Welcome to the SCA, or to be correct: The Society for Creative Anachronism (you can just stick to SCA. It makes for shorter conversations when you're trying to describe us). This class is to discuss the different Court Orders and Awards we have here in our glorious kingdom of AEthelmearc. It will not be long before you find yourself going to events and sitting in court trying to understand who the royalty just called up and why. Well that's why I'm here. To help you distinguish what Order is what and why.
Let me start by saying that most of the Court Orders I'm going to be talking about refer to our Kingdom of AEthelmearc. Other Kingdoms within the society may call them something different or they might not even have an award for what we have an award for. That's what makes each Kingdom different.
Now, why do we have an award's system and how do you get an award? There are a lot of people in the SCA that contribute their time and effort to make it what it is today. Our awards are our way of saying thanks for doing what they're doing. We give them special recognition by giving them awards and asking them to join certain Orders. Anyone can get an award. We even have awards for the young members of our Society. Now I bet your wondering, "How do I get an award?". The crown (the King and Queen) gives awards. Sometimes they give them on their own but for the most part they ask their populous (that's us) to write in individuals we think deserve recognition. However, there are some awards that require the Crown to discuss with other members of that same award (or Order), before the award can be given. And just so you know, there're a lot of people who contribute great things to the SCA that don't have awards yet. It is something you earn after time.
There are many martial activities in the SCA. Some of the martial activities are heavy weapons, fencing, archery, combat archery, thrown weapons, equestrian, siege weapons, and falconry. Each activity has it's own Order that recognizes people at their different skill levels. Let's start with Heavy weapons.
Heavy weapons have three Orders associated with its activity. They are the Order of the Golden Alce, the Order of the Gage, and the Order of Chivalry (These are the knights).
The Golden Alce recognizes fighters for their accomplishments in martial arts. Simply put, this Order recognizes promising fighters. This is an Order of Merit. The Order of the Gage also recognizes fighters for their accomplishments but they are looking at individuals who are showing increased skill on the Heavy lists and Melee fields. This is an Order of High Merit. The Order of Chivalry is a peerage order. They are the knights. This is the highest award you can get in the SCA for heavy weapons. And as a side note, if you do enter into the Order of Chivalry you are not eligible for the Gage anymore.
Fencinq only has two Orders associated with its activity. They
are the Order of the Golden Alce and the Order of the White Scarf. Now I'm
sure some of you are going, "Hey I thought the Order of the Golden Alce is for
heavy fighting." Well it's actually for all the martial activities. So how do
you tell if it's for heavy or fencing or any other martial activity? You simply
have to listen to the Herald when they read the scroll. They will mention which
martial activity the person is being recognized for. With that said,
The Golden Alce recognizes promising fencers.
The Order of the White Scarf is an Order of High Merit for Fencing. Those individuals asked to join the Order are allowed to wear a badge of the White Scarf, which is a white scarf with the symbol of AEthelmearc on it. They usually wear it on their left shoulder. Another unique thing about the White Scarfs is that 9 kingdoms have signed a treaty to recognize the White Scarf. Meaning if a White Scarf went to one of the kingdoms that signed the treaty then they would be recognized for having great skill in fencing.
Archery also has only two Orders. I bet you can guess what the
first order is. That's right, The Order of the Golden Alce. See, your getting
better. And if you didn't know that, then you need to write 10 times, "I will
pay more attention to the Lady speaking." Now the two Orders are The Order of
the Golden Alce (big surprise) and the Order of the Scarlet Guard.
The Order of the Golden Alce recognizes promising Archers.
The Order of the Scarlet Guard is the High Merit for Archery. They wear a red and white tassel to represent that they are part of the Order.
Thrown Weapons, Equestrian, Siege Weapons, Falconry, and Combat
Archery are just like the Archers where they only have two Orders. Now
here is a second chance to redeem yourself if you couldn't remember what the
first Order of Archery was. What do you think is the first Order for all of
these activities? Hint. It's the same for Heavy, Fencing, and Archery. Very
Good, the Order of the Golden Alce. You deserve a cookie and if you couldn't
figure that out, then to the dungeons you go. Just Kidding. :) Ok back on
track. The two Orders for these activities are The Order of the Golden Alce
and The Order of the White Horn.
The Order of the Golden Alce recognizes promising Scadians in all of these activities.
The Order of the White Horn is the High Merit for Thrown Weapons, Equestrian, and so on. They wear a badge with a white horn on it.
Earlier I mentioned that even our young members of our society have awards. Under Martial Activities young fighters under the age of 14 are eligible for a Silver Alce.
In this category people are recognized for their willingness to help out. They are the volunteers of our society. Because there are so many different types and categories of service, it is hard to break it down in to one thing or another. Examples of the type of service people are recognized for are those that help set up pavilions, they help in the kitchen, they help Royalty, they autocrat events, they hold offices, they help clean up after events, and the list goes on. The major orders for service are the Order of the Keystone, the Order of the Millrind and the Order of the Pelican.
The Order of the Keystone is the Merit Order for service. This award
recognizes individuals for their service to their local shire or kingdom.
The Order of the Millrind is the High Merit for service. It recognizes service to AEthelmearc. These people often help by taking on a Kingdom position and are very active in their local group. And as a side note, just because you take on a Kingdom position does not mean you automatically get into the Order.
The Order of the Pelican is the Peerage order for service. This is the highest Order or award for service. And like the Order of Chivalry, if you get a Pelican you are not eligible for a Millrind.
Under the category of service there is an award someone can get that recognizes individuals that serve the Crown. It's called the Sigil ofAEthelmearc.
For those young members of our society who show great service, they are eligible to receive the Silver Buccle.
Where would the SCA be without those people that put their time and effort into researching medieva.l life? There is a saying in the SCA, "If they did it in medieval life than someone in the SCA has researched it ." This type of activity has three Orders associated with it. They are the Order of the Sycamore, the Order of the Fleur of AEthelmearc, and the Order of the Laurel.
The Order of the Sycamore recognizes individuals who have shown an
interest in some part of medieval life and have done the research and have
begun to apply it to the SCA through classes or articles. This is a Merit
Order for A&S.
The Order of the Fleur of AEthelmearc recognizes someone's developed skills. This is a High Merit Order.
The Order of the Laurel is the Peerage Order for A&S. It is the highest award you can get for A&S and if you receive a Laurel you are not eligible for a Fleur.
Our young artisans also have an award but at this time it's just called the Order for Children's Arts and Sciences.
There are two awards in AEthelmearc that don't really fall under any certain
category. They are the Cornelian and the Jewel of AEthelmearc.
The Cornellan honors outstanding courtesy.
The Jewel of AEthelmearc is an award given by the Royals. They are only allowed to give one away per reign. This is a special award that recognizes an individual for showing everything we stand for. This person shows skill, courtesy, chivalry, and service to our kingdom and society.
|Heavy Weapons||Service||Arts and Science|
|(AOA)Merit Order||Golden Alce||Keystone||Sycamore|
|(GOA)High Merit Order||Gage||Millrind||Fleur of AEthelmearc|
|Fencing||Archery||All Other Martial Arts|
|(AOA)Merit Order||Golden Alce||Golden Alce||Golden Alce|
|(GOA)High Merit Order||White Scarf||Scarlet Guard||White Horn|
|Martial Activities||Silver Alce|
|Arts and Science||Order for Children's Arts and Science|
|Other Awards||Reason for Award|
|Sigil of AEthelmearc||Service to Crown|
|The Cornelian||Outstanding Courtesy|
|The Jewel of AEthelmearc||Given by Crown once a reign for showing everything the SCA stands for.|