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Stefan's Florilegium

personas-msg



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personas-msg - 10/6/94

Some persona examples and more about personas.

NOTE: See also the files: persona-msg, persona-art, per-insanity-msg
and per-lepers-msg, Persona-Build-art.

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NOTICE -

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that
I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some
messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with
seperate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes
extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were
removed to save space and remove clutter.

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I
make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the
individual authors.

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these
messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this
time. If information is published from these messages, please give
credit to the orignator(s).

Thank you,
Mark S. Harris AKA: Lord Stefan li Rous
mark.s.harris@motorola.com stefan@florilegium.org
************************************************************************

From: Canair James St. Aubyn
Date: 14-Apr-90 09:40am
Subject: Re: Greetings...

Greeting gentile, I am Canair James St. Aubyn, only daughter and heir to Sir
James St. Aubyn and the lady Evelyn of Hartingdon. I was born in December,
Year of Our Lord 1385. I am the delight of my father and the despair of my
lady mother. As a child I was far more interested in my fathers falcons and
horses than ever my mothers needles and petty patiences. However, one bit of
my gentle lady's training did sink in. I have a dab hand with herbs and
simples. I was born in Wales near the Severn river where my father holds
lands from his Grace, Henry V of England and France. I travel these lands in
the company of my cousin Siobban and her mercenary husband (Pah!) Yost Zum
Drachenstein. I am yet unmarried (which again is the despair of my lady
mother) for my father continues to refuse all offers where I do not desire the
other party. My lady mother says that he (my father) will be the death of me
yet...

(Jamie E., is interested in costuming, crafts, needleword, herbs, riding and
falconry. She is also very interested in heraldry.)

I remain, as always,
Yr. Servant
Canair James St. Aubyn


From: Ioseph of Locksley
Date: 13-Apr-90 09:11am
Subject: Re: Greetings...

Hm! Hobbies and persona sketch.....w-a-a-a-a-l let's see:
Old Used Heraldic Gadfly (still a hobby! heheheh!)
Musical instrument maniac (play 65 last count)
Period trivia collector (with refs, please!)

Persona: Ioseph of Locksley is a Bard...one of the last remaining in this
year of 1645. Currently in exile from his native land of Scotland, he
roams the Known World getting in and outof mischief. He is usually
accompanied by his Lady Wife, Cherie Ruadh MhicRath, his Apprentice,
Anerin y Peabodie, and some few retainers.
In Scotland, his Clan waits for the Signal to rise against the Opressor
(generic: pick one!)
He occasionally sells his services as a Mercenary Rapier Master, and will
write for hire. Those that meet him think him a Puritan, from the black
leather he tends to wear, and the "sad" colours of his garments, butthis
is an image he finds useful.

His favourite lines are:
"Thanks be to God for WE have got the arquebus, and THEY have not!"
"Get a Cavalier to read it to you, m'Lord!"
"Careful....I might decide to make you immortal..."
"Want a cookie, M'Lady?"

He brews Imperium Compound. He knows EVERYBODY. Sometimes he doesn't have a
lick of sense, and his BS tolerance is incredibly low. He don't talk much,
either, but will NEVER pass up a chance to rag FatHats and Heralds.

---

On the subject of persona:

1. I would like to repeat my earlier point about the difference
between having a persona and having a persona story. My impression is
that people with elaborate persona stories often do not have a
persona, or if they do are rarely in it--as demonstrated by their
telling their persona story, which usually contains information that
you would not tell to someone you had just met. What I have been
arguing for for many years is that the game is more fun if we act in
persona at an event--for which purpose the persona of "a fifteenth
century English Merchant" is quite adequate, without a biography unto
four generations. I have also argued that one of the things that is
fun to do in the society is to try to find out (not invent) the
things about your persona that let you do a convincing job (to
yourself as well as others) of being him--what he would have
believed, known, ate for breakfast, used for money, etc.

David Friedman (Cariadoc)
DDFr@Tank.uchicago.edu


From: GILBERT@BINAH.CC.BRANDEIS.EDU
Date: 26 Apr 90 19:26:00 GMT
Organization: Society for Creative Anachronism

Greetings all from Richard Gilbert,

I guess to be internally consistent I have to write this as Richard
Gilbert and not Richard DeLacy, since it is on the subject of persona. By
definition Richard DeLacy is unfamiliar with what we mean by persona, although
of course he is familiar with role-playing - (He is an avid fan of the more
modern Theatre - especially that hilarious bawd Shakespeare).

For a moment let me digress for some background on my persona: Richard
DeLacy, born late 16th century England - traveled to Court of Carolingia, took
service in the Baron's Guard and eventually formed the more permanent bond to
the Baron of becoming his Squire. That is it. But it is definitely a persona
and without it, as I will explain I could not do many of the most fun things I
do in the SCA.

I think the key to this is considering exactly what a persona is.
Arastorm and Will Linden might not be as far from each other as their postings
might lead one to believe. Arastorm says that the SCA is based on personae
while many others, Will included, say why do we need them? The SCA is based
on
what we actually _do_, or as someone said, on doing period things in period
ways.

I feel that the two are one and the same. Richard Gilbert can do many
period things in period ways. For example, with a great deal more work, and a
proper costume, I believe I could dance period dances in a period way.
Furthermore, Richard Gilbert _enjoys_ period dancing. However, there are some
things that Richard Gilbert _could_not_do_ in a period manner. The best
examples are fighting and fencing. Assuming (for argument's sake) that we
knew and used period technique in these two activities, Ric Gilbert couldn't
do them. Ric Gilbert is: 1) afraid of being hurt (I hate pain) and
2) afraid of hurting other people

Ric Gilbert _is_ however, a good SCA fencer and a beginning fighter. I enjoy
fencing and fighting both. Richard DeLacy, however, enjoys dueling. There is
a difference. I recall a few years ago at a fencing tourney The Sir Michael
of York slipped a blade under my guard and tip-cut my throat. A "kill" by our
rules. As I fell however, I had a momentary vision of the blood leaping in
spurts from my throat and the pain involved in a real blow of this nature.
It served to remind me of what we are recreating. Now Richard DeLacy is not a
bloodthirsty individual - but he enjoys two violent sports. He enjoys the
andrenaline rush of combat. Mundane fencing is not nearly as interesting to me
simply because the stakes are unimportant. The stakes in a duel are much more
interesting.

Anyway, I have rambled slightly off target. What I am trying to
say is really an answer to Will Linden's question "Why do they need personae
to do things? Why do they need persona to fight, to dance ... to do all the
fascinating things we do?" My answer is that persona _are_ necessary - Not
elaborate stories about where we are from, but the mind-set of a medieval
individual. Without this mind-set we cannot do _any_ actual creative
recreation of period arts. We might completely and accurately reproduce a
garment of the period, or accurately use a fencing maneuver from George
Silver, but in order to make a change in either - to refit the garment so it
fits us,or change the maneuver in order to compensate for an opponent's action -
or more strongly to change the garment so we like it better or vary the maneuver
to be "more effective" we need the guidance of the persona, the medieval
viewpoint, to have any hope of finishing with a garment or maneuver "in a period
style".

In sum, there are two reasons that we need personae. First, the less
concrete, because while we mundanely enjoy recreating things, there are things
which only our personae actually enjoy once recreated. This explains not only
fighting (and I don't want to meet the person who mundanely enjoys maiming
people) but also those period artforms which produce mundanely hideous things,
bagpipes for example :-) :-) :-) And the second reason, more concrete, is
that the persona as a mindset allows us to think like a medieval person and in
so doing have a better chance at recreating the middle ages accurately.

In service to my friends,

Richard Gilbert

actor of the role of Richard DeLacy, Guardsman of Carolingia and
Squire to Sir Patri Du Chat Gris

From: ctj!sgj (S. Gwen Johnson)

Persona and reality.

