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What is the Society for Creative Anachronism?
The organization is a non-profit, educational, recreational, international, fun-loving group dedicated to the study of the middle ages and the renaissance. Such study most often takes the form of what has been called "living history" or "recreational research" in that the Society's adherents attempt to re-create persons that might have lived or activities that might have been performed during those eras. The time period covered is roughly AD 600 to AD 1600, but there is really no official early cut-off date, and some folk in the Society prefer to study cultures that existed prior to AD 600.
What is so appealing about the SCA?
The romance, of course. The Society is a world of fantasy, and it appeals to those who are romantic, the chivalry of past ages being reborn in the romantic adventure.

If somewhere within you exists a bold knight or a gracious lady, a minstrel or a troubadour, a player or a court jester, a fine craftsman or a merry cleric, a Viking warrior or a slaughtering samurai, then the Society will appeal to you.

If you would enjoy being a Lord or a Lady, a Baron or a Baroness, a Count or a Countess, a Duke or a Duchess, a Prince or a Princess-if you would enjoy being a King or a Queen, then the Society will appeal to you.
What is an "anachronism"?
An anachronism is a thing or an event that is misplaced in time. Members of the Society are "anachronistic" when they attempt to re-create medieval and renaissance persons and activities in the twenty-first century.
What is "creative" anachronism?
Medieval and renaissance traditions, although they have out­lived their original purposes, survive in the Society simply because they are a great deal of fun. Some persons in the Society are creatively anachronistic by learning the skills, pursuing the knowledge, and reproducing the life style of their ancestors. Other persons make medieval and renaissance activity a hobby, an interesting way of relaxing after a normal day and an excuse for pursuing interests they never found time for before. Others believe the events of the Society to be a series of the most fun-filled costume parties they have ever attended and make the most of them.

The Society is "selectively" creative. Selective creation means leaving out such things as the plague, inquisitions, and rotten meat and sticking to those things that are enjoyable (e. g., gaming, singing, dancing, feasting, entertaining, and saving damsels in distress).
How do I join the SCA?
Anybody may attend any event of the Society, provided you are willing to make some serious attempt at donning a pre-seventeenth century costume. Full participation, however, calls for some type of membership. The basic form is the Sustaining Membership, which includes subscriptions to the Society quarterly Tournaments Illuminated and your kingdom monthly newsletter. Associate Membership entitles you to full participation in the Society, including the receipt of titles and awards, but it does not entitle you to receive subscriptions to the various periodicals.

