Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Society for Creative Anachronism
The Society for Creative Anachronism (or SCA for short) is a non-profit educational organization devoted to studying and re-creating the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Primary focus is on Western European culture, but can also include other regions such as the Middle East and Japan in which Western Europe had contact during this time.
The SCA could be considered a historical reenactment or living history organization but only in the loosest definition of the term. Unlike most such organizations, the SCA does not concentrate on a narrowly-defined period, a specific war, or a singular historic event. Rather, the SCA’s reenactment attempts to approximate the uniquely static Feudal class structure that lasted several centuries. As a rule, the SCA does try to limit itself to only historical facts and techniques, but will often include enough modern elements to simulate history safely (such as the selection of Kings and Queens through tournaments rather than warfare and intrigue) (replacing steel swords with rattan during real combat)(substituting hazardous materials in painting), hence the phrase "Creative Anachronism." In its many activities, the SCA practices a less constrained minimum standard of authenticity than during public demonstrations. For instance, some new members have made cheap carpet armor to learn sword fighting with members who have made historically accurate armor. From this attitude of letting members pick their own level of historical commitment, many activities of the SCA have more to do with "re-creation" (and recreation) than with re-enactment. These lax requirements to participate are also seen as one of the strengths of the SCA. Some SCA participants describe the SCA as a large group of people with interlocking hobbies that are rarely used or needed in a technological society. Because of the diversity of SCA members, most medieval trades or hobbies within the SCA are practiced and valued.
At a typical SCA event, you will see a wide range in the quality of re-creations and reenactments. Some individuals may do some aspects of re-creation well (say, music), while simultaneously doing others poorly (say, clothing). Still, there is one standard that all participants of official SCA events are held to: participants should try to dress in pre-17th century garments. In SCA jargon, this era is called "Period", although some insist that "Period" only legitimately refers to the millennium of A.D. 600–1600. According to the founding documents of the SCA, Inc., there is no back date; however, they do state middle ages in one place, and simply pre-17th century in another.
Excellent practitioners of the various arts & sciences are awarded an SCA "peerage" (SCA-wide, highest level award) known as the Order of the Laurel. Other "peerages" are the Order of the Pelican (awarded for service to the organization) and the Order of Chivalry, which has two classifications, Master of Arms/Knight (awarded for excellence in heavy weapons infantry combat).
This use of the term "peerage" is unique to the Society and should not be misconstrued to have any resemblance, whatsoever to historical peerage as practiced in the United Kingdom or similar countries, although they are inspired by medieval concepts. "Peers of the Realm" who hold Laurels or Pelicans are given the honorific "Master or Mistress" depending on gender. This holds true also for Masters/Mistresses of Arms. Knights may be styled "Sir" or, if appropriate to their gender, "Dame." There is no groupwide consensus on the correct honorific for female knights. The difference between Masters of Arms and Knights is that the latter must always maintain fealty to the Crown while the former may swear fealty if they wish, but are not required to do so, much like Laurels and Pelicans. This is a choice that a person so selected for the honour must make at the time of investiture into the ranks of the Chivalry, and may change once at a later time should he or she decide to do so.
The SCA is worldwide in scope. There are active groups all over the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand with scattered groups elsewhere. The Known World is divided into Kingdoms. As of October 2004, there are 18 SCA Kingdoms worldwide. Worldwide, there are about 32,000  paid members, though many people participate without joining as it is not required to join in order to participate, but it is often required to become a paid member to hold an office.
The Kingdoms are:
- The Kingdom of Æthelmearc is the fifteenth kingdom, created in 1997. It covers central/western Pennsylvania, western New York, and West Virginia.
- The Kingdom of An Tir is the ninth Kingdom, created in 1982. It encompasses the US states of Oregon, Washington, and the northern tips of Idaho, and in Canada it covers British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories.
- The Kingdom of Ansteorra is the seventh kingdom, created in 1979. Ansteorra covers Oklahoma and the majority of Texas.
- The Kingdom of Artemisia is the fourteenth kingdom, created in 1997. It currently covers Montana, southern Idaho, most of Utah, western Colorado, and Wyoming.
- The Kingdom of Atenveldt is the fourth kingdom, created in 1971. It encompasses the state of Arizona.
- The Kingdom of Atlantia is the eighth kingdom, created in 1981. Its borders cover Maryland, most of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, as well as a piece of Georgia.
- The Kingdom of Caid is the sixth kingdom created in 1978. It currently encompasses Southern California, the Greater Las Vegas Area, and Hawaii.
- The Kingdom of Calontir is the tenth kingdom, created in 1984. It covers Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and northern Arkansas.
- The Kingdom of Drachenwald is the thirteenth kingdom, created in 1993. It is by far the largest kingdom in terms of land area, but it is not the largest in terms of population. Its borders cover all of Europe including the British Isles, Africa, and the Middle East.
