THLord Stefan li Rous provides updates to Stefan's Florilegium for December 2014.
When the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, Netherlands, closed for two years so the 17th century palace that houses the exceptional collection of Dutch Golden Age masterpieces could be restored and expanded, a selection of the museum’s most famous pieces went on tour. The Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis exhibition kicked off in Japan with 48 works and it was a smash hit. The show at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum was the world’s most visited exhibition of 2012 with 758,724 total visitors.
When it moved on to the US in 2013, the traveling exhibition stopped at the de Young in San Francisco, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and The Frick Collection in New York City where hundreds of thousands of people went to see Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Rembrandt van Rijn’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, Paulus Potter’s The Bull and Carel Fabritius’s The Goldfinch, among other treasures. Early last year the show moved to Italy for its last stop at the Palazzo Fava in Bologna and then returned home to The Hague. Over the year and a half the exhibition was on the road, more than 2.2 million people in Japan, the US and Italy saw Girl with a Pearl Earring and friends.
On June 27th, 2014, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands officially reopened the Mauritshuis with much pomp and ceremony, including a living human Girl with a Pearl Earring’s symbolic return to the museum accompanied by six cavalrymen from the Cavalry Escort of Honour. The renovation doubled the museum’s space, thanks to the acquisition of the Sociëteit de Witte building, an Art Deco building across the street, and the construction of an underground tunnel between the old building and the new. The new building, unfortunately named the Royal Dutch Shell Wing after its sponsor, has a new restaurant, gift shop, educational workshop and will host temporary exhibitions. The original museum, built in 1641 as the residence of count John Maurice of Nassau, was extensively refurbished with new systems installed to secure and conserve the paintings in the collection.
So now the collection of almost 850 objects, mainly paintings, is up and running again after two years when 50 of the most prized pieces were traveling and only 100 of the other works in the collection were on display in a temporary Highlights Mauritshuis exhibition
Enjoying unparalleled exclusive access to this historical exhibition, the film takes the audience on a journey as it seeks to answer many of the questions surrounding this enigmatic painting and its mysterious creator, Vermeer. Using the recently completed and highly complex makeover of the museum as its starting point, the film goes on a behind the scenes detective journey to seek out the answers that lie within the other masterpieces housed in the collection.
To find a theater screening the movie near you, check this list. Showings begin on January 13th. Until then, here’s a quick preview. (Keep your eyes peeled at the 42 second mark for a quick glimpse of The Goldfinch, the small 1654 panel painting that became the surprise break-out star of the exhibition’s last American leg at the The Frick thanks to the success of the Donna Tartt novel named after and starring the wee bird portrait.)
Unto the Kingdom of the East do I, Don Frasier MacLeod send greetings,
First and foremost, Happy New Year! Second, I have been asking for resumes to put together a committee to formulate a set of rules for 2 Handed Swords in Rapier, and I am pleased to announce that I have selected that committee. This group of individuals will, over the next few weeks, work out a set of rules for 2 Handers that will be usable and accommodating. The following gentles will form the 2 Hander committee:
Sir Antonio Patrasso
In addition to these gentles, the Regional Marshals will also have a say on this committee. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to speak to any of the people listed, any of my Regional Marshals, or myself. We look forward to working out a set of rules that most everyone can be happy with and will keep 2 Handers safe and fun.
Filed under: Fencing
The time of first court at Twelfth Night has been moved back to 11:30 am.
Filed under: Events Tagged: Twelfth Ni
Detail of the Zygtlogge Tower in Berne, Switzerland. Photo source: http://io9.com/astronomical-clocks-were-a-wonder-of-the-medieval-world-1484069867
Hallo everyone, and happy New Year. Will your new year be tropical or solar? Will it be Julian or perhaps Gregorian? Will you keep standard time, or will you update that extra second that scientists now say our current Greenwich mean time lacks? Does anybody really know what time it is?
Our period of study is to blame for much of the over-scheduling of lives we currently… I want to say enjoy, but that might be too strong a word. Think about it. Starting with Stonehenge and moving to the Gregorian calendar and the Astronomical (and simultaneously astrological) clock in Prague, we as a race have experienced a timekeeping renaissance.
Once, folks knew what time it was from the position of the sun. Modern medievalists might be hard pressed to accurately guess the time based on sun placement in the sky. Your personae, during the actual middle ages, might know by the tolling of church bells announcing the time in sound code, what they should be doing. Today, most modern municipalities consider that type of ringing to be sound pollution. I say most because I was privileged to hear a call to prayer piped into the Grand Bazaar via loud speaker (the call was in voice, not bells) in modern Istanbul this past July. It was lovely to witness the city workers suddenly stop, and redirect themselves to their individual mosques. The Turks, though more than 90% Moslem, are very respectful of other religions in general and have taken beautiful care of the land marks and iconic historic buildings of other faiths in their care.
I hope you enjoy this timely column. Wouldn’t it make a terrific subject for a term paper? Here’s your research, already accomplished! I invite you to share this column wherever it will find an interested audience.
Ancient Wisdom. Stonehenge. Retrieved 01/07/2015.
Bettelheim, Matthew. Nature’s laboratory: What’s a Sundial in the Shade? Retrieved 01/06/2015.
Time and Date. From the Julian to the Gregorian Calendars. Retrieved 01/06/2015. This site will explain in layman’s terms why the most common method of time keeping was changed, and how the change made it more accurate to measure time. However, not everyone agrees with those changes, and some folks still follow the Julian calendar.
About. The Invention of Clocks and Calendars: Part 1: Ancient Calendars – Aztec, Egyptian, and Sumerian Calendars – Stonehenge. Retrieved 12/27/2014. Although I usually hesitate to recommend About.com because of its terse treatment of any given subject, this particular page is well connected to leads for further study. See the emnu boxes to the right of the article to find further reading to a good number of related articles.
