Heralds' Point
The Occasional Journal for the College of Heralds of Atlantia

Volume 4, Issue 3 -- May/June 2007 (A.S. XLII)

Artwork credit: Maestra Julianna Fiorentini

Greetings on this fine Spring day from Mistress Rhiannon ui Neill, Triton Principal Herald!

Crown Tournament is but a few days away and preparations for one of our most intensive heraldic events are underway. From the procession, to the tourney, to the consult table, to the court(s) and now, the newly reinstated Roll of Arms competition, Crown Tourney taxes heraldic resources. And that doesn’t even take into account the needs of the site itself in announcement heralds!

The wonderful thing about such events though, are the opportunities that are created for younger heralds to interact with more experienced heralds and to
obtain experience themselves. For this upcoming Crown, the local herald just happens to also be the autocrat, so I know for a fact that he could use a couple of volunteers to handle announcements! And Crown is usually a big day at the consult table also, with lots of opportunities to learn from some of the best heralds in our kingdom! Of course, we cannot forget the tourney itself, which will need a number of heralds to cry lists. An excellent opportunity for any budding voice herald, so see me if you’d like a chance!

Here are a few tips for the tourney herald, but especially, for those who will be volunteering to help herald at Crown:

1.  DO NOT, under any circumstances, stand in front of the MoL and block their view!  That’s like obstructing the scorekeeper during March Madness!

2.  For that matter, be aware of your surroundings and do your best not to obstruct the view of spectators (as much as is possible), but especially the consort of that guy out on the field.

3.  Don’t daydream or get caught up in your own personal conversations. Keep track of what is happening on the field so you are ready to herald when the moment comes. When one fight ends, you should be announcing the victor, then calling the next pairing.

4.  And on that note, it is never, I repeat, NEVER your call. If the victor is not readily apparent (as in, by the dead body lying on the field), then the marshal will tell you who to announce as the victor.

5.  Do not…for the love of Pete!...do NOT mix up the pairings of the cards! At a local event that would probably garner you a blistering look and exasperated sigh. At Crown Tourney? We’ll find your body floating in the lake. And yes, I’m an MoL too, so I just might help her!

6.  Keep up the pace. If you take too long announcing the "take the field", "make ready" and "armor up"s, you’ll interrupt the flow of the tourney and cause it to bog down, at which time, the Earl Marshal or some Duke will come looking for me to have you replaced. Move it along!

7.  But don’t speak so rapidly that no one can understand what you said. Speak clearly, loudly and decisively. Fighters all the way across the field need to be able to understand that it is their turn next.

8.  Try to get phonetic spellings on any names you don’t know and keep practicing them under your breath so that you don’t have some really big guy in armor thinking about pounding you into the dirt because you keep calling him "Bore-ass" instead of "Boris". We all do the best we can, but a little effort goes a long way.

9.  Be aware of what is happening on the other lists as well as your own, so that you don’t step on the cries of your fellow heralds. If you start to call and realize another herald has already started the call on his list, stop and give him the right of way, then restart once he has finished. Not only is it nice manners (good boy!), it’ll be easier for the fighters to distinguish who got called.

10. There are no "oyez" in the middle of a tourney. There is only "take the field", "make ready" and "armor up". If you hear an "oyez", that’s an announcement herald and you should hold your own cries until he is finished. In most cases, the only time an announcement will be made at Crown during a round, is for something of a time-sensitive nature, so let him get it done before you continue with the round.

11. Wear a hat, sunscreen and comfortable shoes. In smaller tourneys, where you may be the only tourney herald, you could be there 2-3 hours. That’s a looooong time to bake in the sun.

12. Runners are the tourney herald’s bestest friend. A good runner allows you to stay focused on the field while he/she takes the cards back and forth to the MoL table. Enough cannot be said for the value of a good runner. They deserve your appreciation, and heck, a cold beer.

13. WATER IS OUR FRIEND! Drink. Drink lots. What? Your mug is empty? Well, duh! Runners fetch water (and snacks) too! Did I mention how great they are? 

14. And specifically for Crown, if that proper hydration creates a…situation, well, send that runner to let me know! Don’t wait until you have to drop the cards and run. If you think you are gonna have to go in the next 15 minutes, then send me word so I can line up the next guy. Remember, we don’t want to be the hold-up for the tourney for any reason!

These tips should stand you well for just about any tourney, not just Crown. If you follow them, it’ll make you very popular with the marshals and MoL’s, which, it's never a bad thing to be the marshal’s favorite herald!

Hope to see you at Crown! And if you're volunteering, see me at the herald's pavilion on the field!

Rhiannon, Triton


A Word from the Newsletter Editor


Greetings unto all to whom these presents come from Lady Patricia of Trakai!


