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The Authorizations Clerk Has Moved

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2015-03-19 08:26

The Kingdom Authorizations Clerk, THLady Ursula of Rouen, sends this announcement.

Unto the fighters, fencers, and riders of these Sylvan lands does your Kingdom Authorizations Clerk send warm Spring greetings!

As Spring is a time of rebirth and rejuvenation, change is in the air! I have relocated from the Shire of Misty Highlands to the Shire of Sylvan Glen and with that relocation comes a new address!

All authorization forms should now be sent to:

Danielle M. Duvall
PO Box 661
Shepherdstown, WV 25443

The online forms will be updated in the very near future. To ease the transition, I have left my old PO box open for the time being and will have forwarding service soon. Please use the above address whenever possible going forward.

Note: This is not my physical address and I encourage you to share this address far and wide to make sure that authorization forms get to me as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your continued patience through this very hectic transition.

Yours,
Ursula


Categories: SCA news sites

Unofficial Court Report for Black Rose Ball

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2015-03-18 18:05

Their Majesties Edward and Thyra commence the Black Rose Ball

The Court of our most excellent prince and lord, Edward, by right of arms most illustrious King of the East, third of that name, and Thyra, his Queen by agency of that same right, second of that name, held upon 14 March in the forty-ninth year of the Society in the Barony of the Bridge; on which day were called all and sundry the lords of the realm and the great persons of the kingdom to hear the following publicly proclaimed:

Item.  Her Majesty called forth Lorenz Greylever and endowed him with the Queen’s Order of Courtesy for his good works and noble bearing, the which deed was confirmed with a document created by Nest verch Tangwistel.

Item.  Their Majesties summoned before the Court their good servant Malcolm Bowman and set the question before him whether he would join the Order of the Pelican, answer to be given later that afternoon.

Whereupon the Court was adjourned until later in the afternoon.

Item.  Their Majesties recognized the children who had participated in the Children’s Service Initiative.

Item.  Their Majesties invested Kathleen of Anglespur with the Order of the Tyger’s Cub, the which deed was memorialized with a document authored by Ulrich Reinhart and calligraphed and illuminated by Sorcha Dhocair inghean Ui Ruairc.

Item.  Their Majesties made gifts of sweets to the children of the East.

Item.  Their Majesties summoned Fiónán MacLeóid of Armagh before the Court and awarded Arms to the said Fiónán, the which deed was confirmed in a document calligraphed by Bebhinn inghean Ui Siodhachain and illuminated by Ruaidhri Mac Crimthainn.

Item.  Their Majesties bade Katharine of Kyngesbridge to attend upon them and thereupon awarded her Arms, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Bebhinn inghean Ui Siodhachain.

Item.  Their Majesties gave tokens of welcome to newcomers to the Society.

Item.  Their Majesties inducted Harvey Wynegode into the Order of Terpsichore, the which deed was memorialized with a document calligraphed by Nest verch Tangwistel and written and illuminated by Lorita de Siena.

Item.  Their Majesties bade Karrah the Mischievous to appear before the Court, and thereupon inducted her into the Order of Terpsichore, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Katherine Stanhope.

Item.  Their Majesties summoned Faelan Mac Lochlainn before the Tyger Thrones and, praising his skill with a blade, inducted him into the Order of the Silver Rapier, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Aesa Sturludottir.

Item.  Her Majesty endowed Matilda of Carolingia with the Queen’s Order of Courtesy, the which deed was memorialized in a document calligraphed by Nest verch Tangwistel and illuminated by Robert of Stonemarche.

Item. Her Majesty summoned Fortune Sancte Keyne before the Court and, acknowledging her many good works, endowed the said Fortune with the Queen’s Queen’s Award of Esteem.

Item.  Their Majesties summoned Malcolm Bowman to answer the question put before him that morning; and further heard testimony from good and honored Peers of the Realm as to the said Malcolm’s virtues and good works; and so hearing and so finding, Their Majesties inducted the said Malcolm into the Order of the Pelican, the which deed was confirmed in a document authored by Alys Mackyntoich and calligraphed and illuminated by Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova.

Item.  Their Majesties thanked the musicians playing for the Court and the day’s festivities.

I, Alys Mackyntoich, Eastern Crown Herald, wrote this to memorialize and make certain all such things that were done and caused to be done as above stated.

Witnesseth:

Martyn de Haliwell

Yehuda ben Moshe


Filed under: Court, Events Tagged: court report

Second Æthelmearc Writ Given for the Order of Defence Today at Gulf Wars

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-03-18 16:39

Photo by Lady Arianna dal Vallone

At Æthelmearc court today at Gulf Wars, Their Majesties Titus and Anna Leigh gave the second Æthelmearc writ for the Order of Defence to Don Orlando di Bene del Vinta. Their Majesties asked that all those from various Kingdoms who had been given a writ so far come to the front to witness the presentation, creating a stirring moment for the new Order of Defence peerage.

The ceremony can be viewed here.

The wording of the writ:
The King, Titus Scipio Germanicus, and the Queen, Anna Leigh, to Orlando di Bene del Vinta, by the Hands of Timothy and Gabrielle, Don of the Order of the White Scarf, greeting. As a most just law, established by the careful providence of sacred council decrees with the coming New Year of the Society, a new Order shall be created. You know sufficiently well, and it is now, as We believe, divulged through all regions of the world, the study and practice of the art of Rapier. Now, however, not satisfied with the before-mentioned induction into the Order of the White Scarf, We have consulted with Our Heirs. Because, therefore, of your skill and  interest We command you, strictly enjoining you in the fidelity and love in which you are bound to Us, the Kingdom of Æthelmearc and the Society as a whole, that you consult with Our Heirs and, you be present in person on a mutually agreed upon date and place; there to sit vigil to hear and contemplate the words of the people of this Realm and further, to be present along with you, those members of the Peerages and other inhabitants of Our Kingdom who would speak for you, to deliver your answer as to whether or not you would join the ranks of the newly created Order of Defence. Witness the King and Queen at Gulf Wars in the month of March, A.S. 49 in the Kingdom of Glenn Abhainn.
Based upon the Summons of a Bishop to Parliament (1295)


Categories: SCA news sites

Eastern Royalty at Gulf Wars – Photobombed – Royals de l’Est aux guerres du Golfe

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2015-03-18 15:44

Baroness Mylisant Grey, Gazette editor, took photos of the Eastern royalty just before opening ceremonies at Gulf Wars.  An Aethelmearc royal also made an appearance in one of the photos.

Baroness Mylisant Grey, éditeur de la Gazette, a pris des photos de notres royals juste avant l’ouverture des cérémonies aux guerres du Golfe. Un Aethelmearc royal est aussi dans une photo, vous pouvez lui trouver ?


Filed under: En français, Tidings Tagged: aethelmearc, Gulf Wars

Æthelmearc’s New Archery Website: Q&A with the Archer General

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-03-18 08:10

Baron Edward Harbinger, Æthelmearc’s Archer General, recently announced a new website for the Kingdom’s archers. Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope interviewed him about what the new site offers.

 Q: What prompted you to develop the new archery website?

I have felt that the archers of Æthelmearc needed a place to call their own. I remember when THLord Cétach Fitzgibbon had it up and running years ago. It was a good place to go and find information about archery and further your knowledge in general. We haven’t had an archery page in about 7 years, and I feel participation may have gone down for it.

