Swords – an introduction to sharp pointy things!

He who hath no sword,

(let him sell his garment and buy one.  Luke 22:36)

No item in medieval history excites as much curiosity and misinformation as the Sword. Light, well balanced and deadly, a medieval sword was not the slightly sharp crowbar of popular myth. A typical single-handed sword weighed generally between 700 g and 1.5 kg at the most.  As a comparison a 1 litre carton of milk weighs 1kg: if you are strong enough to put milk on your breakfast cereal unaided, you could easily lift a sword. Most swords had a tapering double- edged blade, a crosspiece to protect the hand, a grip and a pommel below the grip to act as a counterweight.

Feeling groovy?

Many swords feature a groove or grooves running down the blade. Called the Fuller, this strengthens the sword by adding multiple curves into the profile of the blade, making it lighter and stronger. The groves are not, repeat NOT to:

  • make the blood to run out when you stab someone. Neatest correct entry does not necessarily win in battle!
  • reduce suction! A sword is steel, not rubber, suction is not a thing to worry about
  • inflict more dreadful wounds
  • allow air into the wound. Exposure to air is rarely fatal.

The sword was the most versatile, expensive and prestigious of weapons of the middle ages. It could be used to attack with cut, slash or thrust and could also to defend, though swords were designed to be used with a shield until the introduction of two handed swords in the 1300’s. This coincides with the development of plate armour, as it is a good idea to have a bit of extra protection if you are can’t stop incoming nasty things with your shield! The medieval two handed sword generally weighed under 2.5 kg; often much less.

Whilst the giant 10kg sword of popular myth would make an impact on an opponent, actually hitting them with it, without popping your shoulder, elbow and wrist joints might prove difficult. It is not so much a matter of having a sword light enough to swing for hours on end rather than being able get your sword where you need it in the split second that it needs to be there!

Swords at the Abbey Medieval Festival

The weapons used by the re-enactors at the Abbey Medieval Festival generally only differ from the originals in the sharpness of their edge. Swords were rarely razor sharp, not because they could not achieve a razor edge (after all what did they shave with?) but because a thin razor edge would blunt immediately on contact with a hard surface such as armour or another sword. A sharp chisel edge was preferred for most swords; if you have ever plunged your hand into a box of old tools and come into contact with the business end of a wood-working chisel, you can appreciate how devastating a chisel edged sword could be.

It became customary to use blunted or “plaisance” (pleasant) weapons in tournaments; though believe me, the experience can only be considered pleasant when compared with being hit by a sharp sword.  During the Renaissance it became customary to “foil” or blunt and cover the tip of a rapier when practising your swordsmanship, which is a sensible precaution if you want to keep your friends.

Don’t forget, if you are planning on bringing along your favourite (steel, wooden, foam, cardboard, big, small, indifferent) sword to the festival this year, as well as your ticket, you will need a weapons permit so that we can keep everyone safe. Click here to apply.

By Damien Fegan

Lords at the Abbey Medieval Festival

Something for the Lords!

There is something for every Lord and Lady at the Abbey Medieval Festival BUT if ever there was a festival demonstrating male prowess, strength and survival skills, this festival could be described as a very male expression.  My Lords…we have tried to pick a few to summarize ….but you simply have to see them all.

Tournament of Strength and Skill

Located in the Castle arena, this competition is hosted by the Company of the Phoenix with entrants hailing from various re-enactment groups participating at the festival. The Tournament of Strength and Skill is a medieval obstacle course designed for training for the field of battle and to test the combatants’ physical prowess. Made up of obstacles to test a number of important skills that a combating Lord would require on the field of battle such as speed, balance, strength, ability to vault a horse and accuracy with a spear, lance and sword.  You can’t possibly watch this and not engage your male competitive spirit.

