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Sumptuary Law

Sumptuary Law was the medieval legal practice of maintaining social order by regulating the outward display of wealth and station. Violating these laws, or “dressing above your station” could be a considerable infraction, although enforcement varied considerably throughout Europe and throughout Period.

In the SCA sumptuary laws are relatively simple, determining mostly what crowns and coronets can be worn, as well as restricting white belts and baldrics to the Order of the Chivalry. Restrictions of heraldic display, particularly of the badges of various orders and Peerages, also fall under the aegis of sumptuary law.

It is worth noting that many customary usages in the SCA, particularly the colours of belts for squires, apprentices and proteges, are not officially covered by SCA Sumptuary Law but instead by the laws and customs of individual Kingdoms.

Note that in Ealdormere, there are very few true sumptuary laws. Instead, Ealdormere has customs, largely in keeping with our time as a vassal of the Middle Kingdom.

Society-Wide Sumptuary Laws

Ealdormerean Sumptuary Customs

  • The coronets of Counts and Countesses are traditionally gold, while those of Viscounts and Viscountesses are silver. In kingdoms not descended from the Midrealm, Viscounts wear a silver coronet with twelve pearls (spheroids).
  • Landed Barons and Baronesses may wear coronets of gold with six pearls (spheroids).
  • Court Barons and Baronesses may wear coronets of silver with six pearls (spheroids).
  • A Knight's chain is traditionally gold, and it is custom that squires wear unadorned chains of silver.
  • Gold spurs are reserved for use by the members of the Chivalry, while it is custom that squires wear spurs or silver.
  • It is custom that red belts are reserved for squires of a Knight.
  • It is custom that red baldrics are reserved for squires of a Master or Mistress of Arms.
  • It is custom that green belts are reserved for apprentices.
  • It is custom that yellow belts are reserved for proteges.
  • It is custom that blue belts are reserved for men at arms.
  • Members of the various Kingdom Orders may wear the badges of their respective Orders.
scaism/sumptuary_law.txt · Last modified: 2022/08/09 21:45 (external edit)