What’s in a Name?

This is the third in a series of educational articles about heraldry in Calontir. 

Picking a name is one of the first things a SCAdian has to do, but is also one of the more tricky things to do “properly”.  There are no “heraldic police” in the SCA, so you can use any name you can get people to call you.  But if you want to register the name eventually, it’s good to be aware of the basic rules before getting too attached to a name.

In order to be registered, a name has to be documentable – with a period spelling and period date.  Everyone knows that Mary is a period name, but was it written as “Mary” in 11th century Ireland or did they use a unique Gaelic variation?

A registerable name must also have two parts – generally a first name and a byname.  We know that some cultures in SCA period tended to use only single names, but for administrative purposes, paperwork is filed under your SCA name and it wouldn’t work very well to have multiple people named “Anne”.

Both parts of your name need to go together – compatible genders, and ideally from the same time period and culture, or at least cultures that had close contact with each other.

A name does NOT have to match your persona (especially with the way people change personas in the SCA).  The name doesn’t have to match YOUR gender, either (although it has to be internally consistent with itself, as noted above).

There are some other important restrictions to keep in mind.

First, your SCA name cannot be identical to your real-world name.  It can be similar, but there needs to be at least a couple differences, for example, Mikhail instead of Michael.

Second, a name cannot be offensive.  Offensiveness includes scatological references, sexist or racist stereotypes, or religious disrespect.  This is, admittedly, subjective.

Third, a name cannot be presumptuous – making a claim to rank or power.  For some names, it depends on the culture.  Jesus might be an acceptable name in Spain, but maybe not in England.  Sometimes, a name by itself may be okay, but not when combined with a particular coat of arms.  James York might be registerable, but not with armory that resembles the Yorkist branch of the English royal family.

Fourth, a name cannot be “obtrusively modern”.  Such names have such an obvious modern reference that it pulls us out of the Middle Ages.  An example is “Porsche Audi”.  “Joke names” are registerable, but the joke needs to be medieval, not modern.

 

All of this maybe a little confusing, but there are plenty of people to help.

Heraldic Helpers – http://falconbanner.gladiusinfractus.com/2017/09/09/heraldic-helpers/

Virtual Consult Table – http://falconbanner.gladiusinfractus.com/2017/10/07/calontir-virtual-consult-table/

 

At your service,

Sofya la Rus, Habicht Herald

Calontir Heraldic Education Deputy

habicht@calontir.org

A Ladye’s Guide to Safety at War

With every new year, the War Season is also getting started in the SCA. The Society Calendar boasts of seven Wars and two three-day weekend events to enjoy between February and October. In other words, the party is just getting started!

As we prepare our clothing, armor, and provisions for War, we should also take time to prepare for our personal safety. Now, most of the time, absolutely nothing happens, but a little preparedness and forethought never hurt anyone.

Hopefully the following tips will be beneficial to the less experienced War-traveler and serve as a reminder for the veterans.

Environmental Safety

 

In this instance, I’m talking less about protecting the environment (which is important!) than I am about protecting yourself from the environment. If you’re like me, you may not be a seasoned camper. Of course, SCA camping is the half-sister of glamping once you get your period encampment down, so there’s that comfort! That said, it is sometimes difficult to transition from the comfort of air conditioning, flushing toilets, and running (hot) water. On top of that, it is important that you prepare yourself for the environment’s hazards as well as its discomforts.

Insect protection

Bugs live outside. Most of them are fine when left alone, but, for many of them, you represent a tasty food supply. (To paraphrase Merry: “What do they eat when they can’t get Huscarl?”) The bugs that don’t want a sampling of your blood for their sustenance still pose a nuisance, especially when you open your tent to find it filled with what my family calls “chiggers.” (Tiny flying bugs.)

The first thing I recommend doing when you set up your camp is to sprinkle the ground you intend for your tent with Borax. This will, mostly, keep insects out of your tent. (I think I saw exactly one bug crawling up the inside of my tent wall at Gulf Wars.) I normally pack extra boxes to sprinkle more along the outside of my tent in the event it rains and because friends will ask to use some for their camps.

