Queen’s Prize Tournament Court Summary, September 15, A.S. 53

In evening court:
Rowan of Golden Sea – Queen’s Chalice
Piers Fauconer – Torse
Skinna-Hrefna – AoA
Tessie of Cúm an Iolair – Leather Mallet
Knorr bestingr – AoA
Ki no Kotori – Calon Lily
Ashland de Mumford – Calon Lily

Other court tidings:
1 newcomer received a mug.
Lord Finán mac Crimthainn and Lady Gianna Viviani shared the Judges’ Choice award.
Emma Under Foot received the Youth Queen’s Prize.
Lord Hugo van Harlo received the Queen’s Prize.
A boon was begged for Marie le Faivre to join the Order of the Laurel.

Unknown Artist. Minstrels with a Rebec & a Lute.
13th c. Manasseh Codex. El Escorial, Madrid. Public domain in the US

Kingdom Arts & Sciences Event Court Summary, April 21, A.S. 52

In evening court:
Bjólfr Gunnvaldsson – AoA
Rosaline Fortescue – AoA
Anne von Husbergen – AoA
Tessie of Cum An Iolair – AoA
Alianora Jehannette des Amandiers – Laurel

Other court tidings:
3 newcomers received mugs.
The Youth Entrants present in court received wooden boxes (hope chests).
HL Roxelana Bramante won the Judges’ Choice award.
Lady Elaisse de Garrigues is the new Kingdom A&S Champion.
Mistress Aidan Cocrinn swore fealty as the new Kingdom Minister of Arts & Sciences.
Honorable Lady Vǫlu-Ingibiǫrg, Lady Dulcibella de Chateaurien, and Lady Fabia Narcissa Patricia were recognized for their nominations to the Blackfox Awards.
The Kingdom is in need of new boxes for the Crowns and Coronets.  Questions should be directed to Mistress Rhianwen ferch Bran ap Gruffydd (Joan Steurer), the Regalia Coordinator. Email to regalia@calontir.org is one way to reach her.
Countess Elspeth of Stonehaven presented a gift of embroidery to Her Majesty.

Unknown Artist. Minstrels with a Rebec & a Lute.
13th c. Manasseh Codex. El Escorial, Madrid. Public domain in the US

From Their Royal Majesties: Bids for Boxes for Crowns and Coronets

Unto the Populace of Calontir, Greetings!

The Kingdom is in need of new boxes for the Crowns and Coronets. The Crown currently has three sets of frequently-used Crowns, and the Heirs have two. Therefore, a total of 5 sets (10 boxes) are needed.

Anyone interested in making one or more sets of boxes is encouraged to submit a bid.

Your bid should include the following information:
-Design drawing, along with a description of how your boxes will meet the needs described below
-(Optional, but encouraged): Photographs or other examples of similar work done by the bidder

Major qualities we are seeking for these boxes include:
-Protective: The major purpose of these boxes is to protect the Crowns during transport.
-Durable: The boxes must be able to withstand the rigors of years of packing and travel.
-Easily transportable: They should be stackable, packable, and easily carried.

Please base your bid on interior dimensions of approximately 6”x9”x11”. Successful bidders will be given access to take measurements of the set(s) of Crowns or Coronets for which they are making boxes.

Please submit your bid to the Their Royal Majesties at Falcon-Crown@calontir.org, Regalia Coordinator at regalia@calontir.org and copy the Kingdom Exchequer at Exchequer@calontir.org. Bids may also be submitted via post or hand-delivered.

Bids must be submitted by June 24th. Bids will be awarded by July 8th.

Questions should be directed to Rhianwen (Joan Steurer), the Regalia Coordinator.

In service to the Kingdom,

Queen’s Prize Tournament court summaries, September 16, A.S. 52

Morning court:
Astriðr Birnudóttir – Torse
Dewi ap Gruffydd – AoA
Vǫlu-Dýrfinna Grímsdóttir – Golden Calon Swan
Felicia Maria Stanborough – Golden Calon Swan

Evening court:
Sean Angus MacDuinnchinn – Silver Hammer
Wolf – Queen’s Chalice
Gianna Viviani – Golden Calon Swan
Thorlein Knochenhauer – AoA
OddnæfR knarrarbringa – AoA
Ameline de Coity – Golden Calon Swan
Bragi Oddsson – Leather Mallet
Judith Champcenest – Golden Calon Swan
Batilda – AoA
Zarah bat Chesed – Golden Calon Swan
Maria Arosa de Santa Olalla – Calon Lily

Other court tidings:
Hugo van Harlo won the Judges’ Choice Award.
Konrad von Roth gave a gift of stained glass to Their Majesties.
8 newcomers received mugs.
Ameline de Coity presented a blank border scroll for Their Majesties’ use.
A boon was begged for Giraude Benet to join the Order of the Laurel.
Her Majesty awarded the Queen’s Prize (youth) to Sherbert Herrickson.
Her Majesty awarded the Queen’s Prize (adult) to Ysabel de la Oya.

