The "RennPeer" (WAS Re: Why I Hate Fenci

Baker, Mike mbaker at
Tue Dec 10 15:21:00 PST 1996

(The following is think-on-my-behind - since I'm seated and not standing - 
straight-from-the-gut OPINION and commentary, and makes no claim to be 
completely and thoroughly researched, thought-through, or 
ready-for-Olde-Tymes.  I reserve the right to refute myself, support myself, 
or ignore the whole thing later. - Amra)

Don Savein, I commend you for forwarding a most excellent seed of a proposal 
toward advocating a new peerage form.

> Speaking as a Don, I would like to see something impossible happen; I
> would like to see Peerages given for being a Peer (honor, grace, wisdom,
> being a leader and an example of our best), without regard for which
> activity a person enjoys the most. Archers, tavernkeeps, heralds,
> chiurgons, MOCs and chroniclers all contribute to our game and any of
> these folks could be one of our best, but do we really need a seperate
> Peerage for each catigory? And what do you do with an Archer/chronicler/
> chiurgon?

A quick note on the re-title of the thread: I advance the concept of the 
"RennPeer" in the sense that the new peerage we are discussing is a 
reflection or mutation of the "Rennaisance Man" concept where a single 
individual is expected to exhibit a degree of competence in many, often 
widely varied, fields of endeavor. (Quick, anybody got the Latin for 
"Specialization is for insects" laying around nearby?)

A lower-level variation of this slid through one of the lists I follow 
(SCAHRLDS?) within the last couple of weeks:  what *do* we need to do within 
the SCA to recognize the individual who does not necessarily excel in 
service, arts, or combat forms, but makes long-term contributions and shows 
steadily improving skills & knowledge across the board?

At the same time, can we "afford" to threaten the existing peerages by 
suggesting a fourth track of award advancement, and can we accomplish any 
improvement in the overall SCA award structure without the result gaining 
the appearance of the dreaded "merit badge system"?

A fourth peerage order: since you have supplied no "working title", allow me 
to suggest "Exemplar" for the nonce. An Exemplar would be expected to uphold 
courtesy, chivalry, service, and other minimal levels of knowledge such as 
required now of Knight, Dame, Master, or Mistress. Further, they would 
become qualified for consideration by showing a wide array of interests and 
proficiencies in several thereof: for descriptive purpose, let us say a 
Thistle, a Crane, and a Falcon all held by the same individual would be one 
basis for candidacy (remembering that there should in our final expectations 
be no requirement for display of martial skill beyond basic familiarity with 

An Exemplar would be one who teaches, but not necessarily in formal 
settings. An Exemplar would continue in service to local, regional, and 
kingdom efforts for extended periods of time, but would not necessarily hold 
formal office continuously, or at all. An Exemplar would be known as a 
source of information and a dependable laborer in the Current Middle Ages, 
but might be constrained to attendance only at local events (or even be 
practically homebound). An Exemplar would be courteous of speech and 
demeanor, yet not feel that reputation would be threatened by rolling around 
in the grass of a field playing with the young children (either his / her 
own, or all-comers).

In short, an Exemplar would be an example of courtly living to all, and a 
great asset to the home group.

If all this begins to sound like the "typical" Exemplar is at least a little 
similar to several of the current Pelicans in Ansteorra, perhaps therein 
could be found the "relief point" or the justification. The Pelican has 
become an award far more rare than I (as a newcomer) originally expected to 
be the case in a Society based upon volunteer efforts; lesser service awards 
likewise give the appearance of being sparsely given. By creating a new 
order which more deliberately includes consideration of skill beyond 
service, OR by relaxing / expanding the Pelican purview, perhaps the 
situation can be addressed. By building a "support track" leading to the 
Exemplar, including awards equivalent to the current mid-level and 
grant-level precursors of the other peerages, there might indeed be a solid 
basis for proceeding.

Hmmmm. Reading over a portion of the above, I even have a suggestion as to 
one of the duties that the Exemplar Circle could be expected to fulfill: 
advise the Crown upon possible candidates for elevation as Lions of 
Ansteorra. (Advise, NOT consent: advise & consent for their own numbers, 
indeed, but the final decision in the creation of new Lions of the Realm 
should and must be reserved to the monarch.)

> I know the SCA's existing peerages are set in cement, but perhaps the
> thrust of those who supports peerages for other activities such as rapier
> and archery should not be to work seperatly for a peerage for their little
> slice of the pie, but to work together to regain the right for our crowns
> to give simple peerages as they see fit.

Simple peerages: such as the Court Barony, yet at an even higher level of 
recognition? Perhaps I mis-speak by using Court Baronage for an example, 
although it might be considered one of the grant-level equivalents 
"pre-requisite" for consideration as a peer in the existing award structure. 
(I have not researched recently, but would be interested to know if there 
has been a Pelican created in the last five years who was not already 
holding either another peerage or a Star of Merit; likewise for Laurels, 
other peerages, and Iris of Merit...)

Another commentator noted the existence of the "Simple Patent": reserved 
until now I believe for those who have attained the Crown by right or by 
courtesy.  Perhaps we can advance this new example, of the Exemplar as I 
have named the rank or as otherwise a name *or names* to be determined, by 
extension of / alternate usage for the Simple Patent.

> After all, shouldn't it be the Crown -- not the BOD -- who decides what is
> worthy of reward in their kingdom?

Not only the Crown, my well-spoken gentleman. The Crown, expressing the will 
of a significant sector of the populace that they govern, and the officers 
who serve Kingdom & Society at all levels, in addition to those people 
willing to work toward such a goal.

Ah, another fine controversy to embroil myself in. I *love* the SCA! <GRYN>

Amr ibn Majid al-Bakri al-Amra
     currently residing in Barony of the Steppes, Kingdom of Ansteorra
Mike C. Baker                      mbaker at
Any opinions expressed are obviously my own unless explicitly stated 

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