Tune: Ash GroveWhen I was a newbie
One of my activities is historical recreation, particularly with the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA), who attempt to recreate various portions of the Middle Ages, e.g, music, cooking, dancing, fighting. All of the references are explanatory notes; if you're in the SCA, you might want to ignore them (since you will very likely disagree with my pithy descriptions!).
The different chapters of the Society are referred to as "Kingdoms" (East, West, etc.). The nominal rulers of each kingdom are chosen every six months at a "Crown Tourney". (The practice approximates that used in Medieval tournaments, where a "King for a day" would be chosen by combat)
To be King (or Queen) by right of arms is to win Crown Tourney. The people in charge of organizing fighting in any particular group are known as Marshalls. The primary goal of the Marshall in the SCA is to make sure that the fighting is safe (the level of risk in SCA fighting is lower than in most sports), and to encourage people to take up fighting. Weapons in SCA fighting are made out of rattan (a breed of bamboo); armor in the SCA is often made out of metal and in many cases, comparable to actual medieval armor.
A knight is a fighter who has been knighted by a reigning King.
The different subgroups that recreate music, cooking, etc., are often referred to as "Guilds" (e.g., the Cooks' Guild). A jongleur is a musician; the leader of a guild is the Guildmaster or Guildmistress.
Playford's English Dancing Master is one of the major sources of pre-modern dance. A "bransle" (pronounced "brawl") is a group dance, usually done in a circle. A galliard is an athletic sort of dance.
In feudal times, opposing armies would recognize each other by identifying insignia, known as heraldry (the French fleur de lys and the Welsh lion are perhaps the best known examples); individual works of heraldry are known as "devices". In the SCA, functions of the heralds include announcements, and helping people pick devices and names. The (loose) association of heralds is referred to as the College of Heralds.
Heralds use a different language than the rest of us, in part because of the need to specify devices. The simplest part to learn is the names of colors, which get divided into two categories: metals, which include or (gold) and argent (silver or white), and the colors, which are azure (blue), verd (green), gules (red), sable (black). (The basic rule of heraldry is never put metal on metal, or color on color: you can't have a white (argent) cat on a gold (or) background, since it's metal on metal; likewise, you can't have a black (sable) cat on green (verd). This rule supposedly comes from the need to be able to identify a device at a distance; color on color or metal on metal would blend into each other.
An SCA event is sometimes referred to as a tourney. Various activities go on at these tourneys, including fighting, dancing, etc. A bardic circle ("circle bardic" here, because of the need for scansion) is a group of people who sing songs, tell stories, etc. In camping events (the largest of which is known as Pensic, and occurs in August: Pensic has as many as 10,000 people on site), these bardic circles are often situated around campfires.
A "newbie" is a colloquial term for someone new to the SCA.
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