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Stefan's Florilegium


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SCA-Terms-art - 9/16/12


"What Language are You Speaking?
" by Lady Alison Wodehalle.


NOTE: See also the files: Earng-Your-AoA-art, award-rec-let-msg, Award-Trivia-art, crown-cost-msg, SCA-awards-msg. SCA-Royalty-msg, Award-Rec-Let-art, SCA-Awards-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 or translator.


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



What Language are You Speaking?

by Lady Alison Wodehalle


As with most organizations, we have some terms that are very specific to the SCA.  You will hear people speaking of "garb" or "feast gear."  What follows is a mini dictionary of SCA terminology.  This is not all encompassing, so if you hear a phrase or term that is unfamiliar, just ask, people are generally happy to explain.


Anachronism - A thing out of its time (ie. a wristwatch worn 500 years ago)


Anno Societatis - Within the SCA all dates are counted from May 1, 1966.  literally "In the year of the Society"


Apprentice -  a person accepted as a student by a Laurel.  Wearing a green belt is a symbol of apprenticeship.


A&S (arts and sciences) - practice of non - fighting medieval skills, such as cooking or sewing.


Authorized - a fighter trained to a level of safety and allowed to compete outside of practices.


Autocrat - person in charge of an event.


AoA (Award of Arms) - usually the first award received in the Society.  Confers the title of Lord or Lady


Badge -  a piece of armory/heraldry that is simple and is used to mark personal items


Baldric - belt or sash worn from  shoulder to hip


Bardic circle - a gathering to perform music or poetry, or enjoy the performances of others; often held around a campfire at events.


Baron/Baroness - title conferred by the Crown.  A landed Baron/ess means that they are the figureheads of a Barony.  Court Baron/ess is a title given to honor or recognize extraordinary service to the crown.  They are entitled to wear a coronet with six  jewels around it, and are addressed as "your Excellency."


Banner - display of a heraldic device in large fabric format


Chatelaine - newcomer contact person


Chirurgeon - warranted first aider.   The word comes from middle English for surgeon.  Pronounced usually as Ki - ur - jan (the first syllable rhymes with sky).


Chivalry - peerage level order of knights


Circlet - Metal band worn by both males and females around the head.  The East Kingdom does NOT have any sumptuary laws regarding the wearing of circlets, although some kingdoms restrict the wearing of one until you have your AoA


Clear! - when you hear this it means someone is drawing a live steel weapon, and you should be cautious


Consort - person of the opposite sex who co - rules the Kingdom along with the person who won crown tourney.  The consort must be named prior to the fighting of the crown tourney.


Corpora - documents that define the rules and requirements of the SCA


Count/Countess - person who has served once as king or queen


Court - formal gathering presided over by the ceremonial heads of that branch.


Crash space - lodging made available in people’s homes for out of town visitors to events.  The members of the SCA view themselves as one very big family.


Crown, the -  reference to the reigning king/queen


Dame - alternate title for mistress


Dry/damp/wet site - dry site means absolutely NO alcohol, damp site means discreet use of beer or wine, and wet site refers to alcohol permitted, all within the mundane laws.


Duke/Duchess - has served at least twice as king or queen


Event - a gathering in garb usually with a theme. (ie. a tourney, or a collegium, or coronation, etc)


Excellency - form of address used for Baron/ess, Count/ess, Viscount/ess.  "Your Excellency"


Exchequer - group treasurer (short for "chancellor of the exchequer")


Favor–small item or ribbon given as token of gratitude, friendship, or esteem.


Feast - meal at an SCA gathering, often elaborate.


Feast Gear - table ware including plates, cups, silverware, etc.  You are generally expected to supply your own.


Garb - costuming worn to events.  This is the one minimum requirement for attending events.  Per Corpora you must make an attempt at pre - seventeenth century costume.


Gentles - it is assumed that everyone in the SCA is of "gentle birth", meaning at least lower level nobility.


Gold Key - loaner garb, usually available from the Chatelaine


Grace - form of address used for Dukes and Duchesses. "Your Grace"


Grant of Arms - Higher level than AoA, adds the word "honorable" to Lord/Lady.  Not usually awarded in the East.


