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Page history last edited by DebbieCoyle 11 years, 8 months ago


As often happens with re-enactment groups a non-standard vocabulary develops. The Barbarian Freehold Alliance has many terms and concepts unique to the group.


Althing – The Althing is one of the oldest parliamentary institutions in the world.  Its establishment, as an outdoor assembly held on the plains of Þingvellir from about the year 930 AD, laid the foundation for an independent national existence in Iceland.

            The Althing is the governing body of the Barbarian Freehold Alliance, and meets twice a year at major SCA events.  Freeholders meet, raise and discuss issues, and vote on law changes, and other decisions. At the Althing there are no rank privileges, all attendees are there as Freemen and Freewomen.


Barbarian – Refers to members of “non-standard” civilized groups. These included Vikings, Mongols, Turks, Huns, Celts, Pirates, African, and New World nations.

            The Barbarian Freehold Alliance is founded on an appreciation of these non-traditional cultures and their codes of honor and self sufficiency.


Bard – One of a caste of poets and scholars of medieval and early modern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. In the Freehold it refers to singers, poets, and storytellers, all of whom have been a traditional part of our activities.


Ceann [kay-en] – An Irish and Scottish Gaelic word meaning ‘head’. In the Freehold it’s used to denote a special deputy to the High Chieftain. One of the Ceann’s duties is to coordinate communication between the Holds and the High Chieftain.


Chief – The second highest rank in the Freehold. Chiefs are also officers, serving as deputies to the High Chieftain and teachers and advisors to both the membership and the High Chieftain. Chiefs are voted in by the Conclave of Chiefs and approved by the High Chieftain.


Chieftain – The head of a Barbarian Freehold Alliance member group. Chieftains are confirmed in their office by the High Chieftain.


Conclave of Chiefs –      The Chiefs currently active in the Freehold are a voting body titled the Conclave of Chiefs. They have several responsibilities.


Freehold – This is the name often used amongst ourselves for The Barbarian Freehold Alliance.


Freeman / Freewoman – The term of address, and title, used for members of the Freehold. Any member who has not sworn Fealty to the High Chieftain is a Freeman/Freewoman. The Chiefs, who have sworn Fealty, are no longer Freemen/Freewomen.


Friend of the Freehold – Like-minded individuals who, for one reason or another, are not members of the Barbarian Freehold Alliance, but who’s continue actions, presence, and/or contributions support and better the Freehold.


High Chieftain – The head of the Freehold. The High Chieftain is voted in by the Conclave of Chiefs, and is the ruler and final authority of the Freehold. The High Chieftain is responsible to the Chiefs, Chieftains, and the members of the freehold. The term is conferred after the High Chieftain(s) approves a recommendation by the Conclave of Chiefs.


Hold – The individual member groups of the Barbarian Freehold Alliance. These can be households, ships, clans or other collectives headed by a Chieftain confirmed in their title and group by the High Chieftain.


Honorable Chief – Chiefs who have stepped down from the office of High Chieftain.


Lawspeaker – A unique Scandinavian legal office. It has its basis in a common Germanic oral tradition, where wise men were asked to recite the law, but it was only in Scandinavia that the function evolved into an office.

In the Freehold the Lawspeaker is the keeper of the Law, and runs the Althings. The Lawspeaker is responsible for maintaining a listing of the Freehold Laws and possesses a duplicate copy of the High Chieftains Handbook, and all of the Freehold’s ceremonies and procedures.


Sinni [see-nee] – The list of the Officers of the Freehold.


Skald – The skald was a member of a group of poets, whose courtly poetry is associated with the courts of Scandinavian and Icelandic leaders during the Viking age. Much of the skaldic verse consisted of panegyrics to kings and aristocrats, or memorials and testimonials to their battles.

            Because the skalds subjects often concerned battles and combat, the Freehold has used this to term to refer to bards who are also fighters – fighting on the battlefield by day, and barding at the campfires by night.


Tanist – The designated heir(s) of the High Chieftain(s). Voted on by the Conclave of Chiefs, with the final decision resting on the High Chieftain.


Warlord – The General of the Freehold Army. Appointed by the High Chieftain after a approval vote of the Chieftain and freehold fighters. Reports to the High Chieftain.



Thanks to www.wikipedia.org for some of the definitions listed here.


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