The Known World Colegio de Iberia sponsored by the West Kingdom will be held over the first weekend of June 2021.
This is a weekend of virtual classes on the lives and times of the people who dwelt in the lands which we now call Spain and Portugal. The symposium covers the period from the Muslim Umayyad Conquest, and includes the great Muslim city-states and the four Christian kingdoms (Kingdom of Castile y Leon, Kingdom of Aragon, Kingdom of Navarre and Kingdom of Portugal), ending with death of the Habsburg king Philip II. We also explore some of the worlds who experienced colonisation by these kingdoms.
The Zoom room details and password will be made available closer to the date and advertised on the Facebook event and the website. We will be having a range of breakout rooms depending on the number class tracks required.
There are a range of different roles that we will need to make this event as easy and as fun as possible to run. If you would like to assist us in anyway please fill in this form: https://forms.gle/fHSy4DA7SkB37Y837
Continuing the freshly-minted tradition of virtual sharing in these times of plague, the Kingdom Office of Arts & Sciences once again reached out to our fabulous Arts & Sciences Championship artisans to share their work with the populace at large on a more personal level. The virtual Kingdom Championship was also a juried competition, and included a week’s worth of face to face judging – with judges especially selected for their knowledge and background – as well as an online populace “meet and greet the artisans.” Master Hrólfr and I, your Kingdom Arts & Sciences officers, enjoy finding new ways to inspire and motivate our artisans in these trying times and we are happy to see the Championship ran so smoothly!
Could you tell me a little about you, your persona?
I am Caleb Reynolds. I joined the SCA in November 1984 after seeing an armored combat demonstration at the Texas Renaissance Festival. I tracked down my local chapter (Barony of the Stargate) by looking up Richard Lionheart’s number in the phone book. My persona is a late 11th century Norman in occupied Saxon England. My paper is about the diet of the Norse who occupied Greenland: I think it is possible my Norman alter-ego might have heard of Greenland, but would never have visited.
What inspired you to make your entry?
I am fascinated by the minutiae of medieval life. Most book concentrate on battles and who became King or Queen. I am interested in the little things: table forks, pretzels, weathercocks, bowling, fried fish, horseshoes, law suits, water mills. I was reading a book about the Norse expansion and the book devoted three or four paragraphs to Greenland. The Norse occupied Greenland for around 450 years and this book could only mention that Eric the Red discovered it; his son discovered America, and that the Greenlanders couldn’t grow anything because Greenland wasn’t green (ha ha, wasn’t that a scam to get people to Greenland), so they only ate seal meat and cheese. I was surprised since the details on Iceland, Shetland, and Dublin were very well written. My research took me to Jerald Diamond’s “Collapse”, which has a sizable section about the start and end of the colony. Some of his statements didn’t sit well with me and inspired me to do an more in depth search. The majority of the popular press only mention a diet of protein and dairy, but humans can’t live on a 100% protein diet: they must have eaten something other than meat and I wanted to know what they could have eaten.
Did the entry throw up any unexpected issues?
This was a straight up research project. Since I don’t have access to primary sources, and I don’t read Latin, Danish or other languages, my sources were primarily English ones. There is most likely a wealth of information that could have helped me but has never been translated. With the pandemic, JSTOR and Academic.edu opened up their libraries to everyone. This gave me access to a lot of information that I would not have known existed a year ago. The major hurdle I encountered was all of the rabbit holes this topic opened up. The paper was primarily a discussion on what food was available to eat on the island. But I had to reign myself in from running off on extended tangents.
Funny enough, two days after I was judged, I was recommended a paper titled: “Palynology supports ‘Old Norse’ introductions to the flora of Greenland” which details the plants the Norse brought to their new home.
The subject is rife with future papers, either for myself or for others:
Danish flour and iron subsidies to Greenland, Iceland and the Shetland Islands.
Norse donations of wine for Greenland church services.
What was the method of making wine from crowberries that King Sverrir taught to his son?
Were Cogs used to transport cargo to and from Greenland, or only knarrs and other longships?
What was the cost of trade goods on Greenland?
What was the markup of Walrus Ivory on the Continent?
Was salt produced in bulk on Greenland? If so, how?
Cooking over manure: pros and cons.
Were there people who to traveled to Greenland for a year or two just to make a fortune hunting walrus? Like wildcats in ’49 Gold Rush.
How long does a lamp fueled by blubber last compared to olive oil?
Why were the Norse such jerks to the Dorset, Thule, and the first nation people of modern day Canada?
How the Black Death and attacks by the Victual Brothers destroyed Bergen’s ability to send ships to the far colonies and how that impacted the survivability of the Greenlanders.
Did you learn something specific, something you would do differently, or would recommend others to do again?
One of the things I have discovered over the years is that pretty much every time you hear or read an absolute statement about the past, it is usually wrong, and the truth is far more interesting and a great topic of research.
“No one in the middle ages ever bathed.” What about all of the bath houses throughout Europe? Most of which were closed down during the Renaissance. The city of Bath was named for it’s hot springs and bath houses. (Or, baths were named after Bath. Someone should research that.)
“There were no pain killers.” What about all of the medieval manuscripts that talk about the pain relief properties of various plants and mushrooms?
