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Re: [SCA Newcomers] gentle folk

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  • Coblaith Mhuimhneach
    ... Persona is an entirely personal matter. You can choose any persona you like, or no persona at all. When we say, Everyone in the S.C.A. is assumed to be
    Message 1 of 13 , Aug 2, 2007
      Viviven Hollingsworth wrote:
      > I was told only "gentlefolk" were appropriate personas -- no lower
      > class, beggers, etc.. . .Did I miss something in reading up on SCA? I
      > don't remember ever
      > seeing anything mentioned about class and rank.. . .

      Persona is an entirely personal matter. You can choose any persona you
      like, or no persona at all.

      When we say, "Everyone in the S.C.A. is assumed to be of gentle birth,"
      what we mean is that nobody is banned from activities or positions that
      would, in period, only have been available to those of gentle birth.
      In many re-enactment and living history groups, almost everybody is
      designated as lower-class, and must dress and act accordingly. This
      allows the group's re-enactments or displays to accurately reflect the
      times and events they are meant to. But it means that only certain
      people can, for instance, wear silk, or use chain mail, or have a metal
      cup to drink from. In some of these groups, one can choose which class
      to portray. In others, everybody starts off as lower-class, until
      somebody upper-class decides to quit there's no opportunity to change
      (because there can be only one leader for every band), and one can
      switch from lower- to upper-class only by taking on a whole new persona
      (because, in most periods of European history, peasants simply did not
      become nobles). That's not the way the Society has chosen to go. A
      rank newbie is entitled to dress in satin and lace, if that's what she
      wants, and someone who spends most of her time at events washing dishes
      and re-stocking toilet paper may be elevated to the peerage.

      The Society is, of course, built around activities in which serfs and
      burghers didn't engage, like tournaments and courts of honor. This is
      expressly acknowledged in the introduction to the S.C.A. Organizational
      Handbook <http://sca.org/docs/govdocs.pdf> (the governing documents of
      the Society, which you should read, if you haven't already), where is
      writ:

      > We sponsor events such as tournaments and feasts where members dress
      > in clothing styles worn in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and
      > participate in activities based on the civil and martial skills of the
      > period. These activities recreate aspects of the life and culture of
      > the landed nobility in Europe prior to 1600 CE. The dress, pastimes,
      > and above all the chivalric ideals of the period serve to unify our
      > events and activities.

      Corpora (also part of the Organizational Handbook) states:

      > The term “Society event” refers to tournaments, feasts, and other
      > activities whereby participants can display the results of their
      > researches into the culture and technology of the period in an
      > environment which evokes the atmosphere of the pre-17th century
      > European Middle Ages and Renaissance.

      People have different ideas about how much care should be taken in the
      evocation of said atmosphere. Many feel that one detracts from it by,
      say, coming into court dressed as a servant when being called to do
      something a servant could never do in period, or serving feast wearing
      something only a high-ranking noble could afford. Some sidestep the
      issue by changing the "class" of their clothing to suit the occasion.
      Others take on alternate personae when it's time to do something their
      primary personae wouldn't. Whether that's generally expected or just
      something the more persona-conscious do for their own peace of mind
      varies from area to area. Only somebody in your own can tell you how
      it's viewed there.

      There are also some people in the Society who take persona play very
      seriously and who feel that (1) behaving the way nobles were, in
      period, expected to behave is no fun, (2) having a "medieval" or
      "Renaissance" society with no servants, farmers, tradesmen, or
      merchants is ridiculous on its face, and/or (3) there are tasks that
      must be performed at every event that one of "gentle birth" cannot
      perform without breaking persona, so the only way to maintain a
      medieval or Renaissance atmosphere and get them done is for someone to
      be "lower-class". Many of them have lower- or middle-class primary or
      alternate personae. We have a couple of peers in our barony who "never
      come to events", but often "send their servants" (i.e., show up under
      another name, dressed as lower-class, and have a high old time). Our
      Baron (who holds our kingdom's highest honor for persona play, himself)
      typically goes along with the game. One might, for example, be given
      an award for service, but have the usual, "I've seen him helping out in
      the kitchen at every event for the past three years. . .," explanation
      rephrased to something like, "He's sent his servants to work in the
      kitchen. . .." Similarly, some members of our populace attribute their
      A&S efforts to "employees", offering statements like, "I'm having a
      dress made in the loveliest shade of crimson. My seamstress is just
      working on the beading of the sleeves now."

