Society for Creative Anachronism
College of Arms

16308 SE 165th St
Renton, WA 98058-8221

For the September 2007 meetings, printed December 31, 2007

To all the College of Arms and all others who may read this missive, from Elisabeth Laurel, Jeanne Marie Wreath, and Margaret Pelican, greetings.

Items listed below in square brackets have not been scheduled yet. For information about future scheduling, please review the status table located on the Web at

The September Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held Sunday, September 23, 2007 and at the Wreath Meeting held on Sunday, September 30, 2007. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Trimaris (30 Apr 2007), Calontir (06 May 2007), Lochac (13 May 2007), Ęthelmearc (15 May 2007), Drachenwald (20 May 2007), Laurel LoPaD (21 May 2007), East (21 May 2007), Artemisia (22 May 2007), An Tir (23 May 2007), Lochac (27 May 2007), Atlantia (28 May 2007), Ansteorra (29 May 2007), Atenveldt (29 May 2007), and West (31 May 2007).

The October Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held Saturday, October 27, 2007 and the Wreath meeting held Sunday, October 14, 2007. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: Middle (03 Jun 2007), Outlands (03 Jun 2007), Laurel LoPaD (14 Jun, 2007), West (19 Jun 2007), Gleann Abhann (20 Jun 2007), Calontir (20 Jun 2007), East (24 Jun 2007), [Drachenwald (25 Jun 2007)], Lochac (25 Jun 2007), Outlands (27 Jun 2007), Ęthelmearc (28 Jun 2007), An Tir (28 Jun 2007), Atlantia (28 Jun 2007), Meridies (28 Jun 2007), Trimaris(28 Jun 2007), Atenveldt (29 Jun 2007), Palimpsest Rules Letter (29 Jun 2007), Ansteorra (30 Jun 2007), Caid (30 Jun 2007), Ealdormere (30 Jun 2007), and Northshield (30 Jun 2007). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by September 30, 2007.

The November Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held Sunday, November 4, 2007 and the Wreath meeting held Saturday, November 17, 2007. These meetings considered the following Letters of Intent: East (03 Jul, 2007), Gleann Abhann (05 Jul, 2007), Loyall (10 Jul, 2007), Laurel LoPaD (15 Jul, 2007), [Drachenwald (20 Jul, 2007)], Meridies (25 Jul, 2007), Calontir (26 Jul, 2007), Atlantia (26 Jul, 2007), West (27 Jul, 2007), Atenveldt (28 Jul, 2007), Outlands (30 Jul, 2007), Lochac (30 Jul, 2007), Ansteorra (31 Jul, 2007), Siren LoItP (31 Jul, 2007), [An Tir (31 Jul, 2007)], and Artemisia (31 Jul, 2007). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by October 31, 2007.

The December Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held on Saturday, December 15, 2007 and the Wreath meeting held on Sunday, December 16, 2007. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: [Middle (04 Aug, 2007)], Northshield (09 Aug, 2007), East (10 Aug, 2007), East (16 Aug, 2007), Ęthelmearc (17 Aug, 2007), [Drachenwald (20 Aug, 2007)], Laurel LoPaD (22 Aug, 2007), Calontir (25 Aug, 2007), Siren LoItUP (26 Aug, 2007), Outlands (27 Aug, 2007), Atlantia (28 Aug, 2007), [An Tir (30 Aug, 2007)], [Lochac (30 Aug, 2007)], Meridies (30 Aug, 2007), and Caid (31 Aug, 2007). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Friday, November 30, 2007.

The January Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican meeting held on aturday, January 19, 2007. and the Wreath meeting held on Saturday, January 12 2008. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: Atenveldt (01 Sep, 2007), East (06 Sep, 2007), Caid (20 Sep, 2007), Gleann Abhann (20 Sep, 2007), [Drachenwald (24 Sep, 2007)], Northshield (27 Sep, 2007), West (27 Sep, 2007), Ansteorra (29 Sep, 2007), Calontir (29 Sep, 2007), Outlands (29 Sep, 2007), [An Tir (30 Sep, 2007)], Atlantia (30 Sep, 2007), Ęthelmearc (30 Sep, 2007), Calontir (30 Sep, 2007), Meridies (30 Sep, 2007), and Siren LoItP (30 Sep, 2007). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should be entered into OSCAR by Monday, December 31, 2007.

