Scolairi Notes

Feb AS XL (2006)


MoAS Report

Rapier Corner

Officer Notes

Scola Scribendi

Da'ud Bob: Hamlet


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From the Seneschal

Greetings Fellow Scolairians,

First of all I would like to remind everyone that we have two demos scheduled for this month. The first is on February 11th and the second is on February 26th. Please see me for the details if you can make it.

Maidens and Twelfth Night were a blast. Congratulations to all our own who were recognized by Their Majesties at Maidens. We have White Knights and Rites of Spring coming in the next couple of months. Also for those making the journey to the southern kingdoms for Gulf Wars you better see to your camping gear. If anyone you know who is deserving of recognition from the Crown is heading to Gulf Wars please write to Their Majesties.

I'm planning a curia meeting for this month. If you have any concerns you would like us to discuss, please let me know.

Be nice and play safe,

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MoAS Report

Greetings to all,

This month the Arts and Sciences meetings will be on Feb. 2 and 16 at First United Methodist Church. The first meeting will have come and gone by the time you read this column, so the first meeting will have concentrated on projects and perhaps dancing if enough people attend.

At the last meeting we discovered that we can no longer use the kitchen because of liability concerns, so we will not be able to do any pewter casting at the church. I am looking into some alternatives, such as casting in someone’s home, since I would like to have Dame Ellen teach another class on casting. Some of us, myself included, would like to try making buttons.

Some other projects that have been suggested have to do with “All Things String” as Mary Buchanan calls it. Unfortunately this presupposes that we have someone who can teach this type of thing. If you know anyone who could teach frame weaving, cardweaving, inkle weaving, etc. or sprang, or naalbinding, please give me a call. In fact , if you have any type of special interest that you could teach, please contact me.

In the meantime there is a fairly new guild for weavers called the Guild of Withie and Woolmongers. You can access the guild webpage by going to the Middle Kingdom webpage and looking under Chartered Guilds or by going direct to


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Rapier Corner

Maiden's rapier brought a few announcements. The new Society Rapier Rules have been approved. Included in the rules is cut and thrust (what used to be sidesword). Cut and thrust is aimed at more historical fencing and will have it's own set of rules. Christian Fournier is heading that up, and will have more information coming out soon. If anybody has any cut and thrust questions, let me know and I'll point you in the right direction.

Other news...Phillipe de Leon will be the rapier commander for Gulf Wars. Mircah will be his second. If you'll be fencing at Gulf Wars, please contact Phillipe. That way he'll have an idea how many people he'll have. More towards the homefront, our two MITs are a test away from becoming fully warranted. I'm still looking for someone to take over the group marshallate. What does being a group marshal entail? It means setting practices (and working with the Knight's Marshal), making sure there is a marshal at the practice, making sure the loaner equipment is at practices and in working order, making sure fencers are safe, and sending in quarterly reports including a Domesday report with a roster of all the fencers in the shire.

One final announcement, I have accepted the Deputy Regional Marshal position. I'm not sure what all that will entail, but we'll see.

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Officer Notes

Missing Officer Reports/Articles:

Pursuivant - Dugan - No article this month.

Exchequer - Francesca - No article this month.

Knight’s Marshal – Angelique du Soleil - No article this month.

Archery - Simon - No article this month

Thrown Weapons - Vladymyr - No article this month

Chatelaine - Kytte - No article this month.

Minister of Children - Guenivere - No article this month.

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Scola Scribendi

Wintry Greetings unto Baile na Scolairi.

Blank scrolls are always welcome as the spring event season draws near. I am amazed and inspired by the beautiful work our local scribes have created. Keep up the good work!

Are you looking for an opportunity to teach or take a scribal class? There are quite a few excellent events coming up:

The Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium will be hosted by the Kingdom of Gleann Abhann in Metarie, LA this June 16th through 18th. For further information, contact the Autocrat: THL Katryne MacIntosh the Strange (

The Royal University of the .Midrealm is being hosted by the Barony of Brendoken in Smithville, OH on March 25th. The web site for this event is not yet operational, so keep an eye on the Pale and the Kingdom calendar for further details.

The Midlands Regional A&S Faire will be hosted by Swordcliffe in Decatur IL, April 29th. Details are available on the event web site:

I’ve also heard rumors that our Dragon Herald is working on another Middle Kingdom Heraldic and Scribal Symposium sometime in late April.

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Da'ud Bob

Well, you know I just had to get around to reviewing this one sooner or later. I mean, if there is one movie which has set the standard for everyone who wants to film a play by Shakespeare, this is it. It’s the one that everyone looks to, and the one that everyone tries to at least equal if not exceed. (Some do, most don’t. After all, this one won four Oscars, including Best Actor and Best Picture) So of course I had to review it. And it’s got such a great narrative introduction: “So oft it chances in particular men / That through some vicious mole of nature in them, / By the o'ergrowth of some complexion / Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason, / Or by some habit grown too much; that these men - / Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect, / Their virtues else - be they as pure as grace, / Shall in the general censure take corruption / From that particular fault.... This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind.” And so it is that this month, Da’ud Bob reviews Laurence Olivier’s magnum opus of a “man who could not make up his mind”, Hamlet.

Starring, naturally, Laurence Olivier in the title role, with Basil Sydney as Claudius the king, Eileen Herlie as Gertrude the queen, Norman Wooland as Horatio, Felix Aylmer as Polonius, Jean Simmons as Ophelia, Terence Morgan as Laertes, Stanley Holloway the Gravedigger, Anthony Quayle as Marcellus, John Laurie as Francisco, Peter Cushing in an entirely un-Grand Moff Tarkin-like (think the original Star Wars) role as Osric, and Christopher Lee in an uncredited role as a “Spear carrier”, if you don’t know the plot of this one, you haven’t been reading this column very long. Da’ud Bob has reviewed for you at least three other versions of this play, all done with more or less success: the Mel Gibson Hamlet (1990); the Ethan Hawke updated Hamlet (2000); and the Kenneth Branagh four-hour Hamlet (1996). There was also our review of the “historical” Hamlet, 1994's Royal Deceit with Christian Bale as Amled, “Prince of Jutland”.