To protect your person from insects as you go through the day, be sure to pack Deet and/or citronella candles. I personally find that all bugs (especially the bloodsucking ones) absolutely hate tea-tree and lavender oils, so I put several drops of each in a spray bottle of water and liberally spray my family with when we’re going to be walking in fields, etc. The spray bottle also doubles as a room and linen freshener due to the anti-bacterial properties of both oils so it’s well worth having on hand. Also, be sure to have extra tea towels to cover your food with during preparation and try to keep your campsite clean of things like food debris that will attract pests. (Probably not just the insect kind.)

Lavender/Tea Tree Oil formula: mix 30 drops lavender oil two about fifteen drops tea tree oil in a 12 oz spray bottle of water. You can adjust the oil proportions to be stronger depending on need, but most people often find the smell of tea tree repulsive, so I use more lavender to mask it.

 UV Protection

Yes, rays from the sun help the body to absorb vitamin D, but when you spend a week living outside, fighting or water-bearing in no shade, and attending court in shade that doesn’t stand a chance against the angle of the sun, you’ll discover that it’s very different from when you’re only spending a couple of hours on a walk. Sunscreen is your friend. Purchase a waterproof sunscreen and reapply it according to the directions, especially if you go swimming or perspire too much. If you have older children, try to explain sun-safety to them. (Younger children, you can just lather whenever you feel they need it.)

I personally recommend packing a good straw hat or a parasol, and wearing clothes that cover as much skin as is comfortable. (More on that in the next section.)

Also, just because the sun isn’t out doesn’t mean you should skip on sunscreen. On an overcast day, those clouds are acting like magnifying glasses for those UV rays and you are the ant on the sidewalk. That same rule applies to the sun’s reflection on a lake or pool and its magnification in the water when you or your children are swimming.

Heat

This is probably the greatest discomfort at a summer War and, lately, it’s seemed to get worse each year.

They may seem extravagant in cost, but canvas tents are worth every penny in regard to comfort. If cared for properly, they’ll last years, and add to your medieval experience profoundly. They function more as tiny hotel rooms and you’ll have the space for a comfortable air mattress and furniture to make your 7-14 day War experience more enjoyable. Plus: Heat defense!

Canvas breathes better than nylon, preventing build up of humidity inside the tent. Canvas does not transfer heat as quickly as nylon, keeping the tent from becoming unbearably hot as soon as the sun hits it. That also works in reverse in cold weather, keeping warmth in the tent when you want it there.

Next, bring a hand fan, perhaps make a swamp cooler, and bring extra buckets you can fill with ice water to rest your feet in and bring your core temperature down. (Extra points if the buckets don’t look glaringly modern!)

Linen fabric is your friend! It wicks moisture away from your body and when the breeze comes through, the damp-ish fabric acts as a personal air conditioner. Cotton does not do this. As ladies know, dresses are much cooler and provide much more “ventilation” than trousers. At Lilies, my husband wears a tunic that falls beneath his knees, his boxer briefs, and nothing else. (Our medieval counterparts weren’t idiots.) Many people find that Roman and Grecian garb is the most comfortable at foreign wars. As someone who is very photosensitive, I find I’m actually more comfortable in longer sleeves as long as I’m wearing linen. The fabric protects my skin from the sun and I’m no cooler when I wear a mundane t-shirt.

Be sure to drink plenty of water, make your kids drink lots of water, and take breaks as needed. If it gets too rough, go sit in the air conditioning of your car for a little bit or go into town for dinner. If you find you truly struggle with the heat, you can also stay at a local hotel. (There’s no law that you have to camp on site!) This year at Lilies, I will be about seven months pregnant. Fortunately, my Lady Mother lives in the Kansas City metro area, so my husband and I will be commuting to war from her house so that I can have a reprieve from the heat. Ultimately, we all must and should make the best decisions for our own health and our children’s.

