EX LIBRIS

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

EX LIBRIS

libris

Ex Libris is a Living History group which, as it’s primary focus, presents the middle and upper class peoples from Western and Central Europe, between 1375 and 1415. They have other areas of focus as well,  which include but are not limited to: late Antiquity and the Great Migrations, through to the Renaissance. They strive to present high quality individual historical impressions with a focus on education, living history and experimental archeology. This group and its members are looking to understand the medieval period by researching and recreating the fashions, cuisine, art and lifestyles.

While they are a small group, their activities include, but are not restricted to; research, practice and demonstration of historical martial arts, equestrian skills, religious practices, music, cooking, costuming, metal, ceramic, leather, and wood work, and other skills appropriate to the subject. Ex Libris has performed at medieval fairs, like the Abbey Medieval Festival, as well as participating in small private events, lectures and demonstrations. Several of their members write blogs and contribute to other medieval pages.

Ex Libris is made up of several experienced and dedicated researchers and re-enactors, with a combined experience and knowledge of over 50+ years. What they lack in size they make up for in in enthusiasm and dedication to history.

What will you see when you come into the Ex Libris camp?

libris

A hive of activity with and smiling faces ready to answer all your questions. Ex Libris has two unofficial mottos: No. 1: “No one goes away without having their questions answered”. No. 2: “Have fun!”

When you meet Ex Libris, you not only come away with a deep sense of their passion for history, but their excitement and dedication is infectious.

This camp is a must for all guests at this years Festival!

STILL more to come on the Reenactor groups

Medieval Strawberries

A Brief History of the Strawberry of Medieval Times

strawberries

Though cultivated strawberries are enjoyed far and wide today, the strawberry did not always enjoy such wide-spread favouritism when we look back to Medieval times.

The wild strawberry – Fragaria vesca is an aggregate fruit, a sweet and edible member of the rosaceae (rose family) which flourished freely during the Medieval Period. The humble Fragaria vesca is smaller than today’s cultivated strawberries, it abounded in woods throughout Medieval Europe, but was not cultivated until the late Middle Ages and went undocumented until the 1300’s.

 

A Medieval History of the Humble Strawberry

 

  • To the medieval peoples, the strawberry represented righteousness and perfection, strawberry          designs were oft carved into altars and around the tops of colonnades and pillars within cathedrals and churches to symbolise these revered traits.
  • Similarly, medieval artists depicted the Virgin Mary with strawberries to symbolise perfection and righteousness.
  • Fresh wild strawberries plucked from the plant were primarily consumed by peasants, they were thought not to have been eaten fresh by nobility as unprepared, raw food was oft looked upon with suspicion – the upper classes believed eating fresh fruit was dangerous.
  • The upper classes would only indulge in strawberries when boiled, baked, or cooked into such tasty treats as strawberry pudding, or in pottages, a primitive type of cookery enjoyed by all classes of medieval peoples. Pottages included such dishes as thick soup, porridge and stews.
  • This sweet was served cooked, boiled, or baked at important events during the Middle Ages to bring about peace and prosperity.
  • Pregnant women of the Medieval Period avoided eating, or touching raw, or cooked strawberries due to superstition – they feared their babies would be born with strawberry-shaped birthmarks if they were to come into contact, or nibble anything containing Fragaria vesca.
  • The strawberry was used as a medicinal herb as Fragaria vesca was believed to ease sunburn pain, relieve skin blemishes, brighten discoloured teeth and cure various digestive ailments such as diarrhoea, digestive upset and gout.
  • For a number of years during the High Middle ages in the 12th century, Abbess Saint Hildegard von Binger announced strawberries were not fit for eating as they grew on the ground where toads and snakes likely crept over them. Local political figures heeded her words and made similar statements discouraging the people from consuming them, amongst Europeans, this belief held for many years.

 

Strawberries in Medieval Norse Mythology

 

The strawberry was associated with the goddess Frigga, patroness of matrimony and Oden’s wife. In Norse mythology Frigga gave strawberries as a symbol to the spirits of young children who had died in infancy who would then ascend to heaven hidden within a strawberry.

The strawberry was also connected to Freyja, the Norse goddess of love and ruler of the afterlife field Fólkvangr, where half of those who die in battle end up in the Nordic afterlife (the other half reaching Valhalla). The strawberry was one of her symbols and her sacred food. In Norse myths she is depicted as knowledgeable and powerful, a captivatingly beautiful mistress to the gods, a mother, a sister, the daughter of Njörðr and wife of Óðr.

Freyja drives a chariot pulled by cats and cries tears of gold. She is associated with beauty, fertility, love, gold, war, death and a type of Norse shamanistic sorcery.

