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Herald’s Thanks for Palfreys and Polearms

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2016-06-12 08:27

Master Dagonell, Whitehorn Herald for Western New York region, asked the Gazette to share the following with the populace:

photo by THL Rhiannon

I had the honor last weekend to serve as Royal Herald at Palfreys and Polearms, which was both the Rhydderich Hael’s Champions event and the Royal Equestrian Championship.

Attending an SCA event is like watching a swan floating across a pond. On top, all is peaceful, calm, beautiful, and serene. Under the surface, things are churning like mad to make it that way. Royal Court ran like a well-oiled machine and I owe it all to the many volunteers who worked hard to make it that way.

First, my thanks to Baroness Ekaterina, the current Ice Dragon Herald. The changes to the court docket started a week before the event and ended as we were lining up for court. She took every curveball I tossed and rolled with it. Court went off as though everything had been set it stone from the start. As we processed in, her brag not only beat mine but out-did a number of former Silver Buccles I’ve heard. Whoever is running Heralds and Scribes this fall: make her teach a class on Heraldic Boasting.

A big thank-you also to Baroness Gwendolyn, Jewel Herald, who provided me the docket prior to the event, and helped to coordinate with Baroness Ekat so that everyone was on the same page.

The biggest headache for a herald is getting all the scrolls in one place. My thanks to Baroness Alex and Baroness Juliana, Sylvan and Ice Dragon Signet Clerks respectively, who took over the tasks and gathered all the scrolls and carriers for both courts. I didn’t need to touch a scroll until it came time for them to be signed.

To the artists, scribes, calligraphers, and illuminators who produced all the scrolls for this weekend, I am in awe. I saw so much gorgeous artwork at this event, I was starting to wonder if Their Excellencies were holding the entire Order of the Laurel hostage.

[An aside to Baron Caleb: I always find a private place before court and read the scroll aloud quietly to myself. This helps me catch any exotic names or unusual turns of phrase that might give me a problem. I caught the horrid pun you inserted in the middle of the scroll documentation hoping I’d read it aloud in court. I’m still trying to decide if I should warn the other heralds about you or stand by quietly and see who you catch the next time. ]

My thanks to THL Renata and to m’lady Mina, Baroness Miriel’s young daughter, who took very seriously her job of handing out scroll carriers to protect the lovely scrolls. As each recipient was being cheered, Mina took a carrier from Ren, walked up to stand behind them in court and, when they turned to leave, gave them the carrier and escorted them to Joe the Just (Maestro Giuseppe) to have their picture taken. Speaking of which, His Majesty requested that all scrolls be photographed. Maestro Giuseppe volunteered to photograph each scroll, and each recipient with their scroll, for both royal and baronial courts. Thank you so much.

My second for court was Lady Cigfran, Heronter Herald, my wife of a quarter century and my other right hand. If court functioned like a Swiss watch, it was due to her organization, not mine. She declined to stand in court, but it wouldn’t have happened nearly so smoothly if not for her.

And, while it is not the place of a herald to thank the Royalty he serves, let me just say that His Majesty, King Byron is a joy to work for.

Finally, my thanks to all the volunteers who made offers to help, either in general or with specific tasks, that I had to turn down because it was already taken care of. We heralds talk about this sort of thing on the Heraldry FB pages and people think we’re BSing them, because everyone “knows” that heralds have to beg for help and end up doing most of work themselves. I’m proud to live in Æthelmearc, a shining jewel in the SCA.


Categories: SCA news sites

Royal Thanks: QRC

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2016-06-11 20:47

Her Majesty has asked the Gazette to share the following with the populace:

Lord Jacob Martinson receives a rose from Her Majesty before winning her tournament. Photo by Lady Antoinette de Lorraine.

Unto the Good Gentles of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais and all who staffed the Queen’s Rapier Championship does Ariella, Regina, send fond Thanks!

The Queen’s Rapier event went wonderfully, with much delicious food and gracious event staff.  The air-conditioned site was so welcome and held the four large Kingdom lists perfectly.  Lady Antoinette de Lorraine, the autocrat, can be proud of her staff, including the Royalty Liaison, for taking care of all Royal needs.  The Rose Garden special reception and welcoming drinks for all further enhanced the hospitality of your Shire.

The Championship tournament and further bear pit tournaments were efficiently run thanks to the marshals and the MOL, Baroness Aemelia Soteria.  All the fencers showed chivalry.

Vivant to all who entered and vivat to My new Champion Lord Jacob Martinson!
Yours,
Ariella, Regina


Categories: SCA news sites

Pennsic Pre-Registration Deadline: June 18th

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2016-06-11 11:34

Paid registration for Pennsic ends on Saturday, June 18th at 11:59pm EDT.  The size of the land allotted to a group is determined by the number of people who preregister by this deadline. Unpaid online registration is available until July 8th.

Reminder: The last day of pre-registration almost always has technical difficulties, we suggest not waiting until then.

 Preregistration is available at this website.


Filed under: Pennsic

A romp through the Prelinger film archive

History Blog - Sat, 2016-06-11 10:43

It’s been a while since I had a proper weekend romp through historic films. The Prelinger Archive, a wonderfully eclectic group of home movies, commercials, government and corporate educational and instructional films and a wide range of other assorted clips is today’s fertile field.

Confused by those newfangled rotary dial phones? Have no fear, AT&T is here (or was, in 1927).

This is how you brush your teeth, boys and girls of 1928. To reinforce the message, Goofus and Gallant apply for a summer job to the man with the pince-nez glasses. Goofus’ blackened grill and busted outfit does not impress, while Gallant’s sparkly whites and sharp suit win the day. Mr. Gorman is pretty mean to poor Bill about it.

This is a 1945 Army picture about insomnia associated with what was then called Combat Fatigue and is now PTSD. It’s not the most compelling of reels — perhaps it was designed to help cure insomnia — but there are two elements of note: 1) the movie within a movie starring Donald Duck, and 2) Dick York, best known as the first Darrin from Betwitched, in the role of the lead insomniac’s friend Lucky who laughs uproariously at Donald Duck’s entirely unfunny antics and generally babbles way too much. Bonus points for the shower scene.

Lessons learned from a 1961 prom. Shake hands with the receiving line of chaperones. The boy fills in the dance card, putting his own name in the first and last positions. Showing off on the dance floor is bad; accompanying a girl off the dance floor “so she’s not stranded” is good. Shake hands with the exit line of chaperones. Enjoy the midnight supper offered by parents afterwards. Say goodnight. Nobody even come close to making out. Enjoy Coca Cola.

The Prelinger Archive was assembled in New York in the 1980s, but it acquired a collection of California pictures so they have quite a few films of the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

It starts off in the Western Addition neighborhood which surviving the earthquake with limited damage. Many of its Victorian homes still stand today. A shot at the beginning shows one of those amazing thickets of overhead cables from electric and telephone companies so common in cities before consolidation and monopolies began to thin out the volume of them. Around the 3:07 mark, the view changes starkly from the comparatively unscathed Western Addition to the rubble-filled war zone of Market Street.

This one captures one of the fires that devastated the city even more than the quake had. It’s remarkable how crowded the streets are, and there’s one car zipping down the street, driving around horse-drawn vehicles, people and rubble. The film rate is sped up, so it’s not actually going fast as it looks to be, but you can see later in the film that other kinds of vehicles stayed in their lanes a lot more. There’s a running streetcar and the destroyed dome of San Francisco’s grand City Hall makes an appearance.

This one was taken from Market Street and has a wider view of what was left of the City Hall and Hall of Records complex.