Well, my persona does and has a lot of stuff I never will. Although I looked
very seriously at building a scaled down, fully functional version of the
Gokstad Ship as my master's thesis. Never did go for my master's so it didn't
matter tha I couldnt' afford to build it even if I had. Awilda, on the other
hand, does own a longship. Awilda also sleeps in a Viking tent with carved
tent poles, but I have to make do with a nylon mushroom. Awilda has been to
Miklagard, and Vinland, and lives in Iceland currently. I've been off the
North American continent, but only to the Caribean. Awilda would be rather
disturbed at the sight of tourquoise houses and poinsettias, I liked them. I,
on the other hand, would be rather disturbed if I had to carryout bloodfeud, a
undertaking that Awilda would perform assidiously as a necessary social duty.
(How else do you punish people who refuse to live by the law? No prisons in
Iceland.)

On the other hand, Awilda nad I do share ideas about a variety of things. In
Iceland, women had considerably more rights than Contintal women, which is why
Awilda decided to settle there. Also, they didn't burn anybody over religion,
which also appealed, as Awilda is perfectly willing to worship whatever god she
can get the best deal from (and has picked up a few Christian and Greek gods to
add to her pantheon). This attitude seems perfectly sensible to her, but the
Christians don't agree... And Awilda and I do have similar attitudes about
slavery: its perfectly reasonable to force people who commit crimes to labor to
compensate society for the damage they've done. But Awilda considers prisoners
of war to appropriate slave material too. I agree, prisoners of war are
generally put to work in the United States, the difference is, they can be
traded back to where they came from, at the worst they have to wait until the
end of the war to gain their freedom. For Awilda such an arrangement is
permanent, unless the owner (an individual, not a governemnt) should choose to
emancipate them.

I picked Vikings because they were fun, but I've also tried out a variety of
other persona possiblities. I have costumes ranging from kimono to cotehardie
in my closet. Even an Itlaian Rennaissance. But I find I have to play a
persona who's actually reasaonably close to myself in atttitudes to be
comfortable. And so the cotehardie and Italian costumes rarely see the light
of day, even though they are some of my best garb. I'd rather bum around in a
mangy kimono being an untouchable entertainer than go through all the hassle of
getting dressed up in formal kimonos and formal samurai manners. It also
allows me to play games with the samurai persona. You can tell who's an
Oriental persona, and who's just round eye in drag by their reaction when I hit
the dirt kowtowing to them. Americans are rather disturbed and want me to
stand up and talk to them. Japanese persona take it as their due. So far,
nobody's taken it as their due.

But my Japanese persona is different from my Viking persona. Awilda is a
respectable member of her society and subscribes to her society's mores.
Suyesumuhana has opted out of her society, a very dangerous thing, but more
fun. Who wants to be a baby factory wrapped up miles of red tape and correct
etiquette? Life for Suyestumuhana is easy: Agree to whatever they say, and
when they aren't looking, do what you want to do.


From: jesup@cbmvax.commodore.com (Randell Jesup)
Date: 15 May 90 19:48:26 GMT
Organization: Commodore, West Chester, PA

ctj!cjohnson@WB3FFV.AMPR.ORG writes:
>Then there are the people who become their persona. Tristan Alexander has
>completely abandoned his mundane name and uses his SCA name professionally.
>he's an artist, and all his works are signed Tristan. His SCA persona does not
>differ significantly from his mundane persona, the mundane has been abandoned.

Eofn, Baron Concordia, is similar. I knew him for many months before
I knew he had a name other than Eofn. If you call for him at work (back when
he worked at GE) you asked for Eofn. The only reason I remember his mundane
name is to find his number on the phone book. (His mundane name is
George Williams.) He's still called Eofn even though he's no longer very
active.
--
Randell Jesup, Keeper of AmigaDos, Commodore Engineering.
{uunet|rutgers}!cbmvax!jesup, jesup@cbmvax.cbm.commodore.com BIX: rjesup
Common phrase heard at Amiga Devcon '89: "It's in there!"


From: sgj@slc1.brl.mil (S. Gwen Johnson)
Date: 29 Aug 90 17:40:19 GMT
Organization: Paladin.aberdeen.md.us
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Actually, combining Irish and German personas strikes me as being
quite easy. The lady ought to think about practical things like what
kind of costume is she capable of making? And what kind of clothes
would she be comfortable wearing? Eary period is easy and cool (shorts
are period for male Vikings)Later period, like Bohemian Rennaissance
tends to be warm and expensive (I rarely where my velvet any more, I
dislike heat stroke)

So, here are some thoughts that ocurred to me.

Early period, starting with Hengist and Horsa, Saxons and Frisians (a
couple of kinds of Germans) started settling in England. Germans and
Scandinavians continued raiding and settling in Ireland and Britain
for severl hundred years. And since Vikings traveled a lot, they
sometimes came back with foreigners as friends, crew, or thralls, and
sent they settled in a lot of different places, this can be an excuse
to combine almost any two cultures you like. The Dublin was the
Viking kingdom in Ireland, but there raids covered teh entirety of the
island. I saw a map of Vinking invasions in Ireland and the entire
map was laced with read. Nowadays most Irish rivers aren't considered
navigable to any extent, but the Viking ships only drafted one meter
and could be portaged, the Irish rivers took them everywhere they
wanted to go.

Moving up in time, pilgrimage routes led through Germany, either to
Italy for ships, or overland to Constantinople. Read "Memoirs of a
Medeival Woman" the true story of a real (and slightly crazy)
Englishwoman. Not all pilgrims are pious (see the "Canterbury
Tales"), and women might go on pilgrimage as a way to escape the
drudgery of household life and the dominance of their menfolk.

Also possible are Hanseatic traders. They eventually monopolized the
Baltic trade and traded in a lot of other places as well. Imagine a
Hanseatic trader coming home with an Irish wife, or having an
illegitimate Irish offspring.

Then there are the univesities that started getting founded around
1200. The University in Prag (I've forgotten it's name) was one of
the first, earliest great universities of Europe. Prag was the
captial of Bohemia a great rival to Italy for wealth and knowledge
during the Rennaissance, but is usually overlooked by SCAfolk.
Bohemia is now part of Czechoslovakia, but it's rulers and upper class
were heavily influenced by German things, especially as time wore on,
and the HOly Roman Empire (of which Bohemia was a part) came to
dominate much of Europe's politics.

Being Holy Roman in the later period gives plenty of options as well,
as the Hapsburg family came to power in not just the Empire, but Spain
(and briefly Portugal), the Netherlands, Italy, and so forth. If you
take a persona with any kind of money or education, it would be very
easy for them to get involved in the trade, politics, or wars of the
time.

This is jsut what I can come up with off the top of my head, hope it
gives you some ideas.

Awilda Halfdane
Bright Hills, Atlantia
sgj@slc1.brl.mil


From: Taras
Date: 13-Feb-91 10:02pm
Subject: Russian Persona Sources

For those that have asked for sources of information for a Russian persona...

Where they came from:

A HISTORY OF THE VIKINGS - REVISED EDITION, Gwyn Jones, Oxford University
Press, 1984. See section III, 'The Viking Movement Overseas', Chapter 4, "The
Movement East: The Baltic Lands, Russia, Byzantium".

Generic history:

A HISTORY OF RUSSIA, John Lawrence, available in Mentor and Meridian editions,
I have the 6th Edition, 1978, Meridian.

RUSSIA AND THE GOLDEN HORDE, Charles J. Halpern, Indiana University Press,
1985. "Grattez le Russe et vous trouverez le tartare" Scratch a Russian and
find a Tatar - attributed to Napolean.

Generic culture:

MEDIEVAL RUSSIA'S EPICS, CHRONICLES, AND TALES, Serge A. Zenkovsky,
(Revised and enlarged edition) 1974, Vanderbilt University, available
as a Dutton Paperback, #D363. Excellent glossary and chronology - brief and
succinct, as well as some of the more usual tales and some history behind
them.

Parts of Russian that my persona comes from:

TO CAUCASUS - THE END OF ALL THE EARTH, Sir Fitzroy Maclean, 1976, Little,
Brown, and Co. See Chapter 12, "The Land of Georgia"

The Russian approach to the Chivalraic Legend:

THE HEROIC BALLADS OF RUSSIA, L. A. Magnus, LL. B., 1921, reprinted by
Kennikat Press, 1967. See the section on the Bogatyri. Also a good section on
personal names in Medieval Russia in the Appendices.

