Thursday, August 18, 2016

Author Toby Venables

Today here at Modern Medievalist we have a new and interesting subject for our blog. We are speaking with Toby Venables, British writer, journalist, and screenwriter. He has a very interesting series of medieval books he has published, with what we consider a unique take on both medieval and familial history. -(He turns Robin Hood into a villain!)

Toby Venables' author's page at Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Toby-Venables/e/B0077D64VW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1471371571&sr=8-1




MM:Welcome Toby!

TV:Thank you sir for having me.

MM: Let's start off with a real basic question for our American readership who might not be familiar with your writing career shall we?

Where is Toby Venables from? Because I have a feeling your familial history influences your medieval fiction.

TV: Well, I was born and grew up in Hertfordshire in the UK, and then studied in Cambridge (at Anglia Ruskin University, not the other place) before spending most of my working life there - with quite a bit of traveling thrown in. But you're right about ancestry... I don't often congratulate people who question my heritage, but I'm glad you did! Going back to the first person who had the name Venables, named Gilbert, you find he was a son of the Count of Blois, and related to the Norman Dukes. He was a younger son, though, and inherited nothing.

His uncle Roger gave him a village in Normandy, though - called Venables - which seems to have involved some service to Duke William (later King William I of England) as this was a favorite hunting ground of his. From there, Gilbert de Venables, as he now was, served as a knight under William and after the Conquest was made Baron of Kinderton, in Cheshire. Hopefully, I will write his story one day...

There was also a later Venables in the area – Sir Thomas, whose dates are a bit vague – who slew a dragon. Apparently there's a medieval wooden screen in a local church commemorating this victory.

MM:Now that is something one doesn't get to say usually about an ancestor... Dragon Slayer! And it is also one of the aspects of the Modern Medievalist world as I call it, where there are still ties to the medieval world all around us, as there are extant and thriving Norman families alive and well in England today.

TV: Many in fact.

MM:Since you are in fact descended from Norman ancestors, did this impact your writing at an overt or subconscious level?

TV: I think that research fired my imagination and made me think about the realities of that time. Also, the gaps in the history - and there are more gaps than history when you go back that far - frustrated me, but the effect of that was positive. I realized some things could not be pinned down with any certainty, but as a novelist I can fill those gaps with stuff that makes sense, and is very likely true, if unverifiable. Some details from that research have snuck into the Gisburne stories. The hero's mentor is called Gilbert, and Gisburne's training takes place within a stone's throw of Venables (the village). But really the influence isn't about specifics so much as about inspiration, and a sense of connectedness.

MM: One of the hardest things for a writer of fiction to create is an understandable world. And I realize having to recreate a world which only exists in obscure library shelves and in museums had to be hard. Which was harder? Recreating the medieval world or making a likable protagonist out of Gisburne?

TV: I'm not even sure I can track the development of the character of Gisburne. It just kind of happened. With that, the key thing is that it grows out of his reality and makes sense within it, so setting those initial parameters is the crucial part – which really comes down to the world building. The two are – or should be – intimately connected. There was a kind of 'concept' stage with him at the very start, because a) he's a character who already exists and b) this was to be an inversion of the traditional dynamic, and that had to make sense. 

There had to be real reasons why Gisburne was 'good' and Hood was not, which also (I decided) had to be tied into the historical reality of the times. The 1190s, mainly. That actually made it easy; unlike the king in the film versions of the stories, Richard the Lionheart was a total bastard who cared not one jot for England or the English. But he knew how to win battles. Who would admire a man like that? Well, Hood would - if Hood was a similarly psychopathic bastard! So, then the world building began in earnest, and that was a whole different kettle of fish. Lots of research - some totally unnecessary, I expect! 

MM: As a personal note. I have long been what I think you would call a Ricardian, (An admirer of Richard III.) I believe a lot of history has been written by those who either worked for the winning side or wanted to make coin or connections favorable to them. Case in point William Shakespeare working for the Granddaughter of Henry VII, and his play Richard III which made him out to be one of the super villains of the high medieval period. As a result I like seeing another perspective on history, especially where a beloved character or historical personage is maybe treated differently than our beloved films and books have lead us to view them.

TV: This also means making Prince John 'good', which is more of a challenge - but when you look into it, he clearly was no worse than many medieval kings, and better than some. He was just hated in his own time and soon after, and the chroniclers really laid into him.

MM: On his (Richard the Lionheart) way back from the Holy Lands, he was forced to take the land route back home. Richard was captured by Leopold V Duke of Austria for slighting his standard at Jerusalem and for the possible murder of his brother-in-law Conrad of Montferrat. As a result, he was held for ransom (100,000lbs) of silver, for a staggering amount of money-roughly $24 million in today's market. This in essence left Prince John the bad guy for having to help his brother and his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine raise the funds for his freedom. Which from many accounts absolutely beggared the English crown and her possessions. Which should help readers understand why Prince John was so hated. And why there was such poverty in England at the time. 

*It could also be argued Richard's lust for battle set up the conditions which brought about the Magna Carta, and subsequent First Baron's War.

TV: There's also the contrast with Richard, who won lots of battles but was never actually in England long enough for people to start hating him (as the people in his French domains did, and continually rebelled). What's funny is that those awful taxes that John imposes in the Robin Hood stories were actually Richard's doing. He sold everything he possibly could to finance his crusade, and once said he'd have sold London if he could find a buyer. That's how much he cared about it! 


MM: It didn't hurt Richard was also Eleanor's favorite son.

TV: True. She also makes a cameo appearance in the “Red Hand.” But basically the manuscript was too large and I had to cut her portion of the story away. However if readers would like to view it, I have that chapter on my blog where they can read the “deleted scenes.”

MM: How did this story come to life? Or rather a book is oftentimes created because of an author's vision and an editor (publisher) having faith and the ability to “see” what the story is trying to convey. Who is responsible for this?


TV: First of all, I must acknowledge the part played by Jason Kingsley - the reigning monarch of Rebellion - whose initial idea it was to have Gisburne as a hero. Also David Moore, my editor, who took that idea, shaped it, and brought it to me to see if I was interested in pitching for it. Without them, none of this would have been possible. It just so happened I had been thinking about new ways to tell the Robin Hood story - having been frustrated by Ridley Scott's backtracking - and jumped at the chance.

Right from the start, I saw it as a kind of proto superhero story, with Gisburne as a Dark Knight figure, determined to fight to keep order, and Hood as a kind of Joker figure, who really did just want to watch the world burn. Gisburne is also a tragic hero. We remember Hood as the hero, and I wanted that reality to be part of it – Hood is not a force for good, but somehow we remember him that way, and Gisburne becomes the bad guy in the legends. 

So, it became a story about history, and about legends, and about how these two things are made, and evolve. Initially, that was to be a series, as with many Abaddon books, but after the first book I felt I wanted a story arc, rather than an ongoing soapy 'story of the week' thing. It's big. It needs that. So we decided a trilogy was best. The last of these is being written right now, and is called simply 'Hood.' -And there will be blood spilled!

