Persona, SCA Life

Who is Oswyn?

Some of you have probably heard me say I have three personae all named Oswyn.  So who is Oswyn and how do you tell the difference?

The first Oswyn is the Oswyn I am mostly dressed as.  This Oswyn of Baðon.  He is my most developed persona but strangely I only recently figured out his occupation.  He is from 973 AD from Bath.  His family had their lands granted as part of the Bath charter.  Oswyn is a minor noble, possibly a thegn or at least Oswyn’s father might be a thegn.

Caridoc posted a list of questions about personae.  Here are the answers.

One of the issues Caridoc brings up is looking more “medieval.”  He mentions that he himself doesn’t wear his glasses and theerfore sees the world a bit fuzzy.  I am so near-sighted that I can not fathom not having my glasses.  I would be able to do nothing without them.  Oswyn would not have glasses and would be mostly useless in Medieval society if his sight is like my sight.  So the glasses must stay.  I may someday make those fancy wooden glasses but I understand that they are from a much later time period.  One of my other Oswyn’s could have had them though.

Oswyn’s history:  Oswyn’s father is a minor noble Osmund of Aquamann or Bathon.  Oswyn’s mother is Efa in Welsh but was called Aeffe by the English.

  • What kinds of money do you use? What are the relative values of the different kinds? How much does dinner at the inn cost? How much does a horse cost? How much does a skilled worker make per month?

Oswyn uses pennies and farthings regularly.  A farthing is a portion of a penny (made by cutting it).  A shilling would be ~5 pennies.  A pound would be 240 pennies.  Oswyn might sometimes deal with pounds but that is a lot of money, even for a minor noble.   A horse might cost half a pound of more. A good meal would be a few farthings.  A skilled worker would make a few shillings per month (~5 pennies to a shilling)

  • What system do you use to describe what time it is? When does one day end and another begin? How do you tell time (sundial? clock?)?

12 daylight and 12 night hours is common.  Some more philosophically minded people use equal length hours but that is not common.  The day begins at sunrise.  Sundials are common.

  • What system do you use for describing dates? What is your calendar like?

AD is the common system by this point.  There are still references to regnal dates but by and large, England follows the Church calendar.

  • Can you read? If so, what have you read? What poems, tales, etc. have you heard told?

Yes I can read.  I can read Latin and Old English.  I was taught at the court school in Bathon Abbey by the Abbess and the monks and nuns there.  I have read the Bible, Consolation of Philosophy, the Chronicle to date, and a number of works that would have been at the Library in Bath.  Oswyn has travelled and has learned stories from England, Wales, Ireland, and some from Brittany and Normandy.

  • What do you know about history? Have you heard of Alexander the Great? Julius Caesar? Charlemagne? Vergil? Saladin? What do you “know” about each?

I would know some of these things but not as much as Sean does.  Oswyn would know that Alexander was a great general from the past and conquered the known world.  He would know that several Roman generals admired him.  Oswyn would know more about Caesar but still not too much.  Oswyn would know about Charlemagne and probably read Virgil.    Oswyn wouldn’t know Saladin as Saladin is after Oswyn’s time.

  • What do you know about geography? What is the most distant country you have heard of? The most distant country you have met someone from?

Oswyn is well travelled.  He has been to Wales, Ireland, Brittany, Francia, and Rome!  He has heard of Michelgard and the lands beyond but he doesn’t know their names.  In Rome, he may have met a visitor from Michelgard but that would likely be the farthest away he has met someone.

  • Who is your immediate overlord (title and/or name)? Who is your ultimate overlord?

There would be a Thane who rules the area around Bathon, possibly that would be Oswyn’s father.  Next up would be the Earl of Wessex then the King of England.  Oswyn as a reeve would be more directly subject to the King than to the Earl of Wessex.

  • What is your religion? What duties (prayers, fasts, dietary restrictions, etc.) does it impose? What do you (your persona) know about its doctrines and history?

Oswyn would be a Christian.  Educated in an Abbey, he would know a lot.  Sean needs to work on this.

  • What do you eat for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? What do you drink? Where do your food and drink come from? How is the food cooked (style of cooking, tools, how does the oven work, etc.)?

Oswyn drinks water, ale, and wine, often.  He has tenet farmers who work his land and they also give him part of their own harvests as rent.  Food is pickled, roasted, or baked.  Hearth cooking, clay ovens, etc.

  • What sorts of wild animals live in your area? Which are dangerous? Which are good to eat? How are the latter hunted?

Deer, various birds, boars, and small mammals.  Net hunting is common.  Some of the more noble people use dogs and hawks.

  • What clothes do you wear? What are they made of? Where do they come from?

Linen and wool would be very common, especially wool.  The wool is made locally.  There is the possibility of small amounts of silk.

  • What crops are grown in your part of the world? What goods, if any, are exported, and how are they transported? What goods are imported?

Wheat, barley, peas, and a variety of vegetables.  Sheep and goats for wool and milk.  There may be the odd cow as well.  Wool is a primary export, even now. The wool is shipped to Bristol and from there to Flanders.

  • What language(s) do you speak? What language(s) do other people in your town (city, barony…) speak?

Oswyn speaks Latin, English, and a small amount of Welsh.  Most people in Bath would speak English and an amount of Latin depending on how much education they had.

  • If you or one of your friends wrote a poem, what form would you use? What about a song?

Alliterative verse

  • What “mythological” beasts do you know about? Which ones do you believe in? What do you believe about them?

Elves, dwarves, trolls, and the Fey.  Folklore will be heavily influences by “Celtic” and Norse beliefs.

Oswyn’s family make up some of the reeves of Bath.  Oswyn himself serves as port-reeve, overseeing trades to make sure they are legitimate and that the appropriate taxes, etc are paid.  He has several assistants so he doesn’t do this himself.

And this is the garb that you most see Oswyn in, the 10th century Anglo Saxon garb.  I have tried to specialize the garb I have.  Brown is a work tunic, the sage green is my teaching tunic, the blue long tunic is my court tunic.  The forest green is a more of a whatever tunic.  I don’t always follow this protocol though.   I need to make and trim out quite a bit of this garb still.


Oswyn Swann – he is my brewer and merchant.  He is from the Tudor Era but I haven’t nailed it down 100% yet as it somewhat depends on when and where Gertie is from.  He is a descendant of Oswyn of Baðon and also lives in Bath.  My Tudor cloths need a lot of work.

Oswyn of Londini – his is my 12th century Mediterranean persona.  A group of Anglo-Saxons fled the Conquest and established a new England on the Crimea.  This Oswyn is from there.  He mostly hangs around in Norman Sicily trading for goods.


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