The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (SCA) is a non-profit educational organization devoted to study of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Most of its activities take place in the context of a social structure adapted from the forms of the European Middle Ages, which allows participants to take a first-hand look at various aspects of the life, culture and technology of the times under study. It is part of the “living history” movement, which means that members try to reproduce various aspects of the culture and technology of their period, as well as doing more traditional historical research.
The SCA sponsors events such as tournaments, feasts, and university sessions where members dress according to medieval and Renaissance styles, and participate in activities based on the civil and martial skills of the period. The main focus of Great Northeastern War, like most outdoor events, is a form of combat based on the tournaments of the High Middle Ages. Participants wear replica armor, and use weapons made from rattan, which have the balance and handling properties–but not the lethal effect–of the originals. They fight on foot, as was done a good part of the time after the mounted courses were run, following a system of rules which permit a realistic sport while promoting a very high safety record. Extensive training is required, and all participants sign waivers of liability.
Besides costuming, armoring, and combat arts (including archery and rapier combat), activities include calligraphy, dancing, music, cookery, and board and field games, plus a variety of technical and social skills which help establish the ambiance of life at a period court. Society events are open to the public, but, in keeping with the emphasis on living history rather than dramatic performance, all attendees are expected to make an attempt to preserve the atmosphere and fit in with the SCA’s standards of dress and behavior.
Our activities range very widely, including a much broader span of time and culture than most groups in the “living history” movement try to sample. The people we’ve chosen for models were fond of play-acting and pageantry; they would happily base tournaments and revels on ancient history and distant lands, so we can use themes from outside medieval and Renaissance Europe as long as we keep our main period as an anchor. They also reached remote parts of the world, despite the limits of their technology, and people born to other civilizations traveled too, so we can allow for individuals and information from almost anywhere. The task is to weave all this together, so that the events we sponsor are recognizably our own.
There are tens of thousands of active SCA participants, who administrate local chapters of the SCA in all fifty states, plus dozens of countries abroad. There are over 600 local and regional chapters in all. To learn more about us, please consult the following on-line resources:
The Society For Creative Anachronism, Inc.
Website of our Corporate Headquarters
The East Kingdom
Regional Chapter covering the Eastern Seaboard from Northern Canada to Delaware
The Province of Malagentia
Local Chapter covering the State of Maine from Augusta south