“Everyone ate rotten meat, that’s why they used spices.” Really? Spices were expensive. If you could afford spices from the literal other side of the planet, you could afford fresh meat.
“Few people traveled more than 5 miles from where they were born.” What about traveling merchants? What about pilgrims? What about soldiers and crusaders? How did salt travel from the Mediterranean to the north seas to salt cod which was then moved throughout Europe? It didn’t fly.
Absolute statements are generally a jumping off point for a fun bit of research. For people new to research papers, I would recommend picking a topic and writing a few pages about it. A research project does not have to be book length. Nor does it have to be unique: you can write on a topic that others have also used; just present your own experience and interpretation. Are you interested in a strange image in a manuscript: write about it. A recipe you want to try: write about it. Did you come across an interesting duel: write about it. Every SCA newsletter would be happy with two or three pages of something interesting about the middle ages.
Here is my suggestion: if you have access to old newsletters or old editions of the TI, like 20 or 30 years old, look through them for anything interesting: Medieval wrapping paper. Cosplay during the Middle Ages. Obscure recipes for food or beverages. Modern veggies vs period ones. Soap or “tooth paste”. Use that as a starting point for your own journey: what new information has been uncovered since the old paper was published? How would you present that thing, today. Our A&S community is not just about one person writes something and then it’s fixed in stone; the SCA is living history. That article about a recipe for ale; the author said to use malt extract and whatever hops you can get. How would you make it using whole barley? What hops would have been used at that time and place? That recipe says to use a non-stick pan over a stove top; how would you make it over a fire? Period sources call for an egg to determine how salty a brine is, or how much sugar is an a wort: Tell me how that would have been done. You do not have to be the first person to research something; just tell us your experience and your methods.
What did you think of the virtual face to face judging concept?
I like the face-to-face judging. I’ve been on both sides of the table in previous Arts & Sciences Faires and Championships. As a judge, it’s really nice to ask the author a question about some point not covered in the documentation. As a victim…. I mean competitor, it is an opportunity to explain a point that you either didn’t cover in the documentation or expound on a different tact. The Zoom method was good: not perfect but it was good opportunity to talk to old friends. There also were no interruptions from passer bys or noise from adjacent tables. Perhaps next time, I will be one of the judges.
What motivated you to enter the Kingdom Championship?
I had no expectation other than to present a paper on a topic that I found fascinating. I hope that I can inspire others to not only do a deep dive on an unusual topic but to share their passion with others. I was not expecting to win (although I had a 50/50 chance for the first two or three weeks: at least until a third person threw in their hat). Those of you who know me, know that I love obscure topics and know that I love asking stupid questions that have complicated and interesting answers. I was also drawn to the chance to talk about my paper and be spun around and pointed towards new topics that I had not thought of. This was a far better process than just having a score assigned to a judging sheet.
One of the first artisans to enter, Shonagon Ishiyama Gen’tarou Yori’i graced our Virtual Queens Prize Tourney with his beautiful project. His entry “the Kyousoku Arm Rest” looks intriguing, and just asks to learn more about it! As we do not have the ability to converse with Shonagon Ishiyama face to face, the Virtual Queens Prize Tourney offers the opportunity to fawn over images and read the documentation right there on the Kingdom Ministry of Arts & Sciences website – even to leave feedback! And to learn a little more about the artisan and their thoughts behind their entry, the organizers decided to broaden our traditional entry of object and documentation with personal interviews.
“Kyousoku” Arm Rest by Ishiyama-shi-i Gen’tarou Yori’ie: A piece of medieval Japanese furniture, made from wood using entirely hand tools similar to those that were available in period, finished in multiple polished layers of artificial lacquer, and decorated in the hira-maki-e (gold paint) style with a karkusa pattern.
Could you tell me a little about you, your persona. Is your entry something your persona would use?
My persona is a late period noble of the “kuge” courtier class. (As opposed to the “buke” warrior class.) The fiefdom of the Ishiyama clan contained a very famous temple (Ishiyama-dera), which was home to some warrior monks who made quite a bit of trouble for the Shogun. It is my conceit that that, as oldest son (“gen’tarou”) of the family, Ishiyama Yori’ie has been summoned to the capital to serve as a court representative of his family and as a hostage to assure their loyalty. He would have been assigned a position in the bureaucracy, but not had much actual work to do. So, Ishiyama took an interest in the crafts of the capital, with an eye toward bringing ideas for trade goods home when it was time for him to take over the family.
By this time in Japanese history, most of the furniture that was based on Chinese culture was no longer used. Japan had evolved into a floor-seated culture, and developed its own furniture to accommodate the new style. In both his work time in the palace and his leisure time at home, Ishiyama would have spent a lot of time sitting while interacting
with others, writing notes on his studies, and writing home to communicate with his family. This does get to be tiring, and I believe he would have had a kyousoku arm rest of this type to support him. The joinery of the legs is left unglued, so it can be disassembled and carried more easily by a servant if he traveled to visit another or went home to visit his family.
What inspired you to make your entry?
Most of my work in the SCA is inspired by desire. I see something, and the Ishiyama part of me says, “I want one.” Even in Japan, most of these things can be difficult to buy, and certainly very expensive. If I want it, I have to make it. If this takes figuring out a good method, learning new skills, or deciding on substitute materials, this is the nature of the challenges I pursue in the SCA.