In late February I attended Noisemakers, an East Kingdom heraldry and music schola, and I had brought back a handout on Jewish heraldic practices with the full intention of writing a brief newsletter article on that topic. However, now that it's time for the May/June issue of this newsletter to come out, I have no idea where that handout went! Let this be a lesson to you: If you pick up something that you want to add to your heraldic kit, add it sooner rather than later. Organization is a good thing.


At any rate, this month's newsletter theme is "Crown and Royalty": how to behave while heralding an important fighting event such as Crown Tournament and how to act in the presence of Their Majesties. Master Eldred AElfwald also presents a nice cartoon for your enjoyment. Finally, don't forget that you can find the answers to the previous newsletter's crossword puzzle here (PDF).


For the next issue, I hope to present some juicy stuff from the June session of the University of Atlantia, plus all the latest pre-Pennsic news. Until then, stay safe when traveling to local events and/or the Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium in Caid.



Soundings of the Conch: How to Behave Around Royalty

By Baron Donal Mac Ruiseart, Conch Herald


In the SCA there are many ceremonial situations where you will encounter Royalty. The rules for how to behave in such situations are pretty well known. But there are also many times when you will encounter Royalty in the course of an event where it is not a ceremonial situation. How do you deal with such situations?   


First, some definitions.


I will use the term "Royal" as a noun to collectively refer to the King, Queen, Crown Prince, Crown Princess, or any combination thereof. 

The "Royal Presence" is generally considered to be a circle about 20 feet in diameter, so that in non-ceremonial situations, one "reacts" when a Royal gets within ten feet. This is called the "ten-foot rule." (This is distinct from the ten-foot rule that applies to garb or armour.) 


A "room" is a relatively small space, say 20 by 20 feet or smaller. 


A "hall" is a large space such as a feast hall or exhibition hall. 


A "reverence" (pronounced rev-er-AHNSE) is a bow, curtsy, or other such gesture of respect. Generally thought to have three degrees of "depth": 

§         A small reverence - A nod of the head with a slight leaning forward of the upper body, or a very slight bend of the knees as a curtsy.

§         A moderate reverence – Incline the body forward to about 45 degrees, or for a curtsy, drop perhaps as much as a foot.

§         A profound reverence – Reserved for ceremonial occasions so not really relevant here. That’s when lords do those long, sweeping bows, and ladies do the de-e-e-e-e-p curtsies.


It’s important to remember that in all these cases, you should not look at the floor. To do so is to debase yourself more than is fitting. All in the SCA are considered to be of gentle birth. Keep your eyes on the person to whom you are reverencing.


The sort of behaviour described here is general in nature and is learned by practice. It is a constant process of learning. No one is going to call for the head of one who makes a mistake in this area; indeed, the Royals themselves will probably condole with you if you err! Also, the form of reverence can vary. The bow or curtsy are conventional, but there will be those who for physical, cultural, or religious reasons cannot or choose not to follow the conventions or have an alternate form or reverence. Courtesy is a hallmark of the SCA, and that includes accepting the choices of different people in how they show courtesy.


There follows a discussion of many of the situations other than at Court in which one may encounter Royalty:


Item:    At an event, a Royal walks by without ceremony or escort (well, maybe an attendant but not a retinue).

If you are in the Royal’s path, move aside; and when the Royal gets about ten feet from you, give a moderate reverence until they are past you.


Item:    You are in the feast hall, and a Royal walks into the hall without ceremony or announcement.

If you’re near the door through which the Royal enters, make a moderate reverence. But if you’re much farther away, take note of the way they’re going but no reverence is needed. It is always a good idea to note where Royals are, if in the same general area as you; so as not to be caught off guard by their approach.


Item:    You are sitting at table at a feast and a Royal walks by without ceremony.

The convention is that unless a Royal addresses you directly, it is not required to rise or reverence when you’re seated at table.


Item:    You are sitting at table at a feast and a Royal comes up and greets you or someone seated near you.

In this case the person addressed by the Royal and everyone in their immediate vicinity (sitting next to or across from them) should rise and make a moderate reverence.


Item:    You are sitting in a room and a Royal enters.

You should rise and make a moderate reverence. In addition, the first person to see them should inform the others by saying something like, "His Majesty!" so that all can respond appropriately. The Royal may call on you not to rise, but unless they do, you should rise; and remain standing until the Royal bids you be seated.

Also, all in the room should rise and reverence when a Royal leaves a room.


Item:    You are sitting in your pavilion next to the list field and a Royal walks by.

In this case, your pavilion (even without walls) is considered "private space" and inside it you are separated from the outside world. So there is no need to rise or reverence.

