- This article primarily concerns The Order of the Laurel within the SCA and its historical equivalents. For the herb see bay tree. For the Society Officer see Laurel Sovereign of Arms
The symbol of the laurel wreath was traditionally given to scholars, artists, athletes and soldiers in Ancient Greece as symbols of excellence. This symbolism is still with us today with the word Baccalaureate or laurel-berry, as a title for people who, for example, have completed a bachelor degree at university.
Laurels in the SCA
In the SCA, "Laurel" normally refers to a member of the Order of the Laurel. Entry into the Order is awarded to those who excel in Arts and Sciences, and pass on knowledge to others. These people may also judge Arts and Sciences competitions, make recommendations to the Crown on who should be admitted to their Order, and are expected to be examples of courtesy and chivalrous conduct. A Laurel may take apprentices and train them to a high standard, often in a field similar to their own area of expertise.
According to Corpora:
- Members of the Order of the Laurel may choose to swear fealty, but are not required to do so. The candidate must have attained the standard of excellence in skill and/or knowledge equal to that of his or her prospective peers in some area of the Arts or Sciences. The candidate must have applied this skill and/or knowledge for the instruction of members and service to the kingdom to an extent above and beyond that normally expected of members of the Society.
- The duties of the members of the order are as follows:
- To set an example of courtesy and chivalrous conduct.
- To respect the Crown of the kingdom; to support and uphold the laws of the kingdom and Corpora.
- If in fealty, to support and uphold the Crown of his or her kingdom.
- To enrich the kingdom by sharing his or her knowledge and skills.
- To advise the Crown on the advancement of candidates for the Laurel
Becoming a Laurel (or any type of peer) takes about ten years of dedicated work, on average.
Masters and Mistresses of the Laurel may append their names with the letters "OL" (e.g. Caryn von Katzenberg, OL).