"Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them."
                -- Bruce Lee

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91
The Round Table / Re: Why do you want to be a Knight?
« Last post by Matthew of the Isles on 2017-10-24, 02:31:11 »
Though in practice, spears and other polearms held primacy on the actual battlefields of history, I agree that there is something evocative and enduring about both the sword and the swordsman.

Perhaps it is the fact that the sword requires both great skill to forge and great skill to wield to its fullest potential. Perhaps it is the fact that swords, unlike knives, axes, spears and bows, have no other application beyond the taking of human life, meaning that they had no mundane alternative uses to dilute the power of life and death that it has come to represent.

Though I certainly do not wish to disparage the valor or character of the peasant conscripts of history, who fought the enemy with spears and hatchets, improvised weapons, thrown rocks, sticks, harsh language and the like, the swordsman is an archetype that has come to represent a finer grade of warrior, and not just in Europe either, though the European armored knight is the specific variation of that archetype that we here have come to most closely identify with.

Being mindful of the image that we present to others--and making sure that our actions align with such an image--is an important practice, I feel. Although my "kit" as such is only a vaguely sword-shaped piece of wood and a rusty arming sword given to me by a friend, so I have quite a ways to go before I can put such musings into practice!
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The Round Table / Re: Why do you want to be a Knight?
« Last post by jason77 on 2017-10-23, 20:14:38 »
Matthew - I do like your sentiments concerning the development of a kit with a corresponding development of character - very metaphysical  ;)

Likewise I see the learning of swordplay to be of similar quality. The sword is an archetypal symbol deeply embedded in the human psyche. Its most perceptible imagery is in its power of protection, to distribute justice and preserve honor. The double edge of a sword (true and false edges) demonstrate the potential to wield its power with integrity or deception. The manufacture of the sword itself is a process that combines the elements of air, earth, fire and water thus it represents a balance of powers, unity, and wholeness which happens through an alchemical process of purification. There is a lot that can be said about the process of production of the sword to its subsequent skillful wielding in the hands of one who has spent a lifetime learning its power.
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The Round Table / Knights of Pythias - An American Knightly Order
« Last post by jason77 on 2017-10-23, 19:19:50 »


The Knights of Pythias is an American fraternal Order founded by Justus H. Rathbone during the Civil War. The Knightly Order was inspired by a play from the Irish poet John Banim wherein the historical characters of Damon and Pythias were portrayed and their story of friendship, loyalty and faith in one another. Damon and Pythias were students of the school Pythagoras, the founder of Greek philosophy, and were devoted to the principle of brotherly love and benevolence. Upon the rise of Hiero II, King of Syracuse, Damon became an outspoken critic of the King for ascending the throne by fraud and for being a tyrant to the people. The King had Damon apprehended and held for execution. Pythias came to his friendís aid requesting the King to give Damon a temporary stay of execution so that he may bid his farewells to friends and family. Pythias pledged to take Damonís place in chains and to even be executed if Damon failed to return. The King agreed and Pythias was taken while Damon was released. After the allotted time of Damonís release he returned to confront his fate and Pythias was released. The story of Damon and Pythias was an inspiring message of hope, unity and brotherhood during the tumultuous times of the Civil War. Upon hearing the message and ritual of the Fraternal Order of the Knights of Pythias the then sitting President Abraham Lincoln stated:

ďThe purposes of your organization are most wonderful. If we could but bring its spirit to all our citizenry, what a wonderful thing it would be. It breathes the spirit of Friendship, Charity and Benevolence. It is one of the best agencies conceived for the upholding of government, honoring the flag, for the reuniting of our brethren of the North and of the South, for teaching the people to love one another, and portraying the sanctity of the home and loved ones. I would suggest that these great principles by perpetuated and that you go to the Congress of the United States and ask for a charter, and so organize on a great scale throughout this nation, and disseminate this wonderful work that you have so nobly started. I will do all in my power to assist you in this application and with your work."

After receiving an endorsement from the President and his referral to Congress the Knights applied for and received a Congressional Charter. This is quite significant for no other Knightly Order, as far as I know, has ever received recognition from the US Government. It must be clarified that the US Government does not recognize class distinction, special privilege nor nobility as is the case in Europe. However, it had recognized the Knights of Pythias as a fraternal Order and granted them a Congressional Charter.