San Francisco passed the first anti-drug legislation in the country in 1875 and opium was its target. The law made it illegal to own or frequent an opium den, but as usual, prohibition did nothing to stop the growth of opium in the city. By the turn of the century there were hundreds of opium dens in Chinatown. In the end it took force majeur to bring down the opium dens. Unfortunately the earthquake also took down the rest of the city with it. In 1907 the sale of the drug itself was outlawed, except for prescription purposes. The police tried to combat the scourge of opium with very public bonfires of confiscated opium and smoking accessories, but other than creating huge, dense clouds of opium smoke in downtown San Francisco for passersby to get inadvertently high off of, the autos-da-fé accomplished little.

Here’s a video of one of these opium bonfires from 1914. In an interesting contrast to the earthquake films, in the background you can see the new City Hall with its dome still under construction. It would open a year after this film was shot.

Speaking of vice, since it’s Saturday and one hopefully doesn’t have to worry about keeping one’s viewing safe for work, perhaps you might enjoy the archive’s significant group of old-timey stripper videos. This is burlesque dancing, mainly from the late 1940s and 1950s, I would guess, although there may be earlier ones in the mix. They are not dated, alas. There is a hint of nudity here and there — sheer undies, the occasional glimpse of underbutt or rhinestone pasties, that sort of thing — but nothing to clutch pearls over.

Red-Headed Riot has a Rita Hayworth thing going on.
Dance of the Doves” involves no doves whatsoever, but rather one cockatoo and one macaw. Nora the Quivering Torso lives up to her name by moving more than the rest of them put together. This lady is unnamed but is notable for her proto-twerking skills and the black censor band built into her panties to obscure her scandalous butt cleavage.

Betty Rowland, “Burlesque’s Ball of Fire,” closes out the show. She starts off with a fine gown and ends up behind the curtain (still in her underwear, of course) à la Gypsy Rose Lee.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

East Kingdom Results From The March 2016 LoAR

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2016-06-10 11:36

The Society College of Heralds runs on monthly cycles and letters. Each month, the College processes name and armory submissions from all of the Kingdoms. Final decisions on submissions are made at the monthly meetings of the Pelican Queen of Arms (names) and the Wreath Queen of Arms (armory). Pelican and Wreath then write up their decisions in a Letter of Acceptances and Return (LoAR). After review and proofreading, LoARs generally are released two months after the meeting where the decisions are made.

An “acceptance” indicates that the item(s) listed are now registered with the Society. A “return” indicates that the item is returned to the submitter for additional work. Most items are registered without comments. Sometimes, the LoAR will address specific issues about the name or armory or will praise the submitter/herald on putting together a very nice historically accurate item.

The following results are from the March 2016 Wreath and Pelican meetings; these items were submitted to the East Kingdom at Pennsic 2015.

Acceptances

* Aharon ben Zach. Name.

* Amis Mwyn. Device. Or, a fret azure its mascle gules, a bordure sable.

* Brandr nefsbrjotr Aronsson. Name change from Cian Mac Fhearghuis.

The submitter wanted a constructed byname meaning “nosebreaker”. The form refsbrjotr uses the genitive singular form of “nose”, whereas all of the examples of “breaker of X” or “X breaker” in Old Norse that could be found use the genitive plural form of X. Examples include hornabrjótr (“breaker of horns”), øxnabrjótr (“oxen breaker”), and garðabrjótr (“breaker of fences”), and haugabrjótr(“breaker of cairns, grave-robber”), all found in Geirr Bassi. Therefore, the plural form of the byname would be nefjabrjotr (“breaker of noses”).

We note that at least one prior registration allowed the genitive singular form in a similar name:

Submitted as Ragnarr rifbrjótr, all the documented examples of X-brjótr that were supplied on the LoI and by the commenters have the X element in the genitive case. We have changed the name to Ragnarr rifsbbrjótr [sic] to match the documented examples and fix the grammar. [Ragnarr rifsbrjótr, August 2008, A-Atlantia]

Similarly, a more recent registration stated that the genitive singular form was registerable:

The byname is constructed, with the intended meaning of “stone breaker”. The byname needs to use the genitive form of “stone”, Steins- (“breaking one rock”) or Steina- (“breaking many rocks”). Kingdom confirmed that the submitter prefers the latter, so we have changed the byname to Steinabrjótr. [Óláfr Steinabrjótr, February 2015, A-Æthelmearc]

Therefore, we will allow the submitted form of the byname in this case, but future registrations of “X breaker” in Old Norse should either use the genitive plural form of X or include documentation to support the use of the genitive singular. If the submitter prefers the plural form nefjabrjotr, he can submit a request for reconsideration.

The Letter of Intent incorrectly stated that the submitter’s previous name, Cian Mac Fhearghuis, was to be released. However, in accordance with the submission form, it is retained as an alternate name.

* Charlotte Orr. Name and device. Quarterly argent and sable, a hedgehog statant gardant gules.

Nice late 16th century English name!

* Constancia de Vianne. Name and device. Purpure, a crossbow bendwise sinister and on a chief argent five musical notes inverted sable.

* Hasanah bint al-Khalil ibn Habib and Ingvar Thorsteinsson. Joint household name Erlendsstaðir.

Although the form only included Hasanah’s name as the submitter, it was confirmed in email that this is a joint registration.

* Ignacia la Ciega. Badge. Gules, a chevron between a demi-sun and a shamshir inverted Or.

There is a step from period practice for the use of a shamshir.

* Ingvar Thorsteinsson. Device. Erminois, a boar’s head cabossed sable and a chief gules.

* Ingvar Thorsteinsson and Hasanah bint al-Khalil ibn Habib. Joint badge for Erlendsstaðir. (Fieldless) A tree blasted and eradicated per fess gules and sable.

Although the form only included Ingvar’s name as the submitter, it was confirmed in email that this is a joint registration.

* Ingvar Thorsteinsson and Hasanah bint al-Khalil ibn Habib. Joint badge. (Fieldless) A tree blasted and eradicated quarterly gules and sable.

Although the form only included Ingvar’s name as the submitter, it was confirmed in email that this is a joint registration.

* Johannes von Braunschweig. Name.

The byname is found in the title of Gründlicher Bericht, wie es mit Herzog Friderich von Braunschweig und der Stadt Braunschweig in der Belägerung ergangen (https://books.google.com/books?id=ArJKAAAAcAAJ), dated to 1615.

* Margaret of Rochester. Badge. Azure goutty, a chevron argent.

Nice badge!

* Matteo Genovese. Name and device. Vert, a spear and in chief two axes argent, a bordure argent semy of daggers inverted vert.

Nice 15th-16th century Italian name!

* Matthildr Skotsdottir. Name.

* Micchelle Vitalis. Name and device. Or, a bend vert between a bunch of grapes slipped and leaved proper and two arrows in saltire gules.

The submitter requested authenticity for “Italian any time in our time period”. This is an authentic 13th century Latinized Italian name.

* Michel Almond de Champagne. Name change from Michal Almond de Champagne and augmentation of arms. Per chevron lozengy argent and sable and purpure, in base a fleur-de-lys argent and for augmentation on a canton Or a tyger passant azure.

The bynames Almond and de Champagne are grandfathered to the submitter.

The submitter’s previous name, Michal Almond de Champagne, is released.

Please advise the submitter to draw the lozengy portion of the field with more and smaller lozenges.

The submitter has permission from the East Kingdom for her augmentation to conflict with the East Kingdom’s populace badge: (Fieldless) A tyger passant azure.

* Moire MacGraha. Badge. (Fieldless) A musical note argent entwined by an ivy vine vert.

* Mountain Freehold, Shire of. Badge. (Fieldless) A seahorse argent atop a trimount couped vert.

* Mountain Freehold, Shire of. Badge. (Fieldless) A seahorse Or atop a trimount couped vert.

* Nicolae Munteanu. Name and device. Or, a tree issuant from a mountain between in chief two falcons striking respectant vert.

