May 12, 1981 A.S. XVI
TO: The Members of the College of Arms
FROM: Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel, Laurel King of Arms
Enclosed is the Letter of Acceptances and Rejections for May. Out of the 104 submissions processed, 73 were accepted and 31 rejected. I am now caught up through the middle of March. The next letter I will consider is Caid's March 15 letter, proceeding up to the middle of April. My next College meeting will be on Sunday, June 14. The meetings after that are scheduled for Sunday, July 26; Sunday, August 16; Sunday, September 20; and Sunday, October 18. Occasionally I am forced to move the date of the meeting one week either way, and there is no way I can warn you if this change is done close to the date. There has also been some delay in letters reaching me. Please note that my ZIP code is 94702, not 94703. To avoid missing the meeting, please try to have all Letters of Comment dealing with matters to be considered at a meeting reach me a week before the meeting. This gives me a chance to read the letter ahead of time and to act on other requests buried in the letter.
This leads me to repeat some guidelines for Letters of Comment. When you comment on Letters of Intent, list the letters in chronological order. For each letter give the kingdom and the full date of the letter. When commenting on a person's submission, list the name of the person, not just the number of the entry in the Letter of Intent. If you have comments on my letters, or general proposals for the College or for me, please put these first in the letter, before any comments on LoI's or LoC's. That way I can act upon the requests dealing with me first before filing the letter away to be used in processing the Letters of Intent. When you type up a Letter of Intent, make sure that the submissions are arranged alphabetically by the name of the file they will be filed under. If you have a household badge for House Butterfly being registered to Roger the Tall, it comes under R for Roger, not B for Butterfly or H for House, because it will be filed in Roger's file. After the name, in parentheses, please put a code indicating whether I must make a new file for this submission, or whether the person has an existing file that includes a submission that passed or an existing file in which all submissions were rejected. Use a capital N for new file, a capital P for passed file, and a capital R for rejected file. This will make processing the Letters of Intent much easier for my staff and will avoid the creation of extra files for the same person. Remember that the badge for an order is registered under the name of the group giving the order.
To make it clear why I want some of these procedures to be followed, let me acquaint you with my procedure for processing submissions. When a Letter of Intent comes in, I put that Letter of Intent into a separate file folder with the name of the kingdom and the date of the letter on the top of the folder. I then make up new file folders for each of the set of submission forms unless there is an existing file folder for the person or group involved, in which case I get out the old folder and put the new forms in it. The folders are arranged in alphabetical order and placed after the folder with the Letter of Intent. The whole batch is then placed in the pending file in chronological order, with the most recent batches to the rear. In order to be able to pull the existing file, I must know that there is an existing file and where it is. I file submissions under Passed if that person has anything passed and in the Armorial, and under Rejected if every submission by that person has been rejected.
When I receive a Letter of Comment, I place it in the folder containing the Letter of Intent that is first commented on in the Letter of Comment. Therefore, when I come to process the submission forms in that Letter of Intent, the front folder has the Letter of Intent and every Letter of Comment that comments on it. I pass these letters out to my staff and we go through the submissions one by one, checking each Letter of Comment for comments on that particular submission as well as my own references.
Because I do not have the time to thoroughly research every submission from scratch, I rely heavily on the comments. If anyone brings up a reference from a book I have, I can then check it. If anyone brings up a conflict or a complaint, I can check my references to see if they agree or not. On the basis of what the members of the College say in their comments, on what my own references say, and on the comments of my staff and myself, I make my decision on each submission. Your comments are not only taken seriously, they are necessary to the process.
After I finish a Letter of Intent, I put the batch to the side and file the Letters of Comment into the front folders of the next Letter of Intent that each comments on (which are not the same, because some people comment on the next letter in the queue and others have no comments on it but comment instead on the one after that). Then I take the next Letter of Intent from the chronological pending file and again pass out the Letters of Comment to my staff and we repeat the whole process until all Letters of Intent for that month have been processed. The batches are then separated into acceptances and rejections and sorted into kingdoms alphabetically for the Letter of Acceptances and Rejections.
