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New to SCA and Nervous

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  • Shmi Skywalker
    Hi everyone! I ve known about SCA for a while (at least a year) but I ve been doing some extensively research online the past week, and finally emailed the
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 5, 2003
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      Hi everyone!

      I've known about SCA for a while (at least a year) but I've been
      doing some extensively research online the past week, and finally
      emailed the Seneschal of my local Canton (Brackendelve, in Roaring
      Wastes in the Middle Kingdom (south eastern michigan)) on Monday to
      get some information. I was looking forward to being able to attend a
      basic, somewhat simple canton meeting in regular clothing . . . But
      the meeting got moved from a Thursday to a Friday and the seneschal
      decided to turn it into a little more of a party . . . AHHHH! I have
      garb because i got to ren faires, but I need to bring a dessert and I
      don't know if this is going to be in-persona as well as in garb . . .
      AHHH! And yes, the seneschal and i have been exchanging emails, but
      I'm still god-awfully nervous.

      Anyway, more to the point of my message . . . I've been thinking
      about my character and name and history and garb for the past week or
      so . . . Everyone seems to have excessively complicated names in
      different languages, etc etc. I just want to be a lower-class peasant
      woman in Tudor England with a very simple name . . . probably
      something like Elizabeth Thorpe or Elizabeth Campden or something
      similar. Am I going to get shot down and told that I need a more
      unique name so people don't confuse me with other members? And for
      that matter, the entire issue of researching the name and providing
      documentation to the herald so the name can be registered . . . I
      mean, how can I document a name like Elizabeth? Everyone was named
      it, and I'd figure that it's so common as to not even need
      documentation. Same with any of the last names I'd pick. And I dont
      really want a coat-of-arms or whatever . . . I don't even see why a
      lower-class englishwoman would have one to begin with . . . Am I
      going to be required to make one for myself anyway?

      And also, last question is that this Friday meeting/party is
      a 'dessert revel' (do i even know what that *means*?) so I'm supposed
      to bring a dessert or finger foods or something . . . I could just
      make cookies and leave it at that . . . I'd kind of like to make
      something vaguely period (but not overdo it; this isnt a feast after
      all) just because i'd feel awfully ridiculous showing up in a bodice
      with tupperware . . .

      thanks for the help and sorry this is so long . . .
      ~elisa~ (elizabeth?)
    • Iustinos Tekton called Justin
      ... Relax! Regular shire meetings are generally quite informal. If you re going to a dessert revel, then you have picked something that is likely to be
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 5, 2003
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        On Wednesday 05 March 2003 17:51, Shmi Skywalker wrote:
        > And yes, the seneschal and i have been exchanging emails, but
        > I'm still god-awfully nervous.

        Relax! Regular shire meetings are generally quite informal. If you're
        going to a dessert revel, then you have picked something that is likely
        to be *extremely* informal. Go and have a great time! :-)

        >
        > Anyway, more to the point of my message . . . I've been thinking
        > about my character and name and history and garb for the past week or
        > so . . . Everyone seems to have excessively complicated names in
        > different languages, etc etc.

        By their choice. It's not a requirement.

        Also, you can start with a simple name and then add to it later. For
        example, I played in the SCA for several years as "Justin". Nothing
        else. Then I added "the Carpenter" as a vocational surname. That became
        "Tektonos" as I started to research Byzantine persona (they spoke Greek
        during my period of study). Then a distinguished Herald gently pointed
        out that "Justin Tektonos" was incorrect grammar, and I changed it to
        "Justinos Tekton" on his advice.

        Finally, last year, I actually sent it in to be registered. Because there
        was no letter "J" in the Greek alphabet, it became "Iustinos Tekton".
        But that's not my entire name. My entire name is, "His Lordship, Maistor
        Iustinos Tekton called Justin". Ugh!!! Nobody can say that! Even I can't
        say that unless I've had a couple of beers. [GRIN]

        I say this so that you can see how a name evolves over time. Yours will,
        too. You can also have more than one name, and you can choose a working
        (temporary) name while you are just getting started. The only downside
        of a working name is that people will get to know you by that name and
        will have trouble remembering to call you by a new one that you pick
        later.

