SCA - College of Arms
P.O. Box 742825
Dallas, TX 75374-2825
(214) 276-2129

January 1, 1996

Unto the members of the College of Arms and all others who may read this missive do Shayk Da'ud ibn Auda, Laurel King of Arms, and Baron Talan Gwynek, Pelican King of Arms, send Greetings!

The December 1995 Laurel meeting is scheduled for Saturday, December 9, 1995, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: East (8/11); An Tir (8/12); Middle (8/21); Outlands (8/22); Trimaris (8/25); Atlantia (8/27); Meridies (8/30); and West (8/30). Original commentary on these LoIs must be in the College's hands no later than October 31, 1995. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than November 30, 1995.

The January 1996 Laurel meeting is scheduled for Saturday, January 13, 1996, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: Caid (9/1); Atenveldt (9/10); Ansteorra (9/10); An Tir (9/17); Atlantia (9/17); East (9/26); Calontir (9/26); and West (9/27). Original commentary on these LoIs must be in the College's hands no later than November 30, 1995. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than December 31, 1995.

The February 1996 Laurel meeting is scheduled for Saturday, February 17, 1996, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: An Tir (10/12); Atlantia (10/15); Caid (10/18); Trimaris (10/25); Caid (10/27); West (10/29); and East (10/29). Original commentary on these LoIs must be in the College's hands no later than December 31, 1995. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than January 31, 1996.

The March 1996 Laurel meeting is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, March 23, 1996, and will consider Letters of Intent dated and mailed in November 1995. Original commentary on these LoIs must be in the College's hands no later than January 31, 1996. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than February 28, 1996.

Not all Letters of Intent may be considered when they are originally scheduled on this Cover Letter. Date of mailing of the LoI, date of receipt of the Laurel packet, or other factors may delay consideration of certain Letters of Intent. Additionally, not all Letters of Intent received have been scheduled because the administrative requirements (receipt of the forms packet, receipt of the necessary fees, etc.) have not yet been met.


Sure, sure, it never fails. Less than a week after mailing out the newest Roster, there are changes! Ah, well....

Please add to the Roster and mailing list as a commenting herald from Calontir Daði Þorfinnsson (David V. Houston), Box 86, Aredale, IA 50606-0086; (515) 894-3323.

Palimpsest (Laurel Staff) has a new address. It is: Rouland Carre (Richard R. Hershberger), P.O. Box 154, Creekside, PA 15732.

DEFAULT POSTURES (or, Which Way Does It Go, George, Which Way Does It Go?)

In his commentary on one of the submissions considered this month, Palimpsest made an excellent point when he noted that "There are certain creatures which SCA blazonry forgets have default postures. Ironically these tend to be the most common creatures with the most obvious defaults. Thus we cheerfully flip through the Pic.Dic. to check which way an acorn goes by default, then turn around and blazon that the lion is rampant and the eagle is displayed." Laurel himself recalls times when as a commenter he noted something to the effect that "Lions are rampant by default, but SCA practice is to specifically blazon the fact."

I am not at all certain that this is a practice which either needs to or should be continued. As Rouland noted, the default postures for lions, eagles, even griffins, are the "most common creatures with the most obvious defaults." I propose that just as we do not blazon the posture or orientation of other charges which are in their defaults (as we already do with, e.g., arrows, leaves, keys, acorns, swords, etc.), we can safely and reasonably drop blazoning specifically the postures of lions which are rampant, eagles which are displayed, griffins which are segreant, and other common heraldic charges which are in their default postures. Unless there is significant commentary opposed to this, I expect to be able to begin doing this with LoARs this spring.


Accuracy Is a Virtue. Submissions heralds do their clients no favor when they omit diacritical marks and change the capitalization of name elements, especially when the submitter permits no changes whatsoever. We all make typos, but please check and double-check the name headers.

Commenters Should Also Be Virtuous. Commenters need to be careful, too. Last month one decision depended partly on whether lamp-lighting was a possible period occupation. Commentary on the issue included an assertion that the Encyclopedia Britannica dated the installation of public street lights in Paris and London to the early nineteenth century; in hopes of learning more, Pelican checked and found that the article explicitly refers only to public gas-lighting. Errors of this kind are especially unfortunate, since they could cause a name to be returned unnecessarily.

Briana verch Keridwen verch Rhiannon, or `Not Another SCA-Compatible Name!' The name submission Brianna of Sylverwode (East) once again raised the issue of Latinate feminizations of masculine Celtic names. Latin doublets like Julius/Julia are common, and where Latin influence was sufficiently strong, this technique of inflectional change of gender was borrowed into other languages. In particular, it is frequent in many of the Continental Germanic dialects: beside masculine Hildramnus, for instance, we find feminine Hilderana, despite the fact that the deuterotheme -ramnus, -rannus was originally masculine. Where Latin influence was less pervasive we may find names Latinized by the addition of a suffix of the appropriate gender, usually -us (masculine) or -a (feminine), but these endings do not seem to have been used to change the gender of the names themselves. In particular, there is no evidence that the Celtic masculine names Morgan, Alan, and Brian were feminized in this way; Morgana, Alana, and Briana are apparently modern inventions.

