The-Peerage-msg - 6/30/08
Thoughts on the SCA Peerage and Peers.
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 separate 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.
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Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
Subject: ANST - Conduct unbecoming a peer?
Date: Mon, 07 Jun 1999 08:47:49 MST
From: Dennis Grace <sirlyonel at hotmail.com>
To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG
>Exactly (and I mean EXACTLY) what ARE the standards for being elevated to
As stated in Corpora VII.A.1:
General Requirements: Candidates for any order conferring a Patent of Arms
must meet the following minimum criteria. Additional requirements may be set
by law and custom of the kingdoms as deemed appropriate and necessary by the
a. They shall have been obedient to the governing documents of the Society
and the laws of the kingdom.
b. They shall have consistently shown respect for the Crown of the kingdom.
c. They shall have set an example of courteous and noble behavior suitable
to a peer of the realm.
d. They shall have demonstrated support for the aims and ideals of the
Society by being as authentic in dress, equipment and behavior as is
within their power.
e. They shall have shared their knowledge and skills with others.
f. They shall have practiced hospitality according to their means and as
appropriate to the circumstances.
g. They shall have made every effort to learn and practice those skills
desirable at and worthy of a civilized court. To this end they should have
some knowledge of a wide range of period forms, including but not limited to
literature, dancing, music, heraldry, and chess, and they should have some
familiarity with combat as practiced in the Society. They should also
participate in Society recreations of several aspects of the culture of the
Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Thorgrim further adds:
>In my mundane life, I have to live up to a standard of conduct EVERY DAY.
>It's not easy, and sometimes it isn't fun. But I do it, simply because
>I've chosen to accept this way of life.
How nice for you. I was a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy. They paid me to
fulfill that Code of Conduct. The SCA is an avocation, not a vocation.
While I do believe that members of the SCA (and peers particularly) should
strive for honorable behavior at all times, we are under no constraints so
stringent as the military code. During SCA activities, however, Corpora
VII.A.4 sets down specific requirements for duties of the various peerages
which include such matters of conduct as:
(a) To set an example of courtesy and chivalrous conduct on and off the
field of honor.
The individuals involved in the incident the lady from Calontir reported
appear to have fallen short of this requirement. I would also, however,
note that as we do not have the particulars of this incident, all we can say
with any conviction is that it looked bad to at least one bystander (the
lady who posted the report).
Primarily, I think the lady needs to discuss this matter with the
lo vostre por vos servir
Sir Lyonel Oliver Grace
Subject: ANST - What it takes/was:Why am I playing this Game? *long*
Date: Mon, 07 Jun 99 09:02:00 MST
From: Trish McCurdy <ladyoftherose at hotmail.com>
To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG
Thorgrim wrote a lengthy letter about the what's and why's of peerage.
I am feeling verbose today and thought I would add my two cents, although I
will say up front that every person on this list will have a different thing
to add, or perhaps a totally different view point on the subject.
So, having given a disclaimer, I will give you my viewpoint.
I was lucky enough to be Queen of two very different Kingdoms, and the
expereiences it gave me taught me the very first and important lesson, which
was "respect for a Kingdom's tradtitions".
There used to be and still may be a basic list in Corpora of what is
expected from a Peer. I stared with that basic list and added a few things
of my own. I am using the list I always kept in my heart for the Chivalry.
It is basically the same for the other Peerages with a few variations. And
because the members of the Chivalry I have come to know here in Ansteorra
have been such wonderful examples of what "My Dream" has always told me one
of their number should be, I feel comfortible sharing what my expectations
as a Lady have always been.
Does the candiate...
1. Know the laws and traditions of the Kingdom and the Society?
2. Do they Dance?
3. Do they play Medieval Chess?
4. Have they successfully held at least one Office on some level?
5. Have they successfully been part of an autocratic team for an event, a
war, a revel or a fundraiser of some sort, and how many times?
5. Do they teach? Do they share their knowledge?
6. Do they travel?
7. Do they have an art form that they love and teach?
8. Have I ever seen them carrying a basket or a chair for someone
who was over burdened, regardless of rank, beauty, or friendship?
9. Are they curtious? Do they take the time to talk to a newcomer,
a curious child, or a mundane?
10. Do they play the game well? Do they make an good attempt to look
medieval and enjoy the recreation aspect?
11. Are they a skilled fighter? They don't have to in my mind be the very
best on the field, but they should be clean, fun, a good fight, can they use
multiple weapons, and the most important do they truely love that aspect of
12. Do they, in a way that is unique and special to them, serve their
Kingdom and the Dream and enrich us all by their contributions?
