Ever hear about SCA? Wonder what it is and how to join this organization? In this post, we explain how to join the SCA, aka the Society for Creative Anachronism. We hope to help you find out how to participate in this popular organization.
What is the history of the SCA?
The SCA is an international nonprofit. They are a volunteer educational organization. The organization focuses on the research and recreation of the pre-17th century world. They cover 1000 years of history and focus on many aspects of the medieval world. They look at the skills, arts, combat, and culture of the world before 1600.
Many SCAdians, aka participants of the SCA, will say that they recreate the Middle Ages “as they ought to have been”. Thus, the SCA allows for some modern conveniences in their pursuit of historical accuracy as well as features modern social sensibilities. Overall, this organization covers many countries and people. It has over 25000 paying members.
The Society of Creative Anachronism began on May 1st, 1966. On this date, a group of nerdy friends got together for an outdoor party. That party would eventually be called the First Tournament. The date of May 1st is used as New Years for the organization. 1966 is called Anno Societatis 1 and every year in the SCA calendar is written in Roman numerals. Therefore, May 1st of 2022 begins the year of Anno Societatis LVI.
What is the world of the SCA?
Let’s start with the SCA geography. The SCA is divided into Kingdoms and further down into Baronies, Cantons, and Shires. There are 20 kingdoms in the SCA. Most of the kingdoms are in the United States. These kingdoms include Aethelmearc, Ansteorra, Artemisia, Atenveldt, Atlantia, Caid, Calontir, Gleann Abhann, Meridies, and the Outlands. There are kingdoms that cover parts of the US and Canada, such as An Tir, East Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, and Northshield. Avacal and Ealdormere cover only Canada. Also, the Middle Kingdom has the alternate name of Midrealm.
Meanwhile, Trimaris covers Florida and claims Panama. The West Kingdom covers part of the USA in addition to Japan, Korea, Thailand, and the Pacific Rim. Finally, Lochac and Drachenwald cover multiple countries that are neither the US nor Canada. Drachenwald covers Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Meanwhile, Lochac covers Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Antarctica. The three oldest kingdoms in the SCA are the East, Middle, and West. Meanwhile, the youngest kingdom is Avacal, founded in 2015. You can find your specific kingdom on the SCA website.
What are the names and personas like in the SCA?
When it comes to the background of a participant, some major aspects are the name, persona, and heraldry. A persona is the role and name someone goes by in SCA activities. This can be very simple, such as “Name” of “Location” or “Name” the “Profession”. After all, this was how people were named in the medieval world. The real-world names of Smith, Bower, and others are the names of jobs that medieval people had. The names in the SCA can be very elaborate, and people will try to act as that person throughout their activities.
The main rule regarding names? You can’t take the name of someone from history or legend. You have the option of registering the name of your persona with the organization so that no one else can use it. Along with this, you can register a coat of arms. For the SCA, heraldry is person specific and not family-based like it was historically.
People’s personas are not the only unique names. Real places in SCA get their own unique SCA names. For example, Toronto is “The Royal City of Eoforwic”, while Boston is “The Barony of Carolingia.”
What are the areas of interest or aspects of the SCA?
Another important part of joining the SCA is its aspects. The areas of interest or aspects that the SCA focuses on can be divided into two categories: event based and organization based. The event-based aspects are divided further into Combat and Arts & Sciences. Combat covers Armored Combat, Rapier Combat aka unarmored combat, and Youth Combat. Meanwhile, the rather wide-ranging Arts and Sciences covers the Static Arts aka Fine Arts, the Performing Arts, Dance, and Scribal Arts. For the sciences, there are multiple skills and areas of interest, from agriculture to woodworking and everything in between.
For the organization-based aspects, these mostly revolve around service within the organization as well as awards and titles. Service in the SCA means that you play some role in the regular day-to-day functioning of the organization. This can be as a someone who registers new members or volunteers at an event to make sure that the event occurs. Service in the SCA is wide ranging and covers a variety of different roles. As part of this, a member of the SCA can be an officer.
Along with being an officer, a participant can gain titles. For example, the title of Duke is given to those who have served one or more reigns as a sovereign or consort. There are also the Orders of Chivalry, Mastery of Arms, Laurel, Pelican, and Defense. The Order of the Laurel grants the title of Master or Mistress and focuses solely on the Arts and Sciences. It is these titles and orders that prevent titles from being used in a participant’s registered name. You cannot register as Sir so-and-so since Sir is a title granted from the Order of Chivalry. You gain these titles through service or participation in the SCA.
Can I join the SCA?
Yes! The SCA is an inclusive organization that involves people of all ages and abilities. As mentioned earlier, there is Youth Combat as well as other activities designated for younger participants. One thing to keep in mind is whether you or someone in your family that would like to participate is under the age of 18. If they are, you will most likely have to fill out a parental/guardian release form or waiver. This is to ensure that the organization is not held liable.
Why should I join the SCA?
If you are interested in the medieval world or history in general, you should check out the SCA. It is a great activity for those interested in a specific craft and its history. There are also participants who find that using historical technology and a slower pace is a relaxing pastime compared to their high-tech or fast-paced regular life and job.
What do I need to join the SCA?
Perhaps the most basic requirement is historical-looking clothes. This is usually a tunic-style shirt, plain pants that aren’t jeans, and comfortable shoes that don’t look modern. You can add other things to your kit for a more comfortable experience. It is possible to borrow garb from the SCA if you ask in advance. There are other items that may be event specific. Generally, you want to minimize any modern-looking items.
How do I join the SCA?
First, you will need to find your local group! The SCA makes it very easy for you to find out what your kingdom is, and the kingdoms will help you further with the respective barony, canton, or shire in your area. Once you have found the group, get in contact with them. The person you will usually deal with when you first start is the Chatelaine officer. This position may also be called Hospitaller or Castellan. If a group doesn’t have a Chatelaine, then the Seneschal or chapter president would be the next person to contact. They will help you find out when events and activities are occurring as well as what you would need for that specific event. Finally, you attend an event!
Another optional part of participating in the SCA is paying to be a member. While not required to enjoy the events, it does allow for reduced pricing. In addition, it may be a requirement in some kingdoms for participating in combat and receiving awards. In all SCA groups and kingdoms, you must be a member to hold office. The membership fee helps to support this nonprofit organization. If you are interested in more info about the SCA, check out their Newcomer’s Portal! In addition, they have a Newcomer’s Guide that breaks down the basics of the SCA in more detail.
We hope that we have given you a comprehensive understanding of how to join the SCA. This popular group focuses on the medieval world and brings it into the modern world for you to enjoy and explore. Do you participate in the SCA? If so, what is your favorite part?