*Quick interjection-Jason Kingsley OBE is the owner of Rebellion. He and his brother own Abbadon publishing a fantasy/science fiction imprint, a video game production house and is also the owner of the 2000AD comics which owns the Judge Dredd franchise. Kingsley is also a dedicated medieval historian, researcher and long time jouster. He sits on the board of governance for the Royal Armouries, which is the United Kingdom's national museum of arms and armour.

MM:In addition to Jason Kingsley 'seeing' your vision, how else did he help you? And have you two actually met?

TV: Well, believe it or not, I have never actually met him! I had heard about Abaddon – an imprint out of Rebellion – and wrote a zombie novel for them set in the Viking period (once again, far more research than was strictly) necessary - The Viking Dead.Then the Gisburne idea came up, and as that developed I started to converse with Jason online about medieval matters.


Mostly I was hassling him with trivial questions about medieval life. And weapons. Lots of weapons. I know a lot more about these things than I did at the start, but the one area about which I knew nothing at all was horses. Clearly, without horses, there can be no knights, so I have bent his ear about equine matters on numerous occasions, and there is no better ear to bend on this subject! He keeps saying I should visit and see his horses in action, which I really must do...

Hunter of Sherwood Book #1 
MM: What do you attribute to the ever growing fascination with all things medieval?

TV: I think it also comes down to very practical concerns. The world becomes more electronic, more virtual. The moving parts are no longer physically accessible – in fact, there are no moving parts - and at the same time we are engaging more and more with places, people and events who we do not meet and which we often cannot influence. The world is literally slipping out of our grasp.

That sounds melodramatic, but what it inspires in us is a desire to return to a more tactile world, where things are in our hands. That is not necessarily a historical period, but there are historical period where this state was the norm. If you wanted something done, you did it. If you wanted it made, you made it, and if it broke, you could fix it. These days, we make so little that is material, so it doesn't surprise me that we crave this immediacy and contact.


The anxiety of this growing disconnectedness is, I think, behind our fascination with zombies - and the answer to the zombie apocalypse is always to get out of the city, become self-reliant - know how to grow food, light fires, build – give up consumer goods (or die in a shopping mall) and carry an edged weapon. In other words, to survive zombies, you need to become more medieval.

The Viking Dead

MM: How did your research into arms and armour influence your writing? Such as did you ever don an Aketon or a Haubergeon/Hauberk of mail?

TV: One of the research processes for me has been gathering bits of kit so I know what they look and feel like. This is Gisburne's kit, so it's partly me thinking 'What would he carry? What would he need?' and partly just understanding those objects and the people who used them. I took up the longbow, I have an entire scrip bag full of stuff. It's Gisburne's traveling bag, with eating utensils, fire making kit, sewing kit for ongoing repairs to clothing and body, everything. There's even a 12th C razor in there, which was made for me by the legendary Tod of Tod's Stuff. He also made me Gisburne's eating knife - and important part of the story!


I also have a sharp sword, a mace, a dagger, and am pulling together bits of armour as my bank account will allow. One is a Spangenhelm with a faceplate, of a style that Gisburne could have worn (and it's the unfussy, practical style he would choose). This helmet is entirely supported by the neck and weighs a bloody ton. I know that if I wore this for an hour, I would have the mother of all headaches. But it's better than losing your head altogether. I should also add there is a mail coif and arming cap which goes under the helm.

Tolerances were different then. That's what becomes immediately clear. And yes, I've worn a hauberk, though have yet to own one! Putting stuff like this on speaks volumes. It's instant learning. With the helm, for example, the adjustment of the straps dictates the position of the eye holes, which in turn may dictate whether you live or die. It's those kinds of details that come home to you and give you respect for the people who lived through those times.

MM: Who or what have been your biggest literary influences?

TV: That's a complicated one, because many of the biggest influences aren't literary... I have been involved with film in one way or another – writing screenplays, reviewing, interviewing, teaching film at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge – for some time, and many of my points of reference are cinematic. When I am writing, I visualize – think of it as a film, really. The Gisburne books draw on a whole variety of influences, including Indy, Bond, The Dark Knight... (I actually quoted The Italian Job in the first book, but that was just mischief, really.

Having said that the medium is words, which need a style, and a texture. This has been shaped by years of writing as a journalist - partly just in terms of getting it done - and is informed by more influences than I can really quantify, but writers whose styles I love include Conan Doyle, H G Wells, Bruce Chatwin and Stephen King. They're all quite pragmatic writers who mostly strive for simplicity. In the realms of historical fiction, Bernard Cornwell is one of the few currently writing who really matters to me. Sometimes I encounter stuff that reads like 300 pages of research, but much as I love research I don’t really want that from a novel. Cornwell has that research in spades, but he knows it’s not really about that – that it’s about a great story, with great characters. And he just gets on with it, with that same pragmatism and simplicity. 

Pragmatism and simplicity are both qualities I greatly admire.And Beowulf. The Viking Dead was hugely influenced by my love for Beowulf - alliterative kenning and all...

MM:What does the future hold for Toby Venables?

TV: The next novel I want to write is a zombie saga set in late Victorian London and combines everything I love about that period. Starts out with a real, recognizable 1880s London, then gradually warps it, then destroys it. And goes all steampunk in the process. It's called Zombie & Son. I'm known for horror novels, but also (by quite a different audience) for historical adventure stuff. I hope this might draw those two together.

I would like to thank Toby Venables for taking the time to speak to Modern Medievalist today. We appreciate his willingness to give of his time, and share his work with us.

Each of the pictures in the article have a hypertext link which should take you to his various pages on Amazon. We will also include links to his personal blog, and his page at Abaddon Books.

Thank you Toby!

Toby Venables' Rebellion Profile



Toby Venables:

Venables' Blog- 
https://tobyvenables.wordpress.com/

Link to deleted scenes-
https://tobyvenables.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/the-red-hand-deleted-scenes-free-ebook-download/

Hunter of Sherwood Novels on Facebook-
https://www.facebook.com/guyofgisburne/?fref=ts

And the myth of the Moston Dragon, slain by Sir Thomas Venables-
http://mondrem.net/myths/Moston_Dragon.html









Monday, August 15, 2016

Watch this space!

 -WATCH THIS SPACE!-



It has long been my stated goal to expand and reach a wider audience with the posts of this blog, and by way our Facebook page of the same name.

Events are now in motion where our ability to do just that are happening. I will refrain from giving details but a strategic partnership to use the common vernacular is soon to be a reality.

In the interim, I  will endeavor to keep providing interesting content of a modern medieval nature to you my friends.

All my very best!

DS Baker.

Friday, November 27, 2015

To Crusade or not to Crusade.

