GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2008-12 > 1230610073
Subject: Re: Excuse me
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2008 20:07:53 -0800 (PST)
On Dec 29, 6:29 pm, James Hogg <> wrote:
> On Mon, 29 Dec 2008 17:52:21 -0500, "Raymond O'Hara"
> <> wrote:
> >>Professor George William Arnold, Jr, wrote:
> >>O Boy, the last time I drove in my ancestral states of the Carolinas,
> >>we Americans were driving on the RIGHT side of the road...
> >>meep, meep
> >-------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----
> >i'm not a brit you freaking moron.
> >and as i said, you are a tool of propaganda.
> >i'll bet you listen to o'lielly rush the junkie and the rest of the faux
> >news types.
> This "freaking moron" jumps to a lot of false conclusions, Ray.
> He seems to have built his sorry career on it. I bet they love
> him in his home group, soc.genealogy.medieval, for the way he
> starts cross-posted debates like this.
O Jamie boy, who brought this cross-posted debate from alt.brit
to us at gen.medie, but you, you sorry commoner...
What is Etiquette, writes the Countess:
by: Countess Adelicia of Cumbria, OP (from Atlantia/Newport News, VA)
MKA: Carolyn Prickett;
Webster’s Dictionary defines etiquette as “the prescribed forms and
practices of correct behavior” and protocol as “A code of ceremony and
etiquette.” Ceremony is defined as “A formal act or set of acts
performed as prescribed by custom, ritual or etiquette. “ (See
What we want to examine is the ways in which we apply these ideals to
our work and play within the Society. Our Society is a royal one by
mutual consent. We have all joined an organization that has Royalty at
the head of each geographic boundary. It is in our mutual willingness
to believe that they are Royalty that they become Royalty for us.
Therefore, if you are at an event that a territorial Baron or Baroness
or the Royalty is at, that event becomes the royal court. Your place
at that court is determined by your behavior. We have agreed in
joining the Society to a common belief in the ideals of courtesy,
honor and chivalry. Our expectations from others are in the expression
of those ideals, but for that to happen, we must examine the outward
forms of etiquette, because they will show us the correct behavior and
make our ceremony richer for all.
The SCA is divided up into various sizes of groups. The smallest is
the local groups called Shire, Colleges, Strongholds, or Cantons. The
next level up is Baronial, then Principality, then Kingdom. The last
three have titles, land and coronets associated with them. This will
be a discussion of those titles and others that you will encounter in
What are the common titles reserved in the SCA?
The Society is just like medieval culture in that there is a hierarchy
of titles and persons within the group. There are a series of titles,
defined by Corpora (SCA corporate policy) that are common throughout
the society. Each of these titles carry a form of address and some a
form of regalia or symbol that illustrates the position. All titles
are confirmed by way of an award or induction to an order. We will
start at the basic level and work our way up. All members of the
society are presumed to be gentlefolk, unless they say otherwise.
Therefore it is appropriate to address anyone as Milord or Milady.
This is a common, courteous form of address from one member to the
other in the absence of knowledge of a greater title.
The first award that carries a title that most people receive is that
of an Award of Arms. The Award of Arms is usually given to those
people who have been in the Society for a little time, have started to
give back to the group and contribute to the organization in a
positive manner. The Award of Arms conveys several privileges. The
first is that the recipient now bears their device as their Arms. The
second is that they may bear steel in the Presence of Their Majesties.
Up until this point, a person called into the formal presence of the
Crowns should have taken off any steel (knives, swords etc) before
approaching the Presence. (The Presence is a concept we will discuss
when we get to Royalty). The third is that they are now addressed as
My Lord (name) or My Lady (name). In Kingdoms that have such laws, the
AOA also conveys the right to a certain width of circlet. Do not be
surprised, if you travel, to encounter this convention. A person with
an AOA is allowed to add those letters to the end of their name.
Let me add a note of caution here. A person is never addressed by
“name Title land” within the SCA unless that person holds land from
the SCA. For example, I would never be addressed as Adelicia, Countess
Cumbria or another example Michael of Bedford would not be Michael,
Duke of Bedford. The same for an AOA, Allesandra of Trieste would not
be called as Allesandra, Lady Trieste. The only exception to that is
landed titles, such as your local Baron or Baroness of a Barony, The
Coronets or the Crowns. I have heard some people style themselves with
their name and the name of a Kingdom. But to use any other lower title
with the Kingdom would be to say that the Kingdom is not a Kingdom,
but the land unit that title conveys Viscounty, Duchy, Baronage etc.
We do not presume to hold land in the SCA when we are not actually on
the thrones and we cannot presume to hold the title to land that is
mundanely held by a legitimate mundane person. I do not think that the
any legitimate modern day holder of title would find it amusing to
have some person dressed in funny clothes, using their title.
Our next step is the Grant of Arms. A Grant of Arms is given at the
discretion of the Crown for numerous reasons. If often accompanies a
baronial title. In some kingdoms it comes with a certain level of
award. A person who holds a Grant of Arms can be addressed as The
Honorable Lord or Lady or His Lordship or Ladyship. They can add the
letters GOA to the end of their names.