Detail from the Hunterian Psalter, Glasgow University Library MS Hunter 229 (U.3.2) circa 1170. Public domain in the US

Detail from the Hunterian Psalter, Glasgow University Library MS Hunter 229 (U.3.2) circa 1170. Public domain in the US

Kingdom Arts & Sciences Event Court Summary, April 15, A.S. 51

In evening court:
Hugo van Harlo – Leather Mallet
Amon Attwood – Leather Mallet
Elspeth of Stonehaven – Calon Lily
Vashti al-Asar – Leather Mallet
Elaisse de Garrigues – Golden Calon Swan
Abbatissa inghean lohne mhic Cuaig – Leather Mallet
Æsa á Norðrlonda – AoA
Beatrix Bogenschutz – Leather Mallet
Cera in Fheda – Silver Hammer
Zaneta Baseggio – Leather Mallet
Kainen Brynjólfsson – Queen’s Chalice
Zarah bat Chesed – Leather Mallet
Ysabel de la Oya – Leather Mallet
Tarique ibn Akmel el Ghazi – Silver Hammer
Leilia Corsini – Leather Mallet
Khuden Volkov – Torse

Other court news:
Hugo van Harlo won the Judges’ Choice award.
Viga-Valr viligísl (Vels) is the new Kingdom A&S Champion.
3 newcomers received mugs.
Ms. Katrei Grunenberg received her Laurel scroll, due since the reign of Valens III and Susannah II.

Unknown Artist. Minstrels with a Rebec & a Lute. 13th c. Manasseh Codex. El Escorial, Madrid.  Public domain in the US

Unknown Artist. Minstrels with a Rebec & a Lute.
13th c. Manasseh Codex. El Escorial, Madrid. Public domain in the US

Happy New Year!

The Unicorn is Found (from the Unicorn Tapestries) 1495–1505, The Met Museum. CC0 license.

The Unicorn is Found (from the Unicorn Tapestries) 1495–1505, The Met Museum. CC0 license.

An article on time in Period by HL Lorraine Devereaux

March 25 is New Year’s Day for my persona, and for anyone who lived in Norman England during most of SCA period. March 25 also is the new year for those living in Pisa, Florence, Flanders, Brabant, Treves, Luxemburg, Lotharingia, most of France before 1100, the Papal court for a few centuries, and in Spain before 1350.

Often called Lady Day, March 25 was the Feast of the Annunciation (Feast of the Incarnation), traditionally held to be the day the angel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary she would be the mother of Jesus.

Although the Norman English still celebrated January 1 as the start of the year (as part of the Yule celebration), the actual New Year for legal and political purposes began on March 25 starting in 1155 and continuing until the reform of the English calendar in the 18th century. It was the day annual rents were paid, and later, taxes.

March 25 was a good day to start the year because originally it was the spring equinox. This was during Caesar’s time, before errors in the calendar caused the dates of the equinoxes and solstices to change. Many cultures began the year at or around the spring equinox or the winter solstice. (A few notably began the year near the autumn equinox, such as the Egyptians and Babylonians. The Jewish calendar is similar to the Babylonian calendar.)

By the 4th century, when Constantine called for reform of the Christian calendar, the spring equinox fell on March 21. Rather than take the extra four days out of the calendar, the church fathers chose to move the official equinoxes and solstices to their new dates. By then the quarter days were tied to religious holidays, and the new year did not change with the calendar.

But what about SCA folk whose personas come from other places and other times?

If your persona comes from Christian Constantinople, or from Naples and Sicily (from the 11th century on), the new year starts on September 1. That is the date the Byzantines believe the world began.

Starting in 1100 the French began the new year on Easter. Of course the problem with that is some years are longer than others. This year, from Easter 2016 to Easter 2017, the year is 20 days longer than normal. That means that if you want to record the date April 2, for example, you have to record it as April 2, 2016 (first) or April 2, 2016 (final). Last year (2015 to 2016) was nine days too short. Despite the obvious problems with this system, the French will used it until 1563.

In England before the mid-12 century, and in Ireland and Scotland during the early Middle Ages, the new year began on either December 25 or March 25, but most often on December 25. That would be the evening of December 24, since the Britons and Anglo Saxons began the day at dusk. Later, Ireland and Scotland switched to March 25.

Italy is a hodge-podge of dating conventions. The Venetians begin the new year on March 1, the date used by the early Romans (before Caesar’s calendar reform) and Merovingian Franks. In the Papal court before the 10th century they used the Byzantine’s September 1 for the new year. After that they switch to March 25.

