Heraldry for the Byzantine Persona

Ang:

I’ve had some questions about heraldry lately. As I’m not a herald, but my dear friend Konstantia Kaloethina out in Calontir is, I figured I would just re-blog a post of hers. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section, and we’ll see what we can do to help.

Here’s a picture of my heraldry, which I didn’t actually make while I had with my Byzantine persona, but it works.

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Originally posted on konstantia kaloethina:

As Principal Herald for Calontir, one of the many things I am excited to do with that role is assisting with names and devices.  It is also one of the more frustrating things for early period personae or cultures that are not known for heraldry.  It’s a bit of a balancing act, between actuality and the more creative parts of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

Seriously.  Go purchase things from her.

Azure, a standing seraph argent, a bordure gyronny argent and sable. Art by Kythera of Anevern (http://www.anevern.com/)

In my persona’s period (6th century Constantinople, around the time of Justinian and after the death of Theodora), the only person who would use heraldry would be the Emperor, and it would often be displayed on a labarum (a specific type of vexillium), or a banner that hung vertically.  This labarum often featured a Chi Rho as part of the standard, while the vexillium would often be the…

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Anna’s Propoloma Walk-Through, Kinda.

I made a new Propoloma tonight for an upcoming A&S display here in the East. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please see this informative earlier post.

Basically, I had a 60% off coupon for Joann’s, and decided I needed to spend money immediately, so I went in, paid less than $10 for 2 yards of white wool felt, and ran out giggling. I put on my car, and Alien Ant Farm’s cover of “Smooth Criminal” was on the radio. This is, ironically, how I got my persona name from an ex-boyfriend.

“Annie are you okay?”

NO! I’m about to make a funny looking hat!

So, for fast reference, here we have Irene Gabras to inspire my Flying Nunnery:

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So, first, I cut the wool using my first version of the hat as a guide. I needed it bigger and rounder. I cut four pieces total, as I wanted a lining and a shell. I figured this would be full bodied enough to stand on its own without using buckram or other modern stiffening materials.

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After that, I sewed the lining together, and tried it on.

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Holy amazeballs, it’s Sally Field!

This, of course, resulted in all sorts of funny name calling on Facebook, which both amuses me and aggravates me at the same time. On one hand, I posted it, I deserve the jokes and I know my friends are jerks. It’s a thing. On the other hand, I am introducing this hat and style of dress to the SCA, and I’m met with joking. Way to make me want to actually wear it, guys. Not that I should ever expect constructive comments of any kind on a social network that devotes more time to political party bashing than…oh wait, that’s perfectly Byzantine. *Ahem* MOVING ON.

I used some silk remnants I had to make the stripey bit. I’m not good at this part. Irons and I don’t get along.

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Meh, good enough.

Then I began to apply it to the shell, using the painting of Irene Gabras as a guide.

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After sewing it down, I did the same for the other side, opposite directions so the ends would meet. I was able to barely see the stitches through the wool, so that made a nice guide.

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Once both sides were sewn down, I went back and added a little bling with gold thread. I had considered using some of my embroidery stitches for more shiny, but I decided in the end that I need to 1: Lay off my embroidery stitches and start doing more hand work, 2: this is a statement hat in its own. It will speak for itself, and 3: I didn’t want to be presumptuous in persona.

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Once the silk was sewn down, I finished the sides of the hat, and turned it right side out, and then made sure it was still equal to the lining.

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Then I put the lining inside of the shell, and immediately felt like Rita Repulsa from the original Power Rangers series:

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By this point, I was being compared to Yoda on Facebook, but I didn’t care. I was ready to wrap this up. A little whip stitchin’s for the opening:

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And Voi—-uh. Hmm…

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But that’s okay, I have a notoriously small head, and I did it on purpose for veils and nets and such. So, naturally, I had to go play dress-up.

VOILA! ANNA ZOSTE PATRIKIA!

