Sword battles, dukes, duchesses and a royal court are all everyday things for Georgia Southern University Southern Creative Anachronists (SCA), or Scadians as they call themselves.
The SCA is a group devoted to educating students on accurate historical reenactment of the Medieval period while still having fun, Elizabeth Kicklighter, SCA president, said.
“It’s an entirely different world whenever you go into the Scadian world,” Kicklighter said. “You’re taken out of the current modern world and you’re immersed into this historical – pretty accurate – location, where people are talking like ‘Oh ye, oh ye!’”
GSU Scadians meet regularly to jump feet-first into history, dressing in period clothes, staging battles and holding court for the king and queen. However, since the purpose of the group is to educate and entertain, they also offer ample opportunities to learn new skills that were common in Medieval and ancient times, but have since been largely lost.
The SCA has held workshops to teach members everything from embroidery to cheese-making to sword fighting. At the SCA’s most recent meeting, Scadians learned about poi, a Maori form of performance art that consists of rhythmically swinging tethered weights, which are often on fire.
“I’ve learned a lot more than I was expecting,” Dustin Tilligkeit, the organization’s fighter captain, said. “Stuff that I didn’t even think about wanting to learn originally.”
The SCA was formed nearly 50 years ago in Berkeley, Ca., and the international organization now boasts over 30,000 members worldwide.
The SCA consists of 19 kingdoms, which span the globe. Georgia Southern SCA members are subjects of the Kingdom of Meridies, which rules almost all of Georgia, as well as Alabama and parts of Tennessee, Florida, and Kentucky. North of Meridies is the Kingdom of Atlantia, serving the Atlanta region and the East Coast through Maryland.
“SCA is about honor,” Kicklighter said. “Honor, service and having fun – that’s pretty much what it is, in a nutshell.”
“There are many honors Scadians can receive for service to the kingdom. Soldiers may be elevated to the position of knight and craft-makers may become a laurel and be addressed as ‘Master’,” Kicklighter said.
One of the highest honors Scadians may receive for their service is the Order of the Pelican. It is generally awarded to members who have devoted many years’ worth of service to the kingdom.
For Tilligkeit, the best part of being an SCA member is getting to step into another person’s shoes.
“The sort of thing you would only be able to read in books, you get to live,” Tilligkeit said.
To register with the international organization, members must decide on and record their persona. This is why he is spending more time on the research process, which Tilligkeit said is teaching him more than he thought.
“I even started thinking about studying astronomy,” said Tilligkeit, whose character is from the late 16th century. “I was thinking, being a stargazer myself, wouldn’t it be cool to study period methods for looking at the stars and recording that sort of thing?”
However, students don’t have to be a part of the international organization to join the SCA at Georgia Southern, Kicklighter said, and they try to provide something for everyone.
“If you like doing crafts, you’re more than welcome. If you like the history aspect, you’re more than welcome. If you like to beat on people’s heads and fight, we’ve got that for you too,” Kicklighter said. “All you have to do is show up in an outfit you like and do the things you love.”
Tilligkeit said students should not be afraid to join if they are interested.
“We’re not as crazy as we look,” Tilligkeit said. “We do this because we enjoy it, because it’s fun. So if you think we look kind of crazy, but kind of fun at the same time, don’t be afraid to hang out with the crazy people.”
The SCA meets every Thursday at 7 p.m. in room 2080 of the Russell Union.