Miklos, Vincze. I09: Astronomical Clocks Were a Wonder of the Medieval World. Retrieved 12/31/2014.
New York Carver. Medieval Inventions: The Clock. Retrieved 01/03/2015.
Medievaljo1 of Winchester University’s student history blog. On Medieval clocks. Retrieved 01/03/2015.
Murphy, Trevor. How tower clocks work. Retrieved 01/04/2015.
Claytonav. Medieval Clock in Berne Switzerland. Retrieved 01/03/2015.
GypsyNester. Astronomical Clock of Prague. Retrieved 01/02/2015.
Ohio’s Toledo Museum of Art was looking for a Neoclassical chandelier to adorn Gallery 31, a room in which paintings from the period, like Napoleon on the Battlefield of Eylau made by Antoine-Jean Gros in 1807 and a smaller 1786 version of Jacques-Louis David’s famous Oath of the Horatii, one of the works that launched the Neoclassical movement, feature prominently. They were able to acquire a chandelier from a Hamburg art dealer, Frank C. Möller Fine Arts, that fit the bill most perfectly because not only is it inspired by classical architecture, it was made for Napoleon’s youngest brother, Jérôme Bonaparte.
The Spiral Chandelier, made by Berlin luxury craftsmen Werner & Mieth, has a skeleton of gilded bronze hung with glass pendants. It is about five-and-a-half feet tall by three feet wide and is in exceptional condition, with the metal armature and almost all of the pendants original to the piece. The white glass pieces are replacements created from a photograph of another Werner & Mieth chandelier ordered by Jérôme Bonaparte for one of his palaces that was sadly destroyed by bombs during World War II.
Werner & Mieth (maker), Berlin, active 1792–1819. Spiral Chandelier for Jérôme Bonaparte, 1810–1811. Cast, chased and fire-gilded bronze (ormolu); cut and polished glass (H. 175 cm; W. 101 cm). Toledo Museum of Art. Purchase with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in memory of her father, Maurice A. Scott. 2014. Photo courtesy of Frank C. Möller Fine Arts, Hamburg, Germany.
The Werner & Mieth company, founded in 1792 by Christian Gottlob Werner, Gottfried Mieth and Friedrich Luckau the Younger, was for more than four decades the most important Berlin manufacturer of handcrafted luxury decorative items in gilded bronze, including chandeliers, table centerpieces and candelabras. Their specialty was ormolu, a gilding technique that applied a finely ground mixture of gold and mercury to mercury-treated bronze, copper or brass and then fired the object at a temperature high enough to evaporate mercury, leaving only the gold bonded to the metal. The result was a shiny, bright gilded surface and, importantly for mantel clocks, fireplace tools and chandeliers, non-oxidizing even when exposed to high heat.
The company was immediately successful. In 1794, just two years after opening their doors, Werner & Mieth were given a Royal Appointment. Their chandeliers appeared in all the Hohenzollerns’ great palaces — the Monbijou Palace and Crown Prince’s Palace in Berlin, the Japanese Palace in Dresden, Sans-Souci in Potsdam. King Frederick William II of Prussia, grandson of Frederick William I, nephew and heir to the childless Frederick the Great, in 1797 had 12 Werner & Mieth chandeliers installed in the east wing of Charlottenburg Palace, six in his winter chamber upstairs and six in his summer apartments on the ground floor.
The nobility and aristocracy of other countries followed suit. Even during the upheavals of the Napoleonic wars (Frederick William III was defeated by Napoleon’s armies at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt in 1806, after which Prussia was carved up and occupied by French troops; its territories and autonomy were fully restored after Waterloo), Werner & Mieth thrived. France, long culturally dominant in the ormolu crafts, imported the Prussian company’s luxury goods. Various members of the Bonaparte family were clients, among them the Empress Josephine herself. In 1810, Werner & Mieth exported chandeliers to capitals of Europe — Paris, London, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Copenhagen — and as far as Constantinople.
Jérôme Bonaparte got on the chandelier bandwagon that year too. Napoleon had made his youngest brother King of Westphalia, a conglomeration of a bunch of northwestern German states, in 1807. One of those statelets was the principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel whose seat was Brunswick Palace in the city of Brunswick. In 1810, Jérôme Bonaparte ordered a Werner & Mieth chandelier inspired by the volutes of the Greek Ionic order of columns (see the swirls on the capital). The company thought this particular model, designed by artist and self-taught architect and archaeologist Hans Christian Genelli, was the most beautiful in their catalogue. Genelli wrote notes on Vitruvius’s De Architectura and drew sections of the Ionic volutes from a much-studied passage in which the great Roman architectural theorist discusses the design of the spirals.
The top ring of the object has six spirals evenly spaced around its perimeter, densely hung with glass drops, which terminate in small suspended rings with glass drops. Curtains of faceted circular beads obscure the central spine, terminating in an opaque white glass receiver bowl. Each of six downward spiraling loops has a candle arm with a pair of candle sockets. [...]
“The design is based on a logarithmic spiral that is moving downwards. The concept of an upside-down, hanging column is a remarkable one — the curling forms of the chandelier are particularly noticeable from below,” [Toledo Museum of Art curator of glass and decorative arts Jutta-Annette] Page said.
Werner & Mieth (maker), Berlin, active 1792–1819. Spiral Chandelier for Jérôme Bonaparte, 1810–1811. Cast, chased and fire-gilded bronze (ormolu); cut and polished glass (H. 175 cm; W. 101 cm). Toledo Museum of Art. Purchase with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in memory of her father, Maurice A. Scott. 2014. Photo courtesy of Frank C. Möller Fine Arts, Hamburg, Germany.
