Your Teenager and the SCA

SOME ANSWERS FOR PARENTS

Your teenager has become active in the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). Congratulations! Your teen has joined an organization where:

• Courtesy is expected.

• Learning is valued.

• Creativity is encouraged.

• Safety is stressed.

• People are judged on their accomplishments and merits.

Through this article we’d like to introduce you to your teen’s new hobby and to answer some questions that parents commonly ask about the SCA.

 

1. What is the SCA?

2. Who participates in the SCA?

3. What do SCA members do?

4. In what ways is the SCA good for my teenager?

5. Are SCA activities safe?

6. How much do SCA activities cost?

7. What is an SCA event? What goes on at one?

8. How much do events cost?

9. Do I have to sign anything?

10. How will my teen get there?

11. Where will my teen stay?

12. Why do SCA friends call my child by a different name?

13. Sometimes it seems as though my teenager is speaking a foreign language. I hear words I've never heard before, and conversations that don’t make sense.

14. SCA costumes look very odd. Will I ever get used to them?

15. Is that a dress my son is wearing?

16. What are women’s costumes like? I don’t want my daughter wearing something too skimpy or too tight.

17. Is that a real sword?

18. Will the SCA interfere with my teen's schoolwork?

19. What about alcohol?

20. With so many adults around, will my teen be exposed to sexual situations or be tempted to engage in sex?

21. Is this Dungeons & Dragons?

22. Is this a cult?

23. Will being involved in the SCA prevent my child from getting into college or the military?

24. Where can I get more information?

25. Glossary of Terms

  

1. What is the SCA?

The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., is a not-for-profit, educational organization of people with a common interest: the history and culture of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (AD 600 to 1600). Instead of just reading about this period, we learn by recreating aspects of the activities, crafts, and society of the Middle Ages. We use the term "creative anachronism"  -  an anachronism is something out of its proper time, like William Shakespeare riding a motorcycle.

The SCA began in 1966 as a backyard party in Berkeley, California and was incorporated in 1968. Since then it has grown into an international organization with branches throughout the U.S, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand. We now have more than 32,000 members, and more people are joining as they discover the fun and benefits of this hobby.

 

2. Who participates in the SCA?

SCA members hold a wide variety of jobs in the modern world, from students to professors, computer programmers to salespeople, artists and scientists, doctors, lawyers, church pastors, law enforcement officers, factory workers, secretaries and homemakers. We come from all backgrounds, hold many different beliefs, range in age from infants to senior citizens, and have widely varying interests. Some of us are parents. The SCA can be a family affair, with parents and children attending together as well as offering opportunity to childless couples and single persons. Besides our interest in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, we share creativity, encourage curiosity, and learn through a willingness to explore new experiences. We value courtesy, honesty, and honor, and seek the company of others who share these values. Your teen is welcome to participate in the SCA with your advance consent.

 

3. What do SCA members do?

All sorts of things! We research and practice many of the arts and crafts of our period of interest, such as costuming, calligraphy, cooking, armoring, weaving, blacksmithing, music, drama – the list goes on and on.

We teach and/or demonstrate these activities for schools, libraries, museums and civic organizations.

We study the martial arts of the Middle Ages and engage in safety conscious versions of bat, archery and equestrian arts.

We attend events that may include combat tournaments, archery, arts and sciences displays and competitions, dancing, musical performances, and medieval-style feasts.

We teach and learn both at SCA events and through programs and demonstrations in which we are asked to participate.

We hold offices at local, state, regional, national and international levels, providing the administrative responsibilities that are necessary to keep a large not-for-profit organization working smoothly.

We have fun!

 

4. In what ways is the SCA good for my teenager?

Many ways! First, the SCA will give your teen a chance to learn things that are simply not taught in schools. Through research of the arts and sciences of the Middle Ages the SCA is preserving skills and technologies that might otherwise become extinct. Moreover, we try to discover how these techniques were actually used in daily life.

Second, your teen will grow as a person. He or she will be working toward the good of the group, and will be rewarded for such efforts. In exchange for behaving responsibly, your en a say in the running of the group equal to that of the adult members. We often find that young people in the SCA develop a maturity and poise beyond their years simply because they interact with adults as friends and equals.

