Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Jousting!

Today is Sunday in my part of the world. It is a cool morning with a light overcast, and spotty rain. It is a day just made for relaxing.  I am doing my level best to ensure that there is a post each day for someone to read.

To that end, I am going to take the easy way out and share some links with you. Then I think I will go make a late breakfast for my child and spend a lazy day hanging out with her. She told me she wanted a Daddy/Daughter day. So be it.

Enjoy! All my very best!

DS Baker

The Phoenix Joust is almost here!

The UK group-War of the Roses Federation, is a great place to go spend several hours in the XVth Century. They have also re-posted an article on the search for Richard III.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Profile of Excellence: Jacques Marechal Photographer

There are people who take pictures and then there are Photographers. Jacques Marechal falls into the later category. His own biography states that he is from Belgium and he has worked any number of jobs, before going back to school and obtaining a certificate in photography.

Marechal has been shooting professionally since 1988. He rapidly established his professionalism photographing the F1 racing circuit. It was during his travels he began photograhing Castles and other medieval structures.

Marechal likes to photograph historical periods ranging from the Roman Empire through the High Middle Ages.-His professionalism and his ability to capture movement, and more importantly a moment, has allowed him unparalled access to some of the best medieval reenactment groups in Europe.

I think it is important to let his pictures tell his own story...

(c) Jaques Marechal

Forward through time, and through Marechal's lenses we travel to the 13th Century.

(c) Jacques Marechal
Gathering of the Bouvines Association-1214

Marechal has spent considerable time with various Jousters from around the world and also has spent a great deal of time shooting, Jousters affiliated with the International Jousting League.

(c) Jacques Marechal
Caroline Egeman
Uppsala, Sweden

(c) Jacques Marechal
(Left to Right)
Matthijis Wetsenburg, Joram van Essen, Wouter Nicolai, Jeffrey Hedgecock, Graham Turner
Fredric Piraux, Derk Groeneveld, and Dr. Tobias Capwell.

Marechal then takes his readers/viewers through time to various reenactment groups from all over Europe.

(c) Jacques Marechal
Marles 2008 with groups:
ESG, Oplanden, Via Romana, Legio XI CPF, and Legio X Gemina

(c) Jacques Marechal
With the group:
Guild of St. Olaf at the Middlaldercenter

(c) Jacques Marechal
(c) Jacques Marechal
With the Call to Arms 1474
A gathering in Bexbach
-This is normally a private gathering of 15th Century groups.-

For the readers of Modern Medievalist, I hope that you will enjoy the pictures you are viewing. All copyrights to the photographs displayed belong to Jacques Marechal, and are his solely. I was able to load these images by his permission.

I belive that Marechal is one of the finest examples of a Modern Medeivalist, currently operating in the world, let along Europe.
His websites and links are:

On the last link listed above, is a listing with links to books, Marechal has either published as the author or has provided the photograps for them.-His range of medieval photographs are stunning.

All my best!

DS Baker

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Profiles of Excellence: Malina Opatowiecka owner of "Lady Malina"

In an on-going quest to inform the Modern Medievalist world about the pursuit of excellence, I was recently introduced to Malina Opatowiecka of Poland.

To some of my American or Australian readers, you might not know who she is. Malina as she likes to be called is one of Europes biggest medieval fashion and equipment merchants. She is one of the co-founders of SPES-Medieval Market, and the recently launched "Lady Malina" medieval fashion line. Both of whom are located in Torun, Poland.

Recently she set aside her busy schedule to speak with Modern Medievalist, she was most gracious with her time.

Q:When did you attend your first ever medieval event?
A: It was in 2000. I had met some of my friends in a pub, and they asked me to come to the Grunwald/Tannenburg Battle. I said, "Yes."-It should be noted I had six months to prepare for the event.

Q:Why did you then choose to become a Tailor?
A: I had given a seamstress a bolt of beautiful fabric.She then made the dress the exact opposite of what I needed. So I decided I could do as well, if not better. So I dragged my mother's sewing machine down from the attic, and begun to sew.

Q:So let me try to understand... it didn't look period or what?
A: No. No it didn't. It took a great deal of trial and error, after a lot of hard work, I finally got the dress the way it should look.

Q:What then become the motivating factor for you to continue designing and sewing clothes?
A:The group I was in at the time-(Choragiew Ziemi Gornoslaskiej-translated into English as Silesian Earth Banner.) They the group had asked me to sew some clothes for them. I found out I liked it and one thing led to another.

Q:You went to Grunwald/Tannenberg with ChZG in 2000. What happened next?
A: Well our group joined with a larger group, one that is historically called a "Banner"

Q:What is a "Banner"
A:In order for a smaller group to be able to participate/fight at the battle, you need to belong to a much larger group or collectiong of groups. Usually called a "Banner". In the case it was the Banner of Konrad the VII, the White. It was there that I was noticed, and asked to be an Authenticity Officer.

Q: What is an Authenticity Officer?
A: I was the person for the Banner who approved or disapproved of the costumes. I was the person in charge of making sure everyone was in period clothing.

Q:I bet that didn't make you a very popular person?
A: No. No it did not. But I learned a great deal, and the group at first didn't like it. Soon though, they began to trust me and we collectively began to look period, and authentic.

Q: How long after that did you decied to make Tailoring your career?
A:It was in 2006. I had just graduated with my degree in Sociology. I then began making clothes full time. Then in 2007 with my two partners, Andrzej and Grzegorz Zmuda Trzebiatowski, we opened up SPES-Medieval Market.

Q: After that, what happened?
A: We as a group began to turn our company into one of the premier suppliers of clothing and equipment in Europe. On 01.06.12 I then registered the "Lady Malina" fashion label.

Q: How have you done since then?
A: Fantastic! We have really taken our company far. However no one knew that it was me who made the-"this is perfect or I'll buy from you again clothes." I wanted a way to express my personal designs, by coming up with my own label. My commission que is full until April of next year.

Q: In addition to showing off your desing skills, what do you want to do?
A: I want to become a personal fashion adviser. If a client comes to me, they can tell me what level of society and how authentic they want their clothing to be. I can absolutely help them every step of the way.