Q: What did you feel was missing from existing online archery venues?

Other venues weren’t going to help us find out who our more experienced archers are, like the Scarlet Guard. There wasn’t any other listing of who the members are until the new Order of Precedence was created, which wasn’t around when we started creating this page.

Q: How do you anticipate it helping the archery community in Æthelmearc?

I’m hoping that this page can become a repository of information to help the archery community. We have information on different kinds of shoots and targets. There will be a link to the most current rules once they have been passed. There is a listing of past Kingdom Champions as well as Scarlet Guard members. I’m hoping people will want to submit articles on bow and arrow building as well as quiver and arm guard patterns…..anything to help out the less experienced archers. There is also a map with events that have a strong archery influence to help plan out the eventing season. We are hoping to get more submissions of pictures to post. I feel that seeing pictures of people having fun shooting, and letting people know that it is handicap friendly and available to our youth will help stimulate growth in our community.

Q: Who else was involved in its development, and will anyone else be helping to maintain it?

I have had some help setting up this site from Master Alaxandair Ó Conchobhair and Mistress Maria Cristina de Cordoba. They have been instrumental to this happening and teaching me how to maintain the site.

Q: Will it be used to record Royal Rounds eventually, or will that site remain separate?

As this is a personal site, the Royal Rounds will remain on the Kingdom Scorekeeper’s site.

Baron Edward Harbinger. Photo courtesy of Baron Edward.

Q: What else do you plan to include on the site over time?

I would like to see all types of leatherwork shown (especially as I am a leatherworker). I would like to get more articles on designing shoots and targets. Photos are always appreciated. I will be writing some articles myself but will gladly take submissions from others. I’m hope that our more experienced archers will join me in helping to spread our knowledge to the populace at large.

I want to set up this site for the use of Archer Generals who come after me. I talked about this with the former Archer General [Master Urho Waltterinen] and he had told me to go ahead, but not to expect anyone to take the lead after me. That is why I have made this a personal site. I will maintain it, and will seek to get input from the Archer Generals who come after me, but it is truly for the archers of Æthelmearc; it is their page, a place they can show their pride in their martial art form.


Categories: SCA news sites

Ring with Arabic inscription found in Viking grave

History Blog - Wed, 2015-03-18 06:13


A finger ring discovered in a grave in the Viking trading center of Birka on Björkö Island, Sweden, in the 19th century is the only ring with an Arabic inscription ever found at a Scandinavian archaeological site. It was unearthed by archaeologist Hjalmar Stolpe during his two-decade-long (1872–1895) excavation of the Birka burial grounds in the grave of a woman dating to around 850 A.D. Although the skeleton was completely decomposed, the grave goods — two oval brooches, one with a needle case hanging in a chain, one with a pair of scissors underneath that were probably attached with a string, an equal-armed brooch, a row of glass, rock crystal and carnelian beads — and remains of clothing — a flax undergarment and a blue wool garment — identify the deceased as female.

The ring was found inside the wooden coffin where her chest would have been, next to the scissors under the right oval brooch. Either it too was connected to the brooch with a now-decayed string, or the woman’s hands may have been placed on her chest when she was placed in the coffin. It is made of silver and set with a translucent purple cabochon stone engraved with Arabic Kufic script. Rings of similar design have been found in Viking graves before, including three in graves at Birka, and in Eastern European graves of the period, but none of them have inscriptions.

The ring is part of the collection of the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm now, but it has never been scientifically analyzed. To answer some questions about its material and construction, the ring was recently subjected to non-invasive examination while a replica took its place on display. Researchers studied the ring under a standard optical stereomicroscope and a scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped for elemental analysis which would allow them to determine the metal content and identify the stone without having to take any destructive samples.

They found that the museum’s interpretation of the ring was wrong on several counts. The museum’s inventory catalogue describes its as a gilded silver signet ring set with an engraved violet amethyst. It’s not gilded silver. It is a high-grade silver alloy consisting of 94.5% silver and 5.5% copper. The stone is not an amethyst. It is not even a stone. It’s colored soda-lime glass, which isn’t to say it was cheap or a fake because glass was a prized luxury import in Viking Scandinavia. The inscription, engraved in an angular form of Arabic Kufic script that was in use from the 7th century through the 12th, reads, researchers believe, “il-la-lah”, or “For/to Allah.” Interpretation is challenging due to the stylized script, so it could be saying something else, but Allah is definitely a part of it, which means that it’s not a signet ring.

The ring shank was at some point in its history broken in three places and then glued back together. This couldn’t have been done before the burial because the glue is a polymer rather than an animal glue and the latter wouldn’t have been strong enough to keep the ring together anyway. It’s more likely that it was either found broken or damaged in the excavation and then glued back together. There is no documentation of any such action being taken.

Researchers also found that the metal surface of the ring bears parallel striations that are likely file marks left by the original maker when he filed the ring to remove flash and mold lines left by the casting process. There are file marks on the prongs as well, which means the filing was done before the glass was added. These marks would normally be eroded away by usage. The fact that they’re still everywhere on the ring body indicates the ring was barely used before being buried. That suggests it didn’t gradually wend its way to Sweden trade by trade, but rather got from the maker to the deceased with no or very few other owners in between.

The glass, on the other hand, has the scratches and dents of moderate use. It may have been recycled from an older piece, or it may just be the victim of how far it juts out from the ring and of glass’ inherent softness compared to the silver of the ring body.

Nobody’s disappointed that the ring isn’t gilded and the stone isn’t a gemstone. The value of this ring is not in its materials, but in the historical significance of the inscription which connects it to the Islamic world. In fact, gilding would have obscured the file marks and those marks are key archaeological evidence of direct or at least very close interaction between Viking Scandinavia and the Caliphate. There are historical records documenting direct contact (The 13th Warrior, man! Just because it’s a bad movie doesn’t mean it’s not awesome.) and archaeological evidence of direct contact in Spain and Eastern Europe, but not in Scandinavia itself. That’s what makes this ring so important.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Climate changed "big man" society in Viking Iceland

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2015-03-17 21:31

The change of climate to colder temperatures in 11th century Iceland may have put an end to traditional Viking feasting of beef and beer, say authors Davide Zori and Jesse Byock in a new book Viking Archaeology in Iceland: Mosfell Archaelogical Project. (photo of glass beads)

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Gulf Wars: Diamond Tourney / Tournoi de diamant

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2015-03-17 20:54

Diamond Tourney at Gulf Wars, Countess Marguerite reporting

The Diamond Tourney is one of the most prestigious tournaments at Gulf Wars. Sponsored by the Diamonds and Roses of Gleann Abhann it features Rapier and Armored combatants. Each sitting Queen is allowed one combatant of each. We are pleased to report that the finals consisted of

Count Cellach MacChormach Midrealm vs King Titus Germanicus of Aethelmearc – photo by Countess Marguerite / Comte Cellach MacChormach Midrealm contre Roi Titus Germanicus de Aethelmearc – photo par Comtesse Marguerite

Count Cellach MacChormach Midrealm and
Dona Anastasia fighting for Queen Thyra of the East.

King Titus Germanicus of Aethelmearc and
Don Blayde of the West fighting for Queen Anna Leigh of Aethelmearc.

Dona Anastasia vs Don Blayde of the West– photo by Countess Marguerite / Dona Anastasia contre Don Blayde, de l’Ouest – photo par Comtesse Marguerite

The victors were Count Cellach and Dona Anasasia for Queen Thyra. Vivat!

