Welcome to my personal SCA home page! If you're looking for basic information, try my user profile on this site. The table of contents at the bottom of this page lists the articles I've published here, or you can visit my photo galleries. There is also my blog if you're into such things.
In the SCA, I'm a dabbler in many things and an expert in very few. I enjoy armoring, woodworking, and sewing (though I am still a beginner), and am trying to learn heraldry. I do participate in armoured combat, though I don't have the time to practice enough to get really good at it.
I had the honor of serving as the first Seneschal of the Marche of Alderford, and later as a Regional Seneschal for the Oaken Region (modern-world Ohio and Kentucky) and as Database Deputy to the Seneschal of the Middle Kingdom. I've also served for a number of years as the Web Minister for Alderford and as a Master Chirurgeon. In 2003, I had the opportunity to serve as the Chirurgeon-In-Charge for Pennsic War 32.
I am currently the Chief Technical Officer of the SCA, Inc., a deputy to the Society Seneschal. Basically, that means I am in charge of running the sca.org servers for web, database, and email, though I don't personally maintain the content on the web site itself.
In an unofficial capacity, I am co-owner of the SCANewcomers list on YahooGroups™.
If you are reading this, it is probably because you -- and perhaps a few acquaintances -- are interested in forming an new branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Welcome! The task you are considering is a long one, and completing it will require commitment and lots of work. It can also be one of the most rewarding experiences in your SCA life. I know this personally, for I had the privilege of being the founding Seneschal of the Marche of Alderford, the local branch serving Stark and Carroll Counties here in Ohio. Later, as the Oaken Regional Seneschal, I considered it an honor and a cherished privilege to help other new groups along the road from first organizing meeting to their advancement to permanent, full-status shires and cantons.
For those interested in forming a new local branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism within the Middle Kingdom, there is an excellent and highly detailed New Groups Workbook that is published by the Middle Kingdom Deputy Seneschal for New Groups. That guidebook, as well as the SCA and Kingdom policies which are available online or in print from those organizations, are the definitive sources of information about starting a new group.
This document, on the other hand, is provided as a starting point only, and is written to help you through that brief period before you have all the more official information in hand. The most current version of this document is available online at http://sca.4th.com/justin/articles/new-group-intro. Although I sincerely hope you find this article helpful, please remember that this is not an official publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, nor of the Middle Kingdom, nor of the Middle Kingdom Seneschal, and this document does not delineate policy on behalf of any of those entities.
Local branches within the SCA come in three basic types. A shire is a local branch that is part of the Kingdom (and of the applicable Region), but not part of a Barony. A canton is a local branch that is part of a Barony as well as the Kingdom and the Region. A college is like a shire or canton, except that it is allowed to "go dormant" during the summer school recess months.
There are other types of local group, but these are the most common. In some areas you will hear some groups referred to as the "Marche of Something-or-other". The term "Marche" has no official meaning in the SCA organization, and is simply an additional part of the name based in some traditions that were established years ago.
A barony is a larger group that has "landed nobility" in the form of a Baron and a Baroness who "hold the land in fief to the Crown". Baronies can be the most-local level of the organization in some cases -- typically a large city -- but also can be a "shell barony" that contains cantons within it. It is highly unlikely that you would be allowed to form a barony out of thin air in most kingdoms; generally, baronies are formed when existing local groups grow and thrive over a period of years.
A region, which does not exist in all kingdoms, is purely an administrative division, because many Kingdoms are too large to manage as a single unit. A region has officers who are technically deputies of their corresponding Kingdom officers, but a region does not have any landed nobility or other in-period officials.
If you are interested in forming a new group, then you will probably be wanting to form a shire, a canton, or a college, depending on your local circumstances.
Most people who decide to form a new SCA branch are doing so because of the long driving distance to the nearest existing group. SCA members are willing to drive hours to a full-day event, but it can be annoying to have to drive an hour or more just to get to a weeknight meeting that may only last a couple of hours in the first place.
