SCA Glossary

Anachronism – Anything out of its proper time, such as a modern wrist watch in medieval times or Renaissance clothing in a modern restaurant.

Anno Societatis/A.S. – The dating system used in the S.C.A. All dates are counted from May 1st, 1966, and the year is shown in Roman Numerals. “Anno Societatis” translates to “In the Year of the Society.” May 1, 1966 was May 1, A.S. I, and dates move forward from there.

Apprentice – A student who has been accepted by a Master or Mistress of the Laurel for training. While apprentices do not have reserved belt colors, some wear green belts or cords as an indication of their student relationship to their peer.

Archery – There are typically two types of archery events: Combat archery or Target archery. Combat archers fall within specific rules for heavy weapons armor and fighting conventions, and often have specific scenarios for participation at wars. Target archers participate in competitions for accuracy and distance shooting with various types of equipment (both recurve bows and crossbows). Sites must allow archery specifically for archery competitions to be included at an event.

Armor – Armor is worn to protect the body of a fighter. For details, check with the Marshal of your Kingdom.

Authorized – An individual who has been formally recognized as trained to an adequate level of safety in a combat or combat-related activity (i.e., an “authorized fighter,” or “I’ve been authorized!”).

Award of Arms (aka AoA) – This is one of the first awards newer members typically receive. The award grants the title of Lord or Lady (capital L).

Baldric – This is a belt (typically leather or fabric) worn from one shoulder to the hip. Baldrics serve many purposes: they can be used to hold a sword (rather than hanging a sword from one’s belt); they can be used to note an officer; they can be used as decoration. There are some specialized Baldrics that are reserved, see Master of Arms.

Bard – A bard is a person who participates in bardic circles, sings, tells stories, recites poetry, etc. Usually, these people use a lower case b. Someone who uses an upper case B usually hold offices like “Bard of Caid” or the “Bard of Lyondemere.”

Bardic Circle – A gathering where the main activity is the exchange of songs and stories in a medieval style. They are often done around a fire at camping events (such as a War). They come in many forms. Usually it is up to the host or organizer to decide what format the Circle will be.

Baron/Baroness (Court) – The title of Court Baron/Baroness is granted at the whim of the Royalty, and carries the title of Baron or Baroness. It is typically bestowed for many years of service to the Kingdom.

Baron/Baroness (Landed) – A Landed Baron or Baroness is the ceremonial head of a Barony. They are called Baron (or Baroness) of name-of-Barony. They receive this title from the hands of the Crown. Usually, they are in office from 3-5 years. A landed Baron and/or Baroness is required to swear fealty to the Crown for the lands held by them.

Barony – A Barony is a local branch within the SCA. A Barony may contain within its borders smaller branches, such as Cantons, Colleges, or Ports. Baronies have ceremonial heads called the (landed) Baron or Baroness.

Belted Fighter – A belted fighter is a member of the Order of Chivalry. The term refers to the white belt reserved to be worn only by a Knight (or as a white baldric for a Master of Arms).

Cadet – A fighter who has been accepted as a student by a member of the Masters of Defense. While cadets do not have reserved belt colors, some wear red collars or cords as an indication of their student relationship to their peer. (Cadets are not common in Caid.)

Caid – (pronounced kah-YEED). A Kingdom covering these regions: Southern California, parts of Central California, Greater Las Vegas Area, and Hawaii.

Canton – A Canton is a small branch within the SCA. It is often a sub-group contained within a Barony.

Chamberlain – An officer in charge of inventorying and maintaining the regalia of a Kingdom or Barony. The office is appointed by the current Monarchs or Baronage. This office sometimes is used as an ombudsman to the King/Queen or Baron/Baroness. This office is not universal in the SCA.

Chatelaine – The officer in charge of helping newcomers. They may hold classes, introduce newcomers to various other members of their local group and help the newcomer get acquainted with the ins and outs of the SCA. They also may loan garb as needed (Gold Key).

Chivalry, Order of – The Order of Chivalry consists of those who have been recognized for their fighting skills on the field of honor, as well as other skills required to make a “well-rounded” individual. This order consists of Knights and Masters of Arms (men or women, and equivalent titles). Members of the Order of Chivalry are equivalent in rank to the members of the Order of the Laurel, the Order of the Pelican, the Order of Defense, and the Order of the Rose.