 

The victors, Count Cellach and Dona Anasasia with Queen Thyra – photo by Countess Marguerite / Les vainqueurs, Comte Cellach et Dona Anasasia avec la reine Thyra – photo par Comtesse Marguerite

————

En francais par Maîtresse Bess avec Behi Kirsa Oyutai. Comtesse Marguerite est la journaliste

Le Tournoi du Diamant est l’un des plus prestigieux à Gulf War. Parrainé par les Diamants et les Roses de Gleann Abhann, on y présente autant des combattants en armure que des escrimeurs. Chaque Reine à droit à un combattant dans chaque discipline.

Comte Cellach MacChormach du Royaume du Milieu et Dona Anastasia se sont battus pour la reine Thyra de l’Est.

Le Roi Titus Germanicus d’Aethelmearc et Don Blayde, de l’Ouest, se sont battus pour la Reine Anna Leigh d’Aethelmearc.

Les vainqueurs ont été Comte Cellach et Dona Anasasia pour la Reine Thyra. Vivat!


Filed under: En français, Events, Fencing, Heavy List, Tidings

“A ship of war changed into an angel of mercy”

History Blog - Tue, 2015-03-17 20:22

When the potato blight first wound its steel skeleton hands around Ireland’s throat in 1845, funds were raised for famine relief not just in the British Empire (Indian donors were particularly forthcoming) but in the United States as well. With its large Irish population, Boston was the epicenter of American efforts driven by the Catholic Church and the local branch of Daniel “The Liberator” O’Connell’s Repeal Association, a political organization dedicated to the repeal of the Act of Union of 1800 which had united the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland. They considered the famine to be a direct result of the union and thus famine relief was very much relevant to their political activism.

Nobody thought it would last, though. Ireland had had potato blights before and while they caused much suffering, they only lasted for one season. Then the blight struck again in 1846, this time hitting harder and earlier. In January of 1847, news reached the US that the blight was destroying another year’s crop and that tens of thousands were dying. Vice President of the United State George Dallas exhorted Washington, D.C. politicians — 33 senators and 11 representatives, including the one from Illinois’ 7th district, Abraham Lincoln, were at the meeting — to raise as much as money as they could in their home states for Irish famine relief.

Boston Mayor Josiah Quincy took the Vice President Dallas’ exhortation and ran with it. On February 18th, 1847, he called a meeting of 4,000 of Boston’s richest and most prominent residents. They gathered in Faneuil Hall and were regaled with testimonials on the horrors visited upon the Emerald Isle by the famine. Quincy and other speakers, most notably Harvard President and former US Ambassador to Britain Edward Everett, appealed to the assembly that they do their Christian duty to help the destitute and dying of Ireland. (The religious aspect is significant because this was a heavily Protestant crowd, unlike the first donors to the cause who were Catholic and working class.)

One of the attendants at the Faneuil Hall meeting was Robert Bennet Forbes. Born in the Jamaica Plain, now a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, in 1804, the son of Ralph Bennet Forbes and Margaret Perkins Forbes. Both the Perkins and Forbes families were Boston Brahmin, members of the wealthy Protestant upper class of the city. They were merchants by trade and young Robert traveled with his parents from a very young age, crossing the Atlantic for the first time when he was six and experiencing a number of confiscation adventures at the hands of British interference with American ships during the War of 1812. His years of private schooling in France and at the Milton Academy outside Boston came to an end when he was 13 years old. His father’s business failures and ill health spurred the barely teenaged Robert to get a job to help support his parents and seven younger siblings. He went to sea.

His maternal uncles James and Thomas Handasyd Perkins owned a company in the Old China Trade selling ginseng, cheese, iron and furs at first before in 1815 specializing in the illegal export of Turkish opium to China. In 1817 little Robert boarded the Canton Packet as a cabin boy, the first of several voyages to Canton and back he made under the command of his uncles. He was a fine sailor and was promoted to officer (third mate) at the age of sixteen. He received his first command of a ship when he was 20 years old and sailed the vessel around the world.

By the time he was 28, Robert Bennet Forbes was rich in his own right, thanks in disturbingly large part to drug trafficking that would have such disastrous consequences for China, and settled down to run the business from Milton, Massachusetts. He became a ship designer, ultimately designing 70 ships. He was also involved in philanthropic works and charitable causes. When Mayor John Quincy appealed for aid at Faneuil Hall, Captain Robert Forbes and his brother John Murray Forbes decided to take immediate action, heading the newly founded New England Committee for the Relief of Ireland and Scotland.

Two days later, the Forbes brothers had come up with a workable plan: to petition Congress to let them use the USS Jamestown, a warship moored in Boston’s Charlestown Navy Yard, to transport desperately needed supplies to Ireland. Forbes volunteered to command the vessel and recruit a crew of volunteers. Because he was an experienced ship’s captain, this offer held weight with his fellow Bostonians on the Committee and with Congress. Two days after that, the New England Committee for the Relief of Ireland and Scotland officially petitioned Congress to grant them use of a warship to deliver relief supplies to famine-stricken Ireland.

On March 3rd, the last day of session, a joint resolution of both Houses was passed authorizing the loan of the frigate Macedonian to Captain George C. DeKay and the Sloop of War Jamestown to Captain Robert Bennet. The resolution stipulated that the President, James K. Polk, and Secretary of the Navy, John Y. Mason, would decided whether the expenses of outfitting the ships and their voyages were to be paid for by the government or by the merchants. As the United States was at war with Mexico at that time and money were tight, Mason opted for the latter, lending the ships to the Boston merchants for them to outfit at their expense.

Congress had never before permitted the use a warship by private parties and it never has since. This remains the only time it has ever happened.

Meanwhile, the Relief Committee got busy raising money and securing supplies.

Over the course of only three weeks, a relief committee chaired by Boston Mayor Josiah Quincy Jr. raised more than $150,000 from donors stretching from Arkansas to Maine. Railroads agreed to ship produce to Boston for free, wharf proprietors donated the use of their docks and newspapers at no charge ran notices from Forbes seeking volunteer crewmembers. The children of Massachusetts donated pennies, churches took up special collections and newly arrived Irish immigrants bore sacks of flour and potatoes to the docks to feed relatives back in their homeland.

The Jamestown was stripped of her armaments and on March 17th, appropriately enough, volunteers from the Laborers Aid Society of Boston began to load the cargo of more than 8,000 barrels of wheat, cornmeal and other non-perishable stores. Bad weather delayed the loading which was completed on March 27th. The next day, the Jamestown set forth for Cork, Ireland, arriving two weeks later on April 12th.

(Random coincidence: the Jamestown had begun its naval duties in 1845 off the coast of West Africa patrolling the sea to suppress the slave trade. Forbes’ uncle Thomas Handasyd Perkins was a slave trader in his younger days when it was still legal. The Jamestown first arrived at the Charlestown Navy Yard in August of 1846 from her first deployment catching slave traders. She was still moored there when the news came of the blight’s persistence.)