I’d seen these arm rests in scrolls, books, and movies; and some other SCAdians had made some. This was enough to get “kyousoku arm rest” onto my to-do list. I asked a Japanese woodworking teacher the best way to do the sliding dovetail joinery, and after learning about the taper I had all of the information I needed to get started.This project was a good opportunity to be a stickler about doing all of the work by hand.
What is your intention with your entry? Are you looking forward to start putting your entry to good use, and if so, how could we envision this? Or is it intended as a gift, or a general household item?
I plan to use this arm rest at events, mostly at Pennsic. I already used it a bit in my vigil tent. I may make more of them in the future, but maybe not entirely by hand, and maybe not with the embellishments.
Did the entry throw up any unexpected issues? Or did it go exactly as expected, and what would you contribute to this smooth sailing?
The gold paint I used for the “maki-e” embellishment was not nearly sticky enough. I had polished the black finish very smooth, and then applied all the gold paint. I found that the gold paint was too easy to rub off, but trying to top-coat smeared the paint. I cleaned up the smears as well as I could, repainted the damaged designs, and sprayed the project with clear shellac to seal it. Then, I smoothed that with abrasives before applying several coats of clear lacquer to create a smooth, resilient, top surface. This added about a year to the process while I got over my frustration and waited for it to get warm enough
outside to proceed with finishing.
Did you learn something specific, something you would do differently, or would recommend others to do again?
In addition to the sliding dovetails, I learned how to do the “karakusa” arabesque scrollwork by hand. This gets to be a lot of fun! I wouldn’t use this paint again, though. In the future, I would probably mix metallic powder into clear finish for a more resilient design. In period, they would have used lacquer, which takes weeks to fully cure. Period technique would be to sprinkle powdered metal directly onto the wet lacquer. Sounds messy to me.
What motivated you to enter the Virtual Queens Prize Tourney?
I entered the tourney because I had already intended to show this project in a competition or display, now that it was done. I had taught a class on kyousoku and how to make them, so I had the material assembled for documentation. With Ice Dragon and War Practice cancelled, I was not sure when I’d get a chance to show this off. When the tourney was announced, I realized I was all set to enter!
Thank you, Shonagon Ishiyama Gen’tarou Yori’i, for sharing your wonderful work with our Kingdom’s artisans and populace!
If you would like to see Shonagon Ishiyama’s entry, follow this link. And if you liked his work, have a question to ask, or a tip to share – please leave your comments with his entry! You can “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of the entry’s page. We have four more weeks to peruse, enjoy and interact with the entrants. Make use of the opportunity, if you can!
Amor Vincit Omnia: 12th-Century Embroidered Shoes
by Robert of Ferness, OL
I hope this article inspires other artisans to publish what they would have entered at Ice Dragon as well, that all may enjoy learning about what could have been seen there, if not for the current sickness in our land.
During the Viking Age and early Middle Ages, people in Scandinavia, the British Isles, and Northern Europe used runes to send messages to each other, and to posterity. In Bergen, a city on Norway’s west coast, a particularly large number of artifacts with runes on them has been excavated. They carry reports of business, statements of love, condemning curses, and sometimes gibberish. Most of these appear as carvings on sticks, but one particularly interesting example conveys a Latin quotation via embroidery on a shoe.
For Ice Dragon this year, I decided to make a reproduction of that shoe and its missing mate, a project summarized here. For details and citations for assertions made herein, please see my full documentation referenced at the end.
This project involved three main aspects: 1) understanding the runes of the surviving shoe and coming up with something appropriate for its missing mate; 2) devising a pattern from the original and making wearable footwear; 3) learning about suitable material and colors for the embroidery.
As apparent in Fig. 1, we can see that the shoe has survived remarkably well after 800 years in the ground. Its surface sports numerous incisions, which are punctured by small holes through the thickness of the leather between them. This is the usual manner of applying embroidery thread to shoes, of which hundreds of examples are known (though only five with runes). In addition to the runes, decorative elements manifest in bounding lines for the letters and arcs on the ankle.
Fig. 2 clarifies the runes on this shoe, which, when transcribed to our Western alphabet, read mulil amor vincit omnia et, starting to the right of the ankle seam and running around the ankle, then jumping to the instep and running down to the toe. There are no word separators.
The first word, mulil, has proved to be untranslatable. It may be a personal name, some kind of magic charm word, or have some other meaning that may remain forever unknown. It does not appear in any corpus of Latin or Old Norse, either as-is or in any alternative that might have come from a misspelling or other sort of mistake. We can hope that someday it will turn up in a context that sheds lights on its use here.
The rest of the phrase, however, comes from the poet Virgil’s Bucolica Eclogue X, and is Latin for “love conquers all and,” with the rest of his phrase presumably continuing on the other shoe as nos cedamus amori “so let us surrender to love.”
Numerous aspects of runes can make interpreting them difficult. Their individual usage and form morphed through time based on changing pronunciation of their letters. Further, they varied from place to place, they were produced by people with different levels of literacy, and they could represent different languages. Additionally, different forms might be used on different media, and sometimes archaic runes were even written on parchment well after more modern forms were carved into other materials.
Fig. 3 depicts the shoe’s runes and their Latin alphabet equivalents.
