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Crown Tourney – First Round / Première Ronde du Tournoi de la Couronne

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2015-05-02 12:46

The combatants listen to the Rules of the List at Spring Crown Tournament.
Photo by Mistress Catrin o’r Rhyd Fôr

En français

The final list of competitors in this Spring’s Crown Tourney is listed below.  The entrants are listed according to the Order of Precedence and not according to bout pairings.

The details on how Crown Tourney will be fought are as follows. The tourney will be double elimination with fighters bringing their weapon of choice for all rounds of the tourney. For the final four, two wins will be required to advance.  This means an undefeated fighter will need one win; a fighter who has already lost a bout will need two wins. The finals will be comprised of only one bout.

The tournament began about 12:40 pm.

Duke Randal of the Dark for Duchess Katherine Stanhope
Duke Kenric aet Essex for Duchess Avelina Keyes
Jarl Valgard Stonecleaver for Lady Gracia Vasz de Trillo
Count Brennan mac Fearghus for Countess Caoilfhionn inghean Fhaolain
Sir Thomas of Ravenhill for Lady Áine an Neamheaglach
Sir Sichelgaita von Halstern for Lord Harold Hawkinson (Combatant Couple)
Sir Antonio Patrasso for Mistress Elizabeth Lovell
Syr Culann mac Cianain for Baroness Edana inghean Aluinn mac Kinnon
Sir Gui Avec Cheval De Guies for Master Philip White
Sir Wilham de Broc for Mistress Isabel Chamberlaine
Sir Ivan Ivanov Syn Dimitriov Vynuk Tzardikov for Baroness Mathilde De Cadenet
Baron Duncan Kerr for Mistress Eleanor fitzPatrick
Baron Wulfhere of Stonemarche for Lady Isabeau Du Valle
Baron Sigurthr Vigurhafn for Baroness Medhbh inghean Ui Cheallaigh
Baron Matthias Grunwald for Baroness Æsa feilinn Jossursdottir
Lord William MacCrimmon for Lady Susanna of Dragonship Haven
Lord Harold Hawkinson for Sir Sichelgaita von Halstern (Combatant Couple)
Lord William Ravenhair for Lady Kris Spinster
Lord Anton LeFlamme d’ Saint Aubin for m’lady Cassandra Blondel de Seint Alban
Lord Sterling De La Rosa for Lady Caitrina Gordon called Katya
Lord Dmitri Stephanovich for Baroness Nadezhda Voronova
Lord Turi mac Kinnon for Baroness Marguerite de Sainte Nazaire
Lord Ketilfastr Thorkilson for Lady Cezilia Raposa
Lord Ionness Aurelius Serpentius for Mistress Ro Honig von Sommerfeldt
Lord Ryouko’jin of Iron Skies for Lady Indrakshi
Lord Ulfgeirr Ragnarsson the Nice for Lady Lady Lavina Attewode
Dominus Tiberius Nautius Maximus for Lady Sandrine de Berry
Lord Gawyn O’Clery for m’lady Maeve O’Clery
Lady Saikhan Saran for Lord Lorenzo Gorla
Lord Fionn Mac Con Dhuibh for Baroness Molly Schofield
Lord Marcus Antonius Scaevola for Lady Octavia Valeria Laevina
Lord Eliayahu al-Talhi called Tally for m’lady Maria Charriez
Lord Ôzurr for Lady Julianna Le Chaluner
Lord Nicolai Wegener for Lady Æsa Sturludottir
Lord Corwin Blackthorn for Lady Solveig Bjorndottr
m’lord Arne Ulriksson for m’lady Anna Von Baden

En français

Les participants au Tournoi de la Couronne Printanier sont listés ci-dessous. Les participants sont listés selon l’Ordre de Préséance, et non pas avec l’ordre des combats.

Voici les détails sur comment le Tournoi de la Couronne sera mené. Le tournoi sera une double élimination, où les participants pourront utiliser leur arme de prédilection, pour tous les combats. Rendus aux quatre derniers, il sera nécessaire d’obtenir deux victoires pour avancer à la finale. Ceci veut dire qu’un combattant n’ayant subi aucune défaite devra obtenir une victoire, tandis qu’un combattant ayant déjà subi une défaite devra obtenir deux victoires pour progresser. La finale se disputera en un seul combat unique.

Le tournoi a commencé environ 12:40.

Duke Randal of the Dark for Duchess Katherine Stanhope
Duke Kenric aet Essex for Duchess Avelina Keyes
Jarl Valgard Stonecleaver for Lady Gracia Vasz de Trillo
Count Brennan mac Fearghus for Countess Caoilfhionn inghean Fhaolain
Sir Thomas of Ravenhill for Lady Áine an Neamheaglach
Sir Sichelgaita von Halstern for Lord Harold Hawkinson (Combatant Couple)
Sir Antonio Patrasso for Mistress Elizabeth Lovell
Syr Culann mac Cianain for Baroness Edana inghean Aluinn mac Kinnon
Sir Gui Avec Cheval De Guies for Master Philip White
Sir Wilham de Broc for Mistress Isabel Chamberlaine
Sir Ivan Ivanov Syn Dimitriov Vynuk Tzardikov for Baroness Mathilde De Cadenet
Baron Duncan Kerr for Mistress Eleanor fitzPatrick
Baron Wulfhere of Stonemarche for Lady Isabeau Du Valle
Baron Sigurthr Vigurhafn for Baroness Medhbh inghean Ui Cheallaigh
Baron Matthias Grunwald for Baroness Æsa feilinn Jossursdottir
Lord William MacCrimmon for Lady Susanna of Dragonship Haven
Lord Harold Hawkinson for Sir Sichelgaita von Halstern (Combatant Couple)
Lord William Ravenhair for Lady Kris Spinster
Lord Anton LeFlamme d’ Saint Aubin for m’lady Cassandra Blondel de Seint Alban
Lord Sterling De La Rosa for Lady Caitrina Gordon called Katya
Lord Dmitri Stephanovich for Baroness Nadezhda Voronova
Lord Turi mac Kinnon for Baroness Marguerite de Sainte Nazaire
Lord Ketilfastr Thorkilson for Lady Cezilia Raposa
Lord Ionness Aurelius Serpentius for Mistress Ro Honig von Sommerfeldt
Lord Ryouko’jin of Iron Skies for Lady Indrakshi
Lord Ulfgeirr Ragnarsson the Nice for Lady Lady Lavina Attewode
Dominus Tiberius Nautius Maximus for Lady Sandrine de Berry
Lord Gawyn O’Clery for m’lady Maeve O’Clery
Lady Saikhan Saran for Lord Lorenzo Gorla
Lord Fionn Mac Con Dhuibh for Baroness Molly Schofield
Lord Marcus Antonius Scaevola for Lady Octavia Valeria Laevina
Lord Eliayahu al-Talhi called Tally for m’lady Maria Charriez
Lord Ôzurr for Lady Julianna Le Chaluner
Lord Nicolai Wegener for Lady Æsa Sturludottir
Lord Corwin Blackthorn for Lady Solveig Bjorndottr
m’lord Arne Ulriksson for m’lady Anna Von Baden

Traduction: Behi Kirsa Oyutai

Filed under: Events, Heavy List Tagged: Crown, Crown Tournament, Crown Tourney, spring crown

Is Crown Tourney Your Cinderella Story?