In his report on the mission, The Voyage of the Jamestown on Her Errand of Mercy, Captain Forbes noted that when the Jamestown dropped anchor in Cove, a welcoming committee of local citizens greeted the crew with the Cove Temperance Band on hand to play Yankee Doodle over and over. Forbes was invited to receptions and banquets thrown by the (mainly English) authorities both on land and on board the Royal Navy ships that had helped bring the Jamestown in and unload its cargo. Ladies read him poetry. Here’s an apt verse from a poem by a lady known to us today only as Emma:

The “Jamestown” now no ship of war,
Her peaceful way she wends;
A mighty conquest she’s achieved,
And hearts of oak she bends.

The supplies carried by the Jamestown were distributed to more than 150 locations in County Cork. Since heavy bureaucracy was a huge problem with relief supplies then as it is now, the efficient and wide distribution of life-saving food to the starving within 10 days of the ship’s arrival was a notable achievement.

It wasn’t all parties and poems. Here is a passage from Forbes’ report detailing the horrors he witnessed:

I went with Father Mathew, only a few steps out of one of the principal streets of Cork, into a lane; the valley of the shadow of death was it? alas, no, it was the valley of death and pestilence itself! I saw enough in five minutes, to horrify me — hovels crowded with the sick and dying, without floors, without furniture, and with patches of dirty straw covered with still dirtier shreds and patches of humanity; some called for water to Father Mathew, and others for a dying blessing. From this very small sample of the prevailing destitution we proceeded to a public soup kitchen, under a shed, guarded by police officers, here a large boiler containing rice, meal, &c, was at work, while hundreds of spectres stood without begging for some of this soup, which I can readily conceive would be refused by well bred pigs in this country.

I do not say this with the least disrespect to the benevolent who provide the means and who order the ingredients; the demand, for immediate relief, is so great at Cork, that if the starving can he kept alive, it is all that can be expected; the energies of the poor are so cramped and deadened by want and suffering of every type, that they care only for sustenance, and they are unable to earn it; crowds flock in, from the country to the west and south-west and south-east of Cork, the hospitals and poor houses and jails, are full to overflowing, though numbers die daily to make room for the dying; every corner of the streets is filled with pale care worn creatures, the weak leading and supporting the weaker, women assail you at every turn, with famished babes, imploring alms[.]

Forbes headed back to Boston after 10 days. The Jamestown arrived at Boston Yard on May 17th and Forbes returned it to the Navy. The other warship authorized by the joint resolution, the Macedonian, set out on its relief trip in July. More than 100 civilian relief ships also did their bit that year, bringing food and cash donations from all over the United States to Ireland. The Great Hunger spurred America’s first major disaster relief effort, and indeed the first global disaster relief effort.

While he was outfitting the ship, Forbes received a letter from his friend and Unitarian pastor Reverend R.C. Waterson pointing out that in 1676, Ireland had sent donations to help relieve the suffering of the Plymouth colonists during King Philip’s War. It doesn’t get much attention today, but King Philip’s War was an unmitigated disaster for the New England colonies leaving their population literally decimated, a dozen towns destroyed, half of all the towns attacked and their economy in tatters. (It was a disaster for the Native Americans too. The Wampanoags and Narragansetts were all but destroyed.) Forbes calculated that adjusted for inflation, the 1676 Irish donations would amount to $200,000 in his day ($1,450,000 in ours).

“It is an interesting fact, that the people of Ireland nearly two hundred years ago, thus sent relief to our ‘Pilgrim Fathers,’ in the time of their need, and that what we have been doing for that famishing country is but a return for what their fathers did for our fathers, and the whole circumstance proves a verification of the scripture, ‘Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days.’

I cannot but think that this fact will be of interest in the pamphlet which you intend to publish. I consider the mission of the Jamestown as one of the grandest events in the history of our country. A ship of war changed into an angel of mercy, departing on no errand of death, but with the bread of life to an unfortunate and perishing people.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Gulf Wars, News from the Front Lines / Gulf Wars, nouvelles du front

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2015-03-17 14:07

Their Majesties Declare for Trimaris – photo by Countess Marguerite

Countess Marguerite, reporting.

This reporter is standing at Gulf War Opening ceremonies where the Peace Negotiations between Trimaris and Ansteorra have broken down. In an egreegious display of temper the King of Ansteorra Lachlann kicked grass on the shoes of the King Kurn of Trimaris. It looks like there will be War. The East has allied with Trimaris.

There was much entertaining banter during the declaration. Calontir declared for Ansteorra after receiving from them amazing largess (Large S). Athelmaerc declared their sides after inspecting the jewels of both crowns and deciding it was better in Trimaris.

Their Majesties Calontir display the Large S they received from their allies Ansteorra – photo by Countess Marguerite

———–

En francais par Behi Kirsa Oyutai

Leurs Majestés disent qu’ils vont se battre avec Trimaris – photo par Comtesse Marguerite

Nous sommes présentement à la cérémonie d’ouverture de Gulf War, où les négociations de paix entre le Royaume de Trimaris et Ansteorra sont au point mort. Dans un flagrant mouvement de colère, le Roi d’Ansteorra Lachlann a donné un coup de pied et couvert de poussière les chaussures du Roi Kurn de Trimaris. Il semblerait que ce sera la guerre. Le Royaume de l’Est s’est allié avec Trimaris.

Leurs Majestés Calontir avec les largesses – photo par Comtesse Marguerite

La déclaration fût marquée par d’amusantes badineries. Le Royaume de Calontir s’est déclaré du côté d’Ansteorra après avoir reçu d’eux d’impressionnantes largesses (Large S). Tant qu’à lui, le Royaume d’Athelmaerc, pour déclarer son alliance, a inspecté les joyaux des deux couronnes opposées, avant de décider que ceux de Trimaris étaient mieux.

-Comtesse Marguerite


Filed under: En français, Events, Tidings

Guarding the Queen

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-03-17 12:06

Being royalty in the SCA comes with a number of perks. In Æthelmearc, one of those is the Queen’s Guard. How does the Queen’s Guard work? Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope interviewed several past Queens and members of their guards to find out.

Photo by Mistress Rowena ni Dhonnchaidh.

What is the Queen’s Guard?

The Queen’s Guard is typically composed of gentles from around the kingdom who engage in one of the many martial arts of the Society and serve the Queen. Heavy weapons, rapier, combat and target archery, thrown weapons, equestrian, siege, even youth combatants have been members of the Queen’s Guard.

How are the Queen’s Guards chosen?

Each Queen uses her own criteria to choose members of her guard, but there are some common rationales among our past Queens.

Duchess Morgen of Rye said, “I looked for people who were enthusiastic and talented in whatever martial art they were pursuing. I tried to include people who represented diversity in martial activities and to include some youth.”

Queen Elena dismissing Her Guards at Her Last Court. Photo by Baroness Barbary Rose of Endless Hills.

Countess Elena d’Artois explained, “We knew we would be traveling a great deal so we started with a base of two rattan, one rapier, one thrown weapons and one archer in each region. We looked for people who were up and coming and just about ready for one award or another. It was fun to get to know them and then be the ones to bring them up in front of their friends and recognize their excellence. In addition to prowess we also focused on character. We looked for people who were good examples of those qualities we aspire to. Additionally, they had to be people who we trusted to be nearby when discussing things of a delicate nature and not share them outside of the room.”

Countess Elena’s rapier captain, Don Corwyn Montgomery, explained, “In the course of our recruitment, we went with the multiclass characters (to quote D&D) in which we had individuals who participated in armored combat, rapier combat, combat archery, target archery, and thrown weapons.”