Chronicler – The officer in charge of a group’s newsletter.

Circlet – A band worn on the head to keep the hair out of the eyes or the veil in place – or just for decoration. It can be metal, leather, ribbon, etc. Many kingdoms have laws (called sumptuary laws) with regard to the allowed width of circlets. In Caid, it is appropriate for anyone to wear a plain, unadorned circlet. For more information, see the Caid Wiki article

College – A College is a branch based on a University campus. The guidelines for activity levels are more loosely defined for a College, as they have some of the most transient populations in the SCA. They are usually under the College’s Club system and have a faculty advisor. Many Colleges are sub-groups under a Barony.

College of Heralds – This is the collective of the heralds in the Kingdom, headed by a Principal Herald. The Kingdom College of Heralds handles a variety of tasks, ranging from working with the members of the populace to register names and arms, to making announcements at events, announcing fights on the field of honor, and being the master of ceremonies for Court. Not all heralds do all aspects of the office, so a court herald may not be familiar with name research.

Collegium – An event held specifically to educate members of the populace. Classes are taught all day (usually over two days) on topics ranging all over the SCA scope.

Combat Archery– An armored combat-related activity in which armored archers fire specially padded arrows at combatants in a melee.

Consort – One whose favor a fighter carries into a tournament. In a Crown or Coronet tournament, should the fighter win the tournament, the consort would be co-ruler with that fighter.

Constable – The Constable is an officer in the SCA whose job varies from Kingdom to Kingdom. In Caid, the constables often take care of Lost and Found as well as a variety of other tasks.

Coronation – The event where the Crown Prince and Crown Princess become the new King and Queen, and the outgoing King and Queen step down. There are typically two courts: One for stepping down and one for stepping up.

Coronet – A circlet worn by a Prince or Princess; a Duke or Duchess; a Count or Countess; a Viscount or Viscountess; or a Baron or Baroness (landed or Court). For more information, see the Caid Wiki article

Count/Countess – These titles are used for those who have reigned as King or Queen once, and they are assumed after the King/Queen step down. There is a ceremony which confirms these titles.

Court – The word generally refers to a formal gathering of an SCA chapter, presided over by its ceremonial leaders (could be King/Queen, could be baronage). The activities of a court include announcements, presentations and awards from the leaders to individuals in the group.
A second meaning for this word refers to the retinue of the royalty, as in “Talk to a member of the Court.” These are folk who are trusted by the royalty to assist them during Their Reign (Ladies in Waiting, Courtiers, Guard, or Advisors). These persons can help you find out details about the plans the Royals have for future events, their likes and preferences, allergies to foods, etc. You can ask the Chief Lady in Waiting or the Chamberlin. If you find it hard to talk to the Royalty, try talking to a member of Their Court. The Court can be referred to as the Retinue or Royal Retinue.

Crown – This term has two general meanings. The first is the King and Queen of a Kingdom working together. The other is the coronet worn by the King and/or Queen. These are specific to the Kingdom, and belong to the Kingdom, not the individuals currently wearing them.

Crown Prince/Crown Princess – The victor in the Crown Tournament and the victor’s consort. The victor is named Crown Prince, and his consort is named Crown Princess. If a female fighter wins a Crown Tournament, the victor is named the Crown Princess, and the consort is then named the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince and Crown Princess will become the King and Queen at the next Coronation (usually held a few months after Crown Tourney), at which time the current King and Queen will step down.

Dame – This is an alternate title that may be used by members of the Peerages, for those females who do not wish to use the title Mistress or Sir (in the case of the Order of Chivalry).

Defense, Order of – The Order of Defense is a peerage (top) level recognition. The focus of this recognition is excellence in Rapier Combat. A member of the Order of Defense may style themselves “Master” or “Mistress” and are typically described as the Masters of Defense (or MODs). Members of the Order of Defense are equivalent in rank to the members of the Order of the Laurel, the Order of the Pelican, the Order of Chivarly, and the Order of the Rose.

Dry/Damp/Wet Site – This refers to a site’s alcoholic beverage policy. Dry sites allow no alcohol. Damp sites permit wine, beer, and mead, but no hard liquor. Wet sites do not restrict alcohol.

