Saturday, April 11, 2015

Profile of Excellence Irina (Ira) Rogozovsky of Team Israel.

Modern Medievalist, (Facebook) allows me the opportunity to meet a wonderfully diverse collection of interesting people from all over the planet, (in a virtual setting.) I am a big supporter and proponent of women in athletics. As the world of international tournament fighting goes, the women who are involved in it right now, are all uniformly trail breakers, and they are making it possible for future women to compete.

A chance meeting online where I wanted to talk to a female athlete, has turned into a very nice interview. I bring you today, Irina (Ira as she likes to be called) Rogozovsky of Team Israel. She took the time from her Geography/Archaeology studies to visit with me earlier this week, and here is our conversation. Thank you.

Ira Rogozovsky carrying the national flag for Team Israel at the BOTN World Championships in Croatia 2014
(c) Battle of The Nations-Women's League.

DS: Ira what part of the world are you from? Meaning were you born in Israel or from someplace else?

IR: I have lived in Israel for the past Twenty Years but, I was born in Latvia.

DS: Military service in Israel is compulsory. Have you served or are serving?

IR: Yes I was active duty for several years and now I am a reservist. I will be in the reserves until I am age 45. At first I was in the Infantry, and now I am in a rescue unit that helps people who have had say buildings collapse on them, from an earthquake or other natural disasters.

DS: Did your military training help you with learning to fight in the Battle Of The Nations, (BOTN) world of tournament fighting?

IR: Yes and no. Krav Maga teaches you how to do arm and hip throws and kick someone in the testicles or gouge their eyes out. Only some of which we are allowed to do. This is for fun. Not life and death.
Practicing Leg Strikes.
(c) Michael Khananashvili

DS: What made you want to be a medieval tournament fighter?

IR: Actually it was an accident. I was hitchhiking in Poland. A guy from Team Poland, gave me a ride, and during the trip told me all about this style of medieval fighting. He made the connections for me with Team Israel and I came to one fighter practice, and I have been doing it every since. I love to compete and I love to fight, fight, and fight! I try to make every tournament and meeting I can.

DS: What do you like the most about sword fighting?

IR: 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.

Ira and fiance Michael Epelman fighting together at the Kievan Rus Park
in September of 2014
(c) KMabirim

DS: What has been the biggest obstacle for you to overcome thus far?

IR: I think the biggest obstacle for me has been the fact I am a woman. I am the only women in Israel that fight in Bohurts (we have one more women, but she do only triatlon). So at first it was hard to train with the team, because they didn't take me seriously, and their attitude was like "we don't hit women" I found myself unable to train properly. But after some time had passed and I wasn't going away they (the men) got use to me and I became better, and as I improved the men started to see me as part of the team, and hit me like everybody else.

When we were in Ukraine in the "Call of Heros" tournament, one of the teams there refuse to fight with team Israel because I was in the team. But in the next tournament we fought in the Ukraine they invited me to fight along with team Israel, so I guess they accepted me as well. It has been a process to earn respect.

DS: Hmmm. It is funny how culture differ around the world. In America, I figured if a woman stepped onto the field of battle she wanted to be taken seriously. I would give her all the respect she wanted and all the hits I could send her way. One of the many persons who helped me learn how to fight was a woman. She beat the crap out of me on a regular basis... In ancient times, in the Celtic Culture, some of the greatest warrior teachers were women. The most famous Irish warrior in the world was named Cuchulain and he was taught how to fight by a woman named Scatha from Scotland.

IR: In the Slavic cultures it is a big problem to hit women. They don't understand that women can do sport as well or want to do the same sports as men.

DS: How popular has Battle of the Nations become in Israel?

IR: There are not a lot of fighters here, I believe that we have around 50 active and inactive fighters, and we try to invite new people all the time. We are also self funded. I am a college student with a part time job, as is my fiancee who is the co-captain of the team.

DS: You recently had a tournament. Excuse me, an international tournament how did you do and how did team Israel do?
Ira doing her Crossfit training in preparation for her fight with Darya Ignatenko
of Belarus.
(c) Crossfit of Israel.

IR: It was a pro-fight tournament. I was fighting Darya Ignatenko from Belarus and I won this fight.

DS: I remember watching this fight. She was a good opponent but, she looked like she lost her stamina in the second round.

IR: Exactly.

DS: How did you train for this fight?

IR: I did Crossfit Training especially in Cardio and I went to fighter training two to three times a week for almost six weeks straight. I eased up on my training the week before the fight, in order to ensure I didn't hurt myself by over training.
Conditioning is one of the biggest portions of fighting. If you can't lift your shield or swing your sword/chopper/halberd then you are done.
Ira Rogozovsky (R) preparing to launch a shield strike against Darya Ignatenko (L)
at the World Medieval Fighting Championship.
(c) Sergey Demyanchuk

DS: When you are fighting melee' with the team how do you communicate? What language do you use?

IR: Actually we have three languages we use. We use hand and arm signals adapted from our military training. Then most of us speak Russian, and lastly we all either speak or understand Hebrew.

DS: Have you tried to recruit your fellow female reservists to the team?

IR:I have. So far there hasn't been too many interested. We are a small country and our team is small. We are growing but slowly.

Leg Strike Training Pays Off. Ira (r) against Darya Ignatenko (L)
at the World Medieval Fighting Championship
(c) Daniel Skakun

DS: What has been the most surprising thing you have discovered since you started fighting?

IR: Halberd blow to the head.

DS: Well I suspect that must have been very surprising! But I am not sure it is a good thing.

IR: It was very surprising. Makes you reevaluate your training methods.

DS: Is there anything you would like to say to the women of the world?

IR: Yes! 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.

Ira Rogozovsky and her World Medieval Fighting Championship Cup.

Thank you Irina (Ira) Rogovsky for taking the time to talk to Modern Medievalist. We appreciate your time and the insights you have shared with us. All of our very best!

DS Baker.

Here are video links to Team Israel and one of Ira's fights with Skye Burnie of Australia.

Team Israel:

Irina Rogozovsky (Israel) vs. Darya Ignatenko (Belarus)

Irina Rogozovsky (Israel) vs. Sky Burnie (Australia) World Championship Demonstration Fight in Croatia 2014:

Irina Rogozovsky Winner of the Israel Challenge Pro Fight.
(c) BOTN-Women's League.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Dark Age Fiction with M Harold Page.

Today's post is an update and a continuation of an on-going conversation with my friend M.Harold Page we have had for the past several years. Like most good friends we pick up where we have left off as if, it was a pause in the conversation while one of us goes to the fridge to retrieve a cold beer. We started our conversation about the new Young Adult novel downloadable from Amazon he just finished. Titled- (Shieldwall:Barbarians.)

(c) Jacques Marechal
DS: How long have you worked on this project?

MHP:Think I wrote it in a couple of months. It was a while back. I delivered to my agent, but then got caught up in writing novels for Paradox Interactive. It made a very good audition piece though. It took about a week to edit and tweak it ready to go out on Amazon. I put a lot of reliance on my network of beta readers, mostly fellow writers at my stage.