Unfortunately for him, Jérôme Bonaparte would never get the chance to enjoy his beautiful spiral chandelier. It was delivered to Brunswick Castle but never installed because he was off fighting with his brother in Russia in 1812, and in 1813 allied Prussian and Russian troops took Kassel, the capital, and dissolved the cobbled-together Kingdom of Westphalia. Jérôme and his wife fled to France. The chandelier became property of the city, along with everything else in the castle, and was sold in the mid-1930s to a Hamburg family. That family has now sold it to the Toledo Museum of Art.
This is a recurring series by Mistress Alys Mackyntoich on whether certain names currently can be documented to period based on existing evidence. There are a lot of names that people think are medieval, but actually aren’t, and others which people think are modern, but in fact are found in the SCA’s period. If you would like to suggest a name, send an email to the Gazette.
Today’s name is Kira:
I’ve been asked by a Gazette reader to talk about period names that sound like “Kira.” This set of sounds appears in several languages in period, although not necessarily in the ones that people expect.
The name Kira appears as a female name in Russian, dated to c. 1202. It also appears as a surname in 14th century Japan.
In very late period German, we find the female given name Kyrra, which *may* be pronounced like “Kira.”
In Gaelic, Cera was the name of at least three Irish saints who lived prior to c. 1200 CE. The post-1200 spelling of the same name is Ceara, which is also registerable as a saint’s name. Note that this name is probably pronounced more like “Kara” or “Kera” than “Kira.” However, there are also the period Gaelic women’s names Ciar and Ciarnat, which are pronounced with a long ‘i’ sound. The name Ciara appears to be a wholly modern form, based on current evidence.
For a person looking for an English name that sounds like “Kira,” we have to resort to the rule I’ve discussed before, where 16th century English surnames can be used as if they were English given names. Based on a quick bit of research, that gets us the spellings Kyrre and Keyre, which are close to but not exactly like “Kira.”
All in all, for someone who wants the sound of “Kira,” there are a couple of options for time, place and culture.
 Nostrand, Barbara. Name Construction in Mediaeval Japan (1999) lists Kira as a historical surname dated to 1332.
 Kyrra Sranis; Female; Marriage; 02 Jan 1629; Evangelisch, Schotten, Oberhessen, Hesse-Darmstadt; Batch: M92548-1
 O Corrain, Donnchadh and Fidelma Maguire, Irish Names (Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 1990), s.n. Cera
 Martyrology of Donegal (http://books.google.com/books?id=zn8NAAAAQAAJ), at p. 375.
 O Corrain & Maguire, s.n.n. Ciar, Ciarnat
 John Kyrre; Male; Burial; 24 Dec 1585; Cranbrook, Kent, England; Batch: B02880-3
 Mergery Keyre; Female; Marriage; 13 Aug 1576; Cranbrook, Kent, England; Batch: M01834-4
Filed under: Heraldry
(Submitted by Lissa Underhill)
Artisans Village will take place on June 5-7, 2015 in the Shire of Hartshorn-dale.
Instead of a traditional A&S competition, the event will feature an Artisans Challenge.
Members of the populace have until March 31st, 2015 to issue a challenge related to an SCA-period art or science. Anyone is welcome to submit a challenge, and all are encouraged to take up challenges. Please be aware that challenges take time to complete, so please try to issue your challenge as soon as possible
Challenges will be listed on the event website as they come in, and after the deadline a full list of challenges will be announced throughout the kingdom. Artisans will then have a couple of months to complete these challenges before the event.
Please submit challenges or questions about the challenge to Lady Elysabeth Underhill –
Ideas for Challenges:
Feedback and Assessment of Challenges:
A Few Thoughts on Offering a Challenge:
Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Events
“Send me a shirt, towel, trousers, reins, and, for my sister, send fabric. If I am alive, I will pay for it,” wrote a 14th century father, Onus, to his son, Danilo, in the block letters of Old Novgorod language on a birch bark scroll. The note, among a dozen others, was discovered recently in the "magicial mud" of Veliky Novgorod, Russia.
This is the first part of a two-part article
re-printed from our friends at the East Kingdom Gazette.
The East Kingdom Gazette asked Count Jehan de la Marche, eighth King of the East, for memories of some of his early SCA experiences. He sent us this first installment with the note that it is written from memory and others may well remember events differently.
I witnessed the beginning of the Pennsic Wars (which has often been retold wrongly). Cariadoc had moved to the East and been named the Ambassador to the East by the reigning Middle King Iriel of Branoch. At MK Twelfth Night, Cariadoc came back and recited a long poem of his own composition inciting war with the East — I recall he mentioned that the border barons (meaning me) wanted war, and the poem ended with “My word is war.” and we all banged out tankards on the table and shouted “War, War, War!” and King Iriel gave the War Arrow to Duke Cariadoc to take to Rakkurai, who was Shogun of the East at that time.
I was not present for the reception of the arrow in the East, but I understand Rakkurai duly received and broke it to accept the challenge. Cariadoc stepped up and won the East Kingdom Spring Crown Tourney. (In those days there were no limitations on how long one had to have lived in a kingdom before competing for the Crown).
I did not come to the East until the summer of 1972, when I moved to New Haven, CT to enter Yale Graduate School (working for a Ph.D. in medieval studies, naturally). My first official event was a tournament in the Barony Beyond the Mountain (which at the time was responsible for all of Connecticut), and led by Baron Balin the Fairhaired (later one of the first Eastern Pelicans). I recall that it looked like rain and Mistress Elfrida recited a Norse prayer for rain which she said worked in reverse for her, and apparently it did. The rain held off long enough to get in the tourney fighting. All I really remember of the fighting was that I lost a fight to Garanhir of Ness who was later knighted, and is now the second senior-most knight in Æthelmearc after me.
