Awards Policy (Households in Ansteorra)

Richard L. Rohde talen at
Thu Jan 16 12:28:03 PST 1997

Countess Berengaria de Montfort de Carcassonne, OP, wrote:
> OKAY!  Another question:  define "Great Household".  I've heard this 
> elusive term for years; an unscrupulous viscount in Oertha tried to 
> tell us that this was a Board-recognized designation with so many 
> peers and so many officers (this was years ago) and of course there's 
> no such thing anywhere in the governing docs.
I'd like to give my opinion, and expound further on households.  Here's my
pfennig to the discussion:

When I first joined the Society 14 years ago, I was told that a Great House
was any house that had members in more than one kingdom.  Anyone could form
a household, but it was recommended that there be at least three members,
one of whom should have an AoA or better.  This was to ensure that at the
household had at least a certain amount of experience in the Society.  No
household had official status, and it was considered faux pas to use
household titles in court, or to conduct household business at a populace
meeting or court.

Somewhere this went by the wayside, what with ships' captains and their
"crews" spending inordinate amounts of court time "gifting" the crown
before all, hordesman coopting populace meetings to honor their "khan", and
other similar occurrences.  Households used to be small groupings of like
minded individuals who needed each other.  Occasionally they would grow, as
a light attracts a moth.

Newer members seem to think, however, that "powerful" households are
directly equated to "large" households.  And thus we have young households
whose primary outward activity is to snag more members, regardless of
similarity or complementary interests and skills.  Seldom do they have a
clue as to the history and social mores of this kingdom.  Often they sow

Households have always been a political force.  Their mere existence is a
political statement.  When you declare an affiliation, you open one door
and close another.  This can be good.  Sometimes it is bad.  I have seen
many promising new members sucked into these types of houses, only to
disappear when their "dream" turns sour.  One in particular stated that she
told her husband after her first meeting "I'm home!".  Then a household
with this predator problem snagged her up.  She became disillusioned and
bitter as they used her as a pawn against others.  She was told the only
way she could get anywhere was make costumes, for free, for others.  Mostly
her house.  She was a professional seamstress and refused.  Eventually she
stopped coming to meetings or other public gatherings.  Her husband, who
joined at her desire and showed promise as a fighter and motivator, told me
she thought it was no longer "fun".  What!  Have FUN with your HOBBY!!!?  I
was not surprised.  I continue to keep in touch with both in the hopes they
will try us again, as some have returned and stayed.  We shall see.

This is but one example of many.  Households can be a good thing, but we
must evaluate what purpose the house serves.  As a grouping of friends
whose skills complement each other, they are a strong part of the fabric at
the grassroots level.  As an entity to advance the agenda of a few against
the will of the many they often go too far.

Centurion Talen Gustaf von Marienburg
Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war!
talen at

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