as active ACCEPS participants; however, it was determined by the Board of Directors, in conjunction with Corporate Officers, that no new events will be allowed to register with ACCEPS due to the financial risk to the SCA and its participants.

4. The Board of Directors and Corporate Officers determined that it was most prudent to protect the individuals who are still being served by ACCEPS by not drawing attention to the security weakness inherent in ACCEPS; to do so would have been to place the participants and their credit card information at risk in terms of credit card fraud.

5. The Society Seneschal and Corporate Treasurer drafted an official letter to Kingdom Seneschals and Kingdom Exchequers to not use ACCEPS in the future, that to violate this rule would result in a suspended warrant (i.e. there was a real consequence to not following this directive) and that those events that were currently being served by ACCEPS may continue, but not be extended.  The potential sanction for any Seneschal and Exchequer not following this directive was commensurate with putting the SCA’s membership at risk.

6. A courtesy copy of these official letters (to Kingdom Seneschals and Exchequers) were sent to ACCEPS. As such, ACCEPS was informed that the SCA was terminating its relationship ACCEPS in terms of any new events; however, it was clear from the letter that the SCA would continue to allow the Kingdoms and local group to maintain all current events handled by ACCEPS.

7. The treasurer of ACCEPS contacted the Corporate Treasurer on the evening of April 18, 2015 which was the genesis of a conference call between the treasurer for ACCEPS, the President of the SCA, the Corporate Treasurer and I (as Society Seneschal), immediately after receiving the courtesy copy of the official email sent to all Kingdom Seneschals and Exchequers. The terms of the SCA’s response to ACCEPS were reviewed orally during this phone call, i.e. that the current events already being handled on ACCEPS would be allowed to proceed until fruition, but there would be no further events handled on ACCEPS.

8. Not only did ACCEPS refuse, previous to this past weekend’s Board of Director’s Meeting, to take steps to protect individuals which forced the hand of the Board of Directors and Corporate Officers, but later that evening, after the Board Meeting and after the conference call with Corporate Officers, ACCEPS chose to terminate their services to each Kingdom and local group in terms of all of the current events being handled by ACCEPS.

9. Later that evening, statements were made on Social Media quoting portions of the official communication to SCA Seneschals and Exchequers and this generated a great deal of negative comments in terms of the Board of Director’s and Corporate Officers; however, the Board of Directors and Corporate Officers were unable to comment on these until this opportunity.  To do otherwise would be to expose the weaknesses in security in terms of the ACCEPS system and put the credit card information of the members and participants at risk.   This posting is a response to all of those comments.  A number of comments received by the Board of Directors and Corporate Officers and I will be responding to each of these now that ACCEPS has been shut down.

10. PayPal is currently being utilized by several test Kingdoms and while the vast majority of the other Kingdoms are not currently ready to employ PayPal; however, the Board and Corporate Officers were compelled to act swiftly to minimize the opportunity for fraud in view of the refusal by ACCEPS’ owner/creator to make proper updates and enhancements to protect credit card information. I believe that we all understood that this would be inconvenient to Kingdoms and local groups, but in view of the world wide threat of credit card fraud and identity theft, the Board acted to protect individual participants who could be compromised by utilizing ACCEPS in the future.

If anyone has any questions regarding this matter, I can be reached at seneschal@sca.org.  I am unable to participate in Social Media due to the nature of my mundane employment; as such, if you are interested in actually discussing this matter, I invite you to send me an email.

Regards,

A.J. Pongratz, Esq.

Society Seneschal/Vice President of Operations, SCA Inc.


Filed under: Announcements, Corporate

Replica of LaFayette’s ship Hermione sets sail for US

History Blog - Mon, 2015-04-20 04:49

The Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the American Revolution, was only 19 years old when he defied his family and a direct order of King Louis XVI of France to join the American colonists in their fight for independence from Britain. He outfitted a vessel, La Victoire, with his own money and set sail for the one-year-old United States of America in 1777. The Continental Congress gave him a commission as major general on July 31st, 1777, just over a month after his arrival. An unpaid commission, it’s worth noting, because Lafayette offered to fight for his Enlightenment ideals on his own dime.

He met General George Washington a few days later and the two formed an instant rapport. They were both freemasons — a signficant factor in Lafayette’s prompt acceptance by the mason-heavy Founding Fathers — and Washington appreciated Lafayette’s committment to the cause. Soon Lafayette put his lifeblood where his mouth was, receiving a gunshot wound to the leg during his first engagement, the Battle of Brandywine on September 11th, 1777. He suffered alongside Washington and the Continental Army through the horrors of Valley Forge that winter and went on to fight in several important battles and use his considerable diplomatic skills to smooth over tensions between the Americans and the newly arrived French fleet.

