The Medieval Cape of Awesomeness

Have you ever wondered what a nobleman’s cape would look like outside the murals and manuscripts?

If so, then this is your chance to check it out, although I must admit that it’s not really authentic. This is an order I made for a dear friend and LARP-er from Bulgaria. She asked me to make it with a hood, otherwise it would surely be without it.

So, what you see is a brown velvet medieval cape with a layer on linen on the inside and a layer of wool between the two. It’s rimmed with wolf pelts and it looks and feels amazing. I tried it myself more than a couple of times and can’t hide that I enjoyed it. I wish its new owner a lot of larping adventures! I hope you like our model and the medieval cape of awesomeness, of course. 🙂

Cheers Vasil Cloakmaster

THE MOTHERLOAD of medieval canteens!

Welcome back, today’s article is going to be short one, because the pictures speak for themselves!

This summer at the medieval festival Times and Epochs Moscow, we made an arrangement for a large order of medieval canteens made of gourd pumpkins. This is the result of many hours of work and a lot of stress, we hope you like them. We were very sad to send them to their future owner from Arma Bohemia, but we hope he likes them as much as we did.

We named all canteens based on their looks and uses, and came up with some really weird names, such as: -The Inquisitor, the Villager, the Fat one, The Big Dick, The Small dick, The Water bringer, The Secret Vodka, and so on. We had a lot of fun, and this time they are even better because we used a special wax, which is harder to break, melt and damage. We still haven’t heard from our customers, but we hope they are satisfied with the medieval canteens as much as we are. 🙂

Best of wishes, Vasil the hermit canteen maker!

PS: ALL OF THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT THE PARTNERSHIP OF MY DEAR FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE MIHAIL AND HIS GIRL ISKRA. BIG UP FOR THE HOME CREW! 😉

1375107_4869866883746_1095440529_n

Melnik – a Marble in the Sand

Melnik is the smallest town in Bulgaria. It has been the smallest for many years and our recent trip to that place made it clear why it can’t grow any further.

Melnik is situated in the farthest south-western part of Bulgaria, just a couple of kilometers north from the greek border. It’s one of the warmest and sunniest places in the country, which makes it perfect for growing vines and that’s what the city’s famous for – it’s lovely wine.

The whole area there is covered with high and steep sand hills. They can’t be climbed, or surrounded easily, which is why the city was built between two ridges on the banks of the only river near by. So, the whole town is in a small canyon. It looks simply fascinating! The whole city is composed of small two-storey traditional bulgarian houses, which are surrounded by ridiculously tiny mountains, which makes everything change in perspective. After a couple of days you start feeling like Gulliver in the land of the tiny people. 😀

On a hill overlooking the town stand the ruins of the supposed “Nobleman’s house”. It’s supposed to be the ruins of a 12th. century nobleman’s home, which has been rebuilt and expanded over the ages. After a quick inspection however, I am willing to bet my reputation that this was a lightly fortified citadel. It has a couple of layers of thin outer walls, two separate inpenetrable towers with an entrance between them. That entrance leads into a small closed off yard, surrounded by the walls of the citadel, leaving anyone who enters completely exposed to arrows and various projectiles. It’s simply the nobleman’s stronghold.

We plan on making a medieval festival there this spring. We hope to organize something similar to “Cherven medieval festival”, so check out our photos and if you like the idea of a medieval festival there, give us a quick “Like”.

Enjoy!

Vasil

 

How much padding for an arming doublet?

“How much padding for an arming doublet” is one of the most frequent searches used to find Medievalisticals, and it turns out it is a legitimate question, that requires some thought. How much padding? How much Layers? Is this safe for modern reenactment or living history? Cost?

Luckily for us there are a few surviving examples and a number of references of how people did things back in the days, and, if you ask me, in most of the cases the best thing to do is follow what people did.

So how much?
The answer, like with everything in the middle ages is “It depends”.

In this case it depends if it will be used on it’s own or with some armour on top. Of course period and place are also important, espexially for style, but this is not discussed here.

A disclaimer: Here I’m using gambeson and doublet interchangeably, and am not discussing aketons, jacks, pouprpoints and other such words  – it’s not entirely correct, but it will do.