There are about a thousand other little things. The one that always was the
"green light" for me was when the populace assumed that they were a member
of the Peerage already, when people first meeting them were assuming there
was a symbol of rank that they just hadnt put on yet that day *L*
The saying goes, we don't make peers, we recognize them. I have always
believed that to be true. It is something that comes from within. But it
comes from within a human being, a person who is subject to moods, stress,
weariness, and events in their lives.
A person can be all these things and even more and still make a mistake now
An example: I am quite night blind, and without my contacts, I can't see
much more than 15 feet in front of me. It can be a thing of great amusement
A Lady once waved to me when I was Queen the first time, and she was about
40 feet from me. I had lost one contact earlier at the event, and was doing
the event by seeing eye Lady-in-Waiting. (laugh, it is funny, except for
this part) I did not see the Lady, and she was devistated. She thought
that I had ignored her, and when I was told of this and went to find her,
she was crying, saying I looked right at her, and ignored her, and looked
In true fact, I couldnt see her, was trying to sqeeze my eyes together to
find my King, and would never had known about her hurt feelings if she hadnt
made a comment to a passer by.
She was embarassed and I was sad that she had thought that of me. But it
just shows human nature.
Which brings me back to my original point of my last post. If you don't
approach and speak to someone who has in some way harmed your dream, you
cannot achieve the peace and understanding, and sometimes even frienship,
that comes from taking the time to make your feelings known.
If ther person is truely a Peer, they should be equipped to talk to you
about it, with respect for your feelings and their's.
***end ramble here*** :) Larissa
Subject: ANST - Active Peers
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 09:29:57 MST
From: "Michael F. Gunter" <michael.gunter at fnc.fujitsu.com>
To: Ansteorra <ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG>
Everyone brace yourselves, Gunthar's getting soapboxy today.
I've been reading about "active" Peers and I'm sorry but someone
who shows up at an event and wanders around for a couple of hours
is NOT an "active" Peer. This type of classification is one reason so
many non-Peers look to the belt or medallion as the end-all and be-all
of getting the rank.
Please forgive me, brothers, but I don't consider a member of the Chivalry
who attends a 12th Night or even armors up for one tournament a year to
be even remotely "active". That's not what a Peer is. A Peer is a leader,
an example, someone who continues to pursue perfection and a person who
serves the Kingdom in whatever capacity they are able.
Duke Lloyd attended Steppes 12th Night, my Coronation, and Bjornsborg's
last Investiture. Is he active? No, and he'll be the first to tell you.
Peers are allowed to retire and take time off and only attend a couple of events. They don't have to take students, teach, travel or open their houses.
But they should not be considered to be active if they don't.
I think two or three events a year, minimum would be considered active.
I think being an active teacher, participating in Circles, and being
there for Crown and Kingdom are requirements for being considered active.
Becoming a Peer is simply a beginning, not a peak. I will respect and happily greet a fellow Peer that I haven't seen. I will listen to their words in
Circle. But if they only show up at one or two events and wander around or just drop by a group meeting I will not consider them active until they once again begin to consistently engage in the activities of a Peer. They are still Peers, just not "active" Peers.
From: "Rolf Kvamme" <baron_duncan at hotmail.com>
To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org
Subject: RE: ANST - SCA PEERS
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000 17:05:45 CDT
hmmm lets look at this class...
peer2 (p”r) n.
A person who has equal standing with another or others, as in rank, class,
or age: children who are easily influenced by their peers.
A man who holds a peerage by descent or appointment.
Archaic. A companion; a fellow: ÒTo stray away into these forests
drear,/Alone, without a peerÓ (John Keats).
[Middle English from Old French per, equal, peer, from Latin pr; see per-2
in Indo-European Roots.]
And from Webster
Main Entry: 1peer
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French per, from per, adjective,
equal, from Latin par
Date: 13th century
1 : one that is of equal standing with another : EQUAL; especially : one
belonging to the same societal group especially based on age, grade, or
2 archaic : COMPANION
3 a : a member of one of the five ranks (as duke, marquess, earl, viscount,
or baron) of the British peerage
b : NOBLE 1
- peer adjective
So by definition peers or members of the peerage are concidered equal (
which is coincidentally the first word the thesaurus gives as an alternative
Class dissmissed and remember your homework.