Submitted as Nicolae Muntean, the correct patronymic is Munteanu. We have changed the byname to this form to register this name.

* Nicole la bouchiere. Name and device. Per pale argent and azure, a cleaver bendwise sinister counterchanged.

Nice late 13th century French name!

Nice choice of charge for this occupational byname!

* Oodachi Jirou Tsu’neyasu. Name.

* Osc of the Harbours. Device. Argent, five geese migrant in chevron sable and in base a torteau.

There is a step from period practice for the use of birds in the migrant posture.

* Piers Campbell. Acceptance of transfer of household name Clan Campbell of Applecross from Tomasz Tomashevskoi.

* Richard Holland. Name change from Ragnarr Sigurðarson.

The given name Richard is found in “English Given Names from 16th and Early 17th C Marriage Records” by Aryanhwy merch Catmael (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/english/parishes/richard.html) in 1575, the same year as the byname.

Excellent 16th century English name!

The submitter’s previous name, Ragnarr Sigurðarson, is retained as an alternate name.

* Robyn Wolf Claw. Name and device. Per bend argent and vert, a phoenix gules rising from flames Or and a wolf’s head cabossed argent.

The submitter requested authenticity for “1580s Tudor England”. All elements in this name and the pattern of double bynames can be documented to late 16th century England.

* Rose Therion Storie. Name.

Therion and Storie are grandfathered to the submitter, as they are elements from the registered name of the submitter’s father, Therion Sean Storie.

After the Pelican decision meeting, the question was raised whether this submitter would also need a letter of permission to conflict from her father, as Therion Storie is a possible use name for her father. PN3D of SENA states:

To be clear of relationship conflict, the submitted name must not unmistakably imply close relationship with a protected person. This includes, but is not limited to, a claim to be the parent, child, or spouse of a protected person. An unmistakable implication generally requires the use of the entirety of a protected name.

In the present submission, Rose Therion Sean Storie would make such an unmistakable claim of relationship. However, the submitted name, which does not incorporate her father’s complete name, does not. Therefore, we are able to register this name within requiring an additional letter of permission to conflict.

* Rowen Cloteworthy. Heraldic title Red Lozenge Herald.

Lozenge is a lingua Anglica form of the period losenge.

* Stanislaw Polaski. Name and device. Azure, a chevron inverted Or between three dragons passant two and one argent.

Both elements are found in Zofia Abramowicz, Lila Citko, and Leonarda Dacewicz, S{l/}ownik Historycznych Nazw Osobowych Bia{l/}ostocczyzny (XV-XVII), vol. 2, s.nn. Po{l/}aski and Wojno, dated to 1580.

Nice late 16th century Polish name!

* Tigernan MacAlpin. Device change. Gules, an alphyn rampant argent and a bordure compony sable and Or.

The submitter’s old device, Sable, a bear rampant, on a chief Or three spruce trees eradicated sable, is retained as a badge.

* Tomasz Tomashevskoi. Transfer of household name Clan Campbell of Applecross to Piers Campbell.

* Tryggvi Stefnisson. Device. Vert, a seal erect and in chief seven gouttes argent.

* Ulrich van Kathen. Device. Per pall inverted vert, azure, and argent, three musimons rampant counterchanged argent and sable.

* Védís Iðunardóttir. Device. Gules, a seal erect and in chief seven gouttes Or.

* Violante Valeriano. Device. Argent, on an ounce rampant regardant azure a comet argent, a sinister tierce urdy azure.

There is a step from period practice for the use of a tierce with another charge.

* Zipora du Bois. Name and device. Purpure, a winged fleur-de-lys Or.

Zipora is a 14th century Jewish name found in Germany and France. The combination of a Jewish name from France and a French byname is an acceptable lingual mix under Appendix C of SENA.

Returns 

* Rowen Cloteworthy. Augmentation of arms. Lozengy argent and sable, a chief gules and for an augmentation a canton purpure charged with four millrinds in cross Or.

This augmentation is returned for contrast issues. SENA A3a3 states “Because an augmentation adds complexity, augmented devices are often allowed to violate certain style rules, such as allowing charges on tertiary charges or a complexity count of greater than eight, as long as the identifiability of the design is maintained. However, they may not violate the rules on contrast.” While the canton is overall and has good technical constrast with the field, it also substantially overlies the gules chief and mostly touches black parts of the neutral field. Thus, the purpure canton largely lies against a color background and does not have good contrast. In consequence, this must be returned.


Filed under: Announcements, Heraldry

Artisan’s Village Event Promotes the Arts and Sciences Community

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2016-06-10 09:39

The Shire of Hartshorn-dale held its second Artisans’ Village event over the weekend of June 3rd – 5th. Artisans Village is an event entirely focused around the Arts and Sciences community.

The event featured 8 “villages” where artisans, led by a village coordinator, displayed their art and conducted hands on demonstrations of their crafts. Period blacksmithing, cooking, brewing, and music demonstrations were featured at the event, along with lampworking, bookbinding, the fiber arts, and more.

The event also featured two full tracks of classes, including classes focused on supporting the Arts and Sciences community itself. A round-table discussion about creating positive and supportive A&S competitions was held by Mistress Amy Webbe, current kingdom MoAS; a class on beginning A&S projects was held by Master Magnus Hvalmagi, current King’s Arts and Sciences Champion, and a class on writing effective A&S documentation was led by Lady Judith bas Rabbi Mendel.

This year, a new feature was also added to the event, the “Artisans’ Progress.” Attendees at the day’s events were encouraged to collect a bead from each village they visited. Those who collected 7 beads could then enter a raffle for a chance to win a basket full of gifts kindly donated by the villages and other artisans. The winner of the “Artisans Progress” was Melanie, who joined the SCA all of two weeks ago.

Thank you to everyone who came out to spend the day at the event, and to the teachers and village coordinators!

For more pictures or information about the event, please visit our photo gallery of the event and the event website.

For those on facebook there is another album available here 


Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Events

Satellites, drones find huge new structure at Petra

History Blog - Fri, 2016-06-10 01:31

Archaeologists using high-resolution satellite imagery and drone photography have discovered a massive structure in the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, known as the Rose City after the red sandstone of the rock cliffs its most famous buildings were cut into, was built by the Nabateans beginning in the 2nd century BC and prospered as a trade hub linking East and West. It was abandoned in the 7th century and rediscovered by Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt in 1812. Since then, it has been extensively explored. Finding a previously unknown structure of monumental dimensions is therefore unexpected, to say the least, especially half a mile south of the main city center.

Archaeologist Christopher Tuttle, who has worked at Petra for nigh on 20 years, collaborated with everyone’s favorite (only?) space archaeologist Sarah Parcak, who scanned the satellite imagery for spots of interest. She saw a large rectangular shape with a smaller rectangle inside it at a site that Tuttle was somewhat familiar with, but the glimpse he’d seen of it looked like there were just a few crumbling terrace walls of a type widely seen all over the city. Tuttle then took to the field to discover if there was anything of note at the site. Aerial drone photography confirmed the outlines of an ancient structure worth exploring further, and then Tuttle took to the field to examine the site with his own eyes.

He realized that it wasn’t busted old terrace walls but rather the remains of a massive previously unknown building. Some pottery found there dates back to 150 BC, which may indicate the platform was built in the early days of Petra’s founding.

The newly revealed structure consists of a 184-by-161-foot (about 56-by-49-meter) platform that encloses a slightly smaller platform originally paved with flagstones. The east side of the interior platform had been lined with a row of columns that once crowned a monumental staircase.

A small 28-by-28-foot (8.5-by-8.5-meter) building was centered north-south atop the interior platform and opened to the east, facing the staircase.

This enormous open platform, topped with a relatively small building and approached by a monumental facade, has no known parallels to any other structure in Petra. It most likely had a public, ceremonial function, which may make it the second largest elevated, dedicated display area yet known in Petra after the Monastery.

