Dedicated to Anachronism

anachronismThere was a small pop up that the first week of August is dedicated to society of creative anachronism. (SCA) me being me… kept wondering how could there be a day for anarchism!!

It was only when I went to slow paced reading I realized it was anachronism. And anachronism meant a person or a thing that seems to belong to the past and not to fit in the present.

I then discovered that there was a society for creative anachronism. This is an international living history group with the aim of studying and recreating Medieval European cultures and the histories before the 17th century.  This was founded in 1966 as a non profit educational corporation and has over 30,000 paid members as of 2014. About 60,000 people participate in the society events,

The roots are traced back to the graduation party of UC Berkeley medieval studies graduate Diana Paxon, when participants donned helmets, fencing masks or some semblance of medieval costume. What began as a grand tournament of a medieval fencing tournament ended with a protest against the 20th century parade with all the participants singing Green sleeves?

Chronologically the society measures dates from this party calling the system Anno societies hat is Latin for in the year of the society. The name society of creative anachronism was however coined by the science fiction author Marion Zimmer Bradley who was early participant when the society was still in its nascent stage.

1963 Bradley moved to New York and founded the Kingdom of the east holding a tournament that summer. 1968 also the incorporation of SCA as a non-profit   corporation and 1969 saw the establishment of 3 kingdoms, the SCA has released a book for the convention called a  handbook for The Current Middle Ages  for people wanting to start their own SCA

The SCA has a broad range of activities, like SCA armoured combat, SCA fencing, archery, equestrian activity it now includes arts, science, crafts as well as medieval music and theatre.  Other activities include study and practise of heraldry and scribal arts.  The members get an opportunity to register a medieval personal name and coat of arms. The SCA royalty award the scrolls illuminated by the scribes as awards of various achievement.

The local groups hold weekly fighter practises and many even hold regular archery practises, dance practises. There are also occasional war practises.

Renaissance fairs, Pennsic wars, Estella war Yule night and Twelfth night are some of the events that SCA organizes. The compleat arachronist and tournaments illuminated are the quarterly published my SCA while each kingdom publishes a monthly newsletter.

The SCA administrative regions are called as kingdoms. The hierarchy is as follows in the descending order.

  • Kingdoms ruled by kings and queens, to form this one require a minimum of 400 members.
  • Principality area within a kingdom rules by Prince and princess, requires a minimum of 100 members.
  • Region equivalent to a principality but does not ceremonial representative.
  • Barony area administrated by a Baron or/and Baroness the ceremonial representatives of the crown this requires a minimum of 25 participants.
  • Canton local branch reporting through a barony—this could be on the way to becoming a shire.
  • Province which is equivalent of a barony without the ceremonial representation.
  • A shire is a local branch reporting directly to a kingdom or principality this requires a minimum of 5 members.
  • College institutional branch based at a school, research facility and could be part of a larger local group or report directly to a principality or kingdom.
  • Stronghold institutional branches are based at a military installation.
  • Ports are institutional branch based at a military installation, in situations where the groups of members will be detached for long periods

SCA groups are active in United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. There are chapters in South Korea, panama Thailand. Then there are non territorial chapters called as households, the largest one is the Mongol Empire themed great Dark Horde.

What emerged in my space is that this was an excellent way to learn and experience history.


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