Court Report: Pennsic XLIV
Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy & Gabrielle II, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Their Majesties’ Court at Pennsic XLIV, spanning from 24 July through 9 August Anno Societatis L. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, with the assistance of Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope; Master Fridrikr Tomasson av Knusslig Hamn, Gullskel Herald; Baroness Ekaterina Volkova; Brehress Gwendolyn the Graceful; THL Gytha Oggsdottir; THL Sophie Davenport, Seedling Pursuivant; Don Po Silvertop the Rogue, Zule Pursuivant; Drotin Jorundr hinn Rotinn, Comet Pursuivant; THL Marcus Claudius Cincinnatus, Windmill Pursuivant; Lady Ariane Desiree des Cedres; Lord Pavel Dudoladov; Lord Arias Beltran del Valle; and Takamatsu-san Gentarō Yoshitaka.
Tuesday, July 28, at Watch Point:
Their Royal Majesties offered Their Thanks and deep appreciation to all those who volunteer at the Watch to help ensure the well being of the Known World as they are hosted on the lands of Æthelmearc. However, They had heard tell that one of Their subjects not only volunteers long hours during the war at the Watch, but comes the week before to help with the set up and then stays after for the tear down of Point. They then called before them Rhiannon of Ravenglass, and in recognition for all that she has done for Æthelmearc and the Known World did name her a Baroness of Their Court and Grant her Arms. Scroll by Maîtresse Yvianne de Castel d’Avignon.
Thursday, July 30, at the Camp of House Sable Maul:
Otto Boese was called before their Majesties, who had heard good words of his support of his Shire, growth on the combat field and his excellent talent in the arts, including great success in the novice Arts and Sciences competition at Ice Dragon. For this, Their Majesties made him a Lord and awarded him Arms. Scroll by THL Ismay Ponde upon wording by Count Sir Jehan de la Marche.
Mistress Julianna Delamere and Sir Gareth Kincaid were next invited before their Majesties. Sir Gareth spoke of the training of members of Sable Maul had received in heavy combat and the leadership of Mistress Julianna in preparing the house for combat archery and heavy fighting. For these things was she created a companion of the Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll by Master Jonathan Blaecstan.
Their Majesties then called for Lord Christian Goldenlok to attend them. Their Majesties delivered the news that despite his eponymous hair, earlier sitting in Her Majesty’s throne will prevent him from becoming Queen. They did, however, acknowledge his spirit of courtesy and good will to all in the Known World, and for this made him a companion of the Order of the Cornelian. Scroll by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova.
Their Majesties called forward Sir Gareth Kincaid, THL Ulrick von Swartzburg, Lord Arias Beltran del Valle, Lord Tiberius Hostilious Malous, Lord Christian Goldenlok and the newly-created Lord Otto Boese and presented each with baldrics recognizing them as those chosen to represent the Kingdom in the Champions’ Battles to be held three days from that date. They bade them wear the baldrics throughout the War so all would recognize Æthelmearc’s pride in its fighting forces.
Thursday, July 30, at the Camp of Syr Bear the Wallsbane:
Their Majesties first called for Ayla of Æthelmearc to appear before Them, who did so accompanied by her Lord Johann Wulfken. Word had reached Their Majesties’ ears of her helpful spirit assisting Ministers and Mistresses of the Lists and finding other ways to contribute to the Sylvan Kingdom, and for this they were moved to award her Arms and create her a Lady of their court. Scroll by THL Ismay Ponde upon wording by Count Sir Jehan de la Marche.
Both gentles returned to their seats, but before taking his comfort, Lord Johann was once again summoned before Their Majesties. They had heard of his fighting prowess, learning the ways of the sword as a squire to Syr Bear, and defending the kingdom on the field of Battle. To acknowledge his good works in combat, Their Majesties created him a member of the Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll by THL Ismay Ponde upon wording by Count Sir Jehan de la Marche.
Sunday, August 2, at the Allied Champions Battle:
Lord Tiberious Hostilious Malous was elevated to the Order of the Golden Alce for his prowess and leadership upon the heavy field, often commanding the army of House Sable Maul when Sir Gareth has fallen. Scroll by Mistress Juliana Delamare.
Sunday, August 2, at the Debatable Lands Party:
Lord Markus Skalpr Grimsson was named to the Order of the Cornelian for his constant courtesy, ready smile and kind demeanor. Scroll by Baroness Barbary Rose upon wording by Don Po Silvertop.
Alysoun of the Debatable Lands was Awarded Arms in absentia for her devotion to the arts of singing, wool spinning and sewing, and her service in recruiting new people to our Society. Scroll by Lady Eilionora inghean an Bhaird upon wording by THL Beatrice de Winter.
Lady Lasairfhiona inghean Faolan was inducted into the Order of the Golden Alce for her skill with both fencing blade and bow and arrow, and her devotion to the study and improvement of both. Scroll by Lady Vivienne of Yardley.
Lady Katheryn Täntzel was created a Companion of the Keystone for her service as archery marshal, setting up and running ranges so that others may improve their skills. Scroll illuminated by Lady Isabel Fleuretan and calligraphed by Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai.
Lady Verena Witkopf was elevated to the Order of the Keystone for her service in recruiting and garbing newcomers, as well as setting up and cleaning up at events. Scroll illuminated by Mistress Maria Christina de Cordoba and calligraphed by Baroness Alex.
Lady Ceindrech verch Elidir was named to the Order of the Sycamore for her scholarship in researching garb patterns, knitting and singing. Scroll illuminated by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope and calligraphed by Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen.
Baron Uilliam Mac an tSaoir was served with a Writ of Summons, that he should choose a time and place to sit vigil in order to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Pelican for his service to Barony and Kingdom.
Monday, August 3, after the Castle Battle:
THL Hrefna Ulfvarinnsdottir was summoned before Their Majesties to answer the summons They has served to her. She confirmed that it was still her wish to sit vigil and receive advice from the Peers and Populace of the Realm in anticipation of her elevation to the Order of the Pelican. Their Majesties then invited the Companions of said Order to join Them, and instructed them that, at the conclusion of the morning’s Court proceedings, they were to take custody of THL Hrefna and ensure that she find her way safely to the vigil prepared for her for that evening.
Master John the Pell presented himself before Their Majesties, once he had made himself acceptable to Their presence after the heat of battle. He confirmed that it was still his wish to be raised to the accolade of the Order of the Pelican. Master Wulfstan the Unshod, Master of Arms of the Kingdom of the East, credited John with teaching him nearly everything that he knows about honor and service, and for doing the same for countless others. Master Bedwyr Danwyn of the Order of the Laurel recalled when he first joined the Society and thought he would have to spend a lot of money, but John taught him that all he had to do was say “I can.” Countess Caryl Olesdattir of the Order of the Pelican cited John as the reason why she was the premiere Countess and Rose of Æthelmearc, as he had taught Earl Sir Yngvar and many, many others not only how to fight, but how to serve. Being moved by such testimony, Their Majesties created John the Pell a Companion of the Pelican and presented him with regalia of his new station: the Ancestral Pelican Medallion of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, a personal medallion and a cloak. Scroll by Lady Mairghread ni Stilbheard uu Coinn.
Tuesday, August 4, after the Rapier Village Battle:
His Majesty had a wonderful time on the field Monday in the Manor battle, even though we did not win it was a great battle and His Majesty is proud of the rapier army.
Their Majesties wished to be attended by Æthelmearc’s Rapier Co-Warlords. His Majesty noted that there was a certain lack in their number.
Their Majesties summoned Don William Paris to attend them. Their Majesties talked of the spirit and energy that Don William puts into the rapier community and how that inspires them. Their Majesties then summoned the members of the Order of Defense to attend Them. They then presented Don William with Æthelmearc’s fifth writ to the Order of Defense. Duke Christopher Rawlyns begged a moment of Their Majesties’ time, Duke Christopher took back the squire’s belt that he had given Don William as it is not proper to go into contemplation about becoming a peer in one’s own right thus committed. Words by Kameshima-kyo Zentarou Umakai.
Their Majesties then requested the presence of Contesse Elena d’Artois. His Majesty talked of how as He traveled the Kingdom prepping the rattan fighters for War he constantly saw Elena doing the same for the rapier community, this inspired His Majesty, so He wished to give her an Æthelmearc Award of Excellence. Scroll Illuminated by Lady Rowan L’Crotha with calligraphy by Duchess Liadain ni Dheidre Chaomhanaigh.
Theowyndwood has attracted the attention of many gentles, such that her acclaim has reached Their Majesties. Her work in the Rhydderich Hael is of the highest calibre, and her dedication to improving her skill with the rapier and with dance are things that Their Majesties wish to encourage. Thus they bestowed upon Theowynwood an Award of Arms. Scroll by Baron Caleb Reynolds.
Their Majesties had words for Jacob Martinson. His skill with and dedication to the art of the rapier has been spoken of much. His further dedication to improving his kit by learning to sew pleases Their Majesties. Thus they felt moved to Award Jacob Arms.
Lord Cyrus Augur was summoned to attend Their Majesties. His developing skill in the art of rapier and his pursuit of increasing accuracy in his fencing through study of period manuals has come to Their Majesties’ attention, for this They inducted him into the Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll by Baron Caleb Reynolds.
Their Majesties wished to speak to Lord Ciarian MacAlexandair. His Majesty spoke of the bravery that Lord Ciarian displays is the one arena that His Majesty dares not tread. That being the path of the exchequer. In addition to this Lord Ciarian also is a tollner and event steward in the College of Silva Vulcani, which is part of how the Society functions, thus Their Majesties inducted Lord Ciarian into the Order of the Keystone. Scroll by Baroness Helene al-Zarqa.
Lady Lucia Augur caught Their Majesties’ attention. She is well known for doing many deeds of service, she also was instrumental in creating the banners that decorated the hall at the Queen’s Rapier Champion Event. This pleased Their Majesties and so they chose to add her name to the rolls of Their Order of the Keystone. Scroll illuminated by Lord Theowulf fitz Renault and illuminated by THLady Anlaith ingen Trena.
Tuesday, August 4, before the Siege War Point:
Duchess Tessa the Huntress was inducted into the Order of the Scarlet Battery for her skill in combat archery, her service as combat archery marshal, and her leadership in battlefield inspections.
Baron Friderich Swartzwalder was named to the Order of the Scarlet Battery for his skill in and promotion of combat archery throughout the Kingdom, as well as his service as combat archery marshal.
THL Morien MacBain was served with a Writ of Summons that he might choose a time and place to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Pelican for his service within and without the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, including creating and leading the Paladin’s Pantry.
Tuesday, August 4, in the Great Hall, accompanied by Their Highnesses Magnus Tindal and Etain, Prince and Princess of Æthelmearc; Their Excellencies Uilliam and Constance, Baron and Baroness of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands; Her Excellency Sadira, Baroness of Thescorre; Their Excellencies Carolus and Isolda, Baron and Baroness of Rhydderich Hael; Their Excellencies Fergus and Helene, Baron and Baroness of Delftwood; Their Excellencies Ichijo and Cerridwen, Baron and Baroness of Blackstone Mountain; Their Excellencies Gunnar and Barbary Rose, Baron and Baroness of Endless Hills; and Their Excellencies Iago and Emilia, Baron and Baroness of St. Swithin’s Bog:
Their Majesties invited the children of the Kingdom to attend them, then instructed them to accompany THL Hrefna Ulfvarinnsdottir to the side of Court where Duchess Ilish O’Donovan had prepared a play area for them to occupy their time while the adults went about the dreadfully boring business of Court.
His Majesty presented Don Lodovick of Gray’s Inn with the banner that the Æthelmearc Fencing Army had won in the day’s battle in his honor, for he had injured himself and had been unable to join the army’s forces on the field.
Friar Jacob and Lord Damiano Vitaliae of Clan Cannall asked for a moment in Their Majesties’ Court to complete an previously agreed upon transaction: they had promised that Clan Cannall would devote their service hours and other War efforts to the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, in exchange for the honor of kissing the Queen’s hand. Queen Gabrielle, ever a woman of her word, offered her hand in thanks for the Clan’s generosity, and the transaction was completed before the Kingdom.
Mistress Kateryna Ty Isaf, Kingdom Exchequer, was invited before Their Majesties and asked to be released from her office. Master Tofi Kerthjalfadsson, her named successor, was invited to join Their Majesties in Court, and was invested with the title and responsibility of Kingdom Exchequer of Æthelmearc.
Lady Gwendolyn Blackthorne MacGriogair, lately of the Kingdom of Meridies, was brought forward and recognized with the Order of Excellence from the hand of the Queen for her generosity in creating garb for the Royal Princes and Princesses.
THL Jussi Laplein was created a Companion of the Cornelian, for he is always courteous both on and off the field of combat, both to his allies and his opponents, both to his friends and family and those he has just met. Scroll by Baron Caleb Reynolds.