In January of 1779, he returned to France with an eye to encouraging a direct confrontation with Britain. When he was unable to persuade anyone of the dubious wisdom of attempting an invasion of Britain, he turned his sights on securing troops and aid for a return to America. He worked with Benjamin Franklin, the United States’ first ambassador to France whose homespun style and scintillating wit made him a sensation at the French court. Together they were able to get 6,000 French troops and five frigates to reinforce the American side. Lafayette was in France for a year, long enough to impregnate his wife and name his newborn son Georges Washington Lafayette, before returning to America.

He departed from the port city of Rochefort in western France aboard the Concorde class 32-gun frigate Hermione on March 11th, 1780, and landed in Boston on April 27th. The Hermione fought the British in multiple engagements, ultimately participating in the blockade of Chesapeake Bay that kept British supplies and reinforcements from reaching Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in September of 1781. Lafayette also played a key role in the decisive Battle of Yorktown, the last land battle of the Revolutionary War. He harried Cornwallis’ troops around Virginia for months before the British put down stakes in Yorktown. Then he took a high position on a hill outside Yorktown and pinned the British in with artillery. Washington’s army soon joined his old friend’s and together they laid siege to the city. Lafayette and 400 men took Redoubt 9 on October 14th, 1781. Four days later Cornwallis surrendered.

Lafayette returned to France two months later, continuing to advocate for French support even as the war wound down to the occasional naval skirmish. He visited the United States again in 1784 and tried to convince Washington to manumit his slaves. He also made a speech in front of the Virginia House of Delegates calling for the abolition of slavery in the spirit of human liberty that he had fought for in the war. Unfortunately for millions of enslaved people and the history of this country, he failed to convince them. His last trip to America was in 1824 when he was welcomed by cheering crowds, parades and a wide variety of honors. His efforts for democracy in Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary France were not so well-received by the radicals in the National Assembly, Napoleon and the restored Bourbon monarchs. He was imprisoned for five years, exiled for more, had all his properties confiscated and even when he was restored to some of his fortune and allowed to return to France, he would continue to have a fraught relationship with the government because he refused to abandon his democratic principles. In the United States, on the other hand, he was unequivocably beloved. He was considered a great hero on a par with Washington: generous, unselfish, loyal to a country that was not his own.

As for the Hermione, she ran aground on the west coast of France in September 1793 and was destroyed. In 1992, a non-profit company was founded to recreate the lost Hermione using period methods and materials as much as modern safety requirements allow. Construction began in 1997 in the same town where she was built the first time: Rochefort, site of the Royal Shipyard. In a dry dock next to the Corderie Royale (the Royal Ropemaker), the replica of the Hermione was built in public view. This video has a compilation of pictures and video showing the sloooow construction process from shipyard framing to installing the masts:

Once the ship was completed in 2014 (the original Hermione only took six months to build, but finding properly shaped oak trees for a helm these days is much harder than it was back then), 150 volunteers selected from 600 applicants had to be trained to sail as small boys could do blindfolded, malnourished and whipped 300 years ago. Seaworthiness tests in fall of 2014 went well and the Hermione was ready to follow in her namesake’s hullprints.

On Saturday, April 18th, 2015, the replica Hermione set sail from Rochefort for Yorktown, Virginia. It’s scheduled to arrive there in June, after which it will visit another 12 historic towns along the eastern seaboard, among them Annapolis, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston. Mount Vernon will be the second stop, an homage to the undying deep bonds of love and camaraderie between Lafayette and Washington. The Hermione will be in New York for the Fourth of July where she will join the Harbour Parade. People will be able to visit the ship at other ports of call as well. Return to this page (it’s a little empty now) to find out more about events as they’re finalized.

A brief overview of the history of the ship and the construction of the replica:

Boarding the crew:

Preparation of the boat:

The Hermione sails for America:

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Crown List Announced!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-04-20 00:22

Their Majesties Timothy and Gabrielle are happy to announce the list of contenders for Their Crown Tournament, to be held May 2 in the Shire of Hartstone.

