LoAR Cover Letter

of the College of Arms
of the
Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.

March 1993

Box 1329,
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266-8329
8 May 1993

Unto the College of Arms of the Laurel Kingdoms, and to all who read these presents,

Greetings from Baron Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme, Laurel King of Arms!

Herein are the Acceptances and Returns from the Laurel meetings of 21 March 1993 and 11 April 1993. The following Letters of Intent were considered in March: Middle, 31 Oct 92; Middle, 4 Nov 92; Atlantia, 8 Nov 92; Outlands, 14 Nov 92; West, 16 Nov 92; Calontir, 16 Nov 92; East, 18 Nov 92; An Tir, 19 Nov 92; Atenveldt, 25 Nov 92; and Meridies, 26 Nov 92. In April, we considered LOIs from Caid, 25 Nov 92; Meridies, 1 Dec 92, West, 8 Dec 93; Middle, 9 Dec 92; Atlantia, 15 Dec 92; Calontir, 18 Dec 92; An Tir, 22 Dec 92; Atenveldt, 23 Dec 92; and Caid, 26 Dec 92.


The May meeting will be held on Sunday, 9 May 1993, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: West, 11 Jan 93; Middle, 11 Jan 93; Calontir, 15 Jan 93; Trimaris, 15 Jan 93; Atlantia, 18 Jan 93; An Tir, 20 Jan 93; East (Drachenwald), 23 Jan 93; Atenveldt, 24 Jan 93; and East, 27 Jan 93. Responses and rebuttals to commentary on those LOIs must have been in my hands by 30 April 93.

The June meeting will be held on Sunday, 13 June 1993, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: Ansteorra, 5 Nov 92; Ansteorra, 6 Nov 92; Outlands, 17 Jan 93; Caid, 30 Jan 93; Middle, 11 Feb 93; West, 14 Feb 93; An Tir, 15 Feb 93; Calontir, 16 Feb 93; Atlantia, 21 Feb 93; and Meridies, 22 Feb 93. Commentary on these LOIs should be in my hands by 30 April 93; responses and rebuttals to that commentary, by 31 May 93.

The July meeting will be held on Sunday, 18 July 1993, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: Atenveldt, 28 Feb 93; Caid, 8 March 93; East, 10 March 93; Middle, 11 March 93; Atenveldt, 15 March 93; West, 15 March 93; Atlantia, 16 March 93; Trimaris, 22 March 93; An Tir, 24 March 93; and Meridies, 29 March 93. Commentary on these LOIs should be in my hands by 31 May 93; responses and rebuttals to that commentary, by 30 June 93.

The August meeting will be held on Sunday, 15 August 1993, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: Atenveldt, 31 March 93; Caid, 2 April 93; West, 5 April 93; Outlands, 7 April 93; Middle, 8 April 93; Atlantia, 11 April 93; An Tir, 14 April 93; East, 23 April 93; Atenveldt, 24 April 93; and Meridies, 25 April 93. Commentary on these LOIs should be in my hands by 30 June 93; responses and rebuttals to that commentary, by 31 July 93.

The Ansteorran LOIs of 12 April 93, 13 April 93, and 14 April 93 are on hold, pending receipt of forms.

Roster Update Redux

As many people noticed, the updated roster included with last month's LoAR was seriously flawed. Evidently an interim version of the roster was printed out, rather than the final version. My apologies to any who might have been misled by my error. The real roster is included in this mailing.

There were, of course, changes to be added. Louis-Philippe Mitouard has retired as White Stag Principal Herald of the Outlands. We wish him well, and welcome his successor, the former Palmer Herald, Fiachra ni Ciardhubhain. Please retain Lord Louis-Philippe on the mailing list for the next few months, so that he can respond to comments on his final LOIs.

Obelisk Herald of Ansteorra has resigned from the College of Arms. Please remove him from your rosters.

Ibis Herald of Atlantia wishes to be added to the mailing list as a new commenter. Please do so, and also add to the roster (though not the mailing list) Atlantia's newest Herald-at-Large: Gyrth Oldcastle of Ravenspur (Gerald O'Leary), 2612 Newton, Wheaton, MD 20902; (301) 942-4802.

Atenveldt has a new Corona Herald: Richard Omrisson of the Wolvenkin (Richard Ingram), 2020 N. 32nd St., #210, Phoenix, AZ 85008; (602) 267-1244. Please add him to your mailing lists; he needs to see how the commenting process works, since he's slated to be Lady Aten's successor.