DS: What was the impetuous for writing a dark age novel in the first place?

MHP: You'll laugh.

DS: No mate, I won’t laugh. (holding my crossed fingers behind my back.)

MHP: My son Kurtzhau liked Romans back when he was cute and 8. And he wanted to know how the Roman Empire fell. I did this at University, but couldn't remember the details, so I delved into some books and... Holy S#$%!

DS: Holy S#$%???? What does that mean?

MHP: There was this battle - Chalons - in AD 451, that was like Ragnarock. About the size of Waterloo. Everybody showed up for this fight. The chronicles have 100K men DEAD ON THE FIELD.

DS: What was the old Norse line? The Crows feasted well that day…

MHP: Yep! KIA numbers were an exaggeration, but whatever you divide by, you end up multiplying again to get the number of combatants. Just like Waterloo, everybody was too shocked on the next day to do anything. And in reading about Chalons, I read about Aetius - basically Maximus - and the Germans and the Huns… And here was this wild amazing history, with a war out of Tolkien, and I just had to write a story set in it.

MHP: Barbarians! - book 1 - doesn't take us as far as Chalons. Instead it puts the hero at the Siege of Orleans, basically Helms Deep. In fact I'm fairly sure JRRT used Orleans as his template for that. So that's why I wrote a Dark Age adventure. Plus I'd been listening to a lot of Viking Metal

M Harold Page on the right during his Shield Wall Breaking Days.
(c) Richard Taylor.

DS: What made you settle on a Jute as a main character?

MHP: Well my Dad is from that neck of the woods in England.

DS: There is a Jutland in England? Pardon my geographical ignorance.

MHP: Mostly it was because I settled on Hengest as the main character. He's real. Jutes settled around the south of England. There were a couple of pockets. Mine are near the mouth of the Thames estuary. They and the other Germans were there as "security contractors" to the Romanised Britons. Didn't go so well, long term

DS: Thanks for clearing that up. (For a moment there I thought I had slept through another lesson from school.) You know in Friesland, there are pockets of languages where you can just show up and start talking to the natives and they understand English, and with a little bit of effort you can make out Friesian.

MHP: Not surprising. English is an odd language. Successive waves of Germanic barbarians basically spoke baby language to their subjects, and it stuck.You know, few verb endings, dropping the gender of nouns, that kind of thing. Basically you and I are speaking like comedy barbarians to each other.

DS: Gaaar! Me hungry! OK all BS aside, you have us set firmly in the Dark Ages. For the readers who might not know, explain why it is called the Dark Ages please?

MHP: Mostly it's Dark because it's hard knowing what happened then. Nowadays, Early Medieval is the more Politically Correct term. Once upon a time, historians thought everything between the Fall of Rome and the Renaissance was "Dark" because it sucked.

DS: Hahaha that was the explanation I was looking for. You know Gaul suffered less of the Dark Malaise than most former Imperial Colonies. It was such a cool place as far as your average barbarian went, they basically kicked the Roman landlords out, and said to the peasant class, "Carry on. We'll be around this coming harvest to collect the tax just like the last guy did."

MHP: Lots of continuity. Best deal was in the south where the Visigoths settled and ran things. However Late Rome was already pretty feudal. No togas, lots of personal household troops.

DS: Anyone who didn't like the new management plan would be dealt with the same way they (Visigoths) dealt with the Romans. At the point of a sword.

MHP: Visigoths, however, were crazy ass barbarians One king was ambushed while undergoing blood letting - otherwise he would have been armed. Before he died, he took out several of his assassins using a STOOL.

DS: Well the Visigoths might have been crazy but they did start two of the most powerful kingdoms in what would later be called Spain, those of course being Castile and Aragon.

MHP: Yep. And it's a hairy, murderous lineage. Or noble, manly and proud. Take your pick. I speak as one descended from the pagan riffraff that settled England. Our lot were mostly the stay home Germans who didn't get involved with the Roman Empire until they packed in ships and turned Britain into England.

DS: Well you are not the only one. I am descended from the riffraff that left England that was descended from your riffraff. (Or kicked out, which might be a better way of describing it.)

MHP: Who says genealogy can't be like a Viking Metal ballad?

DS: No one! Or at least not me. Back to your novel. What was the biggest stumbling block you encountered while writing your story?

MHP: Describing tactical situations. Pre-Technology Commanders don't get pretty maps, Heads Up Displays or a view from a Helicopter.

DS: OK for the young reader out there, define Tactics vs. Strategy.

MHP: Strategy: We'll push down this river and find a town to sack.
Tactics: Oh sh#$% they're shooting at us! Take cover while I try to burn the gates.

DS: I will say this much, the story reads as a primer one would use to train platoon leaders and young platoon sergeants on how to lead. And I mean this as a compliment. It is not dry or boring by any stretch of the imagination. For long time or old time gamers it feels like you are involved in a game of Platoon Leader © Have you ever fought in a shield wall yourself?

MHP: No. But I have broken one, at a mixed era reenactment event.

(c) Jacques Marechal

DS: Wow! There has been a lot of discoveries in interpretative history, where previously held ideas have been rudely shattered. I have read where scholars utterly dismissed dark age or even middle age accounts of life in a shieldburg. I personally have seen two hundred plus fighters running full tilt hit an old fashioned Anglo-Saxon style shield wall and...bounce! I bet that was hard to convey to your readers.

MHP: But from a WRITER pov, this is a problem. A lot of people have a lot of ideas, some of them strongly held and based on experience. The Romans certainly took the wedge seriously. A lot of their manuals are filled with how to receive a shield wall or fighting wedge. Their manuals talk about forming inverse wedges to receive them.And so on. A lot of kinetic energy spent by both sides seeing who could shove the other guy around the battlefield.

DS: The annals of history are replete with infantry fights turning into slowly revolving wheels of death. Where at the end of the day’s fighting the victors might find themselves on the complete opposite side of the battle from where they started from.

MHP: Intimidating isn't it? What our ancestors could do while other people were trying to kill them at the same time.

DS: Yes it was. Especially since most of the people who fought in the shieldwall of the dark ages was not a professional fighter or soldier. They were farmers and millers and bakers.

MHP: Go to the Bay of Marathon some day, look at the monument raised to the shopkeepers, farmers, cobblers....who faced the rest of the known world and won. Forget 300. Marathon was the battle. You had to be tough back then.

DS: Why YA or Young Adult Fiction?

MHP: Initially, so my son could read it From a literary point of view... well, YA is the last bastion of old fashioned adventure yarns. I've been reading a lot of Harold Lamb and wanted to give it a go. Shieldwall is also pretty much "in the tradition of" the YA writers I grew up reading. There's this writer Ronald Welch who wrote incredible military stories for boys. Welch won the Carnegie Medal for "Knight Crusader" which makes you *feel* Hattin  Yes a big chunk of Howard as well. but that takes ,me onto the other thing Too much YA for boys is either "teamplayer" or "sole operator" stuff

The Battle of Hattin-XV Century French Manuscript.

