Diego de Oviedo
Baron Diego de Oviedo
Introduction - Mundanely
I joined the SCA in 1981. While serving overseas, the Kingdom of Drachenwald was just a principality then and a grand experience for me. In total, I spent 10 years in Drachenwald and I had the privilege of attending the first crown tourney won by Elffin O'Mona. See the gallery below.
AS A FIGHTER
While it was a great adventure, professional commitments didn't allow for much in the way of attendance, much less service. I held a smattering of offices, unofficially, but didn't have much opportunity otherwise. Likewise, that's mostly what can be said for my opportunities as a fighter. I had a great teacher in the form of His Excellency, Sir Kenneth MacQuarrie. He can be seen in this next picture below preparing to serve me a final lesson. I seemed to learn best when my legs received a "flesh wound".
I had several more opportunities to strut my stuff in 80 pounds of armor and stifling Scottish heat (no, really. Scotland can get hot). After charging the Portcullis a number of times and being thrown back at a castle ruin where we were having the event, I needed to sit. As I recall, I had a hard time getting back up and finally went back to my tent to strip off the sweaty steal and fell fast asleep. That picture of me is the best in-armor photo I have left.
My last days as a fighter came in 1996 when I was transferred to Omaha and the Kingdom of Calontir. Sadly, back problems forced me to shed more and more weight in armor and eventually had to hang up my sword entirely. Rotating from the hip - one of the few things I was good at - became problematic and just wasn't worth the trauma to the vertebrae. Not to worry though, I was outclassed by many and the realization that I was simply a mediocre fighter made it easier and an even wiser move to let it go.
While I have been associated with the SCA in one form or another for over 40 years, military and subsequent professional life made active membership quite spotty. There were literally years where I had no time whatsoever. To be sure I read and kept up with what was new and shiny, but there was a dearth of SCA events, friends, and chosen family. It was well in to the 2000's before that was to change.
I came to Atlantia in 2004. Employed by Homeland, I once again was plagued by bad schedules and demanding work life. Initially, I reengaged with the local groups in DC and Virginia but again fell off from regular attendance. It was only around 2017-18 that I was able to make things semi-permanent. I was happy!
I joined the Barony of Ponte Alto where I fully re-engaged with the SCA. I attended local events like "Bloodbath", other Baronial events like "Battle on the Bay", and kingdom events like "Twelfth Night" and numerous Crown Tournaments. It was at these events where I discovered one activity I really enjoy: retaining. To date I have retained for multiple crowns and baronies. By the end of the day my feet were usually a dead weight, but the opportunities to become accustomed to traditions and to get to know the populous was unmatched. I highly recommend it!
With my early retirement a possibility, there is no telling what may be in store for me and the SCA. It has certainly been a surprise so far!
Per chevron gules and sable, on a chevron between three lymphads sails set and oars in action Or, three anchors sable
Objectives and Goals
OVERARCHING OBJECTIVE 1 * Identify a suitable SCA mentor
GOAL * Locate a willing tutor(s) who can teach/pass-on a deeper understanding of the Society organization and operation - A seasoned, mature leader who can guide rather than direct * Identify a best fit for my "talents" in the SCA - Learn how best to match the enjoyment of the game with an improved sense of service and commitment. To date I feel the game still has most of my focus. I want a better balance incorporating not simply the fun but also a commitment to making it fun for others by supporting the underpinnings of the society * Assume a formal or informal tutelage association that fits my real world constraints (i.e. personal, professional and physical) - Were I still a fighter, life would never allow such a close and personal bond of a squire today. In a mentor now I am seeking knowledge, wisdom, and guidance - As I stand now, I have an accumulated knowledge of the SCA that spans 40 years; however, its rather random and unfocused in purpose. I am a service oriented person with a hobbyists notion of art and creativity. My sense of self in the SCA is at least that well defined that I know my most useful contribution is not in A&S or Chivalry * A successful outcome of this goal would demonstrate a better version of me: a focused path of service, a logical acquisition of skills to serve that path, and a "career" roadmap of sorts to serve the greater Society
OVERARCHING OBJECTIVE 2 * Study, Research, and Analysis of Al-Andalus: CE 711-1492 - Arab or Berber states that controlled what today we call Spain or the Iberian Peninsula. The exonym for the culture is Moor or Moorish
GOAL 1 * Study and become familiar with culture and society * Study dress and customs * Study methods of combat and associated implements * Write paper pertaining to reproducing the Al-Andalusian "look' in SCA garb * Publish in Tournaments Illuminated and The Complete Anachronist
GOAL 2 * Study the Arab Recurve Bow * Take practical training in target archery using recurve bow * Study in detail and eventually reproduce (build) Arab Recurve Bow * Present/Exhibit completed Bow
- Service through Administration: Because of my too often pronounced inability to attend events and be anywhere in person, over time I turned to positions within the barony and Kingdom to render service. As I have some many years of experience as a manager, it seemed like a reasonable accommodation between real life and the SCA. While I have somewhat more time now, I find I enjoy administration of organizations. This is my "goto" field of service within the SCA. I hope to eventually serve as a great officer and in time commit to serving at the Society level as well.