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2015-05-02 08:13

Cinderella, in a Victorian illustration. Image courtesy Andre Cefalo.

One of the most outstanding and attractive features of SCA life is the knowledge that the Cinderella Story (or the Pauper to Prince Story) can be true for a few lucky individuals. The lure is hard to resist, even for those of us who will never be a Prince or Princess in SCAdian life.

Even if it doesn’t turn out to be true for ourselves, we are often able to witness our closest and dearest friends achieve that dream, or to watch from a short distance as it happens to folks we know. In essence, this is what folk speak of when they relate life in the Society for Creative Anachronism to “The Dream.” It is the heady knowledge that a motorcycle mechanic, convenience store clerk, a legal secretary, a college librarian, a stay-at-home parent or a preschool teacher could achieve a place to belong and a status in the SCA that defies achievement in modern life.

This is The Dream as we know it, and few of us doubt our ability to wing it when we get there. I bet you the reader have a mental checklist just in case the Unknowable Joy happens to you. Here is mine:

The Prince and the Pauper, by Mark Twain, was made into a movie starring Errol Flynn. Image Source: Virtual Virago

Aoife’s Toolkit, in Case of Spontaneous Awesomeness

1. Tremendously spiffy outfit.
2. Spiffy outfit for spouse and/or children.
2a. That pair of incredible shoes I couldn’t justify before now.
3. Bottle of celebratory beverage and cups.
3a. More celebratory beverage because the party will be huge.
4. Upgraded feast gear.
5. Tune up the car because we WILL be traveling.
6. Travel money.
6a. Travel club membership (my car isn’t new).
6b. Hotel money.
6c. Emergency money.
6d. Spare credit cards to spread out any debt.
7. Decide who is allowed to drive my car (I gotta sleep sometime!).
7a. Staff.
8. Chiropractor money—coronets don’t wear themselves. They say that those suckers are heavy!
9. Spending money.
10. Babysitter money.
11. Dog sitters.
12. Case of 12 hour energy drinks. Make it two cases.

If you read my list you will notice that I probably left a few things off, but that is to be expected. No one can think of every instance of need. However, I can be sure if lightening strikes and somebody wins Crown Tourney while fighting for my honor, that I will be somewhat prepared to take on the job. After all, I have people who can advise me. I have a history of participation, so I know how the SCA works. Of course, there’s an entire awesome structure built solely to manage the kingdom for me. I might spend more than I wanted on a reign, but apart from that, what else could I need?

Image source The Swedish Museum, via Flikr.

As real and SCAdian history shows us, there is quite a bit more I will need. None of it is tangible, but it is essential tomy well-being and to that of the Kingdom. Acquiring these things, furthermore, will cost me something in short supply:

Time. You see, I and every person who ever wishes to sit a throne, even every person who doesn’t, will function more amiably and efficiently if we own and use the following items:

Aoife’s Awesomeness Preparation Kit, the Intangibles
1. Problem Solving Techniques.
2. Strategies for Negotiation.
3. Conflict Resolution Skills.
4. Delegation and follow through skills.
5. Humility and thankfulness.
6. Rational thought in times of emotional stress.
7. Forgiveness.

Learning these skills is a task that can be left to experience, but that might be a bad idea. In order to learn from my mistakes, I would first have to make them, right? Lucky for me, that learning can be accomplished by reading online, for free, the many advice columns dedicated to the subjects. Many of them are written by business professionals, but others are by life coaches. It is up to the individual to follow through, to use the tools when the occasion strikes.
If, like me, you find yourself short in training or practice in these skills, I have collected some handy links, below, to save time. After all, if you are going to be sitting the throne, you’ll probably want a refresher course, and have little time to take it. In the end, however, it will probably be my ability to deftly handle these intangible skills more than any other thing I can do to prepare ahead of time, that will determine how I as a fictional future ruler will be remembered. Do I want to go down in History, or do I want to go down in flames? The choice is mine to make, and I will make it based on my actions. Regardless of any mistakes, however, it is the last item on my Intangibles list that will make the difference when problems happen (as they always do). Forgiveness: Moving past strife into a future where hurt feelings are dissolved, where we work together to improve The Dream.

I would like to wish luck to all the combatants in the upcoming Crown Tourney. May you fight well and honorably. If you win, may you rule wisely, with many skills in your toolkit!


Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon, CL, CP
M/k/a Lis Gelatt

Seven Steps for Effective Problem Solving

It might seem that ‘problem’ is another term for ‘conflict,’ but that is not always true. What if your problem is that the rain is flooding your sleeping tent, or that there are not enough chairs for the number of feast seats sold? This site will give you a quick process to identify, brainstorm, solve and follow through on a myriad of problems, even if you’ve never dealt with problems like that before.

How to Negotiate

When you are in a position of authority, you are going to need things, some of which are items, some of which are obstacles to be cleared, and some of which are tasks. With this site, learn how to deal with bullies, how to barter, getting around barricades, and how to avoid poking the sleeping bear.

Conflict Resolution Network

This well-written resource allows you to read, in simple scenarios, how to work around conflict. It is based on the premise that everyone deserves to win, and a win-win scenario is possible.

Mind Tools: How Well Do You Delegate?

Take the quiz to see how your skills rate. Read the article to see if you can improve your skills.

Lifehack: 20 Creative Ways to Say Thank-you

From digital to personal, in foreign languages or by sending cookies, this site helps make being thankful, and sending thank-yous, less of a chore.

Mind Tools: Dealing With Angry People

Management of an emotional situation can depend entirely on how you respond. Do you know how to answer so that you project understanding? Or will your response engender further anger? Believe it or not, this is a learnable skill. Find out how at this site.

Forgiveness: Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness

Believe it or not, forgiveness is a health issue. Read here about how the habit of forgiveness can improve your life (and by extension, your kingdom).

Categories: SCA news sites

13th c. rune stick found in Odense dig

History Blog - Sat, 2015-05-02 03:24

From the dig that brought you the barrels full of 14th century human excreta in the city center of Odense, Denmark, the latest find is a small wooden stick inscribed with runes in the early 13th century. Excavations were already complete (the last day was August 29th, 2014) when archaeologists picked out three small pieces of wood while processing the large number of finds. The three fragments fit together to form a stick 8.5 centimeters (3.3 inches) long, 1.2 cm (.47 inches) wide and a few millimeters thick. Archaeologists saw there were lines on the front and back and recognized them as runes.

Lisbeth Imer, a rune expert from The National Museum of Denmark was called in to examine the stick. Preserved for 800 years in the anoxic, water-logged environment, the wood was soft with the texture of cold butter. After conservation — a long soak in water-soluble wax — the wood will firm up, but it might also obscure key details of the runes making them harder to interpret accurately. Imer therefore had to work with the soft piece as it was. There’s also a divot missing in the middle and at some point in its long life the stick was gouged by a root growing against the back.