An Tir has made several changes, notably by installing their West Regional Herald, Eric Ward of Winchester, as Queue Forchy Herald. They've also acquired some new Regional and Principality Heralds:

Please add these to the roster, though not the mailing list. Also note the new address of the Argent Scroll Herald: Delores Booker (Aldreada of the Lakes), 244 Huntridge Way NE, Calgary, Alberta T2K 4C5, CANADA.

All these changes should be included in your new, improved roster. Please check it carefully for any mistakes I may have missed.

An update on membership requirements

At their April 93 meeting, the Board of Directors decided to accept my recommendation on how to prevent SCA members from being disadvantaged by non-members during the heraldic submission process. Corpora explicitly forbids us to consider the membership status of an armory's owner, once the armory is registered; the Board agreed that the only time a member's submission could be returned for conflict by a non-member's armory is when the two were considered at the same Laurel meeting. Beginning immediately, therefore, if two submissions at the same meeting are deemed to conflict, we will give preference to the submission from the paid member. If both submitters are (or aren't) paid members, then the first received takes priority, as before.

This gives an advantage to members' submissions, without requiring anyone to check every submitter's membership status. Laurel need only call the Registrar, on those rare occasions when membership becomes important; this happens seldom enough to impose no undue burden on Laurel, the Registrar, or the College.

I have two postscripts to this discussion, however. First, a survey of a typical Laurel meeting (Nov 92) showed something like 25% of all submissions being from non-members. (For one Kingdom, it was as high as 50%.) Our workload is constantly increasing, and we're always looking for ways to reduce it; one possible way is to limit submissions. Requiring membership remains a possible way of doing that, and would probably be more palatable than eliminating badge registration (to name another alternative). It's something to bear in mind, should the need ever arise.

Second, it remains true that we should at least encourage our submitters to become paid members of the Society; it's not unreasonable that those who take advantage of our services should help support the organization in which they apply. The College should achieve that goal through persuasion, rather than enforcement. We can begin by setting a good example: as officers of the Society, warranted heralds at every level are required to be paid members, which then puts us in a better position to explain the advantages of membership to others.

A few words on Society mon:

There have been some questions recently regarding the registration of mon. The Laurel Office position is plain: we don't register mon in the traditional Japanese style. Our emphasis is on European armory; our policy on Japanese-style submissions parallels the Society's policy on Japanese personae. Japanese personae are considered visitors to a European court (v. the SCA Organizational Handbook, p.74); Japanese-style armory are considered the attempts of such visitors to register their mon with a European king of arms. As noted in the return of Sakura Kita Maikeru (in the March section of the LoAR), this policy has been in place at least since April 83 -- as have the policy's logical extensions. mon must be blazonable in European heraldic terminology, and meet European standards of style; a decade of registrations has shown they can do this and still keep their Japanese aura.

Another consequence of our policy is that Japanese-style submissions should use the appropriate submission form for a device or badge. A "primary mon" is a device, and should be submitted on a device form, not a badge form. Once registered, the submitter may use the armory on any shape he chooses; but we have enough details to coordinate without also having to worry about whether a submission is or isn't a badge. The whole purpose of separate device and badge forms is to allow heralds at every level of the submission process to tell, at a glance, exactly what sort of armory is being submitted. Please cooperate with us by using them as they were intended.

Engrailed, indented, invected, and all that

A few submissions this month raised once again the question of difference between engrailed, invected and indented lines of division. When the current Rules were first published, the issue was settled only tentatively: "As not much discussion on this point was received, we are inclined to follow modern practise and allow difference for the conversion of indented to one of the rounded division lines [that is, engrailed or invected], so long as the identifiability of the line of division is clearly maintained (i.e. as long as it is used in such a manner that it can be identified, as would be the case when applied to a primary charge). We welcome commentary on this point, however." [AmCoE, Feb 90, p.6]

Further research has added little to our store of knowledge since then. It's agreed that, through the 14th Century, engrailed and indented were considered interchangeable, both in blazon and in emblazon (invected hadn't yet been invented). The Dictionary of British Arms gives an abundance of examples; a visual case is found in Foster, p.162, under the arms of Plugenett (Plukenet). It's also true that, by Tudor times, heraldic tracts were making a distinction between the three lines: Bossewell, for instance, draws them quite distinctly.

What's missing is evidence about how the lines were treated in actual Tudor armory, rather than in heraldic tracts. The tract authors were fond of making distinctions where none existed. For instance, Guillim gives several synonyms for semy, the exact term depending on the type of charge being strewn: enaluron of martlets, enurny of lioncels, verdoy of trefoils, entoyre of bezants. As far as I know, none of these synonyms was ever actually used. The tracts' distinctions must therefore be taken with a generous helping of salt.

