Re: [Epic] Re: SCA

From: Brett Hollindale <agro_at_...>
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 07:16:51 GMT

At 09:17 PM 16/2/97 -0600, you wrote:
>Well, I'm mailing you, so...
> What is the SCA?
> -Idar the Humbaba
> ***End Transmission***

It (the Society for Creative Anachonism) started 31 years ago in Berkley
California as a
60's "protest against the 20th century" costume party and grew from there.
Now there are groups in the USA, (Canada), Australia, New Zealand, Europe,
(England) and probably a bunch more places that I don't know about...

It has caught on better in places that don't have a real medieval history -
places like the US, Australia & NZ and hasn't gone anywhere nearly as well
in England or Europe and
the only groups that I know in Asia are at US service bases... (My pet
theory on this is that it is due to the presence/absence of authentic
medieval history - in places where you have a real history, the game is that
much less attractive...)

Technically, the SCA is a nonprofit educational organisation dedicated to
recreating the
middle ages. (This gets the SCA severe taxation concessions in the USA
where the SCA
is biggest. Some folks have even been able to claim their travel expenses
to Australia as a tax deduction!)

Practically, the SCA is a combinatiion sporting/social club with live roll
playing overtones. I like to describe the SCA as "the longest running
costume party in the history of the world".

Basically, the SCA is a "living history group". We learn about the middle
ages by doing
the sorts of things that were done in the middle ages. I would go as far as
to say that
literally every medieval art of craft is being studied by someone in the SCA.

Events (usually tournaments and feasts) are essentially costume parties
where everyone
wears medieval clothing and most (some?) people go to the added trouble of
foresoothly" (like a Shakespeare play or a hollywood medieval movie). Garb
ranges from extremely simple stuff that requires about two meters of fabric
and almost no sewing skill whatsoever to extremely complex recreations that
require dozens of meters of fabric, hundreds of hours and a fairly
professional level of skill to create.

Attending a typical feast can be a huge learning experience or simply a good
depending on how much effort you want to go to. The minimum possible would
be to
acquire a simple tunic, a wooden bowl, a tankard of some sort and a knife
and spoon
(forks are usually avoided as there is some doubt as to the authenticity of
forks with more than two tines...) and go along for a good time. However, a
lot of folks go to more effort than that and actually reseach exceptionally
elaborate garb, cutlery, crockery, songs, dances, recipes, beverages - and
even more - and go about making/acquiring/learning the various bits.

In addition to the gentle arts (as practiced by GENTLEmen and ladies) we
study the
medieval martial arts. Focussing on the age of chivalry as it existed in
Europe and Britain, we strive to recreate the tounament combat that took
place in about 1200-1400AD. We use highly protective armour with required
protection for head, neck, elbows, knees, kidney, groin, hands and feet (and
breasts for lady fighters) and we use weapons (swords, axes, maces, pikes
and a few others) made from rattan cane - a bamboo like cane that has the
weight of a steel sword with a nice "safe" rounded edge! We fight full
speed, full contact as a competitive sport. If a blow lands which would
have killed or incapacitated an armoured oponent, then the loser "dies" and
the bout is over.

With enough combatants and enough space wars are possible, with the largest
scheduled war being about 1500 a side each August in Pensilvania. In most
wars in
Australia, we include archery with arrows tipped with 3/4" rubber blunts and
this adds a
whole other dimension to the combat...

Again, rigid safety requirements are enforced and we sustain very few
injuries more
serious than bruising. (The society has an insurance policy which covers
serious injuries (mostly for spectators) - but it has not been claimed
against in 31 years and we pay the same insurance premiums as the
internation table tennis association!) Having said that, it's important to
remember that we're talking about a full contact armed martial art and it is
quite possible to bend metal and break bone with a wooden sword...

The word for something nonSCA is "mundane". Hence the "mundane" world is
the world
that we all live in. The Knowne Worlde (always spealt with two e's) is the
parts of the
mundane world that the SCA has spread to. Currently the Knowne Worlde is
divided into
thirteen Kingdoms (each with a King and Queen - obviously) and many of these
are divided into Principalities. Each 4-6 months (depending on the laws of
the Kingdom
or Principality) a tournament is fought and he winner of the tournament is
crowed King
(once in 31 years the winner was crowned Queen) and the person's consort
(the lady - or
once, the lord - of their choice) in crowned with them. A civil service
sees that all runs smoothly within a monarchy that fluctuates so wildly...

I have been involved with the SCA for about thirteen years now (and my wife
a little
longer). "Involved" in this instance being an average of one night a week
and one
Saturday in two... (We would be considered "more active than the norm" with
that sort of involvement - a "fanatic" would be capable of attending an SCA
meeting of some sort
every day!)

More information is available with a net search with the key "SCA" or
"Society for
Creative Anachtronism", or I could investigate and find out if there is a
group close to you if you would like...

In service to The Dream

(PS "The Dream" is that thing that makes the SCA special to each of its
members. It
varies from member to member, but it - The Dream - is an intangible that is
often refered to as a tangible. If that makes any sense...)

PPS If there is any specific information you would like, just ask...
Received on Wed Feb 19 1997 - 07:16:51 UTC

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