[Ansteorra] Order of the Arcus Majoris

Arabella de Montacute arabella at elfsea.net
Mon Jan 21 15:20:34 PST 2002

I'd like to publically thank their majesties and share my pride in my loving husband, Honourable Lord Fearghus Mackenna, one of the Premier Companions of the Order of the Arcus Majoris.

Arabella de Montacute

From: Paul or Galen <baron at elfsea.net>

For those interested, I'd like to share my thoughts and some background
on the genesis of the order.

After discussions with HL Gilbert Ostwestly and HL Fearghus McKenna, and
encouraged by Earl Duncan and Duchess Larissa, I wrote to the Crown,
then Duncan and Larissa, formally recommending the creation of a
grant-level archery award, analogous to the Iris of Merit and Star of

This is an award which I have long felt Ansteorra needed, but had never
actively tried to see brought about.  I felt that I was the right person
to do the legwork on this because 1.) I knew how, 2.) I've always loved
archery, and felt that archery added a great deal to SCA events and 3.)
because, knowing me, I'll never put in the work to shoot well enough to
get this award; therefore, it wouldn't be someone recommending an award
in order to receive it himself.

Their Majesties Duncan and Larissa consulted their heralds, which led to
a lengthy discussion of the possibility on the heralds' list.  Very
quickly the name I had proposed, the Order of Orion (which someone
else -- I'm sorry I don't rightly recall who -- had suggested to me) was
shot down for the simple reason that another kingdom had already
registered it.

Late in the reign, Duncan and Larissa told me that they had created two
new non-armigerous awards, the Queen's Ring and the Vine Staff, and were
uncomfortable going for three.  They encouraged me to approach their
successors, Aaron and Britta, who proved wholly amenable, and even
enthusiastic, to the idea.

The name of the order was suggested by my lady, HE Alessandra Desiderio,
during a brainstorming session at Mistress Xene Theriani's house; it
translates as "Great Bow".  (It's not a constellation, but sure sounds
like it should be, doesn't it?)  The badge and regalia were inspired by
those of the Order of the White Scarf.

Mistress Stella Silvana created the first regalia, and the first
scrolls.  I wrote the Constitution of the Order, advised by the Lord
Star Herald, Baron Borek, and also Lord Timothy of Glastonbury and
Master Darius of the Bells.  Lady Anezka z Rozmitala and Lady Vivaine
Tarnfaalk were also of assistance.

To my knowledge, this was not a controversial idea; rather, I received
encouragement and positive reactions throughout the process.  I have
tried to come up with an award whose purpose, name, heraldry, and
regalia was consistent with established Ansteorran precedent.

This is not a polling order, but neither was the White Scarf at its
inception; that honor was given to the Dons by King Inman VI at the 15th
Year Celebration, when the Order of the Centurions of the Sable Star was

The initial idea of this order is that it is a recognition for
achievements of service and arts related to the practice of archery,
combined with excellence with the bow or crossbow.  The first three
recipients were intended to demonstrate this obviously; but two weren't
there, and it's for the Crown to make their identities public.

(So, Rumil, hold off publishing those two in the _Black Star_.)

I daresay that anyone who knows Ansteorra's archers could make a list of
six likely names, and have both the remaining two be among them.  I also
believe that most people in this kingdom can name someone who should be
considered for membership in this order either soon or eventually.  I
hope there will not be too many Companions created in the current reign,
or the next.  I believe that this award should be hard to get, the
result of years of work, training, teaching, making, and shooting.

Henceforth, archers in this Kingdom are well-advised not to practice
what Mistress Mirrim calls the "fine art of court avoidance".  And I
suspect that white shirts and tunics will quickly go out of style among
archers, the better to show off that white armguard when it's awarded.

Finally, as regards a peerage, it seems to me that this order could be a
good jumping-off point for either the Laurel, Pelican, or Chivalry,
depending on one's other interests, talents, and one's work ethic.
Certainly, members of the Order of the White Scarf have advanced to all
the peerages.

I have put a great deal of thought into the creation of this order, but
very little real work.  I would like to share, if it's not violating a
confidence, that HRM Aaron told me privately that he was very excited
and honored to be the King signing this award into law and making its
first companions.

I am pleased to have been of service to the Crown and Kingdom,
especially those who will aspire to be worthy of this honor.  To those
aspirants, I offer this word of advice, the fruit of too many years
seeking awards in the SCA:  Never ask yourself why you haven't gotten
your white armguard.  Leave that to others.  Instead, ask yourself what
more you can do for those around you, what other equipment you can make,
what you can do to improve your skills, and how you can make it all more
fun for yourself and those around you.

Aim true.

- Galen of Bristol

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but
shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
       - C.S. Lewis
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