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: From historical, and extant pieces found in private collections and museums. I also look at medieval manuscripts like the Maciejowski Bible, the XIV Century Romance of Alexander, to name just two. However nice it is to look at medieval documents, you have to be careful. Because often what is being written or described and what has been painted are not the same thing. The best sources of design are from museums. My personal love is, to examine preserved historical garments.

Q:How many people are directly working for "Lady Malina?"
A: It is myself, and I have one seamstress who works directly under my direction, but it is my designs, my tailoring, and my creations. If I need to, I can call on other seamstresses to help out.

Q: What are the limitations for "Lady Malina Fashions"?
A:They are only limited to what my client wants. If they want machine stitching, I can do that. If they are living reenactors who want hand stitches, I can do that as well. Regardless of their level of reenactment or fancy dress, I can suit their needs. I will be there to personaly advise them as they need it.

To find Malina Opatowiecka, you can find her personal Facebook page at:

It should be noted, Malina is still an owner of SPES-Medieval Market.
The "Lady Malina" fashion label website is under construction.
To view her other efforts you can find her and her co-founders efforts at:

Their telephone number is: +48 605 309 768

I would very much like to thank Malina Opatowiecka for taking the time to sit through this interview. She very much exemplifies what a Modern Medievalist is all about!

All my best!

DS Baker

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Video Link. St. Wendel Tournament Joust!

Today's video link comes to us from Der Spiegel TV and You Tube!

To Quote the author from the Preview on You Tube-"In honour of the 500 year anniversary of the visit of emperor Maximilian the city of Sankt Wendel organizes a grand authentic knightly tournament. The best jousters in the world, from three continents and seven countries, were invited to a competition at the highest sporting level of a quality that hasn't been seen for hundreds of years."

Enjoy this short post. Another "Profile in Excellence" is in the offering soon!

All my best!

DS Baker

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Profile of Excellence: Maciej K'rol & Projekt 14!

Maciej Krol 
Frydlantsky turaj 2012

 There are multiple levels of Modern Medievalist interpretation that exists today. They vary from someone wearing a Celtic patterned pajama bottoms, with a bed sheet slit open, and used for a tabbard, to those who do not just wear period clothing... but for a brief period of time live it.

"Hard Core"-Meaning in the context of this article, someone or some organization that settles for nothing less than your best efforts.

Maciej Krol- Is a person I have just recently come to know. In the course of almost a week, we held a series of conversation via Private Message on Facebook; who to me exemplifies the very definition of "Hard Core." In the interview below, he tells of himself and his efforts in the Modern Medieval world.

Q: When did you get started doing living history/reenactment?
A: I got really involved in 2009.  I was lucky, a friend of mine was already involved in project Interregnum.
Interregnum was a project involved in specific period of time in Polish history, which was a civil war for a crown in 1382 to 1385-It gathered people of a high level of reenactment. People who were interested in history, not just playing knights.

Q: Where did you go from there?
A:Well Interregnum was a fine project, but soon appeared to be a bit tight for myself and some other people.
We suffer from very little number of good events, I thought that definitely there are people out there who might the same point of view as we had., that's why me and my close friend Aiuto aka Brahenogobius Xantozonus (whose real name is Michal Sosnowski) brought to life Projekt 14.

Brahenogobius Xantozonus
Frydlantsky turaj 2012.

Q: How do you see it organized like?
A:It's something like franchise, which means events my be organized by different people, clubs, organizations; but what want to achieve is, that when you hear about a Projekt 14 event, you know what to expect.

Q:So for those who do not know, what this might mean, can you tell us a bit more?
A: It is living history. So everything has to be proven. Be it armour, clothes characters or events. Armour and clothes don't need an explanation I think-It's pretty simple: find the source. If you are not sure-ask us we'll be gladly help you. Now the events, everything has to come from history. Which means if you want to organize an tournament, it cannot be a tournament. It has to be THE tournament-meaning it has to be a proven event. Not a hypothetical one.

Frydlantsky turaj 2012
Szymon Markowski, Josef Tyechlowicz Bares, Stanislave Armin Beran, 
Sebastian Karlsson, Kare Moller.
Q: How has the response been by the European reenactment community"
A:Till now we had two events by Projekt 14-Honor Vincit Omnia-last year and Calisia this year. Next season we are back with HVO and another event, both in Poland. But we have already been asked about conditions to meet to organize events in The Czech Republic and Spain.-We are glad to hear that it seems there are more crazy people like us in the world, people who are interested in living history-not just playing knights.

Honor Vincit Omnia 2011
(L to R)-
Michal Karpinski, Maciek Zapasnik, Maciej Krol, Massimiliano Simonetti
Lorifactor L. Lewandowski, Kamil Gryzmkowski and Pawel Skowronski.

Q:It is funny you ended your last statement by saying "not just playing knights." What do you mean?
A: A very important thing, most events are for knights, but knights were a very small part of the population. That's why we want our event to get all the people involved i.e. when we had the siege of Vilnius, civilians were there to throw stuff at the attackers from the walls. We try to get everyone involved.

Q: Some of my friends decided to become living history reenactors, it soon became almost an obsession. How has this affected you?
A: So I have found myself really into it. So silk and quite complex clothes and plenty of details, like silver coated spoons instead of wooden one, or glass instead of clay ect. This hobby is endless.

Q: If you could sum up your attitude on reenactment what would you say?
A: We want to have our events to be something different from what you might find everywhere. If you aim, aim high.

I would like to thank Mr. Krol for his time. Considering we were often dealing with a six hour time difference, familial duties on both sides of the connection, and trying to organize our thoughts into a common language. His efforts on my part are greatly appreciated.-Thank You.

Links to Maciej Krol on Facebook can be found here:
Links to Projekt 14 can be found here:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Katrina Kruse -Knight and Horse Archer-Modern Medievalist!

2011 Tournament of the Golden Fleece.
Katrina Kruse with her Angry Eyes!
(c) Nat's Snaps.

Today's post is just a short post. Mostly because my friend Katrina Kruse of Australia is in the midst of a 2,000 mile relocation. Instead of conducting an interview like I did with Zachary Most, I thought I would do a short pictorial posting. Katrina is an Australian Jouster of growing renown. As this is a Modern Medievalist Blog, I thought it important to profile the women of the world, who are jousting. Australia and New Zealand are both homes to some fantastic female competitors.