   


 To crusade or not to crusade... That! Is the question of the day. Pope Urban II on this day 920 years ago at the Council of Claremont called for a Crusade. As events stand in the world, we are on the edge of a similar chasm today.

    As a rule, I don't generally write something on the Facebook page and then post it here. usually it is the other way around. However I felt it is time at least on this blog to ask a question. It comes at the end of my my latest Modern Medievalist-Facebook Editorial Comment:

    EDITORIAL COMMENT- It has been awhile since I opined on a subject. As a rule it is usually something about fighting rules or historical model vs. real world experience. I have however tried my very best to keep the worst of the modern day world from our pages. But recent events compel me to ask a question at the end of this essay.


Medievalists by their very nature tend to be conservative in their outlook on modernity. Most I believe look at the modern world ( At least in the privacy of their own mind.) askance at a lot of social changes that have swept the world in the past couple of decades or so. Which is why I think Medievalists are increasing in numbers. Meaning the more things change, the less sure the ground feels beneath their feet and they can be gripped with an intense need or desire to be anchored in their past. No one likes to feel they are adrift in the world.

Which leads us to the next interesting phenomena. Nationalism the has once more become a growing strident voice in the world. Especially if you have country where you live in, which has a long and involved history with the rest of the world.

I believe the underlying cause of modern nationalism has been the economic forces which have so completely rearranged modern society, both in the United States and abroad. Almost a full decade has existed where everything has been turned back to front and front to back.

We now have an entire generation who have little or no role models to choose from. Game consoles while fun, do not make a well rounded life or even remotely approaching what could be considered a normal life. And as a result the old symbols, which once raised armies of young men, off to defend their turf from the other turf warriors have come charging back once more into the forefront of our daily lives.

As a result, mass movements to realign old orders have broken out all over the world. South Ossetia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and the Ukraine, just to name a few.

We now have people who for the first time in their lives have seized a weapon. And with their weapons in hand, they now have a distinct and palpable form of real, not implied power at their fingertips. They hold the power of life or death over a growing multitude of others. Which as history has shown can be as addictive and more powerful than any drug yet invented. With the resulting and inevitable excesses following right behind them as a faithful dog.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 has finally borne the hateful fruit that was planted almost one hundred years ago. With the creation of extreme Islam, and for the first time in a hundred years, the ethnic groups that were ignored or were suborned to allow for a tractable ruler to reign over a large space of the Arab world have been thrown down. Ultimately it doesn't matter the reasons behind the why. What matters now is the HOW. How do we react or deal with this.

Where do we go from here... Do we answer the clarion call of Pope Urban II's demand for Crusade... Do we react with fear and anger to terrorist attacks... I know these are very serious questions and not to be taken lightly. Words have as much power as actions do. They have gravitas, they mean something. History has tottered back and forth over the precipice of doom many times, and has only edged back by wisely chosen words or phrases.

I know the disaffected are angry. The unemployed or the underemployed are angry. It is EASY to say "They hurt us! Me smash them!" But the consequences are far reaching, and to paraphrase a movie line, "Can echo through eternity."

I ask these questions because the average person walking the street is not yet angry. Most cannot say, My uncle died in Paris or my mother died in 9/11. That kind of personal loss hasn't yet really reached the average person of the USA or the EU. I am concerned if it does, then a Crusade will be called. And more importantly it will be answered. And once a thing of this nature is put into motion, then it will only end after one side gives up, regardless of how many bodies lay in the streets.

So what path do we take~Do we choose the one of reactionism and lash back. Or do we take a course where we make the decisions and make them react to our actions.-Not the other way around. How measured should our response be... what will be the limit of our actions. Because I am too old, and too broken down by life to carry a weapon. So the young ones will be the banner carriers, like they are in all wars. They will be the ones to carry our burdens. Think carefully about the weight of actions taken we are asking our youth to shoulder for the rest of their lives.

Go in peace.

David S. Baker Editor-in-Chief.
sorry for the lack of images.
Google Chrome is once again unable
to load a simple image from 

my computer.
Note MY COMPUTER not their damnable online program.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Modern Medievalist Women of Excellence-Volume Two

"THE AMAZONS"
FROM
THE NUREMBERG CHRONICLES CIRCA 1459


Welcome to Volume Two, of  Modern Medievalist Women of Excellence.

As a father of a young woman, I have often struggled to explain the actions of people, or the attitudes that have been perpetuated down through the centuries. Some ideas and actions I have seen as malevolent practices to keep a woman under control, and others as a form of lazy propaganda that has flourished in a nutrient rich soup of misinformation, where such things grow.

It is then my duty and my honor to show her examples of excellence, to help her become the best version of herself that she can be.  What follows is an excerpt of a much larger article.


~The things we know to be true.~
An example of what I am talking about~Everyone knows a sword can cut your head off. So if you swing it at someone in armour, you are going to cut through their armour like tissue paper and they are going to die! Everyone knows that!

So everyone knew that men fought. And women stood alongside and cleaned up the mess afterwards. There were no female warriors nor were women capable of defending themselves. Everyone knows that!

What statistics have shown is that women have always fought. They have always been there, step by step with their male counterparts.

Kameron Hurley in her award winning blog entry-discusses what the world knows and what it thinks it knows and the reality between the two:
http://aidanmoher.com/blog/featured-article/2013/05/we-have-always-fought-challenging-the-women-cattle-and-slaves-narrative-by-kameron-hurley/

I wanted to share with my readers the women of today who are making their own way, cutting the brush and leaving a path for others to follow.


I don't know exactly when you could point to an exact date that things started to change in this modern world of ours. But I think you could safely say January 1st, 2001. It was a new year, a new century, and a new millennium, and with this 'newness' came a change in attitude. Women began to look around and think to themselves "Hey I could do this." And as most people will tell you, thinking you can do something is the first step in actually doing something.

The original post had over thirty women and their profiles featured. It initially started out as a small post about Women Jousters. It quickly morphed, and as one subject put it, "Diversified", to become something much larger than what was originally intended. I have decided to change the post and pick twelve women from around the world and share their stories. I will continue to do this until all 30 + have been profiled.

On an editorial note: The pictures used in this article and subsequent articles have been shared with me by the subjects. There is no advertising on my blog, nor will I make any money from it. This is for educational purposes only. All rights remain with the authors and all watermarks have been kept intact as they were given to me. ( I am using them under the fair use act.)

This post is dedicated to the amazing women who live in what I call the Modern Medieval World. It is also for the fourteen-year old young woman who keeps me inspired.


What follows is an index of female personages I have interacted with as the founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Medievalist. The list is far from complete, and if anyone has been left out, it is because of time constraints, schedules, or my own failings.

To the women in this post~Thank you for holding the torch aloft so others might follow.

-DS Baker.

The United States of America:

Stacy Wasson:  NYC, NY.

