is the SCA?
The SCA is the Society for Creative Anachronism, which is a group
dedicated to researching and recreating the Middle Ages in the present.
Many groups meet weekly, and at these meetings we dance, talk, study,
learn, revel, and make plans. But first, let’s get a little
bit of info about the SCA in general.
Where did the SCA come from?
The SCA was started in 1966 in Berkeley, California by a group of
science fiction and fantasy fans who wanted a theme party. Following
the party, a group got together to discuss the idea of a medieval
re-creation and re-enactment group (which has ended up being much
like the Civil War, Revolutionary War or Buck-skinning re-enactment
groups that were beginning to form in the US). In Britain, medieval
and British Civil War recreation societies had existed for any number
of years. The Californians incorporated as a non-profit educational
society, started forming groups, and away they went.
Since 1966, the society has grown to include over 24,000 paying members
in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Italy,
Greece, Romania, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. Many
of us guess that for every dues-paying member, there are three or
four other active participants.
The avowed purpose of the SCA is the study and recreation of the European
Middle Ages, its crafts, sciences, arts, traditions, literature, etc.
The SCA “period” is defined to be Western civilization
before 1600 AD, concentrating on the Western European High Middle
Ages. Under the aegis of the SCA we study dance, calligraphy, martial
arts, cooking, metalwork, stained glass, costuming, literature...
well, if they did it, somebody in the SCA does it (Except die of the
As you can probably guess, the thing that separates the SCA from a
Humanities 101 class is the active participation in the learning process.
To learn costuming, you design and build costumes. To learn SCA infantry
fighting, you make armor, weapons, shields, etc., and put them on
and go learn how it feels to wear them when somebody is swinging a
(rattan) sword at you. To learn brewing, you make (and sample!) your
own wines, meads and beers.
You will frequently hear an SCA person describe the SCA as recreating
the Middle Ages “as they ought to have been.” In some
ways this is true -- we have few plagues, indoor plumbing, few peasants.
In the dead of winter we have other things to eat than King’s
venison, salt pork and dried tubers. However, a better description
is that we selectively recreate medieval culture, choosing elements
of the culture that interest and attract us.
How You Can Get Involved
We welcome you to attend our local meetings and our events. You needn’t
join the SCA, Inc, to attend and participate (although if you decide
to be with us regularly you may wish to join). The only requirement
to come to an event is that you make some attempt at pre-1600 costume
-- and most groups have “loaner” costumes for people who
want to come to their first event. Each SCA participant remembers
the day s/he started, and most people are happy to help out a newcomer.
Many local groups have officers whose sole duty is to help new members
find their way into the SCA.
This intro was originally written by Mistress Siobhan Medhbh O'Roarke