Tournament of the Golden Fleece 2011.
Justin Holland also of Australia, having Kruse's Lance shatter on
his helm! It broke off in his eye slot! Luckily Holland, suffered only
a black eye.

Kruse is a multi-talented person. Not only does she joust, she also is a competitive Horse Archer. Last year she was invited to participate in the Gappo Park Horse Archery Competition in Japan.

Practicing at the base of Hirosaki Castle, Japan.

Making her fist shot!

If you look closely, you can see her blue arrow, sitting in the target, as she is already drawing another arrow out of her quiver!
It should be noted, this competition is done at a full gallop!

Here is a link to You Tube. It is a short preview of
Japanese Bow built to Kill.

Here is a link to Horse Bows built by Kassai Lajos of Hungary.
*Who incidentally I would like to do an interview with. He is one of the driving forces behind the resurgence of the sport of Horse Archery.

I would like to think Katrina Kruse for allowing me to share her pictures! We will do a proper interview, once your move is completed, and you have had a chance to get your new world in order.

All my best!

DS Baker

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Zachary Most-Team USA & Battle of Nations.

Today I was fortunate to have had a phone interview with someone I have wanted to talk to for some time now. Zachary Most, is one of the rising individuals, that have come out of the SCA world, and joined what used to be called "Live Steel" fighting. I managed to catch him, just before he started a regional Team USA fighter practice.

Q:When did you discover the medieval world?
A: In the Spring of 1993. It was in upstate NY where I went to college. After school let out I went home to New Jersey, and went to my first event. I have been fighting every since.

Q: So just to give our readers a bit of information on you, are you a knight?
A: Yes I am. I also was recently inducted into the Order of the Laurel.

Q: For those not in the know, what is a Laurel.
A: There are four Noble Orders in the SCA,- Kings and Queens, with Princes, Princesses and other titled ranks, Then- Knighthood, Order of the Pelican and Order of the Laurel.

*-(This is a brief overview.)
Knighthood is usually attained through feats of arms, and oftentimes at a tournament either sponsored by or fighting for the crown of a Kingdom.-One of the visible symbols of Knighthood in the SCA is the wearing of a white belt.

The Order of the Laurel, is reserved for someone who has mastered a particular skill or craft. They are often times the keepers of period practices.

Q: You are also a Laurel?
A: Yes. I am a smith, I make my own armour, and I am a glass blower and I am also into playing music.
* From pictures I have viewed it looks like Mr Most, is playing German bagpipes.

Q: Sounds like a lot of work?
A: Might be, but I was doing what I liked, so it just sort of happened.

Q: How long have you been fighting for Team USA?
A: Just shy of a year, right around 11 months.

Q: Was it expensive to up grade your armour in order to fight live steel?
A: No, not really. I make my own armour, so it actually cost about $300.00 to bring my kit as they say up to     fighting standards.

Q: Why do you think this is a fighting style that is slow to catch on?
A: I don't know. Honestly there is a perception in the world from which I come, that if someone struck you a blow, with an edged weapon you would fall down dead on the spot or be terribly wounded. I think the Battle of Nations has demonstrated pretty convincingly this is not the case. The SCA fighter rules have, been very well thought out. In fact the injury rate for the SCA is below that of playing Soccer!

Q: Why do you think it is so popular in Europe?
A: I think it is because they don't have the same traditions in fighting we do.

Q: Who are the toughest competitors in the Battle of Nations competition?
A: That would be by far the Russians. They are well funded, and it is rumored they have a million dollar training facility they train in. It is said, that they even have team housing where they live together.

Q: How was fighting Team Israel.
A: Tough very tough. But most of the Israelis on the team were from Russia, and Ukraine, who had immigrated to Israel. They brought the medieval European fighting styles with them to Israel. Since it is a no holds barred contest, I swear they were using Krav Maga fighting. But in the end we had a greater mass when we were locked up. Since military service is compulsory in Israel, during the opening ceremonies Team Israel all came out wearing their military berets!

Q: What is the most surprising thing you have discovered since joining Team USA?
A: How much in common I have with people from around the world, especially with one's I don't even remotely share a common language. But all of us, are looking at the same sources, using the same patterns when making armour for example. So I guess it just happens naturally.


Team USA is broken down into to three smaller five man groups-Red, White, and Blue.
Mr. Most competed with the White Team.

Zachary Most maintains a blog, that I support and follow. It can be found at:

As an editorial comment, it seems to me that Team USA is setting the bar higher for the American fighters, and their associates. I for one am looking forward to seeing how Zachary Most and the rest of Team USA represent the United States, in the coming 2013 season of "The Battle of Nations."

All my best!

DS Baker

First In Series! Modern Medievalist Profiles: Devits Paul.

Recently I met a wonderful reenactor by the name of Devits Paul. Who lives in Grandmetz, Belgium. He belongs to a group called: Les Compaigns de Lastours.

"I represent : henri de witthem comte de beersel et baron de boutersem : bailli du brababt. If I translate this properly into English I think it should read:

"I represent: Henri Witthem Beersel Count and Baron boutersem: Bailiff of Brababt,"

           "When I am not portraying a Knight, I portray a soldier in the bodyguard of Charles the Bold."

The Company Lastours is a XIVth and XVth Century Burgundian reenactment group, their address is:

Another example of Modern Medievalists living their dreams! Job Well Done!

All my best!

DS Baker

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tournament of The Phoenix Joust

Today's visit of the 2008 Tournament of the Phoenix-Hosted by Jeffrey Hedgecock, and the Royal Armoury-Leeds., is brought to us by the good graces of Douglas Herring.

Some of the competitors from (L to R) Jeffrey D Wasson, Graham Nixon, Fredrick Piraux, and Jeffrey Hedgecock.

