Frequently Asked Questions

What is the SCA?

The Society for Creative Anachronism is a non-profit educational organization which brings to life the chivalry and culture of the Middle Ages and Renaissance through research and recreation. Together we construct armor, then fight in tournaments and wars; we research and make clothing, then wear it to feasts and revels; we learn songs and dances, then perform them late into the night by the light of a fire. We started as a backyard party in 1966, and have grown into an international organization with tens of thousands of members.

What is a Barony?

A Barony is one of the local branches of the SCA. Our “Known World” is divided into twenty Kingdoms. Kingdoms are often subdivided into principalities and/or regions. The local branches are Baronies (larger metropolitan areas), Shires (smaller cities and rural areas), Strongholds (military installations) and Colleges (at universities). Baronies can also contain Cantons (smaller areas in or around the city).

Do your Kingdoms have Kings and Queens?

Yes, and our Baronies have Barons and Baronesses. Our Kings and Queens are chosen by a twice-yearly tournament. Barons and Baronesses are elected by the members of the Barony and appointed by the Crown.

Why the strange names?

Participants in the Society choose a culture and time period as a focus for their activities. They then take on a name from that culture, and usually make appropriate clothing as well. There’s so much history and culture through the SCA’s period that it can be beneficial to start with a more narrow focus. Having a different name helps make our recreated society more separate from the modern world.

Can I be Robin Hood, or Richard the Lionhart?

No. Robin Hood is a fictional character based upon the exploits and adventures of several real people and Richard succeeded Henry II as King of England. We do not take on the name and persona of historical or legendary figures. You can reach the time period of your choice and create a persona of a soldier or courtier who served with King Richard or perhaps an outlaw forced to flee his or her home.

Do you use real swords in your tournaments?

For safety reasons we use alternatives. In the SCA we participate in heavy and light fighting. In heavy fighting we use swords made of rattan, which is like solid bamboo. The swords have about the same weight and balance as real swords, so we still need to wear armor, which can be made of metal, chain mail, leather, or other materials. In light fighting (later period sword fighting) we use modern metal rapiers and masks to protect ourselves. In addition to tournaments, we have wars, which pit large teams against each other. Our wars can also involve archers.

Is it all fighting and combat?

We practice gentler arts as well. Calligraphy, dance, brewing, cooking, jewelry, embroidery… if someone did it in the Middle Ages, chances are someone’s doing it in the Society. We research the arts through manuscripts and other sources, then share what we’ve learned. By bringing these skills back to life, we find out more about Medieval and Renaissance culture… and have lots of fun!

But… why do you keep doing all this?

While learning about the society of Medieval Europe, Africa and Asia, we’ve created our own unique society– where chivalry is not dead, where service is valued and skills are rewarded, where lords fight not for their own glory but for the honor of their ladies (and vice versa!). Our feasts and revels are a joyous escape from the day-to-day reality of the modern world. At our wars and tournaments we create Valhalla: we fight valiantly all day, then celebrate together all night.

Do I have to pay to join?

No, the SCA, unlike most organization, permits extensive participation by non-members. However, membership is required to be an officer at any level within the SCA. And members do receive a discount on event fees. Please visit http://sca.org/members/index.html for more information about SCA membership.

OK, so how do I find out more?

Well, there’s a lot of information here on our web site, and on the other sites we have links to. You can look at our Calendar to see what’s coming up for both Events and Regular Meetings and Practices.

If you are interested our group holding a demonstration for your school or organization, please click here for more information.