Heavy Weapons - Sword, shield, mace, polearm, axe, etc. generally made of rattan and wrapped in duct tape, used for fighting in armor. Also, fighting done in armor with one or more of the listed weapons.


Herald - person trained to assist in the selection and registration process for names and armory in the SCA.  In the East he/she must be warranted to accept funds.


Highness - Form of address for the reigning crown prince/princess. "Your Highness"


Hold! - "STOP" "FREEZE" until you see what the hazard is.  Its use extends throughout the society after originating on the list field.


Household - informal organization within the SCA, not chartered by the crown, consisting of people with a similar interest.


King - Ceremonial head of the kingdom.  In the East spends 5 months serving as prince before beginning 6 months serving as king.


Knight - Peerage level title, given for skill in fighting and chivalrous behavior.  Regalia includes white belt, gold chain, and gold spurs.  Addressed as "Sir" and swears fealty to the crown.


Laurel - peerage level title given for skill in A&S and for chivalrous behavior.  Insignia includes a laurel wreath, and is given the regalia of a decorated cloak at the award ceremony.  Form of address is usually Master or Mistress


List field - fighting field


Lord/Lady - with a capital "L" is a title conferred by the AoA


Majesty - form of address used for the reigning King and Queen. "Your Majesty"


Marshal - SCA referee for fighting, specially trained person, warranted to oversee fighting events.


Master/Mistress - Title or form of address for members of the peerage.


Mundane - that which is not in the society.  Refers to clothing, people, and life outside of the Society


Oyez! - loudly called to get the attention of the people present. Pronounced "oy - YAY".


Peer - Highest level award available within the SCA


Pelican - Peerage level award given for service and chivalrous behavior.  Insignia includes a "pelican in its piety" (meaning a pelican piercing its breast to feed its young), and is given the regalia of a cloak at the award ceremony.  Form of address is Master/ Mistress.


Pennsic - War between the kingdoms of the Middle and the East.  It is the largest and oldest of the Wars in the SCA, occurs in August every year for two weeks in western Pennsylvania.


Period - time period covered by the SCA, things are "in period" or "out of period"


Persona - your alter ego within the SCA, consisting of at minimum a name, but may include a complete historically accurate life story.


Precedence, Order of - rank of individuals based on awards received within the SCA


Prince/Princess - has won the crown tourney and will serve as king and queen when finished "apprenticing" as prince and princess.  Form of address is "your Highness"


Protégé - a person who has been accepted as a student by a Pelican.  Wearing a yellow belt is a symbol of the protégé.


Pursuivant - Title of the local heraldic officer, as in the Shire Pursuivant.  Must be warranted to accept funds.


Queen - Ceremonial head of the kingdom. Usually the consort of the person who won crown tourney, but may be a queen in her own right.  Has served as princess prior to becoming queen.


Regalia - the trappings of an office.  The things that signify rank.


Retinue - the people who surround the king and queen, making it possible for them to serve.


Sir - form of address for a knight


Seneschal - "chapter president" person who is the official contact with the mundane and legal world.  Every branch within the SCA must have a seneschal.


Site fee - admission fee to an event


Society - how members refer to the Society of Creative Anachronism


Squire - a person who has been accepted as a student by a Knight. Symbols indicating a squire include wearing a silver chain and/or a red belt.


Sumptuary laws - Rules regarding forms of address, and the wearing of certain items.  The East has no sumptuary laws, but we do respect the traditions of the Society with regard to regalia and insignia.  For instance it would be in poor taste to wear a red belt as that  signifies a squire.


Token - an item that is given for many reasons.  It can be received at entry to events, it can be part of an award, it can signify membership in a household, and it can be a gift from one person to another. See also favor. 


Troll - Registration table or entry point to an event (aka Gate).

 When this article was written, Lady Alison was the East Kingdom Chatelaine.


Copyright 2012 by Alison Choyce. <Greenfaere at gmail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, please add 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