The Civil War was a time of great division in American history and today we see great division in our Country and in our own communities. The Knights of Pythias promotes friendship, brotherly love and unity. The Order also engages in a myriad of charitable causes to help the underprivileged, sick and struggling within our communities. The Order represents that which a Knight should be Ė chivalrous in every sense of the word; a Knight that is needed today just as much as was need during our nationís past.

In the 1920ís the Order was said to have no less than a million members but has declined to an estimated twenty-thousand members as of a 2003 estimate. The Order which was well represented in every State of the Union is now defunct in many States. The decline is due to an aging membership that honours its past but does not know how to communicate to a new generation within contemporary American culture. The new American culture doesnít place a value on fraternalism, has many other distractions competing for their time and attention, and unfortunately largely values self over service to others. To thrive in a modern era it is my opinion that the Knights of Pythias must strive to find new ways to be relevant in current culture. Whilst the Knights are an interesting part of American history they have a fight ahead of them in order to establish an even more illustrious future.
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The Great Hall / Re: Hail Fellows
« Last post by jason77 on 2017-10-23, 19:12:15 »
Welcome to the community. I look forward to your thoughts and contributions.
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The Great Hall / Hail Fellows
« Last post by Sir Rauri MacNeill on 2017-10-23, 17:50:23 »
I am interested in putting together a kit and begin reenacting as a Medieval knight. I am wanting to focus on late 13th and early 14th century Ireland, probably during the Bruce invasion. I am not new to reenacting as I am currently the First Sergeant for a Union Civil War unit.

I am currently going back to college to get my bachelors in history and my focus will be Medieval history. History has always been a major interest of mine, and I am hoping to change careers upon the completion of my degree. I have always been interested by the knights and castles of the Medieval Age and look forward to this journey.
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The Great Hall / Re: Hello to all!
« Last post by jason77 on 2017-10-23, 15:33:18 »
Welcome to the community!
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The Round Table / Re: Why do you want to be a Knight?
« Last post by Matthew of the Isles on 2017-10-22, 17:06:19 »
Following Jason's example, I believe I'll engage in some thread necromancy of my own.

In Plato's The Republic, Plato, through a proxy form of his master Socrates, describes an ideology for discerning the nature of people through ascribing metallic qualities to their souls, gold, silver, iron, slag, you get the idea. While Plato didn't mean this analogy as a literal description of human nature (in fact, he was downright cynical in its deployment) the general imagery, with a little tweaking, can still be useful in terms of contemplating self-improvement.

The path of chivalry is not an easy one. It brings us face-to-face with our own flaws, and demands of us that we beat the slag out of our characters to the best of our ability. It's the process of becoming, dare I say, "refined." That's the work of the Code, the process of internal character development that translates into external action.

The work of the kit, I believe, is to express the results of that internal process. The character refinement of vigorously adhering to the Knight's Code is inalienable from the person undergoing that process; a knight is a knight, even in the nude. My mother's people developed tattooing as a way to bring one's internal self to the fore, as a way of demonstrating one's personality to the community for all to see; I see the development of a knightly kit as a similar (though slightly less permanent) process.

So, to sum up this slightly lengthy, rambling post, I wish to pursue Knighthood (a) as a way to improve my character, and (b) to express myself.
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The Great Hall / Re: Hello to all!
« Last post by Sir Patrick on 2017-10-21, 19:02:44 »
Hail and well met!
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The Great Hall / Re: Hello to all!
« Last post by Jon Blair on 2017-10-21, 14:11:52 »
Welcome to our noble assembly.
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A few days ago, I read this article on Cracked, in which a lady detailed ways in which a male colleague failed to notice disturbing behavior, and prescribes simple methods by which men might check such behavior from other men:

http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-tips-preventing-sexual-harassment-we-apparently-need/

An important aspect of humility is acknowledging the limitations of our own perspectives (most, though not all, of the members here appear to be men) and accepting feedback from those occupying different positions from ourselves. For men aspiring to protect women, it is crucial that we listen to women for input into how we might best serve.
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