The next event I recall was the summer Crown Tourney (in those days there were supposed to be three Crown Tourneys a year, though the actual sequence was somewhat irregular). As I said, there were no residency limitations on fighting for the Crown and Cariadoc encouraged me to enter. It was a small field, essentially an 8-man single elimination tourney, I believe. My first round I defeated Garanhir (benefiting from having fought him before). My second round I met a very active young warrior from Duke Akbar’s household (I think the future Sir Ismael). He came out very fast and nearly got me, but I was able to take him after a very brisk fight. The third and final round, I met Shlomo ben Shlomo, whose persona was a Palestinian mercenary of Roman times — he fought Roman-style, with a shield and short-sword. In those days, I always fought mace and shield, so we had a very active fight at close quarters. At one point he narrowly grazed my groin cup, and Cariadoc, who was marshaling, ruled I was still alive though perhaps without the prospect of progeny. I think as the rules are interpreted nowadays, I would have been dead. Then I came charging in — Shlomo went for my leg and got a very hard stroke on my knee as I came in; knowing it was knee, I kept coming and got him a solid blow in the side with my mace. He agreed that my blow was a killing blow, but wondered whether he had gotten my leg first, so the current Seneschal of the East, El of the Two Knives (another of the first Pelicans later), took me into men’s room and examined my leg. I had a very obvious purple bruise on my knee (in those days the only leg armor I wore was a soft basketball knee pad) and he said to me in effect “You’re the Prince of the East, and you’d better get some ice on that leg.”
At the feast that night, I toasted Shlomo’s valor and we had a long celebration. I recall a lady singing “Follow the Bonnets of Bonny Dundee” — not quite period, but lively. So we had the curious situation that both the King and the Prince of the East were from the Middle, but we were committed to war with the Middle.
By that time the King of the Middle was Andrew of Seldom Rest and the Prince was Sir Bearengaer hin Raudi (who went on to be a sovereign Prince of Drachenwald when it was a principality, and died some years ago as the senior knight of Æthelmearc).
The “war” itself consisted of a woods battle. The East was badly outnumbered, despite the aid of the Dark Horde led by Yang the Nauseating/Robert Asprin. The battle was a timed event (I think one hour) and so the Eastern strategy was to go into the woods, find a hidden defensible position (largely protected by fallen trees) and hope to hold it till the end of the hour. It nearly worked, as it took most of the hour for the Middle to find us, but the Middle found us with about ten minutes to go. A partly fallen tree formed a sort of natural gateway to the Eastern position, which Asbjorn the Fairhaired held very gallantly for a long time (for which I later knighted him; he went on to become a Duke). Andrew of Seldom Rest speared King Cariadoc and called out “The King is dead!” and I shouted “The King is dead, long live the King” and three Middle knights came over me in a wave, so that was the end of my fight. The last Eastern fighter standing was Alain du Rocher of the barony of Myrkwood (Baltimore) — a large man who fought mace and buckler. He got up on a little mound and held the Middle off as long as he could, but finally fell, and the Middle had won the war. It had rained, so we then spent a long time digging the cars out of the mud.
(to be continued….)
Archaeologists excavating a tomb complex in Zaoyang in the central Chinese province of Hubei have unearthed 28 chariots and 49 pairs of horses dating to the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.). The chariots and horses were buried separately. The chariot pit, an impressive 33 meters (108 feet) long and four meters (13 feet) wide, was discovered first. Unlike other ancient chariot burials which feature the vehicles positioned vertically as if ready for use (see this tomb, for instance, discovered in 2011 in Luoyang, about 200 miles north of Zaoyang), the chariots in this pit were dismantled, the wheels laid along the edges and the rest of the parts placed carefully one-by-one between them. Along with the large wooden sections of the chariot, archaeologists found beautifully engraved bronze artifacts. The smaller ones are chariot fittings and parts; long cylindrical pieces were probably axles.
The large square horse pit was found 15 or so feet away. The skeletal remains showed no sign of a struggle, so the beasts were not buried alive. They were killed and then buried on their sides back-to-back in pairs, just as they would have drawn the chariots.
The Spring and Autumn Period was an era in which the power of the Zhou kings was collapsing. In 771 B.C., King You of Zhou, last king of the Wester Zhou, was killed when his father-in-law the Marquess of Shen allied with the northern nomadic Quanrong tribe to overthrow the king who had exiled his daughter and disinherited his grandson in favor of one of his concubines. The Marquess and his supporters put the formerly dispossessed Crown Prince Yijiu on the throne. He took the name King Ping and moved his capital east to Luoyang, away from marauding barbarians, thus kicking off the Eastern Zhou period.
The relatives and favorites who had received territories from the Zhou kings as vassals stepped into the power vacuum and became vassals in name only. The feudal system broke down into smaller and smaller statelets controlled by warlords, some of them the size of a single village or city. This is known as the Spring and Autumn Period after the Spring and Autumn Annals, a chronicle documenting the history of the state of Lu from 722 to 481 B.C. that was once thought to have been edited by Confucius and as such is held to be the first of the Five Classics of Chinese Literature.
The tomb found in Zaoyang must have belonged to one of these local lords. Chariots were very expensive, sophisticated technology that came to their apex of importance in the Spring and Autumn Period. Someone who could afford to be buried with dozens of chariots and their horses was demonstrating great military (and consequently political) power.