Most of the large public monuments, including the Monastery (which is actually a temple), were built between the late 1st century B.C. and the 2nd century A.D., so if the pottery dates pan out, the platform could be the oldest structure in Petra of monumental scale. It’s not clear how the Nabateans used these shrines as they left no written records and few hints carved in the stone since their religious monuments eschewed icons for the most part, or used portable figures that are long gone.

There are no current plans to excavate the site. Tuttle and Parcak have co-authored a study on the find published in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. It can be read here if you have a JSTOR login or nine bucks to spare.

You can take a virtual walk through the glories of Petra with Google Street View. Also, PBS’ always excellent NOVA had a fascinating episode last year on how the great buildings and elaborate water systems of Petra were constructed. It’s jaw-dropping at times. The Nabateans were genius engineers, truly.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Throwback Thursday – Joseph of Newby

PainBank - Thu, 2016-06-09 04:00

Throwback from 2005 episodes:

Joseph of Newby from down under in the land of Australia. This was an enlightening and new perspective.

Enjoy!

Categories: SCA news sites

First ancient oracle found in Athens

History Blog - Thu, 2016-06-09 01:07

Archaeologists have discovered the first ancient oracle of Apollo in Athens. Others have been found elsewhere in Greece, most famously the Oracle of Delphi, but this one is the only discovered in Athens. It’s in Kerameikos — the old potters’ quarter (hence the name) — northwest of the Acropolis in downtown Athens. It’s the site of a necropolis used over different periods known today as the Street of the Tombs for the funerary moments and stelae that line the road to Eleusis where the mysteries were performed.

Just south of the burial ground is a sanctuary discovered by Kyriakos Mylonas, a pioneer of scientific archaeology in Greece, in 1890. Myolnas unearthed a marble omphalos stone set in a rectangular enclosure between the altar and a triangular statue base in a cult niche. The omphalus, meaning navel, symbolized the center of the world. It was also believed to enable direct communication with the gods. The omphalos stone at the Oracle of Delphi was hollow and is believed to have been part of the ritual reading the oracular gases that came up through it. Because Hecate was frequently depicted as having three forms, Myolnas thought the base once held a statue of Hecate and that the sanctuary was dedicated to her, but Artemis was also sometimes depicted in triplicate, and several inscriptions and other artifacts were later found on the site indicating it was a sanctuary of Artemis Soteira, meaning Artemis the Saviour.

In 2012 during some cleaning work on the site, the German Archaeological Institute found that the omphalos was mounted on a marble slab that covered an opening. Last year, the omphalos was raised with a crane to reveal what it had been concealing for thousands of years: a circular well nine meters (30 feet) deep constructed out of semi-cylindrical clay tiles engraved with more than 20 inscriptions of the phrase “ΕΛΘΕ ΜΟΙ Ω ΠΑΙΑΝ ΦΕΡΩΝ ΤΟ ΜΑΝΤEΙΟΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΣ,” which translates to “Come to me, O Paean, and bring with you the true oracle.” Paean was an epithet of Apollo, son of Zeus and brother of Artemis. The repeated phrase was a prayer, an invocation to the deity that he reveal faithful and accurate answers to believers’ questions.

The shaft is only about 65 cm in diameter (just over two feet) which makes it a very tight fit for archaeologists to explore. Still, researchers were lowered in cautiously by crane. The style of the inscriptions place them in the Roman period, probably the third century, but the well is likely to have been in place much earlier.

Though the powers of the oracle at Delphi and others were famously plied by the ancient Greeks, this is the first ancient oracular edifice to Apollo to have been found in Athens itself, Dr. Jutta Stroszeck, director of the Kerameikos excavation on behalf of the German Archaeological Institute at Athens, told Haaretz. The well would have been used for hydromancy, a method of divination by means of water.
The ancients routinely sought oracular guidance not only on the future, for simple everyday matters, such as finding/keeping a lover, ahead of a journey, after falling ill, and so forth – or applying for asylum in the sanctuary.

This find is also significant because it confirms that the omphalos is in its original location. It is the only one in Greece to bear that distinction. The one in Delphi was moved over the years and is now in an unrelated location inside the sanctuary.

A wooden lid with a waterproof cover has been placed over the oracle well for its protection. The plan is to move some of the marble pieces, including the omphalos, to the Kerameikos museum. A replica will be placed in the sanctuary so it can take the brunt of the elements while the original is spared.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Æthelmearc Æcademy Class List

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-06-08 17:18

Greetings unto the most talented and erudite Kingdom of AEthelmearc from Mistress Alicia Langland, Chancellor of Æthelmearc Æcademy!

Good Gentles,

If you have been wanting to learn a new skill or perfect a technique you haven’t quite mastered, I invite you to attend Saturday’s AEthelmearc AEcademy and War College, hosted by the hospitable Shire of Ballachlagan.

With nearly 60 classes offered, you will surely enjoy a day of learning and doing!

Do you brew?  Do you want to?

  • Documenting Homebrew. What Digby never told you
  • Medieval Malting

Are you interested in classes on clothing and accessories?

  • A Brief History of Undergarments: The Pair of Bodies and the Farthingale
  • Hitatare Kamishimo, Fancy Japanese Menswear
  • Hoods for Everyone
  • Ladies Japanese Outfit
  • Making a Norse Hat or Sewing 101  (Youth-friendly class!)
  • Yorkshire and Doublet Buttons

Does a good brawl set your toes a-tapping?

  • Bransles/Brawls of Arbeau f1589
  • Bring Your Own Feet Dance Practice
  • Three 15th century Italian dances

Want to embellish garments that others will envy?

  • Hand Applique
  • To Knot or Not To Knot (Youth-friendly class!)

How about fiber arts?

  • Felted Mitten Fun!  (Youth-friendly class!)
  • Fingerloop  (Youth-friendly class!)
  • Inkle Loom Make&Take
  • Inkle set-up and beginning weaving
  • Tablet Weaving Play Time

What about food and cooking?

  • Butter Making Experiment for Children (Youth-friendly class!)
  • Grain Milling for Children (Youth-friendly class!)
  • In Charge of the Feast
  • Lunch, Feast, or Sideboard
  • Period Feasts for a Picky Palate
  • Potage Practicum

Maybe you prefer hands-on/how-to classes?

  • Armour Pattern Making
  • Beginning Pewter – Cold and Hot Pewter Look the Same
  • Introduction to Dovetails

Is history your thing?

  • Bling Out Your Dead
  • A Brief History of Carriages
  • I Came, I Saw, I Cocked It Up: Great Military Blunders, And What They Can Teach Us
  • If Not By Prowess Then By Poison
  • Medieval Metrosexual?
  • One Monarch, Two Interments
  • Vampires – Separating fiction from fiction
  • The Way of Saint James: The Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage Then and Now

Are you musically inclined?

  • The Ubiquitous Recorder (Youth-friendly class!)
  • Moving Beyond Recorders – Other Period Instruments

Love drawing and painting?

  • Applying gold leaf using period materials
  • Basic Paint Techniques
  • Illumination Play Time
  • Italian White Vine: A Hands-on Introduction
  • Lefties Loving their Letters
  • Wax on, wax off calligraphy

Looking for ways to up your SCA game?

  • Designing armory from period examples
  • Drafting the Sun
  • Fairy tales workshop – composition in performance
  • Heraldry BINGO! (Youth-friendly class!)
  • On Being a Signet
  • Sharing the Wealth: creating a presentation of your work
  • Using Technology to Gather and Organize Documentation
  • Using Technology to Create Images for Documentation

And don’t forget there’s a host of WAR COLLEGE classes, too!