Douglas Herring-Author of the Photo Essay. 
All pictures in this article are copyright of Douglas Herring Photographs.
Herring is a multi-talented individual- From 1995-2004 He worked as Studio Art Director for Microsoft Games. Developing the art for many of the games, that are with us today. Herring has seemingly always carried either a sketch pad or camera with him. He is an absolute fixture in the Pacific Northwest Reenactment World, and Fantasy Fairs. His Art/Resume'/CV can be found at:

The 2008 Tournament of the Phoenix held in Poway, California was a Tournament unique in nature. Created by Jeffrey Hedgecock and his wife Gwen Nowrick.-The tournament was sponsored by their company Historic Enterprises, and by the Royal Armouries at Leeds, and sanctioned by the International Jousting League.-Which incidentally was only the second event, outside of the UK the Armoury had ever allowed themselves to be a part of, and the second tournament sanctioned in America by the IJL.-( the first being the The World Invitational Joust in 2007 Also created by Hedgecock and Nowrick) Those that did compete in the lists, were the first to use lances tipped with coronals. Because I did not attend, I have been reluctant to share photo's from this event. I thank Mr.Herring for being willing to share his work.

The first tournament began in 2007. However one the eve of the event, in October, Californian wild fires spread quickly in the surrounding hillsides and the husband, and wife co-creators Hedgecock, and Nowrick had to be evacuated. Even though they ( the competitors) had been told of the fires, the knights who were invited came anyway. The fires were suppressed, and the first tournament in America based entirely on historical clothing, armour, and feats of arms was held.

It is reported the name for The Tournament of the Phoenix, came as a result of a comment made by Dominic Sewell-A British Jouster at the end of the tournament, who I am paraphrasing said, "The fires did not stop us. We have risen Phoenix like from the ashes."-Hence the new name. The original had been "The World Invitational Joust"

It should be noted of the 2008 Tournament of the Phoenix, Fredrick Piraux one of the knights who competed in the competition, and his Squire Danny Van Hecke on their way back to  Belgium spent several days with me at my home. Both men went into great detail about the event. It became readily apparent the addition of a coronal on the end of a lance made for a much harder event. Piraux's sides were battered and bruised in an entire rainbow of colors.


Squire Danny Van Hecke strapping in Jouster Fredric Piraux to his armour.

Piraux said, "It was the hardest hitting competition I have ever had the pleasure of attending. Every time we (the knights) hit ourselves, you really felt it! Those were the hardest lances I have ever broken."

Piraux of Belgium breaking lanes with Nixon of New Zealand..

To view the rest of the photos of The Tournament of The Phoenix, please click on the link below:

To view the rest of Douglas Herring's amazing photographs, art, props, pictures please visit him at the following links:

Once again I would like to thank Douglas Herring for sharing his amazing photos with Modern Medievalist. I don't think a better example exists of the modern world and the medieval world coinciding as The Tournament of The Phoenix, and the competitors who broke lances against each other in the spirit of Chivalry, with Douglas Herring capturing it all.

All my best!

DS Baker

Friday, September 21, 2012

Gerald the Herald The Passing of a True Friend.


An update: In February of 2015 Gerald lost his fight with a long illness. He was a friend, a mate and a true gentleman. I shall miss him a great deal. All of our love and friendship to Edna and Adrian Thorpe.

Every once in a while you come across someone who is just a comfortable person to know. I think the term "old soul" is a good way of expressing it.-Which is probably better than saying, Life's kicked the stuffing out them on a regular basis, and as a result of sheer survival, and of age... they now manage to avoid the daily pitfalls that litter life's path.

What does any of this have to do with Heraldry? Glad you asked. As one of the members of The Fellowship of the White Shield, there is a man known far and wide throughout the UK. His name is Gerald "Ye Herald" Thorpe.


Gerry as he likes to be called by his mates, has been active in the Medieval Reenactment Community in Britain for over 40 years. He has worked with just about everyone, from SCA groups, to living history, and the British movie industry. He has made props for films, worked as a production designer.

Gerry with his son Adrian, Actors Richard Brimblecombe and Brian Blessed.

Throughout  all of his adventures in things medieval, Gerry has had his wife, Lady Edna be his constant companion. Gerry has since retired from reenactment and film work. But that doesn't mean he has retired completely. He now has more time to pick and choose the commission and more importantly the commissioner of said work.

Recently he has finished several pieces. Two shields for the William Wallace Foundation. His banner for Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee is a wonderful creation.-However space here is limited, and more importantly for those who have access to Facebook, you should take the time to see his work, and judge it for your self. My mate Gerry is a true Modern Medievalist. I am heartily glad to have made his acquaintance.

His Facebook address is:

*I though that it was time to make an comment in regards to photos here on Modern Medievalist. All photos shared, are the intellectual property rights of those either profiled or posting under the banner of-Modern Medievalist. I will do my best to only share those photos that have been graciously gifted to this blog. To that end, Thank you Gerry for allowing me to post your work!

All my best!

DS Baker

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hand Made Cheese Part One!

                                                                      Coco Uhl

There is a wonderful person I know who lives in Callbach, Hessen, Germany. Her name is Coco Uhl, her SCA persona name is Robyn Of-Rye...

(Just a side comment here.-SCA  or Living History makes no matter to me! Food and especially good food, doesn't care what the thread count is on your tunic!)

She makes wonderful period food stuffs and is a most doughty fighter.-She has her own harness! But back to her cooking! I put out a call for recipes for food. She has responded today with one for hand-made cheese. -I dimly recall making an off hand remark, about wooden trenchers containing cheese and fruit. I believe I said something like, "I'm not interested in seeing it unless you made the cheese your self."
So I have been hoisted on my own Petard!

Coco has decided to send in her photo essay via Facebook tonight. Let me tell you, she really makes it look easy... So you should know then to follow her directions exactly! Or you might end up with squishy milk stuff!

The photo essay will take you right up to the point where you have to store your cheese. Coming in next week's edition, she will finish, by telling you how to handle and store your cheese.

Also another point for future articles. Since this blog is evolving into a somewhat Eurocentric view point, I am going to do my best to post articles in the contributor's native language. I shall then post the same in English. I know for a fact how hard it is to translate something from one language to another.-But a large number of my readers speak more than one, so;. hopefully we will be able to land on any number that most can read.
Coco has agreed to post future recipes in both German and English!