Not all of the 30 tombs so far uncovered are this large. There are a variety of sizes and a large number of grave goods. So far archaeologists have excavated only some of the complex but they’ve already unearthed more than 400 bronze and pottery artifacts, including a mystery item that could have been part of a farming implement or chariot fixture that is inscribed with Old Chinese characters. They’ve also discovered the remains of two important musical instruments. One is a Se, a 25-string zither-like instrument, that is the earliest ever recovered. Only half of it still survives, but you can see the holes where the strings were threaded through.
The other is part of a bianzhong set, arrays of bronze chimes mounted on lacquered beams and played by teams of musicians striking the sides and centers with wooden mallets. Although only seven fragments of the bases of the bells and one beam have survived, they indicate this was an extremely important set. The beam is 4.7 meters (15.4 feet) long and the chimes are decorated with dragons and phoenixes, symbols of royalty in Chinese iconography. (Some news stories are reporting it as the longest bianzhong beam ever found, but the long side of the exceptional 64-bell set discovered intact in the tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng in 1978 is 7.48 meters (24.5 feet) long. I think the archaeologists meant they had personally never excavated one this size before and it got lost in translation.)
The Gazette asked Duke Akbar ibn Murad al-ben ibn Hakim, third King of the East, for memories of the early days of the East Kingdom. The following are his words.
The Memorable Bits
There is a wonderful lampoon of British history called 1066 and All That which is dedicated to the proposition that history is what is memorable. These are (some of) my memorable bits:
If this were a traditional old East Kingdom war story it would begin thus: No shit, there we were… in a small conference room at the American Museum of Natural History at the monthly meeting of the New York chapter of the National Speleological Society, Count Murad, Sir Aeiolf, Sir Rakkurai, Sir Koppel and myself. Of course, we had not acquired those names and titles yet. (While I suppose it is generally known that the EK formed after Marion Zimmer Bradley (Lady Elfrida) moved from the west coast to Staten Island and recruited mainly from science fiction fandom, but it is probably less well known that five of the first six EK knights were spelunkers.) I think it was the summer of 1968 that my father and I learned from our friends Barry and Kenny (hereafter refered to as Rakkurai and Koppel) about this medieval group that was just starting up and after about six months spent making clothing, weapons, and rudimentary armor, we and my best friend (later known as Sir Ismael) showed up at the first EK Twelfth Night feast, at an apartment somewhere in the vicinity of Hacketstown, New Jersey, about a hundred mile drive from our hometown on Long Island. Bruce of Cloves was King, the first to be elected by combat. The three of us, having arrived in matching gear, were appointed the king’s own janissarys and my father Murad made captain of the guard. Ismael and myself were about sixteen then. Later that night Aeiolf and Rakkurai were knighted by King Bruce who had himself been knighted while visiting the West Kingdom. John of Brook Lynn was the Herald. Frederic Feolyldwyn (called the Silent) recited a poem the subject of which I cannot recall with certainty but probably described Bruce’s crown tourney with all his usual flourishes. I cannot recall whether Frederic was made baron at this event or later that year (the rules were somewhat different then).
I recall attending a meeting of the Aulic Council later that year. This was the precursor to the curia regis, or king’s council. I don’t know what the custom is now, but at that time anyone could attend and everyone had a vote, even the king. It took a very long time for most people to start thinking and acting in medieval terms. Even then, there were many different ideas as to what the SCA was and what it should become. I suspect the situation hasn’t changed much.
That summer, the second EK Crown Tourney was held in Rumsen, NJ. I recall besting Maragorn, who had been appointed the first King of the East without a crown tourney (yes, the rules were quite different then) but losing to Alpin MacGregor, who won the crown. Murad won the archery competition. Khadijah, whom I had not yet met, performed with a troupe of puppeteers. Vardak of Iloi and his troupe of actors performed the final scene from Hamlet without introduction, so it was rather startling until everyone recognized it. Vardak was later made a count (yes, yes i know). In those days, it was the custom to hold a grand procession where everyone would be presented to their Majesties, in order of precedence. This took a great deal of time and argument to establish and to run and within the next half dozen reigns became totally unwieldy, but was great fun while it lasted.
Alpin, I believe, was attending MIT in pre-Carolingia Boston and appeared at only one or two events after that. As a result of his absence it was a whole year before the next crown tourney was organized. It was at this time, I believe, that Sir Rakkurai became kingdom seneschal and Koppel became brigantia herald. There were a number of smaller tourneys as well as fighting practices and feasts at Green Walls, Lady Elfrida’s home on Staten Island, that year. It was at one of theses events that King Alpin decided to test his court by challenging each of his officers and the captain of his guard. Only Murad defeated his majesty.
In those days the only armor requirement for SCA combat was a helm. Most helm designs were pretty sketchy. Some looked like erector set projects gone awry. Then Rakkurai found out someone in the West was making helms from propane tanks, which were good but quite heavy. Murad got the idea of using freon tanks, which at 16 guage, were a bit lighter. These became very popular until actual period armoring techniques were worked out. It was a consequence of breaking my thumb at a training session that gauntlets became required, I learned not to drop my shield, Rakkurai stopped training with a hardwood boken, and rattan swords became the standard.
After one of these events at Green Walls, a group was traveling homeward via public transport while still dressed in SCA garb, when they were attacked by a local gang. They were trapped at the end of a fenced in train platform. While one gentleman hoisted the ladies over the fence, Koppel, armed only with courage and a very flimsy letter opener, held the platform against the gang. Although he sustained numerous injuries, the rest escaped safely. As a result, traveling in garb was made illegal and Koppel was knighted.