The February Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican meeting on Saturday, February 16, 2008 and the Wreath meeting held in February 2008. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: Laurel LoPaD (08 Oct, 2007), [Middle (14 Oct, 2007)], [Atenveldt (15 Oct, 2007)], [Drachenwald (20 Oct, 2007)], [Caid (26 Oct, 2007)], Laurel LoPaD (28 Oct, 2007), Atlantia (29 Oct, 2007), [An Tir (30 Oct, 2007)], [Ansteorra (30 Oct, 2007)], [Lochac (30 Oct, 2007)], [Meridies (30 Oct, 2007)], [Artemisia (31 Oct, 2007)], [Caid (31 Oct, 2007)], Calontir (31 Oct, 2007), East (31 Oct, 2007), Northshield (31 Oct, 2007), Outlands (31 Oct, 2007), [Trimaris (31 Oct, 2007)], and West (31 Oct, 2007). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should be entered into OSCAR by Thursday, January 31, 2008.

The March Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican meeting (March 22) and Wreath meetings held in March 2008. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: [Atenveldt (20 Nov, 2007)], [Outlands (21 Nov, 2007)], [East (23 Nov, 2007)], [An Tir (26 Nov, 2007)], [Northshield (26 Nov, 2007)], [Atlantia (27 Nov, 2007)], [Ansteorra (28 Nov, 2007)], [Lochac (28 Nov, 2007)], [Meridies (29 Nov, 2007)], West (29 Nov, 2007), [Artemisia (30 Nov, 2007)], [Ęthelmearc (30 Nov, 2007)], and [Trimaris (30 Nov, 2007)]. All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should be entered into OSCAR by Friday, February 29, 2008.

Not all Letters of Intent may be considered when they are originally scheduled on this cover letter. The 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, some letters of intent received may not have been scheduled because the administrative requirements (receipt of the forms packet, receipt of the necessary fees, et cetera) have not yet been met.

REMINDER: Until all administrative requirements are met, the letter may not be scheduled.

From Pelican: Names No Longer SCA-Compatible

There are several SCA-compatible given names whose registrations have fallen dramatically since 2000:

There are also a few SCA-compatible bynames whose popularity has similarly declined since 2000:

While we do not know how many examples of these names have been returned at kingdom since 2000, the numbers arriving and being registered at Laurel strongly suggest that the popularity of these names has declined sufficiently to disallow their continued registration. Therefore, due to this and to the lack of any new documentation for use of these names by humans (or in the case of Rowan/Rowen by women) in period, they are no longer SCA-compatible. Barring documentation for such usage, these names will no longer be registerable after the May 2008 decision meeting.

From Pelican: Unmarked Patronymics in Russian Names

The submission of the name Mariia Kotok, registered on this month's LoAR, raised the question of whether unmarked patronymics were used in Russian names. Precedent set in October 2002 forbids the registration of unmarked patronymics in Russian names:

Bola is a Russian masculine given name. Lacking evidence that Russian used unmarked patronymic bynames, we have changed this to the patronymic form Bolin in order to register this name. [Gorm Bolin, 10/2002, A-Middle]

An informal letter from Paul Wickenden of Thanet accompanied the submission and argued that the name used to document Kotok (Kulik Kotok) does, in fact, show an unmarked patronymic, and that unmarked patronymics can be found in Russian manuscripts. However, no examples beyond the one cited were provided in this letter, and this example is problematic because it is possible that the byname, which derives from name meaning "cat", can be interpreted as a descriptive byname. We charged the College with finding additional evidence of unmarked patronymics in Russian. Sufficient evidence was found to suggest that unmarked patronymics are an extremely rare, but occasionally found pattern in Russian names.

