Re-enactment

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Re-enactment often refers to non-SCA recreationists that engage in a portrayal that is fairly narrow in time frame and location. This portrayal is usually more homogenous in theme than groups with a wider period. Reenactment groups usually have a minimum standard of equipment and clothing. These are usually not too stringent and new people are able to borrow equipment until they acquire their own and are given support by existing members in meeting these standards.

Other terms used to describe these groups include living history (particularly if the portrayal is very accurate), medievalists, live steel (in America) and metal weapons groups (in Australia).

The latter two are old terms used to describe reenactment groups or societies that recreate ancient and medieval combat using, clearly enough, metal weapons. This distinguishes them from groups such as the SCA which uses rattan and most live roleplaying groups which tend to use some sort of padded weapon. This term is falling into disfavour amongst reenactment groups due to its inference that the only activity available in these groups is combat, and thus is considered by some to be derogatory.

The combat rules often require great care with respect to the speed, placement and strength of each blow due to the danger involved in using metal. Whether this gives a more or less accurate combat simulation than, eg. rattan weapons is an open debate. Proponents of metal weapons combat argue that metal weapons tend look and sound better, whereas supporters of SCA-style claim combat with rattan weapons is more intense and realistic, with fewer concerns about accidental injury. Despite this debate, there is actually considerable crossover between the metal weapons and SCA subcultures.

Variations

In the UK reenactment society events are primarily a battle reenactment with a living history encampment also present. These events are usually open to the public. The US seems to follow a similar pattern.

Australian reenactment groups follow a slightly different pattern: Events are usually closed to the public and run primarily for the reenactor. The event might be for a single group, a group and a selection of others or it might be open to all.

Displays are specifically for the public. There are some larger displays now that incorporate multiple groups, but for the most part they are usually run by just one group (two if they are closely linked.

A more recent activity that has gained popularity is full speed combat with rebated steel weapons and period armor in a sport setting. These events are staged for spectators and do not involve other activities typically associated with living-history or reenactment events. The largest international example of such an event is Battle of the Nations, which features individual, small group and massed combat. Increasing interest in this type of tournament, has lead to the creation of the Armored Combat League in the United States.

Example groups

United Kingdom

  • The English Civil War Society
  • Far Isles, The Company of the Motley Wolf (who are now doing the occasional display at events in London)
  • The Medieval Siege Society
  • Regia Anglorum
  • The Sealed Knot
  • The Vikings
  • York City Levy

Australia

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