Roise Laurel Ceremony

Laurel Ceremony

Roise inghean ui Ruaidhri

Saito Takauji


Roise specifically requested a ceremony which was late period Turkish, and requested to be surprised by the results. As a result of research into late period Ottoman/Turkish sources, the ceremony was crafted to be something between the installation of the head of a guild (Esnaf) and a government promotion. This was chosen to reflect the dual nature of a Laurel as both a master artisan and a public official of the Kingdom and Society.


Recep Ahishali, The Institution of the Imperial Council, 3 The Great Ottoman-Turkish Civilization 519.

M.A.S. Abdel Haleem (trans.), The Qur’an, Oxford World’s Classics (2016).

Ahmet Onal, Public Ceremonies in Ottoman Istanbul, History of Istanbul vol. 3.

Recent Perspectives of Ceremonies, Rituals, and Festivals in the Ottoman World, Yale MacMillan Center.

The History and Registry of the Nobility of the Ottoman Empire, Almanach de Saxe Gotha vol. 8.

Sekban, Encyclopaedia Britannica.

DĀNEŠMAND, Encyclopaedia Iranica.

Süt, Pınar. 2021. “The Transformation of the İStanbul Artisans and Traders (Esnaf) in the Late Ottoman Empire: 1839-1922.” Ph.D. – Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University.

Albert Howe Lybyer, The Government of the Ottoman Empire in the Time of Suleiman the Magnificent, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, 1913).


  • Agha: An Ottoman royal/aristocratic title.  Modernly it has become a Turkish title equivalent to ‘Mister,’ but in period it was a fairly high civilian or officer title. The form used in this ceremony is Agha of the Janissaries, the court official who was appointed to oversee the Janissary regiments, which seemed appropriate for a high ranking knight of the Society. While there was a regular Ottoman army that could have been used, the Janissaries are the iconic Ottoman military force.
  • Danishmend: The title of the founder of a pre-Ottoman dynasty, who were rivals of the Seljuks. The title means ‘one who searches for knowledge’, and became a title for philosophers and modern scientists. As such it fits both generally for a Laurel and specifically for one who has come up the Silver Hammer/Science path.
  • Divan: A government council in a variety of different dynasties, which in the Ottoman Empire largely referred to the Imperial Council which was the highest government organ of the Empire. But as it could also be a government organ at different levels, it is used here to represent the main body of the Laurel.
  • Emir: A Royal and Noble title common across Islamic countries. Frequently a title for a descendant of the Prophet, and can also be a commander or governor.
  • Esnaf: Ottoman trade guilds, similar to those found in other Islamic states such as the Safavid Snef/Asnaf. Lit. ‘Corporation’.
  • Hilat/Hi’lat: A ceremonial robe of honor, used in Ottoman ceremonies.
  • Sekban-Bashi: Bashi here is a frequent title used for commanders or overseers of things. The Sekban were originally a peasant mercenary force, but grew to be a term for any army outside of the regular one. As an irregular military force, this seemed appropriate to represent the Cut and Thrust community—and their representative here.
  • Teshrifatji: An Ottoman official who served as a Master of Ceremonies. This seemed appropriate for the individuals who had begged the boon and would be ‘convening’ the meeting.
  • Vizier: A high ranking minister or political advisor in multiple near and middle eastern countries. In the early Ottoman Empire the Grand Vizier was essentially the Prime Minister. This title seems appropriate for the Pelican representative in a Peerage ceremony.

Dramatis Personae:

DANISHMEND (LAUREL):Roise inghean ui Ruaidhri


King: Let the representatives of the Imperial Council be called, and the Divan of the Danishmend be summoned.

Queen: Remember all who come before this Court to speak truth and act with honor. For as it is said, you are commanded to justice and right doing, and forbidden to break the oaths and pledges you have made.[1]

Royal Herald: Sultan David Khan, Sovereign of the Sublime House of al-Saqr[2], Sultan of Sultans, Khan of Khans, Commander of the Loyal and Successor of the Great Line of the Falcon commands the presence of his Imperial Council.[3] Sultana Rhianwen Hanim, Custodian of the Sacred Regalia, Protector of the Inner and Outer Provinces, the Thrice Honored,[4] commands the presence of the Divan of the Danishmend attend her.

Those involved in the ceremony and the Order of the Laurel enter the Court.