Notes: the same rune is used for “u” and “v”; the “o” and “r” of amor have been joined in a ligature, or bind-rune, a common practice to save effort or space by using the same stroke. The “t” used in this context is the thorn character ᚦ and an “o” is used in et, either by mistake or because of sound changes.
Making the Shoe
This general type of shoe, known as a turnshoe, consists of a sole and an upper. To make such a shoe, cut out a thick piece of leather for the sole, and a thinner, more flexible one for the upper. The upper will have a side seam, almost always found on the inside of the ankle, which is stitched before being attached to the sole. After the side seam is closed, the upper is stitched to the sole inside-out. Once stitched all the way around, the shoe is soaked in water until soft enough to be turned right side-out. I worked out a pattern for this shoe based on my previous work, essentially making the ankle opening a bit higher on the front and adding the skewed toes. Vegetable-tanned leather was used, dyed black with vinegaroon.
Embroidery on Leather
Unlike embroidery on cloth, leather-based work does not pass up and down through the material from one side to the other. Rather, it passes through the thickness of the leather, from one surface incision to another, leaving an area to be looped over. This technique means that the leather is not pierced from outside to inside and water will not then soak through holes when the top of the shoe becomes wet. Further, there is no thread on the inside of the shoe to abrade or catch on the wearer’s foot.
Fig. 4 shows the turned shoe with incised leather ready to be embroidered.
The incisions must be made before turning because cutting them into a three-dimensional form of flexible material does not appear to be feasible. I used a very sharp knife to incise the leather totally freehand, except for the long strips down the vamp where I used a straight edge for a consistent line. As for when to apply the embroidery thread, some excavated shoes clearly reveal it was added before turning. As an experiment, and because I was afraid of damaging the work, however, I first turned the shoes. This likely made it take longer to apply the thread because the formed shoe limited the freedom of manipulating the leather to best advantage.
Fig. 5 illustrates details of embroidering leather (from a previous project with three strips on the vamp from toe to instep, and reveals the inside of the shoe after application of thread).
The Embroidery Thread
At Bergen, 38 shoe uppers have retained traces of embroidery thread, although this shoe was not one of them. Unspun silk was used in all of those cases, and the thread was colored red or gold and has kept its bright and glossy characteristics during its time in the ground. My version of the shoes required about 785 ft. / 240m of red 2-ply filament silk applied two strands per pass by looping it through a tiny #12 glover’s needle eye and then applying via satin stitch. The gold elements required about the same amount. It took me 30 hours to embroider each shoe for some 7,500 total needle passes.
Fig. 6 shows various stages during the embroidery of the right shoe.
By no means is it clear who made the original shoe and added the embroidery. The shoemaker may have been itinerant or established; full-time or part-time; native or foreign; working alone or in a shop with others. Nor do we know who wore it originally, i.e., an extraordinarily rich person, someone moderately wealthy, or a person of more limited means. It could have been worn by a local, or by a visitor. However, some have claimed that a simple shoemaker could not or would not have added the embroidery and further that it would require an enormous cash outlay for such shoes. I do not agree with either of those assessments.
Fig. 7 offers a view of the completed shoes.
The surviving shoe is held by the University Museum in Bergen, cataloged as Acc. No. BRM 0/52927. Photos illustrating this conserved shoe, and others, are available on the web from the Bergen Universitetsmuseet site which are licensed CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.
Many details of this project have been omitted from this summary. Please see my publication on Academia.edu for further information, illustrations, citations, and references. I go into each aspect in more depth, including runes, making shoes, leather embroidery, medieval illustrations, and modern studies of all these aspects.
-Robert of Ferness, OL
The Æthelmearc Gazette welcomes all Arts & Sciences submissions! If you are not sure if your documentation would work as an Æthelmearc Gazette article, please feel free to ask Elska – she’s always happy to help format and edit as necessary.
To help our artisans navigate the medieval and renaissance arts & sciences while living through our current time of making history, the Kingdom Office of Arts & Sciences has added a chapter of Virtual Resources to our website. On this page you will find links to interesting and informative YouTube videos, websites and Facebook group pages devoted to various topics, as well as other useful A&S information.
The information is divided into two parts: first we list all our Kingdom and populace resources, and second we list virtual resources from all over the Knowne Worlde. Included are Æthelmearc Book of Faces arts & sciences groups, as well as Society-wide arts & sciences groups; Kingdom & populace YouTube channels and playlists; populace websites; populace publications (hosted on Academia). As well as society-wide Virtual Learning, of which the Book of Faces group SCA Virtual Classroom and Artisan Display has gained the most traction, and society-wide general arts & sciences Facebook groups (of which there are so many!).
I even included a list of my favorite free YouTube channels and playlists of documentaries and shows detailing medieval and renaissance life for those days we’d rather see someone else go through the effort of… fulling woolen cloth with human urine (Tony Robinson in The Worst Jobs in History)… cooking indoor dinner over open fire without a chimney (Lucy Worsley in If Walls Could Talk)… building a castle from scratch (I kid you not, and that would be Guedelon Castle in France)… or kitting out and training a medieval war horse (Modern History TV) – there is something funny, intriguing, educational, for anyone.
Our list will be updated as information becomes available –and we hope this will be soon, too! Are you an Æthelmearc citizen and do you have a blog, a website, a YouTube channel, or an Academia profile that we did not as of yet list? Please share! The more, the merrier!