Other types include Contributing, Patron, and Family Memberships. The first carries all the rights of the Sustaining Membership and a listing in Tournaments Illuminated. The second carries all the rights of the Sustaining Membership, a listing in Tournaments Illuminated, a subscription to all the kingdom newsletters and the minutes of the Board of-Directors of the Society. The third extends Associate Membership to all members of the immediate family who are legal dependents of a Patron, Contributing, or Sustaining Member. The amount of dues paid depends upon the type of membership selected. All membership dues over and above basic subscription fees as listed on the membership registration form are considered donations to a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation and are therefore tax deductible.
What is a tournament event?
At Tournaments of the Society, fighters don armor and face each other with sword and shield, mace, ax, polearm, and other weapons. Society fighting is done with rattan replicas of real weapons so that the fighters may remain intact. The fighting, however, is a real contest and not a rehearsed show. Combat is governed by Society-enacted rules so that Tournaments can be safe, chivalrous, and as authentic as possible. At some Tournaments fencing may be a major competition. At many Tournaments real-weapons target competitions are held in such sports as archery, knife throwing, and ax throwing. Some Tournaments also include competitions in board games such as chess, checkers, and backgammon. Winners of all the activities are usually presented awards at court or at the feast.
What is a Coronation and Investiture event?
At a specified time following the crown or coronet tournament, the kingdom or principality holds an event at which the new King and Queen are crowned, a new Prince and Princess are invested, or a Baron and Baroness are invested. The ceremony is generally a very impressive one.
What is a Court?
Courts at Society events are generally ceremonial in nature. At a ceremonial Court the ruling royals or nobles (normally a king and queen, a prince and princess, or a baron and baroness) allows their subjects to address them on matters of importance to themselves (e. g., boons, quests, etc.). Awards to gentles are generally made at Court. On many occasions the populace is presented to the Court in a grand march, a procession usually ordered in accordance with title, award, and date of award.
What is a Feast and Revel?
Tournaments and other events usually end with a Feast and Revel. These activities are fun affairs at which the populace dines on a wide variety of authentic and delicious dishes taken from recipes in period cookbooks and is entertained by singers, dancers, bards, musicians, players, magicians, jugglers, fools, poets, and other talented folk. The revelers themselves may also dance to the music of recorders and other period instruments.
What are Arts and Sciences competitions?
At many events the participants are asked to display their handwork, such as calligraphy, illumination, silver-smithing, needle work, brewing, armoring, and tailoring. On numerous occasions competitions are held in the various categories, and awards are presented to the winners in court or at the feast.
What other events are held?
Other types of Events include wars, seminars, collegeums and universities, demonstrations for outsiders (particularly public school children), and any other activity that would be in keeping with the principles of the Society. Most groups also hold unofficial Events, such as small informal revels and meetings in which local business is conducted.
How safe is SCA fighting?
Although the fighting is real, it is probably one of the safest sports around--certainly safer than football or soccer. Fighters do occasionally get bruised, but every precaution is taken to assure that they do not get hurt badly. The weapons are blunt (as was the case in the early years of historical medieval tournament fighting), and the armor is heavily padded. There are always knights marshal on hand to check weapons and armor and to administer any needed first aid.
How do I become authorized as a fighter?
After you have learned the rules of the list, had instruction from another Society Fighter, and have had considerable practice, you may present yourself at a tournament at which there are at least two warranted knights marshal. They will make a judgment of your readiness, and, if their judgment is positive, will authorize you as a Society Fighter.
May ladies fight in the list?
Absolutely, if they are so inclined and are prepared to submit to the Rules of the List for fighting.
What is a Persona?
A Persona is the name and character you assume when you become a part of the Society. It is an alternate version of yourself-a character that you would have enjoyed being prior to the seventeenth century. You dress and behave as much in keeping with your Persona as possible. The name you choose may not be identical to any other name already used in the Society or to names of historical or literary figures. There can be no Richard the Lionhearted or Robin Hood, but there can be a Richard the Dolphin or a Robin of Mannefeld. Since both these names are already taken, however, they may not be duplicated. In addition, Personae must suggest real persons that might have lived in the history of the earth. They may not suggest the supernatural, the future, or folk from outer space.
What is SCA heraldry?
When members of the Society become armigerous (i. e., they are given an Award of Arms, Grant of Arms, or Patent of Arms by the Sovereign), they are said to bear a Coat of Arms. This Coat of Arms is a design drawn up according to the traditional rules of Heraldry that has been submitted to the College of Heralds and the College of Arms for approval. The Heraldic Device may not be like any other Device within or without the Society, regardless of the origin of that Device.

There is also what is known as Field Heraldry. In Field Heraldry the herald is the voice of the Sovereign. He must be able to identify the heraldic device or arms of each fighter in the list and announce him properly; he must announce all other activities as they occur; and he must be available to the Sovereign and his Consort and/or the autocrat of the event to make any other necessary announcements. During court the herald announces awards, presents subjects to the Sovereign and his Consort, and presents any other business that may come before the court. The three major attributes of a good Field Heralds is that they be able to blazon devices or arms clearly and accurately, that they be genteel and courtly in their manner of announcing, and that they hava strong and clear voices.
What is the political structure of the Society?
The corporate structure of the SCA is comprised of a Board of Directors who work within the framework of twenty-first-century government. The Board is headquartered in California and meets regularly to formulate policies for and hear grievances about the Society. The decisions of the Board are spelled out in the minutes of the meetings and in a book of edicts called the Corpora. The minutes and the Corpora with its by-laws provide the official guidelines for the operation of the society. The Known World, as the fantasy side of the SCA is called, is divided into kingdoms (covering large areas in the Known World) governed by a king and queen, who won their position by right of arms in a crown tournament. They formulate laws for the kingdom. They hold Events for the entire kingdom. The kingdom is divided into baronies, and shires (and sometimes principalities and other groups).