So  back on topic – when you’re making a gambeson that will go under the armour or an arming doublet you can make it quite thin. (IMHO, you can get away without one. a thick lined tunic seems just enough.). Judging from pictorial sources, arming doublets specifically are just regular doublets with laces for the different pieces of armour. You’ll find a lot of images of arming doublets in this excellent  MyArmoury thread.

And if we judge by depictions of earlier time, say the Mciejowski:

Maille

 The maille is very form-following and does not have the typical ‘bulky’ look of many a reenactor (the fit of maille is often not good, and this is also a factor).  Compare to this, where the gambeson just looks bulky.

So we can speculate that even in this earlier time, the gambeson that goes under your armour is thin. This is true even sometimes  when you want to use it on it’s own:

“… The mounted archer must possess a horse worth not less than six francs, and should wear a visorless sallet, a gorget (I’d translate bevor or standard), a brigandine, or a sleeveless mail shirt under a ten layer jack….” –
Ordinance of St. Maximin de Treves, published October of 1473.  MyArmoury

Ten layers seem quite thin, but then there are other sources that mention doublets of 24 layers or even 30 ( a burgundian ordinance, which I cannot find, but it is quite popular…). And I would bet on thicker arming garments for use on their own. Both for safety and accuracy.

Thickness is not the only factor – how you manage this thickness and how ‘hard’ it is is also important. For example the Lubeck garment is soft on the top, where a breastplate would lay, but the skirt is ‘rock-hard’,  The garment itself is composed of a linen shell and padding made from cotton

 

The Lubeck padded garment. Photo Roland Warzecha

The Lubeck Garment also fits this description from the 14-th century:

“That a haketon and a gambeson covered with sendale, or with cloth of silk, shall be stuffed with new cotton cloth, and with cadaz, and with old sendales, and in no other manner. And that white haketons shall be stuffed with old woven cloth, and with cotton, and made of new woven cloth within and without.” – 15 Edward 11. A.D. 1322. Letter-Book E. fol. cxxxiii. (Norman French.) Quoted from MyArmoury .

The arming garment of Charles VI is also made in a similar manner. It is composed of two ‘quilts’ stitched in the aboce described manner that  are stitched one to the other.

The garment of Charles VI

 

So, in conclusion:  

Make your arming doublet thinner. Make your over the armour gambeson, or the parts that will be ezposed thicker and harder.  And in doing so follow the originals. but don’t forget safety.

Since you’ll probably be using it for re-enactment  fighting – a bit  of thickness  would not hurt you. What I would do is use two layers of cotton padding and two layers of linen. Probably I’ll add a third layer on the shoulders/torso if I’m doing it for use without armour. And I’ll use a single layer of padding for under armour garment.

And finally don’t forget fit – a poorly fit armour even if lighter would restrict your movement and will be uncomfrotable. This applies for gambesons too. So plan accordingly.

What about the other part of Europe – byzantium, the balkans etc…

It is quite a complicate topic, and we will devote to it another  article, sometime in the near….-ish future.

Viktor

 

Edit: So I basically rewrote the article, edited bits here and there and removed the balkan part – it is a long topic and as mentioned in the article, we’ll devote another post to it.

Sighisoara – A Romanian Fairy Tale

A modern fairy tale based on a true story

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, over rivers and marshes, through fields and high mountains stood  the city of Sighisoara. Once a year the proud and prosperous city would hold a great festival for the amusement of the people. People from all over the realm would fill the roads to Sighisoara to take part in the festival, or to simply enjoy it.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The heroes of this tale came to the medieval  festival from far south, from the Bulgarian port city of Varna. They were the Griffin family. They were welcomed warmly and allowed to set camp inside the city walls. The next day, the griffins fought well in the tournaments and made many friends.

On the second day of the medieval  festival,  a big storm came from the west and hit the city. Tents, shades and pavilions were swept away and dragged in the streets by the strong wind. Everyone ran for cover. Those who did not, were trying to secure their tents. Two of the eldest  Griffins – Theodor and Stefan, were out in the streets helping people, when they saw an old man with long gray hair and beard trying to keep his pavilion from flying away. The man appeared to be struggling. He seemed like a seasoned warrior, yet his clothes were black and simple like a holy man’s clothes. The brothers helped him and went on to help others.

