Bragging for Fun and Profitby Sir Andras Salamandra
On the proper and time-honored method of name-dropping and tooting your own horn.
The warrior cultures worked upon a code of personal honor, wherein a man's word was his bond, and his oath was a personal agreement enforced by his gods. A man's status in an heroic culture depended upon four simple criteria. Look important, do important things, be the offspring/friend of someone important, and act important.
The first step is to look like a successful warrior. If you are in rag-tag armor and gear, you'll have a hard time convincing strangers that you are a good warrior. After all, if you're so successful, where are all your spoils?
The second step is to do something worthy of repute, so that others can enjoy telling of your exploits. If you include others in your endeavors and share the glory, they will be even more eager to spread your fame! Be sure that your actions are in persona, in good taste, and result in fun for all involved. If your exploits are also creative and unusual they will be even more interesting to tell about.
The third step, historically, was to be the offspring of someone important. Witness Beowulf's introduction of himself:
We in the SCA have a somewhat easier time of it, because we need only associate with fun, interesting people to pick up some of their glory. As an example, I will relate an experience of mine upon returning to the SCA after an absence of three years. I was introduced to some fellow tourney fighters as having been squire to Duke John the Bearklller and knight to Duke Lawrence of Ashana. The fighters were terrified of me because they knew the reputation of both John .and Lawrence. I wish to stress that I am not recommending the (equally historical) practice of toadying. Simply, if you are fun and interesting to be around, like-minded folk will make a point of looking you up, and a good framework for friendship exists.
The fourth step is to act important. By this I do not mean to be an irritating busybody, or to puff yourself up with false pretenses. Our historical counterpart were often well-versed in the art of bragging. In particular, the Norse and the Celts excelled at it. Many of us in the modern age look down upon bragging, thinking of the word as a polite substitute for lying. Historically, bragging was a legitimate and honest (although exaggeration was allowed) form of letting others know about yourself and your exploits. Be warned though, your fellow warriors may call upon you to live up to your claims and woe betide you if you can't! Remember, your word is your bond, and if you are forsworn, NO ONE will believe you again.
We are all Geats, hearth-companions of Hygelac;
my father was famed far and wide:
a noble lord, Fogtheow by name--
he endured many winters befoe he,
in great old age, went on his way; every wise man
in this world readily recalls him.
I am Hygelac's kinsman and retainer. In my yourth
I achieved many daring exploits...
So , Lord Hrothgar, men known by my people
to be noble and wise advised me to visit you because they knew of my great strength:
they saw me themselves when, stained by my enemies' blood,
I returned from the fight when I destroyed five,
a family of giants, and by night slew monsters
on the waves; I suffered great hardship
avengd the affliction of the Storm-Geats and crushed
their firce foes--they were asking for trouble.
And now, I shall crush the giant Grendel
in single combat.
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