1. What is the Leaves’ Eyes Viking Crew?
The “Leaves’ Eyes Viking Crew” is an internal organization within the band LEAVES’ EYES, which has the goal of attracting various Viking groups and reenactors for band projects such as photo shoots, video productions and stage shows. It also serves as a network between national and international reenactors and the band itself.
The Leaves’ Eyes Viking crew under the leadership of Sebastian Wilms (Group: District24 – Legio Holsatia) takes care of the organization and all concerns of the reenactors and „Stage Vikings“.
Since the Leaves’ Eyes Viking Crew was founded, Viking reenactors from all over the world have been involved in dozens of stage shows and video productions for Leaves’ Eyes. (e.g. Europe & UK, USA, Canada, Japan, the Caribbean)
We are also doing Viking workshops on metal festivals to introduce Viking Lifestyle & history, as well as Norse Mythology in connection with the music of LEAVES’ EYES. Part of the Viking workshop is show fighting with several kind of weapons.
But the Viking Crew is much more than just a simple organizational unit. Many reenactors of this crew have made close friends with each other and the band members over the years and are almost like a small family of artists and reenactors grew together. This “family” of course meets again and again outside of band projects at various medieval events and trainings. There you can then act, train, celebrate and have a good time together. Of course you also support each other with other projects that arise outside of the Viking Crew.
Are you a Viking reenactor and would you like to become part of this family yourself? Do you want to be a Stage Viking for Leaves’ Eyes on a club show or a big festival stage like e.g. at Wacken Open Air? Or even take part in a video production? Then get in touch with the Leaves’ Eyes Viking Crew at email@example.com or on Facebook.
2. Who were the Vikings?
Vikings were the seafaring Norse people from southern Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden) who from the late 8th to late 11th centuries raided, pirated, traded and settled throughout parts of Europe, and explored westward to Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland. In the countries they raided and settled, the period is known as the Viking Age, and the term ‘Viking’ also commonly includes the inhabitants of the Norse homelands. The Vikings had a profound impact on the early medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles, France, Estonia, Kievan Rus’ and Sicily.
Expert sailors and navigators aboard their characteristic longships, Vikings voyaged as far as the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, and were the first Europeans to reach North America, briefly settling in Newfoundland. Vikings established Norse settlements and governments in the British Isles, Ireland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Normandy, the Baltic coast, and along the Dnieper and Volga trade routes in what is now European Russia, Belarus and Ukraine (where they were known as Varangians). The Normans, Norse-Gaels, Rus’ people, Faroese and Icelanders emerged from these Norse colonies. While spreading Norse culture to foreign lands, they simultaneously brought home foreign cultural influences to Scandinavia, profoundly influencing the historical development of both. During the Viking Age the Norse homelands were gradually consolidated from smaller kingdoms into three larger kingdoms: Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
The Vikings spoke Old Norse and made inscriptions in runes. For most of the period they followed the Old Norse religion, but later became Christians. The Vikings had their own laws, art and architecture. Most Vikings were also farmers, fishermen, craftsmen and traders. Popular conceptions of the Vikings often strongly differ from the complex, advanced civilisation of the Norsemen that emerges from archaeology and historical sources. A romanticised picture of Vikings as noble savages began to emerge in the 18th century; this developed and became widely propagated during the 19th-century Viking revival. Perceived views of the Vikings as violent, piratical heathens or as intrepid adventurers owe much to conflicting varieties of the modern Viking myth that had taken shape by the early 20th century. Current popular representations of the Vikings are typically based on cultural clichés and stereotypes, complicating modern appreciation of the Viking legacy. These representations are rarely accurate—for example, there is no evidence that they wore horned helmets, a costume element that first appeared in Wagnerian opera.
Source: Vikings (for more information, check out this article)
3. What is Viking reenactment?
Living the history through experimental archeology! To us Viking reenactment means having the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the time of the Vikings. We can experience old craft techniques such as to learn to forge or to feel the fighting methods of the Vikings and what it is like to sew a piece of clothing with your own hands, to spend the night outside in a camp without modern aids and in harmony with nature. Viking re-enactment also means to us that we focus on values such as honor, loyalty and brotherhood. All of this in combination with the very extensive and legendary history of this time makes Viking lifestyle so unique and interesting.