She was nonetheless able to extract key words. The runes are in Latin (the runic alphabet can be used to write in any language, just like the alphabet I’m using right now). There’s the word salu, which can mean “good health” and the back is inscribed t = umi or t = ume famulum suum which together can be read as “Tomme his servant,” Tomme being the stick’s owner and the “his” referring to God. It seems, therefore, that this rune stick was an amulet meant to keep its bearer healthy. A broken hole at one end suggests it may have been worn on a string.

It’s the first runic inscription on a wooden stick found in Denmark in 50 years, but we know these sorts of objects were widespread in medieval Scandinavia despite their relatively poor survival rate because a stash of 670 rune sticks were discovered during excavations at the Bryggen commercial buildings in Bergen, Norway, after a 1955 fire. This rune stick was also found in a commercial milieu. It was unearthed in a layer containing the remains of trade stalls from the 1200s when the area is known to have had a fish market before it was moved just north to a site still known today as Fisketorvet or Fish Square.

The rune stick was displayed to the public on April 25th at Møntergården, Odense’s cultural history museum, as part of Research Day, but it won’t be exhibited again until conservation is completed.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Runes shmunes. What about the poop?! I’m delighted to report there is an update on the barrels of 700-year-old poop excavated at I. Vilhelm Werners Square in 2013, and it may be the greatest update of all time.

First about the barrels themselves: dendrochronological analysis found that the trees used to make the barrels came from Kolobrzeg, Poland, and were felled from 1348 to 1352 and 1346 to 1358. They were used to transport salt from Poland to Denmark and once the contents were removed, the barrels were repurposed. The poop dates to the 1360s, so the turn-over was quite quick. The staves of used barrels loosen up leaving gaps between them, a bug if you’re trying to carry salt, but a feature if you’re using them as latrines. The loose staves allowed liquid to slowly seep out into the ground leaving the solid waste to compact in the barrel. Studies have shown that with proper seepage, a single barrel can remain usable for one person for 20 years.

The compacted poop was removed from the two barrels and is being kept in plastic bags in refrigerators at the Odense City Museums. Researchers take out a teaspoon at a time, run it through a sieve and look at the particulate matter under the microscope. Grains and seeds can be identified by their cellular structure to give us a comprehensive picture of people’s diets in medieval Odense. So far they have found the remains of a variety of lovely fruits — apples, figs, elderberries, raspberries, blackberries, wild strawberries — and mustard seed which would have been used as a flavoring spice. They also found miller’s bran and corn cockle seeds from a weed that grows alongside edible grains. The seeds are actually poisonous, but because they are difficult to separate from the grain during harvest and processing, a few seeds make their way up the food chain and down the poop chute. Corn cockles are most commonly found in rye fields, so it was likely rye bread or porridge.

Regarding the moss discovered in the barrels, moss has been found in medieval latrines in England as well. Several species of moss make excellent toilet paper, it seems, and sphagnum moss, aka peat moss, not only provides a comfy wipe, but it has additional hygienic properties as well. There are two kinds of cells in the leaves. The larger of the two can hold water much like a sponge, so it acts as a wet wipe, washing the business area instead of just drying it. In the Middle Ages it was also believed to have antiseptic properties. Interestingly, peat moss is a common additive to modern composting toilets because it encourages the absorption of liquid, encourages aerobic action and helps block odor.

Speaking of odor, Odense City Museums invited Kouki Fujioka from Tokyo’s Jikei University to take a whiff of their medieval poop. He is a scent expert, you see, and has developed a system to detect, isolate and categorize scents. He took odor samples from the barrel excrement and will measure the proportions of acids and alcohols in them which will indicate the level of spoilage. He will also work to replicate the various hearty aromas of 700-year-old human excrement which may sound less than enjoyable, but the museum is excited about the possibilities of recreating the smells of the past. Imagine a museum exhibition in Smell-O-Vision. What an intensely immersive connection to history.

Human excrement isn’t the only scatological gold unearthed at this site. Archaeologists also found a perfectly formed dog crap from the 12th century, a very rare survival, which they are analyzing for pollen and seeds to discover what dogs ate in medieval Denmark.

Oh and they found some gold gold too — a 14th century cross pendant and a delicate 13th century ring with a cabochon garnet — if you’re the kind of weirdo who’s into that sort of thing.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

First Æthelmearc Mistress of Defense Elevated

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2015-05-01 22:36

This day of May the First ushered in a glorious new tradition as Duchess Dorinda Courtenay was elevated as the first Æthelmearc Mistress of Defense (and what could well be the first in the Known World since we believe the Lochac Masters were made on May 2, being far ahead of us in hours).

The Gazette will post a full story later this weekend, but suffice it to say that it was a day filled with fencing followed by a most moving elevation ceremony.

Vivat to Duchess Dorinda!

Categories: SCA news sites

An Invitation from Their Royal Majesties

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2015-05-01 17:55

“Please join us this weekend at Our Crown Tournament to celebrate both the selection of Our Heirs and the creation of a New Peerage—The Order of Defense! This is the first peerage created in the Society in over 30 years! This momentous occasion will be celebrated in Our Court, along with the elevation of its first three members. Most of Our Noble Cousins from the other Kingdoms are also elevating their first three candidates, making this a moment of joy and celebration across the Known World.  We will have a toast to the Order and the new Peers, so please come prepared at Court.

In Service to the East,

King Omega and Queen Etheldreda”

Filed under: Announcements Tagged: Crown Tournament, order of defense

Maryport named Research Project of the Year 2015

SCAtoday.net - Fri, 2015-05-01 15:20

Each year, Current Archaeology magazine gives an award for the Research Project of the Year. Senhouse Museum Trust and archaeologists from Newcastle University have been working for over four years at the Camp Farm site near Maryport, and they have been named the 2015 recipients of the award.

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Sunday 5/3 Traffic Advisory – TD Five Boro Bike Tour

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2015-05-01 14:49

There will be a number of road closures and detours due to the TD Five Boro Bike Tour in and around New York City that may affect travel from Crown tournament.

This is the list of street closures as released by the Mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office.  Streets will be closed from 7:45 am to 5 pm.

