Living in the Current Middle Ages Part 1
CHOOSING A NAME AND PERSONA
Most members create a persona, a person that they could have been had they actually lived during the middle ages. While some members choose only a name, others enjoy creating and developing an entire “history” of their family. Such details might include a time and place of birth, and perhaps their travels or adventures. Your local Herald will be happy to assist you with ideas for selecting a name and/or developing a persona. Begin by selecting a country and time period that you’re interested in, for example, France, late 12th century. Developing your persona can be as vague or as detailed as you like.
When meeting other members, you will often be asked your name. Until you decide upon a permanent Society name, one suggestion might be to alter your current modern name. For instance, you might respond by saying, “I’m John/Susan of Loch Soilleir” by using your modern first name and inserting the name of your local Branch behind it. In order to register your name with the Herald’s Office, your choice will have to meet Society guidelines. You will have to select a name that parents would have given a child during the time period in which the SCA studies. In addition, you must choose one that will set you apart from others using the same name. Finally, you may not take the name of any historical or legendary person, nor may you use or imply any titles of nobility.
WHAT TO WEAR
The Tunic is a simple period style costume that is both stylish and simple to create. Most of us started out with one or two of these garments. This type of garb is quite appropriate for both sexes and adjustments can be made to the garment length and sleeve pattern to suit your preference for style. Directions for creating such garb can be obtained from your Chatelain(e). Choose a natural, woven-look material in primary, solid colors.
For accessories, add a pouch or drawstring purse which fits your belt, a small dagger, and a stylized cross or pendant suspended from a chain. For shoes, choose leather ankle boots or simple slippers (the Chinese type works well), or moccasins without fringe.
There are a few clothing restrictions which you must keep in mind. Do not wear a PLAIN white, red belt. These have special meaning in the Society. White belts are reserved for Knights, red belts for Squires. In addition, a plain white scarf worn over the shoulder is reserved for Dons, while red ones are reserved for Cadets. Crowns, tiaras, and metallic headbands are reserved for nobility and should not be worn. With regards to jewelry, PLAIN gold chains are reserved for Knights.
COURTESY & ETIQUETTE
Courteous and honorable behavior is expected from all members at all times. Such conduct is ordinary good manners with a few special considerations. Listed here are some basic points concerning Society courtesy and etiquette.
- Try to use the correct form of address when talking to another member. If you don’t know their appropriate title, a simple "milord" or "m’lady" will do.
- Pay heed to the Herald while he/she is talking or making an announcement. In Court, never talk or distract others.
- Always ask permission before entering a pavilion or private meeting. Most people will ask you to join them once you introduce yourself.
- While most members are eager to show off their possessions, be courteous and ask permission to handle any weapons, armor, equipment, or crafts.
- Some members wear swords or daggers as part of their costume accessories. It is customary to loudly state "CLEAR" before drawing forth a weapon to show someone. NEVER DRAW A WEAPON IN AN OFFENSIVE MANNER.
- The Society strives to create an illusion of a period atmosphere. Do your best to cover and conceal modern items such as soda cans, tape players, ice chests, etc. Always use period looking utensils and drinking vessels and wear clothing which has a period appearance.
- Always leave a site cleaner than you found it. This reflects on your honor and, permits the use of such facilities again.
By and large common sense and a polite attitude will serve you well. When in doubt about something, ask. Most of us remember when we were new to the Society and are willing to answer any questions you may have. With a little practice and time, you will come to learn the customs and manners that exist.
There are many skills and crafts one can learn in the Society. Do not become overwhelmed by the subjects taught and researched. If you have a special area of interest, talk with the Minister of Arts & Sciences to inquire about instruction or information on such a topic. They may be able to refer you to a member, local or otherwise, who is knowledgeable in that particular field of study. If you don’t have a particular interest, the following partial list may assist you in developing one:
Archery Dyeing Music
Armoring Embroidery Rapier Fighting
Autocratting Equestrian Pursuits Scribing
Bardic Recital Falconry Sewing
Brewing Gaming Spinning
Calligraphy Heavy Combat Stained Glass
Candle Making Heraldry Vinting
Cooking Herb Lore Weaving
Costuming Jewelry Making Woodworking
This is list is far from complete. There are many, many areas one may study, research and practice. Remember, just about any appropriate activity known during the middle ages can be learned and performed.