King: We seek help with steadfastness, and pray for the wisdom of those who know the true workings of the world.[5]

Queen: In the name of the Falcon and before this Council, we appoint Mistress Vashti and Master Mellitus to serve as Teshrifatji for these proceedings.

Vashti and Mellitus enter and take their place in the Court.

Vashti: Your Majesty, in the ancient days your ancestors received a vision of art and science flourishing among the lands. Sultan Chepe and Arwyn Sultana brought this vision to pass, and established our Order in the lands of the Mamlakat al-Saqr[6].

Mellitus: It is in their name that we have asked you to grant admittance in this Order to Roise inghean ui Ruaidhri, that the world might be made improved and your lands better served.

King: Let her be called, for we are commanded to justice and fair dealing.[7]

Queen: But let her be tested, for none but those who withstand firm witness may be judged worthy.[8]

Royal Herald: Those who maintain the foundations of the world command the presence of Roise inghean ui Ruaidhri. Commended to the Silver Hammer by Martino and Ariel, and named Hatun by Lorell and Iliya.

Roise processes in with ceremony as she sees fit.

Vashti: Roise Hatun, you have served your apprenticeship in the Esnaf of the Kingdom and been recognized. Now the Sultan and Sultana must hear the testimony of their peers to determine if they will admit you to the highest rank of our Order.

Mellitus: As your friends we have walked with you to this point, and this is right—for who is more loved than those who call others to righteousness?[9] But these last steps you must walk alone, for none may be judged for their righteousness except on their own merit. Follow your heart and fear no mischief.

Vashti: Hear the words of the wise, for their wisdom is the scale on which your worth is judged. We call first the Agha of the Janissaries, Sir <NAME>.

Chivalry Speaker: I stand as Agha of the Janissaries, counselor to the sword bearers and servants of the Sultan. Ours is an order of battle, but also of loyalty; bound by ties to one another and the crown. We judge none worthy but those who are steadfast and calm at times of fear.[10] We have seen your temper, and judge you worthy.

Chivalry speaker says other words as appropriate.

Mellitus: We call next to speak for the Order of the Viziers, MASTER/MISTRESS <NAME>.

Pelican Speaker: I stand as Vizier, advisory and minister to the Commanders of the World and Successors to the Falcon. Ours is an order of service; of love and time, of flesh and bone. We judge none worthy but those who know the steep path of charity, and who spurns arrogant cruelty.[11] But we have seen your years of service, and judge you worthy.

Pelican speaker says other words as appropriate.

Vashti: We call to speak for the regiments of the Sekban, Master <NAME>.

Defense Speaker: I stand as the Sekban-bashi, commander of the armies outside the Janissaries. Ours is an order of steel, but also of the shield—to stand guard in the city and defend the people. We judge none worthy but those who have stood in front of others to guard them, in body or in spirit. But we have seen you as the shield of the people, and judge you worthy.

Defense speaker says other words as appropriate.

Mellitus: We call to speak for the Emir and Emira, those who have served the Crown in their seat, <NAME AND TITLE>.

Royal Peer Speaker: Those who show mercy will be shown mercy in kind; thus is the way of wisdom.[12] I stand as Emir/Emira, representing those who have served upon the Seat of Falcons before. We judge none worthy but those who treat the exalted with respect, their fellows with equanimity, and those of less rank with honor. But we have seen your deeds, and judge you worthy.

Royal Peer speaker says other words as appropriate.

Vashti: Hear now the words of our Order, almost the last to speak. For you should not join our Order without hearing words of its requirements and expectations, but should enter it with full knowledge and intention.

Laurel Speaker: I stand as a Danishmend, a seeker of wisdom and knowledge. Within that is the charge I give to you: to always seek, never content to only have sought. For all our orders are active ones; we judge worthy only those who find knowledge before them, and then set out to find more. For only those granted wisdom have truly abundant wealth, which cannot be taken by misfortune or struggle.[13] But we have seen your journey, and judge you worthy.

Laurel speaker says other words as appropriate.

Mellitus: Finally, none should advance to the highest rank without hearing the words of those who they will be expected to lead. We call <NAME AND TITLE> to speak for those you would guide.

