ANST - Re:Oaths & "A-- Kissing"

JulieAnna D. Rohde treschen at
Wed Aug 6 12:35:21 PDT 1997

Karl von Augsburg asked some questions about the reality of oaths.  I have
given oaths of fealty to a number of Crowns.  I have taken each of these
oaths very seriously and have felt very honoured to be able to give them. 
I have noticed that not all Crown's give the general populace the
opportunity to come forward and give their oaths, so once again I view it
as a privilege to be allowed.  It may be that as a member of the populace
of this Kingdom I have the right to swear fealty to any Crown, but I would
not want to give an unwanted oath, so if the Crown does not make the offer,
then I do not impose my oath.

This is a game we play and much of it is pretend, but in the end we are
real people interacting with other real people.  We go to events that occur
in reality and we deal with people there in reality.  In a sense, we have
created our own alternate reality.  My SCA friends are the best, most
trustworthy friends I have and I try desperately to avoid making any SCA
enemies.  Either way, friends or enemies, they are both very real people,
so any oaths or promises I make are certainly binding.  I think everyone is
aware that no one is ever expected to break any laws, mundane or SCA,
because they have sworn an oath to someone.  I believe that even in period
there were examples where nobles could break fealty if their overlord
violated certain laws or asked them to do so.

As to the subject of "A-- Kissing".  Welcome to the Middle Ages!  From my
reading of history, I would say we do a half way decent job of re-creating
Medieval Politics.  People's lives were greatly in the hands of their
overlords and _everybody_ had an overlord except the King.  (Well, in the
Empire even a Kng could be subject to the Emperor and, of course, both were
subjects of God.)  To try and understand the Medieval attitude toward the
Crown I have a phrase that I like to use.  "The Crown - from whom all
things come."  (No heresy or sacrilege intended, but I think it puts things
in perspective.)  "A-- Kissing" in medival times was a way of life, in fact
your *life* might depend on your abiblity to do it and do it well.  Part of
courtly behavior was how well you could do it without making it too
obvious.  It was necessary and probably often more sincere than that term
implies.  Maybe it isn't so critical in our game that we play, but to
create the atmosphere of a court and to treat our Crown with similar
reverence to what our ancestors would have, there has to be a certain
amount of elevating their virtues and honour above those of common people
or the whole ambience of what we are trying do is destroyed.  We have to
suspend disbelief for a little while and get carried away in the spirit of
what we are doing.

Most of us play this game because we feel that certain virtues, especially
honour and nobility of person, have been demeaned by modern society.  We
want a time when our word was our oath.  Where deeds of glory were met with
accliam and praise and a person could earn the respect of others by those
deeds.  Each one of us in the SCA is constantly faced with the challenges
of leaving our modern "eyes and ears" behind each weekend and of trying to
view the happenings of an event with the eyes of a medieval person - to
hear the words spoken with the ears of a medieval person.  What our modern
standards may find "offensive or nauseating" may have been the stuff of
medieval courtly poetry.  If we continually bring modern standards and
modern opinions into our game, then we have nothing but people camping in
costumes and doing arts and crafts from the past.  *We must continually
guard ourselves against the ever intrusive 20th C, else the essence of The
Dream will be truly lost.*

Treschen von Asselen
treschen at


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