      Alternate, lower-class personae are also popular tools for those who'd
      like to occasionally behave outrageously, without affecting their
      primary personae's reputations. There's a local Laurel who bears a
      remarkable resemblance to a certain disreputable character who shows up
      from time to time selling false letters patent or trading in debased
      coins. Nobody knows the fellow's name, and if you address him as
      "m'lord" he chortles and says something like, "Oh, I ain't no lord, me!
      Mercy! What a thought! 'Lord,' she says!" A friend of mine has an
      alternate persona that was recently called into court, chastised for
      her loose behavior (running around in public at a past event in her
      shift), accused of theft (of something belonging to her primary
      persona), and ordered to return to service with her former mistress
      (said primary persona). Her mistress' husband came in to take charge
      of her, and assured the Baron she'd be watched closely and given enough
      work to keep her out of trouble. The servant only ever shows up at
      local revels, flirts with all the men, and complains about how uptight
      her mistress is. She has everybody laughing every time she's around,
      but she's definitely not the kind of person you'd want representing the
      Barony when, say, the Queen was present.

      What you want to remember is that, if you have a real, fully-developed
      persona, your behavior will be determined by your social position. Our
      patent-selling commoner slips away quietly when members of the guard
      are about, for example, while his Laurel doppelgänger wouldn't hesitate
      to send one of them on an errand.

      If you really just want a loose back-story, that's allowed, too. In
      the S.C.A. even merchants can speak to nobles without first being
      spoken to by them, for instance, even if they wouldn't have dared in
      the periods to which they dress.


      Coblaith Mhuimhneach
      Barony of Bryn Gwlad
      Kingdom of Ansteorra
      <mailto:Coblaith@...>
    • Larry
      WOW, and I thought Alts were only for video games... LOL Ahnuld the Woodsman
      Message 2 of 13 , Aug 2, 2007
        WOW, and I thought "Alts" were only for video games...
        LOL

        Ahnuld the Woodsman


        --- Coblaith Mhuimhneach <Coblaith@...>
        wrote:

