A Medieval Lady’s Shoes


Last year, a friend of mine from Serbia asked to make a pair of good-looking women’s shoes. The shoes had to be suitable for a reconstruction of a noble lady’s costume from 14th century Serbia.

It was a difficult task to find good examples of decorated footwear on the Balkans. However, I did manage to find a lot of images of colored, embroidered and decorated shoes in various wall paintings. So, based on some of the colors and decorations of the shoes in the murals, and archaeological finds of similar shoes in western Europe, I came up with this reconstruction.

The shoes are made of thin leather upper part, covered with raw silk and decorated with cotton embroidery. The buttons are made of mountain crystal. I have also added a protective strip of leather between the silk upper part and the thick leather sole. I have seen plenty of late medieval archaeological finds, where shoes have such strips. This is what they look like.

I am proud of my work. It was especially hard to turn them inside-out because of the shape of the sole, but it was worth the efforts. Here is where I have got some of my inspiration from.

Cheers for the lucky lady, and best regards!
Vasil

Nafplio, Greece – on the Trails of the Fourth Crusade

Last summer, I visited the town of Nafplio in southern Greece. During the early middle ages, the town was a small port. However, the town was captured during the fourth crusade by the naval forces of Naples and Venice. The crusade itself ended with the capture of Constantinople, so the Italians remained there a while longer. It was owned by the Aragonese, then by the republic of Venice, and lastly, by the Ottomans.

The city has three fortresses nowadays. One castle in the gulf of the sea. One on top of the hill overlooking the town, and one in town. Most of these keeps are built after the middle ages.

The Bourtzi:

The Burg or the Bourtzi(it means”tower”) is the name of a small fortified castle in the middle of the gulf. It’s situated on a small island, and was built by the Venetians in 1473. After that, it was held by the Ottomans. The Greeks regained it in the 19th century. The fortress is fully preserved and very romantic.

The Castle of Palamidi

Overlooking the gulf is a high hill with a masterful castle on top of it. It was built by the Venetians somewhere between 1711 and 1714. That was during the time of their second occupation of the town. It was a large project that was finished very quickly. The fortress is incredibly well-protected on all sides. It’s surrounded by steep hills on all sides. Getting there requires climbing over a thousand steps which can be hard to do when you’re being shot at from the top. Probably that’s the reason why it’s still standing. The fortress was built to house cannons and artillery, so it’s a bit different from most medieval structures. There is also a smaller fortress in the foot of the hill under Palamidi. It was made to defend the entrance to Palamidi.

Map of Nafplio from 1597.

In conclusion

Well, the place is great for reenactments. The only problem is the castles were built a bit later than the medieval period. Otherwise, there are nice beaches surrounding the castles, great views, and friendly taverns. Also, the songs and sounds of the cicada insects can be pretty romantic. Nafplio is a great place, visit it if you can.

Vasil the Wanderer

A Pair of Roman Caligae and Calcei for the Pernik Museum

This winter, Chigot received an order from the local museum of Pernik for a couple of full outfits. The outfits included two fully armed legionnaires from the second and the forth century. As a member of Chigot, I was asked to make some roman footwear and clothing. The shoes were the biggest challenge because roman footwear is a bit more complicated than medieval footwear. All roman caligae and calcei have very thick soles with hobnails. Until last month, I had never worked with hobnails. It wasn’t too hard, though. As you can see, the shoes turned out great, and I’m pretty proud of myself.

Both pairs of shoes are made with a double sole. They have two layers of leather over a centimeter thick. The soles are glued, sewn, and nailed together with hobnails. These are by far the sturdiest soles I’ve made. Enjoy.

Vasil

A Pair of Viking Ankle Boots

Ankle boots

Reconstruction of a pair of medieval shoes

About two months ago a friend of mine called from Ireland, and asked for a pair of viking boots. He needed them urgently for a local medieval festival. Needless to say, I rushed to make the boots that he wanted, and managed to send them in time for the event.

Viking boots from the early middle ages have a distinct design. The front is round instead of pointed. Also, the sole reaches up and covers the heel. This pair of ankle boots is made of a leather upper part(2mm) and a thick leather sole (6mm). I also added a slip-sole for more comfort. As a professional reenactor, I think that this type of ankle boots should be worn with thick woolen leggings. It’s more comfortable that way. Besides, the leggings can keep you warm and dry when the weather is bad.

Vasil

Baron Saturday, Loa of the Dead

Baron Samedi, Saturday, or Papa Ghede. All of those refer to the same entity – the patron spirit(loa) of the Ghede/Guede family.
InBaron Saturday traditional Vodoun (African voodoo), the Ghede family were considered keepers of the realm of the dead. Baron Saturday is most famous from his appearances in Hollywood movies and computer games. None of these appearances, however, have ever managed to capture the spirit’s true character.

As a LARP enthusiast, I started playing the role of this spirit. Over the past three years my costume changed along with my character. I began as a wandering stranger, poor and ragged. With time, I started to gain power and influence, and my outfit got richer. I added a nice pair of stolen shoes, baggy trousers, a fitted sailor’s tunic, and a better top hat. As you can see, this is not the traditional African voodoo spirit, it’s the Balkan version.

