Glossary of SCA Terms



Anno Sociatatis: 'Year of the Society,' a calendar often used within the SCA designation the number of years since the Societies foundation in 1968. The 'New Year' for the A.S. calendar is May 1.

Armoured Combat: One of the most dramatic parts of the SCA is the combat, which takes place in the form of Tournament and Wars. In the Tournament, the skill of the individual swordsmen is tested in one on one competition, while wars can have as many as several thousand fighters on the field in a huge contest of tactics and valour. Armoured combat in the SCA is based upon the styles used from antiquity to the end of the sixteenth century, focusing on the use of weapons as practiced by the armoured warriors of the period.

Combat in the SCA is a full contact martial art form, approxomating the medieval tourney a'plaisance, a test of skill using practice swords of wood or whalebone. Today, our weapons are made of rattan, a tough but flexible bamboo-like wood. The weapons and armour are weighted and balanced similarly to the actual weapons of the middle ages, and this allows for a fully competitive, yet safe, form of combat that is as close as you can safely get to actual medieval combat. There is no choreography or blow pulling in SCA combat - it is a fully competitive test of skill, both on the tourney field, and on the battlefield.

We fight using any weapon that can be safely constructed with the use of rattan; axes, maces, halberds, pikes and greatswords all are used in combat, allowing fighters to learn a great variety of weapons and styles. The combat is open to anyone of legal age and good health; both lords and ladies have risen through the ranks and achieved knighthood.

Combat is all done on the honour system; if a fighter receives a blow which he or she deems to be of a sufficient strength, if delivered with a real weapon, to disable or kill, the fighter falls to the ground defeated, or accepts a wound in the case of a limb hit, and continues the fight thus disabled. Standards of blow strength vary somewhat from kingdom to kingdom, and through practice, a fighter learns to gauge the shots he or she receives and gives.

Arts and Sciences: Members of the SCA peruse a variety of medieval activities and crafts, from armouring, costuming,brewing, historical research and living history, dance, calligraphy and just about any other medieval activity you care to mention. Guilds dedicated to specific crafts allow fellow enthusiasts to exchange information and research on their chosen field, and to meet regularly to discuss and practice their crafts. Arts & Science Fairs and competitions are held regularly in all major SCA groups, and offer the Artisans a chance to display their latest projects, and to exchange information and research with their fellows. Entries in a wide variety of fields are judged on workmanship, research and presentation, with awards given for the top craftsmen in each field.

Authorisation: In order to participate in SCA combat, a fighter must first be authorized by the Marshallate, a process that entails a short series of bouts fought under the inspection of two warranted SCA Marshals. Authorization is a test, not of skill, but of safety. To pass an authorization test, the fighter must be familiar with Drachenwald's Rules of Combat, and demonstrate sufficient control of his or her weapon so as not to present a hazard upon the field to themselves or others.


Barony: A Barony is a branch group composed of at least (but usually more than) 25 members, headed by a Baron and Baroness selected by the populace and the Crown.


Castellan: The officer in charge of welcoming and assisting new members to a group.

Chiurgeon: An officer with first-aid training who stands by at events to render assistance as needed.

Chronicler: The officer in charge of a group's newsletter.

Corpora: The document that defines the structure of the Society's historical recreation. It is part of the Organizational Handbook, which also contains the Society's By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation and some other information on the structure of the organization.' (KWH)


Drachenwald: The European Branch of the SCA. Drachenwald was founded as a territory of the East Kingdom, achieved the status of Principality in Anno Sociatatis XV(1980) and finally Kingdom in AS XXVIII (1993). Currently, the Kingdom is comprised of the Principality of Nordmark (Sweden), the Baronies of Aarnemetsia (Finland), Drei Eichen (Koln area, Germany), Monarch's Rest (Frankfurt area, Germany) and diverse other shires in continental Europe, with a smattering of far-flung outposts in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. See the Drachenwald Web page for more information.


Exchequer: The officer who acts as club treasurer for a branch group.



Guild: In the middle ages, one of the most important social institutions for the artisans was the trade guild, an organization based around a specific craft. The guild regulated trade in their craft, and set guidelines for standards of workmanship, the qualifications for Masters, Journeymen and Apprentices, and acted as a social focus for its members. In the SCA, a guild is an organization dedicated to furthering the study of a specific craft or art. Guilds arrange workshops, help sponsor arts and science exhibitions and competitions and often act as a conduit for the exchange of information, techniques, patterns and other aspects of their chosen craft.


Herald: The officer in charge of matters relating to the heraldry of individuals and groups in the SCA. Within the Society, each individual, branch group and Household (see below) is entitled to register with the SCA college of heralds a unique heraldic device. The local herald is responsible for assisting the members of his group in creating a device that is both in accordance with the established laws of heraldry, and unique within the Society.

Households: While the Shires are the basic administrative unit of the SCA, Households are the primary social unit. A household is made up of a group of people with a common interest in some period or aspect of the middle ages. A household is an informal structure in the SCA, and can take the form of a manorial household, a chivalric order, a military company, a dark-age warband or just about anything else. Households determine their own internal organization and can register and display a unique heraldic device. Households are not limited by geography, and members of a given household may be spread throughout the known world.