Only the interested parties in your local area can decide whether forming a new SCA chapter is the right thing to do, and only you can decide if you're willing to commit the time and effort to doing so. It is a process that will take several years, and a lot of work, but which also is tremendously rewarding. Although you, the interested members, must provide the raw energy and commitment, you need not work alone. Nearby local groups can help you either informally, in the form of advice and a general support network, or formally, as a sponsoring group of a particular event or as an ongoing sponsor of the new group itself.
Finally, at the Regional level (if applicable in your kingdom) there are several officers who can assist and advise you as well. The Regional Seneschal and other Regional officers are committed to assisting new groups in understanding the policies of the Kingdom and in overcoming the problems that inevitably arise with any group.
In some cases, there may be good reasons why you should not form a new group. If you are simply trying to foster comraderie between like-minded individuals, and there is a nearby group already established, consider forming a household or guild instead. These are much less formally organized than a true shire or canton (in fact, households have no organizational requirements with regard to the SCA, as they are completely unofficial). Yet they still offer individuals with common values and interests a chance to do things together as a smaller, more intimate group. You can be a household member and/or a guild member and still be a loyal and active member of your local shire or canton.
In order to benefit from SCA sanction and insurance coverage, any group that is not yet full status must have sponsorship from a full-status group for any event, demo, or other SCA activity other than a routine business meeting at which no combat occurs. The technical term for this is "administering branch", but it is often referred to as a "sponsoring branch" or "sponsor" for short.
Sponsorship can in some cases be for a specific activity, but more often it is a more lasting, mentoring relationship between your new group and an existing local group or barony. There are many benefits to this mentoring relationship, as you can imagine. Some kingdoms may mandate which group must be your sponsor, or they may let you negotiate with the group of your choice, but often the details of the groups' relationship to one another is left up to the two groups to work out. Generally speaking, a group is not required to sponsor a new branch, so it is very strongly in your best interest to establish cordial relationships with your neighbors from day one.
If your group is within or adjacent to a barony, you may request them to act as your sponsor. Again, this is voluntary on their part. A Barony could be your general sponsor, but you can still (with their consent) ask a local group to sponsor any particular activity.
The need for sponsorship is for your protection as well as the SCA's. For the SCA there is the obvious need to ensure that SCA rules are followed, to avoid liability or legal problems that might jeopardize our nonprofit status or cause lawsuits. For your benefit, by being an SCA sanctioned event your activity gains the protection of SCA insurance and also can be publicized in SCA newsletters and web sites. This requirement continues until you become a full status group.
A newly-forming group also cannot hold money in the name of the SCA and cannot have a checking account. However, your administering/sponsoring group can hold money for you in their checking account, simply earmarking the funds that are raised by and for your new group. If the group should fail, these funds remain the property of the SCA, but if your group becomes full status you can have that money transferred into your group's own checking account (still SCA property, but under your local control).
There are some things a newly-forming group cannot do, but there are many things you can do as well:
After some period of reasonable growth and stability as a new group, you can petition for advancement to full status. A full status group can have its own checking account and can hold events without sponsorship by another group.
There is NO FIXED TIME PERIOD for any of these stages -- it depends purely on your group's activity level, growth, stability, and demonstrated capability to resolve problems. When considering a group for advancement to the next stage, no one expects there to have been "no problems" -- instead, it is expected that people worked together to solve what problems did occur, and that they did so in a way that didn't break the SCA's organizational rules. It is likely to take several years to advance from founding to full status, so patience will be a needed virtue.
Let me now introduce the people who will likely be key players in this effort to form a group, should you decide to pursue this.
You should be able to find the contact information for these individuals in your Kingdom newsletter.
The "core group" of interested parties in your area need to figure out among yourselves what your level of interest is. If you find that you want to move ahead, the next logical step is to contact the people listed above and let them know that you want to form a new group. You can also begin to plan for an organizing meeting, which would be publicized to some extent in the community at large, and which is the real "kickoff" of your proposed new group.
