There are many historical periods, that are being re-enacted. Few favourites seem to be imperial roman legions, napoleonic wars and medieval times. What is usually understood by historical re-enactment is a re-creation of a certain historical battle. So the fact that our written history is presented to us as a series of bloodbaths, is actually repeated in the actions of historical re-enactors.

Sometimes historical war is represented in a wery believable way. The soldiers who get hit fall down and crawl out of the battle, moaning like the wounded they are soposed to represent. More than often however, war is represented as a game to the audience. The fallen soldiers get up to take a bow to the audience and the whole thing has a more like sports event athmosphere. Especially so with the medieval re-enactment. This could, of course, be explained by the fact that they actually had such sports events in medieval times like the tournaments. Sometimes tournaments were indeed representations of legendary battles like those of king Arthur or other romances. But unless the re-enactment is represented to the audience as tournament, it should not be acted out like it was tournament. The terminology should be kept coherent.

What about the children in the audience? Should the battles be shown as brutal as they were to the kids? Well, often enough even the sportslike events get to be rather brutal, but almost as often in a wrong way. Safety of the audience and participants should be kept in mind when rules and regulations are set. There is really no point putting it under the pretence of “you take part on your own responsibility”. Every warrior on the field should feel responsible for all the warriors on the field, or we will get actual deaths and permanent injuries. So what I’m actually saying is not, that we should have more violent shows, but more historical ones.

Most medieval re-enactors do not know anything about medieval weapons or their use. Most of them choose as their weapon the one most difficult one – the sword. It is a legendary weapon, which took a lifetime to master from men who had war as a profession. So often it is rendered safe in the hands of a weekend warrior just by blunting the otherwise sharp blade. But because it is a real weapon and not a toy, it may cause terrible trauma just by accident. To me it is clear that no warrior should be let to join in any show unless he has mastered at least to stop his attacks before they actually land.

For many medieval re-enactments the main problem seems to be how to get enough warriors to do the actual re-enactment and so battle which happened between thousands is usually re-enacted by couple of fistfulls of men. There is nothing wrong about this. The main problem is that no matter how big the battle re-creation grows the organisers feel that they have to let all the assholes who have some sort of medieval kit to take part, no matter if they actually follow the rules or not. In my opinion good re-enactment requires strict enforcing of the rules from which the health of the audience and partakers is depending. It often seems to be so that the sportsmen who come to these events to “win battles” are also the ones who are least interrested about the actual historical period being re-enacted. So, banning them does not constitute any actual problem to the quality of the event. Mad hacking may be authentic in its own way, but as we know raging madmen did not live long in real battles. It was the great majority of calm and calculative warriors affraid of death that won or lost the battles. Especially so in a period when most battles were decided in fierce close combat.

The authenticity of re-enactment shows is of great variety. It is interresting, how battle re-enactment, that has a certain historical date and place, is often much more vaguely presented than living history shows, that are set whithin a sertain decade of a century and a generalised area like a particular country.