Oribe Tsukime was Awarded Arms for her service as an autocrat and Minister of Arts & Sciences to the Shire of Nithgaard, and was further named to the Order of the Cornelian for her grace under stressful circumstances. Scroll by Countess Aidin ni Leir.
Amano Zenjirou, having just escorted his lady Orime-hime into Court, was asked to step forward as well, for he had also served diligently to the Shire of Nithgaard, as well as traveling to the nearby Shire of Abhain Ciach Ghlais, and thus Their Majesties were minded to Award him Arms. Scroll illuminated by Baroness Juliana Rosalia Dolce di Siena and calligraphed by Tiarna Padraig Ó Branduibh.
Kiersa of Vestfell was Awarded Arms for her service to the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn, assisting the Youth Minister and entertaining the populace with her musical skill. Scroll illuminated and calligraphed by Lady Astraya Royachevicha upon wording by Master Toki Redbeard.
Wilhelmina Marion Bodnar, ever serving in the background and recording the memories of others with her camera, was brought before Their Majesties and Their populace so that all could know of her good works and Awarded Arms. Scroll illuminated by Baroness Elizabeth Arrowsmyth and calligraphed by Tiarna Padraig Ó Branduibh.
Cecelia Rowan of Lothian was Awarded Arms in absentia, for she is constantly creating garb for herself and others, for serving as Royal Retainer, and for helping whenever she is needed. Scroll by Baroness Helene al-Zar’qa.
Ulfkell and Æsa were called into Court and Awarded Arms for their martial skills as heavy fighters and archers as well as their skill in gentle arts. Scrolls by Mistress Maria Christina de Cordoba.
Lady Alays de Gant was celebrated for her prowess as an equestrian warrior, as well as with a bow, both on and off of her mount, by being inducted into the Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll illuminated by Lady Maria Ariadne and calligraphed by Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai.
Lady Juliana Ravenshaw was elevated to the Order of the Golden Alce, for she is well renowned as a weapons thrower, marshal and teacher. Scroll in progress, words by Master Augusto Giuseppe de San Donato.
Lord Ru Cavorst, Kingdom Archery Champion, was created a Companion of the Golden Alce both for his skill with bow and arrow as well as his burgeoning skill on the fencing lists. Scroll by Herr Fridrich Flüßmüllner.
Lord Riobard Michael Padraig Timothy Seamus O’Suillebhain, affectionately known as Brother Bobby, was recognized for his service as tollner and herald, in the kitchens of Æthelmearc, as well as his jovial nature and entertainment of the populace, by induction into the Order of the Keystone. Scroll by Mistress Liadhain ni Chlereigh na Coille.
Fuji’na-dono no Takako was granted the honor of the scarlet and gold leaves of the Order of the Sycamore for the impeccable Japanese garb that she creates. Scroll by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova.
Baron Snaebjorn of Tavastland was elevated to the Order of the Millrind, not only for his years of service as marshal, Royal guard, cook and assisting with setup and cleanup at events, but also for the modest and unassuming manner in which he accomplishes it. Scroll by Lady Genevote Nau d’Anjou.
Lady Alfrun ketta was Granted Arms and created a Companion of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc, for she toils hard to research and teach many aspects of the life we strive to recreate. Scroll by Meisterin Felicitas Flüßmüllnerin.
Baroness Clarice Roan was praised and recognized for her diligence in the arts of cooking and haberdashery with membership in the Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc. Scroll by Countess Aidin ni Leir.
THL Ian Kennoven was also inducted into the Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc for his skill in the culinary arts. Scroll by Countess Aidin ni Leir.
The Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc also welcomed Duchess Liadain ni Deirdre Chaomhanaigh, for Their Majesties know well her talent with paintbrush and pen and decreed that Her Grace be counted among their number. Scroll by Baroness Helene al-Zar’qa.
Their Majesties requested the presence of Mistress Cunen Beornhelm, who presented herself before Them. They asked her if she had contemplated whether to receive the accolade of Knighthood, and she confirmed that that was her intention. Their Majesties called for testimony to Cunen’s worthiness from the Peers of the Known World. Countess Allanda de Warwick, Rose of Atlantia, called Cunen an inspiration to all women fighters who treats everyone with respect, courtesy and kindness. Viscount Dafydd ap Gwalchmai of the Order of the Laurel, from the Kingdom of Northshield, recalled her artistry with both sword and paintbrush, both of which she used to paint him black and blue. Master Orlando di Bene del Vinta of the Order of Defense, from the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, described Cunen as gentle, meek and humble, but with the heart of a mighty warrior. Master William de Montegilt of the Order of the Pelican, also from Æthelmearc, testified to her years of service to the scribal arts, and praised fighters for having to stand and take punishment where Pelicans can tell royalty that “you can’t do that.” Duke Cuán MacDaige, from the Kingdom of Atlantia, remembered with fondness his first Pennsic, where Cunen climbed under his shield and beat him to death. THL Gwydion of Arden, from the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, spoke for the populace of Cunen’s heart of gold and ever-present smile, and stated that if anyone deserved to be made a Knight, it is her. Viscountess Judith of Kirtland brought the words of Syr Bear the Wallsbane, 29th Jewel of Æthelmearc, who conceived the Jewel to be given to people like Cunen who should courtesy, gentility and humility. Countess Sir Fernanda de la Forêt, from the Kingdom of the Middle, stated that the Chivalry values strength, intellect, joy and control, all of which are qualities at which Cunen excels, and that the strongest testimony she could give for Cunen’s Knighting is that her opponents always want to fight her again.
Overwhelmed at the voices from so many voices across the Society, Their Majesties named Cunen Beornhelm to the Order of Chivalry. They adorned her waist with the traditional white belt, and her neck with the Ancestral Knight’s Chain of Æthelmearc. His Majesty then presented Cunen with a chain that had been worn by scores of Knights across the Known World: King Timothy of Arindale, Sir Strykar Geirhaldson, Sir Gaius Tascius Severus Fabianus, Sir Thomas of Calais, Sir Tnek the Ainissestor, Duke Bryan of Sacred Stone, Duke Ragnarr Blackhammer, Count Randal Sinclair Hawkins, Count Amos the Pious, Duke Cuán MacDaige, Sir Justus de Tyre, Sir Kieran Hunter, Sir William Shopp Ratt, Sir Iain Monlach, Sir Joscelin d’Outremer, Duke Bertrand de Flammepoing, Sir Aldrydd Ffestiniog, Count Guillaume Tomas le Lou, Count John Peregrine of Restormel, Duke Anton Tremayne, Sir Randall de Gloucester, Sir Ragnarr rifsbrjótr, Count Robert de Rath, Sir Otto von Schwartzkatz, Sir Rodrigo Falcone, Sir Christian von Nürnberg, Sir Johann Caldron, Duke Vladimir Ivanovich Aleksandrov, King Logan Ebon Woulfe, Sir Turgeis Hakonsson, Sir Theron Andronikos, Viscount Axel of Taavistia, Master Sir Bryce de Byram, Viscount Tojenareum Grenville of Devon, Countess Sir Fern de la Forêt, Sir Dafyd, Count Thorbrander Olafson, Earl Sir Knarlic Wulfherson, Duke Valhoric, King Havoric, Prince Tindal, Duke Malcolm MacEoghainn, Sir Havoc the Wild, Sir Alred, Duke Eliahu ben Itzhak, and Duke Finvarr de Taahe. They placed spurs upon her heels, and Sir Strykar Geirhaldsson gifted her with a sword. Cunen offered her Oath of Fealty and His Majesty dubbed her a Knight of Æthelmearc. Sir Strykar gave her the last blow she would receive unanswered, and words from a scroll in progress by THL Sophie Davenport were read.
Their Majesties recalled before Them THL Hrefna Ulfvarrinsdottir, who had sat vigil the previous night as instructed, received counsel from Peers and Populace as is tradition, and now came before Their Majesties prepared to become a Companion of the Pelican and a Peer of the Realm. Countess Alexandra of Clan Donald praised Hrefna’s smile and laugh as well as the iron will that lived underneath. Sir Andreas Hak, who was the first Historian of the Principality of Æthelmearc, testified to her diverse knowledge of all the martial arts of the Kingdom and Society, her diplomacy, and her willingness to travel as befits a Peer. Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta of the Order of Defense, recalled a young pup who joined the Shire of Sylvan Glen and watched Hrefna grow and come to the defense of her Shire by serving as officer and fixing emergency sitiations. Master Alastar Scott MacCrummin of the Order of the Laurel praised Hrefna’s service and ability to listen as arts. Maestra Teresa Gabriela de Montoya y Sevilla brought the words of Master Brian of Leicester of the Order of the Pelican, who recalled the formation of the Historian’s office and lauded Hrefna’s dedication to ensuring that the Æthelmearc of today will be remembered by future generations. THL Bera of Tavastland spoke for the people of the Kingdom in praising Hrefna’s service and graciousness. Their Majesties, being unwilling to withhold recognition in the face of such moving words from their Peers and populace, presented Hrefna with the Ancestral Pelican Medallion of Æthelmearc as well as a personal medallion and a cloak, and proclaimed her a member of the Order of the Pelican and granted her Arms by Letters Patent. Scroll by THL Marija Kotok.
Their Majesties summoned Their officers and convened Their Curia and announced the following:
The Society Board of Directors and Society Seneschal have given us a directive to bring Æthelmearc Kingdom Law into compliance with Society policy regarding Chirurgeons by August 10.
In order to comply with this directive, we are holding this emergency Curia and removing all mentions of chirurgeons from Kingdom Law.
All Kingdom Officers are hereby instructed to review their office policies and remove any references to chirurgeons or the chirurgeonate by August 10th, 2015 and report to the Royalty and Kingdom Seneschal when completed.
Curia was closed.
Their Majesties asked all those who had contributed to the scribal efforts of any scrolls given, or yet to be given, at the Pennsic War to stand and be recognized.
Wednesday, August 5, after the Novice Fencing Tournament:
After multiple attempts to summon Lord Luca di Lion before Them, Their Majesties finally found Lord Luca and delivered upon him admission into the Order of the Golden Alce for his skill with the blade. Scroll by Lady Genevote Nau d’Anjou.
Their Majesties sought out Don William Parris and inquired whether he had had the opportunity to contemplate elevation to the Order of Defense. Don William assured Their Majesties that, with the assistance of the Atlantian Vigil Village, he had held the field as is tradition, and was now prepared to receive the accolade. Count Sir Andreas Morgan recalled when he sat the throne of Æthelmearc, and he and his Queen Kallista were moved by Will’s pursuit of perfection to create him a Companion of the White Scarf, and he was impressed with Will’s continued improvement, teaching, leading, and glorifying both Æthelmearc and his family. Magariki-sama Katsuichi no Koredono stated that he had known Will since before he could walk, and now he was a man standing on his own, defending the weak, avenging those who deserve it, and behaving as a Knight would. Master Quinn Kerr of the Order of the Laurel recalled a conversation which included the phrase “Nothing lasts forever,” but he disagreed, saying that ideas live forever, and that it is the duty of a Peer to keep the idea of The Dream alive; a duty that Will is prepared to perform. Master Lodovick of Gray’s Inn of the Order of the Pelican praised William’s public service leading armies on the field, but also the service that most people don’t see, sitting at Commander’s meetings, volunteering as clerk, and many other things that make the workings of the armies so successful. Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta proclaimed Will a gentleman, scholar, soldier, and his inspiration. Their Majesties, being so moved to create Will the fourth Defender of Æthelmearc and grant him Arms by Letters Patent, presented him with a total of four livery collars, the Lineage book of the Order of Defense of Æthelmearc, and a cloak bearing the badge of the Order. Master William Parris then swore his Oath of Fealty upon his sword. Scroll in progress upon wording by Master Michael Alewright.
Wednesday, August 5, after the 10-Man Unbelted Melee:
Baron Vladisla Nikulich was presented with a Writ of Summons to contemplate elevation to the Order of Chivalry. Their Majesties, knowing well the large battle upon an open field that awaited the Æthelmearc Army hence, bade Baron Vladisla answer them no later than Friday morning.
Wednesday, August 5, in the camp of Clan Yama Kaminari:
Lady Isabel Fleuretan was created a Companion of the Cornelian for her constant attitude of sunshine and grace, and specifically her gracious demeanor in high-pressure situations.
Duke Sir Christopher Rawlyns was presented with a Writ of Summons to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Laurel in recognition of his pursuit of mastery of the art of creating authentic clothing. Their Majesties, knowing His Grace’s familiarity with the ways of Peerage, commanded him to attend Them at the Kingdom Party the next evening to answer Their summons.
Thursday, August 6, during the Pennsic Choir Concert:
Their Majesties called for Cedric, and praised his many years of participation and his musical skill as a tenor in the Pennsic Choir. With the permission of the Crown of Atlantia, of which Cedric is a citizen, they bestowed on him an Award of Arms. The scroll, by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope, was sung as a filk to the tune “Stella Splendens” by the directors of the Pennsic Choirs.