        I go by "Justin" on all but the most formal of occasions, such as if
        I am speaking in Court or am writing a letter in an official capacity.
        You can be "whatever whatever whatever whatever CALLED something", and
        that "something" part doesn't have to be something that would register
        with the College of Heralds. There is, for example, a person named
        "Lord Vincent von Murdoch called Cowboy". No kidding! He lives near Toledo,
        in fact, and has been the person in charge of the Baron Wars event several
        times.

        > I just want to be a lower-class peasant
        > woman in Tudor England with a very simple name . . . probably
        > something like Elizabeth Thorpe or Elizabeth Campden or something
        > similar. Am I going to get shot down and told that I need a more
        > unique name so people don't confuse me with other members?

        To *register* a name, you will have to have a surname. Single-part names
        like "Elizabeth" aren't allowed.

        But you can most certainly start with "Elizabeth" by itself at your first
        few meetings and events. Eventually, you either pick a surname, or some
        of your friends may "assign" one for you. You may become known by what
        you do, just as people did in the Middle Ages. So if you happen to be
        really good at sewing, you could become "Elizabeth the Seamstress" or
        something like that. You might also become "Elizabeth of Brackendelve"
        if you happen to be known for your home shire. That, by the way, would
        probably pass muster with the Heralds unless there's already someone
        using it.

        > And for
        > that matter, the entire issue of researching the name and providing
        > documentation to the herald so the name can be registered . . . I
        > mean, how can I document a name like Elizabeth? Everyone was named
        > it, and I'd figure that it's so common as to not even need
        > documentation.

        There's a good chance you're right. Someone who has more knowledge than I
        do of heraldry can probably advise you better on this. But there is a list
        of names that are so common in period that they need not be specifically
        documented, so all you'd have to do in that case is document your surname.

        > Same with any of the last names I'd pick. And I dont
        > really want a coat-of-arms or whatever . . . I don't even see why a
        > lower-class englishwoman would have one to begin with . . . Am I
        > going to be required to make one for myself anyway?

        No, you're absolutely not required, ever, to have a coat of arms (an
        heraldic "device"). Nor are you actually required to register your name.
        Doing so guarantees that no one else can copy it, though, so it's a good
        idea.

        As to the lower-class question...

        The life of a peasant in the actual Middle Ages was, to put it bluntly, nasty,
        brutish, and short. Life expectancy was around 35 years, if you were lucky.
        People married young for a *reason*. It wasn't much fun to be poor.

        That being the case, the SCA presumes that everyone who participates is of
        noble or at least merchant-class bloodline, even though they are not titled
        as nobility. In other words, one is presumed to be of such a bloodline that
        one *could* someday rise to nobility. There are peasants .... out there,
        somewhere ... doing the scut work, but we don't pretend to be them. When we
        are doing dishes after an event (one of my favorite volunteer jobs, by the
        way!), we are still noble people who are being magnanimous. Or we simply
        suspend the "game" for that period of time, and do dishes as a modern
        person helping out at an event.

        This isn't to say that you can't be a peasant if you wish. You certainly can.
        But no one will force this upon you.

        As you are in the SCA longer, you are likely someday to receive an Award of
        Arms, which in the SCA would make you "Lady Elizabeth ....". It is possible
        for you to do peasant persona and yet still receive an AoA, but you'll have
        some explaining to do if someone asks you about your persona's background.
        Again, this isn't against any rules or anything. And you can always step out
        of the "game" and say, "Well, my persona is a peasant and wouldn't have any
        title or be a Lady, but, well, Their Majesties liked those scrolls I made
        for Court and so they gave me an AoA."

        We are, after all, the Society for *Creative* Anachronism. :-)

        >
        > And also, last question is that this Friday meeting/party is
        > a 'dessert revel' (do i even know what that *means*?)

