ANST - Fighting awards/orders...

Paul Mitchell pmitchel at
Wed Nov 5 10:19:17 PST 1997

Galen here!

Pug Bainter wrote:
> Good Morning,
>   Well in my never ending search to actually figure out what is going on
>   around me, I'm gonna try to conquer the fighting awards and orders
>   next. (Well at least get a basic understanding.)

Cool!  Let's see what we come up with...
>   First, we have a few awards. As I remember, these are the Sable
>   Falcon, 

Non-armigerous, given by the Sovereign for chivalric (heavy weapons, 
or "tournament") combat;

> Queen's Rapier 

Non-armigerous, given by the Consort for duello (light weapons, or
"rapier") combat;

> and the King's Archer(?). 

Brand new, non-armigerous, given for excellence in or outstanding 
service associated with archery, both target and combat, if I
understand correctly.

> As to the orders,
>   they are the Centurians, 

The Order of the Centurions of the Sable Star of Ansteorra is a
polling order (that is, the Crown may not make new companions
without first consulting the Order), intended to recognize
excellence in chivalric combat.  From where I sit, the Order has
spent this year trying to make final determinations as to what
their order will exactly be.  They seem to be emphasizing leadership
in melee combat and teaching over excellence in single combat.
Membership in this order carries with it a Grant of Arms, which
makes it equal in precedence to the Order of the Star of Merit 
(given for service), the Order of the Iris of Merit (Arts & Sciences),
and the Order of the White Scarf.

>White Scarves 

The Order of the White Scarf of Ansteorra is also a polling order,
of which the Queen is the Principal, and is the highest honor to
recognize excellence in duello combat.  A number of other kingdoms,
through treaty with Ansteorra, have also adopted this Order, and
so something like half the kingdoms of the SCA have an "Order of
the White Scarf".  This is the only "grass-roots" SCA-wide order;
that is, it wasn't created by the Board of Directors, like the
titles of peerage, royal peerage, and Awards & Grants of arms were.
In Ansteorra, the White Scarf carries a Grant of Arms, and the
title "Don/Don~a".

>and Chivalry. 

The Chivalry of the SCA is made up of two mutually-exclusive orders,
the Order of Knighthood of the SCA and the Order of Mastery of Arms
of the SCA.  A candidate is elevated to the Chivalry, and given the
choice whether to be a knight or a master.  More on the Ansteorran
chivalry is at
(beware, graphics intensive).  The Chivalry ranks equally with the
Orders of the Laurel and the Pelican; the members of these orders
are the peers of the realm.

> Am I missing any?

Not unless you want to count Royal Peerages, the ranks of Duke/Duchess,
Count/Countess, Viscount/Viscountess, and their various cultural
equivalents (Earl, Hrabia, Jarl, Khalid, etc.).  These are given
after the conculsion of reigns as King/Queen of a Kingdom or
Prince/Princess of a Principality.  But they're really recognition
more for ruling than for fighting.
>   I think that I've been told that the Centurians are to protect the
>   Prince, 

I never heard that.  I heard they protect the banner.  But in real life,
they mostly train and command fighting units.

>the White Scarves the Queen 


>and the Chivalry the Kingdom. 

Actually, we go where we're sent, and do what we're told.  Usually
that includes trying to keep the King alive on the field.

> Do
>   the Princess and King not need protected? (And it's not always the
>   King who won crown, so please avoid the "King can protect themself"
>   stuff.)

(Well, since 1966, in all the kingdoms of the SCA, only once was it
not the King who had won Crown.)  Generally, the White Scarves are
more than happy to include the Crown Princess under their protection.
Sometimes a Princess asks the Cadets (students to White Scarves) to 
fill this role; they generally love this royal attention.

And many Kings disdain protection.

>   What are the Sable Falcon, Queen's Rapier and King's Archer given out
>   for? I'm afraid that I've seen so few of these that I haven't formed a
>   picture yet.

Robin of Gilwell once noted that the Sable Falcon is given out for
fighting better than the King thinks you can.

The Queen's Rapier seems to be given out for fighting skill at a 
level less than that required of Dons, but more than just mere
competence.  These things do vary.

King's Archer is brand new; stay tuned.

All of these also have standards of conduct, service, appearance, and
work in the arts&sciences at some level.

>   What is the qualifications for each of the Orders?

For any polling order, the real qualifications are whatever the
Crown and the members of the order can agree on on any given day.
>   Are the Centurians the "equivalent" of a Star or Iris? 


> If so, why
>   aren't the Falcon, Rapier and Archer the equivalent of the Thistle and
>   Crane. (I think the Thistle mechanism would easily work for the
>   Martial Arts and thus have one award with multiple categories.) 

Because in their wisdom, the various rulers of Ansteorra who created
these honors did not set it up that way.  Nor do I think fighting
suffers the lack of an AoA-level award in this kingdom; the knights'
squires, the Masters' students, and the Don's cadets seem to serve
as the equivalent recognition.  Hindsight is easy.

> If
>   not, are they a "stepping stone" toward Knighthood and why do they
>   exist? (Yes, I know you don't have to get an award/order to get the
>   "next" one, but there is usually a progressive growth in someone.) 

No.  Not everyone will achieve knighthood.  These lesser honors are not
"stepping-stones", neither prerequisites nor promises for later, greater
recognition.  One or two knights have received Sable Falcons, and a
knight could conceivably become a Centurion.  But just as I will never
be a Laurel, I am immensely pleased to have received a Sable Thistle.
Likewise, I have talked to people who take great pride in being 
Centurions, or holding Sable Falcons.

> Is
>   there an "equivalent" in fencing? If not, why not? Does the Order convey
>   an armigerous status?

I think I've already made this clear; that is, if I understand the question.

>   At least from looking at Corpora I now understand why Rapier and
>   Archery combatants can't be Chivalry without proving themself on the
>   tournament field. It clearly states that missile weapons are not
>   allowed, and that rapier fighting is not part of the "formal
>   tournament lists for royal ranks and armigerous titles". Since that is
>   the case, aren't our Order of the White Scarf against Corpora? After
>   all, a Grant award has an armigerous status according to Corpora.
>   (NOTE: I don't agree with this, just pointing it out. I found it out
>   when I was trying to figure out if rapier and archery people could be
>   Knights/MoA.)

There is no rapier tournament which, having won it, bestows any armigerous
title.  You can't simply win the right rapier tourney and get promoted, 
as you can by winning Crown.  That's what _Corpora_'s prohibition is
about.  If we wanted to, we could knight someone for excellence in 
rapier combat; don't hold your breath.  But I believe that in other
kingdoms, there are a couple of Laurels for rapier combat.

>   Thanks for everyone's time.

What fun!
> Ciao,

- Galen of Bristol

pmitchel at /
"Commit principled acts of self-interest and ruthless logic."
Go to to perform mailing list tasks.

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list