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St. Swithin’s Bog Twelfth Night is This Weekend!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2015-01-22 11:14

The Barony of St. Swithin’s Bog wishes to invite all our noble neighbors and friends to enjoy the hospitality of our 12th Night Celebration and Mid-Winter Tourney at our NEW SITE, Ace’s (318 Chestnut Street Johnstown, PA 15906) an immense great hall that will house all of our activities this Saturday, January 24!

Activities will include a tournament for armored combatants, a tournament for fencers, dancing, our annual silent auction, a side board lunch (included in site fee) and feast for 60. We will also be chancing for the opportunity for one of the populace to be “elevated” as Lord or Lady of Misrule for a day of the royal experience. Odds will be heavily in favor of those who are new to the SCA. We will also hold our Baronial Arts & Sciences as well as Bardic Championships on this festive day!

Prizes will be awarded to the victors and to the fighter /fencer deemed most chivalrous by the populace in each of the tournaments. Banners and displays of heraldry are encouraged.

THLord Sionn the Lost has graciously agreed to be our dance master for the day. He will hold classes leading up to a ball after a feast prepared by our own THL Rosheen Rois O’Faye. Please contact her at tzimmerman125@gmail.com with any dietary concerns. The Lord/Lady of Misrule shall of course be seated at high table! The menu for the day is:

Dayboard (included in site fee):
Chicken Rivel Soup, Vegetarian Vegetable Soup, Assorted Cheeses – Cheddar, Swiss and Pepper Jack, Sweet and Hot Sausages,  Assorted Breads,  Assorted Butters,  Fruit Salad

Feast (fees apply):
Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, Herbed Chicken with Mustard Sauce, Roast Beef Au Jus, Seasoned Red Skin Potatoes, Green Beans, Pumpernickel Bread, Mini Cherry Escarbuncle Pies, Mini Blueberry Raven Pies

Our site, in the Cambria City neighborhood of Johnstown, will open at 10 AM and close at 9 PM and is dry, but a Cash Bar will be available.

Site fee (including lunch!) will be $10 for adults, $5 for children 6-17, and those 5 and under shall be guests of the Barony. Feast will be $9 for adults, $5 for children 6-17 and free for those 5 and under. A $5 non-member surcharge will apply.

Questions about the event may be directed to the autocrat, THLord Guillaume Le Noir (Dave Damron, 704 Chestnut St., Johnstown, PA 15906) 814-421-1188 or lordguydave@aol.com or to his Co-autocrat, THLady Ursula of Rouen (Danielle M. Duvall, PO Box 5083, Morgantown, WV 26507) 540-287-1748 or ursula.of.rouen@gmail.com.
We have a festive day full of fun activities for everyone. We hope to see you there!

10 AM

  • Site opens
  • Armor inspection begins
  • Silent auction begins
  • A&S submissions accepted
  • Sign up for bardic (competition to be held at their Excellencies will)
  • 50/50 to begin
  • Game tables will be set up around this time, too.

11 AM

  • Armored tournament begins (rounds 1& 2 to be completed before lunch break)
  • Rapier tournament begins (rounds 1&2)
  • Dancing
  • Cash bar opens

1 PM

  • Lunch break (dancing and pick up fights for those who do not wish to partake)
  • Lord or Lady of Misrule declared

2 PM

  • Round3 & finals for both tournaments followed by pick up fights
  • Dancing may resume, with a pause for tourney finals

4:30 PM

  • Lists and dance floor to be closed for court set up.
  • Silent auction winners and 50/50 winner declared

5 PM

  • Court

Feast immediately following court.
Dancing, masked ball, resumes after feast
9PM site closes and clean up begins


Categories: SCA news sites

Letters read on carbonized Herculaneum scrolls

History Blog - Thu, 2015-01-22 06:50

When the wealthy town of Herculaneum was buried in pyroclastic flows from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., organic materials like wood, food and large quantities of poop were instantly carbonized by the superheated gases and ash, sucking all the water out of them and preventing their decay. Subsequent pyroclastic flows buried the city in 60 feet of hard volcanic rock that preserved the city and its contents for 2,000 years.

Herculaneum was rediscovered in 1738 by Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre and Charles, the Bourbon King of the Two Sicilies, funded the first excavation of the site. In 1752, excavators unearthed the first carbonized papyri in a large villa that may have been owned by Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesonius, father of Julius Caesar’s last wife Calpurnia of prophetic dream fame. Two years later, the excavation discovered a whole library with 1,800 scrolls tidily arranged on wall shelves. This is the only surviving complete ancient library in the world. The house was named the Villa of the Papyri after this unique discovery.

The few scrolls that could be opened were and found to be philosophical texts on Epicureanism, but the opening process damaged the scrolls, often destroying them. Researches have been trying ever since to find a way into the carbonized papyri that doesn’t obliterate an irreplaceable ancient artifact. The development of imaging technology like X-ray and CT scanning holds tantalizing promise for a non-invasive exploration of the texts, but there have been problems making it work.

From 2007 through 2012, the Enhanced Digital Unwrapping for Conservation and Exploration (EDUCE) program at the University of Kentucky attempted to read some Herculaneum scrolls in the collection of the Institut de France using a micro-CT scanner custom built for reading papyrus as opposed to human innards. They had some success at creating virtual models of the scrolls, revealing how dense and wavy the layers were and unwrapping them to their full length using image algorithms, but the lettering was a tough nut to crack because the carbonization made it all but impossible for the scanner to differentiate between the carbon-based ink and the papyrus.

Here’s a video of the EDUCE team scanning a Herculaneum scroll in 2010. You can see the results at the end and the one letter they point to is just a slightly darkish blur unreadable.

Now a new study published in Nature Communications reports that a similar imaging technique, X-ray phase-contrast tomography, has been able to pick out letters from the scrolls. The research team, led by Vito Mocella of the Italian National Research Council, took a fragment from an unwrapped scroll and one intact scroll from the Institut de France to Grenoble where the European Synchrotron particle collider lives. The high-energy beams from the synchrotron reflect back from the ever-so-slightly raised letters (carbon-based ink doesn’t soak into papyrus; it sits on top of it) at a different phase than they do from the papyrus. researchers measured the phase difference and were able to recreate the letters.

This video gives a quick glimpse into the scanning process, but you can’t really discern the letter here either because the actual identification is done after the scan.

Mocella and his team show that they were able to make out two previously unreadable sequences of capital letters from a hidden layer of the unrolled scroll fragment. The team interprets them as Greek words: ΠΙΠΤΟΙΕ, meaning “would fall”, and ΕΙΠΟΙ, meaning “would say”. Even more exciting for scholars, the team was able to pick out writing on the still-rolled scroll, eventually finding all 24 letters of the Greek alphabet at various points on the tightly bundled document.

Even though the current scans are mostly a proof of concept, the work suggests that there will soon be a way to read the full works on the rolled scrolls, the team says. “We plan to improve the technique,” says Mocella. “Next spring we have an allowance to spend more time at the Grenoble synchrotron, where we can test a number of approaches and try to discern the exact chemical composition of the ink. That will help us improve the energy setting of the beam for our scan.”

They’ll also collaborate with University of Kentucky computer scientist Dr. Brent Seales who spearheaded the EDUCE project. His work in mapping out the physical structure of the scrolls will be invaluable in helping place the letters in their proper order so the texts can actually be read rather than individual letters identified.

This is an important breakthrough for exploring other kinds of historical texts as well, like medieval palimpsests that have inaccessible writing in the binding or between glued pages, but if it does prove effective in reading Herculaneum’s carbonized scrolls, it could strike a motherlode of ancient sources. The scrolls that have been read so far all came from one room and they’re all in Greek. Archaeologists believe there may be a second library of Latin scrolls. If that’s true and more scrolls are found, a non-invasive means to read them could rediscover any number of lost ancient books. A virtual reality model of the Villa of the Papyri created at the UCLA’s Experiential Technologies Center conveys how large the structure is and how much is left to excavate.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

A Missive From Their Royal Majesties

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2015-01-22 01:16

Photo courtesy of Cateline la Broderesse

Greetings unto the people of the East,

We have 5 requests of you in the days ahead during the martial peerage discussions, in the wake of Saturday’s BoD meeting.

  1. Please be respectful. Courtesy is the social fabric that makes us the community that we are.
  2. Please assume misunderstanding over malice. We are a very diverse group of people, and we are also people with jobs and families and worries and opinions and stress. None of us is blessed with perfect foresight. All of us are making the best decisions we can as we go along.
  3. Please have a modicum of patience. There are many moving parts to this, and we have watched the dialogue evolve by the hour.  We are doing all that we can to hear the varied parties, understand the facts and develop a plan in conjunction with our Cousins so that we and the BoD can work in concert to quickly resolve this issue.
  4. Please remember courtesy, courtesy, courtesy.
  5. Please share your council with us: via email, phone or in person.  We have announced the following Order Meetings at Birka: Sagittarius 12:30-1:00
    OGR 2:30-3:15
    Chivalry 3:20-4:05
    Chivalry + OGR 4:10-4:40

    We will also be available Friday and Saturday evening at Birka.