Third, your teen will make new friends of varied ages, cultures and educational experience. Your teen will find people to learn from, and other persons with whom to share his or her own talents. As part of the SCA family, he or she will have companionship, respect, and people to call upon for advice or help.

Finally, your teen will be with people who value and encourage intelligence, creativity, education, and talent. We will not ask your teen to conform to current fashions or tastes in clothes, music, etc. Rather, we will expect him or her to conform to high standards of courtesy, manners, honesty, and honor and to develop his or her own identity as a person in the culture of the Middle Ages.

 

5. Are SCA activities safe?

The SCA stresses safety in all activities, particularly combat. Your son or daughter will not be allowed to participate in SCA combat, a martial art based on tournament foot-combat in the Middle Ages, until the age of 18 in most kingdoms without your prior consent and attendance while they are engaged in an activity. Ask what the minimum age is in your kingdom.

Youth combat, using foam-padded boffer weapons, may be available to youth under the minimum age and is under strict adult supervision. Once youths pass the minimum age they may train as fighters if they wish. All fighters wear safety-regulated, protective armor. Before they can engage in combat at an event all fighters must “authorize” – demonstrate that they know the rules of combat and can fight in safety to themselves and others. Referees called marshals supervise all training and fighting and regularly inspect all equipment. Even for choreographed fights, our weapons are made of staves of rattan – the same plant used for basketry and useful to our purposes for its springiness and resistance to splintering under stress. Wooden weapons were used for training in the historical Middle Ages since steel was deadly back then too! We believe that SCA fighting is probably safer than many other athletic activities.

Since it is another form of combat training, rapier (period fencing techniques, sometimes called “light weapons”) activities require the same age rules and safety regulations as for “heavy weapons”, above. Some areas allow rapier fighting at a younger age, so you should check in your area to see if it is available in yours.

Archery can be enjoyed by young persons if they can properly demonstrate to the archery marshal that they and their equipment are safe.

To further adhere to the SCA concern for safety, most groups have at least one person trained in modern first aid and CPR. We call these people “chirurgeons”, and many of them are EMTs, paramedics, nurses, or even physicians. They keep first-aid kits available, and know how and when to contact other emergency personnel.

Naturally, we cannot prevent all mishaps. People can slip and fall, be stung by bees, or have allergic reactions. Recognizing this, the SCA requires all participants to sign a waiver, a document acknowledging the potential risks of SCA activities and releasing the SCA from liability for injury. You, the parent, will have to sign the waiver on your teen’s behalf and your attendance may be required at the SCA activity. Or, you may need to prepare the proper documentation awarding temporary guardianship to someone who you feel will be responsible for your teen and who will be present at the activity.

 

6. How much do SCA activities cost?

It depends. The SCA does not have to be an expensive hobby, although it certainly can be similar to any other hobby. Current membership information - family and individual - is available on-line at http://www.sca.org.

Your teen will need to have at least one costume and will probably want several outfits over time. Although loaner costumes are often available from the Gold Key officer, Chatelaine or Hospitaller, members do need to own “medieval clothing”. Estimate around US$20-25 for new, good quality fabric and trim for a simple outfit. With luck and a bit of creative talent, you may be able to adapt thrift-store bargains into inexpensive clothes for the SCA. Other expenses will depend on your teen’s level and direction of interest. Joining a dance troupe or singing group is free, for instance; silversmithing has built-in expenses. Finally, your teen will attend SCA events (discussed below) at least occasionally. Costs will depend on how many he or she goes to, and their location. Fees for events are posted in advance and are posted on the kingdom’s web site as well as in the kingdom newsletter.

There are ways to save money and hold down costs. Your teen may be able to barter with other members, trading babysitting services for clothing construction, perhaps. Many people (not just teens!) borrow equipment, share accommodation expenses, etc., to cut down on costs. Also, smart shopping at thrift shops, flea markets, and garage sales can yield inexpensive feast gear, fabrics, jewelry, and so forth. And of course, your teen can use the public library to find reference materials. Please monitor your teenager’s expenses. Remember, we aren't acquainted with your finances and thus do not know if your teen is spending too much or not.

 

7. What is an SCA event? What goes on at one?

The term “event” means any one of several types of planned gatherings sponsored by local groups and conducted according to the bylaws of the SCA.

