What is the SCA?
Copyright © 2006, Matthew Olney
The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is a non-profit, educational group that recreates the Western European Middle Ages in pre-1600 times. We say “re-create”
because instead of re-enacting specific historical events, we choose aspects of pre-1600
life to re-create through the use of a “persona”. a character that we create that could have
lived in period.
SCA is the meaning of “Creative Anachronism”. An oft-quoted though unofficial SCA
motto is, “The Middle Ages as they should have been” — that is to say, lacking such
undesirable elements as religious persecution, bubonic plague, and open-pit sewers.
People in the SCA study and re-create martial activities including armored combat,
fencing, archery, siege weapons and more. Our artisans research, create and teach music,
poetry, cooking, singing, dancing, metalsmithing, tailoring, armoring, etc. Through the
hard work of dozens and even hundreds of volunteers, we host events all over the country
The SCA encompasses all of the “Knowne World”, nineteen Kingdoms across the globe.
The Kingdom of Atlantia encompasses all of Maryland, the District of Columbia, North
Carolina, South Carolina, most of Virginia and a small portion of Georgia. Atlantia is in
turn divided into a number of local groups: Baronies, Shires, and Strongholds; and even
further into Cantons and Colleges.
The Society as a whole, each kingdom, and each local group within a kingdom, all have a
standard group of officers—with titles loosely based on medieval equivalents.
Seneschal – The seneschal acts as the administrative head of the group. Every
local group is required to have a seneschal who reports to the kingdom’s
Exchequer – The treasurer, handles the financial matters of the group. Every local
group is required to have one. The Society Chancellor of the Exchequer, who
administrates the kingdom and local reeves, reports to the Society Treasurer who
handles the corporate finances.
Knight Marshal – The combat supervisor, the knight marshal administrates heavy
(rattan and armor) combat activities for the group. A local group is required to
have one in order to host combat activities.
Minister of Arts and Sciences – This office coordinates arts and sciences activities
for the group, arranging classes and demonstrations, and leading participants to
others who work in fields of their interest.
Herald – This officer is in charge of heraldic activities, such as the creation and
registration of names and arms. Each kingdom has a College of Heralds which
prepares submissions to go to the Society of College Arms headed by the Laurel
Sovereign of Arms.
Chatelaine – In charge of welcoming and facilitating new participants into the
Chirurgeon – In charge of safety and modern first aid. This officer usually has
some form of medical training outside the Society.
Rapier Marshal – Supervises rapier (fencing) activities for the group.
Constable – In charge of maintaining and tracking liability waivers for events and
Chronicler – Produces and edits the group’s newsletter. The Society Chronicler
monitors each of the kingdom and local group’s chroniclers, while the SCA’s two
organization-wide publications, Tournaments Illuminated and The Complete
Anachronist, each have their own editor-in-chief.
Minister of Minors – Arranging and officiating children’s activities.
Historian – Recording the history of the group, from the local to the Society level.
Webminister – Derived from webmaster, this officer is in charge of maintaining
the Internet presence of the group.
Ruler by ‘right of arms’ (SCA combat)
Each SCA kingdom is “ruled” by a king and queen chosen by winning a Crown
Tournament. This is required by Corpora to be held as a “properly constituted armored
combat” tournament. The winner of the Crown Tournament and his/her Consort are
styled “Crown Prince and Princess” and serve an advisory period under the current King
and Queen prior to acceding to the throne and ruling in their turn. The advisory period
can last anywhere from three to six months depending upon the scheduling of the Crown
Personal integrity and honesty play an important role in how bouts are fought. The
recipient of a blow is the sole judge of whether the blow was “good” (sufficient for an
edged weapon to cause injury) or not.