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The term Period refers to the time-frame that a recreation group researchs, recreates and represents. This can vary from a small number of years (say 50) to more than a millenium (eg. the SCA).

Period and the SCA

The SCA period is anything prior to the 17th Century. This is includes what some may regard as the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Many people think that the SCA only covers the period from 600 AD to 1600AD, but Corpora states:

"Period: The era used by the Society as the base for its re-creation activities. The Society is based on the life and culture of the landed nobility of pre-17th Century Western Europe, focusing on the middle Ages and the Renaissance." (Page 8)

Anything that had been discovered or was in general usage during this time-frame is acceptable at SCA events, unless it breaks mundane law or would be considered offensive; so no burning heretics! The major exception to this guideline is religion - although it was the mainstay of the medieval era, anything overtly religious is avoided. No-one is going to complain if you dress as a monk, nun or inquisitor, but expect someone to dissuade you from holding a religious service in a public space; it's against SCA law. In contrast, what you do in your tent or pavilion is nobody's business but those in the tent with you.

By contrast, if something was invented or only in general usage outside of the above time-frame, it is considered to be out of period (often abbreviated to OOP). For example, mobile phones are OOP, but lasagna is not. Items not known to non-European cultures, but known to cultures that had no contact with them, might be called out of period in SCA usage, often used in useage similar to "it's out of period, unless your persona comes from Japan".

In a special interest group, for example a mailing list for 10th century Clothing, period may refer to the 10th century, even if that list is labelled as an SCA mailing list. An item might also be considered out of period for a person's persona, for example potatoes are out of period for a 6th century Scotsman, but might be in period (if rare) for a late 16th Century Elizabethan noble, however while some in the SCA might know this information about their persona, few would care to live under these restrictions for long at an event.

Period vs. Period-Style

As a general term, something which is period is something directly attested by primary sources, e.g. a recipe from a period source or an article of clothing which has been preserved; something which is period-style is something which attempts to be true to the style in primary sources, e.g. a recipe which, while not found in any period source, uses the same principles of healthy eating, available & likely food-stuffs and so forth, or an article of clothing which is cut similarly to an actual artifact.

Periodoid (or perioid) indicates something which is pseudo-period, e.g. honey-butter or a cloak with a vampire's picture on it. Periodoid things are not medieval and never were, but to our eyes (or some of our eyes) they appear to be. They might also be described as medjeeval or medievaloid.

Some few items are essential for safe recreation, and their presence, although out of period, is automatically ignored. Items like this include:

  • eye glasses with modern frames
  • medical aids
  • safety equipment
  • mundane SCA paperwork and laws
  • safety rules

See also period by consensus.


The SCA centuries

Re-Enactment Centuries

These vary greatly depending on the group. Groups might re-enact the events within a stated few days (eg Pike and Musket Society, to a few months (eg. Sealed Knot), years (Buckingham's Retinue) or centuries (Fire and Steel). Few have a range as great as that of the SCA. Centuries covered vary from antiquity to the late 20th century.

Major Period Events