Some events are primarily educational; for example, dance practices, armoring seminars, heraldry workshops and the university seminars or Collegiums sponsored by the Arts & Sciences division of each kingdom. Others are primarily recreational. Some events have specific themes, while others are general interest.

Typically, events occur on weekends, either all weekend for camping events or all day Saturday. Attendees check in, sign waivers and pay fees (to cover site rental, etc.). The day’s activities often center around a medieval combat tournament. There may be other contests, classes, games, and performances, as well as socializing. Merchant members may be set up to sell SCA-related goods. There may be a medieval-style feast in the evening. Guests bring their own table settings: plate, cup or goblet, spoon and knife at a minimum. Many people prefer to include soup bowl, napkin, candlesticks and salt cellar as well. The feast may be followed by a court at which various achievement and service awards are presented. The evening often finishes with singing, storytelling or bardic arts, and dancing. Most events end around 10 p.m.

On any given weekend there will probably be several events happening around the region. They are held at various sites, typically colleges, schools, churches, camps, and similar locations. Most events are attended by 100 to 300 people, although very specialized events may be attended by fewer than 50, and one or two annual events draw several thousand.

Descriptions of events are published in the kingdom newsletters, and are available online from the kingdom website. Some sponsors issue a flyer containing complete information. You will want to read the event’s description before approving any trip for your teen and to know the necessary paperwork details in advance. Check whether the site is “wet” (alcohol permitted), “damp” (beer and wine only), or “dry” (no alcohol); if it is a camping event; whether crash space (see below) is available; etc.

 

8. How much do events cost?

Most events have a site fee to cover rental of the facilities, maintenance expenses, etc. Camping events will usually have a small fee for camping. Food costs are extra. Look at the information in the kingdom newsletter or on the kingdom’s web site for the costs for a specific event. Other expenses must be figured case by case. If your teen will be staying overnight, be sure to figure in accommodations, breakfasts, lunches and snacks. Please do not send your teen to an event without enough money. If you can’t afford it, don’t let him or her go. Many of the rest of us are on budgets as well.

 

9. Do I have to sign anything?

Absolutely! You must sign a waiver to permit your teenager to attend the event. Your son or daughter should also carry a signed dated letter from you to authorize emergency medical attention. This letter should include the names of your teen’s doctor and dentist, information about allergies, etc., insurance information and instructions for reaching you in an emergency. In some kingdoms the permission forms must be notarized.

Three things are necessary for a “teen” to attend an event without a parent or court-appointed legal guardian.

1. SCA Minor Waiver: Must be signed by the parent and is left at the Gate (Troll).

2. Medical Authorization Form: Must be signed by parent and notarized. It is left at the Gate (Troll) .

3. Temporary Guardianship Form: This is not required every time and varies from state to state so it cannot be “enforced”. The Temporary Guardianship Form designates who is responsible for the minor at the SCA event, must be notarized and replaces the Medical Authorization Form. The document stays at the Gate (Troll).

 

10. How will my teen get there?

Unless you are driving to the event, or your teenager has a car, he or she will probably ride with another SCA member, usually sharing gas and other expenses. Many events cannot be reached by public transportation.

Feel free to insist on meeting the person who is providing transportation. This need not take long – it can be done when you drop your teen off or when the driver picks your teen up. Most drivers would prefer to meet you, too.

Finally, please realize that the driver is doing your son or daughter a favor. Please don’t expect the driver to furnish food, accommodations, gear, entertainment or supervision for your teen, except by prior arrangement. Adult SCA members will look out for your teen’s well-being but we go to events to have a good time. Finally, please don’t expect the driver to hold to a rigid return schedule unless you have made previous arrangements.

 

11. Where will my teen stay?

That depends on the type and distance of the event. If it is nearby, the driver may choose to travel to and from the event on the same day. For a camping event, your teen will need to bring a tent, or arrange to share a tent. Some events have cabins available. Your teen will also have to bring food or arrange to share with someone else.

For other events, your teen may have to rent or share a motel room. Sometime SCA travelers from out-of-town stay overnight at the homes of local members. We call this arrangement “crash space” and it is an excellent way to get to know new people and enjoy their hospitality. It has been found to be very safe, but, of course, your teen may not have met his or her host before. Your teen should bring a bedroll or sleeping bag and pillow, and necessary toiletries. The host may offer a meal, but please don’t expect it.