SCA fighter, Equestrian, Jouster, Living History Interpreter/Docent and School Teacher.
Equestrian enthusiast who has been on horseback for the past 40 years.
"I started riding when I was seven years old, one of my younger brothers had died from childhood leukemia - and friends of the family had thought it would be therapeutic for my parents. My parents in turn gave me the option to begin riding lessons - what little girl wouldn't want to take riding lessons?"

"Being Jeff Wasson's wife, people think he was the one who got me into jousting. It was the other way around. He supported my efforts with Medieval Scenarios and Recreation. The next year he was on a horse. That was almost 14 years ago."

(Jeff Wasson is a well known armorsmith who works for a number of museums, jousters and reenactors around the world.)










I am an equestrian enthusiast who has been on horseback for the past 40 years. I began jousting in 2002. 

Being Jeff Wasson's wife, a lot of people probably think he was the one who brought me into jousting - but it's actually the opposite!


We met in 2000 when we were both doing armoured rattan combat in the SCA. I belonged to another medieval group Medieval Scenarios and Recreation -- they actually owned horses and had what they called their "Horse Project" which was a group of members recreating "the sport of kings" with balsa tipped lances. 

I started jousting and Jeff was totally taken with the endeavor. He did everything he could to help out - and the next year he was up there jousting with me. It's been a family effort ever since. Our daughter Emma has grown up around the joust and at this point she has squired at countless tournaments - many of which have taken us all to other states and even other countries!

(From left to right, XIV Century Blackened Armour; WWII 3rd Army Combat Nurse, XV Century Armour with her own distinctive Coat of Arms.-Armour made by Jeff Wasson.

Armour By Jeff Wasson:

http://www.wassonartistry.com/armor.php

Amanda Michaels: Kingman, Arizona.

SCA fighter, Artisan, Armorsmith and Textile Artisan. 
Business owner, Paramedic









From her Art and Crafts page on Facebook-
https://www.facebook.com/windyvalleyfinearts/?fref=ts

"I've been an artist all of my life and when I was younger I did a lot of cartoon, comic book and fantasy art. It wasn't until I got involved in the Society for Creative anachronism that I started studying medieval artwork. I started out doing medieval-ish manuscript illumination pieces for SCA awards, and gradually started studying historical pieces. That eventually led me to a much stronger desire to do things more authentically within my ability"

On her love of sword fighting:
"I first started sword fighting as a kid, with sticks, broom handles or whatever I could get my hands on but not as a martial art until my early 20's when I joined the SCA. I started out fencing and then developed an interest in armored combat and eventually dropped fencing altogether in favor of that. This has been a decade long journey."

Tobi Beck: Indianapolis, Indiana.

Army Major (ret.) Knight SCA, Duchess (SCA)



Tobi Beck is one of the few women knights in the Society of Creative Anachronists. The count is currently at 43 Female Belted Knights in the entire society. Which incidentally is one of the largest standing armies in the world. While I’ve traveled the country growing up, and then in the military, I currently live just outside of Indianapolis IN, USA.

If you don’t count the wrestling with my brother, I started martial arts when I was 14, taking Judo and Jujitsu. When I was 18 I authorized in full contact armored combat, as a birthday present to myself. I’ve been fighting in heavy combat since for over 30 years. In the Army (Military Police-Strategic Force.), it was easy to extend my training time to include hand to hand and Pugil stick practice.

I first got into SCA fighting because it was a full contact sport, there really aren’t many of those to work with out there. 

It appeals to me for a number of reasons, the fun of knowing that my opponent and I are both working hard to hit the other, but neither of us will be seriously hurt. There are skills developed there that can’t be developed anywhere else. 

There is a confidence that is created when you know, really know, that you are not a victim, and can and will defend yourself, and those around you. There is a camaraderie of those that fight, and that is also enjoyable.
The family Motto: "Das Schwert ist Familie "The Sword is Family"

Australia:

Sascha Buchmann: Newcastle, New South Wales.

Jouster, Horse Trainer/Rehabilitator, Educator.


I began riding in historical reenactment events in New Zealand in 2003, mostly Dark Ages/Viking and 14th Century, and was soon approved to Level 3 (Jousting) by the International Jousting Association (IJA). We moved to Australia, where I trained my own horses for the joust and contributed to over fifty ridden Skill at Arms and Jousting displays and tournaments. I competed and placed in Skill at Arms and Horse Archery competitions overseas riding unfamiliar horses, including at the 600th Anniversary of Grunwald in 2010, as well as in Italy, the Netherlands and more. I was ranked in the Top 10 in Skill at Arms by the International Jousting League (IJL) that year. I organised several seminars on horse archery, and won a Gold medal in the Olympic Bareback Division at the 2012 World Firefighter Games (on foot). Nowadays I am mentoring several novice riders on their horsemanship journey, with a special consideration of rehabilitating rescue horses and bring them along to the best of their abilities.

I encountered 18th Century Cavalry riding at a multi-period event in 2010, and soon established the NSW branch of the local D Troop Hussars. In 2014 I attended the German Cavalry Championships and learnt about equipment standards and disciplines in cavalry reenactment. On return home I bought a green mare and we soon started competing in Horse Trials/Three Day Eventing at Newcomer level. This year I had the chance to ride at the 200th Anniversary of Waterloo. This massive event was held on the actual historical battlefield in Belgium, among 100 cannons, 400 riders and over 8,000 riflemen and had 70,000+ spectators including members of Royalty. This event had been planned for over five years and became one of the biggest Equestrian reenactments the world has ever seen. We are now preparing further events with the Australian Light Horse and their British counterparts.

I had been authorised and competed as a Close Contact Heavy Combatant in the Society for Anachronism (SCA) Barony of Southron Gaard around 2004, and have also been metal fighting in Dark Age groups. With my team I have won the back then only New Zealand-wide Swordfight Competition, and today participate in international events, most recently the 1000th Anniversary of Clontarf in Ireland. I believe weekly practise with period-close weaponry and armour is a necessary foundation for Mounted Melee and Combat, and am regular attending talks and workshops to further my knowledge.

One of the things Buchman feels passionate about is the rescuing of horses, which she often uses and helps in her living history pursuits:

https://www.facebook.com/Living-History-with-Horses-
278980298808490/?fref=ts&__mref=message_bubble


Bronwyn Elliott: Sydney, New South Wales.

Photographer, Business owner, Medical Care, and Mother to the Elliott Mob and Sister to Strays Everywhere-(Including the Author.)












Proud to be a retired member of 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers, and active in their RSO club. Elliot has been taking pictures for the past 15 years. With a special interest in the Medieval Scene in Australia.  Known for her large aperture lense Camera~a Canon 7d (which is a crop sensor, sports body camera) with a 50 to 500 mm lens . She specializes in the medieval events. 

She owns her own Photography Studio Eclectasy:
http://eclecstasy.weebly.com/

Elliot is a true original. "I would rather be an original than live the life of a copy."

