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An Unofficial Glossary of Terms As Used in the SCA
compiled by Hirsch von Henford
Last updated: July, 2015 (AS L)
Note that this is very much a work in progress ...
This list is meant to be of use to folk who are new to the SCA, but may be useful for folk who have been around awhile as well. There are a lot of terms used in the SCA that are sometimes confusing to people. If the history behind the term is known, then it will be included in the description. Note that due to the nature of life, the universe, and where I live, this list is likely to be West-Kingdom-centric. I am more than willing to accept comments/corrections from those in other Kingdoms, as well as terms or variants of terms that may be in use elsewhere that may not be used in the West.
If you are looking for a Combat related set of terminology, check this page out: An Unofficial Glossary of Combat Terms As Used in the SCA.
There is a glossary of terms in Spanish you may want to check out: http://www.historiaviva.org/sca/glosario.shtml
Abduction -- An abduction is an activity that sometimes occurred at early SCA events, where a person was abducted by a fighter or fighters, who were then chased down by those who wished to. The "abductee(s)" usually had previously given permission to be abducted (otherwise someone could be hurt, frightened, upset ...). This was done with a great hue and cry so that any fighter who was willing could give pursuit. They would then fight what was effectively a challenge match to free the abductee(s). In the very early days, the Queen was often the "abductee", but also various young ladies were often abducted ...
Æthelmearc -- A Kingdom
in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions (in the US): West Virginia,
western Pennsylvania, and western New York. More details
about this Kingdom can be found at their website:
"Æthelmearc is Anglo-Saxon for "noble borderland." Æthel=noble, Mearc=march or borderland. We are, of course, the borderland between the East and Middle Kingdoms, and the site of the Pennsic War battlefields lies within our lands. The "Æ" is actually one character, called an "aesch," that does not always translate via email. On your computer, if you hold down the Alt key and type 146 on the numeric keypad, you should get the correct character Ć." -- Baroness Arianna of Wynthrope, OP, OL [From Hirsch: this tip will work on a Windows machine, but may not work the same on a MacIntosh or Linux based machine ...]
Alphabet Soup -- When a person has been in the SCA for some time and is actively involved in what the organization does, they are likely to be rewarded for service, and such (see Award). Many of the awards granted have acronyms, such as "OL" for "Order of the Laurel", and so on. A person who has been quite active can accumulate a few of these, and is entitled, if they wish, to place them after their name. This accumulation of acronyms is often called Alphabet Soup.
Anachronism -- Anything out of its proper time, from the Greek ana, meaning backwards or reversed, and khronizein, meaning to belong to a particular time.
Anno Societatis/A.S. -- The dating system used in the S.C.A. All dates are counted from May 1st, 1966, and the year is shown in Roman Numerals. ("Anno Societatis" is basically "In the Year of the Society".) May 1, 1966 was May 1, A.S. I, and dates move forward from there.
Ansteorra -- A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions (of the US): Oklahoma and Texas, except for a part of Texas in the Mountain time zone. More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: Ansteorra. "Ansteorra is Old English for "peerless" or "unique star". It came from the meeting at the Regional Colleqium for the Formation of a Principality 12 - 14 March 1977." -- Hans Durrmast Von Der Wanderlust
An Tir -- A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions of the US: Oregon, Washington, the northern tip of Idaho, Canada: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: An Tir. Historical Note: In the Annotated History Project, Henrik of Havn says (discussing the first Coronet Tournament for An Tir, when it was a Principality of the West, August 25, 1973, AS VIII): “I remember there was a lot of discussion on what to call the Principality by the time we got there, with no solution in sight. I remember standing in the green green green grass at the site as the discussion continued. I said, “Why not call the Principality by the word common to several of the suggested names, that being ‘Tir’”. They responded with “An Tir.”, to which Jerald of Galloway responded: "The name was decided by 5 of us at the Tourney, myself, Robert of Winchester and 3 others whose names I don't recall. All heralds of An Tir. I don't remember Henrik being in at this meeting. The 5 of us talked about the name and came up with An Tir. I had already designed the new Arms for the Principality and that was accepted at this meeting also.” The Kingdom of An Tir has two Principalities: Summits and Tir Righ.
Apprentice -- A student who has been accepted by a Master or Mistress of the Laurel or of the Pelican for training (see also Protegé).
Arms (Device) -- The heraldic emblem that identifies a person or entity. Displaying arms is a right granted by the King and Queen and (see Award of Arms) subject to approval by the Kingdom college of Heralds and the SCA College of Arms.
Armor -- Armor is worn to protect the body of a fighter. The restrictions on what is required to be worn is defined by a combination of tradition, and trial and error (someone getting hurt) over many years. There is a minimum set of requirements for armor that must be met for a fighter to be approved to fight in a tournament or war; and it varies depending on whether the fighter is a "heavy" fighter, "rapier" fighter, or a "light" fighter. For details, check with the Marshal of your Kingdom ...
Artemisia -- A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions (of the US): Utah, Southern Idaho, Montana, and west of the continental divide of Colorado and Wyoming. More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: Artemisia. "The Kingdom name is taken from the Latin term for sagebrush - Artemisia Tridentata. The Silver Sage is a very common plant throughout our Kingdom, and has provided much inspiration in terms of our awards, titles and newsletter names." -- Shauna of Carrick Point
Arts, Minister of -- The Minister of the Arts is an officer of the SCA whose job is to foster the arts in whatever means he or she can. This is often done through competitions and arts displays. The Minister of the Arts often works closely with the Minister of Sciences, and in some Kingdoms these two offices are combined into one ... The person holding the office may prefer to be called "Master/Mistress of Arts" as their job title ...
A.S. -- See Anno Societatis.
Atenveldt -- A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions (of the US): Arizona, Utah, and a small bit of California. More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: Atenveldt. "The name 'Atenvel(d)t' was chosen. The name came from the combination of an Egyptian sun god, known as Aton, and the German word for land." -- Arthur of Lockhaven, from Atenveldt ... As I Remember It (citation brought to my attention by Mark Welch). Historical Note: Atenveldt was the first Barony of the SCA (and the West Kingdom) -- it was founded November of 1969 (AS IV). It became a Principality of the West in February of 1970 (AS IV), and rose to Kingdom status January 16, 1971 (AS V). They were the first Barony and the first Principality in the SCA.
Atlantia -- A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions (of the US): Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, plus a piece of Georgia, minus a piece of Virginia More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: Atlantia. (I have no idea about the history of the Kingdom name.)
Authorized -- An individual who has been formally recognized as trained to an adequate level of safety in a combat or combat-related activity (i.e., an "authorized fighter", or "I've been authorized!").
Autocrat -- The individual in charge of a specific event. This person is often an unsung hero, who works hard to obtain a site, work out all of the details necessary to use the site (getting privies, etc.,), and more.
Avacal, Kingdom of -- formerly a Principality of the Kingdom of An Tir. The region covered by this Kingdom is the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the eastern portion of British Columbia, plus the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Avacal's first Crown tournament was in May, 2015 (A.S. L), and their first Coronation was June 26-28, 2015 (A.S. L). More details about Avacal can be found at their website: http://www.avacal.org/SitePages/Home.aspx.
Award -- The Royalty of the SCA may grant a variety of awards to those that they find worthy. This award structure ranges from awards that grant arms (armigerous awards) to those that do not (non-armigerous awards). Most awards are granted at the whim of the Royalty, although many are designed to reward specific skills, behavior, etc. However, the Royalty are busy people, and cannot possibly know everyone in their Principality or Kingdom. It is helpful if you feel someone is deserving of reward that you write a letter of recommendation ... anyone can do it, for any award (in other words, you don't have to have the award yourself to recommend someone for that award) ...
Award of Arms -- This award grants the right to 'bear arms' in the SCA. Don't let the terminology fool you, anyone may register a 'device' with the SCA's College of Arms, but until an Award of Arms (or award that grants such with it) is granted to an individual, what you display is a 'device', not a Coat of Arms. It is a minor technical difference, but ... The award also grants the title of Lord or Lady, and there are a variety of Title Language Equivalents that can be used for those who wish to use a specific language for their persona. Historical Note: The first Awards of Arms in the SCA were granted at Twelfth Night, AS III (1969), by King Caradoc ap Cador (West Kingdom).
