First things first, I reckon. If I’m going to participate in all things SCA I need a persona – in other words I need to figure out who my medieval self is and what she will be spending time on. I was a bit funny about this idea, (managing one name per person is tricky enough) but as someone with no clue about this business it’s actually been very helpful. “Medieval” is an unhelpfully huge concept, I needed to narrow down what I wanted to learn more about, and having to pick a person from a fixed place at a (reasonably) fixed point in time concentrates the focus nicely. Who, what, where, when and why….
Let’s take the Where and When bit first, since it’s sort of a huge chunk of the point of the SCA. I was told I needed to pick a place in Europe or known to Europe from the period before 1600 A.D. The start date given is a little more fuzzy in my memory, I thought maybe 800 or 900 A.D? Choices, choices! My first instinct was to go for a Viking persona, because, let’s face it, Vikings rock. It was tempting to choose someone Roman, given previous dealings with classical studies and the wealth of research material available, but I was a bit hazy about the acceptable early date range and I was more keen to learn something new. I also found the idea of choosing an Irish persona attractive as I am engaging with the SCA with my two sons in tow, and it’s a perfect opportunity to help them learn a bit more of their history. (Okay, mine too :)) In the end the friend who has pulled me into all this (Aodh O Siadhail) mentioned the idea of a Household, which appealed greatly. He has an Irish persona and is, handily, a mercenary, which opens the house nicely to all sorts of influences. His wife, Nessa, is still working out the finer details of her persona. Aodh has chosen the period 1020-1030 and at first I thought that restricted me to that period too. My preference is for a bit later, when research material is a little easier to come by. As a beginner, it seems to me I have a wider choice in terms of garb or Art and Sciences if I choose a later period. I’m still not decided on this.
Who – it’s embarrassing to keep introducing yourself as “umm, I haven’t decided on a name yet”, so that more than anything has influenced my choice of name. The surname was the easy bit – Caomhánach is a name I am very fond of and have long wanted to find out more about. That also narrows down my “when” to “sometime after 1100” because there was no such name before that. For a first name I’m afraid I resorted to looking for common Irish names in the 12th century. Órlaith, I found, was fourth most popular at the time. (Aoife, a name I prefer, has a historical significance with Aoife Mac Murrough Kavanagh, so I avoided it)
I unearthed male names from the same period and the boys chose Tuathal and Art. Tuathal is also using Caomhánach, while Art has chosen to be known as “Art of the Foxes” which suits him extremely well.
What – Art is too young to fight but has expressed an interest in “archery, cooking and making things” He was attracted to the name Art because that is what he would like to do. I think it’s safe to say he also aspires to being “rich” and “well renowned” He is currently working on jewelry.
Tuathal is pleased to belong to the household of a mercany as he independently came up with wanting to become one. He is interested in all forms of fighting and is old enough for fencing. He also plans to research and create a game from a suitable period. He’s a great shot, so he’s really hoping to do well in archery.
I’m waiting to see how I fit into the bigger picture before I worry too much about what I am. I aspire to be a maker of things, (all the things, all! ALL!! *manical laughter choking off to a cough)