Group Relives Medieval Times With Anachronistic University

Sanders Theater, usually the home of Ec 10 and Hum 9b, hosted a different sort of spectacle Saturday afternoon when a group devoted to the Middle Ages reenacted life at a medieval university.

Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), a nationwide organization which tries to bring back medieval times, gave lectures on rhetoric, astronomy, theology and natural philosophy.

Between talks, craft guilds held exhibits, the medieval cooks' guild served meat pie for a quarter, a guild of actors performed, and jugglers, puppeteers and calligraphers demonstrated their talents.

Patri J. Pugliese '72, co-founder of the Boston chapter of the SCA, said Saturday that society members attempt only "selective re-creation" of medieval times. The Boston chapter meets once or twice a month to enjoy the "finer aspects" of medieval life, including Arthurian revels and banquets, he said.

But certain aspects of medieval life are ignored, said Pugliese, adding, "I'm not sure how you would go about re-creating a plague."

Medieval jousting, which for the SCA means "sword and shield combat on foot in good fun," was missing from last Saturday's program because combat takes place only during the summer months, Pugliese said. "It's not much fun to joust in the snow," he added.

Pugliese, known within SCA circles as the knight Sir Patri Du Chat Gris, said, "Some people join SCA as an escape. For others, it's a way of coming into contact with other people who share an interest in the Middle Ages."

The Boston chapter's membership includes college students, plumbers, and a professional economist, Pugliese said.

Edward M. Averett, a freshman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) whose SCA name is Corwym Llewellyn of Mona, said he has always been interested in fantasy. "I have read 'Lord of the Rings' 61 times. The last I heard, the record was 51, so I've probably read it more times than anyone else," Averett said.

Many members of the Boston chapter play "Dungeons and Dragons," a fantasy game in which "dungeon masters control your fate using tables of probability and predetermined alternatives," Pugliese said.

Pugliese said Saturday's Sanders Theater event was unusual for the club because medieval attire was encouraged, but not required for admission. Most of the audience attending the medieval university wore clothes of the Middle Ages anyway, Pugliese noted.