Badge -- An armorial emblem used to mark your belongings or to denote a household or other organization (guild, etc.) within the SCA. It is usually simpler (fewer items/colors on the badge) than a device (or arms) unless your device is extremely simple.
Baldric -- This is a belt (leather, fabric, whatever) worn from one shoulder to the hip. Baldrics serve many purposes: they can be used to hold a sword (rather than hanging a sword from one's belt); they can be used to note an officer (specific colors/badges) -- these are usually fabric; they can be used as decoration; in the West, they are used for members of the Queen's Guard, the Princess' Escort for some of the Principalities, and other purposes; and a white baldric is reserved specifically for Masters of Arms.
Banner -- This is a means of displaying one's device or coat of arms (or badge) on fabric. There are many styles that are period in form. One style commonly in use that is not period in form is a 'heater shape' (shield shaped) banner. Instead, it is suggested that you use a rectangular shape, and if you really want to place your arms on a shield, do so, placing the shield-shape on the rectangle -- that is more period in form and style. Banners are a great way to add pageantry to the SCA, and add to the medieval atmosphere of events.
Bard -- This term can be confusing, as it is sometimes used as a title (as in "Bard of the Mists"), and some folk call themselves "Bards". A bard is a person who participates in bardic circles, sings, tells stories, recites poetry, etc. Except for positions such as the "Bard of the West" or the "Bard of the Mists", there is no official title "Bard" in the West, and use of this term as a title should be discouraged.
Bardic Circle -- A gathering where the major activity is the exchange of songs and stories in a medieval style. Often done around a campfire at camping events.
Baron/Baroness (Court) -- The title of Court Baron/ess is granted at the whim of the Royalty, and carries the title of Baron or Baroness. Historical Note: The first Court Barony was granted at Twelfth Night, AS III (January 4, 1969) by [King] Caradoc ap Cador. The term "Crown Baron" was sometimes used in the early days, and to add a layer of confusion, in Atenveldt, this title (Crown Baron) was used in the early days for those who reigned a Prince/Princess and King/Queen, rather than the terms Viscount/ess and/or Count/ess.
Baron/Baroness (Landed) -- A 'Landed' Baron or Baroness is the ceremonial head of a Barony. They are called Baron (or Baroness) of name-of-Barony. They receive this title from the hands of the Crown. There is no specific length of term in office, this is determined by each specific Barony. A landed Baron and/or Baroness is required to swear fealty to the Crown for the lands held by them (at least this is the case in the West Kingdom).
Barony -- A Barony is a branch within the SCA -- an official organization. A Barony must have a Baron and/or Baroness (see above), as well as fit within specific guidelines defined in the SCA's Corpora and By-Laws for the size and activity levels of the organization. A Barony may contain within it's borders smaller branches, such as Shires, Cantons, and others, but it is not required that they do so. A Province has the same requirements as a Barony, but does not have the ceremonial head(s) of a Baron and/or Baroness. Historical Note: The first Barony of the SCA was Atenveldt (November, AS IV (1969)). They didn't stay a Barony for long, becoming a Principality (February 22, AS IV (1970)) and then a Kingdom (first Crown Tournament dated Jan. 16, AS V (1971)) within just a couple of years ...
Beltane -- In the West Kingdom, the Coronation held early in May (usually the first weekend in May, but sometimes late April) is called Beltane. The term refers to a "pagan" event held around the same time.
Belted Fighter -- A belted fighter is a member of the Order of Chivalry, the term refers to the white belt worn by a Knight or the baldric worn by a Master of Arms.
BOD/Board of Directors -- The Board of Directors are the people who deal with the mundane (non-medieval) aspects of running the organization. The Board of Directors has their own web site: SCA Board of Directors
Branch -- A branch is an official SCA organization, which is regional, and must have specific officers (the requirements vary depending on the size of the branch). It may be based on a city, a University (see College), or a larger area. In the United States most Kingdoms are defined by the state borders (or close), but may and usually do, include multiple states.
Caid -- (pronounced to the best of my understanding:
Ky-eed or Ka-eed, depending on who you ask). A Kingdom
in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions (of the US): Southern California,
Greater Las Vegas Area and Hawaii. More details about this Kingdom
can be found at their website: Caid.
Historical Note: Regarding the name of Caid, this information comes from the Annotated History, by William the Lucky, who was Kingdom Seneschal of the West (which Caid was a part of) at the time: "There were four very proud, and very independent, baronies in the south of the kingdom. When An Tir became a Principality, nothing would do but they become one also. First (and aliments last) problem agree on a name. Each barony had a suggestion ... and would accept nothing else -- certainly not any suggestion from one of the other baronies. Lack of agreement continued for months. Some people have done very well in official positions by being endlessly patient with idiocy -- I'm afraid I just don't have endless patience. So I wrote to the four baronies suggesting that they agree on a name by a deadline that was only a couple of weeks out. Otherwise, as Steve noted, "since the Principality in the north of the Kingdom is An Tir, the one in the south of the Kingdom will be Pos-Tir." The name Caid, agreed to by all four baronies, arrived by return mail. Almost as fascinating is the official Caidian history of how the name was chosen. Unsurprisingly, it does not actually mention any exterior influence on the decision process. It does give a really elegant explanation for the name (an acronym of the names of the four baronies); clearly someone was a dab hand with a foreign language dictionary collection.”
Also note that The Page from June, AS IX (1974) states in the official event copy about the first Coronet Tournament: "At the recent Tourney of Union, the citizens of the Principality decided pro tempore on the name Caid, a name devised by Master Bonueur, which not only is an acronym of the baronies that make up the Principality, but in Arabic signifies "The Fortress." Official adoption of the name awaits the approval of the Lord Laurel and then of the Board, but we may as well use it in the meantime."
Calontir -- A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions (of the US): Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Northern Arkansas. More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: Calontir. "calon 1. heart n.f. (calonnau); tir 1. land n.m (tiroedd); Thus "Calontir" would translate literally as "Heartland." -- Fujiwara no Kitsume (Calontir) (The translation is taken from an online English to Welsh/Welsh to English dictionary at: http://www.geiriadur.net)
Canton -- A Canton is a small branch within the SCA. It is often (but not always) a sub-group contained within a Barony or Province.
Chamberlain -- An officer in charge of inventorying and maintaining the regalia of a Kingdom, Principality or Barony, often a deputy of the Exchequer's office. The office is either appointed by and only as long as the current reign or is invested as a regular officer for the standard tenure independent of reigns. This office is not universal in the SCA. This definition comes from an An Tirian, and the position's responsibilities will vary from Kingdom to Kingdom.
Chatelaine -- The officer in charge of greeting and helping newcomers. Also loans costumes and gear as needed (Gold Key).
Chirurgeon -- (pronounced kier-ur-jun, or surgeon or ...) An officer with first-aid training who stands by at events to render assistance as needed. Chirugeons are required to have formal qualification, at least a multi-media First Aid Card and CPR. The Chirurgeon may have a pavilion on site at an event, which would then be flying the banner for that office. This banner is usually red, with a white drop and a charge called a "fleam" on that -- it sort of looks like a weird '7'. This is the place to go if you have had an accident and someone is hurt ... NOTE: If an accident occurs and you are not comfortable trying to pronounce "Chirurgeon", just cry out for "Medic" or "First Aid" or something of that nature -- help will come running -- don't stand on formalities when someone's been hurt!
Chivalry, Order of -- The Order of Chivalry consists of those who have been recognized for their fighting skills on the field of honor, as well as other skills required to make a "well-rounded" individual. This order consists of Knights and Masters of Arms. Historical Note: The first Knight of the SCA was created at the first event, but subsequently others were made Knights during a ceremony at Twelfth Night, AS II (January 6, 1968), as well as those who could/would not swear fealty (for whatever reason) who were made Masters of Arms. This was done by [King] William the Silent. Note that members of the Order of Chivalry are equivalent in rank to the members of the Orders of the Laurel, the Pelican and the Order of the Rose.
Chronicler -- The officer in charge of a group's newsletter.
Circlet -- A (usually) metal band worn on the head -- to keep the hair out of the eyes or the veil in place -- or just for decoration. Many kingdoms have sumptuary laws with regard to the allowed width of circlets, before investing in one it is suggested that you check your kingdom's laws. The Kingdom of the West has no sumptuary laws.
