Festival Histoire Vivante, Marle 2013
After the completion of the final battle scenario on the Sunday wit, each and all fatigued by the demands of the oppressive heat, it was first co-organiser Benjamin Franckert (Letavia-Brittany), when addressing the performers, who found the right word to express the occasion:
This Festival was in the truest sense of the word ‚historic‘!
More than 400 reenactors from all over Europe – from Spain to England, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Poland without further incident, together and in harmony, created a colorful spectacle in front of 5,000 spectators, as one previously for Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages did not know before.
Living history has its detractors who question its value and the past time has its purists, and sure it may not have been quite correct, with Late Roman cavalry and 4th/5th Century infantry against the Germanic foemen of the 5th/7th Century together in a battle scenario.
Nether the less the spectacle captured vignettes, portraits and scenes previously unrealised in other media. This is both its worth and its pleasure.
Besides organizer Alain Nice knowledgably informed the spectators of the details and nuances of the individual and group demonstrations. Much goodwill was evident as differing groups worked together to realise the achievement and the future offers the potential to further this goodwill.
Perhaps one day it may be possible to recreate authentically such historic events as the Battle of Châlons or the defeat of Syagrius and the twilight of Roman rule. The foundations for such potential were built during the weekend at Marle.
But as is said ‚Rome was not built in a day‘ we all know that the realisation of a quality presentation is not a matter of a few days or weeks – no, it takes many years.
Within Ulfhednar, we have been working on such details for up to fifteen years and still there is hardly not an end in site.
The horses we have previously used in displays are now over thirty years old, and necessity required us to source new horses just a few weeks before the event. Lacking in experience of such extreme circumstance as the number of involved participants and the accompanying noise with the extremes of the weather’s heat, pleasingly the horses passed their baptism of fire with flying colours and we will continue to work diligently to develop our new cavalry.
Even if all the equipment of us re- enactors are replicas, I was myself surprised again of all
the charisma, colorful brilliance and shining, that must have been once.
I wish to take this occasion to pause and remember the works, inspiration and friendship of the late Wilfried Menghin.
My thanks and appreciation to the great riders and horses of the Ala Batavorum, and to Nathalie and Patrice of Portes de L’Histoire, Rudy and Susi, Benjamin Fraenkert, Alain Nice and family, as well as the tireless staff of Marle: Fabrice Thierry, Laurent, Fred and their wives. Of course, to all the international re-enactors, without whose efforts none of this would have been possible and to my own companions of Ulfhednar.
May the following photographs that Kristin Reith had taken for us, speak for themselves.
Arian Ziliox, in July 2013
Common training on Saturday morning in the mud – before it had rained all night long. This pictures might show how disciplined all groups worked together from the beginning.
The horses made first contacts and get trained to noise and fast move.
Ulfhednar and friends – parade and march up on Saturday afternoon
Luckily the weather changed and made brilliant photos of all the equipment possible.
A big battle was held on saturday when the romans won and on sunday, when the germanic confederation was victorious. This pictures show a representative collection of both days.
The armies have encountered
After single combats in between the lines the warriors start their Barditus until they get attacked with arrows and javelins by roman archers and cavalry.
The frankish cavalry is getting ready and answers with Franziskas
Attack on the roman riders
After we had thrown off our fanziskas, we had just armed with spathas then, to go into clear defense befor e the Ala with their lances and faster horses.
After the end of the cavlry fighting the infantry went ahead – at first pictures from Saturday, when the germanics lost.
The germanics must retread before the roman pressure to the fort, the cavalry had to break out and flee for this day.
On Sunday the germanics move forward again!
Cavalry attack with Ango and Franziska on the roman shieldwalld
Final attack together with the infantry – the roman lines begin to break
The battle is over – the enemy has bad losses and the roman commander get´s caught.
The message of victory was brought immediately to the king and his guard.
The warriors come back – the germanic king proclaims victory!
Instead the roman commander did not find pity under the eyes of the king and was finally executed by local opponents.
The barbarians gather together and move back.
At last the guard of honour with great good bye of all participitiants