Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

The-Peerage-msg - 6/30/08


Thoughts on the SCA Peerage and Peers.


NOTE: See also the files: knighthood-msg, Chivalry-art, chivalry-msg, fealty-art, fealty-msg, squires-msg, SCA-awards-msg, Award-Rec-Let-art, award-rec-let-msg.





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.


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 originator(s).


Thank you,

   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


Salut Cozyns,


Lyonel aisai.


Thorgrim asks:

>Exactly (and I mean EXACTLY) what ARE the standards for being elevated to

>the peerage?


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

the game.

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

and again.


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


Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000 17:05:45 CDT




hmmm lets look at this class...


peer2 (pr) 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 nobleman.

A man who holds a peerage by descent or appointment.

Archaic. A companion; a fellow: To stray away into these forests

drear,/Alone, without a peer (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

Pronunciation: 'pir

Function: noun

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

to peer).


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

>knight -


Pshaw.  If you look at the Germanic cultures, the hskarlar, 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 hwne    hors forltan,

  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 þr Byrhtnoð ongan    beornas trymian,

   There Byrhtnoth at once exhorted his men,


18 rad and rdde,    rincum thte

   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 bd þt hyra randas    rihte heoldon

   and bade that their round-shields be held upright


21 fste mid folman,    and ne forhtedon na.

   firmly in their fists, and to fear nothing.


22 Þa he hfde þt folc    fgere getrymmed,

   When he had nobly encouraged that folk,


23 he lihte þa mid leodon    þr him leofost ws,

   he alighted among his people where he was most loved;


24 þr 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

the offender.


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

on occasion.


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

better example.

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.



Cu Drag,

Despina de la Brasov

Middle Kingdom



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





<the end>

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

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org