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Putting the kohl on my eyes really makes it, I think, I mean, I practically just wrapped myself up in fabric like a Glamour Shot. :3 it also shut up the peanut gallery. Context is everything!

As you can see, the 2 layers of wool felt gives the hat enough body to stay up on it’s own, and it’s also nice and toasty, because I live in New Hampshire, where we are known best for our tropical winters.

Here’s a comparative shot of my first hat and my new one. What an improvement!

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A review of FutureLearn’s course on “Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier”

Readers of my blog will probably recall a post I made not long ago, well, six weeks ago to be exact, on my beginning of a course on FutureLearn. I reblogged a post “Who built the wall?” when the course started, and now I feel urged to share a poem by Rudyard Kipling, “The Roman Centurion’s Song”. It’s that feeling you get when you finish a good book, that emptiness that comes with completion. I guess I didn’t expect to feel this way, but that’s a good thing! That means that FutureLearn and Newcastle University have done their jobs. For a free online course, it was OUTSTANDING.

A little bit about the breakdown of the course:

Each week had about 20 short sections to complete. They ranged from short videos, to articles, and quizzes. The quizzes don’t count against your grade, they were just a learning tool. Every 2 weeks there was an actual test, culminating with the final test at the end of the 6th week (That one had some curveballs in it.) My favorite part were the little forensic challenges that happened every other week or so. You would be given an archaeological find of bones, and then try to determine cause of death, gender, etc from the clues given in an article. It was a great insight into the grim world of forensic archaeology.

The Vindolanda tablets were totally awesome. I had heard about them before, but never actively went seeking them. I really suggest taking a look at them here. Learning a bit more about the religious syncretism that occurred at the wall and methods of worship was also incredibly fascinating.

In addition, the discussions that were had were also great. Each section has a discussion area that functions like a social media platform, in which one could post an answer or topic of discussion and receive answers, sometimes even by the staff at the University, who was actively engaging with the MOOC the entire time.

Here’s Newcastle University’s blog of their experience: https://blogs.ncl.ac.uk/numoocs/

I do believe you can still check out the course. Go to https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/hadrians-wall/ and see for yourself. I may have also totally taken the bait, but Newcastle University may be on the list of schools I look into for my PhD. But that’s a ways off yet, let me finish my MA first!

Thank you to the staff at Newcastle University and FutureLearn for offering this experience. I’ve already enrolled in an upcoming course, also through FutureLearn, on the archaeology of Portus which is being given by the University of Southampton, another UK school. I look forward to checking that out in January. :)

 

 

 

 

I swear, I’m not dead.

I started my MA degree this fall at the University of New Hampshire, and needless to say, it’s been keeping me a bit busy. I am doing what research I can, and hitting all sorts of amazing conferences, such as last weekend’s New England Renaissance Conference in which the topic was Credit and Debit in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Totally a fascinating topic I never even thought to look into before.

In 2 weeks there is an event in the Barony of Carolingia, our neighbors to the south of Stonemarche, called Voyages of Discovery, and A&S Colloquium. It is a mundane clothes dress academic conference with Scadians in mind. I will be presenting my paper on Suetonius’ biography of Domitian, and my analysis using contemporary sources. It’s one of my undergraduate works, but it was my writing sample to get into graduate school, and apparently did the job.

I also plan to prepare my propoloma article from here on this blog for publishing in Ars Scientia Orientalis, the East Kingdom A&S Journal, much like my silk paper was. So yes,  even though I haven’t been crafty, I’ve still been busy!

 

I do have some slow-coming work in progress on Byzantine outerwear. Look for that in the coming weeks.

Who Built the Wall?

Ang:

I’ve signed up for a free online course on Hadrian’s Wall via FutureLearn, offered by Newcastle University in the UK. Not that I don’t already have enough to do with my own graduate studies at the University of New Hampshire, but I figured that I would reblog a site that came up on Twitter, and link to the course itself. It started Monday, but I believe there is still time to sign up. Please join me in learning about this really cool part of Roman History!