        > Viviven Hollingsworth wrote:
        > > I was told only "gentlefolk" were appropriate
        > personas -- no lower
        > > class, beggers, etc.. . .Did I miss something in
        > reading up on SCA? I
        > > don't remember ever
        > > seeing anything mentioned about class and rank.. .
        > .
        >
        > Persona is an entirely personal matter. You can
        > choose any persona you
        > like, or no persona at all.
        >
        > When we say, "Everyone in the S.C.A. is assumed to
        > be of gentle birth,"
        > what we mean is that nobody is banned from
        > activities or positions that
        > would, in period, only have been available to those
        > of gentle birth.
        > In many re-enactment and living history groups,
        > almost everybody is
        > designated as lower-class, and must dress and act
        > accordingly. This
        > allows the group's re-enactments or displays to
        > accurately reflect the
        > times and events they are meant to. But it means
        > that only certain
        > people can, for instance, wear silk, or use chain
        > mail, or have a metal
        > cup to drink from. In some of these groups, one can
        > choose which class
        > to portray. In others, everybody starts off as
        > lower-class, until
        > somebody upper-class decides to quit there's no
        > opportunity to change
        > (because there can be only one leader for every
        > band), and one can
        > switch from lower- to upper-class only by taking on
        > a whole new persona
        > (because, in most periods of European history,
        > peasants simply did not
        > become nobles). That's not the way the Society has
        > chosen to go. A
        > rank newbie is entitled to dress in satin and lace,
        > if that's what she
        > wants, and someone who spends most of her time at
        > events washing dishes
        > and re-stocking toilet paper may be elevated to the
        > peerage.
        >
        > The Society is, of course, built around activities
        > in which serfs and
        > burghers didn't engage, like tournaments and courts
        > of honor. This is
        > expressly acknowledged in the introduction to the
        > S.C.A. Organizational
        > Handbook <http://sca.org/docs/govdocs.pdf> (the
        > governing documents of
        > the Society, which you should read, if you haven't
        > already), where is
        > writ:
        >
        > > We sponsor events such as tournaments and feasts
        > where members dress
        > > in clothing styles worn in the Middle Ages and
        > Renaissance, and
        > > participate in activities based on the civil and
        > martial skills of the
        > > period. These activities recreate aspects of the
        > life and culture of
        > > the landed nobility in Europe prior to 1600 CE.
        > The dress, pastimes,
        > > and above all the chivalric ideals of the period
        > serve to unify our
        > > events and activities.
        >
        > Corpora (also part of the Organizational Handbook)
        > states:
        >
        > > The term “Society event” refers to tournaments,
        > feasts, and other
        > > activities whereby participants can display the
        > results of their
        > > researches into the culture and technology of the
        > period in an
        > > environment which evokes the atmosphere of the
        > pre-17th century
        > > European Middle Ages and Renaissance.
        >
        > People have different ideas about how much care
        > should be taken in the
        > evocation of said atmosphere. Many feel that one
        > detracts from it by,
        > say, coming into court dressed as a servant when
        > being called to do
        > something a servant could never do in period, or
        > serving feast wearing
        > something only a high-ranking noble could afford.
        > Some sidestep the
        > issue by changing the "class" of their clothing to
        > suit the occasion.
        > Others take on alternate personae when it's time to
        > do something their
        > primary personae wouldn't. Whether that's generally
        > expected or just
        > something the more persona-conscious do for their
        > own peace of mind
        > varies from area to area. Only somebody in your own
        > can tell you how
        > it's viewed there.
        >
        > There are also some people in the Society who take
        > persona play very
        > seriously and who feel that (1) behaving the way
        > nobles were, in
        > period, expected to behave is no fun, (2) having a
        > "medieval" or
        > "Renaissance" society with no servants, farmers,
        > tradesmen, or
        > merchants is ridiculous on its face, and/or (3)
        > there are tasks that
        > must be performed at every event that one of "gentle
        > birth" cannot
        > perform without breaking persona, so the only way to
        > maintain a
        > medieval or Renaissance atmosphere and get them done
        > is for someone to
        > be "lower-class". Many of them have lower- or
        > middle-class primary or
        > alternate personae. We have a couple of peers in
        > our barony who "never
        > come to events", but often "send their servants"
        > (i.e., show up under
        > another name, dressed as lower-class, and have a
        > high old time). Our
        > Baron (who holds our kingdom's highest honor for
        > persona play, himself)
        > typically goes along with the game. One might, for
        > example, be given
        > an award for service, but have the usual, "I've seen
        > him helping out in
        > the kitchen at every event for the past three years.
        > . .," explanation
        > rephrased to something like, "He's sent his servants
        > to work in the
        > kitchen. . .." Similarly, some members of our
        > populace attribute their
        > A&S efforts to "employees", offering statements
        > like, "I'm having a
        > dress made in the loveliest shade of crimson. My
        > seamstress is just
        > working on the beading of the sleeves now."
        >
        > Alternate, lower-class personae are also popular
        > tools for those who'd
        > like to occasionally behave outrageously, without
        > affecting their
        > primary personae's reputations. There's a local
        > Laurel who bears a
        > remarkable resemblance to a certain disreputable
        > character who shows up
        > from time to time selling false letters patent or
        > trading in debased
        > coins. Nobody knows the fellow's name, and if you
        > address him as
        > "m'lord" he chortles and says something like, "Oh, I
        > ain't no lord, me!
        > Mercy! What a thought! 'Lord,' she says!" A
        > friend of mine has an
        > alternate persona that was recently called into
        > court, chastised for
        > her loose behavior (running around in public at a
        > past event in her
        > shift), accused of theft (of something belonging to
        > her primary
        > persona), and ordered to return to service with her
        > former mistress
        > (said primary persona). Her mistress' husband came
        > in to take charge
        > of her, and assured the Baron she'd be watched
        > closely and given enough
        > work to keep her out of trouble. The servant only
        > ever shows up at
        > local revels, flirts with all the men, and complains
        > about how uptight
        > her mistress is. She has everybody laughing every
        > time she's around,
        > but she's definitely not the kind of person you'd
        > want representing the
        > Barony when, say, the Queen was present.
        >
        > What you want to remember is that, if you have a
        > real, fully-developed
        > persona, your behavior will be determined by your
        > social position. Our
        > patent-selling commoner slips away quietly when
        > members of the guard
        > are about, for example, while his Laurel
        > doppelgänger wouldn't hesitate
        > to send one of them on an errand.
        >
        > If you really just want a loose back-story, that's
        > allowed, too. In
        > the S.C.A. even merchants can speak to nobles
        > without first being
        > spoken to by them, for instance, even if they
        > wouldn't have dared in
        > the periods to which they dress.
        >
        >
        > Coblaith Mhuimhneach
        > Barony of Bryn Gwlad
        > Kingdom of Ansteorra
        > <mailto:Coblaith@...>
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • Pixie Rose
        We don t need no stinking court!!! (with an accent, of course!!) Rowen [Non-text portions of this
        Message 3 of 13 , Aug 3, 2007
          We don't need no stinking court!!! (with an accent, of course!!)