Manhattan Portion:

 Whitehall Street between South Street and Water Street

 State Street between Whitehall Street and Battery Place

 Battery Place between State Street and West Street

 Washington Street between Battery Place and Morris Street

 Greenwich Street between Battery Park and Trinity Place

 Trinity Place between Greenwich Street and Cedar Street

 Church Street between Cedar Street and Canal Street

 White Street between 6th Avenue and Franklin Place

 Walker Street between 6th Avenue and Broadway

 6th Avenue between Franklin Street and West 59th Street

 West 59th Street between 6th Avenue and 5th Avenue / Alternate Route

 Grand Army Plaza between West 59th Street and East Drive (inside Central

 East Drive between Grand Army Plaza and Center Drive (inside Central

 Center Drive between 5th Avenue and East Drive

 East Drive between Center Drive and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard

 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard between West 110th Street and West 135th Street

 East / West 135th Street, between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and

 Madison Avenue between East 135th Street and East 138th Street

 Madison Avenue Bridge (Manhattan to Bronx)

 HRD/FDR Drive (South bound) between 3rd Avenue Bridge and East 116th Street

 East 116th Street between FDR Drive and Pleasant Avenue

 Pleasant Avenue between East 116th Street and East 114th Street

 Harlem River Drive/ FDR Drive (South bound) between 116th Street and 63rd

 East 63rd Street between FDR Drive (South bound) and Queensboro Bridge Exit

 Queensboro Bridge Exit between East 63rd Street and East 60th Street

 Queensboro Bridge (West Bound Lanes from Manhattan to Queens)

Bronx Portion:

 138th Street between Madison Avenue Bridge and 3rd Avenue

 3rd Avenue between 138th Street and 3rd Avenue Bridge

 3rd Avenue Bridge (Bronx to Manhattan)


Queens Portion:

 21st Street between Queens Plaza South and Hoyt Avenue North

 Queens Plaza South between 21st Street and Vernon Boulevard / Alternate Route

 Hoyt Avenue North between 21st Street and 19th Street

 19th Street between Hoyt Avenue North and Ditmars Boulevard

 Ditmars Boulevard between 19th Street and Shore Boulevard

 Shore Boulevard between Ditmars Boulevard and Astoria Park South

 Astoria Park South between Shore Boulevard and14th Street

 14th Street between Astoria Park South and 31st Avenue

 31st Avenue between 14th Street and Vernon Boulevard

 Vernon Boulevard between 31st Avenue and 44th Drive

 44th Drive between Vernon Boulevard and 11th Street

 11th Street between 44th Drive and Pulaski Bridge

 Pulaski Bridge (South Bound from Queens to Brooklyn)

Brooklyn Portion:

 McGuiness Boulevard between Pulaski Bridge and Greenpoint Avenue

 Java Street between McGuinness Boulevard and Franklin Street /Alternate Route

 Greenpoint Avenue between McGuinness Boulevard and Franklin Street

 Franklin Street between Greenpoint Avenue and Kent Avenue

 Kent Avenue between Java Street and Williamsburg Street West

 Williamsburg Street West between Kent Avenue and Flushing avenue

 Flushing Avenue between Williamsburg Street West and Navy Street

 North Elliot Place between Flushing Avenue and Park Avenue

 Navy Street between Flushing Avenue and York Street

 York Street between Navy Street and Gold Street

 Gold Street between York Street and Front Street

 Front Street between Gold Street and Old Fulton Street

 Old Fulton Street between Gold Street and Furman Street

 Furman Street between Old Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue

 Joralemon Street between Furman Street and Atlantic Avenue

 Atlantic Avenue between Furman Street and Columbia Street

 Columbia Street between Atlantic Avenue and BQE West Entrance

 BQE/ Gowanus Expy between BQE West Entrance Columbia Street

 Verrazano Bridge Lower Level (South bound from Brooklyn to Staten Island)

Staten Island Portion:

 Bay Street between New York Avenue and Hylan Boulevard

 Hylan Boulevard between Bay Street and Edgewater Street

 Edgewater Street/ Front Street between Hylan Boulevard and Hannah Street

 Hannah Street between Front Street and Bay Street

 Bay Street between Hannah Street and Richmond Terrace

Filed under: Announcements, Events

Dorinda’s Song

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2015-05-01 13:28

Submitted by Baroness Gwendolyn the Graceful, Sylvan Bard of Æthelmearc.

Baroness Gwendolyn the Graceful

Happy A.S. L, Everyone!

I’m a little behind on my article series — the next one will be out soon — but in the meantime, I could not let the occasion of our inaugural Order of Defense peerage go unmarked.

Years ago, I took a commission to write a piece in honour of Her Grace, Dorinda Courtenay. At the time, I neglected to put in a verse about fencing, an activity which she had only very recently taken up.

I had to rectify that!

Here is the song I wrote then, with a little added something to comemmorate her historic elevation. The music is by Guillaume de Machaut, a 14th-Century composer.


Duchess Dorinda Courtenay, photo by Duchess Anna Blackleaf.

Categories: SCA news sites

Three tapped for elevation at AEthelmearc's Ice Dragon

SCAtoday.net - Fri, 2015-05-01 12:50

Kameshima Zentar Umakai, Silver Buccle Principal Herald, reports that at Their recent Passing of the Ice Dragon event in the Barony of Rhydderich Hael, Their Majesties Titus and Anna Leigh of the Kingdom of AEthelmearc placed three of Their subjects on vigil to contemplate elevation to the Peerage.

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Happy New Year!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2015-05-01 08:28

Happy SCA New Year! It’s Anno Societatis L (or A.S. 50).

On a day of new beginnings, with a new SCA year starting and the historic elevation of Duchess Dorinda Courtenay as Æthelmearc’s first Master of Defense taking place tonight, it seems like a fine time to look back at where the SCA began.

You can go to the West Kingdom website for an account of the first tournament, which took place on May 1, 1966.

The flyer for the first SCA tournament, courtesy of the West Kingdom.

Have a great new year, everyone!

Categories: SCA news sites

British soldiers, archaeologists find early shots fired at Waterloo

History Blog - Fri, 2015-05-01 03:10

An international team of archaeologists and British war veterans have come together to excavate the Waterloo battlefield. It’s the first large-scale archaeological survey of the Hougoumont Farm area which proved to be a vital position attacked repeatedly by French forces during the June 18th, 1815, battle. So far the team has focused on the site of a wood south of the farm buildings that took the brunt of early French attacks. It’s been less than a week and a geophysical survey, a metal detector survey and test trenches have found coins, uniform buttons, fragments of firearms and English and French musket balls.

Dr Tony Pollard, Director of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at the University of Glasgow, leading the archaeology, said: “The full team has only been working on site for two days and we have made some very interesting discoveries. In particular, we have started a comprehensive survey, including metal detecting, of the area of the former wood to the south of the Hougoumont buildings and we have already found spent and unfired musket shots at the southern-most tip of the wood, also fragments of firearms and clothing such as uniform buttons.

“We know that shots were exchanged between the French and Allied armies in these woods during the night before the battle, as the French probed the allied position and the first real fighting took place in the same spot. I am confident these shots were fired very early in the battle, probably in the first exchanges.”

The team is hoping this excavation will answer questions about the battle. Much has been written about it, but eye-witness accounts and reports from the battlefield can be biased, muddled and contradictory. Although some topographical features have been altered either deliberately (the Lion Mount) or through natural processes and illegal metal detecting by souvenir hunters has removed a lot of the metal artifacts, the field has been left largely undeveloped in the 200 years since the battle. Battlefield archaeologists are optimistic that there is a great deal left to discover, including the locations of mass graves. The geophysical survey of the area around Hougoumont Farm detected anomalies that could be buried human remains. Any human remains discovered will be studied but not disturbed. The aim is to mark the graves, not to exhume bodies.