Clear! -- A word called to indicate that someone is about to draw a steel weapon, so passers-by should watch where they step.
College -- A College is a branch based on a University campus. The guidelines for activity levels are more loosely defined for a College, as they have some of the most transient populations in the SCA.
College of Arms -- This is the SCA-wide College of Heralds. The College of Arms is responsible for registration of SCA Names and SCA Armory (device/coat of arms/badges). Note that the SCA College of Arms is not related to the SCA Registrar's office, and there is little, if any, communication between the two. There is a saying among the heralds: "We don't register your membership, and the Registrar doesn't register your name and arms." The SCA College of Arms has their own website: SCA College of Arms if you are interested in more details about the office of the heralds ...
College of Heralds -- The Kingdom version of the College of Arms. This is the collective of the heralds in the Kingdom, headed by a "Principal" herald (in the West, Vesper Principal Herald, for example). The Kingdom College of Heralds handles a variety of tasks, ranging from working with the members of the populace to register names and arms, to making announcements at events, announcing fights on the field of honor, and being the master of ceremonies for Court. Not all heralds do all aspects of the office, so a court herald may not be familiar with name research, and so on ... The SCA College of Arms has their own website: SCA College of Arms if you are interested in more details about the office of the heralds ... In addition, most Kingdom websites have information for their specific College of Heralds. The College of Heralds has a lot of specialized terminology, much of which is defined in a glossary for that purpose. You can view this at: College of Heralds Glossary of Terms.
Collegium -- An event held specifically to educate members of the populace. Classes are taught all day (sometimes over two or more days) on topics ranging all over the SCA map -- Arts and Sciences, Fighting, and whatever else interests members. Some branches call these Universities, but the concept is the same, except that some Universities (the one that comes to mind is Ithra, in the Kingdom of An Tir) may offer a degree if the student is willing to put in the work. (This degree is not recognized outside of the SCA, however.)
Consort -- One whose favor a fighter carries into a tournament. In a Crown or Coronet tournament, should the fighter win the tournament, the consort would be co-ruler with that fighter.
Constable -- The Constable is an officer in the SCA whose job varies from Kingdom to Kingdom. In the West, one of the primary responsibilities is to ensure that the gate is manned (someone is taking care of business at the front-door for an event, taking money, getting people to sign waivers, etc.). The Constables often take care of "Lost and Found" as well as a variety of other tasks.
Constable's Point -- This is usually a pavillion where the constables hang out. If you need to deal with lost and found items, or find a constable, this is the place to go. It will usually be flying the banner of the office. In the West, this banner has a blue field with a gold or yellow mace (with "flanges" -- pointy bits) on it.
Coronation -- The event where the Crown Prince and Crown Princess become the new King and Queen, and the outgoing King and Queen step down. If the outgoing King and Queen are not yet Count or Countess, or Duke or Duchess, then they are recognized in these titles and estates at the same event.
Coronet -- This term has more than one meaning. When used in respect to a Principality, "Coronet" often refers to the Prince and Princess together ("It is the word of the Coronet ..."). A Coronet is also a circlet worn by a Prince or Princess; a Duke or Duchess; a Count or Countess; a Viscount or Viscountess; or a Baron or Baroness (landed or Court). Some Coronets have very specific designs by tradition (these traditions are not necessarily being observed as closely anymore, however). A Ducal (worn by a Duke or Duchess) coronet has a set of three strawberry leaves at the four points (front, back and both sides). A County coronet is embattled. Other coronets may vary, depending on who is wearing them (personal decorations are usually allowed). Principality and Baronial Coronets (for a Barony, as opposed to Court Barony coronets, which are personal) are passed from one holder to another, and are not personal property.
Corpora -- The documents that define the SCA in the mundane (non-medieval) world. Definitions of what we do, what our structure is, and more are contained within. A copy of these can be obtained by contacting the Board of Directors.
Count/Countess -- These titles are used for those who have reigned as King or Queen once (or more), and they are assumed when the King/Queen has stepped down, however there is usually a ceremony which confirms these titles. Historical Note: The titles first came into existence at Beltane, AS VII (May 6, 1972), and was created by [King] James Greyhelm and [Queen] Verena of Laurelin. When it was created, the title was made retroactive to include all who had reigned as King or Queen of the West to date. There are a variety of Title Language Equivalents that can be used for those who wish to use a specific language for their persona.
Court -- The word generally refers
to a formal gathering of an SCA chapter, presided over by its ceremonial leaders.
The primary activities of a court include announcements, presentations and awards
from the leaders to individuals in the group.
A second meaning for this word refers to the retinue of the royalty, as in "Talk to a member of the court." These are folk who are trusted by the royalty to assist them during Their Reign ... sometimes this includes the herald, but not always. Sometimes members of the court "run interference" to keep the royals from being overwhelmed, they are also a good way to find out details about the plans the Royals have for future events, etc. If you find it hard to talk to the Royalty, try to talk to a member of Their Court. Some folk refer to members of the court as the Retinue or Royal Retinue.
Crown -- This term has two general meanings. The first is the King and Queen of a Kingdom working together (i.e., "the word of the Crown"). The other is the coronet worn by the King and/or Queen. These are specific to the Kingdom, and belong to the Kingdom, not the individuals currently wearing them. Historical Notes: The first crown worn as the symbol of the King was made by Henrik of Havn and placed on his head by Fulk de Wyvern at the First Coronation and Crown Tournament, March 25, AS I (1967). This Crown was Henrik's personal crown and worn by him during each of his reigns, and is now worn as his personal Ducal Coronet -- it was made of iron with silver crosses. For Twelfth Night AS II (January 6, 1968), Master Beverly Hodgehead created the "Ancient and Honorables" -- a pair of copper crowns that were used for the Coronation itself. Unfortunately, they were not very comfortable, and most of the early Kings and Queens had their own Crowns made, which were worn during the reign itself (becoming their personal County or Ducal coronets after stepping down). At Beltane Coronation, May 1, AS XI (1976), Henrik of Havn presented the silver crowns now used in the West Kingdom. These were first worn by [Duke] Paul of Bellatrix and [Duchess] Carol of Bellatrix. These Crowns have endured all this time, although there have been repairs done. A small sliver of the copper from the "Ancient and Honorable" crowns was included in both the King and the Queen's crowns.
Crown Prince/Crown Princess -- The victor in the Crown Tournament and the victor's consort. The victor is named Crown Prince, and his consort is named Crown Princess. If a female fighter wins a Crown Tournament, the victor is named the Crown Princess, and the consort is then named the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince and Crown Princess will become the King and Queen at the next Coronation event, at which time the current King and Queen will step down. Historical Note: The titles of Crown Prince and Crown Princess were first used at the First Coronation and Crown Tournament, March 25, AS I (1967), and were first granted to [Duke] Richard the Short and [Countess] Anne of San Anselmo by [King] Henrik of Havn.
Crash Space -- Informal lodging with members of the group holding an event. Many SCA members regard anyone in the organization as a distant cousin, and make floor space available for out of town visitors.
Cynagua, Principality of -- a Principality of the Kingdom of the West. This Principality covers most of the Northern part of California and part of Nevada. More information about Cynagua can be found here: Cynagua.
Dame -- This is an alternate title that may be used by members of the Orders of Chivalry, the Laurel or the Pelican for those females who do not wish to use the title "Mistress" or "Sir" (in the case of the Order of Chivalry). In addition, there are a variety of Title Language Equivalents that can be used for those who wish to use a specific language for their persona.
Drachenwald -- A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions: Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: Drachenwald. The name translates from German to "Dragon Woods" or "Dragon Forest". (I have no other information about the meaning or origin of their name.)
Dry/Damp/Wet Site -- This refers to a site's alcoholic beverage policy. Dry sites allow no alcohol. Damp sites permit wine, beer, and mead, but no hard liquor. Wet sites do not restrict alcohol. "Discreetly" damp or wet means that the site is normally dry, but the owners have agreed to permit us to use alcohol as long as the labelled containers are kept out of sight and are removed at the end of the event.
