January 24, 2020 6:22 pm

Welcome to the Barony of al-Barran

For those who are new to the Society, I'll try to explain who we are and what we're doing. We are part of the Current Middle Ages, a loosely-knit group of people trying to recreate Medieval culture and ceremony. Over twenty five thousand people across the country and overseas are members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.

The Society was started in 1966 in Berkeley, California, by a group which included a graduate student in medieval literature and two ex-service fencers. They decided that combat with broad sword and shield should be as recreateable as combat with saber, rapier and foil. The first tournament held in May of that year, combined fighting and medieval song, dancing and poetry. It was so successful that participants decided it should be done on a regular basis. That group became the Kingdom of the West. Kingdoms were also formed in New York and Chicago shortly thereafter. The Society calculates its years from May 1, 1966; Anno Societatus I (the year of the Society -- A.S.). The Known World Handbook tells the story of the Society's early years in greater detail if you are interested.


An anachronism can be a tradition which has outlived its original purpose, but which survives just because it's a lot of fun. That's probably the best description of our group, since you can make anything you want from it. For some it's a means of serious research into Medieval culture, by trying to relearn the skills, knowledge and life-styles of our ancestors. For others, it's a hobby, a way of relaxing after a mundane day, and an excuse to pursue interests and crafts they never found time for. For some of us, it's the most interesting continuous costume party we've ever been to. Some members joined because of an interest in history, drama or folklore, but others found these subjects dull as traditionally studied.


He's the King. He holds his authority by Right of Arms. Within the Society, the world is divided into seventeen kingdoms, and every few months the fighters in each kingdom hold a tournament to choose their next King. The winner of the tournament, after a properly regal coronation, reigns over his subjects until a new King is chosen. Each kingdom is comprised of local groups, which are known as principalities, baronies, shires, colleges, cantons, or marches, depending on their size and structure.

The area surrounding Albuquerque was proclaimed to be a barony on November 11, 1975, and is known as the Barony of al-Barran (somewhat Arabic for "the scorpion"). The Barony is part of the Kingdom of the Outlands. The Outlands became a kingdom on June 14, 1986. Formerly, the Outlands was a principality in the Kingdom of Atenveldt.


Definitely. Fighting is the noisiest and, for those coming to their first event, the most noticeable activity in the Society. However many of our members have never lifted a sword, and are interested in the many other aspects of Medieval life. Each local S.C.A. group has a Minister of Arts and Sciences who is the one responsible for encouraging and advising people who are interested in the historical arts, the sciences, and technology. Medieval arts would include weaving, costume, calligraphy and illumination, music, dance, story-telling and writing, and cooking. Some ancient sciences are brewing, herbalism, printing, armor making, and constructing a wide variety of early machines, everything from looms to siege engines. If you would like to study any of these subjects, talk with an Arts and Sciences officer. We try to arrange classes in whatever skills people show interest in, and newcomers are encouraged to attend these smaller, informal gatherings. If a number of people show interest and skill in one area, the Arts and Sciences officer may form a Guild or College, complete with Guild Master, Journeymen and Apprentices, to indicate level of achievement.


With courtesy and politeness, of course, as you are now a member of the Aristocracy of the Current Middle Ages. In time you will learn the formal titles some people have, but in the meantime just call everyone "My Lord" or "My Lady", as fellow members of the nobility. And you can relax and be yourself, as we are not acting out roles that don't fit us, but merely becoming the kind of person we might have been in a medieval culture. Conversing forsoothly, talking without references to modern subjects, puts you in the mood to forget current-day life. More information on different aspects of our Society follow in this guide, as well as information on how to become an S.C.A. member and receive our newsletters. For now, just stroll around the tourney grounds or the revel and join us in the Current Middle Ages.


Most simply, you begin by taking on a Medieval persona, dressing and acting appropriately, and coming to Society events. If you cannot choose a name someone else, friend or foe, will give you one. If you don't put together a costume, try to wear something folk-like, to help put you and the others in the proper spirit. If all you own are grey tweed suits, come anyway. Our Hospitaler has a few loaner costumes you can try. If you want some advice on designing and making a costume appropriate to you, please contact the Arts and Sciences officer for further information.

By participating in events, you are part of the Society. If you want to be informed of future events, read articles on Medieval culture, and reviews of past events, you should become a sustaining member. For $35.00 (other types of memberships are also available), sent to the national office, You receive a year's subscription to the Outlandish Herald, the monthly publication of the Kingdom of the Outlands (or the kingdom for your area if other than the Outlands). The Outlandish Herald features extensive coverage of local events, is adorned with artwork of local artisans, and sometimes includes photographs of S.C.A. events. When joining you can also choose the option for $10 per year to receive the Tournaments Illuminated, the national quarterly publication that showcases various articles on different aspects of medieval life. Another quarterly publication that can be received for $15 per year is the Compleat Anachronist, which showcase one subject in each publication.

The Baronial Shaft is the newsletter serving the Albuquerque area, and will be sent to anyone who is interested. If you are not yet on our mailing list and would like to get a subscription, please send $10 in check or money order to our Baronial mail box, attention: "Newsletter Subscription", along with your request. If you have articles or announcements to contribute you can contact our Chronicler . There is also a growing number of specialized and alternative newsletters from other areas, on everything from cooking to armoring. These must be subscribed to separately since they receive no official subsidy from the S.C.A.

If you would like to join the Society, but don't live in Albuquerque, there are S.C.A. branches in most large cities and University towns. Our Seneschal can send you information on the group nearest you or can tell you how to form your own shire. Some other groups in New Mexico are located in Santa Fe, Socorro, Alamogordo, Farmington, Las Cruces, Clovis/Portales, Hobbs, Carlsbad, Deming/Silver City, and Roswell -- and these are just some of the approximately 1000 total groups throughout the Known World.

--originally written by Raymond the Quiet and Kristjan Olavssen Ankestjerne (but revised most recently May 2003) from the May 1975 Shafted March.