Please join me for year 5 of the Æthelmearc Sign a Day!! Monday – Friday I post one SCA specific Sign a day. On Sunday I post the review from the week before. I start buy posting Society wide signs, then move on to Æthelmearc specific signs, then finish up with ASL signs for common words said in Court. Come learn to understand what I am signing in Court or start your journey to become a Silent Herald! https://www.facebook.com/groups/342387622769921
If you are not on Facebook most of the videos of the signs can be accessed on the Æthlemearc Youtube page here:
Pay heed to this missive from the Moneyer’s Guild:
Greetings Noble populace!
Photo Credit: Violeta de Valencia
With Æthelmearc Crown Tournament approaching this weekend, We of the Moneyer’s Guild are happy to announce a brand new feature of our Kingdom’s Crown Tourneys…
The Æthelmearc Bookmaker!!!
That’s right! Bring any struck coins that you have, and place a bet on your favorite to win! Step inside and try your hand at one of our wagering games, such as Glückshaus, or others! Bring any coins that you have and join us at the swapping table to trade!
Don’t have any struck coins currently in your possession? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Everyone attending the event will be given three coins, specially struck for the day, as they check in!
We will have odds set for every fighter competing that day, so choose your favorite, place a bet, and potentially walk away with your purse significantly heavier!
::Important Note::No *actual* money will be changing hands for these wagers, only struck or cast replica coins. This is merely for entertainment, amusement, and to get all of these coins that we have been making circulating and to give people something to use them for beyond collecting.
Welcome to the Ninth Known World Bardic Congress and Cooks Collegium, to be held online on September 10th, 11th, and 12th. We are hosted this year by the Mid-Realm’s Barony of Ayreton.
Join us for a weekend filled with classes, concerts, and bardic circles. In addition to cooking and bardic, we will also have brewing & vinting, along with instrumental & choral music classes –and more!
We encourage attendees to register on the website. Much like Pennsic, you can use your account to offer classes, suggest others, request stage time, or create your personal schedule.
Master Morien McBain, hopes to foster a Forestry Guild here in our Kingdom, and is off to a great start, with online classes and lively discussions, plus and outdoor activities already in planning and even scheduled! He sat down with Gazette to answer our inquiries.
Tell us about yourself (name, title, etc.)
Hello! I’m Morien MacBain, and I really like to lurk about in the shrubbery, tie knots, and set things on fire. In addition, I’m a big fan of chopping things with axes, rowing about in boats, backpacking about, and eating plants and animals. I also ride – but do not eat – horses.
Tell us about the new group (name, goals, etc.)
At the moment, our group is called the Æthelmearc Wilderness Skills Study Group (find us on Facebook!), but we hope to soon be the Æthelmearc Royal Foresters when we become a chartered branch of the Known World Forester’s Guild!
How does one get involved?
Ideally, I’d say join our FB group, as well as the Known World Forester’s Guild and East Kingdom Royal Foresters groups. Then check out any and all documents in the “Files” sections that strike your fancy, but especially the New Member’s Guide . As well as Foresters 101.
He’s a lovely fellow, and the Warden of the Guild of Foresters for the East Kingdom. You will be applying for an “affiliate” (out-of-kingdom) membership. Æthelmearc’s program is just getting started, so we’re operating under the aegis of the East’s program until we have our own set up, and getting as many affiliate members as possible operating in Aethelmearc is an important early step.
What are your hopes for how the Forestry community grows and functions here in our Kingdom?
Our application to the Guild for a “Letter Temporary” is in draft, and is making the rounds collecting signatures. We’ll have several members advancing to the rank of Forester by the end of the summer, I’d say. I anticipate we’ll be in a position to apply for Æthelmearc’s own Regional Charter by this time next year. Hopefully whoever is on the thrones at that point will sign our Charter! We will be patrolling and protecting all their Sylvan wilds, after all!
How does the East come into play?
We turned to the East Kingdom Royal Foresters since they have the best-established and most accomplished body of people doing this in the SCA. They’ve been instrumental in helping Atlantia, Meridies, and An Tir get their kingdom programs running, so working with them while we get our ducks in a row was the obvious choice. They have been incredibly supportive, and we look forward to working with them going forward, although of course I hope our progression to a full-fledged chartered kingdom program of our own will come quickly!
What specific kinds of things can people learn about, research, and do?
