Sunday, 27 October 2013

Icelandic Althing 2009

By Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton

The last weekend of September saw the return of the Icelandic Althing event, sponsored by the Canton of Eoforwic and held on the property of Lord Graeme and Lady Aurelia in Orono, ON.  The first Althing had been held back in 1992 and had through the years reached semi-legendary status.  With the growth of Norse studies within Ealdormere, including two living history groups covering the period in question, Lord Gunther and Baroness Nicolaa decided that the timing was right to bring back the concept.

Although the Althing was not blessed with the beautiful weather from the previous week, Thor managed to keep the thunder and rain away long enough for a very successful event.  The highlight was the presence of in-depth living history displays by DARC and Regia Anglorum, taking the form of a street where craftsmen practiced their trades. Members of DARC demonstrated beadmaking, wood turning, pewter casting, blacksmithing, and cookery; Regia members were showing pottery, a warp weighted loom, and period poultry (among other activities).  The two groups also collaborated on a pit firing of pottery coordinated by Mistress Keja.  There was even a currency system allowing attendees to purchase items sold by the craftsmen.  

Two law cases were decided by the lawspeaker, Master Hector, and one of them led to a holmgang, fought on  3 metre by three metre cloak (as specified in the sagas).   Several Boat Battles (a variant of a bridge battle) were fought, followed by a holmgang tournament.  Archers enjoyed clout shoots and a duelling tree set up by Lord Michael of Brentwood, and a loot shoot provided by Baroness Nicolaa.  Thrown weapons was also available most of the day.  The day concluded with a hearty stew and bread provided by Orlaith and Ioseph from Eoforwic.

Their Majesties, resplendent in Norse clothing sewn by a team from Eoforwic, had a brief court and honoured two gentles of Eoforwic: Lucrece de Montsoreau was given the Award of Orion for her clothing research and construction, and Lord Hans Thorvaldsson was awarded the Maiden’s Heart for his work as baronial seneschal and “camp mom” for Eoforwic, including hosting Baronial Barbeques.

Later, Their Excellencies of Septentria held a brief court while the rains attempted to dampen the camp.  They awarded a Bear’s Claw to Lady Alof for her spear work and a Bear’s Heart to Lady Eithne Briansdottir  for help with the kids around camp and her general support of the Barony. They also presented Jacque de Sorde with baronial patches and a little bear token for his fighting spirit and his recent support of Septentrian events.  Based on the feedback from this event, it is Eoforwic’s intent to repeat it again in the future, perhaps in two years’ time.

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