Earlier periods

My favourite re-enactment periods are from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Partly that reflects my own interest in early modern history, but it is also an aesthetic thing – gunpowder usually produces lots of photogenic smoke.

But every historical era seems to have its enthusiasts. Imperial Rome has an obvious attraction, but it also seems to draw those who enjoy researching authentic uniform and tactics. Others just enjoy being Saxons or Vikings for the weekend and are not deterred by a relative lack of evidence. By the Medieval period, documentary records and paintings again offer plenty of assistance, and the Swiss enthusiasts I found in the Chateau de Chillon really reminded me of Flemish Renaissance scenes.

A few of these pictures come from re-enactments of the Battle of Hastings (1066) held on what has traditionally been regarded as the original site. Around 3000 re-enactors from across Europe attended the big event held on the 940th anniversary, and a hundred charging horses literally made the ground shake. Yet even then, I still missed the sight and sound gunpowder!