The Society for Creative Anchronism ( SCA) - Some Background

History & Overview

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is a 501c3 non profit educational organization devoted to the study of Western culture between 650 and 1600 CE. The major focus of the organization is the European Middle Ages and Renaissance. Members also have branched into the Middle East and Asia and actively explore the interaction between Europe and these areas during the period under study.

While official incorporation took place in 1968 a backyard barbecue and tournament held in Berkley, CA, on May 1, 1966, is considered to be the founding date. The SCA attempts to take the best qualities of the Middle Ages and selectively recreates them in the modern world. Members are encouraged to develop persona’s based on this principal and actively pursue the arts and sciences of that time frame. Over the years a thriving mercantile community has grown to provide supplies and expertise in various area’s to the members.

Members & Organization

There are approximately 25,000 dues paying members worldwide. While as an organization we cover the globe most of the "populous" is centered in the United States and Canada. We have active branches in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and most recently, have started to organize inside the former Soviet Block.

The "Known World," as members refer to the organization, is divided into 16 geographical areas referred to as Kingdoms. Each kingdom has a king and queen chosen on the field of combat. (See below) While the kingdoms are independent of each other their by-laws are based on the corporate charter and by-laws. This has allowed for a great diversity from region to region. The kingdoms are divided into local and regional chapters call principalities, baronies, shires, cantons, and colleges. The names of these divisions reflect the size of the membership and/or the larger division through whom the local group reports.


There is a wide range of activities available to the members. On the social side all groups are required, depending on their size, to hold a certain number of "events." These events will feature tournaments, classes, medieval dance, theater, music, and classes. A major feature of these event is the feast. Some of our chefs are first rate and their food will rival anything available in a first class restaurant.

An additional corporate requirement is the need to hold a certain number of public demonstrations, referred to as "demos." These demos are always open to the public and feature demonstrations of various Middle Age arts and sciences. Quite often they are held in conjunction with libraries, Boy Scout troops, or schools. The Philadelphia chapter recently staged a two day demonstration in conjunction the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s reopening of its Medieval armor collection.

Local groups also maintain a program of classes in the arts and sciences to encourage their members skill development. Depending on the geographic area and member interest we actively study such areas as:

Agriculture Fencing
Archery Fighting (medieval combat)
Armoring Fletching
Astronomy Gaming
Bardic Recitation Heraldry
Basketry Horsemanship
Book Binding Illumination
Bow Making Instrumental
Brewing Music
Calligraphy Juggling
Cooking Masonry
Costuming Mathematics
Dance Painting
Drama/Comedy Poetry
Dying Pottery
Embroidery Tanning
Falconry Woodworking
SCA Combat

Medieval combat with its swords, shields, and armor is a corner stone of SCA tradition and structure. Both men and women actively participate in recreating medieval foot combat. In fact our Kings and Queens are selected for six month "reigns" in tournaments. All combat participants are required to have reached the age of majority in the states in which they reside.

There are strict rules established by our corporate officers and these are enhanced by each of the local kingdoms to insure the safety of the participants. These rules set standards for the materials used for weapons, armor, and what type of combat techniques are acceptable. All participants are required to receive extensive training and must prove competency prior being allowed to take part in tournaments or open field battle recreations.

Each year more than 10,000 members travel from all over the world to Butler, PA, to participate in the Pennsic War. This is a huge camping event that also serves as our national convention. As many as 5,000 combatants will take the field for the main field battles.

Within the last ten years there has been a growing interest in fencing. This has been fueled by the organization’s growth in the Southwestern US with its strong Spanish traditions.


The SCA maintains a large selection of publications for its membership. All paid members receive, on a monthly basis, their kingdom’s newsletter that details local events and news. Our corporate office publishes a magazine, "Tournaments Illuminated," each quarter. "Tournaments" features articles on the arts and sciences as well as news of importance to the SCA as a whole. A library of white paper publications is also available to the membership at a minimal cost.

Local Chapters - More Information…

For further information about the SCA in the Philadelphia area click on the Barony of Bhakail external link. To find a branch in the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada click on the link for the East Kingdom. To Locate your Kingdom, and then to find a branch near you, click on the SCA Corp. link.

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