Sunday, 27 October 2013

Historia Gaza

By Duke Finnvarr de Taahe

Please note: This article was written by Duke Finnvarr for The Ursus in the mid-90s and highlights important people and events from the early years of the SCA in Ontario. It has been kept as originally published; hence the references to the Principality of Ealdormere, 13 kingdoms, etc.)

I often get the feeling when taking to newer members of our principality that they think of Ealdormere as a rather new and undeveloped part of the SCA. Our principality is about seven years old, if you count from Pennsic XVII, when it was created a Crown Principality by King Corwyn and Queen Shana; or five years old, if you count from the first Coronet and Coronation, which took place on April 7, 1990. The Middle Kingdom, on the other hand, was 25 years old last July 4th. So, of course, we must be the much younger group. Right?

When our esteemed Baronial Chronicler asked me to write a few short articles on the history of Septentria, the first thing that popped into my mind was to correct this misapprehension. If the Middle Kingdom’s 25 years count as great antiquity by Society standards, then we in Ealdormere, and especially Septentria, can count on antiquity of our own.

The first of my articles will prove this point by lying down a little basic chronology; later on, we can get into tales of heroism and villainy, intrigue and tragedy, and all the stuff the Chronicler really wants to see. I hope, however, that neither she nor you will be bored by this introduction.

The Middle Kingdom is the third of the present 13 kingdoms. It was founded by science fiction fans who had wit nesses the SCA in action at Baycon (the world SF Convention in Berkeley, 1968). Before A.S. V was over, two other Midrealm groups were up and running: one was the first Canadian group, Castel Rouge (Winnipeg); the other was North Woods (East Lansing, Michigan).

Septentria and Ealdormere have a direct and early connection to North Woods. I was a founding member of that Barony. Later I moved to the East, became King, and then moved to Toronto. For the first three weeks of my stay (back in A.S. VII, 1973), I was still King of the East and Eoforwic-to-be was my royal capital!

This was not to be the real origin of Eoforwic and Ealdormere. Frankly, I was not brave, rich, nor idle enough to start an SCA group without experienced help. In A.S. VIII, Gillian d’Uriel, also a North Woodser, moved to To ronto, and we soon talked each other into making the big move. By March of A.S. X, 1975, our efforts paid off. We had a group, a name, a set of arms, and put on our first event - more on this later.

By 1978, there were enough groups in our province Eoforwic, Ben Dunfirth, Noerlandia (on the site of present - day Skeldergate) and Starleaf Gate - to take the next step.

After much hard thinking and a certain amount of arguing, these groups united to form the Barony of Septentria.

Unlike all other baronies in the Known World, Septentria was not restricted to a single town. This was a province- sized barony, which would serve as a framework for fur ther growth. Septentria, in fact, was born to be split up.

But never, of course, to disappear!

Gillian was recognized as Baroness of Septentria by Queen Kirsten on the 13th day of the 13th year (1978) and we celebrated the event in Eoforwic in July. If memory serves, Septentria was the seventh Middle Kingdom bar ony. There are now 21, not including those split off with Calontir. Septentria, the forerunner of the Principality, is one of the oldest baronies in the Kingdom.

Thus Ealdormereans, and most of all Septentrians, should not think of themselves as belonging to a new region, struggling to make its place in Society history. Our history is old and honourable. We have contributed much to the Middle Kingdom: Kings and Queens, warriors and artists, officers and autocrats. Whatever the Kingdom has accomplished since A.S. X, we have had our share in it. We have often done more than out share. We have been on the battlefield, in the feast hall and especially in the tavern.

And if our Chronicler lends me her indulgence, stories of some of those exploits will appear here.

Originally published in The Ursus #181, February 1995


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