dennis guy grace amazing at
Fri Oct 18 12:17:16 PDT 1996

Greetings all.  Lyonel here.

At 11:31 AM 10/18/96, Phelim U. Gervas wrote:

<snip> The question comes down to "will the boorish behavior be
>increased due to this change"? Will it be so bad that I don't enjoy it?
>> Besides, if we form a principality and our neighbors become jealous, they
>> can always form one, too.
>It's not our neighbors *I'm* worried about, it's us.

Well, I can't honestly anwser this on its own.  If a group makes a concerted
and successful effort, I think they have every right to be proud of
themselves.  Whether this pride will then turn to smugness, only time can
tell.  If you mean, and I think you do, you worry that becoming a
principality will cause extant swollen heads to bloat further, I think you
have little to fear here.  Let's consder this matter in light of your next

>> The trick is to get
>> a large enough portion of the populace moving in a single direction; then,
>> the folks who are trying to build their own little political fires will find
>> insufficient fuel available to feed their little flames.
>Hmmm. Not sure if that'd work. I would love if it did.

Essentially, a principality cannot form around a single group.  If we form a
principality, we must do so with the aid of Bjornsborg and the shires
hereabouts (I'd also like to include Raven's Fort, but so far I've heard not
a peep from them on this issue).  For this reason alone, no one group can
maintain a sense of primacy.  When the region of Artemisia was attempting to
re-create herself as a principality, many initially perceived the effort as
some sort of ego-aggrandizement on the part of the Barony of Loch Salann
(Salt Lake City).  In order to keep the principality dream alive, the Loch
Salannites (and supporters in other areas) had to garner support from other
baronies and shires. Only after strong supporting voices were heard coming
from 1000 Eyes (Idaho Falls), Sentinels Keep (Missoula), Silver Keep
(Bozeman), Otherhill (Green River), and Arn Hold (Boise), did the dream of
an Artemisian principality come to fruition.

If Bryn Gwlad folk begin to spearhead an effort to build a principality, we
must do so with the goal of instigating similar movements within the other
local groups. If the folk of Tempio or Bjornsborg begin to perceive the
concept of a principality as a Bryn Gwlad Thang, why should they want to
take part?  Likewise, if the shires see this effort as a project of the
baronies, why shouldn't they stir up opposition?  The birth of a
principality must be a joint venture of the interested parties.
I know this is a bit of a tangent, but I'm going to have to address this
matter eventually anyway, so here goes:  I would like to see this area form
a principality for two primary reasons.  First, I see a few problems here
that I believe could be alleviated by creating some renewed interest.
Creating a principality will provide a new goal to add some spice, a common
purpose to unite our efforts and create a sense of community, and
ultimately, more pomp and pageantry of local events.

Second, principalities are fun, and I believe it would be even more fun if
the principality were created specifically for that reason--to be
fun--rather than for the usual whiny reason--those guys over THERE won't
come play with us.

>> Generally, I agree (though I would have said "play BY ourselves" *wink*),
>I did intentially choose that wording since I had heard it used. It
>still gives a air of snobbery IMHO.

Okay, how about "we'll concentrate our activities on supporting our local

>How many "regional" events happen a year? How many groups take advantage
>of the extra events by doing them jointly? From what I've seen looking
>at the calendars, very few.

Again, with a principality in place, this becomes a more-or-less
self-correcting situation.  We'd have to hold Coronet List and Investiture
twice a year each.  Many principalities also add their own A&S Competitions,
Championships, Collegiums, and so forth.
>> I was a poor student back then, too, but I still
>> managed to be principality herald and personal court herald to the Crown.  I
>> can't recall any difficulties arising from this.
>Were you one of the exceptions? Was this during transitionary periods
>or an already established principality? Just how ugly is the transition?
>How long does it take for the ugliness to go away?

I don't think my efforts were all that exceptional.  Quite a few of my
friends, who also began playing just before the institution of the
Principality of Artemisia, went on to be Artemisian movers and shakers.  The
opportunities are a bit more accessible in a newly forming group.  