Duke/Duchess -- These titles are automatically granted to those who have reigned as King or Queen twice [or more], and are assumed when the person steps down from the Throne at the end of their second reign (although there is usually a ceremony to recognize the titles). A Duke or Duchess is entitled to use the title "Duke <insertnamehere>" or "Duchess <insertnamehere>" and to wear a Ducal Coronet. Historical Note: The first time the title of Duke was granted it was given retroactively to include those who had won the Kingdom Tournament (some of these were before we had Crown Tournaments) twice, including Henrik of Havn who had just stepped down from his second reign. The title of Duke was created and granted by [King] William the Silent, at Twelfth Night, AS II (January 6, 1968). The first time the title of Duchess was granted, it was given retroactively to those Queens who had reigned twice or more by [King] James Greyhelm and [Queen] Verena of Laurelin, at Beltane Coronation, AS VII (May 6, 1972). There are a variety of Title Language Equivalents that can be used for those who wish to use a specific language for their persona.
Ealdormere -- A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions: Ontario, Canada. More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: Ealdormere.
"To the best of my knowledge, "Ealdormere" means "the Elder Sea" in the pseudo-Olde English/Latin that the bards favour up here. Apparently it's a reference to the Great Lakes which surround Southern Ontario on all sides." -- Paul de Trois-Frontieres
East, The -- A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions (of the US): eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, eastern New York, The New England states. In Canada: Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: The East. Historical Note: The East Kingdom is the second Kingdom founded in the SCA, it was started by Elfrida and Walter of Greenwalls (Marion Zimmer Bradley and her then husband Walter Breen). The Annotated History notes the following about the first Kingdom event (June 2, 1968 - AS III): "Held at the Cloisters, New York City, New York. A tourney was planned but it was rained out. Elfrida and Walter of Greenwalls were the seneschals and the autocrats. Koppel funem Lachfalk was the Herald. Elfrida appointed Maragon the Artificer to sit as King and Adrienne of Toldedo to sit as Queen, to preside over the first tourney and the first crown lists, whereupon the first true king would be chosen by combat. When the tourney was rained out the group wandered through the Cloisters looking at the Unicorn Tapestries and freaking out the museum guards. Present were Elfrida and Walter of Greenwalls, Adrienne of Toledo, Maragon the Artificer, Alfgar the Sententious, El of the Two Knives, Rakurai of Kamakura, Eleolf Erickson, Robert the Puppeteer, and Cynthia Ornam." As the first Crown Tournament was called due to rain, it was held the next month (July 21, 1968, AS III).
Eric, The -- The markers around the List field, hence often used by extension for the area within the markers. Camping "on the Eric" is not "balanced upon the markers", but is phrased in the sense of a "cabin on the lake" (i.e., at the shore). Historical Note: The following quote is from Sir Robert of Dunharrow: "Marynel [of Darkhaven] did indeed make the fabric portion of the first Royal Pavilion and all of us who gave $4 or $5 toward the materials got to put our devices on one of the dags. She cut & sewed the leftover scraps into long strips and dyed them red for a field marker to replace the clumsy stakes & ropes I used to haul around. Master Beverly [of Hodghead], who also invented portable holes for banner poles, devised the little wires with loops on top that went thru sewn pockets in the red cloth strips and were pushed into the ground to hold up what came to be called 'Eric' since it was RED!" (As in "Eric the Red" of Viking fame ...) This dates to approximately May of AS IV (1969). The use of the term "The Eric" is mostly found in the West Kingdom.
Estrella War -- An inter-kingdom war held in the Southwest of the United States every spring (early). This war has a history going back to the early years of the SCA (February AS XII, 1978). The first few Estrella wars were between Atenveldt and the West. This has changed over the years ... The following is from an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) File on the "Rialto": [Estrella is an annual war between four Principle Kingdoms - Atenveldt, Artemisia, Caid and Outlands. They change allies each year at the treaty negotiations. It has taken place since 1985. It is held on President's Day weekend (February). More information can be found at http://www.estrellawar.org. The site changes, the best way to keep up is to visit the website ...
Event -- An SCA gathering, usually with a special medieval theme. Events can be held indoors at a variety of sites or at campgrounds. Events are "official" events (ones that, for example, are covered by SCA Insurance, and the Royalty may grant awards at) if they are published in the Kingdom Newsletter ...
Excellency, His/Her/Your -- Used as the title of address for Counts and Countesses, Viscounts and Viscountesses, and Landed and Court Barons and Baronesses. It is also a safe fallback address if one cannot remember the correct one for any high ranking personage up to and including the Crown. They are all Excellencies.
Exchequer -- The Exchequer, or sometimes "Chancellor of the Exchequer" is the officer who is in charge of tracking money spent by local groups, and at the Kingdom level tracking it there. This entails a lot of paperwork. Be nice to your exchequer.
Favor -- A ribbon or other personal token given (usually to a fighter) as a mark of esteem. Favors may indicate simple friendship or a commitment to serve as consort. See also token.
Fealty -- A relationship between individuals marked by an exchange of oaths of service and protection. For a discussion of this topic that attempts to be mostly neutral on what can sometimes be a "hot" topic, see this article: Fealty, Loyalty, and Obedience (this is an Adobe Acrobat file ...).
Feast -- An event at which the main activity is the consumption of an elaborate meal, often accompanied by entertainment.
Feast Gear -- Tableware for one diner. Almost all SCA feasts assume that the guests will bring everything they need to eat in comfort, including plates, bowls, goblets and utensils. Many people also bring decorative tablecloths, candles and other items to grace their table.
Feastocrat -- This is a term sometimes used by an autocrat running a feast, or in the case of some events, the autocrat runs the event, and the feastocrat specifically runs the kitchen. Note that there is no historical basis for the use of this term, and indeed, it is probably a made-up word based on "autocrat" -- many purists frown on its use, and instead suggest such terms as "Head Cook", or "Kitchener" be used.
Gate -- Sometimes called the "Troll Booth", or other derogatory terms, this is the place at most SCA events (particularly camping events) where you sign waivers and pay site fees. In the West the gate is usually manned by Constables or volunteers working with the Constables.
Garb -- The medieval clothing worn at SCA events. (After a few events, it doesn't feel like a costume anymore!)
Gentles -- A general reference to the lords and ladies assembled.
Gleann Abhann, Kingdom of -- Started out as a Principality of the Kingdom of Meridies. The region covered by this Kingdom is Arkansas (90% of it, anyway), Louisiana, Mississippi, and extreme western Tennessee. More details about Gleann Abhann can be found at their website: http://www.gleannabhann.org/. Gleann Abhann had their first Crown Tournament in May, 2005, and their first Coronation in October, 2005. This made them the 19th Kingdom!
Gold Key -- A collection of loaner garb and gear for the use of newcomers, generally maintained by the Chatelaine. There is, in some kingdoms, an officer designed as "Gold Key" as well. The badge for the Gold Key office is a gold or yellow key on a green background.
Grace, His/Her/Your -- Used as the title of address for Dukes and Duchesses.
Grant of Arms -- This award is a higher level recognition than an "Award of Arms" (see above) -- in Precedence it falls between an Award of Arms and a Peerage. It was first created to recognize Kingdom Officers for the work that they had done for the Kingdom. It is given at the King and Queen's whim now, but is still often given to Kingdom Officers for a job well-done. Historical Note: The first Grants of Arms were given at Twelfth Night, AS III (January 4, 1969) by [King] Caradoc ap Cador. This award does not officially carry any special title other than "Lord" or "Lady" as the Award of Arms does. Some Kingdoms use "The Honorable Lord/Lady", a term that is starting to come into use in the West Kingdom (slowly).
Great Western War (GWW) -- This is a war held annually on the West Coast of the United States, between Caid and the West Kingdom. Details about this war can be found at: www.caid-gww.org".
Guild -- An organization chartered in one or more kingdoms to promote the study and practice of some particular Art or Science.
Gulf War -- (The 'Gulf' in question being the Gulf of Mexico, rather than the Persian Gulf.) The following is from an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) File on the "Rialto": [Gulf War is an annual war between Ansteorra and Trimaris, being hosted by Meridies. It takes place at King's Arrow Ranch near Lumberton, MS. It is currently held during "spring break" in mid-March each year. More information can be found at http://www.gulfwars.org.
