Tag Archives: Historian

Happy New Year … A Short History of the SCA

(Taught May 3, 2018 for the Aire Faucon Newcomer A&S Night)

Happy New Year: Today is May 3 (2018) In the Year of the Society LIII (53)

The First Event
In the year of our Lord 1966, an event was held on May 1st, and do the reckoning of the Society began and it was the first Year of the Society (AS I), and it was good.

In the backyard of Diana Paxson, students and other gentles associated with the University of California at Berkeley gathered for a May Day party. (If you recognize the name Diana Paxson, you might also be familiar with her books including the Avalon series (portions of which she co-wrote with Marion Zimmer Bradley), the Westria series, and Wodan’s Children). They found with plywood swords and fencing foils, “protected” by fencing masks. The day ended with a parade down Telegraph Avenue with everyone singing “Greensleeves” in a “protest against the 20th century”.

The first Knight was created at the first tournament: Sir Ardal Argo ver Kaeysc. (The first herald was Harold Breakstone, because heralds do keep track of these thing.)

How the SCA Got Its Name
The group enjoyed the day so much, they wanted to do it again but in a larger setting. When reserving a local park for the tournament, the official asked for the group’s name. Marion Zimmer Bradley quickly responded “Society for Creative Anachronism.”

Other co-founders include Poul Anderson and his wife Karen Cruse.

Six events were held in the first year and nine the second year.

The Order of the Laurel was formally instituted in January 1968. The Order of the Pelican was created in 1972. The Order of Defense was created in AS 50 (2015).

The Spread of Kingdoms
In June 1968 (AS 3), M.Z. Bradley moved to Staten Island, NY and held a tournament to determine the first king of the East. With one kingdom on each coast, (West and East), the Middle Kingdom wasn’t far behind in September 1969 (AS4), centered in Chicago (likely seeded by Baycon World Science Fiction Convention, where the SCA held a tournament which Duke Cariadoc of the Bow won … more on him later). All kingdoms thereafter trace their lineage back to one of these three kingdoms.

Atenveldt quickly followed in 1971 (AS 5).

After that, principalities formed and the thought was each of the States in the US would be a shire and eventually a barony, tied to one of these big kingdoms. But by the end of the 1970’s some other group requested their own Crowns. Meridies (AS12), Caid (AS 13) and Ansteorra (AS 14). The 1980’s increased the kingdoms from the magical seven to twelve – a perfect number including Atlantia (AS 16), An Tir (AS 16), Calontir (AS 18), Trimaris (AS 20), and the Outlands (AS 21). There things stayed for seven years.

Until the colonization of Europe was complete and the Kingdom of Drachenwald gained their independence in June AS 28 (1993). Thirteen kingdoms.

Four years later saw three kingdom form back-to-back (1997-1998): Artemisia (AS 32), Aethelmarc (AS 32) and Ealdormere (AS 33). Lochac (AS 37), Northshield (AS 39), and Gleann Abhann (AS 40) spun off slowly. The youngest of the twenty kingdoms was born in June AS 50, Avacal.

The First Inter-Kingdom War
“One day, almost 30 years ago, Cariadoc of the Bow, the King of the Middle, got bored with peace and declared war upon the East, loser to take Pittsburgh. The King of the East read the declaration of war, filed it away and forgot about it. Time passed. Cariadoc moved to New York and subsequently became King of the East, whereupon he retrieved the declaration from the file cabinet and said, “Let’s fight.” The Middle won, and Cariadoc has the distinction of being the only king who declared war upon himself and lost.”

F.L. Watkins 2005. An Incomplete History of Pennsic by Folump Enterprises.

Family Tree
A full picture of the “family tree” can be found at: https://www.zazzle.com/sca_heraldic_family_tree_by_portia_st_luke_poster-228421277308271094

West Kingdom begot Caid, An Tir, and Lochac.

An Tir begot Avacal.

East Kingdom begot Atlantia, Drachenwald, and AEthelmarc.

Middle Kingdom (Midrealm) begot Calontir, Ealdormere, and Northshield.

Atenveldt (the first Barony of the Knowne World, then first Principality), kind-of is attributed between West and Middle Kingdom, and on its formation had all the lands not assigned specifically to the Big Three. Atenveldt begot Meridies, Ansteorra, the Outlands, and Artemisia.

Meridies begot Trimaris and Gleann Abhann

A map from AS 20 can be found here: http://www.bellatrix.org/QCG/queen_carol’s_guide.htm
(you will need to scroll down to see it)

A global map from AS 46 can be found here: http://www.sca.org/geography/ (11/6/2022 – looks like the map has been removed)