What is the Shire of Glenn Linn?
The Shire of Glenn Linn is a branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (SCA). Glenn Linn was established in the Fall of 1988 by a group of gamers and medieval enthusiasts. The Shire resides within the Kingdom of the East.
What is the SCA?
The SCA is a non-profit educational organization, devoted to the study of pre-1600 CE history and culture. Members try and recreate the best aspects of this time period with Kingdoms ruled by Kings, Queens, Princes, Dukes, Countesses and Barons; Knights and warriors competing on the field; artisans creating works of art, and grand feasts and revels. The SCA is, however, not a spectator organization. Events and activities are not performances for an audience, instead events are to enable members to explore one or more aspects of early period life.
Aren't you part of the Renaissance Faire?
No. Renaissance Fairs are commercial ventures setup for an "audience" to enjoy. The people you see in costume at a fair are performers and are usually paid. Although the SCA is sometimes invited to attend Renaissance Fairs (to add to the "color" of the event), we are not a "for profit" corporation. The SCA is a non-profit organization that recreates history, and emphasizes research and education as apposed to commercial gain. People in the SCA come from all walks of life (teachers, factory workers, lawyers, policeman, computer professionals, and more). They share a love of history and the romantic notion that our ancient heritage deserves to be preserved by researching and re-creating the best of medieval times. Most importantly, there are no paid performers, actors, or audience at an SCA event.
Where did the SCA come from?
The SCA originated at the University of California at Berkeley in 1966. Several students decided to have a medieval themed party, with knights, Kings and ladies fair. It was so much fun that they decided to have another and so on. The idea spread and today the SCA is one of the largest "experimental history" organizations in the world and boasts membership in the tens of thousands world wide.
Where and what is a Kingdom and what other groups exist in the SCA?
The SCA has 19 Kingdoms spread across the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. Each kingdom covers a large geographic area that is broken up into various types of smaller groups that serve local regions. Some, such as Baronies and Shires may be fairly large and contain sub groups of their own. Other smaller groups like Cantons exist as part of a larger region like a Barony. There are even smaller groups that serve specific locals and their population like college campuses and military bases.
Who are the people in the crowns?
There are several different types of royalty in the SCA. Kingdoms have a King and Queen, titled your Majesty, who rule for about six months and a Prince and Princess, titled your Royal Highness, who will be the next King and Queen. Kings, Queens, Princes, and Princesses are chosen in a tournament where the victors are recognized to become the next set of leading royalty.
Are there other types of Royalty?
Landed Barons and Baronesses, titled your Excellency, rule over a Barony for the King and Queen. Dukes and Duchesses, titled your Grace, are those that have been King or Queen at least two times. Earls, Jarls, Counts and Countesses, titled your Excellency, are those that have been King or Queen one time. Viscount and Viscountess for those that have ruled a Principality at least one time, titled your Excellency. One becomes a Duke, Count, or Viscount by winning a tournament held to select the next Prince and Princess of the Kingdom or Principality, then completing their reign as either King and Queen or Prince and Princess. Court Barons and Baronesses, titled you Excellency, are those that have been recognized by the King and Queen for their service and actions.
Can I be a Prince?
SCA titles are granted only by the Crown and must be earned. You may not style or represent yourself as a Knight, Baron, Duke, Lord, Lady or any other title without earning it.
Why the Funny Names?
Part of what SCA members do is to create a personal character from a specific historical time and place (called a persona; this cannot be an actual historical figure or one adapted from myth or literature). It should reflect your own personality and imagination and can come from any culture in the world. Researching the culture of that time and place will allow you to develop that persona in an authentic manner. Authenticity is encouraged in as many areas as ability and finances allow. Clothing, weapons, utensils, food, and pavilions help to create a period atmosphere.
What is up with the fighting?
A common SCA activity is recreating medieval combat. Events, such as wars, melees, tourneys, and other competitions are used to test skill at arms. Combat in the SCA is a reasonable approximation of early period armored combat. There are several types of combat practiced in the SCA and all types of warriors take to the field to compete in tournaments, battles and wars. While each style differs in form, technique and equipment, all follow a system of rules, which permit realism while maintaining a very high safety standard.