Their Majesties then called forth Lady Rachel Dalicieux and spoke of her skill in the art of music, directing the Children’s and Youth Choirs at Pennsic for the past three years, as well as her talents as a scribe and maker of stained glass and beads. They then called forth the Companions of the Fleur d’AEthelmearc and inducted Lady Rachel into that order, Granting her Arms. Scroll by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.
There was much rejoicing among the singers of the Pennsic Choirs for the recognition given to these good gentles.
Thursday, August 6, before the Æthelmearc Kingdom Party:
On August 6, 2015, Timothy and Gabrielle, Rex and Regina Æthelmearc, in open Court expelled Dan Heyman, known in the Society as Dan of BMDL from participation in any aspect of the SCA.
On August 6, 2015, Timothy and Gabrielle, Rex and Regina Æthelmearc, in open Court expelled Benjamin Thomas Seib, known in the Society as Pippin from participation in any aspect of the SCA.
Thursday, August 6, during the Æthelmearc Kingdom Party:
Lady Elizabeth Rosamund and Mistress Ælfra Long were recognized as having achieved the Thrown Weapons rank of Huntsman, with Lady Elizabeth having achieved a Royal Round average of 81.33 and Mistress Ælfra having achieved a Royal Round average of 83.33.
Lord Ian Campbell was recognized as having achieved the Thrown Weapons rank of Marksman, having achieved a Royal Round average of 102.67.
Duke Sir Christopher Rawlyns came forward and confirmed that if Their Majesties saw fit to name him a Companion of the Laurel, he would joyfully receive such an accolade. Duchess Morgen of Rye, spoke of patience, specifically, her patience whenever Christopher would discuss patterns over dinner or refuse to come to bed because he was sewing a new garment; she then went on to state that her patience paled in comparison to his studious pursuit of knowledge. Master William Paris, newest Defender of Æthelmearc, spoke of Duke Christopher’s constant guidance and inspiration of him, and how he inspires everyone who watches him with any weapon, including needle and thread. Mistress Illadore de Bedegrayne of the Order of the Laurel reminded Their Majesties that the Laurel is about both arts and sciences, that Duke Christopher embodied both, and that his true art is his passion to push scholarship forward and make the Society better. Their Majesties, knowing that Their populace wanted to resume their revelry, found it unnecessary to hear testimony from those Peerage orders of which Duke Christopher was already a member, and thus found that of the Lady of the Rose, the Master of Defense and the Mistress of the Laurel sufficient. They invested Duke Christopher as a Master of the Laurel and presented him with a medallion, a hood and a pin, all bearing the badge of the Order. A piece of promissory artwork by Minamoto Taikawa Saiaiko and words by Lady Isabel Fleuretan were presented in advance of a scroll to be completed by Mistress Roxanne de St. Luc.
Friday, before the Field Battle:
Representatives from the Mountain Confederation reaffirmed and renewed their contract of service to the Kingdom of Æthelmearc.
Katerina Vladislova was awarded the Order of the Silver Buccle for being helpful whenever and wherever she is able, most especially in the Kingdom’s kitchens.
Lord Bovi Davidsson was named to the Order of the Golden Alce for his skill with sword and polearm. Scroll illuminated by THL Renata la Rouge and calligraphed by Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai.
Lord Christian Goldenlok was inducted into the Order of the Golden Alce for his skill and eagerness on the heavy weapons field, always learning and sharing his excitement and knowledge with others. Scroll by THL Ismay Ponde upon wording by Count Sir Jehan de la Marche.
Baron Vladisla Nikulich was brought forth to answer the summons served him earlier that week. Viscount Sir Alexander Caithnes begged a moment in Their Majesties’ Court to remove the squire’s belt that he had placed about Vladisla’s waist, and with it his obligation and fealty to Viscount Sir Alexander. Being freed of these burdens, Vladisla stated that he was now ready to receive the accolade of Knighthood. Duke Sir Maynard von dem Steine and Duchess Liadain ni Dierdre Chaomhanaigh praised Vladisla’s skill at leadership, not only instructing those under his command but showing them how to improve. Duchess Dorinda Courtenay of the Order of Defense testified to Vladisla’s welcoming spirit, especially to those who fence even though he does not do so himself. Sir Aengus MacBain and Maîtresse Yvianne de Castel d’Avignon of the Order of the Laurel attested to his perseverance and inspiration in his creation of artistic boxes, and reminded him that his lady and daughter were instrumental in his reaching this achievement. Viscountess Judith of Kirtland and Viscount Syr Bear the Wallsbane of the Order of the Pelican spoke of his diligence, often being the first to arrive at an event site and the last to leave, dedicated both to the Society and to his family. Baron Sir Thomas Byron of Haverford and Baroness Sir Ariella of Thornbury named Vladisla a symbol that others follow. Duke Sir Malcolm MacEoghainn added that Knights are men and women of violence and courtesy, and that Vladisla iconified both of those. Their Majesties, being moved by this testimony, elevated Vladisla to the Order of Chivalry and Granted him Arms by Letters Patent. They then presented Vladisla with the ancestral Knighthood chain of Æthelmearc, along with a personal chain, spurs that had once belonged to Viscountess Rannveigr, a white belt and a cloak. Finally,They dubbed Sir Vladisla a Knight with the Sword of State and accepted his Oath of Fealty.
There being no further business, Their Majesties’ Court was closed.
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Filed under: Announcements, Court, En français
Researchers from the Academy of Sciences Republic of Sakha who performed a necropsy on Sasha estimate the baby was around one and a half years old when it (the sex of the animal hasn’t been determined) died. This was determined from the size of the skull which is the same as it would be for an 18-month white rhinoceros calf. Its age will be pinpointed with more accuracy when scientists take detailed measurements of the teeth.
Meanwhile, the initial necropsy has already pinpointed a probably cause of death.
Dr Albert Protopopov, head of the Department of Mammoth Fauna Studies, in Yakutsk, said: “The nasal passages of the rhinoceros were clogged with mud, so that we can say that most likely it drowned.” He explained: “Paleontologists believe that the mortality rate in babies of such large animals was very low. We will try to find out in the course of these research what killed this very rhino calf.”
The rhino is missing its midsection, but even so it’s exceptionally well-preserved. The front and back legs and most of its skin, covered with thick light grey hair, are intact. The head is in such condition Sasha looks asleep. The eyes, ears and tongue are all still there. The excellent state of preservation gives scientists confidence that they will be able to recover viable DNA for testing, a prospect that excites scientists all over the world who will be given the opportunity to study this unique specimen. Dr. Protopopov again:
“The DNA of woolly rhino is poorly studied indeed. This find gives us the opportunity to compare the woolly rhino with the modern rhinos and find out how far they are from each other on the evolutionary path.”
The University of California, Santa Cruz will analyze any DNA in the hope they can sequence the woolly rhinoceros genome and compare it to modern rhinoceroses. A plethora of Russian scientists will have a crack at the Sasha apple, as will researchers from the University of Amsterdam, the University of Groningen, the University of Leeds, the University of Bristol and the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota.
The Academy of Sciences Republic of Sakha were thoughtful enough to film the necropsy and release clips of it on YouTube.
Anno Societatis 50 seems to be a year of transitions for many of the Baronies of Æthelmearc. Of our Seven Pearls, five have or will soon have new Barons taking their thrones: Thescorre, the Rhydderich Hael, Delftwood, and Endless Hills have already had elections, while the Debatable Lands is getting ready to send out ballots. Mistress Sadira bint Wassouf was invested as Baroness of Thescorre in July when Baron Aquila and Baroness Bronwyn stepped down, marking the first of these transitions to be completed.
In light of these changes, Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope (who is a candidate for Baroness in the Debatable Lands, herself) asked current and former Landed Barons for their thoughts on what the job entails, including its rewards and its challenges.
WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF A BARON?
A wide variety of things are expected of Barons and Baronesses (hereafter shortened to “Barons”). While Kingdom law states only that Barons hold their baronies in fealty to the Crown and are required to report on the status of their barony at the start of each reign, custom dictates a more complex role. Barons are the link between the people and the Crown, because they serve both. Serving the people means being good role models, encouraging the populace in their endeavors, and recognizing those who excel. Serving the Crown means bringing deserving members of their Baronies to the attention of the Crown via letters of recommendation, building the Kingdom’s army in times of war and its artisans in time of peace, and enforcing the Kingdom’s laws within their baronies. The Barons of Æthelmearc also have traditions around the various Seven Pearls competitions (A&S and Bardic, along with martial championships), as well as a Baronial dinner at Pennsic for which each Barony takes a turn as host. In addition, Barons often reach out to the Shires around them to form communities of support with those smaller groups.
Baron Carolus Loke of Bae Blaidd Gwael, current Baron of the Rhydderich Hael, summed up the role of Baron this way: “Service, service, service. With a side order of pomp and ceremony.” More specifically, he says, “We are, in the strictest sense, empowered by the people we serve. It is our role to do several things: (1) Recognize the achievement of individuals in the barony thru our local awards, and advocate to royalty recognition thru kingdom awards for people in our Barony, people in local Shires, and in the kingdom as a whole. (2) Grow the barony. We assist the Chatelaine in making welcome any newcomers or anyone with an interest in the opportunities the SCA has welcome. (3) Organize. When there are good projects or work that needs to be done, we advocate and persuade and rally people to get things done.”
Baron Uilliam (Liam) macanTsaoire of the Debatable Lands says, “Being Baron and Baroness is mainly related to court and awards. Very often, you are asked for advice on matters inside the SCA, from fealty to what different offices do. On occasion, we serve as referee or intermediary in disputes.”
Baroness Geirny Thorgrimsdottir, former Baroness of the Rhydderich Hael, agrees but notes, “The behind the scenes work is just as important, [like] pitching in to set an example to the Barony that everyone should do their share. Another duty is doing all you can to support and encourage the Baronial officers in their job. Otto and I considered ourselves essentially officers, and so attended barony and officers’ meetings, acting in concert with the Seneschal and other officers. Another less pleasant task … was to mediate between parties with disputes. Many of these problems go away simply by enforcing the standard SCA chain of complaint starting with “Have you spoken to that person yet?” When faced with these situations you need to be scrupulously impartial. They also highlight another duty, to be aware of the laws and policies of your Barony, Kingdom, and the SCA.”
Baroness Helene al-Zarqá of Delftwood says, “We are responsible to the Crown for the lands we hold in fief for the Kingdom, and responsible to the populace whom we serve in the Crown’s name. Meaning, we let the Barony know what the Crown is doing/saying, and encourage them to become involved at all levels with everything going on. We also are constantly talking to the Crowns about what our folks are doing, and making sure they know who each and every person is. It does no good to say Billy is doing this phenomenal work, if they have no idea who Billy is.”
Baroness Sadira bint Wassouf of Thescorre has an unusual perspective. Although she was only invested as Baroness in July, this is her second time in the role; she and her late husband Master Saleem ibn Alefan ibn Iftakruddin served as Baron and Baroness of Thescorre in the mid-1980s. As a result, she is keenly aware of how things have changed in the intervening years. “One of the things I think that I need to do with help from many people is to re-organize record-keeping for my successors. There is a learning curve associated with having more members of the orders and doing actions on-line.”
WHAT DOES BEING BARON COST?
While being Baron is not nearly as expensive as being King and Queen, there are associated costs, and Barons typically are in office for much longer than royalty.
Baroness Barbary Rose of Endless Hills says, “Travel is probably the most expensive part of a Baron’s job. If your barony is in a remote part of the kingdom, it may cost more to get to events [than from other baronies]. This is where carpooling is a great thing! And you will need to travel – to visit your cousins in other baronies, to invite others to come to one of your events. If you wish for others to visit YOUR barony, you will need to visit THEIRS.”
Baron Liam agrees, saying that sitting the Baronial thrones costs him and Baroness Constance Glyn Dŵr “About $500/ year, the highest cost being travel.”
Baroness Geirny commented, “I believe the costs would vary greatly depending upon those occupying the Baronial seat. How many events do you normally attend? How much new garb do you feel you require? Our increase in expenditure was very moderate because we already attended a large number of events, and only made new garb for big occasions. I did buy a big pair of gold brooches to reflect my status as a wealthy land owner, though.”
Baron Carolus recounted additional potential costs, including new garb (plus fighting/fencing tunics for martial Barons) in the “home team colors.” He considers two events “must-go-to” events: Royal events (Crown Tourney and Coronation), and other Landed Barons’ Investitures. He notes, “Coronations and Investitures probably require a gift. For Coronation, we ask the populace to contribute, as do we. He also recommends that Barons plan to attend Pennsic, some events further away where Royalty is in attendance, and events at neighboring Shires, Dominions, and Cantons. He admits that he and his lady might go to these events even if they were not Baron and Baroness, but says “As Baron, we feel a little more push to attend.”