We anticipate being able to share a draft plan sometime next week.

Thank you for caring enough to be a part of this discussion. It will help to shape the future of our society.
In Service to the Dream,
Edward & Thyra


Filed under: Tidings Tagged: royal missive

Announcements From the BoD

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2015-01-21 23:54

The Board of Directors of the SCA made the following two announcements today:

Board of Directors – Meeting Schedule

The Board of Directors would like to thank all those who took the time to attend the First Quarter 2015 meeting in Milpitas, California.

They would like to remind the membership that the Second Quarter 2015 will be taking place in the Middle Kingdom on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at the Embassy Suites Cincinnati – River Center
10 East Rivercenter Boulevard, Covington Kentucky, 41011.

Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend.

Resignation of the Society Chirurgeon

At the Jan 2015 quarterly board meeting, the board accepted the resignation of the Society Chirurgeon, and directed the President to handle the responsibilities of that office until further notice. The chirurgeon@sca.org email address is now forwarded to the President, and the president@sca.org email address has been added to the KC email list.

As of now, the Chirurgeonate structure still exists as it had before the January BoD meeting. The only change effective as of the Jan board meeting is the resignation of the Society Chirurgeon and transfer of responsibilities to the President. The Chirurgeon Committee’s recommendations would require Corpora changes, which have not yet been sent out for commentary by the membership.

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

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

 


Filed under: Corporate Tagged: BoD, sca announcements

Event Report: Debatable Lands Twelfth Night

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-01-21 19:00

A report of the events at Debatable Lands 12th Night, submitted by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Baroness Constance and her sister, Lady Sarab, in gowns crafted by Lady Sarab. Photo by Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann.

The Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands’ Twelfth Night on January 17th was chock-filled with activities. The day began with a short Royal Court at which Their Majesties gave awards to several good gentles and then bid the attendees gather for a short “Get Well” video to be sent to Lady Ruadh mac Aodha, sister of Baroness Constance Glyn Dŵr and Lady Sarab bint Alima, who is in the hospital recovering from injuries received in a serious vehicle accident a week before the event. Then gentles scattered to partake of the pot luck feast, try their hand at arts and crafts run by Lady Aíbell ingen Chernacháin, shop the many merchant tables, peruse the entries in the A&S competition, taste the brews made available at the Taster’s Tavern hosted by THL Madoc Arundel, or just schmooze with friends.

Later in the day, Lady Ceindrech verch Elidir ran a pillow fight tourney in which numerous children and teens waged ferocious combat with stuffed animals as well as pillows. Even His Majesty, ever competitive, went pillow-á-pillow with some of the other combatants.

King Titus vs. Lord Hartman. Photo by Mistress Hilderun.

THLord Sionn the Lost taught dancing to an eager crowd of teens and adults, then Their Excellencies Baron Liam and Baroness Constance were faced with the daunting task of choosing a Baronial Bard from among the many talented performers. Entrants told stories, sang songs, and played instruments as they entertained the populace.

As the afternoon wore on, there was a hotly contested gift exchange, and a performance by the Debatable Choir, which led into the Baronial and Royal Courts.

The Debatable Choir performs a concert of renaissance choral music. Photo by THL Ishiyama Gentarou Yori’ie.

Their Excellencies recognized Lady Hara Kikumatsu as their new Baronial Champion for her Japanese garment, and thanked Lady Sumayya al Ghaziyya for her service as the outgoing A&S Champion and winner of the Seven Pearls A&S Competition.

Lady Hara Kikumatsu, Baronial A&S Champion. Photo by THL Ishiyama.

Lady Bugga Bilibit, outgoing Baronial Bard, spoke for herself and her Bardic co-Champion, Master William de Montegilt, who was too ill to attend the event, in recapping the bardic competition. Their Excellencies announced that they had selected Lady Silence de Cherbourg as their new Bardic Champion, to great applause.

Then Lady Abbatissa Dreye di Banbury was called to announce the results of the Baronial Brewing Championship. His Excellency Liam noted that he had asked Sir Thorgrim Skullsplitter to judge this competition along with Baroness Constance, as His Excellency does not partake of alcohol. Lord Valaric Dalicieux was chosen as the winner; although he lives in St. Swithin’s Bog, Baron Liam noted that there is no prohibition on having a champion from another Barony, and since there’s no Seven Pearls Brewing competition, Lord Valaric wouldn’t have to worry about competing against his own Barony.

Springerle cookies by Lady Luceta di Cosimo, which won King’s Choice in the cookie competition. Photo by Mistress Hilderun.

Their Excellencies recognized a number of gentles with baronial awards, as well as announcing the winners of the cookie contest and heraldic quest. The Canton of Steltonwald generously gifted the Barony with a large sum of money, as their coffers had been well fed in the previous year. The auction of useful things also brought in a goodly sum. But the highlight of the baronial court was when Their Excellencies bestowed the Barony’s highest award, the Copernicus, on THLady Elss of Augsburg. Her Ladyship has autocratted five 12th Nights, cooked feasts at many other events, performed with the commedia troup i Genisii, and served as Baronial Chronicler and a Thrown Weapons Marshal. Their Excellencies noted that all of the other members of the Order of the Copernicus are peers, so THLady Elss would be in august company.

During Kingdom Court, Their Majesties recognized many gentles for service or skill in the martial and peaceful arts. They also recognized Lord Madison Morai for his brewing, noting that his Apple Strudel Cordial had won both the populace choice competition and the Queen’s Choice.

In addition, They welcomed several newcomers attending their first event, instructing the populace to chant with Them to these new gentles, “We like you and we want you to come back!”

Court ended with multiple renditions of “Happy Birthday” for those gentles whose birthdays had recently been celebrated.

The evening was capped off with more dancing led by THLord Sionn, to music provided by the Debatable Consort.


Categories: SCA news sites

Announcement from the Board Concerning the Chirurgeonate

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-01-21 13:00
Resignation of the Society Chirurgeon Published January 21, 2015 | By Kelly Magill

At the Jan 2015 quarterly board meeting, the board accepted the resignation of the Society Chirurgeon, and directed the President to handle the responsibilities of that office until further notice. The chirurgeon@sca.org email address is now forwarded to the President, and the president@sca.org email address has been added to the KC email list.

As of now, the Chirurgeonate structure still exists as it had before the January BoD meeting. The only change effective as of the Jan board meeting is the resignation of the Society Chirurgeon and transfer of responsibilities to the President. The Chirurgeon Committee’s recommendations would require Corpora changes, which have not yet been sent out for commentary by the membership.
Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas,  CA 95036

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

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


Categories: SCA news sites

Drone Indiana Jones maps ruins of Italian town

History Blog - Wed, 2015-01-21 04:21

It’s the first month of the new year and we already have a fine addition to my collection of Pompeii metaphors used to describe archaeological sites that are nothing at all like Pompeii. This time it’s the town of Cerreto Sannita in the southern Italian region of Campania being made to wear the Pompeii colors. The connection is that both cities were struck by a horrific cataclysm, but the comparisons pretty much end there. The town was reduced to rubble by an earthquake in the 17th century and a new Cerreto Sannita was built next to the ruins (to distinguish it from the new town, the site of the medieval ruins is called Cerreto antica). Little of the old city is visible today. Whatever is left is underground.

To ferret out the remnants of Cerreto antica, archaeologists have deployed a drone named Indiana Jones. With its onboard laser and videocamera, Indiana Jones is surveying the site above and below ground. Indiana’s lidar data will be the jumping off point for a hands-on archaeological excavation. The site will then be secured and any structures exposed will be stabilized. Artifacts recovered during the dig will be catalogued, and finally, the drone and dig information will be used to create a 3D model of the complete site. The “Medieval Cerreto” model won’t be just a virtual recreation, but a starting point for exploring the terrain, history and traditions of the town.

The Cerreto project is part of an initiative funded by Ministry of Education, Universities and Research that seeks to addresses issues of structural security while developing methods to integrate the protection, oversight and sustainable redevelopment of historical sites. The aim is to bring added safety and value to sites of cultural interest in seismically active areas, and boy is this area seismically active.

The towns, like Cerreto Sannita, in the environs of Benevento have a long, storied past of earthquake-induced upheaval. In fact, Cerreto itself once prospered mightily from an earthquake that drove residents out of the nearby town of Telesia. For centuries a regional administrative center under Lombard and Norman authorities, Telesia was seat of a bishopric from the 4th century A.D. until a massive series of earthquakes struck the central Apennine regions for an incredible seven months, from January until September of 1349. Sinkholes and landslides filled up with stagnant water, soil became swampy and volcanic fissures that emanated carbon dioxide and sulfur fumes made the air close to unbreathable. Telesia was abandoned and much of the population moved to Cerreto.

