SCA - College of Arms
600 Cedar Street, NW
Washington, DC 20012
March 29, 1999
Unto the members of the College of Arms and all others who may read this missive do Mistress Jaelle of Armida, Laurel Queen of Arms, and Mistress Sionyn Muirgen ní Dhomnall, Pelican Queen of Arms, send Greetings!
The March Laurel meeting was held on March 13, 1999 and with a roadshow in the Outlands on March 28, and considered the following letters of intent: Trimaris (October 31, redated to November 1 based on postmark), Atenveldt (November 1), East (November 2), Drachenwald (November 3), AEthelmearc (November 15), Caid (November 15), Atlantia (November 16), Lochac (November 18), Artemesia (November 21), West (November 22), and An Tir (November 23).
The April Laurel meeting is scheduled for April 10, 1999 and will consider the following letters of intent: Calontir (November 27 NOTE: this is the revised version of the September 30, 1998 letter that was pulled by the Principal Herald, pending receipt of paperwork). Outlands (dated November 21, postmarked December 7), Atenveldt (December 1), Meridies (December 2), Caid (December 6), Meridies (December 7), Middle (December 13), Drachenwald (December 14), Atlantia (December 17), Lochac (December 17), Ansteorra (December 19), West (December 20), Outlands (December 23), and An Tir (December 28). Original commentary on these LoIs must be in the College's hands no later than February 28, 1999. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than March 31, 1998.
The May Laurel meeting is scheduled for May 8, 1999 and will consider the following letters of intent: Atenveldt (January 1), Caid (January 2), East (January 13), Gold Dolphin Letter to Protect (January 16), Atlantian (January 18), Drachenwald (January 18), Outlands (January 20), West (January 22), Ansteorra (January 23), AEthelmearc (January 25), Artemesia (January 25), An Tir (January 26), Middle (January 27), Electrum Letter to Protect (January 28), and Meridies (January 30). Original commentary on these LoIs must be in the College's hands no later than March 31, 1999. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than April 30, 1999.
The June Laurel meeting is scheduled for Saturday, May 29, 1999. NOTE: because of this early date, I will need all commentary/rebuttles for the February LoIs no later than Saturday, May 22, 1999, and will consider the following letters of intent: Ealdormere (dated January 15, redated by Laurel based on postmark to February 19), Atenveldt (February 1), Middle (February 5), Outlands (February 5), Lochac (February 7), Atlantia (February 14), Drachenwald (February 15), AEthelmearc (February 24), Artemesia (February 25), An Tir (February 26), Ansteorra (February 27) and Meridies (February 28). Original commentary on these LoIs must be in the College's hands no later than April 30, 1998. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than May 22, 1999.
The July Laurel meeting is tentatively scheduled for July 17, 1999.
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.
REMINDER: due to problems with receipt of Laurel packets, until the packet containing the paperwork is received, the letter may not be scheduled.
We are pleased to announce that at the March conference call meeting the Board of Directors selected Dame Elsbeth Anne Roth, Garnet Herald, to succeed me as Laurel. The official change over will take place at Known World in Sweden though she will not become officially Laurel until late July 1999. However, she will be processing submissions effective with the March LoIs, please send your laurel packets to her (Kathryn Van Stone, 1194 Firwood Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15243 (412) 306-0416 firstname.lastname@example.org). However, checks and hard copies of the LoIs still need to be sent to me.
She asks the College if they have any suggestions, comments, etc., on the running of the Laurel office, to contact her by e-mail or regular mail.
We would like to congratulate Rhiannon Ui Neill, Triton, on her elevation to the order of the Pelican this February. Congratulations Mistress Rhiannon. We would also like to congratulate Brenna of Storvik, Chief Administrative Assistant to Laurel (aka Laurel drop dead) for her admittance this March. Congratulations Dame Brenna.
New Alternate Title
In the February cover letter I asked for commentary on the use of Messer as an Italian alternate for Master of the Laurel. After much thought I came to the following conclusion.
Given the pattern of usage in the historical examples, it would appear that Messer would be very appropriate for a non-martial knight-equivalent -- i.e., the equivalent of the SCA's orders of the Laurel and Pelican -- if not simply for the peerage orders in general. The arguments against boil down to two: that Messer could be used historically as a title by knights; and that Messer derives, linguistically, from the element sire (Sir in English), which the SCA has reserved to the Chivalry.
The first argument is weak, and seems based largely on the SCA's preference for a one-to-one correspondence between titles and categories -- i.e., that each reserved title should correspond to one and only one category of rank. Since there is a clear division in the existing reserved titles for peers between martial peerage titles and non-martial peerage titles, some may feel that a reserved title should designate one or the other category, but not both. Unless the SCA has some overriding vital interest in distinguishing at all times in speech between one of the peerage orders and the others, this argument fails. In the absence of an overriding special interest, historical usage should be our guide, and it is difficult to imagine a situation in which the potential use of the same title by both martial and non-martial peers would constitute a danger or hazard.
The second argument is stronger, but relies on an assumption that etymology is destiny. Words change meaning, particularly when they are used in new compounds or when borrowed from one language to another. The English form of address Dame has a different meaning and use than Latin domina, and different again from its derivative madame. This set of words provides a clear parallel to the title under consideration. Latin domina is reserved in the SCA alternate titles list as an equivalent to English Lady -- appropriate for holders of an AoA -- based on the social context of its use in Latin, and similarly "madame" in French. English dame, on the other hand, is reserved as a title for members of the peerage (of any order), based on the social context of its use in English. Thus we have a clear precedent that the derivation of a word does not dictate the uses for which we choose to reserve it (or not), but rather we may consider the historic use to which a particular form was put in making our decision. Both Messer and Messire are clearly different words from Sir(e) and are unlikely to be confused with it in use. Therefore we are free to base any reservation of the former titles on actual historic patterns of use -- patterns that feature non-martial knights and, in some cases, contrast the use of these titles for non-martial knights with the use of cavaliere for martial knights.
Therefore, we are adding Messer to our alternate title list, in the Italian section for use by both Masters of the Laurel and Masters of the Pelican.
I cannot accept certified mail at home. If you need to send me anything that requires a signature, contact me privately, and I will send you my work address.
LoAR Subscriptions and Roster changes:
Send roster changes, additions, subtractions, subscriptions to the LoAR and address changes in a separate letter, not in the body of a LoI or LoC to: Mistress Sionyn Muirgen ní Dhomnall, Pelican Queen of Arms, Jackie Watkins, 3532 Winding Wind Cove, Bartlett, TN, 38135-3044. Please make all checks or money orders payable to "SCA Inc. - College of Arms". The cost is currently $25.00 a year.
Also, remember all administrative issues (requests for warrants, quarterly reports, etc.) need to be sent to Pelican.
And remember to be a principal herald or a submissions herald, you must pass a test on the administrative handbook, in advance of receiving your approval from our office. This test is obtained from Pelican. To be put on the mailing list as a commenter you must produce at least one timely letter of comment.
Until next month, pray believe that I am, and remain,
Your faithful servant,
Jaelle of Armida
Laurel Queen of Arms