Duke Ronald Wilmot for Duchess Bronwyn Dawntreader
Filed under: Events, Heavy List, Official Notices, Tidings
Happy 43rd birthday, Tom Carroll! This one’s for you.
Caesar Augustus, adopted son and heir of Julius Caesar and first emperor of Rome, died on August 19th, 14 A.D., 57 years to the day after he was first “elected” consul of Rome. (He showed up at the city gates with eight legions, so it wasn’t much of an election.) According to Cassius Dio (Roman History, Book LVI, Chapter 30), on his deathbed Augustus declared: “I found Rome of clay; I leave it to you of marble.” Suetonius agrees, noting in The Lives of the Twelve Caesars that “since the city was not adorned as the dignity of the empire demanded, and was exposed to flood and fire, he so beautified it that he could justly boast that he had found it built of brick and left it in marble.”
The first of Augustus’ many marble-clad improvements to the city of Rome was a monumental tomb for himself and his family. Construction began upon his return from Egypt in 31 B.C. after the final defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium. With Antony dead by his own hand and Lepidus exiled, Augustus was the last triumvir standing and the sole ruler of Rome. While in Egypt, Augustus had visited the tomb of Alexander the Great in Alexandria, leaving flowers and placing a golden diadem on Alexander’s head. The grand Hellenistic mausoleum inspired the Augustus’ version built on the Campus Martius in Rome.
The tomb was completed in 28 B.C. Here’s Strabo’s description of it in Geography, Book V, Chapter 3:
The most noteworthy [among the great tombs on the Campus Martius] is what is called the Mausoleum, a great mound near the river on a lofty foundation of white marble, thickly covered with ever-green trees to the very summit. Now on top is a bronze image of Augustus Caesar; beneath the mound are the tombs of himself and his kinsmen and intimates; behind the mound is a large sacred precinct with wonderful promenades; and in the centre of the Campus is the wall (this too of white marble) round his crematorium; the wall is surrounded by a circular iron fence and the space within the wall is planted with black poplars.
The circular walls of the tomb were made of brick and clad in white marble or travertine. The roof was supported by vaults which left the inside sectioned for family burials. The entry arch was framed on either side with red granite obelisks pillaged from Egypt. The finished Mausoleum was 295 feet in diameter and an estimated 137 feet high (not counting the height of the cypress trees).
The first to be buried in the Mausoleum was Marcellus, Augustus’ nephew, who died in 23 B.C. The ashes of Augustus’ mother Atia Balba, who had died in 43 B.C., were moved to the family tomb at the same time. Next was Augustus’ greatest general and son-in-law Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa in 12 B.C. Three years later was the turn of Nero Claudius Drusus, Augustus’ stepson. His sister Octavia also died and was buried around that time (her exact year of death is unknown, either 11 or 9 B.C.). The sons of Agrippa and Augustus’ daughter Julia were next, Lucius in 2 A.D., Gaius in 4 A.D. Augustus himself followed Gaius 10 years later.
After Augustus’ death, his wife Livia followed, then Germanicus, Agrippina the Elder, Agrippina’s daughter Livilla, Germanicus’ sons Nero and Drusus Caesar, Caligula, Tiberius, Tiberius’ son Drusus Julius Caesar, Claudius’ parents Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia, then Claudius, his son Britannicus and Nero’s wife Poppaea Sabina (whose body was embalmed rather than cremated). The last emperor to join the illustrious crowd in the Mausoleum was Nerva, who died in 98 A.D.
Basically, the entire cast of I, Claudius wound up in the Mausoleum. The only exceptions were the exiled and disgraced Julio-Claudians, like Augustus’ only daughter Julia who died shortly after her father and was explicitly prohibited from being buried with her dad by the terms of his will. Her daughter Julia suffered the same fate. The Emperor Nero, last of the Julio-Claudian line, was buried with his paternal family in the Mausoleum of the Domitii Ahenobarbi.
The monument remained one of the most important ones in Rome until it was pillaged by the Visigoths in the 5th century. After that, like so many of its brethren it was used as a source of construction materials by Romans. The pink granite obelisks were toppled and buried. The first was rediscovered in the 16th century by Pope Sixtus V who moved it to the Piazza dell’Esquilino where it flanks the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. The other was rediscovered in the 18th century and moved to the fountain between the equestrian statues of the Dioscuri on the Quirinal hill.
And so Augustus’ legacy reverted from marble back to brick. As would later happen to the tomb of Hadrian, now the Castel Sant’Angelo, the Mausoleum of Augustus was converted into a fortress in the 12th century by the Colonna family. When they were defeated by the Counts of Tusculum in the Battle of Monte Porzio in 1167, the Mausoleum was stripped of its fortifications leaving it in ruin.