War Machines

While this is not a performance, you do not want to miss Cottereaux’s ‘Behemoth’, the largest functioning medieval Trebuchet in the southern hemisphere.  It will showcase its firepower twice a day. A Trebuchet (French trébuchet) is a  medieval siege engine of catapult or stave sling design, and functions by the use of a swinging arm to cast a projectile. The traction trebuchet, also referred to as a Mangonel,  first appeared in Ancient China during the 4th century BC as a siege weapon. During sieges, heavy stones were cast sometimes with oil and fire to damage castle walls and while it would be very tempting to use the Trebuchet to hurl naughty little Lords afar, the Sheriff would not encourage this practice.

Battle displays

Travel back in time to the Dark Ages (Byzantine era) by taking a stroll through the Commons where Jorth Gar – the New Varangian Guard is located.

The Byzantine Emperor Basil II formed the Varangian Guard to act as his elite personal bodyguards.  Membership initially consisted of the fierce Rus Vikings, however after 1066, the ranks of the Varangian Guard swelled as mighty Saxon warriors sought membership.  The rewards were lucrative and their reputation was legendary.  It was not easy to join the Varangian Guard as their battle skills were exceptional.   Prospective members not only had to pay to join, they had to prove themselves worthy often by a show of combat skill against existing seasoned veterans of the elite Varangian Guard.

The re-enactment group Jorth Gar will present a series of single combats and heroic fighting.  In their day, the warriors of the Varangian Guard needed to acquire and maintain their skills and learn new technology. This combat display is a crowd engager and demonstrates the variety of weapons and fighting techniques available to the Varangian Guard.

You will be in awe of the Varangian Guard.

Turkish Archery

You’ll have heard of the ancient tradition of Turkish Oil Wrestling, which is a huge crowd favourite of the festival, not only for its display but for it’s historical accuracy and it also is one of the five tournaments of the festival. Traditional Turkish archery will not disappoint you either.  This performance demonstrates the use of bows and arrows in various traditional ways such as during the times of war and peace. The Turks were very effective in using bows and arrows shooting very accurately in a variety of situations. The demonstrations will include use of whistling arrows for game and communication purposes, shooting in attack and retreat situations (singly or as a group)Boys Skirmish at Sephoria

Watch different Crusader groups combat at Skirmish at Sephoria (on Sunday only in an army format), shooting down in to a well or down from the top of castle wall, speed shooting and other demonstration of various Turkish shooting techniques.

There’s something for everyone at the Abbey Medieval Festival, after all , learning is not just confined to the young.  Find out more about what’s on a this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival, and get your tickets here.

 

 

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

KARVAN-SARAY INCORPORATED

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

KARVAN-SARAY INC.

karvan-saray

Karvan-saray Incorporated (once known as the Kazuri Tribe) is a medieval re-enactment group who re-enact life in a caravansarai (camel inn) on the Silk Road during the late 15th Century. As traders moved along the Silk Road, they needed somewhere to stay. This meant that the caravansarai was constantly changing and influenced by a broad range of peoples from across Europe to the Far East. A caravansarai would be a place of safety for a broad number of people, who could trade, greet old friends and establish new trade and family connections. This means we represent a multicultural cross section of people and cultures. Our chosen location is a seven day camel ride west from Damascus.

As a group, Karvan-Saray research the historical arts, crafts and lifestyles of people in the Middle East in the 15th Century. Throughout the year, they run workshops for the public based around these arts and crafts. Depending upon when you enter their caravansarai, you will be enticed by fragrant cooking, and be able to participate in all activities from Henna application to drumming, from Middle Eastern Story Telling to spinning. And, of course, you will be welcomed like old friends.

karvan-saray

This group is are based in Northern Brisbane, and welcome new and enthusiastic members to join in the fun!

Immerse yourself in this groups activities this year by buying your tickets now!

More reenactor groups here soon!

THE COMPANY OF THE PHOENIX

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

THE COMPANY OF THE PHOENIX

phoenix

company of the Phoenix trains in south Brisbane but has members from all over including Ipswich, north Brisbane and even Rockhampton.” Or something similar?”