 

The Beginning of Strawberry Cultivation

 

Strawberry cultivation began sporadically in early 1300’s France, mostly within home gardens. Then in 1368, King Charles V had 1200 strawberry plants planted in his Parisian gardens at The Louvre blanketing it in a sea of red. This was followed a few years later by the Duke and Duchess of Burgundy planting a four-block area of land on their estate near Dijon with strawberries.

This humble, sweet member of the rose family came to prominence later on in the 16th century around 1560 during The Renaissance. King Henry IV’s physician Bruyerin-Champier reported English ladies had grown very fond of the strawberry and were cultivating these plants at home and indulging in strawberries and cream.

The wild strawberry was also used in medieval cooking to make strawberry wine, strawberries and cream, strawberry jams, jellies and strawberry shortcake, the

Aside from being revered as a tasty edible, the strawberry itself and depictions of the strawberry in myth and art served a number of other uses during the Medieval Period.

 

Visit Moreton Bay Region to Celebrate the Strawberry

 

The Moreton Bay Region is home to several commercialised strawberry farms, and this August 2016 locals and visitors to the region are invited to celebrate this favourite aggregate fruit at the region’s annual Strawberry Festival hosted by Sandstone Point Hotel on Saturday 20th August from 11am into the evening.

JANISSARY BARRACKS

Meet the Reenactors 2016

JANISSARY BARRACKS

 

Janissary Barracks (‘Yeniҫeri Ocaği’) Historical Re-enactment Group Inc. was formed in 1999 and incorporated in March 2004. This group aims to:

  1. Foster an environment in which the members can research, adopt and re-enact medieval Ottoman lifestyles.
  2. Provide a common meeting ground for those who are interested in the history of the medieval period of the Ottoman Empire of the late 15th century.
  3. Support educational activities concerning medieval lifestyles with particular emphasis on the medieval Ottoman world.
  4. Provide a means of liaison with other groups and individuals dealing with medieval Ottoman culture.

The Janissary Barracks group have actively participated in the annual Abbey Medieval Tournament every year since 1999. This group holds a unique and important place in this Tournament as it brings a Middle-Eastern flavour to a mainly European based tournament atmosphere, and highlights the importance of one of the major empires of medieval times, which is otherwise not usually well represented in re-enacting.

Over the years since 1999, the Janissary Barracks group have expanded their activities to include Ottoman Turkish oil wrestling, traditional folk dancing and cooking. Presentations are made on other aspects of Ottoman culture including history of weapons, coffee and costumes, with a more recent strong emphasis on traditional military archery. Group members can demonstrate techniques using re-curve bows which established the Janissaries as an elite fighting force.

 

Come and see the Janissary Barracks encampment and participate in activities such as the Turkish Oil Wresting and traditional folk dancing.

Buy your tickets to the Festival today!

Blackwolf

Meet the Re-enactor Groups 2016

BLACKWOLF

 

It was a feature of medieval warfare that armies tended to live off the invaded land, foraging wherever they could. In Outremer, the Middle East as we know it today, crops were grown and gathered around the water sources. Controlling the water sources and supply routes meant that you controlled the land.

Invading forces attempted to set up supply lines but often in Crusader times, supplies from overseas failed to arrive and often was too little, too late. Supplies had to be easily transported, not spoil and all fresh meat herded “on the hoof”. To alleviate this, Blackwolf – a 12th-13th century Crusader group – traversed the caravan routes, posing as Bedouin Traders, trading where they could, often preying on opposition caravans for vital supplies.

 

Blackwolf were a mixture of European nationalities, local Armenian, Christian Arab, and mercenaries from the plains of the Danube, the Magyars and Kipchak. Any who would join Blackwolf to further Christian interests. This mix of nationalities demonstrated differing garb and customs, and, they use this to reflect a variety of cultures and traditions for the public interest. Some Blackwolf members are combatants, whose principal function is the crash and bash of medieval combat. They are also finding ways to enhance their camp each year expanding crafts and skills such as medieval medicine, Bedouin coffee ceremony, Bedouin cooking and cheese-making. Also adding bone carving and linen production from growing flax. The Bedouin tended to rob wild bee colonies where honey was used as a “currency” and the wax was used to make candles.

Black Wolf

Blackwolf have chosen to portray these Middle Eastern and Eastern cultures in their encampment because this was a little known and unexplored aspect of medieval life. The 12th-13th centuries is a fascinating time of social upheaval, progress and changes in thinking, trade goods and textiles. If nothing else, exposure to eastern trade, medicine and foodstuffs, even the game of chess, did much to renovate Western Europe. There is a great interest in medieval life, what they ate, what they wore and what were their customs so Blackwolf seek to present this to the public in an authentic and enjoyable manner.

 

Check back for more on “Meet the Reenactors 2016”

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