        A "revel", in official terms, is a gathering of SCA folk in an informal,
        unofficial way that is not an official business meeting or an official
        event.

        At true "events", there are certain legal rules in place, such as what
        officers have to be present, the signing of site waivers, and so on.
        At "meetings", official business of the group can be transacted.
        At "revels", it's just a group of friends who happen to all be interested
        in the Middle Ages, rather than something governed by the SCA, Incorporated.

        Now, that's the *official* story. In practice, meetings are very informal
        and so the line between a shire meeting and a revel can become somewhat
        blurred. It's entirely possible that your group will call this a "revel"
        but will also have a short "meeting" the same evening at the same location.
        That's okay. The Seneschal will open the "meeting", do the business that
        needs to be done, and then close the "meeting". All the other times, it's
        a revel.

        Gosh, that was long-winded. Sorry! I've been a Seneschal, at several levels,
        for a very long time, so you get pretty familiar with these things. :-)

        > so I'm supposed
        > to bring a dessert or finger foods or something . . . I could just
        > make cookies and leave it at that . . . I'd kind of like to make
        > something vaguely period (but not overdo it; this isnt a feast after
        > all) just because i'd feel awfully ridiculous showing up in a bodice
        > with tupperware . . .

        Actually, you would be very likely *NOT* the only one doing so! People in
        the SCA often wear garb, even when not required, just for fun. And a
        revel is informal. Nobody is going to expect high levels of authenticity
        at a revel. So make your cookies, put them in Tupperware, put on your
        bodice and gown, and go have fun! :-)

        Garb is typically optional at business meetings and at revels, so you are
        actually going "above and beyond" in all likelihood. Check with your
        Seneschal to be sure, but I would be very, very surprised if this is not
        the case. And remember, a *lot* of latitude is given to new people at their
        first couple of activities. You'll do fine.

        [I have this vision in my head of someone saying, "Elizabeth, you just don't
        look authentic enough." This being while he grabs six cookies out of your
        Tupperware container, puts them on his paper napkin, grabs his Diet Pepsi,
        and heads back to the other room to watch the rest of Monty Python and the
        Holy Grail on the VCR and big screen TV. [[[BIG GRIN]]]
        Seriously ... NO WORRIES!]

        >
        > thanks for the help and sorry this is so long . . .
        > ~elisa~ (elizabeth?)

        Likewise, sorry my response is so long. You asked a lot of great questions.
        Let us know if you need further information.

        Justin

        --
        ()xxxx[]::::::::::::::::::> <::::::::::::::::::[]xxxx()
        Maistor Iustinos Tekton called Justin (Scott Courtney)
        Gules, on a bezant a fleam sable, on a chief dovetailed Or, two keys
        fesswise reversed sable.

        Marche of Alderford (Canton, Ohio) http://4th.com/sca/justin/
        justin@... PGP Public Key at http://4th.com/keys/justin.pubkey
      • gypsycaine
        ~elisa~ (elizabeth?) I play an English/Scottish background persona named simply: Mary Henline. I m fiddling with a middle name, but the basic will not change.
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 5, 2003
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          ~elisa~ (elizabeth?)

          I play an English/Scottish background persona named simply: Mary Henline.
          I'm fiddling with a middle name, but the basic will not change.

          I did this so that people could pronounce the name when they read it, or the
          like. :)

          Mary
          (Dee)


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Wenyeva atte Grene
          Delurking for my favorite topic... ... To my ear, those both sound like marvelous names. Elizabeth is a fine period name, and both Thorpe and Campden are
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 6, 2003
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            Delurking for my favorite topic...

            At 12:07 PM +0000 3/6/03, scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com wrote:
            >Anyway, more to the point of my message . . . I've been thinking
            >about my character and name and history and garb for the past week or
            >so . . . Everyone seems to have excessively complicated names in
            >different languages, etc etc. I just want to be a lower-class peasant
            >woman in Tudor England with a very simple name . . . probably
            >something like Elizabeth Thorpe or Elizabeth Campden or something
            >similar.

