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Re: Cantons and Shires

Poster: Dave Montuori <damont@wolfstar.com>

On Fri, 8 Jan 1999, Felix Batton wrote:

> I received the attached post by way of our baronial list, and thought
> that I pose the question to this forum. Are shires purely for political
> purposes, and do they represent an upgrade from canton status? We in the
> south have had less experience in the change from being a canton within
> a barony, to that of a shire, so I thought some insight could be gained
> from our northern cousins who have had much more experience in this
> arena.

In my experience, every branch in Atlantia has its own political dynamic.
I started my SCA journey in Isenfir, which has been a Shire for 20mumble
years; we liked it that way when I was there, and probably still do (I
yield to current residents on that point). Later I helped found
Rencester, which is within the Barony of Tir-Y-Don. Now I live in
Stierbach, a shire-become-barony which currently has no cantons, and play
a good deal with Ponte Alto, which went straight to barony from being a
canton of Storvik. I have friends in most of the baronies. And in each
case, the relationships (past and present) between canton and barony,
between neighboring groups of whatever status, and the internal way the
group seems to run, are different.

I don't see Canton status as being better or worse than Shire status in
general. They are simply different; and which status is better for a given
branch depends on which branch we're talking about. The major differences
I see are that a group that's part of a barony takes on an additional
level of privilege and responsibility both. For a local officer, only
having to report to one's kingdom-level superior (perhaps via a regional
deputy) may represent an improvement to some over having to report to both
baronial and kingdom superiors. Others might welcome the extra, more-local
oversight -- and, presumably, assistance; if the assistance is lacking
where it is desired, then the oversight might be regarded as oppressive.

But that's going to be different for each instance. Canton and Shire
statuses each have their good and bad points; whether the good/bad ratio
favors one status over the other is for each individual group to decide,
and given the diversity of local political dynamics we've got in Atlantia,
that is about as good a general answer as I can give.


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