Unto the good populace of Æthelmearc do Titus, Rex, and Anna Leigh, Regina, give greetings!
As you are all aware, there has been a great deal of emotional and passionate discussion over the past week regarding the SCA Board of Directors’ decision not to implement a rapier peerage. The confusion over whether or not the BoD was advocating the knighting of fencers added further heat to the SCA community’s concerns.
We would like to share with you what has taken place among the Crowns of the Known World over the past week, and what possibilities We anticipate over the coming weeks and months.
First, we would like to thank David Keen (Master David of Caithness), our Kingdom Ombudsman on the Board, who has done his best to keep Us informed of the Board’s plans and thought processes. The Board has been flooded with letters from gentles all over the Known World, and is well aware of the sense of urgency felt by SCA members regarding resolution of this issue. They will be holding an executive session on Monday, Feb. 2, to discuss possible options. Since they have already rejected the proposal for a rapier-only peerage, that option is not on the table at this time. One of the options they are considering is an Omnibus peerage for all non-rattan martial arts – not only rapier, but also archery, thrown weapons, equestrian, siege, combat archery, etc. If you would like to send your opinions to the Board of Directors, please write to them this week, before the Feb. 2nd Executive Session, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, the Crowns of the Known World have also been discussing the issue. As you might imagine, getting 19 couples from all over North America, Australia, and Europe to come to agreement on a subject this controversial is not an easy task. One thing We are agreed upon is that all endeavors in the Society deserve a path to peerage. There is also a general consensus that if the BoD does not act on this matter very soon, then the Crowns may take the matter into Their own hands.
One of the barriers to knighting rapier fighters is the 1999 Seneschal’s ruling, referenced by the BoD in their announcement of Monday, January 19, barring the knighting of non-rattan fighters. We are hoping that the Board and Society Seneschal will not sanction any Crowns who choose to ignore that ruling. We know how contentious knighting someone for fencing would be, and it is not Our first choice. That said, the Crowns of at least four Kingdoms have indicated that they are prepared to take that step if the Board cannot come to agreement on a solution to this issue. We can only wait and see what the Board chooses to do, continue discussions with the other Crowns, and then make Our own decisions accordingly. We are talking to the Chivalry and White Scarves of Æthelmearc, and may poll them regarding their opinions on this matter since they are the ones who would be most directly affected.
We appreciate thoughtful, impassioned, and courteous discussions of this issue. Know that We are listening and want to find the best solution for all concerned.
Titus Scipio Germanicus and Anna Leigh
King and Queen of Æthelmearc
We re-print this from the East Kingdom Gazette (Master David of Caithness is also the Ombudsman for Æthelmearc).
The East Kingdom Gazette asked the Ombudsman for the East to provide a statement as to what the Board is considering it will do moving forward with regards to the Rapier peerage. David Keen kindly and promptly sent us the following reply.
The BoD has been at work towards a solution to the current crisis, including wording some proposed Corpora changes. We are constrained as to how we must operate to release these for commentary. We must open an executive session of the BoD, entertain a motion, second the motion, discuss the motion and finally vote on the motion to release it for commentary. Setting a time and date for an executive session via conference call can be challenging given modern work schedules.
The tone and timbre of the commentary to the BoD has been changing these past 24 hours. Keep your thoughts and comments coming. The input from the membership is vital if the BoD is to come to the most appropriate solution.
The deadline is tomorrow (January 15) for comments:
Currently open for commentary is a proposal by the Additional Peerage Exploratory Committee (“APEC”) for a new Rapier Peerage. The language for this proposal can be found below. Due to the long-reaching effects of this proposal, the Board of Directors would like to emphasize that commentary is being accepted until January 15, 2015, and would strongly recommend that all members forward their opinions for consideration.