In Florence and Pisa the new year began on March 25. However in Pisa people began their anno domini dating from Jesus’s conception, not his birth. So if 2017 begins today in Florence, 2018 begins today in Pisa.

The Germans are just as divided. Before 1200 most Germans celebrated New Year’s Day on December 25, but for a brief period the Holy Roman Emperors used September 24, a date promoted by the English scholar the “Venerable” Bede (yet never used in his home country).

During the 13th century the Germans for the most part use March 25. But during the 14th and 15th centuries many parts of what will be Germany switch back to December 25. The exceptions are Treves, Luxemburg and Lotharingia. They stay with March 25.

Flanders and Brabrant also stay with March 25, except during some scattered periods when they use Easter like their neighbors in France. During the latter half of the 16th century many Germans adopt January 1 as their New Year’s Day.

The Spanish use March 25 for the most part, until around 1350, when they switch to December 25 for a couple of centuries. Beginning in 1556 the Spanish adopt January 1 as the date of the new year.

If your area of Europe wasn’t covered, most likely your persona celebrated New Year’s Day on December 25 or March 25. Some Eastern European countries, as well as Persia, parts of India and parts of central and southern Asia, celebrate the new year on or near the spring equinox.

And of course after 1582, when Pope Gregory reforms the calendar, most of Catholic Europe switches to January 1, the date Caesar chose nearly 16 centuries earlier. By the end of SCA period all of Catholic Europe and even a few Protestant countries switch to January 1. The English (including the American colonies) won’t make the change until 1752. Turkey, Greece and Russia finally adopt the Gregorian calendar in the early 20th century.


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The Met Museum Releases 375,000 More Images for Free

The Unicorn is Found (from the Unicorn Tapestries) 1495–1505, The Met Museum. CC0 license.

The Unicorn is Found (from the Unicorn Tapestries) 1495–1505, The Met Museum. CC0 license.

Under their Open Access program, The Met Museum has released 375,000 new images under the Creative Commons Zero (Public Domain) license, raising their library of freely available images to nearly half a million.

The collection is available and searchable at http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection

Valentine’s Day as Saint Valentine Would Have Recorded It

By THL Lorraine Devereaux


As some of you know, I’m a nerd about calendars and clocks. So this weekend I decided to figure out the Roman-style date for Valentine’s Day.

First I needed to know whether February was a month when the Ides fell on the 13th or the 15th. In only four months of the year does the Ides fall on the 15th – March, May, July and October. Remember how Caesar was killed on the Ides of March? For years I thought the Ides was always the 15th. That would have been too easy.

Although all four months in which the Ides falls on the 15th  have 31 days, not all months with 31 days are the same. In January, August and December the Ides falls on the 13th.

Once I determined the Ides fell on the 13th, and that my chosen date (the 14th) fell after the Ides, I needed know how many days there were in the month. This is especially tricky with February, since it is not only the shortest month, but once every four years it is a day longer.

Why do I need to know how long the month is? Because the Romans, in their infinite wisdom, decided that counting from the beginning to the end of the month was too simple. They preferred to count from the end of the month to the middle (the Ides). Then they counted from the Ides to the Nones (usually the 5th, but in those four special months, it’s on the 7th). And they counted from the Nones to the Kalends, or the first day of month.

Now, when I first got into this, I thought the “Nones” fell on the 9th. Nones means nine, right? How mistaken I was. It actually means nine days before the Ides. If the Ides is on the 13th, the Nones is nine days earlier, on the 5th. Of course in those four months when the Ides falls on the 15th the Nones is on the 7th. Luckily, the Kalends doesn’t move.

So, if the date you’re interested in is February 3, the Roman date is “iii nonis Februarius” (three days before the Nones of February). And if the date you’re interested in is February 9 the Roman date is “v idus Feburarius” (five days before the Ides of February).

If you’re trying to do the math, and you can’t make it work, it’s because the Romans counted inclusively. The day before the Nones is also the second day before the Nones.

I had a hard time wrapping my head around this. Finally I remembered sitting in church on Easter morning. As I child I listened to the priest say “On the third day he arose.” I remember counting on my fingers – from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon is one day, from Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning is two days, where’s the third day? I was told for the early Church (the “Roman” church) it was one day for Friday, one day for Saturday and one day for Sunday (three days).

So the Nones is nine days before the Ides, because both the Nones and Ides are counted. And the Kalends is five days before the Nones, because the Nones and the Kalends are both counted.