Heavy Combat: Heavy combat is the most visible aspect of the SCA. Heavy combat is conducted in full armor, with rattan weapons designed to have a similar weight and balance to steel but which are much less danger.
Rapier Combat: Rapier combat emulates a fighting style of the Renaissance and is a cross between modern fencing and the swashbuckling style of the musketeers. Rapier fighters use weapons of steel or fiberglass and may additionally use cloaks, daggers, or other parrying devices.
Youth Combat: A scaled down version of heavy combat designed for children, youth fighters wear protective armor but fight with thickly padded weapons called 'boffers' while they learn proper technique. Divided into three age categories, youth fighters progress in stages up to full heavy combat status. Minors wishing to participate in any combat related activity must have their parent's permission and an SCA waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian.
Combat Archery: Combat archers combines the armor of heavy combat with bows and crossbows to recreate the impact of an arrow on medieval warfare.
What else is there other than fighting?
Activities in the SCA cover a broad range of skills and interests. These include Archery, equestrian, dancing, music, games and many other forms of Arts and Sciences. We have artisans skilled in making clothing, leather work, lace, food, calligraphy, and much more. SCA events may include, feasts, balls, bardic circles (for singing and storytelling) and skills competitions, with many events combining more than one activity. The Medieval garments and decorations along with a variety of technical and social skills all help establish the atmosphere and ambiance at an SCA event. The Shire also provides educational demonstrations for the public and schools as well as periodic classes where knowledgeable people share their skills with others.
What Kind of Person Joins the SCA?
SCA folk tend to be people like you and me -- just plain folks, but people who enjoy doing something more with their weekends. It seems that a high percentage of SCA members are involved in high tech fields -- Computers, Aerospace, high energy physics, etc. Perhaps the attraction the SCA holds for them can be attributed to the fact that people who spend all week with highly complex, modern technology find it relaxing to spend their leisure time working with a different kind of technology, in a less modern setting. There are lots of people in all fields in the SCA -- historians, writers, secretaries, law enforcement personnel, teachers, programmers, insurance agents -- the appeal of the SCA is widespread.
Can I play?
Absolutely, we are always glad to meet new friends. The activities offered through our Society satisfy a wide range of interest and anyone should find no problems finding some way to play. Now we do have certain safety and age restrictions on the full tilt fighting we perform, but do offer youth combat activities for our younger generation. The SCA is a wonderful place to get the entire family involved in an active outgoing Society dedicated to education and research. Come on out and join us.
What about my kids?
The SCA is a wonderful place for families to enjoy themselves. Being an educational society, we pride ourselves on teaching the younger generation about the history, life, and times of the medieval ages while being able to have fun re-living them. We are a hands on society so our youth get the opportunity to participate in family oriented fun while actually learning something about history. So, if you have kids and are interested in what we do, feel free to bring them on out for some fun.
What does it take to participate?
The main requirement for participation in an SCA event is to wear a reasonable attempt at pre-1600 clothing called garb. This helps everyone get into the spirit of things and feel a part of what is happening. Purchased, borrowed or hand made is fine. You can always put together a simple Tabard, by getting a swath of cloth, something non-shiny and not neon colored, cut a hole in the center big enough for your head and draping the thing over your head. Tie a belt around it. Wear non-blue jean pants. This should get you long enough until you can see what you like and either make or purchase it. There are many folks who will help you with both. Loaner garb is usually available from the Gold Key of the local SCA branch.
How does one get involved in the SCA?
Find a local group in your area. If you are reading this, you have probably already completed this step. You can also find local groups at the website www.sca.org. At local group meetings you will find out what events are going on in the area and what activities the local group does. By attending these activities, you will not only learn some medieval history, you will also meet and interact with people in your local group and make friends. The people at these activities will have interests similar to yours and with their help you can begin going to local and Kingdom events where hundreds of people gather to do the same activities you learned to do at your local group.
Do I have to join the SCA to participate?
While the SCA is an international organization, membership is not required to participate, but is strongly encouraged. Some activities, like holding an office, does require membership and any event that charges a fee to participate must also charge an additional 'tax' on non-members. With a membership you are also able to receive a subscription to the Society quarterly magazine, Tournaments Illuminated, as well as the local kingdom newsletter. To find out how to join the SCA visit: www.sca.org/members/welcome.html.