 

12. Why do SCA friends call my child by a different name?

SCA members adopt a “medieval name” as part of a “persona”, a fictional (not historic) character that each individual invents, researches, and uses during SCA activities. You can think of it as a nickname. It doesn’t mean that your teen has given up or forgotten his or her real name, nor is it binding outside of the SCA.

 

13. Sometimes it seems as though my teenager is speaking a foreign language. I hear words I’ve never heard before, and conversations that don’t make sense.

Like many other groups, the SCA seems to have its own vocabulary. Also, we tend to include technical or historical terms. To help, a glossary is provided at the end of this brochure containing some terms that are likely to come up in conversation.

 

14. SCA costumes look very odd. Will I ever get used to them?

SCA costumes (often referred to as “garb”) will at first appear strange because period clothing differs from modern clothing in cut, fabrics, and trim. You’ll probably get used to seeing your teen in medieval clothing rather quickly. In fact, you may come to like it. Many period costumes have a beauty and elegance that modern clothing lacks.

 

15. Is that a dress my son is wearing?

In many times and places during the Middle Ages, men did not wear long pants. Tunics, cote-hardies, caftans and kilts are masculine garments from various cultures and will be perceived as such by other SCA people. Also, until the 19th century (well past the SCA period), men’s clothes were often fancier than women’s – richer, brighter, and more heavily decorated. Expensive trims such as lace, pearls, braid, and embroidery were a prominent feature of male clothing and advertised the wearer’s wealth and social status.

 

16. What are women’s costumes like? I don’t want my daughter wearing something too skimpy or too tight.

Most period women’s clothing was modest by today’s standards. In Europe, women wore ankle length (at least) gowns and long sleeves. The gowns varied from tent-like to close-fitting. Even the finest fabrics for main garments were opaque, not sheer. Necklines were sometimes low, although even the lowest were no more revealing than a modern prom dress. (A few bodices create a “push-up” effect, but it’s generally not extreme.) If you are concerned, ask your daughter to model her costume before she wears it in public.

 

17. Is that a real sword?

Many SCA members enjoy collecting, wearing and displaying reproduction and handmade swords, daggers and banquet knives. We call them all “steel”, and we wear weaponry at events secured in sheaths or scabbards (“peace-bonded”) except when actually using the blade (to slice a roast, for instance) or when showing a treasured blade to a friend. Even then, we keep safety uppermost in mind as the owner finds a safe space to draw the weapon and calls out “Clear!” This indicates both that the owner has looked (left, right, front, and back) for careless bystanders, and that a blade is being drawn in peace. Since SCA bylaws are superseded by civil, outsize steel is not worn on the street.

 

18. Will the SCA interfere with my teen’s schoolwork?

The SCA can actually be very good for your teen’s schoolwork. The SCA can foster and encourage your teen’s enthusiasm for learning. Adults in your teen’s SCA group can act as a pool of experts on a wide variety of subjects, not just SCA-related. Your teen will probably acquire and exercise research skills beyond those normally taught in high school. Finally, your teen’s intelligence and studiousness will be respected and appreciated. Nevertheless, the SCA can be a very time-consuming hobby. We care about our younger members - we don’t want your teen’s grades to drop! - but it is up to you to monitor your teen’s involvement, as you would with any other hobby. We encourage you to make sure your teen does not stay out too late on school nights at SCA functions. You may consider limiting the number of events and activities that your teen attends during the school year. An SCA event is rarely a good place to study.

 

19. What about alcohol?

SCA bylaws prohibit activities at events, including drinking by minors, which violate civil laws. Most SCA people will not offer a drink if they realize that your teen is a minor. Bear in mind, however, that sophisticated costumes may cause your teen to look more mature, and that guests at the event might not “card” each other. The SCA does not allow or condone underage drinking. Adults who furnish alcohol to minors, and minors who consume alcohol, will face disciplinary action (i.e. eviction from site).

If you want to minimize the likelihood of your teen consuming alcohol, here are some steps you may wish to take:

• Make sure your son or daughter knows your feelings and expectations. If you don’t want your child to drink, say so! Many teens believe that their parents will not mind if they have one or two drinks at a party or celebration. Underage drinking is illegal regardless of where it is done.