Later that night, the man in black came to their camp and gifted the brave lads with two bone talismans, one for each of them.

–          You are my friends now. You helped me. This is for you. – The old man appeared to be a merchant and a craftsman of bone and horn. He had the brightest blue eyes one can imagine and the look of a wizard, that you can’t say “No” to.

The Griffins accepted the gifts, but Stefan was uneasy with his. He was honored, but wanted to give something in return. So, the next day he visited the wizard and gave him one of his personal weapons as a gift – a beautiful battle axe.Sighisoara-–-a-trip-back-to-medieval-times-img12

Later that day, the rumor of the curious bone carver reached the rest of the Griffins, and before the day was over another three brothers visited the old man’s shop. His jewels, trinkets, talismans and medallions were a thing of wonder. The men were quickly enchanted by the beauty and craftsmanship  and wanted to buy a talisman for themselves as well.

The old man collected the medallions they wanted and looked at the men with warning in his eyes.

–          You will pay me for this medallion, but I will give your money to your brother on your right. – then the wizard turned to the brother on the right and spoke:

–          You will go to the brewery and buy that medallion’s worth in beer. If you spend my money on anything else, I will know! DO YOU SWEAR THAT! – Aye! – said second brother.

The old man took out the second medallion and said to him:

–          You will pay me for this medallion, but I will give your money to your brother on your left . – then the man in black turned to him and spoke:5702851262_53369abbb0_z

–           You will visit the food market and get this medallion’s worth in food, to go along with the beer. If you spend my money on anything else, I will know! DO YOU SWEAR THAT! – Aye! – said first brother.

The gray-haired man took out the third medallion and said to the third Griffin:

–          You will pay me for this medallion, but I will give your money to your last brother. – He turned to him and spoke:

–          What, else can we get that goes nicely with beer and snacks?

–          More beer? – said the last brother – More beer it is, but in one condition! When you buy all that, you will set a long table and give away everything, to anyone who comes along! You will treat everyone with this beer and food!

And so, they did. They kept their promise and organized a big feast, where everyone was  treated generously to food and drinks. They partied until dawn and  good times were had by all.

SAM_8355

Some say the wizard still wanders from town to town selling his magic talismans. It is said they bring happiness, but are especially strong, when you share your happiness with others.

Vasily of Sighisoara

“Times and epochs” medieval festival

Vasil V.

Hi guys,
I’m sorry for delaying the pictures from Moscow, but it was quite difficult getting back to reality. Everyone understands what we’re saying and no one wants to take pictures with us… it’s a harsh world we’re living in. 😀
SAM_0529
First of all, the medieval festival was amazing! The best event we have had the pleasure of visiting so far and we are very thankful for that opportunity. Our group had to travel some 2000 miles from Bulgaria and our drivers had to sleep in shifts in order for us to travel without stopping. The country-side was kinda boring. From Bulgaria to Moscow, the whole landscape was pretty much the same. The nature, the streets and everything was very familiar. Once we made a stop in Odesa, however, we knew we were no longer anywhere familiar. The one thing that made our group of 7 men the biggest impression were the women – tall, blond, bright eyed, beauties everywhere! It was heaven on earth and we all thanked our fortune for that.

The medieval festival itself was perfectly planned and organized as most of the participants will agree. Only the food and the running water were a bit of an issue, but not a major problem for seasoned reenactors like ourselves and everybody else.

Personally I had a great time and made a lot of friends – Бляя! Пиздец! I participated in the 2v2 tournament as a squire and enjoyed the fights very much. Got into the melee too, but had an accident as I always do.

We have never talked about this, but it’s kind of a tradition for our group and especially me, to get injured. So i got scar number 8 on my face and i’m proud of it. It happened in the melee. I got a spear in the mouth. The lip is a bit cracked, and the teeth are a bit chipped, but nothing a good dentist can’t  fix.

The biggest win of the festival in my opinion was when me and Mihail (Misha) opened a photo parlor. We gathered a sack of clothes and started dressing people up for medieval photos. They had some nice pictures and we got to hug some extremely beautiful women. Not only did we get to hug hotties, they even left us tips for that. Anyway, good fun was had by all.