Sarah Hay:  South West Sydney, New South Wales.

Jouster, TAFE Instructor, Equestrian





I have been riding since before I could walk and have competed all through pony club, hacking, western riding, camp drafting, side-saddle, jumping, sport events, dressage, mounted archery and now jousting.

Started balsa jousting in Australia in 2008, and started jousting internationally in 2010. Having jousted in New Zealand, USA, Canada, Belgium, France, Poland and Denmark. 

Each year I try to do at least 2-3 international jousting trips around the world.
Motto – ‘Courage. Passion. Integrity.’

My number one jousting and mounted archery horse is a ¾ Friesian warmblood – Femke. Trained for jousting and mounted archery by me.

I run Tournament Australis, which is part of a tri-part jousting series called the Southern Cross Jousting Series in NSW, Australia.
Career highlights 
-highest ranking rider on the International Jousting League ranking table.
-Australian champion jouster
-being the first woman ever to win a number of particular jousting tournaments around the world, including a historical joust.

Short Jousting Video of Sarah Hay vs. Stacy Wasson:


ISRAEL

Ira Rogozovsky:
 Petah Tiqwa, Hamerkaz, Israel.
Soldier, Archaeological Student. Bohurt Fighter.


Latvian Immigrant, who had to learn Hebrew. Rogozovsky became a Non Commissioned Officer In the Infantry. Later she transitioned to an emergency response team. She is a full time Student of Archaeology and BOTN/IMCF Live Steel Fighter. 

On sword fighting-"I do mostly Bohurt, I like the teamwork it requires, the feeling you are not alone on the battlefield, the trust that is required among team members, the strategy and tactics you have to use... all of this makes Bohurt a wonderful sport in my eyes."

On the biggest surprise of her fighting career thus far, "Halberd blow to the head! It really makes you reevaluate your training methods!"

As as statement to the world, "You have to have the will to fight. With it, you can overcome the training. You can get used to the armour bites and the bruises. It is actually easy if you want it. But if you don't have the desire or the will to push through, then you have no business in the BOTN or Bohurt fighting."

Battle of the Nations 2014 Women's Profights. Skye (Australia) v Ira (Israel):

IRELAND

Caroline Walsh: Galway, Ireland.
Photographer, HEMA Sword Fighting Student. Photographic Asst. Editor Modern Medievalist-(Facebook.)


Interesting fact: Developed a robust fantasy and promotional photography business despite having suffered the loss of vision in one eye.
Got my first camera at 16 out of my first wage packet and lived on nothing for a week to pay for it. I loved to capture moments .....or memories ....it was like a way of keeping them for myself.

Her motto is: "The purpose of life is a life of purpose."

Two nights a week she can be found at the The Irish School of Historical Combat:


Asa Cidh: Uppsala, Sweden.

Historical Reenactor, Equestrian, Jouster, Horse Trainer.





I live in Uppsala, Sweden.

I've been riding all my life. Show jumping, reining, dressage, jousting and lately working equitation. I compete internationally in both jousting and working equitation. I also do lot of liberty dressage shows.

I started jousting cause I wanted something fun and challenging to do with my horse. At first I only did show jousting, but later on I started competing.

I love the adrenaline rush combined with the art of riding. 
I've been riding since I was 6 years old and jousting for 13 years.

I have 3 horses. A knabstrupper (danish breed) named Helge, a lusitano named Algarve and a quarterhorse named Majors Lovely Arwen.


My motto (at least in show jousting) is "oderint dum metuant" (let them hate as long as they fear)

Canada:

Myriam Guèvremont: Quebec, Canada.
Horse Trainer, Sword Fighter, Jouster, Entertainer, and Business Owner.



Myriam Guèvremont Alias (Gabrielle De foix. stage name.)

I have been horseback riding since I was eight years old. I started sword fighting and training since 1996.

Since 2001 I have been learning and practicing médieval games, skill at arms and jousting, mostly for show or friendly competition. I just started two years ago practicing the art of horseback archery ( I love it).

I have been teaching horseback riding at my equestrian center in Québec since 2005. 

I love horses, costumes, shows, acting, fighting and working with passionate people and a medieval show puts it all together.

Co-Owner/Founder of Les Terres du Rohan:  



A full service place for leisure western riding, classical and medieval / medieval Horse show on request / Tournament medieval-style / medieval Training Camps / Camps equestrian day / Medieval Wedding Package turnkey including a knightly tournament and a carousel ladies. Equestrian Clinic. Archery. LARP games.

Here is the link to the Ekasringa Equestrian Circus Myriam helped to found, which also helped her to develop her artistic and athletic abilities.

http://www.cirqueequestre.com/#

Caroline LaBrie: Laurentines, Quebec

Jouster, Equestrian Trainer, Event Coordinator and Mother


Caroline has always been a horse lover. She finally realized her dream and bought her first one in 2003, two years after her debut in the medieval hobby where she already was aspiring to joust. 

In 2005, she reached her goal and began to sharpen her skill in local tournaments. Sometimes exchanging the armor for medieval gowns, Caroline also loves carousels and “Pas de deux”. 

In 2008, she participated in her first international competition in Belgium, the well known IJL tournament “Hackaland” in Seraing. 

She placed in third position in 2012 at « les Médiévales de Lachute » in Québec and In 2013, she accompanied two friends who were competing at the reputed Arundel Tournament in England. Caroline loves to travel and meet other horse and medieval enthusiasts.

Some exciting new challenges lurks ahead, like the second jousting season of her purebred Canadian stallion Skippy , a new jousting armor and the renewed collaboration between her company, Arion and the Duché de Bicolline for the organisation of the second International jousting tournament for 2016 and other equestrian events.
Caroline is the owner of:
Arion Productions: (Google Translation)-
Equestrian entertainment and shows

Founded in 2013, Arion work in the creation and realization of animations and performances inspired equestrian flavor of history, tales and mythology.

The company specializes in the creation, development, support and management of animation and horse show. From the administration needed when starting the project, the design and creation of sets and equipment, coordination of staff at events and large-scale festivals; the range of services offered is varied.

Gravitating since 2001 in the field of medieval horse show, these years of experience are consolidated with a curious and creative mind and a very good knowledge of horses and needs related to them (resources, equipment, infrastructure ... etc).

Always on the lookout for what is done in the middle for historical reenactments, demonstrations and horse shows, Arion Productions aspire to offer you original and high quality services to the public.


Once again I would like to thank all of the participants in this article. Without their willingness to share and allow my blog into their lives, this article would not have been possible.

Look soon for Volume Three coming soon!

DS Baker.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Modern Medievalist Women of Excellence-Volume One.

"Penthesilea leading the Amazons" by Christine de Pizan, c. 1460."


As a father of a young woman, I have often struggled to explain the actions of people, or the attitudes that have been perpetuated down through the centuries. Some ideas and actions I have seen as malevolent practices to keep a woman under control, and others as a form of lazy propaganda that has flourished in a nutrient rich soup of misinformation, where such things grow.