Water

Rain likely won’t harm you, but it can destroy your stuff. Keep everything except your bedding in water tight containers and a fresh change of clothes in your car so you have something dry to change into in the event of a storm.

Always set your tent up with the door facing down hill if you’re on an incline. As soon as your tent is set up, dig a small trench around your tent to divert any water flow. (If you do it when you set up, then you won’t have to remember it when it starts raining.)

If you have a canvas tent and it rains during the last couple days of war, set it up in your back yard at home to let the sun dry out the moisture. When you pack a canvas tent that’s damp, you’re creating a moldy environment that will destroy your canvas and turn your comfortable camp home into an allergy and disease trap.

Know Your Plants

Wooded areas can have poison oak and ivy. Be sure to refresh yourself so you can recognize and avoid both.

People Protection

 

In all honesty, this is the section that is the most difficult to write about because people tend to be very strong and vocal in their stances on social issues in the SCA, namely the idea that incidences of crime or personal harm are few and far between and they happen in someone else’s group, not theirs. My goal in this article is to be as neutral and yet as pragmatic as possible.

I’m sure many people can say with me that one thing they love about the SCA is that it can create a culture in which chivalry and honor are more than words we dissect in a college class on Tennyson. There’s a small town culture at war where we end up making stone soups and helping each other set up our camps. That type of community is as real as you and me and I’m very grateful for it. However, equally real is the reality that humans are flawed and at war (especially the larger ones like Gulf Wars and Pennsic) there is going to be a larger crowd of people you have never met, when you meet them, you will both be wearing clothes you would not normally wear, and you will give each other false names. (Some gentlemen will even give a false SCA name in certain sensitive situations. Especially if your father is a hard-hitting knight.) This situation in itself is not inherently, but can potentially be, problematic. Moreover, at War, especially Pennsic, you’re more likely to encounter non-SCAdians who are there to let their weird out and may have a very different moral compass or idea about what actually is an SCA event.

That said, SCA Wars are events where you will find yourself making new friendships and deepening current ones. To keep the bad incidences few and far between, and something that doesn’t happen to you, I’ve posited the following recommendations.

Follow the Site Rules

Fully follow them. The event stewards are aware of possible environmental hazards and make the rules accordingly. Their instructions should be your first go-to at any event.

Valuables

I highly recommend leaving your non-SCA related valuables at home. It’s less likely that your belongings could be stolen at an event than it is that you could simply lose them in the zoo of activity that is an SCA war, not to mention all of Mother nature’s greenery surrounding your camp. Chains break, rings slip off, pockets and pouches get holes in them, and, in our haste to pack and beat the storm out of camp, we can knock things over and lose them.

(Truly, I have, personally, left my basket unattended more times than I can count and my items were all left undisturbed. Usually when a possession walks off, it’s because someone mistook your item for theirs due to similarity and it’s often promptly returned.)

In regards to jewelry, some women invest in a “medieval” wedding ring, not only to avoid being blatantly modern, but so that they don’t risk losing their nicer, more expensive jewelry at an event. Not many modern jewelry items look medieval, so leaving them at home kills two birds with one stone.

Thanks to modern technology, it is no longer necessary to bring copious amounts of cash for spending money to war since most vendors are equipped to accept debit and credit card payments. Even if they can’t, you can always ask them to put the item on hold while you go into town and use the ATM. I recommend bringing only enough cash to pay gate, pre-pay the Broken Harp at Lilies, and have maybe $50 for petty cash. Keep your wallet with you at all times like you normally do and you
should be fine.

I keep most of my belongings, aside from furniture, in my tent at all times to prevent them blowing away, etc. This includes coolers because I currently don’t have a period box covering and cover it with a blanket. Again, I truly feel that the most common culprit of property loss at a War are the elements, but having your belongings in your fabric house will make it more difficult for someone to simply walk off with them, especially in a crowded camp.