  • Basics of the Japanese Sword
  • Japanese Short Staff
  • Melee For Fencing, how to go from mob to unit
  • Shield man’s survival guide to melee
  • So you want to be a combat archer
  • So you want to be a Thrown Weapons Marshal

Event details can be found at http://www.aecademy.net/spring2016/index.shtml

Looking forward to seeing YOU there!


Categories: SCA news sites

A Message From the Gift Coordinator

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2016-06-08 15:54

Greetings to the noble people of the East!

I am Mistress Eleanore MacCarthaigh and I have the very great honor to be the Gift Coordinator for Their Munificent Majesties, Kenric and Avelina, may They reign forever!

It is my function to coordinate incoming gifts to be used as largesse or as gifts for exchanges with Their Royal Cousins. Many special projects are in the works, but I wish to communicate a few needs and un-needs to the populace. If anyone should have questions regarding gifts, please contact me (info below).

Some thoughts on gifts:
1. No single person or group needs to make All The Things. It’s very nice, but we don’t need 50 of hardly anything.
2. If you or your friends (household, regional group, etc.) would like to make some gifts and have not done them before, please contact me with your plans and/or ideas.
3. Please remember gifts need to be easily transportable, sometimes on planes. It’s also great if they are actually useful in our Game.
4. Please find a way to include a tag or other kind of label with what the item is (if it’s not obvious), the maker’s name(s), where they are located in the kingdom and “East Kingdom”.
5. Please remember allergies are an issue for many these days. If your gift is scented it could cause discomfort!

At this time we do not need paternosters or soap, we thank those who have made what we have for their brilliant response and creativity, but we have enough for now.

Gift bags of a useful size are in need, big enough and pretty enough to hold gift packages and be used later by the recipient so that they may remember the glory and generosity of our Kingdom. Small lined or lightly padded bags for jewelry and bags big enough for a modern tablet would also be of use. Draw string or strapped are fine. Varied fabrics are fine as well; however I’d like to suggest thinking about kingdom colors and the Anglo Saxon theme of Their Majesties’ reign. Please contact me if you’d like suggestions.

Packets of period spices and dried herbs would be very nice, especially if they include suggested recipes (with the goal of promoting period recipes). Please make sure packets are sealed well to reasonably preserve the contents, which should not expire within the reign.

Specific gift needs: I am looking for a few illuminators/calligraphers who are willing to make some blank note cards and “thank you” cards, about 4”x3” folded with the arms of the kingdoms for Pennsic. Packets of 6 are desired in period (or period-looking) papers. Please contact me off line – I am going to be assigning these to match specific gift-giving occasions. We also need some for Their Majesties’ use as well.

Other ideas are available plus I’m accepting thoughts and suggestions. Several projects are already in process. I thank you all in on behalf of Their Royal Majesties, Kenric and Avelina – long may they reign!

Eleanore MacCarthaigh, OL, OP
East Kingdom Gift Coordinator
eleanoremaccarthaigh@gmail.com


Filed under: Announcements

Display your Arts at Æthelmearc Æcademy

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-06-08 10:41

Mistress Alicia Langland, Chancellor of AEthelmearc Æcademy, asked to share the following with the populace:

Their Majesties are proud of Their artists and artisans! They enjoy viewing all of the items created and crafted by the hands of the citizens of Æthelmearc.

To that end, a display will be available at Æthelmearc Æcademy on June 11 in the Shire of Ballachlagan, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Please bring your works in progress to display.

Registration and set up will open at 10:00 in the Library.

Please provide the following information with your project:

  • Name (optional)
  • Item info (what is it, geographic period location, when would it have been found in period)?
  • What inspired you?
  • What did you learn in the making of this item?

Commentary/feedback sheets will be provided for entrants who request them. The display will be attended through out the day. Entrants are welcome to sit with their items as well.

If you have questions or need further information, please contact Baroness Rowena Moore at sodtigger AT gmail DOT com.


Categories: SCA news sites

6,000-year-old massacre found in Neolithic silo

History Blog - Wed, 2016-06-08 01:02

Archaeologists from France’s National Institute for Preventative Archaeology (INRAP) have unearthed the skeletal remains of a Neolithic massacre in a silo in Achenheim, Alsace, northeastern France. The silo is pit number 124 of more than 300 used to store grain and other food staples unearthed inside a large Neolithic compound surrounded by a V-sectioned ditch with defensive bastions at the entrances. The silos were only used for food storage temporarily. Once they were emptied, they were used as garbage dumps or graves. The compound dates to between 4400 and 4200 B.C., a turbulent time in Alsace which explains why the settlement needed extensive protective measures.

Silo 124 is one of the larger pits at almost 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) in diameter and it was set apart from the other silos either on the site of a dwelling or in a residential area. Inside the silo archaeologists found the complete skeletons of six people, five adult males and one teenage male between 15 and 19 years of age. The fact that the six complete skeletons were all male indicates this may have been a group of warriors, or at least defenders of the settlement. They were found lying on their back, stomach and sides, sometimes intermingled. The position of the bodies indicates they were dumped in the pit and no further attention was paid to them. They were not buried with the care evinced in other silo graves; these bodies were disposed of, pure and simple.

All six of the skeletons have numerous broken bones. There are fractures on the legs, hands, feet, ribs, collar bones, skulls and mandibles. The fractures were on living bone, and the extent and quantity of the broken bones suggest they were brutally beaten to death with blows from a stone axe. The wounds are too extensive to have been received in combat. This was a methodical punishment inflicted off the battlefield on helpless individuals.

The violence wasn’t just perpetrated on the living bodies, but on their corpses as well. Post-mortem wounds were also found on the bones. The corpses were all put in the silo at the same time, meaning they likely died in the same event, a single episode of killing in a larger conflict.

In addition to the complete skeletons, archaeologists found the upper left arms of three adults and the left forearm of a youth 12 to 16 years old. The forearm was cut in the middle of the humerus. The arms are believed to be “war trophies.” It’s not possible from osteological examination to determine the sex of the people’s whose arms were severed and thrown into the silo, nor were archaeologists able to discern whether the arms were severed pre or post-mortem.

The severed left arms are reminiscent of another very similar massacre discovered in Bergheim, 35 miles southwest of Achenheim. In 2012, archaeologists found the skeletons of eight individuals, also tossed in a silo and who also died in a single event. Under the complete skeletons at the bottom of the pit were seven left upper arms. The Achenheim and Bergheim date to the same period, the Middle Neolithic.

(INRAP archaeologists also found skeletal remains in an ancient silo about 70 miles west of Achenheim in the Lorraine town of Marsal. Eight skeletons, two of them children, were discovered tossed haphazardly over each other in the silo, but they were much more recent, dating to around 500 B.C.)

Archaeologists think both the Achenheim and Bergheim massacres could have been the result of raid by locals against newcomers to the area, or a victory by locals against raiders from elsewhere. The victory was celebrated with torture and mutilation of enemy prisoners. Pottery discovered on the site indicates the residents were part of the Bruebach-Oberbergen culture, but that pottery is followed by ceramic shards in a style first made in Paris.

Archaeologists would like to do stable isotope analysis on the bones to find out where the individuals were born and raised. If they were from the Paris area, that would mean they were killed by the fierce local farmers defending their homes and supplies from raiders. If they were local boys, they were likely the victims of a successful raid. INRAP will need to raise money to fund the additional research, however, as they don’t have the budget for it now.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Wrecked Piombo masterpiece restored

History Blog - Tue, 2016-06-07 04:53

The University of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum has restored a 16th century painting by Sebastiano del Piombo that has been in dire condition for centuries. The restoration took a full decade of research and painstaking work by conservators at the museum’s Hamilton Kerr Institute to complete.

