Frequently Asked Questions
Are you in a play?
Believe it or not, this is the most commonly asked question of members of the SCA.
Since we frequently travel to events and patronize local businesses while dressed in our “garb”, we routinely get stopped and asked if we are in a play. The real answer is kinda yes. We are in “costume” and we are “playing” at living in the medieval time frame, we just don’t have a stage or audience. This is our hobby and we enjoy re-enacting the medieval ages. So the next time you see a 14th century nobleman buying ice at the local convenient store, it just may be one of us. Say hi!
What is the SCA?
The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is a not-for-profit educational organization devoted to the study of Pre 17th century Western Culture. It concentrates on the European Middle Ages, Renaissance, and members work to recreate the arts and skills of this era. Some members study the Middle East and explore the interaction between Europe and Asia during the period under study.
An “anachronism” is something that is out of its proper time frame. “Creative anachronism” takes the best qualities of the Middle Ages and selectively re-creates them in the modern world.
Geographically, the SCA covers the globe with the majority of its members living in the United States and Canada. As of the end of 2005, there are 19 kingdoms, each with its own King and Queen chosen on the field of combat. The kingdoms are independent of each other, and there is a considerable amount of variation among them. Each kingdom has a body of written “law” established by the King and Queen to define the specific rules it follows, and a larger body of generally accepted custom that gives each kingdom its unique personality. All the kingdoms build their laws and customs on a framework called the Corpora, which sets overall rules for the Society.
Kingdoms are divided into local and regional chapters called principalities, baronies, shires, marches, cantons, colleges, and riding. The names of these divisions reflect the size of the membership and /or the larger division through whom the local group reports.
What do you do?
As members of the SCA, we attempt to re-create the enjoyable aspects of life during the medieval ages. Each member gets involved in different ways and aspects of our Society. A large part of our Society revolves around the art of combat that we attempt to recreate with armor and styles used during the medieval era. Others delve into the skills artisans of the time period would have needed to survive and thrive.
So, on any given day in our Society you will find any number of its members learning the arts of medieval combat, costuming, brewing, chivalry, leather working, wood working, metal working, heraldry, calligraphy, illumination, and any number of other interesting skills. Participation in our Society is only limited by our members to pursue the historical aspect of life during the medieval ages.
How do I contact you?
The Chatelaine is the welcome wagon for the local shire. The Chatelaine can answer or find the answers for all of your questions and make sure that you have the information you need. She can also supply you with loaner garb to help you with your first few events.
Where can I find you?
If you want to come out and see what we are all about, please come by one of our locally held weekly or monthly meetings. Current information on these activities can be found on the Local Activites page. Please visit the Calendar page for exact times and locations.
If you are not in the Middle Georgia area and want to find a group local to you, please visit our Kingdom web site if you are in the Southeast www.kingdom.meridies.org or our Society web site if you are farther afoot www.sca.org.
Can I play?
Absolutely, we are always glad to meet new friends. The activities offered through our Society satisfy a wide range of interest and anyone should find no problems finding some way to play. Now we do have certain safety and age restrictions on the full tilt fighting we perform, but do offer youth combat activities for our younger generation. The SCA is a wonderful place to get the entire family involved in an active outgoing Society dedicated to education and research. Come on out and join us.
How much will it cost me?
The SCA is a non-profit organization that does not require participants to pay in order to play. There are benefits to being a registered member of the Society, but again there is no requirement. Members who wish to purchase an annual membership receive the Kingdom newsletter from the region they register in as well as a discount on event fees.
Weekend events hosted by our groups do normally have a per person door fee that varies depending on your length of stay with us. Please see the “event flyers” on the Calendar link for more details.
How do I join the SCA?
To find out how to join the SCA either online or via mail. just visit the following website: – www.sca.org/members/welcome.html.
Do y’all put on Demonstrations?
We delight in being able to educate and show off our skills to anyone who has an interest. All it takes is someone contacting our Chatelaine and we’ll be happy to help. The demonstration may be as large or as small as you wish, ranging from full blown fighting tournaments to as simple as discussing various aspects of the medieval life. If your group is interested in a live demonstration, please contact us.
Why are y’all dressed so funny?
In our Society, members take on a persona that would have lived during a certain period of the medieval age. Part of playing at being this “persona” involves making and wearing clothing that is similar to what people would have worn in that time period. We call our clothing “garb” and attempt to make it as historically accurate as we can.
What about my kids?
The SCA is a wonderful place for families to enjoy themselves. Being an educational society, we pride ourselves on teaching the younger generation about the history, life, and times of the medieval ages while being able to have fun re-living them. We are a hands on society so our youth get the opportunity to participate in family oriented fun while actually learning something about history. So, if you have kids and are interested in what we do, feel free to bring them on out for some fun.
Hey! Remove my picture… name… etc…
If you have any concerns regarding any content published on these pages, please contact our Web Minister to have it removed. We will not intentionally publish personal information on any member or participant of the SCA without prior written permission.
Frequently Heard Terms
“A&S” is short of the Arts and Sciences. We use this term to represent the study how things were accomplished during the medieval ages. Artisan skills such as dancing, armoring, wood working, cooking, etc… fall into this category.
Anachronism – Something which is chronologically out of place (e.g. medieval clothes being worn in the 21st century; sneakers being worn in a historical movie).
Apprentice – An artisan under the direct training and tutelage of a Laurel. Visible by a green belt.