Baron Carolus further notes that “Depending on how you roll, a bigger vehicle is a real plus. Baronial pavilions, thrones, standards and flagpoles, and Barony baldrics for the populace gobble up room quickly.”
Some baronies may have funds set aside to help their Barons pay for travel and largesse, but that’s not common.
Baroness Sadira notes that costs are much higher than in the past because more travel is required now. “Since I am old, really hate camping except for Pennsic, and have vertigo, I will need to go to hotels more and use crash space on floors less.” She also feels that standards for court garb are higher than they were the last time she sat the avian throne. “What I wore before would not be “elegant” enough by today’s standards, so I am working on that and having fun. The cost is relatively low because I can make it myself or get help from my “personal tailor” (her daughter, Baroness Nuzha bint Saleem). On the other hand, she notes that communications costs are much lower than they were thirty years ago. “The first time, everything was snail mail and phone – and someone always waited until the Monday morning after an event to tell me what had gone wrong at the event. These issues could have easily been handled at the moment, but by Monday meant many calls, each having a time-based cost. Many things can be done by email or other electronic media which are being paid for anyway for modern life.”
Baron Ichijo Honen of Blackstone Mountain says, “Initially, our cost for garb was a bit high, in the $300-$500 range, due to the need for Baronial specific garb, but that settled down shortly thereafter. The travel costs, however, have been the big ones. I’ve spent around $10K per year on gas, lodging, food, and event fees.” This is mostly because Their Excellencies have a large truck that gets poor gas mileage, travel almost every weekend to events plus practices during the week to various parts of a far-flung barony, and of course because Blackstone Mountain is located on an edge of the Kingdom, so all of the other groups are proportionately farther away than for more centrally located baronies.
Baroness Emilia O’Madigan of St. Swithin’s Bog says it’s possible to limit the financial damage. “Cost is really dependent on many variables…some of which are under your control and others are out of your realm of control. Setting a monthly limit on out-of-town events, along with staying with friends or family for such events will help alleviate the expense.”
GIVING AWARDS AND HOLDING COURT
One of the things that sets a Barony apart from a Shire or Canton is that the Baron and Baroness get to give baronial awards. Like the Crown, most Barons count on their populace to provide recommendations, though it’s more typical that Barons know award recipients since they live in the same area and often see their subjects’ work in person.
All of the Baronies in Æthelmearc have Signet Officers on whom their Barons rely to arrange for production of baronial award scrolls. Everyone interviewed for this article agreed that it’s crucial to have a good working relationship with both their Baronial Signet and their Baronial Herald. Most baronies also give tokens or medallions with their baronial awards, so the Barons are always looking for donations of this regalia from their artisans.
Baron Liam said that in addition to recommendations from their people, he and Baroness Constance “Are always on the watch for members of the populace doing good works.”
Baroness Geirny agrees, and adds, “We also convened meetings of the baronial orders for advice and suggestions. Holding court requires a great deal of coordination beforehand. A good herald and scribal minister make all the world of difference. Ideally the scrolls get collected up as soon as possible so the heralds can have a chance to look them over before court. And you have to make sure you allot some time during the day to sit down with your herald and go over the docket. Even if you’ve prepared it in advance, there are often additions and other complications to account for.”
Baroness Emilia says, “This is where it is ideal to have an incredible team of Baronial members to support you. There is no way that you can be everywhere and seeing everything, so award recommendations are key. A reliable and dedicated Scribal Mistress is priceless and life-saving at times. We are very lucky in that aspect. The biggest advice we have for holding court is to be flexible. Know the docket and have general ideas planned for what you would like to say, but be ready for changes and mix-ups. The more relaxed you are, the smoother the experience is for everyone. Take some time prior to court to review everything with the heralds as they can be just as nervous as you are! Fun courts are nice…fun short courts are even nicer.”
Baroness Helene says having a loud voice and a good court presence is important. “Fergus and I are both theater people. Court is a stage, and we love it.” She and Baron Fergus also have another advantage over some of their baronial cousins. “Since we are both creative, we have personally made most of the award medallions we have given out. We also get some award medallions donated.”
Baroness Sadira notes that scrolls are given more often now than in the past. In her first term as Baroness, she says, “We did not give scrolls for our Baronial service award (the Raven’s Feather), just words and the token. Now, we also have awards for martial activities and arts. Thescorre has amazing scribes and artists who create lovely scrolls and tokens. Our Arts Officer facilitates getting them done. The scribes communicate well about wording, and we have talented wordsmiths among us!”
Baron Carolus commented, “Get really lucky and find a great herald and scribal head and this is really easy! Humor aside, be organized and plan one to two events ahead, communicate, always say please and thank you, and apologize when you drop the ball. It’s going to happen. Always remember the focus is on the person receiving the award, this is their moment in the sun.” He also notes, perhaps due to the challenges of the most recent Ice Dragon site, “I would have liked to explore technology (microphones) to allow for better acoustics.”
Baron Ichijo concurs that recommendations from the populace paired with his and Baroness Cerridwen’s observations help them determine who is ready for baronial awards. Regarding scrolls and court, he says, “We frequently send out a request for scroll blanks, and we have quite a few on hand, so it’s fairly easy to get them calligraphed for Court with enough warning ahead of time. As for award tokens, some we order, some we get from the populace themselves. Our preference is the ones the populace make.” Regarding court, he says, “It is an absolute thrill to be able to give awards to people who deserve them, and to be able to see their faces light up when you give them. Being heard is never a problem for me, as I’m loud when whispering, let alone talking. Cerridwen takes care to speak up during court, as she tends to be quieter than I am.”
Some Barons like to use humor during court to keep things entertaining, but Baron Ichijo notes that it’s important to keep things in perspective. “We try to keep a balance between entertaining and respectful. You have to break up a dry court, keep it interesting, but you always want the people you are giving awards to understand that you are sincerely appreciative and respectful of all that they do.” Baroness Geirny agrees, saying, “I personally feel there needs to be a balance between seriousness and camp. You don’t want it to be a total comic farce start to finish, but neither do you want people bored to tears. Interspersed moments of levity are grand, but shouldn’t take over.”
Baroness Sadira agrees as well. “One of the best pieces of advice I got when I first became Baroness was to be serious about awards, to choose words and actions to truly honor the recipient unless you are 100% sure that they WANT silliness. For some people, these awards may be the first – or only – award of their lives. It is important to honor the substance behind the award. On the other hand, I love improvisational theater, and there is room in court for schtick. So where there are pirates or mathoms or camels, silliness can add to the ambiance as much as pomp and circumstance. The key is the discernment of what to use and when.”
WORKING WITH THE BARONIAL SENESCHAL
Barons must work with their local seneschals in a relationship that can sometimes seem to overlap. Here’s how the Barons of Æthelmearc say they collaborate with their seneschals.
Baroness Helene says “With the two group seneschals we have worked with, we all have come to the agreement that we take the lead on “game side” issues, while the seneschal will take the lead on the “rules side” issues. We have found that you still need a great relationship with your seneschal to make sure that everyone is clear on if something is “game-side” or “rules-side.” Fortunately, we’ve had wonderful seneschals to work with.”
Baroness Sadira agrees that it’s important to keep the roles separate. “I see the seneschal as the legal representative of the group. The seneschals typically organize meetings and events, and I try not to meddle so that we are not giving conflicting messages. I take care of helping people to interact in positive ways. I have been a teacher and counselor for many, many years and that experience has helped with approaching conflict and controversy. Hopefully, by helping people develop better communication skills we can all enjoy our time together more and continue to learn and do our chosen arts.”
Baron Ichijo says “Your seneschal has the thankless duty of making sure that the things you want to do/implement are compliant with the Society, Kingdom, and Baronial bylaws, not to mention mundane law. Generally they are great at working with you, and it behooves you to heed their advice. They usually want to see the cool things happen too, they just have to keep in mind the consequences should things not be on the up and up.”
Baron Carolus brags, “We have the absolute best seneschal! We understand our different roles given by the SCA, and work together to help each other if we can. Not a lot of overlap, but that is driven by Kingdom and Society. We both understand what those roles/responsibilities are, and we don’t butt heads. Listening skill and communication are key. In this we are blessed.”
Baron Liam puts it another way. “I often say, we are the church, the seneschal’s office is the state. Our job is to make the game fun, the seneschal’s job is to create and manage the framework to make the game fun. That being said, we work together as much as possible to make it all fun.”
Baroness Barbary Rose indicates that Endless Hills has more overlap of responsibilities than other baronies. “We have to work with our seneschal to schedule Barony meetings and Curia, [get] event site approval, baronial purchases, and policy changes. It helps to be able to get along with your seneschal!”
FEALTY TO THE CROWN
One of the requirements for Barons is that they swear fealty to the Crown of Æthelmearc, usually at each Coronation. What does that fealty require of our local lords and ladies?
Baroness Emilia says, “It is our job to facilitate the whims of the Crown – to follow their edicts and commands – to serve them faithfully and humbly.”
Baroness Geirny says, “[The Baron is] the King & Queen’s eyes and ears, the person they’ve chosen (even if in practice that’s merely ratifying the results of a local election) to represent them. It means ensuring Their barony is running smoothly, that Their people are cared for, and coming to Their aid when needed, be that in recommending gentles for Kingdom honors in times of peace, or rousing the troops for War.”
Baron Carolus says it’s important to have open communications with the Crown. “My fealty oath means I will use my influence in the Barony to assist them in any way they ask, and in ways they imply. In the Barony, supporting everyone makes for a strong Barony, allowing all areas to grow. It also means always being “in character” in my interactions with them. At an event where it was raining, my lady took the umbrella I was holding and sharing and goes to cover the King. My reaction was ‘How did she think of that before I did?’”
Baron Ichijo says “[Fealty] is something I take very seriously. I gave up my squire’s belt to sit as Landed Baron. I have only one oath of fealty, although it is a twofold oath. I have an oath to the Crown, and through the Crown, to the populace of the lands we hold in fief. We work very hard to be faithful to it. As the Crown wishes, we take it as command. As our populace requests, so too, do we take it as seriously.”
Baron Liam looks upon fealty as a contract, as it was in the middle ages. “A wise former Baron and Baroness of the BMDL told us before we stepped up, ‘You are the voice of the people to the Crown and the voice of the Crown to the people.’ We as Barons and Baronesses are extensions of the crown and serve at Their will. Our fealty is necessary to fulfill that contract.”
Baroness Sadira sees fealty through the lens of her mundane cultural and ethnic heritage. “Fealty has an odd cultural context to me. I am actually half-Syrian, and Arabic people take ideas of family and name very, very seriously. If I were to call someone “sister,” it means that I take that relationship as deeply as a sister of my blood. So I choose my words very carefully. I offer what I will really give and the extent to which I will give it. The words will change with each set of royalty. And I will do what I say.”
Baroness Helene also takes her fealty to heart, saying that it requires her “To put the Kingdom and Barony first in all things – before self, before households, before friends if that is needed. It means to support what is best for Delftwood and Æthelmearc instead of what may be best personally for us. It means we have a responsibility to be the Baron and Baroness and thus the Crown’s representative to ALL of the people of Delftwood, regardless of our personal feelings towards any person in particular.”
Outside of the usual duties, each barony may have slightly different expectations for their Baron based on the size, culture, and makeup of the group.
Baron Carolus says it’s important to pitch in and set an example. “When we are done at an event, there are floors to sweep, dishes to clean, chairs to stack. Balance getting yourself packed with helping to clean up.”
Baron Liam, who rules the largest barony in Æthelmearc, notes “The Barony-Marche is nearly the size of some kingdoms in the SCA. As Baron and Baroness, we handle some amount of business nearly every day. In many cases, it becomes a little more than a part-time job.”
Baron Ichijo thinks of the Baron as a super-Chatelaine who needs to always be on for his people. “[I want] to make sure that everyone who interacts with me comes away from the experience with positive feelings about our Barony, its hospitality, and its atmosphere. I always try to be welcoming and entertaining, try to make people feel like they are at home, even away from home. This can sometimes be challenging if you are having a bad day, or feeling unsociable. No one can ever know these things. You must always have your game face on. It can be quite draining. Make sure that your retainers and closest confidants know when you need a moment, so they can try to run blocker for you. But always have your game face on when talking to people. You are the face of your Barony.”
Baroness Sadira says she is still adapting to the technology of the new era. “I am finally learning to ask for help. There’s also a lot more regalia to transport which is difficult from the perspective of packing space and lifting ability.”
What do the Barons of Æthelmearc think is the most challenging aspect of their jobs? This varies pretty dramatically by person and by group.
Baroness Helene finds time and logistics to be her biggest difficulty. “It is always a challenge to try to support everyone in what they are doing, and we find that we have to make tough decisions on where to go and what to do. It is hard to be everywhere at an event when multiple things are happening all at once – particularly at Pennsic. But even at local events, trying to see everything that is going on, and trying all the fun stuff that we can try, takes up most of the event.”