Baron Sir Duncan
Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] newcomer thanks
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 10:04:38 -0600
From: "Christie Ward" <val_org at hotmail.com>
To: <ansteorra at ansteorra.org>
>a. almost exclusively, a knight in the time period
>which the SCA recreates, had to own a horse and had to
>be able to field that horse - it was one of the
>primary distinguishing characteristics of being a
Pshaw. If you look at the Germanic cultures, the hœskarlar, drengr or þegn
were the functional equivalents of High Medieval knights, and they
specifically were not horse-warriors -- look at the heroic poetry and you
see stuff along the lines of:
2 Het þa hyssa hw¾ne hors forl¾tan,
He bade every warrior then to leave his horse,
3 feor afysan, and forð gangan,
drive them far away and go forth,
4 hicgan to handum and to hige godum.
trusting to his hand-strength and to good courage.
17 Ða þ¾r Byrhtnoð ongan beornas trymian,
There Byrhtnoth at once exhorted his men,
18 rad and r¾dde, rincum t¾hte
rode among them and advised, taught the warriors
19 hu hi sceoldon standan and þone stede healdan
how they should stand and hold their station
20 and b¾d þ¾t hyra randas rihte heoldon
and bade that their round-shields be held upright
21 f¾ste mid folman, and ne forhtedon na.
firmly in their fists, and to fear nothing.
22 Þa he h¾fde þ¾t folc f¾gere getrymmed,
When he had nobly encouraged that folk,
23 he lihte þa mid leodon þ¾r him leofost w¾s,
he alighted among his people where he was most loved;
24 þ¾r he his heorðwerod holdost wiste.
there were his hearth-retainers who were most loyal.
(Battle of Maldon, http://www.vikinganswerlady.org/Maldon.htm)
This doesn't even begin to take into account the later medieval and
Renaissance practice of awarding knighthoods for service of various sorts,
which gets discussed and documented every time the discussion cranks up
about making all the peerages "knighthoods" and distinguishing them by their
names and trappings alone -- go to the Rialto and look at the archives if
you're interested in all of that.
Being a horse warrior was perhaps the most central and distinguishing
characteristic of the knight in our period, but it was not universal by any
Actually, SCA knighthood most closely resembles the old Germanic model,
right down to the duties, oaths, and size of the warbands - see
http://www.vikinganswerlady.org/oaths.htm for details.
>b. Also, Many have witnessed some enter the crown
>tournaments who do not have the financial means or
>time , etc. to fulfill the obligations required and
>yet they are allowed to participate by giving their
>word that they do.
This is a type of deception that completely punishes the offender. If such
a person did win, then the expenses routinely borne by the Crown will
destroy their pocketbook. This isn't a problem that affects anyone except
It's not a major calamady if the Crown can't go to an event every single
weekend during their reign, either. We've gotten spoiled by the fact that
recent Crowns (recent from my view as having been in the SCA 20 years) do
travel a lot. If you ask an old-timer, you will find that in Ansteorra's
early days, when were still a part of Atenveldt, *years* could go by when no
one ever SAW the Crown inside the territorial borders. Ansteorra's Western
Region still knows what that feels like!
What happens if the Crown doesn't travel in such a case is that the Crown
has to rely more on the populace, peers, nobility, and officers for award
recommendations and problem-solving. Awards can be approved by the Crown,
and They can delegate members of Their nobility to distribute them. I have
in fact seen the Crown even ask Court Baron/esses to handle this duty for
Them in some cases, and of course the Landed Baron/esses can certainly serve
in this capacity.
So, it's a non-problem. If a person is such a doofus that they will take
the risk of fighting and winning when there is no way that they can afford
to hold the office, it's their mundane wrack and ruination in a financial
sense that punishes them. The rest of the kingdom goes on as always, with
maybe a little less High Ceremony if the Crown can't afford to travel
extensively. Think of it as good practice for the rest of us in doing cool
persona things, for the nobility in holding their own local courts and doing
cool things that way as well.
>Some of these participants AND
>OTHERS have even used their influence to get
>themselves and their friends recognition (awards)
>which have not been earned. Where is the HONOR AND
>NOBILITY in this? And why is there not a means to both
>stop and rectify these situations when they arise?
I think you have a profound lack of understanding of how the awards system
works in the SCA in general and in Ansteorra specifically.
No Crown, no matter how widely travelled, wise, and good-hearted they may
be, can know personally of the virtues or lack thereof of all Their populace
members. As a result, the Crown relies EXTENSIVELY on the recommendations
of Their landed nobility, Their peers, and letters from members of the
populace in determining which awards will or will not be granted.
If you're sitting in your living room 500 miles away from a given group, and
you have in hand 15 letters of reccomendation telling you in glowing detail
how wonderful Person X is and why Person X should be given Award Y, as Crown
you are probably going to take the word of all these fine, upstanding
subjects who have been so impressed by Person X that they have taken the
time to write you and tell you so in detail.