It still maintained its cachet to Romans, however. Cola di Rienzo, Tribune of the People, Senator of Rome, who briefly ruled the city over the howls of the Pope and endlessly bickering Roman nobility, was brutally killed in 1354 on my birthday, no less (well, 618 years before my birthday, but on the same day, is my point), and after his corpse was outraged for two days and a night, it was taken to the Mausoleum of Augustus and burned.
In 1519, Pope Leo X, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, had what was left of the travertine cladding removed to use as paving stones for the Via Ripetta, the street that leads to the Mausoleum. Pope Paul III sold the Mausoleum in 1546 to Monsignor Francesco Soderini who excavated the site looking for ancient sculptures and then converted the Mausoleum into a sculpture garden with a hedge labyrinth that was popular with artists, classicists and antiquarians. The Soderini’s financial difficulties gradually saw the sculptures dispersed, although the Mausoleum remained a garden until 1780 when it was acquired by the Marquess Francesco Saverio Vivaldi-Armentieri. He turned it into an amphitheater with elegant boxes and seating for 1,000. There he staged bullfights and buffalo fights (of the water buffalo variety, not the American bison variety), operas, theatricals and on summer nights, fireworks displays at which all the noblewomen of Rome wore white dresses so the colors bursting in air would be reflected in their garments.
The amphitheater wasn’t very profitable and in 1802 the Pope Pius VII bought the Mausoleum back. It was still used for spectacles of various sorts — animal fights, balls, carnivals, circuses, lottery drawings, plays, equestrian displays, even a test of fire-retardant materials like that asbestos suit I mentioned in a recent entry. After the Unification of Italy, the Vatican sold the Mausoleum to the Count Telfener who put a roof on it and renamed it the Amphitheater Umberto I after the new King of Italy. It was used for plays, concerts and operas, no more buffalo fights.
In 1909 it was refurbished yet again in Art Nouveau style and named the Augusteo in recognition of its original builder. Expanded to seat 3,500 people, the Augusteo was the seat of Rome’s main orchestra conducted by the great Arturo Toscanini, among others. Mussolini put an end to all that in 1936. He kicked out all the musicians, tore down the Renaissance buildings around it and ripped out all the theatrical modifications to return the Mausoleum to its original Roman masonry. This was a key part of his program of associating himself with the glory of ancient Rome and depicting himself as a second Augustus. Unfortunately, he did a piss-poor job of it. He had cypresses planted on top of the walls, in the mistaken belief that that’s where they had been placed originally instead of on the earthen tumulus. Inside the Mausoleum he had a squat two-storey tower built to mark the spot where Augustus’ ashes were once enshrined.
The end result of this brutal hack job was a Mausoleum in tatters, a derelict island in the middle of a traffic-engorged piazza. Homeless people found refuge under its walls and fences went up in a futile attempt to keep them out. Colonnaded Fascist buildings line the square while the real thing continues to decay. You can see its unfortunate current situation on Google Street View. Hadrian’s mausoleum, still clad in its medieval fortress trappings, is one of the icons of Rome, but Augustus’ tomb, which held the ashes of the first emperor and so many other august (*cough*) personages, doesn’t even make it onto postcards.
There was a plan to restore it in 2006 when the new glass enclosure of the Ara Pacis was built, but the funding never materialized, and the recession has starved Rome of the budget to maintain its ancient treasures.
Now Rome is reaching out to private donors to make up for its slashed budgets and it seems someone has stepped up to the plate for the Mausoleum of Augustus, one of the most expensive and difficult restorations in Rome. Mayor Ignazio Marino says a Saudi prince has approached him, expressing interest in funding the work. Who knows if that will come through, but meanwhile two million euros of public moneys have been allocated to get the process started. The mayor claims work will begin before the end of the year so that it will be in concert with the 2,000th anniversary of Augustus’ death.
Construction work for a new neighborhood at Moshav Aluma, 30 miles south of Tel Aviv, has unearthed the foundations of a 6th century Byzantine church. The remains of the basilica and its artifacts discovered include "a cistern, a pottery workshop, cooking implements, oil lamps and central halls with a pair of side aisles divided by marble pillars."
Great civilizations of the Middle Ages were not located solely in Europe or Asia. Some of the world superpowers grew up along the coasts of Africa. In a feature article for i09, Annalee Newitz takes a look Songo Mnara, a city that thrived from the 10th to 15th centuries. (photos)
Researchers from the University of Southampton have been excavating the ancient man-made harbour of Portus in modern day Fiumicino, 20 miles southwest of Rome, since 1998. In collaboration with experts from the British School at Rome, the University of Cambridge, and the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, they have explored the warehouses of Septimius Severus, the imperial palace, cisterns, an amphitheater, a massive shipyard, a bath complex and more.
The Portus Project website describes the immense historical significance of this site.