Which brings us to the dates after the Ides. That’s the majority of the month. Any date after the Ides is counted as so many days before the Kalends of the next month. So for February 14, the date is written as “xvi kalendas Martius.” That’s 16 days before the Kalends of March. Washington’s birthday, Feburary 22, is “viii kalendas Martius” (you’ve got it – 8 days before the Kalends of March). Here’s a list of how you write the 14th day of January, February, March and April:

January 14        xix kalendas Februarius
February 14     xvi kalendas Martius
March 14         pridie idus Martius*
April 14            xviii kalendas Maius

*Calling the day before the Ides (or Kalends or Nones) “pridie” solves the problem of having to call the day both ii idus and i idus.

The 14th of the month is 19 days before, or 16 days before, or 18 days before the Kalends of the next month depending on how long the month is. Don’t ask me how such a convoluted system lasted for nearly two thousand years.

Two points to keep in mind. First, the tale ending of Roman nouns changes depending on how the word is used. I don’t pretend to understand the system. Sometimes it’s nones, sometimes it’s nonis, sometimes I see it as nonae. February is Februarias, Februariis or Februarius depending on usage. Second, I’ve used lower case Roman numerals because most of the medieval examples I’ve seen use lower case. The Romans themselves would have used capital letters (they used all caps all the time). The Carolingians loved the little letters. You may see examples of both.

If you want to see how all this works using a medieval Book of Hours calendar, check out this Khan Academy video created by the Getty Museum: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/medieval-world/medieval-europe/v/medieval-calendar (4:29 minutes).

If you’re not interested in figuring it out a date for yourself, go to http://www.lieberknecht.de/~prg/calendar.htm. A medieval-minded German (Otfried Lieberknecht) put together a calendar utility that figures out any date, past or present, for you. It will also take a Roman-style date and translate it into modern reckoning.

Useful Resources:

Bridget Ann Henisch, The Medieval Calendar Year (University Park, Penn., Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999). This work analyzes the Labors of the Months and similar themes in medieval calendars. It includes many examples of medieval calendars in Books of Hours. It also includes a useful Appendix that details how to determine a date using Roman-style dating.

“Calendarium” includes the Roman sections of William Smith’s A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (John Murray, London, 1875). It goes into depth about the early Roman calendar and Caesar’s reforms, but near the end it has a useful chart for figuring the date using Roman-style dating: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Calendarium.html.

“Some Notes on Medieval English Genealogy” includes calendar charts for each year in the 11th through 16th centuries at http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/cal/medcal.shtml.



Lovebirds in the 14th-century Codex Manesse (Cod. Pal. germ. 848, f. 249v). Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, CC BY-SA

Lovebirds in the 14th-century Codex Manesse (Cod. Pal. germ. 848, f. 249v). Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, CC BY-SA

GoFundMe Campaign Started for Getting the Great Machine to Gulf War

Last summer the Great Machine made its maiden trip out of Kingdom, when Master Gerald Goodwine took his mechanical marvel to the 50th Year Celebration.

That outing was so successful, and the reaction of the Knowne World so positive, that Master Gerald wants to take to the road again. This time, the destination is Gulf War.

The Great Machine and its accessories have grown so much, however, that a larger conveyance is needed to make the trek. So Lady Tola Rufusdóhtor has started a GoFundMe page to seek donations. The plan is to rent a semi and trailer. The goal is $3600, to cover the rental and fuel.

Please consider donating to this worthy cause.

Click here to support Let’s get the Great Machine to Gulf by Tola Rufusdóhtor

The drums of war are on the horizon. As the army prepares for battle so to do the Masters, Mistress and teachers of artisan row. However one of these Masters need the help of anyone who can spare a bit of money or time.


Silver Hammer Scroll for Thaddeus Ellenbrock

Silver Hammer Scroll for Sir Thaddeus Ellenbrock

Text, Calligraphy and Illumination by Mistress Rahil al-Sirhaan.


Photo courtesy of Mistress Rahil

Photo courtesy of Mistress Rahil

Logan, Shah, and Ylva, Khanum,

Protectors of the Heartland

From forked rivers in the East

To the West’s burning sand,

Have listened well with Falcon’s ear

And seen with Falcon’s eye

The works and skills of an artist

And bid Thaddeus Ellenbock draw nigh.

On battlefield his armor shines,

This valiant lion-heart,

But while encamped on water’s edge

Warrior turns carpentry to art.

For as the Falcon soars above

The plains of green and gold,

Sharp eye settles on a pavilion,

Wondrous to behold.

There are tapestries and lanterns,

And carpets woven fine,

Silver dishes topped with delicacies,

And ewers filled with wine.

But richer than these elegant wares,

Hidden beneath tent’s shade

Are the finely crafted furnishings

That this artisan has made.

Upon tables, benches, chests and saddles

The Falcon eye does fall

And so into Calon Majesties’ Court

Skilled craftsmen do They call.

All those who bear the markings

Of Silver Hammer shining bright

Shall now be joined by Thaddeus Ellenbock,

The noted carpenter knight.