As you see from this process, it is necessary that I be able to locate all of the comments dealing with a particular Letter of Intent. Therefore, when you comment on various Letters of Comment, if you type all of the comments you have on one Letter of Comment (which itself deals with several Letters of Intent) in one section, and then do the same for each succeeding Letter of Comment, the result is a letter that is practically useless to me. It is useless because I have to sort through every page for every submission of every Letter of Intent I consider to see if there are any comments on comments on that submission. This is both frustrating and time-consuming. Since Letters of Comment on other Letters of Comment are usually sent out just in time to make my meetings, and are intended mainly for my consideration, I would like everybody to organize them for my use. This means to sort all comments on comments by the Letter of Intent involved. Thus you would list the first Letter of Intent in chronological order, and then all comments you had on any comments by various people on that Letter of Intent. For each comment, identify the name of the submission and the author and date of the Letter of Comment you are commenting on. If you really want to be helpful, sort the submissions within the Letter of Intent in alphabetical order. If there are several comments on comments on one submission, list them together. This way they will be organized to match my procedure.
I realize that this requires a second pass for Letters of Comment on comments. You don't have to actually type it twice, though. Type it once and then cut and paste the comments into the above order. Then photocopy for distribution. Please notice that, for my system to work, the Letters of Intent must be separate from Letters of Comment. Do not append comments on Letters of Intent to your own Letter of Intent. Put them in a separate letter. To save mailing and printing costs, and to make it easier for all of us to comment on Letters of Intent and to process the data, I would like all Principal Heralds to include all data on each submission on the Letter of Intent. Then the minutes do not have to be sent to the members of the College of Arms and we each do not have to read two letters for each batch. Send the Letters of Intent to the College of Arms and the minutes to the College of Heralds of the kingdom. I still want copies of minutes for the Laurel files, so I can see what you are doing locally, but you need not send the minutes out to the whole mailing list. Instead, put all the data in the Letter of Intent and we can end the unnecessary duplication and expense of sending out both minutes and Letters of Intent.
There have been some changes to the mailing list. Thomas von Langenfeld is now the acting Dragon Principal Herald of the Middle. Daemon de Folo is still holding the office of Dragon, but is having Thomas do all the work under his supervision while he trains Thomas to take over in the fall. Add to the mailing list Girolamo de Firenze, Ohio-Kentucky Regional Herald (Michael Malloy, 1750 Arlin Place, #A, Fairborn, OH 45324) and Alisoun MacCoul of Elphane, Elmet Herald (E. L. Wimett, P.O. Box 25-R, Wading River, NY 11792).
I received a batch of heraldic titles from Brigantia. I approve of all but two, and include a new typed list of heraldic titles in the SCA. The two I reject are Black Dragon Herald and Bonaçon Pursuivant. The bonaçon was rejected for SCA usage several months back as being too offensive a creature. Therefore it cannot be used as a heraldic title. Black Dragon Herald conflicts with Dragon Herald. You can use Schwarzdrachen Herald instead.
I am enclosing a copy of the Chronicler's proposed rules for usage for the Chronicler's badge, which I forgot to do last month.
After consulting with Master Renfield, and upon the suggestion of Lady Vesper, I have decided to omit the genus and species from the Ordinary. Instead, each plant and animal will have its common name listed in the blazon and, at the back of the Ordinary, we will have a listing of every common name followed by its associated genus and species. This has several benefits. The genus and species, which are actually out of period, will not appear in the official blazon but will instead be scribe's notes. Thus they will not appear in the blazon on scrolls (to the delight of the scribes) nor in the Ordinary. Instead, we will use the common names. The Ordinary will still list the genus and species in a separate listing so that if you wish to draw the device having the Ordinary but not the file, you will still be able to find the genus and species so you can look the plant or animal up in a reference book. Note that this does not change the requirement that genus and species be submitted for plants or animals termed proper. They must still be included in the forms and on the Letter of Intent. It adds the requirement that the common name (including breed) of the plant or animal be listed in the blazon. The genus and species come after the blazon in parentheses. Note that some species have several common names associated with them. You are free to use whichever one you wish. If a common name has several species associated with it, we will list in the listing which species a particular person uses for that common name. This change will save considerable storage in the Ordinary and make it look more period.