However, if you are sitting in front of the pavilion, out in the open, you should rise and give a moderate reverence.


Item:    You are sitting in your pavilion next to the list field and a Royal enters the pavilion.

This is as if the Royal is entering a room where you’re sitting. You absolutely should rise and give a moderate reverence (along with words of hospitality). Or attempt to before the Royal asks you not to rise (which they often do).

However, as a courtesy to you, the Royal should send a retainer in first to warn you of their visit rather then just popping in; especially if it is to deal with something official.


Item:    You are a fighter entering the list field and a Royal is near the entrance.

How to act in this case will depend on several factors.

If the Royal is in civilian dress (that is, not in armour) and you pass within ten feet, you should make a moderate reverence. If the Royal is directly supervising the list, say standing at one corner, a small reverence will do.

If the Royal is in armor and taking part in the fighting, a small reverence is all that is required. I will discuss separately what to do if you find yourself matched against a Royal in the lists.

If when you enter the lists, the Royals are seated in their pavilion watching the whole of the list field, wait till the herald or marshal tells you to acknowledge them.

When entering the list, you should, if possible, avoid using the gate closest to the Royal pavilion.


Item:    You are a fighter and find yourself matched against a Royal in a tourney.

If it’s the Crown Prince or Princess, make a small reverence when you enter but no other special action is needed.

However, if you are matched against the King or Queen, some extra words are necessary. Strictly speaking, it is high treason to strike your sovereign; but anyone who enters the lists implicitly shows their intent to compete. So either before or after the herald announces you or the marshal tells you to take your guard, you should say something like, "Your Majesty, pray be assured that there is no disloyalty in the blows I will strike at you, but only the spirit of the competition."

Often, when a King or Queen enters a tourney, they will make some statement at the beginning that all who are matched with them are free to strike without concern. Alternatively, they may fight incognito or use an alternate persona.

And there is no stigma about besting a Royal in the lists. For one, it’s not all that likely that you will do so, if you’re fighting the person who won Crown Tourney; but if you do, everyone from the King on down will congratulate you.


Item:    A Royal approaches you not wearing a crown.

Because this is most likely a casual encounter, you should rise if seated and make a small reverence. It’s the possession of the crown, not wearing it, that makes them royal.


Item:    You are at an event in the early stages or after it’s actually ended, or at a post-revel; and encounter a Royal not in garb, that is, in modern clothes.

When they’re not in garb, treat Royals with modern courtesy. Don’t make reverence, but stand aside for them if you’re in their way.

It’s much the same if you’re not at an event and you encounter a Royal. In that case, in fact, you ought to address them by their modern name if you know it, and should not address them as "Your Majesty" or "Your Highness." To do so might embarrass them or cause confusion to other people.


The author is indebted to Lord Brian de Lorne for asking many of the questions that led to the creation of this essay, and to Sir Justus de Tyre for furnishing many of the answers.





Consult Tables

If you have a few minutes, maybe even 60 minutes, please consider helping out at a heraldic consult table at an Atlantian event. Besides Crown, the list of events that will have consult tables includes Return of the Merchants of Venice/Bright Hills 21st Birthday, Spring University, and Hawkwood's Inter-Baronial Collegium. This list is continuously updated on the Web at http://herald.atlantia.sca.org/submissions/consult.htm. For Atlantians who are unable to attend Pennsic this year, these consult tables provide an immensely valuable service; for heralds who are going to Pennsic, this is a great chance to brush up on those book heraldry skills!

Humor: A Cartoon by Master Eldred AElfwald

Point of Fact

Although the University of Cambridge dates back to the early 13th century, the Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society was not founded until 1950. One of its major efforts over the years has been to publish The Cambridge Armorial (that task took 19 years to complete). The society has had a number of honorary vice presidents, including J.P. Brooke-Little.



Heraldry is an art as old as Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and as young as the newest submission. I welcome you to join in exploring it with your colleagues, the heralds of Atlantia -- this is your journal. If you have always wanted to write an article that would be read by every Atlantian herald, or if you have a question you would like to ask of all the heralds of Atlantia, send me a message at Patoodle AT aol DOT com! I prefer that any articles or other messages come as plain text (ASCII), as opposed to HTML or some other format. Thank you!


In Service, 

Patricia of Trakai

Herald's Point is the newsletter for the members of the College of Heralds of Atlantia. Herald's Point is not a corporate publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (SCA) and does not delineate SCA policies. Herald's Point does delineate policies specific to the College of Heralds of the Kingdom of Atlantia. Copies of this newsletter are available from: Patricia of Trakai (Patty Daukantas), 7740 Lakecrest Drive, Greenbelt, MD 20770.