Hat -- An SCA slang term for a Coronet, a Crown, or a Circlet. It can of course be used for any other form of head-gear that is not related to SCA regalia. Note that using the term "hat" as slang for a Coronet or Crown is a bad idea, as it diminishes the importance of them -- Coronets and Crowns serve a purpose, to denote those who have been honored in some fashion, and calling these pieces of regalia "hats" makes them seem less important in the scheme of what we're all doing.
Heavy Weapons -- These are the usual tournament and war-weapons (sword and shield and other weapons such as mace, axe, polearms, and more) which, in order to be used, require the use of armor, and training. A fighter must be authorized in the use of these weapons for his or her own safety, as well as the safety of his or her opponents.
Herald -- A person who is trained to function in one or more of the areas defined by the College of Heralds. A herald is an officer of the SCA. There are a variety of types of heralds, but they mainly break down to three areas: announcements (on the field of honor ["Field Herald"], general announcements -- sometimes called "duty" ["Duty Herald"]), master of ceremonies for court ["Court Herald"], and name/device/armory consultation ["Submissions Herald", or "Research Herald"]. There are other duties performed by heralds, including keeping track of the Awards Lists, and more. Note that not all heralds are good at or have an interest in all aspects of the office, so a Court Herald may not be interested in name research and so on ... For more details on SCA Heraldry, the West Kingdom has its Herald's Handbook online at: http://heralds.westkingdom.org/Handbook (also note that if you are not in the West Kingdom, your Kingdom's website may have their own Herald's Handbook available ... there are many differences when you travel from one Kingdom to another), and the SCA's website has information as well at: http://www.sca.org/heraldry/welcome.html
Herald's Point -- Usually a pavilion at an outdoor event, near or on the eric. This is a place where the heralds hold meetings, and run business. If you need a herald, this is the most likely place to find one. The pavilion will usually display the banner of the heralds, which is a green background with a pair of crossed straight trumpets in gold or yellow.
High Table -- The table at a feast where the presiding nobility and the honored guests are seated. Also called "Head Table."
Highness, His/Her/Your -- Used as the title of address for Princes and Princesses. Formally, a Crown Prince or Princess is addressed as a Royal Highness. Coronets will sometimes augment this title in a manner appropriate to Themselves or Their Lands (ie., Their Alpine Highnesses, Her Serene Highness, etc.).
HOLD! -- A cry meaning "Stop whatever you are doing and freeze in place until you see where the hazard is!" The basic use is in combat, but it's been extended to cover all forms of activity. If on the field of combat, the norm is not only to stop, but to drop to one knee ...
Household -- A voluntary association of friends or people with similar interest. organized under whatever rules the members jointly accept. Households have no formal standing in the SCA.
Insula Draconis, Principality of -- a Principality of the Kingdom of Drachenwald. The region covered by this Principality includes Iceland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. More details about Insula Draconis can be found at their website: Principality of Insula Draconis.
Investiture -- The ceremony wherein a Prince and Princess receive their Coronets, a Landed Baron and Baroness receive the insignia of their Barony, or an officer receives tokens of office. See also Coronation. If the outgoing Prince and Princess are not already a Viscount or Viscountess, they are recognized with these titles at this time.
King -- The King is normally the person who won the Crown Tournament (there are rare cases where a female fighter has won), for the honor of their consort, who becomes the Queen (except as noted). The King and Queen are the ceremonial heads of the Kingdom. Historical Note: The first time a King was named was at the First Coronation and Crown Tournament, March 25, 1967 (AS I, 1967). The first person so named was Henrik of Havn, who won the Crown Tournament in September of 1966, the crown was placed on his head by Fulk de Wyvern, who had won the previous tournament. Henrik and Wendryn were actually given scrolls at the tournament in September (1966) to commerate the event, that named them King and Queen, but the titles weren't "official" until later.
Kingdom -- A branch of the SCA with the ceremonial leaders King and Queen. The first Kingdom of the SCA was The West Kingdom, although when the SCA was started, the name used to refer to it was often simply "The Kingdom", if any name was used at all. When the East Kingdom was formed (June, AS III - 1968) and named "The Kingdom of the East", the "Kingdom of the West" became the "official" name of "The Kingdom". At the time of this writing, there are 16 Kingdoms across the SCA, one in Europe, the others are based in the United States, but some of those have branches in other parts of the world, including Australia, Japan/Korea, Canada, and other locations. A Kingdom may have Principalities, but they are not required. All other branches are sub-groups of a Kingdom (Principality, Shire, Barony, etc.). You can get more details about any individual Kingdom from the SCA's website on the "Geography" of the SCA: SCA Geography. This website has links to the websites for each of the Kingdoms.
Knight -- A Knight is a peer of the realm, named so for his or her capability on the tournament field. A Knight is a member of the Order of Chivalry, which also includes Masters of Arms. A Knight is entitled to wear as regalia a chain of large open links (to signify his/her fealty to the Crown), a white belt (to signify his/her prowess) and a pair of spurs (to signify his/her rank). Note that a Knight must swear fealty to the Crown and Kingdom when they are made a Knight, a Master of Arms does not. A Knight is styled "Sir <insertnamehere>". There are a variety of Title Language Equivalents that can be used for those who wish to use a specific language for their persona. Historical Note: The first Knight of the SCA was David the Herald, named so at the first tournament (May 1, 1966), by [Duke] Siegfried von Hoflichskeit. More details on the history of the Order of Chivalry can be found here: Order of Chivalry. Note that members of the Order of Chivalry are equivalent in rank to the members of the Orders of the Laurel, the Pelican and the Order of the Rose.
Laurel, Order of the -- The Order of the Laurel is a peerage level recognition. The focus of this recognition is excellence in the Arts and/or Sciences. Historically this recognition was given for service when it was created, as well as Arts/Sciences, but this changed when the Order of the Pelican was created at the Kingdom level. Members of this Order may wear a medallion displaying a Laurel Wreath. A member of the Order of the Laurel may style themselves "Master <insertnamehere>" or "Mistress <insertnamehere>". There are a variety of Title Language Equivalents that can be used for those who wish to use a specific language for their persona. Historical Note: The Order of the Laurel was first granted at Twelfth Night, AS II (January 6, 1968) by [King] William the Silent. Note that members of the Order of the Laurel are equivalent in rank to the members of the Orders of Chivalry, the Pelican and the Order of the Rose.
Light Weapons -- A light fighter is someone who does not use "heavy" weapons (sword and shield, etc.), but instead uses missle style weapons, which can range from bows and arrows to javelins. Light fighters don't usually get to "play" except in war-time scenarios. Light fighters need to be authorized, and wear armor, but the restrictions are different from "heavy" fighters.
Lillies (War of the) -- The following is from an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) file on the "Rialto": [Lilies is an annual war that takes place in Calontir. Each year a new scenario is developed to vary the sides. Past scenarios have included Winter Queens vs. Summer Queens, Laurels vs. Pelicans, Baronies vs. Shires, and so on. It takes place at Smithville Lake, near Kansas City, MO.]
Lists -- "The Lists" refers to the lists (paper listings of combatants) used to run a tournament. Other uses of this term include the field on which a tournament or combat activity is taking place. (In the West, it is synonymous with the tournament itself as well. ie "join the lists", "fight in the lists", etc.) See also "List Field" and "List Table" below.
List Field -- The list field, or tournament field -- this is where the offical martial competitions at SCA events takes place. The list field is usually in the center of the event site, and usually has the Royal Pavilion as well as other pavlilions around it. This area is defined by ropes, often with flags hanging off of them at a tournament. See "Eric" above.
List Table -- The place where the Minister of the Lists keeps track of the paperwork necessary to actually run the lists. This is usually a spot on the eric or tournament field, usually in a pavillion or under a sun shade.
Lists, Minister of -- The Minister of the Lists is an SCA officer whose job is to administer the lists/make sure that the tournament is handled in a proper fashion as far as pairing fighters and such.
Livery -- livery is most often a form of clothing that is worn to denote a relationship between people. It can be used by a "lord" or "lady" and used to denote a household relationship; it can be used to denote a relationship between a student and the person they are associated with; a local branch and members of same; and so on.
Lochac, Kingdom of -- a Kingdom of the SCA. The region covered by this Kingdom is Australia and New Zealand. More details about Lochac can be found at their website: http://www.sca.org.au/lochac/.