- Service through Technology: Anything I can do to bring what technical savvy I have to the SCA is one of my priorities. I have an outdated BS in Information Systems but what I really enjoy is hardware i.e. computers, sound mixers, microphones, video etc.
- Service - Serving Those Who Serve: This is just something I do because I see the occasional need at events. Because I have a condition that does not allow me to sit for extended periods, I enjoy running from one event venue to another and offering my "Stand-in" service for bathroom breaks, or running to get lunch or drinks for those stuck at troll or Goldkey for instance. We have so many volunteers but fewer volunteers to serve the servant when they have need.
- General Service: As mentioned previously, I enjoy retaining. I am always willing to serve when I am present at an event and also willing to teach the less experienced.
- Arts and Sciences: I am not what I envision when I think of a "talented person". I am highly unlikely to Laurel. Nevertheless, Bookmaking and Bookbinding are my chief creative interests in the SCA. There are auxiliary skills related to bookbinding such as leathercraft and paper and parchment making that I also find interesting. I will pursue these skills at length.
- Martial: Aside from the heavy fighting of which I can no longer partake, I love Fencing. I started in college and never lost the love of it. Unfortunately, I seem to be having some trouble now with my knees, especially while in the "En Garde" stance. For now, I've had to bow out of fencing; however, if I can correct the problem, I will return to it. While I haven't engaged them yet, I will pursue both Archery and Thrown Weapons. I am unsure of equestrian; however, I will partake if body and time allows.
- Ponte Alto "Bloodbath(2019)
- Battle on the Bay in the Tyrrhenian Sea (2019)
- Ponte Alto "Bloodbath(2019)
--- Retained for Their Excellencies of Ponte Alto
- Coronation of Christoph and Adelhait
--- Retained for Their Excellencies of Ponte Alto
- Battle on the Bay in the Tyrrhenian Sea (2019)
--- Retained for Her Excellency, Maria Theresa, of Ponte Alto
- Spring Coronation of Anton and Luned (2020)
--- Retained for Her Majesty Queen Luned of Atlantia
Offices & Positions
- Deputy Web Minister (Wiki Admin), Kingdom of Atlantia
- Social Media Officer (SMO), Barony of Ponte Alto, Kingdom of Atlantia
- Head Retainer, Barony of Ponte Alto, Kingdom of Atlantia
- Deputy Chronicler, Knights Crossing, Kingdom of Drachenwald (unofficial) 1981
- Deputy Chatelaine, Knights Crossing, Kingdom of Drachenwald (unofficial) 1981
- Head Retainer, Knights Crossing, Kingdom of Drachenwald (unofficial) 1982
Projects: Ongoing and Completed
- Atlantia Wiki (on going)
- Atlantia Wiki Video Series (incipient)
* How to Build Your Personal Kingdom of Atlantia Wiki Page
- SCA Informational Video Collection (incipient)
* SCA "How Do You Do That" Series * SCA "Dirty Jobs" Series * SCA "Known World and Welcome To It" Series
- Commissioned and donated 400 Opal and Coral Branch Medallions (completed)
Awards & Achievements
- 4/6/2019 Award of Arms (Atlantia)
- 4/6/2019 Grant of Arms (Atlantia)
- 9/7/2019 Award of the Undine (Atlantia)
- 9/7/2019 Court Baronage (Atlantia)
- 4/4/2020 Award of the Undine (Atlantia)
- 10/10/2020 Award of the Fountain (Atlantia)
Persona - A Story
THE FAMILY BUSINESS
Diego Diaz de Oviedo was the second son of Diego Alonso Ramirez, a prosperous merchant in 15th century Spain, region of Asturias. Upon the death of his father in 1486, Diego Diaz inherited a small interest in the merchant shipping firm left by his father to his four sons. With the lions share of company control going to Alvaro, the first child, Diego was forced to seek other means of employment and adventure.