There are two types of Baron/ess, those with land and those of the
court. This level is the first to bear coronets and use Your
Excellency as a form of address. A Landed Baron/ess is someone who
rules a Barony as the representative of the Crown. They hold that land
in trust for the Crown. Some Barons and Baroness stay for many years
with that Barony, in some kingdoms there is a set time limit. Court
Baron/ess are awards given by the Crowns for various reasons.
Sometimes the award is given alone and sometimes with a Grant of Arms.
They do not have any land and are referred to as a Court Barony. Most
Barons and Baroness have distinctive coronets that reflect the group
and person. There was once a convention that Landed Barons/ess would
have coronets of six points or six balls that protruded above the
band. Baron/ess of the Court would have coronets of eight points or
balls. Now, you can see the problem. Everyone is walking around
counting the points on the top of people’s coronets. So, that strict
convention was lost. Now, while we still have lots of pearls
protruding above the band, the other stuff on the coronets is often
unique to the barony itself. Whether or not someone is a landed baron/
ess or court, they are addressed as Baron name or Baroness; My Lord
Baron or Lady Baroness; Your Excellency. If the person is a landed
Baron or Baroness, then they can be addressed by their Baronage, i.e.
the Baroness of Tir-y-don could technically be addressed as Tir-y-don.
Gets a little cumbersome so that form is not really used. The founding
Baron or Baroness of a barony is the Baron/ess group. All others are
The last big group is the peerage. There are two types of peers. Peers
receive their Arms by Letters Patent or sometime referred to as a
Patent of Arms. It is this patent that confers the peerage to the
person. I call one type Achievement peers, just for want of a better
term and the other is Royal Peers. Achievement peers are the chivalry,
pelicansand laurels. These peers are peers for achievement in a
certain area. Each has a distinctive badge.
A Knight is someone who has excelled at the fighting arts and proven
themselves through service to their Kingdoms as being honorable and
true. Knights wear white belts, gold chains and spurs. It is the
combination of these three items together that make up the reserved
regalia, although I would not recommend wearing any of these items, in
particular the white belt if you do not have the rank. A Knight is
addressed as Sir. Lady Knights may use the title Dame, but all the
ones that I have met used the title Sir. A Knight, by definition,
swears fealty to the crown. They are the only peerage, mandated by
Corpora to swear fealty. The other type of fighter peer is a Master of
Arms. This is someone proven in the fighting arts as well but who does
not swear fealty to the crown for some reason. They wear a white
baldric instead of a belt. A Knight can use the initials KSCA behind
Pelican is someone who has provided service to the Kingdom and Society
above and beyond the call of duty. They usually have served for an
extended period of time or performed a spectacular achievement. They
are called Master/Mistress or for ladies Dame and wear a medallion or
some form of the symbol of a pelican piercing it’s breast to feed it’s
young. A Pelican can use the initials OP after their name.
A Laurel is someone who has excelled in the arts and sciences of the
SCA and has shared their knowledge with those around them. They are
also called Master/Mistress or for ladies Dame (name) and wear a
medallion that has a green laurel wreath on it. A Laurel can use the
initials OL after their name.
The first level of royal peerage is Viscount or Viscountess. These are
people who have reigned over a principality at least once. They use
the title Viscount or Viscountess or an equivalent title consistent
with their persona. The convention was that the viscounty coronet be
of 16 points. Other kingdoms have used different conventions.
Drachenwald used the number of reign to determine the number of
points. Thus the 14th Prince and Princess would have 14 points on
their Coronet when they stepped down. As I mentioned before, some
kingdoms do things differently. One example of this is the Kingdom of
the Middle where viscounty coronets are embattled and made of silver
and county coronets are also embattled but made of gold. Just to
confuse you if you have to move from one kingdom to the next! You can
address them as Your Excellency, My Lord Viscount or My Lady Viscount,
or Viscount name. They put the title Viscount before the name in
Next in line of royal peerage are County peers. These are people who
have reigned over a kingdom once. They use the title Count or Countess
or an equivalent title consistent with their persona. You will often
hear the use of Earl, Jarl or even Graf. This level has the most
variety in title of all of the peerage, I believe. County holders wear
coronets that are embattled (look like the top of a castle wall). You
can address them as Your Excellency, My Lord Count or Lady Countess or
Count name. They put the title Count or Countess before their name in
The last of the royal peers are Ducal peers. These are people who have
reigned over a kingdom more than once. They use the title Duke or
Duchess or equivalent title. Ducal coronets, by convention, have four
strawberry leaves on the band. They are addressed as Your Grace and
they put the title of Duke or Duchess before their name in writing.
