Banners of the Festival: Craft Spotlight

Origin of the Banners

This series of seven banners is based on those of the Assisi festival of Calendimaggio the origins of which are related to the ancient customs of many different European peoples, and especially to the Roman celebrations known as the “Fasti di Maggio”.  The medieval tradition of celebrating the arrival of Spring in early May sees groups of revellers serenading through the streets of their towns. Assisi however has another aspect to its festival, as there is a deep-seeded rivalry between the “Upper” and the “Lower” parts of the city. The feuding began in the 14th century between Nepis and the Fiumi families, who are the respective leaders of each faction.

The Assisi Festival

The city is split in two by this rivalry, the Nobilissima Parte de Sopra and the Magnifica Parte de Sotto, compete with each other for control of the Palio through parades, re-enactments and musical performances, all inspired by medieval life. Each brigata or company of singers, elect a signore and from among all the signori, a King of the festival is chosen. They then elect a “Queen of May” who is born through the streets on a cart festooned with flowers, encircled by young girls waving flowering branches called maggi. Song and music fill the streets and piazzas: madrigals, choral and solo pieces, traditional melodies and improvised ones, every sort of popular song accompanied by violin, mandolin, guitar, and harmonica. Throughout all the events the banners are used as a identification system, as well as a coat of arms for each of the districts, displaying their allegiance to one of the two factions, as well as highlighting where performers are from.

What they Represent

Sestiere is an Italian word derived from sesto, ‘sixth’ – it means ‘one-sixth part’, that is, one of the 6 quarters of Assisi, each sector of the city being divided into 3 rioni (singular, rione) quarters or districts. These sestiere are where the banners of the festival originate from, each representing their respective districts, or in the case of La Magnifica Parte de Sotto, the half of the city controlled by the faction led by the Fiumi family.

Symbolism of the Banners

Assisi of Cal Banners 1

Assisi of Cal Banners1

La Magnifica Parte de Sotto has the Fiumi family arms with its five Crown battlements.

 

 

 

 

 

Assisi of Cal Banners 2Assisi of Cal Banners 2Il Sestiere San Giacoma (St Jacob or James)  The somewhat curious symbolism of the pierced tower has been attributed to the small church San Giacomo de Muro Rupto (St. Jacob of the broken wall) situated some 50 yard or meters south of the San Giacomo gate for which the quarter is named.

 

 

 

 

Assisi of Cal Banners 3Assisi of Cal Banners 3Il Sestiere San Francesco  the main symbol of the shield is not a cross but rather the letter tau, the name of the letter ‘T’ in the Greek, Hebrew, and ancient Semitic alphabets. Various interpretations can be accorded the three blue stars – they may stand for the first three followers of St. Francis.

 

 

 

 

Assisi of Cal Banners 4Assisi of Cal Banners 4Il Sestiere San Pietro – The fisherman’s boat recalls Peter’s occupation of fisherman in Galilee.  The golden keys to the Kingdom of Heaven stand for the power of popes over matters both spiritual and temporal.  The Lorraine Cross was early-on identified with the Patriarchal Cross, and St. Peter is considered the first Patriarch of the Roman Church.

 

 

 

Assisi of Cal Banners 5Assisi of Cal Banners 5Il Sestiere Porta Perlici – Of the six porte, or gates, that allow access through the outermost defensive walls of Assisi, Porta San Perlici watches over the northeastern front. Two major roads form a vague ‘Y’ as they converge onto the gate.

 

 

 

 

Assisi of Cal Banners 6Assisi of Cal Banners 6

Il Sestiere San Rufino – It honors the first bishop of Assisi, Rufino, who was martyred in the 3rd century by being tied with a knotted hemp rope to a millstone and drowned in the nearby river Tescio.  The green fern represents the many pine trees which grace the district.

 

 

 

 

Assisi of Cal Banners 7Assisi of Cal Banners 7 Il Sestiere Porta Moiano – The shield consists of the seven stars of the constellation Ursa Major.  It is also associated with Saint Clare (Santa Chiara in Italian).

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Blog by Sue Green.

Interested in seeing the banners in person? Be sure to keep an eye out for them at the Abbey Medieval Festival 30th Anniversary Celebration on July 13th and 14th.

 

Sponsor Post: North Harbour Heritage Park to open in late 2019

The North Harbour Heritage Park is a new community attraction comprising a vast expanse of parkland, river access including a canoe launch/fishing platform and an interpretive centre focusing on the heritage aspect of the site.

