Since you have probably been in the Society for several years, we felt that you would appreciate having an introduction to the Barony of Blatha an Oir and The Kingdom of AnTir that didn’t entail the usual SCA 101 stuff. You probably already know that stuff. What you may not know is the differences between your old Kingdom or Barony and Blatha an Oir. So, consider this a lesson in inter-Kingdom sociology.
An Tir’s Political Structure
An Tir is termed a “West-style” Kingdom. That means the statement “the Crown’s word is Law” actually has some meaning here. Obviously, the Crown can’t make laws or do anything that is against Corpora or Modern Law, but the usual answer is “Yes, Your Majesty.” This means that all awards and elevations come from the Crown, though recommendations can be and often are made from the Peerage and populace at large.
Pollings of the populace are taken for Landed Baronies, but the Crown will make the final decision. AnTir is not a democracy. There are rumors that some of the “Eastern-style” Kingdoms are far more democratic, so if you come from one of those Kingdoms you may need to readjust your thinking just a bit.
An Tir is a very large Kingdom. We currently have two Principalities: Summits (Southern Oregon) and Tir Righ (Western BC, Northern WA), so there are two Principality Coronets.
Blatha an Oir is located in what is commonly referred to as “Downtown An Tir,” called the western region merely for administrative purposes. Our nearest neighbors to the northeast include Barony of Madrone (Seattle and East King County), the Barony of Wyewood (South King County), The Barony of Aquaterra (Snohomish County). To the Northwest you have the Barony of Dragonslaire (Kitsap and North Mason Counties) and Shire of Druim Doineann (Port Angeles – Clallum & Jefferson Counties, WA). To the South is the Barony of Glymm Mere.
Sumptuary Laws in An Tir
Many Kingdoms have sumptuary laws that dictate who can wear what colors of clothing or headgear or whatever. Well, AnTir doesn’t have any Sumptuary Laws, save that you not wear anything that denotes a rank that you have not earned. Like all Kingdoms, you can’t wear a crown or coronet unless you are entitled to wear them.
The current Crowns of An Tir can be seen at: http://www.antir.sca.org/WhosWho/ . Obviously, Ducal and County coronets, as well as Baronial coronets, should be pretty much the same as from the Kingdom where you came from, so just assume you don’t want to wear anything that looks like those.
Unlike some other kingdoms, An Tir is relatively easy going about the wearing of metal circlets. Anyone can wear a metal circlet in An Tir as long as it doesn’t have any of the insignia of a rank that you haven’t earned or achieved. If you come from a Kingdom where metal is strictly for Royals, this should help to save your back from all the bowing you might have done if you thought we were heavy in Royal Peers.
Belt colors are an interesting discussion in An Tir. The only belt color that is reserved, of course, is White for the Order of the Chivalry. Red belts for squires are a bit of a touchy subject with some people as some folks from foreign lands have made it the fashion for squires to wear red belts (this is not a native tradition in An Tir). You will find that some folks wear red belts because it is period appropriate for their personas. There are also some apprentices that choose to wear a green belt to denote their status as apprentices, but again this is not a native tradition. Yellow belts for protégés has not really caught on among the majority of An Tirians, but can be seen from time to time as well.
If you are interested, the Kingdom Law can be found at: http://www.antir.sca.org/Pubs/Laws/Laws2012/AnTir_Law_May_2012.pdf
Like all Kingdoms, AnTir has the standard Peerages: Royal, Chivalry, Laurel, Pelicans, and Masters of Defence. We also have a Grant of Arms and an Award of Arms.
In AnTir, Grant of Arms comes with the following orders:
- Goutte de Sang (Service)
- Jambe de Leon (A&S)
- Hasta Leonis (Heavy Weapons)
- White Scarf (Rapier – retired)
- Grey Goose Shaft (Archery).
Now, all members of these orders may be addressed as the Honorable Lord/Lady or His/Her Lord/Ladyship, however, the final two orders are polling orders whose members are addressed by titles specific to their orders; members of the Order of the White Scarf are addressed as Don or Dona. They will often take students, similar to a squire, called cadets. Members of the Order of the Grey Goose Shaft are commonly addressed as Archos and their students are commonly referred to as Arcuarius.
All of the An Tir Kingdom awards are listed on the SCA Website: http://www.sca.org/awards/antir.html.
As a Barony, Blatha an Oir, also, has a number of awards given as a form of recognition by our Baron and Baroness:
- Golden Blossom – Service to the Barony
- Order of the Panther’s Torch – Extraordinary skill in and promoting Arts & Sciences within the Barony
- Order of the Briar – Extraordinary service to the Barony
In An Tir, and, especially, in Blatha an Oir, you will hear folks refer to the Sergeantry. Back in the Pre-Kingdom days of An Tir, the Sergeantry was born. Each Barony uses (or doesn’t use) their Sergeantry differently, but this is an unique organization that was created to challenge folks at a time when Crowns didn’t come to visit often and Peers were few and far between. Now, the Sergeantry originally acted as a Baronesses guard and The Baroness of Blatha an Oir still uses her Sergeants as a ceremonial guard. These folks have been tested on several levels to earn their belt buckles (or pendants) and cloaks. Originally, there were just Sergeants (heavy weapons), but now there are Yeoman (Archers), Gallant (Rapier), Lancers (Equestrian) and Courtiers (Arts & Sciences) all falling under the title of the Sergeantry. These folks are respected and honored because they have worked so hard to become a member of the Sergeantry.
Do you like camping? Well, if not, you will get used to it, because 75 – 85% of our events are camping events. We don’t cancel events for rain, snow or sun, unless there is a serious danger to human life. Like the year, they cleared a Crown site because of Tornados. Not a common occurrence in An Tir, so that justified closing down site. Flooding over our ankles may also close a site too. But An Tirians are a hearty sort and we do enjoy the challenge of inclement weather. Fortunately, we are a Kingdom where you can wear lots of wool.
Wool is your friend here. It will keep you warm, even when it gets wet. So, unless you are deathly allergic, it is strongly suggested that you invest in some quality wool.
We do tend to have sites divided by “period” camping and “non-period” camping. “Period” camping, generally means that all modern tents are hidden from view behind the Pavilions within the encampment. RVs will usually be relegated to a “RV Ghetto”, but in certain cases where the Vehicle has been cleverly hidden in a “cosy” so as not detract from the overall atmosphere of the event, they are sometimes given special leeway (at the autocrat or site owner’s discretion) to reside within “period” camping. But this is not common.
We want all those that come to our fair Barony to feel welcome. That is why this article has been written, to help you understand us a little. Blatha an Oir is a family and we welcome new members to it, but here are some hints as to how to avoid family feuds:
- Don’t assume anything. You will find that things may be done differently here than how your former branch handled things.
- Listen and learn about how things are done here.
- Avoid statements like, “Well, that isn’t how we did it in……” This is a mistake. An Tirians are very proud of the way we do things. Try using the “has this been tried” or “Do you think this would work?”
- Check with a “Native”, before you instruct newcomers on what is allowed or not allowed in An Tir. Remember, while there are many similarities throughout the SCA, there are always those weird regional differences that have been known to cause conflicts.
The Barony welcomes you and hopes this article has given you a nice guide line for how to proceed within The Barony of Blatha an Oir and the Kingdom of An Tir. Information on activities throughout the month can be found throughout the baronial website.