[ANSTHRLD] Re: New Award Discussion

tmcd@panix.com tmcd at panix.com
Wed Feb 2 12:10:21 PST 2005

On Wed, 2 Feb 2005, Crandall <crandalltwo-scalists at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Beautiful idea. And the simile (without the coffee reference) could
> be part of the text.
> Let it be known that We (the Crown) know that warriors are the
> steel, which strikes sparks from their foes and sets aflame the
> battlefields with victory. And having proved to Us those attributes,
> We award the Sable Steel to (Receipient). etc, etc....

I have no problem with the symbolism per se.  Symbolism is certainly
period.  They had Freud beat.

Consider the Epistle of Barnabas: pre-medieval, but somewhat popular
in period.  It was largely devoted to saying how Deuteronomy and
Leviticus prohibitions were not meant to be read literally.  For
example, it says

    Barnabas 10:3 Accordingly he mentioned the swine with this intent.
    Thou shalt not cleave, saith he, to such men who are like unto
    swine; that is, when they are in luxury they forget the Lord, but
    when they are in want they recognize the Lord, just as the swine
    when it eateth knoweth not his lord, but when it is hungry it
    crieth out, and when it has received food again it is silent.


    Barnabas 10:8 Moreover He hath hated the weasel also and with good
    reason.  Thou shalt not, saith He, become such as those men of
    whom we hear as working iniquity with their mouth for uncleanness,
    neither shalt thou cleave unto impure women who work iniquity with
    their mouth.  For this animal conceiveth with its mouth.

    Barnabas 10:9 Concerning meats then Moses received three decrees
    to this effect and uttered them in a spiritual sense; but they
    accepted them according to the lust of the flesh, as though they
    referred to eating.


So the only thing I see wrong with "So if she weighs as much as a
duck, then she's made of wood, so she's a witch" is that it looks a
bit too LITERAL.  But I think this works (in a medieval sense):

    The witch put to the ordeal of cold water is rejected by the same
    and floats thereon.  So too does a duck float on the water, and if
    it strives to dive, the water rejects it and it comes to the
    surface again.  Water rejects the duck so strongly that the duck
    may not even be wetted but the water immediately beads up and
    pours off, wherefore the proverb says "like water off a duck's

    And the duck seems to glide above the water in serenity, yet its
    feet paddle underneath where no man sees.  So too may a witch
    appear fair and comely in seeming while working the ruin of men by
    work in secret places.

    And too, when the duck feeds, it suddenly upends itself, rooting
    its bill in the filth below and exposing its naughty bits to the
    view of all.  So too does a witch of a sudden throw off all
    comeliness and grovel in the lowest filth, which is Satan.

    Therefore is a duck the symbol and type of witchcraft.

(I considered and rejected "And too, a witch tastes good when covered
in warm orange sauce.")

No offense intended to any witches present, please; I did it only as
an attempt at a silly yet medieval-based philosophical exercise.

(Memo to self: explain to Robin of Gilwell why he symbolizes Christ.
Talking points: red breast; vanishes and returns; arrives in spring
with life renewed; defeats the Worm.  Powerpoint?)

But as for an award text ...

> Beautiful idea. And the simile (without the coffee reference) could
> be part of the text.
> Let it be known that We (the Crown) know that warriors are the
> steel, which strikes sparks from their foes and sets aflame the
> battlefields with victory. And having proved to Us those attributes,
> We award the Sable Steel to (Receipient). etc, etc....

That's a typical SCA award text.  Unfortunately, I don't know of any
period legal text that it resembles.  Ansteorran kingdom award texts
are based on charters, though heavily trimmed from period models for
SCA practical reasons.  The charter was the most solemn and formal
document, suited to perpetual grants, which had a stereotyped and
international format (in general).  Consider this standard Ansteorran

    Know ye that we ______ and ______ King and Queen of Ansteorra
        [Moving Notification, "know ye", above the Superscription,
        "the From: header"]
    in consideration of expertise in the field of ______
        [Movent clause: why it's being given]
    do by this our Charter award unto ______ the Award of the Sable
    Thistle of Ansteorra with all responsibilities and privileges
    thereto appertaining.
        [Disposition: what's being given, under what conditions.
        The meat.]
    This is so done and given in our ________ on the ______ day of
    ______ Anno Societatis ______ being Anno Domini ______.
            ________ ________
            King     Queen
        [the Date clause.  Datum is Latin for "given"]

You can analyze higher award texts, which tend to pad the movent
clause and disposition:

    Movent clause:
        in consideration of singular noble Virtues and martial Prowess
        alike in Courtesy and Honor as in Courage and Feats of Arms

        do by these our Letters Patent advance ______ to the Rank
        <Estate Style Title and Degree> of Knight for {his/her} Homage
        and Service to have and to hold of us and our Successors Kings
        and Queens of Ansteorra in Fealty and Honor to be in all
        Places accounted a Peer of our Realm with all responsibilities
        and privileges thereto appertaining.

So here's what I mean in short.  The symbolism is a great notion.
It can be mentioned when it's being given, but I don't think that it
belongs in the award text.  I think that it would be far better to
take the Sable Thistle text and tweak the Movent clause, like
    in consideration of especial prowess in the field of ______

P.S.  If you're curious about the full-barrelled structure of a
medieval legal grant, here's how Tadhg Liath says it broke down.
Legal documents in general in Europe tended to have this structure
(though some parts might be omitted or merged):

    1.  Initial protocol
        a. Invocation -- pious expression, "in the name of the Father
           and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost" or some such
        b. Superscription -- From: header
        c. Address -- To: header
        d. Salutation -- Howdy.  (OK, Salutem, eventually.)

    2.  Text
        a. Preamble -- Why.  The movent clause, the reason that moves
           the grantor to give it.  "In English documents, the Movent
           clause was normally imbedded within the Notification rather
           than recited as a separate Preamble."
        b. Notification -- "Know ye"
        c. Exposition -- "any special conditions and circumstances
           ... rarely found in English documents, being combined with
           the Notification or the Disposition"
        d. Disposition -- "what is being given, from whom, on what
           terms and conditions, the services owed, and sometimes
           reservations of royal rights by the donor."
           This is the meat of the grant.
        e. Final caluses (Sanctio) -- what dire things whill happen if
           you deny the recipient their rights, or in England often a
           repetition of the Disposition.

    3.  Final Protocol
        a. Date -- from "datum", 'given'.  When, who.
        b. Apprecatio -- prayer, "extremely rare in English"
        c. Attestation -- witnesses

Dannet de Lincoln
Tim McDaniel; Reply-To: tmcd at panix.com

More information about the Heralds mailing list