This gave the town a major economic, political and demographic boost. In 1593, Bishop Cesare Bellocchi instituted the diocesan seminary in Cerreto Sannita. After his death two years later, the new bishop, Eugenio Savino, moved into a palace in Cerreto donated by a local nobleman and made it the new official seat of the diocese which was renamed the Diocese of Telese or Cerreto Sannita. The town was now an important religious center, replete with churches, monasteries and convents.

Karma struck on June 5th, 1688. Cerreto Sannita was the epicenter of an earthquake estimated by seismologists to have been more than 7.0 on the Richter Scale. More than 4,000 people, half the population of the town, died and the entire town was razed to the ground. Six days later, Bishop Giovanni Battista de Bellis wrote to the head of the Congregation for Bishops reporting on the disaster.

“I am forced, crying, to advise you of the horrific spectacle of desolation in this my diocese, for the earthquake that struck at five the night before Pentecost while I was left weeping for my misery and that of my people. … Telese from ancient times was abandoned and my predecessor bishops moved to Cerreto, already populous, and there built a church, extremely beautiful, and to this church they transferred the services of the Cathedral where 15 Canons officiated. In this land of Cerreto there was the Church of San Martino, parochial and collegial, with 11 Canons and the Archpriest. There was a monastery of Conventual friars, a distinguished place of study, a monastery of Capuchin friars, a convent of the Nuns of the Order of Saint Clair where there were 65 nuns and converts.

Now this land with the churches, monasteries and everything, in the time it takes to recite a Credo, collapsed all, all, all, without there remaining standing even one house to take refuge in, something that anyone who did not see it would scarce believe it.”

The response was sympathetic but laconic. The Bishop went over the Curia’s head and appealed straight to Pope Innocent XI, explaining how the entire town had been leveled, that only three small dwellings belonging to a potter had survived the quake at all, and their walls were either crumbling or about to collapse, listing the numbers of dead in every convent, monastery and church, and asking that Rome help with emergency funds. He received no response. Only with the election of Pope Alexander VIII, a man known for his magnanimity, in 1689 did the diocese receive financial support for the reconstruction of the cathedral.

Unlike Telesia, Cerreto was not abandoned. It was rebuilt from scratch. Count Marzio Carafa stopped residents who were already beginning to rebuild their homes using the rubble and instead turned to royal engineer Giovanni Battista Manni to plan a town with particular attention to seismic stability. Also aided by his bother Marino and Bishop de Bellis, Marzio Carafa moved the city center downvalley onto a broad, low hill that was significantly more stable than the land the old town had been built on. It was all private property which the Count claimed through a sort of medieval version of eminent domain.

He also took out a loan of 3,000 ducats to build one and two-room houses that he sold to residents for manageable sums of 50 to 184 ducats. Since they had lost everything, the Count authorized his debt collector to extend loans for the purchase of the houses with interest-free repayments for three years and 6% interest the fourth. Eight years after the earthquake, the new town was complete and every resident owned his own new home with seismic design features like split support windows.

Inspired by Roman urbs, the new Cerreto Sannita had two major streets (decumani) parallel to each other with one-way traffic in opposite directions running down the length of the town and a number of small streets (cardini) connecting the two arteries. There were no defensive walls, no cramped and crooked alleys. It remains to this day one of the only surviving examples of a pure planned city from the late 17th century.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Letter to the BoD from Their Highnesses Æthelmearc

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-01-21 00:13

Unto the Board of Directors of the Society for Creative Anachronism do Prince Timothy and Princess Gabrielle of Æthelmearc send greetings,

We would like to thank our Ombudsman, Baron David of Caithness, for calling on Monday night, assuring us that the BoD was feverishly working towards a solution to the current crisis. We took great comfort in his comment that the BoD had decided to rework their peerage proposal in such a way as to include the other marshal aspects of our Society that do not currently fall under the umbrella of Rattan combat. We were further comforted and greatly surprised with his assurance that this adjusted proposal wouldn’t have to go through a lengthy process of evaluation, and would, in all probability, be ready for consideration at the April BoD meeting, which I (Timothy) look forward to attending.

Given that this solution may or may not be possible, we would like to take the time to offer our opinion regarding the current turmoil that is dividing our Society. The time to assess blame or mistakes is another day. For now, we need to determine some way to salvage what members we may retain from the chaos that surrounds us.

Whatever solution the BoD devises needs to be done rapidly. Our Society has been hemorrhaging members for years, and this tumultuous situation seems to be greatly increasing the pace of these losses. Exploratory committees and focus groups are not what is needed right now. Within the bounds prescribed by Corpora, we need action by the BoD with all possible haste.

We put forth that a minimum item in any possible solution that you design is that the Rapier community, a growing, thriving part of our Society must have a legitimate path towards a Peerage. Not a “service to the rapier community” Pelican, not a “research into the art of historical fencing” Laurel. In our opinion, explaining that a path to a Peerage already exists based on these two existing routes is a cop-out.

Based in part on the conversation on January 19 with Baron David, it seems that at least one of the BoD members voted against the Rapier Peerage proposal because it did not include a path for other pursuits such as Archery, Equestrian, Thrown Weapon and other martial activities. This should not be a problem. We have always favored erring on the side of giving one too many cookies out, rather than too few. It seems reasonable that if these martial arts are pursued to a level of excellence worthy of a Peerage, then why not combine them into the same category, whatever name it is assigned.

The second consideration is to determine where it should be included. Perhaps this is the most tragic part of the current debate. Whether by design or incompetence, the misinformation that was shared with the populace after the BoD meeting on Saturday January 17th has dramatically divided our Society. Prior to last Saturday’s meeting, hardly anyone was anticipating the option of including the Fencers into the Order of the Chivalry. Most were expecting that they were to be granted a separate Peerage unique to their endeavors. We know several couples in our Kingdom who are actually on opposite sides of this issue. In one couples case, BOTH of them have strongly implied they will take their ball and go home if the other side “wins”. I am sure that this is not a unique situation and extends to other Kingdoms. Opinions also vary greatly from those who we consider our family and close friends.

So what to do? We start with addressing the concept of a Rapier-only peerage. I (Timothy) love fencing. I am not very good at it, but I have had an absolute blast as I continue to grow in this new pursuit. The Rapier fighters have a sense of community that doesn’t really exist in the Heavy fighting world. As much as both Rapier and Heavy compete on the battlefield and on the list field, it just isn’t the same. I can’t really explain why, it just isn’t. If you also consider the additional martial aspects of each pursuit, it makes even less sense to add Rapier to the Chivalry. And aside from the historical differences between the two pursuits, you are asking a community with nearly fifty years of history to change on a dime. That seems a bitter pill to swallow. Personally, I can accept this change, but I am afraid that many of my brothers could not. I greatly fear the repercussions. Surely you have noticed the vitriol expressed over the last few days, and it does not just come from the Knights. For every, “I’ll turn my belt in if they knight a Fencer” comment, I read “the Knights need to get over themselves and suck it up” from a Laurel or a Pelican. That sentiment will not go away if you choose to add Fencers to the Chivalry, and until such time as this wound heals, there will be Kings who simply will not make a Rapier Knight. To us, that seems a tragic, if unintended result.

It seems to us that the best possible and only realistic solution is to create a new Peerage. Call it what you will (if it is Masters of Defense, no time will be wasted creating a name, heraldry etc.) and voila, the issue is settled, and we can all get back to studying Machiavelli, rather than emulating him.

Whatever you do, please do it with all possible haste, we don’t want to be sitting the throne while the Society we love and cherish crumbles down around our shoulders.

As always, we remain in service to Æthelmearc and the Society,
Prince Timothy and Princess Gabrielle


Categories: SCA news sites

Correction of Information Reported from BOD Meeting

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2015-01-20 22:05

It appears the East Kingdom Gazette’s report on the BoD meeting was incorrect when it reported that the “Chirurgeon will be removed as a warranted office”. This in fact is NOT the case.  As Dr. Scott Berk, Chair – Board of Directors, SCA, Inc,  informed the Gazette today:

“The Chirurgeonate was NOT removed as a warranted office.

No action was taken to end the corporate office of Society Chirurgeon.

The Board does intend to examine the recent recommendations of the Chirurgeon committee and will announce its own changes if need be in the near future.”

The Gazette apologies for any misunderstanding it caused by the original post, which has now been updated to reflect the correction.


Filed under: Corporate, Official Notices

Court Report: Kingdom Twelfth Night

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-01-20 19:02

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Titus and Anna Leigh, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Their Court at Kingdom 12th Night, 10 January Anno Societatis XLIX, in the Shire of Abhian Ciach Ghlais. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, with the assistance of Drotinn Jorundr hinn Rotinn, Golden Alce Herald.

During Curia:

The Kingdom Seneschale announced the following change to Kingdom Seneschal Policy: The lead time for soliciting resumes for the position of Kingdom Seneschal will be moved from 6 months to 15 months before the current Seneschal steps down. The choice will be made by the Royalty seated one year prior to the change, so as to allow for extended training time for the new Seneschal. This brings practice into line with the Exchequer’s office.

