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Caid Scribes - Scribal Handbook of Caid

Scribal Handbook of Caid

General Comments on Achievements

One purpose of a scroll is to show that the recipient now has the right to display a particular achievement with his arms. The achievement is the embellishment above and around the shield. It will vary, depending on rank, but at the minimum will consist of a coronet or helmet atop the shield. A full achievement is shown in the illustration; its parts are discussed more fully below. Achievements from previous awards may be combined with a new one.

Crown: The simplest achievement is a crown or coronet atop the arms. There are several forms of coronets used in period armory, and modern armory has invented new ones. The forms used in Caidan achievements are illustrated here. Bear in mind that certain coronets (ducal, comital, baronial) are reserved to specific ranks. Mural crowns are a special case: they are used solely for the arms of territories (e.g., Baronies), and in rare cases for the arms of a Territorial Baron. The mural crown should be drawn with towers, rather than merely crenellations, so that it won't be mistaken for the SCA comital coronet. The Kingdom's arms may be displayed beneath the King's crown, with or without a gold helmet.

Helmet: The helmet, or helm, is found in the grand majority of period achievements: heraldry, being military in its origins, quickly came to be associated with the helmet used in combat. The practice in 20th Century England is that rank was denoted by the position and type of helmet. The practice in Caid follows a more period exemplar: type and position of the helmet are irrelevant, rank being denoted solely by the helm's color. A Grant of Arms has a non-metallic black or steel-grey helmet; Peerages have metallic silver or white helmets; both of these may be garnished in gold. Royal Peers have metallic gold or golden-yellow helmets; Dukes have the privilege of having their personal helms shown in the achievement. In all cases, the type of helmet — barrel helm, visored helm, whatever — is dictated by the artistic style of the scroll and personal preference of the bearer. It may be shown either full-face or in profile; it should not be in three-quarter view, as that seems to be a modern convention. A shield may be upright, with the helm atop the upper edge; or it may be shown slanted, hanging from the helm, with the helm over the upper corner.

Mantling: Mantling was originally intended to keep the sun off the helmet. In armorial art, it soon evolved into flowing and decorative shapes. It's always associated with a helmet, and may not be used without one; when no helm is used, ribands or streamers are used instead. (Arms displayed on a lozenge-shaped shield always use ribands; a helm cannot be used with a lozenge.) Mantling and ribands are usually of the major color of the arms on the outside, doubled (that is, lined with) the major metal of the arms. This color/metal combination is called the livery colors. It may be done in any beautiful style that coordinates with the rest of the illumination. Mantling may curl around in many fanciful shapes, but should not be caught up with cords in a bunch on either side of the shield: this is reserved for emperors, of which the SCA has none. Mantling should cover the top of the helm, as well as drape down the sides (it can only keep the sun off the helmet if it covers all of it), and may end in gold tassels.

Torse: The torse holds the mantling to the helm when there's no coronet. It's shown as six twists of cloth, the leftmost one metal, the rest alternating color and metal, in the armiger's livery colors. It should curve gently around the helm, and not be drawn as a rigid bar.

Crest: We encourage the use of a crest on any achievement with a helm (i.e. Grants and Peerages). Ideally, the recipient would have a registered badge that would be appropriate as a crest. The crest might also be a repetition of the major charge in the arms. It should be something that could reasonably be fastened to the top of a tournament helm: an animal's head, a beast or monster statant, etc. Animate crests should face in the same direction as the helmet. A crest need not be an animate object: many medieval crests were quite fanciful. If the scribe chooses to draw a crest, she should consult with the recipient to determine his preference. Some charges may not be used as crests: Pelicans are reserved to members of the Order of the Pelican, dolphins are reserved to Companions of the Dolphin. An animal crest should face in the same direction as the helmet. The height of the crest and helmet together should approximate that of the shield.

Supporters: In Caid, the use of supporters is reserved to Peers. Supporters are optional, not mandatory. They should be a bit taller than the shield. Supporters aren't normally registered (though the recipient may have a registered badge that could be used as a supporter), so we don't worry about heraldic conflict with supporters, subject to the following restrictions: Pelicans are reserved to Companions of the Pelican, dolphins are reserved to Companions of the Dolphin, and the dexter gold rampant guardant lion with the sinister argent rampant unicorn is so strongly identified with the Royalty of the United Kingdom that we don't allow its use in the Society.

Compartment: This is the place where the supporters stand, and so should be used whenever supporters are shown. The compartment allows the scribe to finish the lower part of the achievement in comparable detail to the upper part (which has helm and mantling, and probably a crest). If the recipient is a Peer, and has a motto, it can be shown at the base of the compartment. While compartments are necessary if the scroll uses supporters, it may also be used with nothing but the shield: a compartment may be used on any arms-granting scroll (AA, Grant or Patent), giving the shield a place to rest. It is not registered with the College of Arms

The following are reserved to members of the Orders specified:

  1. Dolphin as crest or supporter, to Companions of the Dolphin
  2. White harp as crest, to Companions of the Harp Argent
  3. Wreath of roses, to Ladies of the Rose (Countesses and Duchesses)
  4. Single gold rose pendant, to Legionnaires of Courtesy
  5. Laurel wreath, to Members of the Order of the Laurel
  6. Pelican as crest or supporter, to Members of the Order of the Pelican

Rules for Scrolls.