Here is the link to Coco Uhl's recipe for handmade Cheese Part 1

PS -Coco I wish you would let me show our readers, you in your armour!

DS Baker 

Armorial Index Review.

Several years ago I had a very dear friend of mine, send me a link to one of the more colorful, and exciting Armorial Collection I had seen in some time. It is a fully interactive collection. For those of you who live in Europe or come from European ancestors, this is an interesting way of finding a possible medieval ancestor. I am talking about The Brotherhood of St. Christoph, located in Arlberg, Austria.  

I will not "copy or lift" an image from this site. I am going to give you the links. The Brothers do have a gift shop and the proceeds go for their maintenance and the continuation of their charitable works. The Brotherhood was founded 626 years ago, during the 14th Century.. They have a very rich history, that they have decided to share with the world via their web site.

Their Armorial Index, and Codex Collection is superb. I have literally spent hours looking through their pages.

Since this is my blog, I am free to make my opinion known.-This is an organization worthy of your attention, and furthermore one which I think, in these troubled economic times, worthy of your patronage. They can be found here at:

And on Facebook:

They are one of the few purely charitable organizations in Europe, supporting families with children that are in need. For any "Modern Medievalist" this is a site that should be bookmarked and kept as a handy reference guide. I am trying to give you my readers examples of the medieval world, interacting with our modern world. This collection is a wonderful example of both.

DS Baker

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Battle Video From Grunwald 2012!

Sven Kielmann is the friendly
Gunner/Schutze on the right
Holding the Pavaise.

A Hand Gunner's Perspective
-Brought to us today, by Sven Kielmann.

Using a helm(et) Camcorder Kielmann shows us a Hand Gunner's perspective. Volley firing real weapons.
Nice to see the use of period Pavaise Shields as well.
The video is on You Tube and can be found here:

 Group Name: Anhalt um 1400
Loction: Dessau germany
Time: 1380-1420
greetings dein germany

Thank you for your interesting posting!

DS Baker.

Just in from the Czech Republic

Our friend Jakub Klinstejn Vacha

-Has just sent in a link to a 14th Century Tournament, held at Jaromer, Bohemia.

It is an annual event called: Tournament of the Court of Queen Elizabeth Rychensa. For those of the XIV Mafia persuasion this looks to be an interesting event. The pictures I viewed this morning certainly suggest so.

Here is the link:

Here is another link from the same event:

For those English Speakers using Google, you can right click on the link once it has loaded and have the pages translated into English.

All my best!

DS Baker

Calling for Submissions!

Since I am only one person, and I am unable to participate in a lot of the events I would want to, I am asking for submissions to Modern Medievalist. Here is what I am looking for:

-Reenactment groups-Especially living history/historical presentations. To include the following:
Infantry/Swiss Style Pike/Norman Dismounted Fighting Lance/XIV Mafia Melee' Fighting Group
Cavalry/Knights Mounted Lance or Horseback Reenactment Groups
Archery/Crossbow-In whatever form these two types might be portrayed.
Artillery-No later than 1550

Period Clothing Designers/Manufactures from 1060 to 1550.
In this section I would like to see as much regional differences as possible.
I know that a man or woman from say, Poland would dress or could dress differently from
someone in say England.
I am also interested in seeing seasonal clothing styles.-Winter Cloaks, Heavy Coats, Hats and Period Footwear from the time range mentioned above.
*This sections can be reported on as, efforts you, yourself are doing, or as a product review.

This is a sub-set of the the Clothing needs, but I would like to see period flags and banners.
I know of several banner artists, who make museum quality work. To which I would also like to include in this section Heralds and Heraldry. I am a founding Fellow of the Fellowship of the White Shield. I am very interested in Period Heraldic Displays, and Clothing for Heralds.

Cooking-As with clothing, I want to show as much regional differences as possible. Medieval Norwegians did not eat the same types of food as someone from say Bulgaria or Serbia. Recipes shared will be most appreciated. I am not interested in seeing wooden trenchers with cubes of cheese and fruit. Unless of course it is hand made cheese made by you and your group.
I know there are some amazing talented people out there. I know of people who erect field kitchens, completer with readily erected ovens. Just because you are at an event doesn't mean that you have to eat burnt Turkey legs.-I want the readers of this blog to meet the cooks/chefs who set the culinary bar higher for the rest of the world.

I also know there are people out there who make wonderfully crafted plates, eating utensils, period drinking vessels. To which types of Wine, and Beers-Especially those beers which have been handcrafted by your or a brewer, would be appropriate.

Black Smiths and Coopers aka barrel makers are a necessity for a period lifestyle.-Yet rarely do we see their efforts portrayed.

Knife and Sword Smiths.-I would like to see product reviews, especially those where the reviewer has actually handled the blades being reviewed. I would also like to see articles by Knife and Sword Smiths themselves. Although I would like to say, fantasy blades are not what I want to see.

Carpenters. I have seen lovely benches and tables. What I have not seen are cabinet makers, creating backgammon tables, Triptych's for Icons, Doors or Furniture otherwise what would one see in a camp.-It should be noted these items need not be for events. I am interested in seeing Carpenters working in a period style.

It is important to me, that the support people, who make it possible for those who want to fight while looking good in their period armour have as much equal representation as possible. Without the Cooks, The Blacksmith/Farrier, without those who help a knight or man-at-arms don their harness, the events we all love to participate in would not happen.

I think I have given enough for those who read this blog, to think about. For those who submit an article, and if it is selected, you will be given full credit for your work.-Just like a newspaper might. However unlike a newspaper, this is voluntary and I am unable to pay. You just might like to think of it as free advertising for you, and your group.

Lastly it is important for all submissions to include a web address. Until I figure out this particular Blog format, pictures will not be shown. So for those of you who choose to submit an article, your description of what you might be submitting, is as important as the link to your pictures.
* I have just figured out how to up-load pictures to the blog. Pictures other than those in your links must be sent with your e-mail.

All submissions can be sent to:

All my best!

DS Baker

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just in from Belgium more video links!