Sir Tiberius Pinarius Varro for Duchess Anna Blackleaf
Duke Sir Malcolm MacEoghainn for Viscountess Rosalind Ashworthe
Duke Marcus Eisenwald for Margerite Eisenwald
THL Beatrix Krieger for Count Sir Yngvar the Dismal
Baron Dominic Morland for Countess Isabeau de l’Isle
Count Sir Andreas Morgan for Countess Kallista Morgunova
Count Sir Magnus Tindal for Countess Etain ingen Dalaig
Viscount Ariel of Alon for Lady Amanda Elandris of Kirkby Lonsdale
Sir Magnus de Cnoc an Iora for THL Gwendolyn the Graceful
Mistress Cunen Beornhelm and Lady Ariadne Flaxenhair of Dragon’s End
Lady Ariadne Flaxenhair of Dragon’s End and Mistress Cunen Beornhelm
Sir Aengus MacBain for Maitresse Yvianne de Castel d’Avignon
Sir Murdoch Bayne for THL Rioghnach ni Rose
Sir Magariki Katsuichi no Koredono for Lady Katherine Sinclair
THL Bluestar for Mistress Euriol of Lothian
Sir Wulfstan Huscarl for THL Anna Dillion
Sir Gareth Kincaid for Mistress Juliana Delamere
Lord Rouland of Willowbrooke and Mistress Jenna MacPherson of Lion’s Tower
Mistress Jenna MacPherson of Lion’s Tower and Lord Rouland of Willowbrooke
Herr Fridrich Flusmullner for Meisterin Felicitas Flusmullnerin
Baron Sir Thomas Byron of Haverford and Baroness Sir Ariella of Thornbury
Baroness Sir Ariella of Thornbury and Baron Sir Thomas Byron of Haverford
Lord Gregory Hillson for Dame Kateryna ty Isaf
THL Kieran MacRae for Meesteres Odriana vander Brugghe
Baron William Freskyn Murray for Baroness Katherine Kiersay
THL Ciaran Faxi Ullson for THL Renata la Rouge
Don William Paris for THL Fiora d’Artusio
THL Ian Kennoven for Lady Sarah Balangee
Lord Aidan Ransford for THL Svana in Kyrra
THL Thorsol Solinauga for Lady Una O’Hearain
Lord Edmund Griffith for Ayleth of Stormsport
Lord Marius Sittius for Lady Alita of Hartstone
Lord Lucius Avitus Gregorius for Lady Hilaria Vistalia
Lord Ulrich Von Schwartzburg for Emilia Giovane
Lord Hartman Foscari da Ferrara for Lady Ragna Hakonardottir of Skara
Lord Leo Ignatius for Lady Mairin O’Cadhla
Lady Tamarra of Dragon’s End for Lady Mabel Weaver
Lord Fearghus Mac Eoin for Laura Littlejohn
Baldo for Noelle the Goode Hearted
Torstein Vigdisson for Vigdis Thorsdottir


Categories: SCA news sites

Ansteorra Allies with Æthelmearc for Pennsic!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-04-19 20:41

Unto Æthelmearc do Timothy and Gabrielle send greetings:

My friends, I bring joyous news. I share with you the words of Her Royal Majesty of Ansteorra, Queen Antigone:

Greetings to Our cousins in the north, Their Majesties of Æthelmearc!

We have good tidings for You from Ansteorra. Having heard Your plea for assistance in the coming Pennsic War. We shall be in attendance and stand with Your Majesties defending Your lands!

Let all of Æthelmearc rejoice!


Categories: SCA news sites

Elfsea Springfaire Photos

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2015-04-19 20:32

Caelin on Andrede reports that he has created an album of photos from Elfsea Springfaire which took place recently in the Kingdom of Ansteorra. The photos are available on Flickr.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Event Report: Archery Muster, April 12, A.S. XLIX, Debatable Lands

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-04-19 18:04

This year’s regional archery muster, held at the castle of Sir Byron and Sir Ariella, drew a small but enthusiastic group of archers and throwers. Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope reports on the activities there.

Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

The weather was lovely with warm temperatures, light breezes, and just enough overcast to keep the sun out of the archers’ eyes. The day began with bowmen testing themselves against the Gwyntarian Winter Challenge at the lower level of the castle, while weapons were being thrown on the driveway in front of the castle.

Photo by THLord Ishiyama Gen’tarou Yori’ie.

Photo by THLord Ishiyama.

After a pot luck lunch with drinks provided by our hosts, the main action moved up to the parapets, where archers shot at an array of inventive targets provided by THLord Deryk the Archer. This year’s novelty targets featured a pirate theme, with doubloons, ships, ghosts, kegs of ale, and shipboard rats. The ghost and a whale moved (thanks to assistants pulling them along on a rope) to provide extra challenges.

Photo by THLord Ishiyama.

In the Great Hall, a table of items donated by gentles of the Debatable Lands was offered in a silent auction to benefit the Barony-Marche. The auction, run by THLady Elss of Augsburg and Baroness Elizabeth Arrowsmyth, netted $170.