The last peerage is hard to place between achievement peers and royal
peers. Consorts of ruling monarchs when they step down are inducted
into the Order of the Rose. This is a patent level peerage that is
only given to those who have reigned. In some Kingdoms this is a
polling order. It Atlantia it is automatic when a reign has been
completed. The symbols are the same as a Queen in that a Lady of the
Rose may display a wreath of Tudor roses or a single Tudor rose on her
Next in line are the Reigning Royalty themselves. The heirs to a
principality have different titles depending on the area. Some are
called Tanist and Tanista, some are called The Lord Heir and some are
not called anything special. Each principality has it’s own unique way
of addressing them. They usually have a distinctive coronet and should
be addressed according to the customs of that area. The heirs to a
Kingdom are called the Crown Prince and Princess of the Kingdom. They
are addressed as Your Royal Highness and usually also have distinctive
coronets to the group. The Coronets of a principality are Prince and
Princess of the Principality and are addressed as Your Serene
Highnesses in most cases. Again, check with the local area if you move
into one of these locations. The last groups of principality areas are
Crown Principalities. Again, each area is unique and one should ask to
discover the correct title and form of address in your area.
The King and Queen of a Kingdom are the center point of all activity
and life within the confines of an event. They always have unique
Crowns and should be addressed with the utmost respect and courtesy at
all times. The crowns themselves are usually the most spectacular
around and other coronets should not exceed the their height. They are
addressed as Your Majesty. In some instances they can also be
addressed as My Lady Queen or Lord King, as My Liege, if you have
sworn fealty to them or as the name of the Kingdom which they rule.
They are, after all, the Kingdom. They bear the Arms of the Kingdom as
their own for the duration of the reign.
There are certain courtesies due to the Crowns and Coronets at events.
Whenever you pass close by the Crowns or they you, acknowledge them.
Bow, curtsey, fall to the ground, nod your head but do something. The
Crowns are the embodiment of the Kingdom, of the dream, if you will,
of what we are trying to recreate. Don’t worry about catching their
eye; don’t worry about where you are. ACKNOWLEDGE THEM. But do not do
this as a mockery, if you do not have the respect in your hearts for
what the Crown represents then don’t perform this honor. The Crowns
have a presence, an area around them that should not be entered
without their permission. This is about 5 feet around, smaller at some
times, larger during court. If you must go up to them, outside of the
actual court, go to the end of the presence and reverence, then wait
for Their permission to come forward. Curtsey when you get to them and
go on your knees if possible if they are sitting. This will make sure
that you do not block their view but also is appropriate. If they are
standing, remain standing and speak to them quickly about your
business. When your business is concluded curtsey again, ask
permission to withdraw and back away from the presence if they are
facing you. If they turn their backs, don’t worry about it. Remember
that they are constantly engaged throughout the event, so do your
business and move on. Later when they have more time to talk, you will
Some Kingdoms have a convention of paying respect to other objects
associated with the Royalty such as the thrones or banners. In some
Kingdoms you will see people stop and curtsey to the thrones, even
when empty. This practice is more regional in nature than custom or
law. Check and see what other people are doing and take your clue from
Behavior in Court
Court calls for a whole set of ceremonies. When the Royalty processes
in and out, please stand and pay respect to them as they pass. Wait
until the herald says that the Crown has given the populace permission
to be seated. Heralds, don’t forget to ask the Crown for permission,
if they have forgotten to tell you.
If you are called into court, go to the end of the presence, curtsey/
bow, move forward and kneel in front of the Royalty. If there are
other coronets (Heirs, Sovereign princes, baronial) present, also
curtsey to them before you move forward. If you must address the
populace, ask permission to rise, move to the side of the Royalty,
without turning your back on them and address the populace. Prizes for
competition, Awards and Orders do not require acceptance speeches.
Thank the person who gives it to you and retreat quickly. If you are
receiving an award, wait until you have leave or they start the vivats
or cheers. At that point, curtsey to the Royalty and back out to the
edge of the presence and then turn around and walk out.
Ladies, you can have an escort if you want one. It is not mandatory.
The escort should walk with a lady on his right to the edge of the
presence, bow as the lady curtseys and then remain kneeling to one
side of the aisle as the lady goes forward. If he has the forethought,
he should move to the other side of the aisle before kneeling. That
way when the lady returns, he will be on the correct side to escort
her back down the aisle. A lady is always escorted on the right. In
some Kingdoms, there are royal guards to act as escort if a lady does
not have one. If you do not wish one, then just simple shake your head
and smile as you graciously decline the escort.
Please keep your conversations to a minimum. Courts can be boring
things to people who can not hear what is going on. There tends to be
a cycle of noise, boredom, noisier people, more boredom, and too much
noise. Out of respect for those people who would like to hear what is
going on, and in case your own name is called, please try and abstain
One last note about titles. There are those people who have multiple
titles. Use only the highest-ranking title. For those people who are
royal and achievement peers, use the title that is appropriate for the
moment. To use myself as an example, I am both a Countess and a
Pelican. Mistress. When I am not engaged in that sort of work, I am
usually addressed as Countess. Mostly I am just addressed as Addie.
Which works for me but is not a very good example for a class in
etiqutte. Many Knights that I know just use the Sir, even though they
also have royal titles as well.
OK: we Americans get it, that the Brits are commoners
unless they are royals, and they all kneel and curtsey,
common men and common women, but we Americans
don’t do it! We fought our Revolutionary War and Won!