Love you guys, hope you enjoy the pictures 😉

Times and Epochs, we are back!

Vasil V.

Greetings to all our new friends from Russia, France, Ukraine and Israel. If i am missing a country please excuse me. We just got back from a 2000 kilometers journey back from Moscow and it was amazing. This has been the biggest medieval event we have participated in, and when I say “we”, I mean a mixed group of reenactors from Bulgaria.
SAM_0152

There were 4 people from Chigot- medieval reenacment group and 3 people from  
Medieval society – Modvs Vivendi.  We reenact mostly Balkan folks from the 12th to the 14th century. Check out our Facebook page too.

The Medievalisticals blog is a place for medieval costumes, clothes and shoes reconstruction. So, here is where we post all of our research and recent projects. We work with reenactors, larp-ers and bulgarian museums. The Medievalisticals crew includes Viktor Ch. medieval tailor and swordfighter, and me, Vasil V. tailor, shoemaker and an all time crash test dummy 😛

We loved the festival and we enjoyed our stay in Russia very much! Thanks for the good times and hope to see you again soon 😉 Love you all :*

 

Medieval camp Cherven – Review

It was a great camp and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  The only thing that was kind of annoying was the weather. It’s an ancient reenactor tradition that the weather is bad when we are at a medieval camp

 We set out from sunny Varna and in the middle of the way to Cherven we got into a huge lightning storm. We couldn’t see where we were going, it was foggy, dark and pretty grim, when suddenly my phone rings and a friend calls to tell me his PC was hit by lightning right in front of him. The scary part was, we were just talking about lightnings and the chances of  hitting you inside your home.

Anyway, we reached the soaking medieval camp still alive. The next day the heat and humidity in the air was terrible. We were lucky to be higher than the poor people on the bottom of the canyon. We endured the heats just enough to be hit by another summer lightning storm. This one nearly blew the massive Chigot company tent.

I was holding the main pole and hoping. The options were -1. the pole would snap in my hands and crush me 2. the tent would be blown off the cliff and into the canyon, me included 3. since we are the tallest object on the highest place in a 30 mile radius, I figured we’ll probably get owned by a lightning.

I considered my options wisely and yelled out – the goddess of thunder is a whore. Those were some worthy last words.

Fortunately we survived, but the tent suffered a lot, and that may be it’s last medieval camp. Good bye Big Red, we’re gonna miss you :/

Anyway, here are some pics with funny comments 🙂
PS: Rights on the photos belong to Chigot medieval reenactments, Modvs Vivendi and various reenactors including the Medievalisticals team. Enjoy!

PPS: Here are some samples of the music our bards compose and play

Roman calcei project – complete!

The Medievalisticals team is proud to announce the completion of our first pair or roman shoes!

 

 

As an experienced medieval shoemaker, I’ve made more than 20 pairs of medieval shoes, but never any roman footwear.

This type of roman shoes is based on archaeological finds from the 5th-6th century. The calcei are a part of a roman military costume that we were hired to recreate for a very interesting local museum in Bulgaria. The museum is based in the municipality of Samokov and it serves as an exposition for archaeological finds from the near roman fortress Belchin. I’m not sure this is the historical name of the place, though.

Roman shoes are very different from medieval shoes. They are more  complex and in my personal opinion unnecessarily complicated. First – they are not sewn on the inside and flipped inside out like medieval shoes(it’s a bit more complicated), and second they have a double sole and hobnails. That makes walking with them extremely comfortable. I know that because i tested my double soled boots recently at medieval camp Cherven. As you may see our example of roman footwear doesn’t have hobnails on the sole, that is because the museum didn’t want hobnails. Besides, the boots will be worn by a mannequin dressed with lorica hamata, scutum and everything a 5th century roman legionnaire could need.  So a hobnailed boot may cause some damage to the floor, especially with the weight of the weapons and armor.

We hope you like our work and if you have any questions, or want to place an order with our medieval shoemaker, you can reach us here – https://www.facebook.com/Medievalisticals?ref=hl

Roman Calcei (a little post)

Here’s one of our recent projects – Roman calcei. Hand-sewn from leather by Vasil. More photos to come up…