Hope this has been of some help....

Taras Stephan Karanczay


From: dmb@inls1.ucsd.edu (Doug Brownell)
Date: 12 Apr 91 22:47:52 GMT
Organization: Institute for Nonlinear Science

Greetings unto the Rialto from Thomas Brownwell in the
sunny climes of Calafia.

Greetings especially unto Katherine of Constantinople!

One of the threads that appeared a number of months ago dealt
with how does one reconcile the fact that an Italian
Renaissance persona may very well be speaking with an 11th
century Celtic persona. The most practical explanation of
how to proceed was to realize that most early europeans would
never have known that such a person as they were conversing
with shouldn't be there with them. In fact, it would be
perfectly reasonable for a Celt and an Elizabethan to treat
one another as if they were from another country (geography
aside. Im talking about cultural matters, like who's king,
what might be on the dinner table, etc). It was 'common
knowledge' that there were many backward cultures still
hanging around europe, and many advanced cultures just over
the horizon, so it is no problem that someone might know about
muskets while another couldn't hold one because they won't be
invented for another 200 years.

Applying this to marriage in persona, one would only have to
be aware that the other came from another country, not
another time, and the rest would follow. For people who
really get hung up on this, I don't know what to say. For
myself, I would have no problems, and as a 20th century
person researching the middle ages would probably find it
actually more interesting having someone around who was not
always going to be interested in the same things as I.

As to whether or not to be married in persona, all I can say
is that my wife and I consider ourselves to be married in
persona (we joined the SCA after we were married). For those
who have been active in the Society, and then meet someone to
marry, I don't know what to suggest, but would myself take
on a married persona.

Douglas M. Brownell | Thomas Brownwell
Institute for Nonlinear Science, R-002 | Barony of Calafia
University of California, San Diego | Kingdom of Caid
La Jolla, CA 92093 |
| Anachronist (noun):
Internet: dmb@inls1.ucsd.edu | Out of time;
dbrownell@ucsd.edu | Gotta go!


From: troll@morpheus.std.com (Dr. H. Lecter)
Date: 13 May 91 15:17:42 GMT
Organization: The Mindgame Corporation

SAUNDRSG@qucdn.queensu.ca (Graydon) writes:
>The recent discussion of how one stays in persona seems to have jogged
>something loose in my brain (not always a beneficial occurrence! :] )
[tokens as'triggers' for persona]
>Any of the fisher-folk do this? comments on effectiveness? thoughts?
>Non-token based(i.e. nothing tangible involved) tactics?
>
>Graydon

Besides the 'triggers' (my word) of dressing up and carrying a
blade - two things I rarely do in my non-SCA life, there are a few
things.

I, both in persona and out, am Jewish. The modern medoesn't
have to fear any persecution - the period me (Yevsha) does. So Yevsha
wears a small cross. This is something I wouldn't do. Also, Yevsha
speaks with a Russian accent, especially when telling stories, and
peppers his speech with 'tovarich', 'ya hachu (I want...)', and
'spaceba' [pardon my phonetic spellings]. *I* don't speak a word of
Russian ;-).

Hope this helps,
--Alexander Yevsha


From: garyp@matt.ksu.ksu.edu (Gary Lee Phillips)
Date: 14 May 91 15:41:51 GMT
Organization: Kansas State University

troll@morpheus.std.com (Dr. H. Lecter) writes:
>In article <9105081216.aa11670@mc.lcs.mit.edu> SAUNDRSG@qucdn.queensu.ca
(Graydon) writes:
>>The recent discussion of how one stays in persona seems to have jogged
>>something loose in my brain (not always a beneficial occurrence! :] )
> [tokens as'triggers' for persona]
>>Any of the fisher-folk do this? comments on effectiveness? thoughts?
>>Non-token based(i.e. nothing tangible involved) tactics?
>>
>>Graydon

Greetings good gentles all-
Although I am rather new at SCA, I have found that certain things help me
maintain persona, (throwbacks to my drama days)
1: Take some time and think about your persona before you start the event.
2: Find a word that for you, sums up your persona, Then use it before you start
and when you feel yourself slipping. (My persona is highland Scot so the
brough(sp?) is best summed up by the word "auch" as an expletive. This may seem
silly
but it rarely fails to bring the persona to me.
3: Find something that is out of place in period, and explore it from as period
point of view.

The hard part for me is to lose the persona at the end of the day. My lady taught
me a trick for this too. Say the following with a southern accent:
"The beer is in the truck." It never fails!
No this is not saying there is a large carnivorous
beasty in the truck, no matter what the heralds may say! @8^)

Duncan MacLeod
Garyp@ksuvm.matt


From: sbloch@euclid.ucsd.EDU (Steve Bloch)
Date: 15 May 91 18:15:09 GMT

Unto the Rialto doth Joshua ibn-Eleazar send greetings!
And Steve Bloch says "Hi, y'all!"

Yves (or more likely Rick) quotes Cariadoc (or more likely David):
>"The essential thing is not adding topics specific to your persona's time
>and place, but deleting the ones that are specific to the twentieth
>century. That requires a little attention, but no additional knowledge --
>most of us already know which of the things we talk about are not period.
>Once you have done that, there are lots of things around you -- the dinner
>you are helping to cook, the beauty of the lady you are flirting with, the
>skill or clumsiness of the fighters you are watching -- that you can talk
>about with no historical knowledge or acting ability." (Cariadoc)

and replies:

>I'd like to make a type distinction regarding speaking in persona.
>Let's have commenting and conversing. Commenting: talking about what's
>going on around you at the Event - a simple effort to avoid modern topics
>and vernacular. You mention several topics above. Conversing: what one's
>persona would talk about were they in their own time and area.
>
>What WOULD Yves talk about in the above definition of a conversation? He
>might mention the Great Schism (if it was *called* that then) or perhaps
>he's heard of Petrarch (if *he* was called that then). Those would be
>'current' events for Yves.

I suspect this is a misconception. What percentage of your everyday
speech involves world politics, famous writers and philosophers, etc?
Probably less than 5%. Now imagine you live in a society without
rapid mass communication, in which you just don't HEAR about most
world politics, and much of what you DO hear about doesn't affect
your life. How much lower would that percentage be?

The sort of Great Events that get into the history books are NOT the
stuff of normal conversation. Real people talk about cooking dinner,
about the beauty of the person they're flirting with, about the stuff
they were drooling over at Merchants' Row today, about their
neighbors, about what they're going to wear tonight... all of which
is relatively time-invariant, and so can be discussed in persona.

It's really fairly easy to delete specifically 20th-century references
from your conversation. After a few stock euphemisms are agreed upon
for unavoidable 20th-century topics (and these euphemisms should be
chosen by FUNCTIONAL similarity! Medieval people do not "use far-
speakers" or "ride a dragon", they "send a messenger" and "ride in a
cart") most of your speech can be left alone. After a few hours'
practice, you'll find yourself noticing when you NEED to say some-
thing out of persona; if I've been speaking in persona and need to
drop it, I instinctively lower my voice about 10 dB.

After the minimal step of deleting 20th-century references, the next
reasonable step is adding "thous", "forsooths", and stock phrases such
as Cariadoc's "but Allah alone knoweth all." The primary effect of
these is to distinguish between your 20th-century self and your
medieval self; to remind yourself who you are today. And it adds
atmosphere to everyone else's experience. (It will, of course, irritate
some people if your use of "thou" and "ye" is grammatically incorrect.
If they are at all gracious about it, they will simply assume you are
an ignorant provincial and try to ignore the bad grammar.)

What's much harder is simulating Medieval attitudes and mindsets.
Again, this does not mean knowing which Caliph deposed which in what
year, it means approaching practical and moral problems the way your
persona would. I don't know how to do this; my best guess is by
immersing oneself in lots and lots of primary written sources,
especially fiction or journals by ordinary people. On the negative
side, this takes a lot of time. On the positive side, it's fun.