The Kingdom Seneschale further announced the following change to Section III-600 of Kingdom Law, Crown Tournament Requirements: The sentence “Letters of intent must be postmarked, e-mailed or hand-delivered to the Crown no mater than 30 days prior to the Crown Tournament” will be changed to “Letters of intent must be postmarked, e-mailed or hand-delivered to the Crown no later than the Coronation immediately prior to the Crown Tournament.”

The Kingdom Herald announced that the office of Chancellor of the Æcademy had passed from Meestress Odriana vander Brugghe to Mistress Alicia Langland.

The Kingdom Seneschale announced that Their Majesties would hold a second Curia at the Feast of the Seven Deadly Sins on February 7th.

In the morning:

Master Fridrikr Tomasson av Knusslig Hamn was brought forth and announced as the new Kingdom Minister of Arts and Sciences.

Baroness Rynea swearing fealty as the new Kingdom Minister of the Lists as her predecessor, Mistress Maria Cristina de Cordoba, looks on. Photo by Master Alaxandair O’Conchobhair.

Mistress Maria Christina de Cordoba was brought forth and thanked for her service as Kingdom Mistress of Lists. Baroness Rynea Ingen of Stormsport was then asked to join Mistress Maria and invested as the new Kingdom Mistress of Lists.

Lady Mairin O’Cadhla was inducted into the Order of the Keystone for her devotion to providing a safe and entertaining environment for the children of Æthelmearc at events. Scroll by THL Aindreas mac Ghille Fhionntaigh a’ Ghaoithe Airgid.

Lady Elizabeth Arrowsmyth was created a Baroness of the Court of Æthelmearc for her passionate service to her Barony, Kingdom, and to Their Majesties. Scroll by Mistress Kateryne of Bakestonden, Baroness Boudiccea Ravenhair, and Baroness Ekaterina Volkova.

His Royal Highness, Timothy of Arindale, was named a Companion of the Millrind for his tireless support and building of the Æthelmearc Army. Scroll illuminated by Lady Fiora d’Artusio and calligraphed by THL Kieran MacRae.

Baron Tigernach mac Cathail was invited before Their Majesties to answer the Writ of Summons that had been served to him. He answered that it was still his wish to sit Vigil and receive the counsel of the Order of the Pelican. Said order was then invited into Court to escort Baron Tigernach to the place that had been prepared for him.

In the evening:

Lady Alianora Bronhulle, the Sylvan Bard, came forth and announced to the populace that a grand competition had been held to allow Their Majesties to choose her successor. Their Majesties then proclaimed to one and all that Baroness Gwendolyn the Graceful had caught Their eyes and ears, and They named Her Excellency as the new Sylvan Bard of Æthelmearc. Scroll by Lady Rosalia Krowczykowa.

THL Madoc Arundel, who had overseen the day’s Taster’s Tavern, was brought forth and announced that Baron Rauthbjorn Lothbroke had won both the Populace’s Choice and Her Majesty’s Choice for his Lemon mead. Scrolls by Lady Lara Sukhadrev.

Lady Antoniette de Lorraine, the Seneschal of Abhain Ciach Ghlais, came forward and presented gifts to Their Majesties on behalf of the Shire. While Lady Antoinette was in Their presence, Their Majesties took the opportunity to commend Lady Antoinette for her unending patience, politeness and pleasantness by inducting her into the Order of the Cornelian. Scroll by Duchess Branwyn verch Gwythyr.

Lady Ysabeau of Comport, of the Kingdom of Ealdormere, was brought before Their Majesties and, the appropriate negotiations and documentations on behalf of Their Majesties Trumbrand and Kaylah having been negotiated and documented, named as a subject of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc.

Fede of Nithgaard was Awarded Arms for the splendid German garb that she made not only for herself, but for others who had attended the day’s event.

Lady Teresa Alvarez was inducted into the Order of the Sycamore for her skill and generosity in the creation of Italian garb. Scroll by Lady Mary Elizabeth Clason.

Lord Daniel Rufus was elevated to the Order of the Keystone for his generosity in opening his house to host meetings, classes and practices, as well as the annual shire’s Thanksgiving meal, for his involvement in the shire’s cook’s guild, and for his assistance in setting up and cleaning up events. Scroll in progress by Lord Angellino the Bookmaker.

Adelyn Idesborn and Christian Goldenlok were Awarded Arms for their devotion to the martial and musical arts. Adelyn’s scroll by Lady Vivienne of Yardley; Christian’s scroll illuminated by Mistress Juliana Delamare and calligraphed by Adelyn Idesborn upon wording by Sir Gareth Kincaid and Mistress Juliana Delamare.

Lord Conrad Kienast was created a Companion of the Sycamore for his skill in entertaining the populace through the art of storytelling. Scroll by Baroness Gillian Llewellyn of Ravenspur.

Lord Jeremiah MacCoul was named to the Order of the Keystone for his service as shire Knight Marshal, as a heavy weapons marshal, at demos, and for creating tabletop games for use at events and demos. Scroll by Lady Kaðlín Sigvaldakona.

Lady Elyse la Bref was inducted into the Order of the Sycamore for her skill in creating award scrolls. Scroll by Lady Vivienne of Yardley.

Lady Ylaire Sainte Claire was elevated to the Order of the Keystone for her work as autocrat, teacher, scribe, and Minister of Arts and Sciences. Scroll by Lady Alianora Bronhulle.

Lady Edekyn O Fierhie was created a Companion of the Sycamore for her performance skills with I Verdi Confusi, as a teacher and student of dance, and her devotion to several performances over the course of each of recent Pennsic Wars. Scroll by Lady Elyse la Bref.

THL Morien MacBain was named to the Order of the Millrind for his service setting up and cleaning up events, as teacher, as marshal, and equipping and training newcomers, as well as the extensive traveling that he does in order to make these things happen. Scroll by Countess Aidin ni Lier.

The Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc was convened, and Lady Alianora Bronhulle was inducted as its newest member, for she has shown skill and enthusiasm in both the execution and teaching of the arts of calligraphy, illumination, lacemaking, costuming, cooking, and bardic performance. Scroll calligraphed and illuminated by Lady Edana Aldys Haukyns upon wording by Baron Fridrikr Tomasson av Knusslig Hamn.

Baron Tigernach mac Cathail was summoned before Their Majesties and gave testimony that he had indeed received the counsel of the Order of the Pelican and the populace as They had instructed, and was now prepared to receive elevation to that Order. Their Majesties received the testimony of Duke Timothy of Arindale, who stated that his service to the Kingdom as its King, Prince, Knight and Duke paled in comparison to Tigernach’s. Sir Murdoch Bayne spoke of Tigernach’s first days in the Society, when he attended a meeting of the Barony of Endless Hills, found things that needed to be done, and stepped in and did them. Sir Malcolm Duncan MacEoghainn added that, having known the burden of the Crown, the Pelicans bear the burdens of running the Society, and Tigernach bears those burdens with joy. Mistress Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina of the Order of the Laurel spoke of the qualities of artisans that we admire, including the “fire in the belly” that gets others excited, and of Tigernach’s skill at getting others excited about serving the Society. Master Fridrikr Tomasson av Knusslig Hamn of the Order of the Pelican stated that he marvels at Tigernach’s knowledge of the laws of Æthelmearc, which is quiet, hidden service that few see and nobody appreciates. Duchess Anna Blackleaf, Lady of the Rose, sent words of Tigernach’s unfailing courtesy and gentle demeanor while performing service for others, even in the face of difficult situations. Brandubh O’Donnghaile, 33rd Jewel of Æthelmearc, spoke of the many forms of inspiration, some loud, some quiet, and that Tigernach was capable of both, doing what he does so that there will be no problems. Hearing such testimony, Their Majesties invested Tigernach with the regalia of his new station, being the ancestral Pelican Medallion of Æthelmearc, a personal medallion, and a cloak, created him a Companion of the Pelican, and Awarded him Arms by Letters Patent. They then received Master Tigernach’s Oath of Service, and read a proclamation illuminated by Countess Rosalinda of Castile and calligraphed by Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai upon wording by Sir Malcolm Duncan MacEoghainn.

Baroness Ekaterina Volkova, Sylvan Signet, announced that a Scroll Blank competition had been held that day to bolster the supplies of scribes. The competition had been scored for both prolificacy and skill, with points both for new scribes and experiences ones. A total of 77 scroll blanks had been collected over the course of the day. The winner of the day’s competition was Ishiyama-roku-i Gentarō Yori’ie, who had produced 59 of the 77 scroll blanks.

There being no further business, Their Majesties’ Court was closed.

In Honor and Service,
Kameshima Zentarō Umakai
高貴国境の王国の治部卿
Silver Buccle Principal Herald, Kingdom of Æthelmearc

~ photos by Alaxandair O’Conchobhair


Categories: SCA news sites

Better. Stronger. Faster.