In 1435-1485, Europe was ravaged by war, plagues and continuous conflict. Men supported their king or Nobility, and embarked on long campaigns in foreign lands. But after the wars and conflicts of the 14th and 15th centuries, men at arms were scarce. Soldiers were gathered from all walks of life to fight for cause or country.

But those surviving did not want to return to their previous lives. These men disbanded, becoming soldiers for profit; working for themselves, or for the highest bidder. These mercenary soldiers formed free companies governed by no one. Travelling and settling wherever they pleased and joined by their wives and children, they were followed by other trades and craftsmen, their tented encampments becoming self-sufficient travelling villages.

The Company of The Phoenix  is a medieval living history group who train in South Brisbane, QLD. They have members from all over Queensland including Ipswich, North Brisbane and even Rockhampton. The Company of the Phoenix recreates the High Medieval Period as a free Company travelling through the cities and states of Europe, during the years 1435 – 1485. The Company portrays a wide variety of personas, ranging from Nobility, pilgrims, merchants, tradesmen and archers, to men-at-arms, knights, and brewers.

phoenix

The encampment, clothing, food, arms and armour are all meticulously researched from manuscripts, paintings, and archaeological finds, and display what could have been seen in a 15th century village.

Phoenix members recreate the 15th century way of life and enjoy feasting, dancing, leisurely pursuits, and travelling the Tournament Circuit, including attending events like the Abbey Medieval Festival.

Less than a week until you can meet The Company of the Phoenix!

More on Reenactor groups that attend The Abbey Festival soon. 

COMPANIE DRACO ROUTIERS

Meet the Reenactor Groups

COMPANIE DRACO ROUTIERS

draco

Often made up of disillusioned or exiled nobles, bastards and third sons, army captains aspiring for more fame and those seeking to make a bigger name for themselves, mercenary companies enjoyed a great deal of freedom and mobility, venturing far and wide in search of glory and riches. Anyone with some skill and drive could join a mercenary company, and these groups were often made up of members and followers from all walks of life since your social class and status were less important than your skill with a weapon and your use to the company.

The most successful companies were made up of disciplined, seasoned fighters and were led by fearless captains who ruthlessly built the reputation of their company to win the richest contracts.

Companie Draco Routiers formed as a band of sword loving, mead drinking fighters set on recreating the experience of a wealthy & successful mercenary company during the late 14th Century.

Drawing its origins from the exiled Saxon nobles of the Kingdom of Wessex, Dracos’ encampment and tournament puts on display about the lives of knights, foot soldiers, nobles and camp followers alike, during this period in history with a focus on the martial aspect.

draco

Arms and armoury are our passion and our combatants love nothing more than competing to prove their skills and prowess on the field and in the lists, in period accurate harness and weapons.

When not engaged in combat, Draco members can be seen around the campfire enjoying the spoils of victory with traditional ciders and meads made by our club brewer, and discussing tactics for the next battle.

Companie Draco Routiers will be taking the field in a foot tournament on the Sunday of the Abbey Medieval Festival, and keeping their skills sharp in the pas de armes arena in the 14th-15th century village ‘Kirkby’ during the Festival weekend.

See Companie Draco Routers this year!

A few more Reenactors groups still to come.

HISTORIA GERMANICA

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

HISTORIA GERMANICA

 

 

Historia Germanica is a reenactment group based in Queensland, that represents the camp life of a 16th century Landsknetch group. They are a small group representing a gun crew, and they wear and make all their own amazing and authentic costumes and gear, from the early Renaissance time period. This group have 3 cannons which they have fired yearly at The Abbey Medieval Festival, this being a greatly anticipated part of the Festival.

After participating at the Abbey Medieval Festival for many years, 2016 marks the last year you will see Historia Germanica, they are retiring! But fear not, the gun will be back next year in the hands of another group, let’s just say it is their neighbours to the south 😉

This year, for their last year, you can see Historia Germanica and their cannons, and listen to their interesting and educational talk in the Castle Arena both Saturday and Sunday.