Duchess Branwen ferch Gwythyr said, “I wanted to make sure I had people from all regions and from all areas of martial interest, but since I was also planning to fence and to fight, the proportions were going to be a bit different. I was going for something like 1/3 fencers, 1/3 heavies, and 1/3 archers/thrown weapons people/equestrians, and equal groups from all regions.”

Her Grace continued, “I got recommendations from people I knew for the various regions, because during our first reign, I pretty much knew almost no one outside of my own region. Once I had a starting list, I went around and asked them face-to-face as much as I could. I tried to get a good list going during our minority, partly to take pressure off the autocrats at events we attended, and partly so we could have a chance to practice fighting and fencing together before coronation. A few times, I scoped out the field at events we attended and then asked people to join on the spot.”

Duchess Líadain ní Dheirdre Chaomhánaigh commented, “Being that both of my reigns were Pennsic reigns, I did my best to create a large Guard as the burden of service is greater from a time perspective for those serving at Pennsic. I spent a significant amount of time seeking suggestions for possible candidates, as well as observing various martial activities and individual actions to find members for my Guard.”

King Maynard and Queen Liadain with the Guard at Pennsic, Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

Duchess Morgen agreed, “For Pennsic, realistically, you need a lot more people. Covering an event is very different than covering morning to night for 10+ days. Fortunately, lots of people are willing to step up to help. Unfortunately, Pennsic can be so crazy, there were many times I wished we could give folks more interesting duties than being on guard during order meetings or teas.”

Lord Silvester Burchardt, Captain of the Guard for HRH Gabrielle’s upcoming reign. Photo courtesy of Lord Silvester.

Countess Kallista Morgunova remarked, “The captains were asked to look for candidates as guards that were new or maybe up and coming or that just wanted to be more involved. We wanted men and women from all areas of martial activities. We looked for people that took the role serious but that wanted to have fun but be part of the pageantry.”

Lord Silvester Burchardt, who will be Captain of the Guard for Princess Gabrielle once she is crowned as Queen, said “I worked with Their Highnesses, Master Tigernach, and Dame Bronwyn to formulate a list of people that each of us thought would be willing, able, and/or interested in being a guard. Some of the choices were to ensure that each of the various martial activities were represented, some were people that we knew enjoyed serving in this capacity, some were people that inspired us personally, and some were people we felt would be inspired themselves by the invitation. Her Highness sends out invitations to as many or as few as pleased Her from that list [and] informs me which have accepted. I’ll be coordinating them mostly through FaceBook and e-mails, but I was fortunate enough to have face-to-face conversations with a few at the regional muster yesterday and hope to have a dress rehearsal/meet and greet at Ice Dragon.”

What does the Queen’s Guard do?

Lord Silvester commented, “The duties of the guards are a combination of figurehead “protectors” and traffic cops. We’re playing a game where we live in an idealized medieval realm where no one would ever even consider doing harm to the Royals, so the concept of “lay down your life” is happily off the table. Setting reality to the side, I feel the guard is still expected to appear to be ready, willing, and able to defend the Queen’s person from harm, even to the point of their very lives. From the perspective of “traffic cop”, we need to control the flow of people coming up to Her Highness or even the Royal Couple so that they don’t get bogged down, while making sure that people who have legitimate business with The Crown get their chance to speak. This is where we will rely heavily on the reign coordinator and head retainer to keep us informed of scheduled audiences, populace free-access sessions, etc.”

Duchess Liadain noted, “They should first and foremost continue to participate in their martial endeavors. At no time did I want someone serving a Guard shift instead of participating in a tournament.”

Queen Branwen, photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato

Duchess Branwen echoed that sentiment: “If we were at a fighting event, and I decided not to be on the field for some reason, I tried to make sure that none of my guards during the battles were people who could be on the field, because I wanted them to be out there fighting if they were able. The same went for tournaments in which archers or thrown weapons people or equestrians might be competing.” She continued, “For court, depending on the court, the shifts were usually shorter, so people could rotate in and out regularly and allow them to sit down. They stood two in front of the dais and two at the back of the hall (if we had enough, if not, just in front of the dais). Part of their job was looking official, and the other part was walking people up, making sure no weapons were on anyone not in fealty to us, and helping people ascend the dais if there were stairs.”

Duchess Liadain added, “Off the field and while on duty it was my expectation that the Guard join me as I travelled throughout the day. They were not to act as ‘retainers,’ carrying items, but with weapon in hand ‘stand guard’ and contribute to setting the stage to create the royal presence. Guards were expected to comport themselves appropriately to their station while on duty, which was generally scheduled in advance by my Captain of the Guard. We also asked that they help assist with assembling/disassembling thrones as well as helping to unload the morning of the event and pack up at the end along with the rest of our retinue.”

Countess Kallista noted, “Before we stepped up, Andreas met with the Captains and discussed expectations. Some were in regards to how court would run others were in regards to my “safety” at events and on the battlefield. In medieval tradition, no live steel within 10 feet of the Queen. Guards were to be aware of the situations that I was in and what I was doing so that if a something strange arose they would be able to deal with it. Mostly the guards were there to make the Kingdom look good. They kept court running smoothly and followed me everywhere. They fought beside me and stepped in when conversations need to be carried out in private or ended.”

Queen Morgen thanking Her Captain of the Guard, Baron Ogami no Arashimoto Shirou. Photo by Master Alaxandair Ó Conchobhair.

According to Duchess Morgen, in court, “Probably the most important things for “the look” is for guard not to fidget. Most important for the guards themselves is to not lock their knees and to get shifted to a new position in court about 10-15 minutes in and then rotate out after 20-30 minutes maximum.”

If the Queen is a heavy fighter or fencer, as so many of Æthelmearc’s Queens have been, members of the Queen’s Guard in those disciplines may also be expected to form a unit that defends and works with her during battles at events like Gulf Wars, War Practice, and Pennsic. This can be an interesting balancing act – if the Guards do their job too well, the Queen doesn’t have much fun.

Duchess Morgen said, “Given that I am a heavy fighter, it was important to have a good number of skilled heavy fighters for the field.”

According to Countess Elena, “My rattan captain, Lord Madison Morai, asked me if I wanted to be safe, or have fun. My answer was to have fun. He worked with the rattan fighters on unit tactics in preparation for Gulf Wars. For one rattan battle we had an all female unit and dove in with enthusiasm. Fortunately for us it was a resurrection battle. We died gloriously and gained some land for our side, but died nonetheless.”

Her Excellency, now a Companion of the White Scarf, also recalls participating in her first fencing battles as Queen: “On the rapier field I was so new that the group we fielded intentionally used me as bait. I was wearing my queens’ white scarf and had amazingly beautiful armor that Doña Sasha had made for me, so as I distracted and intimidated [our opponents], the experienced rapier fighters killed all that came after me.”

Duchess Liadain commented, “As a heavy fighter myself, I always gave my Guards who were heavy fighters leave to join the field with their regular units as I felt this was a greater benefit to both the individual as well as the army. Interestingly enough, most chose to fight with the Queen’s Guard upon the field.”

Queen Kallista in a rapier battle with Her fencing guard. Photo by Lady Antoinette de Lorraine.

Duchess Branwen said, “On the field, we worked together, and their job was basically to keep me alive. As I’m sure many of them could tell you, that doesn’t always go as planned, and I never blamed them for that – if I was on the field, I wanted to be on the field.”