In Alderford, the local group that I helped to form, we posted flyers around local libraries and colleges and contacted local newspapers describing (in brief) the SCA's purpose and the date, time, and place of the organizing meeting. We had about 22-25 people at the organizing meeting, and 18 of them were interested enough to return to the Marche's first "real" meeting. Our organizing meeting was held in the story-hour room at the local library. It's a good idea to contact the nearby local groups, barony, and your Regional Seneschal, about this meeting, because having some experienced officers on hand can help to field questions from the newcomers. Members of your organizing team may already have SCA experience, but forming a new group is a different matter entirely from just playing in the SCA.
If the outcome of your organizing meeting is a decision to proceed, you're on your way! Find a regular meeting site and set dates for the next few meetings. You can begin to choose a slate of acting officers (many of your officers do not receive warrants until the group advances to full status, but rather function as deputies of the officers in your administering/sponsoring branch). Each acting officer should immediately contact his or her superiors at the Regional and (if applicable) Baronial levels as well as at the sponsoring branch.
In the end it is up to you, those interested in forming this proposed new group, to continue the process from here. Hopefully I have provided you with sufficient information to get started, if that is what you wish to do. Your next step should be to contact prospective members of your new group, and the officers listed in previous sections of this document.
Many newcomers to the SCA are confused about households, and are not sure what to do about invitations to join one. This article, originally posted to the SCA Newcomers' list, explains the basics of households from a newcomer's perspective.
In the Society for Creative Anachronism, you are automatically a resident of a Kingdom (the largest organizational branch), as well as one or more sub-branches such as a Principality, a Barony, or a Shire, College, Canton or similar local group. All of these are official branches of the SCA, Inc., and your residency is based simply on where you live, unless you have made other specific arrangements with the SCA.
Households, by contrast, are completely unofficial and not recognized as branches by the SCA corporate office. They may play a part in Court or other in-game activities, such as being recognized for service by Their Majesties, but they are still not officially part of the SCA, Inc. Because of this, households can be created or changed by their members without any SCA paperwork, and they can establish any internal officers, rules, policies, and customs they wish. If you are at an SCA event, you still have to play by SCA rules regardless of your household membership(s), but beyond that, the household is governed only by modern-world laws and its own internal rules.
Because there is no official recognition of households, there are many different kinds. At its simplest, a household is any two or more people who say they are a household -- literally. But households can also take many other forms, and in some cases they have many members and complex internal hierarchies.
Some households are basically large pyramids (I call them "peer-amids") founded by one Peer (a Knight, Laurel or Pelican). That person takes on students (squires, apprentices, or proteges, respectively) who become members of his/her "household" through that relationship. Eventually some of these students attain peerage, and they in turn take students. So there is a "greater household" containing smaller households, and this can repeat to several levels. Many of the big fighting households are of this model.
Other households are formed of people with a common interest or historical period. For example, the Great Dark Horde is a household made of people who are interested in Mongolian culture and history. Another example would be some of the pirate households, Celtic clans, or performing arts households.
Still others are simply groups of friends who form a household as a social group. The household serves as a way to co-register for camping events and is usually less formally organized and typically smaller than the others. My own household, Erevnite Asteron, is an example of this type. We have no officers and no formal leadership structure at all, because we are small enough not to need it.
Your modern-world family can also be a "household" in the SCA, if you want it to be. That's actually how ours (Erevnite Asteron) got started, since it was myself and my lady, Milica. We invited friends in and it grew over time. This is a fairly common situation.
Your persona can have an SCA family -- and thereby, if you wish, a household -- that has nothing to do with your modern family. For instance, an SCA friend whose persona is from the same time and place as yours may be your SCA brother, sister, father, etc., if the two of you agree that it is so. The Current Middle Ages are an imaginary world, so you can have an imaginary family!
In at least some kingdoms, the King and Queen, Prince and Princess, and their retainers become a sort of de-facto "royal household" during Their reign.