• Allow your teen to attend dry events only.

• If your teen is "crashing" or will be attending a “post-revel” (a private party after the main event) off-site, make sure the host knows your teen is underage and may not drink.

 

20. With so many adults around, will my teen be exposed to sexual situations or be tempted to engage in sex?

Your teen will not be more or less likely to have sexual relations as a member of the SCA n he or she would otherwise. However, it is natural for parents to be concerned. It is up to you to make your wishes concerning sexual behavior known and your expectations clear, but there are ways to minimize problems or prevent them altogether. Note, too, that we adults care about your teen’s welfare. We don’t want your teen to engage in inappropriate or dangerous behavior. We want him or her to have fun and feel comfortable.

Flirting, romance, flattery, and light physical contact (hand-kissing, hugging, neck massages) are the norm in the SCA in some areas. Generally, such activity does not proceed beyond this point, and does not betoken anything more than friendship. However, it sometimes happens that a person, especially a young one, is taken in by all the flattery and courtliness and misinterprets gentle flirting as genuine interest and develops crushes, or conversely, as pressure to engage in sex. If your teen is confused about such feelings, or is not sure what constitutes proper behavior, he or she should discuss these issues with you. A (separate) talk with another adult in the group may help to guide your teen through these situations.

Second, most of us in the SCA are adults. If your teen looks like a grownup, he or she will probably be treated as one and could become the object of someone’s amorous advances. Therefore, it may be necessary for your teen to let others know that he or she is underage.

A person’s right to say “no” is highly respected in the SCA. Your teen should never be afraid to reject unwanted advances, and should not hesitate to call for help if necessary.

 

21. Is this Dungeons & Dragons?

No. D&D is a modern fantasy role-playing game. It is true that some SCA members like to play D&D and other fantasy role-playing games, just as some like to play chess or golf (games which date from the medieval period). SCA seeks to re-create the historical world of court and castle, so modern games are not played as part of SCA activities.

Members of the SCA are encouraged to build a persona based on someone who “may have” existed during the time and culture of the Middle Ages or Renaissance, not fictional elves, fairies or similar “characters” in role playing games.

 

22. Is this a cult?

No. The SCA is not a religious organization and does not promote or discourage the practice of any particular religion. SCA bylaws specifically prohibit certain types of religious practice at SCA events, and all SCA ceremonies are non-religious

The SCA does recognize the importance of religion in the history and culture of the Middle Ages, and encourages the study of religious thought and activity as they affected the politics, arts, literature, etc., of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and the lives of medieval and Renaissance people.

The SCA considers religious tolerance a virtue – indeed, a necessity! The Society recognizes the right of its members to conduct their spiritual lives as they see fit. Accordingly, SCA members hold a wide variety of beliefs and faiths. The SCA is open to all with an interest in the Middle Ages and Renaissance time periods.

 

23. Will being involved in the SCA prevent my child from getting into college or the military?

No. In fact, involvement in the SCA can be an asset when filling out college applications. Many SCA activities, particularly in the arts and sciences, and in community service demonstrations, are just the kinds of things admissions counselors like to see. Participation in the SCA will enhance the youth’s confidence, leadership qualities, historical information and comfort with the research process, speech skills, etc.

The SCA has many members who serve in the military armed forces. There are SCA groups located at military installations around the world, including groups aboard aircraft carriers! Membership in the SCA is not an impediment to obtaining security clearance at even the highest levels.

 

24. Where can I get more information?

To learn more about the information, look at the SCA’s web site (www.sca.org). You can find out what region (kingdom) you live in and get more detailed information about local groups near you. Contact the Seneschal (local chapter president) of your teen’s group. In addition, many groups have a hospitality officer (Chatelaine, Hospitaller, Gold Key) whose job it is to welcome new members. Some groups even have an officer in charge of young people’s activities. Any of these people will be glad to talk to you. Be sure to ask to see copies of the local newsletter in your area as well as your kingdom’s newsletter, Tournaments Illuminated (the quarterly research journal of the SCA), and the Known World Handbook (a survey of SCA arts, sciences, pastimes and history). Better yet, come to an event or a meeting. We’d like to meet you, too!

 

Glossary

The glossary presented here is nowhere near comprehensive; we’ve included terms that are likely to come up in a conversation or that might be confusing. Terms marked with a plus (+) are discussed in the body of the pamphlet above; terms in italics are defined elsewhere in this glossary.