Don Corwyn commented, “The guard will be hard pressed to keep up with an energetic queen, whether she is fighting on the field or shopping at Pennsic.”

What does the Captain of the Queen’s Guard do?

Generally speaking, the Captains organize the guards into shifts, advise and train guard members in their duties, and monitor their activities, especially during courts.

Doña Gabrielle de Winter, Captain of Queen Anna Leigh’s Guard. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

Doña Gabrielle de Winter, Captain of Queen Anna Leigh’s Guard, explained, “I am careful to try and be clear in what is expected from the guards — tell them exactly what it is that they need to do, and roll with the punches, because we are all human and we make mistakes. As long as people LOOK like they know what they are doing, people in court are really not going to notice anything.”

Lord Silvester noted, “The Captain of the Queen’s Guard is mostly ceremonial and the rest is about personnel management – scheduling the invited and spontaneous volunteer guards to ensure that Her Majesty doesn’t take a single step without at least one guard within a few feet while also maintaining the security of the royalty room during events, coordinating with the reign coordinator and head retainer to regulate who has access to Her Majesty when and ensuring that all of the guards know the roles expected of them. This is my first time as the Captain of the Guard and I know many of the invitees have never served as guards, so it’ll be a bit of a learning experience for all of us.”

Countess Elena said, “We chose two captains – rattan and rapier. The rattan captain was someone who we wanted to showcase so that he would get better exposure for his leadership and organization. The rapier captain was someone who had “been there, done that” so we had someone who knew many people in the kingdom and had experience in many areas of leadership and excellent organizational skills.”

Don Corwyn Montgomery instructing the Queen’s Guard before Court. Photo by THLord Juan Miguel Cezar.

Don Corwyn said, “I was very fortunate to share the rank of captain with Lord Madison Morai and several guardsmen who rose to the role of lieutenant. Without them, I could not have met the challenge of the duties. With them, we did an amazing job together.” He continued, “The aspect of being captain most do not consider is organizing guard movements for Court and as escort. Anyone who has had experience with stage productions or marching band will relate to planning movements of individuals that seem natural and expound upon the magic of making a medieval moment happen, not only for the populace but also for all of the individuals of the Royal Court, to include the guardsmen themselves.”

Duchess Branwen commented, “Both reigns, I had someone in mind ahead of time for captain. I wanted a separate captain just for the fencing guard, so we had someone to be in charge for training. The captain had to be there 90-100% of the time, or find a capable stand-in if they couldn’t make it.”

Countess Kallista remarked, “The Queen’s Guards were something Andreas took very seriously. He felt that tradition and propriety should be upheld in regards to guarding His Queen and Kingdom. When choosing a captain we looked for people that were loyal to the Kingdom and the traditions of the SCA.”

Duchess Morgen noted, “The captain needs to be someone close enough to you to work well with [you], and who can be organized so that there’s no need to micromanage. It should be an opportunity for a non-peer to have a leadership role. We worked out a system to post four guards for court and one for walking around.”

How do members of the Queen’s Guard benefit from the experience?

Duchess Liadain observed, “I believe that serving on the Queen’s Guard helps individuals foster new relationships, create lasting bonds, [and] learn new skills. Some of my very best friends were guardsmen that I barely knew [at first], but after a year together for a royal reign, [they] became family.”

Countess Kallista commented, “We felt that it was important to give people opportunities to be part of the grand theatre of court and to be able to view things from behind the scenes. Guards also get to experience things that many people in the SCA don’t normally encounter or are even aware of.” She added, “They were loyal and funny, strong and brave, and made me smile when I just wanted to cry. The hardest part of stepping down was releasing them. To this day many will step back into their role and I will find myself shadowed by or standing shoulder to shoulder with a dear friend that once wore a guard’s baldric.”

According to Duchess Branwen, “[Guards] get to know other people in the guard, and get to see what being part of a reign is like. I think it builds Kingdom community. It’s very easy to only know people in your home group. Being part of a guard means that you’ll hopefully meet people from all over. It [also] potentially gets you exposure. I wouldn’t treat it as a way of getting awards; for one thing, when I’ve been on the throne, I’ve tried to avoid giving awards to people for whom that’s an obvious goal. I’d rather see people do things that they enjoy because they enjoy them, and recognize that. However, it’s definitely a way that you can get people seen who you feel deserve recognition.”

Queen Kallista dismissing Her Guards at Her Last Court. Photo by Baron Friderich Swartzwalder.

If you are asked to join the Queen’s Guard, Duchess Branwen said, “I very much recommend being honest about your ability to commit if asked, because it is a guaranteed 5-10 months of being very active. Some people feel that they cannot say no to the Queen, and [that’s not the case].”

Don Corwyn noted, “Consider how many individuals you have seen in the Royal Guard [who] truly threw themselves into the role and went on to do great things. The Royal Guard that is truly devoted to bringing joy to the Queen will find a rewarding relationship that will continue to give long after the reign has ended. Such influences are shared, as evidenced by the rapier enthusiasm that infected Queen Elena to the point that she is now Doña Elena. This was a gift of her Guard, but to her Guard, they consider it a gift to them.”


Categories: SCA news sites

Pennsic: EK Royal Scheduling Information / Informations de planification de campement Royal

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2015-03-17 09:59

“Greetings to the Populace of the East,

We are currently in the process of scheduling events and meetings that will take place in the East Kingdom Royal Encampment during Pennsic. In order to ensure that your group gets the time and space that they need, please contact me with your scheduling needs.”

Lady Wentlyanna Bengrek

——–

En francais

Si vous avez des affaires nécessitant le campement Royal de Royaume de East à Pennsic, veuillez communiquer avec Lady Wentlyanna Bengrek avec votre demande

(traduction par Maîtresse Bess)


Filed under: Announcements, En français, Official Notices, Pennsic

Teaching Space Still Available for Pen vs Sword III

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-03-16 18:17

From Lady Moniczka Poznanska, the Class Co-ordinator:

We still have space open for teachers at our Pen vs Sword event on 4/25/15.  If you are interested in teaching classes in Rapier, Calligraphy, Illumination or related topics, please consider signing up.  (It’s a great way to polish up the class you plan to teach at Pennsic!)

Please contact me by email, moniczkap@verizon.net, or on Facebook at Moniczka Poznanska or Shire of Angels Keep.

Thanks in advance.


Categories: SCA news sites

On the writing of sonnets

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2015-03-16 16:48

In an article on the Athenaeum Hectoris blog, Master Hector of the Black Height, of the Kingdom of Ealdormere, discusses the basics of sonnets and sonnet writing, including rhythm, phrasing and form, in the article Missive to a Young Poet: Sonnets.

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Categories: SCA news sites

In Memoriam: Master Kali Harlansson of Gotland

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2015-03-16 12:29

It is with great sadness that the Gazette reports that Master Kali Harlansson of Gotland passed away on March 12, 2015 after a long illness.

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Categories: SCA news sites

From Ming China to Persian princess to Shah Jahan to Sotheby’s

History Blog - Mon, 2015-03-16 06:20

The Mahin Banu Grape Dish is a serving vessel 17 inches in diameter made during the Ming Dynasty’s Yongle Period in around 1420, and that’s just where the story begins. Its voyage would take it to the royal courts of Persia, the palace of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan during the time when he was building the Taj Mahal in Agra, in the modern era to New York where it starred in exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum, and now to Sotheby’s where it is set to go up for auction at the Important Chinese Works of Art sale on March 17th (short video covering the dish’s design and history here).

