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Arts & Sciences

Contents

Introduction

Arts and Sciences refers to everything that we do in the Society for Creative Anachronism that calls for documentation from our target period. That's just about everything. To name only a few: music, dancing, costume construction, embroidery, metalsmithing, tentmaking, cooking, writing (poetry or prose, in period style), playing games, woodworking,...the list goes on, ad infinitum.

Heraldry

The SCA tradition most easily identifiable as medieval to the outside observer is Heraldry. This is the Art and Science of documenting and creating unique devices, or Coats of Arms, to represent individuals, groups, or offices. The SCA has its own set of rules for creating a device, and a compendium of device styles already in use by individuals and groups in the SCA all over the world. Behold the Kates' Device, informally known as the Flaming Nut:

Formally, the "Flaming Nut" is described in blazon as "Azure, a flame proper atop an acorn within a laurel wreath within a bordure engrailed Or."

For those interested in learning the art of Heraldry, we Kates are lucky enough to be in close proximity to Bratchet, a weekly meeting of local heralds where device designs from other geographical areas in the SCA are analyzed as a part of being considered appropriately medieval. Duke Frederick of Holland, also known as Flieg, who is a 'special catagory' of Kate, hosts this meeting every Wednesday starting at 7:30 PM or so. We Kates also have our own personal Herald, Felix MacAvady. If you are interested in Heraldry, please get in touch with him to find out how you can learn more.

Clothing

We gather occasionally to work on costumes (although the College can provide loaner garb, most people want their own). At these gatherings, people can give you the help you need with design and construction, or can at least tell you where to go for such help. The college owns a variety of period patterns; ask about them at the next gathering!

If you are interested in making some period garmets here are some patterns:

Song

Samuil Glukhoi maintains the Kate's Songbook.

Food

An important part of historical recreation in the SCA is, like in every part of life, food. In general, food at non-feast events should be at least minimally appropriate; cheese, bread, fruit, roasted meats, cereal dishes are all simple ways to maintain the appearance and feel of really eating in the middle ages. Commercially packaged foods and drinks are discouraged, and everything should be served and consumed on appropriate period tableware.

Those interested in period-style cooking spend a great deal of time researching recipes and techniques. A list of such recipes will be posted on this page in due time.

Example Feast


March 3, 2002
Andalusian Feast
College of Ste. Katherine


My beloved is with me, along with cups of unmixed wine,
so pour and fill them for me.
It is a pleasant life, and a site for pleasure
like a bride, when she is unveiled!

--Ibn Zuhr (1113-1198)
You are hereby invited to attend the wedding celebration and feast of Shafiq ibn Wahib al-Khayyat ŒAbd al-Rahman!

Experience the cultural luxuriance of Spain in its Golden Age as we celebrate the wedding of a wealthy Moslem merchant living in Toledo of the year 592, or 1217 by the count of those who worship the son of Mary and 4974 to the children of Israel. The College of Ste. Katherine has prepared for all the wedding guests a sumptuous feast, as well as diverse entertainments such as dancing, music, and poetry. The event will take place on Sunday, the 3rd of March at the Alumni House on the UC Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, California. We welcome musical performances (in accordance with our theme of medieval Spain--period or period-style works only, please) as well as poetry, especially that written to honor the beauty and virtue of the bride. Stories garnered from Mediterranean sources are also welcome. Clothing from the period 900 to 1300 (especially Spanish or Near Eastern) is strongly encouraged but not required. Please bring cushions, rugs, etc. to sit upon as there will be no chairs provided unless personal conditions decree them necessary. Note that this is a completely dry site, as it is an on-campus function.

Available here are informational packets concerning such matters as clothing, ettiquette, historical background and the feast menu.

Contests: Poetry in honor of the bride, using the styles and imagery of medieval Spain and the Near East--to be read at the feast. Costume of medieval Spain and the the medieval Near East--preferably worn, not displayed. For more information, please contact the Autocrat, Alys Rose de Le Havre (Heather Daniel);
The Co-Autocrat, Moshe ibn Yishma'el (Stephen Higa)
Or the Head Cook, Vittoria Aureli (Ariane Helou)

Armor

In culling data from an old Kates website, former Kates Chronicler, Dmitriy Shelomianin came across this set of data and images left there by a previous Chronithingie. These pictures provide a good sampling of SCA armor making skill and documentation of historical fighting cultures.

Immediately below is a series of pictures taken of three pieces made by Geoffrey Scott.

