[Ansteorra] Spurs (was:Squire belts (was: Sable Thistle...etc.)

Faelan Caimbeul faelancaimbeul at gmail.com
Thu Jun 22 15:02:53 PDT 2006

Actually, what I was getting at is that all these symbols, in the context we
use them, are contrivences. As many people have said, these things can be
found in period, never (so far as I'm aware), used together in the fashion
we do, ie. denoting knighthood. Do I respect them as symbols in the Society,
YES. However, what defines a person is inside, not what he wears around his
neck, waist or ankles. A warrior, which is what a knight is in any period
and country we study, is defined by his actions, not his clothing. He knows
he's an honorable warrior. Others know he is an honorable warrior. That's
what counts. Yes, I'm being completely philosophical and not historical,
sorry about the confusion.


On 6/22/06, Burke McCrory <bmccrory at tax.ok.gov> wrote:
> At 12:29 PM 6/22/2006, you wrote:
> You know this conversation (or one just like it) comes up about once
> every year or so and it always ends the same way.  I think that it is
> a side effect of a more basic question.  Is the SCA an organization
> that re-creates the cultures and lifestyle of a select segment of
> Western European life in the period (600 AD to 1600 AD) or is it an
> organization that re-enacts that period?
> The question is more relevant that some might think.  The SCA was and
> is an outgrowth of a costume party and has been for many decades a
> re-creation organization that uses the afore mentioned period as its
> inspiration.  This has allowed us to mix both period aspects and
> modern conveniences together.  It also allowed us to take certain
> medieval concepts and organizations and create our own
> equivalents.  However over the last few years I have seen an
> acceleration of what I will call an attempt to transition us into a
> historical reenactment group, where everything has to be period.  I
> am not saying that this is universal but the trend does appear to be
> there.  So that having been said this discussion about knighthood and
> its symbols really can be boiled down to the following.  If we are
> using the period organizations and concepts as inspiration to
> re-create a noble order then the customs and symbols of the SCA's
> Chivalry (a 40 year old order I might point out) are just fine.  But
> if we are actually trying to mimic (as in reenact) the period
> organizations then we need to choose which one we will re-enact and
> completely adjust our symbology and customs as would be appropriate.
> Burke
> >Salut cozyns,
> >
> >Lyonel ici.
> >
> >Sieur Jean Paul has already cited Du Charney on the white belt origin, so
> I
> >won't repeat that. I will add to that point, in all fairness to the
> >discussion, the white belt was only worn as part of the ceremony and was
> >undoubtedly cloth or woven.
> >
> >I'm sorry but the "chain is a symbol of fealty" argument doesn't wash. At
> >least, not from an historical perspective. The SCA established the chain
> as
> >a protected badge of knighthood and associated it with fealty, and I
> believe
> >the idea was loosely based on the chains of esses worn by member of the
> >Order of the Golden Fleece. I'm willing to entertain your argument of the
> >chain symbolism if you can show me a period example of a non-knight
> wearing
> >a chain expressly as a symbol of fealty. (Granted, I could be forgetting
> a
> >reference to the chain-as-fealty-symbol from period knighting ceremonies.
> If
> >so, I apologize for that elision, but the argument still works).
> >
> >As for the discussion of spurs:
> >
> > >The spurs were nothing more, historically, than a tool used to ride a
> > >horse.
> > >The SCA made the association because normally only knights had the
> money to
> > >afford a riding horse. However, many nobles as well had horses, and
> many
> > >equestrians today have horses and corresponding horseshoes too, even
> though
> > >they are not knights; and so the spurs were not indicative of a knight
> > >either.
> >
> >Um, yes and no.
> >
> >The SCA made the association because Du Charney, Lull, and other period
> >sources include strapping on spurs (in some cases specifically spurs of
> >golden metal) as part of the knighting ceremony. What the SCA did was
> >specifically associate *the wearing of spurs* on an ongoing basis with
> >knighthood. The association makes sense in more reasons than just the
> "only
> >knights could afford..."
> >point. Knighthood in the Middle Ages is so closely tied with horsemanship
> >that in every European language but  English (ironically), the word for