The blazon is the heraldic description of the arms. Use it and the other information (names, dates) exactly as given. Scrolls with incorrect blazons, wrongly spelled names, etc., will not be presented to the recipient. The emblazon is the picture of the arms. If you're not certain how to reconstruct the emblazon from the blazon, the Scribe Armarius can supply you with a copy of the drawing; if it's a poor rendition, you should consult the recipient. Check with the Scribe Armarius about possible conflicts.

The shield is what the emblazon is displayed on. A standard shield is heater-shaped; use this unless the recipient requests otherwise. Some women prefer a lozenge-shaped shield, for instance (and have designed their arms so that it looks better on a lozenge); either sex may prefer a cartouche (oval-shaped shield) or a round shield. Japanese personae may choose to display their arms in either the Western manner or the Eastern manner — that is, on a square, or a square with cut-off corners, or perhaps a circle.

The following are requirements for all scrolls. For helpful hints and useful suggestions, see the next section.

Shield size: The most important criterion is the identifiability of the arms. A scroll will be returned to the artist if the shield is so small that its charges cannot be readily identified. The final determination of identifiability is done on a case-by-case basis by the Scribe Armarius and the Crescent Principal Herald.

Scroll size: While there are no hard and fast rules regarding scroll size, minimum 11" x 14" or maximum of 16" x20" is recommended. Remember that the larger the scroll, the more it will cost to produce, and the more your recipient will pay for a frame; be considerate. Leave 3/4 to 1 inch margin within these sizes, for matting and framing.

Language: Scrolls are normally done in English. Any scroll done in another language (e.g., Latin) must include an English translation, either as a gloss on the Latin text, or on the back of the scroll.

Seals: Leave room near the signature lines for the seals. All scrolls need an area about 3" in diameter for the Kingdom seal. Arms-granting scrolls also need an area about 2.5" in diameter for the Herald's seal.

Signatures: Provide lines or spaces for the signatures of the granters of the scroll (for Kingdoms awards, the signatures of the King and Queen); each should be labeled with the first name and Latin title of the signator. If arms are displayed, there should be a line or space for the Crescent Principal Herald as well; label it with the heraldic title and Kingdom, but not the herald's name.



Illumination — The most important part of the illumination on an arms-granting scroll is the shield and its achievement.

Text — The most important parts of the text are, in order, the name of the recipient, the blazon (for an arms-granting scroll), the award being given, the names of the King and Queen giving the award, and the date the award was given.

Order of attack: If you do the lettering before you start the illuminating, it won't hurt so much to start over if you blow it.

Signing your work: Please do! Be discreet about it; your name could be in the lower margin, or hidden in the border, or anywhere it won't be mistaken for a Royal signature. (Some scribes put their signatures on the back of the scroll.) If you want to use a medieval scribal phrase with your name, there are several to choose from: Scripsit is Latin for "written by", and can be used before or after the name. Other phrases include: mefecit, "made me"; pinxit, "painted by"; per mano, "by the hand of"; faciebat, "fashioned by"; and delineavit, "drawn [delineated] by".

Common spelling errors to avoid: Besides the name of the recipient, and the blazon, the worst spellng errors are in the names of the royalty. Scrolls should use the names that the Monarchs registered, should it differ from the ones they casually used. When in doubt, check with the Scribe Armarius.
Other than names, the most commonly misspelled words in Caidan scrolls are: Crescent (second C often omitted); Principal (often misspelled Principle); publicly (first L often omitted!); acknowledgment (either letters are left out, or an extra E is added after the G); and the Latin words Caidis and Societatis (the final letters should be -IS, not -US).

Standard frame sizes: Scribes are not required to use any specific size of paper, except within the limits given earlier. On the other hand, if the scroll is to be framed, it makes sense to size it to a standard frame size, or something that can be matted up to one. Please be considerate of the recipient and use one of them. The standard frame sizes are: 11" by 14"; 12" by 16"; 14" by 18"; 16" by 20"; 17" by 22"; 18" by 24". Don't forget to leave a margin.

Transporting: Keep the scroll flat, between cardboard carriers or in a document carrying case. Roll it only as a last resort, as this can damage the scroll. Never fold it!

Materials: Permanence should be the basic criterion in any scribe's choice of materials.