From Historia Germanica:

“We would like to thank the Abbey for all their hard work making the festival come alive. We have really enjoyed our years of bringing a bit of noise to the festival”

The Effect of Cannons on Troupes‘ is scheduled for 11:45 on Saturday 9th, and 2:15 on Sunday the 10th.

Buy your tickets to the Festival now!

More on the final groups of reenactors here soon

Knights Order of Lion Rampant

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

Knights Order of Lion Rampant

lion

The Knights Order of Lion Rampant (KOLR) is a Brisbane-based living history group dedicated to recreating the spectacle and excitement of 14th century high medieval tournament.

Formed in the early 1990’s as a Tournament Society with a focus on structured and trained, but not choreographed, Medieval Combat, Knights Order of Lion Rampant have developed an enthusiastic following amongst Festival audiences, and an enviable reputation amongst both local and international peers.

KOLR focus on the culture of western and central European nobility during the High Middle Ages. 

The fashions, arms, armour and accessories used by the group are typical of the closing years of the 14th century.

lion

In the past, KOLR have re-created gun crews, a small Free Company of foot soldiers and archers, jousting and other mounted combat. They have performed knighting ceremonies, trials by ordeal, Latin Mass and even staged (to their knowledge), the first Allegorical Tournament since the end of the Middle Ages.

Some of their members have embarked on some experimental archeology on their search for the ideals of feminine beauty in the Middle Ages and come up with a display on the creation and application of an exceptional range of beauty products for both the Medieval woman and man!

Knights Order of Lion Rampant has performed at many Festivals, Faires and shows, including the Abbey Medieval Festival & Tournament, at which they will be attending and performing again this year. Many members of KOLR also actively volunteer at other events for the Abbey Museum, and are a valued part of our community.

See KOLR and their amazing displays this year!

More on other reenactor groups here soon.

Kirkby Village

Introducing our brand new 14-15th Century Village;

Kirbky!

kirkby

kirkby

 

For the 2016 Abbey Medieval Festival, in coordination with our amazing 14th and 15th Century re-enactment groups, we have embarked on a completely new concept – The Village of Kirkby. Now, instead of viewing the encampments from the outside, you are invited to enter the Village and become immersed in the 14th and 15th Centuries.

Kirkby Village is arranged so that you can walk backwards through time, seeing and experiencing how life changed over this period starting at the tail end of the 15th Century, with the groups Re-enacting Independently For Fun and Das Torichte Leben, and ending in the 14th Century, with the groups Draco Routiers and Knights of the Longdog.

While in the Kirkby Marketplace, at the south end of the village, you might like to peruse the fine array of goods for sale. Later, you could learn more about medieval cooking by watching a Medieval Kitchen at work on the west side of the village. See the re-enactors rest between battles in their Banquet Hall, and in the north end of the village, you can watch fighters train in the Kirkby List, or listen to some music from the group ‘Wayward’.

When it’s time to leave the Village and continue exploring all that the Festival has to offer, why not head out the Westgate and treat yourself to the delights of the Middle Eastern Quarter, with its dancers, drummers and oil wrestlers? Or perhaps you could take in a lecture at the University Pavilion, visit the encampments of Knights’ Order of Lion Rampant, Shuvani; Egipcianos Campañia or multi-period group Ex Libris.

Go north, and you will find yourself at the Joust Arena, or why not visit The Commons to watch a performance? The East Gate will lead you towards the Castle List and the mysteries of The Crusader Quarter.

Performances, shows, displays and workshops in Kirby Village include:

Company of the Phoenix 

kirkbyCompany Draco Routiers

kirbky

Company of the Radiant Heart 

kirkby

Das Torichte Leben

kirkby

Knights of the Longdog

kirkby

Reenacting Independently For Fun

kirkby

St James Road

kirkby

Company of the Dove

kirkby

as well as Scions of Mars and the music group ‘Wayward’.

Make sure you stop in and say hi, and explore everything that Kirkby has to offer!