I also noticed that principality officers frequently went on to be kingdom
officers.  Our first principality seneschal became kingdom seneschal.  Our
premier Goldenwing Herald went on to be Aten Principal Herald.  

Moreover, the Prince and Princess act--rather like an Uber Baron and Uber
Baroness-- as the voice of the Crown.  In my recollections, most of our
court exhortations to support Crown and Kingdom came from the Prince and
Princess.  Our efforts to build an effective principality fighting force
always targeted creating a better regiment to send to Estrella to support
the Kingdom. 

As for maintaining attendance at kingdom events, I don't believe it suffered
any with the formation of the principality.  When you live in Missoula,
Montana, it's always going to be hard to make it to a Crown Tournament in
Phoenix, but Artemisian attendance of far southern kingdom events increased
after the region became a principality.  Partly, this was due to simple
population increases, but I would also give credit to the increased
camaraderie among the groups within the principality caravans.  My barony
began attracting knights from the south to our annual Uprising during our
last two years in Artemisia, and I would have to attribute this at least
partly to the amount of support we received from the principality.  If
Artemisia hadn't been fielding an impressive force, the southern knights
would have had little reason to attend.  

>> Personally, I see nothing wrong with this.  I do, however, object to the
>> attitude which demands frequent long journeys to "support" other groups.  
>So you're of the opinion that you support the local group, and blow the
>rest of them off? How do you get past the Barony stage of that attitude?
>Once you get past Baronial area, you are into the "big" picture and the
>mentality should be the same no matter what the size of the region.
>(Barring physical realities like funds and time. My largest limitation
>is time.)

Ah, but your parenthetical notation belies the attitude of the foregoing
paragraph.  No, I don't want to blow anyone off.  I would love to be able to
support folks in say Wastelands, but doesn't it make more sense for the folk
in Wiesenfeuer and Namron to take on this task?  In addition, they suppport
themselves most effectively by producing slam-bang all-stops-out spectacular
events that draw in folk from all over the kingdom with the promise of a
unique and worthwhile experience.

>> Moreover, as I've already pointed out in a number of correspondences on this
>> list, a principality offers a good deal of support to the kingdom.  It
>> offers a new purpose, exactly the sort of shot in the arm this kingdom could
>> use right now.
>I admit that my true concern is if this new purpose in the Society causes
>problems.  Do people get a new vigor due to competition with the others or
>due to it being fun?

In the cases where principalities form to spite someone else, the focus miht
occasionally get nasty.  I'm not suggesting that.  I've said all along that
we should do this because it would be fun.  If other regions or groupings
within Ansteorra want to form a principality to spite others, that's their
problem.  I've always believed that castles built on swampy ground will
eventually sink under their own weight, and it don't get more swampy than

>> In response to a recent posting from a lady in a nearby
>> shire, I suggested that her group's attitude toward sponsoring events would
>> lead to stagnation.  When I met the lady shortly thereafter, she admitted
>> that, "Yeah, 'stagnation' --that pretty well describes us."
>Yes, but the local Barony was stagnate due to the attitude of "we're
>better than you". They didn't talk to new commers, they didn't try to
>assist people entering new edeavours (after all, they knew it, why should
>they teach you), etc. There is still some of this around, and I'm afraid
>it will amplify instead of continuing on the current course (or even at a
>higher rate if the principality gives them new life).

As I noted above, I don't believe you can form a principality around claim's
like, "join us and you'll be better than everyone else."  The effort has to
be concerted and cohesive.  I also believe, based on my experience, that
working together with people in other areas, working to get folks involved,
tends to translate well into general recruiting practices.  You're right,
Phelim, arrogance will kill this barony.  Stagnation--for a group that
relies upon voluntary membership--is death.  What causes stagnation?  Well,
as you note, arrogance born of seniority or a sense of superior experience
certainly doesn't *welcome* newcomers, and any refusal to welcome newcomers
is stagnation.

>> The principality has to be named, achievements of arms need
>> be designed, awards need be devised, ceremonies written, traditions forged. 

