We are the UC Berkeley branch of the SCA. The SCA is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. Our “Known World” consists of 18 kingdoms, with over 30,000 members residing in countries around the world. Members, dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, attend events which may feature tournaments, arts exhibits, classes, workshops, dancing, feasts and more. Our “royalty” hold courts at which they recognize and honor members for their contributions to the group. Our Seneschal (club president) and Chatelaine (club welcoming committee chair) welcome you.
- View the The Kingdom of the West upcoming events.
A non-inclusive list of things we do: Agriculture, Archery, Armoring, Bardic Recitation, Basketry, Book Binding, Bow Making, Brewing, Calligraphy, Candle Making, Cooking, Costuming & Accessories, Dancing, Drama & Comedy, Drawing, Dyeing, Embroidery, Falconry, Fighting, Gaming, Glass Blowing, Heraldry, Herbalism, Horn Working, Horsemanship, Horticulture, Husbandry, Illumination, Instrumental Music, Jewelry, Juggling, Lace making, Lapidary, Leather Working, Languages, Masonry, Masquing & Mime, Mathematics, Medicine, Merchanting, Metal Working, Musical Composition, Musical Instrument Making, Needlework, Newsletters & Publications, Painting, Paper Making, Pavilion Making, Period Fencing, Philosophy, Poetry, Pottery, Riddles, Rug Making, Scribing, Sculpture, Spinning, Tanning, Tool Making, Toy Making, Tumbling, Vinting, Vocal Music, Weapon Smithing, Weaving, Woodworking.
Message from the Seneschal
Welcome to the College of Sainte Katherine. We are the UC Berkeley student-run branch of an international society dedicated to the research and re-enactment of the Middle Ages in Europe. I recall from when I first joined the SCA the description “the Middle Ages as they should have been.” That’s what it’s all about for me. There’s a fascination in the re-creation of costumes, arts, courtesies, furniture and pastimes from history; but we are doing without the undesirable parts such as the plague, oppression of women and minorities, poor sanitation, religious fanaticism, etc.
This group is perfect for anyone who enjoys creating things of both aesthetic form and useful function; who feels overwhelmed by the enormity of today’s society (or even just today’s UC Berkeley) and wants to become part of a more intimate, courteous and creative society. The ideal of this society is commonly referred to as “The Dream.”
The members of the Kates become quite close as a group. Often our closest college friends turn out to be fellow Kates. The events we attend, especially the camping events, allow for a combination of structured cooperation and festivity difficult to find in the ‘mundane’ world.And we often gather informally to work on costumes and other projects and just generally enjoy one another’s company.
Yours in Service to The Dream,
Original text believed to have been mostly contributed by former Kates Seneschalle, Alys Rose de Le Havre
Message from the Chatelaine
We are the College of Sainte Katherine, the UC Berkeley branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). You can call us the Kates. The SCA is an international, non-profit educational society that exists all over the continental U. S., in Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
It was started in Berkeley in the mid-60’s with a medieval-themed party at writer Diana Paxson’s house, and gained in popularity until it became the organization that exists today, with thousands of members worldwide. The SCA is divided into Kingdoms. We are in the West Kingdom, which encompasses northern California, Nevada and Alaska. Each modern location has an SCA name – the Bay Area is the Principality of the Mists, San Francisco is the Shire of Cloondara, Europe is called the Kingdom of Drachenwald, and so forth. Each kingdom has a King and Queen who become monarchs when one of them fights in and wins a Crown Tournament. Both men and women participate in SCA style fighting.
The SCA is centered most heavily around sword fighting, where combatants wear full armor and fight with shields of wood and leather, and “swords” and other “weapons” made of rattan. We hold tournaments to determine which fighter and consort will become royalty. The fighters who exhibit valor, chivalry, and honour can become knights. Other fighting styles include fencing (with rapiers) and archery.
Music is an integral part of the SCA, with dancing and singing or playing instruments. At camping events it is popular to get a “bardic circle” started around a campfire, where people show off their skills in traditional songs and original pieces. The Principality of the Mists and the West Kingdom each have their own Bard, a role changed yearly through competition. We learn a variety of country and court dances from England, France and Italy, which are easy and lots of fun.
Nearly every weekend there is an event going on someplace, where members of different SCA groups get together for fighting, dancing, feasting, or classes in arts and crafts. This is where people are most active in incorporating their personae and SCA names. Each member can create a persona – for example, a merchant from 13th century France – and create a name and garb (period clothing) that fit that persona. We can even design a heraldic coat of arms. The SCA “period” generally covers Europe from the fall of the Roman Empire, around the 6th century AD, to 1600; but many people develop Asian or Middle Eastern personae; they are treated as guests visiting Europe. Some events last only a day, but others, like Crown tourneys and Coronations, last a whole weekend, so participants camp out the whole time. A typical Crown tournament will include the fighting competition to determine the next monarch and consort, as well as fencing tourneys, arts and sciences competitions, and dance contests. Bardic circles and parties form in the evening at several camps around the event.
Hope to see you soon!
Original text believed to have been mostly contributed by former Kates Chatelaine, Vittoria Aureli
Kates device graphic by Michael Kleber.
Original website design by former Kates Chronicler, Dmitriy Shelomianin
Graphics on this site courtesy of
This is the recognized website for the College of Ste. Katherine of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. This site may contain electronic versions of the group’s governing documents. Any discrepancies between the electronic version of any information on this site and the printed version that is available from the originating office will be decided in favor of the printed version.
The original contributors retain the copyright of certain portions of this site.