On Early Period Personaby Sir Andras Salamandra
This time I'm trying something a little different. Rather than give general advice and tips on how to have an interesting and historically based persona, I will attempt to show how one might go about creating a persona from scratch. These tips will work for any period. Let's interview a new member.
Ok, What do you like to do (or would you like to be able to do?)
"I like to meet new people and like helping folks. I enjoy pus and witty satire. I've been reading about Celtic and Romano-Celtic culture, it seems pretty interesting. My lady has an early period Irish persona and I would like a persona compatible with hers. I wish that I could play the harp and sing well. I would like my persona to travel extensively."
You seem to be leaning towards a Celtic persona. What obstacles do you see?
"I prefer military tactics which were more effective than those of the ancient Celts. (I like winning battles more than dying gloriously in them!) I cant' sing, have a tin ear and have failed at every stringed instrument that I have ever picked up."
Do you see something in the SCA that ought to be done better?
"Loud, brassy folks shouting announcements (whether we want or need to hear them) and entertainers who demand complete silence when entertaining (ditto) annoy me to no end."
Where have you looked for information and inspiration?
"I started with general history books to get the basic facts and to get a 'feel' for the times. I found that children's history books were often superior for this purpose than adult books. Especially helpful were the "Everyday Life in..." series. Archaeology books illustrating Celtic and Roman items were great! To round out my 'feel' for Celtic customs, I turned to historical fiction. However, I discovered that a lot of historical fiction was full of historical errors. I only paid attention to the authors who seemed to have done their research. When I ran across some custom which was particularly interesting, I tried to track it down in the history books to verify its legitimacy."
So, after all this, what did you come up with?
"Well, I decided upon a Celt from Brittany in the early sixth century AD. The Celts were very gregarious, hospitable and loved witty speech. Parts of Brittany changed very little under the Romans, so I can use some of the ancient Celtic customs such as taking an enemy's head in battle and the use of woad. I could hire out to Justinian's army in Italy Spain or Africa and learn the Roman way of battle. I could visit Ireland, where I met and wooed my lady-love. The Irish and Bretons did not have heralds per se, but they did have bards. The bards traveled freely in Celtic lands, were paid to make some satiric comments, and told stories to entertain others. Some scholars believe that the harp and lyre weren't actually played at this time, but they were plucked at dramatic moments in the story. Even I can pluck an occasional chord. I can pass on announcements as a bard by tapping the sound box for attention then asking if folks would like to hear the latest news. Celtic mead-halls were lively places and no bard would command silence to perform, he would attempt to earn it by the quality of his work."
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