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Re: New Peerage? (fwd)

Poster: Tanner Lovelace <lovelace@acm.org>

I was asked to post this to the list...


From:   Barbara Nostrand[SMTP:nostrand@pi.math.wsu.edu]
Sent:   Sunday, November 17, 1996 8:39 PM
To:     sca-east@world.std.com
Cc:     James and Nancy Gilly; Karen Stegmeier; sca-equine@dnaco.net
Subject:        Re: New Peerage? (fwd)

-Poster: nostrand@pi.math.wsu.edu (Barbara Nostrand)

Noble Cousins!

James K. Wright has been circulating a proposal for a new peerage order.
I believe that the specific proposal is flawed in several ways, and wish
to respond to it in some detail.  Unfortunately, I do not have the
for the Atlantian mailing list, so I will post my comments here.

>>The Order of the Courtier: A Proposal

Before going into the specific details of the proposal, I wish to note
the name chosen for the order is most inappropriate.  Courtiers were a
variety of kinds of people at court (who often did not hold specific
which might have included members of a variety of orders.  This would
have been the name of an order.  Orders had names like:  Bath, Garter,
Golden Fleece, Hospitalier, Templar, etc.  Orders typically took their
from either their token of membership, a feature of initiation, a
reference or from the perceived mission.  "Courtier" does none of these.

Secondly, I wish to note that a proliferation of peerage orders will
the stature of all of the orders, but most especially for the newest of
orders.  The Pelican was largely saved this by its genesis as a peerage
by the ancient electors for "society wide service".  This sort of boost
not be available to a new peerage which is created at the kingdom level.

The poster then listed:  archery, fencing, equestrian activities, lure
coursing, and possibly falconry as activities which would be recognized
by this order.  They then note the effort and resulting mastery of these
art forms.  (Incidentally, they failed to mention axe throwing, musketry
and seige engines.)  They then make the point that people should be able
to become peers through these activiites.

I agree that anyone who makes contributions in recreating the middle
and renaisance should be able to receive eleveation to the peerage
of what the specific actvity they exemplify is.  The question is how to
accomplish this.

>>       But what order would suit these noble activities?  The Laurel?
>>These activities do not really fit in as an art or a science, and their
>>practice certainly does not fall under A+S Criteria.  They require
>>authorization to participate and Marshal-type supervision to practice.

This is not true at all.  Which of the extant orders they fit into
upon what they are specificically doing.  We will assume for this
that the chivalry were open to non-rattan combat forms.  First of all,
significant effort in organizing activities of any sort are already
by the Order of the Pelican.  This was noted by the original author.
Consequently, I will restrict my analysis to the Chivlary v. the Laurel
eachof these activities.
                                Chivalry                Laurel
archery                         Marksmanship            Research into
fencing                         Puissance               Research &
equestrian                      Jousting, etc.          Dressage &
Training etc.
lure coursing                   <does not apply>        Dog Trainging &
falconry                        <does not apply>        Bird Training
axe throwing                    <questionable>          <questionable>
musketry                        Marksmanship, etc.      Research, etc.
seige engines.                  Deployment & Marksm.    Research &

Why not the Chivalry for lure coursing or falconry?  Because, here the
and the bird are the ones which attain puissance, not the owner or
We should not be giving people peerages simply for having fast dogs or
We can give people peerages for doing significant research into medieval
rennaisance activities involving dogs and birds and recreating and
these things.  That sounds like a Laurel to me.  The reason that I mark
throwing as in general questionable is that I do not know of a real
of axe throwing (outside of fantasy role playing games) as a significant
martial form.  Lacking such evidence, I can not see how it should ever
eligible for the chivalry.  Further, lacking evidence of real medieval
technique, I do not see how it should be part of the order of the
Laurel.  This
does leave open the Pelican for those who teach others how to engage in

Basically, the same activities apply for equestrian activities as apply
dogs and birds, except that the human component is much more in evidence
the time of actual performance (I assume that we are not talking about
horses tha do tricks to commands), and equestrain activities can exhibit
obvious martial aspect.