Baroness Emilia agrees. “The biggest difficulty would be the lack of time. Most times you are needed somewhere and there is never enough time to do everything or see everyone. Maintaining a balance between what is needed to serve your Kingdom, help your Barony, pursue a career, and be a good parent/spouse can be difficult.”
As an older Scadian, Baroness Sadira considers the changing of the guard from older members to newer ones a particular concern. “I believe that the older members need to figure out how to truly mentor new members and turn over the skills and information that they need to continue to provide the activities we love, especially in the area of event planning. We are in the process of setting up some conversations around these changeovers with the idea of perhaps putting some helpful hints into writing.” She also notes that these days there are more lifelong Scadians who started as children. “They are accomplishing wonderful arts, research, and service at a young age. Acknowledgement of their contributions and energy is essential so that they don’t burn out.”
For Baron Ichijo in Blackstone Mountain, remaining neutral in all internal Baronial affairs can be hard. “We must not take sides in any issue based on personal wants/feelings, but must always have what is best for the Barony in mind at all times. We cannot become embroiled in personal squabbles, in personality conflicts, or any other disagreements that do not involve Baronial business or well-being.”
Baron Carolus coyly comments that “The answer to that might cost you a few Angry Orchard ciders ;) In truth, It looks easier from the outside, harder doing it, like so many other things. Mundane life’s ups and downs will always color your life. We try to minimize that in the SCA.”
Baroness Geirny’s challenge was more personal. “Mine was asking for and accepting help. I tended to be too independent in ways that weren’t always conducive to the atmosphere we were trying to create. Letting other people carry my things, or recruiting sufficient retaining staff [were challenges. Otto’s biggest challenge was balancing being Baron and Kingdom Warlord at the same time. Taking on any other office while being a baron can be a strain for time commitment. It can be done, but one must account for both.”
For Baron Liam, being head of a large barony has its pitfalls. His biggest challenge is deciding who to give awards to and when. “You want to give everyone the awards they deserve as soon as possible, but, you also don’t want to make every court 3 hours long.”
Baroness Barbary Rose notes that “When we were first invested, our Barony had different factions that didn’t always agree. It was our personal mission to unite the Barony as one group. Some who didn’t agree with us did leave active participation, but one good thing that happened is that a previously-inactive group returned to active status. The working group we have now is industrious and busy, and we think, happy as a Barony.”
THE BIGGEST SURPRISES
Any new position is bound to come with some surprises.
Baron Ichijo says he was not expecting “How incredibly open, welcoming, and helpful the other Landed Baronage was when we stepped up. Without them, I don’t think we would have been as successful as we are, nor would the transition have been as smooth.”
Baron Liam was not expecting the job to be as much work as it was, despite having been squire to a former baron. “No matter what, there is always something else to do, and things you can’t get to right away.”
Baroness Barbary Rose was surprised that many gentles from outside her barony recognized her and Baron Gunnar at events, even out-of-kingdom. “Another surprise for me was how a chance random comment created The Tyrant of Endless Hills (me) and has produced songs, Facebook memes, and endless schtick. We get a lot of mileage out of that random comment,” she laughs
Baroness Geirny says she and Baron Otto “Were both surprised, and to be honest pleased, with how much influence we actually had with the officers and populace of the Barony. A strong Baronial presence can color the entire tenor of the group, and so is a power that should be wielded as wisely as possible.”
Baroness Sadira has been surprised by the greater pageantry now compared to her last stint as Baroness, especially with the 7 Pearls competitions. She’s also been surprised and impressed by how technology has made things easier, while at the same time adding to her responsibilities. “Now, polling lists are all on-line. Facebook, barony and kingdom lists, and email take a much larger amount of time to maintain – and writing has always been very hard for me. Issues can get handled faster – and can get out of control at the speed of electricity.”
Baroness Helene and Baron Fergus were surprised at how much time being Baron and Baroness took up. “All of a sudden, our events were filled with ‘duties’ – which, while fun, would not be what we originally would have done. On a positive note, we were met with an incredible amount of support and love from our people. I was surprised by how many people looked to us to fit their mold of how a Baronage should present themselves, and by the number of people who have told us that we have been doing great.”
Most of the Barons cited being able to reward people for their good works as the best part of the job, but there are other cool things about being a landed baron as well.
Baroness Emilia says, “Being able to spotlight your Barony or Barony members is very rewarding.”
Baron Liam says, “You get to be the people to give someone their first award or give someone who has been in the society for a long time an award that they weren’t expecting. You get to recognize people for the good things they do, and it’s awesome.”
Baroness Helene notes, “The most rewarding part is being present when the Barony comes together to do something amazing, be it court in a hospital room, being part of the event where about 2/3 of the people attending (most of them local) dressed according to the theme, showing off the skills of our people at the annual Baronage dinner, or being part of an event that is wholly about another cause but so many people show up in garb to support it. We can’t take credit for it, but we get to really brag about it!”
Baroness Sadira enjoys watching the faces of award recipients as she speaks the words of honor in a court. “I am truly blessed to be able to do this again. I had never been elected to anything in my life before I became Baroness in 1985. To be elected a second time is an even greater honor!”
Baron Ichijo agrees, saying “It is also very rewarding to be up front, whether in our own court, or a Royal Court, to watch their faces when they finally get recognition for what they do. Hands down, that has got to be the most rewarding part.”
Baron Carolus looks at the bigger picture, saying it’s “People we have met, without question. Incredible acts of service to us and to others, and of perseverance. It’s also a very cool seat at Courts!”
Baroness Geirny’s reward is more personal: “The affection of the populace. Otto and I were Baron and Baroness eleven years ago and still have people share fond memories of our tenure with us. It’s intensely gratifying.”
When one becomes a landed Baron, typically any other fealty relationships are modified or severed, so squires, protégés, etc. usually return their belts to the peers in order to avoid fealty conflicts. Barons who have personal households may also need to change their relationships with those groups of friends.
Baron Liam was squired to Sir Alonzio of the Peacemakers and a member of his household before becoming Baron. He says, “When you wear the Landed Baronial Coronet, you cannot be in fealty to anyone but the crown. You hand back your belt to your Knight/Pelican/ Laurel, It is difficult to give up those things and the relationships involved. The best part is you have those people you were in fealty to as advisers when needed.”
Baroness Geirny notes that “This is something on which gut feelings vary from person to person and each have their own beliefs and motivation. It was in fact an issue for Otto and I the first time we ran–unsuccessfully– in the Baronial election. Neither of us were members of active households, but Otto was a squire. I believed that if we were to win, he should relinquish his belt. My reasoning was as Baron, he would be required to swear his fealty directly to the King & Queen, and that as his fealty would represent that of his Barony, it wasn’t fair to split that homage between his King and his Knight. Otto, however, felt that his relationship with his knight and his personal fealty were separate and different from that of his role as Baron. In the end, the disagreement was settled because his Knight, Sir Yoshina, agreed with my stance on split fealties, but was rendered moot as by the time we won an election, we were both already peers.”
Baron Carolus says, “This did not affect me, as I was not belted, [but] I do understand Isolda’s decision to return her belt, and the emotions that were involved. We belong to a household, and its members are very supportive of us. We worked hard to make the household a non-factor in anything we did.”
Baroness Sadira notes that relationships other than peer-associate changed when she became Baroness. “When Saleem and I were Baron and Baroness in the 80’s, we did not have retainers or champions. The atmosphere of the Barony in 1985 was kind of fragmented, with folks thinking that there was a lot of favoritism in positions like Exchequer, Seneschal, marshals, etc. In reality, opening up Business meetings to the populace rapidly disabused people of this notion since so very few people wanted to run for positions of responsibility. But because of the sensitivity to “favoritism” we chose not to add to the perception by having a household, retainers, etc. This time, it is much easier to interact with barony members. People have been very gracious and accommodating about taking on roles and responsibilities either for an event or for long-term service. I need to stay mindful, however, to be sure that people have opportunities to serve – or to choose not to – as they need to depending on changing situations in life.”
Baroness Helene says, “Fergus and I believe that no person can serve two masters. This was not a problem for Baron Fergus because he was not a formal student. I, however, chose to be released from my then household and to terminate my cadet/apprentice relationship. This way, it was clear that we both were dedicated to Delftwood and to Æthelmearc.” Regarding her relationships with other people in her Barony, she says, “This is a difficult question. There were some people who changed their attitude towards me because I now wore a coronet, but it might also have been my different attitude towards everyone else. Part of the role and our responsibility is to bring greater attention to the people in the Barony. This sometimes requires putting aside ego to support the greater whole. We also have felt more responsibility to act as guides towards newcomers.”
Æthelmearc Kingdom Law specifies a number of rules regarding how Barons are chosen and who is eligible to become Baron and vote in Baronial elections. The law allows a fair amount of leeway for each barony to choose its policies to suit the barony’s populace and their culture.
Here are the basics required by Kingdom Law:
Many Baronies have term limits, with each term usually being three or four years. In most baronies, the Baron and Baroness can run for a second term, though in many groups those are considered “extensions” and are for shorter periods, like one or two years. Some Baronies have maximum times of service; for instance, Thescorre’s Barons may serve for a maximum of nine years with an initial three year term and multiple one- or two-year extensions based on votes of confidence of the populace. The Bog’s barons may not serve two consecutive terms but can run for baron again after a break. The Debatable Lands is the only Barony in Æthelmearc that has no term limits on its Barons.
Restrictions on Candidates
All baronies in Æthelmearc require that candidates for the office of Baron be residents of the Barony, age 18 or older, and paid members of the Society.
Endless Hills has some of the most restrictive requirements for candidates: they must have a 12 month prior residency and SCA membership, and to be nominated, a petition signed by at least 5 gentles who are SCA members and eligible to vote must be presented to the Baronial Officers. Barons of Endless Hills are also required to attend specific events, both baronial and royal progress, as well as baronial meetings and an annual baronial curia.
St. Swithin’s Bog similarly requires candidates to have been paid SCA members for one year prior to the election, and also to state their willingness to travel and take on the costs of the office. The Bog also requires candidates to have submitted a name and device to the College of Heralds (a requirement that was once in place for entrants in Æthelmearc’s Coronet and Crown Tournaments as well, but has since been removed). Bog candidates must also send a letter of their intent to run to the baronial chronicler be published in the baronial newsletter, with a copy to the Crown.
In Thescorre, all nominations for Baron must be seconded and candidates must accept nomination, while in Delftwood, interested candidates send a letter of interest to the officers. In Blackstone Mountain, candidates also send a letter of interest, which must include their reason for wanting to be baron.
In the Rhydderich Hael, nominations are made in person at a Barony meeting, and cannot be made by someone not physically present at the meeting. However, the nominees do not have to be present. Nominations must be seconded.
In the Debatable Lands, nominations are made by the populace, either via mail/email or at a Barony meeting, and do not need to be seconded.
Most groups give the nominees anywhere from a week to a month to accept or decline their nomination for Baron, but in the Rhydderich Hael, nominees only have 48 hours to decide.
Several Baronies do not permit certain officers, like the Seneschal and Exchequer, to run for Baron unless they step down from office first.
Restrictions on Voters
All Baronies require voters to be residents of their Barony and paid members of the SCA. St. Swithin’s Bog has “Non-Resident Membership” option for people who live outside the Bog’s zip codes but have petitioned to become residents and been approved by the officers. Such gentles can vote in baronial elections and hold baronial office in the Bog. The Debatable Lands allows voters who do not meet the voting requirements to petition the selection committee for a waiver permitting them to vote.
The Debatable Lands requires voters to be at least 17 years old, but the waiver option also applies to the age limit. St. Swithin’s Bog similarly has a minimum voting age of 17, but with no waiver option. The other baronies do not specify a minimum age, so the Kingdom default of 14 applies.
Most Baronies have their Seneschal run the election for Baron. Only the Rhydderich Hael and the Debatable Lands have a Selection Committee comprised of some number of the baronial officers who run the election.
Each Barony has a slightly different method of counting votes. Some baronial election policies are vague about how voters choose their preferred candidates; the implication seems to be that subjects vote for their single preferred candidate and the candidate with the most votes wins, even if that’s a plurality rather than a majority of the votes. However, the Rhydderich Hael, Thescorre, and the Debatable Lands use variants on what is sometimes called an “Australian” ballot, where voters rank the candidates in their order of preference rather than choosing a single candidate. In the Rhydderich Hael and Thescorre, these placements have a point score associated with them (top preferred candidate gets as many points as there are candidates, 2nd preference gets the number of candidates minus 1, etc.), and the candidate with the most points wins. In the Debatable Lands, ballots are counted by placing them in piles based on the candidate ranked first. If the candidate with the most ballots does not have over 50%, the smallest pile of ballots is redistributed to their 2nd place candidate, and the process continues until a candidate has more than 50% of the ballots.