It is then my duty and my honor to show her examples of excellence, to help her become the best version of herself that she can be.  What follows is an excerpt of a much larger article.


~The things we know to be true.~
An example of what I am talking about~Everyone knows a sword can cut your head off. So if you swing it at someone in armour, you are going to cut through their armour like tissue paper and they are going to die! Everyone knows that!

So everyone knew that men fought. And women stood alongside and cleaned up the mess afterwards. There were no female warriors nor were women capable of defending themselves. Everyone knows that!

What statistics have shown is that women have always fought. They have always been there, step by step with their male counterparts.

Kameron Hurley in her award winning blog entry-discusses what the world knows and what it thinks it knows and the reality between the two:
http://aidanmoher.com/blog/featured-article/2013/05/we-have-always-fought-challenging-the-women-cattle-and-slaves-narrative-by-kameron-hurley/

I wanted to share with my readers the women of today who are making their own way, cutting the brush and leaving a path for others to follow.


I don't know exactly when you could point to an exact date that things started to change in this modern world of ours. But I think you could safely say January 1st, 2001. It was a new year, a new century, and a new millennium, and with this 'newness' came a change in attitude. Women began to look around and think to themselves "Hey I could do this." And as most people will tell you, thinking you can do something is the first step in actually doing something.

The original post had over thirty women and their profiles featured. It initially started out as a small post about Women Jousters. It quickly morphed, and as one subject put it, "Diversified", to become something much larger than what was originally intended. I have decided to change the post and pick twelve women from around the world and share their stories. I will continue to do this until all 30 + have been profiled.

On an editorial note: The pictures used in this article and subsequent articles have been shared with me by the subjects. There is no advertising on my blog, nor will I make any money from it. This is for educational purposes only. All rights remain with the authors and all watermarks have been kept intact as they were given to me. ( I am using them under the fair use act.)

This post is dedicated to the amazing women who live in what I call the Modern Medieval World. It is also for the fourteen-year old young woman who keeps me inspired.


What follows is an index of female personages I have interacted with as the founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Medievalist. The list is far from complete, and if anyone has been left out, it is because of time constraints, schedules, or my own failings.

To the women in this post~Thank you for holding the torch aloft so others might follow.

-DS Baker.

Canada:

Alison Mercer: Calgary, Canada.

Historian, Jouster.







I began jousting in 2011 with Radar Goddard’s Society of Tilt and Lance Cavalry in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

With an extensive background in historical re-enactment, a keen interest in the court of Kaiser Maximilian I, and 20+ years of riding experience, jousting seemed to be the next logical step. 

I rode internationally for the first time in 2012 at Lysts on the Lake in Taylor, Texas and since then have ridden at tournaments and events in California, eastern Canada, and Australia, where I was thrilled to win the joust at Sarah Hay’s lovely Tournament Australis in 2014. 

I ride in a 1470s Italian armour done to German taste, made by Marc Hamel. 

When I’m not jousting, I work as the curator of the Air Force Museum of Alberta. I live on a farm east of Calgary, with three horses, lots of books, and a spoiled cat.


Motto: Fortiter and Fideliter (Boldly and Faithfully)

Australia/New Zealand:

Samantha Sword: Quebec, Canada.

Special Effects Technician, Stuntwoman, Swordfighter/Fencer.














I have always been passionate about medieval warrior culture. My mum made me my first sword when I was four and I was also really adventurous; I would have sword (stick) fights at school with any friends that I could talk into it, along with tree and rock climbing, skiing in the winter, and horse-riding through the bush when I was at home.
I was very inspired by the Lord of the Rings as a teenager and as soon as I finished high school I moved to New Zealand to find work in the film industry. At the same time I sought out anything I could find on medieval fighting. I found discussions about 'Western Martial arts' online in some obscure forum. It was my first confirmation of what I had always known deep down from childhood, that the medieval warriors were precise, skilled, and had a sophisticated understanding of close combat. I wanted to know everything about it!

My sword studies paralleled my film career. I took a course to be a film and theatre technician and was lucky enough to be accepted at the special effects company Weta Workshop, where I trained alongside amazing artists making prop weapons, armour and many bizarre things for four years.

Throughout that time I was also studying swordsmanship, having found some excellent teachers in the Wellington area. I began to train in jousting too, but I wasn't able to prioritise enough time to do very well with it.

Occasionally I had the opportunities to travel overseas and whenever I did, I would seek out any groups practicing swordsmanship and train with them.

This was just before 'HEMA' and the heavy medieval battle competitions had picked up real momentum, so it was difficult to find other historical swordplay clubs without word of mouth. 

Women were also rare to find in these circles, and I dreamed of starting a group for the minority of female sword fighters to network across the world. Some swordfighting ladies in Mexico beat me to it, creating the resource 'Esfinges' (Sphinxes) and I'm really proud to have watched the group quadruple in size over just a few years.

I began to compete at New Zealand's medieval events, and in 2013 I won the longsword division of a major international jousting competition held every two years. This was a shock for me as I wasn't that invested in competitions, but I was using them to see how much of my technique I could retain under pressure. 
The publicity around my winning that event has changed many things for me. It put me in front of a lot of people who wanted to know about medieval martial arts, and also drove me to commit to swordsmanship as a serious scholar, athlete and representative of a larger international community.

It has been a real privilege to connect with many people across the world and help them pursue their passion with the sword, as well as watch the tidal wave of interest grow for many different medieval sports. I'm excited to see how things will grow over the coming years, as we start to become recognised and valued in the wider world.

I am a special effects technician whose film credits include The Hobbit Trilogy, Narnia, Superman: Man of Steel, Elysium, District 9 and Warcraft. I also enjoys acting and stunt performance work. I was most recently interviewed in 'Back to the Source', a feature-length documentary about the community reviving Historical European Martial Arts.


"Back to the Source" on Youtube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DBmNVHTmNs&feature=iv&src_vid=mmTi-NGQNh8&annotation_id=annotation_1550587333

Katrina Kruse: Port Douglas, Queensland.

Stunt Pilot, Equestrian Trainer, Jouster, Horseback Archery









I started learning to fly in 1990 and in 1994 I was the Australian Advanced Aerobatic Champion. Still the only woman to have won that title here. 

I've been riding for over 40 years. and grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney. As a kid I loved jumping, Eventing was a passion, but I didn't bounce so well as I got older. My worst fall to date fractured 4 vertebra, as a result I got seriously into dressage in my mid thirties. But it gets a bit boring after my adrenalin sports.

I started teaching beginners to ride at my local riding school when I was 14 and have been teaching all sorts of horse riding disciplines ever since.

In 2009 I started Skill at Arms as something fun to do after seeing my first joust, but I thought jousting was crazy and really did not plan on doing that. 

