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Barony of Cynnabar
Per pall sable, argent and gules, a laurel wreath vert and in chief a tower argent.
Founded:May 1978
Modern Location:Ann Arbor, MI metropolitan area

Cynnabar is a Barony in the Pentamere Region of the Middle Kingdom. It is bordered by the Barony of Roaring Wastes, Barony of Northwoods, and the Shire of Talonval.


Origin of the Name Cynnabar

Originally written by Midair MacCormaic in April 1996

Did you know that Cynnabar's name was originally rejected by the Laurel King of Arms? Indeed, we might have been referred to the Shire's original name, "Dearne Ansilet," until the group came up with something new, had not the conflict been resolved. I discovered this while digging through the Seneschal files, so let me have the honor of telling you the events as I can put them together...

Although we were originally called the Shire of Dearne Ansilet, this name was rejected by the Office of the Laurel King of Arms in 1980. Thus the search for a new name began. There are four basic criteria for an SCA name:

  1. Originality; creativity.
  2. Authenticity and linguistic correctness.
  3. Appropriateness to time and place.
  4. Avoidance of conflict with prior use in history, the SCA, and fiction.

Back then, the group had developed into a persona that they were able to articulate. The group felt like a fortified Italian city, located near two strong neighbors (The Barony of Northwoods and the Dark Horde), but open to trade and on good terms with both. They wanted a name that was simple, ancient and with an Eastern flavor.

After four months of discussion, the name Cynnabar came into being. The Science officer (back then, the Arts and Sciences was divided into two separate offices) discovered that under Ann Arbor was a large deposit of mercury, which, in its red sulphide form, was called in alchemy "Cynnabar."

From the Oxford English Dictionary II 419, 1970 by the Clarendon Press, Oxford:

CYNNABER: cinnabar, cinnambre: (1) the red crystalline form of mercuric sulphide, HgS (2) the pigment; vermilion (1382 Wyclif, Jer. xxii 14 "peynteth with cynoper") (3) A rhombohedral mineral ore (1599 Hakluyt, Voyages II, 229 "great quantitie of quicksilver and cinaper") (4) a locality in the Kingdom, somewhat near Northwoods (5) Dragon's blood (1398 Trevish Barth. De P.R. xix, xxvii 878; Hakluyt, op. cit. II 331 "sanguis draconis cinnabaris") (6) Alcheme, a source of quicksilver; the way to make butter of antimony was by use of mercury from cynnaber (1610 B. Jonson Alcheme I iii 616 "cinaper").

Oh, well, yes, (4) wasn't really in the dictionary. The group slipped that in for fun (and acknowledged their playfulness) when they wrote their submission to the Laurel King of Arms.

But the important point they took from the definition is the reference to "dragon's blood." As Cynnabar seemed to be in the virtual center of the Middle Kingdom, and the dragon is the symbol of the Middle Kingdom, the name received unanimous approval from the group.

The group searched long and hard to find any conflicts with any historical, SCA, or literary use. Unfortunately, one slipped through their fingers.

In 1976, Edward Bryant wrote a science fiction novel called Cinnabar. You might remember Edward Bryant from other novels such as Fetish and Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead.

No one in Cynnabar, excuse me, in Dearne Ansilet, had ever heard of this novel. In an effort to get the name Cynnabar passed, the group wrote an appeal letter to the Laurel King of Arms (from which most of the information in this article is taken), stating:

  1. The choice of Cynnabar was made without any influence or reference to the novel.
  2. They do not know of any fame that the name of the Shire would garner from being associated with the novel. Indeed, in the two years they had been actively using that name in the Middle Kingdom, no one ever made the connection to the novel.
  3. They got the name from sources based on ancient meanings, not from the novel.
  4. Mr. Bryant did not invent the name Cinnabar, a fact which he clearly mentions in the book, so no one could accuse the group from stealing an original name from him.

The letter went on, suggesting that if Cynnabar got rejected, then the following alternate forms are available: Cynnaber, Cinaper, Cynoper, Cinnambre, Cinnabaris ("of Cinnabar").

The group also went one step further. They wrote to Mr. Bryant and asked his permission for use of the name. Here is his reply:

"Pursuant to our telephone conversation of today, let me extend to you all appropriate permissions in regard to use of the place-name 'Cinnabar'. I have no objection to the Burgh of Cynnabar's use of the name so long as the Burgh collectively conducts itself with honor and imagination. Please convey these sentiments to whichever parties you feel needful of knowing."

The letter was signed by the then officers of the group:

Daibhid "ruadh" MacLachlan, Seneschal Eliahu ben Itzhak, Knights-Marshal Elen O'Dynevr, Exchequer Angelica of Lostwithiel, M. of Arts Melisande de Marmande, Pursuivant Ian MacIan of Annandale, M. of Sciences

As a final bit of information, the designation of "Royal Burgh" was used to reflect, as does the tower, the urban nature of the group, and the traditional autonomy (with respect to the Barony of Northwoods) of this group in Ann Arbor.

