Midgard was founded in October 2001 to spread knowledge of the Middle Ages by means of battle reenactments and living history displays. Our combat is semi-choreographed with wooden or blunted steel weapons, not competitive, and it is both a LOT of fun and a great crowd-pleaser. Initially we will focus on the period of the Norman Conquest (AD 1066), portraying Normans, Saxons, and Vikings, but other parts of the Middle Ages may be included in the future. There are a number of other fine medieval reenactment groups already, and we hope to work in concert with them (See Links). We are a new group but our founding members are all long-time veteran reenactors (medieval and otherwise).
Midgard is based in the Washington DC area, and probably most of our events will be around here for a while. Activities tentatively include several battle reenactments, notably the Battle of Hastings in October, plus smaller demos and displays at schools, libraries, fairs, parades, etc. (See Events.) We'll be focusing on recruiting fighters at first (with an eye towards larger battles!), but there are already plans for several living history camps.
It's fun! Compared to a lot of other hobbies, it's cheap! Compared to any other historical reenactment period, it's easy! Most of what you need to know to participate is right here on this website. You can also join the Hastings Group email discussion list at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Hastingsgroup/.
Join us! Fight and teach at the same time! Read on and find out how.
Each member will acquire a complete set of clothing, and fighting equipment if necessary, which meets the Basic Clothing Standards, and bearing in mind that the group's events will focus on the Norman Conquest of 1066. (Weaponry must also meet Fighting Rules, of course.) Since we hope to reenact battles such as Maldon, Ashdown, and Stamford Bridge as well as Hastings, Viking impressions are also welcome, provided one can pass for a Saxon or Norman when appropriate. You can certainly borrow clothing and equipment to participate at first, until you get your own kit done.
Women are certainly welcome as well! Women's clothing is described in the Standards; women may also portray men and fight as men. We will undoubtedly become involved in more living history activities as well as the battles, with camps and displays, and women are an integral part of that.
PARTICIPATE to the degree that makes you happy. If you want to come to every single battle, demo, parade, workshop, and party, or if you only show up to one event a year, great! You can babble for hours to an audience, reconstruct a castle, or just fight. It's up to you!
There are no dues! No treasury, no group-owned assets, no muss, no fuss. Frankly, this writer is going to have to run everything, and the less to worry about, the better. Get dressed, come out, and participate. What could be simpler?
Never stop learning! Ongoing research is all part of the fun, but you can learn from fellow reenactors as well as from books. The Middle Ages is a vast topic, so feel free to study any little bit of it that catches your fancy. And once you have everything you need for the Hastings era, branch out!
Frequently a not-very-authentic appearance can be improved simply by omitting many non-period items or poor reconstructions that are not necessary. Thus in many places on this site you will find that certain things are forbidden--this should not be taken as negativity, merely an attempt to help the newcomer avoid common pitfalls. You can save yourself a lot of time, money, effort, and aggravation by paying close attention the guidelines on this site and not adding details or embellishments that cannot be supported by solid historical research. Research or no, it's always best to get guidance or prior approval from established members before making or buying something that is not already recommended. That way you won't show up to an event with some new item of which you are very proud, only to be told that you can't use it. We really hate to cause hurt feelings!
working definitions. In Midgard and on this website the terms
"historically accurate", "correct", and "period" will refer to anything
that has been shown to be an accurate representation of what actually
in the setting being discussed, by means of archeological, pictoral, or
literary evidence. Emphasis is always on the common rather than
exception, and primary evidence weighs more heavily than "logic" or
sense". Due to the scarcity of evidence for some aspects of what
we do, a certain amount of interpolation from other periods or cultures
may be necessary, or we might simply have to use conjecture or a best
In such a case we like to stay with what is historically "safe", and
stretch a theory more than necessary.
So if we say that something is not period or inaccurate or incorrect, it means that according to the research we've done, there is insufficient evidence that the item existed in that form in our period. Since it is obviously impossible to prove that any particular item never existed, the "burden of proof" is up to whoever wants to use such a questionable item--he must prove that it is authentic. Whenever possible, stick with what we are pretty sure we know was done, and skip what they "could have done".
We also may say that something is "acceptable" or "unacceptable". This is often a subjective judgement call, according to how strictly the person in charge is interpreting the authenticity standards. An inconspicuous modern belt buckle may be acceptable, especially if authentic reproductions are hard to get. On the other hand, a pair of properly-constructed turn shoes, made from a perfectly good pattern and sewn lovingly by hand, would be unacceptable if they were made of vinyl. Generally, there will be plenty of advance notice if standards for a particular event are going to be significantly higher than usual.