Good night, it’s astonishing the wealth of skills we can get up to!
-Period fire making
-Travel by boat, horse, and on foot
-Stealth and leave-no-trace camping
-Orienteering and celestial navigation
-Wilderness survival (including cold and wet environments)
-Foraging wild edibles
-Hunting, fishing, and trapping
-Skills challenge courses
-Weapons and gear of outdoor life
-Sign cutting and evasion
-Recreation of pilgrimages
-Preparation of period trail rations
-Identification of trees and herbs, and their many uses.
The list goes on, and people can go insanely hardcore, or just try a few things that interest them. Glorious stuff!
What got you interested in this?
I’ve been running around in the woods since I was six. I was in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, The Order of the Arrow (the Scouting national honor society), and I was in the Army, where I got to mess around in the woods in various places, so I’m a big fan! I’m also into the modern bushcraft movement, which involves watching lots of old-time wilderness skills being brought to modern people to keep them alive (both the skills and the people, I suppose).
What are your favorite pieces of forestry/wilderness advice for the re-enactor?
“Two is one; one is none,” meaning you should always have a backup for each crucial piece of gear you need in the woods (multiple blades, ways of starting a fire, methods to purify water, ways to signal for help, etc.). Also, hydrate like a crazy person when you’re thirsty, hungry, hot, cold, tired, irritable, being chased by wolves, whatever! DRINK WATER! Also, purify your water, even if the stream looks fresh. Waterborne illnesses like giardia are no joke! Essentially, read everything you kind find by Dave Canterbury and especially Mors Kochanski, that guy was a beast!
What’s the essential gear? Or how can I get started?
Essentially, you need some green garb, good boots, and a decent knife (preferably single-edged), and a desire to learn about the natural world and all the adventures, lessons, treasures, and mysteries it has for us!
Get online and find other Foresters near you, and start getting out in the woods and waters together (I love getting out there solo, but even I admit that a partner makes stuff safer and usually more fun.)
Here’s a clip on the topic by Llywd Forester, the founder of the Guild on the topic of gear and getting started. Good stuff!
Any parting thoughts?
I’d like to add that forestry has opened up a sweet new dimension in my Scadian life, and that wealth of skills that one can study and practice can be a real ornament to a life and balm and oil to a weary heart! There’s been a rich air of mystery and romance around people with the skills to live and thrive in the wilderness for centuries, and recapturing, practicing, and transmitting those skills to new generations connects us with a profoundly human part of ourselves which many of us have almost forgotten was there!
We’re not the Sylvan Kingdom for nothing. Æthelmearc is covered by woods, and we have deep wells of wilderness skills in our area. We have some amazing people coming together to train and share skills. Come and join us!
Author Honorable Lady Beatrice de Winter talks to the Gazette about her Compleat Anachronist #191: Transforming the Living and the Dead: Evolving Thoughts of the Afterlife:
Tell us about you. Name, title, persona, etc.
THL Beatrice de Winter – my persona is a medieval coroner (which, as well as determining cause of death, was a tax collector). I have a passion for educating the populace about death and the dead to provide context for many of the artifacts of the period being recreated by artisans of the Known World.
Death is such a unique subject to study, especially in the SCA. What got you interested?
I have been interested in the topics of death and death culture since childhood. My bus stop was next to a cemetery, which I think may have kickstarted my thoughts about it. I’ve always thought it was odd that people didn’t think of death as a part of life. Looking back, there have been a number of death-related topics I’ve gravitated towards: the Titanic, the Civil War, Harry Houdini and his fight against spiritualism, just to name a few. My first masters thesis is on fatal fire investigation. It’s not too surprising, then, that I’d gravitate towards the topic in the SCA as well.
At my first Pennsic (2005), I took a class on death practices that I just loved and never forgot. That was “Death Becomes Us,” taught by Elianora Mathewes. Another early influence was Baron Hamish MacLeod, who shared my love for the unusual. He was well known for his classes on hangmen and headsmen, which naturally also lead to my first class on capital punishment: “Hangmen, Headsmen, and Other Fun Ways to Die”. I’ll add that my Laurel, Master Cerian Cantwr of the Mid, was extremely supportive of my change in focus from bardic to death. 🙂
What’s your favorite tidbit that you learned in your research?