Portus (Fiumicino) was the maritime port of ancient Rome and, together with the neighbouring river port at Ostia, was the focus of a network of ports serving Imperial Rome between the mid-1st century AD and the 6th century AD. It was established by Claudius in the mid-1st century AD, enlarged by Trajan, and subsequently modified during the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The port began to enter a period of slow decline from the late 5th century AD onwards, although it was the scene of a major struggle between Byzantine and Ostrogothic troops during the Gothic wars (AD 535-553).
Portus was critically important for supplying the city of Imperial Rome with foodstuffs and materials from across the Mediterranean from the 1st century AD onwards. It also acted as both a point of export for supplies and products from the Tiber Valley to the north of Rome, and a major hub for the redistribution of goods from ports across the Mediterranean. It must also have acted as a major conduit for people visiting Rome from around the Mediterranean.
Now the University of Southampton is giving all us little nerd urchins (nurchins?) a chance to do more than press our faces against the glass. It’s offering a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the archaeology of Portus. The course is open to everyone free of charge and will include access to all the Portus Project’s research data so that students can explore the nuts and bolts of Portus and the archaeological process.
On this course you will chart a journey from the Imperial harbour to its connections across the Mediterranean, learning about what the archaeological discoveries uncovered by the Portus Project tell us about the history, landscape, buildings, and the people of this unique place. Although the site lies in ruins, it has some of the best-preserved Roman port buildings in the Mediterranean, and in this course you will learn to interpret these and the finds discovered within them, using primary research data and the virtual tools of the archaeologist.
Largely filmed on location at Portus, the course will provide you with an insight into the wide range of digital technologies employed to record, analyse and present the site. In addition to the lead educators, our enthusiastic team of student archaeologists will support your learning.
So how about it? Shall we take a Roman archaeology class together?
On its website, Daegrad Tools of Sheffield, England offers an extensive list of papers on Anglo-Saxon tools. The papers are available for free download in PDF format.
New radiocarbon dating results have found that a Native American dugout canoe discovered in Lake Minnetonka southwest of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1934 is nearly 1,000 years old, making it the oldest dugout canoe ever found in Minnesota. It was thought to date to around 1750 and even though it was in excellent condition it wasn’t considered an archaeological superstar. That’s all changed now.
The canoe was discovered by Helmer Gunnarson and his brother Arthur when they were building an extension to their dock on the North Arm of Lake Minnetonka in August of 1934. It was a record dry year — the water level was seven feet below normal — and the shoreline had receded significantly. While sinking a dock piling 90 feet from the shore, Helmer and Arthur encountered an obstacle about a foot under the lake floor. At first they thought it was a log, but when they dug it out and dragged it to shore, they saw it was a dugout canoe. They noted it was in excellent condition, preserved by years under the silt and several feet of lake water.
The Gunnarsons reached out to the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Historical Society to examine the canoe, but wound up donating it to the Minnesota Archaeological Society, who generously gifted their father Gustave with an honorary membership in response. The MAS loaned the canoe for display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Minneapolis Public Library and exhibited it at the Walker Art Gallery along with some of their other artifacts. In 1961, they sold it to the Western Hennepin County Pioneer Association museum in Long Lake, Minnesota, who added it to the museum’s eclectic collection of artifacts including a moose once shot by Theodore Roosevelt.
It was in its display in a hallway of the WHCPA museum that Maritime Heritage Minnesota archaeologists Ann Merriman and Chris Olson first encountered the canoe. They secured a $9,000 grant from the state to radiocarbon date and study the Lake Minnetonka canoe and seven other canoes discovered in Minnesota. The study did turn up some bad news. The canoe has deteriorated over time. The ends are frayed and the sides lower than they used to be. There is a long crack that splits the craft’s entire 11-foot length, a crack that was not there in 1934 as historical pictures confirm. Fragments of wood have come off and litter the hull.
The good news is those fragments made sampling the wood for typing and dating a simple matter of picking up a few of them. The radiocarbon dating found the wood sample dates to 1025-1165 A.D., the Final Late Woodland Period of the Woodlands Culture. The report of the Maritime Heritage Minnesota study has now been published and can be read in its entirety here).
Now that the canoe’s true historical value has been identified, it must be properly conserved to prevent further deterioration.
In Long Lake, the canoe that once was relegated to a corner is now the museum’s centerpiece — fitting, since it’s about 6 miles from where it was discovered. The museum will rope it off and enclose it in a glass case with updated details about how rare and old it is.
It’s not just newfound fame for an ancient artifact but also for the small museum. Founded by pioneers 107 years ago, the nonprofit is housed in an old school building. It’s run by Ferrin and other volunteers, and admission is free when it’s open for four hours on Saturdays.
“It is [the main attraction] now,” Ferrin said of the canoe. “We hope it will draw visitors.”
I’ll add that I hope it draws lots of donations too, to ensure it can be kept in a humidity controlled environment and properly conserved for future generations.
Pay heed to the words of our new King!