A friend suggested we give horse archery a go and so we did, at our first horse archery show in April 2010 after only starting archery 5 months prior and shooting off a horse for the first time 4 months before the show. There is nothing like a deadline to make you get off your arse and get something done. 

I found this cantering along with no reins, not looking where my horse was going, and shooting my bow gave me more of my confidence back and I decided to try Balsa jousting. I was already winning a few local Skill at Arms events and had three of my horses trained in it. After about 5 weekends of training and borrowing a few bits of harness and quickly having some more made to fit me I did my first joust two months (June) later at Winterfest. My first pass was against an international competitor. 

I had a fun 12 months competing and doing shows in Sydney and one year later (2011) I won Australia's premier event the Abbey International Tournament of the Golden Fleece. 

In 2011 I did my first international Horse Archery competitions in Japan.This is where I got the idea to run an event on the beach. I also was honoured to be one of the first women and foreigners to compete at the Hirosaki 400th anniversary horse archery tournament. 

In 2012 My partner and I moved to Far North Queensland for a Sea Change ( it took as a week to drive up with the horses and trailers. It is a looooong way) I was fortunate to meet Derek Barnes who used to joust in England for 10 years and he showed me 'theatre' style jousting. Which we now do at shows up here as its too hot and humid to wear full plate harness. 

I had already started Medieval Horse Sports Australia to run competitions in Sydney for Jousting, Skill at Arms, Horse Archery and Working Equitation. After the move I continued to grow it and teach these skills as well. 

As there is more scope for horse archery to grow, and it suits my climate better, I have focused mostly on that, spending about 25 weeks a year on the road teaching around Australia and New Zealand and usually 6 to 8 weeks away training and competing internationally. Poland, Iran, Japan, Korea, USA, Singapore, next year (2016) Sweden, and France.

I also started the Australian Horse Archery Association in 2013 and got the State and National championships started here. We also run the only international horse archery event in the Southern Hemisphere. Its Called Yabusame on the Beach and it is a Japanese-style course with targets that break when you hit them, on our local beach with crowds of over 5000 people coming to watch. 

My Wins to date are:

2010 & 2011 NSW Horse Archery Champion
2011 Second Winterfest International Joust
2011 Champion Abbey International Joust 
2013 Bronze Medalist at Hirosaki, Japan International Horse Archery tournament
2013 & 2014 Australian Horse Archery Champion
2014 Bronze medalist at Grodeck Horse Archery competition, Poland
2014 Silver Medalist World Horse Archery Championships (Korea) for Masahe
2015 Dual Gold Medalist World Horse Archery Championships (Korea) for Masahe and Mogu 
2015 Reserve Champion Australian Horse Archery Championships (beaten by one of my students)

Motto-"Singular Laude," Which is Latin for "Dare to be Unique."

 Katrina has been a part of, or founded several organizations-Medieval Horse Sports Australia:

https://www.facebook.com/Medieval-Horse-Sports-Australia-207829159242166/timeline

The Knights of Camelot:
https://www.facebook.com/Knights-of-Camelot-134080663436507/?fref=ts


United States of America:

Amy Graham: West Jordan, Utah.

Live Steel fighter, IMCF Team USA Gold Medalist Team 2014, and returning to Team USA 2015. Gastric Bypass Bariatric Surgery Success. 











From Amy's Blog:
http://badassvalkyrie.com/

"That’s what I love the most I think…knowing that I can be a role model for someone out there who didn’t have any idea this sport even existed."
~And~
"Those moments when I can’t bear the thought of being encased in armor, or confined by steel & leather, knowing I will end up face down in the dirt more than once…it's the love of this sport and the look of wonderment in the eyes of every woman and every little girl, that has ever come up to me excited because she knows she can learn to be a Knight, too."

Australia:Skye Burnie: West Hoxton, New South Wales.

Sword Fighter, Fencer, Interior Design Student.






"I started off doing the lighter reenactment until I met my partner Bryce and he introduced me to full contact fighting and Battle of the Nations. I went to a couple of his training session and he showed me several videos and I was hooked! Not only was this a more involved historical fighting style but also the fact that it was treated as a sport and not a mere hobby got my blood pumping, none of this reenactment tappy tap and limited strike zones. 
I especially enjoy the group Combat/5v5 fighting more than the duels and it's more to what the guys train in over here, I enjoy the strategy and teamwork involved in the bohurts."

On the difficulties of being a lone sword fighter:

"
What has been the hardest part of being a competitive sword fighter? I think the hardest part is not having a lot of people knowing that this is a sport, it wasn't until this year that our Sydney- based team (Team Havoc) had a huge influx of people interested and that was after we came back from Battle of the Nations in Prague. The last couple of years we've only had 7 serious fighters training every week which gets a bit tough when you're trying to work out group tactics. The other hurdle is just being female, there aren't a lot of girls out there that know about this and as much as I try to get it advertised in the last couple of years to try and get a training buddy some girls that do show up tend to lose interest after a month or so after they realise how physically demanding this sport is. I am happy to announce that within the last month we have picked up another female fighter who consistently shows up for training."


Kingdom of the Netherlands

Esther Veldstra: Heerenveen, the Netherlands


BOTN/Bohurt/IMCF sword fighter, viking age living historian, Functional analyst in software, mother of two boys.



I do Full Contact medieval combat. Mostly duels, but profights and bohurt whenever I have the chance. I am the only female fighter in the Netherlands, so there are very few training opportunities. Bohurt needs at least 6 participants to make it interesting. Whenever I get the chance, I travel abroad to join events. 

Because there are so few opportunities to actually practice this sport in the Netherlands, I spend a lot of time doing cardio- and strength exercises. I picked up kickboxing to improve my stamina, footwork and reaction speed. I also spend a lot of time organising things for my fellow fighters and answering questions for those interested in joining the sport. 

I picked up my first sword almost four years ago. That's when I started training in early medieval, western style competitive fighting. Though it was exciting to do, I quickly grew tired of it. Mainly because a light tap on the shoulder was enough to beat someone. Since the participants are very lightly, or not at all armoured, you as a fighter are essentially responsible for your opponents bruises. I believed this type of sword fighting had very little to do with actual fighting. I, and a group of men who shared that idea, eventually just started doing full contact fighting and now the Dutch full contact movement is slowly taking shape. 

We sent our first team to Battle of the Nations in 2015. Though we got our asses kicked, we did have an unforgettable experience. Now, new members are joining our ranks and the sport is growing.

"United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". 

Francesca Terminiello: Greater Surrey Area, England.

Journalist, HEMA Instructor, Esfinges Administrator Europe











Francesca Terminiello is an instructor at School of the Sword, where she has studied Bolognese swordplay and rapier since 2010. 

Together with her husband, Piermarco, Fran gave a workshop at HEMAC Fiorentia 2014, the first of its kind teaching techniques from Giganti’s ‘lost’ second book of 1608. 