Sebastiano Luciani (he got the “del Piombo” moniker after his appointment to the Papal office of the leaden seal in 1531) was born in Venice around 1485. He started off his career in the arts as a lute player and while he was successful at a young age and very much in demand by the nobles of Venice, he soon changed course to painting, becoming a student first of Giovanni Bellini, who was by then in his 70s, and then of Giorgione a former pupil of Bellini’s who while still in his 20s had already made a name for himself and won several important commissions. Giorgione had a strong influence on the young Sebastiano, and indeed more than one of his early works were believed for centuries to be pieces by Giorgione.

In around 1511, Sebastiano moved to Rome at the behest of the powerful Sienese banker Agostino Chigi. There he met Michelangelo who had just revealed the first part of his epic fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel when Sebastiano arrived. Sebastiano was a congenial, charming fellow, enough to get along with Michelangelo who was notoriously prickly. According to Giorgio Vasari, Michelangelo appreciated the young artist’s color skills and the gracefulness of his work and decided to take him under his wing.

Shortly after he arrived in Rome, Sebastiano painted the Adoration of the Shepherds for an unknown patron. The influence of Giorgione and the Venetian school is seen in the color palette and in the landscape of the painting (see for example Giorgione’s Adoration of the Shepherds painted around the same time that is now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.), while the dynamic, animated figures show the influence of Michelangelo.

The painting first appears on the historical record in 1724 as part of the collection of the Duke of Orléans. It was attributed to Giorgione at that time, and still was in 1800 when museum founder Viscount Richard Fitzwilliam bought it at the sale of the Duke of Orléans’ collection in London after the French Revolution. The painting was part of the original bequest to his alma mater the University of Cambridge that created the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1816. It was only in 1913 that scholars attributed the Adoration of the Shepherds to Sebastiano del Piombo based on the fusion of Venetian and Roman elements that was characteristic of the artist’s work.

The painting has been in storage for 70 years because it was considered undisplayable in its condition. It was marred by thick layers of overpainting and X-rays and infrared imaging had shown that the original paint underneath was severely damaged. There was much discussion about whether conservation should even be attempted on so precarious a piece. Ten years ago, conservators at the Hamilton Kerr Institute began to seriously investigate the possibility of restoring the work. Sebastiano was a very slow painter and once he got the leaden seal job he was even slower. Most of his surviving works are portraits. A large religious piece by him is a rarity. Ultimately conservators decided that the overpainting was so atrocious, so far from the original in color and design, and enough of the critical areas of the original survived that it was worth tackling, even though it would require filling in significant areas of paint loss.

Here’s what it looked like before cleaning:

When the layers of overpaint and yellowed varnish were removed, conservators could see right away that the damage to the painting was not the result of the mere passage of time. It was caused by a botched transfer from original wood panel to canvas, probably when the Adoration was in the collection of the Duke of Orleans. Such transfers were considered a valid conservation approach at that time, particularly in the France, but they were hugely risky. On smaller works the painted surface was shaved off and applied to canvas. On larger pieces, a fabric facing was glued to the surface then either the wood was removed by carving or a corrosive until all that was left was the paint stuck to the facing. Canvas was then glued to the back and the facing carefully removed. Sometimes it worked and the painted surface adhered to the canvas. Sometimes it went horribly wrong and a precipitous amount of paint was lost.

Here’s what it looked like after the overpaint and varnish were removed:

Since the owner wanted his Old Master back on the wall, the damage was obscured by repainting. When that began to fail it was repainted again, lather, rinse, repeat. The botched transfer took place around 1750. Before the tragic events, a copy of the painting when it was still on panel was made. That copy is now in the Louvre. Without this copy, conservators would likely never have attempted this restoration because filling in the missing paint would have required too much guess work to be decently accurate. Thankfully, the original paint that survived the transfer proved resilient, tough enough to withstand the removal of multiple layers of overpainting.

In order to understand the artist’s technique, a microscopic particle of paint, smaller than the head of a pin, was taken from the Virgin’s blue robe and analysed under a microscope during research. Examination of the paint cross-section demonstrated Sebastiano’s sophisticated system of layering with an application of pink paint beneath the blue, as well as his use of superior and expensive pigments, such as ultramarine blue. This and other forms of state-of-the-art analysis greatly helped to reconstruct the missing areas. [...]

[Director of the Hamilton Kerr Institute] Rupert Featherstone added, “We have conserved over 3,000 pictures in the last forty years at the HKI, but the Sebastiano is one of our biggest projects. Some might have argued to leave the painting as an archaeological relic, but I think we have made the right judgement to restore it so it can be appreciated as the masterpiece it is, aesthetically and historically. The scientific research that was conducted to aid our understanding of the technique of the artist has been key in being able to recreate it.”

Here’s what it looks like now:

The restored Adoration of the Shepherds is the Fitzwilliam’s “Object of the Month” for June and is now on display in the museum’s Flower Gallery.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Royal Thanks for NOWM

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2016-06-06 21:06

Their Highnesses have asked the Gazette to share the following with the populace:

Photo by Master John Michael Thorpe.

We would like to thank everyone who came out to support His Highness and myself at Northern Oaken War Maneuvers (in Ohio). Thank you to TRM & TRH of the Middle as well as Their Excellencies Cleftlands (and their people) for the incredible hospitality. Spending the day with TRM Æthelmearc and their staff only made the day brighter.

It was great to see old friends and make new.

We hope everyone had a good day regardless of their pursuit and we are enjoying seeing pictures on Facebook of the prowess shown in Myrkfaelinn and in the Endless Hills.

Marcus & Margerite

PS: Ingrid thanks Josie. (As do I!)


Categories: SCA news sites

Hikers find first ancient petroglyphs on Montserrat

History Blog - Mon, 2016-06-06 02:33

Locals Shirley Osborne and Vaughn Barzey were hiking on the Caribbean island of Montserrat this past January when they saw some carvings on a moss-covered rock face. They reported their discovery to the authorities. Volunteers with the Montserrat National Trust, archaeology professors and students from universities in the United States and elsewhere in the Caribbean studied the carvings in the hills near the town of Soldier Ghaut (Ghaut means “abrupt ravine” in Montserratian) about five miles north of the capital city of Plymouth. Officials kept the find under wraps until researchers confirmed that they were indeed ancient petroglyphs, the first ever discovered on Montserrat.

They are stylistically similar to petroglyphs made by the indigenous Amerindians (commonly referred to as the Arawaks, archaeologically known as the Saladoid culture) on Caribbean island like St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, among others.

“We have Amerindian artifacts on the island, but had not seen petroglyphs,” said Sarita Francis, director of the Montserrat National Trust. “These are the first, that we know of, that have been found here.”

Initial analysis suggests Montserrat’s petroglyphs are between 1,000 and 1,500 years old, Francis said, though carbon dating will paint a clearer picture of the images’ origins.

The petroglyphs consist of geometric shapes and what may be stylized animal or human figures. One figure could be a bat. Another with two deep circles cut from the stone and a line underneath is more than a little reminiscent of a rudimentary face design. The mouth doesn’t turn up at the corners, but it still manages to look like a smiley face.

The earliest artifacts found on the island long predate the Arawaks. Flint blades, flakes and other evidence of knapping about 2,500 years old have been found in the central hills of Montserrat and judging from the style and technology of the lithic materials, archaeologists believe the first settlers came from South America between 4,000 and 2,500 years ago. This Archaic, pre-ceramic culture was displaced with the arrival of the Arawak between 500 and 300 B.C. who settled Montserrat until they in turn were displaced by the raiding Caribs (also known as the Kalinago). By the time the Spanish arrived, the Awarak had left the island and the Caribs do not appear to have settled it. The next wave of settlers came in 1642 and were predominantly Irish.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Sad Tidings: Baron Malcolm FitzWilliam

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2016-06-05 18:07

Baron Malcolm Fitzwilliam. Photo by Master Alaxandair O Conchobhair.