Stephen Bloch
Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib
>sca>Caid>Calafia>St.Artemas
sbloch@math.ucsd.edu


Goals

"If anybody else has goals to top mine, I should like to hear them.
I'll add to my list." (Wulfgar Silberbar)

My current goal is to make being in persona something that is
understood and perceived as one of the available options by most
people in the Society. I have been working on it in an organized
fashion for about five years, and I figure another five or ten ought
to do it.

Cariadoc
DDFR@Midway.UChicago.Edu


From: storm@hlafdig.stonemarche.ORG (Arastorm the Golden)
Date: 12 Jun 91 15:09:32 GMT
Organization: The Internet

I want to put my two coppers in on the idea of "acting"
as being needed for the playing of persona.
First, I want to say that I don't camp in the enchanted ground.
Tried it once, didn't like it. I always do my best to stay in persona
and couldn't take the stress of feeling that I was constantly being
watched to see if I was doing it. That in and of itself wrecked the
atmosphere I try to surround myself with. -Cariadoc, I'm sorry if
this was inadvertant on your part, but it did happen, and if you want
to write privately, maybe we can work out the details of why it did.
It is the same as the argument against authenticity police.
Having someone say something is not period, isn't period. That's why
I think we should separate our events into those aimed at doing the
middle ages, and those aimed at studying them. (I would be hard put
to decide which is more stimulating, a good discussion of things
medieval, or a good event. On the other hand, a mixed one doesn't
even come in a distant third.)
When I am at a camping event, I have lots to do: cooking,
cleaning, dressing wounds (if we can dignify first aid by that name),
heck, keeping the fire going is quite time consuming. But I'm doing
it because it's neat. I talk to people while I'm doing it, and it
feels good. (By the way, if setting up your camp is going to take
more than an hour, I strongly suggest that you pack a camp tunic or
gown near the top so you can wear it while setting up camp. While I
would never want to send someone back to their camp in tears, I am
sure that I would remind anyone I saw who was not actively pulling
poles from a car, etc. that the rules of the SCA are for people on
site to be in garb. It's the rules, and more than that, walking
around in T shirt and jeans is a major slap in the face to everyone
else who is playing by those rules. I realise that by saying this I
appear to be siding with some rude people, but I have gotten VERY
tired of having the people who are defending the rules of the SCA
attacked, and those who spoil events for hundreds of people around
them by pure laziness take the high moral stance of innocent victims.)
But back to my original point...)
It is much easier for me to do this ("campin" in persona)
because I have chosen to live in the "Dark Ages". These are appropriate
activities for a noble woman in that period. If I were a Tudor Countess,
I would have to have servants who would dress me, prepare and serve
my food, etc. Now, this would also be fun. And I don't think it is
impossible to find folk who would find serving a Countess in that way
fun. Personally, one of the greatest moments at Pennsic 4 (if not
my whole SCA career) was preparing the bath (including heating the
water in a constant rain) for Duchess Diana.{ Of course, it wouldn't
be fun if the lady one was serving treated you like excrement, but
that is never what we are talking about.} When two modern people
decide to play lady and servant, it is a GAME that the two of them
have decided to play, and both are having fun.
What wouldn't be as fun for me would be trying to maintain
the image of a rennaisance lady with no servants- I think it would
require one of those notorious SCA persona tales explaining how this
anomally could exist. ...So I do early period.
For those of you who haven't watched Cariadoc and I for... well,
since I was a new member and he was already a legend, you don't know
that one of our ongoing discussions is about persona stories. He
doesn't like them, I do. (warning: that WAS an oversimplification.)
But I think that I have figured out WHY. You see, for me, as Arastorm,
when someone comes into my home, I feed them, make sure they are
comfortable, then ask them about themselves: where are you from?
Who's your family (do I know anyone you know)? What are you doing
in this area? If I know them, I ask "how's the wife and kids?" type
questions. That's me. It's also perfectly appropriate for a Saxon
lady.
On the other hand, I really can't see either David or Cariadoc
being interested in this (what I would assume he considers) trivia.
A guest in his home would (after being made comfortable) be amused
by polished tales, or participate in discussions of philosophy,
theology, politics, or something else elevated. He probably doesn't
care who you are or where your people are from. For all I know, it
may be rude in his culture to ask such questions.
It is this difference that led to years of discussions
between us on whether telling "persona stories" at events was appropriate.
(As all good Rialtans know, Cariadoc is only marginally aware that
his marriage is an impossibility. As a Saxon, I don't think I'd dare
get into a marriage where I didn't know the family, bloodline, history,
etc of my prospective mate. I certainly won't encourage my children to
enter into such dangerous pairings.)
This is why I must encourage people to study enough to know
the basics of their own culture, and the basics of mainstream
medieval culture (if they are not the same). (This is why I am
working on the persona guide series- and I am learning far more about
printers and such delays than I ever wanted to know.) If I see a
noble lady carrying her own water, I will probably assume that
either she is carrying it for someone of higher rank, or that she
has fallen on hard times. (If I see her carry it into a camp
where fighters are standing around chaffing about fighting, and
not helping her, I will probably think very unflattering things
about them- never knowing that this may well have been a system
worked out by them before the event.)
At any rate, I don't think it takes any acting ability to
stay in persona at events- camping or otherwise. You do what you do,
while when you join the SCA you need to learn some new ettiquettes-
for example, how to eat with only a knife and maybe a spoon, it
doesn't take acting to eat. We are REALLY eating- even if we are
using our fingers. We are really cooking- even if the fire is
started with flint and steel rather than matches. Acting in the
SCA is what the mummers (and maybe the Byzantine courtiers) do.
Arastorm
Lady of Stormgard


rom: Dale@sol.cs.wmich.edu (Dale Gee)
Date: 13 Jun 91 06:42:08 GMT
Organization: Western Michigan Univ. Comp. Sci. Dept.

storm@hlafdig.stonemarche.ORG (Arastorm the Golden) writes:
> The question was asked: who wants to be a peasant?
> Well, not me, but there certainly are those who do. And
>personally, if use of quarterstaves would be given it's own niche
>(as fencing has), I think I would love, as a noble, to watch
>those who do want to use the staves, spar at fairs, or over
>in their own lists at the sides of tournaments.
> The SCA is here to recreate the middle ages, and thank
>god for those who want to play peasants. If the safety considerations
>can be answered, by all means, let us not bar an appropriate
>activity from those who have chosen different persona than ourselves.
> Arastorm
> Lady of Stormgard

We in House Mendicus go out of our way to be peasants.
In fact the lower on the social order we can the better.
There is one fellow in our house who has the distiction of being known as
Lord Slyme, Taking the personal of a non-noble type can be fun.
Sometimes the social climbers and peer wannbe's get shook up by it.
Some things seem a little different. Make new garb and then spend time
distressing it, so it looks old. Lots and lots of fun.
Learning how to grovel. Having the pleasure of being stepped on by royalty.
More people in the SCA should try this kind of personal.

On a side note. Anstrom mentioned about servants in another post.
At pensic 12 I was strapped for money and hired my self out as a servant
to a camp from the east kingdom. The fed me and I hauled armor to and from the
battle field. Fected water and helped around camp.
They allowed me to have free time during the battles and the evenings
was my own. It worked out quite well for both of us.
I think they also like being able to flaut they had a servant.

J.P. McCarthy

House Medicus (the beggars guild)

From: ddfr@quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman)
Date: 14 Jun 91 15:12:31 GMT
Organization: University of Chicago

Arastorm raises the question of our differing views of persona
stories, and suggests that it reflects differing personal styles--she
likes to gossip with strangers, I like to argue philosophy with them.
I have no quarrel with her description (I can't--my wife agrees with
her), but I do not think it is a complete explanation of the
disagreement.

If the normal persona story were the sort of thing appropriate in
Arastorm's context--the sort of thing that we mundanely tell
strangers about ourselves when we are getting to know them--I would
have no objection to it. But, in my experience, the typical persona
story has one or more of the following problems:

1. It is elaborate and implausible, designed to give the author an
excuse for combining lots of things that would not have been combined
in the real Middle Ages and/or to show off the author's ability as an
amateur novelist.