Just like Conan isn't really much of a leader, beyond "Rah follow me while I wade in blood do try to keep up"
I wanted to do like Ronald Welch and Rosemary Sutcliff and write a book about leading: You're in charge. Now what?

DS: Leadership is a horse of a different color to write about. It is normally something that in my opinion very few do well. It is hard to give an inner monologue and keep the action flowing at the same time. Both of which you do very well in this book.

MHP: There are no certain prescriptions one can offer, except to think about the people you are leading. In the case of my story, my hero has to deal with his rowdy men, his murderous rivals who want to frag him, interactions with other forces, unit tactics taking all that into account, oh and battlefield management while smiting.

DS: I would like to thank my friend M Harold Page taking the time to talk to me about his latest book. More importantly to give a wonderful unfettered conversation. Rarely does this happen in our hurly burly world. For those of a military bent, be you a young leader of men or seasoned pro, I put this adventure story right up there with the lessons taught in “Defense of Duffer’s Drift.” by Maj General Sir Ernest Dunlop Swinton. It is a rollicking good read and it will help those so inclined to think their way through any number of problems. Although I don't advocate using a sword to lop the heads off of your opponents!
M Harold Page's personal blog can be found at:

Jacques Marechal, photographer par excellence, his website can be found at:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Newest Monarchy in the World and the Birth of a Nation!

HSH Gerard, Fürst von und zu Rheinbergen or HSH Gerard, Sovereign Prince of Rheinbergen.

Today we have a rare opportunity. We are witnesses to the very beginning of a new nation and the revitalization of a noble house into a royal household. Rarely does this happen. The last time I remember it happening was when South Sudan was formed after years of bloody civil war and the western powers interest in developing the oil beneath the new country. We are seeing history in the making.

There is no bloody conflict. There is no Oil or Natural Gas at stake. But what is at stake is the health of an ancient ecosystem and the global community that has a vested interest in its remaining viable and sound.

The Principality of Rheinbergen has announced today with this interview it is ready to step forth on the world's stage and take its place amongst the brotherhood of nations. It shall be led by its Prince and First of his name, HSH Gerard, Fürst von und zu Rheinbergen or HSH Gerard, Sovereign Prince of Rheinbergen. Who has been gracious enough to have a conversation with us today.-Thank you very much your Highness.

The official coat of arms for the Principality of Rheinbergen
Fürstentum Rheinbergen

Q: House Cornielje Your Highness... How old is your family and where does it come from?

HSH Gerard
A:The oldest known ancestor is from 1497 in Rouen France

Q: And the the first ancestor to be enobled?

HSH Gerard
A: Pierre Corneille d'Anville, ennobled in January 1637 arms granted in March of that same year.
He was the father of the famous playwright that's 378 years ago.

Q: So your family has been around for roughly 500+ going on 600 years.

HSH Gerard
A: Yes indeed, the oldest known ancestor owned a tannery in Rouen in the late XV Century.
William the Conqueror's mother Hervleva,  her father and William's, grandfather was a tanner by the way. Sometimes countries and dynasties have humble origins.

Q: Why form your own country?

HSH Gerard
A: The main idea was to create an alternative nation that emphasizes heraldry, art and the environment. Another important factor is politics: I think democracy is not working as it should, and now a secure hereditary monarchy is a better answer.Where one person is responsible who cannot be purchased for a better positioning in a market by a large uncaring or non responsible corporation. Or for a country who removes itself from the courts of law, in order to run roughshod over its citizenry.

Editorial insert in the conversation*(Oddly enough, Otto von Habsburg felt that the world would eventually return to Monarchy with a stronger role for a Monarch than just that of a figure head.)

HSH Gerard
A: I agree, with the Grand Duke.

*(Although he liked a strong personal monarch with a subservient house of lords and commons, not the other way around.)

Alp-Rheinbergen. Runs from Thomasee till the Bodensee over 172 km. Neighbouring countries are Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria. Major cities near: Feldkirch, Chur and Dornbirn.

HSH Gerard
A: I believe that is correct, Democracy as we know it does not work due to a lack of education and there is corruption in many facets of modern society. A strong enlightened monarch can control this, by being solely responsible for their nations well being. The world needs strong leaders with vision, passion and compassion.

Q: Do you see your version of a Monarchy similar to that of Liechtenstein?

HSH Gerard
A: Yes, I do: The power of the ruling family there has increased over the last decades and it has benefited the country greatly. Yet the people of Liechtenstein retain representation and are happy living inside a principality.

Hoch-Rheinbergen runs from the Bodensee up until Strasbourg over 207 km. Neighbouring countries are Switzerland France and Germany. Major cities near: Konstanz, Schaffhausen and Basel.

Q: How did you settle on the Rhine / Rhein River as the basis for your Principality? Kingdom?

HSH Gerard
A: I grew up in the Rhine area, just a stone throw away from its shores. It is a region close to my heart. There is a mythical beauty that surrounds the river Rhine. For decades it looked as we would lose this natural beauty, but in the eighties the tide turned and the river started to recover slowly, but there is still much to do. I envision the micronation of Rheinbergen as an active country with active citizens willing to work on further improving our river nation. We are a Principality not a Kingdom.

*(Thank you, your Highness. I needed that clarification. I think some of my readers might have a fascination for Royalty but in America at least, the proper protocol and usages of address have fallen by the wayside.)

Ober-Rheinbergen runs from Strasbourg up until Mainz. It has France and Germany as neighbouring countries. Major cities: Strasbourg, Baden-Baden, Karlsruhe, Ludwigshafen and Mannheim.

Q: Do you think the Rhein river countries will accept a new Principality in their midsts?

 HSH Gerard
A: I think they will: we are not claiming any actual territory: the riverbed and the shores belong to the countries the river flows through ... however, the river itself does not. The water flows freely from one country to another. Not a single drop of it is owned by one of the neighboring countries. There is where our claim lies and there is where we can defend our claim without invading any foreign territory

Mittel-Rheinbergen runs from Mainz until Köln over 364 km. Neighbouring country is Germany. Major cities: Mainz, Köln, Wiesbaden, Koblenz and Bonn.

Q: You have obviously thought a great deal about this, once the surprise has died down, do you think the idea of a River Principality might become attractive to the EU as a way of maintaining and healing the Rhein? Because one nascent country would have a vested interest in its health and not be divided by politics, money and old national self interests which has plagued the six countries on the Rhine?

*(The Rhine flows through six countries -Switzerland, Principality of Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands before flowing into the North Sea at Rotterdam.)

HSH Gerard
A: I think we could potentially give the six countries and the EU a neutral third party option over its maintenance, that heretofore they have not had. I hope and believe it will, if we can gather enough momentum and create a large active following that actually contributes to obvious improvements.
One way is through the use of Social Networking like Google+ and Facebook.

