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On-Personae-art 9/5/03


"On-Personae" by Baron Hrolf Herjolfssen OP. An overview of personas in the SCA.


NOTE: See also the files: SCA-Personas-art, 4-newcomers-msg, Easy-Persona-art, Persona-f-Beg-art, persona-msg, persona-art, names-msg, Som-Per-Ideas-art.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org


On Personae

by Baron Hrolf Herjolfssen OP


When you join the SCA someone will ask you something like: “what do we call you?”  For some people, this ‘SCA name’ is as close as they will ever get to having a persona.  It is the label that they wear that says they are different from the mundane person they share a body with.  To an extent, this is fine - as a start.  Make sure that people know your name and call you by it, try not to answer to other names or nicknames.  If necessary write your name on a label and wear it to remind people.  By taking and using a different name, we are confirming to ourselves, and to others, that we are taking on a role in that continuing unscripted play called the SCA.

As a part of our role, we abandon the modern world, we leave behind our mundane occupation and cares and try to look at the world through the eyes of another (and fictitious) person.  This is our persona.  It need not be complex, but it will give you a few things that will help you to act and interact with the people around you.

For example, I (Hrölf) am a thirteenth century Scandinavian who has worked (for many years) for the Roman Emperor in exile in Nicea.  I have been to Samarkand as an embassy guard commander and am usually employed on the Eastern border as a liaison to a mercenary Pecheneg tuman. This gives me the following ‘hooks’:  I have travelled very widely and am familiar with Scandinavian, Mongol, barbarian and Arab cultures (clothing, entertainment, inventions, food), as well as the only truly civilised one.  I have a (fairly justified) dislike and distrust of Normans and Franks generally and have probably adopted many of the prejudices and manners of my adopted home.

What does this mean?  Because I have read some things about ‘my’ period, it gives me some ways of reacting to various situations (although I will try and be polite to Normans and Crusaders).  It means that I am allowed to have a wide familiarity with different cultures, to know about them and their behaviour and what I can talk about to them.

Why bother?  If we just come along to SCA events, and talk about our mundane existence while wearing funny clothes, then that is all we are doing; we would be taking part in a modern costume party.  We would never experience the feeling of playing a role and getting it right. If we will not try and adopt the attitudes of ‘our’ time, then we are wasting our time.  I contend that it is more fun to find out how a person from a particular time and place would act, and then try to emulate this.  It is not all that hard.  In our everyday lives we adopt various roles for different audiences.  In the SCA we can take this a bit further by ‘drawing from the palette of human experience and reflexively creating and playing a role within the pastiche of post-modern leisure’ (if you want that in non-jargon - just ask).

Your persona is thus very important to your SCA life. Vikings will often be expected as a part of the shield wall, Italian fops as a part of the dance circle.  Ask around and work out what you want to use to help you have fun in the SCA,



Copyright 2002 by Cary J Lenehan, 16 Maweena Pl, Kingston, Tasmania, 7050, Australia. <lenehan at our.net.au>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org