The Waterloo Uncovered excavation project was conceived by Major Charles Foinette, serving with 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, and Mark Evans, an Afghanistan veteran who was also an officer with the Coldstream Guards. The dig is all the more meaningful to them because a company of the Coldstream Guards were stationed at the farm and defended it valiantly against French attacks. Several other former and current Coldstream Guards are part of the excavation team through project partner Operation Nightingale, a program found in 2012 that puts soldiers injured in Afghanistan to work on archaeological excavations as a form of vocational training and physical and social therapy. It’s been a great success from the first year and Mark Evans is living proof of it since he was first introduced to archaeology through his participation in Operation Nightingale as an Afghanistan veteran suffering from PTSD. To have soldiers working at the site lends valuable insight to battlefield archaeology.

“Now we’ve got some of the top archaeologists in the world working on this site, but none of them has ever been in a battle, and it’s that perspective that the soldiers bring. They’ve been there, they’ve seen it. A different time and a different place, but they understand the confusion, they understand how ground is so important to cover and to make into advances,” Evans said.

The project is currently slated to last a year, but it could develop into a longer-term investigation if the will is there.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report: Blackstone Raids, Barony of Blackstone Mountain, April 25, A.S. XLIX

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2015-04-30 13:20

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy & Gabrielle II, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of His Majesty’s Court at Blackstone Raids XXIV in the Barony of Blackstone Mountain, 25 April Anno Societatis XLIX, accompanied by Their Excellencies Ichijo and Cerridwen, Baron and Baroness of Blackstone Mountain. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, with the assistance of Lord Arias Beltran del Valle.

In the afternoon, on the field:

His Majesty spoke at some length of the pride he felt at the skill and prowess of the ​Æthelmearc army, and of the virtues of chivalry that so many of them showed. In particular, he called forth THL Arnþorr inn sterki, whose displays of chivalry were an example to many. His Majesty then summoned his Order of Chivalry and commanded THL Arnþorr to choose a time and place where he might sit vigil and contemplate elevation to that Order. Scroll forthcoming.

THLord Arnþorr inn sterki receives a Writ for the Chivalry. Photo by Caoilfhionn of the Woods.

At evening court:

THL Hrefna Ulfvarrinsdottir came forth and offered treats and entertainment for the children present.

His Majesty gave leave to Their Excellencies to conduct the business of their Baronial court.

Baron Ichijo and Baroness Cerridwen. Photo by Lady Valentina de la Volpe.

Lord Simon and Lady Valentina. Photo by THLord Morien Mac Bain.

Valentina de la Volpe was Awarded Arms for her devotion to photography as well as her skills as a fighter and seamstress. Scroll illuminated by Lady Isabel Fleuretan and calligraphed by Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai.

Simon de Irelande was Awarded Arms for his service to the Shire of Ballachlagan and its populace as herald, as well as his skill upon the fencing lists. Scroll illuminated by Lady Isabel Fleuretan and calligraphed by Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai.

Lord Hartmann Foscari Da Ferra was inducted into the Order of the Golden Alce for his inspiring prowess on the heavy weapons field, where he serves as both fighter and teacher. Scroll illuminated and calligraphed by THL Ismay Ponde upon wording by Count Sir Jehan de la Marche.

His Majesty invited Lord Hartmann’s lady, Lady Ragna Haakonardottir of Skara, to join her lord in Court. As words from a scroll by Duke Sir Titus Scipio Germanicus and Countess Anna Leigh were read to the populace, Lord Hartmann bent to one knee before Lady Ragna and proposed marriage, which Lady Ragna happily accepted.

Video courtesy of Lord Hartmann.

Lady Grainne Shionnach was inducted into the Order of the Keystone for serving Ballachlagan as Chronicler and Archery Marshal, serving on the Pennsic Watch, and as a cook, a tollner, an archer, and for being a quiet light to all who know her. Scroll in progress by Lady Genevote Nau d’Anjou.

Lady Grainne Shionnach. Photo by Lady Valentina de la Volpe.

Lady Noelle de Feuer was elevated to the Order of the Keystone for her quiet yet dependable service moving tables, serving food, and retaining for the Baron and Baroness of Blackstone Mountain. Scroll by Countess Aidin ni Leir.

Lady Noelle de Feuer. Photo by Lady Valentina de la Volpe.

Lord Ulrich von Baden was Granted Arms and created a Companion of the Gage for his skill as a heavy weapons fighter and teacher. Scroll in progress.

Lord Ulrich von Baden. Photo by Lady Valentina de la Volpe.

Lord Ulrich von Schwartzburg was Granted Arms and inducted into the Order of the Gage for all of his work both on the heavy weapons field and in support of the heavy weapons community. Scroll illuminated and calligraphed by THL Ismay Ponde upon wording by Sir Gareth Kincaid and Mistress Juliana Delamare.

Lord Ulrich von Schwartzburg. Photo by Lady Valentina de la Volpe.

Baron Edward Harbinger, Æthelmearc’s Archer General, came forward to announce that the Archery Peerage Fundraiser had raised $170 for the Kingdom Storage Trailer fund.

While He had Baron Edward in His Court, His Majesty implored His populace to take up bows and crossbows, for there was a very real possibility that the victor in the upcoming Pennsic War would be decided by the Mass Populace Archery Shoots, and Æthelmearc will need all the archers that she can muster.

There being no further business, His Majesty’s Court was closed.

In Honor and Service,
Kameshima Zentarō Umakai
Silver Buccle Principal Herald, Kingdom of Æthelmearc

Categories: SCA news sites

From the Office of the East Kingdom Webminister

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2015-04-30 11:56

Greetings unto Everyone in the East Kingdom! Yes, this means you!

With all of the upgrades and enhancements that we have been very busy at accomplishing with the new East Kingdom Server, we are now poised to start expanding the services for the Kingdom and need and want your input!

We feel that the East Kingdom Calendar is a critical part of the services that are relied upon every day by each one of you. It is our plan to build upon how much use you already get out of it to include areas of interest for every Local branch and Royal Guild, encompassing your meetings, social gatherings, practices and everything in between.

But we don’t want to spend time building something that you won’t use, or wish worked in a different way. Therefore, please let your voice be heard!


The above survey link will bring you to the few simple yet very important questions we have that we want feedback on. Please take a moment to let us know how to make the Calendar better for the Kingdom.

As always, if you have any additional questions; concerns; or information regarding the above, or any current events, please do not hesitate to contact the Webministry at helpdesk@eastkingdom.org or through the Support Center at http://helpdesk.eastkingdom.org website.

In Service to the East Kingdom,

The Webministry

Filed under: Announcements, Events

Court Report: Pen vs. Sword III, Shire of Angels Keep, April 25, A.S. XLIX

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2015-04-30 08:18

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy & Gabrielle II, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Her Majesty’s Court at Pen vs. Sword III, 25 April Anno Societatis XLIX, in the Shire of Angels Keep. As recorded by THL Marcus Claudius Cincinnatus, Windmill Pursuivant, with the assistance of Mistress Kayleigh MacWhyte and Marcellus Titus Cincinnatus.

Her Majesty summoned before her Felice de Thornton and spoke of her many good works. Moved by her efforts in helping at events, including working troll, and helping with setup and tear down, as well as her dedication to Angels Keep as both Webminister and Chronicler, Her Majesty did Award her Arms. Scroll by Lady Juliana Stafford.

