A TENT!! I took the plunge and purchased a period-ish pavilion.

Camping in the Society for Creative Anachronism is a widely varied activity. Some people going for high degree of authenticity in their set up and others merely camping out with modern tent and equipment. At last, I took the plunge and purchased a period-isa pavilion!

Like most, I began with a modern tent– large, inexpensive, light weight, and leaky. It had a nice mesh top that, with the rain tarp removed let out the heat which was nice, but it was not great. To improve the entire situation I found I could buy a better rain tarp, and get even less period, or I could buy a new tent– and there are modern ones that are less obviously modern that cost about what I spent on my pavilion, but I wanted more of a period look.

I sat drooling over the tents made by Panther Primitives but simply cannot justify the cost, not on my budget nor with the amount of use the tent would get. They make very good tents though and you can get the poles and other hardware with the tent.  Go visit their web page and see how many gorgeous tents they make and then do a bit of research and you will find most owners rave about how nice their tents are. But over $2000 for a 12′ eve pavilion? I cannot justify it on my income. Drool and dream but not actually do it.

I really want a period pavilion, and if I cannot afford the one I drool over, I needed to find a less expensive option. Enter the solid and more economical Midwest Tent.

Midwest Tents makes a sturdy 12′ round pavilion that will do the job. I will have to make my own hub and poles which is going to be a learning experience for me. I know the canvas, heavy though it is, isn’t the higher grade sun-forger of the Panther Primitives, but it is a good quality heavy canvas. Even better, they now make them with stripes SEWN ON!

This tent is going to get both mundane AND SCA use. Which is how I was able to justify spending the money to buy a “period” tent. I also am looking at my camping gear with an eye toward period looks. I want to be able to camp with the Enchanted Ground people! I want to get into persona and PLAY.

Mine will be white, with blue stripes on the roof and walls. I opted for the less period removable walls because I cannot carry the whole thing in one piece! I was given several choices on the valence and opted to not have the vertical stripes on the valence. This will give me a nice band for painting patterns onto it! I am excited. My looking at art from near period, my choosing stripes is probably not ideal, but I like them, and add the paint to the valence with period designs and it is going to be a wonderful tent to use both for Mundane camping events and for SCA events.

I will be sure to do pictures once I get the tent UP!

Byzantine Tents

I love the idea of a vardo-type conveyance, but so many events relegate them to an area away from the tents, which puts me off a bit as I am incredibly introverted and prefer to attend events with my local group.  So, I reverted to looking at tents.

There is clear evidence that the Romans used large round tents with a center pole, and, some say spokes radiating out from the center pole. This is speculation because while the scholars say round yes, they note a lack in the written or pictorial record for the inside of the tent roofs.
Assedio di Messina 1040              By John Skylitzes (Madrid Skylitzes) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

That said, there is abundant pictorial evidence of the round tent from exterior views and many internet friendly places to explore them. For example, Levantia, the blog of Dr. Timothy Dawson re-creator of history and academic, has a wonderful page on tents. On Facebook I frequent several Byzantine oriented pages: SCA Byzanteam where we had a long discussion of tent styles suitable for an SCA persona who is 10th Century and Byzantine and Byzantine Army where the scholarship is delightfully good, and participants give evidence (and sharing images) to support their positions.
Alusian appears before Peter Delyan and the Bulgarian camp              By John Skylitzes (Madrid Skylitzes) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The favored images from the historical record brought up in each discussion and on Dr. Dawson’s web page, are similar if not the same.  Looking on my own via “googling” turned up pretty much the same images. Being that I am not planning on becoming a scholar specializing in research on tent usages in the 10th century, I decided to count the fact that I am interacting with persons far better educated in the field than myself, that it is safe to say the round pavilion with a center pole is an excellent choice.

Panther Primitives Round Pavilion

In modern tent makers there are several who produce suitable tents. I am drooling over the Panther Primitives version. Midwest Tent has a less expensive and serviceable version. Both companies have happy customers. I like the options available with Panther Primitives. (A nice modern option is from Canvas Camp. The entry is low, but it visually fits into a crowd of period tents.)

White is the basic color of the canvas, and some persons use paint to decorate the walls–like the image from Panther Primitives. This has lots of FUN ideas bouncing around my head.

The next nagging question is: Which dagging option for around the top of the tent walls do I want? Which is more likely to have happened in period?

According to my reading (and if I could find the book I would give you the title), tents of the wealthy were heavily decorated, another version of the flashy use of color and design to signify position in society. I will update when I find the book…