          Rowen

          << I do it the easy way... I DO NOT GO TO COURT!

          ~Wolfy>>


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Larry
          Your Majesty! The Peasants are revolting!! Yes... and they smell bad too... -- Marie Antoinette or Mel Brooks (I forget) Ahnuld
          Message 4 of 13 , Aug 3, 2007
            "Your Majesty! The Peasants are revolting!!"
            "Yes... and they smell bad too..."
            -- Marie Antoinette or Mel Brooks (I forget)


            Ahnuld

            --- Pixie Rose <pixierosedragon@...> wrote:

            > We don't need no stinking court!!! (with an accent,
            > of course!!)
            >
            > Rowen
            >
            > << I do it the easy way... I DO NOT GO TO COURT!
            >
            > ~Wolfy>>
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been
            > removed]
            >
            >
          • Nicole E. Miller
            I was watching History of the World, Part 1 last night. Officer: Your Majesty! The Peasants are revolting!! The King (Brookes) replies: I know, they stink
            Message 5 of 13 , Aug 3, 2007
              I was watching History of the World, Part 1 last night.

              Officer: "Your Majesty! The Peasants are revolting!!"
              The King (Brookes) replies: "I know, they stink on ice!"


              Its good to be the King,
              Sian
              ---- Larry <lrf@...> wrote:

              =============
              "Your Majesty! The Peasants are revolting!!"
              "Yes... and they smell bad too..."
              -- Marie Antoinette or Mel Brooks (I forget)


              Ahnuld

              --- Pixie Rose <pixierosedragon@...> wrote:

              > We don't need no stinking court!!! (with an accent,
              > of course!!)
              >
              > Rowen
              >
              > << I do it the easy way... I DO NOT GO TO COURT!
              >
              > ~Wolfy>>
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been
              > removed]
              >
              >
            • jbjt30@juno.com
              *grin* As soon as I read the message and saw Wolfy had responded I knew he would say something along those lines. ;) Don t let him scare you. ;) It isn t
              Message 6 of 13 , Aug 3, 2007
                *grin* As soon as I read the message and saw Wolfy had responded I knew he would say something along those lines. ;) Don't let him scare you. ;) It isn't always that bad.
                Fa'rissa
                *grin* Yep, right after I hit "send" I realized I should have added that not going was also an option. But if your (other than Wolfy, who isn't) going to go, go as someone who would be there.

                Elspeth

                I do it the easy way... I DO NOT GO TO COURT!