Lady Felice. Photo by Lady Christina Mary Lowe (called Jinx).

Oda Yokimura was called before Her Majesty, and for his contagious enthusiasm and dedication to service, the learning of Japanese calligraphy, and learning the arts of Fighting and Fencing was Awarded Arms. Scroll by Baroness Gillian Llwelyn.

Her Majesty then called forth Pan Henryk Bogusz. The Sylvan Queen spoke of Pan Henryk’s many efforts in the realms of leather work, brewing, cordial making, learning lucet, soap making, and his willingness to share his knowledge with others.  Thus moved, Pan Henryk was created a Companion of the Sycamore. Scroll by Baroness Gillian Llwelyn .

Pan Henryk Bogusz. Photo by Jinx.

Ladies Margarita Carpintero and Wylde Wysse were summoned before Her Majesty. Inspired by these ladies’ skills at researching and teaching the art of Wax Tablet making, both were named Companions of the Sycamore. Promissory Scrolls by Master Jonathan Blaecstan.

Lady Margarita Carpintero and Lady Wylde Wysse. Photo by Jinx.

Lady Finuola McGill. Photo by Jinx.

Lady Finuola McGill, called Fenris, came before Her Majesty, and begged the Queen’s assistance in choosing winners, of whom there were many, of the Raffle conducted by the Shire that day.

Dame Bronwyn MacKinnon came forward, and with Her Majesty’s leave, addressed the populace.  She noted that His Majesty desired to paint Pennsic red, with the escarbuncle and garb of Æthelmearc, and bade the populace to seek her out for more information.

Her Majesty then spoke of the joyous day and of the many inspirations she had seen throughout. Being especially moved by the efforts (and candied citrus peels) of her good gentle, Lady Elenora de Rosewycke, Her Majesty did present Lady Eleanora with her token of inspiration.

There being no further business, Her Majesty’s Court was closed.

In Honor and Service,
Kameshima Zentarō Umakai
Silver Buccle Principal Herald, Kingdom of Æthelmearc

Categories: SCA news sites

Missive to the Combatants and Marshals of Crown Tournament

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2015-04-30 08:02

This message is posted at the request of Baron Sir Jibril al-Dakhil, Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom

Greetings Unto the East Kingdom!

Our Society is not one built upon the idea that you win at all costs. It is firmly grounded in the concept that you fight with honor, to the best of your ability, until such time that you are struck by a killing blow or strike a killing blow upon your most worthy adversary.

As authorized fighters we accept that our adversaries are worthy of honor and respect, for victory lay in their hands as the sole judge of a killing blow. If you are unwilling to accept the judgment of your adversary, then you do not accept the fundamental principle of our combat.

If you are unwilling to accept a killing blow then you have turned away from the cornerstone of the agreed terms of our combat. Not only is this physically dangerous (ie. unsafe) but it is dishonorable and subject to sanctions. Particularly in Crown, you dishonor not just yourself but also your consort and you do so before the entire Kingdom.

If there is a question as to a blow then you must discuss it at that time. This discussion should occur in the presence of the marshal and should be conducted in the same manner that you would speak to your consort. By this I mean you speak with respect and courtesy. In that moment when you question a blow, your consorts honor now rests on your words. In responding to such a question, be guided in the same manner – answer with courtesy and respect, bearing the weight of your consort’s honor. Comportment is part of the rules of the list in all regards and should be strictly followed.

Fighting your hardest and choosing to accept defeat is the greatest victory you can achieve. It is in this moment when chivalry shines brightest. True, this is not what wins the tournament for you, but it is what makes our style of combat reflect the best ideals of what we do. Choosing the harder path of defeat sets a bar for you to strive for more tomorrow and it shows the Kingdom, and your consort, that honor means more than a prize.

Marshals have the authority, under Corpora, to pull fighters from combat for a day for violating the rules of the list. This is not subject to appeal or debate. Marshals in turn have the great responsibility of tempering their actions to ensure fairness and safety at all times.

Fight to the best of your ability. Lose with dignity. Win with exceeding prowess. Set a shining example of honor and chivalry for the East Kingdom.

Lastly, we will need some Bye Fighters. So even if you have not entered Crown, if you wish test your skill against the best of the East Kingdom, please bring your armor and make ready.

I now go off to on a pilgrimage to grow the numbers of the East.

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

Filed under: Announcements, Heavy List Tagged: Crown Tourney

16th c. murals, burials found in Cuzco church

History Blog - Thu, 2015-04-30 03:36

During the restoration of the 16th century Church of Saint Francis of Assisi in the Peruvian town of Maras, 25 miles northwest of Cuzco, researchers discovered a crypt with skeletal remains and the original murals that had been covered with more fashionable artworks by a famous native son in the 17th century. Experts from the Dirección Desconcentrada de Cultura de Cusco (DPDDC), the governmental organization in charge of administering the cultural patrimony of the Cuzco region in southeastern Peru, found the crypt under the floor of the Virgen de las Nieves chapel. Inside are a jumble of human bones that researchers estimate belong to 32 people interred in the early days of the church. The remains are disarticulated and scattered likely as a result of deliberate and repeated desecrations that are known to have occurred in the region.

The Templo Mayor San Francisco de Asís was built in 1556, 22 years after the conquest of Peru, the same year the town was founded by Spanish general Pedro Ortiz de Orué. It was constructed in colonial style with adobe walls on a masonry foundation and a tile roof and packed with religious art. Since the restoration of the church is a top-to-bottom project covering the building and all the art inside of it, paintings on the presbytery wall by Antonio Sinchi Roca were removed for conservation.

Antonio Sinchi Roca, born in Maras, was one of the most prominent artists of the Cuzco School, many of whom are unfortunately anonymous today. Bishop Manuel de Mollinedo y Angulo, born to a wealthy Madrid family in 1626 and the powerful bishop of Cuzco from 1673 until his death in 1699, was his patron. His painted a series of portraits of the saints and scenes from the Gospel for the church of Saint Francis in his hometown. There are some great views of them in this video from right before the refurbishment began.

Underneath Roca’s paintings researchers found a multi-panel mural with scenes of the Virgin Mary. Covered up barely a century after their creation, the murals are in remarkable condition with beautifully bright colors. Another mural was discovered on the wall of the central nave that has more abstract geometric and zoomorophic designs.

These murals predate the Cuzco School of religious art, the first organized artistic movement in the New World of which Roca was one of the most famous exponents. Keen to dive right into the conversion of the Inca people after the conquest, Spain sent artists to Cuzco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, to found a school that would teach the local Quechuas and mestizos to paint religious art in the European style. The Cuzco School artists painted scenes integral to the Catholic catechism — the Holy Family, the Virgin and Child, Christ in Glory, saints, angels (often depicted as warriors), the Final Judgement, the sacraments — using a palette of bright reds, yellows, earth tones and shining gold. They eschewed perspective, focusing instead of emphasizing the important figures by making them dominant in size and in the splendour of their robes.