Coolers Et Al

If you’re concerned about opening up your cooler and finding that your supply has been depleted, simply keep your cooler into your tent. Now, I have never encountered a problem with this happening, but, if you’re camped in close quarters and it’s dark, coolers all start to look alike, especially if one is a little tipsy and there’s late night revelry going on. It’s not uncommon to for a gentle to say to their friend, “Just grab a beer from my cooler, it’s the blue one around the corne,” and it’s possible that the friend may get something from the wrong person’s cooler by mistake. Also, teenagers sometimes do stupid things like purloin beer when no one is looking. If you install a lock on any of your gear and have it in plain site, less upright people might assume you have something more valuable in there than Woodchuck, so I don’t personally recommend it unless truly necessary.

Personal Safety

This issue probably pertains to women more than any other group, simply due to a dark, internal force that has afflicted humanity since its beginning. This is especially true for single women (including single mothers) and lesbian women because the male figure of a boyfriend or husband acts as a built-in protector and deterrent for predators.

Yes, there is an honor system in the SCA, but, statistically speaking, not everyone at an SCA event is likely to ascribe to that. For better or worse, it is very easy, in an environment of knights touting honor, to become too comfortable and let our guard down too much in a group that is equally mixed with strangers as well as friends. High morals are preached in churches and yet scandal still occurs because it’s impossible for a group to be immune to the plights of humanity when it is populated by humans; therefore, we must simply continue to do unto others and utilize our best judgement

First of all, always have a buddy system and avoid traveling away from the crowd alone at night. Single persons, especially women, present an easier target for predators. If you’re camping alone, you should be able to find a social group to tag along with and it wouldn’t hurt to have pepper spray on your person like you do (or should do) at home.

Secondly, get your own drinks and keep them in your hand at all times. Yes, the handsome fighter or flirty lady is being very kind to offer and I’m sure they won’t do anything, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Many a woman (and the occasional man) has lost track of her (or his) drink at a party and found herself in unfortunate circumstances.

On that same vein, have a care of whom you accept drinks from. If the person offering has been going around with a bottle filling everyone’s cups with samples of their wares, enjoy! However, if someone hands you a cup and says, “Hey, you should try this,” and you haven’t seen them drink from it themselves, reply, “Thanks, but I think I might be getting a cold and I wouldn’t want you to catch it,” or “Thank you, but my head won’t forgive me in the morning if I switch drinks.” Again, the person offering probably has no malicious intent, we share drinks a lot in the SCA, but it’s better to exercise a little caution than not. If anything, it may help you avoid catching the [Insert Event Name] Plague.

Thirdly, male escorts are galant and should be applauded, but try to stick to your girlfriends unless you know the gentleman very well. However, please accept an escort you know you can trust at night. As mentioned earlier, a male presence can deter predators, but always try to travel in groups. It will not set feminism back one inch and we’re all trying to make our way in a world that is sometimes perilous and we should be there to help each other.

The writer is aware that, statistically, the majority of sexual assault victims are attacked by people they know and in familiar environments; however, that fact does not change the pertinence of the given advice, even if the premise of the hypotheticals presented here assumes that assailants will be strangers.

None of us want to be or want to see our friends in a position, to put it delicately, of being in the wrong section of a statistic. While there are instances that simply cannot be helped despite our best efforts, our best efforts are still worthwhile.

Child Safety

The Ministry of Youth is here to make the SCA fun, accessible, and appealing to your children so they won’t fight you every time you go to an event. It is not a baby-sitting service and you should not leave your children there unattended for extended periods as a courtesy to the volunteers.

We often see children wandering independently through site at war and the rule of thumb is to be sensible: give your children the liberty they’ve proven they can responsibly handle, no more, and be sure to dog tag your kids in case they get separated from you for some reason. There are lots of parents and kind-hearted people at events who will stop and help a distressed child separated from their family should that happen; however, having been a helping adult in that situation, it’s difficult when children are too young to explain to whom they belong, so identification helps.