Duke/Duchess – These titles are granted to those who have reigned as King or Queen twice, and are assumed when the person steps down from the Throne at the end of their second reign (there is a ceremony to recognize the titles). They may be addressed as “Your Grace.”

Equestrian – Any participant or activity that features horses. Equestrian events are either specialized sites and events or part of a war event that allows horses. SCA members who are not horse-owners can often volunteer to learn about horse care, helping with site set-up or take down, and sometimes learn about riding and equestrian rules. Contact the various event coordinators for Equestrian events to learn more about these opportunities.

Eric (the eric) – The markers around the List Field, hence often used by extension for the area within the markers. Fighting is kept within the safety of the eric. Spectators remain on the outside of the eric.

Event – An SCA gathering, sometimes with a special theme. Events can be held indoors at a variety of sites such as at a park, school, church, or at campgrounds. Many events feature a tournament (possibly in several martial arts forms) and some type of artistic presentations or competitions.

Excellency, His/Her/Your – Used to address Counts/Countesses, Viscounts/Viscountesses, and Landed and Court Barons/Baronesses. It is also a safe fallback address if one cannot remember the correct title for any high ranking personage up to and including the Crown. They are all Excellencies.

Exchequer (aka treasurer) – The Exchequer is the officer who is in charge of tracking money collected and spent by the local or Kingdom group.

Feast – A large dinnertime meal served at an event. They are usually composed of two or more courses, each containing multiple dishes, sometimes with some form of entertainment provided between courses.

Feast Gear – Tableware for dining. Almost all SCA feasts assume that the guests will bring their own feast gear to include everything they need to eat in comfort including plates, bowls, cups or goblets, napkins, and utensils. Many people also bring decorative tablecloths, candles, and other items to grace their table.

Gate (sometimes called “Troll”) – This is the place at most SCA events where you pay site fees and inquire about information for the day.

Garb – The medieval clothing worn at SCA events. After a few events, it doesn’t feel like a costume anymore!

Gentles – A general reference to the lords and ladies assembled.

Grace, His/Her/Your – Title used to address Dukes and Duchesses.

Great Western War (GWW) – This is a war held annually in October on the West Coast of the United States (in California, currently just outside of Bakersfield). Details about this war can be found at:

Guild – An organization chartered in one or more kingdoms to promote the study and practice of some particular Art or Science. See or  or for a few examples

Hat – (aka “Pointy Hat”) An SCA slang term for a Coronet or a Crown. Note: using the term “hat” as slang for a Coronet or Crown is viewed as potentially disrespectful and should be avoided.

Heavy Weapons (also “hard suit”) – Heavy weapons can refer to the overall activity and the specific weapons for participating in full-contact, non-choreographed, SCA Heavy Combat. The weapons are used in both tournament and war scenarios and include rattan swords, wooden or metal shields, and mass weapons such as long sword, pole arms, and axes, among others. A heavy weapons fighter must be authorized in use of these weapons and the conventions of heavy weapons combat for their own safety as well as the safety of their opponents (and the spectators). Heavy weapons armor is often distinguished by solid metal helmets with grills for face-protection and rigid body armor.

Herald – A person who is trained to function in one or more of the areas defined by the College of Heralds. There are a variety of types of heralds, but they mainly break down to three areas: Field Herald, Court Herald, and Submissions or Research Herald. Note that not all heralds are experienced in all aspects of the office, so a Court Herald may not be experienced in name research.

High Table – The table at a feast where the presiding nobility and the honored guests are seated. Also called “Head Table.”

Highness, His/Her/Your – Used as the title of address for Princes and Princesses. Formally, a Crown Prince or Princess is addressed as a Royal Highness (sometimes abbreviated TRH).

HOLD! – A cry (usually called by a Marshall) meaning, “Stop whatever you are doing and freeze in place,” because there may be a hazardous/dangerous situation nearby. The basic use is in combat, but it has been extended to cover all forms of activity.

Household – A voluntary association of friends or people with similar interest, organized under whatever rules the members jointly accept. Households have no formal standing in the SCA.

Investiture – The ceremony wherein a Landed Baron and Baroness receive the insignia of their Barony and officially step into the role of Baron/Baroness.

