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picking an S.C.A. name (was: Ontario newbie)

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  • Coblaith Mhuimhneach
    ... Start with the Medieval Names Archive . Read Choosing a Society Name: Hints for Newcomers , and then visit the naming guides
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 4, 2008
      Freda wrote:
      > Plan on getting involved and would like to find out about names. . .

      Start with the Medieval Names Archive <http://s-gabriel.org/names/>.
      Read "Choosing a Society Name: Hints for Newcomers", and then visit
      the naming guides for the culture(s) that interest you. If they have
      articles with names like "X Names 101" or "Intro to X Names", read
      them, too. (Somebody wrote them for a reason.) Then look at the
      articles that list names and look for something you like, keeping the
      guidelines you've learned in mind.


      Coblaith Mhuimhneach
      Barony of Bryn Gwlad
      Kingdom of Ansteorra
      <mailto:Coblaith@...>
    • Coblaith Mhuimhneach
      ... Like almost everything else in the SCA, the type and degree of persona play you do is a matter of personal choice. Many people never do more than choose a
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 4, 2008
        Freda wrote:
        > Plan on getting involved and would like to find out about. . .persona.

        Like almost everything else in the SCA, the type and degree of persona
        play you do is a matter of personal choice. Many people never do more
        than choose a personal name (a "first name", in modern American
        parlance) to use at events. A much smaller group do "high
        persona"--meaning they never break character while at an event, but
        speak and behave (as much as they are able) as though they actually are
        the individuals they portray. The majority fall somewhere in between.
        Around here (and things do vary from region to region within the
        Society), almost everybody has selected a culture (I'm Irish Gaelic,
        for example), a general time period (I'm from the late 9th to early
        10th century) and a locale (I'm from Munster). It makes things like
        putting together outfits and a name easier, because it narrows the
        focus.

        A lot of people pick a name they like or identify clothes they want to
        wear, figure out the where/when/who that relates to that, and build
        from there. Others start with a culture they're interested in--maybe
        that indigenous to an area they've visited and loved, or that of their
        ancestors, or that from which a particular craft they do or want to do
        comes. Still others begin with an SCA passion, and put together a
        persona who would've been passionate about the same thing. (Rapier
        duels, for instance, were done only at the very, very end of the SCA
        period, and were of widespread popularity in a limited number of
        settings. Some rapier enthusiasts select their personae from those
        settings at that time, specifically, so that rapier "makes sense" as
        part of their persona play.)

        You can do whatever works for you. There are a few hard, fast rules
        you should remember:

        1) You're not obligated to do any persona play. You can even use your
        mundane name, if you choose to, at events, though it's recommended that
        everybody have an SCA name because it helps distance events from the
        "everyday" for them and everybody else.

        2) You're not obligated to fit all (or any) of your SCA activities
        into your persona. A 10th-century Dane can fight rapier, and an
        Elizabethan gentleman can recite skaldic poetry. Choosing a persona
        should never mean limiting your involvement in any part of the Society.

        3) You're not limited to one persona. Some SCAdians change both
        clothes and name between the archery range and the dance floor, and
        again before they present their Arts & Sciences competition entry.
        People will probably know you by one name more than others, and if
        you're given awards they will bear one name, though, so it's a good
        idea to decide for yourself what your "primary name" will be, and make
        sure people are aware of it.

        4) There's no hurry. Take your time deciding on a name, and make sure
        you like both it and the persona that goes with it, before you start
        telling people that's who you are.


        If you WANT to choose a persona right away (whether your only one or
        just one to go with your primary name), and want a fully-developed
        persona where everything "makes sense" together, here's my
        recommendation:

        Step 1: Think about what's really important to you as a SCAdian.
        Fencing? Big, poofy dresses with pearls sewn on their bodices? Doing
        Opus Anglicanum? Learning more about Spain? Not having to be
        Christian? Using your own hand-made stoneware at feast? The idea is
        to identify those elements that you really want to make a big part of
        your S.C.A. experience, and pick a persona into which those elements
        fit logically. Often, when you read that list, where/when you should
        "be from" becomes VERY obvious. And even if it isn't, you should be
        able to use it to start narrowing down your options.

        Step 2: Visit the Medieval Names Archive
        <http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/>. Read the articles on choosing a
        medieval name. Then visit the guides to names for the culture(s)
        you're considering. Or, if you haven't narrowed it down that far yet,
        pick a few that seem likely (countries you've always wanted to visit,
        cultures whose music or art you admire, etc.) and read up on those.
        You may find the names from certain cultures grate on your ear, while
        others seem to resonate. Remember you're choosing a name to use every
        day, not just to put on scrolls. You want to like the sound of it, and
        be willing to answer to it. (What's the point of picking out an
        authentic moniker if you're going to end up telling everybody to call
        you "Candy" because it just doesn't sound like YOU?)