First is the attestation of experts in Russian names for such a pattern. Paul Wickenden's statement is noted above. In addition, Unbegaun, Russian Surnames, p 2, notes "The use of a non-modified individual name as surname is quite exceptional", and on p 33, "In most cases such names are of Ukrainian or White Russian origin." This statement suggests a known, but extremely rare practice. While it does not explicitly date this practice to our period, in combination with Wickenden's statement, it is strongly suggestive.

However, proof by assertion, even by respected experts is insufficient without actual examples of a naming pattern. So, what did the commenters find? Fause Lozenge provided several possible examples:

They [unmarked patronyms] were definitely used in the East Slavic-speaking world: Unbegaun (274) has a few Ukrainian examples, and in the preceding few pages he has many examples of Ukrainian asyndetic patronymics from diminutives. He also has (307-8) some examples of Belarusian asyndetic patronymics.

Paul's dictionary has quite a few names that could be examples. For the masc. name <Spara>, for instance, the citation is <Ivan Spara> 1563. Here are some others, in each case listed under the second element as a masc. name:

How many are actually patronymic is another question; some might be descriptive epithets that Paul (or his sources) didn't recognize as such, and I suppose that we might even have some double forenames here."

This list supports the statement by the experts that unmarked patronymics are found but are rare. Given this, we feel that it is reasonable to allow the registration of unmarked patronymics in Russian names. However, it should be noted that this practice is rare at best, and should be discouraged.

From Pelican: Scribal Abbreviations and Scottish Patronymics

The College of Arms has, by long tradition, declined to register scribal abbreviations:

Note that long tradition indicates that the Society registers the full form of the name, not a specific scribal abbreviation of it. [December 1983]

The exception, although never expressly addressed by precedent, has been Scottish and Anglicized Irish surnames documented from Scots, English, and Latin language documents. These names have been regularly registered using the abbreviated patronymic markers M' and Mc, while the Gaelic equivalents have consistently been registered with the abbreviations expanded. This registration was due to the uncertainty of whether M' and Mc were abbreviations or actual variant spellings. It is time to bring this practice to a close and treat patronymic markers in names recorded in Scots, English, or Scottish and Irish Latin documents the same way we treat all other abbreviations.

First, are these truly scribal abbreviations? This certainly appears to be the case. Effric Neyn Ken3ocht Mcherrald notes:

As far as I can gather, apostrophes weren't actually used in period Scots (at least not in manuscripts), but rather are a modern editorial representation of various period Scottish abbreviation marks. Further, these abbreviation marks were used to indicate omitted letters in the spelling, not omitted sounds in pronunciation.

MacLysaght, The Surnames of Ireland, p. x, agrees with this assessment:

The practice of differentiating between Mac and Mc (and the now almost obsolete M') is fortunately dying out. There is no difference: Mc is simply an abbreviation of Mac.

So, then, what do these abbreviations represent? In patronymics that follow either the individual's given name or a descriptive byname that modifies the individual's given name (that is to say a first-generation patronymic) this is clear -- Mc and M' are, as MacLysaght notes, an abbreviation of Mac. Because of this, we will expand such abbreviations for first-generation patronymics recorded in Scots or Scottish and Irish Latin documents, as well as Anglicized Irish names, as Mac or mac.

What about patronymics that follow other patronymics, that is to say second-generation patronymics? This is trickier, because the phonetic rendering of such patronymics varies according to the language in which they are recorded and the date when the document was written. Effric Neyn Ken3ocht Mcherrald provides this analysis:

I now am of the opinion that both <Mc> and <M'> in Scots language documents were always an abbreviation for Scots <Mac>.