Last month, the Kingdom suffered a great loss. Baron Malcolm fitzWilliam passed away from heart complications stemming from pneumonia. He was a good friend and a good man. He was also a long-standing contributing member of the College of Heralds.

Malcolm served as both Sycamore Herald (the Kingdom Tournament Deputy) and Keystone Herald (the Kingdom Education Deputy). Through both of these appointments, his primary objective was to promote education and participation throughout the heraldic community and the Kingdom. Everything that he did, whether heraldic in nature or not, was done out of love for his Shire, his Kingdom, and the Society as a whole.

And let that be the lesson that we all take from him. The Society lives on through the effort that we all give it, but it is the love that we put into it that makes this life that we have all chosen worth living. Let us all try to carry on his legacy.

 In Honor and Service,
Kameshima Zentarō Umakai
高貴国境の王国の治部卿
Silver Buccle Principal Herald, Kingdom of Æthelmearc

Baron Malcolm heralding Count Yngvar and Countess Caryl into Crown last fall. Photo by Master Alaxandair.


Categories: SCA news sites

Event Report: Æthelmearc War Practice

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2016-06-05 13:34

Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope reports on a wet but fun Æthelmearc War Practice:

War Practice started auspiciously enough, with a sunny and pleasant day on Friday to welcome campers setting up tents, shooting archery, and throwing weapons. The evening saw the traditional Gage Meet ‘n’ Beat, in which many fighters tested themselves against members of the Grant-level fighting award in one-on-one combat.

Gage Meet ‘n’ Beat. Photo by Crystal Clark.

In the next field over, 15 fencers competed in a ribbon tourney in which combatants could wager ribbons on the outcome of a bout or a series of bouts. The winner of that tournament was Lord Robert MacEwin of Thornhill.

Rapier Ribbon Tourney. Photo by Crystal Clark.

Rapier Ribbon Tourney. Photo by Crystal Clark.

Alas, late Friday night and Saturday morning turned chill and drizzly. The weather cleared for a little while late on Saturday morning through the early afternoon, but went downhill again into intermittent hard rain by mid-afternoon. However, many gentles refused to let the weather dampen their spirits and persisted in having fun!

The Kingdom Youth Combat Champion’s Tournament pitted six combatants in a round robin, with two additional youth fighters joining later for melees and a bear bit. The victor and third time Kingdom Youth Champion was El Tigre of the Shire of Hunter’s Home. The most chivalrous youth fighter was Daichi, who was one of four fighters to authorize up a division that day.

Their Majesties address the youth fighters before the Champion’s Tourney. Photo by Arianna.

Youth Combat Melee. Photo by THLady Aaliz de Gant.

The 10-Man Melee tournament featured five teams including fighters from numerous households like Sable Maul, Woodland Watch, and Stormhaven, along with teams from various local areas. It was won by Æthelmearc 10, consisting primarily of fighters from Region 3.

Click to view slideshow.

The Rose and Baroness’ Rapier Tournament included 19 fencers, each sponsored by a Lady of the Rose or a Baroness. The victor was Mistress Illadore de Bedegrayne.

Before the start of the rapier tournament, however, Their Majesties called forth Master Lodovic of Gray’s Inn and Don Clewin Kupferhelbelinc, and gave each of them a Writ of Summons to consider elevation to the Order of Defense.

Don Clewin receives a Writ for the Order of Defense. Photo by Lord Ursus.

Master Lodovic receives a Writ for the Order of Defense. Photo by THLady Aaliz de Gant.

Master Bataar. Photo by Arianna.

The Kingom Archery Champion’s Tournament was also held at War Practice. Before the competition, Their Majesties bestowed a Golden Alce upon Master Bataar Sogdo for his skill as an archer.

The Champion’s shoot, designed by Lady Katherine Täntzel, was based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail, including 50- and 100-yard shots that showed the Black Beast of Arrrrgh and its animator. Of the 13 archers who competed in the qualifying rounds, four advanced to the semi-finals: Takamatsu Gentarou Yoshitaka-san, Master Bataar Sogdo, Lady Anorra of Steltonwald, and THLord Cynwulf Rendell.

After shooting at the Taunting Knights in the semis, THLord Cynwulf and Yoshitaka-san advanced to the finals, where they were faced with two targets: a 45-second timed shoot at the “Black Knight” and the Knight who says Ni! The new Kingdom Archery Champion, Takamatsu Gentarou Yoshitaka-sanis serving as Champion for the second time.

The Kingdom Archery Champion’s Shoot, Yoshitaka-san in white. Photo by THLady Aaliz de Gant.

In the early afternoon there was also a tournament to determine the new Kingdom Thrown Weapons Champion. The format was qualifications with specialized targets, pinpoint, spears and Royal Rounds. The finals consisted of Royal Rounds, reverse Royal Rounds and then a specialized target where you were not to hit the arms of the King and Queen or Æthelmearc’s arms A large number of gentles scored very similar high marks, but in the end, the victor was Baroness Aemelia Soteria, who receieved the regalia of office from the outgoing Champion, Lord Sean Delamort.

Thrown Weapons competition, Baroness Aemelia Soteria at right. Photo by Crystal Clark.

After the morning’s tournaments were completed, the heavy weapons and fencing combatants turned their thoughts toward war. The heavy fighters fought a series of open field battles and bridge battles under the watchful eyes of the Warlord, Duke Tindal, and Their Majesties.

Heavy weapons field battle. Photo by Lord Ursus.

Heavy weapons bridge battle. Photo by Lord Ursus.

Duke Tindal addresses melee strategy with the fighters while Their Majesties look on. Photo by Lord Ursus.

The fencers also fought field battles and worked on targeting their skills at kill pockets under the guidance of the Rapier Warlord, Master Donnan MacDubhsidhe.

Rapier melee. Photo by THLady Aaliz de Gant.

Rapier melee. Photo by THLady Aaliz de Gant.

While all of this belligerence was happening on the battlefield, many gentler pursuits were held in the Great Hall or in the classroom tents. Class offerings included topics like brewing, music, fiber arts, scribal arts, cooking, autocratting, herbalism, costuming, and dancing.

Artisans’ Play Time. Photo by Crystal Clark.

Artisans’ Play Time. Photo by Crystal Clark.

Friday night saw the inaugural Grand Ball, organized by THLord Sionn the Lost, with live music for the dancers.

Click to view slideshow.

On Saturday, there was a combination A&S display and hands-on classes at the Artisans’ Play Time in the Great Hall, including tracks in scribal arts, fiber arts, and cooking. In additional, Edelvrouw Lijsbet de Keukere ran the first Scarlet Apron Cooking Competition with the theme of illusion foods. There were numerous entries that were both tasty and beautiful. Lady Elska Fjarfell was chosen as the winner for her marzipan and sugarpaste chicken and eggs entries, with her son Simon Fjarfell winning the youth category with a lamb made of crystalized sugar. Maestra Tomasia da Collevento was the winner of the populace choice with her peacock pie.

Click to view slideshow.

Court on Saturday night featured the induction of Lord Aidan Gunn into the Order of the Millrind, Lady Ottilige Rappoltsweiler and THLady Cassandra Matis into the Fleur d’AEthelmearc for their work as cooks, and a Writ for the Laurel given to THLady Alfrun ketta for her skill in fiber arts.

In addition, Maestro Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato gifted Their Majesties with a custom-made fire ring to be used in Æthelmearc Royal camp at Pennsic. Their Majesties thanks Master Giuseppe and requested that their new Pennsic Chamberlain, Master Janos, take the ring into his keeping until Pennsic.

Click to view slideshow.

