Sunday, November 19, 2017

SCA Award Texts

Scribe lettering.
Recently I was asked to create text for an award scroll. It's something I like doing and use to do often. 

The common awards are based on period charters and patents of arms. The period inspirations are not actual awards but often legal documents giving land or other rights. They sound very lawyerly because they were legal documents then. 

While their order may vary, if you want to write SCA award texts there is basic information you must include:
  • Monarchs' names bestowing the honor
  • Recipient’s full SCA name
  • Award's full name
  • Reason for the honor  
  • Date of the award presentation
  • Location of the award presentation

Some text writers, like Calontir's Masters Dolan Madoc and Rhodri ap Hywel, become experts at composing period-style poetic text. Even with poems, the writer must find a way to include the above items or the award isn't properly noted. What the SCA calls a scroll serves as proof to other people and Kingdoms the recipient received the stated award, when, where and by whom it was given. 

 There are many ways SCA awards are different from period documents. 
  • Period documents of all sorts mention God and do it often.
  • Dates were often given in reference to the most recent or next religious happening, especially the more important the document.
  • Grants of land were given when honors were bestowed.
  • Queens were seldom mentioned unless the lands were hers. 
  • Honors were not often given for arts and sciences.
  • Writings commonly begin with a greeting, state from whom they come and may include descriptive bragging.
  • Writings were wordy, repetitious and used long, unusual sounding words.

When researching period sources Google search is your BFF. General terms I've searched include medieval charter, medieval grant, medieval letters patent, and medieval legal document. Other similar options might be medieval literature, medieval texts, and medieval writing. 

Colyne Stewart (mka Todd Fischer) of the Scriptorium blog provides excellent information on it and the class he gave at Knowne World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium, June 2015. You can read his handout pdf paper here.


For me the fun of writing award texts is arranging selected, relevant snippets from period sources into appropriate persona related award text with a flow and feel of the era. Scouting out and reading original sources I get a feel for the style and phrasing the medieval author used. I like how I feel connecting through words to the Middle Ages.


External Related Sources:
Towards a More Period Text
The Scriptorium: A collection of resources and examples of writing for SCA award scrolls. Particularly note the Resources and Articles sections.