Frequently Asked Questions

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.



What Is The Great Dark Horde?
The Dark Horde is one group out of many in an historical re-creation and re-enactment group known as the Society for Creative Anachronism , a non-profit educational corporation incorporated under the laws of the State of California, and existing for the purpose of hands-on study of the Medieval and Renaissance periods of Western European history. You can also find our members in other re-enactment groups.

What Is The Horde Interested In?
The Great Dark Horde is interested in the historical aspects of pre-1650 CE Mongol culture, with side trips into Islamic, Norse, Japanese and Chinese, among others.

What Are Your Origins?
When the Dark Horde first appeared at an event of the SCA in the Middle Kingdom, on the 8th of May in 1971, the three persons involved (Yang, Bork and Temujin) had not announced their plans. They wore black, brandished knives and looked -tough as hell-. The Middle Kingdom immediately climbed a tree, gibbered a bit, and mistook them for a motorcycle gang (all three of them!). Even after all the misunderstandings were straightened out, there remains some tension between the Horde and some in the Kingdoms ie. those who would like nothing better than to be able to say that they were right, that the Horde is filled with dangerous, vicious animals, ready to turn on the world at the drop of a hat.

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.

What Does The Great Dark Horde Stand For?
The Great Dark Horde, therefore, is able to mean many things. It means the freedom to choose a persona from any point on the globe in the period before 1650 CE.

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.

What Are Your Ideals?
The pursuit of perfection, not merely an empty claim to superiority, in all that we do.
The pursuit of victory in such a way that both Horde and Kingdom will benefit.
The respect of all men, despite personal differences.
The creation of a better SCA by example.

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.

Do You Have To Be A Mongol To Ride With The Great Dark Horde?
The Dark Horde has passed thru many lands (and many times) in it's many generations of wandering the continent, and in so doing has acquired many new members. The rights of the individual are sacred to us, and the traditions of many peoples and cultures have been preserved in the father to son (and mother to daughter) lines, with no stigma attached to those who are not of Mongol heritage. We are concerned about the quality not the quantity of our members, and accept members without regard to race, creed, color, sex, social class, or century of origin.

Is Your Goal To Destroy The Kingdoms?
NO, on two levels:
In period Medieval terms, we have long enjoyed a nomadic existence, and have no desire to take land we cannot and do not wish to hold. Most of our ancestors joined the Horde as an alternative to stagnating in one land or culture, seeking instead the freedom and adventure of eternal wandering and exploration.

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.

If You Are So Great, Why Do I Hear "Those Things" About You?
Just as there is another side to a coin, so there is another side to the happy, carefree-outlaw image which we project. Because of the fraternal structure of the Horde, not only do we rally to one another, but we must be careful to protect one another. In the mundane world, anyone who is "different" has a hard time. In the SCA, we are the different ones ... for more reasons than just being non-Western European.

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.

What Is The Difference Between The Horde And The Kingdoms?
Well....they both talk about honor a lot, so it can't be that.
They also talk about Brotherhood a lot, so it can't be that either.
They both have bureaucracies (pfphth!) -more and more as time goes on-, so there's no difference there.

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.