                ~Wolfy



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • jbjt30@juno.com
                Dear Coblath and the original poster and to the rest of the good people on this list, ... like, or no persona at all. So true, I was goint to mention that if
                Message 7 of 13 , Aug 3, 2007
                  Dear Coblath and the original poster and to the rest of the good people on this list,
                  >Persona is an entirely personal matter. You can choose any persona you
                  like, or no persona at all.
                  So true, I was goint to mention that if someone didn't beat me to it, thank you for saving me the trouble.


                  >We have a couple of peers in our barony who "never come to events", but often "send their servants" (i.e., show up under another name, dressed as lower-class, and have a high old time). Our Baron (who holds our kingdom's highest honor for persona play, himself) typically goes along with the game. One might, for example, be given an award for service, but have the usual, "I've seen him helping out in the kitchen at every event for the past three years. . .," explanation rephrased to something like, "He's sent his servants to work in the kitchen. . .." Similarly, some members of our populace attribute their A&S efforts to "employees", offering statements like, "I'm having a dress made in the loveliest shade of crimson. My seamstress is just working on the beading of the sleeves now."

                  >Alternate, lower-class personae are also popular tools for those who'd
                  like to occasionally behave outrageously, without affecting their
                  primary personae's reputations. There's a local Laurel who bears a
                  remarkable resemblance to a certain disreputable character who shows up
                  from time to time selling false letters patent or trading in debased
                  coins. Nobody knows the fellow's name, and if you address him as
                  "m'lord" he chortles and says something like, "Oh, I ain't no lord, me!
                  Mercy! What a thought! 'Lord,' she says!" A friend of mine has an
                  alternate persona that was recently called into court, chastised for
                  her loose behavior (running around in public at a past event in her
                  shift), accused of theft (of something belonging to her primary
                  persona), and ordered to return to service with her former mistress
                  (said primary persona). Her mistress' husband came in to take charge
                  of her, and assured the Baron she'd be watched closely and given enough
                  work to keep her out of trouble. The servant only ever shows up at
                  local revels, flirts with all the men, and complains about how uptight
                  her mistress is. She has everybody laughing every time she's around,
                  but she's definitely not the kind of person you'd want representing the
                  Barony when, say, the Queen was present.

                  >What you want to remember is that, if you have a real, fully-developed
                  persona, your behavior will be determined by your social position. Our
                  patent-selling commoner slips away quietly when members of the guard
                  are about, for example, while his Laurel doppelg�nger wouldn't hesitate
                  to send one of them on an errand.
                  What wonderful persona stories. I really enjoyed them. Do you have anymore? I could read for hours about fun things a persons persona gets into. These were wonderful! Thanks for sharing not just your stories but also your wise insight to this situation. One thing I haven't seen mentioned is not only do some people not have a person at all while others have an alternate persona some people even have several personas. They are all differentiated by what that person wears or what accent the use when speaking, etc. Maybe to explain differant behavior or sometimes with the garb horse to explain wearing differant types of garb from differant time periods and countries.
                  So I say don't worry to much about the "were all of Noble birth" thing unless you just really want too.

                  Fair the well,
                  Fa'rissa of the Outlands

                  >Coblaith Mhuimhneach
                  Barony of Bryn Gwlad
                  Kingdom of Ansteorra
                  <mailto:Coblaith@...>




                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Sara
                  As one person said to me, The SCA is reliving the Middle Ages, the way it Should have been! Let me remind you that woman were also not fighters (although
                  Message 8 of 13 , Aug 3, 2007
                    As one person said to me, "The SCA is reliving the Middle Ages, the
                    way it Should have been!"

                    Let me remind you that woman were also not fighters (although there
                    are instances of them helping defend their homes) They did not earn
                    honor for doing so. Pirates were NOT Gentile folks, and democracy was
                    barely begun.
                    Some people get a little too uptight regarding others' personas. Just
                    remember, you're there to have fun. Do what YOU enjoy the way you
                    enjoy it. And if someone seems to have a problem with it, you can
                    point out that you appreciate their opinion, but your doing what you
                    enjoy.

                    Ingela
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