Because of this saving of storage, I am calling off the attempt to standardize the spellings of heraldic terms, which many of you objected to. I will allow all terms and spellings which are correct and in period, and those which are out of period but which we have agreed to use anyway. I still welcome information on what the correct spellings are for various terms, and what the period spellings are. When we have several terms which mean the same thing, I would welcome knowing whether they are both in period or if one of them isn't. In particular, I am stopping the changeover of terms from the -é ending to the -y ending. You may use either one. I bow to Star's research and admit that "contourny" is wrong. I hereby allow either "contourné" or "to sinister" to represent a position turned to the sinister. Since I had to correct the Ordinary's usage of "contourny," and since several people objected to "contourné," I have changed "contourny" to "to sinister." >From now on I will take them as they come in. Counter-positions are still reserved for two or more animals going in opposite directions. I have bowed to research and objections and have ruled that "dovetailed" as a line of division is out of period and may no longer be used. I still want to have you all suggest terms we should or should not be using so we can complete our reblazoning efforts before I reprint the Ordinary.
Based upon the responses I have received, I have decided to rule that Society names must either be made of names that were used by mortals in our period or that are created names that are acceptable variants of period names or are in keeping with period name construction. Names were coined in period, and so they may be coined now, but only in keeping with period practices. Names from fictional sources may be used if they satisfy the requirement of being in keeping with period practices. Names which are out of period but are in keeping with period practices should also be allowed, as the date of creation shouldn't matter if the name is in keeping.
If we allow names to be made up by SCA members, then we are allowing names that are, by definition, out of period. Therefore, there is no reason why we should not allow names from the period 1600 to the present or from all sources of fiction, IF those names satisfy all of the other rules and are in keeping with name usage in our period. SCA members will generally accord us the privilege of restricting heraldic usage to period usage, but we will (and we are) run into opposition if we deny people the chance to make up a name without having to either choose a common name or be a scholar on names. We can validly require that all names be in keeping with period usage, no matter what the source. This is what propose to do. Any objections?
Please realize that I am speaking of given names mostly. Epithets and sobriquets are words with specific meanings instead of general names, and so will have to be in keeping with period usage because the spelling and grammar will have to be correct for the intended meaning, and the language used will have to be in period. Patronymics must use a period patronymic form and the father's name must itself be in keeping with period practice. Place names must be in keeping with period practice, and must not violate the ruling about being places outside period culture. This means the places must be mortal places and must be from medieval (or pre-medieval) cultures. Thus, in choosing place names from fiction, one cannot use place names from most science fiction stories, as the stories generally have too high a level of science. In choosing names from fantasy, one cannot use places where mortals did not dwell. It is all right to use a place name from a story where magic works if the rest of the culture is compatible with period culture. Given names from these stories can be used if they are in keeping with period usage, and if they are mortal names. Names used only by non-mortals may not be used. Names which are unique to famous people and characters will be treated on a case-by-case basis, but are usually not allowed. People may still use their mundane given name. All names must still include at least one given name. By requiring that all names be in keeping with period usage, we automatically must restrict the number of languages in a personal name to two, as the use of more than two languages in a name would have been unheard of in our period. We might also want to put a limitation on the number of given names used in an SCA name, as middle names are only barely in period. A proper name should have at most a given name, a patronymic, a family name and a place name. A sobriquet could be substituted for one of the latter three, but I don't think it would be period usage to have all five. I can see no justification for more than five names, and would lean towards four names as a limit. (This does not include articles and prepositions.) What do you think? A person can have as many nicknames, epithets and sobriquets as s/he wants or is linked to, but these are not really part of the formal name and are not needed for identification unless s/he only has a given name. Then the epithet or sobriquet provides the identification. Restricting the name to four sub-names prevents the registration of excessive epithets but does allow one for proper uses.