Lord/Lady -- As capitalized, is used as a title within the SCA for those with Awards of Arms. Note that unless someone specifically does not wish to be recognized as nobility within the SCA, anyone may be called "lord" or "lady" -- when using the title for someone who is not armigerous, one uses it a with lower-case "L" ...
Lordship/Ladyship, His/Her/Your -- Used as the title of address within some Kingdoms of the SCA for those with Grants of Arms. In addition, The Honorable Lord or The Honorable Lady may be used ...
Majesty, His/Her/Your -- Used as the title of address for Kings and Queens. Crowns will sometimes augment this title in a manner appropriate to Themselves or Their Lands (ie., Their Occidental Majesties, His Dread Majesty, etc.).
Marshal -- A specially trained person who oversees combat activities. (The SCA's version of a referee.) The Kingdom office is usually called "Earl Marshal".
Master/Mistress -- The titles of "Master" or "Mistress" are reserved to those members of the peerage who wish to use them. See also Peer, Laurel, Pelican, or Master of Arms.
Master of Arms -- Is a member of the Order of Chivalry along with those who are Knights. The only difference between a Master of Arms and a Knight is that a Knight is required to swear fealty when they are made a Knight, and a Master of Arms is not. A Master of Arms does not wear a chain to signify an oath of fealty, and rather than wearing a white belt, they wear a white baldric to signify their prowess. See Knight for more information. Note that members of the Order of Chivalry are equivalent in rank to the members of the Orders of the Laurel, the Pelican and the Order of the Rose.
Meridies -- (pronounced, to the best of my understanding: Mair-id-ee-ees, the natives pronounce it: Mer -rid -dee -ayes (as in long a)). A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions (of the US): Georgia (nearly all of), Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas (most of), Tennessee, a bit of the panhandle of Florida, and small portions of both Kentucky and Virginia. More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: Meridies. According to a gentle in Meridies, the history of the name is: The word meridies was taken from the definition of the word Meridian - Defined adj. [OFr meridien L meridianus] of noon, southern meridies, noon, the south. Meridies is the Kingdom comprised of mostly states in the Southern United States.
Merchant's Row -- The area of an event where folks who are selling merchandise set up. The perfect place for all your medieval shopping! Not all events have a "Merchant's Row", but many of the larger events do.
Middle, The -- A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions (of the US): Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, a nip of Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Dakota. Canada: Manitoba, and a bit of Ontario. The Middle Kingdom is the third Kingdom founded in the SCA. More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: The Middle. The Middle is sometimes called The Midrealm. Historical Note: The first Crown Tournament of the Midrealm was held July 4-6, 1969 (AS IV). The Annotated History describes this event: "Held at Wilmot Mountain, Wisconsin. King Bruce of Cloves sent Adrienne of Toledo as his representative, who presided as Queen over the lists. Present were Michael Bradley of Bradley, Franz von Blikenlichten, Cariadoc of the Bow, Diana Alene, and others. Cariadoc of the Bow won, using a two-handed sword. (The Middle was at this time part of the East and known as the Principality Under the Mountain.)"
Minstrel -- Similar to Bard, if not the same. Someone who performs music, at bardic circles or elsewhere ...
Mists, Principality of The -- a Principality of the Kingdom of the West. The region covered by this Principality is the greater San Francisco (California) Bay Area. It is in what is often called the "central" part of the Kingdom of the West, and is so named for the well-known fog that comes off of the San Francisco Bay. More details about The Mists can be found at their website: Principality of The Mists.
Mundane -- Modern, not-in-the-SCA. Not meant to be insulting.
Newbie -- Someone new to the SCA, the term is not meant to be insulting, but simply to describe someone who is still "learning the ropes".
Nordmark, Principality of -- a Principality of the Kingdom of Drachenwald. The region covered by this Principality is the mundane Kingdom of Sweden (hard to tell from their website, because oddly enough it is in Swedish, with some parts having a translation into English). More details about Nordmark can be found at their website: http://www.nordmark.org/. Nordmark means quite literally 'North March'.
Northshield, Kingdom of -- formerly a Principality of the Kingdom of the Middle, having crowned their first King and Queen in October, 2004 (A.S. XXXIX) they are now officially a Kingdom in their own right. The region covered by this Kingdom is northwestern Ontario, Manitoba, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and a bit of Michigan. More details about Northshield can be found at their website: http://www.northshield.org/.
Oertha, Principality of -- a Principality
of the Kingdom of the West. The region covered by this Principality is most
of the mundane state of Alaska. More details about Oertha can be found at their
"In the early days, (1979) Alaska had two groups, Eskalya and Winter's Gate. We were part of the Principality of An Tir. When An Tir petitioned for kingdom status, Alaska asked to remain part of the West. That wish was granted. We were then termed the Northern Marches. As we got closer to principality status, the groups started thinking of a name for the whole unit; The North being the odds on favorite. However, the heralds vetoed The North and we went back to the drawing board. Enter Sir Kylson Skyfire. He was returning by airplane from somewhere Outside, and was reading the airline magazine. He says one of the articles talked about northern lands and the word oertha. According to the article, oertha meant "guardian of the North". He presented the name to the Council of the North and to the
populace where it was approved. Now comes the odd part. We never actually had a copy of the magazine or the article. The language may be celtic ... we know it isn't Yupik or Inupiaq eskimo, but we're not sure anymore. There is a welsh word for north or northern that sounds like it, but ... " -- Annora de Montfort of Shadowwood
Officer -- Someone appointed (volunteered) to do one of the jobs in the civil service of a Society branch, or of the SCA as a corporation.
Out of Period (OOP) -- The SCA period, while loosely defined, does have a definition. The term "Out of Period" or "OOP" is sometimes used to define something that does not fit within the scope of the SCA ...
Outlands, The -- A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions (of the US): New Mexico, most of Colorado, parts of Wyoming and Nebraska, and El Paso and Hudspeth counties of Texas. More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: The Outlands. (I have no information about the meaning or origin of their name.)
OYEZ! or Oy Yay! -- Cry used by heralds in some Kingdoms, to gain the attention of the populace. Stop and listen for the announcement when you hear a herald call - for simple courtesy, as the herald is the voice of the Crown, and because you may well need to know what he's trying to tell you. (pronounced Oh-yay! or Oy-yay ... oy vey!)
Pas d'Armes -- Literally a "Passage of Arms", this is a 'themed' tournament.
Essentially the pas d'armes is a "challenge a plaisance", meaning "of peace". One or more defenders, known popularly as the 'tenans', would make it known that they would hold a particular place on a particular day 'tel place tel jour...'. Such challenges were designed to showcase the prowess, courtesy and in general to celebrate the office of knighthood with a demonstration of arms. -- Brion Thornbird, from his website Chronique, article titled "What is the Pas d'Armes?"
Page/Page School -- A "Page" in the SCA is usually a younger member of the organization (a child, pre-teen in some definitions ... this is likely to vary from Kingdom to Kingdom). A "Page School" is usually an organized attempt to teach these younger members of the organization some of what the SCA is about. Most Kingdoms have a "Children's Officer" of some sort, in the West Kingdom the office is specifically the "Page School Chancellor".
Pavilion -- A term used to refer to a medieval-style tent.
Peer/Peerage -- A Knight, Master of Arms, Laurel, Pelican, member of the Order of the Rose, or a Royal Peer (Duke, Duchess, Count, Countess, Viscount, Viscountess). They hold their title(s) by Letters Patent, or a Patent of Arms. The term "The Peerage" refers to the collective "peers" (i.e., The Peerage, or The members of the Peerage ...) You can find out more about Peerage in the SCA at this website: Peerage in the SCA.
Pelican, Order of the (Imperial) -- The Order of the Pelican is a peerage level recognition. It is given specifically for service to the SCA. Members of this Order may wear a medallion displaying a Pelican in its Piety. A member of the Order of the Pelican may style themselves "Master <insertnamehere>" or "Mistress <insertnamehere>". There are a variety of Title Language Equivalents that can be used for those who wish to use a specific language for their persona. Historical Note: This award was created by the Board of Directors (who at the time, when they interacted with the SCA directly at events titled themselves "The Imperial Electors"), and was first granted at Autumn Crown, AS VII (October 22, 1972). At this time the Board of Directors does not grant membership in this order, and has not for many years. Note that members of the Order of the Pelican are equivalent in rank to the members of the Orders of Chivalry, the Laurel and the Order of the Rose.