Kingdom: The largest administrative unit in the SCA, consisting of a geographical region containing at least, but usually much more than, 400 active members. Kingdoms are run by the great officers of state, and presided over by a King and Queen. The King and Queen are traditionally chosen by combat, and reign for six months.

Knight of the Society (KSCA): One of the orders of great merit. Membership in the order is granted by the Crown (after consultation order's members in that Kingdom) to those who have achieved great skill in armoured combat with the replica weapons used in the Society, and who also display those qualities of courtesy, grace, and familiarity with the arts and skills of the Society required by Corpora for such recognition....Kinghts swear fealty to the Crown upon entering the order, and to symbolize this bond they wear a chain about their necks - usually unadorned...Knights also wear a white belt around their waists, and occasionally spurs as well.' (KWH)


Laurel, Order of: One of the orders of great merit. Membership in the order is granted by the Crown (after consultation order's members in that Kingdom) to those who display great skill in one or more of the Arts and Sciences, coupled with unstinting willingness to teach their mystery and to use their talents to the benefit of the Realm, and who also display those qualities of courtesy, grace and familiarity with the arts and skills of the Society required by Corpora for such recognition. The insignia of the order is the same as that of the Society itself, a plain laurel wreath, most often rendered as green upon gold.' (KWH)

Light Weapons Combat: Light Weapons Combat, also known as Duello in some parts of the SCA, is a development of modern fencing, which uses steel blades such as the epee and the schlagger to re-create the combat styles that were emerging at the end of the SCA's historical period, the sixteenth and early seventeenth century. Light Weapons Combat is very similar to the modern sport of epee fencing, although it allows far greater latitude with regards to the kinds of weapons and blows allowed, in order to more closely represent period rapier technique. It is known as 'Light Weapons Combat' because the armour required is much lighter than that required for SCA Armoured Combat, and usually consists of a 3-weapon mask (commercially available) together with a leather doublet, gloves and groin protection.

Lindquistring, Order of: Drachenwald's Kingdom level service award. Recipients of the award have demonstrated a willingness and an ability to serve the Society through holding official posts, volunteering to organize events or other acts of service which benefit the Kingdom.


Marshal: The officer in charge of all things combat related in a group. He or she should oversee training and tournaments held in his branch, inspect fighters armour and weaponry for safety before bouts and see to the authorization of new fighters in his branch.

Minister of Arts and Science: The officer responsible for the organization and encouragement of the arts, crafts and research in a group.




Panache, Order of: Drachenwald's Kingdom level arts and science award. Recipients of the award have demonstrated skill in a variety of arts and sciences and demonstrated a willingness to teach others.

Peer: A member of one of the great orders (Chivalry, Laurel and Pelican, described elsewhere) or a former ruler of a Kingdom. A Peerage is the highest form of award bestowed by the Society. The Peers are the most experienced members of the Society in any Kingdom, and are duty bound to support the King and Kingdom.

Pelican, Order of: 'One of the orders of great merit. Membership in the order is granted by the Crown (after consultation order's members in that Kingdom) to those who have served the Kingdom diligently and constructively, usually for a long period of time, and who also display those qualities of courtesy, grace and and familiarity with the arts and skills of the Society required by Corpora for such recognition. The insignia of the order is "a pelican in her piety" - that is, wounding her breast to feed her nestling, which is an ancient symbol of service beyond sanity...You will see this charge most often upon a medallion...' (KWH)

Principality: A Principality is the second largest SCA branch group after Kingdom. A principality is a region comprising at least (but usually much more than) 100 members.

Principality of Nordmark: The Principality of Nordmark is the region of Drachenwald comprised of modern Sweden.

Protectors of Insulae Draconis: A yearly tournament to find the champion in Heavy combat, Rapier combat, Arts and Science and Equistrian.




Shire: The Shire is the basic administrative unit of the SCA, functioning as the local branch of the organization. The SCA is organized in a hierarchal structure; the smallest groups, called shires, ridings, strongholds or colleges, consist of a minimum of 6 active members, while a barony or province is a group of at least 25 members. These small groups make up the larger geographical units, Principalities (at least 100 members) and finally Kingdoms (at least, but usually much more than 400 members).

Silver Guard, Order of: Drachenwald's Kingdom level fighting award. Recipients of the award have demonstrated skill with a variety of weapons and demonstrated a willingness to teach others.

Squire: A fighter who has been accepted as a student by a member of the Chivalry (Knight). The relationship varies a great deal depending upon the personalities involved and on the customs of the Kingdom. Since it results from a purely personal arrangement, the word "squire" is not a title of rank. Some squires wear red belts in token of the association - a custom which is prevalent in some Kingdoms (including Drachenwald) and relatively rare in others.

Seneschal: The administrative 'president' of a local group, responsible for the day-to-day running of the group and coordinates the work of the other officers.