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Re: Order of Preference and Ragnar--tardy reply

Poster: David KUIJT <kuijt@umiacs.umd.edu>

Greetings to all here at Cheapside from Dafydd ap Gwystl,

On Mon, 23 Dec 1996, fionnuala o'brian wrote: (excerpted)

> the reason he was awarded his arms as "Ragnar of Anglesea" is 
> that no one gave enough of a damn to find out what his last name 
> *was*.  he was in Anglesea, widely reputed to be a bunch of 
> scumbags (everyone knows that mercenaries aren't period-- in 
> Atlantia, anyway) so who cared?  


No offense to you, Fionnuala, nor certainly to Ragnar (who I think is a
fine fellow indeed), but there are a couple of statements here that are
hasty, and perhaps ill-thought out, but that deserve response. 

In the paragraph above, I see the following statements:
1. Nobody cared enough to find out what Ragnar's last name was.
2. The reason nobody cared enough was because he was in Anglesea.
3. Anglesea are widely reputed to be a bunch of scumbags
4. Mercenaries aren't period in Atlantia

In some detail:

1. "Nobody cared enough to find out what Ragnar's last name was."

1. Now I was not the King who awarded Ragnar arms, so I cannot know
whether the omission was inadvertent or due to lack of effort to
find his full name.  However, I have been King.  During our term
we gave out 48 Awards of Arms, and more than 100 awards.  I would
not be surprised at all if some of the names we used were not the
exact names registered with the Heralds for those people, even though
we made our best effort to ensure that this didn't occur.  I don't
think it is necessary to impute apathy on the side of the Monarchs
in not discovering Ragnar's name.  These errors occur when the
Monarchs have the best of intentions.

2. "The reason nobody cared enough was because he was in Anglesea."

2. I don't know which Monarchs gave Ragnar arms, but I find it strange
to think that they would recognize his willing service to the Kingdom
by awarding arms at the same time as being put off by his association
with Anglesea.  If they were put off, they probably wouldn't have 
awarded him arms.  If they awarded him arms, they probably were
interested in recognizing his service -- what use then would it be
to not ensure that the right person, by his right name, got that

3. "Anglesea are widely reputed to be a bunch of scumbags"

3. By the post, this is an emotional topic for you.  I cannot say
whether _anyone_ believes this or not.  I can only say that "widely
reputed" seems inaccurate to me.  In the part of Atlantia in which
I reside, I cannot recall anyone ever making the statement that
Anglesea are a bunch of scumbags, or anything similar.  I have
friends and acquaintances in Anglesea, and so do many people that
I know.  So a widespread reputation for scumbagginess doesn't exist,
as far as I can see.

4. "Mercenaries aren't period in Atlantia"

4. You seem to have meant that as sarcasm, which is always hard to
read over the net.  "Mercenaries aren't period" is clearly false,
so perhaps you mean something like "Atlantia doesn't like Mercenaries".

In the SCA, everyone should be able to play the game they want, within
the medieval/educational context.  That means that if you want to be
a leper, for example, people should not revile you inappropriately.
HOWEVER, if you want to be a leper, you should expect to be shunned,
not asked to dance, driven out of any hall, forced away from everyone
else, and kept in leper colonies with other lepers.  And it would be
very strange if you were allowed to eat the feast with everyone else.

Now mercenaries aren't lepers.  However, if you are truly a mercenary,
(and fight for whomever pays the most, which is true of at least some
mercenaries), you cannot expect to be treated the same as a fighter
who is loyal to Kingdom.  Mercenary means (generally) loyal to pay,
not to liege-lord.  Mercenaries were also mistreated throughout the
middle ages.  Just to pick one example, the Genoese Crossbowmen who
were hired by the French in the battle of Crecy were trampled into
the mud by their employers when they were not effective enough.

So my natural response to your saying :

> (everyone knows that mercenaries aren't period-- in Atlantia, anyway)

Is to say: sure they're period.  And they are mistreated, just like
period mercenaries :^)

Which is not to say that I approve of some of the actions of past crowns
in conflict with Anglesea, for example at Pointless War a year and some
months ago.  I think the Anglesea fighters were ill-treated on that

However, I would like to point out that loyalty to the Kingdom is a very
important part of the game we play, to a lot of people.  To take the role
of a true mercenary group is to label yourself as "not loyal to the
Kingdom", and to evoke strong emotional responses in people.  I do not
say this to justify their actions, just to try to explain to you why
the reaction occurred.

Sincere regards,


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