At the July 2013 Board Meeting, the Additional Peerage Exploratory Committee (“APEC”) proposed that the Board of Directors create a new Patent-bearing Peerage Order parallel to the Orders of the Chivalry, the Laurel and the Pelican. This Rapier Peerage would be for the related martial arts of rapier and all forms of cut & thrust in the SCA. In August of 2013, the APEC’s proposal for name, heraldry and badge was sent out to the membership for commentary, and a second committee was formed of representatives appointed by the Kingdoms of the Known World to review the proposal and represent their interests. After reviewing all commentary received from the membership and the committees, the Board believes there is enough interest to request further commentary on the changes that would be required to Corpora if the Board decides to create such an Order. This will be the final opportunity for the membership to make its opinions and wishes known on this subject as the Board will vote at the January 2015 Board meeting on whether or not to create this Order.
In the event a rapier/cut & thrust peerage is created, the following would be the proposed changes to Corpora (additions in red; deletions in blue and struck out.)
Glossary, page 9.
[• Peerage: Collectively, the members of the Order of Chivalry, the Order of the Laurel, and the Order of the Pelican, are referred to as the Peerage. A member of any of these Orders is a Peer.]
Peerage: Collectively, the members of the Order of Chivalry, the Order of the Laurel, and the Order of the Pelican, and the Order of Defense are referred to as the Peerage. A member of any of these Orders is a Peer.
VIII. PERSONAL AWARDS AND TITLES
Patents of Arms
Order of Precedence Within the Peerage
[The Crown may establish the order of precedence within the peerage according to the laws and customs of the kingdom. However, the Chivalry, the Laurel, and the Pelican, and Defense are of equal precedence and must be considered as one group.]
The Crown may establish the order of precedence within the peerage according to the laws and customs of the kingdom. However, the orders of the Chivalry, the Laurel, and the Pelican, and Defense are of equal precedence and must be considered as one group.
The Order of Defense:
(i) Members of the Order of Defense may choose to swear fealty, but are not required to do so. The candidate must be considered the equal of his or her prospective peers with the basic weapons of rapier and/or cut-and-thrust combat. The candidate must have applied this skill and/or knowledge for the instruction of members and service to the kingdom to an extent above and beyond that normally expected of members of the Society.
(2) The duties of the members of the order are as follows:
(a) To set an example of courtesy and chivalrous conduct on and off the field of honor.
(b) To respect the Crown of the kingdom; to support and uphold the laws of the kingdom and Corpora.
(c) If in fealty, to support and uphold the Crown of his or her kingdom.
(d) To enrich the kingdom by sharing his or her knowledge and skills.
(e) To enhance the renown and defend the honor of the peer’s Lady or Lord.
(f) To advise the Crown on the advancement of candidates for the Order of Defense
(The section on royal peerage becomes section e, etc.)
The titles listed here are considered standard, and may be used by those who have earned or been granted the appropriate rank or award within the Society. The College of Arms publishes a more extensive list of titles and alternative forms, which may also be used freely by qualified persons. In addition, the College of Arms has full approval authority over new alternative titles, which must be added to their list before being released for use in the Society.
Members of the Orders of the Laurel, the Pelican, and Mastery of Arms.
Members of the Orders of the Laurel, the Pelican, Mastery of Arms, and Defense.
[C. Rapier Fighting in the Society
The Board acknowledges rapier combat as an ancillary activity of the Society when properly supervised by the Marshals and when approved by individual kingdoms. Rapier combat may take place within a kingdom only by rules established by the Marshallate of that kingdom and after the approval of those rules by the Marshal of the Society. The Marshal of the Society will maintain guidelines for rapier combat within the Society. Rapier combat, not having been part of formal tournament combat in the Middle Ages, shall not be a part of formal tournament lists for royal ranks and armigerous titles. ]
Only Chivalric (rattan) combat shall be used for formal tournament lists for royal ranks.
[This last might need some explanation. The current Section IX.C is a holdover from a Governing and Policy decision from October 1979, when the Board decided that rapier combat would be allowed in the SCA as an ancillary activity. Rapier combat is no longer considered an ancillary activity and has not been for many years. Also, the duties of the Society Earl Marshal are properly defined in section VI.D. So this section is reduced to a single clear, unambiguous rule.]
Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
The deadline for comments for the following is January 15, 2015.
This announcement is an official informational release by the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce this announcement in its entirety in newsletters, websites and electronic mailing lists.
Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to: SCA Inc. Box 360789 Milpitas, CA 95036 You may also email email@example.com.