>Where does that benefit Joe-SCAer? I can see the heralds, royalty and
>peers having fun, but I hope that those groups are a small portion of
>the actual populace. (Or we have a serious recruitment problem and we're
>already doomed.)

Hey, this is a groundfloor opportunity.  Today's Joe SCAer will be
tomorrow's principality officer, peer, or coronet.  Who do you think will be
the first Prince and Princess?  Our first prince was a squire to one of the
local dukes; his princess hadn't even been playing long enough to have her
AoA yet. Plus, someone has to make coronets, thrones, banners, flags,
tabards, pavillions, pillows, cloaks and collars of state, scrolls, award
medallions, et cetera.

>> Isn't this rather like saying, "I'd better not
>> buy a new car, because it might make the Mertz's jealous"?
>"I'd better not get too full of myself or my friends will stop talking
>to me."

Well, I think I've already addressed the matter of big-headedness, but let
me posit another situation for you.  Say you're driving a beat up klunker
with a blown head gasket and 193,000 miles on it.  You know you need a new
car, and you know what you like.  Are you going to refuse to get the car you
want because someone might think you're too full of yourself?

>> >Then again, I'm just Joe SCAer who wants to have fun at his game and
>> >not someone who has to deal with these decisions or problems.
>> This sounds a bit like an acknowledgement that it's always safer to stay put
>> and accept the liabilities we have than to venture forth and face new
>> dangers.
>No, that's not what I meant. I meant that if it's the same end point,
>why intentionally go out of your way to cause the headaches.

Okay, no insult intended, but I think you can see where I might mistake your
claims for provincialism.  Besides, it's not the same endpoint.  To
summarize briefly:  the principality has a new and constantly varying level
of leadership, officers with greater incentives to do well, creates more
pomp and color, provides a common goal for bored and stagnating groups,
offers another level of recognition for members of its own populace,
concentrates efforts within a given region to invigorate the local groups
further, offers another level of camaraderie within the larger context of
the kingdom and the still larger community of the SCA.  

>> Why did Joe SCAer join the SCA instead of, say, the Elks?
>He likes dressing in funny clothes, going out in the middle of the
>woods, drinking and seeing people get hit with sticks of different
>sizes. *wink* Much more fun than going to a dark building and just

All winking aside, I know no one member can speak for the rest, but I know
why I joined.  I read Mallory and Berger and Steinbeck on Arthur and the
Round Table; I read Chaucer and Chretien de Troyes; I lost sleep in _The
Once and Future King_ and _The Crystal Cave_; I learned Old and Middle
English so that I could read _Beowulf_ and _King Horn_ and _Sir Gawain and
the Green Knight_ and all the rhymed and alliterated Morte Arthur's.  I grew
up wanting to be King Arthur and Sir Lancelot and Saladin and William
Marshall and Bertran de Born and the Black Prince.  I guess some part of me
still wants that because--as silly as this might sound--I'm having trouble
keeping my eyes from clouding over as I type this.  Romance and pageantry,
pomp and chivalry--that's what this particular Joe SCAer wanted and still wants.

And *sigh*, yeah, I like hitting people with sticks.

>I would enjoy helping start a principality *if* I still have fun and
>not have to deal with the political BS of doing it. I have no problems
>being in one, just the transition. (I figure people will calm down over

Sounds like an excellent attitude to me.  If it isn't fun, I don't want to
do it either.  We can erect signs at the borders:  ENTERING THE PRINCIPALITY

Many thanks to you, M'lord, for giving me another opportunity to ponder
(and, yeah, pontificate upon) this issue of principality formation.  Until I
can offer more, I remain

Yours in Service

Sir Lyonel Oliver Grace
Dennis G. Grace
Postmodern Medievalist
Division of Rhetoric and Composition
University of Texas at Austin
amazing at

For every wight that lovede chivalrye
And wolde, his thankes, han a passant name,
Hath preyed that he myghte been of that game.
                --Jeff Chaucer's Knight 

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