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re: oaths of loyalty vs. oths of fealty

Poster: Christoph Hintze <chhintze@bmd.clis.com>

On Tuesday, April 1, 1997, 18:13:08 you wrote:

>There is a very basic misconception in the SCA about fealty. I know because
>I was under this misconception for quite some time until my good friend,
>Count Dafydd ap Gwystal (pay attention Dafydd, I'm about to take you name in
>vain ;-) cleared things up for me.
>I will not attempt to quote His Excellency (is that a heavy sigh I hear from
>Gwystalland?), but put simply, an oath of fealty is nothing more than a
>promise do to good works (I said I was going going to put it simply).
>In the case of the Territorial Baron, it means that I must be willing to
>swear to both The Barony and the Kingdom, both in the guise of Their
>Majesties, to uphold the laws of both, and to never deliberatley bring harm
>to either. I must also be willing to defend and protect the people of the
>Barony and the Kingdom itself (usually in the guise of bringing armed
>soldiery into the Kingdom's armies) and to act as the Word and Law of the
>King and Queen when They are not present, as well as to act as the voice of
>the people of the Barony to Their Majesties. These oaths vary from person to
>person and Kingdom to Kingdom, but in the main they are nothing more (and
>this is not to belittle these oaths any) than the aforementioned promise to
>do good works.
>Now an oath of loyalty is something else entirely, and this is where the
>misconeption comes in, for may people believe that this is what fealty is.
>One takes an oath of loyalty when one joins the armed forces of the United
>States. I am not a hundred percent sure, but I believe that Federal law
>enforcement officers take a similar oath. One can also take an oath of
>loyalty to a person (one's knight for example), and in the context of the
>SCA this is often called fealty.


One of the things that may people forget about the deep south and many of us
from the deep south is that to us the two are very nearly synonymus.  This
has to do with the very heavy proportion of Scotts, Irish and Germans who
settled down here in the late 17th and early 18th centuries (especially in
North and South Carolina).  Then you add the oaths required of returning
soldiers during the period of radical reconstruction after the War for
Southern Independence (The War of Northern Aggression, you pick).  This is
where you find the reason for many of our ideas about oaths of fealty/loyalty.  

By the way the oath that you swear on entry to the military (not take, but
swear), is an oath both of loyalty and fealty, because you swear absolute
loyalty to nation, unswerving obedience and support of the constitution
(this means, and it states that you will uphold and defend the constitution
against ALL enemies foreign and domestic) and complete obedience to the
LEGAL orders of you lawfully appointed leaders.

So.... If I swear loyalty that's absolute!  But if I swear fealty I must
obey only legal orders.  Yet these are still very absolute, an oath you
swear to live by wereas if you just promise you have some leaway.  

Please remember that to many of us any oath is just that, you have sworn you
very life if neccesary, at least as long as it is a legal command.  The key
word is "SWEAR".

I hope that this may shed a little bit of light on the problem of
southerners and oaths.  If there is anything else that I can do please do
drop me a line.

In Service
Lord Christopher Storme of Kintail
residing in Cathanar, Atlantia
Scholar of the Acadimie d'Espee

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