Of course, it is our full intention to keep our Kingdom collection of Virtual Resources available and updated for now, as well as for the future.
Episode 1: The Royal Coin for Gareth Kincaid and Juliana Delamare, 41st King and Queen of Æthelmearc.
This is the first in a series of articles describing SCA coins made by the Æthelmearc Moneyers Guild. Some of the articles, like this one, will focus on particular coins from particular regions and time periods. Other articles will focus on medieval techniques and how our modern methods differ from those original techniques. Although Roman coins are certainly not the oldest coins made by humans, they are among the oldest that fit into our Society’s period, so they are a good place to start the discussion. This coin also happens to be the first coin formally produced by the Moneyers Guild!
Introduction Roman coins were utilized throughout the Roman empire, and there are numerous surviving examples, making them a favorite of coin collectors. In some ways, they are more predictable than later medieval coins, but in other ways, more varied. Our goal was to create a replica of a first century Roman Imperial coin.
The most common denominations of Roman coins were the denarius and the sestertius (see Appendix I). The denarius was made of silver, and was thus a small coin (dime to nickel in diameter). This size is too small for the degree of detail we hoped to include on the coin. The sestertius was made of copper, and was larger than modern American coins at 3-4cm in diameter. Its size renders it somewhat unwieldy. Thus, we decided upon a less common denomination, the as, which was made of copper and was about 2cm in diameter (after striking, our replica is 2.3cm). This allows us to create a coin that is of comfortable size and roughly equates to a Roman penny.
The vast majority of first-century Roman coins depict the head of the Emperor, as seen from the side, on the obverse. Occasionally, the emperor is depicted as Victory enthroned or depicted returning from battle victorious. Rarely, an inscription will be surrounded by a crown of laurel leaves without an image of the emperor. We opted for the usual portrait. Unlike many medieval coins, Roman coins do not use iconography to represent the face of the emperor – it was supposed to be a true likeness. Beards were commonly depicted.
The emperor could be shown bare-headed, helmeted, crowned, radiate (with holy rays of light emerging), or laureated. On most asses, the emperor is bare-headed or laureated. We opted for the laureated head, as it is a familiar SCA icon.
The emperor could be facing in either direction on the coin.
We have chosen as exemplars the bronze sestertius of Nero (AD 54-68) and the gold aureus of Hadrian (AD 117-138) because they depict the emperors’ faces in remarkable detail.
The image on the reverse is the most varied aspect of Roman coins. Images include deities, architecture, warriors, armor, Victory, and animals. Often, the image was used as propaganda to depict a recent military victory, or to make the emperor appear more successful.
Animals that are frequently depicted include the Roman eagle (often astride a globe), a mother wolf (feeding the twins Romulus and Remus), lions, horses, elephants, rhinoceroses, and bulls. We chose to use the eagle (usually displayed with wings spread), but modify it to appear like a raven as a reference to Juliana’s heraldry.
Exemplars included the copper as of Tiberius (AD 34-37) and the copper as of Vespasian (AD 72-73)
Latinizing the Name “Gareth Kincaid”
1st-century Roman names consist of praenomen (personal name), nomen (clan name), and cognomen (family name).
Praenomen We searched a list of emperor’s praenomina that appeared on Roman coins to find the closest match to “Gareth”. The closest praenomen is “Galenius”, which requires only two consonant substitutions to become “Garetius”.
Nomen Gareth’s household is Sable Maul, which translates to “Nigrum Malleo”, so we chose “Nigromalleus” as the nomen. Although the two terms could appear in either order, we felt that this order rolled off the tongue better.
Latin lacks a “K”, but “C” is always pronounced as “K”. The first syllable “Con-“ is frequent among Roman emperors, and the word “Concad” translates to “lower”. On the other hand, the first syllable “Cin-“ is a closer match to Gareth’s SCA name, and it is certainly common enough among Roman cognomina. So, we decided to use “Cincadius”, despite the lack of a direct translation for that word.
The inscription on the obverse of a Roman coin is a series of abbreviations with no demarcation of where one ends and another begins. You have to know what you’re looking for to parse it. Common abbreviations are listed in Appendix II. Due to space considerations, some words might be dropped, including some of the emperor’s names. Alternatively, the number of characters in the abbreviation might be increased or decreased. If there is a break in the inscription to make space for an image, the break does not necessarily occur between words, but we chose to use the break to indicate the start of the inscription.
The inscription on Gareth’s coin can be broken down as follows:
IMP = IMPERATOR
G = GARETIUS
NM = NIGROMALLEUS
CIN = CINCADIUS
AUG = AUGUSTUS
PP = PATER PATRIAE
COS I = FIRST CONSULATE
The inscription on the reverse of a Roman coin was often an opportunity for propaganda. Celebrations of military victory were common, but sometimes a feel-good phrase was used. The possibilities are myriad. We considered several phrases from actual Roman coins that we felt suited our Queen’s personality, and settled upon Claritas Reipub, which means “Light of the Republic”.
The letters “SC” appear on the reverse of most 1st-century Roman coins. This indicates that the Emperor received permission from the Senate before striking the coins.
Mint Marks appear on Roman coins only in later centuries, so we avoided using a Maker’s Mark on this coin.