Golden Horde aristocracy burial "Olen'-Kolodez'"

The following is a short summary of the article "Zolotoordynskie pogrebeniya iz mogil'nika Olen'-Kolodez'" by K. U. Efimov, which appeared in Donskaya Arkheologia, No. 3-4 1999. No ISBN is listed.

This summary concentrates on specific artifacts found in the two mounds described in the article; much detail is left out for the sake of berevity as well as respecting the author's copyright. The reader is encouraged to read the original article, should the reader be able to do so.

The Olen'-Kolodez' mounds are located on the left bank of the Don river, in the Voronezh district. Although they were first mentioned in an archeological map by L.M. Savelov in 1902, they hadn't been explored until 1996, when despite the government protection of the site a construction company started building a road through it. Six mounds were destroyed by the construction work, and then inspected by a team of archeologists. Three of them were nomad burials, two of which are described in detail by Efimov.

These two barrows, #7 and #9, are burials of nomad aristocrats, a male warrior who was buried with his weapons, armour, belt with golden plates, and other items, and a woman (his wife?), buried with rich and highly decorated clothing (very little of which survives) and various "feminine" items such as scissors, a mirror, etc. Both are buried with stirrups, bits, and other elements of a horse harness. The suggested date for the burial is the end of 13th-beginning of 14th century. This article only describes the items found in the man's grave; the woman's will follow.

The man in barrow #7 was buried lying on his back, his head pointing North-North-West. Near his head lay a rolled up maille shirt. It had rusted together over time and its original shape could not be determined. The diameter of the rings is 12 mm, with an oval cross-section, 15x20 mm (this is what the article says. I am guessing that's a typo and it's supposed to be 1.5x2.0 mm). Traces of gold coating were found on some rings.

A helmet was found next to the maille (see figure 1). The helmet is made of two welded halves, a conical upper and a cylindrical lower part. There is a small brim on the front of the helmet. In the top of the helmet there is a small 4 mm opening used for mounting a feather plumage -- traces of the feathers were found on the back of the helmet. A maille aventail no more than 20 cm long was attached to the sides and the back of the helmet by a 2 mm rod which was laced through the top row of rings and then rivetted to the helmet with 8 large rivets with semispherical heads. According to K.U. Efimov, the aventail was fastened in front by an iron buckle which did not survive. The helmet is 25.5 cm tall, and 20.8 cm in diameter at the bottom edge.

A highly decorated bowl with a handle made to resemble a winged dragon was placed close to the helmet (see figure 2). The band on the side and the bottom of the bowl are etched with an herbal motif. The hollow handle is made of two stamped silver plates, and finished with etching. The corners of the dragon's moth have holes, presumably for a ring to pass through. A floral motif adorns the bottom of the bowl. The bowl is 4.7 cm tall, with a 9.5 cm diameter at base and 14.5 diameter at the upper lip. The top illustration is based on the color photograph from the article; the bottom one is based on the line drawing from the same. It shows more detail but is perhaps not quite as true to the shape of the bowl.

An axe decorated with gold inlay lay at the feet of the buried man. The axehead is 14.2 cm long, and the blade of the axe is 9.5 cm wide. The back of the axe features a geometrical pattern of triangles on the two flat areas, and running animals on two other panels. Both flats of the blades depict a stylized elk with two thin gold lines around it. The top and bottom of the axehead also have thin gold lines which run corresponding to the shape of the axe. The hole for the axe handle is round, 2.6 cm in diameter. A 6.5 cm-long section of the wooden handle survived. Its top edge is cut at an angle that matches the angle of the blade. There is a nail hammered into the top of the handle. The nail has a round, semispherical head 2.5 cm long and .7 cm tall, covered in silk brocade.

A very rich belt was also placed in the grave. The fittings found include a silver buckle, a belt tip, 3 large belt plaques, two of which had loops on one side, and 9 smaller plates that were found separateley, in the northern section of the grave. A small length of the belt also survived.

Other items found in the grave (some of which are described in detail by Efimov) were an arrowhead, an earring, an amulet made of green glass, a 13 cm-long file in a wooden carrying case, a 23 cm-long spearhead, a knife, a quiver, various elements of a horse harness, etc. Most of these items speak to exreme richness of the buried man


Article Copyright 2001 Dmitriy Shelomin
Express permission is hereby given for reproduction of this article for non-comercial purposes provided that the article is unaltered and includes this copyright notice.