Baronies are local groups ceremonially governed by a Baron and/or Baroness, who are appointed by the King and Queen to represent them at the local level. They hold events for their Barony.

Cantons are smaller groups within a Barony or Shire. They hold events for their Canton. Shires are local groups that have no ruling noble.
How do I become a Lord or Lady?
When the King and Queen have evidence that you deserve to be recognized for your service to the kingdom, he will present you with an Award of Arms. Upon receipt of such an award, you become a Lord/Lady and may be addressed by that title. At this point you may apply for a heraldic device sometimes called a Coat of Arms.
How do I become a Peer of the Realm?
There are four types of co-equal peers. In no particular preferred order, they are: Master/Mistress of the Laurel, a title given by the King and Queen for special achievement in the arts and sciences; Master/Mistress of the Pelican, a title given by the King and Queen for special service of an unglamorous nature (such as organizing, record-keeping, and the ever-present paper work) to the Society or the kingdom; Knight of the Realm, an award given by the King and Queen for special achievement in heavy rattan combat in the Martial Arts; Master/Mistress of Defense, a title given by the King and Queen for special achievement in rapier and/or thrust-and-cut combat in the Martial Arts.

To become a Peer you must fulfill general requirements common to all Peers and specific requirements common to the specific order of Peerage to which you aspire. When you have fulfilled all the requirements, a Peer may recommend you to the Sovereign for elevation to his particular order. The Sovereign in turn consults the other Peers in that order, and, if there is a consensus, he bestows the honor in ceremony.
What are other titles bestowed by the Kingdom?
The King and Queen are those persons who have succeeded to the throne of the kingdom, won by right of arms, after having reigned as Crown Prince and Crown Princess. They serve for a specified time and cannot succeed themselves on the throne.

The Prince and Princess are those who have won the right in a crown tournament to succeed to the throne of the kingdom.

The Heir and Heiress are those who have won the right in a coronet tournament to become the Crown Prince and Princess of the kingdom.

A Count (Earl) and Countess are those persons who have worn the crown of the kingdom for one term and have stepped down from the throne.

A Duke and Duchess are those persons who have worn the crown of the kingdom for two or more separated terms and have stepped down from the throne.
How do I address Nobles and Royalty in the Society?
If you are not certain how to address someone in the SCA, simply call everyone "Milord" or "Milady," as the case may be, and you will be on perfectly safe ground. If you should make a mistake, you will not upset anyone.

When an Award of Arms is conferred upon persons, they become members of the Nobility and by title a Lord or a Lady. You should therefore call him "Lord (name)" and her "Lady (name)."

Address a baron or baroness as "Your Excellency," "My Lord Baron," or "My Lady Baroness.”

When persons become Master/Mistress of the Laurel, Master/ Mistress of the Pelican, or a Knight, they are Peers of the Realm, and should be addressed as "Master (name)," "Mistress {name) ," or, in the case of a Knight, "Sir (name)” or “Dame”.

You should address a Prince/Princess as "Your Highness."

You should address a King/Queen as "Your Majesty," "Your Grace," "Sire" (for the King), "My Liege" (if you have sworn fealty to the Crown), or "My Lord King"/"My Lady Queen."

You should address a Count (Earl)/Countess as "My Lord"/"My Lady" or "My Lord Count"/"My Lord Earl"/"My Lady Countess."