In the late summer or fall of that year the world science fiction convention was held in St. Louis, and it was determined that a number of people from both the East and West Kingdoms as well as the principality of the Middle would attend. King Alpen attended, as well as a dozen or so people from the East. Ismael and myself represented House Hakkim and served, as was becoming traditional, as the royal guards. I remenber seeing Sir Bela of Eastmarch, his wife Lady Karina (who was the senior herald present), Master Edwin Bersark (Lady Elfrida’s brother) among others from the West. Also present was Sir Caridoc of the Bow, who had recently won the tournament making him reigning prince of the Principality Under the Mountain, part of the EK. As the BoD had recently seen fit to elevate the principality to kingdom status, Sir Cariadoc was to be elevated to King without benefit of a further crown tourney, (thereby setting no precedent whatever). This was accomplished at the WorldCon when King Alpin (of the East) crowned Sir Cariadoc king of the Middle Kingdom.
The third crown tourney was held on Staten Island. I finaled against Sir Aeiolf, and quite surprisingly, won. I was seventeen then. The East Kingdom in theory spanned almost half the US, but in fact the membership really was mostly in the NY/NJ area. The next crown was won by my father Murad and I took over as captain of the guard and also began serving as the deputy earl marshall under Count Vardak. During Murad’s reign we began negotiations with the Middle to set up what would become the Pennsic war. At the Tolkien conference in Cleveland that year, we sat down with the Middle marshallate who I recall included Andrew of Seldom Rest (not yet knighted), Sir Franz von Blinkend-lichten, and Prince Cariadoc (now awaiting his second coronation). I think everyone knows how Duke Cariadoc moved to the east coast, carried the war arrow to the court of Rakkurai, won the next eastern crown tourney (the seventh) and was King of the East for what was later called Pennsic I.
Filed under: History Tagged: Crown Tourney, Duke Akbar, Pennsic
Mail-in registration closes May 25, online paid registration closes June 17, and online unpaid registration closes July 10.
A few great news pieces and blog posts we came across in the last couple of weeks, including two historians writing about the Magna Carta...
[View the story "From Magna Carta to Monty Python: Medieval News Roundup" on Storify]
Gold was believed to have magical powers in Anglo-Saxon society, which may have led to discovery of special processes to make the metal appear "more golden than gold." These findings are part of a new study of the Staffordshire Hoard which "showed goldsmiths knew how to remove alloyed metals such as copper and silver from the surface of objects."
The Barony of the Rhydderich Hael celebrated their annual Twelfth Night this past Tuesday, January 6th, which ironically occurred on 12th Night. The celebration was held at the Elks Club of Lancaster, where the Barony holds its officer meetings and practices. Some fifty members of the Hael were in attendance for a night of friendship, gifts, food and good cheer. A good time was had by all.
That concludes the version my Communications professor from back in the day would have liked. My Business communications professor would have been nodding her head in agreement, but all the while my Marketing professor would have been shouting, “Sell the sizzle man, sell the sizzle.” And as usual I stared blankly into the abyss and grinned that mischievous grin that panics my wife and thrills those who know me better. You took the time to click on this link. You deserve better than just the traditional answering of the standard seven “W”s.
What do I love about Baronial 12th Night? It’s all about the Barony baby. Now, I loved being your Happy Go-Lucky Get Down Tonight Kingdom Chronicler, and getting to see and report what was going on all over these most awesome Sylvan Lands, but my heart is in the Hael. The most common phrase I used for two years was that I looked forward to spending more time involved in the Hael. I love yelling out “Hael Yeah!” I love heralding my Baron and Baroness in to large courts. I love Ice Dragon. I love the Green and Black and most of all I love the people and my friends there. Baronial 12th Night is that night that we all get together and break bread and enjoy each others’ company without every one running all over the place being official. This is the core of a Hael 12th Night.
At how many events do you really get to spend significant amounts of time with all your friends? In the Hael the average local event is spent with every one running in different directions to various competitions, meetings, event tasks and work, work, work. After a full day of that, where you rarely get to see everyone, you then have to do break down, while everyone else leaves the event as fast as they can. Sometimes I think they hold Court to keep 75% of the people from leaving after their activity is done, and that Feast helps keep the other 40% that didn’t leave right after Court and the other 10% are still there at the end to help clean up. I like 12th Night because I get to hang out for three hours with everyone.
I remember when the Barony shifted the format of the usual Monthly Officer Slash Business Meeting from focusing on the officers to focusing on food and cheer. If you want to introduce a new person to the SCA do not invite them to an Officer Slash Business Meeting, as they may want to slash something else ten minutes in. Opt for the food and cheer every time. It’s been over ten years sine this celebration replaced the traditional meeting and it has been a success ever since.
Rhydderich Hael Twelfth Night was announced to start at six thirty. Now many of you may be saying that if proper “SCA-dian Time” is applied the celebration might have doors open at six, but start time might actually be closer to seven. Do not be fooled. Always remember to “never get involved in a land war in Asia” and “SCA-dian time is always trumped by potluck”. I was running a little late, by about 12 minutes. Coincidence? I think not. Fate has a funny way of amusing me, or at least it gives me the opportunity to laugh when I would rather cry.
I walked into a well-attended hall and placed my two packages of warm fried chicken on the nearly full five tables lined up end to end to hold the celebratory bounty. Being a veteran of such things I did do a quick look at the table to see the flow of the types of food from appetizers to desserts and then parallel parked the chicken in front of a row crock pots and pizza\wing boxes. When over fifty people stock a potluck, the diversity is most awesome. Who ever brought the box of tacos, you are a genius. That box was empty in no time as were the two boxes of fried chicken I brought. You can’t go wrong with fried chicken at a potluck.
