Provincial Court Report from Lions Learn Lessons

In the first month of Anno Societatis 59, on the 18th day of May, their Excellencies Sofya Gianetta di Trieste and Angelica di Nova Lipa, Viceréinas of Østgarðr, ventured to their seaside estates in the Canton of Lions End to observe the education of their populace at the Lions Learn Lessons schola.

Upon the completion of the day’s practicum, and seeing that their subjects had dined on the bounty set forth before them, they elected to hold court and converse with those present, uttering certain words which I have endeavored to set forth below.

As their first order of business, the vicereines called forth the steward of the day’s event, Nagashima Ichirō Ujimichi, and bade him approach. After thanking him for his service in organizing the schola, they thanked him as well for his recent service as seneschal of their province, and granted him a gift in appreciation for his efforts in years past. At this the populace cheered, and Uji-san began to return to his seat, but lo! their Excellencies were not done with him.

When Uji-san had been called back before the assembled court, the vicereines delivered news from their Majesties of the East, who had at Mudthaw, two months before, declared him a Companion of the Silver Brooch for his accomplishments both in the kitchen and in other diverse arts, causing their words to be inscribed in an elegant scroll, the reading of which was beyond the ken of the court as it had been translated into Japanese by Elisabetta de Valladolid and calligraphed by Collette d’Avignon in the markings of that far-off land, such that only the recipient could make heads or tails of it. And on hearing the news of his recognition, all present did cheer for him a second time.

Their Excellencies did then turn their attention to lady Jóra Úlfsdóttir, seneschal of the canton that hosted them that day, celebrating the effort she had invested in engaging the populace of that district, and presenting her with a large banner displaying the arms of Østgarðr, so that all might know whose flag flew over this fair canton, and the populace did exclaim with joy and confidence in the knowledge that any brigands or marauding waterfowl would think twice before darkening their shores.

At this moment, dama Drasma Dragomira did approach, begging a moment of the court’s time to present their Excellencies with a useful item. She reminded them that when she had served as their herald, she had received a workaday document carrier to hold scrolls in their court, and now that she was released from that office, and feeling that their opulence deserved to be matched with a finer accessory, she had created a marvelous replacement, emblazoned with the province’s seahorse emblem, embroidered and accentuated with pearls. Their Excellencies received the gift with exclamations of praise, and all present cheered for the generosity of dama Drasma.

Next their Excellencies called for those new to their court to stand forth, and when three gentles came forward, did endow them with gifts of sun-bright metalwork, and with words of encouragement, and all those assembled did celebrate the newcomers as the future of our Society.

At this time, the indomitable Jenna, slayer of children, did approach their Excellencies, and presented them with a carven pineapple she had collected in her travels — but what she did not know was that their excellences had themselves wished to see her, as they too had procured a gift on her behalf, and so each was both presenter and recipient, and all were astonished at the bounty of the province and the generosity of its people.

Turning their minds towards more serious matters, their Excellencies did call forward their champion of arts and sciences, lady Hanya Vladimirovna Polotskaya, and presented her with a token of appreciation as they collected the regalia that had marked her position over the last year. She did then speak of the competition and display she had overseen that day, praising all who had exhibited their work for the edification of the populace. Lady Jenna was called forward and recognized with the populace choice award for her diverse collection of items made as largesse for the kingdom and province.

Then, with great fanfare, lady Arnora Ketilsdottir was called forward and recognized as Hanya’s successor as the province’s champion of arts and sciences, as her presentation on Gunter’s Rule and the development of logarithms had impressed all who encountered it with the extensiveness of its research and the enthusiasm of its presenter. She was presented with the regalia of her new position, and with a scroll to memorialize the occasion for all time (a depiction of which is enclosed at the end of this missive), and all present cheered thrice for her skills and learning.

With the competition concluded, and thus safe from any accusations of bribery, Lady Jenna did then return to the court, and taking up a great armful of stuffed dragons from her display, did present them to the vicereines as a gift to be distributed to the populace as they saw fit, for which those nobles were suitably appreciative.

Their Excellencies did then ask each of the teachers who had presented a class that day to rise, and thanking them for their efforts, did present them each with an Award of the Sea Star.

Having reached the end of the docket, and seeing no other official business to be brought before the court, their herald did beg their indulgence to consider a small personal matter, alluding only briefly to a delicate matter that had prompted them to assign him a quest the year before. He had thought he might fulfill his obligation by providing their Excellencies with a citrusy delicacy that was also a balm to soothe the spirit, in the form of lemon balm, a quick-growing plant famed by medieval doctors for its ability to “make the heart merry and joyful,” boiled down to a syrup with honey and vinegar according to the Anglo-Saxon tradition of herbal oxymels. The vicereines allowed that the gift was indeed admirable, but after some consultation they agreed that it wasn’t quite a lemon, and it wasn’t quite perfect, and bade him continue his search.

With this issue resolved, their Excellencies did thereupon call their court to a close, and all made haste to tidy away the remains of the day, and to load their carriages with all they had brought thereto, that they might begin the journey home before the setting of the sun.

