You've got questions about the Great Dark Horde.
We want to answer those questions because we believe that the path we have chosen is the best path for us, and would welcome anyone who wants to follow it with us.
However, we are honor bound to be sure that your knowledge of us is complete before you make such a move, and that the union is not formed under mistaken or false assumptions that may later tear us asunder. The proper time to correct a mistake is before, not after it is made. Some questions frequently asked by others may be in your mind, too.
Therefore, we must act accordingly. Those who flock to our tugh (battle standard) expecting freedom from the burdens of courtesy, rules, and responsibility will be sorely disappointed. We actually require a higher degree of self-discipline, of honor, and of perfection, than most every other group in the SCA.
It means equality and respect for each person, regardless of race, sex, age, or even allegiance, as our rules regarding courtesy extend also to ch'agua (outsiders) as well as to our fellows. It means cameradierie and friendship; a huge motley family who will rally to your side in times of crisis. But, most importantly, it means that we shall never know defeat as long as we cling to our ideals, for the ideals will outlast both ourselves and our opponents.
If, after taking the above into consideration, you would wish to ride with us, we will greet you as a fellow seeker after perfection. But think long and deeply before considering, for each step you take will make it more difficult to turn back.
On a level of the Current Middle Ages of the SCA, the Western Europeans are the mainstay of the SCA, and provide the foil against which we exercise. If all those swearing allegance to the Kingdoms either quit or joined the Horde, the entire format of the Society would be changed, not for the better, and the original Dream lost forever. More importantly, if we embarrass, demean or in any other way drag down the Kingdoms, we will in all likelihood be dragged down with them. Our goal is to elevate the existing structure by providing competition. We seek to improve, not destroy.
Because we project an image of unanimity, whatever one brother does is taken to be stereotypical of the Horde as a whole. This simply means that each Hordesman must be on his best behaviour at all times; if one slips or blunders, the entire Horde is tarred with that brush....and there are those who watch us carefully, waiting for just such a slip or breach of etiquette.
Vague, general terms such as "honor," "brotherhood," "democracy" and the like are not very good for describing practical differences anyway, because each of us has his or her own definition of the terms, many times incompatible with many others'. So, we're back to the question; pragmatically speaking, "What is the difference between the Horde and the Kingdoms?
The Kingdoms are based on a generic western European medieval court situation, landbound, culturebound, not readily able (or, in far too many cases, willing) to interact with or incorporate members of outlying cultures - the Norse, the Samurai, Romani, Islam and other odds 'n' ends.
The Horde is based on an early nomadic culture which stressed independence, mobility, flexibility, and a frantic desire to keep basically incompatible clans busy killing outsiders rather than each other.
Although in their own way almost as culturebound as the Europeans, they did not insist that conquered peoples adopt their culture, but allowed them to retain their own. They observed, and learned from, these cultures. One major surface difference between us and them is the way in which our respective leaders are chosen.
In each Kingdom, the reigning Monarch and his or her Consort are selected at a Crown Tourney by "right of arms". In other words, whoever is the biggest, baddest sumbich in the valley that day gets to rule the Kingdom for six months or so.
In the Horde, the KaKhan is selected annually by vote of the Kuraltai, where all Hordesmen have voice and vote. In this, each group pretty much follows their own historical interests and leanings.
The Great Dark Horde is organized much like the Mongols were in the past.
This is a sketchy outline, as it must be. We do not think our full TO&E would be of interest.
The GREAT DARK HORDE is a household with in the Society for Creative Anachronism .
The HORDE is quite possibly the largest household within the SCA, but it is not necessarily exclusive to the aforementioned organization, nor is it confined to any specific geographical area.
HORDESMEN , be they male or female, can be found in ALL of the SCA's kingdoms but they do not necessarily advertise themselves as HORDE. They may be garbed as Mongols, Celts, Cavaliers or they may even be wearing a crown. You can't tell HORDESMEN by their garb, but you can tell them by their cords.
HORDE CORDS are ropes, thick or thin of red and black and are worn by most HORDESMEN. They may be a inconspicuous as a thin cord on a medallion or they may be a showy mass complete with beads, medallions and pins, worn about the waist.