Be sure to read the site rules regarding minors carefully as each event can differ greatly depending on the group, the site, and even the event steward.

When it comes to toddlers, I find that a good, long belt makes a nice leash to keep them out of places you don’t want, them like list fields and pottery shops.

Be Your Brother and Sister’s Keeper

 

The small-town community works when the people within it look out for one another. If you see a child that seems lost, take a moment to stop and ask, rather than assume everything is alright. If your girlfriend is clearly enjoying Bacchus’ gift surrounded by people not in your group, check in to make sure she’s in control of her faculties and maybe watch her out of the corner of her eye to see how the situation develops. Offer something to drink to visitors in your camp: it’s part of chivalry and courtesy and vital in the heat. Close your neighbors tent doors and tighten their ropes if it starts raining while they’re wandering site… Simply put, follow the Golden Rule. That’s what makes our community safe and strong.

SCA Wars are wonderful events: rarely are such compendiums of classes available or so many activities at other venues. They’re the places where the Middle Ages can truly come to life and where friendships, even marriages, are forged. Some of the best friends you may ever have, you’ll meet at War and the warmth of human kindness will touch and inspire you. This missive is not intended to undermine the “magic”, but to protect it and preserve it from being spoiled for even one person by a negative experience.

Have a great War!

Review of The History Chicks Podcast

The History Chicks
“Two women. Half the population. Several thousand years of history. About an hour. Go.”
By Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenweider
http://thehistorychicks.com/

Graham and Vollenweider’s podcast focuses on historical women, both real and fictional. They look at the politics, royal intrigues, social or legal restraints these women faced, the obstacles they overcame and what life was like in their time.

These are biographies for the most part, sometimes combining women in an episode, such as the “Tudor Grandmothers” episode about Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth Woodville.

The two began podcasting in January 2011 with an episode about Marie Antoinette and are now up to 145 episodes, more than 100 full episodes an hour or more long and 44 “minicasts” of 15 to 45 minutes. Minicasts are sometimes used to cover material that doesn’t neatly fit in an episode, like the “Teeny Tiny Tudor Tutorial” that looked at how the various players from Henry VII to Elizabeth I were related.

Graham and Vollenweider don’t cover historical figures in chronological order, but they do have a chronological list on their website of women they’ve discussed from the earliest, Hatshepsut, to Shirley Chisholm, who died in 2005. The pre-17th century women (and a few just over the edge of SCA period) are:

Hatshepsut: 1507-1458 BCE – #45
Cleopatra VII: 69-30 BCE – #46
Agrippina the Younger: 15-59 – #73
Hypatia of Alexandria: 355?-415 – #95
Eleanor of Aquitaine: 1122-1204 – #86
Joan of Arc: 1412-1431 – #51
Tudor Grandmothers: 1441/43-1509; 1466-1503 – #21
Katherine of Aragon: 1485-1536 – #22
Anne Boleyn: 1501/1507-1536 – Minicast
Last Four Wives of Henry VIII: 1508-1537; 1515-1557; 1521-1542; 1512-1548 – #24
Queen Mary I: 1516-1558 – #30
Lady Jane Grey: 1536/1537-1554 – #31
Elizabeth I: 1533-1603 – #43, 44
Mary, Queen of Scots: 1542-1587 – #58
Queen Nzinga: 1583-1663 – #80
Artemisia Gentileschi: 1593-1653 – #85
Pocahontas: 1596-1617 – #99

They also look at fictional characters, such as Mrs. Claus and Little Red Riding Hood, and have spent time on the women of Gone With the Wind, Jane Austen’s characters and the women of Oz. Sometimes  they look at an era rather than an individual. Their episodes on “The Gilded Age” and “1950s Housewives” are good examples of this.