4. What is “Reenactment Combat Fighting” (RCF)?
Reenactment Combat Fighting (aka historical fencing, medieval free fencing, etc.) is primarily a martial art that is based on different combat systems (International Codex Belli (ICB), Western Style, Eastern Style, Huscarl etc.). There are different hit zones depending on the combat system and type of weapon. It is trained and fought in single combat as well as in line or group combat. As a rule, the combat partner is eliminated in the event of a rule-compliant hit for the round. Depending on the fighting rules, it may also be that several hits have to be set.
In the Codex Belli combat system, the following target zones apply: blows / cuts with appropriate weapons (sword, saber, sword ax, sax, one-handed ax, daneaxe and scythe) are permitted on the entire upper body, upper arms and thighs. Stitches are only allowed for stabbing weapons (two-handed and one-handed spears), as well as Daneaxe on the upper body below the breastbone and thighs. Legs from feet to knees, arms from hands to elbows, neck and head are not considered a target zone.
So-called because it has its origins in Western Europe over the last 30 years. It is a light style involving great skill and finesse. It is a competetive system with a restricted target area, notably the head is excluded. The aim is to strike the opponent on the upper legs and body (sometimes upper arms are also included). Very little armour is worn and emphasis is placed on great skill and control with the weapons. This leads to a fast and furious, highly mobile fighting style.
So called because it originates in Eastern Europe, primarily Poland and Russia. This is also a competetive system with a controlled target area, with the head included. More armour is commonly worn, leading to a more blood-and-guts style, with battles characterised by their power and ferocity.
Also called HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) or Mask Fighting, is a martial art, rather than a competetion style. There are no target restrictions and the emphasis is on the realistic use of Viking Age weaponry.
This is a style designed to thrill and entertain an audience. A performance is arranged with a narrative and staged to fit the type of audience in question. Expertise with the weapons means choreography is unnecessary. Improvisations and ad-lib elements ensure a freshness and immediacy and maintain a direct involvement with the public. This style also lends itself well to filmwork.
5. How do I start with Viking reenactment?
Do you want to start with viking reenactment? Here are the first steps and advices for that.
First, you should learn a few things about the viking culture from books, Wikipedia, from reenactors or documentaries (like our Viking Spirit documentary).
Then you should think about what you want to portray. We have in history a few different viking cultures in the world. The most of them came from Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden).
After that, you should get in contact with a Viking group in your region. Trust us, learning about this wonderful hobby is easier with other enthusiasts around you. And then you should think about your first clothing kit, weapons and personal stuff. You can buy some stuff (check our recommended shops and dealers) or you make it with your own hands (a lot of manuals for sewing viking clothing are on the internet).
There are specific reenactment styles such as Birka, Hedeby, Gotland, Ribe, Iceland or Ireland. Also very popular from this time period are Varangian, Byzantic, Norman, Slavic or Saxon reenactment styles.
For your first basic clothing kit, we can advise our little Kitguide for beginners. This is only an example for a Viking in the 10th century.
5.1 Kitguide – Vikings & No-Go’s
Basic Kitguide for Viking-Beginners
This Kitguide contains the minimum requirements for a simple representation of a Viking from Scandinavia in the 10th century and is a good basic for a reenactment beginner. The aim of this kit guide is to provide a suitable visual impression of Vikings, even for reenactors of other epochs with as little effort as possible to create. For newcomers it should help to avoid fundamental errors.
Permitted fabrics are woolen (100%) or linen for the outerwear, underwear and troussers, in all natural tones or dyed (like red, green, yellow and blue). The child Clothing is to be designed like the adult Clothes. Any modern Body-Art and – Jewelry should be concealed.
Clothing for men
The shirt is made of fine wool or of linen. The cut is rectangular, with slits or fabric wedges on the sides. The shirt is no longer than the tunic and the neck cut is round. The sleeves reach to the wrist. The tunic is made of woolen material, rectangular cut and in a girdled condition maximum knee length. Slit on the sides, or provided with fabric wedges. The neck cut may be round, key-shaped or triangular. The Sleeves are narrowly cut and reach to the Wrist. Embellishment of the sleeves only with simple ornamental Seams or different colored fabric Trim.
Straight cut pants made of wool that reaches to the ankle. Woolen puttees can be used as additional leg- footwear. Pants are combined with woolen leg wraps. Leather turn shoes only, no boots of any kind. For leather turn shoes of that period one can, for example, orientate oneself to the finds from Hedeby.
The cloak is made of wool and simple rectangular cut. A simple iron omgea-brooch or pin with a wide head can be used to close the coat, otherwise it is closed with cords or toggle loops.
The head covers should be made of woolen round cap.