+ Anachronism – Something out of its proper time.

AoA/Award of Arms – Basic award for service.

Apprentice – A person being trained by an expert in one of the arts or sciences.

A&S – Arts and sciences.

Autocrat – Event chairperson.

Baron/ess – The ceremonial head of a barony who represents the Crown.

Barony – A large local group or cluster of smaller local groups. See also canton/march/riding. Canton/March/Riding – A small local group that is part of a larger umbrella group (Barony or Province).

+ Chirurgeon – A person certified to be trained and qualified to administer first aid.

Chivalry – The knights and masters-at-arms as a collective body.

+ Clear! – A call used to indicate a blade or weapon is being drawn safely for display.

Consort – The companion of the Sovereign who rules the kingdom; see also Queen.

Coronation – The event at which the new King and Queen are crowned.

Count/ess – A person who has been King or Queen once; there are several equivalent terms.

+ Court – An assembly or ceremony presided over by the King and/or Queen (or their representative) at which awards are presented and announcements are made.

+ Crash – To stay overnight as a guest in crash space.

+ Crash space – Overnight accommodation at the home of an SCA member or sometimes on site at the event; usually free or very inexpensive.

Crown – 1) the King and Queen; 2) of, pertaining to, or representing the King and/or Queen; 3) the Crown Tournament.

Crown Tournament – A large event featuring a combat tournament. The winner of this becomes Sovereign (King or Queen), and names a (pre-selected) Consort of the opposite sex (Queen or King).

+ Damp site – Permitting consumption of wine and beer, but no hard liquor.

+ Demo – Demonstration, an educational talk or exhibition presented by SCA members or group of people. We do demos for schools, at civic events, as fundraisers, etc.

+ Dry site – Alcohol consumption is not permitted.

Duct tape – Also called silver tape or sword tape, this wonderful stuff almost literally holds the SCA world together. It is used to wrap our rattan swords and make repairs to virtually everything. Buy big rolls on sale.

Duke/Duchess – A person who has been King or Queen, Sovereign or Consort at least twice.

+ Event – An official SCA gathering.

+ Feast - A medieval dinner cooked by members and served at an event to paying guests.

Feast gear – Dinnerware. Persons attending a feast generally bring plate, bowl, mug or goblet, knife, spoon, candlestick, napkin, etc.

+ Fighter – One who trains in our form of simulated medieval combat. Authorized fighters are considered safe to themselves and to their opponents.

+ Flyer – A brochure or circular that describes an event. It usually includes prices, a schedule of planned activities, telephone numbers of contact people, and maps and directions. Not used in all kingdoms.

+ Garb – Medieval or Renaissance clothing and accessories.

Guild – A special interest group formed to practice, learn about, and teach an art or science.

His/Her Highness, Their Highnesses – The Prince and Princess.

Hold! – A call used to halt all activity, especially in combat, in an unsafe situation.

Household – An informal, unofficial unit of people who affiliate for various reasons such as common interest in a particular period or activity.

King – The man who, with the Queen, heads the Kingdom. In most cases, he is king “by right of arms” as the winner of the previous Crown Tournament. There has been at least one “Queen by right of arms”. Kings reign for a set period, most commonly for six months. See also Queen.

Kingdom – The highest territorial and administrative division of the SCA, usually comprising a large geographical area of several states, provinces or countries.

Knight – A fighter who excels in SCA combat, behaves chivalrously, is competent in some art or science, and has been awarded Knighthood by the Crown. An alternative award is Master (or Mistress) at Arms, also given by the Crown. Neither is a synonym for fighter.

Lady – A woman or girl. “M’lady” or “milady” is a polite form of address to any female. “My lady” may mean “my girlfriend” or “my wife”. As a title (Lady Jane of Doe) it distinguishes a woman or girl who has received an AoA.

Lists – Always plural, the term designates the border of the field on which a tournament is held, and by extension the field itself and the roster of fighters who take part in it.

Lord – A man or boy; analogous terms are “M’lord” or “milord”. See Lady.

His/Her Majesty. Their Majesties – The King and Queen; the Sovereign and Consort.

