In 1966, a small group of history-buffs and science fiction/fantasy fans held a large outdoor party in Berkeley, California, USA where they invited like-minded individuals to meet up and hold a "tournament" wherein "all knights to defend in single combat the title of 'fairest' for their ladies." The tournament was such a hit that the group immediately planned another. In order to reserve the use of a local park, though, they needed to come up with a name for their group and hence the Society for Creative Anachronism was born.
How was that name selected? According to the group's official site, the process was as follows:
"Since recreating the Middle Ages in 20th-century Berkeley was an anachronism (something "out of time"), and because the goal was creativity, they came up with "The Society for Creative Anachronism"." It is said that the name was actually coined by science fiction author Marion Zimmer Bradley, who was an early participant of the group.
The popularity of the group snowballed, and the organization has been incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit California corporation designed as a sort of "living history" group. The current number of paid members is over 30,000, with total participants numbering approximately 60,000 people located in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, South Africa and Australia.
Organization of the SCA
The SCA world is divided into Kingdoms, each ruled by a King and Queen who are awarded that honor upon winning a "Crown Tournament" held semi-annually. The first Kingdom, the "West Kingdom", was created at the origination of the group in 1966. As the organization gained in population, new Kingdoms have been formed by splitting off from this Kingdom, with the result being a total of nineteen Kingdoms in existence today.
Within each Kingdom, there are major subdivisions called Principalities, Regions, Baronies, and Provinces. SCA activities are planned and run at the local level, by local chapters known as Cantons, Ridings, Shires, Colleges, Strongholds, and Ports.
Additionally, there are also "unofficial" groups within the SCA known as Households and Guilds. A Guild is formed by a number of like-minded artisans who form groups to share and practice their artistic knowledge. Each Guild determines their own requirements for joining the Guild and progressing through the ranks.
Households also come in all shapes and sizes. They may be as complicated as having their own feudal organization overseen by a particular Knight and his lady, or as simple as a group of friends and acquaintances who travel to events together.
What Do SCA Members Do?
SCA members take part in every aspect of the culture that existed in the Middle Ages or Renaissance, including but not limited to:
- fiber arts
- equestrian events
- dance .
Who Can Join the SCA?
Anyone can join the SCA! To locate the group nearest you, check out the instructions located here