The Atlantian "guild" structure is loosely modeled after that of the
London Master's of Defense.
It has gone through several changes from its inception and is a mix of completely
unofficial "internal" rankings and a Kingdom level armigerous award.
Each rank is denoted by the wearing of a scarf, usually around the
left shoulder or upper arm. As most of this is completely unofficial,
no one is required to participate but there is currently an extremely high
level of involvement amongst all authorized rapier fighters.
Note that these are not titles but ranks. Thus in proper use, they would appear *after* a gentle's name and not before. If you want to be formal, I would be addressed as "Baron Aedan Aylwyn, Provost" and not "Provost Aedan" (and in my case, please NEVER "Don Aedan").
The ranks and their requirements are:
Scholar: Denoted by wearing a blue scarf. Anyone with a valid rapier authorization in Atlantia can be considered a Scholar. We term the authorization process "playing the prize" and while it is similar to most other kingdom's authorizations, we usually add a bit of a quick field ceremony at the end, welcoming the new scholar into the guild and "awarding" them with a scarf. This is typically done en mass, with all those new scholars (just authorized fighters) taking the Scholar's oath together. The ceremony is witnessed by those other members of the Academie present, especially the Free Scholars and Provosts. If they are present at the event, we are also usually blessed with the attention of our Monarchs, especially our Queen and Princess.
Free Scholar: Denoted by wearing a gold scarf. The Free Scholar is advanced by the sponsorship of 3 Provosts. A prize playing is conducted at some event, usually against a representative from the Provosts, all other Free Scholars present, and then as many scholars as time permits. The prize itself is run as a showcase of the new Free Scholar's skill at arms, the decision to "award" the title having already been made. After the prize playing is ended, the sponsors take time to extol the virtues of the candidate and pin on the new scarf. Although completely unofficial, as far as the SCA proper is concerned, the Academie has received great support and often participation from our Crowns for these prizes. As with the Scholars above, these events have received great attention and support from our Monarchs.
Provost: Denoted by wearing a white scarf with a blue center stripe and unicornate sea horse at either end. The rank of Provost is the only rank within the Academie that is "official" and is reflected in the Order of Precedence. This rank is a Kingdom level award, one of the Orders of Merit. Thus, it is armigerous (carrying an AoA) and a polling order. Provosts are chosen by Their Royal Majesties, based upon their service unto the rapier community, impact by teaching, leading and marshalling, skill at arms and generally setting an example for all to emulate. The exact wording of the award in our Kingdom laws can be found here.
NOTE: At their last curia in September, 2001, TRM Havordh and Mary-Grace did alter the Academie de Espee / Order of the White Scarf of Atlantia to carry with it a Grant of Arms. This is a new thing in the history of Atlantia and a great honor. All current members of the order were grandfathered in and given a GoA, if they currently only carried an Award of Arms. This affected just under half of the order.
The Provosts and the Academie d'Espee are signatories to the White Scarf Treaty. Please understand that the phrase Academie d'Espee is used to refer to both the award making a Provost and the Guild as a whole. The original award "the Order of l'Academie d'Espee" was created in February, 1993. At this time, it was denoted by a yellow scarf (look at the scroll here). The structure of the Ad'E started at the same time, with just the Free Scholar (then a blue scarf) and Provost (gold scarf) ranks. I believe the gentles that conferred with the Crown at that time and assisted in developing the award intended for us to be able to join the White Scarf Treaty when we were ready as a Kingdom. That event occured three years later in April, 1996. At that time, all of the then Provosts turned in their gold scarves and were awarded the White Scarf we currently wear. That is why those Provosts from before that date have the following 2 entries in their OP listing:
I hope that my brief words have helped to shed some light upon how we conduct ourselves in my fair Kingdom.
Yours in Service,
Master Aedan Aylwyn
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