Thursday, September 21, 2017

Alys's Eight Easy Ways to Make Your Scroll Text Sound More Like A Period Document

All of the italicized examples are from texts that I've written or adapted.  Feel free to "steal" them but give me an "inspired by" credit if you do.

1.       Use only the given names of the Kings and Queens, not their full SCA names.
2.       Open with a greeting from the Crown. 
[name] and [name], King and Queen of the East, to all good people of our land, greetings.
[name], King by right of arms, and [name], his Queen, to all to whom these present letters come, greetings.
3.       Refer to the Crown’s authority to give awards, or to the Crown who created the award.
The King and Queen of the East are charged by ancient custom with recognizing those persons who perform great labors for the good of the Kingdom . . . .
Forasmuch as Our predecessors of blessed memory Viktor and Sedalia created and constituted the Order of the Sagittarius to honor and acknowledge excellence with arrow and bow . . .
4.       Use multiple (usually three) verbs and nouns that mean more or less the same thing (buy a good literary Thesaurus!)
We hereby award, invest and endow [person] with the Order of the . . . .
and all rights, privileges and advantages . . .
forasmuch as our good and honorable [person] has proven himself to be diligent, doughty, vailaunt and laudable,
and we do further command, instruct and ordain that the said [person] shall henceforward bear the emblem of the Order upon his person in sign and token of the establishing of him therein
5.       Is today a saint’s day for the recipient’s persona or culture?   Check out the Online Calendar of Saints Days (, which tells you the medieval saint’s feasts for each calendar day and the region in which that saint was honored.
For example, the entry for November 14 has (among many others) the following:
Modanus, bishop, confessor [GTZ: Scotland]
When writing a text for a Scottish persona, you would refer to November 14th as “the feast of Saint Modanus
6.       Avoid SCA-isms like “troll” or “feastocrat” or “autocrat” in favor of more general (and period!) terms like “gatekeeper” or “cook” or “steward.”
7.       Refer to the fact that the award recipient is getting rights and privileges in addition to the award, such as the right to wear the badge of the Order upon his/her person.
8.       Refer to the fact that we write things down to make sure they are remembered.
Because human memory is fallible, and knowledge of works done may be lost to time, good and notable deeds should, in a plenitude of wisdom, be committed to writing.
Lest the good and noble deeds of [person] be lost to the passage of time, we have caused these matters to be rendered in writing.
That the present award may be held firm by all our successors, we have had the present page drawn up and have fortified it with the authority of our ensigns manual upon 10 September in the fifty-first year of the Society.

More scribal Mad Libs!!

Some of my favorite scribes asked me to write short fill-in the blank texts for the East's Silver Tyger (AoA rattan combat) and Silver Brooch (AoA arts) awards.    So that they can find these in the future, I'm planting them here.

For a Silver Tyger:

Whereas the practice of the arts martial is a good, noble and worthy pursuit; and Whereas [name] excels in those arts and applies them in honorable defense of our realm; Therefore, We [king and queen], King and Queen of the East, do hereby invest and endow the said [given name] with the Order of the Silver Tyger, to have and hold in perpetuity.  Done upon [date] at [place of event].

You can replace "Whereas" with "Forasmuch as" if you like F as a initial capital better than W

If the person doesn't have an AoA yet, add the following sentence before the "Done upon. . . . "

And We do further Award the said [first name] Arms in the form following: [blazon]


And We do further Award the said [first name] with such Arms in metal and color as are fit for him/her to bear, and charge him/her to consult with our heralds forthwith.

For a Silver Brooch:

Noble men of wise countenance have written that, while the body
perishes, a work of art lives forever.[1]  Likewise, while memories
may wither and fade, the written word endures.  Therefore, to honor
the fine, excellent and eternal works of art created by [name],  We, [king and queen], King and Queen of the East, by these present and ever-certain letters, do hereby invest and endow the said [first name] with the Order of the Silver Brooch.  Done upon [date] at [place].