My very good friend Hugs Rabijins has sent me the following links:

"The rally medieval Sterckshof is an annual event that brings together Big Medievalists of Britains, France, Holland, Germany and Belgium. This is one of the largest gathering for our country both in quality and number of companies participating. Not to mention craftsmen historical material from them throughout Europe." -OR-
For those who speak French!-
Le rassemblement médiéval de Sterckshof est un événement annuel qui rassemble des Médiévistes de Grandes Bretagnes, France, Hollande, Allemagne et Belgique. C'est un des plus grand rassemblement pour notre pays tant en Qualité de compagnies et en nombre de participant. Sans oublier des artisans de matériel historique venant eux de toute:

With the following Company's attending:

van gismo at
time jean de Croy
The green tent
the oath of silver tower
the hospital of Hainaut
At the time of Philip the Good
The ninth (the 9ND) (germany)
ST spirit
The companies the Stour
zigghense demervolk compagny

All translation mistakes are strictly to be blamed on Google Translator! Because sadly, although  I am now enrolled in a French language course, I do not speak the language yet!



Battle of Nations Video Link

Jakub V'acha of the Czech Republic just sent me this video link from his involvement in the Battle of Nations.


All my best!


Video Link

Battle of Nations! Modern Medievalists at their fighting best!
This is some amazing footage.

Plus I have scoured Youtube for Borhurt(y) videos from Grunwald 2012.

Hope this brings "Getting Medieval on your ___!" into your life!



Book Review-"Spirit of the Sword"

Steve Shackleford published his book "Spirit of the Sword." in 2010. ISBN-13:978-1-4402-1156-0
For the serious blade collector, sword fighting enthusiast, and overall lover of things edged, I found this to be one of the more readily accessible books concerning swords, I have read in a long time.

Shackleford has spent the past 25 years writing, and editing for Blade's Guide to Knives & their Values. He has authored thousands of articles about edged weapons.

In his foreword, Shackleford says, "Bruce Voyles once told if he did not know the answer to a knife question, he knows someone who does. Similarly,since so many of today's knifemakers also make swords, I figured I could call on them for answers if need be. I hope you will agree that the results of this book indicate I met with success."

With a 238 page count it has a mere seven chapters. It is absolutely filled with full color photographs of various sword types, with close up detail pictures. The first chapter gives a nice overview of the sword making world, and its attendant market. Shackleford then does something that most writers of a book would not do, he allows contributors to insert their technical skill into his book. Most notably by Sword Smith Vince Evans.

In Chapter 2. entitled: European Vacation-Sword Style! Evans is an award winning custom maker of swords and knives. His chapter details his travels through England, Scotland and Ireland. He breaks up the chapter with discussions on such sword types as the Windsor, Askeaton, and Drayton.There are several color photographs of such sword types as a 9th Century Anglo-Saxon sword, Evans recreated, from an example from Gilling West on display at England's Yorkshire Museum.

Chapter 3 is authored by John Clements. Clement's chapter deals with the resurgence of period accurate sword fighting techniques. Clement's explains the reality of sword fighting as opposed to the Hollywood version most have stuck in their psyche. Helping to define his presentation, Clement's uses illustrations as varied as Albrecht Duerer to Hans Talhoffer. Clement's also uses various swords from modern sword makers as examples of the types used historically.

The aspect of this book I like the most, is its ease of reading. If you are new to collecting swords or looking for a historical example of a sword, this book is very informative, without being a pure academic exercise. One of the more compelling portions of the book is a 128 page guide to sword and knife makers. The index includes, their physical address, telephone numbers and their web address if, they have one. It also showcases some of the more exotic samples of the various sword smiths listed in the index.

I would rate this book as a "Must Have" for any serious Modern Medievalist. It should be used as one of your first "Go-to-Books" when you need to answer to one of those tickling questions, you are having trouble with.

Steve Shackleford maintains a blog that can be found here:

This is my first book review. If you have any suggestions or would like me to review another book. Please do not hesitate to contact me at:



Monday, September 17, 2012

Global Excellence

     Somewhere in and around 2005 my friends at the Company of the Chalice, in Las Vegas, NV coined the phrase "14th Century Mafia." I think it was John McFarlane who was the first person to use it on the Armour Archive. It caught on. The simple little nick name helped to give a direction, and even a sense of unity to people who had chosen one of the most dynamic time periods in European history. John and his lovely wife Lorelie even created an online store front where they sold a black t-shirt with the Mafia logo silk screened on the front. -An hourglass shaped gauntlet clutching puppet strings.

Thanks to the internet, La Familia has gone global in a big way. A year or so ago I started up a bulletin board style room on Facebook. Mostly to reconnect with my friends from Las Vegas. It languished with 30 to 40 members for over a year, mostly due to the fact I worked a second shift that precluded most activities outside of sleeping and eating. At the end of August, I like so many around the world, became gainfully unemployed. That's when things really began to get interesting...

I made several people administrators in the room, and they in turn had been slowly adding people. Eventually a young man from Serbia asked to join. Holy Hannah! Little did I know I had unwittingly lifted the proverbial tent flap and the camel had stuck his nose in! What had been a room comprised mostly of Americans and the odd European, exploded!

I for one am very happy Sir Srdjan Obradovic and I became friends. As an aside, he would be embarrassed that I called him Sir. His 14th Century group is called, "The Company of the Golden Barrel." -He told me it was named after the pub he and his mates drink at when not at University or practicing their Medieval European Martial Arts. Got to love that!

Thanks to his contacts, my 14th Century Mafia room on Facebook has grown rapidly, with an amazing grouping of individuals. We now have Russians, Poles, Germans, The French, Spanish, Czech and Hungarian reenactors. There are Canadians and American SCA members.

Since this is brand new blog, I am going to organize it along a pretty informal line. However I stated in my entry yesterday, I wished to profile excellence. To that end, and with no particular order I hope to interview, or profile the following individuals. The one thing they all share is a love of things medieval and of a 14th Century time period.

Amanda Michaels-Heraldic Artist, Member of the Fellowship of the White Shield and SCA Stick Jock. Her harness, is undergoing an amazing evolution. Her painted shields and silk banners are simply stunning.

Andy Stewart Jamieson- Heraldic Artist, Founder of the Fellowship of White Shield, and Scribe to Queen Elizabeth II.