The Heritage Park is a 3 year project which on completion at the end of 2019, will have invested over $3m, with $1,535,062 of funds coming from the Federal Government through a funding agreement with the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology. Funding is through the Community Development Grants programme, provided through the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. The $1,535,062 Grant has been matched by North Harbour. The Abbey Museum and North Harbour are also working in partnership and providing significant in-kind support through project planning, project management, post-construction operation and maintenance.

The first stages of construction were completed in 2018, including roads and other infrastructure including picnic areas with shelters, BBQs, tables and benches and toilet facilities. As work progresses, the team is working to ensure the heritage remains are preserved and available for viewing and enjoyment by the general public.

Project Manager Bryan Finney said, “Construction is progressing well, we expect to start work on the interpretive building in the next few weeks. Work is also progressing on the Park infrastructure which includes a 1.5km walking track around the lake. As part of this work, the archaeologists monitoring construction have uncovered building foundations that were not previously known.

“We’re hoping to begin allowing public access by around the middle of the year with an official opening sometime in the second half of 2019.”

Retaining and preserving the historical remnants of the North Harbour site has been an important part of the North Harbour planning process. Following an application process initiated by the developers of North Harbour, the area has been listed and protected on the Queensland Heritage Register since 2011 as a place of Queensland State significance.

North Harbour’s Heritage Expert is Steve Chaddock from Timeline Heritage who is working with a team of archaeologists at the remains of the “Moray Fields” property that was built by George Raff at what is now the North Harbour site. Steve said: “We are looking to carefully record the exposed areas of the old house and its outbuildings and yards so that we can later interpret that to the public and in advance of a tree management program aiming to preserve the State Listed archaeological remains.”

The history of the site will be interpreted from a dedicated “interpretive centre” that delivers a ‘mind map’ of the site before it is experienced first-hand. The facility will present historic photographs, sketches and display objects which will allow visitors to appreciate the stories and significant developments from the past up to the present day.

Interpretation delivery will be provided in the landscape alongside a network of heritage trails and using static signage as well as digital content for mobile devices. The delivery of interpretation will be aimed at school-aged students as well as local, state and international visitors learning about local history and South Sea Islander heritage.

On a broader community level, the South Sea Islander history of the site has presented an opportunity to recognise the contribution made by past generations of South Sea Islanders and provide a tangible, visitable focus for the Island and Australian South Sea Islander community and their descendants. Space is made available for the South Sea Islander community to remember their ancestors at this place.

The Heritage Park area is currently able to be accessed on Saturday mornings at 7.00am for those participating in the free, weekly North Harbour River parkrun. Check out the Facebook page for more information, including directions.

Find North Harbour

North Harbour’s Sales and Information Centre & Display Village with café and two playgrounds is open seven days a week, 10am-5pm. Located on the corner of Buckley Road and Fraser Drive, Burpengary East, the Display Village showcases 33 brand new home designs from 17 of Australia’s best builders. North Harbour recently won the UDIA Queensland Award for Best Residential Subdivision and is EnviroDevelopment Accredited.

Visit the North Harbour website for more information on building new houses at North Harbour. Sign up for email updates to keep up to date with the latest news, events and information, including our regular events, or follow us on Facebook.

Reenactor Spotlight: Historia’s Damien Fegan

Five decades of re-enactment

As we approach the 30th Abbey Medieval Festival and the start of my fifth decade as a re-enactor I think these are appropriate milestones for me reflect on what has passed. I am the first to admit that even though I have now performed at 28 Abbey Festivals I am still having difficulty in grasping that the event is turning 30; my how times flies when other people are having fun trying to stab, and bludgeon with a variety of pointy metal objects.

The growth of the festival and the growth of living history or re-enactment in Queensland are intrinsically linked, as I believe it is no accident that there are more re-enactors in Queensland than there are in the rest of Australia. Strange as it may seem even many of the ancient and modern era re-enactment groups have many of the medieval re-enactors who regularly perform at the festival among their core members. After all after you have spent a small fortune and years of research on getting your medieval impression happening properly, starting again from scratch for a completely different era makes perfect sense; at least to some of us!

Why Medieval re-enactment?

This does beg the question what is the attraction in re-enactment that makes the time, money and effort worthwhile?

Speaking from personal experience it is quite simply more emotionally and intellectually rewarding in ways not many activities can be. It has introduced me to people of such prodigious talents and intellect that I feel awed to call them my friends.