If the person doesn't have an AoA yet, add the following sentence before the "Done upon. . . . "

And We do further Award the said [first name] Arms in the form following: [blazon]


And We do further Award the said [first name] with such Arms in metal and color as are fit for him/her to bear, and charge him/her to consult with our heralds forthwith.

[1]  "A beautiful body perishes, but a work of art dies not." - Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, September 4, 2017

Thomas delbroc's MoD Text

I've had the pleasure of knowing Thomas delbroc ( +Steve B.  ) for nearly 25 years.  So, I was delighted to be able to work on the scroll text for the Order of Defense.  Thomas's persona is English circa 1500, so the words are from that era, in appropriate spelling.

Ioannes, Kynge of þe Est-londes[1], and Ro Honig, his Quene, to alle to whom þese presents shal come, Greeting.  Be it knowen þat we haue giuen and granted, and by þese presents do giue and grant for vs and our heirss to our welbeloued Thomas delbroc þe stasion, estate and renowne of a Maister of Defence, with all freedams, prevelages, acquietaunces[2], protexions[3], concessyons[4], lyberties and allowaunces as any oþer Maisters of Defence haue resonfully[5] vsed or enioyed; And We do furþer giue and grant to þe sayd Thomas þe ryȝt to beare armes by lettres patents in þe forme folwyng: Sable, a cuppe golde and a base ermine.  And the sayd Thomas shal likewise haue licence to displaie, beare vppon his persone and set vp banners and standarts with þe representacion and signacle of þe Ordre of Defence, to witt: þre swords in pall weþir-turned[6] tippes iwarled[7].  In witnesse whereoff we haue caused to be made þese our lettres patents. Doune at Pennsic Warre in þe fiftie-secound yere of þe Societie.

[1]  There is no good way of saying "Kingdom of the East" in Middle English.  Est-londes is "lands of/to the East," which seemed to me the best approximation.

[2] acquietaunce = a letter of indulgence

[3]  protexions = protections, referring either to the protection or maintenance which a lord or a patron provides a servant or retainer, or to safe-conduct

[4]  concessyon = granting (of land)

[5] resonfully = rightly or rightfully

[6]  weþir-turned = inverted

[7]  iwarled = interlaced

Monday, July 3, 2017

Remy's MoD Text

For Remy (+Justin Aucoin), we clearly needed something excruciatingly French.  So, with translation services provided by Brunissende Dragonette ( +Mathilde Poussin ), who knows a few things about French, we got a pretty nice early 17th century French charter.


Ioannes, by right of arms King of the East, and Ro Honig our Queen, to all to whom these present letters shall come, greetings.  Our extreme affection towards our subjects causeth in us a continual desire to acknowledge and recognize those who hath proven themselves to be worthy in deed, act and countenance.  Thus, by the advice of our Council, and upon the testimony of Peers given, and by our full power and royal Authority, We have enacted and decreed and do enact and decree as follows:  Remy Delemontagne de Gascogne shall be and hereby is elevated to and installed in the Order of Defense, with all rights, privileges, franchises, endowments and emoluments appertaining thereunto, as much as any other member of the Order aforenamed possesses.  And we further give, grant and by the present charter confirm unto the said Remy with Arms by Letters Patent in the form following: Argent, a chevron between three fleurs-de-lys and on a chief azure a wolf passant argent.  We further will and command all our beloved and trusty persons that keep our Court, and all Heralds, Bailiffs, and Justices, that they cause this our present edict to be read, published and registered in all the places and quarters in their authorities and jurisdictions, and the same mutually to keep, hold and observe inviolably hereafter.  Given at Glenn Linn upon 1 July in the year of the Society fifty-two.

