Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Scope of the Society - How to become a participant - Speaking "Medieval" - Where to find more information - Glossary

Scope of the Society: Period and Culture

The "Society" of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is based on the landed nobility of the European Middle Ages and Renaissance. Their dress and music, their literature and sports, and above all the chivalric ideals of their period serve to unify our events and activities. Our regional and local activities set aside the modern world of elected representatives to give us a sense of what it was like to live in the world of court and castle. In this environment our studies can go beyond literature and artifacts into the emotional feelings of former times.

We participate in a wide range of activities embracing a much broader span of time and culture than most other groups in the "living history" community try to sample. The people we've chosen for models were fond of play-acting and pageantry. They would happily base tournaments and revels on ancient history and distant lands, so we can use themes from outside medieval and Renaissance Europe as long as we keep their technology. People born to other civilizations traveled too, so we can allow for individuals and information from almost anywhere. The task is to weave all this together so that the events we sponsor are recognizably our own.

For Society members, most of the world can serve as a source for personal research and recreation. The Society's organized activities mainly reflect the courtly life of European Middle Ages and Renaissance. However, any culture that interacted with the European Middle Ages (including Islamic and Oriental cultures) can be a source for research and recreation.

Since members have free choice of what areas they will explore, it follows that Society branches can not specialize. The choice of a single time and place for a branch would make it hard for members there to pursue other interests of their own.

People with similar interests often join together and form a household or guild for the purpose of studying a specific time period or subject. These groups are not formally recognized by the Society and can range from highly structured guilds to loosely associated camping groups. Such groups are free to organize themselves without interference from the Society at large. The difference between a guild and a household is one of focus. Guilds generally are focused on teaching something to those who wish to learn. They hold meetings, that are open to others, for the purpose of learning. Households generally focus internally, working with the members to achieve the goals of the household, whatever the goals might be.

How to become an active SCA participant

Find a local group in your area. If you are reading this, you have probably already completed this step. At local group meetings you will find out what events are going on in the area and what activities the local group does. We recommend that you get involved with the local group activities, which can include, but are not limited to, medieval combat, dancing, archery, sewing, fencing, theater, music, cooking, metal and wood working, scribal arts, and many other areas of interest.

By attending these activities, you will not only learn some medieval history, you will also meet and interact with people in your local group and make friends. The people at these activities will have interests similar to yours and with their help you can begin going to local and Kingdom events where hundreds of people gather to do the same activities you learned to do at your local group.

Speaking Medieval

A quick beginner primer on speaking in a "Medieval" manner

The easiest way to talk in a medieval manner is to be very polite. Use the words "m'Lord" and "milady" when talking to others. Avoid contractions and speak slowly, it will give your speech a more flowing style. Try to develop a phrase or two which you use only in persona. Some people, when they hear their name, say "Aye" or "Si" in response. Others use phrases in general conversation such as "how delightful" instead of "cool."

Where to find more information:

It can sometimes be overwhelming trying to find information about a group or about a subject. Here we have links to sites that provide a wealth of information on many subjects. Remember, when you don't know where to look or what to ask, talk to the members at your local group. The Chatelaine or Seneschal will always be good choices to get you started with the basics of what you need to know. They will also be able to direct you to other resources/members for additional information.

Newcomer Information Start Here - The Official SCA.org Newcomer Portal.
New Member's Guilde to the SCA - Newcomer's Guide PDF - A comprehensive PDF exploring many aspects of the SCA.
Forward into the Past - Forward Into the Past PDF - An introductory booklet published by the Society. Goes into a little more detail.
A Glossary of SCA Terms - Jargon PDF - A detailed yet brief PDF defining many of the more common terms, or jargon, within the Society.
The Barony of Red Spears website - redspears.midrealm.org - Covering the SCA groups in Northwest Ohio.
The Middle Kingdom website - midrealm.org - Covering Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, most of Kentucky, and a little bit of Iowa and Ontario.
The corporate web pages for SCA, Inc. - Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.