Restoration of the church began in July 2013 and is scheduled to be complete by July of 2016. The art has been removed to a lab for conservation. No word on whether or how they’ll integrate the original murals with the works that have been covering them for more than 300 years.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

On the Peerage

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-04-29 12:08

Master Daniel del Cavallo posted this essay on his Facebook page, and graciously agreed to share it with the Gazette.

What is a peerage in the SCA?

Master Daniel del Cavallo with Duchess Meirwen uerch Owein. Photo by THLady Sophie Davenport.

I’ve been asked this question quite a few times over the years. Recent occurrences have motivated me to put my thoughts in writing and in public for all to see. It’s a topic that is far more subtle than it might appear. Let’s begin with semantics.

(Please pardon my apparent overuse of masculine pronouns. It is not intended as a slight. It’s merely for brevity.)

What does the word mean?

The word “peer” is defined as: “one who is of equal standing with another.” On the face of it, this seems counterintuitive. If a peerage is considered one of the highest honors that can be attained, and candidates are “elevated” to this rank, then how does that equate to equality?

The secret lies in the entire phrase: “Peer of the Realm.”

In the context under consideration, this phrase literally indicates social standing relative to the King and Queen. A Peer is considered Their social equal. Or was. It seems this was only the case in earlier periods, relating to landed nobility acting as regional administrative proxies for the Monarch.

Clearly, however, a peer did not wield the same power as the Monarch. Much of the authority to actually get things done was still reserved for the Crown. A monarchy wouldn’t be very effective otherwise.

To make things extra confusing, the Monarch was seen as the source from which all dignity was derived. As such, he could not hold peerage titles since he, by definition, held them all. If a peer should ascend the Throne, any peerage titles he held would simply dissolve into the Crown. As time went on, an ever more complex hierarchy evolved within the ranks of the Peerage.

In the SCA today, in practical terms, our system seems to derive from the later period Norman model. The Monarch retains all real power, and “Patents of Arms” are bestowed by the Crown by sheer acclaim and merit (this holds true for Patents awarded to Royal Peers upon succession; the “big three” traditional orders: Knight, Laurel, and Pelican; and will with the new Order of Defense)

The interplay between the seemingly discordant ideas of equal social standing with the Monarch, and reservation of sovereign power to the Crown is still expressed in the relevance of majority polling amongst the orders of highest merit.

What is the point of all this?

The SCA is a game. It has rules. The game and the rules are based on unrepentantly romanticized notions of chivalry and honor in the late medieval period. However, there are only so many things that can be romanticized away; some of the remainder may seem like negatives when viewed through the lens of our modern sensibilities.

For example, a hierarchy exists. It exists for a purpose. That purpose is not, as some suppose, to form cliques. It is not to play keep-away. It is not to denigrate others, and make them feel unworthy for some nefarious, egocentric reason.

Its purpose is to inspire. It exists to cause people to strive for excellence. Its goal is not to encourage people to exceed others, but to exceed themselves. It’s the brass ring that makes people want to ride the carousel.

By definition, not everyone will win this prize, although anyone can. It is an unfortunate fact that at any given moment in life, some people actually are smarter, stronger, more talented, or more skilled than others.

Did you inwardly wince when you read this statement? I did when I wrote it. This reaction is born of a thoroughly modern conceit. We seem to be in the midst of a trend toward mediocracy which, in its rush for warm, fuzzy nurturance has actively shunned any reason to strive for self betterment. Not every person automatically gets the gold star just for showing up. If you don’t understand this, the cold hand of reality will eventually spank you.

That is not to say that every person who ever has or ever will be elevated is automatically deserving. All human institutions are fallible. However, in this case, two important things must be kept in mind. One — the system is very much self-policing. Two — at the end of the day, the SCA is a voluntary monarchy, and we all bow to the whim of the Crown.

The goal of the Peerage in the SCA, then, is just that — to provide a goal. Whether that goal is achieved is a matter for debate, but the goal of the goal is the goal. Is that clear? Good.

So then, how does one achieve this goal?

All peerages that become vested in the individual are bestowed by seated royalty.

In the case of those referred to as ‘royal’ peers, when one Monarch steps down, their ascending heirs bestow rank and title upon them pursuant to their previous service as monarchs, including fulfillment of specific requirements when they served. This rank is not universally guaranteed, and hence is not merely earned by right of arms.

If a seated Monarch has displayed particularly poor judgement or bad behavior, it is within the rights of the heirs to deny them the Patent of Arms that normally accompanies their new rank. This is unusual, and can work a little differently from Kingdom to Kingdom, but it has happened.

In the case of those peerages commonly described as ‘bestowed,’ elevation is achieved through dedication, hard work, and courtly grace. A Pelican is distinguished through service. A Laurel is distinguished through excellence in the arts. The martial peers have distinguished themselves through skill at armed combat. However, these are merely the core competencies. They are not the sole criteria.

All of the peerages hinge on something more. It is a somewhat ineffable (and perhaps a bit recursive) notion referred to as “Peer-Like Quality” or PLQ. Here is where the unrepentant romanticism comes rushing back into the equation, and necessarily so.

It is intimately bound up with the notion that a candidate for elevation is free to refuse the accolade. The candidate is delivered a writ which must be answered yea or nay. The candidate is expected to solemnly contemplate the gravity of the prospective elevation by sitting a vigil, and hearing the counsel of the peers in whose company he might soon stand. Again, it is uncommon, but candidates can refuse, and have done so.

This element of choice is critically important. A peer is expected to express — and even amplify — the dignity of the Crown that elevated him. If the elevation was thrust upon him, it would be a heavy yoke indeed.

The choice makes it a contract. A peer must set an example. A peer must polish the Crown, not tarnish it. A peer must act in all ways in such a manner as to make everyone believe that the goal of Peerage is worthwhile, if for no other reason than because he has agreed to do so. PLQ means more than just ‘don’t be a dick.’ It means, ‘be somebody’s hero.’

OK, let’s say I’ve been named a peer. What’s next?

It’s tempting to think that ascending to the ranks of the Peerage represents an endpoint. In many ways, it is only a beginning.

For every candidate, the road to the Peerage is a long and winding pilgrimage. Being different people, we all have different aspects of ourselves we must hone and improve. Those efforts do not cease by royal fiat. Our flaws do not vanish by virtue of the fact that we have a new medallion. If anything, ascending to the Peerage means you have to work that much harder to insure your continued worthiness of the station you have attained.

One thing that all peers must keep in mind is that we have been recruited into something much bigger than ourselves. Therefore, we must strive to think and act beyond ourselves. If you only see your elevation as a personal achievement, you’re deluding yourself. It takes a Kingdom to make a peer. Each of the peerages has an unspoken expectation for continuing dedication to others. Part of the responsibility we have accepted as role models is often to put the needs of others before our own. We lose sight of this not at our own peril, but at the peril of those who have suspended their disbelief long enough to look up to us.

But what happens when these ideals you describe break down?

The vagaries I’ve been discussing are not even codifiable. All of this hinges on the honor system, much as a Crown Tournament does. There is a presupposition that people will behave with honor befitting the station to which they aspire. Human nature being what it is, however, some do not always.