From His Imperial Majesty:
Be it known that the children of the East are Our most precious
These young members are contributing to our Society now, as artists
We understand that there are times that our young members do not live
We greatly appreciate the efforts of every Easterner who works to make
In Service to the East,
Photo by Baroness Cateline la Broderesse.
Filed under: Tidings, Youth Activities Tagged: children, families, Youth
And it came to pass on 5 April 2014, AS XLVIII that Their Majesties Kenric II and Avelina II did leave the throne in favor of their heirs.
Thus Brennan Augustus and Caoilfhionn Augusta became Emperor and Empress of the Kingdom of the East!
The Greater Officers of state in attendance swore oaths of fealty to Their Majesties, as did the landed Barons and Baronesses, and the Viceroy of Ostgardr.
Their newly crowned Majesties processed from the hall as the historic Roll of Kings was sung. Soon after they sat in state for a time.
In triumph they came before the populace. His Majesty Brennan marched in with an impressive escort, followed by Her Majesty Caoilfhionn carried upon a litter and accompanied by an equally impressive escort.
Their highnesses of Æthelmearc, Tindal and Etain, as well as Their Majesties Acre, Damien and Tara, were invited to join Their Imperial Majesties in court. His Highness Tindal announced that the Sylvan Kingdom or Æthemearc would ally with the Kingdom of the East at the coming Pennsic War. His Majesty Damien presented, and together with Their Majesties, signed the historic Treaty allying Acre with the Kingdom of the East at the coming Pennsic War once again.
Einarr Njortharson, called Billyfish, was called before Her Majesty. He was thus named Captain of Her Guard, and called forth those who would stand in defense of Her person.
Their Graces Duke Gregor, Duke Edward, Duke Konrad for himself and representing Duke Andreas, and Duchess Kiena representing Duke Brion were invited before Her Majesty. All had been called upon to provide guards for Her reign, and those chosen were presented to Her.
Earl Kenric and Countess Avelina were called before the court. Their Majesties did invest them each as a Duke and Duchess of the Kingdom of the East. Both received Ducal Coronets and Cloaks, and His Grace Kenric a scroll by Eva Woderose. Her Grace Avelina received a scroll featuring illumination by Honig von Somerfeldt and calligraphy by Eva Woderose.
Lu An Hua was called before Their Majesties. She was made a Lady of the Court, and received an AoA with a scroll by Ding Li Ying Nu Shr, with words by Alayne Alexandra Nyvern Nightwatcher and Chinese calligraphy by Shr Ti Fun.
Devra Hanna bat Jacob was next called before Their Majesties. She, too was made a Lady of the Court, and received an AoA scroll created by Mergriet van Wijenhorst.
Cedric of Armorica was called before the Court. Heralded in by Aneleda Falconbridge, he received leave to speak to the populace in order to issue a challenge in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the same challenge offered prior to requesting the hand of his lady, Annastrina.
Antonio Patrasso was called into court by Her Imperial Majesty. Caoilfhionn Augusta presented him with a Queen’s Order of Courtesy, where he did receive a scroll by Isabel Chamberlaine, with words by Caoilfhionn inghean Fhaoláin. His Majesty Brennan Augustus presented Antonio with his own QoC glove, originally received from the hand of Duchess Jana.
Genovefa De Magna Villa was next called before Their Majesties. She was named a Lady of the Court, and presented an AoA with a scroll by Palotzi Marti.
Co-Autocrat for the event, Maerhild of Settmour Swamp, was called before Their Majesties. She was named a Lady of the Court, and presented with an AoA scroll featuring calligraphy by Kayleigh MacWhyte and illumination by Suzanne Nueber de Londres.
Engracia de Madrigal was next called before the Emperor and Empress. The Order of the Silver Rapier companions were called forth, and Engracia was thus awarded the Silver Rapier, receiving a pendant from Owynn Greenwood and a scroll featuring illumination by Camille des Jardins, calligraphy by Alexandre St Pierre, and words by Alys Mackyntoich.
His Majesty demanded the presence the Tyger Clerk of the Signet, Kayleigh McWhyte, in order that he might put an end to her impertinence in correcting Him when He addressed her as “Your Excellency”. She was named a Baroness of the Court, and presented a pair of scrolls. The first, in crayon, stated plainly – “Dudes, She Be a Baroness”. The second, a more formal scroll, was also received. Both were the works of Edward MacGyver dos Scorpius.
Thus closed the first court of Their Imperial Majesties, Brennan Augustus and Caoilfhionn Augusta. Long may they reign over the Empire of the East!
Don Malcolm Bowman
Eastern Crown Herald
PS – Thank you to the Heraldic staff for the day! Rowen Cloteworthy, Aildreda de Tamworthe, Ryan McWhyte, Thomas De Castellan, and Jehane de Fenwyk
Photos by Lord Hugh Tauerner and Baroness Cateline la Broderesse.