Clothing for women
The upper garment is made of wool; the undergarment is made of uncolored fine wool or linen. The upper and lower garments are rectangular cut, with fabric wedges on the sides and reach to the ankles. The sleeves are narrowly cut. Embellishment of the sleeves only with simple ornamental seams or different colored fabric trims. Shoes and cloak with its closures are the same as men’s.
Further equipment for men and women
Leather belt with iron belt buckle in rectangular or oval form and iron strap end fittings. Woolen comb knitted belts in natural colors or dyed are possible. The knife is worn with a simple leather sheath on the belt. Lighter set, comb, tweezers and keys are attached directly to the belt or better stored in a small leather pouch, which is also worn on the belt. No belt bags! As an alternative you can use a simple haversack (made of wool or another natural fabric) without stitching and with a woolen carrier strap.
Weapons and Armor
The classical weapons of the viking age are spears (around 2,50m long), one-handed swords, knifes, seaxes, axes and round shields. For more information about viking weapons, check out Viking Age arms and armour.
The mass of the Viking warriors is fighting in their everyday clothes and a round shield with iron shield boss. Helmets, swords and chainmails are not very common for an average Viking. Only the “upper-class”, high rank or rich warriors of the Vikings wear expensive gear like chainmails, helmet and swords. If you want to wear a chainmail, use a half sleeve version. For helmets you can use classical Norman style with noseguard or a occular style helmet like the “Gjermundbu” (find from Norway).
If you will portray a historical correct Viking, you should avoid a few things.
– fur capes or fake fur on clothing
– helmets with horns
– cotton or polyester
– drinking horns
– plastic is an absolute taboo
– hoods with a long tail
– wooden shoes (clogs)
– very high leather boots (pirate boots) or modern shoes
– 2handed swords
– helmets, armors and weapons from other medieval epochs
Recommended Kitguides from several groups and different reenactment styles
Jomsborg North Storm (Vikings, Anglo Saxons, Franks, Slavics) (PDF in english)
Regia – Different periodes like Vikings and Normans – complex with a lot of information (english)
Northwest-Slavs and Old-Saxons 8th century (german/english)
Normans 11th century (PDF in german)
5.2 Recommended shops, dealers and crafters
Here are a few recommended shops and dealers for clothing, armor, weapons and other stuff.
Burgschneider (German, English)
Oliver Braun (German)
Early Medieval Shop (German/English)
The Viking Store (English)
Maxim Armouries (English)
Triglav Books (Polish, English)
Rúnarson (German, English)
Ivar Jorgenson (German, English)
Pilar Art (German, Polish)
Knuts Workshop (English, German, Dutch)
Northan Viking Silver (English)
Der Bärenschmied (German)
Nescura Design (German)
5.3 Contact to groups
We work together with a lot of groups worldwide and we have a big network to viking groups all over the world. If you are looking for a group in your country, which is not listed here, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Currently we work with groups in the following countries:
Australia & New Zealand
USA & Canada
5.4 Recommended events
There are many Viking events around the world. We can’t list them all, but here are a few events we can recommend for you.
6. What is the „Jomsborg Brotherhood“?
Jomsborg is a worldwide organisation dedicated to recreating aspects of Viking warrior culture in the modern age. With over 1000 members, warriors and household, we are the largest viking cultural group in the world.
Under our banner, a red cross on a black background, we stand united on the battlefield. The Saga of the Jomsvikings tells of a legendary fortress of fearless warriors known as Jomsborg. It is from here that we take our inspiration. We recreate aspects of Viking warrior culture, focusing on Viking martial arts. Our members also explore all other areas of Viking Age life, including fine craftsmanship, reconstructing clothing and gear and running authentic encampments. We also take part in battlefield training and competitions with other Viking groups all around the world.
We take our inspiration from history, but we are a modern cultural movement. We are a non-political organisation open to all creeds, ethnicities and genders. All our members share a genuine interest and passion for the Viking Age and put a lot of effort into the historical authenticity of their work. At the same time we are 21st century people, creating a modern viking community for today. We are worldwide! Unity in diversity; with groups spread across the globe, our strength is our diversity, but we are united by a sense of brotherhood. So wherever we travel, wherever we fight or wherever we feast, we can always do that alongside friends as one shield one brotherhood.
Jomsborg is divided into five Storms. These are partly regional and partly cultural. Each Storm recognises and celebrates the historical and cultural differences of different regions of the Viking world. Also, each Storm has its own modern individual characteristics, according to the fighting style and leadership of the particular Storm commander.
Source & contact: www.jomsborg.co.uk