This is a work which Piermarco discovered, translated and published in 2013 with Joshua Pendragon. In March 2014 she demonstrated some of these techniques at a lecture delivered by Piermarco and Joshua at The Wallace Collection, London UK.

In 2013 Fran co-founded Waterloo Sparring Group, with members from HEMA clubs all over the south of England.


As ‘Agent in Europe’ Fran helps to manage Esfinges, a worldwide organisation for women in HEMA.

Here is a link to the HEMA School she teaches:
http://sword.school/

Here is the link to her Fencing Group:
http://waterloosparring.com/

Here is the link to Esfinges on Facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/EsfingesHEMA/


United States of America:

Sandra Lagnese: Columbia, South Carolina.

Soldier, Mother, and Live Steel Sword Fighter.












Mother of two sons, 10 and 8 years old. US Army Veteran, now in South Carolina National Guard (recently activated during historic flood and flood relief efforts). Gold medal winner on Team USA 2014 Castle Belmonte International Medieval Combat Federation Tournament. Co-Founder of the Palmetto Knights, a Live Steel Sword Fighting Organization. 

From their website:
"Palmetto Knights, headquartered in Columbia, SC and supporting the greater Southeastern region of the USA, is a non-profit organization dedicated to a holistic and inclusive approach to the research, training, demonstration and competition in various forms of historic martial arts both domestic and international."

Sandra even helped to craft her own armour based on XIV Century French models. 


"I break gender roles because I always wanted to be a knight. And I served my country and I continue to do so."

Palmetto Knights Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/palmettoknightshsct/

Palmetto Knights Website:
http://www.palmettoknights.com/


Bess Mortimer:  Dual Citizen of Canada and USA!

Knight SCA, Viscountess SCA, Women's Team Leader/Captain Team USA Belmonte Spain 2014.












Bess Mortimer is one of the few women knights in the Society of Creative Anachronists. The count is currently at 43 Female Belted Knights in the entire society. Which incidentally is one of the largest standing armies in the world. She consistently led her team, Team USA, by example. 

{At the 2014 Castle Belmonte IMCF International Tournament, she voluntarily stepped aside, so ALL members of her team would have a chance to fight and participate.}-Reported by several members of the team and observers. 

"I have always lived by two statements. One- Just because it's hard doesn't mean it's impossible. Two- Above all be true. This ties into part of my knights oath "to ever be a good knight and true" and finally from the saying " to thine ownself be true.""

Sweden

Caroline Egemalm: Uppsala, Sweden.

Historical Reenactor, Historical Archer (XV Century Burgundian) XIV Century Knight Reenactor/Jouster. Trainer. Mother.









I started riding at the age of 6.


Showjumping and dressage has always been my prior alignment, but have tried hunting, eventing, WE etc.


In -96 I tried jousting for the first time and was hooked!



The horse I'm jousting with is my 16 yr 

old thoroughbred/connemara cross gelding, named Lindens Martell.

Started jousting in 1996.
Currently jousting with a XIV Century Harness or Suit of Armour. In the process of updating to XV Century Gothic Harness.

Since I live on a farm with 2 kids, 11 and 13 yo, and run my own company as a hairdresser, I nowadays only do the competition jousting
and some archery.
I've been jousting in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania, Belgium, France, England, 
New Zealand, Australia and Poland, my favourite and second home.

A sneak peek at my achievements
-08 1st Joust Hackaland, Belgium
-08 1st Skills-at-Arms Hackaland , Belgium
-09 Best Horseman Award Harcourt Park, New Zealand
-10 3rd Joust Gniew Tournament, Poland
-10 1st Skills-at-Arms Gniew Tournament, Poland
-10 3rd Joust European Championships Horsens, Denmark
-11 1st Skills-at-Arms Tournament Tourney, England
-11 1st Mounted Archery Tournament Tourney, England
-13 1st Joust Arctic Equestrian Games, Norway

On her philosophy on life and jousting:
"To prove that I can handle the task at least as good as anyone else. Perhaps it's mostly for myself. When I do something, whatever it is, I want to do it as good and accurate as possible. If I feel that I can't, I won't do it. It's not about winning, but to do it as I wish it should be done." 

When asked about her children squiring for her Egemalm replied, 

"Haha! Not really. Alva helps me out with the horse.They were born into it, so we try not to force them to do too much in the medieval circus, unless they want to."

Federal Republic of Germany

Melanie Grass: Boppard, Germany.

Medieval Full Contact Fighting and Show Fighting for Reenactment Markets.



Medieval Full Contact Fighting and Show Fighting for Reenactment Markets!  I fight in Germany, with Club Zitadelle e.V., Team Hessen. Show fighting with my reenactment group "Freie Halunken".

Once or twice per week training with some guys, especially with my trainer Malte Karnatz and three days per week in a fitness center working on my endurance and strength for this sport. 

Whenever I can, I travel around Europe and join tournaments or reenactment events. 

I love doing sports and I love the middle ages,  so I think historical sword fighting combines both perfectly. Besides, I've always loved competition, but none were previously connected as intense and with as much fun as full contact tournaments has with me. 

I have been show fighting for 3 years, full contact 1,5 year

And last but not least... Each volume will feature a photographer who makes the shots, and captures the moments which make all reenactors and medieval enthusiasts look good. For that we are all thankful.

Susan Sumer: Unterschleißheim, Germany.

Living Historian, Reenactor and Photographer.



I live near Munich in Germany; reenactor, fencer, fighter , photographer.

I’ve been interested in the life Medieval for quite some time and started to do Historical European Martial Arts about 5 years ago, mainly fencing with longsword, rapier and sword & buckler.

Gradually I became more and more interested in serious reenactment, mainly late medieval (end of 15th Century) and Early Medieval (mainly Danish and Kievan Rus 10/11 century) and also fencing and fighting within medieval events.

In Early Medieval Reenactment you have plenty of women fighting, either as man (as I do) or in women's clothing. In late Medieval this is not common at all and in several events you unfortunately are not allowed to wear men clothing and armor as a woman. 

I’m also a photographer with more than 10 years of experience, and I especially like to photograph medieval events, camping, fighting etc. It’s always difficult if you want to combine participating yourself in a battle and also trying to make pictures at the same time. But I love to capture the atmosphere of an event or a battle with my camera and try to impart this atmosphere with my pictures.

I love reenactment. It means doing research, and then reconstructing something as close to the original as possible. E.g. I use to dye all my fabrics myself with plant dyes that are documented for the respective time and then sew everything by hand with original stitches.

In closing I would like to thank each and every participant in this series. Originall as stated earlier it was intended to be a much smaller article. I for one am glad to overwhelmed with examples of Awesomeness. 

Thank you for visiting our blog. Please stay tuned next week when we publish Modern Medievalist Women of Excellence Volume #2! 

-DS Baker