Filed under: Court, Events Tagged: coronation
Latin is alive and well at Students at the college are required Wyoming Catholic College where students and professors recently participated in Biduum Latinum, a Latin immersion weekend, where everyone spoke only Latin. KCWY News 13 has the story.
The State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia has just completed a project to digitize medieval and renaissance manuscripts from its own collection as well as some from the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. The manuscripts are available to view on the library's website.
Please share widely the following message from our new Queen, and if your group is hosting a Royal Progress event, you are encouraged to include this youth activity!
Unto the fine people of the East Kingdom do I, Caoilfhionn Augusta, send my warmest greetings.
Many times I see our children hard at work learning about crafts and pursuits medieval and ancient. I see them learning about heraldry, life in times gone by, clothing that was worn and why. I see then engaged in youth combat, archery, and fencing. All of these things are good and pleasing. It left me to wonder, though, what do we teach them of OUR society, how the SCA functions and thrives on the backs of the hard working folks who give of themselves their service that we all might live the dream.
Service comes in many forms, great and small, from holding a kingdom office or autocrating an event to washing dishes and moving benches. Every hand makes the work lighter, every link in the chain makes it stronger, and every “thank you” given I earnest makes us a little brighter and happier.
Thus, I created the Kids Service Initiative.
At every Royal Progress event (autocrats willing), we will have something of a service scavenger hunt. Each item has a number of points, from 1 – 4. Any child reaching 10 points by 30 minutes before court is scheduled to begin can turn in their sheet to the Royal Room (All checked items should have adult signature/initials). Their names will be called in court and they will receive a token of a bead from My hand. Every event shall have a different color bead so at the time that our heirs take the thrones, the children can have one or many.
Service items may be any of the following (depending on the availability of activities and autocrat permission at any given event):
1 Point (Only counts once for each. Multiple times doing same thing is not multiple points but greatly appreciated)
The above list is by no means exhaustive, and can be added to or built upon as we move along. You are free to write in an act of service if it is not on the event’s check-off sheet.
This program is designed for kids aged 12 and under, as it is our assumption that children over the age of 12 understand the gravity and nature of service already and would not require this type of incentive or game-based education (you find the fun aaaand SNAP! The job’s a game!). We would welcome the assistance of the older kids with this program if they wish to help out. It could be very rewarding for them, and would help the younger kids to be more eager about getting involved.
Lady Gautselin will be helping to coordinate this for me and will be the contact person for event autocrats.
This is a program that I am very excited about and I look forward to the participation of the Children of the East.
In Service to the Dream,
Filed under: Events, Youth Activities Tagged: children, service, Youth
From PBS Newshour: Brantley Bryant, associate professor of medieval literature at Sonoma State University, shares what he sees of The Canterbury Tales, the Morte d'Arthur and Beowulf in HBO's "Game of Thrones."
An archaeological survey on the site of future construction in Leicester, central England, has unearthed evidence of an Iron Age mint. More than 20 Iron Age coin molds have been discovered at the Blackfriars site since excavations began in January, so large a number that it strongly suggests the site was a mint used by the local British tribe, the Corieltavi, who had their capital at Leicester.
What makes this find particularly exciting is that Leicester is just 15 miles west of Hallaton, the village where a massive treasure including 5,296 British silver and gold coins, 4,835 of them from the Corieltavi tribe, was discovered in 2000. It’s the largest group of Iron Age British coins ever found in Britain. Roman coins and coins from other British tribes were also found at Hallaton, along with a Roman cavalry parade helmet, silver bowls, jewelry, the remains of 400 pigs and several dogs. The site was an open-air shrine in use between 50 B.C. and 60 A.D., with the valuables interred as offerings to the gods.
Given that the British coins found at Hallaton make up 10% of the total number of British Iron Age coins ever discovered, it makes sense that there would be a nearby source, like, say, a Corieltavi mint in Leicester. The molds don’t have reverse images to identify the kinds of coins struck. They were dated to the early 1st century A.D. thanks to fragments of high status pottery recovered from the ditch where the first coin mold was found.
The site appears to have been an enclosure in the British Iron Age. There were at least two distinct phases of Iron Age activity, followed by at least three phases of Roman activity. Most of the structural remains come Roman phases of occupation, starting with a residential townhouse. There are foundations and partial walls, no floors, but the remains of mosaic tesserae and painted plaster that indicate the house was highly decorated and therefore expensive. There was also a colonnade, as evidenced by surviving column bases. The walls were thick and supported by buttresses so it must have been a building of considerably size.
Inside the building evidence of burning and of a kiln over multiple floor layers suggest at some point this building was dedicated to industrial use, perhaps the production of roof and floor tiles. Several tiles have been found bearing the adorable signs of why they were discarded.
Nick said: “When tiles were made in Roman times, they used to get local clay and leave it out in the sun to dry and pets and animals used to escape across them leaving these kinds of imprints – it was quite a common thing to find.