Graham and Vollenweider take a conversational approach to presenting their material. It’s not as bad as if Today Show hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie decided to discuss Cleopatra, but it has that back-and-forth conversational feel. This is not my favorite way to listen to history, but the pair cover material others often don’t. And they could use a better mike. Compared to most other podcasts, their audio quality is poor.

But the duo is from the Kansas City area, so I have a soft spot for them. And they sprinkle current cultural references in their talks. A good example of this is when they describe Richard III  as “Scar from the Lion King,” the kind of pop culture reference that makes it easier to follow complex family relationships.

The website is good, with additional content and many illustrations. They also have a Pinterest page with illustrations of some of their subjects. They have a non-Patreon button on their website for donations, and they sell t-shirts, coffee mugs and cloth bags with quotes from some of the women they’ve profiled.

In the summer of 2017 the duo began “minicast” recaps of the first six episodes of the Netflix series “Anne with an E,” a new take on Anne of Green Gables. In December 2017 they spun off a new podcast, The Recappery, as a place for them to discuss other female-oriented historical fiction. The new one- to two-hour recaps of television, movies and other media began with recaps of “The Crown” season 2. I suspect they will cover fewer fictional women in the main podcast now.

The History Chicks began in January 2011 and their most recent episode is 102, posted in late February 2018.

Spring Crown Tournament List for the 70th Crown Tournament of Calontir

Reprinted from the Calontir website:


Their Royal Majesties Ashir and Ashland are pleased to announce the following List of Combatants and Consorts for the 70th Crown Tournament to be held in Their Shire of Oakheart:

Duke Dongal Erickson fighting for the honor of Qadiya Catalina de Arazuri

 

Duke Tristram of Lindesfarne fighting for the honor of Mistress Rhianwen ferch Bran ap Gruffydd

 

Herzog Hirsch Ross Eichman fighting for the honor of Hertogin Magdalena vander Meere

 

Caius Equitius Rectus Xerxis fighting for the honor of Countess Belanna de Rouge de Anjou

 

Sir Gavin O’Shannon fighting for the honor of Lady Elizabet Walker of Paisley

 

Sir Killian O’Connaill fighting for the honor of Mistress Rebecca Beaumont

 

Syr Daniel Steelbender fighting for the honor of Mistress Ishmala bint Yuhannah

 

His Lordship Pepin Lachemunt fighting for the honor of Her Ladyship Cecilia de Gatisbury

 

Lord Thorin Inn Harfagri fighting for the honor of Her Excellency Fionnghuala inghean Fhearghuis

 

Lord Zachariah MacDonald fighting for the honor of Lady Mel McAlpin

 

Lord Aethelred the Well Read fighting for the honor of Lady Kathryn Northrup

In Memoriam: The Passing of Logan the Boyer

On March 26th Logan the Bowyer passed away. 

Logan was a brother Boga Fyrd, and a stalwart supporter of the Barony of Coeur d’Ennui.

Logan also acted as a court herald when called upon. In fact, he was always ready to perform any service for his Barony and Kingdom.

Most people remember his kindness, his willingness to help and his joy. He was always willing to help new archers, and to expand our understanding of the art. But it did not end with archery; Logan would help anyone with anything. Simply being there, with a smile and a willing set of hands, was his great strength.

He also loved the making of things, receiving a Leather Mallet for his cooking and woodworking. He loved learning, and would ask very tough, detailed questions in his quest to grasp a concept.

Logan embodied the yeoman archer of “Strike the Drum” and well deserves to have the song sung in his memory:

 

 

On This Day: Ponce de Leon Claims Florida for the Spanish Crown

On this day in 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon lands near present-day St. Augustine to explore the Florida coast. He was searching for a “Fountain of Youth,” a magical water source said to bring eternal youth. (He didn’t find it.)

Ponce de Leon made a detailed exploration of what he thought was an island, and named it “La Florida” because he discovered it during the Easter “Pascua Florida,” or “Feast of Flowers” feast.

Ponce de Leon will return in 1521 and try to set up a permanent colony. However he will be wounded after a battle with Native Americans. His force will retreat to Cuba, where he will die.