Populace Speaker: We stand for the Kingdom, for it has always been true that the majority of the people are not Peers to the Crown. And yet it is our judgment which stands most true, for it is known that it is not only service to the powerful which grants merit but service to all. We judge worthy only those who do not forsake the people from whom they came. But we have seen your heart, and judge you worthy.

Populace speaker says other words as appropriate.

Vashti: Oh Sultan, you have heard the words of the Imperial Council and the Divan of the Laurel. We now ask you again to elevate Roise to our Order.

Mellitus: Oh Sultana, you have heard the wisdom of your Court and the testimony of these speakers. We ask you again not elevate Roise to our Order.

Queen: Answer not lightly our next question, beloved of our Kingdom, for it is a badge of honor and a chain of service to approach near the throne and sit upon the steps.

King: Roise Hatun: is it still your desire to join this Order, to see your duties increased in step with the honors you are given?

Roise presumably says yes.

Queen: Then kneel, and take upon yourself weight and honor both.

Roise kneels.

King: Reject all evil, and you will have grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that never breaks.[14]


King: May your skills be ever increased in service to Crown and Kingdom.

Queen:  Encourage good, forbid evil, and believe in the people.[15]


Queen: May your gentle demeanor serve always as an example of courtesy to all who would observe you.


Crown (TOGETHER): And may your spirit ever follow the goals your heart sets before you.

King: All that remains is your oath, sworn before these here and the Kingdom.

Queen: It is this oath that makes you a Peer, for none can be equal to the Crown without the obligations of their rank.

Herald, Roise, King and Queen recite the fealty oath.

Roise: Your Majesties, in the courts of the Sultan, there were the twin practices of zakat and hal’il, almsgiving and gift giving. For my first act as a peer, I beg leave to present your court with the fruits of my labor and gathering.

King: You have our leave, and our thanks for your generosity.

Queen: A fitting reminder that those who are raised up are still supported by the five pillars, and called to humble service.[16]

Roise distributes largesse, with assistance as needed.

King: As a peer and noble, you are known by your demeanor, but recognized by the Hi’lat of the Order. Is there one to garb you as your order demands?

Hi’lat Giver: I am, padishah effendim.[17] In the courts of the Sultans, there were no stars upon the breast to show honor; they were clad in hilat, robes of honor. We place this one upon your shoulders now to show your glory; but remember also that it is a functional garment, to warm you and stave off the cold. The preservation of your honor also demands the protection of your body.

Robe giver speaks other words as appropriate.

Queen: And yet in these courts, it is also by a medal that our honors are recognized. The uniform of a Laurel is not complete without this medallion, for it is written: Who has prohibited the adornment of the righteous, and the good things they have been provided?[18] Is there one to complete your adornment?

Medallion Giver: I am, sultanim.[19] This medallion is a beacon—beautiful in the light, and salvation in the dark. Wear it so that you may be known as a woman of honor to those who love you, and so that those who need you may always find you.

Medallion giver speaks other words as appropriate.

King: Before the sight of the righteous, we approve this deed.

Queen: Before the eyes of the Kingdom, we name it done. Calontir, your newest Laurel. Herald, please read the scroll.

[1] Quran 16:90.

[2] Lit. ‘the Falcon’.

[3] Based on the traditional titles of the Ottoman Emperor: Sovereign of the Sublime House of Osman, Khan of Khans, Commander of the Faithful and Successor of the Prophet.

[4] Also based on the traditional titles of the Ottoman Emperor, to give equal weight to the Queen: Custodian of the Holy Cities, and a listing of all the places of which the Emperor was ruler. Thrice Honored is a reference to Rhianwen’s status as a triple bestowed peer.

[5] Cf. Quran, 2:46.

[6] Lit. ‘Kingdom of the Falcon’

[7] Quran 16:90.

[8] Quran 4:135.

[9] Quran 41:33.

[10] Quotation from Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, father-in-law to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

[11] Cf. Quran 91.

[12] Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1924. This is a collection of hadith, or sayings of the Prophet.

[13] Quran 2:269.

[14] Quran 2:256 (adapted).

[15] Quran 3:110 (adapted).

[16] A reference to the five pillars of Islam, which includes zakat or almsgiving.

[17] A style of address which means ‘My master Emperor.’ Used here because Rhianwen

[18] Quran 7:32 (adapted).

[19] A style of address which means ‘my Sultan’.

This entry was posted in SCA.

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