minstrel: Definition of Bardic

mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU
Wed Apr 23 09:36:10 PDT 1997

On Wed, 23 Apr 1997, Greg Lindahl wrote:

> The words "garb", "feastocrat", and "remove" have all come to mean
> things in the SCA which would be better served by the words "clothes",
> "head cook", and "course". Change happens one person at a time, You,
> for example, could ask the crowns of Atlantia to please call you the
> Royal Minstrel instead of the Royal Bard, like James of Rutland did a
> few years ago. Who knows if we'll change the world, but it's worth a
> little effort.

I could.  But then if the next "Royal *Performer*" did not happen to style
his or her self as a minstrel, the name of the office would have to
change.  I think it would get a mite confusing to change the name every
year.  I think it would be great to have a more period title that
described all performing arts (other than the un-spiff "Royal Performing
Artist"), but unfortunately most period terms that take in all performers
are less than complementary. . .
	Some generic terms are needed, I believe to avoid confusion.
Let's use the present scenario as an example.  I want to be more accurate
for my persona, so I would change the name from Royal Bard to either Royal
Druth or Royal Minstrel.  My choice would probably be Minstrel because
even the Scottish Kings lived in the Lowlands and had court minstrels, NOT
druths, who were a Gaelic class of performers (although I might consider
mysslef more of a druth, I would call myself a minstrel in court, you
see).  BUT, lets say the Crown is neither Scottish nor English.  As is the
case at present in Atlantia, they are early period Vikings.  They would
have neither a Royal Bard, Druth, Minstrel, etc.  They would want a Scop.
And a scop I am not.  And since the reign of the Royal Bard lasts through
3 Crowns (the Crown when you take office, the next Crown after them, and
the Crown Prince and Pricess before you step down), each one of these
Crowns may expect a different Royal Performer for their reigns.  So I can
either be authentic to my period, and ignore them.  Or I could be
authentic to their period and change every 6 months.  Or I could style
myself the generic SCA bard, and fit all categories, as it were.
	Social Reforem is not a bad thing.  And I see the need to help
people understand that a "bard" does not really mean a generic performer,
but it once meant something else.  However, I also see the need to have a
generic term for a performer for use in the SCA, in cases like the one
mentioned above.  And I also know that the English language, like any
other, is a fluid thing.  Words can change their meanings, and I think
that the modern meaning of bard is signifigantly different that the Gaelic
meaning.  To teach people about the true Gaelic bard, it is not neccesary
to eliminate the word bard from your vocabulary meaning a generic
	To illustrate:  when I work in the Scottish Tartans Museum, I
explain to people that "plaid" did not originally mean what we use it for
today--a pattern.  "Plaid" comes from the Gaelic word for blanket, and in
the 16th century referred to the garment, and not the pattern.  Now, this
does not mean that I don't call the pattern "plaid" when I'm not working.
And I don't correct people when they talk about a "plaid shirt" or "plaid
golf pants."  I DO correct people when they come into the museum and ask
about their "Clan Plaid."  So it depends on the usage.
	I love words, and I love things bardic, and I love a good
discussion, so I welcome any comments on this.

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