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5th Melbourne Medieval Fayre and Tourney (2007) Report

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  • Sunday, November 25 2007 @ 08:42 AM UTC
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The 5th Melbourne Medieval Fayre and Tourney (2007) Report

The weather was fine all weekend with only a national election to affect the turn out on the Saturday. This year saw a larger contingent of re-enactors than ever before, with groups covering from the Greek Hoplites to the American Civil War.

This MMFAT was started with a grand parade of the participating groups and was then officially opened by the serving Mayor of Berwick and followed by a volley of fire from the 95th Rifles. The first event on the schedule came with the retort of cannon fire of the Rowan Artillery. The SCA did their fighter display consisting of an all in melee, a teams contest and finally a tourney, their display was up to their usual standard of combat, armour and costume. That was followed by an SCA dance demonstration.

More exciting was the ‘Peasants Revolt’ put on by the members of Antioch and Dublin, where the local peasants were attacked and driven off by a band of brigands, a very fine display. Next came the ‘holmgang’ of the Jomsvikings, a spirited portrayal of a legal contest decided by a feat of arms, plank ‘destructo’ shields should have been used rather than just thin plywood that failed to break appropriately.

Then came the much practiced for Byzantine Drill display (important for we are to use these same skills for the Film gig in March and the Victorian State Library display in April). We marched around the perimeter of the site, people quickly moved out of our way, then turning we skirted the arena and in, completing many turns our two ranks of spears and two handed axe traversed the arena, counter marching in rank then in file, then marching as to leave but turning swiftly and raising our weapons in attack mode, finally leaving the arena as swiftly as we came to the applause of the crowd.

After lunch, came the display of the Greek phalanx in action, the lone Roman (Cleave) won that battle. The presentation of Ancient Hoplitikon is getting better every year.

Mid afternoon saw wonderful display of horsemanship from the King’s Horses Medieval Equestrian Society (Craig and Riggsy looks magnificent on their barded horses), consisting of tilting at the quintain, collecting hoops from poles at a gallop by first dagger then sword and finally, chopping cabbages on poles. A very fine display indeed.

In the afternoon came the Imperial Inspection of the Troops, with members from Dublin, Hodegon and Vlachernai contributing. The bell tent was put up, the bells and caltrops deployed, the sergeant (Vigulfr) inspected his troops before the Imperial party arrived. The Emperor (Egfrothos the 1st) was preceded by the Imperial purple banner, and accompanied by guards and courtiers. The Emperor then inspected the troops and chattered to some of the soldiers defending the Empire and was heard to say by a reliable source that the troops were a ‘fine body of men’.

The feast was a quieter affair this year with a lot of re-enactor not attending, the food, dancing and music (provided by Praxis) was great.

The displays were repeated for the Sunday with the inclusion of the Battle of Poitiers in place of the Imperial Inspection. The Battle of Poitiers was supported by the White Company, Latrobe, LMS, NVG and Corde Bohun. The French formed up at the base of the hill and unleashed waves of attack against the English at the top of the hill, the French were repelled repeatedly by arrows and advances of the English knights and men at arms led by the Black Prince. Finally, the French King and the Oriflamme (the banner of France) were both captured, thus the English won again, to the cheers of the crowd. Well done to Nick (the French King), Jamie (the Duke of Orleans) and Morgan (the Black Prince).

Overall, a fine event that is growing in size and level of display quality, I look forward to the next MMFAT in 2008.

Sven (NVG Vlachernai)

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