Medieval Re-enactment

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Medieval Re-enactment Clubs

 

Medieval reenactment is a form of historical reenactment that focuses on re-enacting European history in the period from the fall of Rome to about the end of the 15th Century. The second half of this period is often called the Middle Ages.

The first period is sometimes called the Migration Period or Dark Ages by Western European historians, and as Völkerwanderung ("wandering of the peoples") by German historians. This term is usually reserved for the 5th and 6th centuries. Re-enactors who re-create the next period of history - 7th to 11th Century - often refer to this as Early medieval. The 12th to 14th Centuries fall under the term High medieval, while the 15th century is often termed Late medieval.

With such a wide range of eras most medieval reenactment groups focus on a smaller time period, sometimes restricting their interest to a particular century, or even a specific decade or monarch, depending on how authentic the reenactment and encampment is intended to be.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Reenactment of everyday life

Medieval period oriented living history groups and reenactors focus on recreating civilian or military life in period of the Middle Ages. It is very popular in Eastern Europe. The goal of the reenactor is to portray an accurate interpretation of a person who credibly could exist at a specific place at a specific point in time. Examples of living history activities include authentic camping, cooking, practicing historical skills and trades, and playing historical musical instruments or board games.

Renaissance Fair participants generally borrow from a range of history and often incorporate fantasy or Hollywood-inspired elements into a presentation for public entertainment.

Aactivities of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) include everything from artistic disguises for modern items such as ice chests, to exhaustive research and authentic living history events.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Combat reenactment

There are variations on the idea of reenacting medieval combat, ranging from training of historical dueling practices (usually with an appropriate period sword such as an arming sword or rapier and wrestling as a martial art), to reenactment of historical or legendary battles of the Middle Ages.

Some groups treat historical combat as a martial art do not fit the traditional definition of a reenactment group and are more similar to fencing clubs. An example is the SCA, which uses rattan swords to avoid injury. Others combine the sport with more traditional forms of reenactment, such as living history.

Combat re-enactment is a side of historical reenactment which aims to depict historical forms of combat. This may refer to either single combat, melees involving small groups, or nearly full-scale battles with hundreds of participants.

Depending on the intended effect, performances may have the aim of presenting historical martial arts reconstruction, or just offer entertainment in a "renaissance fair" context.

Arranged Performance Fighting, as distinct from both theatrical fencing and historical swordsmanship practiced as a martial art, having the purpose of demonstration and education. Such performances are offered by a number of museums including the Royal Armouries, Leeds, UK

Mock-Fighting & Martial Sports, including simulated battle presentations and tournament bouts in living history or live-action role-playing games with special "combat rules".

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Battle reenactment

Reenactment of battles is a major and popular component of historical reenactment.

Due to the number of participants involved, most reenacted battles cannot be choreographed in any detail, and safety guidelines or "combat rules" are imposed on participants instead, prohibiting most realistic actions. Some reenactment battles take the form of a competition, where the two "armies" try to defeat each other within the actions permitted by the combat rules.

Battles in film are not inhibited by such restrictions, due to the possibilities of cutting and closeup. They are fully choreographed, and are not performed in a single go but divided into individual sequences.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Combat as interactive martial art

The Society for Creative Anachronism fighting is based on Medieval fighting on foot, in the spirit of tournament fighting with wooden swords. Armor is hand-made and based on historical artifacts. Unlike most reenactment events, the events are not pre-determined, it's a participatory sport: the fighters win or lose a bout, much like Karate or Judo.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Equipment

Since the 1990s, an increasing number of companies have offered replicas of historical arms and armour. Blade weapons used for combat reenactment are unsharpened, and specialized sparring weapons have rounded points. Blunt, flail and staff weapons are more problematic since the replica essentially has the same effectiveness as the original version, unless rattan or latex weapons are employed, which in turn lack the characteristics of the originals and induce handling techniques inconsistent with the weapons they are supposed to represent.

There have been many isolated examples of medieval reenactment in Europe, notably the Eglinton Tournament of 1839. In modern times, medieval reenactment has been popular in the United Kingdom, starting in the late 1960s and growing every year since, with groups from all over England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales participating in events. Many UK battles are reenacted at their original battle sites by enthusiasts with a high degree of authenticity, together with Medieval traders, musicians, caterers. UK reenactors can be seen throughout the country during the summer months at battles, fairs, carnivals, fetes, pubs and schools.

Almost entirely throughout the UK, reenactors use blunted steel weapons for reenactments and rubber tipped arrows (blunts) for archers, or steel heads when target shooting. The largest early medieval event in the UK is the Battle of Hastings reenactment.. Most UK battles have at some point been reenactedand manyl are reenacted annually, including the Battle of Bannockburn, and battles from the Wars of the Roses such as the Battle of Bosworth Field and the Battle of Tewkesbury.

In France there is an annual reenactment of the Battle of Agincourt representing a battle of the Hundred Years War.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Reenactment of Medieval Tournaments

In Germany medieval reenactment is usually associated with living history and renaissance faires, but in the past few years combat reenactment has gained some ground as well. A few groups are training historical combat such as longsword dueling and dussack fighting at universities, but the majority of combat reenactment groups are battlefield reenactment groups, some of which have become isolated to some degree because of a strong focus on authenticity. Among many battlefield reenactors in Germany, the Codex Belli has become a de-facto standard.

Groups from Eastern Europe, especially Hungary, are said to practice much more dangerous forms of battlefield reenactment, sometimes with sharp edges and points as well as metal arrow heads and an overall higher acceptance of the risk of injury posed by these dangers. This more risky, although more realistic, form of reenactment is apparently also practiced in former East Germany.

In Poland, the Battle of Grunwald reenactment every year on 15 July is the best known and attracts participants and visitors from many other countries. It is associated with living history and a medieval fair.

 

 

 

Jousting Photographs

 
 
 

Summer volume of the Breviary of Renaud Marguerite de Bar, Metz ca. 1302-1305.
Verdun, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 107, fol. 141v

 
 
 

Water jousting (still practiced today in the Languedoc, France)
Manuscript Besançon BM MS.677 Fleurs des chroniques Folio 084r Dating 1384-1400 From Paris, France
Bibliothèque municipale de Besançon

 
 
 

Richard III's Cavalry Charge at Bosworth Re-enactment 2013

 
 
 
 
 

Modern Jousting

 
 
 
 
 

15th C. MS. Ashmole 764
Showing the style of jousting armour and use of identifying crests

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Useful Links

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Events

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

Re-enactment fairs and Markets

 

 
 

 

 

 

Equipment, Arms and Armour Manufacturers

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

Historical Information, Websites, Sites and Museums

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Reenactment Groups

 

 
 

 

 

 

Jousting Groups

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Field Archery

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Reenactment public liability Insurance

  • Re-enactor insurance - from Re-enactorguard. A specialist policy created specifically for re-enactors, Re-enactorguard offers great value insurance for costumes and props, with public liability and in vehicle options.. The website gives instant quotes and you can also take out instant cover online.

 

 
 

 

 

 

Entertainers

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Advertise Or Find Events Near You

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Medieval Sites and Venues

 

 
 

 

 

 

Medieval Education

  • Discovering Medieval Interactive history schools, mueums, historical sites and events
  • Tabulae online listing of resources for the heritage and education industries

 

 

 

 

 

Food and Drink

 

 
 

 

 

 

Other Links

  • SALUTE Wargaming Convention of the South London Warlords
  • Outlands SCA group

 

 

 
 

 

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