About half of Roman coins from this century have buttoning (a ring of small dots) around the edge of the coin. We opted not to utilize this.
When you spin a coin from front to back, trying to make both faces appear upright, that is the axis of rotation. Modern coins have a 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock axis, but Roman coins (like all medieval coins) are haphazard. We strove for a 12 to 6 axis, but we were intentionally not careful.
As with all Roman script, “U” is depicted as “V”, and “J” is depicted as “I”.
Appendices First-century Roman coin denominations
Coin values are relative to the Denarius, which was the standard Roman silver coin.
All values are estimates, as relative coin values fluctuated throughout the Imperial era.
standard Roman gold coin
Bronze + Silver
Fixed at half an aureus
Silver or bronze
Called “the grand bronze”
Bronze or Copper
Common abbreviations for obverse inscriptions IMP = Imperator (translates as Emperor, but others may receive this title)
CAES (C) = Caesar (this term transitions from a cognomen to a title over time, and the meaning changes after the Diocletian divide)
UG = Augustus (this term is exclusive to the Emperor)
GERM (GER) = Germanicus (an honorific)
COS = Consulate. The Emperor often became one of the two Consuls of Rome. The number following COS is the consulate number. Because each consulate lasts one year, this is also the year of the Emperor’s reign. For SCA purposes, we propose that this number reflect the number of times on the throne.
PONMAX (PM) = Pontifus Maximus (head priest). We avoided this for SCA purposes.
TRIBPOT (TRP) = Tribunica Potestate (supreme representative of the people)
PP = Pater Patriae. Father of the country.
CENSPER (CP) = Censor Perpetuus (chief magistrate for life). Not appropriate for SCA.
Allen A. Mints and Money in Medieval England. 2012. Cambridge University Press.
Burnett A. Coins: Interpreting the Past. 1991. University of California Press.
Grierson P. Coins of Medieval Europe. 1991. BA Seaby, Ltd.
Herbert K. Roman Imperial Coins. 1996. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc.
Klawans ZH. Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins. 1994. (2017 edition) Whitman Publishing.
MacKay J. 2500 Coins of the World. 2008. Anness Publishing Ltd.
Sayles WG. Ancient Coin Collecting III: The Roman World (2nd ed). 2007. Krause Publications.
NOTE: DUE TO CONCERNS ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS AT THE COLLEGE WHERE THE EVENT WAS SCHEDULED TO BE HELD, AND DECISIONS BY THE GOVERNOR OF NY, ICE DRAGON HAS BEEN CANCELED FOR THIS YEAR.
Are you contemplating entering the largest Arts & Science competition of our Sylvan Kingdom, the Passing of the Ice Dragon Pentathlon? And perhaps you are intimidated by it’s size, it’s reputation, and even a bit overwhelmed…? So, why do artisans enter competitions? Most of our artisans enter for feedback and/or for exposure. Which one you value most can help you to figure participation, and have the most Fun!
If you already know what you would like to do, the preregistration forms for both judges and entrants are NOW LIVE! Please consider preregister, this allows the organizers to match skills as much as possible, resulting in more constructive feedback. Thank you!
Category Pottery, ID 2018 – Richard and Saladin floor section by Ian Campbell
Factors to consider before jumping into the challenge of Arts & Sciences competitions:
Critiques must be consensual
Judges are volunteers
Know what the entrant wants out of the competition
Use the judging criteria, it is there to help
Documentation is not meant to be homework
This is supposed to be fun and helpful!
1. Critiques must be consensual.
Unless an artisan specifically invites someone to critique their project, feedback should be kept to compliments. Once an artisan enters into a judged competition, that will be considered consent to critique. Unfortunately, not all commentary from judges will be helpful, and the artisan may not like or agree with what a judge has to say about their project. That’s part of the deal though – take what you need, disregard the rest.
For entrants, don’t let the judging sheet be the end of the dialogue, especially if you don’t like something or feel like you can gain more from a longer conversation. Follow up and – hey look! You made a new friend.
For judges, keep your commentary focused on the project and serve the compliment sandwich (constructive critique sandwiched between two feel-good compliments); make sure every part “tastes good”.
Category Cooking – leavening / yeast cakes; and another Category Cooking – Pompei Bread Both by Cristnna MacTavish
2. Judges are volunteers.
Sometimes judges are the perfect person to judge your project, sometimes they step in at the last moment to help fill spots and they know little about your project. You never know who you are going to get. Your job as an entrant is to present your project in a way that someone who has no clue about what the object is can come in, see the object presented in a pleasing way, learn about it in a few minutes via documentation & presentation (project plus visual aids, clearly labeled), and have enough context to have a semi-intelligent conversation about it, with references and sources so they can follow up if they want to.
3. What do you want to get out of the competition?
If you are in it to win it, make a show piece, use the judging criteria, have several people proofread your documentation journal, practice your presentation, test run your display and ask for critiques before the competition. Will you win then? Maybe. That’s always the answer – you have no way of knowing all the factors ahead of time, just make it the best you can each time. Take the critique and make the next display/project/documentation/presentation better. Up your game any way you can.
For entrants, see above. If you are just there to share your cool project and get feedback, tell the judges that “tangents,” also known as “rabbit holes,” are welcome and encouraged.