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/hadrians-wall

#FLHadrian is the hashtag, find me under @ang_costello on Twitter for discussion. :)

Originally posted on Per Lineam Valli:

The legions

A legion was around 5,000 heavily armed and armoured men who were, by the 2nd century AD, even more of an anachronism than the rams that still adorned the prow of every Roman warship in their fleets. Organised into ten cohorts, each of around 480 men, they were extremely effective in open battle, especially when complemented by their attached auxiliaries. Legionaries (never, please, ‘legionnaires’) were nevertheless unsuitable for garrisoning a province and all-too-easily wrong-footed by even the most basic of insurgencies (as all technologically dependent armies tend to be).

Britannia was to turn out to be a troubled (and troubling) place. It needed four legions until the end of the AD 80s and right up until the beginning of the 2nd century AD it still had three (II Augusta, IX Hispana, and XX Valeria Victrix). Then something happened, and at some point between…

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The Return from Pennsic: The SCA versus the Navy.

I don’t always post about my really real for real life here on this blog, because this is a place for the research I wish to share with like-minded folks. However, this being relevant to my SCA life, I thought I could share a bit about generally crazy our lives can get.

First and foremost, a disclaimer: I haven’t been a military wife for that long, and I met Geoffrey when he was still on shore duty. As far as things are going so far, I’m downright spoiled. This is all going to change in about a year, but I don’t have much to say about it yet, other than that there is a potentially big move involved. We did move from Rhode Island to New Hampshire this year, or rather, he moved last fall and I joined him in the winter once I finished my degree, so I already got displaced from my home of 11 years into a totally new, and entirely less urban-convenient area.

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Us at Palio di Stonemarche. Being all matchy Italian rennie and stuff.

VERSUS

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Us at the USS Constitution for a sailor’s re-enlistment ceremony and probably the worst hair day of my life.

Geoffrey is an active-duty submariner. That means for the most part [but not always], his home base is going to be in New London, CT. This makes us already percentages more stable than the majority of military families. Subs can be moved, though, such as up to a shipyard for repairs, which is what put us in Portsmouth, NH for the time being. This worked out well, since I was accepted into the University of New Hampshire for my MA, which is just 20 minutes away, and thanks to the Navy, I was given in-state tuition.

On the SCA front, of course, this had us switch baronies from Bridge to Stonemarche here in the East. Being in Bridge for over a decade and knowing everyone for so long made this probably the most difficult part of the move. Not that I didn’t know folks up here in Stonemarche, but it’s just not the same. Different events, different sites, the idea that we would have to drive more than an hour to our “local” events that seemed stupidly flabbergasting thanks to the New England mentality we both disgustingly adopted.  (Yeah, um, here in the East, aside from Tir Mara, the Canadian Provinces, we’re REALLY spoiled when it comes to events being close. We’re more population than area, and still, Montreal is only 4 hours away. Halifax or St. John’s, on the other hand…)

Then comes the questions: How involved do we get when we know we’re only here for 2 years? How attached do we stay with the baronies to our south? How is our mundane workload now going to effect our eventing?

Oh, that last one is a doozy. With Geoffrey being on a submarine now and not on shore, despite the fact that it’s up on blocks and full of holes, means that he has to work more on base, and leave is harder to get. We had a hell of a spring into summer. Especially with the odds of a deployment around every corner.  Pins and needles. He started taking every weekend off for events, figuring that Pennsic wasn’t an option, but once that changed, again, he put in for the 2 weeks of war, and we were good to go.

This is when the really fun stuff happens.