            To my ear, those both sound like marvelous names. Elizabeth is a fine
            period name, and both Thorpe and Campden are documentable to period
            (though the quick glance I did at my books showed variant spellings,
            see below).

            >Am I going to get shot down and told that I need a more
            >unique name so people don't confuse me with other members?

            It just needs to not conflict. For example, if there is an Elizabeth
            Thorp already registered, then Elizabeth Thorpe would conflict. But
            if there is no conflict, then you are fine. It doesn't matter if
            there are multiple Elizabeths as long as the full name is different.
            (I searched for a conflict -- see below.)

            >And for
            >that matter, the entire issue of researching the name and providing
            >documentation to the herald so the name can be registered . . . I
            >mean, how can I document a name like Elizabeth? Everyone was named
            >it, and I'd figure that it's so common as to not even need
            >documentation. Same with any of the last names I'd pick.

            It's not that big a deal. I will give you basic documentation right
            here for these particular names, because they are easy ones. Good
            choices! :)

            >And I dont
            >really want a coat-of-arms or whatever . . . I don't even see why a
            >lower-class englishwoman would have one to begin with . . . Am I
            >going to be required to make one for myself anyway?

            It is not required. You can make one if you want, because they are
            fun... even if your persona wouldn't have had one. :) You can always
            decide not to display it if it seems inappropriate. But you don't
            have to register one if you don't want.

            Now, regarding your name ideas, here's some really quick documentation:

            Elizabeth
            found in E.G. Withycombe, _The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian
            Names_, 3rd Ed. pp. 99-100. Described as becoming common in the 16th
            century, accounting for 16% of female baptisms by 1560 and 20% by
            1600. Cited dating from 1205 forward.

            Campden
            Reaney & Wilson, _A Dictionary of English Surnames_, rev. 3rd ed., p.
            81, s.n. Cambden, Camden. Cited period spelling is 'de Campeden' in
            1190-1260. No 16th C. spellings given.

            Thorpe
            Reaney & Wilson, _A Dictionary of English Surnames_, rev. 3rd ed., p.
            445, s.n. Thorp, Thorpe, Tharp. Cited period spellings are 'de Torp,'
            'de Thorp,' 'in le Thorp,' and 'del Thorp,' from 1158-1332. No later
            spellings given.

            So... Elizabeth is not a problem. The surnames are documented to
            period as well, but not with 16th Century forms, or with your
            spelling. So to make the names completely accurate, I would want to
            go looking for 16th C. forms. I am sure they could be found. I may
            even have them here somewhere in a different book. (Ask me later and
            I can search for them for you.)

            The Withycombe and Reaney/Wilson are both on the Laurel "No
            Photocopy" list, so you don't need photocopies of that documentation.
            You can just copy the text right here from this letter into a name
            application if you like.

            Regarding conflict: I find no conflicts with Elizabeth Campden or
            Elizabeth Thorpe (unless a conflicting name was registered in the
            last few months and isn't in the online records yet). There is a
            Penelope Cambden, but that's not a conflict. I think either name
            would be a really good period-appropriate choice.

            If you decide you don't want either of those names and want help with
            name research with different names, just let me know. Name research
            is just about my favorite thing. :)

            --
            Wenyeva atte grene, newbie herald-at-large, also has a simple name...
            but from a couple of centuries earlier!
          • chemistbb3
            In our group it might very well be Army of Darkness on the VCR/DVD. Campy, but the armor is actually pretty good. BTW, you forgot the pulling out of the PDA to
            Message 5 of 5 , Mar 6, 2003
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              In our group it might very well be Army of Darkness on the VCR/DVD.
              Campy, but the armor is actually pretty good.

              BTW, you forgot the pulling out of the PDA to check a date and e-mail
              address. LOL

              William

              --- In scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com, Iustinos Tekton called Justin
              <justin@4...> wrote:
              > and heads back to the other room to watch the rest of Monty Python
              and the
              > Holy Grail on the VCR and big screen TV. [[[BIG GRIN]]]
              > Seriously ... NO WORRIES!]
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