Manners Around Court and Other Places

From EastKingdomWiki

There are many situations that are unique to the SCA, such as attending court and eating a medieval feast. Here are some good things to know in several of these situations.

Situation Things To Know
When Formally In The Presence Of Royalty or At Court
  • Rise in place
  • As they approach, bow, plie, or otherwise acknowledge their presence
  • Remain standing until told to make yourself comfortable or they leave the immediate area.
  • After each piece of business, the crowd will generally applaud the people involved by shouting "vivat" (for one) or "vivant" for the plural, three times. This is Latin for "may he/they live".
Being Introduced to Nobility
  • If you know the right title to use, use it. Otherwise, M'Lord or M'Lady will do
  • Introduce yourself
  • When you are ready for advanced work, try learning to bow (men) or plie (ladies), and how to properly kiss a hand without overstepping.
  • When making conversation, feel free to ask questions of people: their interests, where they are from, what time frame they most like, activities within the Society.
Eating at Feast
  • If there is a high table, wait to start eating until they start eating
  • Bring feast gear: plates, bowls, utensils, napkins, light if permitted, tablecloth
  • Pre-select space during the day if allowed
  • No alcohol unless allowed at the site.
  • No open flames unless allowed at the site.
  • Ask before sitting with strangers.
  • Introduce yourself.
  • Make conversation: especially ask questions.
  • Finger bowls or formal hand washing may occur. Don't worry.
  • Period table settings that you may see might include a "trencher" of bread instead of a plate, no fork, shared knives, open little bowls of salt
  • An authentic use of a tablecloth and napkin is to have very large napkins. Pull the tablecloth over your legs and waist after you sit, and place your napkin over your left shoulder and across your body down to the table cloth.
  • Fingers were often used in period eating, rather than forks.
  • Don't hog the food
  • Pass the food
  • Help with serving
  • Try new things: don't make faces.
  • If you have allergies or restrictions, ask the kitchen staff BEFORE the meal.
  • When finished, clear your goods. Bring plastic bags to bring home dirty dishes
  • Do not wash dishes in bathroom sinks: they cannot handle the waste.
Toasts At Feast
  • In the East, when someone is applauded, we shout "Vivat" three times, all together. "Vivant" is the plural, for more than one person. It is Latin for "May he live" or "May they live".
  • It is traditional at feasts that the highest ranking person present toast the King and Queen of the East as the first toast of the evening
  • If there is a reigning Crown Prince and Princess, those are toasted next
  • Autocrats and cooks frequently are toasted after that.
You Are Called Into Court
  • Rise promptly
  • Walk quickly, but don't run.
  • Acknowledge the Person as you approach: also all the other nobles if any
  • It is customary to bow or plie: if you can't or won't, try to show respect some other way.
  • Kneel if your religion will allow, if not, mention it is not your custom.
  • Answer with titles: Your Majesty, Excellency, Highness, etc.
  • Always face the person that summoned you: do not turn your back without permission
  • No need to make a show of "disarming": if challenged, respond politely ask permission.
  • When dismissed, again, don't turn your back until you have left what feels like the presence of the Crown.
You Want To Present In Court
  • Find the Official Herald well in advance.
  • Describe the business fully: no surprises. Trust the herald to keep your secret
  • Know how long it will take, how many people will come up.
  • You may or may not be scheduled, you are asking.
  • Be available to be found before court to find out if you were scheduled
  • Ask when. Modify the length and how many people will come up.
  • If you are not comfortable or loud before a crowd, ask for a herald to help.
  • Be ready to go when called.
  • Use pomp and panoply: music, banners.
  • Announce who you are, and your business, clearly and loudly.
Greeting A Foreign Crown
  • It's the same as with your own Crown.
Make An Announcement At An Event
  • If you can, find a herald to make it for you
  • If you must make it yourself, do not interrupt ongoing activities, but work around their natural breaks
  • Word it as appropriately as possible
Issue A Challenge In A Tournament
  • Hire a herald if you can
  • Make a good showing
  • Do not insult your opponent, unless it be done cleverly and without malice

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