Baronial Lineage

Cynnabar Baronage

Baronial Awards

  • Award of the Elephant's Heart - An award of general recognition given to those who have been of service or shown their enthusiasm and love for the Barony.
  • Award of the Tower's Foundation - our mid-level award for service to the Barony and its populace
  • Defender of the Tower - for dedicated service in and to the Baronial Levy as well as skill at arms. Defenders are permitted to paint the towers on their Baronial shields gold instead of silver to show their rank.
  • Award of the Tower's Light - for excellence in the arts & sciences
  • Award of the Argent Buttress - given to persons outside the Barony who nonetheless have provided great service and support for the Barony of Cynnabar.
  • Order of the Silver Tower - currently the highest level award for excellence in service to the Barony in any area. This is generally an award that is determined by polling the order.
  • Order of the Elephant's Tusk - an award given by Their Excellencies to those who inspire us to greater deeds within the Society through their skill, comportment, and medieval portrayal.
  • Order of the Tower's Watch - given by the most recently created Watchman to someone who has shown continual commitment to the Barony. Members of the order are permitted to title themselves Watchmen of the Tower.
  • Order of Saint Barbara of Cynnabar - given to persons outside the Barony who have provided great service and support for the Barony of Cynnabar.

Peers of Cynnabar


1. Eliahu ben Itzhak (April 1983)
2. Dag Thorgrimsson ((February 1986)
3. Johann Wolfgang von dem Goldenherz
4. Gerhart von Eisenherz 
5. Straum von Bairzog (January 2002)
6. Kieran Annachie MacLeod (April 2004)
7. Dirk ?
8. Oscad de Segovia (knighted in the East Kingdom)
9. Gregoire de Lyon (May 2012)
10. Hjorleif Ottarson (August 2014)
11. Jasen Irenfest (February 2016)
12. Midair MacCormaic (June 2017)
13. Adler von Metzger (August 2004) (Wrong order?)


1. Kay of Tre Asterium (May 1978)
2. Henry Kersey of Devon (August 1998)
3. Melisant Saint-Clair (January 2005)
4. Alan Fairfax (August 2005)
5. Alina of Foxwood (April 2008)
6. Ursula Georges (May 2008, An Tir)
7. Zygmunt Nadratowski (Feburary 2011)
8. Derian le Breton (May 2011, Caid)
9. Aaron Drummond (January 2015)
10. Jadwiga Krzyzanowska (January 2015)
11. Kasha Alekseeva (April 2016)
12. Genoveva von Lübeck (May 2016)
13. Kathryne Hatton Rames (November 2016) (Deceased)
14. Hannah Schrieber (January 2020)


1. Claire FitzWilliam (October 1987)
2. Eliahu ben Itzhak (June 1990)
3. Kay of Tre Asterium (September 1998)
4. Arianna Llwyd (September 1999)
5. Straum von Bairzog (August 2008)
6. Margrarete of Stirlingshire (January 2001) (Deceased)
7. William Campion (August 2008)
8. Dag Thorgrimsson (April 2009)
9. Giovanna Adimari (April 2013)
10. Helena Sibylla (June 2015)
11. Gregoire de Lyon (September 2015)
12. Genoveva von Lübeck (February 2017)
13. Max von Augsburg (January 2018)
14. Ooyama Taro Hideyasu (January 2018)
15. Nezhka Kiriena Petrova (September 2018)
16. Hannah Schreiber (January 2020)

Masters of Defence

1. Azriel le Fey (January 2017)

Regular Events

Special Events

External Links

Midrealm Baronies: Andelcrag, Ayreton, Brendoken, Carraig Ban, Cleftlands, Cynnabar, Donnershafen, Fenix, Flame, Flaming Gryphon, Illiton, Middle Marches, Northwoods, Red Spears, Rivenstar, Roaring Wastes, Shadowed Stars, Shattered Crystal, Sternfeld

Midrealm Shires: Afonlyn, Altenberg, Aurea Ripae, Baile na Scolairi, Blackhawk, Caer Gwyn, Cuil Choluim, Dark River, Dragon's Vale, Dragonsmark, Eastwatch, Falcon's Quarry, Grenemere, Greyhope, Mynydd Seren, Narrental, Okenshield, Qal`at Ja`far, Ravenslake, Rivenvale, Riviere Constelle, Starleaf Gate, Steren Codha, Stormvale, Swordcliff, Talonval, White Waters

Midrealm Cantons: Alderford, Border Keep, Brackendelve, Castell Gwent, Catteden, Dernehealde, Dun Traigh, Ealdnordwuda, Fearann na Criche, Foxvale, Gleann Iaruinn, Grey Gargoyles, Gwyntarian, Havenholde, Hawkes Keye, Hrothgeirsfjorthr, Lochmorrow, Marshes, Mugmort, Norborough, Nordheim, Oakford, Pferdestadt, Rimsholt, Rokkehealden, Thistle, Three Hills, Three Towers, Three Walls, Tirnewydd, Tree-Girt-Sea, Unicorn, Vanished Wood, WealdLake, Westmere, Winged Hills

Other Territories: Riding: Hawkland Moor, College: Saint Brutus

Incipient and Proto-Incipient: Auenwald, Austrigatt, Cetus, Grenemere, Woods End

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