That’s hard! I think my favorite tidbit has to do with the idea that during the Middle Ages, bodily resurrection was reassured even if one’s body was eaten by a fish or cannibals, because apparently human beings are “non-natural” food. Thus, they cannot be absorbed by another human being.
It’s complicated, but essentially for resurrection, both the body and the soul had to be available. The guy who wrote the initial work on bodily resurrection was very concerned with making sure there were no inconsistencies in his theory. So, that’s how he explains it.
It makes me chuckle.
What’s the most surprising thing you learned?
I think the most surprising thing I learned is that while indulgences really are all about the money in some ways, it wasn’t the church who typically reaped the core of those benefits, but a third party such as a hospital or other charity.
Is there anything in your research that we can apply in the SCA (persona, rituals, etc.?)
I think basically most things we do in the SCA can benefit from the context in which it would have happened and there’s no exception here. So, if you’re a scribe, you should know what something like a Book of Hours was actually used for and why it was so important – beyond the (often) stunning visuals. It wasn’t just used for prayers like how we’d think of in a contemporary Church. It was used specifically to mimic the monastic lifestyle at home, to a certain degree, in an attempt to limit the soul’s time in Purgatory. It was a BIG deal.
No matter what your persona is, prior to the reformation, what I discuss would have impacted both how they lived and how they died. (Caveat: assuming your persona is during the typical SCA time period in Western Europe. There are some exceptions, but generally speaking it’s pretty far reaching.)
Death is one of the esoteric areas of research, which can be hard to display/talk about in traditional SCA A&S formats. Do you have any advice for those interested in researching esoterica?
I would encourage people to research esoterica, frankly. We need more of it out there to help provide additional context and details about what it was like to live during that time. We know a ton about clothing, armor, and art works, which is fantastic! But what about, you know, everything else?
I think the key is just to find something that intrigues you, regardless of what that might be, and start digging. Let other folks know what you’re researching so that if they come across something related, they can pass it along.
You have to think outside the box in terms of displays or other presentations of materials. I created science fair type boards to show off how death culture was connected to many things in the SCA. Mistress Luceta created these amazing little models out of skeletons and clay representing apotropaic (deviant) burials.
It seems like the way we do A&S competitions in the SCA doesn’t lend itself well to the type of research/art you and others do. Any thoughts or suggestions on that front?
There’s no way to easily “compete” with non-traditional ideas. Research papers are of course a possibility, given the right circumstances, although often they’re not a good option. However, I encourage displays! That’s what I did several times: non-competitive opportunities to display my stuff.
I think it would be wonderful if we could find a way to focus on the context for “things” rather than just on the “things” themselves. One suggestion for more of a context competition (that I haven’t seen in practice) would be perhaps giving a presentation on an esoteric non/physical object topic as a way to “compete” rather than offering up a “thing” and it could be judged on how well you impart your knowledge to the audience, how deeply you understand the material, handle questions, etc. We always say that a huge part of A&S is teaching and giving back, so it seems like that might be a more fair way to judge that kind of thing.
I’m actually taking this idea to this summer’s Queen Prize Tourney, one of our Kingdom’s premiere A&S showcases. I’ll be entering by presenting a topic essentially as a proposal for how we might be able to incorporate this sort of thing into our competitive structures.
The Compleat Anachronist is such a fantastic resource for people across the known world. How did you become interested in writing one?
I became interested in writing a CA when I wrote an article about Richard III and his two interments for Tournaments Illuminated, though I’d had several people suggest it to me over time. The TI editor encouraged me to take my ideas further.
What would someone have to do to submit to the Compleat Anachronist?
If you don’t have a subscription to the Compleat Anachronist, you can buy THL Beatrice’s issue, “Transforming the Living and the Dead: Evolving Thoughts of the Afterlife,” from the SCA Marketplace for $7.50 here (search the title or 191).
Good Morning Knowne World! The University of Atlantia will be hosting the Knowne World Sciences Symposium at our virtual session on June 12, 2021.
Current KWSS tracks include: Medicine & Apothecary, Alchemy, Physics & Engineering, Astronomy, The History of Science, and Biology & Botany.
The University will be accepting 150 classes into our June session catalog. These classes are provisioned on a first come/first served basis, with a priority given this session to science classes in support of the Knowne World Sciences Symposium. Classes exceeding the 150 limit will be waitlisted pending any cancellations that may create an open class slot. Should your class be waitlisted, the Dean of Academics Lady Esa will be in touch.