History Blog - Tue, 2015-01-20 11:00

As previously threatened, I am officially marking The History Blog’s passing the six million pageviews milestone with a Steve Austin reference. That’s really the only reason I’m even announcing this particular milestone. One million I announced because it’s a big deal; five million because we got there a lot faster than I expected. The six million figure only means anything to me because to this day I remain inordinately fond of the Six Million Dollar Man, especially the intro. Also, that Lee Majors wore the hell out of suits both track and leisure.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Report on SCA Board Meeting – January 17, 2015

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-01-20 09:38

With the kind permission of our friends at the East Kingdom Gazette:

The East Kingdom Gazette thanks Viscountess Krysta of Starfall for taking the notes used to create this article.

The Board of Directors held their quarterly meeting on January 17, 2015 in Milpitas, CA. The following is a summary of the meeting.

The meeting began with introductions and an ice breaker question. The agenda was moved, seconded and approved. Minutes were approved for meetings held on October 25, 2014, December 2, 2014 and January 6, 2015.

Recurring Business
The Board changed the status of several branches. The following Cantons in the East were put into abeyance: Sea Tyger’s Rhyn, Dragon Forge, Fennbrycg, Dragon’s Aerie and Bowman’s Rest. Also of interest to the East were new branches in Drachenwald that were approved in the countries of Russia and the United Arab Emirates. New branches were also approved in Ansteorra and An Tir, the Shire of Cold Keep moved to Tir Righ from Avacal, Theobald College in Carontir was changed to an Incipient Shire, and the Canton of Westland Mor in Aethelmearc and Shire of Dun Ard in Calontir were dissolved.

The follow meetings were confirmed for the Board: April 18, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio; July 11, 2015 in Milpitas, CA; and October 24, 2015 in Pittsburgh, PA. A conference call was tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, February 24, 2015. Renee Signorotti reported that hundreds of bank accounts had been authorized this quarter. Warrants were given for the Exchequer of the College of Arms and the Society Seneschal’s Emergency Deputy, Kelly McGill.

The Board is always looking for nominees to the Board. There are several people on the West Coast currently on the list. Comments on nominees should be sent to recruiting@sca.org

Proposed Peerage Order – Order of Defense
Two committees have worked on a proposed peerage order, the Order of Defense. One researched whether there should be a Rapier peerage and reported yes. The second proposed Order names, heraldry, and regalia.

The comments that the Board received leaned towards not supporting a separate peerage for Rapier. Many of the comments agreed that the Rapier combatants should be able to be recognized as peers, but not in a separate peerage.

A wide-ranging discussion with input from Directors and the audience covered many different sides of this proposal. The specific wording they were considering created a separate peerage for Rapier combatants only. There were three clear thoughts being expressed:
• fold a rapier peerage into the Order of Chivalry
• create a “fourth” polling Omnibus peerage to include rapier and all non-rattan combat/martial prowess
• make the fourth polling peerage Rapier only.

The discussion turned to definitions in Corpora for membership in the Order of Chivalry. As written, persons who exhibit prowess in tournament combat and meet the other qualities of a peer of the realm may be offered membership, and may choose between Knighthood and Mastery of Arms. This could be interpreted to mean that there is no impediment to the Crowns and Kingdoms to offering persons of prowess with rapier combat membership in the Order of Chivalry.

Director Fulton called the question and made the motion to approve the changes to corpora which would create a separate peerage for Rapier combat. A second was offered by Director Czudnochowsky. Lisa May (Countess Margaret ni Conner), Arthur Donadio (Duke Cuan McDaige) and John Fulton (Duke John the Bearkiller) voted Aye. Lisa Czudnochowsky (Duchess Marion FitzWilliam), Andrew Coleman (Jarl Ailghenan mac Sithigh), David Keen (Baron David of Caithness), and Chair Scott Berk (Baron Phillip Reed the Facetious) voted Nay. The language creating the separate peerage for Rapier failed.

The Board did make a set of changes to Corpora. They were part of the Additional Peerage Proposal that was sent out to the SCA for comment. The Board deleted the following from Section IX. of Corpora, which dated back to when Rapier was a new activity in the SCA.
C. Rapier Fighting in the Society
The Board acknowledges rapier combat as an ancillary activity of the Society when properly supervised by the Marshals and when approved by individual kingdoms. Rapier combat may take place within a kingdom only by rules established by the Marshallate of that kingdom and after the approval of those rules by the Marshal of the Society. The Marshal of the Society will maintain guidelines for rapier combat within the Society. Rapier combat, not having been part of formal tournament combat in the Middle Ages, shall not be a part of formal tournament lists for royal ranks and armigerous titles.

The Board added the following wording to the same section.
Royal Lists
Only Chivalric (rattan) combat shall be used for formal tournament lists for royal ranks.

Kingdom of Avacal
Strong support was expressed by the people of Avacal, from An Tir and from the Society Seneschal regarding The Crown of AnTir sent a letter in support of advancement citing geographic isolation and the great expense incurred when AnTir kingdom level events were held in Avacal. The Coronet scheduled for the first of May would be the first Crown Tournament, supported by AnTir, and the first Coronation would be at the end of June. The reign cycle would remain as the Coronet cycle is now. Director Czudnochowsky moved and Director May seconded that Avacal be advanced to Kingdom at their (Investiture) Coronation in June. Approval was unanimous.

YAFA Marketing Plan
More information will be offered at the April meeting on how to market the Youth and Family Achievement program by Director Keen.

Sign Herald’s Handbook
Laurel Sovereign of Arms has requested approval of a handbook for Silent Heralds (sign language interpreters for courts and other official SCA business). The motion carried.

Reassigned Shires
Two shires in Eastern Colorado are being moved from Artemesia to The Outlands for geographical reasons. Motion carried. Change was effective immediately.

Highlights of Officer Reports

President – Chirurgeon activities have been evaluated by a committee, and there was good participation from chirurgeons from across the Known World. The insurance will not cover Chirurgeonate activities. Chirurgeon will be removed as a warranted office. First aid activities are still encouraged. The Board directed the President to recommend Corpora language to accomplish this change. The badge and regalia will continue to serve as it has.

Vice President Information Mgmt. & Technology – The Legacy Known World mail server is being decommissioned.

Society Webminister Report – William Blackfox award recommendations will be accepted in the 1st Q. The audit of Kingdom websites is happening.

Vice President of Operations (Society Seneschal) – The NMS is set by the Board and may not be raised by local groups. A kingdom may not require its branches to add an event charge to fund kingdom projects. Site preparation and planning is moving forward for the 50th year event. The Known World map project is running into issues because of problems with zip code reporting. A chatelaine education and information project in being planned.

Vice President of Corporate Operations – The 2012-2013 audit had been approved and will be published.

Society Treasurer – The recommended salary and stipend changes for the 2015 budget were approved in executive session.

Laurel Sovereign of Arms – There were ~400 more submissions through the Laurel office in 2014 (from 2013)

Marshal – PVC bows are showing up and causing some concern.

Minister of Arts & Sciences – Working on retention of information about classes, content, and instructors offered throughout the Known World. MoAS is traveling.

Society Chirurgeon – Resigned as of the end of this meeting. No applications will be taken, because the office will no longer be a corporate office.

Standing Committees – The Grand Council was directed by the Board to discuss approaches to training officers, which offices would benefit from training and which methods would be best. There were no reports from the Legal committee. The Peerage Exploratory Committee was discussed above.

Limited Executive Session
This included acceptance of the Chirurgeon resignation, budget adjustments, votes regarding sanctions or expulsions of specific individuals, Board ombudsmen assignments, and acceptance of all actions of subsidiary Boards.


Categories: SCA news sites

Remains of five people found in Amphipolis tomb

History Blog - Tue, 2015-01-20 00:55

On Monday Greece’s Ministry of Culture announced the results of the first bone study on the skeletal remains found in the Kasta Tumulus in Amphipolis. Approximately 550 fragments of bone — some crushed, some whole and one skull missing the facial bones and teeth — were found in the tomb. Multidisciplinary teams from the Democritus University of Thrace and the
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki were able to sort 157 of the bone fragments into at least five individuals: a woman more than 60 years old, a man around 35 years old, a man around 45 years old, a neonate of unknown sex and fragments of cremated bones from a person of unknown age and sex.


The woman has the most surviving bones which were found three feet above the floor of the limestone cyst grave. The one almost complete skull is hers and was instrumental, along with the pelvic bones and the long bone measurements, in determining her sex. She was about 157 cm (5’2″) tall and suffered from antemortem tooth loss, degenerative changes of the spine, osteoporosis and frontal hyperostosis. Those conditions led researchers to put her age at over 60 years.


The younger of the men was about 168 cm (5’6″) tall and his bones bear clear unhealed cut marks that indicate he was violently assaulted with a sharp weapon in the left upper thoracic spine, on the nape of his neck and on both his sides. The older of the two was about 162 cm (5’4″) tall. He had fractured his right radius close to the wrist at some point, but it was fully healed before he died. Both men have degenerative osteoarthritis and spondylitis lesions in different areas.