King – The King is typically the person who won the Crown Tournament, for the honor of their consort, who becomes the Queen (except as noted). The King and Queen are the ceremonial heads of the Kingdom.

Kingdom – A branch of the SCA with the ceremonial leaders King and Queen. At the time of this writing, there are 20 Kingdoms across the US, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Korea, and many military bases.

Knight – A Knight is a member of the Order of Chivalry (see also Masters of Arms). A Knight is entitled to wear as regalia an unadorned chain of large open links (to signify his/her fealty to the Crown), a white belt (to signify his/her prowess), and a pair of spurs (to signify his/her rank). Members of the Order of Chivalry are equivalent in rank to the members of the Order of the Laurel, the Order of the Pelican, the Order of Defense, and the Order of the Rose.

Knowne Worlde – A term used to refer to the areas of the world in which the SCA has a presence. There are 20 Kingdoms in several different countries including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, many countries of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. You can get more details about any individual Kingdom here – This website has links to the websites for each of the Kingdoms.

Laurel, Order of the – The Order of the Laurel is a peerage (top) level recognition. The focus of this recognition is excellence in the Arts and/or Sciences. A member of the Order of the Laurel may style themselves “Master” or “Mistress.” Members of the Order of the Laurel are equivalent in rank to the members of the Order of Chivarly, the Order of the Pelican, the Order of Defense, and the Order of the Rose.

Lists – Refers to the lists (paper listings of combatants) used to run a tournament. Can also be used to describe the volunteer in charge of coordinating the order or combat for a tournament.

List Field – The tournament field: This is where the official martial competitions at SCA events takes place. The list field is usually in the center of the event site, and often has the Royal Pavilion and other pavilions around it. This area is defined by ropes, often with flags hanging off of them. See also Eric.

Lord/Lady – When capitalized, it is used as a title within the SCA for those with Awards of Arms. Note that unless someone specifically does not wish to be recognized as nobility within the SCA, anyone may be called lord or lady (lowercase “l”) or addressed as m’lord or m’lady.

Lordship/Ladyship, His/Her/Your – Used as the title of address within some Kingdoms of the SCA for those with Grants of Arms. In addition, The Honorable Lord or The Honorable Lady may be used (sometimes abbreviated THL, THLord, or THLady).

Majesty, His/Her/Your – Used to address for Kings and Queens.

Marshal – The officer responsible for martial activities, particularly in overseeing them to ensure safety. Marshals must be knowledgeable in the conventions of combat and armor safety requirements. Marshals are typically the only non-combatants allowed within the eric ropes. They can often be recognized by carrying a long staff in spiral black and yellow colors.

Master/Mistress – The titles of Master or Mistress are reserved to those members of the peerage who wish to use them. See also Peer, Chivalry, Master of ArmsLaurel, Pelican, or Master of Defense.

Master of Arms (not used often in Caid) – A member of the Order of Chivalry along with those who are Knights. The only difference between a Master of Arms and a Knight is that a Knight is required to swear fealty when they are made a Knight and a Master of Arms is not. A Master of Arms does not wear a chain to signify an oath of fealty, and rather than wearing a white belt, they wear a white baldric to signify their prowess. See Knight for more information. Members of the Order of Chivalry are equivalent in rank to the members of the Order of the Laurel, the Order of the Pelican, the Order of Defense, and the Order of the Rose.

Merchant’s Row – The area of an event where folks who are selling merchandise set up. The perfect place for all your medieval shopping! Not all events have a “Merchant’s Row,” but some larger events do.

Officer – Someone who do one of the jobs in the civil service of a Society branch or of the SCA as a corporation. Examples include Chatelaine, Exchequer, and Seneschal.

Out of Period/Not Period– The SCA period, while loosely defined, does have a definition. The phrase Out of Period or OOP is used to define something that does not fit within the scope of the SCA time frame (such as from the Victorian Era or Modern Era).

OYEZ! or Oy Yay! (pronounced oy-YAY) – Cry used by heralds to gain the attention of the populace. Stop and listen for the announcement when you hear a herald call, as the herald is the voice of the Crown and because you may well need to know what they’re trying to tell you.

Page/Page School – A Page in the SCA is usually a younger member of the organization (a child, pre-teen, varying from Kingdom to Kingdom). A Page School is usually an organized attempt to teach these younger members of the organization some of what the SCA is about. See also Youth Activities.