Current BoD Nominees

Men harvesting wheat, Queen Mary’s Psalter, circa 1310. Public domain in the US

The Chairman of Board is requesting feedback on the current list of Board Nominees. The list is at http://www.sca.org/BOD/nominees.html

Our own Contessa Giulia Isabella da VenezieSyr Duncan of Skeene and Honorable Lord Saito Takauji are on the list.

Also, new nominations are always needed. Any member of the SCA may nominate any member, including themselves.

Please direct any commentary, positive or negative, or any new nominations, to Chele Martines, Board Recruiting, PO Box 360789, Milpitas CA 95036, recruiting@sca.org

Please include your name and address, and the name and address of anyone you are nominating. You will be notified when your communication is received.

 

The Real Middle Ages Podcast Review

The Real Middle Ages
By Aron Miller
therealmiddleages.com

Editor’s Note: Have a favorite history podcast? Share it with the Falcon Banner. Send reviews to rex.deaver@gmail.com.

The “Real Middle Ages” podcast is not a complete narrative of the the Middle Ages. Instead author Aron Miller tackles discreet topics for several episodes in a row before moving on to a new topic. His main focus is the European medieval period, which he describes as the period between 476 CE and 1492 CE.

In episode two he describes why he has chosen 476 CE as his beginning point and what happened in the lead up to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. In episode three he discusses several competing dates that could be used for the end of the Middle Ages and why he has settled on 1492. (The first episode is an introduction to the podcast. It probably could have been shortened and added to the beginning of the second episode.) Although he proclaims in his introduction that he will not turn the podcast into a data dump of names and dates, his long beginning and end introductions do just that. In his defense, though, it’s difficult to sum up any beginning or end of a period without a lot of dates and names.

Miller states that he will “explore different characters and themes throughout the Middle Ages that demonstrate the human experience.” And one of his goals is to dispel common misperceptions and myths. For example, he explains how the costumes for a 19th century Wagner opera lead to the ridiculous horned Viking helmets we see all too often. He explains that certain peoples or periods in time suffer from what he calls the “cool factor,” which leads to all kinds of misperceptions. Case in point is the Norse, or Vikings. A mythos has developed in popular culture about who the Vikings were and how they behaved that isn’t supported by primary sources or archeology.

Miller is an academic, so his early podcasts suffer as a result. For one thing, he has three introduction episodes, followed by his introduction to the Rus in episode four. That’s several hours of introductions straight out of academia.

He starts to figure out how to do things better about episode eight or nine, although he still has poor sound quality. And his pronunciation of many words is jarring. But his writing becomes less of a masters’ thesis. He starts learning how to speak conversationally. He adds fun little facts and digressions.

Beginning in episode four he tackles the early beginnings of the Rus, starting with a look at the Russian Primary Chronicle and its limitations as a source. In episode five he describes the founding of the Rus kingdom by Rurik.

He digresses during October 2017 with a two-episode look at witchcraft, but picked up his look at the Rus again in November 2017, wrapping up in December 2017 with the death of Vladimir the Great in 1015. He followed that with a question and answer episode. In February 2018 Miller began his new topic, A Norman Foundation, with a look at the beginnings of Normandy, Rollo and the primary sources for this time period.

I enjoyed listening to the Rus episodes, particularly about their interactions with Byzantium. I’m listening to the History of Byzantium and that podcast just now is getting to the same time period and the same interactions with the Rus. But I’m more interested in the Norman topic he’s just beginning.

Miller’s web page offers illustrations and maps to go with his episodes, along with a lengthy bibliography, but not much else. He has a Patreon button, but he doesn’t ask for donations, at least not in the early episodes. He does ask for reviews on iTunes of course.