We knew he was up for Chief. Things were working in his favor for promotion, and we had a feeling that this could be it. And well, it was. We found out that he made E-7 while sipping iced coffees at Cafe Merhaba, while I waited to work the State Dinner. I watched him hold back emotions so much that tears welled in his eyes…and of course, you know, I footed the bill at the Cafe. What I didn’t know, however, was that in the Navy, making chief is more than just a big deal, it comes with 6 weeks of very high stress training, called induction or indoctrination or simply “Chief Season”. Some call it hazing, and some say that it’s not what it used to be, all I know is that both of our phones started blowing up. They wanted him back as soon as possible. He told them that this wasn’t happening. There was no way, even if we left early, we’d still need a day to drive and a day to unload, putting us into the weekend anyway. I watched as Geoffrey’s relaxed vacation turned into moments of anxious stress, and I kept saying that if he wanted to leave early, we could. At this point I was done teaching my classes. I couldn’t fight because I sprained my ankle 2 weeks prior (that’s a whole other story) and I was generally having a “meh” war. But he insisted we stay to help break camp, and even stay with the freehold I’m apart of in the hotel on the way home. And honestly, I’m glad we did, because he hit the pillow and passed the hell out. There’s no way he would have made a 10 hour drive home. No.

So we got home from Pennsic around 5:30pm on Sunday August 10th, and he dropped the trailer in our parking lot and went, “I’ll be back in a bit, I need to run to base.”

…So that bit? That bit took til 10pm. The car and trailer were still loaded. This is when Anna’s stress levels started to soar. My sewing machine, my inkle loom, OUR THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF GARB were sitting in space bags in tubs on a trailer, in a parking lot, with a ripped tarp that was strapped down so tight I couldn’t undo the knots myself.  And it stayed like this for a week.  It took Geoffrey falling out at PT due to dehydration for him to get an afternoon off so we could actually try to do things. This was Friday, we had been home for 6 days, and naturally, it had POURED during the week, so I was constantly freaked over the condition of the stuff, and you know, the condition of my husband, who had decided to stress so much he wasn’t staying hydrated enough. If it wasn’t for me feeding him, he wouldn’t have been eating enough, either. It was only his first week, but because he missed several days while we were at Pennsic, they were running him ragged, and my stress only compounded every day seeing him drag ass, and seeing our stuff get soaked. On top of that, I had to make a flag for the CPO selects on the base in 2 days. Which I have to admit I am most proud of (thank you, Wonder Under and the marvel that is iron on anything!) But at least this promotion means that he isn’t going on a fall deployment [as of right now]. So there is THAT [maybe]. *phew* [don’t hold your breath.]

It is now one full week since we have been home. The trailer and car are now empty, and the majority of the contents that need to go back into homes here in the house are now sitting in my living room waiting to be washed or hung back up, and are emanating a smell that is akin to campfire and Old Spice deodorant-infused man-sweat. Where’s Geoffrey? Geoffrey is in Boston, playing on the Constitution (!!!) for a week. I’m probably the only Navy Wife that is more geeky about this than all the guys are, especially since on Friday they get to take her out onto the water, and I can’t go, sit on the pier, and cry in jealousy. I got $40 for laundry, Oxyclean, and a kiss, and he’s gone. Of course before that, I had to press his dress whites, sew on patches to 2 new sets of NWUs, even breaking a needle and having it fly up my nose. No, I’m not making that up. The pointy end of the needle FLEW INTO MY NOSE. If it wasn’t for my nose ring, it probably would have hurt a lot more than it did. The words I uttered are already circulating the world and causing pearl clutching as far as Siberia. I assure you. I never did fine the pointy end. I keep blowing my nose wondering if it’s stuck. For those that don’t know, it costs servicemembers A LOT OF MONEY to maintain uniforms. I probably just saved us $50 in patch-sewing alone. That’s clearly $50 I can use on fabric. Clearly.

..And now he has to buy all new uniforms, and I get to re-patch all his other sets of NWUs.

So, he’s gone all week. That gives me a chance to FINALLY un-Pennsic the house, a week later. Catch up on the rest of my sewing work…a week later, and generally attempt to finally decompress and make sure he can come home on Friday and relax. Then I have one week left before I start a whole new degree at a whole new university, and he’s not through with this until the 15th of September.

No pressure.

I Love you, muffin. <3 It certainly will be an interesting 2 more years of sea duty.

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