Nieder-Rheinbergen runs from Köln until Pannerden over 130 km. Neighbouring country is Germany. Major cities are Köln, Düsseldorf, Krefeld, Duisburg and Wesel.

Q: What steps do you see that are needed to achieve international recognition of Rheinbergen?

HSH Gerard
A: First of all a lot of active subjects who would spread the word and are actively promoting and researching a healthy environment. Secondly a large number of people that believe that this micronation is more than a quirky eccentric game. What I also see as very important is culture and art become a large part of what our national identity. We want to show the world it is possible to put an emphasis on beauty, art and nature in this world without being just dreamers or people with their heads in the clouds. The hard business like approach of capitalism is failing all around us. We need to be a beacon of beauty and compassion to the world, and with resolve and the effort needed, we will become so.

Q: How are you going to pay for it all?

HSH Gerard
A: Since we are a tax free nation, we count on our citizens to work actively in our nation. Rewards will not be monetary but in the form of promotions and honours. I believe that we can and will succeed in running this nation without large sums of money. Idealism, passion, compassion and hard work can replace hard coins.

*(In America we have a term for what you are describing it is called Sweat Equity.
No money exchanged but hard work and effort means you own something you have a part of the game not just a person who has bought their way into the poker match. You have earned your way.)

HSH Gerard
A: That is our vision exactly.

Neder-Rijmbergen runs form Pannerden to Rotterdam over 160 km. Neighbouring country: The Netherlands. Major cities are Arnhem and Rotterdam.
*(I think what I am afraid of is, Rheinbergen devolving into a Tax haven for international tax cheats like the Principality of Sealand did. So how do I ask that question?)

HSH Gerard
A: You just did! (smiling) Maybe ask me if I am afraid of the pitfalls of being a tax free country perhaps?

Q: Are you afraid of what pitfalls or downside might happen with a Tax Free Nation?

HSH Gerard
A: Not really. First of all we are a nation right in the middle of Europe and surrounded by neighbors with very strict tax rules. That makes from a pure logistical point of view a lot harder to establish a 'rogue nation' like for example the Principality of Sealand; which even in its national anthem openly advocates actions that are illegal in most countries. I count in the second place on the citizens of our nation to be proud of our values and to control themselves and check each other's actions for correctness and fairness, this obviously is needed without turning Rheinbergen into a 'big brother is watching' nation. This should and will all be based on our principles: education, passion, compassion and hard work. Finally: we are not a democracy, we are a hereditary monarchy with me at its head. Together with my council, family and citizens I will keep a sharp eye on the developments as they happen.

Q: I noticed your non announced national Facebook page has blown up, With 10K likes and climbing.

HSH Gerard
A:It has indeed. Which just goes to show how attractive a direct rule monarchy is to the people of the world. Modern governance as I said earlier is failing its citizens and subjects badly.

Q:Do you see an eventual issuance of passports for future subjects of the crown? I ask because that is one of the things that cause so much drama for Sealand. Fake passports were being sold on a black market to some truly unscrupulous and not so savory people.

HSH Gerard
A:We will issue passports in the course of the coming months. Although we may not be recognized yet, we do envision recognition in times to come and want to be prepared. The passports will initially only be used within the territory and frame work of Rheinbergen but we aim for international recognition in a foreseeable time.

Q: How do you want to be styled / called in public? Because as much as Americans love royalty, they have fallen out of using the proper terms and titles. I ask this in the name of all interested USA potential subjects.

HSH Gerard
The official style is HSH Gerard, Fürst von und zu Rheinbergen or HSH Gerard, Sovereign Prince of Rheinbergen. Both are fine.

*(Great! what does HSH mean ....?)

HSH Gerard
A: It is actually mirroring the style of Liechtenstein. His Serene Highness.

*(I had to ask. Americans other than the heraldry crowd are not used to post or pre nominals.)

HSH Gerard
A: Hahaha, I suppose you have fallen out of using titles; since it has been what? 239 years...

*(This is the portion of the interview, where I want my guest to touch on things I might have missed or failed to talk about at all. It allows our interviewee a chance to finish off their interview.)

The official seal of Fürstentum Rheinbergen.

HSH Gerard
A: I would like to draw the attention to our patronage of the arts. In particular music in all its forms and fine art in the form of heraldic art are great passions of mine, I therefore support these forms of art and we do have a number of great heraldic artists onboard. A few names: Neil Bromley, Benoit Billion, Tudor Radu Tiron, Carlos Navarro, Laurent Granier and Danilo Carlos Martins. Most of them even became citizens of Rheinbergen. As did David Warin Solomons, our Court Composer. A phenomenal musician, conductor and composer.

*( In an off venue conversation HSH Gerard expressed his desire to see funds set aside for students who wish to continue their education in art schools, and performing art conservatories.)

Concerts and art exhibitions, tourist venues along the Rhine can be used to promote third party approach to the various ecological issues currently plaguing the Rhine. With a potential reporting office, that could contact the European Union's office of Transportation and the Common Agriculture Policy group.

We have a real opportunity to declare a new nation. Start from nothing and work upwards, without having to fire a shot or commence a bloody revolution. A peaceful nation based on cooperation, art and liberty.

Here are the links to the world's newest micro nation.


On the web:


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Melee: Battlegrounds. An exercise in excellence which needs your help!

Several years ago, I met a remarkable young man from Serbia. We struck a genuine friendship, and with whom I speak to on a daily basis. Despite the fact he has been involved in a super, ultra secret project with all sorts dire consequences if he even mentioned the name of his project. Which consequently ate massive amounts of his time. After seeing what he and his fellow team-mates have accomplished I understand why they have been living like hermits. It is project Melee: Battlegrounds which has brought us here today and to bring attention to the Kickstart Campaign they need to bring their project forward.

Here is the look they have worked so hard to perfect:

Q: Who are you? And what project have you been working on for over two years.

A: Hi, I am Siniša Vučković, people and modding community knows me by the nickname Zimke.
I am working on a Medieval Combat Sandbox, a game where you can fight in massive multi-player battles as a single soldier, have duels, tournaments, have your on heraldry and customize the way you look, build fortifications and castles, own a house in a town and socialize in taverns(play board games, even have brawl fist fights there, just beware not to get arrested by guards). Some social system will be also present in that town and you can customize your house as well, it's pretty much medieval life simulator

Beautifully rendered combat scenarios, give this a real world feel. Designed by some of the most passionate and gifted
game designers currently working in the field. 

We made our own engine to make this possible, there just wasn't any other way if we want all of this to happen. The Company and Project are made up of gamers and modders who made all of the modifications on a game called "Mount & Blade: Warband." We are just regular guys that felt passionately about what could happen or better still how to take a game and make it come alive. We knew what we had helped build once before, we knew we could do better. We have created a truly amazing looking and reactive environment but, we need help getting the game to the level where we can manufacture it. That takes money. With money comes the space for us to gather and plan. With money comes the distance from everyday life, so we can concentrate on finishing this amazing game. And lastly with money comes the ability for us to continue to invest ourselves and our spirit into the game.