Roberto Cinquegrana-Founder of the Italian Jousting League. He also maintains a Medieval Chivalry Blog here on Bloger. More of his work later on.

Gioacchino Sparrone-Photographer-Originally from Geneva, Switzerland. Covers events from Romans to Pirates.

Zachary Most-SCA Fighter and also Part of Team USA at the International Battle of Nations. If you have not seen any of the videos posted on Youtube I would highly suggest you do so. It is truly amazing. Most styles of fighting pale in comparison.

Csuth Gabor-Hungarian 14th Century reenactor, member of Hungarian Battle of Nations Team.

Luke Binks-Australian Armour Smith and World Class Jouster.

Katrina Kruse-Australian Jouster and International Horse Archer.

Jefferey Hedgecock-USA International Jouster, Founder of The Order of Crescent Jousting Team, Co-Founder of Historic Enterprises

Matthew Bayley-English, Owner of Bayley Castings. Historic Metal Smith, Casting and Armour Smith, 15th Century War of the Roses Reenactor.-We try to not hold the WOTR persona against him

Jacques Marechal-Belgian Photographer Covers everything from Romans to International Jousting Competitions. His Coverage of the reenactment of the Battle of Hastings was inspired.

Mabel Villagra-Spanish. Mabel typically does a persona of the late 1290's. But if you want to know or need to know about any event happening in Spain, Mabel usually has that information.

She is also a Continuity and Script Doctor in the both the Spanish and American independent film industry.

David Teague-USA Reenactor, educator sword master, mentor. SCA fighter and more. Type of man who makes any organization better. Does all of this, and lives in the land of Polar Bears.

Oudart De Renty-France 14th Century Persona. Excellent harness, clothing, period fighter. Has been known to haunt the Battlefield of Grunwald/Tannenberg.

John "JT" Thompson-USA The Techno Ninja, behind the Armour Archive. If you live or reenact or have anything to do with the medieval world, you have been to the Armour Archive.

Malina Opatowiecka Poland-Reenactor and Clothing designer, manufacturer. Her period dresses/men's clothing are jaw dropping beautiful.

Jakub Klinstejn Vacha-Czech Republic Sometimes you have to disagree with someone because they can't see something themselves. Jakub's kit is very close to attaining a truly period level.

This is an incomplete list. One which I will add to from time to time. It should be noted that this is my opinion about the medieval world as I see it. As I see it these are all people that are doing their level best to live some portion of a medieval dream. All of them have set the bar, marked the distance, make us all stretch to attain our goals...

DS Baker

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Becoming a Modern Medeivalist

   I began my journey into things Medieval in 1998. I met a future friend by the name of Ty. He was a long time player/fighter/rogue/pirate and all around likable anarchist in the SCA or Society for Creative Anachronists. For those who, in the unlikely event don't know who or what that is, they are the single largest medieval group in the world.

They can be found at:

In their own words they say:

"The SCA is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the skills of pre 17th Century Europe. Our "Known World" consists of 19 Kingdoms, with over 30,000 members residing in countries around the world. Members, dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, attend events which feature tournaments, royal courts, feasts, dancing, various classes & workshops, and more."

For most Americans, unless you grow up in one of the many multi-generational SCAdian families, one usually discovers the SCA while in college. I think the thing that I love about the SCA is its vitality. It was founded in 1966 by college students in Berkeley, California. It is the continued influx of the youthful passion, and energy which sustains the organization.

I believe it was in October of 1999 at the Las Vegas Renaissance fair I met Jeffrey Hedgecock. We were at a Home Depot acquiring the last minute pieces of hardware that always come up short or missing at an event. I also believe this was the last public showing of the "Red Company," and my first exposure to a living history encampment. Through our meeting, I found my way to his now expired web site bearing the same name. It was an eye opener.

Making a comparison between the SCA and The Red Company is unfair to both. However, our chance meeting, breathed life into a desire that heretofore I didn't know I possessed. Living in a city which had a population of over two million citizens in, one would think the local "scene" would be or could have been more vibrant.-Sadly Las Vegas has a tendency to draw people who are dysfunctional in the extreme. Most who live there are not what one would call "joiners." Sadly the numbers in the local SCA Barony did not increase with the rise in population. 

However there was a rumor of a new group starting up, that wanted to take on a more period presentation. This new group went through several evolution's and eventually became known as "The Company of the Chalice." It was a real eye opener to me, seeing their efforts. A friend of mine is producing a field guide to joining a medieval group. Now this friend lives in Serbia and his English is broken in places, but it is oftentimes better than what I have read posted on Facebook. He best summed up what I saw with my own two eye thus...

Milos Nesovic said, and I am paraphrasing, "You would be amazed at what four friends can accomplish on a weekend if they work together."

I think that barely begins to describe the efforts of the Company. Because three out of the four founding members, had their wives working in lock step with them. They truly created an amazing 14th Century encampment, clothing, cooking utensils, and they even made their own beer! I think the coolest thing they created, was a 3/4 scale Trebuchet!

The company were also the ones who coined the nick name "14th Century Mafia." Through various on-line forums, most notably the Armour Archive-( the expression/nick name stuck. I am proud to say I was given a T-shirt with that printed on it. As silly as this might sound to some, it is one of my most cherished possessions from my former life in Las Vegas.

In October of 2001 I met Fredrick Piraux. At the time, Piraux was working very hard to establish a European Jousting League. Although a lot of jousting enthusiasts worked diligently behind the scenes, my friend provided a great deal of energy and strength of character to see the organization born. Meeting Piraux decided several issues for me. The first one being should I continue with my involvement in the SCA. Secondly I should make a real effort to build my equipment up, and eventually try to learn how to joust. Jumping forward to 2005 I finally managed to acquire my first real harness. Two weeks after acquiring said harness, I completely tore my left knee apart.-Complete reconstruction surgery. A year later I managed to make it to Estrella War down in Phoenix, AZ. Three months later in May, I suffered my fourth heat stroke...

Recovering from the knee surgery was painful. Recovering from the heat stroke was life altering. It took me six months to even remember my telephone number. Suffice to say, it ended my wearing of armour, fighting in armour, and just about anything to do with armour went right out the window. But the one thing it didn't do was end my love of history. For me it was analogous to loosing one ability, only to pick up another ability... 