The infant was identified as a newborn by the length and width of the left humerus and mandible. The sex could not be determined because the morphological features that help identify sex are not developed in so young a baby.


The fifth individual was identified from nine fragments of bones that bear the characteristic cracks, deformation and discoloration caused by complete cremations. Researchers believe these are the remains of an adult.

These are just the first round of results. Additional testing will include X-rays to find out more about the lesions and injuries to the bones, electron microscopy, paleogenetic analysis of any DNA recoverable, stable isotope analysis on the bones to identify the types of proteins in their diets, limited strontium analysis on bone samples (there were no teeth recovered except the root of an abscessed right mandibular second premolar, so the usual strontium testing on tooth enamel that can reveal where individuals lived as children is not possible) and Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating.

The hope is that researchers will be able to discover the diets, places of origin and, if DNA is cooperative, whether any of the people entombed were related to each other. It’s a long shot. The lack of teeth is a big minus for DNA extraction, and the neonate and cremated individual have such limited sample material that it’s unlikely they’ll produce testable DNA. The AMS radiocarbon dating will be done on the human remains but also on a number of animal bones, probably belonging to a horse, that were discovered in the tomb. If all goes well, the dates will illuminate the order of deposition in the tomb which can’t solely be determined by the excavation strata because the tomb was disturbed.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Announcement from the SCA, Inc. Board of Directors – Proposed Corpora Change Results – 4th Peerage

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2015-01-20 00:09

The following message was sent out Monday evening to the SCA, Inc. Announcements mailing list.

At the January 17, 2015 Board of Directors meeting in Milpitas, CA, the Board voted against revising Corpora to establish a rapier peerage. The Board also voted to delete wording that labeled rapier as an ancillary activity of the SCA and replace it with wording that unambiguously established rattan as the only permitted weapons in a Royal List. The ramifications of the two votes has generated quite a bit of discussion on social media about a number of things, but the Board did not make any decisions concerning anything at all except turning down the rapier peerage proposal and adding a statement that Royal Lists may only be fought with rattan weapons. This letter is intended by the Board to respond to the most prevalent rumors circulating in response to the Board actions of Saturday.

The Board Votes.

The Board was split on the question of the rapier peerage. Three directors voted to approve the Corpora changes and the resulting establishment of a rapier peerage because they believe that while rapier should really be recognized by the Chivalry, trying to force inclusion in the Chivalry by Board fiat would not work, and they were willing to vote yes on the proposal as a good compromise. Two directors felt rapier should be recognized as part of a peerage that recognizes all non-rattan martial arts and not a separate peerage. Two directors believed rapier should be recognized in the Chivalry. So, with a 4-3 vote against the proposed Corpora changes, which would have established a separate rapier peerage, no change will take place at this time.

The only other action the Board took concerning rapier in the SCA was removing language dating from 1979 saying that rapier was an “ancillary” activity of the SCA and, to make it clear that we are not discarding the traditions of Crown Tourney, the Board then made it very clear that only rattan combat may be used in a Royal list. This change to Corpora received the unanimous approval of the Board.

Response to Social Media Discussions.

First, the Board received commentary from less than 2% of the membership over the entire 3 years and all requests for comments on the rapier peerage issue. Many people wrote in more than once, but repeating an opinion doesn’t count as a separate opinion. However, it was not the lack of commentary that influenced some Board members to vote against the proposal; it was the fact that the small amount of commentary the Board did receive trended against a separate rapier peerage. The majority of comments received in favor of recognizing rapier with a peerage said that rapier should either be included in the Order of the Chivalry or in a new peerage that included all non-rattan combat. The result of such a relatively small number of people commenting is that the opinions the Board did receive were given greater weight – if a larger number of those who supported the separate rapier peerage had commented, a different result might very well have resulted. There’s no way to know that for sure, but it underscores the importance of writing in to let the Board know your opinions about proposed changes to Corpora.

Second, the Board did not open the Order of the Chivalry to inclusion of rapier fighters. There is a 1999 policy interpretation from the Society Seneschal (upheld by the Board at that time) specifically stating that the Order of the Chivalry is intended for rattan combatants only. It would take a new policy interpretation (which would need to be upheld by the current Board) or other Board action to change that fact. The Board’s intention in removing the “ancillary activity” language had nothing to do with making rapier knights. The Board removed the “ancillary activity” language because it was simply no longer accurate or true. It may have been true long ago when it was added to Corpora, but times have definitely changed. Rapier has permeated the fabric of the Society, and the Board felt that the language needed to be removed. However, in order to clarify that we weren’t changing the rules regarding Crown Tourneys by the deletion of the “ancillary activity” language, the Board added language restricting Crown Tourneys to rattan weapons.

The Board discussed removal of the “ancillary activity” language months ago and sent it out for comment at the same time as the additional peerage language. We understand that some people are unhappy the various changes weren’t put out in separate announcements, but it never occurred to us to send out multiple announcements on the same general subject at the same time. The Board received commentary on that section, as well as the rapier peerage sections, and we can’t recall any comments that disagreed with the deletion.

People will always understand what they read through the filter of their own opinions and biases, and the fact that some have made certain interpretations and raised them on social media does not make those interpretations factual. Also, a strongly expressed opinion by one or two Board members does not constitute the opinion of the entire Board of Directors of the SCA, so any assumptions made based on one or two such opinions are also not based in fact. It takes a vote of 5 out of 7 directors to make changes to Corpora, individual director opinions notwithstanding. Any official opinion of the Board of Directors will always be labeled as such, will always come through the approved communication channels and will always be posted on the corporate web site.

We welcome your comments which can be sent to: SCA Inc. Box 360789 Milpitas, CA 95036. You may also email comments at lists.sca.org.

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

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

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


Filed under: Corporate, Law and Policy, Official Notices Tagged: board of directors, BoD, bod meeting, corpora, Inc., order of chivalry, rapier, SCA

From the SCA Board of Directors

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-19 23:25

At the January 17, 2015 Board of Directors meeting in Milpitas, CA, the Board voted against revising Corpora to establish a rapier peerage. The Board also voted to delete wording that labeled rapier as an ancillary activity of the SCA and replace it with wording that unambiguously established rattan as the only permitted weapons in a Royal List. The ramifications of the two votes has generated quite a bit of discussion on social media about a number of things, but the Board did not make any decisions concerning anything at all except turning down the rapier peerage proposal and adding a statement that Royal Lists may only be fought with rattan weapons. This letter is intended by the Board to respond to the most prevalent rumors circulating in response to the Board actions of Saturday.

The Board Votes.
The Board was split on the question of the rapier peerage. Three directors voted to approve the Corpora changes and the resulting establishment of a rapier peerage because they believe that while rapier should really be recognized by the Chivalry, trying to force inclusion in the Chivalry by Board fiat would not work, and they were willing to vote yes on the proposal as a good compromise. Two directors felt rapier should be recognized as part of a peerage that recognizes all non-rattan martial arts and not a separate peerage. Two directors believed rapier should be recognized in the Chivalry. So, with a 4-3 vote against the proposed Corpora changes, which would have established a separate rapier peerage, no change will take place at this time.

 The only other action the Board took concerning rapier in the SCA was removing language dating from 1979 saying that rapier was an “ancillary” activity of the SCA and, to make it clear that we are not discarding the traditions of Crown Tourney, the Board then made it very clear that only rattan combat may be used in a Royal list. This change to Corpora received the unanimous approval of the Board.

Response to Social Media Discussions.
First, the Board received commentary from less than 2% of the membership over the entire 3 years and all requests for comments on the rapier peerage issue. Many people wrote in more than once, but repeating an opinion doesn’t count as a separate opinion. However, it was not the lack of commentary that influenced some Board members to vote against the proposal; it was the fact that the small amount of commentary the Board did receive trended against a separate rapier peerage. The majority of comments received in favor of recognizing rapier with a peerage said that rapier should either be included in the Order of the Chivalry or in a new peerage that included all non-rattan combat. The result of such a relatively small number of people commenting is that the opinions the Board did receive were given greater weight – if a larger number of those who supported the separate rapier peerage had commented, a different result might very well have resulted. There’s no way to know that for sure, but it underscores the importance of writing in to let the Board know your opinions about proposed changes to Corpora.

Second, the Board did not open the Order of the Chivalry to inclusion of rapier fighters. There is a 1999 policy interpretation from the Society Seneschal (upheld by the Board at that time) specifically stating that the Order of the Chivalry is intended for rattan combatants only. It would take a new policy interpretation (which would need to be upheld by the current Board) or other Board action to change that fact. The Board’s intention in removing the “ancillary activity” language had nothing to do with making rapier knights. The Board removed the “ancillary activity” language because it was simply no longer accurate or true. It may have been true long ago when it was added to Corpora, but times have definitely changed. Rapier has permeated the fabric of the Society, and the Board felt that the language needed to be removed. However, in order to clarify that we weren’t changing the rules regarding Crown Tourneys by the deletion of the “ancillary activity” language, the Board added language restricting Crown Tourneys to rattan weapons.