In period, the household could mean anything from "all those who live in the same cottage or mansion" to "a large political organization centered around a powerful family" (such as the Medici family). And of course the notion of royal household is very period, though it may not have used that particular terminology.
Some households are very loosely organized, with the line between "member" and "nonmember" being rather blurry. There may be people who regularly associate with the household and camp with them at events, but who aren't really part of the "core" of the household. People may drift in and out of the household from time to time, without much of a fuss being made.
For other households, the process of becoming a member may be a very formal series of steps, beginning (typically) with being a guest and then being "watched" for a while while you and the household check one another out and see if it's a good fit. Membership may involve some sort of ceremonial welcoming by the household's members or leaders, and in some cases it may involve swearing an oath of allegiance. (Think of the oath one might take in order to become a squire, apprentice, or protege to a peer.)
Your membership in one or more households doesn't affect your membership in the SCA in any way; the two are totally independent of one another.
Some households actively and vigorously recruit new members (again, think of the fighting units that want and need more warriors). Others recruit very selectively or not at all. Still others may not actually recruit, but may be willing to consider you if you ask to join. Some are so informally organized that their own members have never even considered the question of whether and how they recruit at all. There are lots of households where the only "organizing" they have done is to pick a name so they have a way to register for events together.
There are also complex interactions *between* households. For instance, in the "peer-amid" households I describe above, becoming a member of one of the lesser households may automatically bind you to the greater household, or it may not. Or it may automatically make you a welcome guest of the greater household but not a full member. Joining some households requires that you resign from any other households of which you are a member, while other households may say that multiple membership is no problem.
And there are peerage relationships (again, the squire/apprentice/protege) that are just between the two individuals (peer and student) and have no household connotations at all. But if the peer or the student is a member of a household, the addition of this relationship may bear on the household relationships.
None of this is unique to SCA households except for the terminology. Think of your modern-world social relationships. If you are a member of the local model airplane club, you may find that there is overlap between that and the local social group of amateur pilots of private aircraft, or overlap with the local ham radio community. Maybe your neighborhood association overlaps with a couple of local civic groups such as the Lions or the Rotary Club. Your modern-world political affiliations (MoveOn.org, or Right to Life, or the Sierra Club) may impact your choice of social group, or may interact with your relationship to a religious group.
As with the modern-world counterparts, the important thing about SCA households is to take the time to understand the relationships involved before you enter into them. Any household that is really interested in *you*, and not just in adding another tally mark to their numbers, will be patient enough to wait for you to get to know them. Remember that household boundaries are not boundaries on friendship! You can be friends -- very close friends -- with someone and still not be a member of their household.
I hope this proves informative. Households are a wonderful thing, but as others have said, this kind of relationship is something to be considered carefully and not rushed into.
I'll never claim to be a composer nor a musician, but I do occasionally write a filk song that people enjoy. This section collects my SCA-related songs for those who've requested the lyrics and/or musical scores.
People have asked me, "Is it okay to perform your songs at SCA events?" My answer to this is, "Absolutely...just be kind enough to credit me when you do so." The exception to this is the Banner of Brendoken. You don't need to specifically credit me at each performance as long as the audience is mostly Brendoken people who already know who wrote it.
By request, here are the words to the marching song I wrote for Brendoken and performed at the Baronial Court at Pennsic 35 and then again at Masque of Courtly Love in 2007. With the kind assistance of Lady Ursula the Widow, I have also added a MIDI file so you can hear the tune, and the sheet music in printable PDF format.
© 2006 by Iustinos Tekton called Justin
In a pastoral meadow stands a warrior tall.
At a pell he strikes blows every day,
Perfecting his skill as he sharpens his will
Knowing foes at his feet soon will lay.*
REFRAIN (after each verse)
Farewell! Farewell! To the target and pell,
Swords, arise! Arrows, darken the skies!
For our purpose is clear, and we'll go without fear
Where the Banner of Brendoken flies!
In the dark of the wood lurks a Forester's eye,
With an arrow to follow its gaze.