For the last three years playing like the voodoo lord (loa), I have had a lot of adventures. I’ve thwarted interdimensional invasions, fought wars, demon armies, a demon lord, a frost giant, a Serbian werewolf, and so on. Live Action Role Play (LARP) is a great hobby, if you get a chance, give it a try!

Anyway, here are some photos from my first voodoo photo session. Hope you like them! Enjoy!

Here are some older photos from previous LARP events.

The Loa

This Year’s Mead

I don’t know if we’ve bragged about this yet, but the Medievalisticals team made some very nice mead this year.


It was made in two kinds. The middle one is darker and that was because we made that last and because we put dried fruits into the mixture to enrich the flavor. And it was good, but we drank it all 🙁

I am especially proud with the taste and the color of the drink. The key formula to making mead is to wait for it to mature before drinking it, and the only way to preserve mead in the company of seasoned reenactors, is by making lots of it. That’s the important lesson of this years brewing.

The regular yellow mead has hops, garden tea and a bit of linden herb. It boiled for a month. We poured it into bottles and after two months it was clear and very pleasant to drink. The funniest part was, it was very very strong.

It tastes like wine, but has the aftertaste of beer and the burn of a soft whiskey. It was very easy to drink because you don’t feel the alcohol, so the end result was – you get drunk after 2 cups of mead and don’t know what hit you 😀

We’re starting a new batch soon. It should be done by the middle of autumn, so give us a call if you’re interested or join us for a drink 😉

PS: The Recipe 😉

Uber-tasty mini-mango pies

IMG_20130404_183239

While some people are busy doing important things with their lives, others cook.  And food is important, trust me on that.
Anyways, these little pies are not medieval, but would be perfect for a fantasy inn… or you know just with coffee… several times a day.

You need:
1 large mango.
 A cup of grated coconut
some cream. 

For the dough:
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
a teaspoon of baking soda and two large spoons oil

Mix all the ingredients for the dough, knead a few times and set aside. Peel and core the mango, then cut it into small pieces.

On a large surface spread the dough, using a large glass or a small cup cut circles.  Place each circle in a cupcake form, fill with mango, top with coconut and a spoon of cream. Close. Repeat until you have as many pies as you want. Bake at 200C for 20 minutes or until ready. Praise Medievalisticals and enjoy….

 

Medieval Mead Brewing

The tavern grounds at Cherven medieval camp.

Well, it`s the time of the year when we usually brew something. This time it`s mead. We`ve had the honey ready and waiting for months. Last week I finally found the time to brew some “medovina” as we call it.

Don`t forget to take out the white foam.

just some herbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not the first time me and Viktor have made this type of drink. I think this is our third year in brewing. We have learned the method from our friends from Modvs Vivendi medieval society. They’ve translated it from some authentic medieval books.

So, here is what we did…

Take 1 part honey and 4 parts water, and put them in a large pot. Usually, that means a jar of honey and four jars of water. Stir the honey up, until it dissolves in the water. After a while, you will notice that there is white foam forming on the surface. Use a large spoon, and get rid of it.

Half the mead that we have brewed was made according to a German recipe. It makes medieval mead taste more like modern beer because the recipe includes hops and sage. We’ve also added some lime-tree (Tilia).

The second part of the mead was experimental. We used fresh and dried apples, cinnamon, cloves, and some dried fruit peals from oranges and lemons. Once the water comes close to boiling, put the herbs in, and let them sit for a while. After that, take the pot off the fire, and let it cool. When it`s cool enough to put your finger in, take some mead and mix a tea spoon of yeast in it. (One tea spoon is enough per 5 liters of mead). Remove the herbs, and put in the yeast solution.

After a few minutes, pour the mead in a fermentation container. We use plastic bottles of mineral water with home-made fermentation taps.
The fermentation process usually takes a little more than a month. After that, you can put it in bottles. We usually don`t manage to save any mead for later because we tend to drink it very quickly. So, if you have a gang of viking friends, don’t bother bottling it.

Now, the mead is fermenting quietly near my bed in large plastic containers with fermentation taps so that no air comes in to contaminate it. Sometimes, I open the containers to check the brewing process and taste the mead. So far, it’s awesome!

Vasil.

The fruity mead turned red, while the herbal stayed yellow.

Caramelized Mushrooms Experiment

Today, I’ve decided to experiment in the kitchen. I used some medieval foods, spices and techniques, and this is what came up in the end – a caramelized mushroom rice dish.

First i sliced the mushroom, covered them in honey and fried them. Then fried 2 onions till they got brown, added a cup of rice and 4 cups of water and left it to cook. Meanwhile i chopped some parsley and added some spices to the mix. You can choose your own spices, i decided to make my dish hot, so i added some extra black pepper. Also i dropped something that was unlabeled, because it was handpicked, it smelled like mint. So yeah i added mint to the concoction:) When the water disappeared I added the mushrooms, the parsley and a handful of olives.

The result – a salty-sweet hot dish with a hint of mint. Don`t know if you like it, but I love it, just can`t get enough of those sweet honey mushrooms 🙂

Vasil.

14th Century Embroidered Pouch

This little piece of beauty is a 14th century pouch that has been embroidered painstakingly by Svetlozara Doksimova with silk. The basis of this medieval pouch is linen and cotton.