New England Medieval Arts Society

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

NEW ENGLAND MEDIEVAL ARTS SOCIETY

(NEMAS)

new
The New England Medieval Arts Society celebrates an amazing Thirty Years of Existence this year!

To celebrate, NEMAS partied hard at the Armidale Pine Forest with The Easter Gathering 2016. Folk travel from far afield as Perth, New Zealand Melbourne and Townsville and everywhere in between to what became the largest Re-enactment camp out in the Southern Hemisphere.
The NEMAS group continued to spread their love and passion for historical fun at The Glen Innes Standing Stones Celtic Festival where their encampment was interactive and as the combat demonstrations were lively and most humorous, winning acclaim.
NEMAS loves to travel further afield and has just recently supported another fantastic re-enactment group, Rognvalds Lith, with their Viking Village Solstice in Lismore.

This year, NEMAS invite all to come and catch up with them at The Abbey Medieval Festival as they present their take on an Anglo Saxon Encampment, somewhere near the Dane Law in Wessex.

 

Come and see New England Medieval Arts Society at the Abbey Medieval Festival this year!

Still more reenactor groups to come! 

 

The Templars

Meet the Reenactors 2016

THE TEMPLARS

templars

The Templars are a historical re-enactment group based in Brisbane. They portray the military order of the Poor Fellow Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, more commonly known to history as ‘The Templars’.

At the Abbey Medieval Festival this year, you’ll find the Templars encampment in the Crusader Quarter.

The Templars host the Kingdom of Heaven Tournament on Saturday afternoon in the castle arena, where they contest the field against invited knights from the other Crusader era re-enactment groups.

You will also see them working closely with their friends at the Order of the Horse, who portray the Templars’ historical adversaries, the Saracens.  On Sunday afternoon, you’ll see Saladin and his mounted warriors attack the Templars in the Battle of Hattin.

And each day, in the late morning in the Crusader Quarter, you will hear the glorious Gregorian chant performed by Schola Cantorum, as the Templars bless the pilgrims before they set out for the Holy Places.

templars

Historically, Templars had the task of safely escorting pilgrims to Jerusalem and the other Holy Places in the Jordan Valley, and held castles that protected the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. They wore a distinctive garb of a white woollen cloak bearing a red cross, and carried shields of simple black and white – the same colours as their traditional standard, known as the Beauceant.

In their encampment at the Abbey Festival, the Templars depict a camp outside the walls of the Templar stronghold of Chateau Pelerin on the shores of the Mediterranean. The year is 1229, when a truce had been signed by Frederick II that once again allowed Christian pilgrims passage to the Holy Places in Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, which is now held by the Saracens.

Come and visit the Templars encampment and see their exciting performances at this years Festival!

Read more about other Reenactor groups here soon

 

SAINT JAMES ROAD

Meet the Reenactors 2016

SAINT JAMES ROAD

saint james road

Saint James Road is a living history group of enthusiastic people who have a love of 14th Century Society (1340 –1420).
This group strive to reconstruct aspects of medieval life and culture using a hands on approach, encouraging members to make their own historically accurate props and pieces, and pass on new and old skills as they do so.

Within Saint James Road, they have vast range of different personas portrayed, from Pilgrims, Journeymen and Commoners to Merchants, Knights and Ladies. They have a strong belief of including the whole family in their group, as the children are the future of Living History.
The members of Saint James Road share a strong focus on the functioning society within this era in history and the frame work in which it operates. By referring to iconography, relics and manuscripts, they aim to reconstruct as many aspects as they possibly can, of this period. Members are encouraged to embrace the culture and history and portray a specific role in European society between the years 1340 and 1420. Through personal research, group discussions and workshops, members will be encouraged to make their period accurate equipment by themselves. This includes costuming and accessories, arms and armour, household items, furniture and tents, in order to understand this time in history and entertain both themselves and members of the public alike.

james

St. James Road group members wish to depict the diversity of this changing era of history in all areas of society as they learn and grow, while enjoying their Living History hobby.

Come and join this group at The Abbey Medieval Festival 2016 for a taste of medieval life and culture in the 14th Century!

Buy your tickets now!

Check back soon for more on other reenactor groups!

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!

HORSES, HOUNDS, HUNTERS AND FARMERS

Meet the Reenactors 2016

HORSES, HOUNDS, HUNTERS AND FARMERS

 

Horses, Hounds, Hunters and Farmers is a brand  new multi period reenactment group that has been established to show the animals and people in non warfare roles in the dark and middle ages. Horses, Hounds, Hunters and Farmer (HHHAF) gleefully borrow people and their animals from many of the fine re-enactment groups that attend the Abbey medieval festival to join us in showcasing kit, knowledge and, of course, awesome animals!

HHHAF strive to have a range of friendly and safe animals (though just horses and hounds this year!) that people can ask questions about, and gain an education on the animals roles and their equipment in medieval and dark ages. Visitors to the Abbey Festival this year can touch and feed their animals, and people too… but ask permission first!

You may see the HHHAF group members riding around Abbeystowe with their horses, or going on a hunt with their hounds around the Festival grounds. At their camp site this year, there will be horses to see, and hounds to marvel at! Hunters will prepare a rabbit for the dinner pot, horse equipment, saddles and bridles from different periods, a hunter talking about setting some snares, a chat about what medieval horses ate, and even a Noble Lord talking about on the medieval farming practices on the high middle ages. Please come over and say hello – they would love to meet you!

“HHHAF – we got Game” (and we ‘HHHAF’ terrible puns!)

Meet Horses, Hounds Hunters and Farmers, and their wonderful animals this year. Buy your tickets now!

Check back soon for another Reenactor group.

RAFNHEIM

Meet The Reenactors 2016

RAFNHEIM

The Rafnheim group was formed in 2010 after their founder Shane Ravenn left his previous Viking group in search of a new direction. Leaving the well populated Viking Age, he delved further back in time to the era before Viking expansion, but after the fall of the Roman Empire. This time was filled with many Germanic and Gothic tribes all vying for power, wealth, and glory.

Rafnheim means Raven Home, and Shane as Hraithmar Rafn (Hraithmar the Raven) has attracted other Living History enthusiasts to join an extended family of others who love the Migration Age of Europe. Members have personas spreading the length and breadth of the area recently vacated by Rome, from Gotland in the north and the Byzantines to the south, the Steppes nomad in the east and the trade hub of Jorvik to the west.

The time that the group portrays starts in the Year of Wolves in the winter of 406CE to 750CE. This is when the rivers froze and allowed for mass movement of people into the warmer and more fertile lands south of the frozen northlands, and ends before the pressures of the rising nationalities creating the Viking expansion.

The various tribes of the Germanic Iron Age had access to knowledge and skills left over from the Romans but forgotten by the time of the Vikings. The finds are rare, but filled with treasures and art beyond the ability of others to replicate for many centuries. Working towards this level of authenticity is difficult, but highly rewarding.

Rafnheim encampment activities

The Rafnheim group will be attending the Abbey Medieval Festival this year so pop in and meet them, and educate yourself on this fascinating time period.

Buy your tickets now to the Festival today!

Read more on the final round of Reenactors soon! 

PRIMA SPADA

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

PRIMA SPADA SCHOOL OF FENCE

 

Prima Spada School of Fence is a historical fencing school operating in Queensland, Australia. The School currently has three Salles (fencing halls) located in Brisbane, Maroochydore, and on the Gold Coast. Prima Spada take their school on the road, and will be another highly valued group attending and demonstrating their talents and skills at the Abbey Medieval Festival again this year.

Prima Spada School

Prima Spada is a founding member of the Australian Historic Swordplay Federation, now known as Western Martial Academies of Australia (WMAA). Based on the work of Spanish masters of the 16th and 17th centuries, Prima Spada teaches Renaissance European swordplay as a modern sport.