Pelican, Order of the (Kingdom) -- The Order of the Pelican is a peerage level recognition. It is given specifically given specifically for service to the SCA. Members of this Order may wear a medallion displaying a Pelican in its Piety. A member of the Order of the Pelican may style themselves "Master <insertnamehere>" or "Mistress <insertnamehere>". There are a variety of Title Language Equivalents that can be used for those who wish to use a specific language for their persona. Historical Note: The first members of the Order of the Pelican granted by a King and Queen were done at Purgatorio, AS IX (August 3, 1974) by [King] William of Hoghton. At this time, Robert of Dunharrow, who had received his Laurel for service requested the right to turn in his Laurel when he received membership in the Order of the Pelican, which was granted -- his Pelican is therefore backdated to the date of his Laurel (if you check the Order of Precedence in the West Kingdom, you will see his Pelican dated earlier than this date). Note that members of the Order of the Pelican are equivalent in rank to the members of the Orders of Chivalry, the Laurel and the Order of the Rose.
Pell -- A practice dummy or stake most often used by heavy fighters, not to be confused with the shorthand 'Pel' for Pelican. Sometimes used in derogatory reference to a particularly unskilled fighter.
Pennsic War -- Pennsic is an annual event, in the guise of a "War", between the Kingdoms of the East and the Middle of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Pennsic is also the largest Society event, with attendance in recent years exceeding 10,000. The scheduled activities include large melee battles, tournaments, archery, stage performances, dancing, and hundreds of classes on medieval topics. The marketplace has over 200 merchants selling a variety of wares. (From the Pennsic website ... http://www.pennsicwar.org).
Period -- The historical era used by the SCA as a base for its activities. The SCA period is generally considered 600 AD. to 1600 AD. (The 'starting date' is very open to interpretation, but the ending date is defined in Corpora ...)
Persona -- The character assumed by an SCA member. This may involve anything from adopting a name to developing a full history for a person born and raised at some specific place and time in the period covered by the SCA.
Populace -- A word describing the inhabitants of a kingdom, place or group present at an event.
Port -- A small SCA branch based in a harbor of some sort (often used for U.S. Naval Bases).
Post-revel -- A party after the main event, usually in someone's home, for socializing and unwinding. Guests often wear modern clothes. Post-revels are activities that are not officially sponsored by the SCA.
Precedence, Order of -- This is the precedence of awards within the SCA. The period studied and re-created by the SCA was a highly structured time -- "a place for every person, every person in their place" (as a song written by an SCAer goes ...). The SCA uses a structure that is sort of home-grown with the idea of emulating some of this medieval structure. The Order of Precedence is a means of tracking where someone ranks in relation to everyone else.
Prince/Princess -- The ceremonial heads of a Principality. When a Prince and Princess have completed their first reigns, they are automatically entitled to the title of Viscount or Viscountess.
Principality -- An SCA branch that has a ceremonial head of a Prince and Princess. The first Principality of the SCA was Atenveldt in their fast rise to become a Kingdom. See "Barony" for details ...
Privy -- Chemical toilet used at camping events.
Proof of Membership -- Your membership card or a recent Kingdom newsletter label with your name and address.
Protegé -- A person accepted as a student by a Master or Mistress of the Pelican -- note that this term isn't used as much as Apprentice in the West, but other Kingdoms it is more prevalent.
Province -- A branch with the same requirements as a Barony, but not having the ceremonial leader of a Baron and/or a Baroness.
Purgatorio -- In the West Kingdom, the Coronation event held in August is called "Purgatorio" or "Purg" for short. This is because at a few of these events the heat was unbearable (August being a hot time of year in the San Francisco Bay Area), and it felt a bit like some thought Purgatory might be like.
Pursuivant -- A student. This title is used as an heraldic title, as is a "Pursuivant-Extraordinary", to show the skill level of a herald ... a full "Pursuivant" is the highest rank a person may retain "permanently" in the College of Heralds.
Queen -- The Queen is (usually) the person who is the consort of the person who won the Crown Tournament. Note that it is possible (although rare) for a Queen to be the Sovereign by Right of Arms, which would make the King the consort. For more information, see also "King".
Queen of Love and Beauty -- The First SCA Tournament (May 1, 1966) was for the honor of naming a lady Queen of Love and Beauty. At this tournament Sir Aeginius (aka Duke Richard the Short) won the tournament, and named Marynel of Darkhaven as the first Queen of Love and Beauty. This title is sometimes used for tournaments that are not specifically Crown or other tournaments, and is not to be confused with Queen.
Quest -- usually an activity as part of an event, where parties of people head out and confront a variety of encounters, with an ultimate goal of some sort. These were common in the early days of the SCA, but less common now that events tend to be packed with other activities.
Rattan -- The stem of a climbing palm, used in the SCA for Heavy Weapons because its weight and handling properties resemble steel while its overall resilience and other properties permit it to be used with relative safety.
Regalia/Regalia Minister -- Regalia is all that fancy stuff, or the trappings, that go with an office or perhaps even an awarded title in the SCA. For a seneschal the regalia might be a large key on a ribbon, or a cloak with the badge of the office on it. For a knight, the regalia is typically an open-link chain (to signify their fealty), a white belt (to signify their prowess) and spurs (to signify that they are a knight). The King and Queen's regalia includes the Crowns, the Thrones, Royal Pavilion, and whatever else may go with the office. The Regalia Minister is usually the person in charge of making sure that all of the regalia gets to an event, and leaves the event, intact.
Regnum -- List of Society branches and officers. You will find this in most Kingdom newsletters ...
Retinue -- see Court (second definition).
Revel -- An event/gather devoted to dancing, drama, conversation, games, and refreshments. (A party.)
Riding -- A small, Canton-equivalent branch dependent upon the support of a Province. A Riding bears the same relationship to a Province that a Canton does to a Barony.
Rose, Order of the -- This award was created to grant those who had reigned as Queen of Love and Beauty (and later, simply as Queen) to give them equal rank with those who had reigned as King (who were, in the early days, automatically Knights if they weren't before they won the tournament). Historical Note: In the very early days of the SCA, if a fighter was not a Knight and they won the Crown Tournament, they were offered Knighthood. The Order of the Rose was created to give an equivalent title, as Countess (and Duchess) did not exist at the time. This was first granted at Twelfth Night, AS II (January 6, 1968) by [King] William the Silent, and was backdated for those who had reigned up until that point as Queen. In the West Kingdom, membership in the Order of the Rose is automatic (this is not the case in all Kingdoms of the SCA) -- when a former Queen is recognized as a Countess, they are also admitted to the Order of the Rose. Note that members of the Order of the Rose are equivalent in rank to the members of the Orders of Chivalry, the Laurel and the Pelican. However, most people do not think of the Order of the Rose as a peerage level award, as the recipient is also becoming a Countess at the same time, which outranks the other non-royal peerages, as the title is that of a Royal Peer (and the Countess title carries the Patent of Arms, which the Order of the Rose does not ...).
Rowany Festival -- This is the largest event held in the Kingdom of Lochac (formerly a Principality of the Kingdom of the West). It is held on Easter weekend in the Barony of Rowany. It includes heavy and mixed wars, tournament fighting, archery and rapier events. There are also collegium classes running all weekend, Merchant's Row, a Bardic Circle, tavern, and more. For more information, see: http://www.sca.org.au/rowany (click the 'Festival' button).
Royal Peer -- A peerage that was granted for having spent months on the Throne, serving the populace as Royalty. There are three levels of Royal Peerage: Ducal (Duke, Duchess) -- someone who has been King or Queen at least twice; County (Count, Countess) -- someone who has been King or Queen once; and Viscounty (Viscount, Viscountess) -- someone has been Prince or Princess at least once. See also Peer.
Royal Retinue -- see Court (second definition).