Glossary:

Arts and Sciences: Those medieval crafts and skills which we research and practice in the SCA.
Autocrat: The person in charge of an event. Sometimes the suffix "-crat" gets added to other words to identify the person running that activity (example - "feastocrat" for someone in charge of a feast at an event).
Bardic circle: An informal gathering for singing and storytelling. Any who attend are welcome to perform appropriate material, but you can just sit and listen if you prefer.
Barony: A group of shires who band together to form a larger political "umbrella" for the mutual benefit and gain of all shires. Once the barony is formed all shires then become "cantons" (see also: "canton" and "shire").
Canton: A local group of the SCA located in a modern city/village that is a part of a larger group called a barony.
Chatelaine: [SHAT-el-ain] - A gentle who helps new members learn about the SCA. Find this person, they will help you get acclimated in the SCA. Sometimes called Hospitaller.
Chirurgeon: [KIGHR-er-jun] - A gentle who can administer first aid at events.
Chivalry: 1. The ideal qualities of knighthood, as courtesy, valor, charity, skill in arms, etc... 2. A person recognized by the King, Queen and other Chivalry as one who possesses prowess in heavy weapons combat and chivalric virtues.
Court: A gathering where the King and Queen of a Kingdom make announcements and present awards. Principalities can hold principality courts and baronies can hold baronial courts.
Damp site: Alcoholic beverage policy meaning beer, wine and mead are allowed, but no hard liquor (in accordance with modern laws of course).
Discreetly damp site: Alcoholic beverage policy meaning beer, wine and mead are allowed, but no hard liquor (in accordance with modern laws of course). Discreetly meaning that no visible trace of the beverages should be given. Drinks in glasses, no beer cans or wine bottles, etc... should be visible.
Dry site: Alcoholic beverage policy meaning no alcohol.
Event: Any Society gathering; you're welcome to go to any listed in your local and kingdom newsletters and you'll find things to do besides watch at most of them. Some activities (mainly the martial activities) take special training and you'll need to be "authorized" before you can take part in those.
Event steward: See "Autocrat"
Exchequer: [EX-check-er] - Treasurer for a group or kingdom.
Feast gear: A place setting for a feast, which usually includes a plate, bowl, goblet, spoon and knife.
Garb: Clothing based on that worn during the Middle Ages or Renaissance. Required at all events except some local meetings and activities, but your first attempt doesn't have to be fancy, and many groups have facilities to loan you garb. Garb can also be referred to by the medieval term: clothes.
Gate: The place to check in or buy at-the-door admission to an event. A Society habit has been to call the gate "troll", but there were no trolls or troll booths in the Middle Ages.
Gentle: Any person, not gender specific.
Herald: 1. One who or that which announces or shows what is to follow. 2. An official whose duty is to record and assist in the preparation of arms or heraldic device.
Hospitaller: A gentle who helps new members learn about the SCA. Find this person, they will help you get acclimated in the SCA. Sometimes called Chatelaine.
Household: People who wish to study one period of history in a group setting can band together for that purpose and such are free to organize themselves without interference from the Society at large.
Laurel: A person recognized by the King, Queen and other Laurels as one who has excelled to a mastery level in an art or science, and who possesses great virtue. Equivalent to a Knight or Pelican in rank.
Marshal: A person specially trained to oversee combat activities.
Mundane: Modern, not-in-the-SCA. Some Society members take offense at this term and refer to non-SCA people and things as "modern" or 21st Century. However, the term is not meant to be derogatory, forgive those who use it if this offends you as it is not meant to be insulting.
Peer: A Knight, Laurel or Pelican.
Pelican: A person recognized by the King, Queen and other Pelicans as one who has served their Kingdom and the SCA greatly and who possesses great virtue. Equivalent to a Knight or Laurel.
Period: The Middle Ages and Renaissance, which comprise the era used by the Society as a base for its activities or as an adjective of, from or reflecting that era. (Example: A suit of armor is period, the space shuttle is not).
Persona: The background and attitude that a person uses during an event when they pretend to be from the Middle Ages. A part of a persona is a medieval name.
Privy: Rest rooms.
Post-revel: A party after the main event, usually in someone's home or camp site for socializing and unwinding. Post revels are not SCA official sponsored events.
Revel: A party.
Regnum: List of Society branches and officers.
Royal Peer: A count, countess, duke or duchess. These people have served as King or Queen, a count or countess once and a duke or duchess more than once.
Seneschal: Group administrator and legal representative of the SCA found at all levels of the society. Historically seneschals were an official in the household of a medieval prince or noble. For society purposes they are essentially the "president" of a local branch.
Shire: A local group in the SCA that is a part of the Kingdom, but does not belong to a barony. See also "barony".
Troll: See "Gate"
Wet site: Alcoholic beverage policy meaning there are no restrictions on alcoholic beverages (in accordance with modern laws of course).