Several baronies allow voters to cast a “negative” or “unacceptable” vote for candidates; in the Debatable Lands and Delftwood, candidates who receive too many negative votes may be eliminated.
Blackstone Mountain requires all ballots to be returned to the Baronial Seneschal by mail, and does not accept hand-delivered ballots.
Baronial policies are available at the links below:
In the Salisbury Plain three kilometers (1.8 miles) from Stonehenge lie the banks of a “super-henge” known as Durrington Walls. It’s super because of its sheer size: 500 meters (1640 feet) in diameter, 1.5 kilometers (one mile) in circumference with a surrounding ditch 18 meters (59 feet) wide with an outer bank 40 meters (131 feet) wide. Heavily eroded, the outer slope of the ditch and inner slope of the bank form a ridge that is one meter (three feet) high at its highest points; the ridge is the “walls” of Durrington Walls. It was built around 2,600 B.C. in the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age.
Using the latest and greatest ground penetrating radar technology, the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape project has found that underneath the bank is a row of up to 90 standing stones, 30 of which appear to be intact and are as much as 4.5 meters (15 feet) high. Others are broken or missing, the latter identified by huge foundation pits. Even incomplete and unexcavated, this is the largest stone monument ever found in Britain.
At Durrington, more than 4.5 thousand years ago, a natural depression near the river Avon appears to have been accentuated by a chalk cut scarp and then delineated on the southern side by the row of massive stones. Essentially forming a C-shaped ‘arena’, the monument may have surrounded traces of springs and a dry valley leading from there into the Avon. Although none of the stones have yet been excavated a unique sarsen standing stone, “The Cuckoo Stone”, remains in the adjacent field and this suggests that other stones may have come from local sources.
Previous, intensive study of the area around Stonehenge had led archaeologists to believe that only Stonehenge and a smaller henge at the end of the Stonehenge Avenue possessed significant stone structures. The latest surveys now provide evidence that Stonehenge’s largest neighbour, Durrington Walls, had an earlier phase which included a large row of standing stones probably of local origin and that the context of the preservation of these stones is exceptional and the configuration unique to British archaeology.
This new discovery has significant implications for our understanding of Stonehenge and its landscape setting. The earthwork enclosure at Durrington Walls was built about a century after the Stonehenge sarsen circle (in the 27th century BC), but the new stone row could well be contemporary with or earlier than this. Not only does this new evidence demonstrate an early phase of monumental architecture at one of the greatest ceremonial sites in prehistoric Europe, it also raises significant questions about the landscape the builders of Stonehenge inhabited and how they changed this with new monument-building during the 3rd millennium BC.
Archaeologists believe the stones were toppled and the later henge whose earthwork remains are visible above ground built on top of them. The former standing stones became the awkwardly flat southern perimeter of the Durrington Walls henge. Here’s a digital model of the standing stones as they would have looked when they still stood that fades into the later bank.
That C-shape is familiar. Remember the stone circle found on Dartmoor that was the southernmost point of a crescent formed by other stone circles? The Dartmoor stones fell around 4,000 years ago, so the circles and the henge could well have been contemporaries.
Lastly, here is an extremely adorable picture of one of the magnetometer surveys in the area.
To the People of Æthelmearc, Greetings from Fridrikr and Orianna, Kingdom Ministers of Arts & Sciences.
As part of the Kingdom A&S Champions event, we will be holding a competition to find the Kingdom A&S Champion. As we haven’t run this competition in this way before, we’re sure that folks have lots of questions. We’ve drawn up a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) and answers. We’re sharing this list here. We hope that many of you will choose either to enter or to help out with judging at this event.
When & where is the event?
Who can enter the championship?
Do I have to be at the event to enter? In other words, can I enter by proxy?
What is face-to-face judging? How will it work?
How long will I be required to stay with my entry?
Speaking of entries, what are the rules about entries?
What other requirements are there for entries?
What criteria will the judges be using when they judge my entry?
I see that you want me to pre-register my entry. Why is that?
Can I enter even if I do NOT pre-register?
What prizes will be given?
Let’s say I’m NOT entering, can I still display my work at the event?
Who will be the judges?
Where can I find pre-registration forms?
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade, served a total of 32 years in prisons and insane asylums for transgressions that by the standards of ancien régime aristocrats were comparatively modest. His first prison stay (two weeks in 1763) in the donjon of the Châteaux de Vincennes was the result of a prostitute complaining not that he had abused her, but that he had engaged in and forced her to engage in blasphemies like stomping on a cross and cursing God.
The second time he was arrested his victim was a destitute widow named Rose Keller who he had promised a job as a housekeeper. When she arrived at his home in Paris, there was no housekeeping job waiting. Instead, de Sade forced her to strip, whipped her and locked her in a room from which she escaped a few hours later. She also claim he cut her buttocks with a pen knife and poured sealing wax in the cuts, although when she was examined two days later the authorities found no cuts. For this crime he was imprisoned for seven months in 1768, before being banished to his family estate in La Coste, Provence.
The third incident ultimately sealed his fate, but only because it pissed off the one person he should have taken special care not to piss off: his mother-in-law, Madame la Présidente de Montreuil. On June 23rd, 1772, de Sade had his valet Latour hire five prostitutes in Marseilles. The seven of them spent the morning whipping each other and having sex in various configurations. None of that was in any way remarkable. What went wrong was that the marquis tried to persuade the women to eat aniseed candies coated in Spanish fly. Only one of them ate any, but a sixth prostitute he hired that evening ingested several. Both of them became ill, with the evening shift women who had eaten the most becoming so violently ill that the last rites were administered.
All six of the women were questioned by the police and a warrant was issued for the arrest of the Marquis de Sade and Latour for poisoning and for sodomy (with each other). The marquis was tipped off that the cops were after him again, so he fled to Italy taking his wife Renée-Pélagie’s sister Anne-Prospère de Launay with him. Sade was then 32; Anne-Prospère was just nineteen years old, 11 years younger than her sister, and was a secular canoness of the Benedictine community in Alix. La Présidente had fished her son-in-law’s overactive chestnuts out of the fire every time before this, but the seduction of her youngest daughter crossed a line that could not be uncrossed.
Sade and Latour were tried in absentia, sentenced to death and burned in effigy. The marquis and his sister-in-law/lover traveled under assumed names to various cities in Italy for a month before Anne-Prospère left him and returned to her sister and mother. Because he was nothing if not reckless, Sade wrote to La Présidente mentioning that he was in Savoy. She promptly alerted the Savoyard authorities and the marquis and his valet were arrested and imprisoned in Fort Miolans. They escaped four months later and returned to La Coste where Sade’s unbelievably loyal wife protected him from her mother’s wrath and kept him just out of reach of the law’s long arm.
After five years on the lam, he was lured to Paris on a pretext and arrested. He was imprisoned in the Château de Vincennes in 1777. It was the beginning of 13 years of imprisonment because even though his sentence was overturned on appeal in 1778, his formidable mother-in-law had obtained a lettre de cachet, the controversial means by which the king could order someone jailed without charge or trial indefinitely with no possibility of appeal, against him. Even when the liberal reformist zeal of the 1780s freed hundreds of disgraced debauched nobles imprisoned by lettres de cachet, the marquis was not among them. The official in charge read his letters for signs of repentance and found the polar opposite. Sade never did know when to keep his mouth shut.
His first forays into prison literature were revisions of Italian travel notes, later published as Voyage d’Italie. He began to write verse plays a couple of years into his time in Vincennes. This was his original literary dream, to be a respected playwright. He wrote to his former teacher and lifelong friend Abbé Amblet in 1784: “It would doubtless be a great pleasure for me to see my works played in Paris and if they were successful, a reputation for being a man of intellect might perhaps lead people to forget my youthful trespasses and would in some way rehabilitate me.”
Sade was an incredibly prolific correspondent and wrote 20 plays during his imprisonment. When his long-suffering wife Pélagie and Amblet didn’t gave less than glowing critiques of most of them, the marquis eschewed verse and drama and turned his attentions to pornographic prose. He kicked off his new literary pursuit in high style and in a new location. On February 29th, 1784, he was dragged naked out of his cell in Vincennes and moved to another prison on the other side of Paris, a little place you might have heard of called the Bastille. It was there that he began to write what he would consider his masterpiece: The 120 Days of Sodom.
To ensure this vomit-inducing catalogue of violent horrors and sexual depravity (I couldn’t get past the 9th day and it’s a walk in the park compared to what comes after) was not confiscated by his jailers, Sade wrote it in the tiniest of handwritings on sheets of paper five inches wide. Once he’d filled in a page, he’d glue it to the next page so the whole manuscript could be rolled up tightly and hidden in a crack in the wall (one biographer says he hid it in a dildo). He wrote for three hours a night over 37 days, producing a working draft of 250,000 words. The scroll was 39 feet long.
He intended the finished work to be twice or three times longer, but for unknown reasons he never did complete it. He certainly had the time. The Marquis de Sade was imprisoned in the Bastille for five years. He was abruptly transferred, naked again, from the Bastille to the insane asylum of Charenton on July 4th, 1989, 10 days before the fortress was so famously stormed. This too he brought on himself by yelling “They’re killing prisoners in here!” out of his window to the disgruntled crowds below on July 2nd. His precious scroll was left behind in the transfer and he assumed it was destroyed for good after the storming of the Bastille. In a 1790 letter to his steward Gaufridy, Sade said he shed “tears of blood” over the loss of of this manuscript and all his other writings (plus the expensive furniture, paintings and his library of 600 books) and blamed his poor wife for not recovering his belongings from his cell when she had 10 whole days to get it done.
His first transit in Charenton lasted only a year; he was freed in 1790 when the French Revolutionary legislature abolished the lettre de cachet. He was elected to the National Convention that same year and served until he was arrested in late 1793 during the Reign of Terror for “moderatism.” Sade was freed seven months later in July of 1794 after the execution of Robespierre. Then Napoleon came along and he wanted a piece of the marquis too. In 1801 de Sade was arrested and imprisoned. Two years later his family had him declared insane and got him transferred back to the Charenton asylum where he would live out the rest of his days until his death in 1814.
Many of his surviving papers and writings were destroyed by his son Donatien-Claude-Armand after his father’s death. He was the first in a long line of de Sades to repudiate their notorious ancestor’s writing and to erase all obvious signs of their family connection to him. They stopped using the Marquis de Sade title or even the first name Donatien for 300 years. (The current family has reversed the trend. They make significant bank off their notorious ancestor and the heir to the title is named Donatien.)
Although de Sade died believing his magnum opus was gone forever, in fact The 120 Days of Sodom had been found in its hidey hole by one Arnoux de Saint-Maximin who took it home with him two days before the storming of the Bastille. Eventually it was acquired by the wealthy Villeneuve-Trans family and it remained in their hands for three generations until it was sold in the late 19th century to Berlin psychiatrist Dr. Iwan Bloch, who published the first edition in 1904, 119 years after it was written. Bloch used the pseudonym Eugène Dühren to keep the censors off his case and printed 180 copies replete with transcription errors. Bloch emphasized that he was publishing the book because of its “scientific importance … to doctors, jurists and anthropologists” and compared its anecdotes to those recorded by pioneering psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing who was the first to popularize the term “sadism” in his seminal work Psychopathia Sexualis.
The manuscript stayed in Berlin until 1929 when it was purchased by Maurice Heine at the behest of Viscount Charles de Noailles and his wife Marie-Laure who was a direct descendant of de Sade’s. Heine published a new version in three quarto volumes from 1931 to 1935 available to subscribers only. This is considered the authoritative version because it is free of Bloch’s transcription errors.
The original scroll remained in the possession of the Vicount and Marie-Laure’s daughter Natalie de Noailles until 1982 when she entrusted it to someone she thought was a trusted fried, publisher Jean Grouet. He turned out to be a con man who told her it had been stolen while he smuggled the manuscript out of the country to Switzerland where he sold it to erotica collector Gérard Nordmann for $60,000. Natalie sued and in June of 1990, a French court ruled that the manuscript was stolen and should be returned to the Noailles family. Nordmann just ignored the French judgment and since Switzerland at that point was not a signatory of the UNESCO convention, Noailles had to sue again in the Swiss courts. The dispute was ongoing when Nordmann died in 1992. In 1998 a Swiss federal court found that it was lawfully acquired because Nordmann had acted “in good faith.” I mean, the Noailles had reported the theft to Interpol and everything. Why even have laws against theft if legal title can be transferred based only on the buyer’s supposed state of mind? Absurd.
Anyway, it went on display for the first time in 2004 at the Martin Bodmer Foundation library and museum near Geneva. Nine years later, Nordmann’s heirs decided to sell the manuscript to a French collector. The Bibliothèque Nationale de France geared up for a fight, raising more than $5 million to purchase the scroll. The money would then be divided between the Noailles and Nordmann heirs, a necessary step because the manuscript would be confiscated as soon as it crossed the border into France unless the people French courts declared the legal owners were part of the deal. Negotiations fell through and a year later, in April of 2014, it was bought by Gérard Lhéritier, founder of Aristophil, a company which owned the world’s largest private collection of manuscripts (including Napoleon and Josephine’s prenup), for seven million euros ($9.6 million).