Q: Tell us of some of the difficulties you have experienced in developing this game.

This is not just an infantry game of sword bashing. Cavalry will charge, or archers and crossbowmen will attack.
This is very much a game that keeps pushing your personal learning curve.

A: The engine itself, took two years to develop, it was really hard during this time, we barely had funds, worked from homes from all around the world while having our regular daily jobs, relationships suffered, friends got alienated because all of the free time we devoted to this, I can't remember when was the last time I slept for more than 5 hours. The name of our company is Donkey Crew, it came from internal joke from within the cRPG mod community.

Q: What countries are home to the Donkey Crew?

A: We come from all over the planet. USA, Russia, Serbia, Austria, Italy, Spain, Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Singapore. So it is really hard making a game like this, we really need to get together in one place, rent an office and living quarters, you just come to a point when people need to be together in one room. Telecommuting can only carry you so far. Which is why it is critical we get funds to carry this project forward.
Q: What is exceptional and different about this game... Because there are a lot of games out there. Why should I part with my hard earned money to buy yours?

The level of detail is just amazing! -We knew we have only one chance of producing this game. We worked really hard at getting the details just right.-Zimke.

A: If you want to fight with a new and revolutionary system where you actually control the weapons entirely, and those weapons are actually treated like physical objects, we made it!
If you want to experience massive multi-player battles with far FAR more then 200 players, yes, we give you that as well! Imagine all those players at the same time, every one of them is unique real person, and you just have to figure out how to kill them! But beware of crossbowmen, archers, cavalry, this is not a foot combat only game!

Build a Castle or Assault one! You can do both in this game!

If you prefer to build, you can do that too! Gather resources, stone, wood, make fortifications, or houses which enable faster and closer re-spawn; make smiths for better weapons, build an entire castle and fill it in with all necessary objects!
If you prefer to destroy, we have it as well! Attack supply caravans that bring resources for builders, use siege engine to destroy fortifications and castle walls, and help your friend capture it!
If you prefer to socialize, we have made an entire town, where you can advance in society, own and equip a house, visit taverns and play board games or drink or brawl, might even end up thrown in prison. Be a beggar, peasant, a guard or a governor if people elect you.

Beautifully rendered objects with their historical references can be seen.

If you are modder, this is a dream game, entire engine and tools we use will be handed out to modders, and they can personally collaborate with us, literally anything is possible in our engine, you can make fire spitting dragon which will be controlled by you, or you can make robots with laser, you name it, it is possible.

Q: What era do you start and does the game allow you to just jump in and begin fighting or do you have to build yourself and your armour level by level?

Even civilian clothing in the game is modeled after historically documented examples.

A: We actually want to implement very wide range of cultures. For the initial release we will work on 13th century, then we will add 14th and after that 15th. At the moment in our trailer you see Teutonic knights attacking Novgorod, that event is when the Battle on the Ice happened.( Which is why you see snow drifting through the battle scenes.) As for cultures, you will see Western, Eastern, Northern and Southern European, Balkan, Mongol, Byzantine, Turkic, and lastly Persian..

Q: Tell us about your research...

A kettle helm straight from the pages of the Maciejowski Bible.

A: I use archaeological finds and manuscripts, for this to make possible a lot of historians archaeologists and enthusiast from all around the world helped out. I myself as an reenactor have been researching the medieval history archaeological finds for many years. Not only how they looks, but also how they behave, real life reconstructions offer a lot of answers once you test them out. Hollywood implanted a lot of prejudice about middle ages, this game will help straight few things out. I would also like to take this time to express my deepest gratitude to those professionals who gave of their expertise. Each was a master of their particular field of research and they gave of themselves and their time in helping this project achieve the look it has.

Q: So let me get this straight, your arms and armour are historically correct and the simulations actually fight like they are wielding real arms and equipment?

Weapons as seen in the Maciejowski Bible and the Morgan Bible.

A: Yes, all that you see in our game is documented, and the real life experiences of handling recreations from those or similar items are gathered and being transferred to the game, we want to make it as much realistic and fun at the same time.

Game play on a massive scale!

Thank you Zimke for taking the time to explain to myself and my readers the game you and your fellows have sacrificed and dedicated so much of your lives to create!

Here is the link to the Donkey Crews aka Melee: Battlegrounds Kickstart Campaign:

On personal note, I think the art is so beautifully rendered, I would like to share a few more pictures that have been graciously granted exclusive first looks by Zimke and his fellows at the Donkey Crew.-Thank you very much!

Friday, August 8, 2014

"Out History the Historians! or Saving Richard III"

The Flag of Yorkshire Saints.
The flag takes its colors from the shield of the arms of two local Yorkshire saints. Wilfrid (blue) and William (gold). William was martyred in 1154 via poisoning and so a Christian cross is present. Maybe it is time to fly this Flag
once more over Richard III. He certainly spent most of his youth riding beneath its banner.
Since he is to be buried in Leicester, maybe this should be draped over his sarcophagus?
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

     There has been a very nice response from the public to my last posting about Richard III. Thank you each and everyone who took the time to read, let alone comment. As most of you know I am the founder and editor of Modern Medievalist on Facebook. I posted the article on my page, and one of my readers brought something to my attention, that had slipped my grasp. We who are outraged at what has been done to Richard III and the terrible foisting off of propaganda have been focused on the slights and injuries he has been subject to, instead of focusing on what can be done instead.

    What can be done? Can we remove him from durance vile? Doubtful at best. Even if someone of the stature of HM the Queen should take an interest, Her Majesty is not above the law. But that doesn't mean that nothing can be done. In fact quite the opposite can be done actually. A friend living in Scotland said, we needed to "Out History the Historians." -I rather liked that sentiment. And since Leicester has been determined to set the bar of excellence so very low, I don't think it is a goal that cannot be achieved.

      As my reader put it, and I am paraphrasing her reply here, "Take over a failed chip shop or storefront that is as close to the Leicester Historical Center and create a time sensitive display of what a Royal Sarcophagus should look like, create a chapel within the shop, showing the general public what a Monarch of England should have as his final resting place. Bring in experts in Art, Armour, Weapons, Clothing and Textiles. Create a board to oversee the "counter historical center," take the monies earned and fold it back into the center until it outshines in authenticity that horrid place. I would visit the current center for five minutes. Something that is truly sensitive and 
historically accurate? I would spend hours in."

     I think the Ricardian Supporters have been going about this not necessarily the wrong way, I just think and I am including myself in this, that we have been blinded by not seeing the forest for the trees in front of us. It is time to beat the blighters at their own game!-(Sorry about that couldn't help myself there.)

    My lovely dainty great aunt from Texas used to say, "Something is only as special as we make it out to be." As I have aged in this life, I have found that to be so very true. Where does that leave us then? I have made inquiries with the fine folks at Kickstart. This idea of building a counter historical center is not even a full 24 hours old. However I believe it has merit. The people who believe history has once again suffered a sever miscarriage of justice can once more have an opportunity to create something worth celebrating.