When that arrow is loosed, with its aim sharp and true,
Woe to any who stand in its way!
At his forge stands a smith with a hammer in hand,
Striking blows that harm no one at all.
But tremble, ye foes! For the armourer's blows
Are the death-knell – your soul hears their call!
In the castle's great hall sits a Herald, alone,
And she waits for the words she must cry.
On command, forth she rides, spreads the news far and wide,
That today all our enemies die!
As the cook stokes her fire, in the kitchen at dawn,
In her apron she shouts to her crew,
"Bring more bread! Bring more meat! For an army must eat!
We will stoke our knights' courage with stew!"
From the mills and the shops come the townsfolk to hear,
When the Baron and Baroness call.
"Every hand to its task! For the thing that is asked
Is the work that brings victory to all!"
The strength of an army's not only in swords!
In the craft hall it's born, and the farm.
Though our numbers are few, we know what we must do,
And the wind at our back is a storm!
(*) Yes, I know this is grammatically incorrect. Call it poetic license.
If a shorter version is needed for marching, you can drop verses 3, 4, and 5 without upsetting me. I'd appreciate it if they remain in all written copies, because one of my foremost goals with this song was that it should be inclusive of more than just combatants. That being said, I understand that it's long enough to be impractical for some settings, and it's okay to shorten it if needed for a specific performance. I just don't want those middle verses to be utterly forgotten.
Permission is granted to share, reprint, and perform this song with all in the Barony. All I ask is proper credit as the composer, by my SCA name (see above). If you perform this at a bardic circle, it's sufficient to just introduce it (before or afterward) as a song by "Justin". Feel free to post the lyrics on web pages, print them out for other Brendoken citizens to learn, etc. Have fun!
And some humorous background...
This is the first serious song I've ever written, and my first original tune. (At least, it's original as far as I know, though I'm told by bardic friends that it's easy to accidentally retrieve a forgotten melody from your own subconscious.)
I didn't plan to write this. I pulled a near-all-nighter on a Wednesday night for my modern-world job. Then I pulled a full all-nighter Thursday night. At about 5:30 a.m. on Friday, totally fried but wired on caffeine, my Muse spoke... No, my Muse did not speak. She whacked me on the head with an iron bar, pointed at my keyboard, and commanded, "Sit down. WRITE!" And thus this song was born.
Back in 2006, I wrote The Banner of Brendoken as a marching song for the Barony. Okay, that was fun. By 2008, I decided it was time for something a little less serious. The rapier fighters in Brendoken had by then attained quite a reputation for their skill. Since the whole Barony had a fight song, I decided the fencers needed...a drinking song!
Words by Justinos Tekton called Justin
Tune: "Irish Washer Woman" (Trad.)
Brendoken's peaceful and quiet and fair,
But if you fight Brendoken you'd better beware
Of the fencers whose prowess is fabled in lore:
They're the blades of the Brendoken Rapier Corps!
So raise up your glasses and ring out a cheer.
First we'll toast them with Scotch, then we'll toast them with beer!
If you think they're defeated they'll fight you once more!
Drink the health of the Brendoken Rapier Corps!
First they slash at your left, then they thrust at your right,
They'll attack you all day and then party all night!
And the last thing you'll know as your corpse hits the floor:
You're no match for the Brendoken Rapier Corps!
On the list field at Pennsic they challenged the East,
But the enemy fled as if they'd seen a beast!
All alone on the field, “one to nothing” the score,
No one dares face the Brendoken Rapier Corps!
At last, eight fell in battle and went straight to Heaven.
St. Peter said, “Sorry, we've space for just seven.
You must leave one behind, for we can't hold eight more.
My regrets to the Brendoken Rapier Corps!”
So they huddled a moment, then cackled with glee.
Bade their leave to St. Peter -- quite puzzled was he.
But their plan was one Peter could never ignore --
Sharp the wit of the Brendoken Rapier Corps!
They ran down the stairs to the infernal regions,
Cried challenge, then charged at the Devil's own legions!
