How to Write to the Crown

In my role as a territorial baroness, I am often called on to compose letters to the Crown of the Midrealm. When I was invested, my predecessors gave me good advice on how to do this, and I would like to share it — along with my own knowledge, gained from experience — with the populace generally.

In this post, I’ll be talking about how to write to SCA royalty. I’ll discuss what information to include as well as how to make your letter sound beautiful and more “medieval”.

But first: Why do we do this?

The more special you make your letter, the more special They will feel to receive it. Continue reading

Five Chinese Poems

Some time ago, I acquired a fan, because sitting in court in summer is hot, and also because one needs a fan in order to whisper behind it. The particular fan I purchased has several poems written on it in Chinese characters.

(As I suspected based on the forms of the poems, it turns out that they are in Chinese — as opposed to Japanese, Korean, etc. — but now I’m getting ahead of myself.)

Front of Fan

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Proposed Criteria: Middle Kingdom A&S Division I

As many of you know, the Middle Kingdom is currently working on updating the criteria for A&S competitions. I’m the team lead for Division I, which includes the performing and literary arts.

It is very important that the new criteria work well for the people who plan to enter these categories in A&S fairs. So Midrealm performing and literary artists, we need your feedback!

As categories become available for public commentary, I’ll post links to them here. Please read and comment on any that are of interest to you.

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Warrior Ethics in Japanese War Tales

Today I get to talk about one of my favorite literary genres: the Japanese war tale!

War tales (gunki monogatari) are books of Japanese prose fiction about wars and other military conflicts, primarily written in the Kamakura and Muromachi periods (though some of those I’ll discuss are even older). Usually written by anonymous authors or compiled from oral tradition, war tales depict actual historical events and characters in a fictionalized way. Although they’re not always completely historically accurate, war tales are valuable resources for medieval Japanese ideas about specific historical events, the overall meaning of those events, and values about warfare and the people involved in warfare. Continue reading

The Carmina Burana

In 1803, a manuscript was discovered in a Benedictine abbey of Benediktbeuern, 50 km south of Munich, a discovery that was do be crucial to our understanding of Latin secular writing in medieval Europe. Because it was found in Beuren, Johann Andreas Schmeller, who published a complete edition of the poems in 1847, called the manuscript Carmina Burana. Continue reading

Piae cantiones ecclesiasticae et scholasticae veterum episcoporum… and Neale & Helmore

Last night we received our first big snowfall of the year, and that means it’s time to talk about Piae cantiones!

Why should you become familiar with Piae cantiones? Only because it’s a incredibly rich source of medieval Christmas music, some of which you already know. And because it’s easy for modern musicians to read and understand. And because of its importance to the history of religious and school music in Scandinavia. And because what other medieval Finnish music do you know? Continue reading