|Most people in life had little or no say with regards to
the name they were given at birth, and should they dislike it, only have their parents to
blame. In the SCA however, everyone has the chance to correct their parents ill
judgment by adopting for his or herself a brand new name. If this was the only thing you
could change about yourself then it may be of no great consequence; but in the SCA,
we go one step further. Not only can you change your name, you also choose both the year
and the place of your birth. As a matter of fact, you can concoct an entire life story for
yourself, known simply as your persona.
So if you
always believed you were destined to be a Viking marauder pillaging the shores of England,
then so be it!
Now granted, there are certain guidelines and restrictions that one
must follow when creating a persona. You cannot choose, for example, to become King
Ferdinand of Spain or Joan of Arc no matter how much you want to. Your persona
belongs to you, and as such, is your story and not that of some real historical
Secondly, you cannot style yourself as Sir Thomas of Nottingham. This
has less to do with an irrational dislike of the borough of Nottingham, and more to do
with the use of the title Sir. In the SCA, all honorific titles from Lord and
Lady to King and Queen have to be earned. This our way of recognizing individuals who have
achieved a level of competency in one art form or another, or have served the Society in
some capacity. So when you meet someone at an event who calls him King Theodric,
chances are he is the king and you should be on your knees groveling.
Thirdly, deciding to become a 15th century Viking called Gustav of
Limerick is pushing the boundaries of creative anachronism. While there is nothing to stop
you doing just this, please keep in mind that we are a group that attempts to recreate the
middle ages, and not rewrite it.
How much effort and detail you put into your persona is entirely up to
you. There will be those who rigidly stick to their chosen time period, in both their
manner of dress and the artifacts they use. This may even include the food they eat, down
to how they cook and prepare it. Then there are others whose persona consists of nothing
more than a name and a period.
If you are new to the SCA, you are encouraged to look for a name and
persona, but there is no immediate rush. Often people choose names and periods that have
meaning in their real life, such as choosing a Scottish persona based on one of your
If you decided to register your name with the Society, then you are
going to need the assistance of a pursuivant. Not only should your name be unique within
the SCA, it should also be accurately reflect the for the period you have chosen. Gustav
the Viking is unlikely to gain approval.