     I am American and as such have been dismissed out of hand because of my birth, but this is our shared history, as I have ancestors who fought in the War of the Roses and regardless of York or Lancaster it is our heritage and our right as descendants of those who fought, to see that it is treated with respect and dignity. So it is time to gird up our loins and be prepared to fight a different campaign, while taking the high road. If the Ricardians of the world work together they can steal a march on those who are only interested in profit for profit's sake.

    One expert who also happens to be an American did a great deal of work and effort preparing a presentation of what historical arms and armour would have looked like at the time of the Battle of Bosworth. I leave his name out as of this writing as I have not consulted to see if I have his permission to use his name. Regardless his presentation and more importantly his scholarly reputation, and expertise were cast aside in favor of a Carling-(c) Lager Can propped up in the corner. (I hope the Carling Beer Company will forgive what I consider an unfavorable comparison.) 

You be the judge... Suit of Armour with
Christmas Eve Party Crown?

Or can of Lager beer? Which would you prefer representing your monarch? The sweat shop horror or the can of beer? Since crass commercialism is in play I would go for
the beer can.

     I would be ashamed to hold my head up in public, when it was discovered that the entire team of experts who had been assembled to undertake the expedition to retrieve Richard III revolted. Or when it was discovered that Plagiarism is no longer a crime so long as it relates to historical documents. I am referring of course to the moving quote York wrote about the loss of their king, that was used in the Leicester center that gave the impression of being written by the city of Leicester. 
    I digress... One of my readers informed me he had made several inquiries into what a cast bronze effigy, wearing historical arms and armour would cost, and startling enough, it would have cost less than what the Kleenex-(c) Tissue Box Dispenser is costing the subjects of the crown. I know many of Britain's armour smiths would gladly create something to show what a real suit or harness would look like. To tell the truth the artistic endeavors would in all likelihood pour in from all over the globe.

    Lastly there is a chance to once more celebrate what English history is all about. Hold a festive tournament in his honor the week before the anniversary of the battle of Bosworth. Make it a big deal! Celebrate with all the pomp and circumstances that only the British people can do. Invite every single reenactment house that participates in the various War of the Roses events. Have them conduct archery competitions, dismounted combat exhibitions, with marches and drills.Let the reenactors show interpretive displays, have them line up before the Jousters and parade before them in the list, with their flags and banners flying! Make the weekend, the premier Medieval History weekend on the calendar. Let them show that although Leicester might have his body, they do not posses his Honor or his future! Let the reenactors and jousters shout, "Out History the Historians!"

     Eventually I would see monies being sent north to York. Let the center support York Minister as Richard III did in his lifetime. Establish an endowment for college bound youth who wish to study history. If all of these things can be done for Leicester, then a healthy bit of competition should eventually make those in Leicester either sit up and take notice or come to their senses and allow the King to be interred in neutral ground with the proper rights. I would suspect if anyone in authority asked nicely, Pope Francis just might hop on a commercial flight and hail a cab to perform a high mass... or at least give a showing for a Catholic Monarch.

-DS Baker

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Richard III Sold! To The Highest Bidder!

Apparently the Richard III Enthusiasts
have begun their protests against
injustices and perceived slights.
Richard III (2 October 1452 – 22 August 1485) was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 in the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at Bosworth Field, the last decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, symbolizes the end of the Middle Ages in England.
Portrait courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery-England.

     I have been following events in England, that have surrounded the search for, and the discovery of Richard III for the better part of two years.  As a self labeled medievalist, I had hoped the discovery would have been handled with taste and decorum. Sadly it seems I overestimated the rapacious greed in Leicester.

    Before going into combat at Bosworth, The Duke of Norfolk found a note tacked to the door of his lodging which said:

"Jacky of Norfolk, be not too bold,
For Dickon thy master is bought and sold."
    The Stanley's under the leadership of Sir William Stanley, later made Baron Stanley and Henry 4th Earl of Northumberland, abandoned the King, causing him to fall into despair. Upon hearing of the Duke of Norfolk's death, he bravely or foolishly lead an impromptu cavalry charge aimed at Henry VII, in hopes of ending the conflict.

    Sadly he was not successful and was rumored to have died shouting, "Treason!"  There is even a fable meeting with a seeress who prophesied where his spurs struck so should his head. Crossing the river into Bosworth, Richard III supposedly struck his spurs on one of the stone supports on the bridge he was riding over. When he was being carried back dead, his head allegedly struck the same stone support, and was split open.

     Regardless of the who or why, his skeleton bears witness his betrayal by those he thought loyal in the numerous and grievous wounds he suffered at the hands of his enemies.

    It is now at this point, where I personally thought the stench of betrayal would finally be lifted from his mortal remains and he would be allowed his moment in history to at least be re-examined by those who were not his mortal enemies. I was mistaken, sadly mistaken.

    I guess we come down to the gristle that is stuck in the back molar, which causes slow agony as pressure mounts. Bad teeth. I think that is an apt analogy for what is happening in England today. Standing where once was a car park, there is now a historical center dedicated to Richard III. It is brand new, built in stone to replicate the architecture of the period, it straddles the once muddy hole he had been unceremoniously shoveled into.

    Everything about the new center is a nightmare of purloined quotes, cheap knock off armour from an Indian sweat shop, and a shiny crown that looks like it is fresh from the Burger King-(c) Extra Value Meal.

    The proposed original design entrance had a throne that would have been covered in vast amounts of blood, which in turn would have spilled to the ground, where there would have been bloody words spelled out.-Thank goodness saner heads and a modicum of decorum prevailed in the end. It is one thing to realize that an estimated 50,000 to as high as 80,000 Crown Subjects died during the War of the Roses... there is a fine balance that needs to be struck in recounting history and then there is shlock value.

    Let's discuss the proposed Tomb: Saying that it is a Danish Modern Kleenex Dispenser is being kind. One wit said it looked like a new fancy bicycle rack that would keep your bike upright.

     Instead of giving Richard III the last English monarch to die in combat a tomb that might have been contemporaneous to his time, and his exploits, they have gotten the Kleenex box approved. I am going to post pictures of several tombs that are actually contemporaries of Richard's time line give and take less than a hundred years.

    Władysław III (31 October 1424 – 10 November 1444), also known as Władysław of Varna was King of Poland from 1434, and King of Hungary from 1440, until his death at the Battle of Varna.
Wladyslaw III was a contemporary of Richard III of England. His armour pictured above would have not been out of fashion at Bosworth. 

     The tomb of Mary of Burgundy (13 February 1457 – 27 March 1482). As the only child of Charles the Bold (1433-1477), Mary was heiress presumptive to a vast and wealthy domain, made up of the Duchy of Burgundy, the Free County of Burgundy, and the majority of the Low Countries. She married Archduke Maximilian of Austria who became her co-ruler. 