> >knight means "horseman" (cavalier, chevalier, cavalher, caballero,
> ritter,
> >ridari, und so weiter). For any interested word geeks out  there,
> "knight"
> >is derived from the Anglo-Saxon "cniht" which originally just means
> "young
> >man" but eventually came to mean "warrior."
> >
> >Frankly, I've never had any objection to anyone wearing spurs. It seems
> >pretentious if you're not a rider or a knight, but much of what we do in
> the
> >SCA is pretentious. My apologies to Corwin and Anton, but the squires in
> >training spurs always struck me as a bit too precious (YMMV).
> >
> >So, in all, you can argue that SCA symbols of knighthood are all
> inventions
> >that would not have been valid in the Middle Ages. In most ages and
> >locations, you could not tell a knight on sight. Sure, someone in armor,
> >armed and bearing arms, was probably a knight. But you never knew for
> sure.
> >Many mercenaries became knights by pretense. No one ever admitted to
> having
> >knighted Robert Knolles or John Hawkwood, but they both styled themselves
> as
> >knights.
> >
> >Ultimately, though, what argument are you trying to make? Are you saying
> >that anyone in the SCA can wear a gold chain, spurs, and a white belt?
> Yes,
> >that's true. I think the reception of such choices at events would make
> this
> >an uncomfortable choice, though. Are you saying that it makes sense from
> a
> >period standpoint to wear these accoutrements? Well, in one of three
> cases
> >(spurs), I agree. I don't think you can find many period examples of
> white
> >belts and gold chains, though.
> >
> >lo vostre por vos servir
> >Sir Lyonel Oliver Grace
> >_________________________________
> >Micel yfel deth se unwritere.
> >                 --AElfric of York
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > >From: "Faelan Caimbeul" <faelancaimbeul at gmail.com>
> > >Reply-To: "Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA, Inc."
> > ><ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org>
> > >To: "'Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA,  Inc.'" <
> ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org>
> > >Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] Spurs (was:Squire belts (was: Sable
> > >Thistle...etc.)
> > >Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2006 23:40:34 -0500
> > >
> > >I once had a Knight explain all this to me thusly:
> > >
> > >The chain is a symbol of fealty and service, nothing more. By that
> > >definition, anyone who sears fealty to their Lord, Baron or King would
> be
> > >entitled to wear it (yes, I came from one of THOSE kingdoms).
> > >
> > >The spurs were nothing more, historically, than a tool used to ride a
> > >horse.
> > >The SCA made the association because normally only knights had the
> money to
> > >afford a riding horse. However, many nobles as well had horses, and
> many
> > >equestrians today have horses and corresponding horseshoes too, even
> though
> > >they are not knights; and so the spurs were not indicative of a knight
> > >either.
> > >
> > >The white belt is a purely SCA thing. It's in law and the only official
> > >symbol of knighthood. In period, a white belt simply meant you had a
> white
> > >belt, hopefully matching your ensemble (but more than likely not).
> > >
> > >Therefore, the only true indication of a knight is his heart. How he
> > >carries
> > >himself, how he treats others, how he pursues art and culture, protects
> the
> > >weak, leads and generally makes a good effort to be the best person,
> the
> > >best warrior, he can be. This means that we can find many a "knight"
> who
> > >has
> > >never had a white belt, spurs or a chain, and should; and several who
> do
> > >have this things and shouldn't.
> > >
> > >Faelan
> > >
> > >
> > >_______________________________________________
> > >Ansteorra mailing list
> > >Ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org
> > >http://lists.ansteorra.org/listinfo.cgi/ansteorra-ansteorra.org
> >
> >
> >_______________________________________________
> >Ansteorra mailing list
> >Ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org
> >http://lists.ansteorra.org/listinfo.cgi/ansteorra-ansteorra.org
> _______________________________________________
> Ansteorra mailing list
> Ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org
> http://lists.ansteorra.org/listinfo.cgi/ansteorra-ansteorra.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.ansteorra.org/pipermail/ansteorra-ansteorra.org/attachments/20060622/8e32d9c3/attachment-0001.htm>

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list