  • Ink - Ink should be the blackest possible. Recommended: India ink, black sumi, or ink you've ground from good quality ink sticks. Avoid felt-tip pens; they fade rapidly.
  • Colors — Gouache is best for most purposes, with watercolors almost as good (use a minimum of water with these). If you want to try grinding your own pigments, or an advanced technique like tempera, we'd love it — but practice first. Avoid oil paints; they spread. Also avoid colored inks and felt-tip pens; they fade rapidly.
  • Fixatives — They can be useful to separate and protect paints from damp. Cover the seal areas and signature areas from the spray; wax and ink don't stick to fixative.
  • Paper — Any good quality, substantial, white, cream or buff paper will do. Recommended: Genuine vellum (expensive but wonderful), Arches smooth-surface (hot press) 90 lb. or 140 lb. watercolor paper, 100% rag 3-ply 'vellum' Bristol board, Ingres by Fabriano, Lumen parchment, Basingwerk, Strathmore 400, and others. Bad: So-called "parchment" paper, vegetable parchment, and "rice paper".

  • Metallics — The available forms include genuine gold leaf (exquisite and expensive), shell gold (ditto), decoupage quality gold and silver leaf (beautiful and cheap), Winsor-Newton metallic inks, Grumbacher's cake paints, metallic gold and silver gouache. The inks and cake paints generally need two coats to cover.

Using the Scroll Texts

The Caidan scroll texts are to be used only on scrolls given by the Monarchs of Caid. Scrolls for awards from the West Kingdom, or from the Prince of Caid, should use West Kingdom texts. Wherever the scroll text has words in [brackets], the use of that phrase is optional; you may leave it out, or keep it in. The full text is preferred.

Wherever the scroll text has a word or phrase in italics, that's a "place-keeper", for which the appropriate word or phrase should be substituted. (E.g., where the scroll says King's name, substitute the name of the King granting the award.) Wherever the scroll text has a slash separating words or {phrases in curly brackets}, the scroll should use one phrase or the other, whichever is appropriate. (E.g., where the scroll says "his/her", choose the one that matches the recipient's gender.)

A few scrolls permit the use of equivalent titles: instead of the SCA standard title, a translation or cultural equivalent may be substituted. (E.g., equivalents for the title Count would be Earl, Conde, Graf, etc.) A list of the SCA's Alternative Titles is available from the Scribe Armarius. Always check with the recipient to determine his or her preferred title, before making any substitutions. If you don't know for certain, use the SCA standard title.

Each text consists of several parts. The first sentence is a greeting from those issuing the scroll. Any greeting line from any scroll, or any listed alternative, may be used. The second sentence states what award is being given to whom, and why. This line must be used as given. The third sentence, in arms-granting scrolls, gives the blazon. This must always be used as given! The fourth sentence gives the heraldic achievement appropriate to the new rank, and may be left out entirely if the scribe lacks room.

The date may be given as a sentence, or as a phrase on a preceding sentence. It has several alternative wordings. The minimum information needed is: "on this [day] of [month], A.S. [SCA year], A.D. [mundane year]". Years in the mundane reckoning may be designated A.D., Anno Domini, year of Our Lord, Common Era, C.E., or Gregorian with equal correctness.

The next-to-last sentence (last for scrolls without arms displays) states why the King and Queen are signing. Any of the phrasings from any text is correct. The last sentence states why Crescent Herald is signing, and it's both optional and has alternatives. The scribe may use any Crescent phrasing from any scroll, or leave it out entirely.

These texts give much leeway to the scribe. If you want to experiment further, or come up with your own wording, talk it over with the Scribe Armarius first. There may be good reasons (both historical and by SCA practice) why a "creative" wording might not be acceptable. On the other hand, some experimental wordings have been found acceptable, and even delightful: for instance, one scribe has translated the scroll texts into Latin. Scrolls in languages other than English should always include the original English translation, either as a gloss on the scroll itself, or written on its back; it's not fair to ask the Monarchs to sign a document they can't read.

The achievements will usually reflect only the award being granted in the scroll. However, it is perfectly appropriate to combine the symbols of any rank acquired before the one being granted. (E.g., if a Count had been a Knight before winning Crown Tourney, then his comital achievement could well include a Knight's chain, in addition to the embattled coronet.) This is left to the scribe's discretion; while it can be a nice touch, it can also clutter up an otherwise classic heraldic achievement. p

Alternative Opening Phrases

To all and singular unto whom these presents shall come...
King's name and Queen's name,.....
Let all gentles and nobles know by these presents that...
Know all men by these presents that....
Be it known to all by these presents that....
Proclaim to all gentles and nobles, that....
All nobility, know ye by these presents that...
See, read, hear and understand by these presents that We....
Due commendations and greetings from King's name and Queen's name, King and Queen of Caid, unto all nobles and gentles to whom these presents shall come.
Or any greeting line from any other scroll text.

Alternative Date Expressions the year of Our Lord YYYY, and of the Society XYZ. the common reckoning of years the YYYYth, and of the Society the XYZth.
...YYYY A.D., being XYZ A.S.
...Anno Domini YYYY, which is Anno Societatis XYZ.
...being the YYYYth year of the Christian Era, and the XYZth year of the Society. the YYYYth year by the Common Reckoning, being the XYZth year from the founding of the Society.
...Or any date expression from any other scroll text.