>>       It seems to us that there is a gap between knighthood and the
>>Laurelate.  between the practice of war and the arts and sciences, and
>>in this gap is where we feel these noble and courtly activities fit.

Notice that seige engines can also be viewed in this way, but what of
The design and construction of seige engines is rather obviously
worthy of a Laurel.  A certain level of performance in operating (and
especially commanding) a seige engine seems pretty military to me.

>>       In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the nobles serving at court
>>would practice at activities for recreation and to keep their minds and
>>bodies sharp.  They would go hunting-ussually on horseback and using
>>hounds or falcons.  They would course the hounds for enjoyment.
>>They would shoot Bow and arrow, <etc.>

They also danced, wrote poetry, etc.  Pastimes in and of themselves are
things when they exhibit a degree of artisitic perfection and especially
when they exhibit research and teaching are what we give Laurels for.
The order of the Laruel is not simply an order for tradesmen and their

>>to us, to exist between the peerages.  It could be given to those
>>gentles that have shown a mastery in any of these courtly activities:
>>archery, fencing, equestrian, hound coursing, falconry.

Here is precisely one of the reasons that I have problems with this
proposal.  It seems to be a specific "catch-all" proposal which has
a shopping list of activities which it wishes to cover.  It has on the
hand, omitted musketry, axe-throwing, seige engines, etc.  Even more so,
has omitted a number of the classical "courtly" activities such as
chess and other games.  (Again, research is an avenue to the Laurelate
these activities.  But, what of the expert chess player?  Should the
chess player be a peer?)

>>       This would give these courtly activities a chance to shine on their
>>own, instead of being a "secondary" activity under another Peerage.

I fear that simply by the grab-bag nature of these activities that they
not "shine on their own".  How does a 12th century bowman co-shine with
period recreational forms?  Both archery and rapier have developed their
ranking systems in which individuals shine.  Only a formal peerage is
There is no need to create a hodgepodge order.  There is only a need to
provide a peerage for these people.


I wish to posit that the whole peerage system could be vastly improved
reserving the title "Marquis" to all non-royal peers.  Further, the
would be authorized to eleveate someone to peerage estate through
with the extant peerage orders in the kingdom without admission into a
order.  Consequently, if the crown wished to elevate someone to peerage
who was undoubtedly a peer, but whose activities did not clearly belong
to any
particular order, then the crown could simply elevate them to the estate
Marquis upon consultation with the extant peerage orders.  (This is a
modest requirement as some kingdoms alreay are formally asking for a
from all of the peerage orders for all elevations.)

If later on there were a sufficient number of lure coursers in the
then they could form a guilde or possibly even an order.  Yes, this
would mean
that there would be peers without orders.  But, what of it?  Orders are
collegiality.  There is collegiality in the list field.  There is
in research.  There is collegiality in service.  But, where is the
in "none of the above"?

Finally, a new "non of the above" order might more easily turn into a
clique of "none of the aboves" who will recognize your "none of the
above" if
they like you or your particular "none of the above", but may not do so
otherwise.  Further, the initial creation of the order would simply be
royal fiat, which would significantly comprimise the status of the order
many kingdoms.  On the other hand, having it a joint poling non-order
open it up for consideration by a lot more people which would cause the
to be cast wider (no need to worry whether the list in the proposal is
complete or not) and would at the same time bind the status of these
with the status to those in the other orders.

                                                        Your Humble
                                                        Amateur Scholar

| Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D.               | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM   
| Dept. of Pure & Applied Mathematics   | Amateur Scholar               
| Washington State University           | Medieval Japanese Research    
| Pullman, Washington  99164-3113       | Carolingia Status Mentis Est  
| (509) 335-5110                        |                               
| nostrand@pi.math.wsu.edu              | bnostran@lynx.neu.edu         
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