Who wear boilerplate on their butts
Who dress up in clothes from the twelfth century
To bash on each other with sticks and debris
And make up the world's largest private army...
Harmless historical nuts."
The Society for Creative Anachronism is an organization dedicated to studying aspects of The Middle Ages and The Renaissance, much like War Reenactors. On any given weekend, somewhere in the world (usually several somewheres), people come from miles around, dressed in pre-17th century costume (or an attempt thereat), and fight in armor (with rattan swords), sing period or period-style songs, fight in armor, show off their skills with a pen/loom/anvil, fight in armor, eat a medieval feast, fight in armor, watch as the king and queen bestow awards on some deserving gentle, and fight in armor.
The Society began in 1966 as a medieval-themed May Day party in the backyard of author Diana L. Paxson's home in Berkeley, California. Author Marion Zimmer Bradley was among the guests and is credited with naming the group. Other notables known to have been involved in the SCA include authors Katherine Kurtz, Poul Anderson, and Robert Asprin, and game designer Steve Jackson.
The 'Middle Ages' as depicted by the SCA are slightly different than the real-world events, and as such are called the 'Current Middle Ages' in Society parlance. 'Current' means that while strict historical accuracy is nice, it's not always practical in a modern context; as such, allowances are made in situations where actual historical information is limited or may not be entirely compatible with modern society, like indoor plumbing. People are encouraged to have discussions of a medieval context, rather than last week's sports results or their new video game. Accents and funny vocabulary not required.
The Current Middle Ages are defined to span a rough time period: circa 600 AD to 1600 AD. This definition this allows a wide variety of personas, from many countries and walks of life. All members choose one or more "persona," a historical identity including a nationality and matching name. There is absolutely no requirement that this be related to the member's real-life nationality or ethnic background. The identity is done primarily to provide a focal point for that member in their area of interest, rather than as any sort of "acting" role or attempt at impersonation. The only hard-and-fast rules are that persona names must be historically accurate (or 'period'), a persona cannot be an actual historical figure or a previously used fictional character, and a persona's culture must have established some form of interaction with European Middle Ages society.
Establishing a persona may involve crafting an outfit (the archaic term 'garb' is preferred), which can be as elaborate as a person's budget and time allow, and it is a serious faux pas to nitpick another person's garb. When not in SCA garb, a person is said to be in 'modern' clothing; it's sometimes called 'mundane' garb, but that term fell into disfavor due to its somewhat negative and insular implications.
The SCA is organized into twenty "kingdoms" across most of North America, Western Europe, Australia, and Japan. These kingdoms are further divided into smaller subgroups based on the population of registered members: region, barony, canton, shire, and so forth. By the rules of the SCA, the monarchs of each of the kingdoms are decided by Crown Tourneys held every six months. To enter a Crown Tourney, the combatant must have a consort who will serve alongside them for their term. The victors of the Tourney are crown Prince and Princess, and will serve as King and Queen six months after their victory, where the tourney for their successors will be decided.
- Kingdom of The West: The first kingdom. (Northern California, Nevada and Alaska, as well as Japan, Guam, Korea & Thailand)
- Kingdom of Atenveldt: (Arizona and small parts of Utah and California)
- Kingdom of Calontir: (Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa (except Scott County), Missouri and a touch of Arkansas)
- Kingdom of Gleann Abhann: (Mississippi, Louisiana, most of Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee)
- Kingdom of Caid: (Southern California, Greater Las Vegas Area, and Hawaii)
- Kingdom of Artemisia: (Montana, southern Idaho, most of Utah, and western Colorado and Wyoming)
- Kingdom of the Outlands: (New Mexico, most of Colorado, parts of Nebraska, El Paso and Hudspeth counties in Texas, and Cheyenne, Wyoming)
- Kingdom of the East: The second kingdom, founded by Marion Zimmer Bradley. (Eastern Pennsylvania, eastern New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine. Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland)
- Kingdom of Meridies: (Alabama, almost all of Georgia, a bit of the panhandle of Florida, most of Tennessee, and parts of Kentucky [Allen, Barren, Logan, Simpson, and Warren Counties, all locally considered part of "South Central Kentucky", and Calloway County, in the far-western Purchase area])
- Kingdom of Trimaris: (Majority of Florida)
- Kingdom of Atlantia: (Maryland, District of Columbia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Augusta, Georgia)
- Kingdom of An Tir: (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, as well as part of British Columbia)
- Kingdom of the Middle: (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Scott County in Iowa, Kentucky (except the previously mentioned counties) Essex County and Windsor in Ontario)
- Kingdom of Northshield: (Manitoba and Northern Ontario, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan)
- Kingdom of Ealdormere: (Ontario) (Heather Dale or, as she's known in the SCA, Mistress Marian of Heatherdale, is from here)
- Kingdom of Lochac: (Australia and New Zealand)
- Kingdom of Drachenwald: (Europe, Middle East and South Africa)
- Kingdom of Æthelmearc: (West Virginia and the Western regions of New York and Pennsylvania)
- Kingdom of Ansteorra: (Texas and Oklahoma)
- Kingdom of Avacal: (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and part of British Columbia.)
Fun fact: According to the FBI, the SCA is technically the second-largest paramilitary organization in the United States, where "paramilitary" is defined as any group with a defined command structure that conducts survival/combat drills and operates without government oversight.note