I love to tell stories. I like to report on excellence when I see it. Without being preachy, life is short. I believe that if, I see someone who is doing their best to create something, and excelling, then they should be told. In the coming weeks I hope to profile people who are living their dreams. I think you will enjoy the people you might meet along the way.

DS Baker

Friday, September 14, 2012

Heath Ledger-"A Knights Tale."

 To get things started, I compiled from a variety of sources, the following article below. Most of the information was known to me, yet with the adherent hyper text links, one can tell that this article has the easy pong of Wikipedia about it.I bring it out strictly for your amusement. If I have violated any copy write laws, I will be more than happy to remove this post.

The hero of the 2001 film A Knight’s Tale, played by Heath Ledger, assumes the title “Ulrich von Liechtenstein” when he poses as a knight. As “undefeated” in jousts, this was a worthy name to take. The name also proved to work well in the plot and provided the necessary contrast to the hero's true name, William Thatcher. However, the character claims to come from Guelders, which was not in Austria but rather in the Low Countries (now in the Dutch province Gelderland). Also, the film is set in the second half of the 14th century, not the 13th century, so it is possible that William was referring to a knight he had heard of.

Ulrich von Liechtenstein (1200–1278) was a medieval nobleman, knight, politician, and minnesanger. He was born in 1200 in Murau, located in present day Austria. After the usual noble training as a page and a squire to Margrave Heinrich of Istria, he was knighted by Duke Leopold VI of Austria in 1223. Leader of the Styrian nobility, he had a hand in absorbing Styria into the Habsburg Empire, and he became Styria’s governor. He owned three castles, one of them at Lichtenstein, near Judenburg.
The rest of his life is unrecorded. It is possible that he was one of the noblemen in Styria taken prisoner by King Otakar II of Bohemia 1269. He died in 1278 and was buried in Seckau.

Ulrich is famous for his supposedly autobiographical poetry collection Frauendienst (Service of the Lady). He writes of himself as a protagonist who does great deeds of honor to married noblewomen, following the conventions of chaste courtly love. The protagonist embarks on two remarkable quests. In the first quest, he travels from Venice to Vienna in the guise of Venus, the goddess of love. He competes in jousts and tourneys and challenges all the knights he meets to a duel in the honour of his lady. He breaks 307 lances and defeats all comers. The noblewoman, however, mostly spurns his affections and demands more deeds and even mutilation for even the honour to hold her hand. In the second quest, he takes on the role of King Arthur, with his followers becoming Arthurian Round Table characters. The collection was finished in 1255.

*-(It should be noted, various sources state this was not an allegorical collection of poetry. Rather Sir Ulrich did in fact travel from Venice to Vienna dressed as Venus the Goddess of Love. Challenging all he met and competiting in various jousts along the way. It is even purported he founded the Jousting Order of the Green Lady.)

Changing things up

Hello. My name is DS Baker. I am a history enthusiast. My likes generally run the whole gauntlet from Ancient civilizations to Cold War era proxy battles between the USA, and the West vs. The former USSR. Since my interests are so diverse, I decided to narrow things down a bit, and concentrate on what I called the Modern Medieval world.

I have been fortunate to have met some extremely talented individuals, who unbeknownst to themselves at the time of our meeting are now part of a large and growing medieval world. With the advent of the Internet, and social networking sites such as Facebook, this growing phenomena has exploded across the world stage.

I now have conversations with living history enthusiasts as diverse in location from me as you can possibly imagine. One young friend lives in Serbia, while the other lives in Thailand. For an American, it used to be rather exotic to tell someone you had a friend living in Germany. Now you can say with some pride, you are in touch with individuals who live in such places as Slovenia, Hungary, The Czech Republic, The Ukraine, and Russia.

Unlike most enthusiasts with a deep affection for a sport or hobby, living history reenactors see this as a life style. I don't think that they would actually want to live in the 1390's with its adherent dangers or associated plagues. But I think it is out of a wanting a sense of who they are, where they come from, that drives a lot of these individuals. Most attempt to keep what is often referred to as "A Period/Authentic Portrayal."

For those not in the know, this means any, and all references to the outside modern world is hidden or erased when presenting their historical portrayal. This is often expressed, in authentic period clothing with the exact or as close to the exact thread count in a shirt. No modern seams dare rear its ugly head in one of their hand made garments!

It seems to me, that in our modern hurly, burly world, there is an almost atavistic drive to discover a simpler less stressful way. Even the most hardened historian will tell you, that the Viking Long-ships were not raiding all the time. Aside from the biological hazards, dynastic duels or even outright petty jealously, people went on with their less than exciting lives.

For most of my friends and contacts, it was this less than exciting lifestyle that is so attractive to them. My friends, scrounge through antiquarian book shops, looking for as old as possible recipes to recreate in their encampments, and kitchens.

Some even go so far as to learn how to shape, bend and fold metal until it is crafted into a protective work of art. It is not all about feasting or fighting. There are several interpretive sites around the world. Three immediately come to mind. One such site is in the South of France, one in Denmark, and lastly one exists in Scotland. Hopefully as this Blog matures, I will profile these places.

The ancestors of most of the Western European countries did amazing things with their so called primitive technology. Case in  point, any finished cathedral in France can give you some idea how complex those buildings are. Recently I had a conversation with a friend of mine concerning the National Cathedral for the USA in Washington DC.-It had suffered mild to moderate damage from an Earthquake earlier in the year. He began to tell me how complex a site such as Norte Dame is...    

"David did you know, that we are unable to build a medieval Norte Dame today? If we had to use the same technology and tools they did on the original, why we would be lost. We have simply replaced the medieval technology tree with one that presupposes that the modern is better."

It is my goal to highlight and promote such groups as those who present a viewing of things of a most ancient, and interesting nature. This might manifest as a Herald/Scribe working for Queen Elizabeth II to a XVth Century Style Jousting team in Italy. It is very much a multi-cultural, transnational world we find ourselves in. For the first time, groups who live around the globe have unparalleled access to another group halfway across the planet. 

I will begin posting new content hopefully this coming weekend...

All my best!