Photo by THLord Ishiyama.

Their Excellencies, Byron and Ariella, were also pleased to welcome a visitor from the soon-to-be-Kingdom of Avacal, Lord Peregrine Falconer, who was in the Debatable Lands on business and attended the muster after reading about the castle in the Gazette.

The organizer of the muster, Master Urho Waltterinen, looks forward to running it again next year.


Categories: SCA news sites

Take a guided tour of HMS Erebus

History Blog - Sun, 2015-04-19 08:04

Last year Parks Canada released a minute of the video taken by the remote operated vehicle which found the HMS Erebus and a minute of the film taken by divers when they discovered the ship’s bell was included in a brief video about the recovery and analysis of the bell, but other than that, we’ve only had a few photographs of the wreck.

On Thursday, VIP visitors to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto got an unexpected treat when what they thought would be a few minutes of recorded footage of the new Erebus ice dive turned out to be a live broadcast of a dive to the wreck complete with narration by underwater archaeologist Ryan Harris. The ROM event was attended by government types like Treasury Board president Tony Clement and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of the Environment Colin Carrie and by an extremely lucky seventh grade geography class from University of Toronto Schools. After the video tour, they were able to ask questions about the ship to diver Marc-Andre Bernier.

Now Parks Canada has released a recording of that live stream so those of who are neither government officials nor in the seventh grade can get their first long, hard look at the wreck of the HMS Erebus. It shows Harris, supported by an off-screen Leading Seaman Caleb Hooper, moving from stern to bow pointing out areas and artifacts of interest like the bronze six-pound cannons, the tracks that allowed the crew to lift the screw propeller out of the water when ice was heavy, the quarterdeck, the ship’s very long tiller, the capstand, the remains of the mainmast and the port side bilge pump.

The quality of the picture is excellent, thanks in part to the two feet of ice on the surface that block waves and allow particulate matter to sink to the seafloor. There are moments when it’s a bit dark down there, what with it being 36 feet deep under a thick ice sheet, but you can still see what Harris is describing just fine. The video is just short of 10 minutes long (time totally flies, though, so don’t let that daunt you) and ends a little abruptly which I hope means there will be a part two released soon.

The dives only began last week because they were delayed by bad weather and are expected to continue through Friday. There’s a photo gallery of the Erebus base camp, the triangular holes cut into the ice sheet, the blocks of ice removed after being cut out and more here. Also, Parks Canada Archaeology tweeted this amazing picture of a tent shot from the hole in the ice.

Here’s the video about the HMS Erebus bell released in November 2014. It’s short but awesome:

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

ACCEPS - No Longer Approved

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2015-04-18 23:37

The Society Seneschal has indicated that the ACCEPS payment system is no longer approved for use by SCA branches, effective at midnight April 18.

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Categories: SCA news sites

ACCEPS No Longer Approved

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2015-04-18 23:29

From the Society Seneschal, on the ACCEPS online event payment system.

The Board of Directors of SCA, Inc. believes that there are better options in terms of electronic payments in the SCA; the corporate office is moving towards an alternative payment service as rapidly as possible. As such, the Board of Directors is discontinuing its relationship with ACCEPS and no longer approves the usage of ACCEPS as of midnight April 18, 2015. As such, I am directing all Kingdom and Local Group Seneschals to follow the decision of the Board, Corporate Treasurer and Society Seneschal to not utilize ACCEPS. If anyone makes the unfortunate mistake of not being in compliance with this directive, the officer in question’s warrant will be immediately suspended.

As for all current ACCEPS related events, these will be allowed to go to completion; however, there will be no time extension in terms of these same events.

A.J. Pongratz
Society Seneschal


Categories: SCA news sites

Crown Lyst

Trimaris (Kingdom) - Sat, 2015-04-18 23:10

Unto the Populace of Trimaris do we, Takamatsu Sadamitsu no kami Tadyoshi and Cecilia d'Este proclaim:

The Format of the Crown Tournament shall be as follows:

Crown Tournament will be conducted by heavy weapons combat.

The tournament will be double elimination, best 2 out of 3 for the finals.

Claimants must be authorized in all 4 weapon styles.

Claimant at their discretion will use all 4 styles throughout the lyst and a style may not be repeated until all 4 have been used. In the finals, any weapons may be used.

Period style shield size will be limited to claimants width from shoulder to shoulder, and length from chin to crotch.

The requirements to enter the Crown Tournament are:

Each Claimant to the throne shall provide a Letter of Intent to their Majesties 15 days prior to Crown Tournament.