My personal journey into the ranks of the Peerage has informed me that most often, when this happens, it is because someone somewhere has lost sight of the fact that there are times when others must come first. Or, perhaps, that notion is still present, but has become diluted or twisted, and the individual believes that his notion of the greater good is infallible, leading to a willful blindness to the harm that is caused.

Less often, there can be a blithe ignorance of downstream consequences, leading to a Godzilla-esque rampage, the monster completely unaware of the train commuters he has crushed. I’ve seen it. I’ve done it. Sometimes it just happens.

In these instances, it’s very tempting to just chuck the whole thing. Sometimes we look at peers behaving badly, and we stop wanting to try. Sometimes, we look in the mirror, realize our own mistakes are sizable, and think maybe slithering away is the best course. Neither of these things is appropriate. We only truly learn through failure. Everyone needs permission to fail, sometimes.

If, however, you honestly believe that there can be no resolution, and that the entire system is so messed up that there is no saving it, then everything that countless good and noble people have worked so hard to accomplish for nearly half a century is for nothing. By all means — throw up your hands and walk away. You’re participating in the problem.

But if some part of you can still see worth in this flawed gem of ours, then it’s still worth fighting for, flaws and all. If those who once inspired you have let you down, consider this. You were not idolizing that person. You were idolizing some ideal form of that person that you made up in your head. And guess what? That person could just as easily be you. You can fill that role. When your heroes stumble, don’t decry them and turn away in disgust. Become them. Take up the mantle, fix that ideal in your mind, and play the game better so that the next guy doesn’t lose hope.

Can I ever really hope to become a peer?

I don’t know. There are many paths. Some are easier for some people, and some are easier for others. There is no formula. However, there are some things that I believe will help, and these are true in the broader world as well.

First — you must consider others. Help them to achieve the same goals you strive toward. Sometimes, along the road, there will be competitions, but overall, that’s not what this is. People do not need to climb over one another to reach this goal. If someone is working toward the same goal you are, work with them, not against them. By doing so, you show your true worth both to them and to everyone.

Second — you must be passionate about what you do. Do it because you love it. Do not do it because you strive for reward. When you do that, you are making it about you, and it’s not. See rule #1.

Third — you must participate. Don’t hang back in the shadows and then wonder why nobody sees you. If you are not innately outgoing, then this is something you need to work on. Do not be afraid to dive in. The rewards are always, ultimately, greater than the risks. People may not always respond positively to this. Tough. In every instance, when you are faced with negativity, respond with grace. Be the example.

Trust me.

Do this.

One day, without even realizing how you got there, you will find yourself surrounded by those you esteem, and it will seem as if the very earth itself has taken up the call as their proud acclaim rings back from the hilltops; “You are my peer.”

You are my peer.

I am yours in service…

–Master Daniel del Cavallo

Categories: SCA news sites

Chauvet Cave replica opens in France

History Blog - Wed, 2015-04-29 03:17

The walls of the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave in the Ardèche region of southern France are decorated with the earliest known pictorial drawings made during the Aurignacian period, between 30,000 and 32,000 years ago. More than 1,000 drawings of animals — including horses, bison, lions, cave bears, panthers, eagle owls, woolly mammoths and rhinoceroses — hand prints and abstract line and dot designs cover 91,000 square feet of space. The art has unique qualities like incised outlines that give figures depth and a sense of dynamic movement conveyed by multiple legs as if we were seeing the animals in motion.

The cave was discovered in December of 1994 by three speleologists: Jean-Marie Chauvet (after whom it was named), Eliette Brunel-Deschamps and Christian Hillaire. They were the first people to see the splendour on the walls since the cave opening was sealed by a rockfall 23,000 years ago. France learned a hard lesson with the Lascaux Cave which was discovered in 1940, opened to the public in 1948 and in dire condition by 1955 thanks to the carbon dioxide, moisture, contaminants and lichens introduced by unwitting visitors. This time they took no chances. The French government declared the Chauvet Cave a protected heritage site almost immediately and only made it available to fewer than 200 researchers a year.

Because of its excellent condition, the density and quality of the art, which includes some species of animals like the panther and owl seen in no other Paleolithic art, and the rich remains of prehistoric fauna and human footprints found on the ground, the cave was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June of 2014. But how to share said heritage with said world without causing irreparable harm to it? Again Lascaux paved the way. Lascaux II, a replica of the main sections of the cave and its art, opened in 1983 and has been very popular to the tourists who can no longer see the original cave.

In 2008, a contest was launched to select the architect who make a replica of the Chauvet Cave. French architects Fabre and Speller won, but their design for the concrete building that would house the replica cave was only one part of a complex whole. This construction and art project would ultimately requiring the close collaboration of 500 people employed by 35 different companies. A 3D laser scanning survey was carried out in 2011 so that every feature of the cave interior could be duplicated. Since the cave is very long, it was rearranged in the replica, basically folded into a circle with all the art consolidated, but meticulously mapped out to its original topography. The original 91,000 square feet were thus reduced to a more manageable but still vast 32,000 square feet, 10 times the size of Lascaux II.

The construction of the walls, ceilings and floors with their accurate topographic features was achieved by bending thousands of metal rods to precisely match the natural lumps and bumps mapped by the 3D scans. The rods were then welded together in sections that could be affixed to steel beams in the ceiling of the new structure. Before they were installed in place, the cage-like sections were covered with two layers of mortar: one of landscape mortar and a top layer of finishing mortar the same colors and textures as the clay and limestone of the original. Even the cracks were reproduced exactly. A thin layer of fine mortar sprayed with a retardant to keep it damp while the artists work was used for the walls with engraved images and finger paints.

Once the sections were prepped, the artists got their turn. Painters used the same kind of charcoal made from Sylvester pine trees and the ocher pigment used by the Aurignacian artists tens of thousands of years ago. Pictures of the originals were projected onto the wall sections, ensuring they were reproduced accurately to the millimeter. Thanks to the mortars used as a base, these materials will sink into the walls over time just the original ones did.

Because they wanted to reproduce not just the art but convey the experience of being in the original cave, geological features like stalactites and calcite concretions were recreated out of epoxy resin or concrete. Crushed or powdered glass was added to the resin to give it that beautiful glittery look you see in natural cave formations. Some of the pieces were treated with glossy topcoat that make them look wet, like the water that formed them is still dripping.

Once all 27 large panels were complete, they were installed in the building along with replicas of the bones and footprints found on the ground in the original cave. It took only 30 months from the time construction began in 2012 until its completion. The cost was $59 million, sure to be recouped many times over by the expected influx of 300,000 to 400,000 visitors a year. On Saturday, April 25th, 2014, the replica opened to the public.

This video is in French, but even if you don’t speak any you should still be able to follow it roughly based on the descriptions above, and you really should watch it because it is mind-blowing how they put this thing together.

Also, if you have Netflix, you have to watch Werner Herzog’s breathtaking documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams. He was allowed very rare access to the original cave and the result is an artistic tour de force as much in execution as in subject matter.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Pennsic War Points Announced

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2015-04-28 20:23

His Majesty of the East Kingdom released the listing of Pennsic War Points to the East Kingdom Gazette.

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Categories: SCA news sites