Historical Reenactment
A lifelong Medieval history enthusiast, I enjoy the knightly pursuits of jousting, hunting, and sword fighting.

Several months ago I made a fairly important resolution for 2017. This was not one of those half-hearted pledges to give up some enjoyably bad habit most people make on New Year’s Day only to succumb to temptation a few hours later. To be fair, like more than a few other resolutions I have previously made, there was not exactly a considerable amount of critical thinking involved. Nevertheless, it would require a major personal commitment to accomplish: I was going to the Days of Knights this year. Several months ago I made a decision ...

For a member of the knightly class in the fifteenth century, hunting was far more than a simple hobby or pleasurable pastime--it was the very essence of life. Gaston III, compte de Foix, wrote in his treatise Livre de Chasse, or Book of the Hunt:tout mon temps me suis delite par especial en trois choses, l'une est en armes, l'autre est en amours, et l'autre si est en chasce..., or in "all my time I am delighted in three things, the one is in arms, the other is in love, and the other is in hunting." He would only claim to be an expert in the last.

The importance that the nobility placed on the sport of hunting cannot be overstated. The oldest book on hunting in English was written about 1413 by Edward of Norwich, Duke of York, and dedicated to Henry, Prince of Wales, the future Henry V. Titled The Master of Game, it was primarily a translation of Le Livre de Chasse by Gaston III, Count of Foix: [M]en are better when riding, more just and more understanding, and more alert and more at ease and more understanding, and better knowing all countries and all passages; in short and long all good ...

Whether judicial trial by combat, a chivalric duel, or a deed of arms, the pollaxe was the primary weapon of choice between armoured men. By the fifteen century, the sword and dagger were considered secondary weapons, only capable of causing harm to an opponent by exploiting the small gaps in his plate armour. The pollaxe was essentially an axe, hammer, and spear affixed atop a sturdy shaft about the height of its wielder. Near the beginning of the fifteenth century, an anonymous Milanese fencing master in service to Philip II "the Bold" ...

Brigandine is a type of body armour consisting of numerous, small, rectangular, overlapping, steel plates riveted to a textile shell resembling a sleeveless doublet. As with many other forms of armour, surviving examples vary by date and region, but many had a pair of larger 'L-shaped' plates centered over the upper chest, which were known as lung plates. The rivets, or nails, were commonly arranged in triangular groups of three. Brigandine spaulders are regularly depicted in period artwork; however, no examples are known to have survived.

Prior to the 15th century, jousters met in an open field and could pass on the right or the left side. Riders and horses were prone to severe injury in the event of a collision. In 1429, at a joust in Arras, France, a rope was hung with cloth to separate the contestants. It was called the tilt or toile. It is likely that the tilt barrier originated in Italy as early jousts with a barrier were referred to as the Italian Course. It did not reach England until the 1430s. Eventually, the cloth barrier evolved into a sturdy wooden wall. Prior to the 15th century, jousters met in an ...

Several years ago I joined Saint Hubert's Rangers, an international, online brotherhood of like-minded individuals dedicated to the medieval hunt. Members portray mid-to-late medieval Western European hunters and attempt to authentically recreate the clothing, accoutrements, and hunting gear appropriate for their station. Rangers research all aspects of the daily lives of medieval hunters and continually strive to improve on the period authenticity of their hunting apparel and gear.

My Medieval Obsession