For judges, if someone is clearly there to win, offer the next better step suggestion, score them honestly, and tell them why you scored them that way – don’t leave them guessing.
Category Youth: Made from scratch list-legal wood arrows with silk wrapping, by Mary of Harford (Myrkfaelinn); three (pest) animal illustrations by Hannah. So you realize, these are YOUTH entries! Really!
4. Use the criteria, they are there to help
The judging criteria, a grid of scoring criteria, is not only intended to guide judges to score less subjectively. Judging criteria are also intended to give entrants – or even just those wishing to improve – guidance on how to improve their art. Keep in mind that the highest score of the judging criteria reflects expert work. Reaching this level should be the goal of every entrant, but don’t expect it to happen overnight. Then when you do reach this milestone, it will be an achievement to be rightfully proud of – a true masterpiece!
For entrants, by reading the judging criteria and self-scoring your entry beforehand you can discover any shortcomings while you still have the opportunity to do something about it.
For judges, the judging criteria can help facilitate feedback to reach the entrant, even when under time constraints, by marking each topic on the form that applies to the entered project. Keep in mind that the highest score should be for entries so good that the most authentic recreator would consider it perfect.
5. Documentation is not meant to be homework
Unless you intend to write a research paper, a graduation thesis is not what the judges are looking for. Your documentation should be a combination of historical context combined with a project journal. It should tell the judges what you made, how it was made, and why it is historically authentic. And ask yourself: could a stranger to the topic understand and recreate your project using only your documentation journal?
For entrants, how much time will the judge have on average per entry? At an average reading speed 1500 words per 15 minutes, this limits the length of your journal. If judges need to speed-read supply keywords and highlights, and move side-quests to the appendices. Use a cover sheet summary, step-by-step instructions and photo journals to help organize the information and simplify navigation.
A few things to keep in mind about judges and judging:
– it is LOUD in A&S competitions, and not everyone reads well in noisy rooms with lots of distractions.
– stupid questions and assumptions are going to happen, and sometimes have to happen for clarity. Note them and recheck your documentation. It could be that the judge missed that due to distractions, or you could have mentally filled in with your own prior knowledge and your audience has no way of knowing.
Category Illumination; Second scroll ever by our very talented Crystal Bradley.
6. A&S competitions are supposed to be fun!
While most judges are careful about serving edible compliment sandwiches, sometimes you are going to get anchovies & pineapple on the same pizza. It is unfortunate when that happens, but it does happen. It’s a risk of competition, which is why #1 is so important. Take the feedback as it applies, disregard the rest.
A&S competitions are supposed to be educational. They are supposed to be fun. If it’s not fun for you, don’t do it. If you aren’t looking for feedback, don’t do it. But if you are, we are very happy you found us! Together, we can challenge and inspire each other to reach the stars!
To help find us, below is a map listing Troll (William Stuart Forum), the Pent rooms (T119A+B) and the Performance Arts (Stuart Steiner Theater).
For more information on the Ice Dragon Arts and Sciences competition: Kingdom Event page on the AS 54 Festival of the Passing of the Ice Dragon. Home page of the Festival of the Passing of the Ice Dragon. Home page of the Passing of the Ice Dragon Pentathlon.
The Florilegium is a collection of files assembled by The Honorable Lord Stefan li Rous. The information hails from various sources, starting from when Stefan first joined the SCA in 1989. This includes files from various mail lists, posts in various Facebook groups, as well as articles submitted directly to Stefan by their authors. Be aware of “rabbit holes”… many an artisan found more than they were looking for after finding their way to the Florilegium research vaults!
What’s a “Florilegium”? Literally, it means “a gathering of flowers.” Florilegia were collections of choice tidbits (from Ovid, Aristotle, various popes, church scholars, etc), arranged by topic. Typically, a florilegium is huge, encyclopedic, and contains only choice selections from particular works. For example, Ovid’s Metamorphoses would be too long to include in its entirety and might suggest some of the wrong ideas (from a Church viewpoint), so only those works that offer clear exegetic or moralistic examples would likely be included.
Stefan, on the other hand, is interested in the whole of what the SCA has to offer, and is always on the look out for new articles. If you have written an article that would be of interest to others in the SCA, please send it to him for possible inclusion in the Florilegium. A&S documentation and class handouts often work well, and he is especially interested in research papers submitted as A&S entries.
I hope you find these files useful, interesting, amusing – or all three.
Honorable Lord Stefan li Rous (Mark S. Harris)
Viking Bead Research: A Necklace from the Kneep on the Isle of Lewis by Baroness Aranwen Ap Rhys Verch Gwalter
A NEW WAY TO MAKE BEADS
I am always looking for a challenge to recreate. At first when I looked at the picture of the Kneep necklace in RDE Welander, Batey and Cowie “A Viking burial from Kneep, Uig, Isle of Lewis”, I thought this would be an easy necklace to recreate. It was just four colors and the beads were all round, and it seemed the only challenge was to successfully fume silver and gold foil on the beads. But the more I read and the more I researched, I found out that the beads were indeed complex.
First off, they were not any ordinary round beads but segmented beads. This intrigued me as the first study I did several years ago on the history of beads was on trade beads. Segmented beads were often times used as currency as purchases were made with beads. The beads were often segmented with two or more sections and if a purchase required one or two beads, those segments were broken off and used as payment.
