ursula: (bear)
My translation of the portion of the statutes of the sixteenth-century French Ordre du Saint-Esprit concerning the initiation of a new member. In comparison to fifteenth-century ceremonies, this shows a much greater emphasis on the power of the Sovereign. As one might expect from a kingdom embroiled in religious wars, there is also a far greater emphasis on the role of the Church.

Those who will have been received to enter into said Order . . . )

ursula: (bear)
This is a Latin scroll text, with translation, for Aldgytha of Ashwood's Pelican scroll. It's several kinds of anachronism, since it mixes formulas from Anglo-Saxon charters with heraldic language of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century vintage.

Those things which are soundly defined . . . )
ursula: (bear)
In the Society for Creative Anachronism, one can register medieval names and heraldic devices with the College of Heralds. Here's what the Governing Documents of the Society say about the rules the registration process should follow:

Standards of difference and other rules: Laurel shall define standards suitable to the
type of item to be registered, and apply them uniformly to all such submissions. These standards shall be
designed to support the historical re-creations of the Society and to provide sufficient difference from names
and armory registered within the Society to avoid undue confusion, to avoid the appearance of unearned
honors or false claims, and to provide sufficient difference from historical or fictional personages to prevent
offense due to obvious usurpation of identity or armory. Members are encouraged to develop unique,
historically valid names and armory.

Under the current rules and policies, anyone who wishes to participate in the registration process must submit a unique name. (Some historically invalid names are still registrable, but "insufficiently unique" names are not.) The name is required even if one only wishes to register a heraldic device. Registering a name costs about $10 (the exact amount varies from kingdom to kingdom) and takes about nine months. Registering a device is another $10 or so.

One of the reasons that the SCA is attached to the unique name system is that the current registration system depends on paper files organized by this unique registered name. (There are other reasons, of course; a discussion of some of them can be found at the Campaign to End Name Uniqueness, and a more complete view may be obtained by joining the SCAHRLDS mailing list and browsing the archives.) This post proposes a partially computerized filing system. I want to describe why such a system is technically feasible and would allow for greater flexibility, including re-evaluating the "registered SCA name" and "unique SCA name" requirements, if we wish to do so.

gory details )
ursula: (bear)
Here are the results from my earlier poll on criteria for name comparisons. I've included information about the rules as they currently stand, and put a group in bold if its response agreed with the current rules.

poll results )

Unsurprisingly, heralds are more likely to agree with the rules as they currently stand. For cases like Hob vs. Robert, this makes sense: onomastics geeks are more likely to know and care that Hob is a nickname for Robert. But why do Ronald and Donald seem too similar to some heralds, and easily distinguishable to everyone else? My hypothesis is that most people consider similarity in sound and similarity of meaning together: if two names sound similar and could be construed as two different descriptions of the same person, a conflict seems reasonable. The Rules for Submissions say there's a conflict if two names sound too similar or come too close in meaning.
ursula: (bear)
Just in case you're not aware of this, the SCA registers names. The SCA guarantees that a registered name will be "unique": of course, the meaning of unique is a complicated issue, especially when we're talking about plausible names for medieval people.

This is a poll about what you think uniqueness ought to mean. This is not a poll about whether names should be unique, nor is it a quiz on the rules as they currently stand; it's a philosophical exercise.

[Poll #1098571]


Oct. 6th, 2007 08:23 pm
ursula: (bear)

Painted heraldic plate
Originally uploaded by ursulageorges
Does anyone have an image of a fifteenth-century Milanese man?


Here's a plate with [livejournal.com profile] glasseye's heraldry I painted. It doesn't have as many flowers as the original, which gives it an unintended Art Deco effect.
ursula: (bear)
A few days ago I was hunting through the OED to answer one of those burning questions of early modern life, namely, would it be more authentic to refer to myself in the SCA as Ursula Georges otherwise Loyall Pursevant, Ursula Georges Loyall, or just Ursula Loyall, when I chanced upon the following descriptions of a herald's duties:

They...are named ancient Herehaughtes, who haue made distinction betweene the gentle and the vngentle.

Buying Armes of the Herald, who giues them the Lyon without tongue, tayle, or tallents.

The herralde to blason their descente from an old house.

1598, Jonson
The first red herring that was broil'd in Adam and Eve's kitchen, doe I fetch my pedigree from by the Harrots bookes.

and a little out of period:

1687, Dryden
Do you not know that for a little coin Heralds can foist a name into the line?

From this data I conclude that, although heralds in the SCA are criticised justly and unjustly for all sorts of things, they have been remiss in their efforts to recreate one of the more renowned (albeit late-period) abuses of heraldic power, namely, taking money to create false genealogies. I feel that therefore, in the interests of authenticity, I should point out that I am VERY HAPPY to be bribed to make up genealogies, and can in fact use my onomastic skill to invent a lengthy and plausible genealogy for your persona at a moment's notice.
ursula: (ambigram)
This morning I wandered around U. Village, the trendy outdoor shopping mall down the hill from me. I bought a pair of shoes that I've been yearning after for a while, since they're the summery version of the little red shoes I'm very fond of. It's still strange to me that I'm grown-up enough to want more than summer sandals and winter boots-- and grown-up enough to pay for them! Such luxury! But the real purpose of the expedition was to pick up a plate I made for [livejournal.com profile] glasseye from one of those places where you paint your own dishes. I painted his device, a green shield with an ermine chief and a white sun. The shield came out a lovely glossy green, but I'm most proud of the stylized leaves round the border.

I was at Paint the Town a week ago, for a birthday party for my officemate, S. I don't think I've talked about S much here, but I've definitely enjoyed sharing an office with her and I'm very sad that she's leaving. She'll be moving to Michigan in just over a week! S is sweet and kind and friendly and has any number of talents, including the harp and yoga and drawing. I wish I had gotten to know her when she first came to this city, two years ago, instead of waiting until we did share an office. It's so sad to realize friendships too slowly.

S's birthday was just the start of a busy weekend. Saturday morning I walked to the farmer's market, and bought whole-wheat bread, spinach, chard, fresh garlic, and feta cheese. I spent a quiet afternoon, but in the evening J&L arrived, bearing riches from China! They gave us a gorgeous little teapot shaped like an eggplant with a miniature eggplant for a lid. [livejournal.com profile] glasseye and I and J&L stayed up late into the night, sharing -- variously -- beer, Scotch, and ginger-lemon tea, and talking about China, Philadelphia, and old times together. The next day we all went to Folklife, along with J's mother, aunt, and grandmother. We all wandered around together, so I didn't get to dance. :( But we did hear all sorts of music, in particular Spoonshine, bluegrass with string bass! And I spent a long time looking longingly at silk coats, made by a local artist from Indian sari materials. Wonderful thick material with a twirly skirt -- but the best pattern, with little swirling rosebuds, was on a coat one size too small, and I wanted to be absolutely in love before I bought one. (The booth was called Silk Dragons. I got a card, but she doesn't have a website.) I celebrated Memorial-eve by making elaborate pizzas, two with leeks, mushrooms, and white wine, and two with spinach, olives, and the feta I bought earlier in the weekend. Yum.

That brings me back to tonight's culinary adventure, which was Persian rice with barberries. Barberries are incredibly sour, like the dried-fruit version of Sour Patch Kids. I love sour food, but two cups were a little much! And I forgot part of the tah dig step, so no crunchy buttery bottom layer to my rice. But it was one of the most beautiful dishes I've seen in a long time, all white and red and yellow (the recipe asked for a teaspoon of ground saffron), and small amounts with yoghurt and garlic were wonderful.

[Same game.]

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