Having set up my food contribution, I took care of the next important Baronial 12th Night task. I went to the bar and bought a pitcher of pop and a pitcher of beer and a number of glasses. 12th Night is all about sharing. Beverages taken care of, I joined my fellow Haelies for food, drink and laughs. The room was packed. People love a good local get together that involves food. If you want to enhance the cameraderie and well-being of your local group, do not underestimate the power of the potluck. I suggest you have them quarterly and outlaw all practicing, meetings and projects. Save those for other times.
There is a not a strict agenda to the evening. In early days, a quick meeting was held immediately with all officers called upon by the Seneschal and then quickly declining to give reports as to get to the celebration as fast as possible, Imagine a Seneschal standing in between a grand pot luck buffet and a room full of people looking past him hungrily. Seeing that most Seneschals do have good survival instinct to make up for the insanity that led them to wanting such an office, ours realized that they should get themselves out of the line of fire and allow the Barony to eat first. Not only that, but our Seneschal Padraig O’Branduibh was wise enough to announce the Buffet was open while standing at a safe distance. Not that such an announcement was necessary, as the first container had been opened maybe 12 minutes before. Yes, he may have been operating on SCA-dian time by announcing potluck open, but he that was trumped 12 minutes before. Why? Because “Put Luck always trumps SCA-dian time”
Gift giving began after the first servings. I was late to the line so I was happily eating, drinking and laughing, as I am prone to do while fellow members of the Hael were delivering little gifts. The tradition of bringing a little gift goes back beyond my being a member. I did not know about it my first year which was a bit embarrassing as people handed me candies, candles, tea bags, knick knacks and the like and I didn’t have anything to return in exchange. Lesson learned. It’s a joy to watch people wander about like merchants opening their small sacks to distribute the treasures to others.. All in all it is fun and light-hearted. Things get tough when people give larger gifts. That still takes me by surprise and I am never prepared. I have received some very well thought out little gifts over the years. Some of my favorites are tree ornaments. I enjoy decorating the tree and having great memories of my SCA-dian friends who gave them to us at 12th Night.
Eventually, a short business meeting was held. Our Seneschal Padraig O’Branduibh continued to show his wisdom by acknowledging that a meeting should happen, but that Baron Carolus and Baroness Isolda were still handing out gifts to guards, retainers and Champions so he decided the meeting could wait. And we did, which allowed for some more gifts, seconds on main courses and runs at the ever-growing dessert table. I knew Their Excellencies wanted to distribute these gifts while the recipients were still in the hall. You don’t want to make your Baron and Baroness have to track down people at a years’ worth of practices and events to hand out stockings full of now stale or wrinkled 12th Night joy.
Business was kept to a minimum with Padraig calling for some event bids including a small event called “Ice Dragon” and mentioning that Baronial elections would be coming soon. Many of us shook in fear and then comforted ourselves with drink and pastry. The Baron and Baroness thanked everyone for all the help they have received over the last two years and welcomed people to run for their office as they are in their last year. They also presented nice gifts to officers who had finished their terms over the past year. The gifts were so nice many current officers tried to quit. They were informed no gifts for quitters and kept their offices begrudgingly. The Baron and Baroness also reminded everyone of the on-going tradition of the “It’s your 1st Event” token given by the B-n-B. The person who receives this token because it is their first event then gives it to whomever they felt was the most helpful to them at said event. The meeting ended quickly without much incident other than the comical scolding of an imaginary heckler fictionally hidden behind a non-imaginary screen. Let it be noted that since everyone was giddy from food, beverage, gifts and good company that Padraig could mention “Ice Dragon bids” and “Elections” without risk of people fleeing the hall in sheer terror.
Eating, drinking and good cheer continued until the time limit on use of the room expired. Reports seen on trendy social networking sites supported allegations of a good time had by all. In conclusion, no one was hurt by Rollos being hurled about the hall as trivia prizes and I look forward to using the Pink Himalayan Sea Salt that “Not So Evil” Jill gifted me as well as the home made Polish Pastry Zosia gave me. Till Next 12th Night my friends, “Hael Yeah”
~submitted by That Guy Phil
The time capsule excavated out of the cornerstone of the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston last month was opened on Tuesday in front of dignitaries and press at the Museum of Fine Arts. Before the assembled audience including members of the press, Governor Deval Patrick and Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, MFA conservator Pam Hatchfield and Michael Comeau, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Archives, carefully pried open the lid of the 5-1/2 x 7-1/2 x 1-1/2″ box against the fitting backdrop of Thomas Sully’s monumental 1819 painting of George Washington and his ragtag army crossing the frozen Delaware River, The Passage of the Delaware, in the museum’s Art of Americas wing.
The collection, originally in a cowhide pouch, was first placed at the cornerstone by then-Governor of Massachusetts Samuel Adams, silversmith patriot Paul Revere and militia Colonel William Scollay at the dedication of the building in 1795. It was rediscovered during repair work on the Statehouse foundations in 1855 after which officials added a few pieces of their own before sealing the artifacts in a new metal box that was mortared into the underside of the cornerstone.
Technically, it’s not a time capsule because they are deliberately intended to be reopened at some point in the future. This was a foundational offering, part of an ancient tradition of depositing ritually significant objects under new buildings. The original deposit was made at the culmination of a Masonic ceremony celebrating the laying of the cornerstone held on July 4th, 1795. That’s why Paul Revere and William Scollay were so prominently involved: Revere was the “Most Worshipful Grand Master” and Scollay the “Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master” of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Governor Adams invited the Grand Lodge to perform the cornerstone ceremony, a traditional Masonic ritual that has been performed for hundreds of years, one of only two Masonic rituals that is performed in public (the other is a funeral).