        Step 3: Visit the costume and clothing section of the Atlantian A&S
        Links site
        <http://moas.atlantia.sca.org/wsnlinks/index.php?
        action=displaycat&catid=10>, and look at the recommended resources for
        the cultures and periods you're most strongly considering. If there's
        not much there (or if there is, but you want more), go to the Web
        Gallery of Art <http://www.wga.hu/index.html>, the Artchive
        <http://artchive.com/ftp_site.htm>, or the Wikimedia Commons list of
        illuminated manuscripts
        <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:
        Illuminated_manuscripts_by_century> and look at period images. (This
        will be more effective for later periods.) Some of the clothing may
        make you giggle, or wrinkle your nose in distaste. You may think, "No
        WAY I'd go out in public in THAT!", or, "Ooh! I want one!", or, "Now
        THAT looks comfortable!" when you see what's characteristic. Or you
        might realize that you don't have and don't plan to develop the skills
        necessary to make it, and must consider whether you could afford to buy
        everything you'll need. Remember you're choosing clothes to WEAR,
        maybe for a week or more at a time (if you go to the big wars). You
        want to like the look of them, and feel good putting them on.

        Step 4: Consider all of the things you learned about yourself in steps
        1 through 3. Is there a single place/time that stands out, now, as
        being "just right" for you? If not, investigate the front runners--the
        politics of the time, the other cultures with which they had regular
        contact, the technologies they used. Remember, the S.C.A. is all about
        learning. If you pick a persona from a place and time you find
        interesting, you'll enjoy fleshing it out more, and will ultimately
        learn more in the process.


        If you do all of that and still don't know what your persona should be,
        you're not ready to pick one. Chill out, enjoy getting your feet wet,
        and wait for inspiration. There's no rush.


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




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Clare
        Coblaith, that was a great post. I know it was directed at Ontario Newbie, but I got a lot out of it. I m going to be at Denvention this August. Surely there
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 6, 2008
          Coblaith, that was a great post. I know it was directed at Ontario
          Newbie, but I got a lot out of it.

          I'm going to be at Denvention this August. Surely there will be some
          SCA people there to talk to, if I don't get in touch with a local
          group before then.

          I'm kind of leaning toward Welsh/Irish fighter/archer, but there's
          plenty of time to decide. I still want to wear my Italian Renn gown,
          though. I put enough work into it, after all.