From the duelling swordplay of the 16th century, Prima Spada has created a challenging and enjoyable activity which can be appreciated at many different levels – as a martial skill, as a sport, or as a movement art. However, Prima Spada seeks to do more than simply reproduce the mechanics of duelling swordplay; the philosophical principles of honour and courtesy that were a fundamental part of the character of a 16th century noble, are also a key facet of what is taught in Prima Spada.

The practical and philosophical approach of Prima Spada creates an enjoyable and accessible form of swordplay where the emphasis lies firmly on quality of execution rather than brute strength or speed. This art resonates with dance movement, and is a unique, flamboyant combat style with a theatrical sensibility.

The Prima Spada style helps its students to develop considerable confidence in themselves and their abilities. From the very beginning, students are constantly challenged to excel at the techniques taught at their level, and encouraged to demonstrate their ability in stylised combat. This also requires one to accord the same respect to one’s fellow students. This is bourne out in School’s motto “Honourable in victory, gracious in defeat”.

See Prima Spada and witness this age old art of swordplay in action at this years Festival!

More on other Reenactors groups here soon! 

SHUVANI; EGIPCIANOS CAMPANIA

Meet the Reenactors 2016

SHUVANI; Egipcianos Campañia

shuvani

AKA – Shuvani; Festivále Historíque

Re-enactment period –  Late 1400s

Re-enactment place – Andalusia

Shuvani; Egipcianos Campañia’s primary mission is to provide the people of today with the same sense of wonder experienced by the villagers of Medieval Europe upon their first encounters with the exotic nomads from the east. These are the same nomads who went on to become the Romani, Domari, Lom, and other modern peoples. The Campañia primarily achieves this through it’s extensive bewildering and interactive shows and displays, at events such as the Abbey Medieval Festival. You will see their encampment is filled with amazing and talented dancers, singers, musician, arts and crafts, textiles, animals, folklore and fortune telling.

Shuvani encampment

Around 1000 years ago waves of migration occurred out of North Western India. These migrants were to spread across Asia, the Middle East and Europe over the next 500 years taking with them language, culture, arts and trades that both influenced, and were influenced, by the various countries they traveled through along the Silk Road. Today, ethnic groups such as the Romani of Europe, the Domari of the Middle East and the Lom of Armenia can trace their ancestry back to these early migrants from India.

Shuvani; Egipcianos Campañia creatively portrays these ancient nomads of the Silk Road, communicating the complex migratory route by including costuming, cultural and artistic elements of Medieval India, Persia, Armenia, Byzantium, European and Spanish societies. Few surviving records remain of the appearance or lifestyle of these migrant groups but their impact on industry and arts has been profound. Shuvani; Egipcianos Campañia hopes to cast light on this little known and often dismissed group of people from a bygone age.

Come and immerse yourself in the Shuvani camp this year! 

More on our other Reenactor groups soon!

OLTRAMAR

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

OLTRAMAR

oltramar blog

Oltramar is a historical display focusing on the lifestyles and culture, equipment and accoutrements of the European nobility who settled on Cyprus in the late 12th– early 13th century. The Oltramar group chose to examine this place and era because during that time Cyprus became a major trading base between the Holy Lands, North Africa and Europe, resulting in a melting pot of European, Byzantine and Islamic culture and goods, and thus making it a very interesting and flamboyant place to study.

Particular attention is paid to maintaining a high standard of equipment and knowledge through intensive research and reconstruction, in all of Oltramar’s displays. Most of their clothing and equipment has been handmade by members and, as far as possible, all items are as historically accurate as they can make them. This ensures the group’s public displays are instructive and stimulating, also creating a deeper understanding of the period through hands-on experience.

Oltramar

The Oltramar groups aim is to extend an enjoyable and educational experience to the public at events like the Abbey Medieval Festival, through practical reconstructions and displays of equipment and skills from a variety of cultures. To promote research and public interest in the period through means of quality displays, and in doing so, flesh out the dry bones of written history by bringing at least a small part of it to life.

To meet the Oltramar Group, book your tickets online now!

Stay tuned for more on our amazing Reenactor groups.