Lhéritier put the unfurled scroll on display at his private Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in Paris and proposed to donate it to the Bibliothèque Nationale after five years. The library didn’t respond immediately to his overtures. Seven months later, anti-fraud officers raided the Paris headquarters of Aristophil and freezing all the company’s accounts forcing it into insolvency. The firm appears to have been a giant Ponzi scheme built around its historic document collection.
Lhéritier invented a new way to sell in his niche market. For the past 11 years, he has been actively purchasing valuable documents such as the manifesto of Surrealism by André Breton, Louis XVI’s will or Napoleon’s wedding certificate. He offered them for sale, divided into hundreds of shares. Clients were told that, after five years, Aristophil would buy back their share with at least a 40% interest payment. Here was the catch, claim the investigators: the clients thought the company was guaranteeing the payment; in fact, there was no obligation of the kind in the contract.
But in fact, the company has always done so, winning the confidence of 18,000 investors, who in the past year alone paid €160m for a share of the action. According to the judge’s order, of which The Art Newspaper has a copy, this was made possible only by launching new sales, so that new investors paid those selling their shares.
In March of this year, Gérard Lhéritier, his daughter, his accountant and a prominent Parisian bookseller were indicted on charges including fraud, money laundering, creating false accounts and embezzlement. In August, a court in Paris ruled that the vast Astrophil collection was to be sold as the company was completely insolvent.
And so it seems The 120 Days will be on the move again. Lhéritier denies all the charges and says the entire case is a government conspiracy to get its greedy mitts on his collection. Honestly, I hope it is, because otherwise those 135,000 documents will be scattered to the four winds unless the Bibliothèque Nationale de France’s director Bruno Racine manages to get the whole lot of them declared national treasure, which I expect he’s working on right now. At least the iconic The 120 Days of Sodom manuscript is certain to qualify. Then for the first time it will belong to the country which imprisoned its author under two kings, one Committee of Public Safety
This month I want to talk about safety on the range.
Here are some do’s and don’ts that will make your day safer.
Now for the don’ts.
Enjoy the rest of the season, hope to see you at at Archers to the Wald! As always, shoot often, shoot safe, and have fun….
THLord Deryk Archer
Archaeologists excavating Sveta Nedelya square in Sofia, Bulgaria, have discovered a hoard of 2,976 Roman coins in a clay pot with a lid. It’s the largest Roman coin hoard ever found in Sofia, but that’s not the only exceptional thing about this find: the clay pot has a name scratched on its side. The vessel contains 2976 silver denarii from the 1st and 2nd centuries, the earliest from the reign of the Emperor Vespasian (69-79) and the latest from the reign of Emperor Commodus (177-192). There are coins bearing the faces of every Antonine emperor — Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius — and their wives, daughters and sisters — Sabina, Faustina the Elder, Faustina the Younger, Bruttia Crispina and Lucilla.
It was hidden under the floor of an ancient public building and we know who buried it, one Selvius Callistus who had the presence of mind to scratch his name on the pot perhaps to prove ownership should it be disputed when he returned to collect his treasure. Unfortunately these tiny photographs are the only ones I could find and they don’t show the name. Usually that would be a deal-breaker for me — I discard potential stories all the time if there are no good pictures — but I’ve written about a great many coin hoard finds and this is the first one with a name carved on the vessel.
EDIT: Still no shots of the name, but here are some decently sized pictures of the find courtesy of Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova’s Facebook page. Now that I can see them properly, the coins soaking in that blue solution give me the willies. They’re all scrunched together in the foot of what looks like a trifle bowl. Surely cleaning them one at a time, or at least in a tray where they aren’t rubbing against each other, would be more appropriate treatment for 2,000-year-old coins.
Founded by the Thracian Serdi tribe in the 8th century B.C., the city that would become Sofia was called Serdica. It was conquered by the Romans in 29 B.C. who renamed it Ulpia Serdica. Thanks to its location just south of the Danube frontier at the crossroads of several trade routes, the city grew to prominence within the empire. When Diocletian divided the province of Dacia Aureliana into two parts at the end of the 3rd century A.D., Serdica was awarded the status of municipium, the administrative center/capital of the new province of Dacia Mediterranea.
For a short time between 303 and 308 A.D., Serdica had its own imperial mint. The Thessalonica mint had been shut down and its employees moved to Serdica to operate the new mint. Although it was only in operation for five years, the Serdica mint was important while it lasted. Coins struck there bear the mintmark “SM” for sacra moneta (sacred money or mint) which means it was one of very few mints where gold solidi were produced. Most mints struck regular coinage marked “MP” or moneta publica.
The city prospered under Roman rule, even as the Goths and Capri devastated the former Roman province of Dacia north of the Danube (modern-day Romania) in the 3rd century. It was razed by the Huns under Atilla in 447 A.D. during his second campaign against Theodosius and the Easter Roman Empire but was rebuilt a century later by Byzantine emperor Justinian I. In 550, Justinian’s cousin Germanus was based in Serdica where he was assembling an army to wrest Italy from Gothic control. Before he could leave, he had to fight the invading Slavs. The Battle of Serdica was a great victory for the Byzantine Empire, although it only delayed the inevitable a little while.
The hoard and vessel are currently being conserved at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences’ National Institute of Archaeology. They are expected to go on public display on September 17th at the official reopening of the Sofia History Museum in its new location, the restored Central Mineral Baths, a beautiful Vienna Secession style building constructed in the first decade of the 20th century which was a municipal bathhouse until 1986 when it fell into disrepair and was closed out of concern that the roof might collapse on bathers.
UPDATE: There is now an iamaethelmearc FB page:
As SCA memes go, we love this one! Post your own photo with wording to Facebook, and make sure to use the hashtag #iamaethelmearc in your subject line. Here are just a few from today – what a great way to “meet” people in our Kingdom! We suspect that when you type the hashtag into the search box in Facebook tomorrow, there will be a lot of new faces!
Another summer of severe drought has dropped the water level of Poland’s Vistula river to just 16 inches, creating what is basically a vast archaeological buffet table through the middle of Warsaw. Three years ago when the Vistula was 24 inches deep it was already the lowest level since recording began in 1789, and archaeologists were able to recover a trove of marble and alabaster architectural features looted from the city’s Royal Castle by Swedish invaders in 1656. More pieces of the Royal Castle are being recovered now, but that’s not all.
Other items to emerge from the Vistula this summer include pieces of bridges and boats, as well as ceramic objects dating as far back as 700 to 400 BC.
They include obelisks and bases of columns that likely came from Warsaw’s Kazimierz Palace, which was built in the 17th century and is today a Warsaw University building.
Last week archaeologists were able to recover pieces of two destroyed bridges. One of them is the Poninski Bridge, a wooden pontoon bridge built in 1775 that was supported by a line of 43 boats spanning the river. It was burned on November 4th, 1794, on the orders of Thomas Wawrzecki, leader of the Kosciuszko Uprising against Russian occupation. (Its leader and namesake, American Revolutionary War hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko, had been captured and imprisoned by the Russians a month earlier.) The Russians had just broken the Polish lines on the outskirts of Warsaw and massacred 20,000 civilians in the suburb of Praga. Wawrzecki hoped that disabling the bridge would keep them reaching the left bank of the Vistula and taking Warsaw proper.
The tactic failed. Wawrzecki and what was left of Poland’s army retreated and Russia took Warsaw unopposed. Russian General Aleksandr Suvorov had the bridge temporarily repaired a few days later. Poninski Bridge was fully repaired by April of 1795 only to be destroyed again in November of 1806 by the allied Prussian and Russian forces retreating from Napoleon’s army.
The other bridge is the Poniatowski Bridge, originally built between 1904 and 1914. Just a year after it was completed, the bridge was severely damaged when the retreating Russian army exploded four of its eight spans to hamper the German army on its heels. It was reconstructed in the interwar period only to get blown up again this time by Nazis during the Warsaw Uprising on 13 September 1944. The Germans went ahead and blew up all eight spans, leaving only the piers still standing. Archaeologists have retrieved parts of the stone benches that were once on the bridge.
Two weeks ago the wreck of a Soviet bomber was unearthed from the black muck of the Bzura River, a tributary of the Vistula. The wreckage was moved to the Vistula River Museum in nearby Wyszogrod. The instrument panel, engine, one wheel from the landing gear and radio equipment were recovered, the radio in good condition. Inside they found fragments of a uniform, a parachute, a sheepskin coat collar from a bomber jacket, fragments of boots, heavy ammunition and a Soviet semi-automatic TT pistol.
While the plane was too twisted and torn by the crash for the model to be identified, based on the winter gear and some of the markings on the plane, museum experts believe it may be a bomber witnesses saw shot down in January of 1945, when the Red Army was pushing the Nazis back towards Berlin. The Russian Embassy believes the bomber and its crew might be identified from numbers on what’s left of the plane. Remains of the pilots were found and the embassy hopes they can be identified for proper burial.
The lowering Vistula continues to reveal Jewish tombstones thought to have been stolen from the Brodno cemetery during and right after World War II and used to line the banks of the river. Another artifact found may also be connected to the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto. It’s a freight wagon of German manufacture that historians believe was used to transport rubble from the Northern District of Warsaw which was razed after the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Master Remus Fletcher reports on music happenings at Pennsic:
Did you know that there were over 30 European Music classes taught at Pennsic? These classes included everything from music Pre-1200 to Singing in Foreign Tongues. There were also singing and instrumental workshops and performances. Artisans’ Row featured Musicians Day, a hands-on demo were people could show off their instruments and jamming, or otherwise promoting instrumental music. The main stage hosted the Performing Arts Afternoon Series: European Music Exhibition that previewed musical performances and classes that would occur later during the War.
One of my interests is Loud Band. In the SCA a Loud Band is normally comprised of double reed shawms, and rauschpiefes accompanied by sackbuts (period trombones).
Military bands and Town Musicians known as the Waits played Loud Band instruments. Period musical instruments are divided into two types Bas Instruments and Haut Instruments. Bas instruments are the quieter instruments that are normally used indoors like the recorders, crumhorns, virginals and lutes. Haut referred to loud instruments that are more suitable for outdoors. Wolgemut, a popular performance band at Pennsic is a Loud Band. The Pennsic Great Hall has poor acoustics and the sound of recorders gets lost in the din. Loud Band instruments are used to provide processional and fill music for Æthelmearc Court.
Pennsic is one of a handful of events in the modern world where you can get over a dozen people to from a Loud Band. The others are Early Music Festivals and Waits conventions in Europe. Pennsic even has an A&S tent on the battlefield that is known in the music community as the Loud Band Tent.
Mistress Deona von Aachen who has led the Pennsic Loud Band for many years has handed it off to Master Robyn Solarius. Master Robyn held two classic Loud Band sessions and two Period Brass Band sessions for cornettos, an instrument played with a trumpet type mouthpiece and fingered like a recorder and sackbuts. Mistress Rufina Cambrensis also held a Loud Band Sensitivity class. It was run as a Master Class with one person on a part with discussions on how to improve playing and performance techniques. Several “Instrument Petting Zoo” workshops were also held for people to try instruments and discuss how to correct problems with instruments they already own.
While music may be my interest, there are many other classes and workshops taught at Pennsic. Next year, look through the Pennsic book or Pennsic University website; you may find a class or three that interests you.
Any questions? Contact Master Remus at email@example.com
All photographs in this article were provided by Master Remus.
Each year in April, Medieval Mdina returns to Malta to offer a variety of entertainments, "from battles and skirmishes to sword fights, live music, falconry displays and historic re-enactments." A number of groups participate, as detailed in a feature story from The Times of Malta. (photos)
On October 27th, 1902, the steamer SS Ventnor left Wellington, New Zealand, carrying the mortal remains of 499 Chinese miners. It was taking them to Hong Kong where they would be transported to China’s southern Guangdong province, the birthplace of the 499 dead, so the remains could be reburied in their native soil in accordance with Chinese custom. New Zealand had recruited Chinese labourers to extract gold from mines that Europeans had already worked to near exhaustion, and despite the passage of draconian exclusion laws, the Chinese community grew. Choie Sew Hoy, a wealthy Dunedin merchant and leader of the Cheong Sing Tong, arranged for the repatriation of the bodies and when he died suddenly a year before the ship’s departure, his remains joined the others on board the SS Ventnor.
A day after its departure, the ship struck the shoals near the coast of Taranaki and was damaged but seemed to be capable of limping its way to Auckland. It was not. The Ventnor took on water and sank on October 29th. The crew and a half-dozen Chinese passengers tending to the remains managed to scramble onto four life boats. One of the four capsized killing all 13 people on board, including the captain and third officer.