There are two key considerations that have persuaded me. First, in all but a very few names, genitive forms of Gaelic <mac> are also lenited and so pronounced with a "v" sound, not an "m" sound. Second, it simply makes very little sense to speculate that in Scots <Mc> or <M'> would be an abbreviation for expanded <Vic> or the like.

Consider, if the clerk's intention were to render that part of the name as a phonetic representation of Gaelic, he would use a <V>, even in an abbreviation -- as was actually done in examples such as <John Roy M'Ean Vc Ewin Vc Dougall Vc Ean> and <Sorle Mac Innes VcDonald VcEan diu>. And if it were not his intention to render that part of the name as a phonetic representation of Gaelic --as evidenced by using <M> instead of <V>-- then there is no reason to think the expanded form the abbreviation was intended to represent would have used an <-i-> or <-e-> instead of an <-a->, either. (Why assume the vowel would be phonetic when the initial letter was not?)

That, in non-abbreviated forms in Scots, <-a-> forms were actually used in the relevant positions is demonstrated by examples such as of <Johnne Makewin Makpatrik>...

The only question with regard to <Mc> (or <mc>) in any of these languages [Latin, Scots, and Anglicized Irish] is not whether or not it was an abbreviation, but what exactly it was an abbreviation for. As discussed earlier, I now think that in Scots it was an abbreviation specifically for <Mac>. In Gaelic it was an abbreviation for any of the various declined and/or lenited forms of <mac> for the relevant period, including Old/Middle genitive/lenited genitive <meic>, Early Modern genitive <mic>, and Early Modern lenited genitive <mhic>. In Latin, it depends on the particular period and originating culture -- that is, for 12th century Latin produced by Gaels, it might represent <mic> or the like, for 16th century Latin produced by Lowlanders, I would expect it to be the same as in Scots (and so <Mac>).

Given this, then, for names found in Scots documents and for Anglicized Irish names, the abbreviations M' and Mc will be expanded to Mac in both first- and second-generation patronymics. For Latin, M' and Mc will be expanded as Mac in first- generation patronymics and as either Mac or Mic, depending on similar expanded Latin examples in contemporary sources, or, preferably, from the same document. Similarly, the parallel abbreviation Vc will be expanded to Vic or Vyc depending on the practice of the time and document in which it is found; this applies to Scots, Anglicized Irish, and Latin documents. For all languages, the capitalization used in the source may be retained (that is to say Mac and mac are interchangeable in this context as are Vyc/Vic and vyc/vic).

From Wreath: On Bridges

The bridge is a period heraldic charge, with examples found in England (e.g. the arms of Trowbridge), Germany (the civic arms of Kitzing), and elsewhere. It's a popular charge in the Society as well, but over the years an entirely different form has developed.

Bridges in period heraldry varied somewhat, but there were some features that remained the same. All the examples we've found have been throughout; all have had at least three spans or arches. Most had water flowing under the arches, and a fair number were embattled along the top edge. A few had towers separating the arches, but that seems to have been a purely artistic point.

In the Society, however, the typical bridge is not throughout, does not have multiple arches, and has no water beneath it. The most common form has two towers with a single span between them. Current policy grants no difference in Society armory between a castle and a bridge, and given our usual non-period depiction of the latter, the policy makes sense.

There are probably too many not-throughout bridges already registered to try to amend our definitions. We hereby rule officially that, in Society armory, the default bridge is not throughout. (It's easy enough to blazon a throughout bridge when one is submitted.) However, we also rule that, in Society armory, there is no default number of spans; the number must, in every case, be explicitly blazoned. A bridge drawn in the period style -- throughout, three or more spans -- will be granted difference from a castle, per RfS X.4.e. And, at the risk of sounding metaphorical, we'd like there to be water under the bridge.

From Wreath: Linden Trees

A submission this month raised the question of the depiction of linden leaves. Depictions in the SCA have varied over the years, with some being pointy oval-shaped leaves more usually associated with laurel trees, to the 'invected bushy' style favored by grade-schoolers.

