SCA Persona Research

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kleenur
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SCA Persona Research

Postby kleenur » Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:16 pm

On the Rangers of the North site, and on this forum I have seen several folks who do SCA personas based around real world rangers. Basically the historic analogue of what Tolkein's inspiration for a Dunedain Ranger could have been. I've sort of skirted around the edges of the SCA for a few years now, and my interest in rangering has reignited that interest, and prompted me to actually jump in fully. IN the spirit of that I decided to develop a persona based on a 14th century Yeoman Warden/Archer. In doing some research I stumbled across an online version of the Osprey Warrior Book English Longbowman 1330–1515, it is on a Spanish site, and appears to be a copyright violation so I won't link it here, but it got me thinking. What resources have you all used for your SCA personas? Ideally, these resources would be available on the internet without copyright violation, but even if they aren't, go ahead and link them in your reply. Here's the book I read (and will be buying ASAP):

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1855324911/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I3GOZMT501HKG7&colid=1PYPM3SY461LT&psc=0


It also might be useful for a Topic on SCA type persona development in the main forum.
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Peter Remling
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Re: SCA Persona Research

Postby Peter Remling » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:35 pm

There are several posts here regarding persona development. As this is a Ranger Forum based on the works of Tolkien (primarily) we don't have a thread on SCA involvement. There are many here who either are in the SCA or have been in the past. I was involved in the SCA for about 5 years myself however, I don't feel this is the place to have a discussion on persona development other than Rangers or similar Fantasy involved characters.

Just my opinion
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Elleth
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Re: SCA Persona Research

Postby Elleth » Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:32 pm

Peter, could an admin perhaps move this thread to the "Non-Tolkien Rangers" board?

For online resources, the best I've seen is Regia Anglorum, but if memory serves they've more a Saxon era focus. Foresters-qua-foresters is more a post Norman invasion thing I think.

Particular books I think you might want to look for:

The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer - very good fairly recent overview of the place and culture of the period. Easy read.
The Medieval Traveler by Norbert Ohler - more scholarly, but will really help your understanding of the laws of travel - stricter than you might think!
1381: The Peel Affinity by La Belle Compagnie - beautiful pictures, great overview from a fantastic reenactment group.
The English Village Explained by Trevor Yorke - if you're not native to Britain, this has a lot of good background information in a very easy read.

The big thing to grok about high medieval forests is how managed they were. I think it's easy to fall into the trap of viewing them as big primieval mysterious wilderness... by the 14th c. things are perhaps distressingly civilized and cultivated.

... one of the reasons I like playing in Third Age Eriador better. :)
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Peter Remling
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Re: SCA Persona Research

Postby Peter Remling » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:05 pm

Elleth wrote:Peter, could an admin perhaps move this thread to the "Non-Tolkien Rangers" board?

. :)


Quite possibly, I'll wait to see if Greg or Jack will do it. I've never moved posts/threads and I'd don't want to loose it.
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Kortoso
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Re: SCA Persona Research

Postby Kortoso » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:19 pm

Elleth wrote:For online resources, the best I've seen is Regia Anglorum, but if memory serves they've more a Saxon era focus. Foresters-qua-foresters is more a post Norman invasion thing I think.


Speaking of which; interesting article:
https://regia.org/research/village/swinwudu.htm
Image

Though to be fair, Kleenur was asking about "Yeoman Warden/Archer" which might be approached from a great many periods - the forester not so much. :mrgreen:
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Greg
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Re: SCA Persona Research

Postby Greg » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:41 am

Peter Remling wrote:
Elleth wrote:Peter, could an admin perhaps move this thread to the "Non-Tolkien Rangers" board?

. :)


Quite possibly, I'll wait to see if Greg or Jack will do it. I've never moved posts/threads and I'd don't want to loose it.

Done.
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Re: SCA Persona Research

Postby Taurinor » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:49 pm

I sent this in a PM to kleenur so as not to interrupt the admin discussion of whether or not the topic was appropriate for MERF, but since it's been moved I figured I'd share what I wrote in case other folks are interested.