The massive granite cornerstone was transported in a procession from the Old State House to the site of the new one on a wagon drawn by 15 white horses, one for each of the states in the Union. When it arrived, a troop of fusiliers gave a 15-gun salute and Governor Adams, Paul Revere and William Scollay lay the pouch between two sheets of lead under the cornerstone. Adams declared the building to be constructed upon this stone should be “fixed, unimpaired, in full vigor, till time shall be no more” and Revere gave a supermasonic speech linking the foundation of the new statehouse to the founding of the nation.
Worshipful Brethren, I congratulate you on this auspicious day: — when the Arts and Sciences are establishing themselves in our happy Country, a Country distinguished from the rest of the World, by being a Government of Laws. — Where Liberty has found a Safe and Secure abode, — and where her Sons are determined to support and protect her.
Brethren, we are called this day by our Venerable + patriotic Governor, his Excellency Samuel Adams, to Assist him in laying the Corner Stone of a Building to be erected for the use of the Legislature and Executive branches of Government of this Commonwealth. May we my Brethren, so Square our Actions thro life as to shew to the World of Mankind, that we mean to live within the Compass of Good Citizens that we wish to Stand upon a Level with them that when we part we may be admitted into that Temple where Reigns Silence & peace.
When the artifacts were recovered and reburied in 1855, the Grand Master of the Lodge was asked to do the honors again.
The metal box has been in the MFA laboratory for the past three weeks being examined with non-invasive techniques so conservators had an idea of what to expect when they opened it. X-rays revealed that, as expected, there were coins, a metal plaque and papers inside. X-ray fluorescence determined that the box itself was not copper but rather brass, as are all eight of the screws keeping the capsule shut.
Pam Hatchfield, who had spent six hours on her back in the snow chiseling out the box from the cornerstone, then had more chiseling to do. She removed chunks of plaster from the top of the box and carefully dug away at the plaster around the heads of the screws. A little solvent was applied to help loosen the screws as well. Hatchfield turned her attention to the lead solder sealing the edges of the lid to the box, chiseling it away so the box would actually be openable at the press conference.
When the lid was removed, the first artifacts they found were five folded newspapers from the 19th century. Under them were 23 silver and copper coins dating from 1652 to 1855, a copper medal depicting George Washington, a title page from the Massachusetts Colony Records, a number of calling cards, the seal of the Commonwealth and lastly, a silver plaque inscribed by Paul Revere marking the cornerstone ceremony that still has visible fingerprints on it.
(The 1652 coin is a rare and significant pine tree schilling which may not have been minted in 1652. John Hull and Robert Sanderson established the Boston mint in 1652 by permission of the General Court of Massachusetts and continued to strike pine tree schillings until 1682, but every coin no matter what the production year was stamped with the 1652 date. Some say this was done to commemorate the founding of the first mint in Massachusetts. Others think it was a tricksy way of giving them plausible deniability should the monarch, restored to the throne after the interregnum of the Protectorate, take issue with his colony minting its own currency without his permission. “Oh these coins? Oh yeah those were struck during the late unpleasantness. Nothing to see here, Your Majesty.”)
The artifacts and brass box will go on display at the museum after conservation, but only for a short time. The objects will be returned to the cornerstone. Officials haven’t decided yet whether they’ll add yet another round of mementos to the box. Space is tight in there and Governor Patrick said at the opening that he didn’t want to “taint” the historical nature of the capsule with modern geegaws.
There’s a nice video of the excavation, X-ray and conservator Pam Hatchfield getting the box opened here. Fair warning: it autoplays. Below is film of the entire opening:
From Their Highnesses:
Greetings to the Populace of the East! We will be putting together our first set of pollings. The deadline for recommendations will be February 1, with the plan to have those sent out mid-February and therefore ending Mid-March. Our second polling deadline will be the week after Coronation. We only intend to send out two pollings for our reign so please plan accordingly. The award recommendation system has been inconsistent so please submit via the system but also email it to Princess@eastkingdom.org Remember award recommendations should include the full SCA name of the individual, why they are deserving of the award, any pertinent details necessary for a scroll should we decide to move forward with awarding the individual, at least two potential events for the award and the name and email address of a contact person. Please also remember that if the person is in fealty (squired, apprenticed or proteged to a Peer) to check with the Peer prior to writing them in for any award.
Non-polling award recommendations still go to Their Majesties at this time.
Feel free to share with other Orders/lists. Thank you!
In Service to the East,
Prince Omega and Princess Etheldreda
Filed under: Uncategorized
From the Kingdom Exchequer:
Financial Council of the Exchequer: There is a most immediate need is for a Tir Mara resident on the Council of the Exchequer. The main criteria for these positions is that you must live in the region you would be representing. The initial term on the council is two years. This position entails reviewing financial matters that come before the kingdom. The council approves the annual Kingdom and Officer budgets, changes to kingdom financial policy, and other kingdom expenditures that are not covered in the annual budgets.
Applicant letters and questions should be sent to email@example.com.
Maestra Ignacia la Ciega,
East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer
Filed under: Law and Policy
Unto the Kingdom of the East do I, Don Frasier MacLeod send greetings, To start off the new year I am calling for resumes for my Experimental Deputy. This deputy would be responsible for coordinating all the wacky ideas people talk about and seeing if any of them can actually be put into use in a safe and fun manner. I will be leaning heavily on this Deputy for the Rapier Spear discussion and any experimentation that might take place with it, as well as a host of other ideas floating around. If you would like to be considered for this position, please send your SCA resume to me at the Kingdom Rapier Marshal e-mail on the EK Website. In Service, Don Frasier MacLeod, KRM, East
Filed under: Fencing