A period depiction of linden leaves can be found in the arms of von Linden, 1605, in Siebmacher, plate 141, in the center of the top row. In this case, we are certain of the identification due to the cant. The leaves shown there are heart-shaped, and we are making this the SCA definition of linden leaves.

We have examined the items in the Ordinary which claimed to be linden trees or leaves and reblazoned those which do not have heart-shaped leaves as either laurel or generic trees.

From Wreath: Poplar Trees

When researching a submission this month it was discovered that in the past poplar trees have been listed in the Ordinary and Armorial under both Tree - Rounded and Tree - Elongated. In general there is a CD between a rounded tree and an elongated tree; this CD has been upheld as recently as February 2007.

We could not find any period examples of poplar trees in heraldry but did find one coat that has a poplar tree, the arms of Gandolfi, in a 19th C. English grant (Fox-Davies' The Art of Heraldry, fig.82); and there are some illustrations of poplars in Leonhard's Grosse Buch der Wappenkunst, pp.246-7. They're all elongated in shape (rather like corn-dogs, really), and - unless we find period examples - these will be our default poplar tree.

Poplar trees come in a variety of shapes including rounded such as the White Poplar or the Tulip Poplar, elongated such as the Lombardy poplar, and in-between such as many of the Black Poplars. The Lombardy poplar was developed in the 17th century; however, it matches the (admittedly post-period) heraldic poplars that we have been able to find.

As we grant a CD between a rounded and an elongated tree, it must be clear how a poplar is classified. The SCA has long declined to over specify the charge by use of Linnaean genus and species; it is not an improvement to over specify using the English equivalents. Therefore, the following precedents are established:

From Pelican: Should Any Name or Phrase be SCA-Compatible?

At the 2007 Known World Heralds and Scribes Symposium, I spoke with many heralds about what "quirk" of SCA-name registration bothered them the most. I received two answers from nearly everyone I spoke to: mixed language names, and SCA-compatible names. Mixed language names are a matter of the Rules for Submission; fixing that pain point would require an overhaul of the rules, which I am not willing to undertake at this point. However, SCA-compatible names are a matter of precedent and are created and removed by the studied consideration of the Laurel Sovereigns of Arms.

Therefore, I would like to put the same question to the College of Arms as was put by Da'ud ibn Auda on the August 1994 Cover Letter:

A number of commenters have stated over the past several of months that the SCA has learned a lot since its early days, and it may be time now to put away some of the "mistakes" we have heretofore continued to register. So I put it to you all now -- Should we discontinue the registration of "SCA-compatible" names that were not used by humans in period...

We would invite the College to argue two points:

To discuss the second issue, some information and statistics are needed. The following personal given names are currently SCA-compatible:

The following bynames are currently SCA-compatible:

The following elements are currently SCA-compatible for non-personal names or for constructed locatives used as part of a personal name:

Send What to Whom

Letters of Intent, Comment, Response, Correction, et cetera are to be posted to the OSCAR online system. No paper copies need be sent.

Submission packets (one copy of each name form plus documentation, including petitions; two colored copies of each armory form plus two copies of any associated documentation, including petitions) to the SCA College of Arms, PO Box 31755, Billings, MT 59107-1755.

Cheques or money orders for submissions, payable to "SCA Inc.-College of Arms" are to: Laurel Chancellor of Exchequer, 4N400 Church Rd, Bensenville, IL 60106-2928.

Send roster changes and corrections to Laurel. College of Arms members may also request a copy of the current roster from Laurel.

For a paper copy of a LoAR, please contact Laurel, at the address above. The cost for one LoAR is $3. Please make all checks or money orders payable to "SCA Inc.-College of Arms". For subscriptions to the electronic copy of the LoAR, please contact Laurel at The electronic copy is available free of charge.

For all administrative matters, please contact Laurel.

Pray know that I remain,

In service,

Elisabeth de Rossignol
Laurel Principal Queen of Arms

Created at 2008-01-02T23:54:13