“We’ve also found some floor or roof tiles with sheep or goat prints here as well.”
Much of the masonry and columns were lost over time, probably repurposed in the Middle Ages for construction of the Blackfriars Priory. There are several instances of medieval construction features cut into the Roman archaeology, plus the remains of medieval pottery and cesspits.
On April 5th in the Barony of Settmour Swamp, King Kenric and Queen Avelina received an unexpected visit in the court from an Irish seeress proclaiming the following:
King of the East! I speak your wyrd.
King of the East, I speak your wyrd.
King of the East, I speak your wyrd.
King of the East, your wyrd is spoken.
This visit was followed by a Roman oracle speaking the same words. Heeding the warning, King Kenric and Queen Avelina put their affairs in order and stepped off their thrones. They summoned and crowned their successors, Emperor Brennan and Empress Caoilfhionn, who then took the vows and assumed the symbols of the rulers of the East Kingdom.
The following are photos from Coronation. Our thanks to the photographers, Lord Hugh Tauerner and Baroness Cateline la Broderesse.
Filed under: Court Tagged: coronation
Leonete D’Angely is the Chancellor Minor of the East Kingdom. Her job is to work with families to integrate activities for children and families into events, provide experience for children to learn about the history, culture, and customs of the Society, and work with the youth combat and fencing programs to provided a well-rounded experience for the youth of our Society. Leonete is very familiar with the needs of youth in the Society, having been one of those youths for the first 11 of her 20 years in the SCA.
There seems to be a growing interest in families and children in the Society. Why?
Who is in charge of activities for families and children?
While having a warranted and background checked youth activities officer in every local group is a goal we as a kingdom are working towards, the reality is that often, especially in the outer reaches of our kingdom, there might not be such a gentle to run youth activities at an event. It is also true, that time and time again, youth, especially the older youth, let us know that what they really would like to get out of an event is the ability to participate in all activities, just like the adults do.
Do you have ideas for groups that don’t have a Chancellor Minor?
How would you suggest groups implement these ideas?
It is important to note that not every event needs to have the same level of family-friendliness, or even be family friendly. A tavern event, by nature, might not be designed for those under 21 to attend. An event based on a performance of Beowulf, or Shakespeare, where the main activity is to sit and watch a two hour play, much like a movie theater, may not be the place parents choose to bring their three year old. A Yule event in a shire with many children, or a kingdom level event that many gentles plan to attend, however, is a great place to use as many of these suggestions as might work for your site and event.
Is there anything else that it is important for people to know about activities for families and children?
Society has a background check policy for all persons in leadership and supervisory roles that may require contact with otherwise unchaperoned minors. If anyone is considering running a youth-specific activity (minors only), then they need to be background checked through the society and be on the Kingdom Youth Clerk’s roster. This isn’t required for someone running a family activity or an activity where children might be present as long as three or more adults are participating. Anyone who has questions should contact me. I’m happy to explain this in more detail.
Any other words of advice for people thinking about this topic?
Set aside an area in the main part of the event for families to hang out. Make sure that there are chairs for adults, and some blankets or other way to mark off the space. Label it clearly both at the space and at gate, as well as on the site map. If you have volunteers in your area who can provide some toys that are not glaringly modern, great, however, just the space is highly sought after by parents.
Work with your local group to put together a toy box that can be brought to events. Ask those who craft to provide wooden toys, felted balls, and cloth dolls to put in it. There is nothing like someone else’s toys to get kids excited at an event. Make sure the box and all the toys are clearly labeled with your local group’s name.
At a camping event, set out and label on your map a family friendly area with quiet hours that are earlier than the rest of site. Both families, and those who would like to stay up late and enjoy themselves will thank you.
If your event has space for it, a quiet room for parents to go for changes, nursing, downtime, or naps is a great resource. Label it a family room, and make sure to be clear that there is no supervision provided. Churches that have an infant room, or schools with lots of classrooms are great for this type of space at an event.
Make sure that your event has a family cap or family price. Even if it is equal to two adults and 3 or 4 children and not taken advantage of by more than a few, just putting the word family in your event announcement signals that you have put time and thought into welcoming families to your event.
Have a children’s rate at your event. Discounted rates for minors are not subject to the Non-Member Surcharge, which saves the average family $10 on the site fee.
Parents are more likely to take their children to an event that clearly has “wiggle room.” If an event is A&S based, and your site does not have space for a family room, expect that families with young children may not choose to attend. Outdoor sites in reasonable weather are much more family-friendly. When you are touring sites, think about the needs of your local group, and whether a slightly more expensive site with better amenities, might gain you more family attendance.
If you are running a fighting specific event, rope off and set aside a family viewing area, where kids and parents can watch the fighting from a safe distance, without tall people in the way.
If, in addition to these suggestions, you are also having formal children’s activities run by a warranted, background checked youth officer, do everything in your power to make sure that these activities are in a central part of the event. Time after time parents and children have made it clear that they would rather no activities than to be segregated from the main part of the event.