On Sunday morning, the annual Pick-A-Prize raffle was held by the Tribe of Tuatha Firen. The Chieftain of the Tribe, Master Caleb Reynolds, announced that the raffle raised $1,120.09, to be split evenly between the Kingdom’s Pennsic expenses and Their Majesties’ travel expenses. He further announced that next year will be their 25th and last year running the raffle, but that the Tribe is hoping another group will step in to run a Kingdom Fundraiser at War Practice the following year. Over the last 24 year, Tribe of Tuatha Firen has raised over $10,000 for the Kingdom.

Brunch was served by members of the Shire of King’s Crossing on Saturday and Sunday. Also on Sunday morning, Their Majesties held Their first Curia, where topics including a restructuring of the Marshalate and possible changes to Youth policy were discussed.


Categories: SCA news sites

Inverted Jenny stolen 61 years ago found in Ireland

History Blog - Sun, 2016-06-05 12:21

An Inverted Jenny stamp that was stolen 61 years ago has been found and returned to its owner. The stamp, beloved by collectors for its mistakenly upside-down biplane, was consigned to New York auctioneer Spink USA by Keelin O’Neill of Northern Ireland. O’Neill got the stamp in October of 2013 from his late grandfather who he believed bought it at a garage sale. He had no idea of its value until recently when he did a little Google snooping and realized he might have a winning lottery ticket in stamp form.

At first the Spink appraiser thought it had to be fake, so he had it authenticated by the Philatelic Foundation in New York. There it was recognized as one of the block of four Inverted Jennies stolen in 1955. They notified the FBI and the owner, the American Philatelic Research Library (APRL). When he learned the stamp was stolen, O’Neill agreed to give it back to the APRL. He didn’t hit the jackpot he would have had the stamp been legitimately his — another Inverted Jenny, position 58, sold last Tuesday at auction for $1.175 million including buyer’s premium — but he wasn’t left empty-handed. O’Neill got a $10,000 reward from the American Philatelic Research Library and was just in the nick of time to collect a $50,000 reward offered by Donald Sundman of Mystic Stamp which was set to expire Saturday.

The Inverted Jenny was coveted by collectors before it was even sold. The US Post Office created the stamp to coincide with the launch of the first regular airmail routes on May 15th, 1918, in Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia. A fleet of six modified (the co-pilot seat was removed to make space for more mailbags) Curtiss JN-4H biplanes would transport the mail. Flying was a more expensive proposition so the three-cent stamps of standard first-class mail wouldn’t cut it. The price of an airmail stamp was set to a whopping 24 cents, and the first series of stamps would celebrate the new medium by featuring the Curtiss JN-4H in blue against a carmine rose frame for a patriotic red-white-and-blue color scheme.

This was a very last-minute operation. The engraving began on May 4th, printing on May 10th. The first deliveries reached post offices in D.C., New York and Philly on May 13th and the stamps went on sale May 14th, just under the wire for the inaugural airmail flight from Washington, D.C. the next day. Collectors were on high alert already, knowing that this speedy print run was susceptible to inverts. At least three sheets with upside-down biplanes were spotted by inspectors and destroyed. A single sheet of 100 stamps managed to slip through quality control and into history.

Collector William T. Robey hit the philatelic lottery when he bought that sheet at the New York Avenue Post Office in Washington, D.C. on May 14th, 1918. He bought it for face value, of course: $24. Robey spread the news of his score to other collectors and the media and within a week he was assailed by all manner of folks clamoring to buy it, not to mention several postal inspectors who wanted the error sheet back. He sold it to Philadelphia stamp dealer Eugene Klein for $15,000. By the end of the month, Klein had sold it collector Colonel Edward H.R. Green for $20,000. It was Green who broke up the sheet. He had Klein divvy it all up into single stamps and small blocks. They wrote a number in light pencil on the back of each stamp so they could be identified by their original positions on the sheet. Those numbers are still in use today. Green kept a few blocks and sold the rest.

One of those blocks — positions 65, 66, 75, 76 — was acquired in 1936 for $16,000 by philatelist Ethel Bergstresser McCoy, daughter of Charles M. Bergstresser, silent partner and co-founder of Dow Jones & Company. McCoy was one of very few women to break into the old boys’ club that was philately at that time. She was widely respected as an expert in the field and had a particular interest in stamps with airplanes and palm trees. The McCoy block of Inverted Jennies was on display at a convention of the American Philatelic Society in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1955 when it was stolen by person or persons unknown.

Before her death in 1980, Ethel McCoy signed an agreement assigning all title to the stamp block to the American Philatelic Research Library. The FBI recovered the position 75 (lower left of the block) stamp in 1977 and position 65 in 1982. They were both in the hands of Chicago dealers and had been altered to make them less recognizable as McCoy block stamps. Now the first of the stamps on the right side has been recovered, leaving only position 66 still missing.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

The Dragon has Newfoundlanded!

History Blog - Sat, 2016-06-04 10:03

For the first time in a thousand years, a Viking longship has crossed the North Atlantic. The Draken Harald Hårfagre reached port of St. Anthony in Newfoundland on June 1st. It was not an easy voyage. There’s only a short window in late spring and early summer when crossing the frigid waters of the North Atlantic is possible, and even then conditions are challenging, to put it mildly.

After setting sail from Haugesund, Norway, on April 23rd, the Draken made its first unplanned stop just three days later on Lerwick in the Shetland Islands. One of the ship’s shrouds (rigging connected to the mast) had parted a day after departure so the crew stopped at Lerwick to make the repairs. They had to take down the mast to do it, which is a harder job now than it would have been for the Vikings because they didn’t have electronic equipment on their masts.

On April 27th the Draken set sail again, making for Tórshavn on the Faroe Islands. They arrived May 2nd and had to stay until May 6th waiting for propitious winds. The crew took advantage of the longer stop to examine the 3,200-square-foot silk sail for damage. You can see highlights of the trip from the Shetlands to the Faroes in this video. It’s damn hard going.

The next leg of the voyage took them to Reykjavik, Iceland. The landed in Reykjavik Harbour on May 9th and were again compelled to wait out the wind, this time for a full week. This amazing video features the Captain of the Draken Björn Ahlander in Iceland, talking about how the difficulties of the voyage only strengthened his crew’s bond and pointing out the commonalities between their experience navigating the longship and the Viking’s. There is footage of them sailing in a storm with waves battering the clinker-built ship. In the beginning he’s holding up a piece of Iceland feldspar, the stone his seafaring Viking ancestors used to find the sun even through thick cloud cover. He’s being filmed in Tingvallir, by the way, the place where Iceland’s Althing, or parliament, first met in 930. Tingvallir remained the site of the Icelandic Parliament until 1798. It is now a national park.

The northeasterly wind they were waiting for finally graced them with its presence on the 16th and off the Draken went to Greenland. On May 21st, the reached the harbour of Qaqortoq, southwest Greenland, navigating the same waters Leif Eriksson navigated when he founded the first European settlement on Greenland in around 1000 A.D. The crew made good use of their time there, too. Captain officiated at the wedding of two crew members in the ruins of the early 12th century church in Hvalsey. The last record we have of the Norse settlement in Greenland was a wedding held in that same church between Thorstein Olafsson and Sigrid Björnsdottir on September 14th, 1408.

On May 27th, the Draken set a course for North America. The final leg from Greenland to Newfoundland proved the most difficult. Icebergs, dense fog, harsh and unpredictable winds put the Draken‘s crew of 32 volunteers to the test. Modern water-repellant clothing could not keep them dry, and layers of thick knit sweaters could not keep them warm, but the elements could not break them either. On Wednesday they reached Newfoundland, landing near L’Anse aux Meadows where the remains of a Viking settlement were discovered in 1960.

Soon the valiant Draken and its riders will head inland for Quebec City and its summer tour of the Great Lakes and canals. No more icebergs for the forseeable future.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History