2. It is an attempt to claim credit for imagined rather than real
accomplishments ("and in the crusade I slew dozens, and held the gate
of the castle single handed. Why aren't I in the tournament today?
Well, I'm planning to authorise just as soon as I can get my armor
together.") One of the nice things about the Society is that it is
real; this approach turns it into the game of two children inventing
stories about their glorious deeds.

3. It is used as a substitute for both real persona and real
conversation. When we meet a stranger and get talking about
ourselves, our histories come out in bits and pieces as they relate
to what we are talking about. But a persona story gets "told" in a
way in which real histories normally are not. And the person who says
"my mother was a gypsy and my father an albigensian, and they moved
to Mongolia in order ..." is generally not thinking about what the
person described would really be like, how he would view his own
history, etc.

To take an obvious example, a real Albigensian, meeting a stranger in
a kingdom where most of the population appeared to be Christians,
would be very hesitant about announcing his religious
affiliation--unless, perhaps, he was a powerful noble with a lot of
friends. But none of that--none of the "being your persona" which I
regard as one of the really fun elements of the SCA--appears in the
normal persona story.

I guess my view is that it is appropriate to have a persona story, to
know it, but not under most circumstances to tell it--just to let
bits and pieces come out as appropriate. My favorite example is a
conversation with Armand de Sevigny. I had been telling William the
Marshall stories and Armand mentioned, in an offhand sort of way,
that when he was a young man he had once met the Marshall. It was
entirely convincing, and added depth and believability to Armand's
role.

I read a comment by a writer to the effect that an author should know
things about his characters that never appear in the book--it makes
them more three dimensional in his own mind, and thus improves their
portrayal in the book. A good persona story seems to me to be
analogous to that.

Cariadoc


From: rhe6@quads.uchicago.edu (mindy miriam rheingold)
Date: 5 Aug 91 22:33:28 GMT
Organization: University of Chicago

Here follows a brief guide for playing persona within--and without, if
you desire--the Enchanted Ground. Though this will not be as detailed
as I first planned, it will, I hope, alleviate any last ingering qualms
people have about visiting the Enchanted Ground, as well as answer
such oft-asked questions as: "Is it alright if my clothes don't match
my persona's time/country"; "Does it matter if I don't know much about
my persona's period"; "Does it matter if I really don't have a persona";
"How do I deal with people whose personas are from different times?";
"How do I find out if something is appropriate for the Enchanted Ground"
and "What about alternate personas?"

Again, please me completely responsible for what I post about the
Enchanted Ground (Sorry, forgot to typ "Hold me responsible," and
please don't be offended if I put forth persona philosophies that
differ or conflict with yours.

I would also like to thank all the people who have written such nice
things to me about the Enchanted Ground postings. I look forward to
meeting/talking with you at Pennsic (for those who don't know me, I
am of medium height, full figure, average looks, pale skin, wavy
long brown hair, usually wearing early 15th century French stuff or
late 15th century Italian stuff). And for those who asked,
"Gingibere erratum scriborum est" is latin for "Ginger is a scribal
error," literally "Ginger is an error of the scribes." Ginger IS
period, of course, I just don't like it much and fuss when a recipe
calls for it.

PLAYING PERSONA

Sometimes called "being in persona," playing persona is one of the
main, if not the main reason the Enchanted Ground came into being.
Playing persona means pretending to be a medieval (or renaissance,
if you're one of those decadent late period afficianados) with no
knowledge of or contact with the modern world. Playing persona
can be described as a combination of historical recreation and
on-going improvisational theater. It's lots of fun.

The main things to remember when playing persona is that, although
you know all about your persona, your persona knows nothing of
your existance or of anything modern. Paradoxically, your persona
doesn't know she is a persona. Another main thing ("The two--no,
the three main things...") to remember is that your knowledge is
different than your persona's knowledge, even if they both know
about some of the same things. Mindy and Madeleine both know about
the Black Plague, but Madeleine knows it is caused by bad air and
the wrath of God, while Mindy knows it was brought on by infected
fleas on infected rats. So, while playing persona, you are
pretending, among other things, not to knw of your own (modern)
existance, and to ignore all the things that your persona could
not know. (You can't get around this by making your persona a
mystic or a clairvoyant. Medieval mystics did not see visions of
you watching Monty Python and eating Haagen Daas Deep Chocolate
Fudge; they saw God or the angels or belching dragons devouring
mankind.)

Paradoxically, though, (Jeez, Mindy, enough with the paradoxes!)
your enjoyment of persona playing and your ability to play
persona depends, to a large extent, to your own (modern) perceptions
and knowledge. After all, you have created your persona, and your
modern self is always lurking there, behind your persona. There-
fore, any blatantly non-medieval stuff in your environment, be it
conversational or physical, hampers your ability to and enjoyment
of playing persona, because it nudges (or jerks) the modern you
from the background into the forefront. If Madeleine Reynaud
des MilleRoses sees a chocolate chip cookie or hears the Moose
Song, she'd just think, "What a strange and unusual sweet," or
"My minstrels never sing anything like that, Praise Our Lady."
But Madeleine can never be just Madeleine, since she is created
and informed by Mindy Rheingold from Chicago, who finds that
chocolate chip cookies and the Moose Song, good and noble as they
are, make it harder to pretend that she is Madeleine Reynaud des
MilleRoses.

This is all a bit like acting, especially method acting. When you
are on stage playing Lady MacBeth, you ARE Lady MacBeth, to a certain
extent. But if the messanger doesn't enter on time or MacBeth skips
five lines ahead or you forget the dagger, the part of your brain that
is still you and not Lady MacBeth has to kick into gear to rectify the
situation, while at the same time you still need to be Lady MacBeth.
(This is partly why actors are all nuts and like nothing better than
to sit around relating past theater horrors: "I remember when I was
playing Jill in "Second Shepherds" and the batteries fell out of the
mechanical sheep right on stage." This actually happened to me once.
But I digress.)

Another thing to remember is that your persona would have no idea that
she is not in her proper time place. This means that she a) has no
need to say that she is from the fourteenth century, since she just
assumes everyone is, and b) she would attribute differences of
clothing, etc., to place or finances or religion or personal oddity
and not to time. This requires some willing suspension of disbelief,
but it is easier than it might seem because of the difference of what
you know and your persona knows. You know, when you see a lady in
Tudor garb talking with a Viking, that she is 16th century and he is
probably around 10th century, that they couldn't have existed at the
same time, and that their talking together is really absurd, when
taken in context of the space-time continuum. Your persona, though,
suave Frenchman that he is (Look, I'm writing this, and I'll use
any examples I please, thank you very much!), knows nothing of this,
and is, in fact, sublimely unaware that this is not the 14th century
he knows and loves. He wonders, of course, what that lovely, though
oddly dressed woman is doing talking to the alarmingly furry person
in the baggy hose. Is he some sort of odd beast-man imported from
Cathay? Could she be a Muscovite and is that why she is dressed so
strangely?

Therefore, it's perfectly fine for your to wear garb that isn't in
your period. You won't tell us when you're from or that a kimono
isn't Scottish garb, and we will be blissfully aware of any
discrepencies. (Besides, lots of people like to wear clothes from
countries other than their own.) Some might think that you are
oddly dressed, or out of fashion or something, but we would never
dream of mentioning it, I need hardly say. Perhaps you lost half
your family fortune or are from far away or performing some odd
religous vow. In any case, it isn't polite to mention it. It
isn't our business and you seem a perfectly nice person, in spite
of the funny green hat.

One does run into more of a problem if one is discussing events
that are happening or have happened within one's "lifetime." If
you choose to do this, be vague. Don't mention dates, refer to famous
people by titles and first names only: "Queen Eleanor," rather than
"Eleanor of Aquitane," for example. After all, there were lots of
queens named Eleanor. If someone is discussing something
way before or after your time, just assume that they are talking
about some far away country or are slightly unhinged, smile and nod
at them and change the subject. We all have practice at this. I
myself have a couple of friends who occasionally pour out their
tribulations/group politics to me and I smile and nod and generally
have no clue as to what they're talking about, but I figure they need
to discuss it with someone and it won't hurt me to listen (The amount
of outrageous gossip I have learned this way is truly amazing.) This
technique is quite useful when playing persona.