    The 25-year-old Duchess died due to a fall from her horse on 27 March 1482 near Wijnendale Castle. She loved riding, and was falconing with Maximilian when her horse tripped, threw her, and then landed on top of her, breaking her back. She died several days later, and is buried in the Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk) in Bruges, Belgium. The tomb was commissioned by her husband at the workshop of Jan Borman who made the design and who sculpted the statue of Mary based on her death mask

     And here is what is euphemistically called the Danish Modern Kleenex Dispenser chosen for the last monarch of England to die in combat fighting for his crown, his throne and ultimately for his people. Designed by Messrs Van Heyningen & Howard.

     Here is a vintage Lucite Kleenex (c) Tissue Box Cover. I think you can tell Messrs Van Heyningen & Howard did a real stretch of their mental muscles when searching for inspiration.
    At the end of the day, the money people will have ensured that they have created a steady revenue stream for themselves and for the Cathedral property. In the coming years, there will be a new chair in history funded by the revenues generated by the crass display of his plastic bones. Closely followed by graduate students, and the next thing you know one or two lucky individuals and the entire history department at Leicester will have been funded into perpetuity.

    Which is in my mind the reason why the University and the Cathedral fought so vigorously. It is not about preserving history. It is not about documenting a slain monarch. And it is most definitely not about separating Tudor propaganda from reality. Nor is it about doing the right thing and repairing the King to either York or Westminster.

    Lastly the Richard III Society has announced for Leicester Cathedral and Leicester University that there will be a simple re-internment ceremony. Stating and I am paraphrasing here, that his Catholic rights were given to him when they unceremoniously shoveled his brutalized corpse into a muddy hole.

    Once again the supposed experts have been making assumptions as to what rites were performed, or what actually happened when he was buried. Their refusal to at least have a high mass for Richard III smacks of Protestant Bias and Discrimination against letting Catholic Priests back into a building they once owned and operated. The Pope and the Catholic Church have made several open handed overtures, attempting to reconcile the two doctrines. Again, I think it has less to do with faith or doctrine as it does the twin evils of power and money.

    Sadly I leave you with the best piece of written propaganda ever conceived to slander another. Too bad it still seems appropriate:

 “My conscience hath a thousand several tongues, 
And every tongue brings in a several tale,
And every tale condemns me for a villain.
Perjury, perjury, in the high'st degree;
Murder, stern murder in the dir'st degree,
Throng to the bar, crying all, 'Guilty!, guilty!” 
― William Shakespeare, Richard III

I am just sadden to see such a magnificent opportunity to celebrate history and the unique aspect of being "English" squandered by those who are only too willing to drag Richard III through the quagmire of discrimination, filthy lucre, and to continue to perpetuate lies and pass them off as truth. I guess the power players took their cues from Goebbels-Continue to tell a lie and sooner or later people will believe it. Best of luck with your Historical Inaccuracy Center.

-DS  Baker.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Live Action Role Playing in the Czech Republic With: Tomáš Lazar Doležal

Tomáš Lazar Doležal. Photo by  Tereza Sára Doležalová
with the group "Ogary Pogoni"

One aspect of European History I have always found fascinating was a people's movement which originated in Bohemia Called the Hussites, or followers of Jan Hus. Wikipedia defines them thus-The Hussites (Czech: Husité or Kališníci; "Chalice People") were a Christian movement following the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus (c. 1369–1415), who became one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation. This predominantly religious movement was propelled by social issues and strengthened Czech national awareness.

After the Council of Constance lured Jan Hus in with a letter of indemnity, then tried him for heresy and put him to death at the stake on 6 July 1415, his followers the Hussites fought the Hussite Wars (1420–1434) for their religious and political cause. Among present-day Christians, Hussite traditions are represented in the Moravian Church, Unity of the Brethren, and the re-founded Czechoslovak Hussite churches. 
The Prague Neighbors from 2007, participating in the Battle of the River Crossing, in the Heraldic Colors of Matthias Corvinus.

I have always found this movement fascinating. I have family members who although three generations or longer have lived in Texas, are still Bohemian in their attitudes and thought. Several have claimed that they were or consider themselves Hussite. I see direct parallels of the Converso population of secret Jews of Spain. The Hussites went underground and kept their beliefs to themselves and when the time was right reemerged. Now with the advent of time, in Bohemia today you can find Live Action Role Playing groups that have chosen the time period of the Hussite Wars to reenact. Incidentally trying to find out information about these groups is hard to find.

Special note: Live Action Role Play, in America is usually associated with fantasy games or worlds. Vampire and Werewolves fighting each other. Magic users and Goblins or Orcs fighting humans. Think anything you could find in a game of Dungeon and Dragons campaign. In Europe they have fantasy LARP groups. Then they have historical LARP and it is much more akin to what we would call Living History. They strive for authentic clothing, arms, and armour. They try to replicate what life would be like in or during the religious wars of mid XV Century. So there are women and children, cooks, tent, and cordage makers, bakers and candlestick makers.
Preparation of wagon defense in 2013 Battle of Sion.
(c)  Petr Zip Hájek.
It is important to note that the Battle of Sion is organized by Civitas Pragensis

"Czech Hussites fighting from a wagon platform at the Battle of the Ford"

It has been one of my greatest surprises and honor to meet Tomáš Doležal Lazar of Prague, who found me on-line, and as luck would have it, has been at the heart of Hussite reenactment in the Czech Republic;  We began a remarkable conversation.

Q: Who is Tomáš Doležal Lazar, and when did all this start?

A: Right, the easy answer, born in Prague decade before the fall of Iron Curtain. Actually Lived all my life close to the historic city center. That is probably why I was lead towards history, along with my good elementary school teacher Mrs. Myslínová, and my grandmother who was a tourist guide, and very knowledgeable about history. I actually consider the affinity to history and reenactment something that was always part of me, naturally. Though in the beginning, it was pretty much playing with wooden swords in my friends backyard. Of course fantasy literature played its hand in it too. I was nearly 15 when I got my first sword, and signed up for one of the few fencing schools in my area.

Q: What about reenacting satisfies or fulfills your love of history?