Persian traders were key middlemen in the trade between east and west, so much so that Persian became a common tongue along the Silk Road. As early as the 13th century Chinese porcelain was imported into Iran, and by the early 14th century Chinese kilns were manufacturing porcelain specifically for export to Persia. The demand was great enough that Persian tastes influenced the production of porcelain in China, particularly after the chaos and violence of the Mongol invasions severely inhibited the local market for expensive porcelain goods. Kilns started to produce larger plates than would be used in Chinese food service and included more geometric decorative elements like those seen in Islamic art.

Chinese potters also used Persian raw materials. The cobalt blue that is now so characteristic of Ming porcelain was imported from what is today the Kerman Province of southeastern Iran. When the foreign blue underglaze first began to be used to paint the prized pure white porcelain, in fact, the Chinese elite turned their noses up at it as vulgar and barbarous. Over time they realized it was extremely kickass, and Ming blue-and-white porcelain came to be considered the sine qua non of refinement and elegance.

The dish probably made its way west to Persia under the Timurid dynasty, founded by famed Timur (aka Tamerlane) in 1370. The Timurid aristocracy loved blue and white porcelain and amassed large collections of pieces from China. The Safavid dynasty, founded in 1501 by Shah Ismail I, carried on the practice of collecting blue-and-white porcelain and it was one of Ismail’s daughters, Princess Mahin Banu Khanum, who put her stamp (figuratively and literally) on the grape dish.

Born in 1519, Mahin Banu was a highly educated, politically savvy, devout woman. She earned a reputation as a patron of the arts, architecture and religious centers. With her own money derived from her properties in Shirvan, Tabriz, Qazvin, Ray and Isfahan, Mahin Banu supported holy shrines and founded charitable organizations, including one dedicated to funding dowries for orphaned girls who would otherwise have been destitute. Her father died in 1524 when she was just five years old, and her 10-year-old brother Tahmasp I came to the throne. A chaotic regency followed which Tahmasp put an end to with the execution of the regent in 1533.

Mahin Banu was Tahmasp’s youngest full sister and his favorite, so much so that she became his right hand, not just socially or in the arts or in a religious context, but politically as well. Mahin Banu was one in a line of unmarried royal Safavid women who became trusted counselors to their brothers and fathers. Without conflicting loyalties, husbands or children to deal with, they could put all of their talents to work helping their relatives. Safavid women of wealth and rank were educated as thoroughly as their brothers. They were tutored in reading, writing, fine art, calligraphy, religion and even martial arts like archery and horseback riding.

Mahin Banu accompanied her brother in the thick of the hunt and sat on horseback by his side during ceremonies when all the other royal women watched from a distance. According to chronicler Qumi’s Khulasat al-Tavarikh, Tahmasp was so dependent on his sister’s counsel that he wouldn’t make a move without seeking her approval first. She was his top advisor in all affairs of state and acted in an official capacity, engaging in diplomatic discussions with Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent’s powerful wife, Hurrem Sultan. She became known as the “Queen of the Age, the Mistress of the time.”

That unmarried status was not happenstance. Tahmasp jealously guarded his sister’s celibacy, chasing off all suitors until he found a permanent solution: a ritual betrothal to Muhammad al-Mahdi, the 12th of the Twelve Imams revered in Shi’a Islam who had died 600 years earlier in the 10th century. Tradition had it that the Mahdi would return again any day — a saddled white horse was left at the palace gate every night just in case — but this engagement wasn’t based on the premise that he’d actually come back and marry the princess. It was a device to prevent her from marrying anyone else and leaving her brother’s side for her husband’s.

Tahmasp shared his sister’s love of art (initially; towards the end of his reign he lost interest). His court created one of the most lavishly illuminated and calligraphied copies of the Shahnameh or Book of Kings, an epic poem recounting the mythical history of the Persian empire written in the 11th century by the poet Ferdowsi, on which the top artists worked for two decades. After the masterpiece was complete, Tahmasp gave it to the Ottoman sultan Selim II as a diplomatic gift on the occasion of his accession to the throne. Contemporary sources record it was part of a train of 34 camels laden with luxurious presents including brocades and other textiles, silk carpets, books and prized porcelain from the far east.

One of the artists who contributed to Shah Tahmasp’s Shahnameh was painter, master calligrapher and head of the royal library Dust Muhammad who also taught the young Mahin Banu calligraphy, some samples of which have survived and are now in the fabulous wonderland known as the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul. He left the Safavid court in the late 1530s, traveling to Kabul which was ruled by Kamran Mirza, brother of the embattled Mughal emperor Humayun, and then in 1555 went to India by invitation of Humayun himself.

Humayun had had a tough go of it, empire-wise. He became emperor after his father’s death in 1530, but there were disgruntled parties who sought to place his uncle on the throne. He had the armies of two kings looking to reclaim the territory his father had conquered. His brothers, including Kamran Mirza, betrayed him and fought against him repeatedly. He lost much of his Hindustan territory to the forces of Sher Shah Suri and in 1543 retreated to his brother’s lands in what is today Afghanistan. Again his brother was less than supportive, leaving Humayun to seek refuge in Persia where Shah Tahmasp welcomed him with open arms and gave him the royal treatment.

When in 1545 Kamran offered to give Shah Tahmasp Kandahar in exchange for his brother’s body, dead or alive, Tahmasp refused and instead gave Humayun military support against his traitorous older brother. Mahin Banu played a major role in establishing this alliance. Tahmasp had threatened to kill Humayun at one point if he didn’t convert from Sunni to Shi’a Islam, but Mahin Banu convinced her brother to support the Mughal emperor in his attempts to reclaim his territories.

Humayun took Kandahar and Kabul, lost them (he was an awful battlefield general), took them again, and ultimately in 1555 reclaimed Hindustan in large part thanks to the thousands of Persian troops Tahmasp had loaned him. Finally returned to the Mughal throne in Delhi, Humayun invited the Persian artists and craftsmen to do for his empire what he had seen them do during the months he spent traveling in Persia and becoming enamoured with its art and architecture. The Persian influence on Mughal art would long outlast his reign.

We know that Mahin Banu still owned the grape dish when she died in 1562 because there’s a circular cartouche (vaqf) on the base of the plate that identifies it as having been donated to the Shrine of Imam Reza, the eighth of the Twelve Imams, in Mashhad, as a pious gift. It reads: “Endowed to the Razavid Shrine, By Mahin Banu, the Safavid (princess).” According to 16-17th century chronicler Qazi Ahmad-e Qomi, all of her jewels and her porcelain collection were endowed to the shrine which she had been a dedicated patron of in life.

The next time the Mahin Banu Grape Dish appears on the historical record is at the Mughal court of Shah Jahan in 1643. Even though Mughal history intersected with Safavid Persia during the period of Mahin Banu’s ownership of the dish and even though she was so closely involved in her brother’s dealings with Humayun, the Ming vessel did not make its way to Agra through the kind of diplomatic channels that had directed 34 camels’-worth of precious objects to Selim II.