As a constable of the city guard, life was boisterous and exciting in Oviedo but it lacked the access to the sea and the rest of the world. Returning to Gijon, where Diego's father had previously established his small trading fleet of Carracks, he took a captaincy from his brother and plied the family trade up and down the Iberian coast. From port to port, this was the excitement Diego craved and what led to his greater wealth, experience and not a little love for most things Moorish. But as the timeless adage goes, the wanting can be better than the having.
THE STORM CLAIMS ALL
In 1491, just before the success of the Reconquista and the conclusion to the Grenada War, Diego sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar Southeast by East almost directly into a headwind. On the one hand, heading southeast away from the coast of Grenada was only sane; until the vestigial raiders out of Almeria could be destroyed, only a fool would ply his trade near the coast of the Reino de Granada; especially if those ships were laden with Spanish wool and the finest silk brocade bound for Venezia. Of course, failing to anticipate the storm on the other side of the strait and consequently having to veer deeply south toward the rebel stronghold of Cueta, on the coast of Africa, indicated a lack of wit just as intense.
Tacking violently to shape a course loosely similar to North East by East as the contrary winds buffeted and rolled the ships this way then that, the lookout, straining to be heard over the wind and the pounding of the ships pumps, spotted two dismasted ships tethered precariously to a third ship not necessarily in much better condition. Through his looking glass the 1st mate spotted a flag flying from a makeshift mizzen mast. They were war ships, or one was a galleon and the others were cargo vessels. And the flag was Spanish.
Diego swore under his breath. If he was close enough to make out their identity, they too could see his. There was no running away and leaving them to their fate. If they survived and he rendered no aid, the family would be ruined. The wind wouldn't subside for some time. They threw out an anchor and just stared at each other.
When dawn came and the wind veered off the five ships had drifted further apart despite their anchors. By mid morning Diego had come along side the gallon. In the light of day there could be seen spars, cordage, masts, and other flotsam surrounding the warship. It looked like the ship had been in battle except that the damage wasn't done by any canon fire. Nature had truly mauled all of them in to nearly floating wreckage.
Taking the gig across to the gallon, Diego met the ships captain on the gangway. But he wasn't alone.
"Allow me to present Duke Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba. His Grace commands the forces on this voyage.
This just gets better and better. Diego said under his breath.
"Your Grace it is truly by the mercy of god that we came upon you. I am Diego, late of Oviedo, and I command the 'Alonso' and the 'Diaz'. We are a week and a half out of Gijon and are bound for Venezia. Allow me to extend to you the comfort of my ship while we aid you in the repair of your vessels."
The Duke's continence was stormy and preoccupied. He stepped closer to Diego.
"Thank you Captain Diego for your generosity and the gift of your arrival; however, I'm afraid your King requires more of you this day."
Diego could just hear his older brother lecturing him on the perils of trading in the Mediterranean. "I'm sorry Your Grace. I don't understand." Diego could feel the wind being sucked from his lungs.
"Captain, we are bound for Malaga where we will land my forces and push on to the final defeat of the barbarians at Grenada!" The duke gesticulated expansively in the direction of the Spanish coast. De Cordoba seemed to possess himself before he spoke again.