Good points: It’s Shakespeare! It’s Shakespeare done well!! It’s “film noir” Shakespeare. The voiceover soliloquies. The camera work. The fight choreography by Dennis Loraine. (In the credits, they called it “sword play”.)

Bad points. The queen’s dresses. Ophelia’s dresses. (I don’t care that Roger K. Furse won the Oscar for Best Costume Design for this film, those dresses did not belong in this film.) Polonius is old enough to be his son Laertes’ and daughter Ophelia’s grandfather, not father. The tall Celtic cross with knotwork on all the arms – in Denmark?? That was a long way to propose a toast. Polonius’ whole long talk with Ophelia about Hamlet could have been summed up much more simply down here in the Kingdom of Lonestarrora in five words: “Darlin’, that boy ain’t right.” No Rosenkrantz or Guildenstern.

Zero breasts. Zero blood. Seven dead bodies. One ghost. Poison fu. Dagger fu. Rapier fu. French fop rolls. Gratuitous fanfares. Gratuitous tights. Gratuitous fog. Gratuitous book tossing. Gratuitous French fop. (I told you it was a most un-Grand Moff Tarkin-like role!) Academy Award nominations to Laurence Olivier for being one of the first, and certainly one of the best, to bring Shakespeare to the screen, and for using some of the strengths of the film medium, instead of simply filming a production of the stage play. A 72 on the Vomit Meter. 3 Stars. Da’ud Bob says, “This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind. Make up yours and check it out!”

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Yes, Virginia, Wingnuts are period

Everyone in the SCA should try to go to England and/or Europe on an artifact-finding mission. Although Ellen and I, with Avery and Berengaria, traveled to London and throughout a large chunk of England, I’m already planning the stopovers for my next trip!

In spite of some well developed advance planning, I goofed and left the big map with all the pins and flags at home. Drat!! So we had to go back through the guide books and try to find the sights that were uppermost in our memories. It turned out okay, because I’m sure we had planned way more sightseeing than we could have physically managed each day.

The best over all SCA experience we found was at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum. This is a working farm that looks like it materialized right out of the Tudor era. Seems that any time the British are preparing to demolish a historic building from that time period, these folks at Weald and Downland ask if they can disassemble the building and move it to their “farm” instead (provided the building’s still in good shape). Then they brought in ancient breeds of animals and plants to add to the ambience.

There was a working water-mill to grind the wheat, a charcoal-making camp, a human-sized “hamster wheel” to draw buckets of water from the well, and a working Tudor kitchen. Although Tudor isn’t really the time period any of us were interested in, this place made me want to become a Tudor persona. I encountered the same thing at many of the museums and sites we visited. The early Roman artifacts were very interesting!! So even if you don’t see extant examples of precisely the art, science, time period or whatever you are particularly fond of, there are so many other fascinating historical objects and places to see everywhere you turn. I was able to find the answers to questions I didn’t even know I wanted to ask! For Example:

When they poured a pewter spoon, did they pour the bowl as a flat piece and hammer it into a scooped shape? Or did they pour it into a mold in which the bowl was already rounded? Well, we saw pewter molds made for BOTH ways!! So either way you want to make spoons, it will be consistent with what they did in our SCA period. Shall we try some pewter spoons next?

No matter what anyone else tries to tell you, knitting definitely IS within our period. We saw a hat, a vest, a stocking or legging, and a mitten of knitted wool. The surviving pieces on display varied from early to late 16th century. I believe the description on one said that after the knitting was complete, the woolen items would have been “fulled,” or washed and shrunk up to tighten the knitting stitches.

We saw a wire framework remaining from one of those house-shaped hats called a gabled hennin. The cut end of the wire looked like it was melted into a flattish, teardrop shaped lump, as though it had at one time been soldered to the connecting corner wire, or perhaps it was just formed into that bulbous shape to keep the wire from being sharp enough to poke through the surrounding fabric.

I’m still not sure they know whether some of the larger bone, ivory and wood pins were destined to be used as dress-pins or as hair-pins. Both kinds of pins looked very much the same to me, and I didn’t see any explanation about how one would determine what the intended use would have been… Maybe dress pins were sharper than hair pins? Many of these large (up to 8 inches!), decorative pins had top knots which were carved to look like an acorn, the head or bust of a woman, a horse, or a diamond. I took photos, so pretty soon I can make myself one!!

Avery pointed out two pieces of armor in the Medieval Exhibit at the Fitzwilliam Museum, because each had a section where the fastening was not rivets, but wing-nuts!! I believe this was probably for quick removal, since one of the examples was on a piece of horse-armor, and the other was on the shoulder-piece of some tournament or jousting armor. The wing nuts were visibly worn and tarnished, rusted and pitted, just like the surrounding armor.

I do hope we have a chance to tell you more about our trip sometime soon. Ellen is preparing our photos to share with all. So start saving your pennies, because I’m sure you’ll soon want to travel to England as well!!

Bon voyage,

Mary Buchanan

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This is the on-line version of The Scolairi Notes.  Scolairi Notes is the publication of the Shire of Baile na Scolairi, a branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.  Scolairi Notes is available from Renee LeVeque, 711 E Taylor, Bloomington, IL 61701, at no cost.  It is not a corporate publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., and does not delineate SCA policies.  Opinions expressed herein are not those of  the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.  Webbed version created by Rory mac Feidhlimidh.