    (1) The Modern and Society names of both the claimant and consorts
    (2) The membership numbers of both the claimant and consort.

Both the Claimant to the throne and consort must possess and AOA level award or higher and must have attended 6 events in the past year. (Gulf Wars or Pennsic count as 2.)

Both the Claimant to the throne and their consort must have held a shire level or greater office.

The Claimant to the throne and their Consort must both be acceptable to the Crown.

Any Kingdom Officer wishing to enter Crown Tournament must designate in writing to the Crown the person who will replace him or her should that officer win the tournament 15 (business) days prior to Crown Lyst. The replacement must be acceptable to the present Crown. The letter designating the replacement must also be signed by the prospective replacement.

The crown will accepted electronic submissions.


ACCEPS Responds to Board Ruling

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2015-04-18 22:57

ACCEPS has posted a response to the announcement that the Board will no longer grant a variance that allows it to process credit cards to reserve for SCA events.   The original message can be found here.

The Board of Directors has decided to discontinue the variance granted to ACCEPS to take credit cards on behalf of SCA events, effectively immediately.

There was no explanation nor discussion from the corporate level with any member of the ACCEPS staff prior to this decision, which was broadcast to the Kingdom Exchequers on Saturday, April 18.

Based on subsequent phone conversations with the Society Treasurer and President, no issues or problems were communicated to us, just that the Board had decided to stop using ACCEPS.

Without the variance, ACCEPS cannot continue to operate in good faith within the SCA. We apologize for the inconvenience to all our friends and those events which were in progress.

The ACCEPS fee will be refunded to all branches for events which were not able to complete their requested registration period. All current registrations and funds will be sent to the event stewards during the next two weeks.

It has been an interesting and fun 12 years providing ACCEPS to the SCA.

Farewell and good luck.

ACCEPS Staff – Mistress Isobail, HL Sarra, Sir Rhodri, Misress Kaitlyn

Please send any concerns or questions to comments@sca.org and please copy acceps@gmail.com.

The Board’s announcement can be found here.


Filed under: Announcements, Corporate

ACCEPS No Longer Approved For Future Use

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2015-04-18 22:31

The following was posted to the Society Seneschal’s webpage today.  The original can be seen here.

The Board of Directors of SCA, Inc. believes that there are better options in terms of electronic payments in the SCA; the corporate office is moving towards an alternative payment service as rapidly as possible. As such, the Board of Directors is discontinuing its relationship with ACCEPS and no longer approves the usage of ACCEPS as of midnight April 18, 2015. As such, I am directing all Kingdom and Local Group Seneschals to follow the decision of the Board, Corporate Treasurer and Society Seneschal to not utilize ACCEPS. If anyone makes the unfortunate mistake of not being in compliance with this directive, the officer in question’s warrant will be immediately suspended.

As for all current ACCEPS related events, these will be allowed to go to completion; however, there will be no time extension in terms of these same events.

A.J. Pongratz
Society Seneschal

ACCEPS response including their plans for refunds can be found here.


Filed under: Announcements, Corporate

Master Lodovick of Grays Inn Wins QRC

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2015-04-18 18:38

Don Lodovick, Queen’s Rapier Champion. Photo by Don Will Parris.

In a field of 55 fencers, believed to be one of the largest Æthelmearc Queen’s Rapier Champion Tournaments ever, Master Lodovick of Grays Inn defeated Don William Parris in the finals to claim victory and the position of Rapier Champion for the reign of Queen Gabrielle.

The Queen’s Rapier Champion Tournament was held on April 18, A.S. XLIX, in the Shire of Silva Vulcani.

Master Lodovick, who resides in the Barony of St. Swithin’s Bog, was inducted to the White Scarf in the reign of Henri I. He became a Master of the Pelican last summer for his service to the Bog.

While His Majesty King Timothy was in Ansteorra on business, hoping to secure the Ansteorran army as Pennsic allies, Queen Gabrielle presided over the tournament and held court.

Congratulations to Doña Gabrielle de Winter, the autocrat of the QRC, and her staff from Silva Vulcani on another successful event.

Her Majesty Gabrielle recognizing the 11 fencers who participated in their first QRC. Photo by Don Will.


Categories: SCA news sites

Vladislav Strelec knighted at Ansteorra Coronation

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2015-04-18 11:20

At Gulf wars 2015, Their Majesties Lochlann Dunn and Michelle Chantal de Charante of the Kingdom of Ansteorra placed Vladislav Strelec on vigil to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Chivalry.

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Categories: SCA news sites