Thursday 24 March 2011

The Event of the Summer

In 1361, Danish king Valdemar invaded Sweden’s biggest island, Gotland. The people tried to defend themselves, but lost to the professional soldiers of the Danish army. Thousands died. This piece of history has been the base for a yearly event since 1984, called Medeltidsveckan (the Medieval Week). The event is from what I’ve heard – never participated myself, a mixture of the good (lectures by historians and archeologists) and the not so good (fire-eaters and acrobats in jarringly inaccurate costumes, mostly bad markets, and tourists in crushed velvet dresses or sack cloth tunics). The main redeeming quality of it has been the case that Visby, the town where the event takes place, has the right “air”, because of its many medieval buildings, and so, every year, a few serious re-enactors and living historians participate.

This summer, though, a really good event will be located there. It’s 650 years since the battle in 1361, and this will be commemorated by a brilliant re-enactment, The Battle of Wisby. The standards for participation in the battles and staying in the living history camp are high, and since the organizers are all avid reenactors (including a few members of Albrechts Bössor, the group I’m with), I know it will be a really good event. Most Europeans with an interest in medieval living history and re-enactment probably know about this event already, but I still wanted to mention it.

Varberg, 2010. Picture by Elin.

Just looking at the pictures from the one event I managed to attend last year have me longing for this summer. Tobias and I really hope to be able to go to BoW, but it’s dependant on us getting time off from work.

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