Conversely, it doesn't matter if Person Z, also 500 miles away, is
absolutely authentic in every detail of dress, equipment, comportment, is a
God-like artisan, a paragon of martial skill on the field, and labors
thousands of hours monthly performing service to their local group *if the
Crown doesn't hear about it*. The Crown won't know to give them Award Y if
They have not personally seen all this work *unless someone writes and
recommends that the award be given*.
And that's just skimming the surface - there are other reasons why someone
might not get an award that I'll talk about in a second.
Meanwhile, if you see someone going without an award that you think that
they deserve, have you, personally, written the Crown yourself and told Them
all about how wonderful this person is? And when you do so, you need to
make sure that include details - what is the person's full name, exactly
what have they been doing, for how long they have been doing it, and where
they've been doing it - so that the Crown can see exactly why you believe
that the person should have that award. And there is nothing stopping you
from also encouraging others in the area to do likewise. Even if it is your
first day in the SCA, you have the right, honor, and priviledge of being
able to send recommendation letters to the Crown.
OK, I also mentioned that there are other reasons why a person might not get
an award. I'm going to take the example of a peerage, but these thoughts
apply in many ways to all awards.
In the Laurels Circle, we discuss candidates for the Laurel. There is not a
cookbook recipe for "what is a Laurel", and SCA law and custom provide only
extremely general guidelines. Every Laurel in the Circle has their own set
of things that they look for in a candidate. In general, (and from my point
of view, obviously) the person should be practicing their art at the same
level as the rest of the Laurels -- not necessarily in the level of purely
artistic achievement, but they should be doing work with solid craftsmanship
(including finishing details) and they should be researching what they do
and be able to document this research at least to the level of standard A&S
documentation. This is along the same lines of the other peerages -- the
candidate should excel in the specific field of endeavor along the same
lines as the existing members of that Circle, or else they are not the
"peer" of the others in the mundane sense of the word. The second
requirement for a peerage is that the person *be* a peer (in the SCA sense
of the word) in terms of maturity, problem-solving, courtesy and so forth --
which means that it is possible for a kick-ass artisan to NOT be made a
Laurel, for instance, if they are complete jerk who sucks up to the Laurels
but tramples all over the populace or has other major behavioral
The next facet to consider is the Crown - 100% of the Laurels may want a
specific artisan elevated to the Laurel, but if the Crown doesn't agree, it
won't happen, period. At least not until there's a new Crown who may see
the matter differently. And the converse is true - the Circle may have a
100% unanimous NO vote on a person, and the Crown may choose to make them a
Laurel (or Knight, or Pelican, etc.) anyway. It's not a good idea for a
Crown to disregard their Circles in this way, but it is their RIGHT to do
so, and the Crown can and does ignore the opinion of their Peerage Circles
How this applies to the AoA and Grant-level awards is that while you may see
Person Z doing all this cool stuff, you may not be aware that they have some
major behavioral issues of which the Crown, officers, peers, nobility etc.
have observed, and that they are not being given an award because of these
But really, the most common reason why someone doesn't get an award is just
that the Crown for whatever reason has no idea that the person needs one.
You have the power to rectify this - write the Crown yourself, and encourage
others to do so as well.
And really - having awards doesn't make you have a better real-world job,
doesn't count in St. Peter's Ledger Books at the Pearly Gates, doesn't make
you better-looking, etc. What awards mean, at all levels, is "this person
is doing cool things, and their friends and associates noticed and told the
Crown about it." It's a special feeling to get an award. But what makes it
special is that the people who recommended you for it thought you were doing
cool stuff. Having an award does not give you one iota of respect that you
have not already earned on your own. It does make you feel good - because
it means that people do respect you and your accomplishments.
Who has cool friends who thought I was doing a lot of cool things. And I'm
pleased that they noticed.
From: "Amy L. Hornburg Heilveil" <aheilvei at uiuc.edu>
Date: 2002/06/13 Thu PM 01:50:22 EDT
To: Authentic_SCA at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [Authentic_SCA] peerage - good and bad, the possibilites
These are being posted as my opinions and ideas. I'm not
saying that everyone has to subscribe to them. This is also not to
encourage peer bashing or non-peer bashing, so please let's not go there.
Not all peers are bad.
Not all peers are good.
Peerage does not confer knowledge, nor does it take away knowledge.
Peerage does not confer a usable brain; one can either have or lack such a
thing with or without peerage.
Peerage does not make one stuffy; one can be stuffy without peerage.
Peerage can inflate the ego.
