Are All Peers Equal?

In theory. The interesting thing I have noted is that over time, at least in the West Kingdom, perceptions have changed. Once upon a time the phrase "some pigs are more equal" was used to talk about the Chivalry (and as noted below, it still comes up once in awhile), because it certainly appeared that the Chivalry were given extra treatment, and such.

This still crops up from time to time, largely due to the fact that the King (except for one in the West, to date) and often (but not always) the Coronets are members of the Chivalry. Most of these are only members of the Chivalry -- they have, in many cases, no interest in the other areas of the SCA covered by the Laurel and/or the Pelican ... this tends to color their attitudes, and this tends to affect all the orders of peerage. Now, this is a broad statement, and it isn't true of all members of the Chivalry or all those who have won the Crown and/or Coronets ...

Perhaps it's just a few of the folk I've talked to, but I've noted that among the Chivalry, they seem to envy the Laurels. The Knights I've talked to about the perception of equality amongst the peers have stated that they think that the Laurel is the really hot peerage to have. (And here I am, saying "Really?" in shock ...)

So, the big question seems to be: are the peers equal? Well, as noted in the disclaimer, I can't speak for any other Kingdom, but in the West, for the most part, the Orders of Peerage seem to get along (except for the fealty issue), there doesn't seem to be any problem among the peers (I admit, though, that this may simply be because of the peers I hang out with the most). This may be because of the "Pan-Galactic Peerage Meetings" we've had in the past where this issue (among others) has been hashed and re-hashed.

Is there a perception that the orders of peerage aren't equal? This is a hard call. I have been a peer for 15+ years, and this will, of necessity, color my views when I talk to people. Some people I talk to don't see that they are different. Some see the Chivalry as being more important. Yet, as noted above, when you talk to at least some members of the Chivalry, they don't seem to feel that way at all (again, this is based on the members of the Order of Chivalry I have talked to, which is probably not a completely representative sampling) ...

However, as a major caveat here: there will probably always be at least some separation of the Chivalry from the other orders. As noted above, many non-peers have no easy way to relate the Laurel and Pelican to period practice. EVERYONE is aware of the romantic notions of Knights (read Mallory, T.H. White, etc.) ... and it's very easy to relate to that concept. We will never get rid of that particular aspect, nor do I feel we should ...

My feeling has been for years that we are equal. I've had my doubts about other people's perceptions at various points. But, as time has done it's march, I have talked to peers and non-peers alike, and most of the folk that I have talked to don't really see one Order as being better than the others ...


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