My own opinion is that, if all we had was the information in the tracts, we should continue to grant difference between indented, engrailed and invected. But given evidence that actual armorial usage differs from the tracts, we should follow actual usage. For the moment, the evidence is contradictory; but it appears clear that invected appears late enough in period that the tract writers' distinction is probably valid. I will therefore continue to grant a CD between invected and engrailed, and between invected and indented. In the interests of continuity, I will also continue (for the moment) to grant a CD between engrailed and indented, but I will not hesitate to reverse that policy should I find evidence that Tudor armorial usage used them interchangeably, in defiance of the tracts.

Gyronny of six palewise [sic, sic, sic]

In one of the March submissions (Wulfgar der Krieger), I've ruled that gyronny of six palewise will no longer be permitted (after the standard four-month grace period, of course). Parker, p.301, states that gyronny of six should be symmetric around the horizontal axis, not the vertical axis; and this is borne out by such period examples as I've been able to uncover. Gyronny of six palewise is purely an SCA term for what is, as far as I can tell, a non-period rendition of the field. I can usually manage to reblazon it Per pale and per saltire; but sometimes (as with Wulfgar's submission) there's no way to reblazon it. I would prefer to see correct emblazons for this field, rather than have to resort to circuitous or torturous reblazon. If someone can provide evidence that gyronny of six palewise was used in period armory, I will continue to accept it; failing such evidence, I will begin returning it at the Oct 93 meeting.

One more time, with feeling

For the benefit of the several new submissions heralds and commenters who've recently joined us, I need to spell out exactly what the Laurel office expects to receive. From commenters, we need two copies of all Letters of Comment: a double-sided copy for the files, and a working copy (either single-sided photocopy, or on diskette) for cut-and-paste sessions. The same requirements apply to Rules commentary and Letters of Intent.

As for the submission forms themselves, certain information must be included on every form. Most important is the submitter's SCA name: it should be on all the forms (including the archive copy), and the spelling on all the forms and on the LOI should match. If a name must be corrected at the Kingdom level, all the forms should be altered to match the LOI.

The submitter's mundane name, address, etc., should also be on all the forms, including the archive copy. In their haste to provide archives, some submission heralds have only drawn the emblazon on the archive copies, and omitted the submitter's curriculum vitae; in another, the submitters' mundane names were missing from all the forms! The Laurel Office has been generous in accepting submissions whose forms have omitted the submitters' names; but that generosity won't last indefinitely. Please make every effort to complete all the forms, to match the LOI.

On temporal compatibility:

A couple of our onomasticists have argued for increased standards of temporal compatibility in SCA names: that the English of the 5th and 16th Centuries are as culturally immiscible as Aztec and Viking, and should be as unacceptable, per Rule III.2. The College has mostly been concerned that the parts of a name be compatible geographically (e.g. French and Italian); we've never been strict about the equivalent temporal mismatches. Both Mistress Alisoun and Master Da'ud declined to make temporal compatibility a reason for return. To paraphrase Mistress Alisoun, in a Society where a 10th Century Viking can sit beside an Elizabethan lady at a feast, temporal requirements probably aren't worth the grief. Moreover, some names changed very little over time, in any given country (the modern English John hasn't changed in half a millennium); temporal problems are thus more difficult to demonstrate than geographic problems.

I've no intention of completely overturning the policy of my predecessors. However, in a number of my recent rulings, I've ruled that excessive temporal mismatching can be considered a "weirdness", costing the submitter the benefit of the doubt. With this LoAR, I hereby make the new policy official: If the elements of a submitted name are dated too far apart, then any other anomaly in the name may combine to force it to be returned. The greater the temporal divide, the greater the anomaly: a given name and byname whose spellings are documented within, say, a century of each other will probably be all right, but a three-century divide is pushing it.

By itself, temporal incompatibility is still not sufficient reason for return. I haven't yet been faced with a case so extreme (a couple of millennia, say) to require a return; our worst instance of temporal mismatch (Tamas of Midian) also involved geographic mismatch as well. But henceforth, excessive temporal mismatch may contribute to a name's unacceptability; another problem with the name may cause it to be returned.


Lady Schwartzdrachen has sent me the following snippet from the Nov 92 issue of Pride magazine, in England. It's interesting to see how little the job of field herald has altered over the centuries; only the name and the venue change.

In service to the Society, I remain,


Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme,
Laurel King of Arms.

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