Some people eschew the above type of conversation and stick to telling
stories, philosophical or literary chats, discussion of appropriate
Society doings, and flirting. This is all very well, but sometimes
you just gotta tell someone what that hussy Agnes Sorel has been up
to.

TOPICS OF COVERSATION

It's fine to talk about anything your persona would have talked about--
the harvest, the weather, the latest fashions, the scandalous doings of
the Countess of Troyes, the glorious deeds of your grandfather, the
marvelous new romance you heard from the minstrel who stayed at your castle
last winter, the merits of Thomas Aquinas over those of Bernard of Clairvaux.
Just remember to talk about things from the perspective of your medeival
persona, not your 20th century self.

If you don't know much about your persona or don't really have one,
you can always talk about appropriate Society doings, compliment,
ask questions ("Where did you get that lovely necklace), or flirt.
If you are really shy or nervous, don't feel compelled to say anything,
just smile and nod, and listen to other people. Silence is rarely
a problem in the Enchanted Ground. I alone have enough verbosity for
several large encampments.

Talking about certain Society matters is fine, though mentioning the
actual SCA is somewhat inappropriate. The SCA didn't exist in the
Middle Ages, though many of the things done in the Middle Ages are
done in the SCA, like tournaments, feasts, coronations, politics.
However, many things that exist within the SCA didn't exist in the
Middle Ages, like the BoD, A&S competitions, kingdom newsletters,
membership dues, the Knowne World Heraldic Symposium, waivers, etc.
So when talking about Society matters, limit your discussion to
things that would've happened back then, and discuss them in the
context of places (An Tir, the Barony of StoneMarche) rather than
the SCA. And remember, back in the Middle Ages, one did not have
to submit one's name to the heralds to see if they'd pass it, so
when introducing yourself, do not say,"Greetings, I am Sylvia of
Harding Fen, only not officially yet, because I don't know if the
heralds will accept it." Just say, "Greetings, I am Sylvia of
Harding Fen," and leave it at that.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Some people like giving modern things names they think sound
medievalish, like calling a car a "dragon," a computer an
"Electronic scribe," a phone a "farspeaker." These names tend to
jar the fantasy that we are medieval people living in the Middle
Ages. Instead of trying to give a modern thing a "medieval" name,
either don't mention the thing (usually you don't need to) or figure
out what the thing's function is (communication, travel, writing, etc.)
then substitute the name of the thing that fulfillled the function in
the Middle Ages. A word processor becomes a clerk or a scribe, a horse
or a wagon takes the place of a car or motorcyle, sending email or
talking on the phone becomes sending a messanger or a missive. Babies
and children, by the way, were called babies and children in the Middle
Ages. No need to call them smalls, halflings, munchkins, etc. Besides,
Rebecca and Molly (the small children in the Enchanted Ground) are far
too adorable and sweet to be called thuglets.

HOW DO I ASK IF IT'S MEDIEVAL?

This is a common occurance. You want to know if a certain food is medieval
so that you can offer it to people (how generous of you!) or if a song sounds
medieval because you'd like to sing it at the Bardic Circle, but you know it
isn't medieval to ask if something is medieval. What to do? It's quite
simple really. Just go up to your nearest Enchanted Ground denizen and ask
if you can speak to them outside the encampment (or say that you have a dish,
song, etc, that you would like to share, but you aren't sure if it is
"suitable for this gentle company." Said Enchanted Ground denizen will then
escort you outside the Enchanted Ground border, where you may safely not play
persona, and either answer your question or direct you towards another
denizen who would know.

FORM OF SPEECH

It is unnecessary to speak Elizabethan English. If you want to but
don't know all the grammar rules, there is an excellent article in the
Knowne World Handbook called "How to Speak Forsoothly." I will only
say here that it is safest to call people you don't know well "you"
instead of "thou," as "thou" was used for lovers, children, good friends,
and really obvious social inferiors. It was NOT used for the King or
with a delicately brought up young lady whom you hardly know. Don't
feel chagrined if you didn't know this before. It's all the King James
Bible's fault.

Here follow a few tricks for sounding less modern:

1. Avoid modern idioms and slang like "Okay," "come with," "Cool,"
"Do lunch," "Hi," "Yo," and any word or phrase that sounds even vaguely
Californian (This is not an insult; I am a transplanted Californian).

2. Avoid contractions like "can't," "wouldn't," "don't." "'Tis," though,
is a period contraction.

3. Speak clearly and enunciate well. This isn't necessarily medieval,
but for most of us it will sound different and that's a start.

4. Sprinkle your conversation with medieval phrases, curses, and
exclamations: "By Our Lady," "Par ma foi!," "God's teeth" (my personal
favorite), "Good my lord," "Sweet my lady," etc.

ALTERNATE PERSONAS

There has been scads of debate on this topic and I won't enter into it.
If you have more than one persona and want to visit the Enchanted Ground,
there are two ways to go about it:

1. Only play one persona.

2. Play both personas, but at separate times. Act like your personas
are completely separate people. This means you'll have to introduce
yourself to people twice, dress differently, etc.

Whichever you do, don't mention your alternate persona. Play each one
as a completely separate entity. Your personas may know each other, but
don't say things like, "Gee, I wonder why Otto the Oaf is never around
when I am? Strange, isn't it? You'd think we were the same person,"
or "I'm being my alternate persona right now," or "Well, when I'm my
other self, I'll belly dance for you all." Remember, your persona
doesn't know your alternate persona is an alternate persona.

And never, when playing one persona, suddenly segeway into the other
one. This can be extremely disconcerting, especially if your alternate
persona is of the opposite sex.

WHAT TO CALL THIS GUIDE IN PERSONA

You probably have no need to mention this guide while playing
persona. If you do suddenly have a pressing desire to praise or
criticize it, call it a Treatise on Manners.

Well, I hope this has dispelled any last lingering qualms you have
about visiting us and answered any hitherto unanswered questions.
Hope to see you at Pennsic.

Madeleine


From: Henry Best
Subject: Peasants' Point
Date: 9 Sep 91

Concerning peasant's point and similar proposals, I
generally have no trouble paying my own way to events,
mundanely. However, my very first persona, who I still play
and value highly, is a Franciscan Friar.

I attempt to follow the Rule of Saint Francis when I am
John the Heretic. I have an extreme vow of poverty. I offer
to do menial labor for food and shelter. I beg for food or
money.

Mundanely, I pay my site fees by mail or I arrange to
have a friend publicly pay my way. I give any money I receive
to some charity or other. If I have enjoyed the event, I give
it to the local group. None of that is visible to an observer
if I am in persona.

Truth to tell, I have no real need for a peasants' point
in order to play Brother John. Wandering into a strange camp
with my bowl and begging breakfast is a great icebreaker. The
cooks generally love it and have a great time either fussing
over me or shooing me away. Ladies I meet on the road stare
at me with wide eyes and make their lords put a little
something in my bowl. Everyone comes away happy. All it takes
is a tiny smidgen of chutzpah the first time you try it.

The reason I am telling you all this (I babble too much)
is to point out that you might want to arrange your peasants'
point so that you can support those impoverished souls who
don't happen to be broke mundanely. It might involve a
recordkeeping system or be as simple as a verbal convention
that lets people know that money does not need to change
hands.

On the whole, I think peasants' point is the seed of a
truly great idea. There might be plenty of folks who would
like to live _way_ below the salt but need help hooking up
with gentles in need of service. I just don't know quite how
you would go about managing it.

Henry Best
Isenfir
Atlantia

aka John of Lincoln, the Heretic

Henry Best
Clothing Perceptions
24 Sep 91

Bertram> I am curious. To what degree do clothes make the
Bertram> Lord or Lady in the Society?

