Friday, September 14, 2012

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!


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