- The Kingdom of Ealdormere is the sixteenth kingdom, created in 1998. It lies within the Canadian province of Ontario.
- The Kingdom of Lochac is the seventeenth kingdom, created in 2002. It encompasses the entirety of Australia and New Zealand.
- The Kingdom of Meridies is the fifth kingdom . Its borders currently encompass the entirety of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, almost all of Georgia, a bit of the panhandle of Florida, and small portions of both Kentucky and Virginia. However there is a split occurring and it will soon be halved in size as the western portion breaks off into the nineteenth kingdom.
- The Kingdom of Northshield is the eighteenth kingdom. It covers North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the upper peninsula of Michigan. It also extends into Canada and encompasses Manitoba, and northwestern Ontario.
- The Kingdom of the East is the second kingdom, created in 1968. In the United States of America it covers eastern Pennsylvania, eastern New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. In Canada, it covers Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland.
- The Kingdom of the Outlands is the twelfth kingdom, created in 1986. It encompasses New Mexico, most of Colorado, parts of Wyoming, Nebraska, as well as El Paso County and Hudspeth County of Texas.
- The Kingdom of Trimaris is the eleventh kingdom, created in 1985. It was split from the Kingdom of Meridies and is composed of the majority of Florida, as well as Panama, and humorously, Antarctica.
- The Middle Kingdom is the third kingdom, created in 1969. Its current borders are Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, as well as parts of Michigan and Iowa.
- The West Kingdom is the original kingdom, created when the Society originated in 1966. It currently includes Northern California, Nevada, and Alaska, as well as Japan, Korea, and the Pacific Rim.
Each SCA kingdom is "ruled" by a king and queen chosen by a Crown Tournament. This is typically held as a double-elimination, one-on-one combat tournament (it should be noted, however, that there is no historic precedent for this method of selecting rulers). The winner of the Crown Tournament and his/her Consort will be styled "Crown Prince and Princess" and serve a short (or not so short, depending on Kingdom custom) training period under the current King and Queen prior to acceding to the throne and ruling in their turn. Most kingdoms have two reigns of about six months per year, though some have three reigns per year. The training period is typically half a reign.
To prepare for tournament and wars, some groups hold "fighter practices" where a full contact martial sport is practiced. The fighters wear armor (often of their own making — of plastic, leather, carbon steel, stainless steel, spring steel, or any combination thereof, though more historically accurate armor is available and is being used more frequently) and strike each other with weapons primarily made of rattan and made to resemble swords, pikes, spears, axes and other medieval weapons. This 'Heavy Weapons Fighting' is interesting among martial arts for its lack of formalized training. This allows new-comers to learn at their own pace and to add to the game in unpredictable ways. Typically several years of direct experience in the SCA's Heavy Weapons Fighting are needed to excel in tournaments. SCA Heavy Weapons Fighters also practice many-on-many engagements called melees or wars, and make up the world's largest non-militant army, according to an unofficial FBI source.
Some groups practice a style of fencing with rules different from Olympic fencing rules. Instead of fencing for points, fencers attempt to "disable" or "kill" their oppenent by striking at target areas. Both thrusts with the point of the blade and cuts with the edge are accepted as attacks. SCA rules do not recognize lanes or right of way, so opponents often circle each other. Body to body contact is prohibited, but hand on blade contact is allowed, so the off hand becomes an important factor.
It is important to note that fencing in the round is in fact not characteristic of this period of fencing as with the introduction of the rapier and small sword fencing became more akin to the strip based bouts common in modern day. This change was primarily due to the superiority of thrusting attacks as fencing in lanes tends to increases one's speed and strength with regard to these attacks.
Some SCA groups hold regular classes in various medieval arts and sciences are practiced. These might include dance practices where Renaissance Dance and English Country Dance are taught, or calligraphy and illumination workshops where interested people study and create illuminated manuscripts. At large gatherings, such as the annual Pennsic War, many people offer classes on various aspects of medieval life.
The SCA traces its origins to a theme party held in a backyard in Berkeley, California on 1 May 1966. A tournament was held at the party, and it was such a success that the participants went on to organize more. The name "Society for Creative Anachronism" was coined by Marion Zimmer Bradley, an early participant, when the nascent group needed an official name in order to reserve a park for a tournament.
The SCA continued to be a local organization until 1968, when a tournament was held at the World Science Fiction Convention, which was held in Berkeley that year. The idea spread and soon other local chapters began to form. By the end of 1968, the SCA had been split into two kingdoms (West and East), and by the end of 1970, there were four (with the addition of the Middle and Atenveldt).
- Cunnan: a wiki devoted to the SCA.
- Slot-machine heraldry
- Living history
- Live action role-playing game
- Renaissance Fair
- The Known World Handbook (3rd ed.). Milpitas, CA: Society For Creative Anachronism, Inc.
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