My very first persona was John of Lincoln, called The Heretic, a
franciscan friar. The color, sort of an "off grey", drains every bit
of color from my face. The cloth is very rough-woven and is a fair
visual approximation of home-spun english linen. The cut of the robes
is technically my size but hangs loosely on me, as if I had
considerably more flesh on my bones when the robes were made. They
are frayed and worn at the edges. I and several of my friends
routinely wipe our hands off on them and so they sport a subdued
"muddiness" throughout. If I were to machine wash this garb, it would
vanish in a puff of lint; I hand soak it in a cold tub once every 6
months whether it needs it or not. :)

I played SCA as John the Heretic for about a year each in the
Outlands and in Atlantia. Grossly overgeneralizing, here is what I
observed as my fellow scadians reacted to me.

Ladies tended to react initially with general unease and
sometimes even revulsion. As time would go on, reactions would
develop into one of two areas, delight or displeasure. Those who were
delighted would either make a big show of avoiding me, shooing me
away, putting me to work at unpleasant chores, etc, or they would
fuss over me and make sure that I was fed and comfortable. Those who
were displeased would actively avoid me in seriousness, refuse to
make eye-contact with me, and generally pretended I didn't exist.

"Hats" tended to be literally unaware of my existance. There were
notable exceptions. In general, tho, if my lady (a laurel) introduced
me to some king, baroness, duke, knight, or what have you, I would
observe in quiet amazement as their eyes simply never really focused
on me as they shook my hand. Had I less internal self-confidence, I
might have begun to doubt my own existance.

Late last fall, the shire where I live needed a seneschal. I
volunteered for the job. I thought that John the Heretic would make
a lousy seneschal so I decided I would develop a new persona to
support the office. I dug out some elizabethan garb originally
belonging to my lady's ex-husband and wore it to an event.

At one point during the evening, I found myself surrounded by
four ladies who complimented me on my grace, my quiet but absolute
self-confidence, and my air of inherent nobility. I am not surmising
this but only paraphrasing. One compared me to an actor she admired.
When her friends said I bore him no resemblance, she steadfastly
insisted it was my charm and poise, my attitudes, not my mere
physical appearance that she referred to. At no time did these ladies
seem to me to anything other than utterly genuine in their reactions.

Was it the clothes? I am sure of it. I did not suddenly become
"inherently noble". (My lady maintained that it was because I was
the only male at the event in tights.) At the very least, I think
that the John the Heretic robes damped any "inherent nobility" and
that the tudor doublet enhanced it. More likely, just like with my
poor friar, the ladies saw only the clothes and not the man inside
them.
Just a Guy in Garb,
Henry Best


Henry Best
Oop 600-1600
5 Nov 91

Well, I have never considered that whole 600-1600 boundary to
be all that useful on an individual basis. It's fine on a large
scale; defining the overall scope of interest in corpora, etc.
But it has nothing to do with what I can appropriately use for my
persona.

Henry Best is a gentleman from Elizabeth's reign. That means
I can't use a viking round shield and an axe, even though they
are "period". They aren't "period" for Henry. Likewise, if I find
out that _fill_in_the_blank_ was developed in England in 1602, I
will adopt it with zero apologies.

The world comes to an end for Henry in 1603, when Elizabeth
dies. James takes over at that point and makes changes left and
right, often specifically to be non-elizabethan. If I think that
something originated with James, I don't use it. If I find
documentation from James' period and I think that it is
essentially unchanged, I might include it. The point is that I
don't use 1600 as a cutoff; I use the death of Elizabeth.

Likewise, John the Heretic is a Franciscan scholar who is
involved in all the excitement when the arabian/greek texts reach
the scientific community in Europe. Much as it pains me,
DaVinci's stuff is off limits, even though it's "period".

From: habura@vccsouth13.its.rpi.edu (Andrea Marie Habura)
Date: 12 Nov 91 13:22:47 GMT
Organization: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY

That's true. Andrea is also an agnostic, but Alison spends a lot of her time
on pilgrimage, and has two relics. (Canterbury Tales type relics, yes.
Completely fake. I'm making one right now; I found a photo of a relic case
for a thorn from Christ's crown, from the mid-14th century. By a happy
chance, I have a 2" long locust thorn in my possession. I'm making a similar
case for it. Andrea knows that it's fake, but Alison thinks it's genuine.)

Alison MacDermot
Eastern Crown Herald


From: ddfr@quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman)
Date: 18 Nov 91 05:20:33 GMT
Organization: University of Chicago Computing Organizations

Priests, Mass, etc.

"Any mass performed for Christian participants at an SCA event will
be a service, not a theatric display."(William de Corbie)

I think that there is an important point here. There is a fuzzy line
in the SCA, between things that are "acts" and things that are
"real." To take an obvious example, suppose some tells malicious lies
about someone else. It is not a satisfactory defense to say "That was
not me; I am not more responsible for my persona's behavior than an
actor playing Iago is for Iago's behavior."

Where the line is drawn is different for different people. I am
mundanely an atheist/agnostic (depending on your definition); when I
argue for Islam at events it is mostly a game, although there is an
element of trying to make the best case I can for a position that I
know some people believe in. But if I am arguing with someone who is
mundanely as well as in persona a Christian, it is much less a game
for him (this has happened, and can produce a certain amount of
tension). If I give a convincing reason why the Christian religion
does not make sense, that is an attack on his beliefs as well as his
persona's beliefs. If he gives a good argument for Christianity, that
may be a way of drawing me, as well as my persona, towards what he
considers the truth.

Similarly, if a group of (mundane) Christians at an event are doing a
Christian ceremony not too inconsistent with their mundane beliefs,
it is probably real for them--just as oaths of allegiance are, within
certain limitations, real for me (binding promises, not just stage
business--although the context in which the promise is made may imply
some unstated limitations in what I am promising). There are serious
potential problems if some of the people involved view the ceremony
as real, some as playacting, and some as parody.

Gay Personnae

Greg Love asks about gay personnae. A few years ago one of our active
members was gay, both mundanely and in persona. At one point we were
looking for a new seneschal and he was one of the people being
considered. The old seneschal said something to the effect that she
was afraid he might finding running such a group too difficult. His
response was that he had been an officer of the Gay and Lesbian
Alliance the previous year, and thought an SCA group would be easy in
comparison. Unfortunately, he moved away a few months after becoming
seneschal. His persona was English, from the court of (I believe)
Richard II, who was widely suspected of being gay and having at least
one gay favorite.

Another possibility would be to be Persian; they have had a
reputation for (male) homosexuality for several thousand years, and I
presume there is something in it, although I do not know the culture
well enough to be sure.

Cariadoc


Date: 31 Jan 92
From: ddfr@quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Organization: University of Chicago Computing Organizations

"Perhaps our scribes could improve their visibility in some way."
(Fiacha)

This suggests an interesting way of combining visibility with
appreciation. I believe that period scribes in at least some period
cultures had pen cases--things they wore that held pens, perhaps ink,
etc. I have not checked any details, but I am pretty sure I remember
a pen case as one of the charges described in "Mamluk Heraldry," and
I think there are similar things in Christian Europe. How about a
kingdom project (by the non-scribes) to research what pen cases
looked like, make a lot of recognizably similar ones, and, over time,
present one to every scribe who does award scrolls. That would both
be a thankyou and make it easier to recognize scribes who did award
scrolls.

"It might seem a little odd to have a Muslim mufti and a Catholic
bishop at the same table, talking peaceably, but this IS the SCA, and
we HAVE seen odder occurrences...." (Fujimoto)

Why would it seem odd? There were Christians, including clergymen,
all over al-Islam; it would be odd if they never argued religion with
their Muslim neighbors. There are a variety of period stories about
religious arguments, such as the Christian/Jewish/Muslim debate that
was supposedly held for the Khan of the Khazars.

Cariadoc


Religion and Persona
Date: 3 Feb 92
From: lawbkwn@buacca.BITNET (Yaakov HaMizrachi)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Unto the good gentles of the Rialto does
this humble Yaakov extend greetings on the
29th day of Sh'vat.