I have listened to everybody's comments on heraldic monsters and, like made-up names, I wish to adopt a consistent stance on made-up monsters. Therefore, I have decided that henceforth there will be a moratorium on the normal registration of out-of-period monsters and of made-up monsters. Instead, we will allow people to petition the College of Arms for acceptance of a particular monster, on a case-by-case basis. Such proposed monsters may be made up or out of period monsters. The question will be whether the monster is in keeping with period practice and whether the College feels it would be a good idea to allow its use in the SCA. Once approved, the monster is available for use by anybody in the SCA. All monsters already registered now are still available for general use. I hereby present the first such petition, namely, the enfield. I think it is clearly in keeping with period practice, although it is out of period. Is it a good idea to allow it to be used in the SCA? Shall we allow its general use in the SCA? What do you think?
I want to make one thing clear. Even though we do not allow the use of certain sources for names, we still protect those sources against conflict. By this I mean that you may not conflict with the names of important characters in fiction, even though they may be in science fiction books that you could not otherwise take names from in the first place. The SCA is formed of a highly literate populace and was founded by fans, and so we should not allow names to conflict with those of fictional characters.
One thorny problem remains with the ruling that names must be in keeping with period practice. Names from fiction can be treated as made-up names for this purpose. But there is the problem of made-up names using languages from fiction, where the translation of the name is fine, but the name itself is not in keeping with period usage. I refer specifically to the use of the languages of Tolkien's Middle Earth. Names that are actually used in the Lord of the Rings and his other books can be treated as made-up names and looked at by that criterion to see if they can be considered acceptable mutations of period names. One must still avoid names of non-mortals. There is the problem of names coined using the languages of Middle Earth. The translations can be quite acceptable, and the name can be in keeping with Middle Earth usage, but not with period usage. The question is this: Shall we allow the use of the languages of Middle Earth to justify made-up names for SCA use? Or shall we forbid it on the ground that these languages are out of period, like Esperanto? If we forbid its use we would still have to allow a name which was an Elvish word but which could also be shown to be an acceptable mutation or combination of period names. Therefore, what we would be forbidding would be the use of Tolkien's languages as a justification of a name. We would still consider the meaning of a word in these languages, because we still do not want somebody using an otherwise period style name that means Lord of the Valar in Sindarin. The same holds true for a name with an unacceptable translation in Esperanto. Place names in Middle Earth that were mortal habitations would be allowed, just like names from other fiction sources. However, you would have to be careful trying to coin new Middle Earth place names. Remember one thing: the College considers only the SCA name and the person's heraldic submissions. We do not register, nor do we even want to know, about a person's persona. That is their business. If a person wants to call himself John the Tall, and consider his persona to be that of an elf in human clothing, that's his business. As John the Tall is acceptable usage, we wouldn't care what his persona is. However, he cannot call himself John the Elf, because we do care about what his name is. Therefore, a person cannot use the fact that his persona is that of a ranger in Middle Earth as a justification of using a made-up name in Sindarin. Please note that this new question does not stop a person from using given names or place names from fiction. That was settled before. What the question is now is: Shall we allow the Middle Earth languages, or any other fictional languages that are out of period, to be used as an approved method of coining new SCA names? What do you think?
I am enclosing a copy of a letter to Virgule in reply to his letters listing submissions that had not been acted upon. Please check your files for copies of those submissions for which I state I have no forms, and resubmit them.
Pray believe, my Lords and Ladies, that I remain
Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel
Laurel King of Arms