ANST - Re: Long Courts & Oaths

Joel Schumacher jschumac at
Tue Aug 5 15:26:53 PDT 1997

Personally, I can't stand courts.  To me they're about as interesting
as reading the charts in the CRC Chemistry handbook.  Oh sure, there's
occasional highlights like the melting points of various metals, but
on the whole, lots of things that I couldn't care less about.

As much as we try to pretend we're in a medieval society, we're all
born of the 20th century.  As a society, we don't watch silent movies
anymore, we prefer drama and spectacle, and we tend to crave a faster
pace.  In courts, I can often see things going on but cannot hear an
audible word of it.  There's little if any entertainment value or
excitement.  And, it drags on.

To address the audibility problem, has anyone ever tried a few
wireless mics and a PA system to help project voices?  If the populace
could hear what's being said, it would certainly help keep people
involved and cut down on crowd noise.  It might not make it the least
bit more interesting to me, but it may to some.  Sure it's not period,
but neither is duct tape.  Sometimes you've got to compromise.

As for entertainment.  Well, court is not meant to be drama.  As was
said by someone, it's meant to conduct business.  As for me, I wouldn't
expect court participants to become actors or stage some sort of
entertainment.  They can go on conducting their business as they
see fit.  But without being entertaining, my personal choice is simply
to avoid attending at all costs.  Everybody has their own interests.
Some are interested in the business matters.  I'm not.

As for the dragging on...  A lot of time seems to be spent with
different individuals/groups swearing fealty.  As has been pointed out,
in period, fealty may not have been sworn by all at coronation time,
but was done in the weeks and months to come.

Maybe everyone who wants to swear stands up and recites a common oath
together, like the pledge of allegance.  Then it's all done nice and

Maybe it's just that 20th century mentality going, (and I don't mean
to offend), but imagine you get a new boss.  Instead of "good luck",
"congratulations","welcome aboard" all of your co-workers line up to
spend a few minutes with the new boss, complementing him/her on how
wise, noble, or fair they are.  Then they say "you can count on me,
whatever you need".  To our modern standards of behavior, that would
be some major "A-- Kissing" and it's kind of nauseating to watch.

Yet similar behavior happens at coronation and other courts.  I'm sure
it's very period to address the crown in such a manner.  But to me and
my modern views of behavior, there's only so much of this I can take
before I start getting quite tired of it all.

Sir Burke Kyriell MacDonald writes:
> Like when HRM Abd al-Mahdi Jamal ibn Hakim and I did a separate oath
> because I couldn't (in good faith <BG>) as a crusader swear his rather
> Moorish oath. :)  So I swore an oath of fealty on her Catholic
> Majesties faith.  

I personally need a little clarification of oaths.  To me, an oath is
a sacred, solemn promise not to be broken.  I wouldn't make an oath
lightheartedly, least of all an oath of fealty to a make-believe ruler
whose only qualifications to his rule his make-believe kingdom are he's
a better martial artist than the next fellow.

Why would I swear my loyalty, lands, etc. to a person who has not been
a major part of my real life?  I don't know how honorable the crown
really is.  What if this man asks me to steal, commit murder or
conceal wrongs for him?  Keeping my oath could put me in real legal
trouble.  How can I do this?

I mean, is this "oath" or "swearing of fealty" generally considered by
all to be more pretend?  Like, "I'm not really swearing loyalty to
this man, it's just something I'm pretending on behalf of this persona
I'm playing".  Kind of like an actor getting married in a movie or play?
He's not really taking the vows of marriage, he's just acting for show.

Or do people really take this stuff seriously?

As Sir Burke states, he had a problem swearing fealty to a
non-Christian king.  And there's also the Master-of-Arms title that does
not require the swearing fealty (beause some people don't want to for
personal reasons).  Obviously some take this oath to be a real oath.

What are the thoughts of those who have done so?  Is it pretend to you?
What about those who refuse to do so?  Why?

-Karl von Augsburg
Joel Schumacher                        JCPenney Co. - UNIX Network Systems
jschumac at          12700 Park Central Pl
(972) 591-7543                         Dallas TX  75251

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