I swear that the words above do truly reflect all that occurred in the confines of that gathering, to the limits of my skill as their Excellencies’ representative.

— Mathghamhain Ua Ruadháin
— Seahorse Pursuivant

A&S Championship Scroll: Illumination by Kunigunde Wedeman, Words by Angelica di Nova Lipa, Calligraphy by Alienor Salton, assisted by Zahra de Andaluzia.
“Attend all Ye Present and pay heed as We proclaim a new Champion of the Arts and Sciences has won their place of honor in the Crown Province of Østgarðr. Their work garners just praise and inspires our own endeavors. Therefore we, Angelica di Nova Lipa and Sofya Gianetta di Trieste, Vicereines of this noble land, name Arnora Ketilsdottir as champion at the Lions Learn Lessons Schola in the Canton of Lions End on the 18th day of May in the year A.S. LIX.”

Heading to KWHSS

I waited until almost the last possible minute, but still managed to snag a room for two nights at the Sheraton around the corner from the University of Pennsylvania library where the Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium will be held next month.

I’m looking forward to hanging out with my fellow nerds and talking about heraldry and the various crazy things we do and make to support our little corner of the SCA.

And I’m loving the fact that despite being in another barony eighty miles away, this event is fully transit accessible, with just two inter-rail transfers to get door-to-door in under two hours.

I look forward to seeing a bunch of you there!

Anno Societatis Conversions

With the arrival of spring, we are once again approaching the start of a new SCA year, or Anno Societatis (The Society calendar matches the Gregorian calendar’s months and days, but counts its years from the date of the first event of what became the SCA: the so-called First Tournament, which took place on May 1, 1966 in a backyard in Berkley, California.)

While conversions between the two calendars aren’t terribly confusing, it does always take me a moment or two to make sure I’m correctly adjusting for the differing start of the year, and I though it might be useful to have a visual reference, so I put together a pair of charts: one for moving from common dates to A.S. years, and the other for the reverse.

You can download printable versions of these in PDF format.

[Updated, May 17:] Thanks to Alaxandair Mórda for spotting a typographic error in the August column of the AS-to-CE chart, which has been corrected below.

From A.S. Years To Common Dates

From A.S. Years To Common Dates

Report from Provincial Court at Bear’s Tavern

On the ninth day of March, Anno Societatis 58, their Excellencies of Østgarðr, the Viceréinas Angelica di Nova Lipa and Sofya Gianetta di Trieste, did venture to the northern woods of their domain to mingle with the commonfolk at Bear’s Tavern. 

Seeing it well fit and felicitous to bring certain business before the populace, they did determine to hold court in that rustic setting, the proceedings of which I am by my avocation bound to record herein.

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Machine-Printed “Silk Banners”

Colorful pennants and long standards fluttering in the breeze significantly enhance the ambiance of outdoor historical recreation events — but hand-painting silk can be a daunting project, and requires skills that I have not mastered.

To approximate the impression while leveraging my collection of digital images, I turned to a custom fabric printing service from Spoonflower. The results were satisfactory, so I’ve written up the process I used in case others would like to follow it.

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Personal Heraldic Title

When Wilhelm Laurel established the rank of Herald Extraordinary, he began the practice of personal heraldic titles:

Each Herald Extraordinary shall have a title that is his/her own personal title that s/he shall hold so long as s/he remains active. 

Cover Letter, July 1981 Letter of Acceptances and Returns

Over the year since my elevation, I’ve struggled to think of an appropriate title to take on, until I was startled awake this weekend with a stroke of inspiration. The submission form has now been sent off and we’ll wait to see if the College will accept me as the “Gadfly Herald.”

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Kingdom Sumptuary Laws for Heraldic Achievements

A recent question regarding allowable elements of a heraldic achievement sent me running for the best reference I know: a paper by Andreas von Meißen presented at KWHSS in 2013.

This document is admittedly out of date — among other things, it predates Avacal, and it does not include several changes that were made to the rules in Ansteorra the following year, based on Andreas’s recommendations — but I’m not aware of anything more recent or more authoritative, and so this remains a useful guide.

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Corrections Wanted!

As noted prominently on the website, the Book of Traceable Heraldic Art is not an authoritative source; in particular, despite the inclusion of art by a large number of contributors, the text is nearly all the work of one person, and indubitably contains numerous errors.

In hopes of saving the community from picking up any accidental misinformation, I’d love to have some help correcting those mistakes, and if you’re reading this, you’re invited to help out!

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Kingdom Crown Calendar Comparison

A few days ago, after putting together an illustration of the East Kingdom’s annual cycle of crown/coronation events, I wondered what it would look like to compare those cycles across the other realms.

I asked some other heralds about this idea, and Ollivier Le Floch took the initiative in setting up a shared spreadsheet that allowed a bunch of people to quickly jump in and collaboratively fill in that data across all all twenty kingdoms. As the patterns emerged, I resolved to try presenting them in graphical form.

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