          --- In scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com, Coblaith Mhuimhneach
          <Coblaith@...> wrote:
          >
          > Freda wrote:
          > > Plan on getting involved and would like to find out
          about. . .persona.
          >
          > Like almost everything else in the SCA, the type and degree of
          persona
          > play you do is a matter of personal choice. Many people never do
          more
          > than choose a personal name (a "first name", in modern American
          > parlance) to use at events. A much smaller group do "high
          > persona"--meaning they never break character while at an event,
          but
          > speak and behave (as much as they are able) as though they actually
          are
          > the individuals they portray. The majority fall somewhere in
          between.
          > Around here (and things do vary from region to region within the
          > Society), almost everybody has selected a culture (I'm Irish
          Gaelic,
          > for example), a general time period (I'm from the late 9th to
          early
          > 10th century) and a locale (I'm from Munster). It makes things
          like
          > putting together outfits and a name easier, because it narrows the
          > focus.
          >
          > A lot of people pick a name they like or identify clothes they want
          to
          > wear, figure out the where/when/who that relates to that, and
          build
          > from there. Others start with a culture they're interested in--
          maybe
          > that indigenous to an area they've visited and loved, or that of
          their
          > ancestors, or that from which a particular craft they do or want to
          do
          > comes. Still others begin with an SCA passion, and put together a
          > persona who would've been passionate about the same thing.
          (Rapier
          > duels, for instance, were done only at the very, very end of the
          SCA
          > period, and were of widespread popularity in a limited number of
          > settings. Some rapier enthusiasts select their personae from
          those
          > settings at that time, specifically, so that rapier "makes sense"
          as
          > part of their persona play.)
          >
          > You can do whatever works for you. There are a few hard, fast
          rules
          > you should remember:
          >
          > 1) You're not obligated to do any persona play. You can even use
          your
          > mundane name, if you choose to, at events, though it's recommended
          that
          > everybody have an SCA name because it helps distance events from
          the
          > "everyday" for them and everybody else.
          >
          > 2) You're not obligated to fit all (or any) of your SCA
          activities
          > into your persona. A 10th-century Dane can fight rapier, and an
          > Elizabethan gentleman can recite skaldic poetry. Choosing a
          persona
          > should never mean limiting your involvement in any part of the
          Society.
          >
          > 3) You're not limited to one persona. Some SCAdians change both
          > clothes and name between the archery range and the dance floor,
          and
          > again before they present their Arts & Sciences competition
          entry.
          > People will probably know you by one name more than others, and if
          > you're given awards they will bear one name, though, so it's a
          good
          > idea to decide for yourself what your "primary name" will be, and
          make
          > sure people are aware of it.
          >
          > 4) There's no hurry. Take your time deciding on a name, and make
          sure
          > you like both it and the persona that goes with it, before you
          start
          > telling people that's who you are.
          >
          >
          > If you WANT to choose a persona right away (whether your only one
          or
          > just one to go with your primary name), and want a fully-developed
          > persona where everything "makes sense" together, here's my
          > recommendation:
          >
          > Step 1: Think about what's really important to you as a SCAdian.
          > Fencing? Big, poofy dresses with pearls sewn on their bodices?
          Doing
          > Opus Anglicanum? Learning more about Spain? Not having to be
          > Christian? Using your own hand-made stoneware at feast? The idea
          is
          > to identify those elements that you really want to make a big part
          of
          > your S.C.A. experience, and pick a persona into which those
          elements
          > fit logically. Often, when you read that list, where/when you
          should
          > "be from" becomes VERY obvious. And even if it isn't, you should
          be
          > able to use it to start narrowing down your options.
          >
          > Step 2: Visit the Medieval Names Archive
          > <http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/>. Read the articles on choosing
          a
          > medieval name. Then visit the guides to names for the culture(s)
          > you're considering. Or, if you haven't narrowed it down that far
          yet,
          > pick a few that seem likely (countries you've always wanted to
          visit,
          > cultures whose music or art you admire, etc.) and read up on
          those.
          > You may find the names from certain cultures grate on your ear,
          while
          > others seem to resonate. Remember you're choosing a name to use
          every
          > day, not just to put on scrolls. You want to like the sound of it,
          and
          > be willing to answer to it. (What's the point of picking out an
          > authentic moniker if you're going to end up telling everybody to
          call
          > you "Candy" because it just doesn't sound like YOU?)
          >
          > Step 3: Visit the costume and clothing section of the Atlantian
          A&S
          > Links site
          > <http://moas.atlantia.sca.org/wsnlinks/index.php?
          > action=displaycat&catid=10>, and look at the recommended resources
          for
          > the cultures and periods you're most strongly considering. If
          there's
          > not much there (or if there is, but you want more), go to the Web
          > Gallery of Art <http://www.wga.hu/index.html>, the Artchive
          > <http://artchive.com/ftp_site.htm>, or the Wikimedia Commons list
          of
          > illuminated manuscripts
          > <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:
          > Illuminated_manuscripts_by_century> and look at period images.
          (This
          > will be more effective for later periods.) Some of the clothing
          may
          > make you giggle, or wrinkle your nose in distaste. You may
          think, "No
          > WAY I'd go out in public in THAT!", or, "Ooh! I want one!",
          or, "Now
          > THAT looks comfortable!" when you see what's characteristic. Or
          you
          > might realize that you don't have and don't plan to develop the
          skills
          > necessary to make it, and must consider whether you could afford to
          buy
          > everything you'll need. Remember you're choosing clothes to WEAR,
          > maybe for a week or more at a time (if you go to the big wars).
          You
          > want to like the look of them, and feel good putting them on.
          >
          > Step 4: Consider all of the things you learned about yourself in
          steps
          > 1 through 3. Is there a single place/time that stands out, now,
          as
          > being "just right" for you? If not, investigate the front runners--
          the
          > politics of the time, the other cultures with which they had
          regular
          > contact, the technologies they used. Remember, the S.C.A. is all
          about
          > learning. If you pick a persona from a place and time you find
          > interesting, you'll enjoy fleshing it out more, and will
          ultimately
          > learn more in the process.
          >
          >
          > If you do all of that and still don't know what your persona should
          be,
          > you're not ready to pick one. Chill out, enjoy getting your feet
          wet,
          > and wait for inspiration. There's no rush.
          >
          >
          > Coblaith Mhuimhneach
          > Barony of Bryn Gwlad
          > Kingdom of Ansteorra
          > <mailto:Coblaith@...>
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
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