The tragedy caused great distress in the Chinese community of New Zealand and in Guangdong. Choie Sew Hoy’s family offered a reward of $25,000 for the recovery of his remains, but the heavy coffins held in the cargo of the ship could not be retrieved. The Tong hired another steamer that searched for remains without success. A few coffins stored on deck did float ashore where the remains were buried with respect by the Maori of the Te Roroa and Te Rarawa tribes.
While the general area of the wreck was known, the precise location of the ship wasn’t discovered until 110 years after it sank. The Ventnor Project Group (VPG) found the wreck 15 kilometers (nine miles) off the Hokianga Coast with sonar in 2012 and later divers confirmed its identity. In April of 2014, divers returned to the wreck and recovered a few artifacts: a ceramic plate, the ship’s bell, a lamp holder, a porthole and the ship’s telegraph. At the time, the organization thought the artifacts could be given to a museum in Guangzhou, but the New Zealand Chinese Association (NZCA) was vocally opposed to the idea because of how significant they were to the Chinese community in New Zealand.
The NZCA was also concerned that the wreck site was in danger from looters, so it worked with New Zealand Heritage to fast-track protection of the site. All sites from before 1900 are automatically accorded protected status, but the Ventnor was just outside that dividing line. New Zealand Heritage quickly gazetted the site, protecting it under the provisions of the Historic Places Act 1993, making it illegal for anyone to interfere with the wreck in any way.
Now the question is what to do with the artifacts removed from the shipwreck before it was protected. On Monday New Zealand’s Ministry of Culture and Heritage published a notice on their website and in newspapers asking that claims of ownership be submitted to the ministry.
New Zealand’s Ministry for Culture and Heritage invites submissions of claims for ownership and/or possession from parties who may have an interest in some or all of the objects. We also invite submissions from parties who are not claiming ownership and/or possession but who wish to make submissions for consideration regarding the future care of the objects whether by them or by another party. Submissions should be received by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage by 23 November 2015.
It seems to me that the only people with a legitimate ownership claim to pieces of the Ventnor would be the owners of the ship, but as far as I could find, the Glasgow-based shipping company is no longer in business. Perhaps it has legal corporate descendants. Even so, I doubt they’d want to take an old porthole out of the context where it has such profound meaning. The NZCA plans to make a submission to the ministry with the goal of creating a traveling exhibition. The government reserves the right to make a claim as well. Once the claims have been submitted and the deadline expires, the Chief Executive of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage will decide who gets custody of the artifacts.
KRM Announcement Regarding Two Handed Rapiers / Annonce du Maréchal d’Escrime du Royaume Concernant les Épées à Deux Mains
Filed under: Announcements, En français, Fencing Tagged: announcements, rapier, two handed rapier
The East Kingdom Awards Overview (created by Tola knitýr) has been updated to reflect the addition of the Order of Defense and the Order of the Golden Lance, as well as several name changes.
Other Award Resources
How to Write an Awards Recommendation by Queen Avelina II
Filed under: Court Tagged: awards, chart, resources
For over 20 years, archaeologists from Preservation Virginia have been working to find out how settlers lived and worked around the 1607 fort at Jamestown, Virginia. Recently, the team has concentrated on a pit or cellar built adjacent to the wall of the fort. (photos)
Did you know that, since then, thousands of students, ranging from new participants through experienced veterans, have been inspired to try a new craft, have refined previously-learned skills, and have increased their knowledge of the Middle Ages and Renaissance?
And did you know that hundreds of instructors – well over 400! — have shared their passions with those students?
Did you know that YOU could be one of those instructors?
It’s true! You don’t have to “be somebody” to teach a class! All you need to get started is an idea and a few minutes online to register here. (Followed, of course, by planning and preparing your class!)
First-time registrants provide basic information such as SCA name, modern name, contact information, and home group.
Every instructor must also provide the following information: class title, description, class length, class level, student supplies, materials fee, preferred class size, and special facilities required. (One helpful feature of the registration form is that class information, once registered, is stored in the system. That way, if you decide to teach a class at another AEcademy sometime later, you won’t have to re-type all that information.)
Make-and-take classes are always a big hit, but Æcademy students also appreciate well-researched history classes, too.
When developing your class title and description, a little extra time to make it catchy as well as clear is time well spent. After all, you want your class to stand out from the others offered at the same time!
Most classes tend to be an hour in length, but two hours (or more) might be appropriate, especially if the class involves hands-on learning. Teachers set the maximum number of students for their class, based on factors such as availability of supplies and the teacher’s comfort level.
Teachers also determine what fee – if any – to charge. The fee may cover the cost of printing the handout as well as any consumable class supplies.
Will you need any special facilities for your class? For example, electricity, a projector screen, a tile floor for messy class, access to water, large tables, and outdoor area, etc.? If so, be sure to mention this when you register your class.
After you register your class, it is approved by the Æcademy Chancellor, and it instantly appears on the Æcademy website on the event’s Tentative Class Listing. This listing lets everyone see what is being offered, along with a description of each class.
Two weeks prior to the event – or sooner, if the maximum number of classes has been reached – the registration period ends. This allows the Æcademy staff sufficient time to create the schedule of classes, which is then posted on the Æcademy website.
If you are new to teaching or are looking for ways to improve your classes, check out the teaching resources available here.
There are many terrific reasons to teach at Æcademy. One of them is to infect others with enthusiasm for your topic. Teaching also allows you to find out who’s interested in your field and to network with them. Finally, since one of the best ways to really learn a topic is to teach it to others, teaching gives you motivation to hone your skills and firm up your research.
If you love to learn, then you will want to register to teach at Æthelmearc Æcademy and War College. Whether it’s a hands-on make-and-take class, a scholarly academic class, or a how-to martial class, someone will want to attend!
Mistress Alicia Langland
To the East Kingdom, Greetings from Ryan, Briganta Principal Herald of the East.
As many of you have noted the Tir Mara regional deputy position has been vacant for quite some time. I’m pleased to announce that the search for a replacement is over. Lord Diarmaid O Briain will be stepping into the Regional Deputy position as Badger Herald. Diarmaid and I have been talking for quite some time in regards to his responsibilities and the expectations of his new position and I have the utmost confidence he will continue to do his very best to promote heraldry in the Tir Mara region.
Also of note is that Dominus Eginhard d’Aix la Chapelle has accepted the official job of the Tir Mara Quebecois Liason. Eginhard has been supporting me during my entire tenure as Brigantia whenever I have needed to reach out to the Quebecois members of the East Kingdom. I have no doubt he will continue to do his very best in this regard, assisting not only myself, but Lord Diarmaid as well. Eginhard will be assuming the brand new title of Herault Hibou Blanc for his duties.
Please join me in congratulating these fine lords in the assumption of their new duties and give them all the support in their endeavours.
À la population du Royaume de l’Est, salutation de Ryan, Brigantia Herald du Royaume de l’Est.
Comme plusieurs d’entre vous ont notés la position de député Hérault pour Tir Mara est vacante depuis un certain temps. Je suis heureux de vous annoncer que la recherche pour un officier pour ce poste est maintenant terminé. Lord Diarmaid O’Briain sera désormais le député régional de Tir Mara en la position de Badger Herald. Diarmaid et moi avons discutés longuement sur les responsabilités et attentes face à son nouveau rôle. Je suis très confient qu’il continuera à faire de son mieux pour promouvoir l’art héraldique dans la région de Tir Mara.
Il est aussi important de vous informer que Dominus Eginhard d’Aix la Chapelle à accepté de prendre en charge le nouvel office de “Tir Mara Québécois Liason”. Eginhard m’a apporté son soutien depuis mon enter en poste comme Brigantia à tout instant où j’avais besoin de rejoindre les francophones du Royaume de l’Est. Je n’ai aucun doute qu’il continuera à m’assister dans cet aspect, assistant non seulement moi mais aussi Lord Diarmaid. Eginhard aura le titre de ” Hérault du Hibou Blanc” pour son office.
Joignez-vous à moi pour féliciter et souhaiter bonne chance à ces bon Seigneurs pour leur nouvel office.
Filed under: Announcements, En français Tagged: heraldry, Tir Mara
In November of 2013, construction crews building a new coffee shop for Durham University’s Palace Green Library came across human skeletal remains. Construction was halted immediately and an archaeological excavation ensued. Under an internal courtyard at the south end of the site, archaeologists unearthed a jumble of bones, the remains of more than a dozen people who had been buried in two pits. The mass graves extend north, south and east past the excavated area under buildings and walls and only the area directly impacted by construction was excavated so there are likely many more human remains still underground. The bones in the path of construction were removed for study before reburial.
University researchers found that there were at least 17 individuals and as many as 29 buried in the pits. Because they had been buried with little care, the skeletons were disarticulated and it wasn’t possible to identify the exact number. Most of them ranged in age from 13 to 25 with a few older individuals. All the adults were male and the adolescents probably were as well but their sex could not be conclusively determined. The sex and age indicate these individuals were soldiers. If they had been general population struck by plague, say, there would have been a representative proportion of men, women, children and elderly. (They also probably wouldn’t have been buried in the city center on the castle grounds.)
Stable isotope analysis from tooth enamel revealed that six of the deceased were likely from Scotland, four from Scotland or Northern England, one more likely to be Scottish than English and three who were not from the British Isles. They grew up further east, in a cooler climate or a higher altitude; they may have been German or Dutch. Two of the men had crescent-shaped notches in the teeth called “pipe facets” caused by habitual biting on the stems of clay pipes.
That’s a key date marker because clay pipe smoking became popular in Britain in the early 17th century, so the bodies can’t have been buried before 1620. A building was constructed over some of the mass grave in 1754 which narrows the date further. Radiocarbon testing dates the remains to 1625-1660. That range is mighty suggestive. There was a civil war going on in Britain in the middle of those dates, after all.
Durham University experts believe all the evidence points to the men buried in these mass graves being soldiers in the Scottish army who were on the losing side of the Battle of Dunbar, fought on the southeast coast of Scotland exactly 365 years ago today on September 3rd, 1650. It was a short but brutal fight in which Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian army crushed the Royalist Scottish Covenanter army in less than an hour. According to contemporary sources, up to 5,000 men lost their lives on the battlefield. Modern historians estimate that 4,000 Scottish soldiers were captured by Cromwell and marched through Newcastle upon Tyne 100 miles south to Durham. Approximately 1,000 of them died on the way, mainly from starvation, exhausting and dysentery.
When the 3,000 or so survivors reached Durham, they were imprisoned in Durham Cathedral which at the time was no longer functioning as a church since Cromwell had kicked out the Dean and Chapter. Conditions were appalling. It was cold and there was little food or water to be had. The Scottish prisoners stripped the cathedral’s wood to burn for heat, sparing only Prior Castell’s Clock out of deference for the Scottish thistle carved on it. (That’s the romantic story. The more practical version is that the clock was dismantled and removed when the cathedral was converted into a prison.) An estimate 1,700 of the prisoners died in captivity.
As for the survivors, some of them were forced to work in salt and coal mined in northeast England or to drain the Fens in Norfolk. About 500 were conscripted to fight in the Parliamentarian army in Ireland. Others were sold as indentured servants to the tobacco plantations of Virginia and the sugar plantations of the Caribbean. About 150 of them were sent to New England where they were sold as indentured servants to sawmills and ironworks for £20 a head. The term of indenture was limited and if they raised sufficient funds they could buy themselves free before the term was up.
There is no evidence of cause of death in the bones exhumed from the mass grave, nor are there extensive healed wounds or perimortem wounds as you might expect to find on soldiers’ remains. Counterintuitively, that supports a Dunbar connection because the Scottish soldiers who fought there are known to have been largely inexperienced fighters and the ones who suffered severe injuries either died on the field or were released back to their side right after battle. Only the soldiers who had made it out of the fight relatively intact were taken prisoner and marched down south where they eventually died of starvation or disease.
The presence of non-Scots is also in keeping with what we know about the Scottish army. Contemporary sources note the presence of Dutch and German soldiers in the Scottish army just weeks after the Battle of Dunbar. It seems likely they were at the battle too.
Richard Annis, senior archaeologist at Archaeological Services Durham University, said: “This is an extremely significant find, particularly because it sheds new light on a 365-year old mystery of what happened to the bodies of the soldiers who died.
“Their burial was a military operation. The bodies were tipped into two pits, possibly over a period of days. They were at the far end of what would have been the Durham Castle grounds, as far as possible from the castle itself – they were out of sight, out of mind.
“It is quite possible that there are more mass graves under what are now university buildings that would have been open ground in the early to mid-17th Century.”
The remains will be reinterred as required by the terms of the exhumation license. Durham University and Durham Cathedral are working together with other interested parties (the Church of Scotland, for instance) to determine the most respectful approach. Certainly burial in the cathedral is out given that most of the dead were probably Presbyterians and even if they weren’t the last place in the world they’d want to be buried is in the prison where they experienced so much death and misery.