Andras Salamandra

For our purposes, an early period persona is one living before the year 1066 A.D. There are distinct advantages to having a well developed early period persona. But first, we should dispel some common preconceptions about 'barbarians'.

Many people are under the mistaken impression that an early period persona means being a dirty, scruffy, dumb barbarian. Far from it! The Romans and the Byzantines were noted for their public heated baths, a combination bath-house, gymnasium and social club. Many Roman buildings had central heating. In fact, a higher percentage of homes had central heating in 4th Century Britain than in the 1930's! The Celts invented soap and introduced it to the Roman world. The Gaulish Celts would charge fines to warriors who were overweight. Contrast this with Elizabethan & Tudor England where a bath was considered an unhealthy practice, and where it was common to douse oneself liberally with cologne to hide one's stench. As for learning, there is the court of Charlemagne, the Irish monasteries, and the Arabs who developed algebra. In fact, much of the Renaissance consisted of re-discovering what the Ancient World already knew.

I have long maintained that there are only three rules for succeeding in the SCA. Be nice to people, be helpful to people, and stand out from the crowd. The first two should be self-explanatory, so I shall concentrate on the third. Let's face it, one Tudor gentleman looks and acts a lot like every other Tudor gentleman. The same could also be said of Dacians, Copts, and Scythians. But then, how many Dacians have you seen in the SCA? Many early period clothing styles are so ostentatious that the most avant-garde Renaissance fop would tremble at the sheer magnificence of display. There are so many interesting cultures before 1066 that it is difficult to name them all: Romans, Angles, Saxons and Jutes, Irish, British, Gaulish and Iberian Celts, Picts, Parthians, Arabs, Vandals, Byzantines, Normans, Franks, Ostrogoths and Visigoths, Huns, Mongols, Bulgars, and Armenians. Each of the above peoples had an interesting and unique culture.

Your goal is to act just like someone from your persona's culture. Perhaps I should amend that just a bit. Your goal is to LEARN how that person would have acted, but act like that person would have acted within the bounds of courtesy and the law. If you wish to be a warrior out for pillage and plunder, find an imaginative way to pretend to do so. For your own safety, and our enjoyment, don't actually plunder the camp. Perhaps you could 'steal' kisses from a neighboring tribe's women. One of the most rewarding situations in the SCA comes when members of your kingdom. think of you as the epitome of the people that you represent. You'll find that a well developed persona, from a real (not fantasy) culture, will give you the foundation for a pleasant time in the SCA.

The medieval world was a place in which every person had his place in society. The cultures of ancient people were not developed to be quaint, they were developed to solve real-world problems. By thinking and acting like them you will discover your place in the SCA.

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