I’m a binge listener, so I like history podcasts that have been around for a few years and have many episodes available. Despite the fact that Miller began his podcast a year ago, he only has 20 episodes in the can. I’ve caught up to The Real Middle Ages and now have to wait three weeks or a month for the next episode to drop. With my memory I often can’t remember the previous episode by then. But if you listen more sporadically, Miller’s slow delivery schedule may not be an issue for you.

“The Real Middle Ages” began in March 2017 and is up to episode 20 in March 2018.

Stile Field Battle at Gulf

Detail of fol. 5r from Royal Armouries Ms. I.33, circa 1300. Public domain in the US

by Baroness Ayisha bint Asad

Many of you have heard this already. The lucky ones have lived it. I beg your indulgence for repeating once more the glories of the Calon Host.

At Gulf Wars this year, there were three battles planned: the Town, the Field, and the Ravine. The Town was fought, and lost. The Ravine was flooded. It is of the Field I will now speak.

We gathered upon a Wednesday, fair and sunny. At the appointed hour of 1pm we mustered. With many still weary from the armored battle, our small group started out towards the field, a few stragglers trailing behind. No songs had we this time, but still our banner in front, and a wagon full of water and shields.

We were directed here, then there, as the generals organized their troops and counted the tally. Fourty-some per side, if memory serves. Anthills were active, and we were cautioned accordingly. Our Commander, Master Donald, was given our assignment: to harry and delay the enemy, as the cavalry to our side ran ahead and picked them off.

And delay we did! The first round, we advanced as one; then came the command to fall back. Twice, thrice, we retreated in good order, stringing along our adversary as their flank was picked apart. Then came the call to press, step and step again. Across the field we swept them, across the world’s edge, as our line held and theirs crumbled.

Few fighters we lost that round, and our side’s generals sang the praises of the Calon Host! Our enemies, too, saw our worth, and sent over their Masters to better deal with us in the second round.

We were hard pressed then, and many perished. What little I saw: Uji beset our foe, until he was legged. One reached forth to end him, and in that moment exposed himself to me. I took the shot, before I too was slain. My comrades fought bravely, but as the tide advances, so too the wave of the enemy overtook our lines.

The third and final round then came. Again we advanced, again fell back, and once again, we pressed the line. One by one our fighters fell, until four still stood – Ujimori, shield in hand, and no hand left to hold a sword. Baron Donald, Master of Defense, now defenseless, but still standing. Master Gawin, and a recruit from the West, Ibrahim, still stood with arms. Stepped forward they then with what they had in hand (or with what they did not). Other kingdoms fell in line, and together forced out the foe. A few scattered fighters then remained to be picked off, and the third round was ours!

The Calon Host fought as one, and both sides alike acknowledged our role in the fray.

(Apologies to anyone whose part I remembered incorrectly. Fog of war, and all that.)

Lilies A&S World Tour

Gleaned from the Calonlist. Organizer links have been changed to email addresses instead of Facebook links:


While A&S classes and activities will continue to be scheduled freely, we’re also organizing a multi-day celebration of the many of the possible cultures and time periods that make up the “pre-seventeenth century world.”

• Sunday: Sixteenth Century Europe – Mistress Sibilla Swaine
• Monday: Mongolia – TRM Ashir and Ashland ( Through their chamberlain Mistress Ishmala
• Tuesday: Norse – Ylva kennara Jonsdottir
• Wendesday: The Islamic World – Mistress Rahil Al-Sirhaan
• Thursday: Japan – The Honorable Lord Saito Takauji
• Friday: Late Middle Ages – The Honorable Lady Maegwynn Attewode

Each day of the “world tour” will begin with a 9:30 intro to their era and/or culture, but thematic classes and activities are being asked for to accompany the morning tour meetings.

Please reach out to the organizers of the days you are interested in, and I’m happy to answer questions or point you in the right direction.

If you’re interested in teaching a world tour day class, please submit it via the class form in addition to reaching out to an organizer:  Class Submission Form

Hvgo van Harlo

http://lilieswar.org/arts-sciences

Post expires at 4:12pm on Friday July 20th, 2018