Over the last .4 of a century as a re-enactor I have been assaulted with swords, axes and spears by friends (and total strangers), danced, laughed myself sick, fired cannons, commanded tanks and shield walls, made stone tools, forged iron, smelted bronze, been an archery target, given presentations at museums, made ancient cosmetics, eaten amazing foods, drunk way too much, made my own shoes and clothing, heard medieval Latin mass, invocations to Mithras, amazing stories and astounding music, participated in tournaments, jousts and puppet shows, built furniture, created artworks, smelt perfumes worn by ancient Pharaohs, Emperors and Shahs, made and fought in armour, researched and recreated 600 year old rituals and had my mind opened to an array of cultures, cuisines, beliefs and experiences I could not have imagined when I started.

Reenacting: A Passion for the Past

For me it has also opened a career in museums, education, publishing, theatre and film that were certainly not on my radar when I left school and started work in the Justice department! As a result of this awakened passion for the past it I have hiked through primeval forest in search of wild Bison, stood on the snow covered walls of Novgorod, watched desert sunset from the roofs of Xiva, dawn over Hagia Sophia and moonrise over the gilded domes of the Moscow Kremlin, uncovered human remains in Malbork, visited Roman temples and oh so many castles, dined in yurts on peaches from Samarkand, explored millennia old citadels on the Silk Road and stared in wonder at the art and artefacts in a hundred museums and sites in Europe and Asia.

In short re-enacting been a mind altering and life changing experience that, God willing, will continue for a long time to come because being a history nerd can really be quite exciting at times.

Guest Blog by Damien Fegan. To see more of his life as a re-enactor, and to keep up to date with his work, check out his Facebook Page: Museum History Guy.

If you would like to see Damien’s re-enactment group Historia please look for them at the Abbey Medieval Festival 30th Anniversary Celebration on July 13th and 14th.

Stallholders at the Abbey Medieval Festival

Hark! Medieval stallholders, traders and vendors – we want you!

Merchants and stallholders selling or demonstrating wares at the medieval market-place is one of the most popular attributes of the Abbey Medieval Festival and a much loved favourite of fans and visitors!

Medieval Stallholders

The aim of the festival is to provide an authentic medieval environment, including the market place and each year carefully selected stallholders take part.  Stalls include items such as medieval food, arts, crafts and weapons such as medieval swords or shields. The period re-created at the Abbey Medieval Festival covers a thousand years – from AD 600 to 1600 – allowing a great variety of re-enactment arts and crafts.  

What medieval goods do you have?

High standards are set for our merchants, crafts persons or artisans, with the bench-mark being raised year-on-year, in order to consistently improve on our reputation as Australia’s most authentic medieval event.  With almost 30,000 visitors annually, we welcome new merchants and crafts persons to our market. Participation is on a first-come, first-accepted process, providing the criteria is met.  Applications are now open for the 2019 festival, and if you would like send us an application, please read the Medieval Stallholder Requirements to check the necessary details. Wearing a costume appropriate to your time period is a requirement and a general reference to the particular era your goods relate to should also be made in your application.

Demonstrators’ stalls

Demonstrators of crafts should use materials of the period; for instance, card-weaving displays should have cards of appropriate materials, such as leather, bone or wood. Modern playing cards used in tablet weaving displays are not in keeping with our medieval theme and are not acceptable.  We accept that some crafts may need to use some modern tools and materials however, these should be kept to a minimum and if possible out of sight of the public. Blatantly modern items are not in keeping with our medieval theme and should be hidden or eliminated.   And each year we ask traders to work a little harder to become an authentic participant!

Here are some examples of our stallholders  or demonstrator skills that we are sourcing:

  • Calligraphy
  • Illumination
  • Book binding
  • Leatherwork
  • Jewellery
  • Metalwork and black-smithing
  • Armour and weapons
  • Enamel work
  • Carving in wood, bone, antler and ivory
  • Mosaic
  • pottery
  • Glasswork
  • Stained glass
  • Painting in fresco, tempera and oils
  • Stonework
  • Embroidery and other textile arts
  • Spinning, weaving and dying
  • Tablet weaving
  • Braid making
  • Cooking

 

We especially welcome purveyors of crafts that are specifically medieval, such as pilgrim badge makers, potters making authentic medieval pottery, costumers in the style of the period, armourers, and so on.

Submit an application form!

So, if you are a merchant or craft-person selling or demonstrating wares that were part of the artistic heritage of the Middle Ages, we want you! Remember to check out the details firs, and if you are still interested, submit your application for 2019.