Words by Alys Mackyntoich based on Lettres patentes de declaration du Roy, pour la reformation du luxe des habits & reglement d'iceux. Publiées à Roüen en Parlement, le 30 de May, 1634


De Ioannes, roi de l’Est par le droit des armes  et de Ro Honig notre Reine, à tous ceux qui recevrons ces présentes Lettres, salutations. Notre extrême affection envers nos sujets suscite en nous un désir continuel de reconnaître et de distinguer ceux qui ont prouvé être méritoires de par leurs faits, actions, et contenance. C’est pourquoi, suivant l’avis de notre Conseil et écoutant le témoignage des pairs ; et de par le plein pouvoir de notre autorité royale, nous avons décidé et décrété et faisons appliquer la proclamation suivante: Remy Delemontagne de Gascogne sera et par les présentes est élevé au rang et intronisé  dans l’ordre de défense, avec tous les droits, privilèges, franchises, dotations et émoluments qui lui sont attachés, et que tout autre membre de l’ordre susmentionné possède. Et de plus, par la présente Charte,  nous accordons, octroyons et confirmons au susdit Remy le droit de porter par lettres patentes les  armes suivantes : d’argent, à un chevron entre trois fleurs de Lys et sur un chef d’azur un loup passant d’argent. De plus, nous ordonnons à tous nos fidèles sujets qui soutiennent notre Cour et tous les hérauts, les huissiers et les juges, qu’ils fassent en sorte que notre  présent édit soit lu, publié et enregistré en toutes juridictions sous leurs autorités et que dorénavant de même ils gardent, maintiennent  et défendent ces droits. Fait à Glenn Linn en ce 1 juillet de la cinquante-deuxième année de notre société cinquante-deux.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Scrooby, Scrooby Doo, . . . Where are you

Yes, his name is Scrooby.  Yes, we can document Scrooby Doo as a 16th cen. English name.

This scroll was deliberately written to include as many Scooby Doo references as we could reasonably pack in.

When the specters of war threaten the East, there is no need to ask where our good Scrooby of Carolingia will be found: he will be upon the field with sword and cannon, hounding and meddling with our foes to their great sorrow.  But he is no mere scrappy brawler, for Scrooby has diligently pursued the mysteries of the rapier to worthy ends.  His name is sung throughout the land as a very dog of war.  Therefore, that his qualities be known,We, Ioannes and Honig, King and Queen of the East, hereby induct our good Scrooby into the Order of the Silver Rapier, and endow him with all rights and privileges appertaining thereunto.  Done upon 1 July, at Glenn Linn, in the fifty-second year of the Society.

Ogedei's OTC scroll

I have no idea if Mongols had anything like written charters and the scribe and I did not get enough time between the assignment and the award day to do that research.  So this is in good old modern English:

Ioannes, king of the Easterners by the right of arms, and Ro Honig, queen by agency of the same right, unto all who will see this charter, greetings and witness of truth to this writing.  Forasmuch as our nobility and royal mercy demand that, for the tranquility and good governance of our Realm, We give benign and favorable assent to the just requests of our people; and forasmuch as Our prowous[1] and perfect warriors, the Order of the Tygers Combattant, have entreated Us to add to their numbers in expectation of coming War; and forasmuch as and We find the said Order’s petition to be behoveful[2] and commendable, we do hereby give, grant and by the present charter confirm unto Ogedei Becinjab, the dignity and worthihood of a member of the said Order, to be possessed perpetually without counter-claim.  That this our gift may remain unshaken by any sinister persecution, we have had this our charter written on it and validated by the protection of our signs manual.

[1]  prowous = worthy and mighty

[2]  behoveful = appropriate, proper

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Basic Concepts in Gaelic Naming

Gaelic naming incorporates concepts unfamiliar to most American English speakers -- that's why many find Gaelic naming so confusing.  This post is part of my larger set of class notes on Gaelic naming practices.  Its purpose is to familiarize people with language concepts not found in English, but which need to be understood to construct a Gaelic name correctly.

This post is not intended to explain all of the various forms of name construction in Gaelic.  An excellent article already exists that explains the most common constructions:  "Quick and Easy Gaelic Names" by Sharon Krossa (SCA: Effric Neyn Ken3ocht Mcherrald).