Khalid states, “In his blog entry, “Kaupang before the Coin”, Matthew Delvaux discusses the idea that the segmented beads were imported goods from the Middle East and proposes the idea that they possibly were a form of currency in the early Viking Age.” These beads were created differently than I have ever known before. As a lampworker, I use glass rods heated and then wrapped around a prepared metal rod to make my beads. These beads were drawn.
Brooches and beads from Kneep, photo credit to the National Museum of Scotland.
Welander’s article goes into great detail on how these particular beads would have been made. “The basic beads would have been formed from a length of thick-walled glass tube and formed on a central metal rod. This would have been dipped into molten glass of appropriate colour and the glass gathered-up on the rod. On the cooling both the rod and the glass would shrink, releasing the central rod. The segmentation of this glass tube would have been done while the glass was still plastic, either by using some form of crimping tool or possibly by pressing the glass tube (still supported by the metal rod) into a prefabricated template.”
The necklace is composed of only four different colors/metals: blue, yellow, gold, and silver. Welander had the beads analyzed. The original beads were made of soda glass with colorants of iron, copper, and strontium for blue. High levels of iron were found in the yellow beads with traces of iron, copper, zinc, manganese, and silver. The most unusual find in regards to the gold and silver beads is that only silver was found in them, no gold whatsoever. It was suggested that the gold color might have been achieved by fluming the glass with silver and overlaying it with either a clear or perhaps amber glass.
TOOLS AND MATERIALS / PROCEDURES
As I don’t have a crucible or a long metal rod like the drawn beads were originally made, I thought of how I could make these beads to look like the originals only using the lampwork method.
I used a clear rod to form the base bead. I used 24k gold foil to fume (melt/burn onto) the bead
I am making a barrel bead.
I prepared the gold foil and made sure the bead was hot. The hot bead was carefully rolled over the gold foil and a metal tool was used to wrap the foil around the bead. Then the bead was put back into the fire and carefully watched as the gold melted around the bead.
To make the segments, I took the heated bead and rolled it over my form.
Here you can see the completed segmented bead with the gold overlay. RIGHT: Next the bead is being placed in my kiln. All glass beads once they are completed are placed in a computerized kiln to be slowly annealed. This process gently cools the glass down to room temperature thereby condensing the glass and helping to prevent cracking. This process makes for a stronger bead.
WHAT WORKED AND WHAT DID NOT WORK
I made the beads for this necklace twice. I included my first necklace with the display. For my first necklace, I used a gold aventurine rod to make my gold beads. As I was not happy with the color of the beads, I purchased gold foil and remade the beads with the gold foil. This process was not as successful because the gold easily melted into the glass. The finished bead I displayed was made from the first set of beads I recreated. The “silver” beads were fumed with silver, but like the gold, the silver foil melted into the beads. I experimented with Kaupang style of segmented beads by flattening them, but as the fluming was not successful, I decided to stay with the first set of beads for my final necklace.
I am still not satisfied with the results of the fluming. The first time I overlaid clear glass over the flumed silver. The beads were large and you could not see the silver. The second time I did not overlay glass, and the color is better. I would like to continue to try to improve my fluming techniques and will recreate this necklace again. As for recreating a drawn bead, that will need some more thought.
The Passing of the Ice Dragon Arts & Sciences Pentathlon has released the judging criteria for its second category, and just in the nick of time! The literary deadline listed for the Ice Dragon Pent, originally scheduled for February 1, 2020, was recently extended to February 14th as the judging criteria were not available ahead of time for this category. The Pent Organizers apologies for this delay, and are happy to share them with you now. To download your own pdf copy, please click here.
If you have not yet sent in your entry, you are welcome to utilize the judging criteria to self-score your work and tweak any areas you feel might benefit. And if you have, not to worry, you can resend – and we promise next year they’ll be out on schedule now the heavy lifting is done.
Hard copy of the research paper Black Parchment – displayed at the AS 53 Pent. Make sure to come and check out the literary art entries, as well as the general A&S entries!
Entries may be sent electronically or via hard copy in the mail. If you do not receive a confirmation email that an electronically submitted entry has been received within 24 hours of sending it, contact the Pent coordinator. Please also contact us in advance if you are sending hard copy.
Research Papers are part of the Literary Arts Category, which may include, but is not limited to: Musical arrangement & composition, Poetry & prose and Research paper. A research paper may be written in any style which the entrant chooses (e.g. Chicago, ALA, etc.). The entrant is strongly encouraged to be consistent in the use of the style they choose. The judging of the research paper is to be focused on the research presented, and any theories or conclusions presented. You can read more on the different types of research papers, like the argumentative paper, the analytical paper, the compare and contrast paper, &c., on the A&S Pent/researchpaper webpage.
In the next week or two we will add the remaining judging criteria for Live Performance and Youth entries. Keep an eye on our website and on social media to see all we’re up to. The end of March is creeping up fast, and that pesky Ice Dragon sure is in need of some slaying!
Looking forward to your entries.
Kingdom Event page on the AS 54 Festival of the Passing of the Ice Dragon. Home page of the Festival of the Passing of the Ice Dragon. Home page of the Passing of the Ice Dragon Pentathlon.