There are almost as many registrations of Briana as there are of Ceridwen (including variants in both cases, but counting only given names); since Ceridwen has been ruled SCA-compatible, we reluctantly extend the same allowance to Briana. There are significantly fewer registrations of Morgana and Alana, however, and tradition does not compel us to treat them the same way. We therefore solicit commentary on whether to continue to allow these and other similarly-formed names for which there is no evidence of period use. All commentary received by the end of April, 1996, will be considered at the May meeting.

No Room for Runes. The submission of Thyra Thorkilsdottir (Middle) raised another interesting question. The submitter justified some unusual spellings on the grounds that she was transliterating Scandinavian runes. On the face of it this should be acceptable enough, since we allow a variety of transliterations of Arabic, Hebrew, and Cyrillic writing, among others. On further investigation, however, this proved to be a rather different situation.

It's true that transliterations of runic inscriptions are often quite different from the usual forms of the same words and names when they are written in Roman letters. The most common Scandinavian runic alphabets had fewer letters than the Roman alphabet, and as a result several runes can represent more than one letter or combination of letters. For example, a single rune was used for o and u. But when a word was written in the Roman alphabet, the distinction between the two was maintained; we do not find simple transliterations from the runic futhark to the Roman alphabet. Thus, for example, the name Gormr, when written in Roman letters, is written Gormr, even though the runic version is generally transliterated kurmR.

We record a Roman alphabet version of registered names; when necessary, we transliterate. In the case of Arabic names, say, transliteration is necessary, though we may use either ours or some mediæval version. But in the case of Old Norse names, transliteration is unnecessary, because there was already a standard way to write these names in the Roman alphabet. Therefore we will follow period usage and write Old Norse names as they would have been written in the Roman alphabet. Of course, just as Demetrios, Vasilii, and Haroun are welcome to write their names in Greek, Cyrillic, and Arabic script, respectively, Steinólfr and Ingrír may surely write theirs in runes; but for documentary purposes we will use only the Roman alphabet forms.


Morsulus reports that the subscription service to the CoA correspondence is going strong. It has six subscribers, and mailed out its seventh issue on 17 December. He reports that about 80% of the Mailing List has not given permission for their letters to be redistributed. If you know of anyone not on the Mailing List who would like to receive LoIs and LoCs, please put them in touch with Master Iulstan.

Morsulus has noticed several instances this year in which comments on the SCA Ordinary and Armorial were sent to the Mailing List but not to him. He wonders how many he has missed. (Note that he is not on the Mailing List.) He would appreciate receiving copies of all requests for changes to the O&A, including corrections of indexing errors, suggestions for reorganization, and categories to be added/removed. He notes that indexing errors (and any other errors that do not reflect LoAR errata) can be corrected simply by writing to him; such changes do not need to go through Laurel. (LoAR errata, requests for reblazon, and other similar changes may be sent directly to Laurel without being placed in an LoI.)

Morsulus also notes that a new edition of the SCA O&A (to include LoARs through December 1995) a new combined update (for 1994-1995), and the 17th semi-annular update (containing the second half of 1995), will be available soon from Free Trumpet Press West. In particular, the 17th update should be available in February 1996.


Enclosed with the LoAR is the most recent Free Trumpet Press price list. As always, you are not only permitted but encouraged to distribute this as widely as possible.


Also enclosed is a flyer for the 1996 KWHS to be held in Montgomery, Alabama near the end of June.


Yes, it's time to start thinking about the 1997 KWHS. This notice is to formally solicit bids to host the Known World Heraldic Symposium in 1997. Please pass the word to anyone or any group you believe may be interested in acting as host. We will be accepting bids until May 1, 1996, in order that the College may choose from among the bids received and a decision and announcement made at the 1996 KWHS.

If you have any questions about what is involved in hosting such a symposium, please feel free to contact Laurel, Pelican, or any of the autocrats of the symposia held in the last few years.



GOLDE in Arms sygnifieth foure Vertues, vizt: Nobleness, Goodwill, Restoratyve and Hautynes or Magnimity.

SILVER in Armes signifieth fyve Vertues, vizt: Humility, Beauty, Purity, Clearness and Innocency.

GUELLES or Red in Armories signifieth Valyance.

AZURE signifieth Renowne and Beauty.

SABLE signifieth in Armes, Mournyng and sorrow.

SYNOPLE or Greene signifieth alle Plants, Trees Herbes and all green things that groweth uppon the earth.

POURPRE or Purple in Armes signifieth Moderation.

From "The History of Prince Arthur's Knights" by Richard Robinson, 1583, reprinted in The Heraldry Gazette, September 1995, p. 12

Until next month, pray believe that I am, and remain,

Your faithful servant,

Da'ud ibn Auda

Laurel King of Arms