A:  That changed over time many times. For me initially it was the friendships I developed. When I was younger, I simply had my knightly dream and the actual intense action and partly theater involved in it were my drives. Cannot say I ever thought much about this really. The older I am, the more I am interested in LARPing aspect of bringing the history to life and finding curiosities about history, simply learning. Cannot say I would be reenactor all along, I'd say that the last six years can be considered attempts at that? Before then, I was one of the countless people who were making more things up rather than even trying to get historically accurate.
Drill Picture of a close group of friends, "Prague Neighbors"
Photo by  Tereza Sára Doležalová

Q: What group or groups have you had a hand in developing?
A: I suppose the most standout would be my first, "The Prague Neighbors", which started with seven friends at the Battle of Libušín some seven or so years ago. We simply decided that we wanted to go into the battle and closely cooperate. Few months later, I was sitting at home and complaining to my now wife, about how sad it is that only there were only a few doing this in the country, and she told me "Well, grab the reigns and do something about it.", and I did. Eventually the few of us formed a core of what would later become a 50 member Hussite unit, actually more focusing on researching the correct use of historic armament of the era, tactics, strategies, working of command with the tools medieval commanders had at their disposal. Eventually, as it happens with groups of so many people, there were differences in opinions and the more progressive group became Civitas Pragensis, while myself and many of the original group became Ogary Pogoni, the Polish-Lithuanian hussites of Zikmund Korybutovič. Together and with several more groups from around the country we formed the Prague Union, following the historic city union from the Hussite era. Currently we can field around a hundred men at our best. Somewhere along the way, not sure where, the research and reconstruction of things of daily life, customs and such just joined in. The time period we are specializing in is from 1422 to 1437 to be exact.

Q: How many XIV and XV Century Groups are there in the Czech Republic? Do they operate mostly alone or do they come to together for events?

A: I am a very local person, so most of my interaction is with the groups here in the Czech Republic. It is actually not uncommon to find the same people participating in projects concerning all the way from 10th century to the first world war. For me, it is these: Naturally the Prague Union groups for early 15th century, then next comes the "Dvůr hradecké královny Alžběty Richenzy" (The royal court at Of Queen Elizabeth Richeza at Hradec) for early 14th century, and of which I am part of as well. Then it would be Rattenschwanz 1476, as we cooperate on several events due to likeness of equipment, and a little more distantly I am networked through actual Battle of Libušín with Midgard group (viking era reenactment), and people of Curie Vítkov (12th century reenactment). Of course there are other projects that sometimes overlap like Doba Karlova (late 14th century) and several groups focusing on knightly orders.

The Knight is Jerzy Branicki herbu Gryfa, from the group, "Ogary Pogoni" Battle of Sion 2013
(c) Petr Zip Hajek

Q: Several specific questions here: Do you have a war wagon that can be turned into a mobile fortress like the original Hussites? What type of equipment do you field? Is there hand cannons? What about crossbowmen and flails?
Battle of Sion 2013 again by (c) Petr Zip Hájek.
It is important to note that the Battle of Sion is organized by Civitas Pragensis

A: I do believe Civitas Pragensis hold three of such wagons. And as well there are several wagons parked under the Castle of Sion (one of the last Hussite battlefields) which can be loaned for an event. The war wagons are actually a heavy investment that only now seems plausible when everything else was settled. The first of Hussite specific armament that needed to be made was the pavises. We do have a few folk with flails, but since we focus on the city Hussites, the equipment is far from the Hussite field communities. The hand guns (píšťaly and hákovnice) are often utilized, same as the crossbows. However having a plausible number of war wagons, horses or bulls/cows to pull them around, that's something of a lasting dream - one that is not exactly easy to achieve financially.

Q: You hold an event each year. Could you tell us about it?

A: The Battle of Libušín, or History festival at Libušín. I shall start with a little history. The event ran now for long years. So it actually started long before I even considered any reenactment as an idea of Mr. Václav Janda and a fencing group Kyrius. The event started out small and local and eventually evolved to be traditional unlocking of the season (it is held on the weekend nearest the Saint George's day every year). Originally it was more about hitting each other with pieces of metal, then it evolved into something of a meeting with fantasy motives. It was I believe 7 years ago when when Tomáš Lapáček, one of the original group, contacted me and several other stand out people that he would like to evolve the event into a new direction and asked us for help. I should note that among all those names, I was the one least important in my humble opinion. Each of these people represented one of the groups I mentioned earlier. And it was then when we started shifting the focus of the event, away from the battle itself, but more into a concept for people to meet and learn from each other, to have a huge market where they can get new contacts with craftsmen or gear up.
Battle of Libušín 2013, by (c) Karel Křemel

Q: So how did you and the others envision the event?

A: The concept was simple - to invite everyone - the folk who do the history more in a theatrical way, the reenactors, the sports people, and open this all to general public, so they can learn as well. As the event stands now, it is a carnival. Each major era group has own camp where they present themselves. We organize guided tours for visitors among them, each of the groups has a chance to present themselves, give new insights on history. For those who are not into history the HMB tournament takes place in other part of the camp, there are falconers, musicians and alike. The event holds around 2000 - 2500 reenactors and we get between 4000 and 8000 visitors a year depending on the weather. As the highlight of the day, we organize a battle that is in concept a fantasy - so we can field around 1000 soldiers in the field, something that we have no chance to experience anywhere else in the region.
Battle of Libušín 2014 by (c) Michal Doležal

Q: Do you match up groups to have period correct fights?

A: The big event is following a scenario where we try to pit groups with matching equipment against each other. The scenario is however only rough outline of moves of units, nothing else is scripted. We do not do battle for each period, because that is what the people keep doing here all year long. Because that way, they would only stand against 100 enemies at best. So this way, we give them the missing feeling of standing in a line against 500 instead. It also works as a field lab for exercising command tools of medieval times. After the scripted battle, we give people two or three more battles lacking any script at all, where they can simply test their skill.
Battle of Libušín 2014 by (c) Michal Doležal

Q: How many merchants do you have attending this event?

A: I'll only estimate as the market part is not the part of the show I run, but I'd say we have around 40-50 parcels, a parcel being place for the merchant to sell from. Not all are historic items however, the event is also for the viewers who need their children fed and happy. There is about 10-20 historic craftsmen in the market area, however many craftsmen stay in their period camp and sell from there, mainly for reenactors themselves. Our policy is that "the more historic, the less rent for a parcel up to a free place if the craft is also being exhibited for the duration of the festival.

Q: Do you have participants from outside the Czech Republic at this event?

A: We did. I know that last year we had visitors from the United States, we often have folk from Poland, Germany, Austria, and Slovakia. This year Ukrainians visited us, and I am certain there was several more groups. They sometimes sign up under the Czech group they are friends with, so we are unable to keep a complete list of foreign participants. In closing I certainly want to extend an invitation to anyone and everyone who is in any way involved in reenactment X through the XV Centuries. I know I have been told by my friends from the West, at times that the battle looks unnecessarily dangerous, but the battle alone is not the only point of the event. It is all about inspiration and expanding horizons, about talking and sharing knowledge and ideas. I for one am quite curious about reenactment in other countries and I believe that our Czech community has something to offer as well.
For those who like HMB or Battle of Nations style fighting, it
can also be found at Libusin.(c) Karel Kremel

I would like to thank Tomas Lazar Dolezal for his patience and understanding. This article has taken twice as long to produce due to some changes in my life. Děkuji moc Tomas!

Tomas wanted to provide links to various pages, that will give a better view of the Hussite reenactment world:

This last link is a first person video of life in a medieval camp with scenes of tournament and combat.

This next link, is what it is like to be in a medieval combat zone.

The next link here is further color photography by Karel Kremel.