Whenever possible, label classes and activities with recommended ages. If an activity could be youth friendly, but not youth specific, label it in the site or class description as so. For example: Inkle Weaving: Suitable for ages 6-adult, however, those under 12 should bring an adult to help them, or Blacksmithing: Suitable for 14 and up, please bring a parent with you if under 18. This is an easy way to let families know that their children are welcome and will not be turned away. Make sure that you have at least 3 adults present at any class that children attend.
At an Arts and Sciences event, have a children’s choice award. The bead in a cup method of judging works best for this. Give each child a few beads, and have a cup or bowl at each A&S entry. If you want to use less bowls, color the beads. Blue for populace, red for kids, etc.
If your event has dancing, label the first half or full hour “Family Dancing Time” Teach simpler dances earlier, before kids start to tire out.
For any event that has a competition aspect, hold an adult-child version of the competition. Archery could hold a parent-child tournament with combined scores at the end. You could hold a family A&S competition, or an adult fencer and youth fencer could pair up and combine points in a tourney.
Hold a tourney where each fighter has a consort of a child between certain ages. Have the fighter present their “consort” to the royals or Baron and Baroness, and the winner of the tourney gets a prize for both themself and their “consort.”
Actively seek out teens in your local group to help with planning events and day of service. Most 13-17 year olds can participate fully in assisting in cooking or serving feast or dayboard, setting up halls, heralding, list-running, and other needs you may have during the event. Teens can help with gate, but they cannot be in charge. Please check with your local exchequer for specific rules on those under 18 working at gate, as they vary from group to group.
Groom younger members to serve as well. 8-12 year olds can serve at feast with some help/supervision, and are often incredibly excited to be asked to help. Talk to local parents about jobs that their child might be able/willing to do, which could help at the event. The key is to find a job that the child can do, that actually helps out, rather than causing more stress. Some examples could include: running messages across site, stringing site medallions, and providing water for fighters.
Work to find parent-child volunteer opportunities. At Pennsic, Lost and Found has always advertised itself as a great way to introduce your child to service, and often you can walk by and see toddlers “helping” Mom or Dad work. At an arts and sciences event, ask families to volunteer for shifts at the judging table. A 6 or 7 year old can count out voting beads while Mom or Dad explains the rules. An information table or tent can be manned by a family quite easily, and providing water to fighters can be a family task.
Filed under: Interviews, Youth Activities
The Province of Malagentia recently announced the schedule of classes for the Heavy List University event, being held this Saturday, April 12th in Eliot, Maine. Full details (including class times, event directions, lunch information, event location, and cost) can be found in the official East Kingdom announcement, or on the Malagentian website.
Classes include ‘Intermediate Sword and Shield’ (taught by Duke Kenric aet Eastseaxe), ‘Historiacal Polearm techniques’ (taught by Duke Vissevald Selkirkson), ‘Movement, Measure and Power in Armored Combat’ (taught by Duke Lucan von Drakenkalue), ‘Two Sword’ (taught by Master Julien de la Pointe), as well as classes taught by Sir Ankara Lig Niki, Syr Kyppyn Kirkcaldy, Baron Matthew Moraveous Avdenmork, Lord Tiernana, and Lord William Ravenhair. The day will also include a demonstration of historical cut and thrust techniques.
Filed under: Events, Heavy List Tagged: classes, events, heavy list, heavy list university, Malagentia, schola, unbelted, unbelts, university
The National Museum of Ireland has put together a wonderful video series based on their Viking Ireland exhibit. It’s a tour of Viking history in Ireland as seen through some of the artifacts on display. Each of the eight videos is short and eminently digestible, a sort of capsule history on topics like Viking swords and trade. It also makes you want to go to the museum something fierce, which is obviously the entire point, so job well done, National Museum of Ireland!
The first video is about the Viking battle axe. The stars are three axe heads found together in 2013 in a boat in Lough Corrib, Galway, that date to the 11th or early 12th century. They are three different sizes and, thanks to the survival of small parts of the cherry wood handles still attached to the axe heads and other wood fragments from the rest of the handles, researchers are able to hypothesize that the two smaller ones were probably wielded by one hand, while the largest was probably a two-handed weapon. They’re late enough in date that they almost certainly belonged to Irish warriors, not Vikings. It was the Vikings who brought the battle axe to Ireland. Before that they had axes tools, built heavy to help split wood, but the Viking weapons were designed to be light and sharp, with the maximum amount of cutting edge for minimum amount of weight.
Next is the Viking sword, a more expensive weapon than the axe and every warrior’s most prized possession. The video focuses on a sword discovered in the River Shannon near Banagher in 2012. It dates to between 925 and 975 A.D. The blade may be of German manufacture while the hilt was made in Scandinavia. The coolest part of the video is the X-rays of the sword which gave conservators information about which areas needed work and provided more details about manufacture like the use of silver wire in the hilt.
