Category Archives: 13th century

on persona development

When I first joined the SCA I wanted to be ‘something celticy’ and ‘early’ ( before 1066 when being ‘celticy’ became less pleasant).  I ended up choosing to be Welsh, and went along having fun, and somewhere along the way decided I cared about authenticity, when I realized how difficult it was to know much about daily life in Wales that early.

Happily, I found a time when  I could be Welsh, but not completely oppressed: 13th century!  Sharon Kay Penman’s fabulous historical novels might have had some impact here, plus Galeran’s persona is also 13th c., so it all works out nicely!  🙂  But you’ll find a number of 13th c. Welsh personas, because it’s about the only time where you know something of your period AND live under a native Welsh prince: Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, called Llywelyn Fawr (‘the Great’) – for more about him, go to the google.

So, 13th c., Welsh… what else?  Well, I already have ‘Llanaelhaearn’ as part of my name – Llanaelhaearn is a small cantref near the northwest coast of Gwyneddd.  Llywelyn and his court also lived in Gwynedd – as did his children!  Those children traveled and married outside of Wales, which gives me a great opportunity to meet this French musician….

So, Rhieinwylydd’s story: my mother was Gwerydd Wen (‘Gwerydd the Fair’), and she was a pretty but not particularly high ranking person.  She caught the eye of Einion, the lord of Llanaelhaearn (not a historical person), very early in the 1200s.  Gwerydd was Einion’s common-law wife (a fairly usual practice in Wales at this time) and I am the result!  Einion brought Gwerydd with him when he traveled to Llywelyn’s court; he made a politically advantageous marriage there but did not give up his relationship with my mother entirely (however, our position at court was somewhat lessened).

In 1207, Siwan (aka Joan/na), Llywelyn’s wife, had a baby girl, Elen.  My mother had lost a baby boy around the same time and so became Elen’s wet nurse.  I was around four or five at the time, and helped my mother care for Elen.  I was very fond of the princess and she seemed fond of me as well. We remained close as we grew older and I was appointed one of her ladies in waiting (possibly my father influenced this choice).  As the daughter of the Welsh monarch, Elen was married an English lord, John de Scotia.  He died without issue and Elen then married Sir Robert de Quincy – another Englishman.  So you see how a nobleman’s bastard daughter from a tiny village on the coast of Wales traveled to England and sometimes had opportunity to visit France!

Someday I might go through and draft answers to all the questions at http://www.modaruniversity.org/Persona1.htm about persona development. But not today. 🙂

What about you? How much do you know about your persona’s history?

13th cen – ur doin it rong?

I had a mildly upsetting experience last weekend in chatting about fibers and dyeing with someone.  She asked about my persona, and I told her I was 13th c. Welsh.  “Oh, so you’re not dressed it today, then,” she said.

!?!?!!! I said.  I thought I was!

So, dear readers – help me out here.  Am I, in fact, doin it rong?receiving service grail  from TRH Rustam & Suvia at Bar Gemels XXV Here’s a photo (taken by Lady Diana de Winterton – click on photo for full size) of what I was wearing – that’s a pink linen gown, geometric construction, and a head wrappy thing (yes, that’s the technical term).  You can’t really see it, but I’m also wearing a narrow leather belt – not much else in the way of accessories.

A photo of a coif from the Maciejowski bible (click on image for full size) – mine is not exactly like this, but I think it’s reasonably similar (it’s just cheaty and easier, since I have yet to actually make a St. Birgitta’s coif for myself).

Women from the Maciejowski bible (again, click photo for full size).  My dress is lighter weight than that, and not quite as long – both primarily for practical reasons, as it’s springtime and I walked all over the place and didn’t want to trip.

The one thing I really wasn’t replicating is body type – all the Maciejowski girls (and from what I’ve seen many 13th c. women in illumination) are really tall and skinny with no breasts or hips.  This does not describe me and probably will never describe me.

Other than that – what do I need to fix?