Peerage can make one humble and awed.
It is possible to be an ass before peerage.
It is possible to become more of an ass after peerage.
It is possible to realize upon peerage, that other people are looking at
one and then clean up the asinine-ness in one's behavior in order to be a
It is also possible to realize all of this, not care, and not change.
There are peers who should not be emulated.
There are peers who should be emulated as closely as possible.
In short, the one thing that peers have in common is that they are all
human - all have faults, all have flaws, and every one was a newbie at one
time looking for a clue. Being a peer doesn't instantly make one a better
person, smarter, more engaging, nor do one's jokes all become funny at that
point. *grin* Not being a peer also doesn't make one a better person,
smarter, more engaging, and one's jokes still aren't necessicarily funny
all the time. *grin*
Being a peer bestows responsibility - to one's kingdom, one's family, one's
friends, one's household, and the society at large. Part of that
responsibility is remembering that one is a peer and, no matter what one
does, after one gets peerage, one is *always* identified as such. Anything
that comes out of one's mouth from that point on, is going to be taken as
gospel by someone. Any action that one takes from that point on, someone
is going to be watching and will remember how they saw a peer act in that
situation. Part of the responsibility is remembering that one was not
always a peer and one is human. Not all peers take the responsibility
seriously and it is a loss to themselves and the society (for all those
they could have helped and won't because they are viewed as unapproachable
in some manner). Those peers who do take the responsibility seriously
should be applauded and thanked - often.
Everyone who enters the society has the possibility of becoming a
peer. *everyone* Everyone within the society has peer-like qualities in
them. How those qualities develop and manifest themselves is not only up
to the individual, but also those around them; including the peers with
whom they come into contact.
Peerage isn't a reward, it's recognition. It is not given, it is earned.
I can recognize someone as a peer because they (obviously) earned that
rank. However, they must still earn my respect; *that* is never freely
One never knows who one might inspire to greatness or toss into the
darkness with a single phrase, word, or look. A moment of your time could
be solidify a lifetime commitment of service and learning in the SCA for
someone else. Take the moment. It's worth it in the long run - to you, to
the person with whom you are speaking, and to the society as a whole.
I often need to remind myself of this; I am not a peer and I don't pretend
to be one; but I know that I can have an impact on people and I know that I
am pointed to when certain subjects arise. Just as Bran learned, one
needn't be a peer to inspire another person or gain a reputation for
certain aspects of the game. Be yourself, have fun and enjoy the game. If
you learn something along the way, good for you. If you teach someone
something along the way, congratulations, that's even
better. *grin* Knowledge, once acquired, can never be taken away; but it
can be freely given. No one is unteachable.
Peerage is both a blessing and a curse. May you all receive all the
peerages you earn and deserve.
Despina de la Brasov
From: Michael Gunter [countgunthar at hotmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 11:52 AM
To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org
Subject: [Ansteorra] A thought on Peers "earning thier keep"
>Now then...anyone have something constructive to say,
>whether it be a praise or complaint.
How about neither, but instead a philosophy?
One thing I try to point out to folks sitting their Vigils
is to never feel they have reached a goal. Getting that
award or belt or medallion or hat or whatever simply means
that now everyone expects you to know what you are talking
about. The game I play with my own head (and many of you
who have sat vigil have heard this) is that at every event
I pretend that I'm a top-level squire that has to prove to
the Chivalry I'm worthy of elevation. Sometimes it works
and sometimes it doesn't. But at least I try to remind myself
every time that I still need to earn this belt in the eyes
of the populace.
But some folks need to remember that there is a hell of a
lot of effort that most Peers put into the Kingdom and thier
particular art for many years before achieving that rank. And
sometimes you just get flat tired. After you have been to your
1000th event they all start to seem the same. Sometimes a Peer
or even hard-working non-Peer needs to sit back and recuperate.
But Peers especially need to remember that we have an obligation
to the community and we also forget that folks actually look up
to us, but only as long as we deserve their attention. Someone
getting a Pelican and then never helping the group or a Knight
who stops playing other than the ocassional tournament does nothing
to the oath sworn and fades in the eyes of the populace.
Peers must work harder to "earn their keep" in the Society. I'm
also speaking to the Royals and Nobles here as well. Anyone that
has that big spotlight on them shouldn't decide that they must
be adored now because they have a bigger cookie. They need to
show the populace just WHY they got it. And to never forget why
they got it.
Of course, after you have hit your 10 year mark with a Peerage
then you are allowed to slow down a bit. ;-)
Forgive the rambling from someone who doesn't even live in Ansteorra