What is the SCA?
Most people, when asked what the SCA is, will respond that we are a Medieval Recreation Society, but we are actually much more. The SCA is an international non-profit, total participation, medieval recreation / living history organization dedicated to learning, living, and teaching others about the history, customs, combat, and life prior to 1600 C.E. While European personae are the norm, you may play the personae of any person who may have lived during our time period. Our group has people portraying Japanese and Middle Eastern personae, in addition to a healthy smattering of early period Vikings and Celts, late period Elizabethan, and French Renaissance personae.
Recapturing the ambiance of the Middles Ages requires research into such topics as dress, weaponry, armor, jewelry, food; in other words, any facet of life as it was lived. Authenticity is encouraged insofar as modern views on health and safety permit, and members put their research into practice by constructing replica artifacts, practicing historical arts and crafts, learning to fight with sword and shield, and so on.
But more than research and practice, the Society also attempts to embody the ideals of the medieval romances: chivalry, courtesy, honor and graciousness. This is re-creating the Middle Ages as they might have been, adding a note of consideration for others in an often too-indifferent world. (Knowne World Handbook 1992, page 2)