Marshal – A combat referee. Marshals monitor all SCA combat activities, inspect equipment, and have overall responsibility for the safety of fighters and spectators.

Master/Mistress – Title given to a lord or lady who 1) excels in at least one art or science and has been awarded the Order of the Laurel; 2) has given an extraordinary level of service to the SCA and has been awarded the Order of the Pelican; 3) excels in combat activities and has been awarded an patent of arms; see also Chivalry, Knight. There are alternate titles.

Melee (Norman French, pronounced meh-LAY) – A battle, usually of teams of fighters.

+ Merchant – A member who sells SCA-related goods, usually at events. Many merchants take checks; a few take credit cards.

Mundane – 1) Of or pertaining to the 21st-century world as opposed to the internal SCA world; 2) any non-SCA person; 3) “mundanes” equal “street clothes”. “Modern” is the preferred term since “mundane” is often perceived as an insult.

Oyez! (Norman French, pronounced oh-YAY) – Translates as “Listen!” It is a call used by heralds and others to command attention in a group.

Peer – A Knight or Master or Mistress (of Arms, the Laurel, or the Pelican), a Count/ess, or a Duke/Duchess.

+ Period – Authentic; of or pertaining to the historical period of interest of the SCA, approximately 600 to 1600AD.

+ Persona – A fictitious character that one develops and assumes within the SCA world. Some members develop very detailed personas, determined by in-depth research concerning what the character would have worn, where the character would have lived, thought, and so forth. Some members only choose a culture and invent a name.

Prince/Princess – 1) The winner of Crown Tournament and his or her consort before they are crowned King and Queen; 2) the heads of a Principality.

Principality – A large division within a Kingdom, ruled by a Prince and Princess. Many of the current existing kingdoms began as principalities. Not every area is part of a principality, however.

+ Post-revel – A party held after scheduled activities at events. Sometimes these are at private homes and sometimes they are on-site, especially at camping events. They are usually “pot-luck” and “BYOB”.

Queen – The female head of a Kingdom; see also King.

Rattan – The fibrous, woody, bamboo-like plant used to make SCA weapons. In its natural form it has about the same weight per unit length as steel, does not break easily, and does not form sharp edges upon breaking.

+ Revel – The evening’s activities at an event, generally following feast and court. It usually includes dancing and music.

Royalty – The King, Queen, Prince, and Princess.

+ SCA (pronounced ess-see-ay or sometimes skah) – The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.

+ SCA name (Society name) – A name adopted for use within the Society, although SCA names are frequently used outside the Society as well, especially by people who know the other person only through the SCA.

Shire – An autonomous local group, not part of a barony.

+ Site – The physical location at which an event is held.

The Society – The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.

Sovereign – Gender-neutral term for winner “by right of arms” of Crown Tournament.

Squire – A fighter who has entered into a formal training and service relationship with a knight.

+ Steel – Metal weapons such as swords and daggers.

Stick-jock (Sword-jock) – A fighter, especially one with little interest in other SCA activities; generally not a compliment.

Tanist – Synonym for Prince; equivalent for Princess is Tanist’s Consort or Tanista. Not used in all kingdoms.

+ Tournament (Tourney) – An organized, structured combat activity within the SCA, occurring at an event and having winners and losers. Sometimes informally used as synonymous to event.

Troll – Registration officer at an event; “troll booth” is the registration table. “Gate” is the preferred term.

+ Tunic – A basic medieval garment worn by both sexes and all classes from before 500AD until well into the 14th century and even later by the lower classes. Often called T-tunics from the shape, they come in various lengths, fabrics, and degrees of fullness. T-tunics are often worn in several layers for both sexes, over skirts for women, and over hose or loose pants for men.

+ Waiver – A release form wherein a participant in an SCA activity acknowledges and assumes any associated risks. Anyone attending an event must sign a waiver. Fighters sign a combat waiver as well.

War – A shorthand reference to any of the major events where large scale battles are fought, such as Pennsic War, Estrella War, Gulf War, etc.

+ Wet Site – Permitting consumption of any alcohol.

 

Prepared by Mistress Mairin of the East Isle, edited by Hon. Bns Sonya z Praha and Mistress Alys Katharine of Ashthorne Glen. First edition, November 1991. Revised in 2005 by Countess Alys Katharine and Lady Jehanne le feud du Christ.