A fortnight they battled, then seven days more --
Hell defeated by Brendoken's Rapier Corps!
Back to Peter they marched and cried, “Now you've got room,
For we've claimed it for you from the armies of doom!
We will not be divided! Now open the door!
All for one in the Brendoken Rapier Corps!”
St. Peter conceded, “You've done pretty well,
And I'd rather you fight for the Lord than for Hell,
We've got work for you here!” Then he flung wide the door.
Now his guards are the Brendoken Rapier Corps!
Of course, this song was presented at Baronial Court at Pennsic 37, as a surprise to all except my own lady wife. Afterward, the rapier folk asked me if it was okay for them to sing the song at events and parties, to which my reply was this: "Hell, yes! I wrote it for you. Enjoy it! In fact, my fondest wish is to hear this song, at 3:00 a.m., in a drunken, slurred voice!"
That night, I was invited on a pub crawl with the Rapier Corps, and we ended up at a household camp featuring a bar shaped like a scale-model pirate ship, and big enough to have fore and aft decks you could actually climb. Given that setting, and a couple of slugs of rum....okay, several slugs of rum, in a delicious concoction known as a "Dirty Pirate"...the night ended somewhat differently than I had planned. You see, I got my wish, or close enough. But I hadn't expected that the drunken,slurred voice singing my song from the deck of a pirate ship would be....ahem...mine.
What a night! Thanks to the Brendoken Rapier Corps, who took me pub crawling, got me wildly biffledinked, and then escorted me back to my own camp to sleep it off.
There are those in our beloved Society who believe that the use of computers and the Internet, however convenient, somehow contaminates our historical accuracy. Some of these naysayers, to be sure, are rogues and scoundrels of the most common sort, yet others are of noble and virtuous demeanor and are merely misguided in their thinking. In this essay I shall demonstrate to these latter Gentles, by the most courteous of means, the error of their ways, that they might come freely to the realization that I am, as always, right.
Let us begin with two basic assumptions: First, if something can be shown to have existed prior to the year 600 CE, it is certainly plausible to believe that somewhere that knowledge and art was retained throughout the Middle Ages and is therefore admissible into the Current Middle Ages. Second, as we all know, the Byzantine Empire, being at the very Centre of the World as befits its status as the premiere repository of all that is known in the World, has always been considerably more advanced in the acquisition and implementation of skills and craft learned from itinerants from lesser lands or from Our Most High Emperor's benign visits into these barbarian serfdoms (in other words, we steal with style). This second premise is so intrinsically obvious to anyone learned and noble that I shall not belabor the point herein but shall hereafter refer to it simply as the Byzantine Superiority (BS) Postulate.
I chanced one day upon a discussion of the Byzantine border guard in Cilicia province, where there was ever a threat from the Arabs of Baghdad. Since, as we all know, necessitas rationem inventrix, the commanders had created in the ninth century a series of signalling codes using torches atop hills and towers. By way of this system, the emperor Theophilus could know within an hour when the Arabs encroached on His lands. This system was inspired by the work of the third century Romans, as written by Julius Africanus: "The Romans use a system...to tell each other all kinds of things by means of fire signals." As usual, the Byzantines were the first to widely adopt and to perfect an idea from another culture, and as usual the Byzantines were widely copied by others -- including the Fatimid caliphs, who built a two-thousand mile torchlight-telegraph relay along the north coast of Africa in the tenth century.
Clearly, since a torchlight can be only "on" or "off" (non datur tertium, as the Romans used to say) and since words were thereby encoded and relayed, the Medieval civilization certainly possessed knowledge of binary digits, or bits (which are the foundation of all information on the modern Internet), and of routers (in this case, men with torches in their hands) to direct the bits to their destination. As we all know, Medieval philosophers believed that light travelled in a medium known as the Ether, so clearly their use of light to send messages proves that they communicated over an early version of Ethernet. Furthermore, an ancient Roman proverb from Ovid is written, "Fallaci nimium ne crede lucernae," or literally, "trust not too much to deceitful lamplight." Some scholars have concluded that this is evidence of early--and frustrating--experimentation with fibre optics, which relies on very precise and steady light sources and thus was not widely deployed until after the invention of the electric lamp. A few historians credit the Chinese with use of fireflies as light sources for fibre optic cable, but this is not widely accepted.