"Captain Diego, by command of Their Most Catholic Majesties, I hereby commandeer both your vessels in support of the war against Grenada. Two of my vessels are beyond viable repair. We will off load their cargos of shot, canon, soldiers, and horse to the 'Princessa', and to the Alonso and the Diaz. We will be tightly pressed but have no other choice. We will then proceed to Malaga where we will off load all three ships. On that day, god willing, you may then continue on your way." the Duke said.
The perfunctory smile Diego managed to maintain on his face became fixed. An endless procession of profit and loss figures scrolled before his eyes as the window for delivery and sale threatened to vanish with astonishing rapidity. The factor in Venezia would hold for no more than a tiny march of days hence. And just where did this Duke think he was going to store horses of all things?
"But Your Grace, my ships are full to the deck-heads. I have no more room in the hold. You can see we are running deeply in the water as it is. Why, they both handle like pigs in this weather!"
You have my sympathy for your loss, captain, but there is no other choice." The Duke said. It was obvious his regret was as transparent as the silk in Alonso's hold.
"But your grace..." Diego felt he was missing something. But as he began to speak again the Duke turned away to speak to his captain.
"Captain Alacon, detach a company of soldiers to assist in dumping the cargo of the Alonso and Diaz and inform the "Intrepido" and the "Caballo de Mar" to shift their cargo and prepare to off load to the three of us. Make haste captain. There is not a moment to lose."
Captain Alacon began to bellow orders to his lieutenants as the duke returned his attention to Diego.
"Again, I regret the inconvenience Captain Diego; however, His Majesty's desires are unequivocal. I know you are a loyal subject of the King."
Diego went cold, frozen in place. Dump the cargo? Was the Duke insane?
"But Your Grace! Dump my cargo? I have thousands of Reals tied up in the hold! I'll be ruined!" Ruined was an exaggeration but Diego's brother would thank him not at all and he'd likely take away his captaincy.
But the Duke was finished consoling his reluctant rescuer. And as if to emphasize the inevitability of Diego's new role, armed soldiers began to assemble on the deck behind the Duke.
"Captain, please return to your ship and begin to shift your cargo. My soldiers will follow directly behind you. Be assured your King will compensate you for your losses and reward you for your courage in this final blow to the enemy in Grenada!" the Duke said.
And like an audience with the King, Diego was left with no doubt he had been dismissed. Passing back down the side to his waiting gig, Diego was rowed back to the Alonso. Stunned, defeated and not a little bemused at the sudden turn of events against anything he could have envisioned, Diego returned to the matter at hand and faced the next storm coming his way.
OF FAINT PRAISE AND MEAGER BOON
The voyage to Malaga was a shining bright voyage on a following sea and the wind constant from the south east. The landing at Malaga went without incident with the soldiers and supplies marshaling and moving out by the late evening. But the release from the Duke was not to be had. In fact, the Alonso and Diaz were instructed to await further instructions. A week became two and then a month. Finally, as supplies began to run low, a courier arrived with news of a great victory.
When the Duke finally returned he sent the Princessa north east along the coast to clean up what was left of the rebel pirates. His army went in to garrison and once again he commanded the Diaz and Alanso to bear him west through the Straits of Gibraltar, then North and East around Spain to the city of Santander. Two weeks later the Duke finally disembarked to travel over land to Burgos where the king was in court. As he departed, he released Diego and his ships from his service and promised copious rewards would follow.
Diego immediately turned west and sailed back to Gijon with the intent of reporting to his brother. Despondent and depressed at his evil misfortune, Diego arrived two days later to find his older brother dead from consumption. After the burial, Diego settled in to take stock of the family concern. With the loss of the entire cargo and the trading season over, one of the ships had to be put up as surety against a lone to cover costs until the next trading run. There wouldn't be two spare pieces of eight to rub together.
But in the end, all was not lost. Diego was going to be "rich". Late in the day a month after his return from Santender, a royal courier arrived. Diego was commanded to present himself at court to be recognized by the king for his "steadfast and noble" support of the Duke, the victor of Grenada. Diego was to be granted arms and to be made a Baron of the king's court. There was no mention of compensation for the lost cargo or the months of lost income. At least his ships were safe from further loss and injury. After all, they couldn't bear him over the hot aired landscape for the two week trek needed to get to Toledo.