Pavilion – A term used to refer to a medieval-style tent.

Peer/Peerage – A Knight, Master of Arms, Laurel, Pelican, Master/Mistress of Defense, member of the Order of the Rose, or a Royal Peer (Duke, Duchess, Count, Countess, Viscount, Viscountess). The phrase “The Peerage” refers to the collective Peers.

Pelican – The Order of the Pelican is a peerage (top) level recognition. The focus of this recognition is excellence in Service to the SCA. A member of the Order of the Pelican may style themselves Master or Mistress. Members of the Order of the Pelican are equivalent in rank to the members of the Order of the Laurel, the Order of Chivalry, the Order of Defense, and the Order of the Rose.

Pell – A practice dummy or stake most often used in practice by heavy weapons fighters, not to be confused with the shorthand ‘Pel’ for Pelican. Often a pell is padded and approximately the thickness of a telephone pole.

Pennsic War – Pennsic is an annual two-week long event, in the guise of a War between the Kingdoms of the East and the Kingdom of the Middle. Pennsic is also the largest Society event, with attendance in recent years exceeding 10,000. The scheduled activities include large melee battles, tournaments, archery, stage performances, dancing, and hundreds of classes on medieval topics. The marketplace has over 200 merchants selling a variety of wares. (From the Pennsic website:

Period – The historical era used by the SCA as a base for its activities. The SCA period is generally considered 600 AD to 1600 AD. (While the starting date is open to interpretation, the ending date is defined by official SCA policy.)

Persona – The character that may be assumed by an SCA member. This may involve anything as simple as adopting a name to as complex as developing a full history for a person born and raised at some specific place and time in the period covered by the SCA. Any member of the SCA may decide personally how complex or simple their persona is and what they would like to be known as. The rule of thumb is to assume that everyone you meet could be minor nobility, and to treat everyone with all courtesy.

Populace – A word describing the inhabitants of a kingdom, place, or group present at an event.

Port – A small SCA branch based in a harbor or bay (often used for U.S. Naval Bases). Typically Ports are sub-groups under a Barony.

Post-revel – A party after the main event for socializing and unwinding. Guests often wear modern clothes. Post-revels may be unofficial and not sponsored by the SCA (such as a private party in a private residence).

Precedence, Order of – This is the precedence of awards within the SCA. The Order of Precedence is a means of tracking where someone ranks in relation to everyone else. The peerage awards rank higher than the grants of arms which rank higher than awards of arms. Older awards rank higher than newer awards. The College of Heralds maintains the Order of Precedence records for the Kingdom.

Prince/Princess – The heirs to the Throne (the person who won Crown Tourney and his/her consort) are the (Crowned) Prince and Princess. In some kingdoms, there are additionally regions larger than Baronies that are called Principalities. Their royal heads are the Prince and Princess, which are not heirs to become King and Queen. (Caid does not have any principalities, although we were once a principality of another kingdom before becoming our own kingdom.)

Privy – The bathroom. At camping events, you might hear “stone privy” to distinguish between a permanent building with flush toilets and running water versus the portable privies rented for the event.

Protegé – A person who is a student of a Master or Mistress of the Pelican. While protegés do not have reserved belt colors, some wear yellow belts or cords as an indication of their student relationship to their peer.

Queen – The Queen is (usually) the person who is the consort of the person who won the Crown Tournament. Note that it is possible for a Queen to be the Sovereign by Right of Arms (she entered in Crown Tourney and won), which would make the King the Consort. For more information, see also King.

Rattan – The stem of a climbing palm, used in the SCA for Heavy Weapons because its weight and handling properties resemble steel while its overall resilience and other properties permit it to be used with relative safety. It is wrapped in duct tape to prevent splintering.

Rapier – Rapier can refer to the overall activity and the specific weapons for participating in non-choreographed, SCA Rapier Combat which is recreation of fencing within the SCA period. The weapons used in both tournament and war scenarios  can include blunted (non-sharp) metal swords, daggers, wooden or metal bucklers, and sometimes pole arms with rapier blades (depending on the kingdom or event combat conventions). A rapier fighter must be authorized in the use of these weapons and the conventions of rapier weapons combat for their own safety as well as the safety of their opponents (and the spectators). Rapier weapons armor is often distinguished by mesh-faced helmets and padded clothing for body armor.