Yet merely to prove that Ethernet existed in the Middle Ages shows only that they had the technology to build a network. Did they possess all of the other trappings of this medium, such as we have come to know? The answer is emphatically "Yes!" as I shall demonstrate herein by way of example.
First there is the question of hardware: Having an Ethernet for routing bits, did they have anything to plug into it? The ancient Romans built keyboards for musical instruments and, although this technology was "lost" in about 500 CE, the Byzantines resurrected the art and it is recorded that in 757 CE the emperor Constantine Copronymous made a gift of such a keyboard, along with the trifle of a bellows-powered organ, to King Pepin of the Franks. The organ is of little concern to us, but clearly the people of the Middle Ages possessed keyboards with which they might send messages. The matter of receiving messages onto a glass screen is clearly documented as well. It should be obvious to anyone that the images they received on their monitors would not persist through the ages, any more than ours do today, yet like us they desired a way to permanantly capture screen images of lasting importance and hence invented the art of stained glass, of which hundreds of specimens survive to this day. Many of the extant images thus recorded concern matters spiritual, which would suggest that their Internet discussions and news groups probably centered around religious rather than secular topics. "soc.religion.christianity.spain.inquisition" was extremely popular in its day, as were "rec.military.europe.crusades" and "soc.religion.fan.christianity.england.thomas-aquinas".
We have now established that they had both the Ethernet and the hardware to build a network and terminals, but what of the software to control it all? Fortunately, as with so many other arts and sciences practiced in the Middle Ages, we have examples of primitive software surviving from ancient Roman times. Quintus Horatius Flaccus, living in the first century BC, was moved to comment thusly on the mainframes of the day: "Mole ruit sua!" or literally "It falls down of its own bulk!" This should satisfy even a skeptic that he was forced, probably in some gladiatorial ritual, to program in COBOL. Yet this was not the most terrible of the ancient software, for Virgil comments of Rome's largest software purveyor, Minimus Flaccidus, "Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens!" which translates to "A monster horrible, misshapen, and huge!" To many scholars of ancient history, this is evidence that Windows (tm) has existed far longer than many of us would have imagined. Further substantiation of the popularity of the wares of Minimus Flaccidus is found in Horace's enraged outburst to a gathering of their customers: "O imitatores, servum pecus!" ("Oh imatitors, thou slavish herd!") The Arabic, Chinese, and Byzantine cultures refined the offerings of Minimus Flaccidus, making them much more sophisticated and reliable, until they had evolved into what we know today as the abacus. Along the way, the COBOL language was abandoned in favor of the much more comprehensible Middle English of Chaucer's day.
As with so many other Roman inventions, the science of Internet software was adopted and refined in Byzantium. Notable among the accomplishments of New Rome was the creation of the Ingens Byzantium Mentus (IBM), a seventh-century computing device of tremendous size which was constructed in the government district of Constantinople. The Latin phrase loosely translates as "huge Byzantine brain" and the device was said to have been destroyed by imperial decree after it defeated the Emperor at chess.
Now, at last, we have established beyond any reasonable question that the technology to build an Internet not only existed in period, but in fact largely predated the period of interest to the Society for Creative Anachronism. Further, we have established that by one method or another all of the finest computer and network technology of the day was reposited in or around Constantinople in the Byzantine Empire. Thus, by the BS postulate elucidated in my introduction, it has been shown that the various cultures of the Middle Ages could very well have built and used the Internet to communicate, and that the absence of any primary sources for this are simply due to the fact that they, like ourselves, constantly misplaced their diskettes and had no backups. Quod erot demonstradum.