I have, of course, been following the religion/persona
debate with much interest. I should like to say
the following:

It seems to me there are two questions; how much
should religion be a part of persona and how much should
religion be a PUBLIC part of persona. The first, IMO,
is a private matter and not really anyone's business.
The second is a subject of some debate and confusion, but
I personally favor more public 'religiousness' onthe part
of persona buffs.

To discuss my personal case (which, of course, I know best)
Yaakov is a religious Jew of the early 13th century living
(for the most part) in Cairo. (With trips around the Islamic
world and extended stays in the Kingdom of the East). Harold Feld
is a religious Jew in the late 20th century who spends his time
doing (among other things) medieval recreation. Thus, in many
ways, Yaakov is religious because Harold is religious,
although there are differences. Yaakov never heard of
'Orthodox', whereas Harold expects most Jews he meets
not to practice the same traditions he does. Yaakov can
eat rice on Passover. Harold can't. Yaakov has one or
two religious customs from his upbringing in China that
he has given up to conform to his new community. Harold has
a number of European practices which he tries to avoid at events.

However, both Yaakov and Harold eat strictly Kosher food.
Yaakov prays 3 times a day at an event. Not only does
Yaakov need to do it, but so does Harold.

This last is an important. I do not make a production
out of prayer, it is private. However, the day someone tells
me that I can't pray at his event because it violates corpra
is the day I quit the SCA. No option.

On the other hand, There are a number of semi-public
things that I do that I could stop, but see no
reason to or reason they should offend. For example,
I host a Friday night dinner at any camping event I go to.
Afterwards, I may very well sing traditional (and
documentable to persona correct culture+dates) songs
in praise of the sabbath. I suppose this might be
'impossing my religion on others,' (if they understood
it), but it stikes me as no more religious than the
Carolingian Jongluers singing 'Goudete' or some other
hymn. That I 'mean' it should not change the fact that
it is a perfectly acceptable period song.

In my personal opinion, I think that people should
be encouraged to be outwardly religious in persona,
providing that: 1) they make a serious attempt to
represent the religion they are recreating; 2) No
outsider is forced to participate (this does not
bar public ritual).

This has rambled on enough. Alas, too little
sleep and a lousy editor have muddled my
confused thoughts almost beyond comprehension.

In Service,
Yaakov HaMizrachi


"Mundane",Persona,SCA for credit
27 Feb 92
From: ddfr@quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Organization: University of Chicago Computing Organizations
Reply-To: ddfr@midway.uchicago.edu

Persona

"I didn't have a persona at all till fairly recently, and even now
being "a 9th-century Welsh/Saxon et caetera" is mostly a handy guide
to getting my garb and my encampment to look reasonably consistent,
and not like an explosion in a time machine.

But then, I'm a Westie.... " (Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin)

Once you have figured out what sort of clothes a 9th century
Welsh/Saxon lady would wear, you might start wondering what sort of a
person would be wearing those clothes. There is then the danger that
you might discover that wearing the person is much more interesting
than just wearing the clothes. At that point you discover that you
have a persona--and, of course, get exiled from the West Kingdom as a
foreign subversive.

Consider as simple a matter as story telling around a fire at
Pennsic. Medieval stories told by a medieval story teller are more
interesting, all other things being equal, than "no shit, there we
were" stories told by a twentieth century recreationist. But once you
have decided to be a medieval story teller, you must decide what
medieval story teller you are going to be. What do you know, what do
you believe? When you tell stories of miracles, is the point the
miraculous power of God or the credulity of the witnesses? When you
tell about a historical event, is it from the viewpoint of someone
who observed it or from the perspective of two hundred years later?

Dorothea also asks:

"Am I a 9th-century Welsh/Saxon border hybrid who survived the sack
of York, married a Dane, and now hangs out in the court of Alfred the
Great?

Or am I a Laurel/Pelican of the West Kingdom, Seneschal of the oldest
branch of the Known World and currently Bard of the Mists?

That is like asking whether David is an economist and writer or a
medieval cooking enthusiast and story teller. The obvious answer is
"all of the above." Dorothea is a 9th century etc. who at some point,
in some unspecified way, found herself in a foreign land called the
kingdom of the West, and has adapted very nicely. Is that any
stranger than Ibn Battuta, born in Cariadoc's Maghreb a few centuries
later, who at various points in his life was a judge in Delhi, a
judge in the Maldive Islands, a tourist in Ceylon, and an ambassador
to the emperor of China?

All of which suggests to me a new category of SCA joke:

What scrap of overheard conversation tells you that you are in:

The West Kingdom: "Of course it's authentic--we've been doing it for
years."

Calontir: "If Herald had only had bigger shields and fewer heroes ..."

Two down, ten to go--suggestions?

"My ultimate response was, "If it's a camping event, summer (hot)
outside, or I'm just feeling lazy, I'm Celtic (aren't T-tunics
wonderful?). If it's indoors and I have a place to change (so I can
look nice without a hassel) or I'm fencing, I'm late period
Italian-ish ." Never figured out what I am when I fight heavy,
though. Ask me in another 5 years. :-)"
(Dona Kaela Orion)

It seems to follow that Italy, at least in late period, had no
summers--I didn't realize the little ice age was quite that effective.

Or in other words, wouldn't a more interesting solution to the
problem of weather be to pick one persona and figure out how that
person would have dealt with both hot and cold weather? If more
people did that, fewer of us would have the impression that people in
certain cultures spent all their time dressed for winter.

Cariadoc


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
From: strauss@Hopper.itc.Virginia.EDU (John Strauss)
Subject: Re: Lepers (was: Vampires)
Organization: uva
Date: Sun, 3 Apr 1994 20:13:50 GMT

I haven't ever been a leper.

But my first persona was a rather filthy and pitable Franciscan
friar, named John the Heretic.

My first Estrella, which was my 3rd event, I made a practice of
visiting strange camps in the mornings and begging for
breakfast, offering to perform menial labor and to bless the
camp in return.

The overwhelming positive reaction of hospitality was arguably
the final straw that made me a "fanatic" SCAdian.

My two fondest memories were the middle-eastern camp whose
master gave me bread and water, quoting scripture concerning
Allah's commands to give hospitality to beggars. (He then
ordered his men to throw me bodily out of camp, which they did.)

And the camp which made me haul away a vast amount of garbage
up a hill for them. When I returned, I was presented with a
venison steak, medium rare, and welcomed to their table as an
honored guest.

Henry Best
Atlantia


From: Honour Horne-Jaruk (9/21/94)
To: Mark Harris
Mail*LinkĘ SMTP RE>Persona

markh@sphinx.sps.mot.com (Mark Harris) writes:
> Hmm. I've seen Alizaunde before, although I don't remember a time.
> 14th century? Who is Una?
>
> Stefan li Rous
> Ansteorra

Respected Friend:
Alizaunde was three years old at the Field of Cloth-of-Gold. She is
the daughter of Katherine, Dame de Bregeuf and a French merchant-prince (He's
got the money, but not the title). Exiled from France, she lived in England
until Bloody Mary recently took over. Now she's an independent merchant.
Una Wicca (That Pict) is a tribute hostage in the custody of Jarl
Aelfwine Dunedain, who lives near Wilton, on Salisbury Plain. A priest of some
foreign god called Christ Jesus came through last year; he said it has been
493 years since his God's mortal disguise was destroyed.
Both of them are parts of me, brought out and exaggerated. Alizaunde
is the money-grubber, the show-off, the wit and the compulsive teacher. Una
is the one who works with her hands, the herbalist, the songmaker and the
agressive recruiter. Oddly enough, it was Una who earned the Laurel in the
clothier's arts, even though the scroll says Alizaunde de Bregeuf. This is why
Alizaunde's Laurel `medallion' is almost invisible, while Una wears a Roman
charioteer's victory wreath she dug out of some abandoned grave.
Una is very slightly shorter and fatter than Alizaunde (because of the
way the two styles of clothing effect percieved size and height). Some people
don't like her as much, because she's louder and less elegant. Some like her
more, because she's less delicate and more `authentic'. YMWV.
That help?
yrs, etc,
Honour/Una/Alizaunde

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