The Viking Wealth & Trade video has some neat shiny stuff like some pretty huge penannular brooches that were both status symbols for the men who wore them and a means of portable wealth. I loved the set of woven silver cones found in a cave in Kilkenny. They aren’t very heavy in silver so they were purely decorative rather than a potential source of bullion. They were probably attached and hung as tassel from the edges of cloth and worn by a woman.
It was Vikings who introduced coin to Ireland. Before they came Ireland was a barter economy, with cattle as the primary currency. The Vikings were introduced to coin by trade with the Byzantine Empire and Arabic merchants and by plundering the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms which minted coins starting in the 7th century. The video shows one of the first coins struck in Ireland, a silver penny from 995-997, struck in Dublin by King Sitric Silkenbeard.
The Viking Women in Ireland video is a little thin on details. You see some beautiful ornaments found in graves from pre-Christian burials — large oval brooches used to fasten straps of traditional Scandinavian pinafore with glass bead chains strung between them. The highlight for me is a whalebone plaque similar to the one unearthed in Lilleberge (see this post) which the British Museum speculated might be used for food service, but the National Museum of Ireland thinks were used in textile production, maybe to stretch linen or other fabrics, in conjunction with a glass smoother.
Arrival of Vikings & Beliefs is centered on remains and artifacts found in burials in Islandbridge, Dublin, the largest Viking burial site outside of Scandinavia. Featured is a skeleton buried with a sword and spearhead, one of the earliest preserved Viking burials in Ireland. There’s also a splendid collection of swords, axes, spearheads and bosses from shields excavated from the 19th century on. Islandbridge excavations are still making new discoveries, including early single-edged sword from the 9th c., a spearhead, ringpin and the human remains of male 18-20 who grew up outside of Ireland and came to the island a couple of years before his death.
The Irish & the Vikings video is about how the two cultures came together. The Vikings created an urban commercial culture with Dublin as the center of trade and manufacture, while the Irish remained rural and agricultural, living in small groups on crannogs and in ringforts. The presence of urban Viking settlements provided new markets for Irish agriculture, cattle, leather, wool. There are some fabulous surviving textiles in the video.
Despite their disparate living arrangements and cultures — the Irish spoke a different language, had different legal and political systems — there was significant overlap in the material culture as the Irish quickly adopted Viking weapons, tools, jewelry. Not to be missed at the 2:51 mark is the Hnefatafl gaming board, a Chinese checkers or draughts sort of game with pegholes in the board decorated in Viking style.
Also striking is the late 10th c./early 11th c. slave chain found near Ardakillen crannog in County Roscommon. There was slavery in Ireland before the Vikings, mainly prisoners of war, but the Vikings made it into a thriving industry. They set up slave emporiums in Dublin, tapping into a vast trade network that meant an Irish war captive could end up anywhere from Scandinavia to north Africa.
Daily Life in Viking Ireland looks at the two best preserved Viking settlements: Dublin and Waterford. Because the environment is water-logged, the most exceptional organic remains have been found, like bedding that is still green after 1,000 years. Through a scale model drawn from a Dublin excavation, you see the dawn of the European town design, the six different types of houses, the layout of streets and defenses. Artifacts show the daily life in these towns. Pieces of of walrus bone and tusks were worked there, and there was a huge amber trade. More than 3,000 pieces of Baltic amber from the Viking era have been found in Dublin, the second greatest amount of amber found in Europe.
It’s not just about Vikings and the Irish. There’s an amazing leather scabbard at the 4:13 mark that was made by an English man. We know this because he so generously engraved his name on it: Edric me fecit (Edric made me). Around 4:50 you get an awesome tour of tools — his own and ones for other trades — made by a Dublin blacksmith, including the earliest datable spurs and stirrups in Ireland.
Last but not least is the Legacy of the Vikings in Ireland. By the 10th century, the Viking settlers had intermarried with the Irish and the hybrid Hiberno-Norse brought together Viking and Christian design elements. The Crozier of Clonmacnoise looks like a stylized Viking horse head. The Shrine of the Cathach, a decorated gold box meant to hold a 6th century Irish psalter thought to have been written by Saint Columba himself, is inscribed with the name of its maker: Sitric Mac Maghe (no idea if I’m spelling that correctly), a Scandinavian first name and an Irish family name.
Then there’s the jaw-dropping beauty of the Cross of Cong, a processional cross from the 12th century that was created to hold a fragment of the True Cross. It’s an outstanding example of the late Viking Urnes art style which features stylized animals in combat with snakes symbolizing the battle of good against evil.
Legend says that the bluestones of Stonehenge were transported from a quarry in Wales to the site on the Salisbury Plain, but a new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science shows that the stones may actually have come from a site only three kilometres from the structure.