Authorization – People participating in martial activities (heavy combat, rapier, equestrian games, equestrian combat, siege engines, combat archery, live/thrown weapons) must take an oral and skills test to demonstrate they know the rules and are not a danger to themselves or others before full participation. People who are interested in becoming an authorized combatant should attend fighter practices at the local group level to learn the rules.
Autocrat – The person in charge of running and organizing an event (may also be called an “event steward”).
Our term for a demonstration of our skills and activities. Anytime we put on an organized show of our activities for a group, we call it a “Demo”.
Normally refers to a weekend festival organized by a group local to the area where other members of the Society are invited to participate in the activities. These may include fighting tournaments, A&S classes or competitions, merchanting opportunities, feasts, and various types of revelry. These normally span a weekend, but some “Wars” last for a week or two.
Feastcrat – The person in charge of cooking the food at an event.
Garb – Medieval clothing/costume.
Heavy Combat – Full-contact combat involving the use of wooden (rattan) swords and pole weapons/spears.
Hold – A “hold” is a break during a fight. It can be called by any fighter, the marshal on the field, or by a spectator; it is typically used to stop the fighting when there appears to be a dangerous situation, or when someone is injured. It is sometimes used off the field to likewise avert an accident. When you hear someone shout “HOLD!” stop what you are doing and look around to see what the problem is. The SCA uses this term to mean “STOP ALL ACTIVITY” there is a safety related issue. You’ll hear it mostly during our fighting activities, but occasionally elsewhere. Marshals and participants may call a “HOLD” at anytime during our fighting if there is a safety related issue at hand such as getting too close to spectators, or a piece of armor failure.
Inspection – Prior to every tournament or war, each fighter will have to be inspected by a knight marshal. Each fighter must show his or her authorization card and have armor and weapons inspected to make sure they meet the minimum safety standards.
Kingdom – A large geographic region within the SCA. There are currently 19 kingdoms in the world.
Knight – One of the peers. Knights are considered the elite of heavy fighters. Visible by a white belt, unadorned gold chain, and gold spurs. Addressed as “Sir.”
Knight Marshal – On the field, the knight marshal serves as a referee. The KM does not call blows for the fighters, but he or she does make sure that there are no flagrant rules violations (like hitting below the knee) and the KM also looks out for the safety of the fighters and any nearby spectators.
In a shire, the KM is in charge of organizing fighter practices, maintaining the loaner armor, and helping newcomers learn to fight, as well as being in charge of the safety of the fighters at practices.
Laurel – One of the peers. Laurels are considered the best artisans in the SCA. Visible by a medallion featuring laurel leaves, or by a circlet of laurel leaves. Addressed as “Master” or “Mistress/Dame.”
Light Combat – Alternate term for rapier combat (see also Rapier).
List – Literally the list of people who will be fighting, but it is sometimes used as a synonym for “tournament.”
Listmaster/mistress – The listmaster or -mistress is the person in charge of organizing the fighters into bouts, keeping up with who won, and any other administrative functions related to a tournament.
Melee – A fighting competition between more than two opponents. Two or more people may be organized into a team to fight another team.
Mundane – Anything modern. People who are not SCA participants are “mundanes.” The Society uses the term “Mundanes” to refer to non-participants in our Society. It is not meant as a derogatory term, just our reference to people not engaged in the SCA.
Peer – The award of peerage is the highest earned award in the SCA. There are four types of peer: Knights, Laurels, Pelicans and Royal Peers.
Pelican – One of the peers. Pelicans are the most dedicated of volunteers and serve in the
higher leadership positions (event autocrats or feastcrats; kingdom-level officers). Visible by a medallion featuring a pelican in her piety. Addressed as “Master” or “Mistress/Dame.”
Principality – A large sub-section of a kingdom. When a section of a kingdom gets a large enough population of members, it can choose to become a principality. A principality will have a prince and princess to rule it, under the guidance of the King and Queen of the Kingdom. When the principality grows enough and shows its ability to self-govern, it can break away and become a kingdom in its own right.
Protogé – A leader-in-training under the guidance of a Pelican. Visible by a yellow belt.
Rapier – A thin metal sword. In SCA combat, the rapier is never sharp and must have a blunted/capped tip. “Rapier” is also used to denote fighting with a rapier. Rapier combat is also sometimes called “light combat” or “fencing.” Blows/fighting style is similar to modern fencing.
Royal Peer – Anyone who has sat on the throne of a Kingdom or Principality. People who have been on the throne of a Kingdom once are also known as Count/Earl or Countess and are addressed as “Your Excellency.” People who have been on the throne of a Kingdom twice or more are a Duke or Duchess and are addressed as “Your Grace.” People who have been on the throne of a Principality are a Viscount or Viscountess and are addressed as “Your Excellency.”
SCA – This is the commonly-used acronym for the Society for Creative Anachronism.
Scadians – People in the SCA.
Squire – A fighter under the direct training and tutelage of a knight. Visible by a red belt; may also wear an unadorned silver chain and/or silver spurs.
Tournament – A fighting competition between single opponents. May be fought in a variety of ways.
Troll – Registration at an event; everyone who attends must sign-in.
War – A very large event, typically involving 500 or more people. Fighters will arrange in groups and fight as an army. Some may last only a weekend, while Pennsic, the largest SCA event in the world, lasts two weeks.