You should address a Duke/Duchess as "Your Grace" or "My Lord Duke"/"My Lady Duchess."
Where do I sleep at an event?
Many events are camping events. In such cases please feel free to bring your own tent and camp with everybody else. Many folks have period tents and like to show them off. But if you are not fortunate enough to have such a tent, then bring your own everyday mundane tent.

If you are elderly or disabled and unable to camp, there are usually inexpensive motels somewhere nearby.

At some events, Society folks may open their homes to those from out of town. If these home hostels are available, it will be noted in the event flyer.
Customs: What role does Courtesy play in the Society?
Courtesy plays an important role in the SCA. The main idea in Courtesy is that the gentlemen treat each other as gentlemen and their ladies as ladies and vice versa. Courteous behavior, therefore, requires that a person be gracious, polite, considerate, discreet, and respectful. Rudeness, drunkenness, and other disorderly conduct are frowned upon, and those whose conduct is grossly offensive will be gently ushered toward the door by the constable.

Courtesy is particularly important when looking at others’ equipment. Ask permission first. Many people have labored long and hard to construct both real and tournament weapons and want them handled very carefully. The owners, however, will likely give you permission to handle their equipment, because they like to have it admired. You will never give folks offense and you will probably make friends if you handle their handiwork with respect.
Customs: How do I behave in Court?
When called Before the Court, you kneel, bow, or curtsy and stay in that position until the King or Queen, Prince or Princess, Baron or Baroness indicates in some way for you to stand. When asked, state your business. When your business is finished, you should bow again and back away two or three steps before turning and leaving.
Customs: How do I behave on the Field?
When the herald makes an announcement, you should stop what you are doing and listen. Remember, the herald is the voice of the Sovereign, and ignoring the herald is like ignoring the Sovereign. Besides, the announcement may be of vital concern to you or to those near you.

Stay clear of the fighting; weapons and other debris may come hurling toward you. The fighters have limited vision in helms, and they cannot always see exactly where they are heading. There is always space reserved for spectators; so please, for the safety of the fighters and yourself, stay out of the way.

Never boo, cheer, or give advice to the fighters on the field.

The word "hold" is a signal to stop dead still. It usually means that the fighters should stop fighting for some reason or other, and it may mean that a spectator is walking into a dangerous situation. The point is, when you hear the word, heed it.
Customs: What is expected of me at the Feast?
You are asked to bring your own dishes and other utensils to the feast. Many people also enjoy bringing candles, candle­sticks, banners, tablecloths, and other such items in order to make the hall more festive in nature. If you cannot, for some reason beyond your control, bring your own dishes, you should let the autocrat know in advance so that the proper items can be secured-although such an arrangement should be made only as a last resort. Paper or plastic dishes and utensils are frowned upon, so please leave them at home. A tip: it is usually helpful to bring along a small plastic bag to carry your dishes away in, because sometimes washing space is limited, but please keep it out of sight until the feast is over.
Customs: How do I deal with "mundane" items?
The term "mundane" is useful in the Society to refer to twenty-first­-century items, persons, and other matters. It is not a derogatory term. The word simply helps us to distinguish between our Society world and our twentiy-first century world.

All mundane items such as canned beverages and paper, plastic, and Styrofoam containers should be kept out of sight as much as possible. You should either get rid of them or cover them with something that will effectively hide their mundane nature. Cooperation at this point will help to create a more medieval atmosphere. The one exception to this custom is a camera--you may take all the pictures you wish, but try to keep the camera out of sight when it is not in use. Also, personal items needed for the health or safety of the individual person are certainly permitted; therefore, such things as eye-glasses, wheelchairs, or other items of such an essential nature are simply ignored, and we go on playing our game around them.

Except in areas reserved for that purpose, smoking is prohibited at most events. If you need to smoke and you are not sure of any designated space, simply step outside the hall or away from the central area of activity and find a place to smoke in private.
Customs: What is the custom regarding pleasure?
Have fun. Enjoy yourself. And come back to aother event. You're always welcome.