Nominative and Genitive Forms:  Gaelic is one of the languages in which the spelling of a name changes depending on how it is used in a sentence or in a name.  The difference between nominative and genitive forms isn't just a spelling variant.  It changes the role and meaning of the name.

The nominative form is the base form of the name.  It is the only form that can be used as a given name in SCA naming.  In a sentence such as "Hextilda built a castle," Hextilda is the nominative form of the given name.

The genitive form is the possessive form of the name.  In English, the genitive is formed by adding 's to a person's name:  John's or Alice's.

Why does the genitive form matter for Gaelic naming?  Because mac does not actually mean “son of” – it merely means “son.”  To make a byname that means “son of [father’s name],” the father’s name must be in the possessive or genitive case.   For example, a byname meaning "the son of Donn" is mac Duinn, using the genitive form of Donn.

The genitive form is required whenever another person's name -- whether clan ancestor, father or mother -- is part of your byname.

Lenition:  As explained by Effric Neyn Ken3ocht Mcherrald in her invaluable "Quick and Easy Gaelic Names" article, "[g]rammatical lenition involves a "softening" of the initial consonant sounds of words in certain grammatical situations. This pronunciation change in Gaelic is sometimes indicated by a changed spelling as well.”

Lenition is an issue primarily in female names, but sometimes in Clan bynames as well.  Usually, lenition requires adding an “h” after the initial consonant.  For example, in the byname inghean Bhriain, Bhriain is the lenited genitive form of Brian.  In the byname Caitilín MhórMhór is the lenited form of the descriptive adjective byname Mór.

For more guidance on when and how to lenite a name, refer to Effric’s “Quick and Easy Gaelic Names” and also to her article on “The Spelling of Lenited Consonants in Gaelic.”

Lenition is where many SCA heralds and submitters trip up in spelling a name submission.  Interestingly, as more and more data become available, we are finding that the Irish did not get lenition right or consistent all the time either.

Gender Matters:  The gender of the given name matters when constructing a Gaelic name because relationship bynames are literal.  Women cannot use the marker mac, which literally means “son.”  Nor can they use the marker Ó in a Clan surname.   Instead, women have gendered markers for their bynames.

          Male = mac "son"                  
          Female = ingen (pre-1200) / inghean (post-1200) "daughter"

          Male =  Ua (pre-1200) / Ó (post-1200) "member of the clan of"
          Female = ingen Uí  (pre-1200) / inghean   (post-1200)  "member of the clan of"

There is at least one sort of Gaelic byname available to women but not to men.  The marker ben (pre-1200) or bean (post-1200) + the genitive form of the husband's name means "wife of [husband's name]."  We don't have any evidence of a man being identified as the husband of a woman.

Pre-1200 vs. Post-1200 Spellings:  For complicated reasons, Gaelic spelling conventions changed substantially around approximately 1200 C.E.  For SCA purposes, Gaelic prior to 1200 C.E. and Gaelic after 1200 C.E. are considered two different languages.

When creating a Gaelic name, for good re-creation, you should try to make sure that all elements of the name are in the same form of Gaelic.  However, pre-1200 and post-1200 spellings generally can be combined as long as there are less than 500 years between the name elements.

What a submitter cannot do is combine pre-1200 and post-1200 spellings in the same name phrase.  A "name phrase" in Gaelic consists of a marker such as mac or Ó and a person's name (father or clan ancestor).  The following are examples of Gaelic name phrases:

           mac Briain = son of Brian
           inghean Ardáin = daughter of Ardán

           BUT NOT inghean Áeda  = pre-1200 marker with post-1200 father's name

If there is any doubt as to whether the spelling is pre-1200 or post-1200, be sure to advise the submitter to consent to ALL changes.   Many times, a Gaelic name is returned because we are not permitted to make the simple change from the incorrect inghean Áeda to the correct ingen Áeda.