So how did the grape dish make its way from a holy shrine to Shah Jahan 80 years later? Probably as war booty that was then traded. The Shrine of Imam Reza was sacked by the Uzbek troops of Abdolmomen Khan in 1590. They picked it clean of all its many treasures, and 17th century Safavid court historian Eskandar Beyg specifically mentions “Chinese vessels” being among the precious objects stolen by the Uzbek soldiers who traded them amongst themselves “for the price of cheap ceramic shards.” Mashhad was reconquered by Shah Abbas I, grandson of Shah Tahmasp, in 1598. (Related factoid: there is only one collection of blue-and-white Ming porcelain from the Safavid dynasty still in Iran today, and it’s that of Shah Abbas I, on display in the National Museum in Tehran.)

It was probably during this period before Jahan acquired the piece that someone tried to erase the vaqf from the bottom of the dish. The inscription marked the vessel as having been endowed to the shrine. Owning it was a violation of Islamic law. Knowing that religiously observant buyers would not purchase the piece because of that, whoever was trying to unload it tried to scratch off the vaqf. Abrasion marks marred the surface, but the inscription was too deep to destroy it completely.

Instead it seems they came up with another cunning plan: cover it up. There are mysterious drill marks on the bottom of the plate that could have been used to add a mount that obscured the incriminating markings. Also, Shah Jahan inscribed his name and the year the dish was acquired on the outer edge of the foot ring. Other Shah Jahan plates have his inscription on the base, which strongly suggests there was something attached down there that made it necessary to move the standard position.

After that, there are no more handy inscriptions on the dish that might illuminate its travels back west. Sotheby’s has a lovely map tracking its known movements like unto Indiana Jones in Raiders which indicates it stopped in Quebec in the late 19th century, but this stop is not referenced in the provenance information. It goes from Shah Jahan to an art dealer in New York and thence into the hands of Alastair Bradley Martin’s and his wife Edith Park Martin’s Guennol Collection in 1967. They loaned it to museums for many years and are now selling it. The pre-sale estimate is $2.5 – 3.5 million. Considering the unbelievably rich history of the piece, its unique version of the grape pattern, its beautiful condition and the sheer madness of the Chinese antiquities market right now courtesy of lots of newly minted Chinese billionaires keen to reclaim cultural heritage scattered by war, trade, looters and time, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that estimate was left in the dust.

 

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Omnibus Peerage Proposal Submitted to SCA Board of Directors

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2015-03-15 22:55

Omnibus Peerage Support Badge

The Aethelmearc Gazette reports that a final proposal to create an omnibus peerage for all martial arts under the purview of the Earl Marshal, with the exception of rattan and rapier, was submitted to the Board of Directors  today.  To read more about the proposal including where to find its full text, see the article at the Aethelmearc Gazette.


Filed under: Archery, Equestrian, Thrown Weapons

Omnibus Peerage Proposal Submitted to SCA Board of Directors

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-03-15 21:26

Duchess Tessa the Huntress announced that the final proposal for the creation of an omnibus peerage for all martial arts under the purview of the Earl Marshal, with the exception of rattan and rapier, was submitted to the Board of Directors of the SCA today. An earlier request had been made for space on the agenda for the April board meeting, pending submittal of the proposal. The meeting will be held on April 18 in Covington, KY in the Kingdom of the Middle. More information on attending the meeting can be found here.

The proposal for the new peerage was created by a multi-Kingdom steering committee, with input from the 850+ member Martial Peerage Facebook group. The proposed name for the peerage is the Order of Valiance, with a proposed badge as seen at right.

The full text of the proposal can be found here.

Anyone interested in writing in support of this proposal can contact the Board at directors@sca.org.


Categories: SCA news sites

The Midrealm Gazette

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2015-03-15 15:23

Master Philip the Pilgrim has launched The Midrealm Gazette. If you are interested in reading the news from the Midrealm, you can find their Gazette here.  They are also on Twitter and Facebook.


Filed under: Announcements Tagged: Midrealm

In Memoriam: Master Kali Harlansson of Gotland

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2015-03-15 13:11

Master Kali as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2003

It is with great sadness that the Gazette reports that Master Kali Harlansson of Gotland passed away on March 12, 2015 after a long illness. Kali was well known for his gifts as a story teller and was a beloved member of the Barony of Carolingia. “Tell us a story, Uncle Kali” was the frequent request as people would sit at his feet and wait for him to speak.

“I remember Kali Harlansson as a warm, humorous, gentle and courteous man,” wrote Countess Elspeth. “So courteous, and gentle, that he, being very tall, would usually drop to his knees, with a grin and a twinkle in his eye, so that we could converse at an equal level. I always found this charming, and when I was in a position to do so, I presented Kali Harlansson with my Queens Order of Courtesy.”

Kali was best known for his story-telling and for this work was made a Companion of the Laurel by Their Majesties Kelson and Geneviere. “Kali had the gift of breathing life into stories that were a thousand years old,” wrote Master Alexsandr Yevsha. “When he told a section of an Edda or a Saga it was a fresh as this season’s television. When he talked about ancient political rivalries he made them as captivating as any modern political scandal”.

Master Kali as Oberon and his wife, Mistress Caryl, as Titania in 1982

Kali shared his gift for words, wry sense of humor and deep love of history in the All That column that he wrote for the Carolingian Miniscule and can still be accessed on here.   He taught and encouraged others, formally and informally. Mistress Gwendolyn of Middlemarch remembered his engaging and amusing lectures at the Carolingian Medieval Universities, in particular “Conjugation: The Verb and You” in which he illustrated the verb “to nibble” with small squeaking mice.

Over the years, Kali performed in and directed many plays in the SCA. He was Oberon in the first full length Shakespearean production staged in Carolingia in 1982. Twenty-one years later, he performed again in Midsummer Night’s Dream as Bottom. Baron Fergus MacRae, who directed him in the latter production, remembered Kali as an actor who was “a wonderful man to work with who always brought a warmth to rehearsal and unexpected depths to his roles.”

Kali supported the East through his work in the seneschalate also. He served as seneschal of the Barony of Carolingia and the Canton of the Towers, as well as Central Region Deputy Seneschal. “When I was elected seneschal,” said Mistress Catrin o’r Rhyd For, “one of the first things I did was talk to Kali. He generously shared his time and experience. Whenever I needed advice, he was always there with his gentle bits of wisdom and keen observations.”

Master Kali’s Laurel scroll by Mistress Rhonwen, inspired by Aldhelm’s “Riddles,” England, 10th century, and a Gospel, Northumbria, 8th century. The Skald-drapa praise poem by Lady Susanna la Flor was inspired by “The Head-Ransom,” c.935

Early in his SCA career Kali became thegn to then Master Vissevald, along with Johan von Traubenberg and Kobayashi Yutaka. This proved to be two more than Master Vissevald’s lady wife was willing to keep straight, so she addressed them all as “Thegn 1A”. While this was the cause of some confusion for others, it was oddly true that the thegns themselves always knew which one she was addressing.

Master Steffan of Silverwing put words to the loss felt by so many Easterners in this way. “In the early days, although he probably didn’t know it, and would have been surprised by it, he was a mentor to me just by being who he was, an example of How to Be in the world, around other people.”

Kali is survived by his wife, Mistress Caryl de Trecesson, and his children David and Bethany. Messages of condolence may be left at this website, where the obituary can also be read. Details on the memorial service are not yet available, but requests for notice can be sent to memorialservice@dragonbear.com. Memorial donations may be made to the American Brain Tumor Association (www.abta.org) or to the Unitarian Universalist Association (www.uua.org).


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