Revel – An event/gather devoted to dancing, drama, conversation, games, and refreshments (a party).

Royal Peer – A peerage that was granted for having spent months on the Throne, serving the populace as Royalty. There are three levels of Royal Peerage: Ducal (Duke, Duchess) – someone who has been King or Queen at least twice; County (Count, Countess) – someone who has been King or Queen once; and Viscounty (Viscount, Viscountess) – someone has been Prince or Princess (of a Principality) at least once. See also Peer.

Royalty – The Royalty are the ceremonial heads of their branches of the SCA. A King and Queen are the heads of a Kingdom. The job of the royalty is to add to the pageantry and ambience of SCA events; to grant awards to those whom they feel deserving; to administer the laws as needed. In Caid, a Royal Reign is six months, with two months as Crowned Prince and Princess, learning the ropes, planning the reign, gathering their advisors and court. (Caid does not have Principalities.)

Scribe – A person with artistic talent in the area of calligraphy and/or illumination, who gives of their time and talent to create award scrolls.

Sir – This is the title granted a Knight. The common use is “Sir <insertnamehere>.” (There are women knights who prefer the title Sir, and others who use equivalent titles.)

Seneschal – Group administrator and legal representative of the SCA found at local, regional, kingdom, and Society levels. They are considered the president of the local SCA chapter (a Kingdom, Barony, or Shire).

Shire – A small, usually autonomous local branch. They are typically smaller than a Barony. A Shire does not have a royal ceremonial head.

Site – The place an event is being held.

Site Fee – The cost of admission to an event, usually stated in the coin of the modern country where the event is being held.

Squire – A fighter who has been accepted as a student by a member of the Chivalry. While squires do not have reserved belt colors, some wear red belts or cords as an indication of their student relationship to their peer.

Steward – The individual in charge of a specific event. This person is often an unsung hero, who works hard to obtain a site, and works out all of the details necessary to use the site.

Thrown Weapons – Typically bladed knives or axes thrown at solid, stationary targets for scored competitions. Sites must allow thrown weapons specifically for competitions to be included at an event.

Tourney – An event where a tournament is held or the actual tournament itself.

Tournament – An event wherein a tournament takes place. Some are very specifically defined events, such as a Crown or Coronet Tournament. Others may be for prizes, other titles for local branches, local branch anniversaries, or just for the fun of it.

Twelfth Night – An event held in early January (usually the first or second weekend). The history of the event refers to the Twelve Days of Christmas (starting on the 25th of December and extending for twelve days). However, since specific religious observation is not sanctioned within the SCA, this has come to recognized as the last holiday season event and combines winter holidays and New Year’s with gift-giving among friends, high feasts, and the fanciest clothing. Twelfth Night events usually feature court, food, and entertainment (with no martial arts activities).

Unbelted Fighter – A fighter who has not been “belted” (is not a member of the Order of Chivalry). This term does not mean that the fighter doesn’t wear (or cannot wear) a belt, just that they have not been made a Knight or Master of Arms, with the white belt that is part of the regalia. See also Belted Fighter.

War – A gathering (typically a camping event over several days) at which the main event is one or more fighting competitions for large groups of participants. Wars also feature other activities such as a Merchant’s Row, Court(s), Arts and Sciences competitions, Arts and Sciences Enclaves with classes, and Bardic performances (the Open Arms Bardic Hall in Caid and surrounding Kingdoms). Since Site rules vary, wars are often the only events that feature Equestrian (horse) events, Target Archery, and Thrown Weapons.

Youth Activities – Often specialized classes to teach SCA arts and sciences skills to children from approximately ages 6 to 17. These are not babysitting sessions. Many youth activities are sorted by age brackets and some require parental or guardian participation. See also Page School.

Youth Combat – Conventions for youth combat vary by kingdom and typically include age brackets for competition, parental or guardian participation, padded foam weapons, rigid helmets, and body armor appropriate to the child age and size. Youth combat activities can sometimes be included in local tournaments as well as wars. Contact your Kingdom Youth Combat volunteers for further information about the rules for participation.

Information contained in this document was taken from several sources. I would like to express my thanks to all who labored to put their lists together so I could use them to help you.