[Ansteorra] Looking good when fighting history

Elisabeth B. Zakes kitharis at gmail.com
Wed Nov 3 06:29:36 PDT 2010

On Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 22:38, willowdewisp at juno.com
<willowdewisp at juno.com>wrote:

> Duke Inman didn't stop carpet armor because we didn't wear it. It was too
> hot in Ansteorra and it itched badly. We worn almost nothing but minimum
> armor.

Oh, I remember carpet armour in 1978 and a few years beyond, as well as
minimum and much more than minimum.

We did a lot of things differently in Ansteorra and it wasn't until about 17
> years ago that we started to let things go. We became the generic SCA. We
> stopped doing persona and we stopped pushing for events and things to have
> historical relevance.

I respectfully disagree. Anyone who has been to the Lysts at Castleton for
the past several years, or to many Bjornsborg events, as just two examples,
will see plenty of historical relevance as well as "doing persona."

Things change, folks. Things evolve. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes
not. Some people put a higher emphasis on historical accuracy than others.
There is no "right" or "wrong" in either of those points, just a difference
in focus.

The question for Ansteorrans is -- is it a good thing to mandate a minimum
standard of "period-looking" on the fighting field, as the original poster
was asking about? Personally, I don't think so. Once we put something like
that as a hard rule, it's very difficult to change our minds later. It
becomes "It's always been that way," even if it hasn't.

Looking over the past 30 years, it amazes me how much things have changed
toward "more period" -- and that without any laws or rules to say so. It
will happen because those who lean hard towards historical accuracy and are
passionate about it will set standards by example (Master Eule and Centurion
Maelgwyn are just two that come to mind). Those who want to will do so.
Those who cannot for whatever reason, or don't want to go to that degree
will make the best effort they can, inspired by the example-setters, as has
always been done. If we make rules that set the bar too high, newcomers will
see the rules and turn away in disappointment. If, on the other hand, we
make it known that it's something to aim at but is not required at the entry
level, we'll get people who feel welcomed and who will see something to
strive for and work towards. It's good to have goals, and goals that people
set for themselves are more fun to have (and meet or exceed) than goals
imposed from the outside.

If we were to mandate being "more period," should we require everyone to
speak in his or her persona's native language and dialect? Should we
rearrange the entire award structure so that "Lord" outranks "Master"?
Should we require everyone to wear only fabrics that could have been
obtained in the persona's location? Should we forego automobiles and require
only horses and carriages and wagons? Should we argue the colour of thread
used to sew a jacket? It can be a slippery slope, and where do we draw the

Culturally, Ansteorra is very good about peer pressure (not Peer pressure :)
). Simply setting examples and "showing by doing" is a huge force for change
in this kingdom. We've not needed mandates or rules. Ansteorrans are very
proud of being the best at what we do. Let's go ahead and be the best
without needing someone else to tell us how! :)

Aethelyan Moondragon
Bryn Gwlad

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