Royalty -- The Royalty are the ceremonial heads of their branches of the SCA. A King and Queen are the heads of a Kingdom, and a Prince and Princess are the heads of a Principality. The job of the royalty is to add to the pageantry and ambience of SCA events; to grant awards to those whom they feel deserving; to administer the laws as needed. Within the SCA, Royalty changes hands every few months (ranging from 4 to 6 months usually, depending on the region and the royalty -- in the West Kingdom, the King and Queen change every four months, but the Principality royalty (Prince/Princess) for all four Principalities changes every 6 months).
SCA -- see Society for Creative Anachronism, below.
SCA Name -- The name someone uses in the Society for their persona. Includes at least one given name, and can have at least one other name or qualifier, but no titles; all titles used in the Society must be granted by SCA royalty.
Sciences, Minister of -- The Minister of Sciences is an SCA officer whose job is to foster the Sciences in whatever means that they can. This is often through competitions and displays. The Minister of Sciences usually works closely with the Minister of the Arts, and in some Kingdoms these two offices are combined.
Scribe -- A person with artistic talent in the area of calligraphy and/or illumination, who gives of their time and talent to create award scrolls for recipients of armigerous awards.
Sir -- This is the title granted a Knight. The common use is "Sir <insertnamehere>". There are a variety of Title Language Equivalents that can be used for those who wish to use a specific language for their persona.
Seneschal -- Group administrator, and legal representative of the SCA found at local, regional, kingdom, and Society levels.
Shire -- A small, usually autonomous local branch.
Site -- The place an event is being held.
Site Fee -- The cost of admission to an event, usually stated in the coin of the modern country where the event is being held.
Society for Creative Anachronism -- The name of an organization whose primary focus is the study and re-creation of the Western European Medieval Culture. Historical Note: The name was coined by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Elfrida of Greenwalls) and Diana Paxson (Diana Listmaker) for the SCA's second event, off the top of their heads -- no real thought went into the name. The name should not be used as an excuse to concentrate on areas not defined by the SCA (i.e., "The middle name of the group is 'Creative' after all ..."). For more information on the SCA beyond what is contained in this glossary, see the SCA, Inc.'s website: http://www.sca.org.
Squire -- A fighter who has been accepted as a student by a member of the Chivalry. (In the West, squires may wear red belts in token of the association -- this does not reserve red belts as regalia that only squires may wear, nor is it required that squires wear red belts.)
Steward -- this term is sometimes used in place of Autocrat.
Stronghold -- A small SCA branch based in a military installation of some sort (often used for US Army or Air Force Bases).
Summits, Principality of The -- a Principality of the Kingdom of An Tir. The region covered by this Principality is the northern edge of the Canton of Nordholt (Linn County, OR) to the border of the West Kingdom (Northern California) and from the coast to the border of the northern parts of the Kingdom of Artemisia (Idaho). More details about the Summits can be found at their website: http://summits.antir.sca.org/.
Sumptuary Laws -- Sumptuary Laws are laws that describe and sometimes proscribe regalia -- i.e., who can wear or display any specific type of regalia, what rank they must be to do so, etc. The West Kingdom does not have any sumptuary laws, but does have some strong traditions that go back to the earliest days of the SCA. The SCA-Garb list has an article on Sumptuary Laws ...
Tir Righ, Principality of The -- a Principality of the Kingdom of An Tir. The region covered by this Principality is the greater part of British Columbia west of the High Rockies, Vancouver Island, and the northernmost edge of Washington. More details about Tir Righ can be found at their website: http://tirrigh.org/. This branch was called for awhile the Principality of the North.
Title -- A Title is granted with some awards that may be given by SCA Royalty. Some awards carry specific titles, which are forms of address, and some do not. Awards that carry or grant titles are those such as Awards of Arms, Grants of Arms, Peerages, Royal Peerages. There are a variety of Title Language Equivalents that can be used for those who wish to use a specific language for their persona. Officers and Royalty also have specific titles that are used (King, Queen, Marshal, Herald, etc.), and some offices have specific titles for specific officers within their office (the heralds have quite a few, based on period Colleges of Arms, and these vary from Kingdom to Kingdom).
Token -- This term has several meanings. Simply put, a token is a physical symbol of some sort of association with a person or group of persons. In some cases, an award may have a token (usually worn on a chain or ribbon). Some local SCA branches or households also have tokens that are sometimes worn. Some SCA events may have tokens that are worn to show that you have paid your site fee, and may be kept after the event is over. Tokens can take a variety of shapes, and have a variety of meanings ...
Tourney -- Originally a verb meaning "to take part in a tournament," the word is now often used to mean the event itself (i.e., "Are you going to Crown Tourney?" and phrases of that sort).
Tournament -- An event wherein a tournament takes place, often a list. Some are very specificly defined events, such as a Crown or Coronet Tournament, where the next set of rulers for the Kingdom or Principality are determined. Others may be for prizes, other titles for local branches, or just for the fun of it.
Trimaris -- A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions (of the US): Majority of Florida; outside of the US: Panama, and Antarctica. More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: Trimaris. Trimaris means "Three Seas" according to an anonymous post in email ...
Twelfth Night -- In the West Kingdom, the Coronation event held in early January (usually the first or second weekend) is called Twelfth Night. This is based on the Twelve Days of Christmas -- which start on the 25th of December, and go for twelve days (we're all familiar with the song, right? It's based on historical celebrations of Christmas).
Unbelted Fighter -- A fighter who has not been "belted" -- i.e., is not a member of the Order of Chivalry. This term does not mean that the fighter doesn't wear (or cannot wear) a belt, just that they have not been made a Knight or Master of Arms, with the white belt that is part of the regalia ... see also Belted Fighter.
University -- In the SCA context, this is an event held to teach classes. See also Collegium.
Viscount/Viscountess -- These are the titles granted to a Prince and Princess when they have completed their reign. The titles are automatic, although normally there is a ceremony acknowledging the titles and rank. There are a variety of Title Language Equivalents that can be used for those who wish to use a specific language for their persona.
War -- A gathering at which the main event is one or more fighting competitions for large groups of participants, involving the use of woodlands or other broken terrain and sometimes a mixture of Heavy Weapons and Light Weapon combat. Wars usually feature other activities, such as a Merchant's Row and Court.
West Kingdom, The -- A Kingdom in the SCA. This Kingdom covers these regions (of the US): Northern California, part of Nevada, Alaska; and outside of the US: Korea, Japan, and the Pacific Rim. More details about this Kingdom can be found at their website: The West. Historical Note: The name "The West Kingdom" first started being used after the East Kingdom was founded in June of 1968 (AS III), to differentiate "The Kingdom" or "The Kingdom of the Mists" (which is what it was called, if anything, up to that point) from The East Kingdom. The West Kingdom is the first Kingdom of the SCA, where it all started ...
Corrections, Questions ...
Questions, corrections, suggestions, additions can all be sent to:
Special Thanks, Misc. Notes ...
Special thanks to the Silver Desert Chronicler/Web Minister, Lady Beatrix zum Dunklenturm -- she has a glossary that she kindly gave me permission to lift terms/definitions from ... Also thanks to Herr Malachais von Morgenstern, Emma Westbrook, Grainne Gelleo of Locksley (An Tir), and a variety of other folk for a lot of suggestions/corrections.
You may wish to visit the associated articles at this website that show Kingdom Arms and Badges, which includes badges for officers. This can be found at this location: Kingdom Arms and Badges.
Terms that it is suggested you avoid can be seen at this location (it is an excerpt from the West Kingdom Herald's Handbook ... -- this is an Adobe Acrobat PDF file -- see part 'b' of the article): What to Say. This article was written to help heralds out and avoid "cutsey" terms for things that have perfectly good period terms.
Much of the history noted in this document comes from "The Annotated History Project", which chronicles the early years of the SCA, with commentary by many of the folk "who were there". This can be found at the West Kingdom History Website, click on the "menu" options, and from there at the top of the menu is a link to the Annotated History ...
About the author/maintainer of this Glossary: Hirsch von Henford is a member of the Orders of the Laurel and the Pelican, and a Baron of the Court of the West, has always lived in the West Kingdom (about half of his time in the SCA in the Principality of Oertha (Alaska)), has been an active member of the West Kingdom's College of Heralds for most of his 25(+) years in the SCA. He has helped create an Annotated History of the West Kingdom (covering the first 12+ years), and is constantly updating the History of the West Kingdom website noted above with photos and event descriptions, and generally keeping quite busy ...