An ode in honor of the SCA College of Arms, for their labors on the Virtual Herald’s Point endeavor of AS LV/
by Lord Gavin Kent (mka Greg Tremblay), February 2021, for presentation as candidate for the office of Sylvan Bard of Æthelmearc. Note: Lord Gavin was chosen as King’s Bardic Champion on March 20, A.S. LV. A video of his performance may be viewed here.
O there were days, some years ago
When folk did rightly tremble
To brave the Laurel, Pelican
And Wreath when they’d assemble
“AH NO” they’d cry with wrung-ed hands
“They’ll tell you you can’t have that”
“The Heralds are a prickly lot,
“Your dreams are sure to fall flat!”
Perhaps, alas, there were betimes
Decisions not so noble
In teens and twenties there was snark
Positions quite immobile
But nowadays my friends, take heed
Accept the hand they proffer
Pray, strike “Rejected” from your lips
You really are no bother!
In baronies and shires vast
They work in good will, earnest.
Guides in lands quite labyrinthine
That is their sacred purpose
Then came nigh the year of plague
Events to the wayside fell
Feast halls silent, no battle raged
Heralds were idle as well.
And so, it came in Fifty Five
As Pennsic was in question
That in the space Ethereal
There was a bold suggestion:
“Let us create a Herald’s point”
They said, their eyes a-shining
“Virtual! For, without wars
There are desires pining”
They set to work and called upon
Heralds wide and far
From Æthelmearc to Western Lands
All the kingdoms that are
A grand estate they built inside
These our ethereal lands
The college lent their time and skills
The work of many hands
A grand pavilion, digital
Did welcome all who sought
For names, devices, badges too
They gathered at that spot
As partners to a dance they paired
With heralds eager and keen
To take up inspiration
And see what was to be seen
Clerks there were who lent their toil
To craft submissions, ready
For coin to transfer swift and true
The flow of packets steady
And for the artists of renown,
What words could ‘ere be spoken?
A thousand each for labors good
Would merely be a token
Tomes pored over, entries found
For names and deeds and places
So all could speak the praise of kin
And we would know their faces
While many hands did lend their toil
To bring forth such a feat
Lacking names of the tireless few
No ode could be called complete
Non Scripta, Istvan brought to life
Ethereal manor’s stones
Crampette Lillia led the Van
That none should toil alone
Marie de Blois she lent her gaze
To the order of the day
Thorkel son of Pal assured
That all who came could pay
Owen Tegg of the Artistry
Siren Julianna too
Iago and Ollivier
And Joscelin labored true.
Four score and a few did toil
Through the day and through the night
Until the fortnight and a half
Was done, deeds brought to light
Although that great phantasmic field
Lies quiet in its slumber
The submissions who crossed its glades
Were thrice two hundred numbered
Eighteen score of our populace
Did realize their dreams
For names and arms to hold and have
By which to know our esteem
SO, tho that labor is ended
Know you my friends one and all
The College of Arms stands ready
To rise and answer our call
AND SO, lift up your voices high
Heralds are not as you thought
For their knowledge, skill and artistry
Let us cry them… VIVAT!
Notes on the Composition:
The SCA College of heralds brought about an astonishing feat in 2021, holding a never-before-attempted, wholly online version of a War Herald’s Point. In her preface to the January 2021 Letter of Acceptance and Returns, Laurel Soverign of Arms Emma Featherstan had this to say, which provided the entirety of the factual content of this ode:
“As I write this, we are finalizing the last consulations(sic) from the Virtual Heralds Point. Signups ran for three weeks, and by the end we’re looking at 616 items from 359 different individuals, from all twenty kingdoms! This is an amazing result, far better than we’d hoped for…—
…In total, I believe we had something over eighty heralds working in various capacities. I cannot express how floored I am by the amount of work done in a relatively short amount of time, and wish to commend each and every one of you for truly participating in this thing we call the Society College of Arms. Well done!“
We are proud to announce that the Known World Sciences Symposium which had been previously planned for June 25 to 27, 2021 has now been merged with the University of Atlantia Symposium on June 12, 2021, which will be held as an online event.