The Board discussed removal of the “ancillary activity” language months ago and sent it out for comment at the same time as the additional peerage language. We understand that some people are unhappy the various changes weren’t put out in separate announcements, but it never occurred to us to send out multiple announcements on the same general subject at the same time.  The Board received commentary on that section, as well as the rapier peerage sections, and we can’t recall any comments that disagreed with the deletion.

People will always understand what they read through the filter of their own opinions and biases, and the fact that some have made certain interpretations and raised them on social media does not make those interpretations factual. Also, a strongly expressed opinion by one or two Board members does not constitute the opinion of the entire Board of Directors of the SCA, so any assumptions made based on one or two such opinions are also not based in fact. It takes a vote of 5 out of 7 directors to make changes to Corpora, individual director opinions notwithstanding. Any official opinion of the Board of Directors will always be labeled as such, will always come through the approved communication channels and will always be posted on the corporate web site.

We welcome your comments which can be sent to: SCA, Inc. Box 360789 Milpitas, CA 95036. You may also email comments@lists.sca.org.


Categories: SCA news sites

The Society Welcomes a New Kingdom!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-19 20:30

Congratulations to the Principality of Avacal, whose bid to become a Kingdom was accepted by the SCA’s Board of Directors on January 17. Avacal is currently part of An Tir, and is comprised of the Provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and parts of British Columbia in Canada. They join Ealdormere as the second SCA Kingdom to be wholly Canadian.

Their first Crown Tournament will be held on May 1-3 with Coronation scheduled for June 26-28.

Map of An Tir, including Avacal.

Welcome to the Twentieth Kingdom of the Society!


Categories: SCA news sites

Report on SCA Board Meeting – January 17, 2015

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-19 16:35

** This Post was updated by information from Dr. Scott Berk.  Chair – Board of Directors, SCA, Inc**

The Gazette thanks Viscountess Krysta of Starfall for taking the notes used to create this article.

The Board of Directors held their quarterly meeting on January 17, 2015 in Milpitas, CA. The following is a summary of the meeting.

The meeting began with introductions and an ice breaker question. The agenda was moved, seconded and approved. Minutes were approved for meetings held on October 25, 2014, December 2, 2014 and January 6, 2015.

Recurring Business
The Board changed the status of several branches. The following Cantons in the East were put into abeyance: Sea Tyger’s Rhyn, Dragon Forge, Fennbrycg, Dragon’s Aerie and Bowman’s Rest. Also of interest to the East were new branches in Drachenwald that were approved in the countries of Russia and the United Arab Emirates. New branches were also approved in Ansteorra and An Tir, the Shire of Cold Keep moved to Tir Righ from Avacal, Theobald College in Carontir was changed to an Incipient Shire, and the Canton of Westland Mor in Aethelmearc and Shire of Dun Ard in Calontir were dissolved.

The follow meetings were confirmed for the Board: April 18, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio; July 11, 2015 in Milpitas, CA; and October 24, 2015 in Pittsburgh, PA. A conference call was tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, February 24, 2015. Renee Signorotti reported that hundreds of bank accounts had been authorized this quarter. Warrants were given for the Exchequer of the College of Arms and the Society Seneschal’s Emergency Deputy, Kelly Magill.

The Board is always looking for nominees to the Board. There are several people on the West Coast currently on the list. Comments on nominees should be sent to recruiting@sca.org

Proposed Peerage Order – Order of Defense
Two committees have worked on a proposed peerage order, the Order of Defense. One researched whether there should be a Rapier peerage and reported yes. The second proposed Order names, heraldry, and regalia.

The comments that the Board received leaned towards not supporting a separate peerage for Rapier. Many of the comments agreed that the Rapier combatants should be able to be recognized as peers, but not in a separate peerage.

A wide-ranging discussion with input from Directors and the audience covered many different sides of this proposal. The specific wording they were considering created a separate peerage for Rapier combatants only. There were three clear thoughts being expressed:
• fold a rapier peerage into the Order of Chivalry
• create a “fourth” polling Omnibus peerage to include rapier and all non-rattan combat/martial prowess
• make the fourth polling peerage Rapier only.

The discussion turned to definitions in Corpora for membership in the Order of Chivalry. As written, persons who exhibit prowess in tournament combat and meet the other qualities of a peer of the realm may be offered membership, and may choose between Knighthood and Mastery of Arms. This could be interpreted to mean that there is no impediment to the Crowns and Kingdoms to offering persons of prowess with rapier combat membership in the Order of Chivalry.

Director Fulton called the question and made the motion to approve the changes to corpora which would create a separate peerage for Rapier combat. A second was offered by Director Czudnochowsky. Lisa May (Countess Margaret ni Conner), Arthur Donadio (Duke Cuan McDaige) and John Fulton (Duke John the Bearkiller) voted Aye. Lisa Czudnochowsky (Duchess Marion FitzWilliam), Andrew Coleman (Jarl Ailghenan mac Sithigh), David Keen (Baron David of Caithness), and Chair Scott Berk (Baron Phillip Reed the Facetious) voted Nay. The language creating the separate peerage for Rapier failed.

The Board did make a set of changes to Corpora. They were part of the Additional Peerage Proposal that was sent out to the SCA for comment. The Board deleted the following from Section IX. of Corpora, which dated back to when Rapier was a new activity in the SCA.
C. Rapier Fighting in the Society
The Board acknowledges rapier combat as an ancillary activity of the Society when properly supervised by the Marshals and when approved by individual kingdoms. Rapier combat may take place within a kingdom only by rules established by the Marshallate of that kingdom and after the approval of those rules by the Marshal of the Society. The Marshal of the Society will maintain guidelines for rapier combat within the Society. Rapier combat, not having been part of formal tournament combat in the Middle Ages, shall not be a part of formal tournament lists for royal ranks and armigerous titles.

The Board added the following wording to the same section.
Royal Lists
Only Chivalric (rattan) combat shall be used for formal tournament lists for royal ranks.

Kingdom of Avacal
Strong support was expressed by the people of Avacal, from An Tir and from the Society Seneschal regarding The Crown of AnTir sent a letter in support of advancement citing geographic isolation and the great expense incurred when AnTir kingdom level events were held in Avacal. The Coronet scheduled for the first of May would be the first Crown Tournament, supported by AnTir, and the first Coronation would be at the end of June. The reign cycle would remain as the Coronet cycle is now. Director Czudnochowsky moved and Director May seconded that Avacal be advanced to Kingdom at their (Investiture) Coronation in June. Approval was unanimous.

YAFA Marketing Plan
More information will be offered at the April meeting on how to market the Youth and Family Achievement program by Director Keen.

Sign Herald’s Handbook
Laurel Sovereign of Arms has requested approval of a handbook for Silent Heralds (sign language interpreters for courts and other official SCA business). The motion carried.

Reassigned Shires
Two shires in Eastern Colorado are being moved from Artemesia to The Outlands for geographical reasons. Motion carried. Change was effective immediately.

Highlights of Officer Reports

President – Chirurgeon activities have been evaluated by a committee, and there was good participation from chirurgeons from across the Known World. The Board does intend to examine the recent recommendations of the Chirurgeon committee and will announce its own changes if need be in the near future. The insurance will not cover Chirurgeonate activities.  First aid activities are still encouraged.  The badge and regalia will continue to serve as it has.  **

Vice President Information Mgmt. & Technology – The Legacy Known World mail server is being decommissioned.

Society Webminister Report – William Blackfox award recommendations will be accepted in the 1st Q. The audit of Kingdom websites is happening.

Vice President of Operations (Society Seneschal) – The NMS is set by the Board and may not be raised by local groups. A kingdom may not require its branches to add an event charge to fund kingdom projects. Site preparation and planning is moving forward for the 50th year event. The Known World map project is running into issues because of problems with zip code reporting. A chatelaine education and information project in being planned.

Vice President of Corporate Operations – The 2012-2013 audit had been approved and will be published.

Society Treasurer – The recommended salary and stipend changes for the 2015 budget were approved in executive session.

Laurel Sovereign of Arms – There were ~400 more submissions through the Laurel office in 2014 (from 2013)

Marshal – PVC bows are showing up and causing some concern.

Minister of Arts & Sciences – Working on retention of information about classes, content, and instructors offered throughout the Known World. MoAS is traveling.

Society Chirurgeon – Resigned as of the end of this meeting. **

Standing Committees – The Grand Council was directed by the Board to discuss approaches to training officers, which offices would benefit from training and which methods would be best. There were no reports from the Legal committee. The Peerage Exploratory Committee was discussed above.

Limited Executive Session
This included acceptance of the Chirurgeon resignation, budget adjustments, votes regarding sanctions or expulsions of specific individuals, Board ombudsmen assignments, and acceptance of all actions of subsidiary Boards.