In the interest of full disclosure, I figure that I should point out that I'm not really involved with my local SCA barony, but I am part of a non-SCA group interested in portraying medieval hunters, outlaws, and foresters, and I'm getting involved with the Atlantian Royal Forester's Guild. My historic persona (including but not limited to the SCA) is a 1350's English forester in Cheshire. I haven't picked which specific royal forest in the area I want to portray a forester in, yet, but I'll get there eventually!

The Osprey book is a good initial resource - those books general provide a decent broad overview, but not many specifics, and some of the illustrations have to be taken with a grain of salt if they don't provide specific citations. For example, they show 14th century archers using cloth arrow socks, but I haven't seen those depicted in artwork prior to the 15th century - they might know something I don't, though (but without a citation I can't know their source)!

For general information on 14th century England, I second Elleth and highly recommend "The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century" by Ian Mortimer. Not only is it very well written, it manages to provide both an overview of the rapid societal changes that occurred during the 14th century and small details, such as what a thatcher's mate would earn in a day and what sort of jokes the 14th century person would find funny. He hits all the major parts of life - food, clothing, money, travel, etc.

I have found less general resources for foresters. Part of the reason that my persona is based when and where it is is because I have been to Chester, walked the medieval city walls, and fell in love with the area, but also because Edward of Woodstock reintroduced forest law in Cheshire in 1351. The "Register of Edward the Black Prince, Part III (Palatinate of Chester), A.D. 1351-1365" therefore includes the letter sent to the foresters of Cheshire outlining their duties, as well as complaints made by the locals in court when they could no longer use the forests the way they had for over 100 years (Ranulf de Blondeville issued a charter in 1215–16 setting more humane laws regulating use of the Cheshire royal forests). It provides more insight into what the foresters were doing than might be available otherwise (it has to be taken with a grain of salt, though, since the locals were very salty about the situation!).

For your outer persona (garb and gear), you could do worse than referencing Chaucer's description of the Knight's yeoman (translated from Middle English) -

"A yeoman had he at his side,
No more servants, for he chose so to ride;
And he was clothed in coat and hood of green.
A sheaf of peacock arrows bright and keen
Under his belt he bore very carefully
(Well could he keep his gear yeomanly:
His arrows had no drooped feathers low),
And in his hand he bore a mighty bow.
A cropped head had he and a sun-browned face.
Of woodcraft he knew all the useful ways.
Upon his arm he bore a bright bracer,
And at one side a sword and a buckler,
And at the other side a dagger bright,
Well sheathed and sharp as a spear's point in the light;
A Christopher medal on his breast of silver sheen.
He bore a horn, the baldric all of green;
A forester he truly was, I guess."

You can see my interpretation here, if you're interested. When it comes to patterning garb, you really can't go wrong using the Bocksten man clothing. I've also referenced some the Herjolfsnes artifacts, as well as illustrations from The Romance of Alexander and other 13th-14th century manuscripts in my own gear. The 1407 edition of "Livre de la Chasse" may also be be helpful to you, since it shows hunters (pay more attention to the fellows handling the dogs or driving deer with spears, rather than the folks in fancy duds on horseback). Speaking of hunters, for more leads on primary sources, check out Exploring the medieval hunt - not focused on foresters, but hunters are at least operating in a similar environment.

For a good general secondary source on garb, check out Sarah Thursfield's "The Medieval Tailor's Assistant, 2nd Edition: Common Garments 1100-1480" - one of your local SCAdians probably has a copy, or you can find pdfs of the first edition floating about the Internets (I think one has even been linked in a topic here somewhere).

Gear is a little harder to document, especially when asked what folks in individual lines of work might have used, but The Linkspages at Larsdatter.com is an excellent database of medieval material culture, organized by category. And of course, the The SCA East Kingdom Royal Foresters Guild blog has a lot of information, as well! I personally disagree with some of the logical leaps they make on occasion (I'm a bit of a hardnose about documentation), but they always make clear what is document-able and what are their own scientific guesses based on evidence and their own experience.
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Harper
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Re: SCA Persona Research

Postby Harper » Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:07 am

Good stuff Taurinor.

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