Early medieval / Viking age jeans
Claim: A (Aprilis prima)
Material: 2/2 cotton twill with indigo dye (mouth-crotched by Uzbek nuns under water), buttons made of iron, rivets made of bronze
I know, I know … most of you will first of all wonder if I’m completely mad and crazy about this reconstruction. So let me first put a few theoretical considerations together:
1) Trousers itself are well documented by finds. Thorsberg, Damendorf, Skjoldehamn. Sufficient variations of the pattern can already be found here, so that today’s jeans cut seems quite possible as a creative excess.
2) Cotton as a basic material was known and available. In the Byzantine Varangian Guard (which consisted mostly of Scandinavian Vikings), part of the armor (the Bambakion) was made of cotton. So one can assume that returnees brought this back home with them as knowledge or as raw material.
3) Diagonal twill as the binding of the material was well-known and has been retained to this day.
4) Indigo as a dye has been used extensively in the eastern regions. So it seems completely conclusive that resourceful dyers also happily combined cotton and indigo. Even if this should not have been the case, a wonderfully stonewashed look can be achieved with the adequately documented and popular woad, which puts the fashionable understanding of the early medieval people in a completely new light.
5) Even the pockets of the jeans can theoretically be derived well. Just think of fragment H55 A from the harbour of Haithabu. The transfer of a tunic pocket to a pair of trousers can justifiably be seen as a masterpiece of tailoring at the time, and it should have been way ahead of its time.
6) Dozens of references can be found in Birka alone for buttons. Even if most of the specimens were cast from bronze, in view of the craftsmanship at the time, some can also be made of other metals. As a reference for the use of buttons on trousers, I would like to refer to the underpants find from Moscevaja Balka, which also already has a button for fastening.
7) Stabilizing the seam connections by means of rivets seems quite modern. However, this principle of the rivet with a counter washer on the back can already be observed in the knife sheaths of that time. It seems quite logical – especially in view of the extensive and long-term use of textiles at the time – that this process was also applied to trousers.
8) Jeans are even represented several times in contemporary iconographic representations. In various psalteries, men can be seen in tight-fitting blue legwear, which can be interpreted as nothing more than skinny jeans. Here, too, the fashion of the time shows clear parallels to modern times, and underlines the highly developed clothing style of the Northmen, often wrongly denigrated as ‘uncouth barbarians’ .
That’s the theory.
Now let’s get to the facts.
1) Old Norse knows the term ‘(Blá) önd súrsæt’, the ‘(blue) cotton trousers’.
2) In the Gallastríðið saga it says: “Gallíu er skipt í þrjá hluta, annar þeirra er byggður af Belgum, hinn af Aquitans og sá þriðji af þeim sem kallaðir eru Keltar á sínu tungumáli, á okkaru.”
In other words: “And before he left the house, Gollum the Magnificent put on the cotton trousers of the hard-working craftsmen so that he would be considered one of them in the future.”
3) In the ‘MS Cotton de Nimes’ (dated to the middle of the 10th century) there is a depiction of a man in blue trousers who is being carried by two others. Under his tunic, which has slipped up, you can see a patch pocket on the back of the exact shape and size that is used in today’s five-pocket jeans. (Image 1)
4) During the archaeological excavations in the port area of Birka, among other things, textile fragment W34 / L32 was found. A 2/2 cotton twill with remnants of an indigo dye. Here you can still see a double seam, which is reinforced by a bronze rivet. Right next to it is a round hole with neat edges that a second rivet would fit into. (Image 2)
5) In the hoard of Buttenheim there is an inconspicuous but very interesting pendant among numerous hacked silver. A so-called Anlaf-Guthfrithsson-Penny, a coin from the 10th century, which was first converted into a button with a long shaft (like in modern jeans) and later served as a pendant with a riveted eyelet. (Image 3)
6) One last hint is the work of the Swedish archaeologist Löb Strauss, which he published under the title “Effekten av jordnötssmör på jordrotationen”. Here he describes an almost perfectly preserved trouser find with all the characteristics of today’s jeans, which was found in 1834 in the bog near Riga by Jākobs Jufess and dated to the late Iron Age. (Image 4)
Based on all of these individual documents, the jeans I reconstructed are by no means a new and unknown item of clothing. Instead, the facts automatically condense into a compelling causality.
Because with all due respect to our ancestors – they weren’t stupid back then
I would like to close with a quote from my great Idol Harald Blauzahn: “Do not believe anything you find on the Internet, unless you have faked it yourself.”
/ Satire Off, and have a nice first April
Charles Bruns (via Viking Clothing on the Booke of Faces)