Filed under: Corporate Tagged: Board Meeting, board of directors

A Message from Their Royal Highnesses Æthelmearc

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-19 12:17

The Æthelmearc Gazette publishes the following missive at the request of their Highnesses.

Unto the Kingdom of Æthelmearc do Prince Timothy and Princess Gabrielle send greetings,

As most of you know by now, the SCA corporate Board of Directors has chosen to decline the addition of a fourth peerage for Rapier combatants. It had been our intention, if the BoD had passed the proposed MoD, to provide writs to five or six candidates at our Coronation, and task them with developing a ceremony that was fitting with their new station.

The BoD’s rational for this decision was mixed. Some on the BoD wanted the peerage to be “an omnibus” peerage for all things martial not heavy weapon in nature. Others felt that it should just “be included into the order of the Chivalry”. The Board then adjusted our governing documents, Corpora, to remove the obstacles in our laws preventing such action by the Crowns who were so inclined. If only all the practical obstacles could be moved by fiat, there would not be a problem.

Our initial decision upon receiving news of the BoD’s decision was, alright, let’s just knight a fencer or two, and the process will eventually take care of itself. We understand the repercussions of such actions to ourselves and would discuss it with our household members. However, we aren’t sure that a candidate would completely understand the path that lay in front of them. Even if our Order of the Chivalry were to welcome these new members with open arms (which we seriously doubt would be the case), we are confident that the Chivalry of the Known World would not. This would literally tear our Order apart, and trust me when I say by extension, the Kingdom would be torn apart. And, at the end of the day, for what? If we were to make a knight or two, in our opinion, it would be a hollow victory for the Rapier community. We have already gone from our plan of making five or six new Peers, the leading edge of a fine new Order, beloved by all, to one or two who wouldn’t be welcome into the Peerage that was “forced” to induct them. In the reasonable future, it is unlikely that any Monarchs would add more fencers to the Order. We would have created at best two Peers without a home.

It seems then that the only choice open to us is to force the hand of the Board of Directors. We propose creating a de facto peerage for the Rapier community, by Kingdom law and custom equivalent in status to the three Peerages, until such time as the BoD sees fit to correct their oversight. If we treat these new Peers as such, encourage other Kingdoms to follow suit, and get enough of the other Kingdoms to do so, the BoD will be forced to grant these “Peers” true status as Peers.

We plan to task our Kingdom officers with developing a proposal for Kingdom Law, developing Heraldry for the Order, and plan all the other details to make this proposal a reality. We will begin contacting the other Royalty to see if they will join us in forcing the BoD’s hand. For now, until someone more clever and/or more Heraldically inclinded comes up with a better name, we will just title this new Order “The Guardians of Æthelmearc”

As always, we remain in service to Æthelmearc,
Timothy and Gabrielle


Categories: SCA news sites

The movie history book that cast a spell on young Martin Scorsese

History Blog - Mon, 2015-01-19 00:18

Some time ago, I watched a documentary called A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies. The title says it all, really. It’s about the movies that influenced Scorsese to become a director, the ones he loved as a boy, the ones that shaped his understanding of film. Since he’s a huge, huge movie nerd, he covers an enormous amount of ground, including pictures that are largely forgotten today. It’s the kind of thing you take notes on in the hope you might get a chance to see some of these films one day.

The documentary opens with a scene from The Bad and the Beautiful, a 1952 movie about movies starring Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, and my secret favorite Dick Powell, in which Kirk Douglas’ producer character argues with the director about how to shoot a scene. At the 3:00 mark, Scorsese appears for the first time, sitting in a chair facing the camera. He’s holding a book. He starts talking:

I guess I have to say that when I was growing up in the 40s and 50s, I spent a lot of time in movie theaters. I became obsessed with movies. At that time there was nothing really available that I could find written on film except one book, sort of my first film book, although I couldn’t really afford to buy it and I couldn’t find a copy except the only one available from the New York Public Library. I borrowed it from the library repeatedly. It’s called A Pictorial History of the Movies by Deems Taylor, and it was a pictorial history of the movies in black and white stills, year by year, up to 1949.

The book cast a spell on me, ’cause back then I hadn’t seen many of the films shown here in the book, so all I had at my disposal to experience these films were these black and white stills. I’d fantasize about them and they’d play into my dreams and I was so tempted to steal some of these pictures from the book. It’s a terrible urge. After all, it’s a book from the public library. Well, I confess: once or twice I did give in to that urge.

This was in an era before the proliferation of university film schools, when the industry was still new enough that taking a scholarly approach to its history seemed incongruous. In fact, when this book was first published in 1943, there was exactly one film school in the entire world: the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, founded in 1919 by director Vladimir Gardin. The next one, the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, was founded in 1946, three years after the first edition of A Pictorial History of the Movies was published. The United States didn’t get a dedicated film school until 1969 when the American Film Institute‘s Conservatory was established.

Scorsese beat the AFI to the punch, graduating with a master’s degree in film from the Graduate Film program of New York University’s School of the Arts (today the Tisch School of the Arts) in 1966, the year after the program was founded and the year that the author of the book that had ensorceled baby Martin Scorsese to deface it died.

Deems Taylor was a well-known composer, commentator and music critic. Born in 1885, like Scorsese, he too was a graduate of NYU who had made a name for himself as a composer of cantatas in the late nineteenteens. He had great success with two operas he composed for the Metropolitan Opera — The King’s Henchman (1927) and Peter Ibbetson (1929) — now all but forgotten. He was a member of the famed Algonquin Roundtable, the New York literati who gathered to skewer each other over lunch at the Algonquin Hotel, and dated the sharpest skewer of them all, Dorothy Parker, for a short time.

While Taylor’s compositions and critiques languish in obscurity today, he was nationally famous in his day. He was on the cover of Time magazine in 1931. He was a pitchman for California wines in 1940, his elegance and erudition lending much-needed panache to an American viticulture industry that had been nearly destroyed by Prohibition. Only fortified desert wines like sherry sold well in the United States (you can see that referenced in the ad) but it wasn’t because they paired well with roasts; it’s because they were taxed at a lower rate than hard liquors but had 20% alcohol so they provided the best bang for one’s buck. Table wines didn’t outsell fortified wines in America until 1968.

Fame is fickle, however, and if Deems Taylor is known at all today it is solely for his role as the Master of Ceremonies who introduces each music segment in Disney’s innovative 1940 masterpiece Fantasia. Walt Disney and the conductor Leopold Stokowski of the Philadelphia Orchestra had heard Taylor doing commentary for radio broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic and brought him in on the project. Taylor contributed to some of the musical selections, advocating strongly for the inclusion of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (the dino wars segment) which even a quarter century after its 1913 premiere in Paris caused an uproar, was still considered controversial.

(Random historical connection: Deems Taylor’s only earlier credited work in films was as composer for 1924′s Janice Meredith, a Revolutionary War period piece that was one of the “serious” movies William Randolph Hearst produced to fancy up his mistress Marion Davies from a bubbly comedienne into a dramatic actress. It was a dismal failure, of course.

This is probably a coincidence but it’s a neat one so I am compelled to point out that at 3:18 in the first segment of A Personal Journey, Scorsese stops on a page in A Pictorial History of the Movies. The bottom left and top right stills are from Fantasia. The bottom right still is from Citizen Kane.)

That was pretty much it as far as Taylor’s film career went. He had a brief cameo playing himself in 1941′s version of Camp Rock, The Hard-Boiled Canary, and the rest is TV appearances, primarily on panel quiz shows like What’s My Line?. He must have caught the bug, though, because the first edition of A Pictorial History of the Movies was printed in 1943, three years after Fantasia hit theaters.

It obviously filled a need, because the book went into a second print run in its first year, and this was during World War II when there was paper rationing. Marilyn Monroe had a copy. Scorsese’s edition was printed in 1950, which means it was updated and reissued at least once at the end of the decade.

This preciousness of this volume to Scorsese makes me appreciate the times we live in, because yesterday while nerding around the Internet Archive, I just happened to come across the second 1943 printing of A Pictorial History of the Movies fully digitized and available for any young movie buffs to access whenever their hearts desire. Good resolution, too. You can see far more detail in the online version of those black and white stills than Martin Scorsese ever could cutting them out of the New York Public Library’s copy. I spent half the weekend reading it, and while it’s obviously dated and limited in scope, it’s still a total page turner, a mini-education in film.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Rapier Website Woes

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2015-01-18 20:45

From the Kingdom Rapier Marshal:

Greetings all,

As many of you are well aware, the East Kingdom Rapier Website is experiencing difficulties right now.  The link to the current rules is down.  I want to let everyone know that we are working on it as we speak.  I have been in touch with Lord Lorenz, the Kingdom Webmaster and we currently have a Webmaster at Large working on the issues and hope to have them resolved soon.  I very much appreciate all your patience.  I’ll be in touch with updates as they come along.

In Service,
Don Frasier MacLeod, KRM, East


Filed under: Fencing Tagged: rapier, websites