News

Medieval Warriors Descend on a Campground in Pennsylvania

For two weeks every summer, a campground in (the U.S. state of) Pennsylvania is transformed into a medieval village where people dress and act as if they were living back in the middle ages.  There are tournaments, musical performances and, perhaps most importantly, battles in nearby fields just for the honor and glory of it all.

It looks like the real thing.  Knights under the command of kings battle for personal honor and the glory of their kingdoms.  While the weapons are wooden and the "dead" leave the battlefield on their own feet, the passions of the warriors are real. Excitement drives them on. They train at home during the year to prepare for these events and go by names of their choosing.

Many return year after year.  This commander of a Roman cohort, who calls himself Dominus, is a veteran of 14 such wars. "It gives me and my friends some great stories, some great experiences, some great adventures to share, to talk about and remember together for years to come," Dominus said.

A code of honor governs what happens. The warriors determine for themselves the seriousness of their wounds. Marshals responsible for safety and order declare timeouts to regroup.  The Society for Creative Anachronisms organizes the event.

"We work very, very hard at our safety," says, Master Maceanruig, "In 40 years of the society we haven't lost anybody in the battle yet."

A full authentic set of regalia and weapons can cost $10,000.  And, in one concession to the modern age, warfare is not only for men.  

"You get a real challenge when you go out there," Caecilia Decurion explains, "because when you're wearing a helmet not many people realize you're a girl.  You kind of get like a fair fight and that's cool."

But most of the 12,000 people here do not participate in the fighting. They choose less violent pleasures.  They go to the bazaar and sample goods that would be available to a person who lived between the sixth and sixteenth century.  They learn crafts that were popular in a slower and less complicated age.

"Pennsic - as a whole, is an experience where I can get away from the hustle-bustle of everyday life," Issac Rothstein says, "and get to know the meaning of community with my friends."

There is even a daily newspaper, which publishes news of village life, including news of who is winning the tournaments, which dedicated to honoring women.

"Today our theme is definitely the pleasure of the ladies.  In fact, the ladies have directed these gentlemen, who are currently fighting at a barrier, to fight for their pleasure," Mistress Marcele De Montsegur states.
 
The winner  of the war this year was the Eastern Kingdom, comprised of warriors from the eastern parts of Canada and the United States.   And as their reward?  They had the right to claim the city of Pittsburgh, a claim they understand probably won't be honored by any of the city's modern-day politicians.  As for the losers, their pride may have been injured, but they know that they can come back again next year.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs